News Monitor for June 1- 15, 2005
Tracking current news on genocide and items related to past and present ethnic, national, racial and religious violence.
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Also see the weekly Peace Negotiations Watch (since Sept. 2002), and the monthly CrisisWatch (since Sept. 2003.
Each CrisisWatch report includes a Summary, Trends of Deteriorated, Improved and Unchanged Situations and Watchlists of Conflict Risk Alerts and Conflict Resolution Opportunities)
washingtonpost.com 3 June 2005 A Culture Vanishes in Kalahari Dust Bushmen Elders Resist Relocation in Botswana By Craig Timberg Washington Post Foreign Service Friday, June 3, 2005; A01 MALAPO, Botswana -- In the Kalahari Desert, where the landscape stretches brown and dusty in every direction, water is power. So when the truckloads of men from the government rumbled up to this ancient Bushmen village three years ago, they found the steel drums that held the community's precious reserves. Then, said villagers, the men tipped the drums over, spilling the water into the sand. Mongwegi Thabogwelo, a lean, hard-working woman who appeared to be in her forties, recalls their cruel words that day: " 'It's the water,' they said, 'that is keeping you from relocating.' " The forced removal of the Bushmen was the culmination of what the Botswana government said was years of effort to bring development to southern Africa's most traditional people. The Bushmen have resisted at every turn, defying hunting restrictions, refusing to abandon their villages and battling the government in a court challenge they hope will reverse policies that, they say, have pushed them to the edge of extinction. At the center of the court case has been testimony about the destruction of such villages as Malapo, which proceeded with an efficiency the Bushmen found terrifying. The men from the government dismantled dozens of huts made of branches and brush, villagers said. Then they ordered the Bushmen -- descendants of people who have survived the harsh conditions of the Kalahari for tens of thousands of years -- to board the trucks for an arduous, six-hour drive to the government camp that was to be their new home. It was a patch of scrubby land far from their traditional sources of game and water-rich plants and, worse still, far from their ancestors' graves, which encircle Malapo. The displeasure of the ancestors, who Bushmen believe provide guidance and protection, was soon apparent, said Thabogwelo. " 'You have lost us,' " her great-grandparents told her in recurrent dreams, she said. " 'Why are you not next to us?' " The Bushmen once roamed most of southern Africa as hunter-gatherers, wearing animal skins and surviving on the abundant wildlife and edible plants throughout the region. But over the past several hundred years, their territory and numbers have been steadily shrinking. First Bantu African farmers moved south; then European settlers expanded north from Cape Town. Both groups historically regarded the Bushmen with disdain, treating them inhumanely and pushing them into ever smaller and less hospitable corners of the region. Slaughters of Bushmen were once common. More recently, assimilation has undermined the Bushmen as a culturally distinct group, with growing numbers in their twenties and thirties choosing to live and work outside the game reserve, where steady supplies of water and other government services are available. By the time the government began its forced relocations with the razing of the village of Xade in 1997, only about 2,000 Bushmen remained in the heart of the Kalahari, in a game reserve larger than Switzerland. The residents of Xade were forced beyond the western border of the reserve into a settlement the government dubbed New Xade. But many Bushmen regard it as a dismal and terrifying place where they are estranged from their ancestors and therefore subject to mysterious diseases and even death. The second sweep came in 2002, when Malapo and other remaining villages were destroyed and inhabitants such as Thabogwelo were trucked to New Xade. Many had never been on a truck and had no idea where they were being taken. "We were really scared that we were going to die that day," Gabolowe Rathotato, a thin, animated woman of about 70, said in a recent interview. "We were not even given a chance to think if we wanted to move or not. It was really painful." The Bushmen say they remain puzzled by the relocations, though many suspect that the government wants easy access to the rich veins of diamonds in the eastern portion of the game reserve. Officials counter that while mining the diamonds in the reserve is not commercially viable, protecting the game there is a national priority. Sydney Pilane, the government's lead attorney in the case, said that as the Bushmen gradually moved into permanent villages, they began keeping domesticated animals, growing crops and hunting the reserve's plentiful game with guns. Left unchecked, he said, they would have transformed the pristine wildlife reserve into a series of villages and towns. He also said that most Bushmen preferred to live outside the reserve and that the government was eager to provide them with the services found in most of Botswana, one of Africa's most prosperous and stable nations, with 1.6 million people. There are an estimated 48,000 Bushmen in Botswana and twice that many in southern Africa overall, though few still live in traditional villages such as Malapo. Bushmen elders trace their problems to the 1980s, when the government began sharply limiting hunting, which not only deprived villagers of a source of protein but also undercut the rituals crucial to each boy's passage to manhood. Young Bushmen were required to go to government schools outside the game reserve, where they were taught in English and Setswana rather than their native tongues. During those years, the government began providing regular deliveries of water to Bushmen. Though they were grateful for the help, the deliveries undermined centuries of knowledge about how to survive by extracting moisture from melons, berries or fibrous roots from among the hundreds of plants Bushmen traditionally learn to recognize. "If they did not bring us the water, we would not be used to it," said the Malapo village chief, Molathwe Mokalaka, who appeared to be in his seventies and is the father-in-law of Thabogwelo. The water deliveries ended the day of the relocations in 2002. And hunting restrictions turned into outright prohibitions, even for such small game as rabbits. Bushmen acknowledge occasionally breaking the law in their quest for food despite penalties that can include prison. New Xade, meanwhile, has grown from a relocation camp into a town, complete with a school, a medical clinic and a popular bar. There are also communal water taps and modest government payments to the old and indigent. But residents complain that they do not know which local plants are safe to eat and that there are few jobs. Many Bushmen have fallen into alcoholism, idleness and despair. Others such as Thabogwelo have returned home. In those first painful days after the relocation, she and her husband decided they would make the journey as soon as possible, they recalled in recent interviews. They pooled the family's life savings to buy a used Toyota truck, then they traveled the 120 miles home to Malapo, driving gingerly on the soft and shifting sand tracks. Others traveled by foot or donkey. When Thabogwelo first saw Malapo again after six months in New Xade, she said it was like being freed from jail. "It was just like I was in the darkness and the light opened up on me," she recalled. She now spends her days collecting roots with other villagers and cooking. She slices large green melons into wedges that, over a fire, release a sweet juice into a cast-iron pot. And as often as she can, Thabogwelo visits the graves of her ancestors. "I have come back," she has told her great-grandparents at their unmarked gravesites. "You have to forgive me." But most Kalahari Bushmen have been unwilling to return, at least not with the court case unresolved. Despite the complaints about New Xade, it exerts a persistent pull on the Bushmen because of its ready supply of water, government handouts and other services. By most estimates, there are 10 times as many Bushmen living in New Xade as inside the game reserve. The imbalance is most pronounced among younger Bushmen, from schoolchildren through adults in their twenties and thirties. Even Thabogwelo's only child, a 6-year-old son, is attending the government school in New Xade. But Thabogwelo has no plans to move back, even if the government wins the court case, even if the men come again with their trucks. "I will sit down here," she said. "If they want to shoot me, they can shoot me."
BBC 15 June 2005 'Forced' return of Hutus slammed Burundian and Rwandan officials tried to persuade the Hutus to return The United Nations and the United States have strongly condemned the "forced" repatriation of several thousand Rwandan Hutus from Burundi. UN chief Kofi Annan said sending the asylum-seekers back home against their will was against international laws. The Hutus have fled into Burundi since April saying they face persecution by village courts over the 1994 genocide. Burundi says the camp where they were staying was now empty but said the Hutus had left "voluntarily". At a meeting over the weekend, Rwanda and Burundi declared that the Rwandans were "illegal immigrants" and not refugees. Legality But the UN refugee agency disputes this. "Therefore UNHCR cannot consider their return as voluntary and hence it constitutes a violation of the principle of non-refoulement [forced repatriation] enshrined in the 1951 Refugee Convention," UNHCR chief spokesman Ron Redmond told the Reuters news agency. "The United States deplores the involuntary return of 10,000 Rwandan asylum-seekers from Burundi, which is in violation of both the 1951 UN Refugee Convention and the 1969 Organization of African Union Convention on Refugees to which Rwanda and Burundi are parties," US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said. "Nothing justifies the presence of these people in Burundi. Rwanda is at peace and there is no persecution," said Burundian Interior Minister Jean Marie Ngendahayo. The Gacaca courts have recently begun trying suspected killers from Rwanda's 1994 Hutu-led genocide that killed some 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus. Some 12,000 courts are operating based on traditional systems of justice, in which the victims confront their alleged attackers in front of other villagers. "All the Hutus are guilty to them," a 45-year-old man in the camp had said shortly after arriving in Burundi.
BBC 1 June 2005 Scores killed in Ivory Coast west Duekoue has been tense for several months At least 41 people are dead and many other wounded after renewed fighting in western Ivory Coast, the army says. The fighting took place near Duekoue, in a cocoa-producing region near the Liberian border. Local officials and witnesses spoke of shootings and stabbings, and said homes had been set on fire. Last month, at least 25 people died in ethnic clashes in the area. Ivory Coast has been in crisis since rebels launched an insurgency in 2002. Thousands of peacekeepers have been patrolling a buffer zone between the rebel-held north and the government-controlled south, under an agreement to try to end the civil war. Burnt alive The BBC's James Copnall in Abidjan says the west of the country is the region which most threatens the peace process. An Ivorian army spokesman told the BBC that at least 11 of the dead had been burnt alive. A Duekoue resident said he had seen as many as 100 wounded people at the town's hospital. Many people have taken refuge in a Catholic mission in the town. Duekoue is situated just to the south of the so-called confidence zone - a UN-patrolled zone between the army and the former rebels known as the New Forces. The west is also home to several militias who support President Laurent Gbagbo and describe themselves as self-defence units. Last week they agreed to disarm but the process has stalled. More than 10,00 French and UN peacekeepers in Ivory Coast are charged with maintaining a fragile peace.
Reuters 2 June 2005 Witnesses describe Ivory Coast massacre GUITROZON, Ivory Coast (Reuters) -- Charred corpses, including children, lay in a village in western Ivory Coast after attackers with machetes and guns went on a killing spree on Wednesday. In one burned-out hut were the bodies of three children and four adults with machete cuts to the head. Nearby, a woman who villagers said had given birth the day before the overnight attack had been hacked to death with her newborn baby. A little girl in a pale blue dress lay outside a house, her throat slit. The body of her father was a few feet away. At least 41 people were killed in the attack on Guitrozon, on the outskirts of Duekoue town. The raid inflamed ethnic tensions, sent thousands fleeing and threatened to derail efforts to end a simmering civil war in the West African nation. The stench of rotting corpses drifted across the misty morning air on Thursday. There was no sign of life in the village after most of its 3,000 inhabitants fled. The few residents who stayed behind blamed the raid on traditional hunters from the north of Ivory Coast, which has been split in two since war erupted in 2002. They said the attackers wore brown hunting clothes. "There were many of them, 200 or 300 people. I don't know for sure. They opened fire and set the huts ablaze. They killed people with machetes and guns," said Justin Ghoni Bonain, 23. "We tried to escape. My mother was killed as she was trying to run towards the house," he said. The hunters, known as Dozos, are regarded by supporters of the government, which controls the south of the country, as sympathetic to rebels holding the northern half. Those killed in Wednesday's attack were from the Guere local tribe, seen as generally close to President Laurent Gbagbo. Residents said on Thursday that between six and 11 people from the rival Dioula ethnic group of northern Ivorians had been killed overnight during revenge attacks in Duekoue. Hundreds of people -- men pushing bicycles or hefting hastily packed suitcases and barefoot children balancing bundles of clothes on their heads -- thronged the roads out of Duekoue on Thursday, desperate to get away before nightfall. The civil war was declared over in 2003, but fighting has flared since and tribal violence, often rooted in land disputes, has continued in the west despite the presence of peacekeepers. There are 10,000 French and United Nations troops in the country under a U.N. mandate which allows them to intervene to protect civilians. They patrol a no-weapons buffer zone that roughly cuts the country in half, separating the civil war foes. One villager said rumors of a rebel attack on Guitrozon, which is in the government-held south, had swirled for days and a local Dozo chief had warned of reprisals after accusing people in the village of being responsible for an attack on his kin. "It was the Dozo, we saw their chief," said Sylvain Goulehi, a 39-year-old farmer. "It's the government zone here and we can see the (U.N.) blue helmets, we don't understand how we can be attacked like this," he said.
DR Congo see Australia
BBC 3 June 2005 DR Congo militia kill peacekeeper Ishbel Matheson BBC News UN peacekeepers are struggling to keep a lid on the violence in the east A United Nations soldier who came under fire in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo has died of his injuries. The UN mission was attacked on Thursday in Ituri, an area renowned for its lawlessness and violence. Meanwhile, two employees from the charity Medecins Sans Frontieres have been kidnapped by armed men in Ituri. Despite attempts to disarm Ituri's various militia, the region remains awash with weapons; some 50,000 people have died in clashes since 1999. Anarchy prevails The UN peacekeepers had been accompanying a human rights investigation team to the village of Lugo in the north of Ituri. The wild east The team was following up allegations of the mass rape of local women by militiamen in March. As the mission prepared to leave the village the helicopters they were travelling in came under heavy fire. Four UN peacekeepers were injured, one Nepalese soldier later died of his injuries. The UN has more than 15,000 peacekeepers in the country, but has struggled to keep a lid on violence in the east where anarchy prevails and has cost the lives of tens of thousands of Congolese civilians. Aid workers are also at risk. On Thursday, two MSF employees were kidnapped on their way to a camp for displaced people. According to eyewitnesses, their car was stopped by armed men. The French aid worker and Congolese driver were taken out of the vehicle and led into the bush. MSF is demanding their immediate and unconditional release.
Reuters 9 June 2005 Ethiopia Arrests Opposition Members After Clashes By Katie Nguyen Reuters Thursday, June 9, 2005; 11:15 AM ADDIS ABABA - Ethiopian security forces rounded up some opposition members on Thursday, a day after police and troops fired into crowds killing at least 26 people in an explosion of violence sparked by election protests. The main opposition Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD), which the government accused of inciting the protesters, said 14 members had been arrested since Wednesday's clashes, the worst bloodshed in the capital Addis Ababa in four years. One CUD leader was also under house arrest, it said. "Their aim is to destroy any meaningful opposition," CUD deputy chairman Berhanu Nega told Reuters. With Addis Ababa residents still in shock over Wednesday's violence, troops patrolled deserted streets and most shops remained shut. Blue cabs that usually clog the capital's streets were nowhere to be seen on the second day of a taxi strike. The violence flared after weeks of opposition accusations that the ruling party intimidated voters and rigged the polls to hold on to power in the strategic Horn of Africa nation which the United States views as a key ally in its "war on terror." The European Union condemned the government's tough line on the opposition. "The mission has conveyed to the government its condemnation of the house arrests and other harassment and threatening measures imposed on the opposition," EU chief election observer Ana Gomez said. Ethiopia's Information Minister Bereket Simon would not confirm the 14 arrests. But he told Reuters: "Anyone who incites violence, other than those elected, will have to face the law." Ethiopians searching for bodies of dead relatives trawled the capital's morgues on Thursday, while others held funerals. At the main Menelik II Hospital morgue, workers with cotton wool in their noses laid out narrow wooden coffins with the victims' shoes, shirts and trousers laid neatly on top. Fakedu Kibret said he had come for the body of his brother Berukie, gunned down as he was trying to enter his house. "I'm deeply sad, not just for my brother but everyone who has died," Fakedu said, weeping and opening a coffin to show the blood-splattered body of his 34-year-old brother. Later, hundreds gathered at a church to bury him and two others in the poor Mercato area of Addis Ababa where the violence exploded. "Fear reigns throughout Mercato and we don't know what will happen tomorrow," his widow Hiwot, 28, said, holding a black-and-white photo of her husband. ECHOES OF THE PAST Some older residents in Addis Ababa worry the country is on the verge of returning to its totalitarian past. They say the protest crackdown is an eerie reminder of the coup that deposed Emperor Haile Selassie and brought Marxist dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam to power in 1974. Prime Minister Meles Zenawi's Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) has ruled since 1991, when his guerrilla army deposed Mengistu. His government blamed the CUD for inciting crowds to loot shops, rob banks and attack police on Wednesday. But the CUD said the clashes, after two days of student protests in which one person was killed and hundreds arrested, were spontaneous. A day after the shootings, red-bereted special forces rode in a convoy of armored vehicles through the empty streets of the capital, strewn with rocks and lined by shops with metal shutters clamped over their windows. Less than a month ago, the same streets were overflowing with people voting in what diplomats described as Ethiopia's most democratic elections in its history. But a month's delay in official election results until July 8, compounded by claims of victory by both sides and accusations of fraud, has ratcheted up the tension in Africa's top coffee grower since May's landmark polls. Early results show the EPRDF and allies have won enough seats for a third five-year term to rule the nation of 72 million, sub-Saharan Africa's second most populous. However, according to those results, the CUD has increased its share of parliamentary seats by nearly tenfold and made a clean sweep in Addis Ababa -- surprising all observers. It said on Thursday an Ethiopian court had upheld its appeal for the National Election Board to stop releasing provisional results until allegations of vote-rigging in 299 of the nation's 527 constituencies had been investigated. An election board official confirmed the ruling but said it would be appealing to the Supreme Court.
NYT editorial 9 June 2005 Prosecuting Charles Taylor Charles Taylor has done for West Africa what Slobodan Milosevic did for the former Yugoslavia. Yet while Mr. Milosevic is on trial in The Hague on charges including genocide, Mr. Taylor, Liberia's former president, is enjoying the lush life in a Nigerian government guesthouse. When Mr. Taylor was under siege by rebel forces in 2003, the United States, Britain and Nigeria arranged for him to get asylum in Nigeria, figuring that his quick exile would cut down on the bloodshed. So Nigeria gave Mr. Taylor a safe harbor on the condition that he stop behaving as West Africa's warlord in chief. It was not a perfect solution. The Nigerians interpreted the deal as preventing them from turning Mr. Taylor over to a United Nations-backed war crimes court, where Mr. Taylor is wanted on 17 counts of crimes against humanity. A new report by the Coalition for International Justice, however, supports the argument that Mr. Taylor can be prosecuted because his crimes are continuing. He is using cellphones, computers and the visits of his many lieutenants to destabilize Liberia, influence the coming elections there and build a regional army. He is even accused of attempting to assassinate the president of Guinea. Nigeria now must do what American troops should have done in 2003: turn him over to the Special Court. African leaders, mindful that their hands are less than clean, are nervous about turning over a former fellow president to a serious tribunal. The United States had also not pushed Nigeria until recently. Late last month, Washington endorsed surrendering Mr. Taylor, based on the new information that he is still an active threat. Washington has spent some $800 million on the Special Court and on attempts to rebuild Liberia. Neither effort will fully succeed until Charles Taylor is behind bars.
New Era (Windhoek) 6 June 2005 Genocide Centenary Captured in Picture By Wezi Tjaronda PEOPLE who did not attend the historic centenary commemoration of the war between Hereros and German colonial forces at the Okakarara Community and Tourism Centre near Ohamakari can relive the moment through a picturesque exhibition that was opened last week. The hall was opened last Friday, together with the exhibition hall that forms part of the Okakarara Community Cultural and Tourism Centre. More than 5 000 people flocked to the centre last year on August 16, 2004 to commemorate the decisive battle of Ohamakari. It was at this event that German Minister of Economic Cooperation, Heide-marie Wieckzoreck Zeul offered a public apology on behalf of her government to Namibians over the atrocities that were committed by her country's then colonial forces. As German Ambassador to Namibia Dr Wolfgang Massing put it, "We witnessed a picturesque audience with participants of all ages, groups of women in colourful traditional dresses, men in uniforms, reminiscent of those of the colonial war, children's groups, horsemen, brass bands. "All in all, the scene presented an impressive mixture of painful history, proud resistance and the cultural assertion of the Herero community." The exhibition captures in pictures, different activities that were held in the run up to the commemoration and the activities of the commemoration itself. It however lacks images of one hundred years ago, which Minister without Portfolio Ngarikutuke Tjiriange said could have made the history complete. The exhibition has pictures from the night vigil at Oruua-no church in Katutura, the arrival of dignitaries at the commemoration, troops on horseback, Hereros in chains, income-generating activities at the commemoration, troops on parade, laying of wreaths and the opening of the centre. It also displays different construction works done on the centre, remains of the first initiative to build a community centre, and a memorial site at the community centre, among others. "I really wish that the exhibition hall will be well utilised and thus also enhance the attraction of the centre as a meeting point not only for the local community but also between various communities of Namibia, and last but not least between Namibians and Germans," said Massing.
www.internews.org 31 May 2005 Newsreels Help Rwandans Confront Genocide and its Aftermath Internews Rwanda Rwandans looking in through the windows at an Internews screening in Kibungo. (May 31, 2005) "Justice in Rwanda," an Internews project that has been producing and showing newsreel films about the process of justice for the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, has improved Rwandans' understanding of what happened and how the perpetrators are being tried, according to a recent report. The report, produced by the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) and funded by the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Kigali, Rwanda, found, "The qualitative research with officials who have worked with Internews and with prisoners and other people who have watched the newsreels is extremely positive . . . People told us that the films helped them to understand that the genocide actually happened and that it happened throughout the country." Internews' documentary newsreels cover the three-part justice system for the Rwandan genocide in which an estimated 800,000 people were killed. This system includes the United Nations International War Crimes Tribunal, the national courts and the community-based system called gacaca. By touring the country and organizing free showings in villages and prisons around the country, Internews has shown these documentaries to more than 200,000 Rwandans over the last four years, including over 80,000 prisoners accused of war crimes. The ICTJ report said, "People said that they had never had an opportunity to see the actual functioning of the courts and that seeing that the important officials in the former government were on trial had a big impact on them. Some people also cited examples of how the films helped to deal with community problems." The vice mayor for social affairs in Karaba, Gikongoro told ICTJ, “I can say that the population is happy to have watched the film and that it helps them get ready for gacaca . . . . The population is ready to tell the truth and to speak. Your film helped to affirm that the genocide happened in Rwandan and that everyone was there.” An employee of a survivors’ organization said, “The films encourage people to discuss how they can contribute to unity and reconciliation.” Internews produces an average of one newsreel per month, which consists of three news segments of ten to fifteen minutes each. Each story deals with a different topic related to justice and reconciliation in Rwanda, such as the progress of the gacaca process, the facts related to one of the accused at the ICTR, debate over the death penalty in Rwanda, and relations between survivors and released prisoners. These films are screened for national leaders in Kigali and in public screenings in rural areas throughout the country and in all of the country’s prisons. Screenings are followed by open discussions led by an Internews moderator, often with participation by local and regional officials. In addition to the screenings, copies of the films in Kinyarwanda and English are widely distributed to government officials, non-governmental organizations, Rwandan and international judicial officials, and the international community. Showing the newsreels in prisons is especially important as prisoners lack regular access to news. The films help prisoners understand their situation and their legal rights, as well as the ramifications of their actions. One prisoner in Gikongoro said, “There were things [in the film] that reminded me of what happened in 1994. That made me ashamed, and I don’t want this to repeat itself ever again.” In one case in Rushaki, Byumba, showing the newsreel helped to defuse a conflict that was brewing among secondary school students. Rushaki is in a region that was controlled by the Rwandan Patriotic Front and therefore did not experience the genocide. According to the vice-mayor for youth, there were conflicts among students in the school between those who were paying their own way, those who had scholarships as genocide survivors, and those who had scholarships because they had been refugees. Those who paid their own way criticized those who were on scholarship. “The survivors said, but your parents killed ours. People in our district didn’t know enough about the genocide. When they saw this film, they said, “What has been said on the radio is true.” They saw people who had admitted that they had done wrong and confessed. This is why the mayor decided to show the film here. That helped to diminish the conflict. The students were able to talk about what really happened.” The newsreels can be viewed on the Internews Rwanda web site. The project has been funded by grants to Internews Europe and Internews Network from, the European Union, The Royal Embassy of the Netherlands, the US Agency for International Development, and the Samuel Rubin Foundation. This project, which began showing newsreels to Rwandans in 2001, will be closed down at the end of July 2005 when funding runs out. From 1998 to 2002, Internews supplied the only regular English-language print news coverage of the International Criminal Tribunal in Arusha, distributing stories to international media on the political complexities and often precedent-setting legal decisions of this unusual institution. FOR MORE INFORMATION: Angela Nicoara, Internews Rwanda Country Director
www.aegistrust.org 10 June 2005 Bashir in Rwanda: genocidal dictator commemorates genocide 10 June 05 Sudanese Dictator Omar Bashir visited the Kigali Memorial Centre in Rwanda, Friday 3 June, during an African economic summit being held in the capital. He was accompanied by Mustafa Osman Ismail, his Foreign Minister, together with other officials. Bashir, whose government is presiding over an ongoing genocide against black Africans in Darfur that credible independent estimates indicate has already claimed the lives of 200,000 – 400,000 people, viewed a memorial to the hundreds of thousands of children killed in the 1994 genocide, and laid a wreath on mass graves containing the remains of 250,000 victims of the genocide killed in Kigali alone. “We followed closely the painful events of 1994,” he stated during his visit. “We are very glad to see that the Rwandan people have overcome this tragedy. We hope that in the future the Rwandan people will reconcile and live in peace and stability.” In conjunction with Kigali City Council, the Kigali Memorial Centre was established by genocide prevention agency the Aegis Trust. Aegis is also responsible for the Protect Darfur Campaign, launched at the House of Commons in London just over two months ago. “We often express our hope that the Kigali Memorial Centre will serve not only as a reminder of Rwanda’s tragedy but also as a lesson for the future,” says Centre Director and Aegis Chief Executive Dr James Smith. “Bashir and Ismail seem to have learned another lesson from Rwanda: that states have the sovereign right to commit genocide, and that the members of the UN Security Council will merely observe the destruction. “The AU monitoring force is doing sterling work, and it is no coincidence that Rwanda’s current government was quick to send its soldiers. They understand more than anyone about the need to protect in these situations. However, the AU force lacks the authority and resources to protect Darfur’s African population effectively. For that it needs a peace enforcement mandate, which the UN could provide. Only when the Janjaweed militia is neutralized will people be safe. By its ongoing failure to protect Darfur, the international community, in particular the members of the UN Security Council, show they are not yet serious about prevention."
BBC 13 June, 2005 Somalia's president returns home President Yusuf fears for his life in Mogadishu The new Somali president has returned home from exile in Kenya, hoping to set up the lawless country's first effective authority for 14 years. The move has been delayed for nine months amid concerns over security in the Somali capital, Mogadishu. Some have called for UN peacekeepers to be deployed in Somalia to stop armed militias disrupting the transition. President Abdullahi Yusuf arrived in Jowhar in central Somalia where he was welcomed by hundreds of locals. Kenya's president hosted a farewell party, though a deep rift remains over where the government will be based. Secrecy Because of security concerns, officials said until the last minute that Somali was first flying to Qatar and not going directly to Somalia. He left in a small plane accompanied by half a dozen advisors. BBC East Africa correspondent Ishbel Matheson says the secrecy surrounding Mr Yusuf's travel plans highlights the problems faced by the new government. Jowhar is one of the towns where he wants to base the government, because he fears his life may be under threat in Mogadishu, where he does not have a strong support base. Mr Yusuf also wants the government to be based in Baidoa but the town is controlled by a warlord who does not support the idea. Prime Minister Ali Mohammed Ghedi and other ministers remained in Kenya. Failed The speaker of parliament and some 100 MPs, including the warlords who control most of the capital, insist that the government must set up in Mogadishu. Let us be brave and go home President Abdullahi Yusuf Because of the deep splits, some analysts are already saying that this peace process, like 14 others before it, has failed. Last week, warlords began a process of dismantling roadblocks run by their gunmen in Mogadishu to help to make the city safer. Earlier this year, a bomb blast went off in the city at a rally being addressed by Mr Ghedi. "Let us be brave and go home," transitional President Yusuf told Somali lawmakers on Sunday, before announcing a two-month break for MPs. The speaker immediately said that this recess was unconstitutional. 'Pleased' Many ministers and MPs are going first to their home regions or abroad, officials say. Facts and figures about life in Somalia At-a-glance After hosting Somali peace talks since 2002, Kenya was keen for the MPs to return home. "I am pleased to note that the transitional federal president of the republic of Somalia and his government... have finalised plans to relocate and are now ready to go back home," Kenyan minister John Koech told the Associated Press. A spokesman for Mr Yusuf said some government departments would initially be distributed around all three towns, AP reports. After 14 years of anarchy, nearly all government buildings have to be rebuilt - many are occupied by refugees who have fled fighting around the country. The UN should lift an arms embargo on Somalia to allow the deployment of African peacekeepers, East African development group IGAD has said. Concerns remain over militia groups who still roam Mogadishu The African Union has promised to send peacekeepers to Somalia - however only when it is safe to do so. Mogadishu's warlords and some Islamic groups do not want any foreign troops to be deployed. Meanwhile, some 7,000 Somali refugees have entered Kenya since last week following fighting in Bur Hache town, close to the border. Reports say more than 20 people have been killed in clashes between the rival Marehan and Garre clans for control of the town.
PolitInfo.com 1 June 2005 Mbeki Defends South Africa's Darfur Stand Jun 1, 2005 Washington South African President Thabo Mbeki today defended his government's hesitation to define the conflict in the Sudan's Darfur region as genocide, saying to do so would jeopardize his nation's ability to help promote a permanent settlement there. Speaking to a small group of journalists, Mbeki said the U.S. was able to label the Darfur tragedy genocide because its role in finding a solution is different than South Africa's. "We have to work with the Sudanese government so that it becomes part of the solution," Mbeki said. "We have to work with the rebel movements in Darfur so that they become party to the solution...so that the outcome we get is a stable political settlement. "In the end if you denounce the government of Sudan as genocidal, what next? Then don't you have to arrest the president? We are looking for the solution, and it does not lie in making radical statements, not for us as Africans." Mbeki noted that talks between the Sudanese government and rebel movements will resume in Nigeria, and he said he hopes those negotiations will provide a political settlement for Darfur. Regarding his visit with President Bush, Mbeki said he was looking for indications of which African issues might arise at the upcoming G-8 Summit in Scotland. He quoted Bush as agreeing that G-8 leaders should press for strategies that will spur real development in Africa. When asked about the situation in Zimbabwe, Mbeki urged the ruling party and the opposition to focus on solving constitutional issues so that an electoral system includes an independent electoral commission. This article uses material from VOA.
www.csrwire.com 1 June 2005 SRI News from SocialFunds.com Students and States Seek to End Genocide in Sudan Through Divestment Campaigns by William Baue Students urge Stanford University to follow in the footsteps of Harvard University by divesting, and urge California senators to pass legislation like Illinois did. (SocialFunds.com) - "I found a man groaning under a tree. He had been shot in the neck and jaw and left for dead in a pile of corpses," wrote Johann Hari in a November 2004 article entitled "How Some of the World's Biggest Corporations are Fuelling the Genocide in Darfur." "And under the tree next to that was a woman whose husband had been killed, along with her seven- and four-year old sons, before she was gang-raped and mutilated." Such testimonials prove convincing in campaigns to divest from companies doing business that supports the genocide of black Sudanese carried out by the Islamic Janjaweed (which means "devils on horses") with the help of the Sudanese government. This quotation leads a report submitted by Students Taking Action Now: Darfur (STAND) asking the Stanford University Advisory Panel on Investment Responsibility (APIR) to review investment in four companies. The panel, which is charged with gauging the university community's opinions on social and environmental issues as they pertain to investment, voted last week to recommend divestment from ABB (ticker: ABB), PetroChina (PTR), Sinopec (SNP), and Tatneft (TNT). "The panel's role is totally advisory--it's the eyes and ears of the campus--but the locus of the decision resides with the Board of Directors Subcommittee on Investment Responsibility, which makes its own recommendation to the full Board," APIR Chair and Finance Professor George Parker told SocialFunds.com. The Board is expected to address this recommendation when it meets on June 8. STAND confirmed that Stanford's $12 billion endowment holds at least $1 million in PetroChina, a subsidiary of the Chinese National Petroleum Company (CPNC) that is owned by the People's Republic of China. The STAND report cites Human Rights Watch research that China and Sudan engage in "guns for oil" exchanges that fuel the genocide, as Sudanese military typically bomb villages before Janjaweed militia on the ground rape and murder surviving villagers. "According to Sudan's former Transportation Minister Lam Akol, 80 percent of these oil revenues are used to buy weapons," said Ben Elberger, a Stanford junior majoring in public policy who co-authored the report with Seth Silverman, a Stanford freshman. "These weapons have, in turn, been documented as being used against Darfurian civilians." "These companies know that they are fueling a genocidal regime, but have done nothing to pressure this regime," Mr. Elberger told SocialFunds.com. In early April, Harvard University divested its 67,200 shares (worth $4.4 million of its $23 billion endowment) of PetroChina on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), though the university may hold more on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (SEHK). "Harvard's decision, which followed months of patient student activism, got the divestment ball rolling, and offers an inspiring example of the role that universities can play in the fight against terrorism," said Cassidy DeLine, a Stanford freshman and STAND's public relations director. "However, even Harvard's actions are incomplete: PetroChina is just one corporation that is profiting from and promulgating genocide in Darfur." Just yesterday, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich applauded the General Assembly for passing Senate Bill 23 to make it the first state to prohibit investing in foreign companies doing business with Sudan. "Illinois's decision to divest proves the role that states can play in stopping genocide," Ms. DeLine told SocialFunds.com. "It shows an alternative to passive inertia, and helps to build momentum--both Harvard and Illinois's decisions are commendable and hopfully will be echoed across the country." STAND members spent yesterday lobbying all 40 California senators to support Assembly Concurrent Resolution #11. ACR11 urges the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) and California State Teachers Retirement System (CalSTRS) to encourage their portfolio companies doing business in Sudan "to act responsibly and not take actions that promote or otherwise enable human rights violations in the Sudan." At its May 16 meeting, the CalPERS board found no reason to oppose the resolution and issued a neutral recommendation on it. On May 18, the resolution received a supporting vote of 64 to 7 on the Assembly Floor, sending it to the Senate. As with the report to Stanford's APIR, which narrowed its focus on four specific foreign companies and documented their connections to the genocide, STAND members focused their advocacy with California Senators on a limited number of companies as well. In addition to the abovementioned four, STAND has identified three other companies with links to the Sudanese government: Lundin Petroleum (LNDNF.PK), Total SA (TOT), and Marathon Oil (MRO). "In many cases, we got the sense that California senators wanted to take a stand, but didn't really know what to do at the state level," said Ms. DeLine. "Instead of pushing for broad divestment, we targeted specific companies that we have found directly bankroll the military and weaponry, making divestment more feasible and efficient." CalPERS has surveyed the 1,800 portfolio companies in its $186 billion pension fund and found only a handful with indirect investments in Sudan, according to a Reuters report. STAND is recommending that the state and its pension funds go further than ACR11 by actually divesting from companies operating in Sudan that do not cease propping up a regime that assists in the genocide of its own people. "With the biggest public pension fund in the nation, California has significant political legs, and hence responsibility," added Ms. DeLine. However, since both ACR11 and the APIR's recommendation are non-binding, it remains to be seen whether CalPERS and Stanford ultimately divest from the companies in question, and whether divestment can help effect the end of genocide in Sudan.
FT.com 25 May 2005 Sudan will pay high price for 'peace' By Gerard Prunier, Financial Times May 25, 2005 -- In Soba Aradi, just south of the Sudanese capital of Khartoum, land has become quite valuable for residential housing. At dawn on May 18, police cordoned off the squatter area and tried to remove 26,000 internally displaced refugees living in miserable shelters. The people fought back with sticks and knives and grabbed some police weapons. At 9.40am, the police opened fire, killing at least 20 people. This was not a chance happening. Graft and violence have long marked the Sudanese government's political attitude and its signing of a so-called "comprehensive peace agreement" in January in Nairobi with a carefully chosen segment of the political opposition has not changed much. The agreement was the result of sustained US arm-twisting and vigorous lobbying by the Bush administration's fundamentalist Christian constituency. It has worked in terms of cowing the US Congress into shelving or reducing its proposed anti-Khartoum legislation. This new mood of clemency towards a regime that sheltered Osama bin Laden - thereby boosting his campaign of global terrorism - appears to stem from the view that "peace" in southern Sudan meant stopping the killing of Christian black Africans. Despite the violence now engulfing people of various ethnic origins there - who are mostly Muslims - this impression of "progress" helped attract foreign aid pledges amounting to $4.5bn (€3.5bn) in Oslo last month. Today, Kofi Annan, the United Nations secretary general, is in Addis Ababa to co-chair with the African Union Commission president a donors' meeting on Sudan's "other civil war", in the western region of Darfur. This move totally separates the Darfur crisis from problems in southern Sudan and the stalled implementation phase of the peace agreement. The record of the agreement's signatories, particularly of Khartoum, shows that virtually none of its provisions, constitutional, civil or military, have been implemented. The constitutional committee that should be in full swing has only just started discussions, military disengagement measures have not been implemented and selection of the new integrated administration has not even begun. The government insists these steps will soon be carried out, but nearly five months into the agreement's six-month "pre-interim" period, time is running out. John Garang, leader of the Sudan People's Liberation Army and its political wing, has not yet set foot in the Sudanese capital, where he is supposed to assume the position of vice-president. People are being assured he will come in July. But Khartoum has also been talking with its southern militia allies who fought Colonel Garang's rebel forces and, given the rampant violence in the capital, the opposition leader may be understandably concerned for his safety. Other signs of newfound "peace" are hardly encouraging. Demonstrations, for example, seem unacceptable: 30 people were killed and 40 wounded when they tried to march in Port Sudan in January. In April, the Sudanese government closed down the offices of the Umma party, northern Sudan's largest Muslim opposition party, after it publicly supported UN Resolution 1593, which calls for international judgment of the perpetrators of mass killings in Darfur. The message was that, under the Khartoum regime, support for a UN resolution on war crimes is a crime in itself. All the while, violence and starvation continue unabated in Darfur. A recent UN report warned that "militia attacks" intensified there last month, and it is now accepted that the Janjaweed, the most notorious militia group, acts largely at the government's bidding. The UN recently admitted fatality figures of unprecedented magnitude in the Darfur region, bringing the recognised death toll since February 2003 to at least 300,000 and perhaps as much as 400,000. Meanwhile, despite promises to the contrary, Khartoum has done nothing to rein in its violent proxies. So in Addis Ababa, Mr Annan will have to display a selective blindness in order to save the peace agreement signed after so much effort. The bloodshed in Darfur should not interfere with disbursing $4.5bn of "conscience money" to aid efforts in the south. Brussels, New York and Washington appear ready to pay that price. But the Sudanese public has not been asked its opinion; the implicit message is to keep suffering in silence while the rest of the world decides its future. The writer, a senior researcher with Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris, is author of the forthcoming Darfur: The Ambiguous Genocide (Hurst & Co)
HRW 2 June 2005 U.N.: Sanctions for Darfur Stalled in Committee Security Council Committee Should Appoint Sanctions Team (New York, June 2, 2005) — Two months after resolving to impose sanctions for Darfur, U.N. Security Council members have failed to expedite the appointment of a sanctions panel to identify individuals responsible for violence in the western Sudanese region, Human Rights Watch said today. On March 29, the U.N. Security Council authorized sanctions on individuals responsible for violating international law in Darfur; the penalties include asset freezes and travel restrictions. Under Resolution 1591, the U.N. secretary-general must appoint a panel of experts in consultation with a committee made up of all the members of the Security Council, all within 30 days from the date the resolution was passed. Two months after the resolution, the matter remains pending in the Security Council committee, and no one has been appointed to the panel of experts. Human Rights Watch urged the fifteen-member committee to take immediate steps toward appointing the panel of experts. The entire Security Council should ensure that the panel receives the cooperation of the Sudanese government. “U.N. sanctions on those responsible for the violence in Darfur would have some teeth if implemented,” said Peter Takirambudde, Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “But after two months of foot-dragging, Security Council members still haven’t taken steps toward appointing a sanctions panel.” Identifying wrongdoers in Darfur and subjecting them to penalties is key to ending abuses, Human Rights Watch said. The Security Council resolution bars all non-state actors, including the rebel movements, from bringing arms into Darfur. In addition, it requires the Sudanese government to ask the U.N. panel for permission to ship any military equipment or supplies into the three states that comprise Darfur. “Once the sanctions panel is appointed, the Security Council will need to maintain pressure on Sudan to provide the team with immediate access and full cooperation,” said Takirambudde. During his trip to Darfur on May 28, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan visited burned-out villages and camps for the displaced, many of whom told him about how they still suffer from a lack of security in Darfur. “Kofi Annan has made his second visit to Darfur. Why is the Security Council committee lagging behind in its work?” asked Takirambudde. “The committee needs to ensure that those responsible for atrocities and arms flows in Darfur are identified and sanctioned.” Human Rights Watch called on the U.N. Security Council members of the committee to: Immediately establish a panel of experts pursuant to Resolution 1591; and Extend the mandate of the panel by as many months as necessary to compensate for delays in its establishment and access to Sudan..
Reuters 2 June 2005 WFP says 3.5 million people now hungry in Darfur GENEVA, June 2 (Reuters) - The World Food Programme (WFP) is seeking more funds for Sudan's troubled Darfur region, where the number of people who need food has jumped to 3.5 million -- more than half of the population, it said on Thursday. WFP, the U.N.'s international food aid organisation, will seek an additional $96 million for Darfur, bringing its budget to $563 million for the year, according to Holdbrook Arthur, regional director for East and Central Africa. "We are talking about 3.5 million including the local population who have lost or are dramatically losing their livelihood because of insecurity," Arthur told a briefing in Geneva. "A lot of people are going hungry." Arthur said the appeal was currently being finalised and would be issued next week. WFP has progressively raised its forecast from 2.8 million people in need of food at the start of the year as the conflict dragged on between rebels who took up arms against Sudan's Arab-dominated government in 2003. Fighting has stopped farmers from planting crops and women are scared to leave their villages for food or firewood because of fears of attacks, it said. Most people fed by the WFP stay in camps for the displaced. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) separately said it was increasing the number of Darfuris it is feeding outside the camps to 320,000 from 250,000.
Reuters 2 June 2005 Gaddafi opposes any foreign intervention in Darfur 02 Jun 2005 19:18:21 GMT Source: Reuters OUAGADOUGOU, June 2 (Reuters) - Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi said on Thursday any intervention in Sudan's Darfur region from outside Africa would exacerbate the crisis, adding that the continent was capable of dealing with its own problems. "We are against any foreign intervention in Darfur because that would do nothing but pour oil on the fire," Gaddafi said after a summit of heads of state from West and North Africa in Burkina Faso's capital Ouagadougou. "There are threats of intervention from outside which raise the chances of civil war in our region. We should be firmly opposed to all these foreign interventions ... which aim to resolve our problems as if we weren't grown up," he said. U.S. President George W. Bush said on Wednesday he was concerned about genocide in Darfur, where U.N. officials say some 180,000 people have died, but stopped short of offering military support beyond the aid Washington already provides. The Bush administration is giving logistical help through NATO to African Union troops but has been criticised for not doing enough to end the atrocities in Darfur, where an estimated 2 million people have been forced from their homes by fighting. U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick is this week making his second trip in a month to Darfur, where conflict broke out in February 2003 after rebels took up arms against Sudan's Arab-dominated government. "Those who want to do so should help us but those who want to humiliate us, to attack us, we say to them that we will cut off any warlike hand that is extended to us," Gaddafi said.
NYT 3 Nov 2005 Darfur's Real Problem Friday, June 3, 2005; Page A22 SUDAN MAY be extremely poor, but its spin doctors are sophisticated. The suffering in Darfur is terrible, they say, but don't blame the government. The violence is a function of generalized anarchy, which is a function of underdevelopment, which is a function of the West's failure to help: To chastise Sudan's impoverished rulers is therefore hypocritical. Rather than urging punitive sanctions, outsiders such as The Post should urge engagement and assistance. So how do the spin doctors explain this week's news? On Monday Sudan's government showed its real feelings about Western help by bringing charges against the Sudan director of Doctors Without Borders, an intrepid medical charity that runs clinics in Darfur. The next day it detained the charity's Darfur coordinator. Over the past six months, the government has arrested or threatened more than 20 foreign aid workers in Darfur -- not exactly evidence of an appetite for Western engagement. The idea that Darfur's crisis is not really the government's fault has never fit the facts. In response to a rebellion by two local armed groups, Sudan's government attacked civilians with helicopter gunships and armed a local militia to raze villages. Then, far from soliciting international help to deal with the humani- tarian fallout, Sudan's government actually blocked aid groups' access to Darfur. Its policy toward displaced people was to deprive them of food, sanitation and protection: in other words, to kill them. Recently, government troops and their militia allies have engaged in a systematic policy of raping civilians. Doctors Without Borders has been targeted this week because it documented these offenses. The harassment of aid workers poses an immediate risk to Darfur's 2 million or so displaced people, who have been unable to plant food and so remain dependent on Western assistance for the near term. But it also poses a challenge for outsiders. Western diplomacy toward Sudan has oscillated between the pressure that we and others advocate and the engagement that implicitly endorses the government's claim that Darfur's suffering reflects anarchy and poverty. Sometimes the United States has persuaded its allies to threaten to bring U.N. sanctions against Sudan. But at other times outside nations have treated the government as a partner that's constructively bringing the violence under control; they've pledged large amounts of aid to support the tentative North-South peace deal on the theory that this will help solve the Darfur crisis. Sometimes, in other words, the world has treated Sudan's government as though it were the cause of Darfur's suffering. And sometimes it has acted as though it might be the solution. On Wednesday President Bush called the Darfur killings "genocide," a description that implies some moral obligation on the part of the United States to act to stop the killing. But his administration has yet to improve on the schizophrenic pressure-cum-cooperation approach of the past year, in part because it is hemmed in by the world's indifference. China courts Sudan because of its oil. Russia seeks to sell arms to Sudan. Egypt and other Muslim states appear unmoved by the killing of Darfur's Muslim people. The diplomatic challenge for the United States is to persuade these partners to see Sudan's government for what it is: the problem, not the solution.
NYT 7 June 2005 Uncover Your Eyes By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF Labado, Sudan Last fall President Bush declared the slaughter here in Darfur to be genocide, and then looked away. One reason for his paralysis is apparently the fear that Darfur may be another black hole of murder and mutilation, a hopeless quagmire to suck in well-meaning Americans - another Somalia or Iraq. It's not. We're again making the same mistake we've made in past genocides: as in the slaughter of Armenians, Jews, Cambodians, Rwandans and Bosnians, we see no perfect solutions, so we end up doing very little. Because we could not change Nazi policies, we did not bother to bomb rail lines leading to death camps; today, because we have little leverage over Sudan, we do not impose a no-fly zone to stop the strafing of civilians or even bother to speak out forcefully. Yet this town of Labado underscores that Darfur is not hopeless, that even the very modest actions that the international community has taken so far have saved vast numbers of lives. A desert town that used to hold about 25,000 people, Labado was attacked in December by the Sudanese military and the militia known as the janjaweed. For several days, the army burned huts, looted shops, killed men and raped women. For months, Labado was completely deserted and appeared destined to become a ghost town. But then African Union forces, soldiers from across Africa who have been dispatched to stop the slaughter, set up a small security outpost of 50 troops here. Almost immediately, refugees began returning to Labado, followed by international aid groups. Today there are perhaps 5,000 people living in the town again, building new thatch roofs over their scorched mud huts. The revival of Labado underscores how little it takes to make a huge difference on the ground. If Western governments help the African Union establish security, if we lean hard on both the government and the rebels to reach a peace agreement, then by the end of this year Darfur might see peace breaking out. For now, Labado is only an oasis, and when the people here step out of the town they risk being murdered or raped by the janjaweed militia. Refugees fleeing to Kalma from a village called Saleya described how nine boys were seized by the janjaweed, stripped naked and tied up, their noses and ears cut off and their eyes gouged out. They were then shot dead and left near a public well. Nearby villagers got the message and fled. Aid workers report that in another village, the janjaweed recently castrated a 10-year-old boy, apparently to terrorize local people and drive them away. The boy survived and is being treated. Yet along with atrocities, there are hopeful signs. While Mr. Bush should do more, he has forthrightly called the killings genocide and heaped aid on Darfur, probably saving hundreds of thousands of lives. Indeed, aid shipments have brought malnutrition rates in much of Darfur below those of other places in Sudan, partly because donor governments have "borrowed" aid from other regions. So children are going hungry in southern and eastern Sudan as a consequence of Darfur. If Mr. Bush led a determined effort to save Darfur, there would be real hope for peace here - plus, the international image of the U.S. would improve. And a new Zogby poll commissioned by the International Crisis Group found that Americans by margins of six to one favor bolder action in Darfur, such as a no-fly zone. But Mr. Bush is covering his eyes. Last year administration figures like Colin Powell and John Danforth led the response to Darfur, but now neither Condoleezza Rice nor the White House seems much interested. Darfur will never be a Somalia or Iraq, because nobody is talking about sending in American combat troops. But simply an ounce of top-level attention to Darfur would go a long way to save lives. In 1999, Madeleine Albright traveled to Sierra Leone and met child amputees there, wrenching the hearts of American television viewers and making that crisis a priority in a way that eventually helped resolve it. Ms. Rice could do the same for Darfur if she would only bother to go. Mr. Bush values a frozen embryo. But he hasn't mustered much compassion for an entire population of terrorized widows and orphans. And he is cementing in place the very hopelessness he dreads, by continuing to avert his eyes from the first genocide of the 21st century.
AP 6 June 2005 War crimes probe into Darfur The U.N. referred to the court allegations of rape, murder and plunder in Darfur. THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) -- The International Criminal Court has formally announced the start of an investigation into alleged war crimes in Sudan's troubled Darfur region. The government in Khartoum, accused of trying to intimidate international aid workers, indicated Monday it would not cooperate with the world's first permanent war crimes tribunal or allow its citizens to be sent abroad for trial. The U.N. Security Council asked the court to take on the Darfur situation two months ago, in what would be the first case to be investigated against the will of the country where the alleged crimes occurred. The court is investigating war crimes in two other conflicts, in Congo and Uganda. A failure by Khartoum to cooperate with the court could result in economic sanctions, rights groups said. In a formal announcement of the investigation, prosecutors said their work will be "impartial and independent, focusing on the individuals who bear the greatest criminal responsibility for crimes committed in Darfur." Initial inquiries have been made with dozens of experts, resulting in thousands of pages of case material, they said. Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo also appealed to "all partners to provide his office with the information, evidence and practical support needed to carry out his mandate." An estimated 180,000 people have died -- many from hunger and disease -- and about 2 million others have been displaced since the conflict began in February 2003. Darfur's crisis erupted when rebels took up arms against what they saw as years of state neglect and discrimination against Sudanese of African origin. The government is accused of responding with a counterinsurgency campaign in which the ethnic Arab militia known as the Janjaweed have committed wide-scale abuses against ethnic Africans. A U.N. special International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur concluded in January that crimes against humanity had occurred in Darfur, although the mass killings fell short of a policy of genocide. It recommended that the case go to the fledgling court in The Hague. The commission drew up a list of 51 potential suspects. Though it has not been made public, suspects apparently include Sudanese government officials, anti-government rebels and Janjaweed militiamen. Prosecutors will determine independently which suspects to indict. Sudan has said it intended to set up its own tribunal to prosecute crimes, and the court had no need to intervene. Sudan's ambassador to London, Hasan Abdin, told the British Broadcast Corporation (BBC) his country "will not hand in any Sudanese citizen accused of committing crimes in Sudan to be tried outside of Sudan. We have our law system. We have our own courts and judicial system." But the New York group Human Rights Watch said the courts cannot be trusted to investigate crimes committed by the country's leaders. "The government in Khartoum can be linked to many of the atrocities that have occurred in Darfur. There is a real connection between the Janjaweed attacks and central authorities," Richard Dicker, the head of the international justice program, said in an interview. "Aerial bombings were carried out directly by the Sudanese Armed Forces." The court's announcement came at a time when Sudan is already under international pressure over its treatment of foreign aid workers in Darfur and elsewhere in the east African nation. In recent weeks Sudanese authorities held and questioned two workers of the medical aid group Medecins Sans Frontieres, or Doctors Without Borders, which reported on widespread rape in Darfur. Human Rights Watch said at least 20 other aid workers and groups had been harassed in an apparent attempt at intimidation, but few have made their complaints public for fear of further hindrance by the authorities. Yves Sorokobi, Moreno-Ocampo's spokesman, told Associated Press Television News that "the prosecutor has promised to conduct a thorough and quick investigation into these very heavy allegations of crimes." Prosecutors will then consider issuing indictments and arranging for suspects' transfer to the court in The Hague. "On the basis of our own collection of information we will determine who the suspects are," Sorokobi said. It was not clear, however, how the arrests would be made or by whom, since the court has no enforcement arm. The International Criminal Court, or ICC, began its work in July 2002 after 60 countries joined its founding treaty. Some 99 countries have now ratified the court, including the entire European Union, Australia and Canada. The United States opposes it, citing possible political prosecutions against American citizens.
UPI 8 June 2005 Sudan oppostion leader urges aid for south Date: Wednesday, June 08, 2005 1:31:59 PM EST WASHINGTON, June 8 (UPI) -- John Garang, head of Sudan's former rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army, Wednesday urged the world community to send aid to southern Sudan. "It is ironic that having signed a peace agreement the situation could have deteriorated so rapidly," he told reporters in Washington. Garang said the situation in southern Sudan had worsened since a comprehensive peace deal was signed in January between the Sudanese government and the SPLA, ending 21 years of fighting. "Not a single dollar" of pledged aid has arrived, he said. The agreement calls for Garang to be Sudan's vice president. He emphasized he was "not joining the current government," but was helping to "form a new government." He said a primary goal of the new government was to end the crisis in Darfur, a region in western Sudan that has seen more than 2 million people displaced and some 70,000 killed in fighting between government-backed Arab militia and the local black population over two years.
ICRC 13-06-2005 05/50 Sudan: ICRC cares for wounded from Darfur fighting A rapidly deteriorating security situation in Southern Darfur has prompted the ICRC to deploy a surgical team to care for the wounded. Armed clashes in and around the town of Gereida on 3 and 4 June resulted in the death of at least 17 civilians, with dozens more wounded. There was an unknown number of casualties among the combatants. An ICRC mobile surgical team is now in the town performing life-saving operations on civilian victims. The surgical team sent to Gereida is a quick-response mobile unit set up by the ICRC for difficult-to-reach areas of Darfur. The four-member team is now operating out of the town's hospital, where it is working closely with local staff and providing them with medical supplies. All efforts are focused on the most urgent cases. The team comprises a surgeon, an anaesthetist, a surgical nurse and a nurse for post-operative care. The fighting in early June occurred between the Sudanese Liberation Army (SLA) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), rebel groups normally considered allies. It caused more than 25,000 people – all previously uprooted from their villages by the conflict – to flee their makeshift camps in Gereida to the relative safety of the surrounding bush. They were able to begin returning to the camps only after two days when the situation showed signs of calming down. The Gereida area has suffered greatly from the consequences of the conflict and the ICRC has maintained a constant presence there since August 2004. Its priority is to provide water, sanitation, food and health care for the growing population in the camps. Fighting between the SLA and the JEM is a new development in the Darfur crisis. To spare the civilian population still further suffering, it is essential that international humanitarian law be complied with by all those involved in hostilities. The ICRC calls on the parties to the conflict to exercise restraint and to respect the principle of proportionality in all military operations. It stresses that all necessary precautions must be taken to spare civilian lives and property and to ensure that the wounded have access to adequate medical facilities.
BBC 14 June 2005 Sudan sets up war crimes tribunal Darfur rebels have been battling for greater autonomy Sudan has set up a special court to try those accused of war crimes in the Darfur region. Justice Minister Ali Mohammed Yassin said the court would be an alternative to the world court which has started to investigate alleged atrocities. Lobby group Amnesty International said the court "lacks credibility" unless the judges are free from interference. More than two million people have been forced from their homes in the conflict in which at least 180,000 have died. Mr Yassin said that more than 160 suspects had already been identified but he did not give any more details, beyond saying they were from Darfur and that they included rebels. 'Small-fry' Judge Mahmoud Saeed Abkem, head of the Special Criminal Court, on Tuesday flew to South Darfur's capital, Nyala, to meet local officials, although the court will be based in North Darfur's capital, al-Fashir. The International Criminal Court last week officially began its investigations of 51 war crimes suspects, whose names were handed over in a sealed document by a United Nations panel of investigators. Sudan rejects the ICC. The BBC's Alfred Taban in Sudan says that he does not expect the Sudanese court to charge the 51 but instead to concentrate on the "small-fry". "Sudan is a sovereign country and this means that all those violating the law inside its national territories be tried therein," Mr Yassin said. The United Nations envoy to Sudan, Jan Pronk, welcomed the special court but said it could not be a substitute for the ICC. Darfur's rebel groups rejected the new court outright. "The Sudan Liberation Movement does not accept this special court. The so-called 160 suspects the court is planning to try are petty criminals," SLM spokesman Mahjoub Hussein told the AFP news agency. Kolawole Olaniyan, the director of Amnesty International's Africa programme said: "We fear that the establishment of the special court may just be a tactic by the Sudanese government to avoid prosecution" by the ICC. "On the one hand, the Sudanese government is claiming that it is able to punish the crimes it is accused of condoning for the last two years," he said in a statement. "On the other hand, it continues to crack down on those who expose or criticise such human rights violations." Camps blockaded The refugees have accused pro-government Arab militias of carrying out the worst atrocities, such as mass rape, killings and looting. The Janjaweed militia has been accused of trying to drive black Africans from their land. Sudan's government says the scale of the humanitarian emergency has been exaggerated and denies backing the Janjaweed. The UK's International Development Secretary Hilary Benn told the BBC that the Sudanese government should do more to ease the emergency in Darfur. He said that fighting between the army and rebels had eased but that Kalma refugee camp near Nyala was being blockaded and that aid workers were still being attacked by bandits. Peace talks between the government and rebels are continuing in Nigeria but little progress has been made so far.
AFP 9 June 2005 Genocide trial of 'minister of axe' begins June 09 2005 at 05:17PM Arusha, Tanzania - The trial of a former Rwandan minister accused of hacking to death Tutsi hospital patients during the country's 1994 genocide opened on Thursday before a UN-backed international tribunal. Andre Rwamakuba, 55, Rwanda's minister for primary and secondary education during the 100-day killing spree between April and July 1994, is accused of genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, extermination and assassination. A Hutu physician known as the "minister of axe" for his alleged crimes, he and three co-defendants have pleaded not guilty to the charges that stem from killings at a university hospital in Rwanda's southern Butare province in mid-April of that year.- Prosecutor Dior Fall told judges at the Arusha-based International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) that Rwamakuba walked into the hosptal, selected Tutsi patients for death and dragged them out so they could be taken to be killed by members of the extremist Hutu Interahamwe militia. Rwamakuba is accused of removing intravenous drips from Tutsi patients During the same April 22 to 25 period, the ex-minister hacked to death five Tutsis with an axe, the prosecution alleged, according to the independent Hirondelle News Agency covering the ICTR proceedings. In addition, Rwamakuba is accused of removing intravenous drips from Tutsi patients in the hospital's intensive care unit, the prosecution said, calling his actions "paradoxical behviour for a man who had chosen a medical career." According to Fall, Rwamakuba was "obsessed by the desire to destroy the Tutsis," but defense attorney David Hooper cautioned the court against believing the truth of the allegations, which he said could not be proven. Rwamukuba, who was not present in the courtroom when the trial began, has protested against prosecutorial "manipulation" of his case and refused to appear in the court. He was first arrested in 1997 and released six months later before being re-arrested in 1998. He appeared in court with his three co-defendants but the trial was halted in February and he was ordered to be judged separately. The new trial of the other three, senior officials of the then ruling party, is to begin in September. Since its founding in 1994, the ICTR has tried 25 people including former ministers, members of the Rwandan army and a Catholic priest for their roles in the genocide during which some 800,000 people, mainly minority Tutsis and moderate Hutus, were slaughtered by Hutu extremists. Only three have been acquitted and the rest were convicted and given sentences ranging from six years to life in prison. The killings erupted after a plane carrying Rwanda's Hutu president Juvenal Habyarimana was shot down on April 6, 1994. - Sapa-AFP
AP 27 May 2005 Zimbabwe police torch settlements HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) -- Police torched dwellings in a poor squatter camp overnight and deployed more than 3,000 officers Friday to "monitor" the destruction of informal settlements around the capital. Residents rioted Thursday night in at least one township on the southern edge of Harare as police arrested street vendors and burned their kiosks. While police used gasoline and torches to destroy shacks in one township, state radio said desperately poor residents in other areas hurriedly tore down their own shacks, taking away building materials they had bought with their life savings. Police are under orders to destroy "illegal dwellings" and vendors' shacks as part of a campaign to clean up the city. About half of the city's urban poor live in the shacks. About 10,000 street vendors have been arrested since the crackdown began eight days ago. The opposition says the campaign, which has triggered rioting, is a government ploy to justify declaring a state of emergency. "We are on high alert. We really do not know where they (police) are striking next," said Lovemore Muchingedzi, an opposition Movement for Democratic Change party worker in the Glen Norah township where there was extensive rioting Thursday night. "Police went around beating up anyone they came across. They made sure there was no electricity in the area and under cover of darkness they were beating everyone up," said Muchingedzi, who said the area had quieted by daybreak. Trudy Stevenson, an opposition legislator for the area that includes the Hatcliffe squatter camp in northern Harare, said people there called her when three truckloads of armed police arrived late Thursday night. "They told me they were burning everything but I better not come as I might get shot in the darkness," she said. Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai alleges the blitz, called "Operation Marambatsvina" (drive out trash) is aimed at provoking unrest which will force urban opposition voters to return to the countryside and the justify declaration of a state of emergency ahead of nationwide economic collapse. A state of emergency would give the government of President Robert Mugabe, 81, unlimited powers of search, seizure, detention and censorship as the country goes into a food crisis with up to 4 million people needing food aid. James Morris, head of the World Food Program and representative of U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, is due here next week to discuss the relief effort with Mugabe, who has been in power since 1980 independence. Before recent parliamentary elections in which he claimed to have won a landslide victory, Mugabe refused assistance saying the country had had a "bumper harvest." His Zanu-PF party was alleged to have used access to food to intimidate rural voters. Harare's government-appointed mayor, Sekesai Makwavarara, announced Tuesday that illegal settlements and houses would be destroyed in three months. The government has not explained why police have already begun the destructions. State radio raid the roundup of street traders and demolition of "informal housing" was discussed at a meeting Thursday of Mugabe's elite 40-member policy-making body, the Politburo, in advance of a Zanu-PF central committee session Friday.
www.sokwanele.com 2 June 2005 Zimbabwe Burns The police are cutting a swathe of destruction across the towns and cities of Zimbabwe, as the so called “Operation Murambatsvina” (“Operation Drive Out Trash”) continues to gather momentum. On Wednesday morning (June 1) towns as far apart as Victoria Falls and Mutare were still reeling under the effects of a virtual blitzkrieg orchestrated and directed from ZANU PF central command. In Harare our reporter was touring the streets of the city’s oldest and most populous low density suburb, Mbare, at 1.00 o’clock in the morning. He could hardly believe his eyes at the trail of destruction and burning and the general desolation of the scene. It resembled, he said, an area hit by a bomb. In every direction through the filthy streets of Mbare could be seen burning household-goods, furniture and rubble. A few distraught residents still milled around, apparently stunned by the speed and ferocity of the attack, although the intimidating presence of scores of heavily armed police kept their number to a minimum. Similar scenes have been reported over the last few days in Mutare, Victoria Falls and several other centres. The campaign has all the markings of a well-planned and coordinated blitzkrieg, although the residents received no warning and were taken completely unawares by it. At Victoria Falls the police burnt a 10 km long line of curio stalls that have been there for as long as anyone can remember, and in the town so many dwellings were torched that thousands of residents found themselves without any shelter for the night. In Bulawayo, one of the last centres to feel the fury of the ZANU PF attack, a vicious police crackdown got underway on Tuesday and continued into Wednesday morning. It is understood that many of the traders whose stalls and produce were destroyed were operating with licences in structures approved by the local authority. It is known that more than 18,000 people have been arrested and tens of thousands of families across the nation have been left homeless.
BBC 3 June 2005 Final phase of Zimbabwe crackdown Some have been able to salvage a few possessions Zimbabwe's police say their operation against street traders and illegal housing is entering its final day. More than 22,000 people have been arrested and tens of thousands left homeless in the two-week crackdown. The government says the move is needed to clean up Zimbabwe's cities but some feel it is punishment for areas which voted for the opposition. Lobby group Amnesty International has called for an end to the demolitions, which some are calling the "tsunami". Appalled Whole shantytowns and markets have been razed to the ground, while the police are now targeting houses illegally built on farms around the capital, Harare, some of which were seized under the government's controversial land reform programme. Our children are not going to school, we are sleeping outside everywhere... if you walk, everywhere you see people sleeping in the road Victoria Machine "Amnesty International is appalled by this flagrant disregard for human rights. Forced evictions without due process, legal protection, redress and appropriate relocation measures, are completely contrary to international human rights law," said Amnesty's Africa Programme director Kolawole Olaniyan. "Everything was destroyed without notice," Ernest Rautavaara told the Reuters news agency, standing in front of a half-demolished concrete building which was once a vegetable market. "This is the true meaning of tsunami," he said. Amnesty said it had received reports that people had been forced to pull down their own homes but police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said this was a sign that people were co-operating with "Operation Restore Order". The police say the operations is targeted at criminals and black marketeers who are subverting the economy. No food aid Reuters reports that open spaces in the poor Mbare district near Harare city centre have been turned into giant warehouses for goods salvaged from the police "tsunami". People are sleeping in the open, even though Zimbabwe's winter has begun. This market was set on fire by police "We are suffering, we have nowhere to go. Our houses were destroyed," said Victoria Muchenje. "Our children are not going to school, we are sleeping outside everywhere... if you walk, everywhere you see people sleeping in the road." Meanwhile, Social Welfare Minister Nicholas Goche has denied that Zimbabwe needs food aid. He told state radio that the government had bought 1.2m tonnes of corn from South Africa to cover poor harvests. Earlier this week, World Food Programme chief James Morris said Zimbabwe faced "an enormous humanitarian crisis", with between 3 and 4 million people needing food aid in the next year. Mr Goche, however, said that Zimbabwe would welcome any food it was offered. Zimbabwe has been accused of manipulating food aid for political reasons - downplaying shortages ahead of elections and depriving opposition areas of food. The government denies that its seizure of white-owned farms has led to the food shortages. It blames poor rains and a western plot to remove President Robert Mugabe from power.
The Zimbabwe Independent 3 June 2005 www.theindependent.co.zw News Analysis Eric Bloch Column Muckraker Comment Byo mayor slams ‘war against poor’ Loughty Dube BULAWAYO mayor Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube said the country’s second largest local authority is opposed to government’s demolition blitz that has left a trail of destruction nationwide. Ncube said government’s crackdown against alleged “illegal structures” and informal businesses was an “illegal action”. He said government’s “war against the poor” was not justified, at least in Bulawayo where council has designated vending areas and set aside sites for informal sector businesses. He said informal traders were paying rents and rates to council but was shocked to see that police had in some areas razed the structures without consultation. “The Bulawayo city council is not involved in this illegal action being undertaken by the police and we do not know government’s intentions in this whole exercise,” Ncube said. “The police did not consult us because some of the properties they are destroying are legal structures operated by legal vendors licensed by the council.” Ncube’s comments came against a background of a brutal police clean-up operation that has seen them pull down structures at the main Renkini bus terminus, Fife Street vegetable markets and other areas around the city. Police also stormed the country’s largest foreign currency trade centre in Fort Street — the so-called “World Bank” — and confiscated goods and foreign currency from parallel market traders. The “World Bank” was deserted during the week and resembled ruins as mangled metals and destroyed shacks bore testimony to the sweeping campaign that has engulfed all major cities and towns. Ncube said the action by the police was affecting the smooth operation of the city and said council had “civilised means of dealing with illegal vendors and such structures”. “What police are doing is affecting council operations, the structures they are destroying are legal and were created by council. We collect taxes from vendors because they are licensed,” he said. He however could not quantify off-hand how much council was going to lose in revenue but said the treasury department was working out the figures. Ncube became the first mayor to condemn the demolition blitz. Harare commission chairperson Sekesai Makwavarara has come out in full support of the clampdown, which has provoked the ire of civic society groups. Harare has been the major victim of the crackdown. Residents have tried to resist the attacks but failed to match police brutality. In Harare police have destroyed shantytowns, flea markets, hair saloons, tuckshops, and a vast swathe of small-scale informal industries, leaving thousands homeless, jobless, hungry and stranded. Main opposition parties, churches, human rights groups and civil society organisations have condemned government’s “Operation Restore Order” — which has created more disorder and suffering than there was before — but have not done anything beyond verbal resistance. In a move likely to rapidly intensify calls for his resignation, Zimbabwe’s main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said yesterday he will not lead a mass protest against the ongoing demolition blitz in his party’s urban strongholds. Tsvangirai, who leads the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), said it was not the responsibility of his party’s leadership to organise mass action but that of the people. People had been calling on the MDC to rise and fight President Robert Mugabe’s “war against the poor”. Although pressure has been mounting for the MDC to confront Mugabe’s regime since the hotly disputed general election in March, Tsvangirai said his party would not do it. But he admitted after touring scenes of destruction in Harare that the “picture is shocking”. “The picture is shocking. Hatcliffe, Tongogara and parts of Mbare have been smashed into a huge heap of debris,” he said. “Pieces of timber, scraps and junk, normally recycled by the poor for use and for resale, are strewn all over the place.” Tsvangirai said he was dismayed by the “disastrous consequences of the demolition campaign”. “A trail of destruction evident in these areas resembles a site in a war zone,” he said. “Property worth millions of dollars has gone up in flames. Families are out in the open — without jobs, without income, without shelter, without support. Overnight, Zimbabwe has a massive internal refugee population in its urban areas.” Controversy dogs Senate Byo mayor slams ‘war against poor’ Chief Tangwena turning in his grave Future uncertain as old guard ails Byo faces water rationing NRZ fails to pay employees Govt plans to nationalise land NCA to protest amendments Mugabe in dramatic U-turm
Sydney Morning Herald (subscription), Australia 4 June 2005 www.smh.com.au Mugabe takes his revenge on traders By Rochelle Mutton in Bulawayo June 4, 2005 Page Tools Email to a friend Printer format A woman stands in the mangled ruins of her market stall in downtown Bulawayo, eyes brimming with tears and unable to find the words to describe her grief and fear. Bulawayo is Zimbabwe's second city after Harare and has become the latest target in a brutal countrywide blitzkrieg on the informal economic sector. Hours earlier, dozens of heavily armed police demolished thousands of licensed market stalls, smashing, burning and seizing goods and arresting hundreds of vendors. Like thousands of others in devastated Bulawayo, this woman lost all her wares and her livelihood in one terrifying morning of wholesale destruction. "What can we do?" she asks. "That is how we get rent; that is how we get food." Another woman vendor sits among the twisted metal and cardboard wreckage with a single bag of oranges for sale, desperate to earn her bus fare home. To her right a man smiles as he retrieves bunches of unspoiled bananas from his cart. He is about to make a sale when a stampede down the street gives him the split-second warning he needs to run as a police truck carrying eight officers swoops. My reflexes are much slower, leaving me in the middle of the police as they leap off the truck, seize three women vendors without explanation and bundle them away. For the rest of the day the terrified vendors who have anything left to sell hide behind cars and shopfronts, displaying only small samples of wares at a time. Impassive gestures belie the frightened eyes and simmering anger of the Bulawayo traders, who in the past two days have been collectively murmuring the word of their darkest horrors, "gukurahundi". It is the local Shona word for "the wind that sweeps away the chaff before the rain" and used to describe the action overseen by the President, Robert Mugabe, to get rid of the political opposition at the beginning of his reign in the early 1980s. Then, Mugabe's Fifth Brigade, trained by North Korean forces, killed thousands, and tortured many more, of the minority Ndebele tribe that lives in western Bulawayo. This time, the Government-sanctioned attacks are countrywide. The Mugabe regime calls the crackdown Operation Murambatsvina, meaning clean out the filth. The first alleged murder was reported this week, a woman vendor beaten so badly by police that she died in a Bulawayo hospital. There is bewilderment as to why the police and army have been ordered to destroy market stalls and housing, leaving tens of thousands of people without a livelihood or shelter. The Government says it is targeting criminals who deal in foreign currency, and that it is removing illegal eyesores. Most Bulawayo vendors sell only in Zimbabwe dollars and run their stalls at the municipality's invitation. Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, says the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front party wants to provoke a state of emergency to introduce unrestrained powers of search, arrest and detention. It is believed the raids are meant to punish urban dwellers who voted overwhelmingly for the opposition in the election on March 31. "I have no doubt it's a policy of retribution against people who are perceived, correctly, as being opposed to this fascist regime," said the MDC's legal affairs spokesman, David Coltart. FOOD CRISIS LOOMS - More than 22,000 people have been arrested and thousands of street vendors' wares have been seized since the Government began a crackdown on May 19. - The head of the UN World Food Program, James Morris, met President Robert Mugabe this week to discuss what he described as an "enormous humanitarian crisis", saying that between 3 million and 4 million Zimbabweans would need food aid in the next year. - Mugabe agreed to accept UN food aid, Morris said, but the Social Welfare Minister, Nicholas Gosche, told state radio on Thursday that the country had bought 1.2 million tonnes of corn from South Africa that should be enough to alleviate shortages.
The International Association of Genocide 7 June 2005 www.isg-iags.org RESOLUTION ON STATE REPRESSION IN ZIMBABWE By The International Association of Genocide Scholars We, the leadership and membership of the International Association of Genocide Scholars, a world-wide professional association of experts on genocide, call upon the government of Zimbabwe to reverse its discriminatory and life-threatening policies toward the urban poor and supporters of the political opposition. The government has in recent years used food as a political weapon by denying it to people thought to support Zimbabwe’s main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change. On June 1, 2005, the government agreed to resumption of international food donations to feed up to four million people, but has objected to creation of World Food Program centers to distribute food to the general population. Instead food will be directed to government-controlled institutions including schools, orphanages, and work programs open only to ZANU-PF government party members. Simultaneously the government has initiated Operation Masarmbatsvina (“drive out rubbish”) to evict more than a million urban poor by demolishing squatter shacks. More than 22,000 people have already been arrested in the first few days of the crackdown, according to a police spokesman. News reports tell of hundreds of thousands of people driven from their homes, with many fleeing to the outskirts of cities where they are camped with no shelter, food, or means of transportation to whatever jobs they may have had. The Zimbabwe government organized major massacres during the 1980’s against the Matabele people, which cost over 20,000 lives. The massacres were carried out by an all-Shona army brigade trained by North Korean advisers. The Mugabe government has again organized Shona youth militias, nick-named the “Green Bombers,” who terrorise members of the political opposition, many of whom are Matabele. The government’s denial of food thus has an ominous ethnic dimension, an early warning sign of potential genocide by attrition. Denial of food to targeted groups and forced evacuation of poor communities are among the tactics used in past politicides. These policies are creating a humanitarian crisis for targeted ethnic, economic, and political groups in Zimbabwe. They constitute an early stage of a politicide aimed at eliminating ethnic, class and political opponents of the government. We call on governments and international organizations to condemn policies of the Zimbabwe government that target the Matabele ethnic group, the urban poor, and political opponents of the Mugabe regime. · Zimbabwe’s neighbors, the Republic of South Africa above all, should exert political and diplomatic pressure on the government to reverse these malign policies. · The African Union should take similar actions in coordination with the Commonwealth and the European Union. · The United Nations’ World Food Program should insist that the food aid it has recently agreed to supply be distributed to all in need, without regard to political affiliation. · International financial institutions on which Zimbabwe depends for investment and loans should make it clear that assistance is conditional on government policies that deal equitably and humanely with the needs of all citizens. · NGO’s should publicize the escalating humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe and advocate preventive responses by all members of the international community. Adopted unanimously at the biennial meeting of the International Association of Genocide Scholars, Boca Raton, Florida, June 7, 2005. Written by Prof. Ted Robert Gurr, Prof.. Gregory Stanton (IAGS First Vice President) and Dr. Helen Fein.
The International Association of Genocide 7 June 2005 www.isg-iags.org Petition and Resolution on Intervention in Darfur We, the leadership and membership of the International Association of Genocide Scholars, a world-wide professional association of experts on genocide, call upon the United Nations to authorize a coalition of member states to organize and deploy a robust armed intervention force in Darfur, Sudan, in order to stop the ongoing war crimes, crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing, and genocide being perpetrated by Government of Sudan troops and Janjaweed Arab militias against Black African ethnic groups in Darfur. In order for the intervention to be effective -- and not another fiasco as the international community witnessed in Rwanda in 1994 and again in Srebrenica in 1995 -- the mandate must come under Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter, and include authorization not just to observe atrocities but to use armed force to prevent them – to protect the lives of civilians who are in danger of attack or who need protection to return to their homes in Darfur. We urge that the African Union, European Union rapid response force, Standing High Readiness Brigade, and other regional and national forces provide a minimum of 12,000 heavy infantry, logistical, communications, and airborne troops for this mission. The mission should be quickly provided with all necessary financing and equipment -- in good working order -- and supplies, including fuel, spare parts, medical support, food, and water. The troops should have armed air support, heavily armored vehicles, and weapons with adequate ammunition to stop Government of Sudan and Janjaweed attacks on civilians. If the Sudanese air force continues to attack civilian villages, the U.N. should authorize imposition of a No-Fly Zone over Darfur, except for U.N. authorized aircraft, to be enforced by the air forces of U.N. member states. We strongly urge that this intervention mission be undertaken as soon as possible. As each day goes by, five hundred more people are dying in Darfur. Proof of the effectiveness of such a mission should be based upon the following criteria: 1. An end to all attacks by Sudanese troops and Janjaweed militias in Darfur, and cessation of violent attacks by all other militia groups. 2. An end to rapes of women in and around displaced persons camps and villages in Darfur, with arrest and prosecution of those who have committed such rapes. 3. Immediate secure access for all humanitarian workers to deliver food, water, medical aid, and shelter to internally displaced persons camps, refugee camps, and other areas where the victims of the Government of Sudan and Janjaweed are seeking safety. 4. Immediate augmentation of the food, water, and medical assistance reaching displaced persons and refugees in Darfur and adjoining areas of Chad. 5. Voluntary and safe return of displaced persons and refugees to their homes and villages, following a negotiated settlement of the civil war in Darfur. 6. Accountability for those engaged in the planning and perpetration of the crimes against humanity, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and genocide in Darfur, including trial of responsible Sudanese and Janjaweed leaders by the International Criminal Court. Adopted unanimously by The Officers and Members of the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS) Boca Raton, Florida, 7 June 2005.
Scholars Contemporary history judges Nuremberg by three shattering events — the Nuremberg Rallies, the Nuremberg Racial Laws and the Nuremberg Trials. Nuremberg was the seat of Nazi power, and the site of the Nazi Party rallies. Images of Hitler overlooking masses of troops are etched in our collective memory. Likewise, we remember Nuremberg for the first reading of the Nuremberg Laws, a collection of laws making official the Nazi policy of racial hatred. Nuremberg is where Naziism rose and fell. And now, finally, we revisit Courtroom 600 in The Palace of Justice, the site of the Nuremberg Trials, where, for the first time in history, a conquering force put defeated leaders on trial for "crimes against humanity." Relive the drama and excitement of the trials while sitting in the actual courtroom where history was made. Participate in an exclusive, private tour of the Nazi Rally Grounds. Discuss the history and impact of the Nuremberg Laws with renowned jurists and historians. Visit the nearby Dachau Concentration Camp. Deliberate with international legal experts on the establishment of a military court of justice. Understand how the Nuremberg Trials still impact war-crime justice today. Network with international scholars; American, European and Israeli officials, and top legal thinkers www.nuernberger-konferenz-2005.de OR www.tourolaw.edu/nuremberg
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL PRESS RELEASE AI Index: AFR 46/012/2005 (Public) News Service No: 150 1 June 2005 Zimbabwe: Thousands of forced evictions and arrests in violent crackdown I arrived, I wept. They were all outside …of their broken houses...children screaming, sick people in agony." - Eyewitness account of the scene following one mass eviction in Zimbabwe As United Nations Special Envoy James Morris visits Zimbabwe to discuss the country's severe food shortages, Amnesty International called on the Government of Zimbabwe to immediately halt mass forced evictions that have left whole communities homeless and destroyed thousands of livelihoods. Over the past two weeks the Government of Zimbabwe has orchestrated the forced eviction of thousands of informal traders and families living in informal settlements across the country as part of a crackdown called "Operation Murambatsvina" – widely translated as "drive out the rubbish" but being referred to by police as "operation restore order". Evictions are being carried out without notice and without court orders in a flagrant disregard for due process and the rule of law. During the forced evictions police and other members of the security forces are using excessive force -- burning homes, destroying property and beating individuals. On the night of Thursday 26 May, more than 10,000 people were forcibly driven from their homes in the informal settlement of Hatcliffe Extension in northern Harare. Police reportedly destroyed these homes, leaving the settlement's families destitute and sleeping in the open during Zimbabwe's winter. Many of those evicted were actually placed at Hatcliffe Extension by the government. "We have had reports of heart-wrenching scenes of ordinary Zimbabweans who have had their homes and livelihoods completely destroyed crying on the street in utter disbelief," said Kolawole Olaniyan, Director of Amnesty International's Africa Programme. "We have even had reports of police forcing people to destroy their own homes." "Amnesty International is appalled by this flagrant disregard for internationally recognized human rights. Forced evictions -- without due process, legal protection, redress and appropriate relocation measures, are completely contrary to international human rights law." Thousands of people – mainly informal traders – have been arrested during the crackdown, on the grounds that their businesses are illegal. Their goods have been destroyed or confiscated – although many are reported to have been in possession of licences to operate. Human rights lawyers are now taking court action on behalf of the traders, most of whom were forced to pay fines to secure their release. "The forced closure of informal businesses – the only livelihood option left for many in Zimbabwe's shattered economy – has pushed thousands into an increasingly vulnerable position -- a fact that is particularly disturbing in light of the high levels of poverty and food shortages already present in Zimbabwe." "The Government of Zimbabwe is acting in blatant violation of civil, political, economic and social rights guaranteed under the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights – and many more people are in danger of injury and homelessness as the forced evictions continue," said Kolawole Olaniyan. "We call on the government to immediately cease the forced evictions. Those who have been forcibly evicted and had property destroyed should be granted full legal protection and redress and should receive adequate compensation," said Kolawole Olaniyan. "As a matter of urgency the government must ensure that all those evicted have access to shelter, food and safe water." Background In September 2004 Amnesty International reported on the attempted forced eviction of thousands of people from Porta Farm, an informal settlement on the outskirts of Harare, during which police reportedly misused tear gas against residents. The police were acting in defiance of a court order prohibiting the eviction. According to eye-witness testimonies the police fired tear gas directly into the homes of the Porta Farm residents. At least 11 people died in the following weeks. Amnesty International has repeatedly called for a full investigation into the events and subsequent deaths at Porta Farm, but no investigation is known to have been carried out. Amnesty International is very concerned that Porta Farm may again be targeted in the current "clean-up" operation.
BBC 2 June 200 Desperation on the streets Zimbabwean cobbler Edwell - not his real name - has been mending shoes on the streets of the capital, Harare, for nearly 20 years. But the 46-year-old tells the BBC News website how police forced him off the pavement as part of a crackdown on the country's huge informal business sector. Commuter buses are now so rare that people have to push for places It was just past noon when a Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) pick-up truck drove up to the pavement where I sit and mend shoes. Two policemen accompanied by two other men got out. As they walked towards me they said: "You need to take your things and go." I asked them why but they refused to explain. They were very firm and just kept saying: "We don't want you, we don't want you here, we want you to go from this place." Even though I was so afraid, I tried arguing with them but I failed. 'Wrong side' Full of fear, I tried asking again but all they would say was: "We don't want excuses." Shouting, "Listen, take your things and go" they then started chasing the ladies selling vegetables away and so I put all my tools and customer's shoes into my sack. I am suffering even more than before now, my family is suffering because I am not doing anything The ladies were all chased out. I haven't seen them since. They're not selling vegetables any more and so they must be suffering too. The men didn't take anything from me but I was so afraid. I am lucky because the owners of the business near the pavement, where I mended shoes for about 20 years, are letting me work in their yard. But now only my regulars know where I am. Passers-by cannot see me anymore because now I am on the wrong side of the wall. There is little fuel now and commuter buses are very scarce and so I walk the 10km to work and then back home again when it is dark. Driven to tears I am suffering even more than before now. Edwell fears his problems will affect his son's future My family is suffering because I am not doing anything. I am not very busy, sure. I charge Z$15,000 ($0.26) to fix heels and for soles it is about Z$35,000 ($0.60) and now that I am hardly doing anything I am crying. I recently had to buy my 15-year-old son some things for school. All I could afford was his books, a new pair of shoes and socks and some short trousers and it came to over Z$200,000 ($3.60). I still have to pay his school fees for this term which come to Z$350,000 ($6.20). I don't know how I will be able to.
washingtonpost.com Zimbabwe Police Raze Poor Towns In Rampage Government Says Homes Being Destroyed Are Illegal By Craig Timberg Washington Post Foreign Service Sunday, June 5, 2005; A23 HARARE, Zimbabwe, June 4 -- Six days after teams of police officers ordered the residents of Hatcliffe Extension, a squatter village, to tear down their homes, the destruction still looks startlingly fresh, the former tenants dazed and weary. Where houses once stood are piles of plastic sheeting and splinters of lumber. Shops built of concrete have been reduced to rubble. A Catholic day-care center for AIDS orphans has been destroyed. And the residents, worn out after days of living among the ruins and nights spent outside in the cold, sit mournfully among the shattered remnants of their lives. "I have no options. I have nowhere to go," said Catherine Tangara, 58, a round-faced widow who cares for her four grandchildren because both of her daughters have died. The story is the same in urban areas throughout Zimbabwe, an economically and politically troubled southern African country of 12 million. Thousands of police officers have spent the past two weeks on a rampage of destruction that officials call a campaign to clean up illegal housing and markets. At least 22,000 street traders have been arrested, police said in government-owned newspapers, and tens of thousands of people have been left homeless. Though the full extent of the operation remains unknown, opposition leaders say as many as 1.5 million people in Harare alone may have lost their homes. President Robert Mugabe has dubbed the campaign "Operation Murambatsvina," which the state-owned press translates as "Operation Restore Order" and portrays as a necessary effort to curb crime, garbage and the other excesses of rapid urbanization over the past several years. But in Shona, the dominant language in Zimbabwe, it has a more sinister translation, given that most of those targeted are poor: "Operation Drive Out the Rubbish." In Hatfield Extension, more than 6,000 people lost their homes on police order last Sunday. No houses or shops remain standing, and a community mosque was destroyed. "They said, 'If you refuse, we will whip you,' " said a 38-year-old widow who cares for her two children and her elderly mother on a modest income earned from sewing dresses and bedspreads. "Now everything is destroyed." In neighborhood after neighborhood, truckloads of police officers have arrived in riot helmets and demanded that residents tear down their own homes, typically wood shacks or one-room concrete houses that shelter Zimbabwe's urban poor. Most people have complied with the police, attacking their homes with their bare hands or with picks and hammers that made the job quicker, if no less terrible. Traders, meanwhile, have turned their own wooden stalls into kindling. In targeted areas across Harare, people can be seen sitting on piles of rubble, staring into space. Many of the victims have already moved away from the urban areas, jamming their families and remaining possessions onto buses and returning to the rural areas where they grew up. Others have tried to make do where they are. Tangara, for instance, spent Sunday breaking her wood-and-cardboard home into pieces. Then she built a thigh-high shelter that is open on one side so that she and the children can crawl inside among some dirty pillows and worn blankets. "It's so painful," Tangara said as one of the children stood wide-eyed beside her, "and so chilly." Several miles away, in the southern Harare community of Mbare, a 48-year-old carpenter, who like many interviewed for this story declined to reveal his full name because of fears of retribution, said a police officer swung a sledgehammer into his work shed, then barked out orders that the 12 concrete rental units on his property be demolished as well. In the same community, a 22-year-old trader said he tore down his wooden stall on Sunday only to be forced to demolish his modest home two days later. He said he planned to move to a family home in a rural area nearly 200 miles away. "We're just starving," he said. "We've got nothing to do." Opposition leaders have argued that Mugabe's motivation is political and point out that resistance to the government runs strongest in cities. Some also suggest that the campaign is a preemptive action against unrest. "It's to stop people in the urban areas from organizing themselves for a revolution," said Trudy Stevenson, an opposition lawmaker whose district includes Hatcliffe Extension. Since the March 31 parliamentary elections, in which Mugabe won a landslide victory in voting that many Western governments denounced as rigged, the currency has plunged and basic commodities such as sugar, flour and cornmeal have disappeared from store shelves. Gas shortages are so severe that motorists line up for blocks simply on rumors of deliveries at filling stations. But Mugabe's party traditionally has found support in Hatcliffe Extension and some of the other areas razed in the past two weeks, a fact that some people say is an indication that the government campaign is less about punishing opponents than reversing years of urbanization. Zimbabweans in recent years have increasingly abandoned farming in rural areas to work as street traders in cities and live in shantytowns and other informal settlements. A farmer outside of Harare, speaking on condition of anonymity, said he saw a chilling logic in the crackdown. Since 2000, when Mugabe began a campaign of often-violent seizures of commercial farmland, Zimbabwe has experienced recurrent shortages of food and foreign currency. The farmer's land was among the properties invaded. Squatters built about 2,000 homes on the land, but several days ago, the government bulldozed most of them. The farmer said he was appalled by the tactics, which left many families with small children homeless, but was glad to get his land back. He intends to begin planting in the cleared area in October. "I think somebody realized you need order," the farmer said. "We're going back actually to big-time farming." Whatever Mugabe's motives, the cost has been high for William Mutyasira, his wife and their four children. Police struck their community of Mbare on Tuesday. Mutyasira arrived home from his job at a local shop to find his home demolished. All their possessions -- chairs, a battered radio, a small kitchen table -- are now piled in a yard cluttered with concrete rubble. "This is now our kitchen unit," Mutyasira joked grimly as he pointed to a bucket containing cooking oil, instant coffee and a dried corncob. Soon, he said, he will take his family and their possessions back to their traditional, rural community. But eventually, Mutyasira said he planned to return to Harare and start over.
International Association of Genocide Scholars 7 June 2005 RESOLUTION ON STATE REPRESSION IN ZIMBABWE By TheWe, the leadership and membership of the International Association of Genocide Scholars, a world-wide professional association of experts on genocide, call upon the government of Zimbabwe to reverse its discriminatory and life-threatening policies toward the urban poor and supporters of the political opposition. The government has in recent years used food as a political weapon by denying it to people thought to support Zimbabwe’s main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change. On June 1, 2005, the government agreed to resumption of international food donations to feed up to four million people, but has objected to creation of World Food Program centers to distribute food to the general population. Instead food will be directed to government-controlled institutions including schools, orphanages, and work programs open only to ZANU-PF government party members. Simultaneously the government has initiated Operation Masarmbatsvina (“drive out rubbish”) to evict more than a million urban poor by demolishing squatter shacks. More than 22,000 people have already been arrested in the first few days of the crackdown, according to a police spokesman. News reports tell of hundreds of thousands of people driven from their homes, with many fleeing to the outskirts of cities where they are camped with no shelter, food, or means of transportation to whatever jobs they may have had. The Zimbabwe government organized major massacres during the 1980’s against the Matabele people, which cost over 20,000 lives. The massacres were carried out by an all-Shona army brigade trained by North Korean advisers. The Mugabe government has again organized Shona youth militias, nick-named the “Green Bombers,” who terrorise members of the political opposition, many of whom are Matabele. The government’s denial of food thus has an ominous ethnic dimension, an early warning sign of potential genocide by attrition. Denial of food to targeted groups and forced evacuation of poor communities are among the tactics used in past politicides. These policies are creating a humanitarian crisis for targeted ethnic, economic, and political groups in Zimbabwe. They constitute an early stage of a politicide aimed at eliminating ethnic, class and political opponents of the government. We call on governments and international organizations to condemn policies of the Zimbabwe government that target the Matabele ethnic group, the urban poor, and political opponents of the Mugabe regime. · Zimbabwe’s neighbors, the Republic of South Africa above all, should exert political and diplomatic pressure on the government to reverse these malign policies. · The African Union should take similar actions in coordination with the Commonwealth and the European Union. · The United Nations’ World Food Program should insist that the food aid it has recently agreed to supply be distributed to all in need, without regard to political affiliation. · International financial institutions on which Zimbabwe depends for investment and loans should make it clear that assistance is conditional on government policies that deal equitably and humanely with the needs of all citizens. · NGO’s should publicize the escalating humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe and advocate preventive responses by all members of the international community. Adopted unanimously at the biennial meeting of the International Association of Genocide Scholars, Boca Raton, Florida, June 7, 2005. Written by Prof. Ted Robert Gurr, Prof.. Gregory Stanton (IAGS First Vice President) and Dr. Helen Fein.
NYT 11 June 2005 Zimbabwe's 'Cleanup' Takes a Vast Human Toll By MICHAEL WINES HARARE, Zimbabwe, June 10 - The government abruptly began demolishing shanties and roadside markets here three weeks ago, evicting thousands of people and bulldozing homes or burning them to the ground, in what officials call a cleanup of illegal slums and black-market vendors. But as the campaign, directed at as many as 1.5 million members of Zimbabwe's vast underclass, spreads beyond Harare, it is quickly evolving into a sweeping recasting of society, a forced uprooting of the very poorest city dwellers, who have become President Robert G. Mugabe's most hardened opponents. By scattering them to rural areas, Mr. Mugabe, re-elected to another five-year term in 2002, seems intent on dispersing the biggest threat to his 25-year autocratic rule as poverty and unemployment approach record levels and mass hunger and the potential for unrest loom. The United Nations estimates that the campaign, Operation Murambatsvina, using a Shona word meaning "drive out the rubbish," has so far left 200,000 people homeless and 30,000 vendors jobless. Human rights and civic leaders say the numbers could be several times that, a view that seemed plausible during a four-day visit to Harare and Bulawayo, the nation's second-largest city, and points between. No matter the precise numbers, the campaign is clearly one of the most aggressive steps yet taken against the Zimbabwe population by a government that has in recent years met rising international condemnation for stifling its opponents. On the road from Bulawayo to Harare, pickup trucks and rickety handcarts groan with the belongings of newly evicted families, and fires from torched flea markets flicker in the dusk. The police man roadblocks and drive trucks through slums littered with bulldozed houses looking for resistance to the ongoing purge, but there is none. In shattered Harare-area townships like Mbare and Mabvuku, a slum of about 100,000 people 10 miles east of Harare, the homeless sit beside furniture and clothes rescued from the destruction. There and elsewhere thousands sleep in the open, on farms and urban streets, in Zimbabwe's near-freezing winter nights. The police ransacked and burned whole blocks of vendors' stalls this week and last in Bulawayo, and razed squatter camps, slums and roadside stands last week in Victoria Falls. The campaign has spread to rural areas like Rimuka, a township 85 miles southwest of Harare, where policemen equipped with riot gear destroyed homes and stands on Tuesday. "Some were refused the right to take out their goods," said Ignatius Magonese, 62, a Rimuku resident who was pushing his family's possessions, heaped high atop a trailer welded of rebar, down the Harare-Bulawayo highway. "They pushed them down with the house. Then they told them to pick up their things and leave. Some other older people were crying, just like saying, 'This is the end of my life. Where will I put my things? Where will I go?' " Mr. Mugabe says the campaign is a long-overdue step to rid Zimbabwe of what he told Parliament on Thursday was "a chaotic state of affairs" in the nation's cities and towns. The street vendors being uprooted work in the black market and pay no taxes, he has said, and the shacks being demolished were built illegally on plots already occupied by registered homes that have been spared destruction. "Our cities and towns had deteriorated to levels that were a real cause for concern," Mr. Mugabe said in a speech on May 27. Beyond their crumbling roads and overtaxed utilities, he said, urban areas "had become havens for illicit and criminal practices and activities which just could not be allowed to go on." But by attacking the shanty dwellers and so-called informal traders, whose black-market businesses have supplanted much of the official state-dominated economy, the government also hopes to reclaim control of the foreign currency that the official economy desperately needs. That would solidify Mr. Mugabe's authority at a time when Zimbabwe's economic and human crises seem to have eroded it. One Harare political analyst who refused to be identified for fear of retribution said: "I think they know what the country is going to look like in a few months, and they want to clear out the towns, to clear these people way out of here. It's a governing strategy, no doubt about it." Whatever the political benefits, however, witnesses and experts say the impact on the campaign's targets is already proving catastrophic. With no income and no homes, many families are fleeing to the countryside, where both poverty and hunger are worse even than in the cities, and jobs are nonexistent. With no black market to offer basic goods that the state-run economy has failed to provide, shortages of food and gasoline are certain to worsen. The government has rounded up some of the newly homeless and deposited them on farms, telling them that they will be offered legal housing later. But that seems unlikely; in Harare alone, a city of 1.9 million people, the official waiting list for housing already exceeds 600,000 families, said Kingsley Kanyuchi, the chairman of the residents' association in a Harare suburb, Glen Norah. Meanwhile, the evicted are further crowding the overstuffed homes of relatives and neighbors, or sleeping in the open. Stories of suffering and death abound. Mr. Kanyuchi told of encountering a funeral procession last week for two children who died of exposure after being evicted. Suicides also are rising because of the "brutal" evictions, said the special rapporteur on adequate housing at the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, Miloon Kothari. "It's a gross violation of human rights in terms of Zimbabwe's international obligations," Mr. Kothari said Friday in a telephone interview from Geneva. "People are desperate. They just have nowhere to go." Interviews this week with victims of the campaign only underscored that point. In conversation after conversation, it was clear that the demolitions were being felt far beyond the residents and merchants who were the principal targets. In Bulawayo, the police burned the stalls of hundreds of downtown vendors, many of them licensed by the city, and carted their goods away. By destroying her business, said a 41-year-old woman who had sold clothing hauled in from nearby Botswana, the police cut off all support not only for her three children, but also for six relatives in Solusi, 30 miles to the east via a dirt road. The woman, who was afraid to be named, said she had borrowed 18 million Zimbabwe dollars, or about $720 at the current black-market exchange rate, to open the stand and obtain the license. "This week I must pay 2 million to the bank," she said. "I don't know where I'll get it." In Mabvuku and neighboring Tafara, Harare townships built 35 years ago to house the domestic workers of white citizens, the head of the local residents' association said most of the shacks being razed had provided rental income to the plots' owners, mostly retirees dating to the area's founding. "Every stand has accumulated three to five families" living in outbuildings that were destroyed, said the head of the association, Joseph Rose. "There were more tenants than landlords on these properties. This area was built for low-income people, and when they retired, they didn't have pensions. So this is how they lived - from their lodgers." The lodgers are gone now, forced by the police to tear down their own homes. "When I came home Monday from work, things had just gone crazy," said Errison Mapani, a 26-year-old security guard who had rented an outbuilding for the last year. "I had to run to find a place at a friend's house where I could put my things." Mr. Mapani has yet to find a new place to live. He expects to quit work and move to Mutare, a rural outpost on the Mozambique border. About 300 people were left homeless when the shacks of farm workers in Ruwa, 10 miles east of Harare, were torn down, said Matsakira Nona. Ms. Nona said that half of the displaced were ordered to leave. The rest, including her 10 children, have camped in a corner of the farm for two weeks. She once supported her children by selling tomatoes. The police have stopped that, too, she said. The government's drive shows no sign of slowing down. The police and bulldozers have yet to reach Glen Norah, a sprawling, 35-year-old township about 15 miles south of Harare. But from a hillside there, smoke could be seen on Wednesday curling from burning vendors' stalls in Glen View, about a half-mile across a valley. Riot police razed several Glen Norah shops last week as a warning of what residents would face. "Just go around. People are already pulling down their roofs and buildings," Mr. Kanyuchi, the Glen Norah residents' association chairman, said of his neighbors on Wednesday. "Of every five vehicles, two are loaded with goods" of fleeing families and vendors. Mr. Kanyuchi surveyed the township in an effort to gauge the impact of the impending destruction. He guessed that three in four of the area's 92,000 households had families living in outbuildings marked for destruction, and that most of those families - also tenants of retirees - had children in the local schools and will be forced to drop out. Many will end up in places like Brunapeg, a middle-of-nowhere village nearly 100 miles southwest of Bulawayo, where refugees already are appearing at the mission hospital in search of food and medical help. Brunapeg, the epicenter of a 1980's massacre in which Mr. Mugabe's army killed as many as 20,000 ethnic Ndebeles, is now the epicenter of a drought. Many people there are running out of corn meal, the staple food, and wheat, the fallback. Some are digging peanuts and foraging among wild plants for food, Pedro Porrino, a Spanish physician who works there, said in an interview in Bulawayo. "The situation in rural areas was very bad," Dr. Porrino said. "But these days, with the situation in the towns, it's becoming even worse. We're receiving more people, and we have nothing to offer them - because we had nothing to offer the people who are already there."
BBC 12 June 2005 Bishop condemns Harare evictions About 200,000 people have been made homeless, the UN says The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Harare has condemned the Zimbabwean government's policy of demolishing thousands of homes and businesses. Speaking to the BBC, Archbishop Robert Ndlovu described the move as "inhuman". President Robert Mugabe's government says the houses and markets being demolished in the capital are illegal. But the opposition has accused the authorities of punishing the urban poor who voted against the ruling Zanu-PF party in elections earlier this year. The UN says some 200,000 Zimbabweans have been made homeless in the two-week clearance operation carried out by police. Police say the demolitions are part of an operation to deal with illegal activities across the country. Some 30,000 people have been arrested. Winter Archbishop Ndlovu told BBC radio that both opposition and government supporters were suffering from the demolitions. Now people are sleeping in the open - there are small children there Archbishop Robert Ndlovu "The way the exercise was carried out was inhuman," he added. "Bearing in mind this is the winter season in Zimbabwe, we felt that it was really inconsiderate. "Now people are sleeping in the open - there are small children there." When the operation began last month police said those evicted would be taken to alternative accommodation. But an MP for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change in Harare said people had nowhere to go. The UN has demanded that Mr Mugabe stop the eviction operation, which it describes as a new form of "apartheid". Zanu-PF won two thirds of the votes in a general election in March which the opposition says was rigged.
BBC 14 June 2005 Zimbabwe police demolish township About 200,000 people have been made homeless, the UN says Police in Zimbabwe have fought running battles with residents of one of the oldest townships of the second city, as they demolished illegal structures. The BBC's Themba Nkosi says that Makhokhoba in Bulawayo was the centre of resistance to colonial rule. One woman stripped naked in protest after police destroyed her shack. A police spokesman said that more than 20,000 structures had been destroyed and 30,000 arrested in the three-week nationwide operation. 'Catastrophe' The opposition say "Operation Murambatsvina [Drive out rubbish]" is punishment for urban dwellers who mostly voted against the ruling Zanu-PF party in March elections. I witnessed police in Mzilikazi removing belongings of those who had fled their dwellings as they were being demolished Themba Nkosi Bulawayo President Robert Mugabe said it is needed to "restore sanity" to Zimbabwe's towns and cities. The crackdown, which the United Nations says has left some 200,000 people homeless, has been condemned by Zimbabwe's churches, teachers and doctors. Zimbabwe's teachers' association said it had been a "catastrophe". Even those whose homes escaped "seem so traumatized they cannot concentrate on their learning", it said. In London, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said that Zimbabwe's charge d'affaires had been summoned in protest. He said the many HIV-positive Zimbabweans had been especially badly hit by the evictions. He also said that an extra 25 names had been added to the 95 people subject to a European Union travel ban and assets freeze. Magic charms But Zimbabwe's police superintendent Oliver Mandipaka said that the operation would continue "until we have weeded out all criminal elements countrywide," reports the state-owned Herald newspaper. Our correspondent in Bulawayo says that even the well-respected traditional doctors in Makhokhoba township were not spared as riot police ordered the healers and their patients out of their shacks before setting them on fire. Most of the traditional doctors lost their herbs and supposedly magic charms. Makhokhoba has been a vibrant and colourful township for many decades, our correspondent says. From the shacks of this township have come some of Bulawayo's top football players and theatre actors, such as Peter Ndlovu, the former Coventry City player now playing in South Africa. The police then moved on to flatten houses in Mzilikazi township next door to Makhokhoba, "It is a totally chaotic situation with people running in different directions," says Themba Nkosi. "I witnessed police in Mzilikazi removing belongings of those who had fled their dwellings as they were being demolished. Many told me they are now homeless." Bulawayo police spokesman Smile Dube said so far in Makhokhoba, police have discovered electrical goods worth thousands of dollars which they claim have been smuggled across the Botswana and South Africa borders.
BBC 14 June 2005 Argentine amnesty laws scrapped Some 30,000 people may have been killed during the Dirty War Argentina's Supreme Court has ruled that amnesty laws protecting former military officers are unconstitutional. The ruling clears the way for prosecutions of officials suspected of human rights abuses during military rule between 1976 and 1983. The court upheld a decision by the Argentine Congress in August 2003 to scrap the amnesty laws. Civil liberties groups say about 30,000 people were killed or went missing under the former dictatorship. 'Dirty War' The Supreme Court voted by seven to one, with one abstention, to strike down two amnesty laws which had been in effect since 1986. Some men who might be involved in some situation are expressing worry Jose Pampuro Argentine Defence Minister The legislation forbade the prosecution of military officers suspected of atrocities in the so-called Dirty War - a campaign waged by Argentina's military rulers against left-wing opponents. The campaign ended with the country's return to civilian rule in October 1983. About 3,000 military officers - about 300 of whom still serve in the armed forces - could be accused, the Associated Press news agency reported. Ahead of the ruling, Argentine Defence Minister Jose Pampuro said some officers were anxious pending the outcome. "In a personal capacity, some men who might be involved in some situation are expressing worry," he was quoted by AP as saying. The Supreme Court ruling came in the case of former police officer Julio Simon, accused in the disappearance of a couple and of having taken their daughter as his own. Under Argentine law, the decision will act as a precedent in other cases involving the Dirty War.
Independent UK 5 June 2005 Illegal Loggers Incite Tribal Genocide In Tiguino, a Huaorani Indian settlement on the Cononaco river deep in the Ecuadorian Amazon, two ladino workers lean on the fence of an oil well, cigarettes dangling, faces set hard like belligerent squatters. Babae Ima, the leader of Tiguino's Huaorani clan, lumbers up. Ima has forsaken the gumi (a belt worn around the waist and penis), for army fatigues, fluorescent shorts and wellington boots, all provided by the oil company. It is only by his say-so that these oil workers are allowed here, but the oil firms have worked hard to nurture this relationship. Tiguino squats at the end of a 115km oil road that carries a giant pipeline into the jungle, marking the only access from the outside world to the Cononaco, which flows deep into the Amazon and is populated by a number of tribes. No one passes down the river without Babae Ima's permission - and remuneration. In Tiguino, thatched huts have given way to concrete boxes with corrugated roofs; more gifts from the petroleros. The town is littered with rubbish and rum bottles. Babae Ima cuts a somewhat ridiculous figure, but his reputation as a ruthless warrior is secure. He's in bellicose mood after the flight of his 13-year-old second wife, a gift from the Shuar tribe, despite the Shuars' plans to replace the girl with her sister. But this isn't his only conflict. He shakes open a sack around which flies have settled, and out rolls a decomposed human head. He explains that this is a trophy from the massacre two years ago of the Tagaeri tribe. Ima's men claim the massacre was a revenge attack for the spearing of his son in 1993 in a tribal dispute. Huaorani tribesmen must avenge deaths, and justice may be swift or delayed for years. Yet witnesses and investigators believe the massacre was a mercenary act on behalf of relative newcomers - illegal Colombian loggers. The Tagaeri, who violently fend off attempts at contact, inhabit an area where commercial logging is outlawed. Yet the zone, rich in cedar and mahogany, is attracting loggers from across the Colombian border, who strike deals with pliable indigenous leaders. President Luis Inacio "Lula" da Silva of Brazil was heavily criticised recently for failing to protect his country's forests, after figures showed a 6 per cent increase in the rate of deforestation last year. As a result, Survival International, an Indian-rights group, warned that tribes in the Mato Grasso state, where Brazilian deforestation is greatest, were facing genocide by loggers. But the story is already familiar in neighbouring Ecuador, which has the highest deforestation rates in South America, yet receives little publicity. In Ecuador, the genocide of tribes is already under way. The Tagaeri are one of the most vulnerable tribes in Ecuador. Extraordinarily secretive, they have near-mythical status. They are thought to number only about 100. What's made them a focus for attention is the fact that they inhabit a 1.7-million acre reserve called the Zona Intangible (untouchable zone), marked out in 1999 to protect the Tagaeri. It lies within the Yasuni National Park, a Unesco reserve where commercial logging is prohibited. Its precious cedar and hardwood bounty, however, is proving irresistible to illegal loggers. Before the loggers, the last white people to contact the Tagaeri were two missionaries dropped in by an oil company helicopter in 1987. Bearing a Bible and the company's plans to move into the area, they offered the Tagaeri wealth - and salvation - in return for co-operation. When the helicopter returned, the bishop and nun were pinned to the floor, stuck through with spears. The oil company decided to try somewhere more hospitable. Such is the Tagaeri's reputation for ferocity that when investigators went to the scene of the 2003 massacre, armed troops in flak jackets set up a perimeter guard. Yet, despite grainy images from the police video taken that day, which show spears protruding from a number of blackened corpses, the exact details of the massacre remain hazy. Franziska Müller, the co-owner of Bataburo Lodge, the only tourist lodge that was permitted by Babae Ima, is the closest thing to an outside witness. Returning from the massacre, the killing party docked at her pontoon. "The Huaorani were all excited," she says. "They said they'd just killed 26 Tagaeri, and when I didn't believe them, they pulled the head out of a bag and showed me." The Huaorani claimed they had tracked the Tagaeri to a clearing, and finding the men out hunting, set about shooting and spearing the women and children in the camp. An injured man was lying in a hammock - it was him they beheaded. Reports say that as the children fled into the huts, the killers set fire to them. The Huaorani then warned Müller to evacuate her 20 eco-students as she could be caught up in a revenge attack by the Tagaeri. The following night, the guests having fled, Müller abandoned the lodge as a mysterious fire engulfed the wooden huts. The killers say the massacre was a tribal revenge attack, and so - because Ecuador's constitution allows tribes to resolve conflicts according to tradition - outside the rule of law. Others are not so sure. Detective Marco Vargas flew to the murder scene and visited Tiguino to interview those involved. He says there are strong indications of outside influence. "Revenge might have been one reason for the massacre, but I'm absolutely sure it wasn't the only one," he says. "The business ties between the loggers and the Tiguino community are very strong. The only people who really represented an obstacle to the loggers are now dead." He's not alone in his suspicions. Penti Baihua is a Huaorani leader from Bameno, a settlement close to the massacre site. Baihua, who spoke to the killers, is adamant that the massacre was ordered by loggers. In the smoky gloom of his thatched hut, he explains that, a few days before the killings, Colombian loggers had come within a few hundred yards of the Tagaeri settlement. "The loggers left, scared of the Tagaeri, and went to Tiguino. They said, 'We'll give you gasoline and ammunition, but go kill the Tagaeri. We want to work freely in that area. These foreigners, Colombian loggers, are going into Tagaeri territory like they own the land. They have rifles and come to kill and threaten. They don't respect the protected zone. For this, they killed our Tagaeri brothers." Baihua is concerned by the impact of oil, tourism and logging on the tribes provoking tragedies like the massacre. And he is angered by the eroding effect encroaching "civilisation" has on Huaorani culture. Life in Bameno contrasts sharply with that in Tiguino. In Bameno, the older generation still wear gumis. Dinner arrives as two naked Huaorani hunters step ashore from their canoe, carrying 6ft blowpipes. Baihua fears this culture will soon be lost to corrupting forces, through the willingness of Huaorani clans such as Babae Ima's to embrace consumer goods and the white man's way of life. "They swapped traditional huts for cement houses when the oil companies came," he says. "Now, there's rubbish everywhere, they're drinking alcohol, they're losing their songs. I don't want my community to suffer the same fate. I want my children to know the jungle like the Tagaeri." In Tiguino, Babae Ima and his clansmen embrace "civilisation" but reject other social restraints. After the massacre, a Huaorani council pardoned the killers and halted Vargas's inquiry. Witnesses say the Tiguino Indians have returned twice to wipe out the remaining Tagaeri, but have been unsuccessful. If they aren't prevented, a race of people will die. Suzy Madigan / The Independent
Children 'tortured under Pinochet' From correspondents in Santiago June 2, 2005 A commission investigating torture of political prisoners during Augusto Pinochet's military dictatorship delivered a report including the cases of 87 children, some of whom were tortured, President Ricardo Lagos announced today. "In the list that has been handed to us there are 87 children under the age of 12," Mr Lagos said on receiving the report by the Valech Commission. Most of the children had been jailed with their parents and some of them reported having been tortured, according to the report. Their identities were to be kept secret for another 50 years. The commission delivered a preliminary report in November, after the testimony of 28,000 prisoners who said they were tortured. The commission left out 7000 more cases for which it said there was insufficient evidence. The second report added 1201 people to the preliminary list of victims. Survivors are expected to receive compensation for damages but details have not yet been worked out.
IPS 1 June 2005 Crime and Maybe Punishment in Latin America Miren Gutiérrez* ROME, Jun 1 (IPS) - It has taken up to three decades, but some Latin American leaders suspected in politically motivated assassinations and death squad massacres may soon face justice following three unrelated developments in Chile, Colombia and Peru. Former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet was accused last month in the assassination of two political rivals in the 1970s; in Peru a prosecutor sought a 35-year prison sentence for former intelligence chief Vladimiro Montesinos on charge of masterminding massacres 15 years ago, and in Colombia former senator and justice minister Alberto Santofimio was arrested for the assassination of a presidential candidate in 1989. In Colombia and Chile, accounts of the killings have circulated long before the new accusations. "These three events are highly significant because they publicly state that impunity will not be the order of the day," Margaret Power, professor of history at the Illinois Institute of Technology told IPS in an email interview from Chilean capital Santiago. She has written extensively on Chilean politics. "Although the wave of military dictatorships that swept across much of South America beginning with the military coup in Brazil in 1964 no longer rules, the standard practice has been to ignore those who committed the crimes and to, instead, talk about looking to the future and reconciliation," Power said. "The fact that three separate justice systems in three distinct countries, each one of which has very different political histories and socio-economic conditions, have advanced on the course of bringing those accused of committing political crimes to justice is remarkable and sets a very important precedent for future trials," she said. Retired Chilean general Manuel Contreras who has now named Pinochet in these killings headed DINA (the National Intelligence Directorate) from its creation in 1974 until it was dissolved in 1978. DINA is commonly believed to have carried out many of them. Contreras declared in a written statement put out by his lawyers May 13 that Pinochet was directly responsible for the assassination of Orlando Letelier in Washington in 1976, and of Gen. Carlos Prats and his wife Sofía Cuthbert in Buenos Aires in 1974. The political rivals were killed in similar car bombings. Gen. Prats, who had commanded the armed forces in the earlier socialist government of Salvador Allende 1970-73, was writing a book about the coup that brought Pinochet to power. Prats's papers were stolen from his home at the time of the attack. It was the beginning of a string of murders and disappearances of Chilean exiles. One of the perpetrators of the attack, Michael Townley, was later caught and convicted for the killing. Letelier, a former foreign minister in Allende's government was imprisoned right after the coup. He was released in 1974. He left to work at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington where he was killed two years later along with his assistant Ronni Moffitt. Former Chilean vice-president Bernardo Leighton and his wife Anita were machine-gunned on a Rome street in 1975. Leighton recovered, but his wife was paralysed. In 1995 Contreras was tried, convicted and sentenced to seven years in prison. He is currently serving a second sentence over the disappearance of leftist activist Ángel Sandoval in 1975. In an affidavit sent to the Chilean Supreme Court in 1997, Contreras had said that no major DINA missions were undertaken without Pinochet's authorisation. But this is the first time he has named Pinochet as directly ordering the elimination of Letelier and Prats. He has also provided information now on the fate of 580 victims of forced disappearance ('desaparecidos'). Mark Ensalaco, director of international studies and human rights at the University of Dayton in Ohio in the United States, and author of the book 'Chile under Pinochet: Recovering the Truth' says that while the veracity of all information offered by Contreras is questionable, DINA could not have acted without the knowledge of Pinochet. After these murders and disappearances, DINA members were never investigated; they were promoted instead. It is estimated that 3,000 Chileans were "disappeared" or murdered by security forces, and that more than 27,000 former political prisoners were tortured under the Pinochet regime 1973-1989. Pinochet is under investigation for human rights crimes committed under 'Operation Condor' launched jointly by the military governments that ruled Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay in the 1970s and 1980s. The operation sought to track down, capture and eliminate left-wing opponents. In 2001, a court ruled that Pinochet was mentally unfit to stand trial in a case involving executions of political prisoners. In July 2002, the Supreme Court upheld that ruling. Pinochet is 89. Power says the military has paid a price in its own way. "Pinochet is discredited and, indeed, the whole Chilean military is tarnished," she said. She pointed to recent indications of this. "Civil society's response to the deaths (of military recruits in a recent snow blizzard), its willingness to blame the military...and the alacrity with which it blamed the officers who survived is a symbol for how much of Chilean society views the military. It no longer trusts or respects it," she said. "This, I believe is the ongoing price that the Chilean military must pay for its murder of Chilean citizens during 17 years, for its refusal to acknowledge that fact and take responsibility for it...in short, Pinochet and the Chilean armed forces as a whole may never stand trial, but I believe that much of Chilean society has already passed a verdict on them." Colombian Advance In Colombia, former senator and justice minister Alberto Santofimio was arrested May 12 for his role in the 1989 assassination of leading presidential candidate Luis Carlos Galán. Santofimio was implicated by the testimony of John Jairo Velásquez alias 'Popeye', the man who led hit teams for drug kingpin Pablo Escobar, and the only person convicted for the crime. Velásquez told local media that he was present at a meeting with Escobar and Santofimio when the politician said Galán should be killed. Velásquez quoted Santofimio as saying: "Pablo, kill him. If (Galán) wins the presidency, he will extradite you." At the time Santofimio was running for the Liberal Party nomination for the 1990 presidential election, but his rival Galán was far ahead in the polls. For Escobar (shot and killed by the police in 1993), the assassination of Galán meant eliminating a candidate who would likely extradite drug traffickers to the United States to stand trial. Escobar's cocaine cartel known as Medellin fought a bloody war during the 1980s to force the government to impede extraditions. Cartel killers murdered judges, cabinet ministers, an attorney general, journalists and police officers. Hundreds more Colombians died in bomb attacks. Galán was shot while campaigning south of capital Bogota. Galán's campaign manager Cesar Gaviria ran in his place and was elected president. Santofimio was arrested in 1995 and spent four years in prison for accepting bribes from the Cali cartel. He was questioned over the assassination of Galán, but never tried due to lack of evidence. He faces 40 years in prison if now found guilty of the assassination. "The positive message is that, in spite of the time that has passed, justice has arrived," the Colombian newspaper El Tiempo wrote in an editorial May 14. Peruvian Progress In Peru nobody has any doubts who was behind the Barrios Altos and La Cantuta killings; but no one has as yet been convicted. On May13, anti-corruption special prosecutor Pablo Sánchez Velarde announced that he is seeking a 35-year prison sentence for Peru's former spymaster Vladimiro Montesinos for masterminding the extrajudicial execution of 15 people -- including an eight-year-old boy -- in Barrios Altos in 1991, and for the 1992 'disappearance' of nine students and a teacher of La Cantuta university. Montesinos is alleged to have ordered the 'Colina Group' death squad to carry out the murders. In the Barrios Altos case, the victims were partygoers mistaken for Maoist Shining Path terrorists. In the La Cantuta case, the victims' bodies were secretly mass buried under a layer of calcium oxide at one location and later removed and incinerated. Montesinos was the de facto head of the National Intelligence Service (SIN) during Alberto Fujimori's presidency 1990-2000. Montesinos is facing trials on corruption and human rights charges. In 2001, attorney-general Nelly Calderón formally accused Fujimori of a hand in these killings. The criminal charges against Fujimori were filed after a unanimous decision by the Peruvian Congress to lift his immunity as former head of state. A few days later, Supreme Court Justice José Luis Lecaros issued an international warrant to Interpol for the arrest of Fujimori in Japan. But four years later, Fujimori is still in Japan, and Montesinos has yet to be convicted of any crime. "There have been positive steps, but at the same time they are insufficient and slow," Ernesto de la Jara, director of the Institute of Legal Defence told IPS in an e-mail interview from capital Lima. "The worst thing is that the final outcome is still uncertain." De la Jara says Peru has set up a Truth Commission that replaced a "distorted and extended 'truth'" with a truth that has more to do with reality. Peru came back to the Inter American Court of Human Rights and accepted its decision of cancelling Fujimori's 1995 amnesty, and the Constitutional Court declared most of the anti-terrorist legislation promulgated by Fujimori unconstitutional. Of the 47 cases the Truth Commission recommended for investigation, he said 15 are been looked into by public attorneys and 30 are in the courts. All members of the 'Colina Group' are in prison. New Trend Power says there are several factors behind these changes. The negative impact of neoliberal economic policies "has fuelled anger, resentment and organisation...these movements have, in turn, pressured the governments of their countries to redress the crimes committed by the militaries in the past," she said. Another factor is "the emergence of strong, deeply-rooted social movements" and their connection with the struggle for human rights. "They have demanded transparency in government, honesty, the rights of citizens, both economic and political, and they have proven themselves willing to fight to obtain them." Finally, she points to "the election of and alliance between progressive governments in much of South America." Many of them were themselves victims of the military dictatorships that ruled their countries, she said. Ensalaco from the University of Dayton admits that he never thought justice could be possible. "I am a bit ashamed of that conclusion now. Courageous victims, judges, and activists have made it possible...I am thrilled that the bravery of some very courageous individuals can defeat those who once held absolute power." But de la Jara says that "from ten to 20 years after the crimes took place...the judicial cases are still starting. There is no single sentence in relation to human rights, although there is hope that the Colina Group case ends in one." A scheme to compensate the victims of human rights abuses in Peru is "insignificant", he said. There is no political will to incorporate military law into common jurisdiction or to fight for human rights with the resources and teeth needed to confront past abuses and set up preventive measures, he said. "It is clear that the circle of impunity is not closed, either in Peru or in the region. Either we secure a consistent string of (judicial) successes of increasing weight or there will be a regression." *Miren Gutiérrez is IPS Editor in Chief.
EFE 16 May 2005 Dominican authorities repatriate 3,000-plus Haitians in 3 days Santiago, Dominican Republic, May 16 (EFE).- Dominican authorities in recent days have deported more than 3,000 Haitians in one of the biggest such sweeps in decades, authorities said Monday. "There are thousands. More than 3,000," the top Dominican migration official in the northern part of the country, Juan Isidro Perez, told EFE as he directed the repatriation operations, which have been criticized by human rights organizations. The massive repatriations come a week after a Dominican man was murdered in the northwestern town of Hatillo Palma, allegedly by Haitians, an incident that unleashed the rage of local Dominicans and obligated the Haitian residents to flee the town. On Thursday and Friday, three Haitians were riddled with bullets and killed in Santiago, in Esperanza municipality, the head of the Haitian Democratic Party, Alexander Justh, complained to EFE. The tension created by the deportations resulted in postponing the opening of the local market held each Monday by Dominicans and Haitians in the border town of Dajabon. In response to the repatriations, Haitian authorities on Monday closed the border at the bridge crossing the Masacre River, which divides the nations sharing the island of Hispaniola, thus halting the cross-border movement of area residents. Virgilio Almanzar, the president of the National Human Rights Commission, told EFE that the Haitians being deported were also being subjected to "mistreatment and common plundering." In addition, he said that dozens of Dominicans had been transported to Haiti even though they had identity documents issued by their own country. The coordinator of the Jesuit Service for Refugees and Migrants (SJRM) in Dajabon, Regino Martinez, told EFE that the church in Ouanaminthe - a Haitian town located less than a kilometer (about half a mile) from the border - had been equipped to provide refuge to repatriated persons, but he added that it had already received the maximum number of people it could handle. He added that among the repatriated persons were children who had Dominican birth certificates. Dajabon Mayor Sonia Mateo said Monday that there was a clear willingness on the part of the Dominican government to control the presence of Haitians in the country and guarantee both security along the frontier and national sovereignty.
Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) 24 May 2005 JRS Dispatches No. 172(Extract) REFUGEE NEWS BRIEFINGS DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: THOUSANDS OF HAITIANS AND BLACK DOMINICANS EXPELLED EN MASSE "It is the responsibility of the Director General of the Migration Office, Carlos Amarente Baret, to stop immediately the mass expulsions of Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian origin in the northeast of the country. This is indiscriminate, illegal and inhumane", Fr Regino Martínez, Border Solidarity Project Director, JRS Dominican Republic, told Dispatches on 16 May. The authorities’ actions are in violation of the national migration law on repatriation (No 285-2004) and the 1999 Protocol of Understanding on the mechanisms of repatriation between the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Moreover, the latest forced repatriation is in violation of the American Convention on Human Rights (ACHR) which prohibits mass expulsions, (Article 22.9). On 13 May it was reported that they had expelled approximately 2,000 people, among them many Black Dominicans of Haitian origin. People were transported in military trucks and Migration Office buses to be deported to Haiti. Many Dominicans of Haitian origin have said that the authorities have taken their identity cards that could prove their right to legally reside in the Dominican Republic. "The Dominican State must undertake its responsibility to develop a clear and just migration policy which respects national and international human rights law. It must ensure that all repatriations are carried out in an orderly manner and respect the human dignity of all undocumented Haitians living in the Dominican Republic. A mass expulsion of this magnitude only appears as a way of diverting attention away from the country’s real problems", urged Fr Martínez. The mass expulsions began following the murder on 9 May of a Dominican citizen by presumed Haitian nationals in Hatillo Palma. Subsequently, a group of armed Dominicans, forced many members of the local Haitian minority, using death threats against them, to leave their homes which were then ransacked. The local Dominican community in Hatillo Palma demanded the support of the military for the immediate expulsion of all Haitian migrants, regular or irregular living in the area. Haiti: More than 2,000 Haitians and Black Dominicans forcibly deported from the Dominican Republic (DR) From 13 to 15 May, the Dominican State forcibly expelled more than 2,000 Haitians, Dominicans of Haitian origin and Black Dominicans to Wanament, northern Haiti, causing a humanitarian crisis in the town. The majority of those deported were women and children. JRS Haiti, in collaboration with other local associations and the church, has provided temporary housing, food, water, medical care and psychosocial services to over 1,000 deportees. Many of them were very badly affected by what had happened. Those deported were put into buses and trucks in which they travelled for more than three hours, encaged like animals. On 14 May, 50 deportees, who were housed in "Fortaleza Beller" military base were not even offered anything to eat. The majority of the deportees arrived to Wanament, distressed, dirty, hungry,thirsty, and humiliated. "This mass expulsion of Haitians and Black Dominicans surprised everybody and surpassed our capacity and that of our partners to provide them with accommodation in Wanament, a town that lacks even the most basic infrastructure and services. We have had to use the parish church and the convent as temporary accommodation centres", said a JRS staff member. On 15 May, in response to pressure from JRS Haiti, seven parents were allowed to return to the DR to look for their children. They were escorted by the Dominican military in trucks. However, despite these positive gestures, the military and the migration authorities are increasingly less open to assist individuals in similar situations. JRS is also indignant that the Haitian authorities have shown little concern for this humanitarian crisis on their northern border. Staff called on the Haitian State to respond immediately to this crisis and to seek negotiations with the Dominican State on the mechanisms of the orderly return of undocumented Haitians in accordance with the 1999 protocol of understanding. Staff added that the Haitian authorities should also respect their own commitments under the protocol to establish migration controls to receive those deported and to control future irregular migration.
Christian Aid - UK 24 May 2005 www.christianaid.org.uk Thousands of Haitian migrants thrown out of Dominican Republic Following the murder of a Dominican couple earlier this month – alleged to have been committed by three Haitian men – thousands of Haitian migrants have been thrown out of the Dominican Republic. There have been four separate murders in the same province during the past three years, all attributed to Haitians, but with no cases proven. After the latest murder, a group of Dominicans threatened local Haitians with a stark choice: die or leave the country. When the Haitians fled, many of their homes were ransacked by the Dominicans who had threatened them. The Dominicans pressured local authorities to expel all remaining Haitians. More than 2,000 Haitians were woken up in their homes in the early hours of the morning, forced onto buses and then dumped at the border. They were unable to gather personal belongings and in some cases even left behind family members. The town where they have been dumped, Wanament, is now overwhelmed and people are living in appalling conditions, with no water, food, shelter or medical services. A spokesman for Christian Aid partner, the Jesuit Refugee Service, warned that hundreds of people are being repatriated ‘without verifying their legal status, basing [the decision] solely on the colour of their skin’ he said. He pointed out that many dark-skinned Dominicans are also being expelled from their own country. He added that instead of offering protection to the Haitians who were threatened with death, the Dominican authorities took the opportunity to carry out ‘the biggest mass expulsion in the past few years.’ Father José Núñez, Director of JRS, said: ‘The military operations that have been carried out over the past few days must stop immediately … [they] violate national and international laws on human rights’. JRS also fears that actions of recent days will aggravate an already tense relationship between the two countries. Unemployed Haitians frequently cross the border into the Dominican Republic in search of work – either legally or illegally. While the Dominican Republic relies on Haitians to carry out work in the agricultural and building sector; they also frequently mistreat Haitians.
BBC 9 June 2005 Guatemala's epidemic of killing By Adam Blenford BBC News Campaigners say Guatemalan women live in "latent fear" In Guatemala, a small country not long emerged from three decades of civil war, women and girls are being murdered faster than anyone in authority can cope. Deborah Tomas Vineda, aged 16, was kidnapped, raped, and cut to pieces with a chainsaw, allegedly because she refused to become the girlfriend of a local gang member. Her sister Olga, just 11 years old, died alongside her. The raped and mutilated body of Andrea Contreras Bacaro, 17, was found wrapped in a plastic bag and thrown into a ditch, her throat cut, her face and hands slashed, with a gunshot wound to the head. The word "vengeance" had been gouged into her thigh. Sandra Palma Godoy, 17, said to have witnessed a killing in her home town, was missing for a week before her decomposing body was found next to a local football pitch. Her breasts, eyes and heart had been mutilated, reports said. According to Amnesty International, which has collated these stories and others in a new report on the killing of women in Guatemala, the country's leaders must share the blame for an epidemic of violence that has killed more than 1,500 women in under four years. The brutality of the killings... reveal that extreme forms of sexual violence and discrimination remain prevalent in Guatemalan society Amnesty International report In 2001, the first year separate records were kept for men and women, 222 women were registered as murdered, Guatemalan human rights activists have told the BBC. By 2004 that figure had more than doubled, to 494. In the first five months of 2005, the tally reached 225 - considerably more than one killing every day. Expression of hate "It's a very serious problem for the country," says Hilda Morales Trujillo, a veteran defender of women's' rights and a campaigner for Guatemala's Network for Non-Violence Against Women. KEY FACTS Population: 13m Capital: Guatemala City, 2m Civil war from 1960-1996 killed more than 200,000 Among Ms Trujillo's major concerns is increasing evidence that large numbers of women are tortured and brutalised before or after being killed. "The only explanation we can find for the use of extreme violence is as an expression of misogyny, of hate towards women," Ms Morales Trujillo told the BBC News website. Almost casually, she uses a chilling Hispanic word - "femicidio" - to describe what is happening to her countrywomen. In Guatemala, a male-dominated society that was heavily militarised during 36 years of civil war, thousands of men carry weapons and are no strangers to extreme violence. But if Guatemala has slowly slipped toward Colombian-style anarchy since peace accords were signed in 1996 - as President Oscar Berger recently said - women at least have made real social progress. Today more Guatemalan women go out to work, they stay longer in education, and express themselves freely than ever before. In much of the country, their reward is a perpetual fear of violent, sudden death. Neither the police nor the government take the problem of violence against women seriously. Hilda Morales Trujillo Network for Non-Violence Against Women Prostitutes and female gang members are at the most serious risk, but the death toll includes women from all walks of life. "Every day the numbers are growing, and for two reasons," Sandra Moran, another women's rights activist, told the BBC News website. "Firstly, there is no respect for the body of a woman. People feel they can treat women however they want. Also, there is the idea that women are the property of someone. "Because of this we find women are often tortured and sexually abused before they are killed. In some cases they are dismembered." Impunity In its new report, Amnesty calls on Guatemala's government to improve public education, inject real urgency into criminal investigations, and reform outdated laws on rape and sexual violence. She had been raped, her hands and feet tied with barbed wire, she had been strangled and put in a bag - they kept on telling me not to get so worked up Rosa Franco Mother of Maria Isabel Franco, murdered in December 2001 The report follows criticism of Guatemala in 2004 by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, which noted the high rates of murder, domestic and sexual violence, rape and kidnapping within Guatemala. Hilda Morales Trujillo speaks of "a latent fear" among Guatemalan women, who are rarely protected by the country's overworked, underfunded and often corrupt police force. In its report, Amnesty International catalogues examples of "serious and persistent shortcomings" in police work "at every stage of the investigative process". "There is a common denominator to all the murders: impunity," Guatemala's Human Right's Ombudsman Sergio Morales said in 2004. Anabella Noriega, who heads the women's unit in Mr Morales' office, told the BBC that out of more than 500 cases in 2004, just one ended in conviction. Lack of interest by state authorities, failure to collect evidence and endemic corruption all feed the problem, she added. Amid growing revulsion to the inhuman nature of many killings, a handful of women's groups and victims' relatives try to raise awareness of the issue at home and abroad. But they face a culture of silence and are regularly targeted themselves. In the first week of May, 12 separate offices were ransacked, Sandra Moran said. "No-one ever comes forward to tell their story. "The message is that people can do whatever they want, with no chance of prosecution. "We all feel afraid. But it just makes us want to carry on."
BBC 1 June, 2005, 12:14 GMT 13:14 UK E-mail this to a friend Printable version Haiti faces 'explosive' situation The UN needs to take control of Haiti's law enforcement, the ICG says Haiti is caught in a "deep political, social and economic crisis", says a new report by Brussels-based think tank International Crisis Group (ICG). The security situation is "explosive" despite the presence of a 7,400 UN peacekeeping force, it says. It blames warring gangs - supporters or opponents of ousted President Jean Bertrand Aristide - for the bloodshed. Several people have been killed in fresh outbreaks of violence as the UN voted to extend its mandate by 24 days. The reports says "powerful spoilers" are fomenting the violence and instability "out of a desire to seek, keep or maximise power, income, authority, or position". Underlying much of the violence is the chronic failure to tackle poverty, social deprivation and exclusion that endanger most of the population ICG report It says that political factions, elements of the business elite, drug-traffickers and other criminal organisations have a "clear interest in delaying the elections and in destabilisation". The continuing violence threatens to overshadow the country's local, legislative and presidential elections, due between October and December. At least three people were killed during unrest on Tuesday, including the French honorary consul in the northern city of Cap Haitien, who was shot dead as he was driving near the capital, Port-au-Prince. Human rights groups say more than 600 people have been killed in violence in the Caribbean island since last October. UN help The ICG says the UN needs to take control of law enforcement and security forces if the situation is to improve. The human rights situation, says the report, is still alarming with allegations of summary executions, violence against women and kidnappings by the Haitian police force. The recommendations in the ICG's Spoiling Security in Haiti report include: Increasing the UN police force from the current level of 1,622 to at least 4,600 officers Neutralising so-called "spoilers" ahead of the elections in order to safeguard the democratic transition Disarming and demobilising armed factions coupled with police, judicial, political and economic reforms "Underlying much of the violence is the chronic failure to tackle poverty, social deprivation and exclusion that endanger most of the population," says the ICG report.
NYT 4 June 2005 MEXICO: EX-PRESIDENT'S INDICTMENT DELAYED Ignacio Carrillo Prieto, the special prosecutor appointed by President Vicente Fox in 2002 to pursue cases against officials accused of rights violations, has delayed an expected indictment against former President Luis Echeverría. Mr. Carrillo had promised to file kidnapping and genocide charges against Mr. Echeverría by the end of May, for an alleged role in the massacre of student protestors in 1968. But this week he said his office was studying new elements that would strengthen his case. Last year, he filed genocide charges against Mr. Echeverría, 83, in the killings of two dozen student protesters in 1971, but a judge ruled that the time limit under the statute of limitations had run out. That case is under review by the Supreme Court.
Africa Action 31 May 2005 Press Release www.africaaction.org FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Ann-Louise Colgan (202) 546-7961 Event: Activists to Stage “Die-In” on Darfur at the White House Activists and Special Guests to Urge President Bush to Take Immediate Action to Stop Genocide in Darfur at Wednesday Vigil WHAT: A Special “Die-In” Vigil hosted by Africa Action to highlight the ongoing Genocide in Darfur and demand a multinational intervention to stop the violence and protect the people of Darfur. WHO: Activists from across the region, plus Guest Speakers, including: Elnour Adam, Darfur Rehabilitation Project Marie Dennis, Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns Bill Fletcher, Jr., TransAfrica Forum Rep. Donald M. Payne, D-NJ (invited) David Rubenstein, Save Darfur Coalition Emira Woods, Foreign Policy in Focus WHEN: Wednesday, June 1, 2005 - 5:30pm WHERE: Lafayette Park in Front of the White House (H St. and 16th St. NW) Africa Action and people of conscience will take part in a special commemoration for victims of genocide in Darfur on Wednesday, June 1, 2005 at the White House. Participants in the action will demand that President Bush end his silence on the genocide and work for multinational intervention in Darfur. During the vigil, participants dressed in black will go to the White House gates and “die” to represent the 500 people who die every day in Darfur. Since March 8, Africa Action has been holding weekly “speak-out vigils” at the White House, calling on the President to do everything necessary to secure a UN Security Council Resolution authorizing a multinational intervention force to support the African Union and to protect the people of Darfur. This week’s “Die-In” Vigil follows an Open Letter to President Bush, which was released last week calling for U.S. action in support of an urgent multinational intervention to protect the people of Darfur. The letter, signed by 80 prominent national leaders representing millions of Americans, captures the most important immediate steps that leading advocacy groups and leadership figures believe the Bush Administration must take to stop the genocide in Darfur. The Open Letter accompanies a grassroots petition which has been signed by over 16,000 people in recent weeks. Organizers expect to gather 400,000 signatures by September 9, 2005, the 1-year anniversary of the Bush Administration’s declaration that genocide is occurring in Darfur.
www.crisisgroup.org 1 June 2005 NEW BRIEFING Do Americans Care about Darfur? An International Crisis Group/Zogby International Opinion Survey Over 80 per cent of Americans support a tougher international response to the current situation in Darfur, a new International Crisis Group/Zogby poll finds. This includes backing for military measures, sanctions and International Criminal Court prosecutions against the Sudanese government and its leaders responsible for the tragedy. Among 1,000 Americans surveyed, results indicate that short of inserting American combat troops on the ground to protect civilians, there is greater public backing for the U.S. to play a leadership role in stemming this catastrophe than has been the conventional wisdom in Washington. Crisis Group reports and briefing papers are available on our website: www.crisisgroup.org
www.washingtontimes.com 1 June 2005 Bush dismisses 'absurd' Amnesty report By Joseph Curl President Bush yesterday called a report by Amnesty International "absurd" for its charge that the United States is mistreating terrorist suspects in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, saying accusations were being made by "people who hate America." "It's absurd. It's an absurd allegation," the president said in a Rose Garden press conference. "We've investigated every single complaint against the detainees. It seemed like to me they based some of their decisions on the word of -- and the allegations -- by people who were held in detention, people who hate America ..." Mr. Bush, who was at times combative in the 50-minute session, also said a demand by Capitol Hill Democrats for more documents before holding a vote on his nominee for U.N. ambassador is nothing more than a "stall tactic." "I thought John Bolton was going to get an up-or-down vote on the Senate floor, just like he deserves an up-or-down vote on the Senate floor, and clearly he's got the votes to get confirmed. And so I was disappointed that once again, the leadership there in the Senate didn't give him an up-or-down vote." Democrats in the Senate, led by Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, last week blocked a confirmation vote on Mr. Bolton, saying they wanted classified documents from the White House before any vote. The tactic -- which even Mr. Reid acknowledged amounted to a filibuster -- shattered the short-lived good will that arose after a bipartisan compromise that stopped Democratic filibusters and allowed three of Mr. Bush's long-stalled judicial nominees to move forward. "In terms of the request for documents, I view that as just another stall tactic, another way to delay, another way to not allow Bolton to get an up-or-down vote," he said, his voice rising. "We've answered questions after questions after questions. ... And so it's just a stalling tactic. And I would hope that when they get back that they stop stalling and give the man a vote." Mr. Reid released a statement after the press conference, saying Mr. Bush is "caving to the demands of the far right," but making no mention of the filibuster of Mr. Bolton. Mr. Bush saved his strongest criticism for Amnesty International, which last week called on foreign governments "to uphold their obligations under international law by investigating U.S. officials implicated in the development or implementation of interrogation techniques that constitute torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment" at the U.S. military base known as Gitmo. The report, titled "The State of the World's Human Rights," charged that the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, "has become the gulag of our times" and accused high-level U.S. officials -- including the president, Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales and former CIA Director George J. Tenet -- of flouting international law in their treatment of detainees. "The United States is a country that is -- promotes freedom around the world," Mr. Bush said. "When there's accusations made about certain actions by our people, they're fully investigated in a transparent way. It's just an absurd allegation. "In terms of the detainees, we've had thousands of people detained. ... And so it was an absurd report. It just is." The Washington Times on Tuesday reported that an al Qaeda handbook directs operatives to level charges of torture once captured, a training regime that administration officials say explains some of the charges of abuse at Guantanamo Bay. Approximately 600 detainees are held at Guantanamo Bay. Officials have not estimated the total number of complaints of abuse made by the detainees. Mr. Bush's harsh criticism follows that of Vice President Dick Cheney, who said on Monday that he is offended by the accusations -- splashed in the news after Newsweek retracted a report that U.S. military members had flushed a holy Koran down a toilet at the base. "For Amnesty International to suggest that somehow the United States is a violator of human rights, I frankly just don't take them seriously," Mr. Cheney said.
Reuters 1 June 2005 Bush says concerned about Darfur genocide WASHINGTON, June 1 (Reuters) - President Bush said on Wednesday he was concerned about genocide in Sudan's troubled Darfur region but stopped short of offering military involvement beyond the logistical aid Washington now provides. President George Bush "This is a serious situation," Bush said during a meeting at the Oval Office with South African President Thabo Mbeki. "As you know, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, with my concurrence, declared the situation a genocide." The Bush administration, which is providing logistical aid through NATO to African Union troops, has been criticized for not doing enough to end the killings and atrocities. Mbeki did not challenge Bush's characterization of the Darfur crisis as genocide but steered clear of using the word himself at a later briefing with reporters. "It might be fine for someone in the United States to be making all sorts of statements, but we have to work (on finding a solution)," Mbeki said. "We are looking for a solution to the problem and the solution, does it lie in making radical statements? Not for us as Africans. The solution lies in mobilizing (all parties)," he added. Bush first used the word genocide to describe the Darfur crisis in September 2004 in a statement he issued. The Darfur conflict broke out in February 2003 after rebels took up arms against the Arab-dominated government. Sudan's government is accused of retaliating by arming the local Arab militia, who burned down villages and slaughtered and raped civilians. Tens of thousands have been killed and more than 2 million have been forced to flee their homes. U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick this week is making his second trip in a month to Darfur. Bush said the United States will be contributing a transport plane as part of a NATO effort to help the African Union troops. Mbeki said the United States and other non-African countries were not being asked to deploy troops. "Our view has been that it's critically important that the African continent should deal with these conflict situations on the continent -- and that includes Darfur," Mbeki said. The nonprofit International Crisis Group said the African Union forces may not be sufficient to address the scope of the problem in Darfur. "Ideally, the gap would be filled by more African personnel with strong international support, but if this proves unworkable in the short time available, a multinational bridging force will be the only solution to tackle Darfur's most urgent protection needs," the group said in a statement. Also in the meeting with Mbeki, Bush criticized Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's handling of an economic crisis marked by fuel, food and currency shortages. "We are concerned about a leadership that does not adhere to democratic principles, and, obviously, concerned about a country that was able to, for example, feed herself, now has to import food, as an example of the consequence of not adhering to democratic principles," Bush said. Mbeki has come under criticism from Zimbabwe's opposition for his "quiet diplomacy" style in trying to resolve the Zimbabwe crisis. He told reporters his government wants to help both the opposition party and ruling party in Zimbabwe find ways to solve the country's political and economic problems. "The critical challenge...is to assist the people of Zimbabwe to overcome their political problems, their economic problems," Mbeki said. "Clearly, one of the critically important things to do is to make sure that you have the political arrangements that address matters of rule of law, matters that address issues of the freedom of the press, issues that address questions of freedom of assembly," he said.
IPS 1 June 2005 Bush Once Again Cites 'Genocide' in Darfur Jim Lobe WASHINGTON, Jun 1 (IPS) - Breaking nearly six months of silence on the issue, U.S. President George W. Bush reaffirmed Wednesday his belief that ''genocide'' is taking place in Darfur, Sudan, but gave no indication that his administration is prepared to pursue aggressive efforts to stop it. ''This is a serious situation,'' Bush said during a White House photo opportunity with visiting South African President Thabo Mbeki. ''As you know, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, with my concurrence, declared the situation a genocide,'' he added, noting that he was consulting North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and Western allies about providing logistical support for an African Union (AU) monitoring group of about 2,300 soldiers and police. Human-rights and Africa activists who have voiced growing concerns that Washington has shifted towards a policy of rapprochement with the National Islamic Front (NIF) regime in Khartoum said they were unimpressed by Bush's statement. ''Bush's statement is hopelessly opportunistic,'' said Eric Reeves, a Smith College professor who has played a leadership role in the international campaign to draw attention to the killings in Darfur. ''It can only be intended to pre-empt the perception that his administration has backed away from its previously robust position'' against Khartoum. ''It seems like Bush is trying to hide behind Colin Powell,'' said Ann-Louise Colgan, deputy director of advocacy group Africa Action. ''It's a completely insufficient response to genocide to say that you're sending a transport plane.'' ''It's quite clear from reports on the ground in Darfur that the genocide continues and that the most important priority is protecting the people there,'' Colgan added. ''Nothing short of a multinational intervention can achieve that at this point.'' Bush's remarks came amid growing pressure on the administration to do more about Darfur, where a nearly two-and-a-half-year counter-insurgency campaign by government forces and government-backed Arab militias, called Janjaweed, against the region's African inhabitants has resulted in the deaths of as many as 400,000 people, according to some studies, and the uprooting of 2.5 million others. Last week, some 80 human rights and religious groups and prominent individuals sent a letter to the White House calling on Washington to submit a resolution at the U.N. Security Council that would authorise the AU's monitoring operation in Darfur to use armed force to protect civilians. Arguing that ''genocide'' was an international concern, the groups, which included Africa Action, the National Council of Churches USA, and Physicians for Human Rights, among others, also called on the administration to mobilise a ''robust international force'' to augment the AU mission. Meanwhile, the initiators of the ''Darfur Genocide Accountability Act'', which if approved would authorise Bush to use military force to stop the killing there, announced that 114 lawmakers -- or more than 25 percent of the House of Representatives -- have signed on as co-sponsors of the bill. And a new national poll released here Wednesday by the International Crisis Group (ICG) just before Bush's appearance with Mbeki found that nearly four out of five respondents favour stronger action by the international community to stop the killing, including the imposition of a ''no-fly zone'' over Darfur to prevent Khartoum's aircraft from flying over the region. The poll, which was conducted by Zogby International on behalf of the ICG, also found that while only 64 percent of respondents said they were aware of the situation in Darfur, 84 percent said the U.S. should not tolerate an extremist government committing genocide or crimes against humanity against its own population and should use military assets, short of U.S. troops on the ground, to help stop it. The pressure for Bush to do more, however, also is coming from sources outside the U.S. -- although notably not from Mbeki who, as a good guest, praised Bush for the logistical assistance he has provided to the AU's operation to date. ''You will notice that we have not asked for anybody outside the African continent to deploy troops in Darfur. It's an African responsibility, and we can do it,'' Mbeki told reporters. His statement drew scorn from Colgan of Africa Action. ''The AU has shown important leadership but it cannot shoulder this burden alone and it should not have to because genocide is a crime against humanity,'' she said. Last week, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan traveled to Darfur to express his personal concern, visit camps of displaced people, and urge Khartoum to immediately comply with existing Security Council resolutions demanding a halt to the violence and the disarmament of the Janjaweed. No sooner had Annan left, however, than the authorities arrested his Sudanese interpreter and the top two leaders of the Dutch division of Doctors Without Borders (AzG, by its Dutch initials), which had just published a report documenting widespread rapes in Darfur. Khartoum had demanded that AzG produce evidence for the report's conclusions but the group refused to hand over medical records. Groups here also noted that the arrests also followed statements in defence of Khartoum by Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick. Zoellick, who is expected to visit Darfur this weekend, was quoted by Agence France-Presse as saying that he believed the NIF regime was ''working hard for a political solution'' in Darfur. Zoellick's statement was the latest in a series of administration moves that alarmed activists who said that, instead of trying to increase pressure on Khartoum, Washington had actually launched a rapprochement. To their great distress, Washington has for months failed to push for the Security Council to impose diplomatic and economic sanctions against Khartoum for not complying with previous resolutions. The administration has argued that such an effort would be useless because China, which has large oil-related investments in Sudan, and Russia, which is the regime's biggest arms supplier, are likely to veto such a measure. Moreover, on a trip to Darfur in mid-April, Zoellick declined to personally endorse Powell's assessment that the situation constituted ''genocide'' and instead produced a State Department report that estimated total deaths in the region at only between 60,000 and 160,000. That assessment was dismissed as impossibly low not only by activist groups but also by the Washington Post, which compared the results of methodologies of several recent independent studies. Most provocative, however, was news that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had secretly flown the Khartoum regime's intelligence chief, Maj. Gen. Salah Abdallah Gosh, here in mid-April for high-level meetings on sharing intelligence in what the White House calls its ''war on terrorism.'' Gosh has been named as one of the officials responsible for directing the counter-insurgency campaign in Darfur. All of these moves have fired up activist groups that have taken to staging weekly protests outside the White House. On Wednesday evening, several hundred people were expected to take part in a ''die-in'' in Lafayette Park, across the street from the presidential mansion. It is in that context that Bush's remarks Wednesday should be understood, according to Reeves. ''He wants to make it harder for critics to say that he's backing away from a stronger policy,'' he told IPS, adding that the ploy is unlikely to work. ''It's good that the president reaffirms that it's genocide. But how can a genocidal regime be 'working hard for a political solution,' as Zoellick said just last week?"
Elmira Star-Gazette, NY 2 June 2005 'Hello. This is the White House calling'
Notre Dame students get response to letters sent to Bush on Sudan genocide. June
2, 2005 By MOLLY McCARTHY Star-Gazette firstname.lastname@example.org SOUTHPORT - Helen
Keating did not expect to hear the following words when she answered the telephone
Tuesday afternoon at Notre Dame High School. "Hello. This is the White House calling."
It was a first for officer manager Keating, who has worked at the school for 21
years. The reason for the call from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. in Washington, D.C.,
to 1400 Maple Ave. in Southport was the scores of letters Notre Dame students
sent last month to President George W. Bush. They urged Bush to acknowledge the
humanitarian crisis in the Darfur region of Sudan, which has affected an estimated
2.6 million people, as genocide. Eight students were so concerned by reported
events in the north African country that they created a PowerPoint presentation
on the subject of genocide. They shared it with the 400 students and staff at
Notre Dame last month on Holocaust Remembrance Day. The crisis in Sudan is the
result of escalating fighting that arose in February 2003 between the government
of Sudan and two rebel groups claiming unjust treatment over land and resources,
according to Catholic Relief Services. It has left some 180,000 people dead and
more than 2.4 million homeless. Alexis Kinney, a 17-year-old junior who was one
of the students who addressed the school, described a look of "shock" on many
of her classmates' faces as they saw pictures of and heard statistics about what
is happening in Sudan. Raising awareness was the students' goal, said Connor Sullivan,
a 17-year-old junior who also made the PowerPoint presentation. He said he was
glad White House officials received the letters and hoped they would carefully
consider what they said. "I think it's a step in the right direction," he said.
In addition to Bush, the students also sent letters to U.S. Rep. John R. Kuhl
Jr., R-Hammondsport, and U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., about 200 in all,
teacher Michelle Burroughs said. The students also have raised about $1,000 for
Catholic Relief Services' program called Africa Rising Hope and Healing. The White
House caller confirmed that the letters were received and inquired as to whether
any particular class had sent the letters. No promises were made that Bush would
respond, but school officials think some type of White House response will come.
Sister Mary Walter Hickey, principal of Notre Dame, said she was proud of the
students for the compassion they showed. "I'm impressed and really edified by
their willingness to take up such an important cause for humanity."
washingtonpost.com 2 June 2005 3 Killed in Richmond In Shooting Rampage By Allan Lengel Washington Post Staff Writer Thursday, June 2, 2005; B02 A gunman killed three men at separate locations in Richmond's Southside area last night, shouting racial insults at at least two of the victims as he shot them in the head in front of their customers, police said. One of the victims was of Arab descent and the other was Asian, Richmond police said. The other man was black, as is the gunman, who remained at large early today. "We've got officers working all over the city," said Richmond police Detective Ron Brown, who added that the slayings are being investigated as possible hate crimes. Shortly before 7 p.m., the gunman shot and killed Derrick Conner, a black man, outside a public housing complex in the 1600 block of Glenfield Avenue, police said. About 10 minutes later and three miles away, the gunman walked into the James Food Market, a convenience store in the 1800 block of Broad Rock Road. He then started yelling ethnically insensitive comments at store employee Abdulrahman Aldhabhani, 43, and shot him in front of customers, Brown said. The gunman grabbed some cash and store items before fleeing, Brown said. The gunman then walked next door to Poly Cleaners and started yelling at Jong Doh, 39, who is identified in documents as owner of the dry cleaner. Customers there also witnessed the shooting, police said. The gunman ran out of the business and fled in a large, gray, older-model car, Brown said. Witness accounts at the second and third shootings led police to believe that all three shootings were committed by the same man, he added. Conner was pronounced dead at the scene. Aldhabhani, of Richmond, and Doh, of Midlothian, a Richmond suburb, were pronounced dead on arrival at Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center in Richmond, police said. Brown said early today that police were reviewing a surveillance videotape from the convenience store.
www.indiancountry.com 2 June 2005 American Indian Genocide Museum hosts first film festival by: Brenda Norrell / Indian Country Today HOUSTON - The American Indian Genocide Museum in Houston is hosting its first film festival June 17 - 18, featuring panel discussions and a film series including, ''The Sand Creek Massacre: A Lesson from History.'' Steve Melendez, Pyramid Lake Paiute and president of the American Indian Genocide Museum, said the film festival is the first of its kind for Houston and planned as an annual event. Special guests include Russell Means, remembered for his performances in ''Last of the Mohicans,'' ''Natural Born Killers'' and ''Black Cloud.'' ''Black Cloud,'' based on the life of a Navajo boxer and filmed on the Navajo Nation, is among the featured films at the festival. Film director Don Vasicek, who also appeared as an actor in ''Die Hard 2,'' will be present to share his journey in the making of ''The Sand Creek Massacre: A Lesson From History.'' Vasicek's quest for the truth of the Sand Creek Massacre in southeastern Colorado led him to discover little-known accounts of the massacre in written accounts and memories of survivors' descendants. Joanelle Romero's documentary, ''American Holocaust: When It's All Over I'll Still Be Indian,'' is also featured at the festival. As an actress, Romero is remembered for her performance in ''Pow Wow Highway.'' Romero, director of ''American Holocaust,'' describes the film as a hard-hitting documentary that reveals the link between Adolf Hitler's treatment of European Jews and the U.S. government's treatment of American Indians. ''The film depicts disturbing parallels between these two holocausts and explores the historical, social and religious roots of America's own 'ethnic cleansing.' The film also examines the long-term effects of this on-going destructive process and possible ramifications to the future of American Indian people in the 21st century,'' according to the filmmaker's statement. ''American Holocaust,'' released in 2000, was the winner of Best Documentary Short at 25th Annual American Indian Film Festival. Melendez said the film festival is the latest exciting development for the emerging museum. ''The American Indian Genocide Museum is Houston's newest museum and the only museum exclusively focusing on addressing this tragic phase of American history,'' Melendez said. ''The mission of the museum is to bring the truth of the historical tragedy of the annihilation of the American Indian to light through the visual art of sculpture and film. ''Public education programs are designed to create a memorable learning experience that results in life-changing behavior and the ability to live peaceably with others while building relationships that restore healing, hope and history.'' While the search and funding for a permanent building is underway, the American Indian Genocide Museum is open by appointment only. For more information, visit www.aigenom.com or call (713) 928-2440. Rice University's Native American Student Association is hosting the film festival, which will be held June 17 - 18, from 1:30 p.m. - 9 p.m. on both days at Rice Cinema at Rice University, 6100 Main (Entrance No. 8) in Houston. Tickets may be purchased online at www.aigenom.com or by calling (713) 928-2440. All proceeds will benefit the museum and Rice University's Native American Student Association. American Indian Genocide Museum The purpose of this museum is to bring historical truth to light through the means of education using actual documentation of events that have transpired in the near extermination, and in some cases, the total extermination of native tribes and cultures. It will be a memorial to the victims of ethnic cleansing. Racism, discrimination and injustice will be addressed with the purpose of promoting public awareness that these elements of genocide which existed in the past, continue to exist today. A further purpose of the museum will be to address prejudice which is generated toward native peoples through biased reporting of history. The goal of influencing authors of school textbooks with irrefutable documentation shall be of major importance. A library and microfilm archive will be available. The visual use of art, sculpture and film will create a memorable learning experience.www.aigenom.com
www.sun-sentinel.com 6 June 2005 FAU hosts discussion on Holocaust's role in study of global atrocities Scholars consider future discourse By Tal Abbady Staff Writer June 6, 2005 BOCA RATON -- "I have long wrestled with the same nagging question, which I try to brush aside but which keeps returning, insistent, insolent, and harsh. Why me? Why did I survive when so many loved ones around me perished? The answer emerged from the depths of my being. I was spared so that I could be a witness." Those words preface artist Rupert Bazambanza's illustrated storybook account of the Rwandan genocide, Smile Through the Tears. The small African nation is often evoked as the most glaring example of late 20th-century atrocities that rendered meaningless the dictum "Never Again" that emerged from the Holocaust. Yet the systematic murder of 6 million Jews by the Nazis remains the backdrop for the understanding and evaluation of modern genocide, including Rwanda's story. That sparked vigorous debate Sunday when Bazambanza, who survived the Hutu-led massacres in his country, and dozens of scholars and writers from around the world gathered to discuss the Holocaust's impact on genocide scholarship. Michael Berenbaum, of the University of Judaism in Los Angeles, raised the question of the Holocaust's legacy in a lecture Sunday that was part of the sixth biennial conference of the International Association of Genocide Scholars, "Ninety Years after the Armenian Genocide and Sixty Years after the Holocaust: The Continuing Threat and Legacy of Genocide." Florida Atlantic University hosts the event, which runs through Tuesday. Universalized as "the paradigmatic manifestation of evil," Berenbaum argued the Holocaust's usefulness as a way to "particularize" the Jewish community, a process that led to the creation of Israel, has regrettably waned. Today the Holocaust is considered the prevailing reference in all discourse on genocide from Bosnia to Rwanda to discussions of potential nuclear warfare. For some, that raises troubling questions about whether the Holocaust should be preserved as an example of the uniqueness of Jewish suffering that is not comparable to any other event. "The Holocaust has taken up so much time and so much space in the 20th century. ... How do we furnish time, space, attention, affection and empathy for others?" asked Robert Melson, a professor of political science at Purdue University. It is through exhaustive Holocaust inquiry and identification with it, Berenbaum responded, that other atrocities have been acknowledged as genocide. "You can use the depth of understanding of one pain to speak to another pain," Berenbaum said. The lecture sparked a few heated exchanges on the politics of competitive suffering. It then turned to what for some is the most bruising subject in Holocaust discourse: that genocides continue to take place before a chorus of passive spectators around the world. "Never Again," Berenbaum said in his closing remarks, has long been a moot point. "The most that we can ask for now is `Not this time. Not on my watch,'" he said. With his art, Bazambanza, 30, hopes to remind the international community that Rwanda did happen on its watch. "I want to pass on my experiences to the world," said Bazambanza, who lost his father, cousins and dozens of friends in Rwanda in 1994. Tal Abbady can be reached at email@example.com or 561-243-6624. Copyright © 2005, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
www.palmbeachpost.com 3 June 2005 Teachers' workshop defines genocide By Lona O'Connor Palm Beach Post Staff Writer Friday, June 03, 2005 LAKE WORTH — World leaders may fiercely debate the definition of genocide, but it took two dozen teachers a little more than an hour to settle the matter for themselves. The teachers, from Lake Worth Community High School, Boynton Beach High and Lantana Middle School, spent a dark, rainy day on the even darker subject of genocide, or political mass murder. They discussed the 4,000-year history of genocide, from ancient Persia to modern-day Turkey, Bosnia and Rwanda. The two-day workshop aims to return teachers to their classrooms armed with historical lessons to combat prejudice in schools and the community around them. "Ethnic cleansing, is that the same as genocide?" asked Mary Johnson, getting the ball rolling right away. Johnson, co-leader of the workshop, works for "Facing History and Ourselves," a nonprofit organization based in Brookline, Mass. "It is just a fancy word for genocide," shot back Momodou Jobe, born in Gambia and now a biology teacher at Lake Worth High. "Ethnic cleansing" became unexpectedly personal in college for Michael Woods, who teaches special education and advises the student council at Boynton Beach High. When he attended the University of South Florida, he met a basketball player from Yugoslavia, which was at that time splintering into Bosnia, Serbia, Croatia and other warring regions. "He hadn't heard from his parents. He thought he might never go home," Woods said. "I could go home to my parents for the holidays, but he had to stay at the university. He had no place to go." The people in the room grew silent when Johnson recalled her experiences as a Peace Corps volunteer in Nigeria. In 1967, the Ibo people of Biafra, in eastern Nigeria, declared their independence from the Nigerian government, dominated by Hausa people. "There was tremendous fear," she said. "We were sitting in church on a Sunday morning when the Hausa people came through the church. I saw my own steward, an Ibo, massacred right in front of my eyes. The priest had a shotgun and protected a few of us." Three years later, nearly 1 million had died and Biafra became synonymous with mass destruction and famine. "We have an idea now that it was genocide, but at the time we did not," said Johnson. "You didn't know the bigger picture, you just knew that killing was going on." It is not necessary to search for genocide halfway around the world. Slavery and the 1830 Indian Removal Act are two examples of what some define as genocide in the United States, said Rose Gatens, co-leader of Thursday's workshop and director of the Florida Atlantic University Center for Holocaust and Human Rights Education. "When minorities are considered to be obstacles to progress, they are not protected," she said. "That is a really frightening thing to think about." Since most of the participants teach subjects not usually associated with human rights, they came up with inventive ways to insert the topic into the study of engineering, math, science and even health. Marcy Fine, who teaches health at Lake Worth High, discussed nutrition — or the lack of it — in the diet of refugees and how they become sick or die when they cannot get basic nutrients. Fine's experience with prejudice was personal, too. Decades ago, her father's store in Savannah, Ga., was burned because the family was Jewish. For Woods, human rights are always as close as the high school campus. "Unless a kid feels comfortable," he said, "he's not going to learn." For more information, visit www.facinghistory.org
Los Angeles Daily News, CA 9 June 2005 House panel will debate genocide By Lisa Friedman Washington Bureau WASHINGTON - Rep. Adam Schiff, D- Pasadena, announced late Wednesday that the House International Relations Committee has agreed to take up the contentious debate over whether Congress should officially call the massacre of Armenians during World War I a "genocide." Schiff, who has written a resolution supporting recognition of the genocide, said he secured an agreement from committee Chairman Henry Hyde to hear the matter. Hyde promised that the committee would debate and vote on his resolution "in a timely fashion," Schiff said. In exchange, Schiff said he agreed to withdraw two amendments to a foreign policy bill under debate. One of them would have asked for an accounting of U.S. responses to Armenian, Cambodian and Rwandan genocides as well as the Holocaust; the other would have condemned Turkey's blockade of Armenia. The deal came as Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan met in Washington with President George W. Bush, where both declared a strong alliance. Schiff said he believed he was able to strike the deal because House Republican leaders who have opposed the genocide resolution fearing it could endanger U.S./Turkish relations, "weren't sure that they could defeat my amendments and they were also concerned about the timing of the amendments during the prime minister's visit." Attempts to reach both Armenian and Turkish officials for comment late Wednesday were unsuccessful. Armenian-Americans say 1.5 million Armenians were killed in a genocide perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire between 1915 and 1923. Turkish officials say far fewer people died amid a multiparty conflict. The last time the International Relations Committee held a hearing on the issue was in 2000 as a political favor to then-Rep. James Rogan, who was facing a tough re-election battle against Schiff. Officials estimate there are more than 300,000 Armenian-Americans in Southern California, about a third of them in the Glendale area.
NYT 9 June 2005 6 Senators Urge Reassessment of Ties With Uzbekistan Ruler By C. J. CHIVERS KIEV, Ukraine, June 8 - Six United States senators urged the Bush administration on Wednesday to reconsider its relationship with the authoritarian government in Uzbekistan, saying close association with a nation whose troops fired on demonstrators last month risked undermining the security of the United States. The senators - four Republicans and two Democrats - also asked if the administration knew whether American-trained troops or American military equipment were used in the deadly crackdown, in Andijon, in northeastern Uzbekistan. The senators' statement, in a letter sent to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, exposed growing unease about ties between the United States' military and Uzbekistan's president, Islam A. Karimov, who emerged in 2001 as an important ally in the fight against Islamic terrorists. Copies were obtained by The New York Times from the staffs of two of the senators who signed the letter. Mr. Karimov's government has long been criticized by the State Department, private aid organizations and the United Nations for its poor human rights record, repression of political opponents and use of torture. Yet it has managed to maintain strong ties with Washington, in part by granting the Pentagon access to an airbase near the Afghan border. Uzbek troops used rifle and machine-gun fire to crush a prison break and mass protest in Andijon. Uzbekistan has not yet cooperated in calls for an independent international investigation of the episode, which left at least 173 people dead. An investigation released Tuesday by Human Rights Watch labeled the crackdown a massacre and said the death toll was in the hundreds - much higher than the official tally. It also noted that witnesses and journalists were being intimidated and in some cases arrested in the aftermath. The United States has been slowly increasing its pressure on Uzbekistan in recent weeks; the senators' letter circulated on a day when that pressure moved up another notch. Speaking to reporters in Washington, Sean McCormack, a State Department spokesman, made clear that American officials believe more people were killed than the Uzbeks have admitted. "I think our position would be that there have been many reliable eyewitness accounts to shooting by Uzbek forces of civilians," he said. "And I think what we know now is that hundreds of innocent civilians were killed." "We support an international investigation into this incident," he added. The senators posed several pointed questions to the administration, including what actions it would take if Uzbekistan continued to intimidate witnesses and block an investigation, and whether it was exploring "alternative basing arrangements." They also cautioned against entering a long-term base deal, asking "What would be the likely fallout from America's deepening relationship with a government that brutally represses its people?" They concluded: "America's relationship with Uzbekistan cannot remain unchanged." The letter was organized by Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, two Senate staff members said, and was signed by three other Republicans - Mike DeWine of Ohio, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and John E. Sununu of New Hampshire - and two Democrats - Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware and Patrick Leahy of Vermont.
AP 9 June 2005 Colo. Professor Complains About Accuser The Associated Press Thursday, June 9, 2005; 10:08 PM BOULDER, Colo. -- University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill, whose essay comparing some Sept. 11 victims to Nazis led to an investigation into his scholarship and ethnicity, has filed a complaint against one of his accusers. Churchill's complaint to Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas, accuses assistant sociology professor Thomas Brown of academic misconduct. Brown has alleged Churchill fabricated crucial details in his argument that the Army committed genocide against Indians in the 1800s. In an e-mail to The Denver Post Wednesday, Brown said Churchill was attempting to block him from submitting a more detailed analysis of Churchill's work. Churchill ignited a controversy when he compared some victims in the World Trade Center to Adolf Eichmann, who orchestrated the Holocaust. University officials concluded he could not be fired for the comments, but they launched an investigation into allegations that he plagiarized or fabricated research and lied about being an American Indian. Churchill, a tenured professor of ethnic studies, has denied the charges. A CU faculty committee is reviewing the charges and could recommend that he be fired. His attorney, David Lane, confirmed that Churchill filed a complaint against Brown but denied it was an attempt to silence him. A Lamar University spokesman said administrators were reviewing Churchill's complaint to decide whether it warrants an investigation. They have not released a copy of the complaint.
NYT 11 June 2005 Why So Slow to Act? To the Editor: Re "Uncover Your Eyes," by Nicholas D. Kristof (column, June 7): The unceasing efforts by Mr. Kristof and others to get President Bush to take concrete steps to stop the genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan will succeed, I hope, before thousands more are killed, raped or mutilated. If and when this happens, and considering the Bush administration's slow, reluctant or half-hearted responses to other humanitarian crises and disasters, one question will sadly persist: Why does this administration have to be consistently pushed, cajoled and, yes, shamed into doing the right thing? Dorian de Wind Austin, Tex., June 7, 2005
washingtonpost.com 11 June 2005 Repairing Senate's Record on Lynching 'Long Overdue' Apology Would Be Congress's First for Treatment of Blacks By Avis Thomas-Lester Washington Post Staff Writer Saturday, June 11, 2005; A01 Anna Holmes remembers hearing about the bridge when she was a little girl. It stood somewhere near the spot where the Collington and Western branches of the Patuxent River met in Upper Marlboro, less than a quarter-mile from the Marlboro jail. "I used to hear them talking about the lynchings," said Holmes, 79, who grew up in central Prince George's County. It was on the bridge that a black man named Stephen Williams, accused of manhandling a white woman, was beaten and hanged about 3 in the morning on Oct. 20, 1894. A masked mob snatched him from his jail cell and dragged him as he pleaded for his life. "When the Marlboro bridge was reached the rope was quickly tied to the railing and amid piteous groans Williams was hurled into eternity," The Washington Post reported. At the time, there was no federal law against lynching, and most states refused to prosecute white men for killing black people. The U.S. House of Representatives, responding to pleas from presidents and civil rights groups, three times agreed to make the crime a federal offense. Each time, though, the measure died in the Senate at the hands of powerful southern lawmakers using the filibuster. The Senate is set to correct that wrong Monday, when its members will vote on a resolution to apologize for the failure to enact an anti-lynching law first proposed 105 years ago. "The apology is long overdue," said Sen. George Allen (R-Va.), who is sponsoring the resolution with Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.). "Our history does include times when we failed to protect individual freedom and rights." The Senate's action comes amid a series of conciliatory efforts nationwide that include reopening investigations and prosecutions in Mississippi. Advocates say the vote would mark the first time Congress has apologized for the nation's treatment of African Americans. Allen's involvement could help mend his rift with black Virginians who criticized him for hanging a noose outside his law office, displaying a Confederate flag in his home and proclaiming a Confederate History Month while governor. Landrieu said she was motivated to propose the bill after seeing the book "Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography in America," a collection of postcards taken at lynching scenes. "The intensity and impact of the pictures tell a story . . . that written words failed to convey," Landrieu said. "It has been an extremely emotional, educational experience for me. And the more I learned, the more sure I became [about] the effort to pass this resolution." Haunting History Towns across America bear reminders of the shameful tradition that claimed 4,743 lives between 1882 and 1968, research shows. In Alexandria, a lamppost at Cameron and Lee streets served to lynch Joseph McCoy on April 23, 1897. In Annapolis, a bluff near College Creek was the site of Henry Davis's lynching four days before Christmas in 1906. Lynching also remains imbedded in the consciousness of African American families, some of whom can name an ancestor or a friend who fell prey to mob justice, often meted out with spectators watching and memorialized with postcards of the victims hanging or pieces of the ropes that had snapped their necks. Billie Holiday's best-selling record, "Strange Fruit," was about lynching. Dozens of black writers, including poets Langston Hughes and Maya Angelou, have written about it. Locally, Rep. Albert R. Wynn (D-Md.), 53, remembers his mother warning him about the lynching tree in their small town in North Carolina. Fred Tutman of Upper Marlboro can point to a tree on his family's land that a previous owner used for lynching. "The memories are less vivid for me because of my generation," said Tutman, 47. "They are more vivid for my mother and grandmother, who grew up in Prince George's and had all kinds of violence perpetrated on them." Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) said he was most affected by the death of 14-year-old Emmett Till, who was brutally tortured and shot in Mississippi in 1955. Lewis was 15 at the time. "I remembered thinking that it could happen to anyone, me or my brothers or my cousins," said Lewis, a civil rights activist. "It created a sense of fear that it could happen to anyone who got out of line." Lynching touched all races and religions and occurred in all states in the contiguous United States except for four in New England. Immigrants were frequent targets, so much so that at the beginning of the 20th century, the State Department paid nearly $500,000 to China, Italy and Mexico on behalf of lynching victims. But the practice was predominant in the South, and four out of five victims were black, according to statistics compiled by Tuskegee University in Alabama. While some were crime suspects, many had not been accused of anything more than talking back to a white man or looking at a white woman. Black landowners were frequent targets, historians say. Typically associated with hangings, lynching is more broadly defined as mob terrorism to avenge a crime or wrong and a method of intimidation. The goal, historians say, was not just to maim and kill, but to humiliate and dehumanize. Before they were shot or hanged, some victims had their eyes gouged out or their teeth pulled with pliers, and some were beaten, burned at the stake, dismembered or castrated. "It was truly the American holocaust," said Mark D. Planning, counsel for the Committee for a Formal Apology, which lobbied the Senate. "There are these perceptions that lynchings were carried out on some poor souls who were dragged into the woods. But these were public spectacles. The civic fathers and leaders of the community often participated in these things, directly or indirectly." Mob killings were often carnival-like events, attended by men, women and children who were not afraid of facing legal consequences, said Lawrence Guyot, 66, a Washington educator and civil rights activist. Refreshments were sold. Trains made special trips to lynching sites. Schools and businesses closed to give people a chance to attend. Newspapers ran ads announcing locations and times. Corpses were displayed for days. Victims' ears, fingers and toes were taken as souvenirs, as well as parts of the ropes that hanged them. "Lynching was the socially acceptable way to demonstrate control," Guyot said. "It sent a message that not only did this happen to this person, but if you as a black person thought about stepping outside of our racial code, it can happen to you. We want it to be public. We want everybody to see it. We want the body to stay up there as long as possible and all the gory details to be known." Much of America, though, was revolted by the practice. Some white writers, notably Mark Twain, railed against it. Two leading civil rights groups, the NAACP and B'nai B'rith's Anti-Defamation League, sprang up in part to counter lynching. Black journalist Ida B. Wells-Barnett devoted her career to ending lynching. Seven presidents, starting with Benjamin Harrison in 1891, argued for making it a federal offense. None of this swayed the Senate, where southern lawmakers insisted that a federal law would intrude on states' rights. One debate tied up the Senate for a total of six weeks in 1937 and 1938, and supporters were never able to break the filibuster. If the Senate had acted years ago, Allen said, "it would have sent a signal" that the government did not condone lynching. "If leaders are quiet, there is a sense in the general population that this sort of violent, vile behavior or conduct is acceptable," he said. A First for Congress The current effort to secure an apology was born out of a broader movement to ask Congress to acknowledge wrongs toward African Americans, including slavery, Planning said. "This would be the first time in history that Congress has apologized for past historical crimes against African Americans," said Planning, adding that the Senate has apologized to Native Americans, Japanese Americans and other groups. Under the auspices of the Committee for a Formal Apology, activist Dick Gregory and others mailed copies of the book "Without Sanctuary" to senators. The crude images helped bring home the horror to some legislators who had given little thought to lynching, Planning said. One postcard, depicting a corpse in 1910, read: "This is a token of a great day we had in Dallas March 3." Another, showing the burnt corpse of William Stanley in Temple, Tex., in 1915, read: "This is the barbecue we had last night . . . your son Joe." Allen and Landrieu agreed to lead the effort and have gained more than 50 co-sponsors. Landrieu said she wants the measure discussed on the Senate floor so that remarks will go into the Congressional Record and counter the hateful comments from the past. Before the vote Monday evening, descendants of lynching victims have been invited to a special day of events on Capitol Hill. Guyot, who worked to overturn Jim Crow laws in the 1960s, said the legislation fits a pattern of efforts across the country. They include the FBI's reopening of the investigation into Till's lynching and the prosecution of suspected Ku Klux Klansman Edgar Ray Killen in the 1964 slaying of civil rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner. That trial is set to start Monday. "There is no statute of limitations on murder and no statute of limitations on doing what is right," Guyot said. "This is a time in American history when not only is it possible to have coalitions across racial lines, but also necessary. Reconciliation is needed to make that happen." Janet Langhart Cohen, wife of former senator and defense secretary William S. Cohen and a member of the apology committee, said the Senate should have acted unsolicited. "It's all I can do to repress my rage that we have to ask them, in the name of decency, to say you are sorry," said Langhart Cohen, who lives in Chevy Chase. She grew up hearing stories about the lynching of her third cousin, Jimmy Gillenwaters, near Bowling Green, Ky., in 1912. In her book "From Rage to Reason: My Life in Two Americas" and in a recent interview, she recalled how her grandmother and uncles repeated the story for years, recounting every detail. Gillenwaters, 17, was the oldest of three children raised on a farm owned by Langhart Cohen's grandfather. As landowners, her grandparents said they were always keenly aware of the danger their success posed because of jealous neighbors. "One night the nightriders came to scare them -- that's what they did in those days. They would ride by, set fire to a house or shoot," Langhart Cohen said. "After the shots stopped, they thought everyone was accounted for. "The next morning, they noticed that Jimmy was gone, and my Aunt Bertha went to look for him. Finally, they heard a blood-curdling scream. When they found her, Aunt Bertha was holding on to his ankles, screaming, 'They killed Jimmy! They killed Jimmy! Help me get my son down!' " A Senate apology, Langhart Cohen said, couldn't erase her family's bitter memories, but it could help improve the nation's image abroad as it pushes for human rights improvements. "How can we promote democracy," she said, "then say that we are over there to liberate people from dictatorships when we don't even acknowledge what happened here?" Staff researchers Karl Evanzz and Don Pohlman contributed to this report.
washingtonpost.com 14 June 2005 A Senate Apology for History on Lynching Vote Condemns Past Failure to Act By Avis Thomas-Lester Washington Post Staff Writer Tuesday, June 14, 2005; A12 The U.S. Senate last night approved a resolution apologizing for its failure to enact federal anti-lynching legislation decades ago, marking the first time the body has apologized for the nation's treatment of African Americans. One-hundred and five years after the first anti-lynching bill was proposed by a black congressman, senators approved by a voice vote Resolution 39, which called for the lawmakers to apologize to lynching victims, survivors and their descendants, several of whom watched from the gallery. "There may be no other injustice in American history for which the Senate so uniquely bears responsibility," Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) said before the vote. Sen. George Allen (R-Va.), who with Landrieu led the resolution effort, said the vote finally put the Senate "on the record condemning the brutal atrocity that plagued our great nation." The moment lacked the drama of the fiery Senate filibusters that blocked the legislation three times in the past century. There were few senators on the floor last night and no roll call, no accounting for each vote. But 80 of the Senate's 100 members signed on as co-sponsors, signaling their support. Missing from that list were senators from the state that reported the most lynching incidents: Mississippi Republicans Trent Lott and Thad Cochran. "I am personally struck," Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) said, "even at this significant moment, by the undeniable and inescapable reality that there aren't 100 senators and co-sponsors. Maybe by the end of the evening there will be, but as we stand here with this resolution now passed by voice vote, there aren't." In passing the measure, the senators in essence admitted that their predecessors' failure to act had helped perpetuate a horror that took the lives of more than 4,700 people from 1882 to 1968, most of them black men. At the turn of the last century, more than 100 lynching incidents were reported each year, many of them publicly orchestrated to humiliate the victims and instill fear in others. Lynching occurred in all but four states in the contiguous United States, and less than 1 percent of the perpetrators were brought to justice, historians say. The U.S. House of Representatives three times passed measures to make lynching a federal offense, but each time the bills were knocked down in the Senate. Powerful southern senators, such as Richard B. Russell Jr. (D-Ga.), whose name was given to the Senate office building where the resolution was drafted, used the filibuster to block votes. Excerpts from the Congressional Record show some senators argued that such laws would interfere with states' rights. Others, however, delivered impassioned speeches about how lynching helped control what they characterized as a threat to white women and also served to keep the races separate, according to records provided by the Committee for a Formal Apology, a group that has lobbied the Senate. "Whenever a Negro crosses this dead line between the white and the Negro races and lays his black hand on a white woman, he deserves to die," segregationist Sen. James Thomas Heflin (D-Ala.) said in 1930. In a 1938 debate, Russell repeatedly referred to a hypothetical lynching victim with a derogatory derivative of the word "Negro." Seven presidents lobbied Congress for anti-lynching legislation. And in a 1937 Washington Post article, George Gallup, director of the American Institute of Public Opinion, said polls showed 72 percent of Americans, including 57 percent of southerners, supported such a law. Several advocates would like to see lawmakers do more. The Committee for a Formal Apology would like to see Russell's name stripped from the Senate building. U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), who grew up with Jim Crow laws and the specter of lynching, said he wants an apology for slavery. "The Senate has never issued an official apology for slavery and has never gone on the record condemning slavery," he said. "The U.S. government needs to apologize for the whole system of slavery. Lynching was just a part of it." The vote culminated a day of events for about 200 descendants and family friends of lynching victims who were invited to Washington to witness the historic vote. They were treated to a luncheon with senators, given a tour of the Capitol and introduced at a news conference, where they were asked about the resolution's significance. The descendants included Winona Puckett Padget, 78, of Detroit, whose uncle, Richard Puckett, was lynched in Laurens, S.C., in 1913, after he was accused of accosting a white woman. Also on hand was James Cameron, 91, of Milwaukee, who is believed to be the only living person to have survived a lynching. He was hanged by a rope from a maple tree in Marion, Ind., in 1930 but was cut down when someone in the crowd asked that he be spared. "We're actually calling this 'Freedom Summer,' " said Doria Johnson, 44, of Evanston, Ill., echoing a reference to the summer of 1964. "We've got the FBI's reopening of the Emmett Till murder case in Mississippi, the trial for the murders of civil rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner starting and the apology for lynching on the same day. We're finally feeling that our families' suffering is being acknowledged." At breakfast Sunday, Johnson -- whose great-great-grandfather Anthony P. Crawford was lynched in 1916 in Abbeville, S.C. -- contemplated the Senate's apology with Simeon Wright, 62, a cousin of Till, who was 14 when he was murdered in 1955 after he whistled at a white store owner's wife. The case sparked national outrage. "Years ago, African Americans were being beaten and hung, and the people who had the power to do something about it were afraid to do anything or just didn't," Wright said. "Now, their sons and daughters realize how wrong they were, and they want to do something. The apology is appropriate. It was a long time coming, but it is here." The two descendants talked about how their families were altered by lynching. Wright's mother left their home the night Till was abducted and moved to Chicago. Soon after, his father sold what possessions he could, then boarded a train with the children to join his wife. Johnson said her family scattered and their fortune was lost after Crawford's lynching. His children received his land and $200 each, but an executor related to a lynch mob member kept thousands, Johnson said. The family later went bankrupt, and the property was sold for a pittance, she said. "A family's wealth today is often based on what their grandfathers or great-grandfathers did," Johnson said, "but so many of our families had that wealth stolen as a result of lynching."
Jackson Clarion Ledger, MS 15 June 2005 www.clarionledger.com Cochran firm: No apology By Ana Radelat Clarion-Ledger Washington Bureau Cochran WASHINGTON — Republican Sen. Thad Cochran said Tuesday he declined to co-sponsor a popular resolution apologizing for Senate inaction on lynchings because he felt he could not apologize "for something I did not do." "I don't feel that I should apologize for the passage or the failure to pass any legislation by the U.S. Senate," Cochran said. "But I deplore and regret that lynchings occurred and that those committing them were not punished." In the past, Cochran has signed on as a co-sponsor of bills apologizing for the U.S. government's mistreatment of American Indians and Japanese Americans. The difference is the lynching resolution was not an apology on behalf of the federal government but just the Senate. Cochran could not be reached for comment for further clarification of his position. More than 4,700 lynchings took place between 1882 and 1968. A majority of the victims were young black men. Most of the lynchings — 581 — took place in Mississippi, followed by 531 in Georgia, 391 in Texas, 391 in Louisiana and 347 in Alabama, according to the Tuskegee Institute archives. Cochran and fellow Mississippi Sen. Trent Lott, also a Republican, were among 15 senators who did not co-sponsor the apology resolution that passed the Senate by voice vote Monday night. Eighty-five senators did co-sponsor the measure. Lott's offices did not return repeated phones calls. Lott was not in the Senate when the Japanese-American apology and reparations bill passed, but he was not a sponsor of the bill apologizing for the mistreatment of American Indians. In explaining his decision not to co-sponsor the lynching measure, Cochran said The Clarion-Ledger never apologized for editorials it wrote 50 years ago championing segregation. And he said, "I am interested in doing my job to respond to the problems of today and not apologize for the failures of the past." But Cochran has co-sponsored other apology bills. In 1988, he was one of 71 co-sponsors of a Senate bill calling for an official apology to Americans of Japanese descent who were rounded up after the World War II attack on Pearl Harbor. The bill also called for spending $1.2 billion from 1988 to 1993 to make payments of up to $20,000 each to survivors of the Japanese internment camps. And on April 25, Cochran signed on as one of six co-sponsors of a Senate resolution that would "acknowledge a long history of official depredations and ill-conceived policies by the U.S. government regarding Indian tribes and offer an apology to all Native Peoples on behalf of the United States." The resolution expressing regret for Senate inaction on lynchings was sponsored by Sens. George Allen, R-Va., and Mary Landrieu, D-La. It noted that 200 anti-lynching bills were introduced in Congress during the first half of the 20th century and three were approved by the House. But the Senate failed to pass any of them. The legislation often was derailed by Southern lawmakers including former Sen. Richard B. Russell Jr., D-Ga., who used filibusters during the 1930s to block votes on the anti-lynching bills.
washingtonpost.com 9 June 2005 Association Withdraws Award to U.S. Envoy Ambassador Was to Be Honored for Dissent By Glenn Kessler Washington Post Staff Writer Thursday, June 9, 2005; A19 The American Foreign Service Association recently announced that John M. Evans, the U.S. ambassador to Armenia, was to receive a prestigious award for "constructive dissent" for characterizing as genocide the deaths of 1.5 million Armenians in the waning days of the Ottoman Empire in 1915. His comments stirred such a diplomatic tempest that Evans not only had to retract his remarks but also had to later clarify his retraction. Earlier this week, however, the selection committee met again and decided to withdraw the honor, known as the Christian A. Herter Award. They decided not to offer any award in the category, reserved for a senior foreign service officer. Other awards are issued for officers at lower levels. The timing of the association's decision appeared curious, given it came just before Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived in Washington for a meeting with President Bush to bolster strained U.S.-Turkish relations. John W. Limbert, president of the association, said that no one at the organization can remember an award being withdrawn after it had been announced. "It is not something we do easily," he said. The award is intended to foster creative thinking and intellectual courage within the State Department bureaucracy, and the secretary of state usually attends the award ceremony. One of last year's awards, for instance, went to a mid-level foreign service officer who sent a cable challenging the administration's policy in Iraq. "Dissent is supposed to be controversial," Limbert said. Speaking to an Armenian group in California, Evans referred to the "Armenian genocide" and said that the U.S. government owes "you, our fellow citizens, a more frank and honest way of discussing the problem." He added that "there is no doubt in my mind what happened" and it was "unbecoming of us, as Americans, to play word games here." Armenian groups hailed his comment, noting Evans was the first U.S. official since President Ronald Reagan in 1981 to refer to the Armenian deaths as genocide. But the comments infuriated Turkey. Evans issued a statement saying U.S. policy, in which the United States "acknowledges the tragedy" and encourages "scholarly, civil society and diplomatic discussion" of the event, had not changed. Evans said he used the term "genocide" in "my personal capacity" during "informal meetings" and "this was inappropriate." After more complaints from Turkey, Evans corrected the statement a day later and removed a reference to genocide, instead calling it "the Armenian tragedy." Limbert said the committee, made up of current and former State Department officials, concluded that the award to Evans did not meet the selection criteria. He declined to comment further, saying State Department officials would have to explain their concerns. L. Bruce Laingen, who chaired the selection committee, said "very serious people from the State Department in particular" expressed concern about the award to Evans. But he said they did not raise political issues. Instead, he said, they focused on the fact that the award criteria specifically says the actions must be taken while "working in the system"; Evans made his comments in speeches. "Dissent has to be within the system," Laingen said. He said the committee did not focus on that fact until it was reminded by the State Department. But when the committee decided to withdraw the award, it was faced with a dilemma. The committee had received only two nominations, and it had already concluded the other nominee did not meet the criteria. So no award could be offered. Laingen said the committee generally receives few examples of dissent at senior levels of the agency. "That is regrettable," he said. "It does not reflect well on the foreign service broadly at that level for dissent within the system."
AP 11 June 2005 Chinese Americans Speak Out on Atrocities By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Filed at 7:08 p.m. ET CUPERTINO, Calif. (AP) -- When a group of activists organized a panel discussion on Japanese troops' massacre of residents in the Chinese city of Nanjing nearly 70 years ago, they were not prepared for the overwhelming response. ''We got a bunch of seniors to show up and they packed the place. We were shocked. We thought people got over things like this,'' political activist Ignatius Ding said of the 1991 discussion. ''At the end, they said, 'You people have to do something about this because the war ended without full closure because Japan never really admitted anything.' Some of the people could not even find their relatives.'' Sixty years after the end of World War II, a group of Chinese Americans in the Silicon Valley are helping organize an international movement that seeks to hold Japan accountable for atrocities committed by Japanese soldiers throughout Asia. During the ''Rape of Nanking'' of 1937-38, Japanese troops are believed to have slaughtered thousands in the former Chinese capital. Civilians were reportedly raped, used for bayonet practice and killing contests, burned and buried alive, used for biological experiments, and otherwise tortured and killed. Chinese tallies say up to 300,000 people died in the massacre, which many historians say took place in a six- to eight-week span. The Chinese government estimates that 35 million people died in China alone as a result of Japan's occupation from 1931 to 1945, Ding said. The bitter feud over Japan's wartime invasion of China made headlines in April when violent demonstrations erupted throughout China to protest the Japanese government's approval of textbooks that critics say gloss over its military aggressions. The 1997 best seller ''The Rape of Nanking'' by Chinese American writer Iris Chang also helped galvanize the movement. ''Everybody knows about the Holocaust in the West, but nobody knows there was a tragic event that happened in Asia at five times the scale during that war,'' he said. ''That's why we refer to it as the forgotten Holocaust.'' Chinese American activists see their biggest opportunity in the war crimes redress movement is Japan's attempt this year to join an expanded United Nations Security Council. The activists, part of the Global Alliance for Preserving the History of World War II in Asia, helped organize an online petition signed by more than 40 million people seeking to block Japan's bid. They're also calling for a boycott of products produced by Japanese companies that produced artillery for wartime Japan. Japanese officials have made public apologies for the country's wartime occupation of its neighbors. Most recently, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, speaking to Asian leaders at the Asian-Africa summit in Indonesia in April, expressed ''deep remorse and heartfelt apology'' for Japan's colonial rule and aggression. ''Japan's leaders have apologized on various occasions so far,'' said Yuka Ejima, a spokeswoman for the Japanese embassy in Washington, D.C. ''It's nonsense to say that Japan hasn't apologized to the Asian people.'' But activists call those apologies superficial, pointing to continued visits by Japanese leaders to the Yasukuni Shrine that critics say glorifies that country's militarist past. They want a strongly worded government apology backed by the Japan's Parliament, compensation for victims, Japanese textbook reform and laws that punish Japanese citizens who deny or distort their country's wartime past. ''Preserving the truth is very important. This is the only way for healing to take place between the Japanese and Chinese people,'' said Betty Huang, who chairs the Global Alliance. ''If they don't officially apologize to the Chinese people, Japanese officials will repeat the wrong history again.'' The Chinese American activists have also helped file class-action lawsuits in Japan and the United States seeking compensation for ''comfort women'' forced into sexual slavery and prisoners of war forced to labor for Japanese companies. None of the lawsuits have succeeded yet, but activists say their campaign is gaining publicity and momentum. ''When we first started, the Japanese government didn't pay any attention to us. We were totally insignificant,'' said Cathy Tsang, one of the movement's organizers. ''Now they're starting to pay attention.'' ^------ On the Net: http://www.global-alliance.net
washingtonpost.com 13 June 2005 U.S. Not Aiming to Shut Guantanamo Bay Prison White House Reviewing Options, Cheney Says By Marc Kaufman Washington Post Staff Writer Monday, June 13, 2005; A02 Vice President Dick Cheney said Sunday that the administration has no plans to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as some prominent Democrats have recommended, but other Republicans said that reports of mistreatment of prisoners there have made the prison a growing global liability. Additional information about aggressive interrogation tactics at Guantanamo surfaced Sunday that could heighten the debate further. In remarks to be broadcast Monday on Fox News, Cheney said the administration was reviewing its options at the prison "on a continuous basis." But he defended its track record, saying, "The important thing here to understand is that the people that are at Guantanamo are bad people." But Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) said that the situation in Guantanamo is one reason why the United States is "losing the image war around the world," and that closing the prison could help in that contest. "It's identifiable with, for right or wrong, a part of America that people in the world believe is a power, an empire that pushes people around, we do it our way, we don't live up to our commitments to multilateral institutions," Hagel told CNN's "Late Edition." He said Defense Department leaders have not taken responsibility for the excesses at the prison, which have included controversial harsh treatment of prisoners and desecrations of the Koran. There are about 540 inmates at Guantanamo -- most captured in Afghanistan or otherwise associated with al Qaeda. None of the inmates hasbeen charged, and some have been returned to their homes after it was determined -- sometimes years after they were captured -- that they did not pose any danger. The Senate Judiciary Committee plans a hearing Wednesday on the issue of detainees. "We've actually created a legal black hole there," said Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (Vt.), the committee's ranking Democrat, on CBS's "Face the Nation." "We're the country that tells people that we adhere to the rule of law. We want other countries to adhere to the rule of law. And in Guantanamo, we are not." Speaking on the same show, Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) defended the prison as necessary. "When you catch somebody in Afghanistan or other parts of the world that's engaged in the war of terror, you need to take them off the battlefield," he said. "Prisoners of war are released when the war is over. Well, there's nobody to sign a surrender treaty with here. So you've got a hybrid system." A article published yesterday by Time magazine documenting the interrogation of one prisoner added to the controversy. The magazine quoted from a log made during the winter of 2002-03 of the treatment of Mohamed al Qahtani, a Saudi man suspected of having close ties to the Sept. 11 hijackers. The magazine said he was questioned in a room filled with pictures of Sept. 11 victims, was made to urinate in his pants and told to wear photos of near-naked women around his neck. He was also forced to bark like a dog and was turned down at times when he asked to pray, the magazine said. The Defense Department said in response that Qahtani's questioning was handled in a professional manner and that he gave important information about Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda infiltration routes.
washingtonpost.com 15 June 2005 Bush Meets Dissidents In Campaign For Rights By Peter Baker and Glenn Kessler Washington Post Staff Writers Wednesday, June 15, 2005; A01 At the end of a private Oval Office meeting this week, President Bush asked a North Korean defector to autograph his book recounting a decade in a North Korean prison camp. "If Kim Jong Il knew I met you," Bush then asked, referring to the North Korean leader, "don't you think he'd hate this?" "The people in the concentration camps will applaud," the defector, Kang Chol Hwan, responded, according to two people in the room. Bush lately has begun meeting personally with prominent dissidents to highlight human rights abuses in select countries, a powerfully symbolic yet potentially risky approach modeled on Ronald Reagan's sessions with Soviet dissidents during the Cold War. Besides Kang, Bush played host to a top government foe from Venezuela at the White House and met Russian human rights activists during a trip to Moscow last month. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met opposition leaders from the former Soviet republic of Belarus. The sessions -- which come at a time when the Bush administration has itself come under international criticism for abuses at the prison facilities in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and elsewhere -- represent a personal follow-through on Bush's inaugural address in January, when he vowed to activists around the world that "we will stand with you" in battles against repression. "He likes to talk to people who have experienced these things firsthand," said Michael J. Gerson, Bush's strategic policy adviser, who sat in on the Kang meeting Monday. "But there clearly is a signal here and a symbol that human rights is central to our approach, that there is a kind of moral concern." As Bush himself acknowledged to Kang, such meetings, although heartening to activists, will surely aggravate the leaders of repressive countries. In the North Korean case, it could complicate or even derail the latest attempts to coax Kim back to multinational negotiations over his nuclear weapons program. So far, Bush has focused his attentions largely on activists from countries with which he is already openly hostile, while those from allies such as Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia have not won Oval Office invitations. A test of the extent of Bush's commitment to this hands-on approach could come in the next two weeks when Mohammed Salih, chairman of the Democratic Erk Party of Uzbekistan, a leading opponent of the Central Asian government, visits Washington. The Bush administration has been torn over how forcefully to respond to the recent massacre of hundreds of protesters in the Uzbek city of Andijan, with the State Department pushing for a firm repudiation and the Pentagon resisting for fear of jeopardizing its base there. Salih, who received a U.S. visa on Monday and will be in the United States from June 27 to June 30, hopes to meet with senior Bush administration officials and to describe the situation in Uzbekistan, where President Islam Karimov has banned genuine opposition parties and independent media and imprisoned thousands of government critics. "We have calls out to everybody, and, right now, we don't have a yes or no from anybody," said Frank Howard, a media liaison for Erk. A high-level meeting, he added, "has not only symbolic importance, it has potential real importance." Karimov's government has curtailed U.S. military flights at the Uzbek base in response to the Bush administration criticism, but Rice promised rights groups yesterday not to ease up on calls for an international investigation of the Andijan massacre. "I told her that the State Department approach was absolutely right, but they're being completely undercut by the Pentagon, and the Uzbeks are playing them," said Tom Malinowski, the Washington director for Human Rights Watch. "She looked me in the eye and said, 'We will not let Karimov play us.' " The recent Bush and Rice meetings have won applause from organizations seeking to highlight despotism around the globe. "These meetings send a signal so that it's not only the government that's on the agenda of the [U.S.] leadership but the people who are on the forefront of fighting for change," said Jennifer Windsor, executive director of Freedom House, which promotes liberty abroad. Windsor, Malinowski and other activists gave Rice a list of imprisoned political activists in Saudi Arabia and Egypt. They recommended that she press the governments there about their fates during her upcoming trip to the Middle East, much as Reagan did with the Soviet government. Windsor said she also urged Rice to meet with the demonstrators who were beaten by pro-government mobs in Egypt. Rice encouraged the activists to also focus on North Korea and Venezuela. Bush rarely met with dissidents during his first term, but he appears to be more eager to do so in his second. After reading former Soviet dissident Natan Sharansky's book extolling democracy late last year, Bush invited him to the White House for a meeting. He similarly became interested in Kang after former secretary of state Henry A. Kissinger recommended the North Korean's book two months ago. "I thought the book gave a good description of life in North Korea," Kissinger explained in an interview yesterday. Bush's meeting with Kang "signals that the president of the United States is concerned about their fate, and not just their individual fates, but the conditions that made their fates possible." Bush plowed through the book, "The Aquariums of Pyongyang: Ten Years in the North Korean Gulag," and then began urging advisers such as Rice and Gerson to read it as well. During their 40-minute meeting Monday, also attended by Vice President Cheney, Bush asked Kang to describe life in the prison camp, where he was forced to perform hard labor starting at age 9. According to an account published by Kang in the South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo -- and confirmed by Gerson -- he urged the president to make it his priority to free those held in North Korea's prison camps. "For North Koreans," Kang said he told Bush, "human rights issues are more desperate than nuclear issues." Bush, according to Kang, said he thought that the human rights situation in North Korea was serious but that others often did not understand it. He told Kang that "it breaks my heart" to learn of pregnant women and children starving in North Korea. Kang told him that the North Korean military often takes donated international food for itself. Bush said that if Pyongyang makes fundamental changes, "the U.S. will deliver a lot of food and funds to North Korea," Kang recalled. Bush's meetings with such figures can carry unintended consequences. Bush met May 31 with Maria Corina Machado, founder of a Venezuelan civil society group called Sumate and a leading critic of President Hugo Chavez. Machado faces a possible prison sentence after receiving a grant from the National Endowment for Democracy. In an interview from Caracas, Venezuela, yesterday, Machado said the meeting with Bush stretched from a scheduled 15 minutes to 50 minutes and was a "recognition and signal that the world does care about what is happening" in her country. She added that it has inspired people who face intimidation by the government. But she also said that the government has reacted negatively to the meeting, with its allies in the news media and the legislature threatening to revoke her citizenship
washingtonpost.com 15 June 2005 Immigrants Decry Violence in Ethiopia Outside State Dept., Protesters Urge U.S. Action By Mary Beth Sheridan Washington Post Staff Writer Wednesday, June 15, 2005; A13 Like many Ethiopian immigrants, Gabriel Bezuneh holds two jobs, working at Reagan National Airport and at a liquor store. But yesterday, he took a rare morning off to join hundreds of protesters massed outside the State Department. "There's bloodshed in Ethiopia. So how can we work?" he exclaimed, joining a chanting, singing crowd waving the red, yellow and green flags of their homeland. The Ethiopian community in the Washington area has been roiled by election-related violence back home, with hundreds or thousands gathering in spirited protests over the past week outside the State Department and White House. Taxi drivers and professionals, students and shop owners have converged to plead for more U.S. action to resolve the turmoil in the African nation, which was sparked by a dispute over the results of the May 15 elections. About three dozen people were reported killed last week in Ethiopia after police opened fire on crowds protesting alleged fraud. Ethiopian immigrants have been calling home and tuning in to local Ethiopian radio stations and cable TV to keep up with the drama. Prayers for peace are being offered in both Ethiopian Orthodox and Ethiopian Muslim worship centers. There are at least 15,000 Ethiopian immigrants in the Washington area, according to the 2000 Census, and community leaders say the figure is much higher. "Always I wake up, I'm scared of what [is] happening," said Bezuneh, 34, of Arlington in heavily accented English. He is in constant telephone contact with family back home, who have not suffered any harm. "I call, 'Mom, you okay? My brothers, okay?" Another immigrant, Getmet Woldemichael, 42, of Silver Spring reported he had gotten frightening news from home: His nephew had been shot in the leg during a student demonstration, he said, and other relatives had been taken away by police. "A lot of people [are] killed," the taxi driver said, drawing a finger across his throat. He said he joined the protest yesterday to bring the problem to the attention of President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. "[If] it continues, more people die," he said. The demonstration at Foggy Bottom was organized by local branches of Ethiopia's two main opposition parties, the Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD) and the United Ethiopian Democratic Forces (UEDF). Other Ethiopian groups and immigrants unaffiliated with the parties joined in. Under a broiling sun, protesters marched in front of the State Department bearing cardboard coffins draped with the colors of the Ethiopian flag. Others clutched posters showing Ethiopian victims of the violence, spattered with blood. "Dr. Rice! Can you hear us? Will you hear us? Stop! The killing! In Ethiopia!" they chanted, echoing a protest leader with a microphone. "President Bush has been advocating for democratic governments all over the world. We want Ethiopia to be part of that democratic process," said Seyoum Solomon, an economist from Rockville and a protest organizer who is a local CUD leader. The State Department issued a statement Monday condemning the "unnecessary use of excessive force in the continuing election-related violence in Ethiopia." State Department spokesman Noel Clay said yesterday that Rice and other U.S. officials had expressed their concerns to Ethiopian officials. "All sides need to step back from violence," Clay said. "The way to resolve questions and issues with respect to the election is to let the political process unfold." Several hours after the demonstration at the State Department, a group of protest leaders was received by Donald Yamamoto, deputy assistant secretary of state for African affairs, said Mesfin Mekonen, an Ethiopian immigrant and resident of Beltsville who attended the session. He called it a "good meeting" in which the demonstrators were able to urge the U.S. government to keep up the pressure on the Ethiopian government. The Ethiopian Embassy did not return a phone call requesting comment about the demonstrations. Ethiopia's main political parties reached an agreement yesterday to work together to resolve the dispute over the elections, according to wire service reports. But local immigrants gave no sign they were ready to end their protests. Solomon Bekele, 59, an insurance executive from Potomac, said he would continue to demonstrate and write letters to U.S. government officials "as long as it takes." "We live here, we are U.S. citizens, but we have our families there," he said. "Our roots are there."
BBC 1 June 2005 Blast targets Afghanistan mosque Officials fear the number of dead may rise At least 20 people have died in a suspected suicide bombing at a mosque in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar, the worst attack this year. Kabul police chief Mohammed Akram was among those killed, officials say. He was among many who were at the mosque to mourn a senior anti-Taleban cleric, who was shot dead on Sunday. Mawlavi Abdullah Fayaz was killed by two men on a motorcycle as he left his office. Last week he made a speech attacking Taleban leader Mullah Omar. QUICK GUIDE Afghanistan Kandahar Governor Gul Aga Sherzai has alleged that Arab militants belonging to Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda network were behind the attack. "The attacker was a member of al-Qaeda. We have found documents on his body that show he was an Arab," Mr Sherzai is quoted as saying by the Associated Press. A Taleban spokesman told the BBC that his organisation was not to blame. Earlier, a man claiming to be from the Taleban called the BBC in Kabul and said they had carried out the latest attack. 'Loud explosion' Eyewitnesses say the Abdul Rab mosque in the heart of Kandahar was filled with mourners at the time of the attack, which took place at 0900 (0430 GMT). "I heard a loud explosion," Mohammad, who owns a money-changing shop in the vicinity of the mosque, told the BBC News website. This was a very big explosion and there is blood everywhere inside the mosque and outside it Eyewitness In pictures: Kandahar blast "The force of the blast blew out the windows of my shop," he said. Officials say many more are feared to have been killed in the attack. Sirens could be heard from the blast site as ambulances ferried the wounded to hospital. "People were running around, some were lying on the ground crying," one survivor, Nanai Agha, is quoted as saying by the Associated Press. "Dead bodies were everywhere," he said. "It was a suicide attack by the enemies of Afghanistan and Islam," Afghan interior ministry spokesman told AFP. "The investigation into the case has started." Karzai supporter Mawlavi Abdullah Fayaz was a key supporter of Afghan President Hamid Karzai and was head of the government-appointed Islamic scholars' council. Last month, he had condemned the Taleban at a meeting in Kandahar of about 500 clerics. He said Taleban fighters were killing innocent civilians and the government should be supported for trying to rebuild the country. The BBC's Andrew North in Kabul says that the latest attack will raise fears that militants opposed to President Karzai are stepping up their efforts to undermine his government ahead of September's parliamentary elections.
www.usnewswire.com 6 June 2005 Anvil Mining's Complicity in Congolese Massacre Exposed by Australia's Flagship Current Affairs Program; Groups call on World Bank to Withdraw Support for Dikulushi Copper/Silver Mine Distribution Source : U.S. Newswire Date : Monday - June 06, 2005 To: National Desk Contact: Richard Meeran, 61-0411-156-797, or RMeeran@slatergordon.com.au or firstname.lastname@example.org WASHINGTON, June 6 /U.S. Newswire/ -- On June 6, the "Four Corners" broadcast exposed Anvil Mining's role in helping the Congolese Armed Forces (FARDC) put down with disproportionate force and violence a small-scale rebellion. In response, human rights and environmental groups are calling on the Word Bank's political risk insurer, the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), to withdraw its guarantee for Anvil's Dikulushi copper/silver mine. UK-based Rights & Accountability in Development (RAID); Congolese human rights groups, Action contre l'impunite pour les droits humains (ACIDH) and ASADHO Katanga; Friends of the Earth-United States; and the Human Rights Council of Australia are also calling on the Australian Attorney General to authorize a full investigation into possible breaches of the Criminal Code Amendment Act 1999 (Australia's law prohibiting bribery of foreign officials in accordance with the OECD Convention on Bribery) by Anvil in its acquisition of the Dikulushi concession. On Oct. 16, roughly a month after MIGA approved a $5 million political risk guarantee for the Dikulushi mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the FARDC ruthlessly suppressed a small-scale rebellion that began the two days beforehand in the remote fishing town of Kilwa. The hitherto unknown group calling themselves the Mouvement Revolutionaire pour la liberation du Katanga (Revolutionary Movement for the Liberation of Katanga) announced that they had come to liberate the province. Although the rebels had put up no resistance when soldiers from the 62nd Brigade of the 6th Military Region arrived to recapture the town, the majority of unarmed civilians, including women and children, were killed. According to eyewitness accounts gathered by human rights lawyers, the soldiers went on an indiscriminate rampage carrying out arbitrary arrests and summary killings of suspected rebels and their supporters, raping women, and subjecting those in detention to torture and beatings. It is estimated between 70 and 100 people were killed (see NOTE 1 below). Anvil Mining provided logistical support to the soldiers. The town is difficult to access by road, so Anvil planes were used to fly in soldiers from the provincial capital of Lubumbashi. In May 2005, lawyers acting on RAID's behalf, interviewed survivors who confirmed that Anvil had also provided vehicles and drivers to assist in the assault on the town, to transport those arbitrarily detained, and even to remove the corpses of those killed during the military operation. NGOs charge that MIGA did not give adequate consideration to concerns first raised in June 2004 with MIGA. Those concerns included the propriety of Anvil Mining's relationship to Mr. Katumba Mwanke â€“ the former governor of Katanga Province and former prime minister â€“ and his role in helping Anvil obtain the Dikulushi concession. However, MIGA accepted Anvil's assurances that no improper payments were made to intermediaries for help in obtaining the concession (see NOTE 2 below). Anvil Mining's contract with MIGA requires the company to give assurances that it has no improper political relationships. The Four Corners program revealed that Mr. Mwanke was on the board of Anvil's Congolese subsidiary. "MIGA has no option but to immediately withdraw its political risk guarantee for the Dikulushi project" said Patricia Feeney, executive director of RAID. "Moreover, given the failure of governments to investigate the UN's allegations of corporate misconduct in their operations in the DRC during the resource fuelled war, decisive action has to be taken now to curb abuses by companies and to prevent the Congo from sliding back into conflict." --- NOTE 1: ASADHO Katanga, "Rapport sur les violations des droits de l'homme commises a Kilwa au mois d'octobre 2004," Jan. 2005. NOTE 2: Correspondence from Moina Varkie, MIGA, Aug. 27, 2004. ------ EDITOR'S NOTE: Contacts and further information: For media inquiries, contact Richard Meeran, Slater & Gordon Lawyers, RMeeran@slatergordon.com.au and email@example.com, 61-0411-156-797. A background briefing document is available. Sally Neighbour, the producer of the Australian Broadcasting Company's Four Corners Program about Anvil Mining and the Kilwa Massacre, can provide members of the media with footage and a transcript from the program: firstname.lastname@example.org ( http://www.abc.net.au/4corners ).
Melbourne Herald Sun 8 June 2005 www.heraldsun.news.com.au Anvil hit by link to massacre SHARES in Perth-based Anvil Mining came under pressure yesterday after a television documentary claimed the company was involved in the massacre of at least 100 people in the Democratic Republic of Congo. ABC's Four Corners program, aired on Monday night, focused on the DRC Government's response to rebel activity in the village of Kilwa, where one of Anvil's biggest copper mining operations is based. Anvil's shares plunged to 35c during trade, before closing on a year low, 0.5c weaker at 37.5c. The program alleged that Anvil provided vehicles and financed a plane to transport troops from the 62nd brigade of the Congolese army. The program reported eyewitness accounts alleging the troops used Anvil vehicles to terrorise the Kilwa township. Civilians were killed or beaten and houses were looted. Anvil admitted that the plane made up to four trips to the regional capital to bring in between 80 and 100 troops. But in a note to the stock exchange yesterday, Anvil president and chief executive Bill Turner condemned the program, saying its allegations were "deplorable and without without foundation". "Anvil had no knowledge of what was planned for the military operation, and was not involved in the military operation in any way," Mr Turner said. "The idea that Anvil somehow influenced the military action, or should be seen as complicit in the military action, is nonsense." Mr Turner added that six years ago the company established a special trust where 10 per cent of the profits of its Dikulushi Mine would be held, to be spent on community and social development projects in Kilwa. For the three months to March 31, Anvil booked a $1.7 million loss compared with a profit of $1.6 million in the same period last year. Its shares have sunk more than 43 per cent in the past year.
www.abc.net.au 10 June 2005 Aboriginality classification angers Indigenous Tasmanians Reporter: Tim Jeanes MARK COLVIN: There's been an angry reaction from Tasmania's Aboriginal communities over moves by their State Government to clarify the definition of "Aboriginality". Legislation last night passed the Tasmanian Lower House, aimed at introducing a three-part test to decide who can legally lay claim to the term. And while some of the anger has been directed at the Government, the move has opened up old wounds among the communities themselves. Tim Jeanes reports. TIM JEANES: Aborigines in Tasmania are no strangers to conflict, but the legislation has taken it to new levels. To call themselves "Aborigine" they'll have to satisfy Aboriginal ancestry requirements, identify as an Aborigine and be recognised by the Indigenous community. John Clarke is a local ATSIC Chairman and says the end result will be about 12,000 of the 16,000 Tasmanians who lay claim to being Aboriginal won't qualify. He says that includes himself. JOHN CLARKE: Aboriginal people, when the colonisation took place in Australia, Aboriginal people weren't documented and their families weren't documented and records kept. It's sleight of hand by the State Government and their legislators to use the three-part criteria. Unless you've got a written family tree then you don't even jump the first hurdle. TIM JEANES: Kaye McPherson is a spokeswoman for the Lia Pootah people. She says the legislation is the culmination of a campaign of "genocide". KAYE MCPHERSON: We are now dead. If this gets through, this is the living death, we don't exist, the genocide's complete. With this legislation in Tasmania the genocide's complete. We'll always exist as a community and we know who we are and we'll always be Aboriginal, recognised Aboriginal when we come to mainland Australia, but in Tasmania, we no longer exist. TIM JEANES: But much of the anger of people such as Kaye McPherson has been directed at other Aboriginal groups. There's been a long-standing debate among local Aborigines about how genuine the Lia Pootah's claim is when it comes to their Aboriginal ancestry. Kaye McPherson says that relates to the use of distorted historical accounts and much of her anger is aimed at the rival Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre. She says it's been behind the move and has been achieved by the TAC ingratiating itself with the Government. KAYE MCPHERSON: By manipulating the Government, by insinuating themselves into Government positions they became bureaucrats and have done it through bureaucratic and administrative policies. TIM JEANES: Not so, says Michael Mansell, the legal adviser for the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre, who's responded with a counter-attack. MICHAEL MANSELL: Their claim to be Aboriginal is fake, just as their claims this small piece of legislation by the Tasmanian Government is genocide is also a fake claim, but this is how they gain credibility to their cause. It's a great story. They haven't got a drop of Aboriginal blood in their veins but by crikey they're able to get some attention. MARK COLVIN: Michael Mansell, legal adviser to the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre ending Tim Jeanes' report.
Reuters 8 June 2005 PM Opposes Private Funds In Cambodia Genocide Trial PHNOM PENH (Reuters) - Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Wednesday relatives of the 1.7 million people who died under the Khmer Rouge should not be paying for genocide trials, fueling concern that he did not want them to take place. Opposition members of parliament and ordinary people have proposed private donations to make up the more than $10 million shortfall in the projected $56.3 million budget required to try surviving Khmer Rouge leaders blamed for the deaths. But Hun Sen, a former Khmer Rouge soldier albeit with no links to any atrocities, said Cambodians would do much better to spend the money on themselves in a country where a third of the population lives on less than $1 per day. ``I think Cambodians should keep that money to support themselves rather than giving it for the court to try the Khmer Rouge,'' Hun Sen told reporters. ``Or they could spend the money to buy food and make offerings to the spirits of their parents who were brutally killed by Pol Pot's group. That is better,'' he said. The United Nations has already pledged $38 million for the court, which will try those deemed ``most responsible'' for atrocities committed under the ultra-Maoist administration led by Pol Pot from 1975 to 1979. An estimated 1.7 million people, or nearly a third of the population, were executed or died of starvation, disease or overwork as the regime's dream of a peasant utopia turned into the nightmare of the ``Killing Fields.'' Under an agreement with the U.N., deeply impoverished Cambodia will pay $13.2 million toward the cost of the trial, prompting Phnom Penh to go cap in hand once again to foreign governments. Hun Sen's opposition to private donations dismayed analysts. ``Businessmen want to contribute cash and the opposition has called for fund raising. This means the government is opposing the will of the victims,'' said Thun Saray, head of human rights group ADHOC. ``The budget shortfall is an excuse for the government not to put the Khmer Rouge on trial,'' he said. The opposition Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) said Cambodia's 13 million citizens should be given the chance to make private contributions to a trial which will hopefully bring to a close one of the darkest chapters of the 20th century. ``They are not rich, but Khmer people inside and outside the country can manage one dollar per head to kick start a trial that means so much to them,'' the SRP said in a statement. No Khmer Rouge leader has faced justice for the atrocities, and critics fear that many of them will die before the legal process ends.
usnewswire.com 2 June 2005 Mass Awakening Foretells a Future without Communism; Rally to Support 2 Million Chinese Quitting CCP & Condemn Tiananmen Massacre 6/2/2005 12:05:00 PM To: Assignment Desk, Daybook Editor Contact: Mindy Ge, 202-669-9437 News Advisory: WHAT: Rally to support two million Chinese quitting the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and condemning the Tiananmen massacre. WHEN: Friday, June 3rd, 2005, 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Farragut Square (17th and K St., NW), Washington DC On June 4th, 1989, tanks rolled onto Tiananmen Square of Beijing and opened fire on innocent citizens. Images capturing the bloodshed showed thousands of young, unarmed students in China blown to pieces. The whole world witnessed the inhuman, violent, evil nature of Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which has been found "UNCHANGED" over the last sixteen years. For the first time, we have the uncensored, comprehensive disclosure of the crimes of CCP, and what it is and how it came to be. The No. 1 prohibited book in China, "Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party" has recently awakened and given back clarity and conscience to hundreds of millions of Chinese. Ever since it was published six months ago, more than 2 million Chinese have peacefully and publicly renounced their membership to CCP and associated organizations, with a daily average of 25,000-plus renunciations. The "Nine Commentaries" is truly disintegrating the CCP's tyranny, and sending a shockwave to Chinese all over the world. The massive awakening of the people's conscience inside China is leading the world to a new era without Communism. Please join us for this special rally, as leaders of concerned organizations, both Chinese and Western, victims of persecuted groups in China, and a Connecticut Rock band, NoManZero, show their supports for this unprecedented and rapid movement in China towards freedom and democracy. Sponsored by 30-plus organizations, such as Global Coalition for ByeCCP, Wei Jingsheng Foundation, BigNews, Global Alliance for Democracy and Peace, China Support Network, Overseas' Joint Committee for China Democratic Movement, Service Center for Quitting CCP, Worldrights, China Mental Health Watch, Vietnam Human Rights Network, China e-Lobby, The New Party -- Washington DC, etc.
washingtonpost.com 13 June 2005 For Chinese, Peasant Revolt Is Rare Victory Farmers Beat Back Police In Battle Over Pollution By Edward Cody Washington Post Foreign Service Monday, June 13, 2005; A01 HUAXI, China -- A hard rain had fallen most of the night. Xu Juxian, a wiry farmer's wife with straggly black hair, said the downpour leaked copiously into the ragged tents where elderly protesters had been camping for more than two weeks. As a result, recalled Xu, they were all damp, uncomfortable and wide awake in the still hour just before dawn. So Xu, 79, and the others immediately heard the commotion when dozens of government cars and buses wound into Huaxi beginning at 4:30 a.m. on April 10, carrying an estimated 3,000 policemen and civilians assigned to destroy the tents. To alert people in this gritty farm town that police were pouring in, watchful residents set off fireworks by the hundreds. By the time dawn broke, up to 20,000 peasants from the half-dozen villages that make up Huaxi township had responded to the alarm, participants recounted, and they were in no mood to bow to authority. For four years, they had been complaining that industrial pollution was poisoning the land, stunting the crops and fouling the water in their fertile valley surrounded by forested hills 120 miles south of Hangzhou. And now their protest -- blocking the entrance to an industrial park -- was being put down by force. A pitched battle erupted that soggy morning between enraged farmers and badly outnumbered police. By the end of the day, high-ranking officials had fled in their black sedans and hundreds of policemen had scattered in panic while farmers destroyed their vehicles. It was a rare triumph for the peasants, rising up against the all-powerful Communist Party government. The confrontation was also a glimpse of a gathering force that could help shape the future of China: the power of spontaneous mass protest. Peasants and workers left behind by China's economic boom increasingly have resorted to the kind of unrest that ignited in Huaxi. Their explosions of anger have become a potential source of instability and a threat to the party's monopoly on power that has leaders in Beijing worried. By some accounts, there have been thousands of such protests a year, often met with force. The workers and peasants appear to have nowhere else to turn but the street. Their representatives in parliament do what the government says; independent organizations are banned in China's communist system; and party officials, focused on economic growth, have become partners of eager entrepreneurs rather than defenders of those abandoned by the boom. Most of the violent grass-roots eruptions have been put down, hard and fast. This report examines the origin and unfolding of one revolt that went the other way. "We won a big victory," declared a farmer who described the protest on condition that his name be withheld, lest police arrest him as a ringleader. "We protected our land. And anyway, the government should not have sent so many people to suppress us." A Deaf Ear From the beginning, the villagers said, they had opposed Zhuxi Industrial Park, which spreads over 82.3 acres at the edge of town. Some feared pollution. Others thought giving up even a little farmland betrayed their long agricultural heritage. The villagers described the origins of their protests in a series of recent interviews. They expressed anxiety that undercover police were now seeking ringleaders of the protest, filtering through Huaxi's walled barnyards and brick homes. They said arrests were likely to come soon. But they portrayed the protest as a victory over officialdom that was long overdue. Most of the villagers spoke on condition of anonymity out of fear of arrest and imprisonment. When the industrial park was begun, the municipal government of nearby Dongyang City, which has authority over Huaxi, already owned 49.4 acres of the needed land. Villagers whose fields overlapped into the site had to slice off swaths for the other 32.9. In return, villagers said, each affected family got $14.60 a year for four years, an amount that villagers consider woefully inadequate. Despite the opposition, Zhuxi Industrial Park opened in 2001. Elected village councils in Huaxi and the Huaxi Communist Party secretary were powerless to stop a decision imposed by municipal authorities, residents said. The Dongyang City government and the Communist Party committee, which also administered the park, leased sites to 13 private and joint state-private factories. Eight of them produced chemical products, villagers said, and others worked with plastic. Gas emissions soon seethed through the village, residents said, irritating eyes and forcing families to close their windows to sleep. Factory effluents seeped into the stream that farmers depended on for irrigation, they complained, causing crops and trees to wither. A particular offender, they added, was a pesticide factory that had moved in after being forced out of Dongyang City because of foul odors. But no one, the villagers lamented, would listen to their pleas to have the factories closed. It was not for lack of trying. Huaxi officials, including Party Secretary Wang Wei, visited other factories in the region and warned in a confidential report that pollution was a danger to residents and agriculture. A copy of the report was leaked and posted for all to see. Partly as a result, villagers wrote an open letter to the Dongyang municipal government demanding the industrial park be closed. "The Dongyang government turned a deaf ear to it all," said one of those involved. Frustrated, the villagers tried higher up the hierarchy. They sent a delegation to Zhejiang provincial headquarters in Hangzhou and to the national capital, Beijing, where they left petitions with the premier's office and the State Environmental Protection Administration. No one stopped to listen, they said. Their patience exhausted, a group of farmers broke into the park in October 2001, shattering windows and vandalizing machinery at the pesticide factory. Wang and 11 others were subsequently arrested. Ten of the 12 were sentenced to jail terms for disturbing the public order. At the trial, according to one of those sentenced, the judge said he did not want to hear about Huaxi's problems with pollution. A Strategy to Resist The villagers resisted for the next four years, but made little progress. Finally, they built their first two protest tents at the industrial park's entrance on March 23, using red, white and blue nylon tarps stretched over bamboo frames. Some villagers said they acted because the Dongyang mayor, Chen Fengwei, had refused to receive them during a town hall open house March 15. Others said the decision was made because residents heard another polluting factory was about to move into the industrial park. Whatever the trigger, after four years of getting brushed aside, the villagers of Huaxi vowed they were not going to take it any more. No one would be allowed to come and go from the industrial park. The Huaxi Elderly Association, which admits farmers 60 and older on payment of a 55-cent annual membership fee, volunteered to staff the tents. The elderly farmers, along with younger men leading the fight, figured police would be reluctant to wrestle with old men and women. They were wrong. The Dongyang City government dispatched 100 policemen and civilian officials five days after the tents went up, villagers said. The police arrived at lunchtime, when many of the elderly protesters were gone, dragged away remaining protesters and torched the tents, the villagers recalled. But several thousand angry villagers swiftly surrounded the police contingent, refusing to allow some of the officers to get back into their cars. Ultimately, the policemen were allowed to leave unhurt, a participant said, but several of their vehicles were not released until that evening. The tone had been set for the confrontation to come. By the next day, farmers from several of Huaxi's roughhewn villages showed up to build even more tents. Nineteen were erected within hours, several villagers recalled. About 200 people, most of them elderly, began living in them full time, defying police warnings. During the first week of April, villagers recalled, the protesting old farmers received a day-long visit from Chen, the Dongyang mayor; Tang Yong, the Dongyang Communist Party secretary; and a high-ranking Zhejiang provincial official. The officials cajoled the protesters in a friendly tone, witnesses said, urging them to leave and promising that polluting factories would be closed. At the same time, the witnesses added, the officials warned that the protest constituted an illegal disturbance of the public order. Moreover, an activist reported, eight villagers were detained after the officials left, accused of setting off firecrackers to announce that the high-ranking officials had arrived. The warning system was in place. Farmer's Wrath When the firecrackers went off April 10, Xu said, about 50 policewomen and riot police burst into the tent she shared with 20 other elderly villagers. The policewomen were shouting orders, Xu recalled, but the elderly protesters could not understand. The shouts were in Mandarin, China's official language, and the retired farmers and their wives spoke only a local dialect. "Then they tried to pull us out," Xu recalled, sitting in the courtyard of her rickety wooden farmhouse while a middle-aged relative interpreted her recollections into Mandarin. "Those who refused to go were beaten," she added, showing bruises on her left thigh. As the policewomen and riot police, armed with helmets and plastic shields, dragged the protesters outside, other officers set about destroying the tents with shears and machetes, witnesses said. The flimsy constructions swiftly collapsed into piles of tarp and bamboo. Xu said she was taken to the local clinic to have her leg examined. But some of the women who had been pulled from the tents sat down in the concrete roadway and refused to leave, blocking police who were trying to remove the debris in a truck, witnesses said. Most of the protesters who had flooded the area, meanwhile, were being kept behind a crime-scene tape, said a pair of farmers who joined the crowd as the women staged their sit-in around 5:30 a.m. But the sight of the elderly protesters being whacked by police trying to clear the road produced a wave of anger among the excited peasants, they said, and many started hurling stones across the tape. Another protester said the crowd exploded in anger when one of the factory managers, identified as Wang Yuejin, tried to persuade police to take it easy on the elderly women and got hit with a truncheon for his trouble. At about the same time, he said, a villager in the crowd, Wang Hongfa, was struck by a stone launched by the besieged policemen, opening a gash above his left eye. In addition, rumors -- later proved untrue -- began to circulate that two elderly women had died from injuries inflicted by riot police. "After that, people got really mad," the protester recalled. 'Other Face' of Police As farmers' stones rained down and the crowd pressed closer at about 6:30 a.m., , the police lines collapsed and panicked officers ran for their staging ground at a schoolyard 150 yards from the tents. Some of them were beaten on the way but many made it into the walled compound and locked the doors. Two of the farmers, with the calloused hands and dirt-lined fingernails of those who till the earth, later recalled what happened next during a long conversation in an isolated farmhouse surrounded by peach trees. It took several hundred villagers to push down the eight-foot-high stone wall surrounding the courtyard, they said, but it collapsed within a few minutes once they all put their shoulders to the task. As farmers rushed through the 20-foot-wide breach, they found many of the policewomen had taken refuge in buses surrounded by male riot police with shields and batons. But the surging crowd of howling farmers frightened the men away, the pair said, and the buses swiftly emptied as well. Some policemen shed their uniforms and ran away in their underwear, protesters recalled. Others fled into the classrooms, they said, kicking in locked doors to find shelter. "We saw the other face of the police," said one of the two farmers. "At first, the ordinary people had been afraid. But by then, it was the police who were afraid." While some of the enraged farmers pursued police officers into the school building, beating those they could and driving the rest away, others set on the buses with stones, bricks and tools. First the buses were trashed, then the sedans. "It took us less than two hours to destroy all the vehicles," one of the farmers said. "The policemen inside the school didn't dare come out. When they tried to get out, some of them were spotted and the villagers beat them up." Chen Qixian, spokesman of the Dongyang City government, said 30 local officials and policemen were injured during the clash. But the Phoenix Weekly, a magazine owned by a Hong Kong company, quoted Dongyang hospital officials as saying 140 people were treated for injuries, most of them policeman and officials. Chen said only three villagers were slightly injured. But Huaxi residents said a 55-year-old woman was severely beaten in the head as she was dragged from a tent and remained hospitalized after several operations. Xu, the elderly hut dweller whose thigh was bruised, said policemen wielding truncheons had given a number of elderly protesters the same treatment. Officials Put on Notice As villagers celebrated in the courtyard, local schoolteachers entered the building and escorted the remaining police officers away. By the middle of the afternoon, as triumphant villagers posed for photographers holding up pieces of destroyed vehicles, the last of the policemen had made their way out of town. "We were happy from the bottom of our hearts," one of the farmers said, his conical straw hat resting at his feet. Later that night, villagers said, some migrant workers sneaked into the courtyard and started scavenging for parts among the destroyed vehicles. Outraged, villagers immediately called police. Officers refused to respond. Within days, the tents were rebuilt yet again. Twenty-six of them blocked the industrial park for another month, forcing the factories to remain closed. The Huaxi Elderly Association sent its gray-haired protesters back to live in the tents and the firecrackers once again were readied to sound the alarm. When two trucks tried to sneak around the tents and get into the industrial park with factory supplies on May 12, villagers said, the fireworks immediately crackled and about 10,000 villagers hurried to the scene. With police help, the villagers said, the farmers forced the trucks to back away. Police officers warned the drivers that if they tried again, they would be accused of disturbing the public order, witnesses recounted. Eager to avoid trouble, a police checkpoint on the outskirts of town posted a large sign saying, "Trucks carrying factory supplies forbidden." Six of the 13 factories were ordered to move out of Huaxi for good, and Dongyang authorities organized "working groups" of local and outside officials to visit peasant homes and urge that the protest be ended on that basis, according to Chen, the city government spokesman. To some extent, the diplomacy paid off. With the accord of villagers, local officials took down the tents on May 20. Local police and officials -- Dongyang authorities were asked to stay away -- escorted the elderly protesters home and prevented them from returning. But activists said they put the town council and other officials on notice that if the factories start operations again, the tents will go back up. No arrests have been made yet, Chen said. But police -- plainclothes as well as uniformed -- have established a heavy presence in Huaxi and local residents have been enlisted in the hunt for those responsible for the peasant rebellion on April 10. The Dongyang administration has made it clear that somebody has to pay. A "system of punishment and prevention" has been put into place to create a "harmonious society" in Huaxi, a Dongyang city hall statement said. "Our next step is to investigate some party members who were believed to be leaders of the riot," it added.
washingtonpost.com Wave of Bombings Kills 9 in Iran as Vote Nears By Karl Vick Washington Post Foreign Service Monday, June 13, 2005; A13 TEHRAN, June 12 -- Four bombs exploded Sunday in the capital of the only province of Iran dominated by ethnic Arabs, followed hours later by a fifth bomb in the center of Tehran. State media reported that at least nine people were killed in the attacks, which came five days before Iranians are scheduled to elect a new president. The violence was called the most serious in this country in more than a decade. The wave of bombings in Ahvaz, in Khuzestan province near the border with Iraq, came over a two-hour period Sunday morning. One device exploded outside the governor's office, possibly after being placed in a car, state television reported. Another detonated outside the state housing office. The third and fourth were placed near the home of the head of state television and radio in the province. At least 30 people were wounded, according to state television. The explosion in Tehran, the national capital, came hours later and killed two people, according to the official Islamic Republic News Agency. Witnesses said the blast was set off in a garbage can near a fruit-and-vegetable market. "These bombings are aimed at discouraging people from participating in the election, but these terrorist acts would have the reverse effect," former president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a candidate in the elections, said in an interview on state television. Nasser Shabani, deputy commander of Tehran's police force, said a suspect in the Tehran bombing was arrested but offered no details, local news media reported. He put the number of wounded at 12. The four bombings in Iran's southwest drew fresh attention to Khuzestan province. Two months ago, hundreds of people rioted in Ahvaz and several were reported killed. The hardscrabble province is home to most of the 2 million Arabs who reside in Iran, many of whom complain about employment discrimination at the hands of the ethnic Persians who have traditionally ruled the country of 70 million. Other ethnic minorities in Iran make similar complaints, but dissatisfaction in Khuzestan is made vivid by the presence of several profitable oil fields, where few ethnic Arabs are able to find work. The relative poverty of the province is further highlighted by the wreckage that remains in the countryside, where much of the worst fighting of Iran's 1980-88 war with Iraq took place. The April riots followed the circulation of an evidently forged official letter urging that non-Arabs be relocated to Ahvaz to dilute the Arab majority there. The controversy focused attention on underground groups that promote pan-Arab calls for the area to be annexed by Iraq. Security forces working for Iran's theocratic government arrested hundreds of people after the unrest, and closed off the province to foreign reporters. Al-Jazeera, the Arabic-language satellite news channel, was ejected from the country after officials accused it of encouraging unrest through its reporting. The bombings came as scores of international journalists were in the country to cover the presidential election set for Friday. Eight candidates are vying to replace President Mohammad Khatami, the reformist ending his second and final term. Public opinion surveys show Rafsanjani, often described as a pragmatist, leading the field, which includes four hard-line conservatives. The leading reformist candidate, Mostafa Moin, a former higher education minister, has campaigned extensively in the provinces and last week was the first candidate to visit Khuzestan. In an unrelated development, several hundred women staged a sit-in outside the front gate of Tehran University. The protesters raised chants and demanded rights revoked after the 1979 Islamic revolution. They taunted the police and plainclothes security officers who formed a perimeter around the demonstrators, pushing away women and men who attempted to join the group. The authorities also cut off cellular phone service in the area. As they challenged reporters near the site, they briefly confiscated the video camera of actor Sean Penn, who is in Iran accredited as a reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle. Special correspondent Mehrdad Mirdamadi contributed to this report.
washingtonpost.com 3 June 2005 Iraq Puts Civilian Toll at 12,000 Insurgency Claiming About 20 People a Day By Ellen Knickmeyer Washington Post Foreign Service Friday, June 3, 2005; A01 BAGHDAD, June 2 -- Violence in the course of the 18-month-long insurgency has claimed the lives of 12,000 Iraqis, Interior Minister Bayan Jabr said Thursday, giving the first official count for the largest category of victims of bombings, ambushes and other increasingly deadly attacks. At least 36 more Iraqi civilians, security force members and officials were killed Thursday in attacks that underscored the ruthlessness and growing randomness of much of the violence. The day's victims included 12 people killed when a suicide attacker drove a vehicle loaded with explosives into a restaurant near the northern city of Kirkuk. In Baghdad, gunmen opened fire on a market area crowded with civilians, killing nine, the Defense Ministry said. The U.S. military reported that two soldiers were killed Wednesday, by a bomb and by small-arms fire, in the western city of Ramadi. Thursday's violence demonstrated the ability of insurgents to keep up attacks despite a week-old security operation in Baghdad billed as the most aggressive yet by Iraq's new government, in office for less than two months. The checkpoints and raids that leaders have dubbed Operation Lightning have brought all roads in and out of the capital under government control, said Jabr, the minister in charge of Iraq's police forces. The actions are meant to expose insurgent hideouts in the city, he told reporters from some foreign news organizations, adding, "Within the next few months, we can deal with all of the killings and assassinations." Jabr said security forces had detained 700 "terrorists" and killed 28 during the operation. The Defense Ministry said Wednesday that 680 people had been detained but that all but 95 had been released for lack of evidence warranting prosecution. Interior Ministry statistics showed 12,000 civilians killed by insurgents in the last year and a half, Jabr said. The figure breaks down to an average of more than 20 civilians killed by bombings and other attacks each day. Authorities estimate that more than 10,500 of the victims were Shiite Muslims, based on the locations of the deaths, Jabr said. There have been 1,663 U.S. military deaths since the United States led the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, according to the Pentagon's official count. Bombings and other insurgent strikes have killed thousands of Iraqi security force members. No official totals have been released for those dead, or for the total number of civilian casualties since the start of the war. The U.S. military says it does not keep a comprehensive tally of people it has killed in combat, although it has released numbers of dead in major operations and has acknowledged civilians it has killed if it has become generally known that those people died during a U.S. firefight or attack. Jabr said the government figures showed that Shiites had suffered the bulk of insurgent attacks. No Sunni Muslim mosques, for example, had been destroyed, he said. Iraq's insurgency is led largely by members of the Sunni Arab minority that was toppled from power with Saddam Hussein. Foreign Arab fighters are largely blamed for the suicide bombings that now claim most of the lives. Jabr, in some of his first extended remarks to reporters since becoming interior minister, said he saw no legitimacy in the cause of the Sunni Arab fighters. "I have not seen any 'resistance,' " Jabr said in response to a question about clemency for so-called resistance fighters who lay down their arms. "There is terror, and all sides have agreed that anyone raising guns and killing Iraqis is a terrorist." Jabr denied that the police operation in Baghdad was unduly focusing on Sunnis, saying many of the operation's commanders were Sunnis. He also said the new government was trying to reform the Interior Ministry, including expelling officials and officers found to have tortured detainees or others. As an opposition member under Hussein, he said, he had lost 10 members of his family to torture. "I would not accept that anyone practice torture against anyone," he said, adding that he would "personally follow up" on all such allegations. Jabr also denied reports that members of the Badr militia, Shiite fighters trained in exile in Iran, were complicit in the killing of Sunni clerics last month. Investigation showed that no Badr members were involved, he said. The true killers are "terrorists who are killing Shiite clerics and Sunnis to incite strife," he said. The day's violence included two car bombs near the northern oil city of Kirkuk. A bomb attack at a roadside restaurant apparently targeted bodyguards of one of Iraq's deputy prime ministers, Rosh Nouri Shaways, said Col. Abbas Mohammed Amin, police chief of Tuz, where the attack occurred. Shaways, an ethnic Kurd, was not present, but five of his guards and seven other people were killed, according to police and defense officials. Two more people died at Arafah, the site of one of Iraq's first oil wells. A suicide car bomber there detonated his explosives at the entrance to a compound for the national oil company and the U.S. and British consulates, Lt. Col. Adel Zain Abidin said. In Baqubah, in central Iraq, a suicide car bomber killed Hussein Alwan Tamimi, the deputy chairman of the Diyala provincial council, as he was accompanying his ill sister to the hospital, according to a fellow council member, Khadija Khuda Yakhsh. Four of the official's bodyguards also died. The sister was wounded. In Mosul, also in the north, attackers blew up two motorcycles rigged with explosives next to a coffee shop frequented by police officers, killing five people, the Associated Press reported. Gunmen firing randomly from three speeding cars killed nine Iraqis in a crowded market area in Baghdad, a Defense Ministry official told the AP. Interior Ministry officials gave a slightly different account, saying the victims had been waiting at a bus stop. A bomb caused the deaths of three motorists at Mahmudiyah, 15 miles south of Baghdad, and attackers with guns and a bomb killed a woman in Baghdad's Dora neighborhood, police and hospital officials told the AP. In political developments, negotiators were unable to find a formula by which more Sunni Arabs would help draft the country's constitution. Writing a new constitution is the main mandate of Prime Minister Ibrahim Jafari's government, which faces a mid-August deadline to finish a draft that can be put before voters. Sunnis largely boycotted Jan. 30 elections for the National Assembly and as a result are underrepresented on the constitution-writing committee. Sunni blocs came forward for the first time last month to say that they wanted a role. The drafting of the charter has started while negotiators decide whether political parties, regional votes or other means should be used to pick Sunni delegates. "National Assembly members are willing to make this succeed," a Sunni negotiator, Salih Mutlak, said after talks Thursday. "They cannot write the constitution in the absence of the Sunni representation," he added. "If they do, it will be rejected by the people." Special correspondents Salih Saif Aldin in central Iraq, Marwan Ani in Kirkuk and Bassam Sebti and Khalid Saffar in Baghdad contributed to this report.
AFP 2 June 2005 Two Iraqi Baathists detained for 1991 Shiite massacre (AFP) 2 June 2005 KARBALA, Iraq - Police have arrested two former Baath party members accused of killing 43 Iraqi Shiites during the 1991 revolt against deposed dictator Saddam Hussein, a police source said on Thursday. “Adnan Nassar and Kazem al-Ukaili, accused of killing 43 inhabitants of Karbala during the Shiite uprising, were arrested by police,” said General Abbas Fadel al-Hassani, head of the force in this city 110 kilometers (70 miles) south of Baghdad. “The two men who had fled Iraq have admitted the crimes,” he added. Ukaili said that after Saddam’s fall in April 2003, “relatives of the victims discovered reports written by these two people about crimes they had committed in the Baath party headquarters in Karbala.” “Nassar is accused of murdering 20 people and Ukaili of 23 others.” Iraqi Shiites staged their uprising after Saddam’s troops were expelled from Kuwait by coalition forces during the first Gulf war, but the rebellion was brutally crushed. Meanwhile, a local government source near Nassiriyah, also in southern Iraq, said police had arrested the brother of the former Baath party chief of Diyala province -- north of Baghdad -- along with three other suspects. “Police arrested Anwar Abdel Karim al-Saadun in Al-Dabitiyah, south of Nassiriyah,” he said, adding that Saddun was a low-ranking Baath party member. His brother, Abdel Baqi Abdel Karim, is on the US list of 55 most-wanted former regime figures and is still on the run.
NYT June 6, 2005 First Court Case of Hussein Stems From Killings in Village in '82 By JOHN F. BURNS BAGHDAD, Iraq, June 5 - The Iraqi court set up to hear cases against Saddam Hussein and his top aides plans to bring him to trial by late summer or early fall in its first case, involving the 1982 killings of nearly 160 men from Dujail, a predominantly Shiite village north of Baghdad, after he survived an assassination attempt there, according to a senior Iraqi court official. By scheduling an early trial for Mr. Hussein on a small fraction of the accusations against him, the Iraqi Special Tribunal has effectively ceded to pressure from Iraq's transitional government, settling a behind-the-scenes power struggle involving American lawyers who have guided the tribunal's work since the court was established last year. The Americans favored trying at least some Hussein aides first, saying doing so would help build up a pattern of "command responsibility" that led conclusively to him. That approach, the American lawyers have said, would allow prosecutors to use his aides' testimony against him, bolstering documents that were often inconclusive on Mr. Hussein's role in the mass killings. But that approach would most likely have delayed the trial until 2006, because the tribunal, using two side-by-side courtrooms, each with a five-judge panel sitting without a jury, would first have to work its way through trials of at least some of his subordinates. Laith Kubba, spokesman for Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, who took power last month as the head of Iraq's first Shiite-majority government, told reporters on Sunday that the government wanted Mr. Hussein's trial to begin within two months. Mr. Kubba said there was "no reason to waste time" in preparing for a trial that would hold Mr. Hussein, a Sunni Arab, to account in the 500 separate cases of crimes against humanity, many involving Shiites and Kurds, that Mr. Kubba said were under investigation. "It is the government's view that the trial of Saddam should take place as soon as possible," Mr. Kubba said. Mr. Kubba said the government preferred an approach concentrating on 12 "fully documented cases," including Dujail, and that those would ensure that Mr. Hussein, 68, received the death sentence. The Jaafari government has said it will apply the death penalty - available in Iraq's criminal code, drafted under Mr. Hussein - against those responsible for the worst Hussein-era crimes, as well as by insurgents who have wracked Iraq since his overthrow. American officials, who have provided more than $75 million for the tribunal, offered no comment on the Iraqi decision. An American Embassy spokesman said Gregg Nivala, the top American lawyer advising the tribunal, was traveling in Europe, and an e-mailed request for comment by him went unanswered. But American officials have said that Greg Kehoe, a former Tampa prosecutor who was Mr. Nivala's predecessor at the tribunal, resisted heavy pressure last year from Ayad Allawi, prime minister in the interim government replaced by Dr. Jaafari's administration, for an early trial. For Shiite and Kurdish politicians who dominate the new government, the new timetable puts Mr. Hussein in the dock, in a case involving the mass murder of Shiites and Kurds, ahead of elections for a full, five-year government scheduled to be held by Dec. 15. But it also appears to mean that Iraqis will be denied the kind of sweeping trial that Slobodan Milosevic, the former Yugoslav president, has had in The Hague, where he has faced a panoply of charges covering the wars in the 1990's in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo. M. Cherif Bassiouni, a law professor at DePaul University and an authority on Iraqi law, said in an interview on Sunday that the new approach of the government in Baghdad was understandable but contained several pitfalls. Professor Bassiouni, who has advised the United States government on how to reshape the Iraqi criminal justice system and bring Mr. Hussein to trial, said that using specific criminal acts would have the advantage of moving quickly. In addition, using the specifics of a case like that of Dujail would reduce the difficulties of trying Mr. Hussein on the more abstract issues of command responsibility, he said. But he said the haste could prove costly because the Iraqi government would have to use the law put in place by the American occupation authorities. To proceed without the Iraqis enacting their own law, he said, "would lack credibility and legitimacy in the eyes of the Iraqi people and other Arabs." Tribunal officials have said that Mr. Hussein will eventually face similar trials for other atrocities, including the Anfal campaign of the late 1980's in which dozens of Kurdish villages and towns, including Halabja, were attacked with chemical weapons; the suppression of a Shiite rebellion that followed the Persian Gulf war in 1991, in which 150,000 Shiites were killed; the summary executions of more than 20 Baath party leaders Mr. Hussein accused of treason after he seized the presidency in 1979; and the killings of more than 500 members of the family of Massoud Barzani, a Kurdish leader, and of several Shiite religious leaders. Still undecided, the tribunal official said Sunday, was whether Mr. Hussein would ultimately face trial for his role in Iraq's eight-year war with Iran in the 1980's, in which nearly a million Iraqis and Iranians died. The Jaafari government, at its first high-level meeting with the Iranian government in Baghdad last month, signed a joint communiqué accepting Mr. Hussein's responsibility for starting the war, and for the loss of life involved. Although American officials wrote a provision for war-crimes investigations into the statute establishing the tribunal last year, American officials in Baghdad have cautioned that widening the cases against Mr. Hussein to include the Iran-Iraq war would expose Iraq, already burdened with billions of dollars in debt, to demands for heavy war reparations from Iran. Mr. Hussein will join five defendants in the Dujail trial, including Barzan al-Tikriti, Mr. Hussein's half brother, who led Iraqi's intelligence service at the time; Taha Yassin Ramadan, 66, a former deputy prime minister and vice president; and Awad Al-Sadoun, 60, the chief judge of the court that sentenced 143 of the Dujail men to death. A tribunal official said the case against Mr. Hussein would be bolstered by testimony from Mr. Tikriti and Mr. Ramadan implicating Mr. Hussein, and in the destruction that followed, with the razing of most of the village's houses and uprooting of date palm groves and fruit orchards that were its main livelihood. But the official, speaking on a guarantee of anonymity, said the earliest practical date for the Dujail trial would most likely be three months from now, because prosecutors and defense lawyers needed time to prepare. There were conflicting reports of the reaction of Mr. Hussein, who has been kept in American military custody since his capture in a hole near his hometown, Tikrit, on Dec. 13, 2003. A London-based Arab-language newspaper, Asharq Al Awsat, said in its weekend editions that Raid Juhi, chief investigating judge of the Iraqi tribunal, had told the newspaper in an interview that Mr. Hussein had "suffered a collapse in morale because he understands the extent of the charges against him." The Iraqi lawyer chosen to lead Mr. Hussein's defense, Khalil al-Duleimi, disagreed. "The last time I met Saddam was in late April and his spirits were very high," Mr. Duleimi said, according to an Associated Press report on Sunday. It was not clear whether Mr. Duleimei had met Mr. Hussein before or after he was told that he was to face an early trial. Since he was captured, much about Mr. Hussein's circumstances has been obscure. American officials have said that he has been held in Camp Cropper, a special detention center near Baghdad airport. But a Jordanian lawyer, one of more than 30 foreign defense lawyers Mr. Hussein's exiled family says it has hired, said last month that Mr. Hussein had told Mr. Duleimi that he had spent long periods away from Camp Cropper. Much of his detention has been spent at other locations, requiring flights aboard American aircraft, that Mr. Hussein believed to be outside Iraq, said the Jordanian lawyer, Ziad Najdawi. Mr. Najdawi said Mr. Hussein had not told Mr. Duleimi where he had been held between his meetings with Mr. Duleimi at Camp Cropper, sessions with the special tribunal's prosecutors, and visits Mr. Hussein had from representatives of the Swiss-based International Committee of the Red Cross. Mr. Hussein, Mr. Najdawi said, behaved in his meetings with Mr. Duleimi as if he believed that their discussions were being electronically monitored, and, Mr. Najdawi said, as though Mr. Hussein might have been told by his American captors not to discuss where he was being held. But Mr. Najdawi said that from other indications, which he did not specify, Mr. Hussein's defense team believed Mr. Hussein had been held in the Persian Gulf state of Qatar, the Middle East base for the United States Central Command, which is responsible for the war in Iraq, or possibly at the British-controlled island of Diego Garcia in the southern Indian Ocean. Edward Wong contributed reporting from Baghdad for this article, and Neil A. Lewis from Washington.
AP 6 June 2005 14 Incidents
Saddam Will Be Tried On The Iraqi special tribunal will try former dictator
Saddam Hussein on war crimes charges stemming from 14 incidents, according to
a list obtained by The Associated Press:
_ The 1987-88 Anfal campaign, a depopulation plan in which hundreds of thousands of Kurds were killed or expelled from northern Iraq.
_ Mortar bombardment of Kirkuk. No details available.
_ The events of 1991 in southern Iraq, referring to Saddam's suppression of a Shiite uprising following the U.S.-led Gulf War in Kuwait.
_ The massacre of Dujail, the 1982 execution of at least 50 Iraqis in the Shiite town 50 miles north of Baghdad, in retaliation for a failed assassination attempt against Saddam.
_ Forced emigration of the Fayli Kurds, thousands of Shiite Kurds who were pushed from northern Iraq into Iran.
_ Halabja, a Kurdish town where a chemical weapons attack killed an estimated 5,000 people in 1988.
_ The execution of 8,000 members of the Barzani tribe, a powerful Kurdish clan to which the current Kurdistan Democratic Party leader, Massoud Barzani, belongs.
_ The 1990 invasion of Kuwait, which Iraqi forces occupied for seven months until being expelled by a U.S.-led coalition during the 1991 Gulf War.
_ Execution of prominent religious figures. No details provided.
_ Execution of prominent political figures. No details provided
_ Crimes against religious parties. No details provided.
_ Crimes against political parties. No details provided.
_ Crimes against secular parties. No details provided.
_ The drying of the southern marshes. Saddam ordered new dams, canals and dikes built to drain the Mesopotamian marshlands between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers following the 1991 Shiite uprising. Thousands of Shiites lived and fished in the area that was reputed to contain the biblical Garden of Eden but was turned into an arid salt bed.
NYT 7 June 2005 Desert Graves in Northern Iraq Yield Evidence to Try Hussein By CHRISTOPHER DREW and TRESHA MABILE A chain of evidence that investigators believe will help convict Saddam Hussein begins at a windswept grave in the desert near Hatra, in northern Iraq. The burial site - a series of deep trenches that held about 2,500 bodies, many of them women and children - is one of many mass graves that dot the country. But it was the first excavated by an American investigative team working with a special Iraqi tribunal to build cases against Mr. Hussein and others in his government. A senior Iraqi court official has said the tribunal is planning to start the first trial of Mr. Hussein by late summer or early fall in a case that focuses on the killings of nearly 160 men from Dujail, a Shiite village north of Baghdad, after the former dictator survived an assassination attempt there. But American legal advisers say the Hatra grave holds a key to what is likely to be one of the broadest charges against Mr. Hussein - that he is responsible for the killing of as many as 100,000 Iraqi Kurds in the late 1980's, some in chemical-weapons attacks. They say those charges could be filed later this year, and Iraqi officials said last weekend that there could be up to 12 separate cases against Mr. Hussein and others. Each would require a separate trial, and multiple convictions could mean multiple death sentences for any defendant. According to Gregory W. Kehoe, the American who set up the investigative team, what was found at Hatra shows how the Hussein leadership made a "business of killing people" - the scrape marks from the blade of the bulldozer that shoved victims into the trench, the point-blank shots to the backs of even the babies' heads, the withered body of a 3- or 4-year-old boy, still clutching a red and white ball. Much rests on the prosecutions of Mr. Hussein and his lieutenants - for Iraqis seeking a reckoning and for the Bush administration, which hopes the trials and the Iraqi-American partnership will help vindicate its involvement in Iraq and serve as a model of justice and democracy in the Arab world. Yet in the 18 months since Mr. Hussein's capture, questions have been raised from several quarters about whether the process can produce a fair trial. Not only has Mr. Hussein challenged the tribunal's legitimacy, mocking an Iraqi judge for "applying the invaders' laws to try me," but the United Nations and most European countries have refused to help, partly out of opposition to the death penalty. Human-rights advocates have questioned whether the tribunal's standards for finding guilt will be high enough to justly link Mr. Hussein to the killings. In their first extensive interviews, with The New York Times and the Discovery Times Channel, Mr. Kehoe, the top American adviser to the tribunal from March 2004 until this spring, and several other investigators provided a detailed look at how the cases are being built. More than 50 American advisers have been training several hundred Iraqi investigators and judges, none of whom had experience with human-rights laws or handling such complex cases. The Americans have provided forensics expertise, while the Iraqis have fanned out to find witnesses. With American advice, the Iraqis will decide what charges to bring and will run the trials. What the investigators are ultimately trying to do, Mr. Kehoe said, is "connect the circle" to prove "command responsibility" - that Mr. Hussein violated human rights by knowing about indiscriminate killings, before or afterward, and doing nothing to stop or punish those who carried them out. The way to do that, said Mr. Kehoe, a former federal prosecutor in Florida who spent five years investigating Bosnia war crimes, is through basic detective work, starting with bodies in the ground and tracing the orders up the chain of command. The tribunal initially planned to leave Mr. Hussein out of the Dujail case and charge only five associates, partly to test the new court system. But Gregg Nivala, now the top American adviser, said yesterday that new evidence found last month had strengthened the case against him. Mr. Kehoe and Mr. Nivala said there was enough evidence - including the testimony of new witnesses and newly found documents - to charge Mr. Hussein and other top officials with crimes against humanity for the Kurdish campaign. Investigators have also authenticated Iraqi government documents and audiotapes seized by Kurdish militias in the early 1990's. In a June 1987 document, Ali Hassan al-Majid, one of Mr. Hussein's cousins and top deputies, commanded Iraqi troops "to carry out random bombardments using artillery, helicopters, and aircraft at all times of the day and night in order to kill the largest number of persons present" in areas linked to Kurdish fighters. On an audiotape, Mr. Majid, who became known as "Chemical Ali," can be heard shouting, at a Baath Party meeting about Kurdish villagers: "I will kill them all with chemical weapons." Gregory Paw, who was one of Mr. Kehoe's deputies, said that in a hearing in December, Mr. Majid, now in American custody, "was gradually acknowledging more and more of what took place" in Kurdistan. Mr. Paw said Mr. Majid was "looking for others to cast blame upon." Mr. Hussein's lawyers say that he and his former top associates are not guilty, and that they will counter any charges by attacking the tribunal as a "kangaroo court." Still, one of the lawyers, Issam Ghazzawi, said, "We know his chances are grim and very slim." Bodies in the Sand The trenches lie hidden in a dip in the sand that for centuries had been an oasis during spring rains. The ground was hard, and Mr. Kehoe's forensics team, sweltering in the 110-degree heat, had to dig eight feet to reach anything. The dig began last September just outside Hatra, about 200 miles north of Baghdad. What investigators found in the first trench suggested a powerful link to the campaign to drive the Kurds from their lands. Mr. Kehoe said it was also the first step in piecing together evidence that Mr. Hussein's government turned the campaign, code-named "Anfal," or "the spoils," into a killing spree. Iraqi officials have said their main goal was to root out Kurdish militias siding with Iran during the Iran-Iraq war. But Human Rights Watch, the New York-based group, has estimated that up to 100,000 Kurds, mostly civilians, were killed, and 2,000 villages destroyed, including dozens bombed with chemical weapons. Michael K. Trimble, an archaeologist who headed the forensics team, said the first surprise was that the trench held only women and children - about 300 in all. He said two-thirds were children, and most of the skeletons rested inside several layers of handmade clothing, with bags of pots, pans and toys strewn in the dirt. He said it quickly became clear that most of the victims had been carrying - or wearing - all their belongings, as if they had been told they would be resettled. The bodies were stacked haphazardly in four or five layers. Nearly all had a single .22-caliber pistol shot behind one ear. Mr. Trimble said it looked as if the first people had been shot inside the trench, while the others had been killed at the lip and pushed in by a bulldozer. A second trench held 150 men, each sprayed with fire from automatic weapons. Most had been blindfolded and tied together in a chain. Mr. Kehoe said this suggested that the women and children had been killed by Iraqi security officers carrying small-caliber arms, while the men had been killed by a military unit. "This was a killing field," he said, adding that, "multiple entities knew it was there." Mr. Kehoe said the rolling field held up to a dozen other trenches, with at least 2,000 more bodies. Mr. Nivala said a second grave site, at Samawa in southern Iraq, yielded similar results; in April, investigators excavated one trench and found bodies of 114 Kurds, all but 5 women and children. Mr. Nivala said that field had 18 trenches, and 10 were filled, with at least 1,500 bodies. At the Hatra grave, there was a break: the investigators found identification cards tucked inside some of the women's clothes. A few cards turned out to be for children who escaped when their villages were destroyed. Those cards took the investigators back to remote mountain areas, where the now-grown children and others confirmed that the Hatra victims had indeed been seized by Iraqi forces during the Anfal. Chemicals in the Air The jets buzzed in low, Abdullah Abdulqadr Askary recalled, low enough to see that most people in the fields near Goktapa were women and children. They dropped balloons at first, to assess the wind direction. Then came bombs. Mr. Askary, a chemist, said he knew from the vapor and flowery smell that the bombs had spewed chemicals. It was late one afternoon in May 1988, in the middle of the Anfal. Mr. Askary said nearly 50 of the 150 people who died were his relatives. As he rushed to help, he came across his mother's body lying by a stream. "I want to kiss her - the last kiss," he told Mr. Kehoe and others who visited the town in March. But as he bent down, he said, "I thought that if I kiss her, perhaps I will die also." Anne Tompkins, a federal prosecutor who worked on the case, said Mr. Askary also pointed to another village, Jillemort, that was bombed that day. Identification cards from Jillemort were found at the Hatra grave, Ms. Tompkins said. In building this case, the investigators are expanding on research done by Human Rights Watch, which has found that Iraqi forces mounted at least 40 chemical attacks to kill Kurdish fighters or destroy villages thought to have supported them. Mr. Ghazzawi, the lawyer for Mr. Hussein, said the Kurds were traitors, and "there are always casualties, innocent casualties in every war." As for killing civilians, he said, "I know for sure that the government under Saddam Hussein, the president, that they didn't do it." But Mr. Kehoe said several documents help carry responsibility for the killings up the chain of command. In the June 1987 document seized by the Kurdish fighters, Mr. Majid, the Hussein deputy, declared that any area linked to the Kurdish fighters was off limits, and that Iraqi troops could shoot any villagers who did not leave. The document was issued less than three months after Mr. Hussein put Mr. Majid in charge of restoring order in Kurdistan. Investigators said that two of Mr. Hussein's personal secretaries have also helped validate crucial documents in the Anfal and other cases. Mr. Nivala said investigators believe they will be able to show that Mr. Hussein was aware not only of the retribution in Dujail but also of the harsh actions against the Kurds and Shiites. He said the forensics team had recently begun excavating a third grave, believed to hold some of the 150,000 Shiites killed in 1991. Ms. Tompkins said the Iraqis initiated the Dujail case and have also interviewed hundreds of witnesses about the killings of more than 500 members of a Kurdish clan that opposed Mr. Hussein. Iraqi officials also are looking into the use of chemical weapons against the Kurdish town of Halabja and in the Iran-Iraq war, as well as the executions of 42 Baghdad merchants blamed for rising consumer prices in 1992.
Times UK 12 June 2005 The massacre families who bay for Saddam’s blood 12/06/2005 The Times - By Ali Rifat Not even the news of Saddam Hussein’s approaching trial and possible execution can quench Um Talal-Khuraytli’s thirst for revenge. Her one wish in life, she says, is to drink his blood. “If they hanged Saddam in front of me and I was given the chance to cut him to pieces, it would not be enough,” said the elderly Shi’ite, whose tears flowed as she remembered her dead children. “Each of them was worth 1,000 Saddams.” Um Talal’s horror stretches back to July 1982, when her family’s village, Dujail, 40 miles north of Baghdad, hosted a visit by Saddam. Tired of decades of repression by his Sunni-dominated Ba’athist security forces, the Shi’ite men risked all on an assassination attempt. Trying to kill Saddam, protected as he was by a bristling security entourage, was hopelessly naive and the president’s revenge was inevitable. As troops and helicopter gunships razed Dujail, Um Talal’s family was rounded up. Now, almost a quarter of a century later, Um Talal may at last see justice. Ibrahim al-Jaafari, the prime minister, said last week Saddam would go on trial before the end of the year and the Dujail massacre emerged as one of 14 thoroughly documented cases that will be used in his prosecution. Um Talal will be a key witness. Apart from the brutal suppression of Kurdish and Shi’ite uprisings, other charges against Saddam will probably include the killing of rival politicians and the invasion of Kuwait. Among those involved in the Dujail attack was Sheikh Faris al-Dujaili. Last week he recalled the events of July 8, 1982, and how he and 18 other young men planned to ambush Saddam’s fleet of vehicles as it came down the main road. Armed with machineguns, the group had lain in wait in farmland for days. At 1.30pm, their scout sent back news of the president’s approach: his was the 13th vehicle in a convoy of 22 Mercedes cars. As the limousines neared, the men opened fire. “But we did not know the cars were bulletproof,” al-Dujaili lamented. “If only we’d had RPGs (rocket-propelled grenades), we would have saved Iraq from this oppressor.” Despite being so badly outnumbered and outgunned, al-Dujaili and his insurgents put up a plucky fight. He saw Saddam scramble for shelter beneath his car while his bodyguards and escorts laid down covering fire. Nine of al-Dujaili’s colleagues were killed and he claimed 22 of Saddam’s men also died. Anxious to preserve his strongman image, Saddam continued with his visit. But within an hour of his departure, the gunships and special forces arrived. Al-Dujaili and his surviving comrades hid for five days, then stayed in the home of a Baghdad dentist for a month before moving on to Iran. The dentist and her husband were later executed. Those left in the village faced a terrible fate. Hundreds of families were arrested and thousands of acres of palm and fruit plantations, the main source of income for the villagers, were put to the torch. Even today, the scars are visible — the main road is pocked with holes from the shells that rained down 23 years ago. Despite having played no part in the fighting, Um Talal’s family was rounded up, including her husband, six daughters, six sons, a daughter-in-law and a six-year-old grandson. Saddam’s troops executed 15 villagers immediately; then the interrogations began. Most of those arrested were taken to the notorious Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad, where Um Talal last saw her menfolk. Dujail’s Special Committee of Freed Prisoners, which has submitted the case to the lawyers preparing Saddam’s prosecution, said it had found documents listing 148 inhabitants executed by a special decree signed by Saddam and dated July 23, 1985. Most of them had endured show trials. The committee estimates that in total 385 were executed. Witnesses speak of Abu Ghraib’s torturers pulling out nails and teeth, and administering electric shocks. Victims were whipped and had their skin cut with razors. Women were brought naked in front of their husbands and sons and threatened with hanging to extract confessions. According to government officials, the brutal repression of the village was led by Barzan al-Tikriti, a half-brother of Saddam who was head of intelligence; Taha Yassin Ramadan, a former vice-president; and three other senior Ba’athist officials. All five are expected to stand trial alongside Saddam. Khalil al-Dulaymi, one of Saddam’s lawyers, said they had not been formally notified of any charges, but added: “It is natural when someone tries to assassinate the president for him to respond in a firm manner against such a threat and to remove everything that may repeat such an attempt. “After investigations they found that the people responsible were being financed by terrorist cells outside Iraq and that they were linked to the Daawa party, a banned party in Iraq at the time, whose intention was to destabilise the security of the country.” Um Talal’s grim odyssey did not end at Abu Ghraib. Women, children and the elderly were moved to a huge prison in Bassiyah, stuck in the desert that stretches towards Iraq’s border with Saudi Arabia. “No one could come in or escape,” she said, describing how she and her daughters spent 4Å years incarcerated. In an act of appalling cruelty, she said, the guards killed Raida, her pregnant daughter-in-law, by tying her legs together when she was in labour. “She screamed in pain for hours,” she said. “They left her in labour and would not untie her. Eventually she and the unborn baby died.” Afterwards Raida’s son Muthana, who was six, was taken away to the men’s section of the prison. He died there later. Other survivors echoed Um Talal’s terrible story. One was 10 when she, her parents and her elder brothers were arrested. She is the only survivor. “I used to cry with my mother each time they brought her back from interrogation and torture,” she recalled. Firas Mahmoud Yakoo was only seven when his mother, father and elder brothers and sisters were arrested. “Four years in hell,” he wrote in an internet blog last year. “We were isolated from the world.” When the women and children were eventually freed, they returned to their village to find their properties and savings confiscated by the regime. Dujail is now held by insurgents, but its people are fiercely proud of their attempt to kill Saddam and have readily helped the prosecutors. The Dujail massacre carries a special resonance for many members of Iraq’s new government. Al-Dujaili and the men who carried out the assassination attempt were indeed members of the Daawa party, whose leader is now the prime minister, al-Jaafari. After the terrors she has witnessed, Um Talal sees no sentence as too harsh for Saddam, returning to her favoured punishment for the man who has destroyed her life. “I wish they would let me drink his blood so that I can quench the fire in my heart,” she said. The Times
washingtonpost.com Suicide Bombing in Iraq Kills At Least 20 By Andy Mosher and Marwan Ani Washington Post Foreign Service Tuesday, June 14, 2005; 11:41 AM BAGHDAD, June 14 -- A man wearing an explosive belt blew himself up Tuesday outside a bank in the northern city of Kirkuk, police said, killing at least 20 bystanders and wounding 83, many of them women and children, in the deadliest single suicide bombing in Iraq in more than a month. In Kenaan, a town between Kirkuk and Baghdad, a suicide car bomber killed five Iraqi soldiers at a road checkpoint and a mortar attack left the town's police station in flames, the Associated Press reported. And in restive Anbar province, west of Baghdad, police found 24 bodies dumped in two separate areas in Habbaniya. Kirkuk's police chief, Maj. Gen. Torhan Yousif, said the bomber was carrying more than 100 pounds of explosives when he joined a line of people waiting in line at the government-run Rafidain Bank to pick up their paychecks. The explosion killed and wounded civilians, police, and employees of local political parties, as well as severely damaging the bank and surrounding shops. "The street was full of blood of the wounded and killed, and all the shops closed because people were afraid of more attacks," Nawzad Omar, 50, said afterward at a local hospital. The Associated Press reported that children and street vendors selling products from sugar to kitchen utensils were among the people killed, according to Capt. Salam Zangana, an official at the hospital where the victims were being brought. The oil-rich city of Kirkuk, situated about 160 miles north of Baghdad, has been a scene of frequent violence in the past two years. It is populated by ethnic Kurds, Arabs and Turkmen, and all three groups are attempting to establish dominance. Under Saddam Hussein's rule, the government expelled Kurds by the thousands from Kirkuk and re-populated the town with Arabs from other areas. But with the fall of Hussein in April 2003 and Kurdish parties' strong showing in national elections this year, Kurds have returned to Kirkuk and are bidding to make it the capital of their autonomous northern region. Yousif said the bank and the line outside had been heavily guarded Tuesday but that the bomber somehow skirted the security forces. "This is considered a major security flaw, for which all the security plans should be looked over again," he said. The attack claimed more lives than any single bombing since May 6, when a suicide car bomb killed 31 people in Suwayra, south of Baghdad. A recent succession of grisly discoveries by Iraqi authorities continued on Monday when police discovered 17 bodies 80 miles west of Baghdad and another seven near Hit, about 95 miles northwest of the capital. None were immediately identified. Four of the 17 dead found by Iraqi soldiers had been beheaded, according to Abdul Munim Ahmed, a physician at a hospital in nearby Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province. In Hit, the head of the local hospital, Ahmed Jarrallah, said two of the seven bodies discovered there were women, and both had been beheaded. A statement posted at a mosque in Hit asserted that the seven had been killed by members of Ansar al-Sunna, one of the most violent insurgent groups in Iraq. The statement called the victims "traitors" who had "been helping the occupier fight the holy warriors" by working as private contractors who supplied cement. Iraq's government announced Tuesday that security forces had captured a man who built explosive devices for roadside bombs and suicide cars. Jassim Hazan Hamadi Bazi, also known as Abu Ahmed, was described in a government statement as a key member of an al Qaeda cell who crafted and sold bombs at an electronics repair shop in Balad. Bazi was apprehended on June 7, the statement said. Ani reported from Kirkuk.
AZG Armenian Daily #100, 02/06/2005 Press release JEWISH SCIENTISTS TO CONDEMN GENOCIDE DENIAL The Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide in Jerusalem, Israel protests the Turkish Government’s cancellation of an important scholarly conference on "the Armenian question" sponsored by a consortium of Turkish universities, which was to have been conducted in Turkish at one of the universities with an expected attendance of more than 700 registrants. The program titles of many of the presentations made it very clear that many of the scholars addressing the conference intended to recognize the historical validity of what is known in history in the free world as "the Armenian Genocide." They were going to do so despite the fact that current Turkish law prescribes jail sentences of several years for statements either about the Armenian Genocide or calling for Turkey withdrawing from Cypress. These speakers are loyal Turks who love their country and want to see it advance and grow. Several of them have written about the importance for Turkey itself to achieve a free society, with guaranteed academic freedom, freedom of speech, and freedom of ideas; and thus also for Turkey to demonstrate its readiness to be accepted in the European Union. Our Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide in Jerusalem was perhaps the first in the world to hold an interdisciplinary, multiple ethnic conference on the genocides of all peoples when we convened the "First International Conference on the Holocaust and Genocide" in 1982. Six lectures out of a total of 300 at our conference were scheduled to deal with the Armenian Genocide. As reported in many stories in the New York Times and other world press, Turkey pressured Israel to remove these six lectures, the government of Israel shamefully complied, and when we refused to do so the government attempted with considerable use of government powers to close our conference down entirely. Fortunately, even when Israel errs, it is overall a genuine democracy, and our insistence on holding the conference including the lectures on the Armenian Genocide could not be broken. The process of our resistance and success has been honored many times in articles and books by many writers ever since (for example, in the Yale Review). The Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide calls on all governments of the world to strive for a high level of accuracy, objectivity and transparency about genocidal massacres and genocides, including by its own peoples for many of our peoples in our shared Earth-world have committed genocidal atrocities against others. In the long run, the goal of human life, and all government, should be to protect human lives more and more. Prof. Israel Charny, Executive Director, Prof. Yair Auron, Associate Director, Marc Sherman, M.L.S., Assistant Director; Email: email@example.com
www.jpost.com Jerusalem's Gypsies "To the Arabs, we are Nawari, which means 'dirty Gypsies," says Sleem. "To the Jews and the authorities, we are Arabs. We lose on all sides." Amoun Sleem, director of Domari, the Society of Gypsies in Jerusalem, is an amazing woman. Read the whole article: A people apartAsk me question, ask me question!" insists Leila, proud to show off her newly-learned English. "I eight years old. I in third grade," she chatters happily. Heba, aged eight, concentrates on her drawing. She has never left Jerusalem, but she draws a sail ship on a wavy ocean, a yellow, smiling sun in the upper corner. Leila, Heba and two other children have come to the Gypsy Community Center, opened only two months ago in a comfortable, bright three-room ground-floor apartment in Shuafat. It is the first time that the Gypsy community has organized proactively to provide for themselves. Twice a week, the center offers literacy completion courses for 10 adults. The children come three times a week to do their homework and get off the streets; in the winter, they will come to stay warm. There's an older-generation computer in one corner, and Yassir, almost five, enthusiastically pounds at the keyboard. Framed pieces of Gypsy embroidery and beaded quilts hang on the walls, next to pictures the children have drawn of families in traditional Gypsy dress. Several rababbah, traditional Gypsy string instruments, lean against the wall, for the children to try to play. The center also offers trinkets, beads, ceramics and jams and hand-pressed olive oil for sale. "I like Gypsy," Leila chatters on. "I like school. I like teachers. I like small children, but not big children. They call me bad names. Also teachers." Amoun Sleem, 32, director of Domari, the Society of Gypsies in Jerusalem and founder of the center nods knowingly. It was like that when she was a child and she knows it's like that now for these children, too. Even today, as she walks down the streets of the Old City, passersby call her "Nawariya," a stinging pejorative name for a Gypsy. Sometimes they spit at her. Sleem, brashly assertive and beautifully exotic, is devoting her personal and professional life to advancing the cause of the Gypsies, or, as they refer to themselves, the Domi. Gypsies are perhaps the most oppressed and reviled social group in Jerusalem today. Beset by poverty and internal conflict, they are socially marginalized and politically invisible. The Interior Ministry does not recognize the Domi as a separate cultural or religious group and their nationality is listed as "Arab" on their identity cards. "To the Arabs, we are Nawari, which means 'dirty Gypsies," says Sleem. "To the Jews and the authorities, we are Arabs. We lose on all sides." According to attorney Omri Kabiri, who offers legal services to Domari and the Gypsy community at almost no cost, the State of Israel does not formally recognize specific minority communities. In practice, however, the state does relate to the special needs of groups such as the Druse, the Beduin or the Armenians. Similar recognition of the Gypsies would entitle them to numerous services, such as research which might ascertain if the Gypsies have particular medical needs, funds for cultural preservation and establishment of religious institutions, and so forth. But since the Gypsies do not appear as a category in the national census, no one even knows how many of them there are. Sabine Hadad, spokesperson for the Population Registry, told In Jerusalem that there are only "several dozen" Gypsies in east Jerusalem, although according to the Dom Research Center, located in Larnaca, Cyprus, the Domi community in Jerusalem numbers about 1,000, with an additional 1,000 to 4,000 Gypsies living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. As a first and very basic step forward, Sleem wants the authorities to conduct a census. But even without it, it's clear that abject poverty is the first concern. Most of Jerusalem's Gypsy community lives in Bab el-Huta, an impoverished collection of low-grade houses tucked within a sharp turn near the Lion's Gate. Poorly dressed children wander through the garbage-filled alleyways, begging or selling trinkets and cheap brand-name knockoffs. The school dropout rate is high, especially among girls, but Gypsies benefit from school services such as truancy officers and guidance counselors. Unemployment rates are high. Most Gypsies rely on National Insurance Institute payments, and the cutbacks of the past two years have hit them hard. The girls marry young, often before they're 16. "Gypsy women don't have happy lives," says Sleem. "They have no hopes, no dreams. Just eight or 10 children and no money." Sleem has created a very different life for herself. Her mother died in childbirth when she was six, leaving her father to raise her and her eight brothers and sisters. As a young child, she was sent, like most Gypsy children, to beg. She refused. "Begging was humiliating. So I got some postcards and I sold them to tourists," she recalls. "Something in my nature told me that I could build and create things in an honest and decent way." She knew that education was her ticket out of poverty. But she also knew that her father, who worked as a guard at the Interior Ministry, would never be able to provide her and her siblings with the notebooks or even the pencils that she would need. So she continued to sell her postcards. She remembers the humiliation at school, no different from what Leila suffers now. "The teacher would call us to the front of the class, and, in front of everyone, check if we had lice or were dirty. And the other children would laugh when she called us Nawari.'" At age 12, she left school for a year. No one from social services came to inquire why so bright and motivated a child was truant. She returned to school a year later, completed high school, and earned an associate degree in business administration. She found work as a manager in the Dutch Guest House on the Mount of Olives. She learned to speak English and Dutch fluently. The European visitors helped to raise her own political and social consciousness. She began to believe that she might be able to develop community awareness and self-respect among the Gypsies. She gained confidence and is now completing a course in business administration at the Hebrew University. Sleem established Domari in 1999; it is the first organization of its kind in the Middle East, dedicated to advancing the political, social, cultural and health needs of the community. By custom and history, Gypsies do not think in territorial terms and do not seek a single homeland. Throughout the world, most do not care who the sovereign is, but want to be allowed to teach their own culture and create a better future for their children. In Jerusalem, the Gypsies have deftly avoided the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. But Sleem believes that "the Jews should be kind to the Gypsies. They should understand us, because they were persecuted, too." She sees painful similarities between the histories of the Jews and the Gypsies. Both were the ultimate "other" - unsettled, scapegoated, oppressed. Like the Jews, the Gypsies developed strategies for living with the "dadje" - the "goy," or the non-Gypsy - and existed in an uneasy balance with the surrounding society, often restricted to ghettos and closed encampments. And like the Jews, they were singled out by the Nazis for extermination. According to a spokesperson from Yad Vashem, "There are tremendous similarities between the experience of Jews and those Gypsies who were victimized by the Nazis." The US Holocaust Memorial Research Institute in Washington puts the number of European Gypsy lives lost by 1945 as "between a half and one and a half million." But the Jews, supported by their own state and politically more powerful, have received more recognition than the Gypsies. It is a striking coincidence that in the same month that Germany dedicated a memorial to the Jews murdered by the Nazis, it began to deport tens of thousands of Gypsy refugees back to Kosovo, where their homes have been destroyed, where they face a volatile and dangerous existence and where they will receive no support from either Germany or the United Nations. Dr. Katalin Katz, a lecturer at Hebrew University's School of Social Work, has researched the Gypsies in Europe. "Structure, authority and hierarchy are opposed to their values and lifestyle. They have no central leadership to go to battle for them. But in the past decade, that is beginning to change." It is beginning to change here, too. Says Sleem, "I learned from my grandmother that when you have an itch, you are the only one who can scratch yourself, because you're the only one who knows where the itch is." She sees the move to the center in Shuafat as particularly significant, because it shows that the Gypsies have moved out of their "ghetto" in the Old City and into "the mainstream," where they can mingle with other groups. A few years ago, Domari teamed up with MATI, the Jerusalem Business Development Center, to provide career training in catering and cosmetics to men and women in the community. Nearly a dozen people have already participated. Sleem believes that she senses an increased respect for education within the community. More girls are finishing at least third grade, and Sleem knows of three young Gypsy women who are attending university. Increasingly, the Gypsies are intermarrying with Palestinian Arabs and beginning to engage in family planning. Sleem is pleased that the community is advancing but hopes to revive the Gypsy culture, too. Few people remember their traditional customs or language and only a few old women still remember the ancient songs, sung for the bride at weddings. She would like to sponsor a camp this summer, take the children to a pool or beach and teach them songs and games. But she has no budget. Allen Williams, a philanthropist from Larnaca, has donated the money to pay rent and modest operating costs for the center. A few volunteers, from England and the US, help out at the center, especially with English. But that is the sum total of her resources. Sleem totters between frustration and optimism. At times, the bitterness creeps back. "We are for human rights, but none of the human rights groups care for us. They do training for Beduin women, but not for Gypsies. Why? We are not garbage." She points to a bird, chirping and bobbing. "Maybe it's a sign from God that things go well?" She giggles. "I know that's silly. But I am so worried and frightened. I live in a heavy circle." And not all of her efforts are well received. Sleem has come under severe criticism from within her community. In 1968, then mayor Teddy Kollek appointed a member of the community to act as "mukhtar" and official liaison between the community and the municipality. The position is no longer officially recognized, but the mukhtar and his family have not been willing to give up their status or prestige. Sleem believes they resent her proactive, higher-profile role, and they refused to attend the official opening of the center. (The mukhtar was unavailable for comment to In Jerusalem). And some, men and women alike, oppose the idea of a woman, and an unmarried woman at that, taking a prominent leadership role in their traditional, conservative community. For several months last year, rumors circulated that Sleem was a collaborator and even an informant for the Israeli authorities. She felt that her life, literally, was at risk. More recently, as attendance at the center grows, however slowly, she feels that her efforts are better-regarded. Attorney Kabiri is convinced that recognition of the Gypsies as a national minority is crucial and is considering appealing to the High Court of Justice on their behalf. "It is interesting to determine if the Gypsies are, in fact, a nation," he observes. "And it would be very fitting to decide that question, at least legally, here in Israel. "We, the Jewish people, gathered in from our Diaspora and declared ourselves to be a people. We are the ones who should be the most sensitive to another people's need for recognition and self-definition."
BBC 3 June 2005 Israel tit-for-tat death claims The Israeli army says it targeted only police who helped militants Two Israeli soldiers have alleged that they were ordered to carry out revenge attacks on Palestinian police after six of their comrades were killed. The unnamed soldiers made the charges, which relate to events three years ago, to an organisation which gathers evidence on Israeli army abuses. At least 15 Palestinians were killed in response to the troops' deaths. The Israeli army said it had targeted policemen who actively assisted militants in carrying out killings. But it is not clear whether the Palestinians killed had actually aided militants. Correspondents say the report is a challenge to Israel's insistence that it abides by a strict code of ethics and has avoided tit-for-tat killings. 'No concrete evidence' The first soldier, who describes himself as a sergeant in a reconnaissance unit, was quoted on the website of Breaking the Silence, a group set up by former soldiers to document evidence of abuses by the Israeli Defence Force. He said his squad was summoned by their commander after the killings of six Israelis at a checkpoint near Ramallah in the West Bank. I really enjoyed it - we acted flawlessly, we performed superbly Unnamed Israeli soldier He told them their task was to kill six Palestinians in revenge. The soldier was told that there was a suspicion that the militants responsible had been allowed through a Palestinian police checkpoint, which was to be the target of their attack. But there was no concrete evidence of this, he said. "I was told: 'It doesn't matter - they took six of ours, and we are going to take six of theirs,'" he said. The sergeant said the group ambushed the Palestinians, killing three. A fourth man escaped. The IDF will hunt down all those involved in terror activities until the PA accepts responsibility for the areas under its control Israeli army statement "I really enjoyed it," he said. "It was the first time that we were in an 'advance storm' situation, like in our training exercises. "And we acted flawlessly. We performed superbly." The soldier added that several of his comrades kept shooting at one of the bodies, "punching holes in it". 'Militant links' A second soldier, from paratroop reconnaissance, was quoted by the UK Guardian newspaper as saying that he was told to attack three checkpoints in the Nablus area and simply shoot at police. It was clearly a revenge attack, he said. At least two Palestinians were killed in the raid. BBC Jerusalem correspondent James Reynolds says the allegation that revenge was the motive for the army's raid is nothing new. The day after the attack Israel's leading newspaper Yediot Ahronot described the army's actions as "fierce acts of revenge". And in a statement the Israeli army does not deny that members of the Palestinian policemen were killed in the wake of the troops' deaths. Charges 'dismissed' The army alleges it had become apparent that Palestinian security forces were heavily involved in militant activities. "It was decided that the IDF will hunt down all those involved in terror activities, including members of the PA security apparatus, until such time as the PA accepts responsibility for the areas under its control and prevents the terror attacks emanating from Palestinian towns and cities," it said. Michael Tarazi, a legal advisor to the Palestinian Authority questioned why Israel chose to kill rather than arrest the men if it had evidence implicating them in militant attacks. He told the BBC News website Palestinians have long accused Israeli forces of brutality and of carrying out revenge attacks "but their claims tend to be dismissed"
BBC 8 June, 2005 North Korea food shortages mount By Sarah Buckley BBC News Mountainous North Korea is difficult to farm Food is never plentiful in North Korea, but the current situation has grown so bad that the country risks a return to famine, aid workers say. Food rations have been cut, economic reforms have sent prices soaring, and as a nuclear crisis grinds on, the country's main donors - the US, South Korea and Japan - have given nothing so far this year. "It is very much a crisis already... Of much bigger proportions than we have had in recent years," said Gerald Bourke, spokesman for the UN's World Food Programme [WFP]. North Korea struggles to feed itself due to a mixture of geography and economic policy. Photographs which depict a lush, rural environment are misleading. The country needs an average of 1m metric tonnes in food aid a year. AVERAGE DAILY INTAKE An average urban dweller gets 250g cereal from government In addition, can afford approx 30g maize And may forage for mushrooms, edible grasses, acorns etc Recommended amount is 550-590g of blend of foods, equivalent to 2,100kcal "North Korea is not an agrarian country," said Kathi Zelleweger, a frequent visitor to the country with aid organisation Caritas. It is mostly rugged mountain terrain, and only about 18% is arable. It is dependent on fertilizer and machinery to make that land productive, both of which are expensive. Politics compounds topography. Agriculture in North Korea was collectivised in the 1950s, in line with its Stalinist philosophy of self-reliance. This means farmers have a low incentive to work hard, said Paul French, a writer on North Korea. "If their farm produces five times as much, they don't get five times as much food," he said. Instead, they concentrate on their own private plots, which they use to feed themselves and to produce food for the markets. Spiralling prices The problem with this system is that market reforms, instituted in 2002, have sent prices soaring at a higher rate than wages. "Who can afford this stuff in the markets?" asked Mr French. The answer: only the elite. Government officials, senior managers of state enterprises, security forces, and the leadership of the army are all unlikely to go hungry. But a typical urban family can now only afford to buy 4kg of maize - the cheapest commodity - a month. Market prices are too expensive for the average North Korean The WFP estimates that an average urban North Korean's guaranteed diet is around 280g of cereals a day. However, Mr Bourke points out that North Koreans are very adept at foraging for wild food, and may also be given gifts from relatives. The internationally recommended minimum is 550-590g a day, provided this is nutritionally balanced. But dietary balance is difficult to achieve in North Korea, where foodstuffs such as oil are prohibitively expensive. The urban diet is partly made up of a ration provided by the government, but this has dropped from 300-250g of cereals per person per day. North Korean officials have told the WFP they expect it to slump to 200g a day. "The rural folk have already learned how to cope," said Tim Peters, director of aid agency Helping Hands Korea. "But the urban people are so dependent on the government for distribution." As a result, foreign donations that have helped to prop North Korea up in previous years are doubly important this year. If the WFP has received no aid by 1 August, it will only be feeding 1.5 million people, down from 6.5 million in the spring. And there is always the risk of natural disaster. Floods exacerbated the extreme food shortages 10 years ago, and North Korea's ability to cope with them "is now probably worse", said Mr French. Ongoing land clearance has destroyed natural water breaks, "so it all just comes flooding down". Mr Bourke was reluctant to paint a worst-case scenario. "I'm not in the business of predicting numbers that are going to die," he said. "North Koreans are very tough people. They are very accustomed to deprivation. But that doesn't take away the urgent need for food aid." What might encourage donors to contribute would be a return by North Korea to international talks on its nuclear programme, which have been suspended for a year. China has suggested that these talks may resume in the next few weeks, a development which could help stave off the worst of North Korea's food crisis.
AFP 11 June 2005 Years after sectarian massacre wartime foes join forces Residents hope alliance will help promote reconciliation between Christians and Druze By Agence France Presse (AFP) Saturday, June 11, 2005 KFAR MATTA: Fifteen years after the end of Lebanon's civil war, residents of Kfar Matta - the scene of bloody sectarian massacres - are to vote on Sunday for tickets grouping long-time Druze and Christian foes. "The alliance between Christian and Druze candidates is a good thing and a first step toward reconciliation," said Shaheen Ghareeb, a Druze resident of this mountain village outside Beirut. Ghareeb said he would cast his ballot in the third round of Lebanon's parliamentary elections Sunday for a list headed by Druze chief Walid Jumblatt, who has forged an unlikely alliance with jailed Christian warlord Samir Geagea's Lebanese Forces despite their bloody history. Geagea's LF slaughtered between 100 and 270 Druze civilians in Kfar Matta as clashes between the rival forces swept the region in 1983. A year later, when Jumblatt and his Shiite allies moved in, Christians fled and their homes were taken over by the Druze. Despite the joint lists in Kfar Matta for many residents of the village scars of the events of the war remain, and relations remain tense between Druze and Christian communities in other parts of Lebanon. Michel Aoun, the retired Christian general who returned to Lebanon last month after 15 years in exile, is at loggerheads with Jumblatt and has instead formed an alliance with pro-Syrian Druze and independent Christian and Muslim figures. Aoun's coalition has dealt a blow to Lebanon's cross-sectarian anti-Syrian opposition front which came together after the assassination of former Premier Rafik Hariri on February 14. "We have no choice but to unite with our former enemies. Things have changed since February 14 but there cannot be a reconciliation on the ground unless we go back," said Elias Nasser, 50, a Christian who took refuge in Beirut during the war. Nasser said he planned to shun the election because he felt cheated that, although he could vote in the village, he still couldn't have his house back. "How come we can't go home after all these years? I can't accept to vote yards away from my home and yet not get it back," he said. Nasser predicted most Christians who were not able to return to their villages would also boycott the polls being held in Mount Lebanon and the Bekaa Valley of eastern Lebanon. It is the third round of the four-stage legislative polls being held in Lebanon, free from Syria's grip for the first time in three decades. On Sunday, voters will choose MPs for 35 seats in the 128-member Parliament. Many villagers said the number of Christian and Druze ballots for candidates of the other religion would show to what degree the wounds left by the war have healed. One Druze admitted reconciliation still had a long way to go, including the much-delayed return of the village's Christian population. "In many villages, Christians were able to return thanks to [government] compensation offered to the Druze who took over their houses after ours were destroyed," said Nazih Khaddaj, pointing to ruins that still line the village's winding streets. Abu Elie, 60, a Christian who also hails from Kfar Matta, was also pessimistic about a quick resolution to Kfar Matta's problems, despite the new political alliances. "There was a massacre in Kfar Matta, that's why reconciliation is all the more complex. The Druze are asking for compensation and blood money," he said. But in Ain Ksur, a mixed-religion village overlooking Mount Lebanon, Christian residents were upbeat about the polls. "I came back in 1999, and I believe we can live together. I hope the elections help bring the country together," said Habuba Nasser, 54. Emile Nasser, 64, visiting from Cleveland, Ohio, said he intended to vote. "Horrible things have happened but we must go forward," he said. - AFP
Democratic Voice of Burma, Norway 30 May 2005 english.dvb.no A Buddhist monk recounts 30 May Dipeyin Massacre in upper Burma May 30, 2005 (DVB) - Pro-democracy Burmese activists based on the Thai-Burma border also remembered the victims of 30 May Dipeyin Massacre and offered prayer for them. Among them was Rev. U Wimala, one of the monks from Kyiywa Village monastery, who witnessed the brutal attacks on National League for Democracy (NLD) supporters and leaders by thugs hired by Burma’s military junta, State Peace and Development Council (SPDC). Rev. Wimala was sent to prison for attempting to protect the unarmed and defenceless people by beating up the thugs and he recently absconded to the Thai-Burma border as soon as he was released. He described what he saw on the night of 30 May 2003 as follows: “Members of People’s Power Holders, (or Swan-Arr-Shin in Burmese) shot the people with catapults and stone pellets. Then, they shouted, ‘Daw Suu is our race polluter! We don’t want her! Indian wife! We don’t want her!’ Then, they alighted from two DINA trucks. My teacher, His Grace Sayadaw U Sawta was sitting on a bullock cart. They shot His Grace with catapults for getting involved in politics in his old age. Two 12-year old novice monks were also shot; one was hit in the back of his head. Another one was hooked. One novice collapsed. A layman went to help him and he was beaten up with bamboo poles. The man also collapsed there. At the time, “monks” on DINA trucks alighted. Villagers let them through with respect thinking that they were real monks. As I was feeling rather suspicious and I followed them around. These fake monks started to beat up the people from Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s convoy, which was only around 20 yards away from our village. As they kept on beating up people, their robes slipped down. Then I saw them wearing short pants (Note: Burmese Buddhist monks do not wear underwear beneath their robes by law). Only then was I convinced that they were fake monks. Some of them wore army trousers. I saw three or four people. Some of them even didn’t attempt to re-wear their robes. With their shorts and shaven head, they beat up anyone they saw. Those who wore army trousers, they didn’t wear their robes in a proper way. They wore them like the way people wear ‘puso’ sarong. I watched everything they did carefully. A female acolyte; they first beat the lower part of her body. Then, she collapsed. They grabbed her shirt and bang her head on the tarmac road repeatedly. They tore her blouse. I saw it with my own eyes.”
www.malaysiakini.com 3 June 2005 Remembering the ‘forgotten’ massacre Josh Hong Jun 3, 05 12:12pm At a press conference held in Beijing in June 1999, a Hong Kong journalist sought the view of Zhu Rongji, then premier, in regard to the 10th anniversary of the June 4 massacre. Zhu, ever so cool and steady, uttered, ‘I have completely forgotten it.’ Josh Hong JOSH HONG acquired the peculiar habit of reading too much into news as early as when he was a teen. Constantly alarmed by the unofficial divide-and-rule policy of the major dailies in Malaysia, he hopes to bridge the gaps between different ethnic groups the best he can. He appreciates the existence of various races as a most gracious gift of God, and thanks Samuel P Huntington for strengthening his will to fight against hegemony of all kinds. Why sorry seems to be the hardest word East Asia: A time of geopolitical flux Let ye who is without sin cast the first stone? More blessed to give than to receive but? The babel of the vernaculars A dispute over the spoils of war Good fences, good neighbours? Chinese racism - not quite in a nutshell Politically religious Needless to say, all those present were seasoned enough to not pursue the issue further. Did the bloody incident that took place in the summer of 1989 in the heart of the Chinese capital truly escape Zhu? I think not. Most likely, he did what other leaders of the Party Central would do, that was to forcibly pluck the people from the bloody memory of the Chinese nation in the most recent past, all under the canonical principle of ‘stability above all else’. Maurice Halbwachs, a French sociologist, stresses strongly that social processes influence not only people’s personal memories of their own lifetimes, but also a community’s shared memories of the past. To say that social processes have contributed tremendously to fostering the shared memories is hence an understatement. For a society, nation or state to continue in existence, a cautious and conscious selection of memory reins supreme. It would appear that Halbwachs values social memory more than history. As far as he sees it, the collective memory of the past is a resource shared by the entire community, while history remains a domain exclusive to historians and scholars. What Halbwachs may have failed to realise is the horrible power of the regime to manipulate social memories as well as to concoct historiographies. Historical discourse is essential to the survival of a regime. Even when the history is recorded, the memory can still be diluted or even whitewashed. Post-WWII Japan, for one, worked strenuously to rebuild the nation. In tandem with the nation’s growing and burgeoning economy of the 1970s and 80s, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) government began an effort to ‘revise’ the history, with a view to presenting a reborn Japanese nation, but also to consolidating the LDP’s legitimacy.
BBC 15 June 2005 Malaysia axes boat people marker By Jonathan Kent BBC, Kuala Lumpur The memorial was unveiled this year The Malaysian government has ordered that a memorial erected by former Vietnamese boat people on an island where they were interned be torn down. The move follows complaints from the Vietnamese government. The memorial commemorates the thousands of boat people who died fleeing their homeland following the reunification of Vietnam in 1975. Some quarter of a million Vietnamese refugees passed through Bidong island between 1975 and 1991. The marble memorial was built at the request of a group of former detainees now settled in Australia and the United States who visited the island in March. One plaque on the monument speaks of the hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese people who perished on the way to freedom. Another thanks the people and the government of Malaysia and the Malaysian Red Crescent society for the help they gave the refugees. However, the memorial has upset the Vietnamese government. It complained to Malaysia's Foreign Ministry, which in turn has asked the state government in Terengganu which administers the island, to tear down the monument. A source within the ministry said that Vietnam is still struggling with its history, and to preserve good relations the Malaysian authorities decided to respect Hanoi's wishes. However the move is expected to draw criticism from the overseas Vietnamese community. The Vietnamese embassy in Kuala Lumpur was not immediately available for comment.
Radio Australia 24 May 2005 Four Sri Lankan men freed after court overturns massacre convictions Sri Lanka's Supreme Court has overturned the convictions of four men accused of being responsible for the 2000 massacre of 26 people at a government detention centre for suspected rebels. Court officials said the four accused men, including a police officer, were freed after the Supreme Court decided there was insufficient evidence against them. The Tamil inmates at the "rehabilitation camp" in central Sri Lanka were attacked by villagers armed with machetes and clubs in October 2000 after a local dispute. The men, who were working at the camp at the time, were convicted by a lower court in June 2003 of responsibility for the massacre but they appealed against the sentencing. International human rights groups claimed at the time that police and army personnel deployed at the camp had failed to protect the inmates from the armed villagers.
www.hindu.com 3 June 2005 Chandrika urged to make public massacre report Legal Correspondent NEW DELHI: The Asian Centre for Human Rights has appealed to Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga to make public the report on the Bindunuwewa massacre in which 28 Tamils in the protective custody of the State were killed. In its report on the massacre, which was handed over to the Sri Lankan High Commission here [coinciding with the visit of Ms. Kumaratunga to India], the ACHR expressed serious concern over the acquittal of the accused in the massacre. It said the fact that not a single person could be held guilty for the mass murder would further increase the distrust of the moderate Tamil minorities in the democratic institutions of Sri Lanka. Describing the massacre case trial as "operation whitewash," the report said the Sri Lankan President ordered a Commission headed by Justice P.H.K. Kulatilaka but failed to make public its report. The human rights panel urged Ms. Kumaratunga to instruct the island Government to make public the report and file a petition in the Supreme Court seeking review of the judgment. It also urged the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to study all judgments relating to the massacre and consider appointing a high level panel of inquiry into the massacre.
RFE/RL 28 May 2005 Uzbekistan: Eyewitness Accounts of Killing In Andijon State troops in Andijon Many questions remain about the events of 13 May in the eastern Uzbek city of Andijon, when state security forces fired on demonstrators, following attacks on a police station, military barracks, and prison. The government has blamed Islamist militants for the violence, and its official death toll of 169 is far less than figures given by opposition groups. They say 750 people or more were killed, many of them women and children. Government forces have ruled out an indepedent investigation of the events, and have prevented journalists and aid workers from entering the region, making it almost impossible to determine what actually happened in Andijon. But RFE/RL's Uzbek Service spoke with eyewitnesses about the day's bloodshed. These are their stories. One Woman's Story A 40-year-old woman describes how the day unfolded: "On Friday, 13 May, we came to the square in the morning. People had gathered and a demonstration was under way. Everyone started to voice their complaints through a loudspeaker. People complained about small pensions and salaries, unemployment, and not even being able to pay the deposit for school textbooks. "As people shared their concerns, the number of people grew. We sat there until the evening. It was getting close to 6 o'clock. A helicopter flew over us twice. We were all still busy voicing our concerns. Children came out to speak as well. We were upset when they told about going to the clinic with a headache, but the doctors told them, 'Unless you give us money, we won't do anything.' When the helicopter flew over, we didn't disperse. "Suddenly, a commotion started. There were troops on an armored personnel carrier (APC) coming from the direction of the regional-administration building. They opened fire. The people standing at the edge were hit and fell down. I saw dead bodies and I saw wounded. "The APCs and troops opened fire first. When they went back, the same thing happened. All of us were frightened by the sound of the shooting and we lay down on the ground. The bullets struck people's eyes and arms. One woman was killed. When we looked later, we saw that we'd been surrounded. "We heard the shooting, and we started moving so that we wouldn't be caught in the middle. We went down the main road in the direction of Soy, thinking that whatever happens now, they won't shoot at the people. As we passed the communications building, the shooting started again. The troops opened fire. All of the women sat down on the ground. "Some of the so-called Akramists (alleged members of the Akramiya militant group, who were blamed for the violence)were with us. But they didn't shoot. They said, 'We're not going to shoot. We didn't come here to fight. We came to demand our rights. We don't want to kill anyone. People, don't set shops on fire, don't set cars on fire, don't steal anything.' That's what they said. "There wasn't enough space for me to sit down, and when I turned to look, the APC was getting closer. The soldiers were lying down and firing. A woman grabbed my sleeve and said that I would get hit if I didn't crouch down. I know that I crouched down. The bullets whizzed over me. I looked and saw that a bullet had hit a child behind me in the head. His brains splattered everywhere. The brains were all over us; we were covered in blood. "The young men said to run to the right toward the fence. After they said this, some of them took bodies. The ones who didn't pick up bodies led the wounded and we ran toward the fence. There was a street off to the right, and we hid there. "Everyone tried to get out along that street. 'If we follow this road, we'll reach Teshiktosh early in the morning,' they said. Women, children, all of us set out. We were wet, muddy, and bloody. We asked for clothes from people along the way. Someone gave us a suit; another one gave us a jumper. We would rest for five minutes along the way. People picked up and carried the women and children who couldn't walk. "If we don't make it by dawn, they'll catch up with us and start shooting, we thought. But if we reach Teshiktosh and cross over to Kyrgyzstan, we'll be safe from the soldiers' bullets, we thought. "In order to keep from sinking in the mud in the cotton fields, we came out on the highway for a while. Soldiers unexpectedly opened fire. They'd been waiting to ambush us. Those who were hit fell dead. Women screamed and threw themselves to the ground. The ones toward the back ran away. A 6-year-old girl took a bullet in her leg. A woman was shot in the back. A young man died before my eyes. An old woman was shot in the leg. A lot of people were shot. We found a place to hide. "Later, the women yelled to the soldiers that we didn't have any weapons. The young men made a white flag out of a shirt and raised it on a long branch. They were standing in front of the dead bodies and wounded people in the road. "Later, people advised the women to find their way home without saying anything. But they said, 'We can't go. We came out for the truth. Now, what's done is done.' There's a river called Tentaksoy there. We went along the river and with difficulty made our way to a house. "About 900 people had left the square. I don't know how many people died along the way." Who opened fire? The bloodshed that occurred in Andijon on 13-14 May has seared people's memories. These are several eyewitness accounts of who opened fire. Photographer: I was taking pictures of the events. Three or four APCs (armored personnel carriers) arrived. I sat down in the middle of the road in order to capture better how impressive they are. When they were 100 meters away from the people, the APCs opened fire. We started to run because we were scared. Without warning, they started firing at the regional-administration building that stood behind us. What happened wasn't an exchange of fire in the dictionary sense, since the shooting was all from one side. The troops were firing, supposedly at terrorists or these major Islamic criminals. Woman: While people were peacefully airing their concerns, soldiers opened fire from the main street. Everyone tried to save themselves. There was no warning. The people aren't animals. They're human beings. They understand words. But they started firing, hunting us like wolves. Those who could ran away, and those who didn't run faced death. Men, women, and children ran. There were women running with children in their arms. Nobody cared that people were getting killed; it was so that a handful of leaders can live. Elderly man: There were a lot of people along both sides of the road -- women, children, men. It was 6:30 p.m. That's when the real shooting started. Suddenly, onlookers were shot down. As they went out toward Soy, the soldiers didn't spare anyone. After that, we fled as well. When I came home, I couldn't sleep. I went out on the street early in the morning. The soldiers wouldn't let anyone get close to the dead bodies. They brought a KamAZ (large truck) and filled it with bodies. Before that, several vehicles had departed with bodies. They collected the bodies by evening. I saw them loading the men and women mixed in together. They stacked the bodies like wood in the KamAZ, there were so many. When they brought a Zil [truck], you could still see the bodies even after they closed up the back. Those vehicles left in the direction of Soy. There was a river of blood on the pavement. You could see blood in the ditches. The bodies of young men aged 20 to 30 lay crumpled. A woman arrived and began screaming. Her young brother had been a painter. He had a red bicycle. He'd been working at someone's place. They shot this kid to pieces. There was no one to help the woman. No one could help anyone. Fifty-seven-year-old man: The attack started at six o'clock in the evening. After they opened fire on the crowd, people fled. As they left the square in the direction of Soy, soldiers were lying on the ground in two rows in front of School Number 15. They unleashed a barrage. They also had snipers located on the roofs of houses. Elderly man: People in Andijon are devastated. They are deep in mourning. Many people died wrongly. There are countless people who cannot find the bodies of their vanished sons and daughters. Some can't find their fathers and mothers; others can't find their sisters and children. Not a trace of them remains. How did Andijon's prosecutor die? Uzbekistan's official media have reported that Andijon's prosecutor died a heroic death during recent unrest in the city. A woman who was on the square in front of the regional-administration building on 13 May and was forced to hide after what she saw provides her eyewitness account of what happened: "They [the Akramists] said that they were holding the prosecutor and tax inspector, that they would bring them out before the people, and that if anyone had questions for them, they could ask them. "They brought out the prosecutor. People asked one or two questions. Then, when they were bringing him back inside, people got angry and beat him. The 'Akramists' didn't hit him. 'Don't beat him,' they said. But the one or two people who were trying to bring him back inside couldn't protect him. The crowd beat him severely and he remained lying on the ground after that. "People also had questions for the head tax inspector. People said that taxes were high and that they weren't able to pay them. He said that people were right to say this, that this or that decree by Karimov was wrong, and that the tax collectors themselves were unhappy with this. He promised to help ease the situation for people. They brought this man back inside. "In order to protect the people who were leaving [the regional-administration building] with them, the rebels took the hostages and had them walk out in front. They said that they [the police] wouldn't shoot at their own people. They put them out in front so that if they opened fire, they'd hit their own people. "We set out for Soy. But the soldiers who were lying in wait opened fire without any concern for anyone. The hostages were the first to be hit since they were in the first row. The soldiers saw which direction the crowd was headed, and they opened fire on the people without any warning. "The soldiers were lying on the ground in a row. There were APCs as well. Even as we were walking along thinking that they wouldn't shoot, they opened fire. "The dead who were shot on the way toward Soy included women and children. There had to be more dead bodies than the government said." (Translated by Daniel Kimmage).
NYT 8 June 2005 Rights Group Calls Deadly Uzbek Crackdown a 'Massacre' By C. J. CHIVERS MOSCOW, June 7 - Uzbekistan's crackdown on a prison break and mass protest last month has been labeled a massacre in a report by a prominent human rights group, which says responsibility for many of the deaths lies with the Uzbek government. The group, Human Rights Watch, based in New York, issued the report on Tuesday, providing the most extensive independent review to date of the failed uprising in the northeastern Uzbek city of Andijon. Drawing from interviews with more than 50 witnesses, it corroborates and expands upon previous reports of a brief armed revolt that became an antigovernment protest, which the authorities broke up with rifle and machine-gun fire. The report also provides accounts from two witnesses of Uzbek troops moving among the bodies on the street the morning after the crackdown, shooting wounded people who had survived the night. "There was a systematic effort to slaughter," said Kenneth Roth, the organization's executive director. The violence in Andijon on May 13 has fueled renewed worries about the stability of Uzbekistan, a repressive post-Soviet state that is an ally of the Bush administration in the fighting in Afghanistan and other counterterrorism efforts. With the release of the report, Human Rights Watch renewed calls by several international organizations and Western governments for an independent investigation. Uzbekistan had flatly refused to allow such an investigation in the weeks after the crackdown but has since signaled it might offer limited cooperation. State Department officials say they are not yet sure what degree of cooperation the Uzbek government would consent to. Human Rights Watch also urged the United States to suspend negotiations for a long-term American presence at the Uzbek air base, situated near the Afghan border, unless Uzbekistan accepted an investigation. "There is something unseemly, to say the least, about negotiations for a base agreement with a country that has just massacred hundreds of its own citizens," Mr. Roth said. Also on Tuesday, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Geneva-based aid organization, announced that it still had not yet been able to get access to those injured and arrested in the crackdown, in spite of repeated attempts. The committee noted that many Uzbeks still do not know whether their missing kin are dead or injured or were arrested or fled. It said a response from the Uzbek government "has become urgent." The Uzbek government has shown flashes of intransigence toward Western organizations in recent weeks. On Monday the United States Peace Corps announced that it had suspended its program in the country after the Uzbek Foreign Ministry denied visas to the corps' volunteers. Uzbekistan, strategically situated but economically underdeveloped, has been racked by ruinous economic policies, corruption, clan rule and harsh restrictions on freedom of expression, assembly and conscience. The United Nations has criticized it for its extensive use of torture. Since the crackdown, it has defended itself with a mix of defiance and blame directed at the armed men who raided the prison. Human Rights Watch said those men, whose number it estimated at 50 to 100, had committed serious crimes. But it said the government response was indiscriminate and out of proportion. The report echoed another independent report, written by the Brussels-based International Crisis Group, which found no public evidence that the revolt was led by Islamic extremist groups or had religious aims. The Uzbek president, Islam A. Karimov, has insisted, without providing public evidence, that the uprising was carried out by international terrorist groups that seek to create an Islamic state. Human Rights Watch said it found no evidence of the president's assertion. "The protesters spoke about economic conditions in Andijon, government repression and unfair trials and not the creation of an Islamic state," the report says. It described the crowd as shouting "Freedom!" and not "God is Great!" Spokesmen for Uzbekistan's Foreign Ministry did not return several phone calls on Tuesday. Mr. Roth said an investigation would be important in part because many details of the uprising remained unknown, including the number of victims, the identities of all the armed units present at the crackdown and the nature and origin of orders given to troops who fired into the crowds. Human Rights Watch did not estimate the number of dead, and avoided endorsing opposition accounts of as many as 745 dead civilians, which have not been independently verified. But it dismissed the official Uzbek claim of 173 dead, writing that "hundreds" were killed on one street alone. The report also noted Uzbek efforts to restrict the flow of information about the crackdown, and to intimidate and harass witnesses. Fears for the safety of witnesses have intensified since a Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty correspondent's report last month of being led by a local guide to a mass grave outside Andijon; the next day, the radio service said, the guide was fatally stabbed. There have also been broader fears about safety for Westerners in the country. Last week, the American Embassy in Uzbekistan authorized the departure of nonessential embassy staff and family members, citing new terrorist threats. On Tuesday, the embassy expanded the warning, advising embassy personnel not to send their children to school for the rest of the school year.
HRW9 Dec 2005 Uzbekistan: Rights Defenders Targeted After Massacre 09 Jun 2005 14:45:16 GMT Source: Human Rights Watch (New York, June 9, 2005)- In the wake of the Andijan massacre, the Uzbek government is targeting human rights defenders and opposition activists for arrest, beatings and intimidation, Human Rights Watch said today. "The government harassment of human rights defenders is a transparent attempt to hide the truth about what happened in Andijan," said Holly Cartner, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. Human Rights Watch has documented evidence of a government cover up in Andijan following the government's use of excessive force against demonstrators there on May 13. Human Rights Watch has labeled the incident a massacre. The Uzbek government has a longstanding record of harsh treatment of human rights activists and political opponents. In just the past two weeks, Uzbek authorities have arrested at least 10 human rights defenders and opposition activists in Andijan and other cities on trumped up charges. Others have been beaten by unknown assailants, threatened by local authorities, and placed under house arrest. Officials involved in these incidents made specific reference to the defenders' human rights activities, including their work documenting the killings in Andijan. In Tashkent and Jizzakh, numerous human rights activists have been questioned about the events in Andijan and threatened with arrest or criminal charges should they engage in demonstrations or other public activities. On May 31, a coalition of Uzbek rights defenders issued a plea for help. The group wrote to the United Nations, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and the European Parliament stating that persecution of Uzbek rights activists and opposition members has increased since the Andijan killings. "We are deeply troubled by this growing crackdown on human rights defenders," Cartner said. "The international community must intervene to stop this campaign and ensure the safety of human rights activists in Uzbekistan." Human Rights Watch has gathered information, including firsthand testimony, concerning 16 separate incidents of arrests, beatings, preventative detention and other intimidation of activists and opposition party members during the past three weeks, including many in Andjian province. On Tuesday, June 7, Andijan police detained Hamdam Sulaimonov, deputy chairman of the Fergana Valley branch of the opposition party Birlik ("Unity"). After searching Sulaimonov's home, police seized his computer. He was interrogated about the distribution of a statement about the Andijan events by Birlik party chairman Abdurakhim Polat during a U.S. Helsinki Commission briefing on Uzbekistan in Washington on May 19. Sulaimonov was released on bail, but yesterday was summoned for additional interrogation. On June 3, police arrested Mizaffarmizo Iskhakov, a longtime human rights defender and head of the Andijan branch of the human rights group Ezgulik ("Goodness"). Police seized human rights publications and a computer during a search of Iskhakov's home on June 2. Iskhakov was released on bail on Monday, but police retained his passport and ordered him not to leave the city. On June 2, Andijan police also arrested Nurmukhammad Azizov and Akbar Oripov of the Andijan branch of Birlik. During searches of the men's homes, police confiscated human rights publications and computers containing a copy of the Birlik statement about the events in Andijan. Azizov and Oripov remain in custody. On May 28, authorities in Andjian arrested two members of the Markhamat district branch of Ezgulik: the chairman, Dilmurod Muhiddinov, and Musozhon Bobozhonov. They also arrested Muhammadqodir Otakhonov, of the Uzbek branch of the International Human Rights Society. Police seized human rights materials and copies of the Birlik statement about the events in Andijan from the men's homes. The men are being charged with "infringement of the constitutional order," "forming a criminal group," and "preparation and distribution of materials containing threats to public order and security." They remain in custody and are being questioned without the presence of a lawyer. Saidjahon Zainabitdinov, an outspoken human rights defender and chairman of the Andijan human rights group Appelliatsia ("Appeal"), was detained on May 21. Zainabitdinov's description of the killings in Andijan was widely reported in the media. He remains in custody. The government campaign against human rights defenders has also spread to other Uzbek cities. On Sunday, June 5, according to the Human Rights Society of Uzbekistan (HRSU), Uzbek security agents arrested Norboy Kholjigitov, a member of the HRSU, in the village of Bobur near Samarkand on charges of corruption. Kholijigitov's whereabouts remain unknown. On June 4, police in Karshi arrested Tulkin Karaev, a human rights activist and journalist, and sentenced him to 10 days of administrative arrest. Karaev is one of the few independent Uzbek journalists who has covered the events in Andijan. The HRSU reported that pretext for the arrest was provided when an unknown woman accosted Karaev at a bus stop and then claimed that Karaev had threatened her. Karaev has been denied contact with his lawyer. On May 30, two unknown men in civilian clothing beat Sotvoldi Abdullaev of the Uzbek branch of the International Human Rights Society outside his house in Tashkent. The assailants had been monitoring the house from a parked car for several days in attempt to prevent Abdullaev from leaving his house. Abdullaev suffered a severe concussion as a result of the beating and was hospitalized. On May 29, 30 armed policemen beat and detained approximately 17 members of Ezgulik from the Fergana Valley area who were participating in a seminar in Tashkent, calling them "Andijani terrorists." The activists were forcibly transported back to the Fergana Valley. The event's organizer, Vasila Inoyatova, head of Ezgulik and a senior member of the Birlik opposition party, was detained by police together with her family. They were released the next day. On May 28, Samarkand police arrested Kholiqnazar Ganiyev, head of the Samarkand province offices of both Ezgulik and the Birlik, on charges of "hooliganism" and sentenced him to 15 days of administrative arrest. A group of women, apparently government provocateurs, attacked Ganiyev's house and then brought charges against him when he asked them to leave. On May 26, a police official in Jizzakh came to the home of Tatiana Dovlatova, an activist with the Society for Human Rights and Freedoms of the Citizens of Uzbekistan, and aggressively demanded that she go with him to the prosecutor's office. She refused to go unless provided with an official summons. The official then placed her under armed house arrest for the day and threatened to send her to a psychiatric hospital if she attempted to leave. On May 22, 70 people, including representatives of various government agencies, forcibly entered the Jizzakh home of Bakhtior Kamroev, chairman of the Jizzakh province branch of the Human Rights Society of Uzbekistan. The crowd conducted a Soviet-style hate rally against Khamroev right in his home. They accused him of being a traitor for passing information to Western organizations, including human rights groups, and of being a "Wahabbist" and a "terrorist." The authorities also pressured Kamroev to leave Jizzakh and made threats against his life and against his family.
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www.armenialiberty.org Dashnaks Plan Shift In Genocide Recognition Effort By Ruzanna Stepanian The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) plans a major shift in its decades-long campaign for international recognition of the Armenian genocide that will aim to hold modern-day Turkey accountable for the events of 1915-1918, it emerged on Friday. Giro Manoyan, the spokesman for the pan-Armenian party’s governing Bureau, said that genocide recognition alone would not restore historic justice and that the international community should now “hold Turkey accountable” for the extermination of some 1.5 million Armenians in the Ottoman Empire. “There is no longer a need to merely prove a historic fact,” Manoyan told RFE/RL. He indicated that this will be at the heart of a planned “adjustment” of the activities Dashnaktsutyun’s lobbying structures in the United States, Europe and elsewhere in the world. Representatives of those structures began on Friday a two-day meeting to discuss the shift in the nationalist party’s emphases. The meeting took place behind the closed doors. The policy change is in tune with one of the main tenets of Dashnaktsutyun which has never made secret of its desire to get Turkey to not only admit to the genocide but also pay material compensation to Armenia and descendants of genocide victims. Earlier this year, Dashnaktsutyun accused the United States of prodding Turkey to recognize the genocide “without consequences.” Its leaders also want Yerevan to keep the door open for future territorial and financial claims to Ankara. “We believe that Armenia is unable to make such demands today,” Manoyan told RFE/RL in April. “But this doesn’t mean that it will be unable to do so tomorrow.” This stance contrasts with the official position of the Armenian government in which Dashnaktsutyun is represented with three ministers. “We are not talking about compensations, this is only about a moral issue,” President Robert Kocharian said recently. Manoyan claimed on Friday that in seeking Turkish reparations the Armenians can count on the support of countries like France that want Turkey to address the genocide issue before joining the European Union. “Incidentally, these are the countries that have said ‘no’ to the EU constitution,” he said. “According to commentators in those countries, the ‘no’ vote was in large part due to the prospect of Turkey’s EU membership.” However, neither France nor other EU nations that recognized the Armenian genocide have ever called for Turkish reparations. In a landmark 1987 resolution, the European Parliament stressed that “neither political nor legal or material claims against present-day Turkey can be derived from the recognition of this historical event as an act of genocide.”
Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service (KRT) 1 June 2005 Remember genocide at Srebrenica - The following editorial appeared in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Tuesday, May 31: --- In July 1995, in the silver-mining town of Srebrenica in eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bosnian Serb forces under the command of Serbian Gen. Ratko Mladic and Bosnian Serb Col. Radislav Krstic tracked down every Muslim man and boy over age 16, gunned them down and buried them in mass graves. Many of the women left behind were raped and beaten. Ironically, Srebrenica was one of five "safe havens" designed by the U.N. Security Council. When Krstic's troops moved in, the U.N. peacekeeping force in the region, a battalion of Dutch troops, asked for reinforcements. None came. The outmanned Dutch troops stood by and watched as at least 7,000 men and boys were murdered. The actual number may be much higher. Bosnian Serbs dug up many of the bodies and scattered them, hoping to destroy the evidence. They weren't entirely successful. At the end of the war, Krstic was sentenced to 46 years in prison by the International War Crimes Tribunal. Mladic is under indictment by the same tribunal but remains in hiding. The survivors of Srebrenica became refugees, many within their own nation. Many eventually fled to the United States. Some of them, perhaps as many as 4,000, now live in St. Louis. They call themselves "Bosniaks," Bosnian Muslims, and they've learned a little about U.S. politics. The North American Council of Bosniaks is trying to get Congress to pass a "sense of the Congress" resolution that honors the victims and survivors and puts the United States on record as officially condemning what happened at Srebrenica as genocide. The resolution says that those responsible should be held accountable, and that fugitives like Mladic should be tracked down and brought to justice. It also puts the United States on record as favoring the independence and territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Bosniak council hopes that the resolution will pass before July 11, the 10th anniversary of the beginning of the massacre. U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan, a Democrat whose district is home to a large part of the St. Louis Bosnian community, has signed on as co-sponsor of the resolution in the House. But it takes 30 co-sponsors to send a resolution to committee for action, and as this week began, the resolution was still short 20 sponsors. Given the importance of the Bosnian community in St. Louis, which now numbers upwards of 50,000, every member of the bistate delegation should add his or her name to the resolution. If condemning genocide isn't a bipartisan issue, nothing is. "The only issue is lack of education," said Tarik Bilalbegovic, a board member of the North American Council of Bosniaks in Washington. "With everything focused on Afghanistan, Iraq and the Middle East, Srebrenica is not a hot topic everyone would recognize. But people who forget what has happened to them are likely to have it happen again." --- © 2005, St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Visit the Post-Dispatch on the World Wide Web at http://www.stltoday.com
BBC 9 June 2005 Timeline: Siege of Srebrenica In the summer of 1995, two years after being designated a United Nations Safe Area, the Bosnian town of Srebrenica became the scene of the worst massacre in the Bosnian war. This is an account of the critical days leading up to the killings. --- 6 - 8 July 1995: Bosnian Serb forces had laid siege to the Srebrenica enclave, where tens of thousands of civilians had taken refuge from earlier Serb offensives in north-eastern Bosnia. Survivors from Srebrenica fled to Muslim-held territory They were under the protection of about 600 lightly armed Dutch infantry forces. Fuel was running out and no fresh food had been brought into the enclave since May. Serb forces began shelling Srebrenica. Bosnian Muslim fighters in the town asked for the return of weapons they had surrendered to the peacekeepers but their request was refused. The Dutch commander called UN Headquarters in Sarajevo asking for "close air support" after shells and rockets landed close to refugee centres and observation posts manned by peacekeepers. 9 July 1995: The Bosnian Serbs stepped up their shelling and thousands of refugees fled to the town from southern camps ahead of advancing Serbs, who attacked Dutch observation posts, taking about 30 soldiers hostage. One peacekeeper was fatally wounded when Bosnian Muslims fired on retreating Dutch troops. 10 July 1995: Dutch Commander Colonel Karremans filed a request for UN air support after the Bosnian Serbs shelled Dutch positions. UN Commander General Janvier initially refused, but agreed after another request from the colonel. Serb attacks stopped before the planes arrived and strikes were postponed. Some 4,000 refugees were in the town by the evening and there was panic on the streets. Large crowds were gathered around the Dutch positions. The Dutch commander told town leaders that Nato planes would launch massive air attacks against the Serbs if they had not withdrawn from the safe area by 0600 the following morning. 11 July 1995: The Serb forces did not withdraw, but at 0900 Colonel Karremans received word from Sarajevo that his request for close air support had been submitted on the wrong form. At 1030, the re-submitted request reached General Janvier, but Nato planes had to return to base in Italy to refuel after being airborne since 0600. By midday, more than 20,000 refugees - mostly women, children and the infirm - fled to the main Dutch base at Potocari. At 1430, two Dutch F-16 fighters dropped two bombs on Serb positions surrounding Srebrenica. The Serbs responded with a threat to kill their Dutch hostages and shell refugees, causing the suspension of further strikes. The Bosnian Serb commander Ratko Mladic entered Srebrenica two hours later, accompanied by Serb camera crews. In the evening, General Mladic summoned Colonel Karremans to a meeting at which he delivered an ultimatum that the Muslims must hand over their weapons to guarantee their lives. 12 July 1995: Buses arrived to take women and children to Muslim territory, while the Serbs begin separating out all men from age 12 to 77 for "interrogation for suspected war crimes". Ratko Mladic (left) drank with Dutch Col Ton Karremans on 12 July It is estimated that 23,000 women and children were deported in the next 30 hours. Hundreds of men were held in trucks and warehouses. About 15,000 Bosnian Muslim fighters had attempted to escape from Srebrenica overnight and were shelled as they fled through the mountains. 13 July 1995: The first killings of unarmed Muslims took place in a warehouse in the nearby village of Kravica. Peacekeepers handed over about 5,000 Muslims who had been sheltering at the Dutch base at Potocari. In return, the Bosnian Serbs released 14 Dutch peacekeepers who had been held at the Nova Kasaba base. 16 July 1995: Early reports of massacres emerged as the first survivors of the long march from Srebrenica began to arrive in Muslim-held territory. Following negotiations between the UN and the Bosnian Serbs, the Dutch were at last permitted to leave Srebrenica, leaving behind weapons, food and medical supplies. In the five days after Bosnian Serb forces overran Srebrenica, more than 7,000 Muslim men are thought to have been killed.
AP 11 June 2005 2,000 from mass grave identified June 11, 2005 ASSOCIATED PRESS SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina -- A Bosnia-based international agency for missing people said Friday it had identified 2,000 victims of the Srebrenica massacre whose bodies were found in mass graves in Bosnia. The International Commission on Missing Persons has a list of 7,800 people who disappeared in the worst massacre of civilians in Europe since World War II. Bosnian Serb forces overran the Muslim enclave of Srebrenica in July 1995 and executed thousands of men and boys. The commission runs one of the most sophisticated DNA laboratories in the world. Experts create DNA profiles for victims from remains and then match them with DNA taken from the blood of family members who reported their relatives missing.
Ireland Online 11 June 2005 Children and pregnant women among Bosnian massacre victims 11/06/2005 - 18:58:59 Forensic experts today began identifying 38 bodies recently exhumed from a mass grave in Bosnia, including nine children and a woman who was eight months pregnant when she died. The grave contained the bodies of victims of a Serb attack on the eastern Bosnian town of Bratunac at the beginning of Bosnia’s 1992-95 war. The difficult task of identifying the dead rattled some of the doctors carrying out the work at a hospital in the north-east Bosnian city of Tuzla. “I worked on the identification of some 7,000 bodies and this is the most horrifying and monstrous sight I have ever seen,” said Dr Vedo Tuce, holding the remains of the pregnant victim’s unborn baby. Tuce added that all the victims were civilians and judging by the wounds were shot dead by automatic weapons fired from close range. The forensic team completed the exhumations in the village of Suha, near Bratunac, on May 20. Among the bodies of nine children, four of whom had been buried alongside the bodies of the mothers. Most of the dead were elderly men, said Murat Hurtic, the head of the forensic team. The victims’ families are helping identify the bodies, trying to recognise clothing or personal items. The remains will also undergo DNA analysis. Many of the relatives say they won’t be able to come to terms with the deaths until they have a body to bury. “The worst thing for us is the fact that 10 years since the end of the war the perpetrators of these horrible crimes are still at large,” said Refik Begic, the father-in-law of the slain pregnant woman, Zekira Begic. “She was just 28 years old and was killed just a few yards from our house,” Begic said with tears in his eyes. Hurtic said that unlike other mass graves found in eastern Bosnia, these bodies were packed into bags, which made the exhumation easier. What the teams usually find are so-called secondary mass graves, meaning that the bodies had been moved to other locations after being buried elsewhere in an effort to cover up the crime. Sometimes the perpetrators used bulldozers to move the remains, so the forensic teams often find parts of the same body in two or even three different locations. Over the years, UN and local forensics experts in Bosnia have exhumed 16,500 bodies from more than 300 mass graves. Thousands of people remain missing and presumed dead following the war. About 260,000 people were killed and 1.8 million driven from their homes during the conflict, which pitted Bosnia’s Muslim Bosniaks, Catholic Croats and Orthodox Serbs against each other.
NYT 12 June 2005 Videotape of Serbian Police Killing 6 Muslims From Srebrenica Grips Balkans By NICHOLAS WOOD SPIONICA, Bosnia, June 9 - Safeta Muhic is glued to her television set, feverishly flicking channels for another chance to see Serbian gunmen killing her brother. "That's my brother falling down there," she says, catching the tail end of a short video clip played over some news headlines. The grainy footage shows a thin teenager with hands tied behind his back stepping in front of a gunman dressed in black. He walks forward in silence, and then two bursts of automatic rifle fire hit his back and he flops to the ground. Her brother, Safet Fejzic, went missing in July 1995, when he was 16 and in Srebrenica. He was thought to be among about 7,000 Muslim men and boys massacred by Bosnian Serb and Serbian forces at the tail end of the war in Bosnia. But Ms. Muhic, a 23-year-old mother of two, did not know the full details of his death until this month, after the emergence of a videotape showing the killing of her brother and five other Muslim men. Initially stunned by what she saw, she now says she cannot help but try to see his last few moments again and again. For more than a week now, the video, filmed by a member of the Serbian police unit that committed the killings, has been repeatedly shown on television in countries throughout the Balkan region. It was first shown in court on June 1, during the war crimes trial of former President Slobodan Milosevic of Serbia. In Bosnia, the tape has again brought the pain of that time to the surface for families like Ms. Muhic's. But it may be having an equally profound effect in Serbia, where the public has been reluctant to accept that their forces could have been involved in war crimes. Since then, reporting about the video has dominated mainstream news media. Analysts say the cassette is the most significant piece of evidence to shape Serbian public opinion since the end of the Balkan wars of the 1990's. Usually only the country's more liberal news outlets carry reports about possible Serbian war crimes, but state-run television and all the national newspapers have carried pictures and articles about the killings. One newspaper, Blic, published an article about the shock the videotape had caused among families of the police unit. The report said one girl had seen the tape on television and recognized her father among the killers. It quoted her mother as saying, "Since then, she has not spoken a single word. She has just wept." "This tape has definitely had more exposure to the public than anything else I can remember," said Svetlana Logar, a polling expert for Strategic Marketing Research, based in Belgrade. Her company is conducting an opinion poll that will be released next week on reaction to the videotape. While most foreign observers regard Serbia and Bosnia's Serb leadership as the main perpetrators of war crimes in that era, polls consistently show that most Serbs regard themselves as the main victims of the war. Those accused of war crimes are often presented as national heroes by the news media and the government. After the tape's emergence, President Boris Tadic and Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica of Serbia swiftly condemned the killings. Serbian authorities say five men shown on the videotape have been arrested, including the unit's commander, Slobodan Medic, known as Boca, and the police are searching for four more. Throughout the 12-minute section of videotape that features the six prisoners, their captors joke and show no hesitation. The executions appear methodical. The four youngest prisoners are lined up, then walk forward to be shot, one by one. The two remaining prisoners, perhaps in their early 30's, are then ordered to drag the bodies to a nearby building, where they, too, are shot. Only one of them talks during the episode, to ask for some water. The cameraman takes care to film the bullets as they enter the bodies, including final shots to the head after they have fallen to the ground. While watching the video, Ms. Muhic recognized her brother as he was ordered to get down from a military truck at the start of the section showing the prisoners. Why couldn't the cameraman have intervened to save someone? she asked, not knowing that he was also a unit member. "I would like them to pay for what they have done," she said. "I would like their families to feel the same pain that we have felt." Her brother's remains were recovered in 1999 and identified in 2003. But she still had no idea how he had been killed. Ms. Logar says the message is coming at a critical time, because people were not talking about the war crimes and younger Serbians were not hearing about them. "No one is talking here about the facts, whether or not you call them war crimes or not. People are forgetting, and few people are aware," she said in an interview. "Instead, politicians talked about indicted persons and whether or not they should be transferred to the International Criminal Tribunal." Ljiljana Smajlovic, a political commentator and writer for the weekly magazine Nin in Belgrade, said the tape had brought a sincere sense of outrage in Serbia. She also said the tape may provide momentum for the arrest of one of The Hague's leading war crime suspects and the man suspected of orchestrating the Srebenica massacre, General Ratko Mladic, the commander of the Bosnian Serb army at the time. Apart from the shock caused by the videotape, closer scrutiny of the unit behind the killings has also undercut the popular image many Serbians have held of their fighters, who have often been praised as valiant defenders of the homeland. That view is born out in the killing tape and in another tape of the unit that is making the rounds on Serbian television. Both begin with a Serbian Orthodox priest blessing the forces and saying, "The Turks are rising again. They come to take our sacred places," a reference to Serbia's former occupation by the Muslim-dominated Ottoman Empire. After the video emerged, the Orthodox Church condemned the killings. The unit involved in the taped killings, called the Scorpions, was formed in 1991, at the start of Serbia's war with Croatia. Its official purpose was guarding Slavonian oil centers. But in operation, said the chief Serbian war crimes prosecutor, Vladimir Vukcevic, "they were organized ad hoc to do dirty work." Over the next decade, the group fought in Bosnia between 1992 and 1995 and in Kosovo in 1999, by which time it had been incorporated into the Serbian police service. In addition to the men now being sought in the videotaped incident, another former member is on trial in the killing of 14 people, including seven children in Podujevo, a town in Kosovo, in 1999. While the tape has brought outrage, it has also brought defensiveness. In Sid, a town in northwestern Serbia that is the home of most of the men shown taking part in the killing, many people expressed ambivalence. "Maybe the tape was doctored," said a betting shop worker, 29, who refused to give his name. "You don't know what those Muslims had done, either. It was war. You can't put all the blame on one side." The tabloid Nacional echoed that sentiment, publishing a front-page picture on Thursday of what it said was a Serbian soldier being executed by a Muslim. The headline read, "Here's a Serb." Marlise Simons contributed reporting from The Hague for this article.
Oneworld.net 7 June 2005 Conference on the 10th Anniversary of Srebrenica Genocide Sladjana Kovacevic 07 June 2005 On the occasion of the 10th Anniversary of Srebrenica genocide, the Institute for the Research of Crimes Against Humanity and International Law in Sarajevo, in cooperation with the University of North Carolina, USA, will organize an international scientific conference “Genocide on Bosniaks from Srebrenica, UN Protected Zone, July 1995 – Lessons for the Future”. The Conference will take place July 11-15, with the goal to document, shed light and analyze the genocide in Srebrenica in July 1995. Prof. Muhamed Filipovic, member of the Organizing Board, emphasized that the Conference provides an opportunity to the science to present the story of what happened, why it happened, how and what are the consequences. He underlined the fact that the conference has to avoid all manipulation in order to be able to subject the fact to the scientific criteria and judgment. Over the four days of the conference, the participants will take part in the burial of the newly identified group of victims, visit the exhibition of Potocari Memorial Centre, and witness the exhumation of a mass grave in the wider area of Srebrenica.
Deutsche Welle, Germany - Jun 10, 2005 Nazi Massacre Trial Reopens Old Wounds Interior Minister Otto Schily (center) honored the victims in 2004 A prosecutor on Thursday demanded life imprisonment for 10 former Nazi German soldiers, now in their 80s, who are on trial for the wartime Nazi massacre of 560 civilians in an Italian mountain village. Marco De Paolis called for the military court in the northwestern Italian port city of La Spezia to jail the 10 for life, in a hearing followed emotionally by survivors. None of the defendants were present in the courtroom. Their trial in absentia opened last year and has provoked strong emotions in Italy. The men, accused of aggravated homicide, are not even expected to attend the verdict, due on June 22, officials at the military tribunal said. But observers say they are unlikely to be extradited or to serve a sentence because of their advanced age. They stand trial over the killing of 560 people in the Tuscan village of Sant'Anna di Stazzema on August 12, 1944, a few days after the liberation of the nearby city of Florence by British troops. The shooting was one of many in the region that occurred as German troops retreated to the so-called "Gothic Line" of defence that cut across Italy from La Spezia to the Adriatic. Buried evidence Evidence about the massacre remained buried for nearly half a century, a victim of successive Rome governments' reluctance to pursue former Nazis for wartime atrocities -- mainly to avoid diplomatic repercussions with West Germany in the post-war period. Many believe successive post-war governments wanted to avoid hunting Nazis for war crimes because they would also have to delve uncomfortably into the excesses of Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, particularly his treatment of Italian Jews. The case came to light only in 1994 after prosecutors stumbled across witness statements given to Allied soldiers investigating the massacre -- apparently stored in a filing cabinet found in a Rome basement. Ever since the "cabinet of shame" was found, prosecutors in La Spezia have been fighting time to bring suspects to trial. "Precise roles" Prosecutor Marco De Paolis told the court in the port city of La Spezia that there were "numerous elements" to prove the men, now living in Germany, had "precise roles" in one of Italy's worst civilian massacres during World War II. According to recent studies, the Allied forces had initially wanted to try the Nazi soldiers after the war, but the plans were shelved in 1947. By the late 1940s only a dozen court martial proceedings were closed. Some of the few people who survived the massacre, most of whom were young children at the time, were present in the court on Thursday. DW staff / AFP (jp)
www.expatica.com 10 June 2005 Genocide suspect 'tried to bypass export ban' 10 June 2005 AMSTERDAM — Witnesses in the US and elsewhere have said Dutch genocide suspect Frans van A. intentionally tried to circumvent the ban on exporting chemicals to Iraq. Witnesses claim Van A. was unaware of the ban and tried to side-step it with various fraudulent schemes and companies. A bank director is even said to have assisted the businessman. Public prosecutor Fred Teeven also told The Hague Court on Friday dozens of witnesses to chemical weapons attacks have provided statements in recent months. Dutch justice officials are also taking statements from military doctors about the affects of chemical attacks. In addition, Van A.'s finances are under investigation because a bugged telephone call indicated he has hidden a large sum of money somewhere, the prosecutor said. Van A. is accused of war crimes and complicity to genocide committed by the Iraqi regime under the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein. He allegedly exported raw materials to Iraq between 1984 and 1988. The Iraqi regime then used chemical weapons in the 1980-88 war against Iran and against the Kurds in northern Iraq. In its second pre-trial hearing against Van A., The Hague Court was due to make a ruling on his remand detention later on Friday. [Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]
AP 7 June 2005 U.N. War Crimes Tribunal Updates Status UNITED NATIONS -- The U.N. war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia won't finish its work by the Security Council's 2008 target date because key fugitives remain at large and new indictees have been brought before the court, a report from the tribunal said Tuesday. The report to the Security Council again criticized Serbian, Bosnian and Croatian leaders for failing to turn over Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic and his top general, Ratko Mladic. Karadzic and Mladic have been on the run since they were indicted by the tribunal for genocide and other war crimes allegedly committed during the 1992-95 Bosnian war. Karadzic is believed to be hiding in the Serb-controlled half of Bosnia, and Mladic in neighboring Serbia. The Security Council has set out a timetable for the Yugoslav tribunal and the tribunal prosecuting those responsible for the 1994 Rwanda genocide to complete all trials by 2008 and finish appeals by 2010. The Yugoslav tribunal president, Theodor Meron, said elsewhere in the report that another obstacle to finishing trials by the 2008 target is that several more indictees have been brought before the court and must be processed. Meron said the tribunal can't cut corners at the expense of "due process and human rights norms in order to move faster." He said trials would run into at least 2009 but would not give further details.
AP 8 June 2005 Milosevic Denies Allegation Over Video The Associated Press Wednesday, June 8, 2005; 8:41 PM THE HAGUE, Netherlands -- Former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic denied Wednesday that Serb gunmen of the brutal Scorpion unit were under his control, in his first public reaction to a grim video showing the paramilitary troops executing Bosnian Muslim prisoners from Srebrenica. The footage was introduced a week ago by prosecutors at the U.N. war crimes tribunal during Milosevic trial. He is defending himself against charges of genocide and other alleged atrocities committed during the Balkan wars, including the mass killings in the Bosnian enclave of Srebrenica. The video shows the Serb gunmen shooting six young Muslim prisoners in their backs. The slain men were among 7,800 Muslim men and boys slaughtered in Srebrenica after Bosnian Serb troops overran the U.N. protected zone in July 1995. The footage, which was aired unedited on Serbian TV, jolted Serbia and forced the Balkan republic's leaders to acknowledge for the first time that war crimes were committed in the Bosnian war by Serb troops from Serbia, and not just by local Bosnian Serb forces. During cross examination of a defense witness _ former Serbian Deputy Interior Minister Obrad Stevanovic _ Milosevic dismissed allegations that the Scorpions were part of Serbia's regular police force in 1995. He called the video a "compilation" that did not say when or where it was made, or prove that the victims were from Srebrenica. Milosevic, however, said that the executions shown on the video "are undoubtedly a crime." "This footage has no connection with Srebrenica at all," Milosevic said. "It is obvious that the Scorpions were not a part of the Serbian police force in 1995." The prosecution contends the Scorpions unit was part of Serbia's regular police in July 1995 during the Srebrenica massacre. Directly linking Milosevic and his police with wartime atrocities in Srebrenica is vital for the genocide case against him.
ARMIN WEGNER AND ARMENIAN GENOCIDE EXHIBITION OPENS IN MOSCOW 31.05.2005 09:04 /PanARMENIAN.Net/ Armin Wegner and the Armenian Genocide exhibition, organized by the Russian Cultural Fund, opens in Moscow Tuesday. The exposition, dedicated to the 90th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, is based on the documentary materials of A Cry form Ararat: Armin Wegner and the Armenian Genocide," book by Giovanni Guaita. Three out of twenty-five large exhibits, decorated uniquely, depict German military officer Wegner, an eyewitness of the Genocide. Three others present the chronology of the Armenian Genocide under Abdul Hamid, Young Turks and Kemal. High-ranking Russian officials, public figures and artists are expected to attend the opening ceremony. A concert of Armenian classical and spiritual music is expected to be performed by Moscow Chamber Choir, the Yerkir newspaper reported.
PTI 3 June 2005 Pardon butcher of Beslan kids: Mothers Press Trust of India Posted online: Friday, June 03, 2005 at 1245 hours IST Vladikavkaz, June 3: Mothers of children killed in the Beslan school hostage massacre last year said today they were prepared to seek a pardon for the lone captured hostage-taker, Nurpashi Kulayev, provided he told the truth about the tragedy in his trial. "For me, the most important thing is that Kulayev is sitting alone in the dock and not with all those who are responsible for what happened," said Susana Dudiyeva, the head of the Beslan mothers committee representing the parents of 186 children killed in the massacre, along with 175 other people. "Kulayev, we are prepared to pardon you if you begin to talk and to tell the truth. If you do this, we will request that you be pardoned," Dudiyeva said at the trial, which opened on May 17 and resumed Thursday after a two-week recess. Kulayev, 24, was one of 32 hostage-takers who seized a public school in the southern Russian town of Beslan on September 1 last year along with more than 1,100 students, teachers and other adults who were in the building to mark the first day of the academic year. He was the only militant captured alive after the ferocious battle between the hostage-takers and Russian Special Forces, mixed with armed locals. According to official figures, 330 people, not including 31 hostage-takers were killed, 186 of them children. In his initial testimony, Kulayev said that the hostage-takers had been prepared to let hundreds of children go free if the politicians that they were demanding to see for negotiations had shown up. More World Headlines People who read this story also read Beslan school massacre mastermind killed 09.03.05 Russia says Syria should quit Lebanon 03.03.05 Russia must give Chechnya special status: Gorbachev 12.10.04 Chechen warlord owns up Russian school carnage 17.09.04 Russia set to hit terror centres worldwide 08.09.04 Full Coverage Bollywood icon: Sunil Dutt Samrat Shah Rukh SelectOne Year of UPA RuleThe Great Indian DebateParveen Babi's DeathNRI NewsKanchi Seer's ArrestAmbani vs AmbaniGujarat RiotsJ-K MonitorIndia Pak TalksIndia-Aus SeriesIndia-Pak SeriesIslamabad SummitRam Temple TurmoilIndia Down UnderWar on IraqNE MonitorIndia-Pak Face OffPak Nuke LeakElections 2003 More World HeadlinesHindus slam France over Lord RamCanada to free female rapist/killerRussia threatens US over Star WarsIndia, Japan in UNSC dangerous: ChinaAnurag Kashyap wins US Spelling BeeIndian singles 'illegally' barred from entering UK | Nation | World | Business | Sport | Entertainment | Infotech | Ads By Google Hope for Beslan Say "No" to terrorism by helping and remembering Beslan victims www.beslanhope.org Find Indian Grocery in US Online Indian Yellow Pages Search cities in US & Canada www.ApnaBusiness.com Your comment[s] on this article Be the first to comment on this story.
BBC 4 June 2005 Beslan mothers' futile quest for relief By Chloe Arnold BBC News, Beslan At Beslan's School Number One, it is as though time has stood still since that terrible day last September when a hostage siege turned into a bloodbath that killed more than 330 people, half of them children. For survivors of the Beslan massacre, the agony is not over In the ruins of the school gymnasium, where the hostage-takers herded their captives and where most of the victims died, the walls are still scarred with bullet marks and charred rafters are left in what remains of the roof. Time has stood still too for the women in Beslan who lost their children in the bloodshed. The grief has not become any easier to bear and - for some just as hard to take - they still do not know how some 30 heavily-armed men were allowed to take a whole school hostage and how, three days later, they were allowed to gun their children down. A few kilometres down the road in the regional capital, Vladikavkaz, a court has begun trying 24-year-old Nur-Pashi Kulayev, the only surviving hostage-taker and the sole suspect for the Beslan massacre. We simply can't see the meaning of all that suffering Aneta Gadiyeva Mother of Beslan victim Every day that the court is in session, at least some of Beslan's bereaved mothers, distinguishable by their black dress and headscarves, have been watching proceedings. But far from giving the women a sense of "closure", the trial has reawakened anger that after all this time, only one man is in the dock. "Kulayev is simply being used as a scapegoat," says Susanna Dudiyeva, the head of campaign and support group the Beslan Mothers' Committee, who lost her 13-year-old son, Zaurbek, in the siege. Massacre memories The Mothers' Committee say the Russian government should take some responsibility for what happened. The trial of Nur-Pashi Kulayev has focused relatives' grief For the fact that the hostage-takers somehow passed through police checkpoints to reach Beslan, and for letting rag-tag local security forces make a chaotic rescue attempt, possibly causing needless deaths, instead of sending in better-trained federal troops. An official commission of inquiry has been looking into the circumstances of the siege. But the women suspect an official cover-up. At one point in the trial, one of the bereaved mothers turned to Mr Kulayev, stooped behind metal bars on one side of the courtroom, and pleaded with him: "Just tell us what really happened." Members of the Mothers' Committee say they have tried to move on, to put the events of last year behind them, if only for the sake of their surviving children. But that is hard to do in a small town which, everywhere you turn, offers up reminders of those three days. Children's graves A little way from the school gymnasium, in the main building, the walls are still spattered with blood. In the chemistry classroom, the floor is littered with rubble and broken glass. The gymnasium in Beslan has changed little since the siege ended Elsewhere, mourners have left bottles of water standing on the floor, an offering to the dead children who were given nothing to drink by their captors. A short drive away at Beslan's cemetery, the graves, just like in any cemetery, are littered with flowers. But many of them are children's graves. These are the ones with soft toys, pieces of chocolate and toy cars, perched on top. Few people here have been able to afford proper gravestones so the graves look freshly dug: bare earth and wooden posts, some of them with photographs of a dead child stuck to them. One plot has six people buried in it side by side; a whole family wiped out in the massacre. 'Meaningless suffering' The Beslan Mothers Committee scored a victory of sorts this week when Alexander Dzasokhov, the head of the North Ossetia region that includes Beslan, resigned. Relatives are finding it difficult to rebuild their lives after their loss He said he was leaving to make way for a younger leader, but he had been heavily criticised for his handling of the hostage crisis. But the women in the group say they cannot rest until they know the full truth of how their children died, and why. "For many of us, what happened simply remains a mystery," said Aneta Gadiyeva, whose nine-year-old daughter, Alana, died in the siege. "We don't know anything and we don't understand anything. We simply can't see the meaning of all that suffering."
Serbia see Bosnia
Guardian UK 2 June 2005 Milosevic court sees video of killings Ed Vulliamy and Ana Uzelac in The Hague Thursday June 2, 2005 The Guardian The prosecution at the trial of Slobodan Milosevic yesterday produced what it claimed to be the first public evidence of a link between the former president of Serbia and the massacre of 8,000 Bosnian Muslims at Srebrenica in July 1995. A videotape, parts of which were played to the court, showed a group of Bosniaks being held by an armed unit, then driven by lorry and marched to a site where they were summarily shot. Article continues The lead prosecutor, Geoffrey Nice, said the victims had been transported from the Srebrenica area after the fall of the enclave, and that the executioners were part of the infamous Scorpions unit, under the command of the secret services, or DB, of Serbia's interior ministry, and within Mr Milosevic's chain of command and control. It is still not clear whether the tape can be introduced as evidence, with a year now passed since the prosecution closed its case. Mr Milosevic's court-appointed counsel, Steven Kay, hinted at a legal battle should Mr Nice seek to enter it. Mr Milosevic denies involvement in the Srebrenica massacre. If the tape's authenticity can be proved, it could help the charge against Mr Milosevic for the only legally established genocidal episode of the war. The tape was shown during a cross-examination of Obrad Stevanovic, assistant interior minister under Mr Milosevic, who appeared for the defence. The witness was asked to identify the killers, but said he could not, although he was aware of the Scorpions. Mr Stevanovic has said "a group under that name was never active" under the interior ministry, but some of its members may have been policemen. The prosecution has been at pains to establish how units under Mr Milosevic's command, from Serbia proper, were active in Bosnia, notably the Scorpions and special units of the Serbian interior ministry, or MUP. There is film of MUP commander Franko Simatovic boasting to the president about how well his soldiers were fighting. · Ana Uzelac is project manager in The Hague for the Institute of War and Peace Reporting.
AP 2 June 2005 Serbia pledges to arrest war crimes suspect Gen. Ratko Mladic within a month DUSAN STOJANOVIC BELGRADE, Serbia-Montenegro (AP) - Serbia-Montenegro officials promised Thursday to hunt down and arrest Gen. Ratko Mladic within a month following pressure from the chief UN war crimes prosecutor for his and another top fugitive's extradition. In a demonstration of resolve to clamp down of war crimes suspects, the Serbian police detained several former members of a Serbian paramilitary unit Thursday who appeared in gruesome footage shown at a UN war crimes trial a day earlier as they appeared to allegedly execute six Bosnian Muslims in 1995. Chief UN war crimes prosecutor Carla Del Ponte, on an official visit to Belgrade, praised the Serbian authorities for negotiating recent "voluntary surrenders" of more than a dozen Serb suspects to the war crimes tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands. But she said this gesture was not enough, demanding Mladic, the wartime Bosnian Serb army commander, and their former political leader Radovan Karadzic be arrested. "We still expect full co-operation and that is the arrest of all fugitives, in particular Mladic and Karadzic," Del Ponte said after her talks with Serbia-Montenegro President Svetozar Marovic. Marovic said he expected "the Mladic case will be finally successfully concluded within a month so that this heavy load is taken off our backs." Serbian authorities say Karadzic is not in Serbia. Del Ponte's Balkan visit, which is also to include Croatia's capital Zagreb and Bosnia's capital Sarajevo, comes just days ahead of her report to the UN Security Council on the ex-Yugoslav republics' co-operation with the war crimes tribunal. The success of Croatia's and Serbia's negotiations to eventually join the European Union hinge on Del Ponte's report. Karadzic and Mladic have been on the run since the tribunal indicted them in 1995 for genocide and other war crimes allegedly committed during the 1992-95 war, including the 1995 slaughter of as many as 8,000 Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica - the worst carnage in Europe since the Second World War. Del Ponte's visit comes a day after a UN war crimes prosecutor, trying to link former Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic's police with the Srebrenica massacre, showed the gruesome footage in court during Milosevic's war crimes trial of the 1995 execution of six Bosnian Muslims from Srebrenica. Serbian Prime Minister Vojisav Kostunica said several members of the unit had been arrested since Wednesday and they would be put on trial. "In a few hours they were able to identify the perpetrators," Del Ponte said. "I asked this morning that they react as quickly to arrest the fugitives who are still at large." She has insisted that Mladic and Karadzic must be arrested and extradited to The Hague by July 11, the 10th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre. In Croatia, Del Ponte is expected to demand the arrest and extradition of Gen. Ante Gotovina who is accused of war crimes against rebel Serbs during the war in Croatia in the early 1990s. Croatian police investigators on Thursday rummaged through Gotovina's home in Zagreb in search for weapons, interior ministry spokesman Zlatko Mehun said. Police confiscated seven guns and rifles which were issued to Gotovina by the state.
BBC 3 June 2005 Serbian leader 'shocked' by video The footage shows victims with their hands tied behind their backs Serbian President Boris Tadic has appeared on TV to express deep shock over a gruesome video showing Serbian soldiers executing Bosnian Muslims. He said he was ready to visit the town of Srebrenica in July for the 10th anniversary of the massacre in which 8,000 Muslim men and boys were killed. Mr Tadic was speaking hours after the arrest of at least eight paramilitary troops allegedly shown in the video. The footage is evidence in the trial of ex-Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic. "Serbia is deeply shocked," Mr Tadic said in his television address. "Those images are proof of a monstrous crime committed against persons of a different religion, and the guilty had walked as free men until now." The amateur footage, showing six civilians with their hands tied behind their backs being lined up and shot, was brought to light by a Serbian human rights organisation. It was shown at Mr Milosevic's trial in The Hague on Wednesday and later aired by TV stations in Serbia and Montenegro. Promise on fugitives Mr Tadic said the crimes at Srebrenica had been carried out "in the name of our nation", but added that crimes were always individual and the perpetrators needed to be punished. United Nations chief war crimes prosecutor Carla del Ponte, who was in Belgrade, called the arrests a "brilliant operation". Carla Del Ponte wants Karadzic and Mladic to be tried in The Hague During her visit, the president of Serbia and Montenegro, Svetozar Marovic, vowed that Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and former commander Ratko Mladic would be delivered to the war crimes tribunal in The Hague. "The Mladic case will be finally successfully concluded within a month so that this heavy load is taken off our backs," Mr Marovic said. Mladic and Karadzic are the most wanted men in connection with the massacre in Srebrenica. They are believed to be hiding in Serbia and Montenegro or the Bosnian Serb republic. Disbelief The video that prompted Thursday's arrests begins with a Serbian Orthodox priest blessing paramilitaries before they go into battle. It ends with what appears to be the same paramilitaries shooting badly beaten civilians prisoners in the back with machine guns. The killers are wearing the uniforms of a unit known as the Scorpions, which prosecutors say fell under the command of the Serbian interior ministry. The BBC's Matt Prodger in Belgrade says it is a truly chilling video, and marks the first time that the Serbian media has presented the public with such graphic and direct evidence of the Srebrenica massacre. Nonetheless, only one newspaper carried the story of the video on its front page on Thursday. A survey last week suggested that only half the Serbian population believe the Srebrenica massacre actually took place. The same survey suggested that two-thirds of the public believe Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic are heroes.
NYT 3 June 2005 Video of Serbs in Srebrenica Massacre Leads to Arrests By NICHOLAS WOOD LJUBLJANA, Slovenia, June 2 - Almost 10 years after the massacre of more than 7,000 Muslim men and boys by Serbian security forces in Srebrenica, a video has surfaced that presents graphic details of their fate. Several people in the video were arrested as a result, the Serbian prime minister said Thursday. The tape - shown at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague on Wednesday and rebroadcast on Serbian television on Thursday - shows the killing of six Muslim men by members of a Serbian paramilitary police unit. While the number of those killed represents a tiny proportion of those who died in July 1995, the video is being seen as irrefutable evidence that Serbia's police forces, and not just Bosnian Serb forces, took part in the massacre, evidence that challenges the commonly held view among Serbs that the atrocity never took place. The killings, which began July 11, 1995, in a designated United Nations safe haven overrun by Serbs, are widely acknowledged to be the worst atrocities committed in Europe since World War II. The massacre represented the final push by Bosnian Serb forces to forge an "ethnically pure" state within Bosnia and end the war on their own terms. The atrocities ultimately prompted Western military intervention to end the conflict. A decade later many Serbs say they are either unaware of war crimes or refuse to accept that their police or security forces could have committed them. Serbia's prime minister, Vojislav Kostunica, announced the arrest of several of those caught on the video at a joint news conference on Thursday with the tribunal's chief prosecutor, Carla Del Ponte, in Belgrade. "I think it is important for our public that we reacted immediately and that based on this shocking and horrible footage several of those who are involved in this crime are arrested and will answer to justice," he said. The video shows a group of paramilitary police, called the Scorpions, being blessed by a Serbian Orthodox priest before they start their mission. The video, shot by a member of the group, shows six emaciated men being removed from a canvas covered military truck driven from Srebrenica to Treskavica, a mountain in Serbian-held territory south of Sarajevo. Two are taken away and tortured in a house. Eventually all six are lined up with their hands tied behind their backs and shot with machine guns. At one point the man behind the camera says his batteries are running out but tells the killers that he will keep recording for as long as he can. The tape was shown on Radio Television Serbia, as well as B92, a privately run station. The torture scenes were not broadcast, but the killings were. The majority of those killed in the massacre at Srebrenica are believed to have been murdered by the Bosnian Serb Army under the command of Gen. Ratko Mladic, who is still sought for trial by the court at The Hague. Human rights advocates say the tape shows police forces under Serbia's control also took part, something the Serbian government until now has denied. Public perceptions of war crimes in Serbia are seen by diplomats as critical to the country's future, as cooperation with the tribunal is the main criterion for closer ties with the European Union. Serbian politicians frequently cite public opinion as their main reason for failing to arrest war crimes suspects. After refusing to cooperate with the tribunal for over a year, the Serbian government has given in to international pressure and has transferred 16 war crimes suspects since January. It has, however, presented them as voluntary surrenders. This is the first time that Mr. Kostunica, himself a moderate nationalist, has publicly announced the arrest of war crimes suspects. The tape was initially given to the Serbian government on May 23 by a Belgrade rights activist, Natasha Kandic. The government made its first public statement about the tape after it was shown at the trial of the former Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic. Serbia's justice minister said the suspects' trial in Serbia would help confront people with what happened during the war. "We have done everything to enable trials before local courts so that people are faced with what happened," said Zoran Stojkovic, the justice minister. "If you face the facts directly there is no space for manipulations." Ms. Kandic, director of the Humanitarian Law Center in Belgrade, a rights advocacy group, said, "Until now the prime minister and others were afraid to touch the issue of war crimes. "The tape has changed the strategy of the state," she said in a telephone interview. "For the first time politicians were forced publicly to react." Public opinion remains strongly nationalist in Serbia a decade after the end of the war in Bosnia. An opinion poll published by the Belgrade-based Strategic Marketing Research in April showed that more than 50 percent of respondents either did not know about war crimes in Bosnia, or did not believe they had taken place. The poll was conducted by phone and surveyed 1,200 people. In Belgrade, many passers-by appeared skeptical about the possible impact of the tape on public opinion. "What was shown on that tape was just a tiny bit of the crimes committed throughout the war," said Neohjsa Mrdjenovic, a 29-year-old musician. "The footage will not change anything because people knew what had been happening. Everyone knew about the siege of Sarajevo all along. Unfortunately people don't care about it. They only care how to feed their family." Rodoljub Cosic, 25, said: "The footage might change some people's opinion about Srebrenica, but the majority knew what had happened there. People knew what had happened in Srebrenica more than any other place as it has been often raised in public." Despite those views, Ms. Kandic said she believed the tape would make it harder for revisionists to play down the massacre. "Nobody can continue to deny that Srebrenica took place now," she said. Ivana Sekularac contributed reporting fromBelgrade, Serbia, for this article.
b92.net 6 June 2005 Kandic disputes tape conversation | 15:25 June 06 | B92 BELGRADE -- Monday – The director of the Humanitarian Law Centre, Natasa Kandic, today denied claims by Radio Television Serbia director Aleksandar Tijanic over the broadcast of a videotape showing the execution of Muslims in Srebrenica. Aleksandar Tijanic, speaking on TV B92’s Impression of the week had said that Kandic had offered him the entire tape of the executions but that he had not wanted to air it out of respect for audiences. Kandic has disputed Tijanic’s version: “The only thing that’s true is that I called Radio Television Serbia and spoke with editor Nenad Stefanic and called on them to show the recording, I sent them the whole recording. Some time later Mr Tijanic called me and said to me, and I quote ‘Okay, I’ve seen the recording, it’s terrible. We have to take into account how we’ll show it, but the problem is that it shows only one side’. I was astonished that he should say that. Then I said to him that it was the only thing in which both sides could clearly be seen,” said Kandic.
AP 7 June 2005 Serb Unit Was Part of Milosevic's Police By DUSAN STOJANOVIC Associated Press Writer BELGRADE, Serbia-Montenegro (AP) - They were known as the ``Scorpions,'' Serbian paramilitaries who swooped down on Bosnian or Kosovo Albanian villages to loot, torture, rape and murder. On Tuesday, U.N. war crimes prosecutors presented evidence that former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic's police directly controlled the unit, contradicting his testimony that its members operated on their own. The Scorpions were one of several Serbian paramilitary groups that spread fear and conducted ethnic cleansing operations against non-Serbs during the Balkans wars that accompanied the splintering of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, military analyst Dejan Anastasijevic said. U.N. war crimes prosecutors in The Hague, Netherlands, on Tuesday showed a 1999 police document that says the Scorpions were a part of the Serbian Special Anti Terrorist Unit and not a vigilante group seeking to help ethnic Serbs as Milosevic has claimed. The document earlier was shown on Belgrade's independent B-92 television. War crimes prosecutors contend the unit was part of Serbia's regular police from the early 1990s. Directly linking Milosevic with wartime atrocities is vital for the prosecutors' case against him. When presented with the document in court, defense witness Obrad Stevanovic, who was deputy interior minister during Milosevic's rule, said he didn't doubt its authenticity, but insisted only some of the Scorpions' members were regular police officers. The Scorpions, some 150 shaven-head men, gained international notoriety last week with the televising of a gruesome video that showed gunmen identified as unit members kill six Slavic Muslim prisoners near the Bosnian town of Srebrenica in July 1995. After the broadcast, Serbia's leaders acknowledged for the first time that their country had a role in the slaughter of nearly 8,000 Muslim men and boys after Serb forces captured Srebrenica, the worst mass killing in Europe since World War II. The video showed Serb paramilitaries prodding the six gaunt young Bosnians - their hands tied behind their backs - through tall grass, and then spraying them in the back with machine gun bullets. ``The Scorpions were not the only Serb police or special military unit that operated covertly in Srebrenica in 1995,'' Anastasijevic said. ``Several other were there as well, but sadly that fact still remains a state secret in Serbia.'' ``Their job was to kill,'' said Natasa Kandic, Serbia's most prominent rights activist, who discovered the video this year and delivered it to the war crimes tribunal. ``They would enter a village, plundering, raping and killing,'' said Kandic, whose Center for Humanitarian Law investigates crimes committed by Serbs during the Balkan wars. She said the paramilitaries, some recruited from inmates in Serb prisons, got a monthly salary from the Serbian government equivalent to $1,000 - about 10 times what the average Serb earned. The video has brought widespread vilification of the Scorpions in Serbia, and on Tuesday leading political parties announced they would pass a declaration in parliament condemning the Srebrenica massacre and other war crimes. Still, many Serbs consider the Scorpions heroes and graffiti praising the unit and hailing the 10th anniversary of ``Srebrenica liberation'' appeared in a Belgrade neighborhood Tuesday. A group of pro-Western activists covered the graffiti with white paint. The last known Scorpion mission was in Serbia's province of Kosovo in 1999 during NATO bombing that stopped Milosevic's crackdown on ethnic Albanian separatists. The unit's commander, Sasa Cvjetan, was convicted in Serbia last year of war crimes and sentenced to 20 years in prison for the murder of 14 ethnic Albanian civilians and the wounding of five children when the Scorpions stormed the Kosovo town of Podujevo in March 1999. The verdict was overturned by Serbia's Supreme Court for procedural flaws in his trial and a retrial started in Belgrade on Monday. Saranda Bogojevci, an Albanian teenager, described during Cvjetan's trial last year how the Scorpions jeered before gunning down her mother, aunts, grandparents, cousins and other relatives in a hail of bullets in Podujevo. The soldiers forced the family into the street, strip-searched them and marched them through the town center and past the police station before taking them to a garden, she testified. ``They told us to hold our hands up in the air and leave our belongings outside the house,'' Bogojevci said. ``They were shouting, laughing and cursing us. ... Then they started shooting."
AP 9 June 2005 U.S. Lifts Its Aid Ban to Serbia By KATARINA KRATOVAC The Associated Press Thursday, June 9, 2005; 11:04 AM BELGRADE, Serbia-Montenegro -- The United States on Thursday lifted its freeze on a $10 million aid package for Serbia-Montenegro, saying the Balkan country had shown better cooperation with the U.N. war crimes tribunal. The U.S. Congress in January withheld $10 million in aid because of Serbia's failure to arrest and extradite several Serb suspects to the tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands. Another $16 million was withheld last year for the same reason. But since October, Serbia negotiated the surrender of about a dozen Serb war crimes suspects. "Because of this progress ... the United States as of today is announcing the resumption of economic aid," Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns. Still, former Bosnian Serb military commander Ratko Mladic, believed hiding in Serbia, and wartime leader Radovan Karadzic, believed to be in Bosnia, remain at large. "It's our very strong hope that Mladic will be sent to The Hague and put on trial for war crimes he was accused of," Burns said. "We hope his days in relative freedom are numbered." The U.N. tribunal indicted Mladic and Karadzic in 1995 for genocide and other war crimes, including the slaughter of nearly 8,000 Muslim men and boys in the Bosnian enclave of Srebrenica _ the worst massacre in Europe since World War II. Burns said he believed the Serb government was working seriously to find Mladic, adding that "all the world is now focused on this question, and it's in part because of the July 11th anniversary" of the Srebrenica massacre. Burns said the Serb government was working to find Mladic and that "there will be a sincere attempt to capture him or to have him surrender voluntarily." Burns cited a videotape released last week showing the killing of six Muslim prisoners from Srebrenica and said he "cannot imagine a more appropriate initiative than to see Gen. Mladic in The Hague" for the massacre's tenth anniversary. A U.S. delegation would attend the memorial in Srebrenica next month, he said. Burns said he and Serb leaders also had discussed U.S. efforts for establishing Kosovo's future status. Ethnic Albanians leaders in the province demanded independence, but Serb leaders insist Kosovo remain within Serbia-Montenegro, the union that replaced the disintegrated Yugoslavia. The province has been U.N. administered since the 1999 NATO bombing stopped a crackdown against independence-seeking Kosovo Albanians. "Six years after the war in Kosovo, the status quo is not sustainable," Burns said. "There must be change in 2005."
AP 11 June 2005 Official Denies Talks on Mladic Surrender BELGRADE, Serbia-Montenegro (AP) -- A senior Serb official expressed doubt Saturday that a former Bosnian Serb military commander accused of orchestrating the Srebrenica massacre would ever surrender, but said authorities were ready to find and arrest him. Human Rights Minister Rasim Ljajic denied media reports that the negotiations were under way with Ratko Mladic on his possible surrender to the U.N. court in The Hague, Netherlands, on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity ''I believe that this state is ready, capable and willing to find Mladic and arrest him,'' Ljajic said. ''I don't think he would surrender since he hasn't already done so.'' A senior police official, Miroslav Milosevic, also denied reports that authorities were negotiating with Mladic, calling them ''pure sensationalism.'' B92 Radio and Television and the Politika daily both reported Saturday that talks with the former Bosnian Serb army commander were ongoing. Mladic has been at large since the indictment against him was brought in 1995. Pressure on Belgrade to hand over Mladic to The Hague tribunal has intensified recently as the 10th anniversary approaches of the massacre of 8,000 Muslims in Srebrenica, which was allegedly orchestrated by Mladic and carried out by his troops in July 1995 as part of the Balkan wars of the 1990s. Apparently indicating a U.S. belief that an arrest could come soon, Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns announced the lifting of a freeze on U.S. aid to Serbia, which was tied to Mladic's arrest. But in a sign of continued support for Mladic among nationalists in Serbia, graffiti praising the fugitive general appeared in Belgrade on buildings along a main road reading ''Mladic Our Hero'' and ''Srebrenica Liberation.'' Similar messages also appeared in the southern city of Nis, the Beta news agency reported. '
International Association of Genocide Scholars 30 May 2005 www.isg-iags.org (via aegistrust.org) Scholars protest Armenia genocide conference ban by Turkey 30 May 05 The International Association of Genocide Scholars has issued the following protest regarding Turkey’s cancellation of an international conference examining the Armenian genocide. The genocide, which features in the ‘Wasted Lives’ exhibition at the Kigali Memorial Centre, prepared by Aegis, continues to be denied by the Turkish Government. Statement follows: We who serve as the executive committee of the international association of genocide scholars protest and condemn the cancellation of the historians conference on the Armenian question in Turkey by the Turkish Government as a major violation of basic standards of academic freedom in the free world. At long last, Turkish academics and intellectuals, sponsored by three honourable universities, were scheduled to conduct a conference in which the historical reality of the Armenian genocide was to be examined by many of the participating lecturers. The Government of Turkey is understandably struggling to win its possible acceptance as a member of the European Union, and it is in this climate that many Turkish intellectuals have moved courageously to address the Armenian genocide, a truth which is still punishable by Turkish law. For the Turkish Government to cancel the conference is a shameful step and a setback to Turkey joining the free world in its growing standards of historical truth and responsibility. The Executive Committee of the International Association of Genocide Scholars calls on the Republic of Turkey to allow full and free debate and academic scholarship on the fate of the Armenian people in Ottoman Turkey in 1915-1923. Robert Melson, President, International Association of Genocide Scholars, Professor of Political Science, Purdue University Israel W. Charny, Vice-President, International Association of Genocide Scholars, Professor of Psychology and Family Therapy, Hebrew University of Jerusalem Steven l. Jacobs, Secretary-Treasurer, International Association of Genocide Scholars, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, University of Alabama Transmitted on behalf of the Executive Committee of IAGS by: Prof. Israel W. Charny, Ph.d. Editor-in-chief, Encyclopedia of Genocide [www.abc-clio.com/product/109124] Executive Director, Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide, Jerusalem
Chicago Tribune 3 June 2005 Armenians' deaths still hit nerve in Turkey By Catherine Collins Special to the Tribune Published June 3, 2005 ISTANBUL -- When Turkey's justice minister leveled an accusation of treason at the organizers of a conference questioning the government's stance on the mass killings of Armenians, the event was abruptly postponed and controversy arose in its place. The minister's harsh remarks last month drew domestic and international criticism from academics, the media and the public. For Turkey's ruling party, Justice and Development Party, the result was another black eye in its attempt to convince an increasingly skeptical European Union that Turkey indeed embraces its democratic ideals, including free speech. Few issues are touchier in Turkey than the plight of hundreds of thousands of Armenians in the waning days of the Ottoman Empire. Armenia says 1.5 million Ottoman Armenians were systematically killed during and after World War I. Turkey disputes those numbers, putting them much lower and says it was partisan conflict in which as many as 350,000 Turks also died. While ethnic Armenians are mounting an increasingly successful campaign to get the events recognized as a genocide, Ankara has steadfastly refused to budge from its position. The EU has urged Turkey to improve relations with neighboring Armenia as part of Turkey's bid to join the organization. In an attempt to promote discussion, Bosphorus University, a prestigious state school in Istanbul, planned a conference to debate the official policy. But Justice Minister Cemil Cicek saw it as an attempt to undermine the government's efforts to counter the Armenian campaign, which has persuaded 15 countries to pass resolutions labeling the killings genocide. "We must put an end to this cycle of treason and insult, of spreading propaganda against the nation by people who belong to it," Cicek said, adding the conference was "a stab in the back to the Turkish nation." It might not have been an idle threat. An academic involved with the conference said the governor of Istanbul cautioned the university that he might not be able to provide security for the meeting, and a state prosecutor phoned the university to request copies of presentations before they were given. Universities in Turkey are tightly controlled by the state, and conference organizers said they feared retaliation and restrictions on academic freedom if they proceeded. "We are anxious that, as a state university, scientific freedom will be compromised due to prejudices about a conference that has not yet occurred," the university said in a statement last month.
FT.com UK 9 June 2005 Turkey pulls plug on 'traitorous' genocide debate By Vincent Boland While French and Dutch voters were rejecting the European Union constitution - with opposition to enlargement in the forefront of their minds - Turkey was handing its army of critics another reason to object to its membership credentials. Amid allegations of treason and following an extraordinary intervention by a senior minister, Bosphorus University in Istanbul postponed a conference of Turkish historians which was to discuss the fate of the Ottoman Empire's Armenian inhabitants in 1915 and 1916. The university's decision caused an outcry in Turkey and dismayed diplomats in Ankara, who say the suppression of the views expected to be aired at the conference raises questions about Turkey's commitment to academic freedom and open debate on Turkish history. The views would have deviated from the official Turkish position on Armenian claims of genocide during the first world war but would not necessarily have endorsed those claims, say participating historians. Armenia claims that in a deliberate act of genocide Ottoman soldiers killed up to 1.5m Armenian inhabitants of the disintegrating empire. Turkey denies genocide. It counters that the Armenian death toll was about 600,000, most of them as a result of civil war, hunger and deportation, and that the controversy ignores the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Turks at the same time. Although the issue has not arisen in its negotiations to join the EU, scheduled to begin in earnest in October, Turkey will have to address the controversy, if only because Brussels demands that Turkey normalise ties with Armenia, with which it has no diplomatic relations. France, home to a large part of the Armenian diaspora, has repeatedly called on Turkey to "reflect" on its historical record. The EU believes better Turkish-Armenian ties would improve security in the region and help defuse the dispute over the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh between Armenia and Azerbaijan, Turkey's "brother nation". But Baku, Azerbaijan's capital, which believes its oil riches will eventually give it the muscle to win the territory back, insists that Turkey keep Armenia isolated. Opponents of the conference, led by senior officials in the opposition People's Republican party (CHP) and at the Turkish Historical Society and supported by the ruling Justice and Development party (AKP), had two main objections. One, that it would not have a speaker to deliver the official Turkish version of the Armenian controversy; the other, that since Bosphorus University is a state institution, its decision to host the conference was a betrayal of the state. The university buckled when Cemil Cicek, justice minister, attacked the conference and criticised "traitors . . . preparing to stab Turkey in the back". Mr Cicek, who was red-faced and banged his fist on the podium as he spoke, stood by his statement. But other ministers, rattled by the controversy, said he was speaking personally, even though he is the government spokesman and delivered his comments in the parliament. A European diplomat said Mr Cicek's speech was "the worst statement I have heard in my years here in Turkey". Diplomats say the forced postponement of a conference on an issue that Turkey has struggled to come to terms with may yet cost it support in the EU, and among Turkish liberals, who may not even be sensitive to the Armenian case. "This is a really sad incident," says Ayhan Aktar, professor of sociology at Marmara University. "It will make Turkish diplomacy pay a heavy price." The pressure to cancel or postpone the conference was "intolerable", he says, after Mr Cicek's remarks and the prospect that hundreds of nationalist students from other universities, mobilised by its opponents, would converge on Bosphorus University to disrupt proceedings. Prof Aktar says those who shut the conference down misunderstood, or perhaps misrepresented, its agenda. "They tried to brand this conference as one that would support the genocide allegation, which was absolutely not the case." Additional reporting by Daniel Dombey in Brussels * US President George W. Bush yesterday praised Turkey as an example of democracy after talks with Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey's prime minister, that covered the rule of law, terrorism and Cyprus, Bloomberg reports from Washington. "Turkey's democracy is an important example for the people in the broader Middle East," Mr Bush said.
Guardian UK 10 June 2005 Briton named as buyer of Darfur oil rights David Leigh and Adrian Gatton Friday June 10, 2005 The Guardian A millionaire British businessman, Friedhelm Eronat, was named last night as the purchaser of oil rights in the Darfur region of Sudan, where the regime is accused of war crimes and where millions of tribespeople are alleged to have been forced to flee, amid mass rapes or murders. The disclosure was greeted with outrage by human rights campaigners. "From a moral point of view these people are paying a government whose senior members may end up in front of the international criminal court for war crimes," Simon Taylor, director of Global Witness, said yesterday. A London representative of the Darfur rebels last night called for oil exploration to stop until there was a peace settlement. "The only beneficiaries are the ruling elite," Ahmad Hussein Adam told Channel 4 news. "This is going to support their military campaign against our people." Documents seen by the Guardian suggest that Mr Eronat, who lives in a £20m house in Chelsea, swapped his US passport for a British one shortly before the deal was signed with the Sudan regime in October 2003. US citizens are barred from dealing with Sudan under sanctions dating from 1997. The disclosure that Britain is serving as a base for question able African oil transactions comes in the run-up to the July G8 summit at Gleneagles, at which Tony Blair's central theme will be the need to help Africa. The documents show that Mr Eronat may have been acting for China, which has been prominent in the new "scramble for Africa" and its oil deposits. Two Chinese corporations were given an option to buy 50% of Mr Eronat's newly acquired stake in the Darfur field. The option expired last year. It is not known whether China took it up. Mr Eronat's lawyer said yesterday that he "has purchased no oil concessions in Sudan ... and Mr Eronat has no interest" in the oil concession. An initial $3m was paid to the Sudan regime for exploration rights, shared with the state oil company and some other Sudanese interests. Mr Eronat, who is reputed to be worth £100m, has made a fortune out of oil deals, mainly through his offshore Cliveden Group. He was accused by Global Witness last year of being the owner of a Swiss company allegedly used as a conduit to pass millions of dollars from Mobil Oil to the president of Kazakhstan. A trial is pending in the US of a banker involved in those transactions. Mr Eronat was not charged with any offence. The Islamist regime in the largely Arab north of Sudan has become an international pariah because of long-running attempts to crush rebellions in the south and more recently in Darfur in the west. A peace agreement in the south included agreements to divide up oil revenues, but the deal provoked a second rebellion in the adjoining Darfur region, which began in spring 2003. The military regime's violent response is estimated to have caused more than 1.5 million people to flee. The international criminal court says it is considering bringing charges of war crimes and possible genocide against government officials in Sudan. Announcing a formal investigation into the murders, rapes and massacres that have taken place in recent years, a spokesman for the court said evidence was being gathered and a list of suspects would be drawn up. A UN commission of inquiry said there had been serious violations of human rights. The UN has forwarded a list of more than 50 suspects to the ICC. Mr Eronat's London lawyer, John Reynolds of McDermott Will & Emery, said yesterday: "Mr Eronat has purchased no oil concessions in Sudan." He said the oil exploration group had various shareholders, of which Cliveden Petroleum Sudan Ltd was only one. "Are you alleging that killing has taken place in [the] concession acreage?" he asked. The company documents seen by the Guardian show that at the time of the 2003 sale, Mr Eronat confirmed that he was the sole owner of Cliveden Sudan, registered offshore in the British Virgin Islands with bearer shares and no register of ownership. The documents state that Cliveden Sudan in turn bought the largest single share in the oil exploration concession from the Sudan regime on October 21 2003. The disclosure of Mr Eronat as the man behind the Darfur deal followed a dispute between him and the former chairman of one of his companies, the lawyer Peter Felter. Mr Felter said last night: "Eronat is not interested in Darfur or political issues. He's interested in making money."
NewYorker 9 July 2001 Eronat's personal history is unclear. He was born in 1953. Germany was listed as his country of birth on his U.S. passport (in the mid-nineties, he apparently held at least two passports, one from the United States and one from Greece), but he has told some of his oil-business acquaintances that he is a native of Austria and that his father spent twenty years as an overseas employee of Mobil. He studied production management and oil engineering at Nicholls State University, in Louisiana, and graduated in 1975. In the nineteen-eighties, Eronat began doing business with Bryan Williams and Mobil in Nigeria, and he worked closely with Williams over the next dozen years. Eronat controls or acts on behalf of at least six companies that engaged in oil trading in the Persian Gulf, the former Soviet Union, and Africa. The Price of Oil by Seymour M. Hersh Issue of 2001-07-09 Posted 2003-04-07 In this article, which appeared in the magazine in July, 2001, Seymour M. Hersh investigates the Mobil Corporation's operations in Kazakhstan and Russia, and asks what an American oil company was willing to do to establish itself in the former Soviet Union.
AP 4 June 2004 U.N. Reform Draft Avoids Divisive Issues By EDITH M. LEDERER The Associated Press Saturday, June 4, 2005; 3:52 AM UNITED NATIONS -- Governments received the first draft of a plan for overhauling the United Nations, complete with demands to pay more attention to poverty and human rights. But the document avoided the contentious issues of Security Council expansion, defining terrorism and guidelines for using force. General Assembly President Jean Ping presented his proposal Friday to the 191 U.N. member states and said he will give them a few weeks to study it before they begin consultations later this month. They face a tight deadline, as Secretary-General Kofi Annan has called a summit in September for the purpose of strengthening the world body. U.N. officials said 174 leaders have accepted his invitation, which would make it the largest gathering of world leaders in history. "We are reaffirming unequivocally that all of the member states wish to strengthen the United Nations and make it an effective tool, one that will enable us to collectively meet the many challenges and threats that our world is confronting right now," Ping said. In March Annan asked world leaders to approve the most sweeping changes to the United Nations since it was founded 60 years ago, citing the need to tackle conflicts, terrorism, poverty and human rights abuses. After a year of scandals over corruption in the U.N. oil-for-food program in Iraq and sex abuse by U.N. peacekeepers in Congo and elsewhere, Annan also set out plans to make the world body more efficient, open and accountable _ including strengthening the independence of the U.N.'s internal watchdog. Ping and a team of U.N. envoys have been working on a basis for achieving broad agreement among member states. Ping's proposal would reaffirm the commitment of U.N. members "to eradicate poverty and promote development and global prosperity for all." It "invites" rich nations to set timetables to increase their spending on development assistance to 0.7 percent of gross national product by 2015 _ softer language than in Annan's report, which called on world leaders "to ensure" that developed countries reach the target. The United States, which has one of the lowest levels _ around 0.17 percent _ opposes a timetable. Ping included a key proposal by Annan to give greater priority to human rights at the United Nations by creating a standing Human Rights Council, initially under the General Assembly. The council would replace the Geneva-based Commission on Human Rights, which has long faced criticism for allowing the worst offenders to use their membership to protect each other from condemnation. The secretary-general called Ping's draft "an important step toward decisive action for halving poverty by 2015, reducing the threat of war, terrorism, and proliferation, and promoting human dignity in every corner of the world." "Much is at stake, and I am confident that when world leaders meet in New York ... they will agree on the most far-ranging and ambitious reforms of the United Nations in its 60-year history," he said in a statement. Ping said there is wide support for Annan's proposal to create a Peacebuilding Commission to ensure that countries emerging from conflict don't revert to war. Member states are also prepared to take collective measures to protect civilians from genocide and war crimes, using military means if necessary, he said. Annan's report said the Security Council already has enough authority under the U.N. Charter to use military force, even preventively, but it needs to work more effectively. It said decisions on whether to use force should be guided by assessments including the seriousness of the threat, the chance of success and whether nonmilitary action is an option. The United States was among the countries that opposed such assessments, and Ping's proposal simply calls for continued discussion of Annan's principles for the use of force. The most contentious issue before U.N. members is reform of the Security Council. Annan called for a decision before the September summit and included two options _ one that would add six permanent seats and one that would increase non-permanent seats. Ping's proposal didn't even mention options, saying only that members endorse "comprehensive reform" to make the council "more broadly representative and more transparent." Brazil, Germany, India and Japan _ who are lobbying for permanent seats _ have circulated a resolution to expand the council and are seeking a vote this month. Ping met supporters of the rival plans Friday and said he asked them "not to rush things" _ and not to do anything before June 21. "I think we can't rule out a consensus solution," he said. On the issue of combating terrorism, Annan, said it was time to set aside debates on so-called "state terrorism" and endorsed the definition of terrorism proposed by a high-level panel that he created. It says any action intended to harm civilians or noncombatants with the purpose of intimidating people, or compelling governments or international organizations to act or abstain from action, "constitutes an act of terrorism." Ping's proposal avoids the issue of defining terrorism. It uses similar language to the high-level panel, but instead of saying the actions would constitute a terrorist act, it says they "cannot be justified on any grounds."
- Agence France-Presse
Institute for War & Peace Reporting
(the Balkans, Caucasus and Central Asia, with a special project on the Yugoslav
war crimes tribunal)
Global News Monitor | Americas | Europe | Africa | Asia-Pacific
fiari.org Good and Bad Genocide Double standards in coverage of Suharto and Pol Pot Extra! September/October 1998 By Edward S. Herman Coverage of the fall of Suharto reveals with startling clarity the ideological biases and propaganda role of the mainstream media. Suharto was a ruthless dictator, a grand larcenist and a mass killer with as many victims as Cambodia's Pol Pot. But he served U.S. economic and geopolitical interests, was helped into power by Washington, and his dictatorial rule was warmly supported for 32 years by the U.S. economic and political establishment. The U.S. was still training the most repressive elements of Indonesia's security forces as Suharto's rule was collapsing in 1998, and the Clinton administration had established especially close relations with the dictator ("our kind of guy," according to a senior administration official quoted in the New York Times, 10/31/95). Suharto's overthrow of the Sukarno government in 1965-66 turned Indonesia from Cold War "neutralism" to fervent anti-Communism, and wiped out the Indonesian Communist Party--exterminating a sizable part of its mass base in the process, in widespread massacres that claimed at least 500,000 and perhaps more than a million victims. The U.S. establishment's enthusiasm for the coup-cum-mass murder was ecstatic (see Chomsky and Herman, Washington Connection and Third World Fascism); "almost everyone is pleased by the changes being wrought," New York Times columnist C.L. Sulzberger commented (4/8/66). Suharto quickly transformed Indonesia into an "investors' paradise," only slightly qualified by the steep bribery charge for entry. Investors flocked in to exploit the timber, mineral and oil resources, as well as the cheap, repressed labor, often in joint ventures with Suharto family members and cronies. Investor enthusiasm for this favorable climate of investment was expressed in political support and even in public advertisements; e.g., the full page ad in the New York Times (9/24/92) by Chevron and Texaco entitled "Indonesia: A Model for Economic Development." The U.S. support and investment did not slacken when Suharto's army invaded and occupied East Timor in 1975, which resulted in an estimated 200,000 deaths in a population of only 700,000. Combined with the 500,000-1,000,000+ slaughtered within Indonesia in 1965-66, the double genocide would seem to put Suharto in at least the same class of mass murderer as Pol Pot. Good and bad genocidists But Suharto's killings of 1965-66 were what Noam Chomsky and I, in The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism, called "constructive terror," with results viewed as favorable to Western interests. His mass killings in East Timor were "benign terror," carried out by a valued client and therefore tolerable. Pol Pot's were "nefarious terror," done by an enemy, therefore appalling and to be severely condemned. Pol Pot's victims were "worthy," Suharto's "unworthy." This politicized classification system was unfailingly employed by the media in the period of Suharto's decline and fall (1997-98). When Pol Pot died in April 1998, the media were unstinting in condemnation, calling him "wicked," "loathsome," and "monumentally evil" (Chicago Tribune, 4/18/98), a "lethal mass killer" and "war criminal" (L.A. Times, 4/17/98), "blood-soaked" and an "egregious mass murderer" (Washington Post, 4/17/98, 4/18/98). His rule was repeatedly described as a "reign of terror" and he was guilty of "genocide." Although he inherited a devastated country with starvation rampant, all excess deaths during his rule were attributed to him, and he was evaluated on the basis of those deaths. Although Suharto's regime was responsible for a comparable number of deaths in Indonesia, along with more than a quarter of the population of East Timor, the word "genocide" is virtually never used in mainstream accounts of his rule. A Nexis search of major papers for the first half of 1998 turned up no news articles and only a handful of letters and opinion pieces that used the term in connection with Suharto. Earlier, in a rare case where the word came up in a discussion of East Timor (New York Times, 2/15/81), reporter Henry Kamm referred to it as "hyperbole--accusations of 'genocide' rather than mass deaths from cruel warfare and the starvation that accompanies it on this historically food short island." No such "hyperbole" was applied to the long-useful Suharto; one looks in vain for editorial descriptions of him as "blood-soaked" or a "murderer." In the months of his exit, he was referred to as Indonesia's "soft-spoken, enigmatic president" (USA Today, 5/14/98), a "profoundly spiritual man" (New York Times, 5/17/98), a "reforming autocrat" (New York Times, 5/22/98). His motives were benign: "It was not simply personal ambition that led Mr. Suharto to clamp down so hard for so long; it was a fear, shared by many in this country of 210 million people, of chaos" (New York Times, 6/2/98); he "failed to comprehend the intensity of his people's discontent" (New York Times, 5/21/98), otherwise he undoubtedly would have stepped down earlier. He was sometimes described as "authoritarian," occasionally as a "dictator," but never as a mass murderer. Suharto's mass killings were referred to--if at all--in a brief and antiseptic paragraph. It is interesting to see how the same reporters move between Pol Pot and Suharto, indignant at the former's killings, somehow unconcerned by the killings of the good genocidist. Seth Mydans, the New York Times principal reporter on the two leaders during the past two years, called Pol Pot (4/19/98) "one of the century's great mass killers...who drove Cambodia to ruin, causing the deaths of more than a million people," and who "launched one of the world's most terrifying attempts at utopia." (4/13/98) But in reference to Suharto, this same Mydans said (4/8/98) that "more than 500,000 Indonesians are estimated to have died in a purge of leftists in 1965, the year Mr. Suharto came to power." Note that Suharto is not even the killer, let alone a "great mass killer," and this "purge"--not "murder" or "slaughter"--was not "terrifying," and was not allocated to any particular agent. The use of the passive voice is common in dealing with Suharto's victims: They "died" instead of being killed ("the violence left a reported 500,000 people dead"--New York Times, 1/15/98), or "were killed" without reference to the author of the killings (e.g., Washington Post, 2/23/98, 5/26/98). In referring to East Timor, Mydans (New York Times, 7/28/96) spoke of protestors shouting grievances about "the suppression of opposition in East Timor and Irian Jaya." Is "suppression of opposition" the proper description of an invasion and occupation that eliminated 200,000 out of 700,000 people? The good and bad genocidists are handled differently in other ways. For Suharto, the numbers killed always tend to the 500,000 official Indonesian estimate or below, although independent estimates run from 700,000 to well over a million. For Pol Pot, the media numbers usually range from 1million-2 million, although the best estimates of numbers executed run from 100,000-400,000, with excess deaths from all causes (including residual effects of the prior devastation) ranging upward from 750,000 (Michael Vickery, Cambodia; Herman and Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent). Pol Pot's killings are always attributed to him personally--the New York Times' Philip Shenon (4/18/98) refers to him as "the man responsible for the deaths of more than a million Cambodians." Although some analysts of the Khmer Rouge have claimed that the suffering of Cambodia under the intense U.S. bombing made them vengeful, and although the conditions they inherited were disastrous, for the media nothing mitigates Pol Pot's responsibility. The only "context" allowed explaining his killing is his "crazed Maoist-inspiration" (New York Times, 4/18/98), his Marxist ideological training in France and his desire to create a "utopia of equality" (Boston Globe editorial, 4/17/98). With Suharto, by contrast, not only is he not responsible for the mass killings, there was a mitigating circumstance: namely, a failed leftist or Communist coup, or "leftist onslaught" (New York Times, 6/17/79), which "touched off a wave of violence" (New York Times, 8/7/96). In the New York Times' historical summary (5/21/98): "General Suharto routs communist forces who killed six senior generals in an alleged coup attempt. Estimated 500,000 people killed in backlash against Communists." This formula is repeated in most mainstream media accounts of the 1965-66 slaughter. Some mention that the "communist plot" was "alleged," but none try to examine its truth or falsehood. What's interesting is that the six deaths are seen as a plausible catalyst for the Indonesian massacres, while the 450,000 killed and maimed in the U.S. bombing of Cambodia (the Washington Post's estimate, 4/24/75) are virtually never mentioned in connection with the Khmer Rouge's violence.
http://www.opinionjournal.com/columnists/pnoonan/?id=110006763 The Legend of Deep Throat Was Mark Felt really a hero? Thursday, June 2, 2005 12:01 a.m. EDT Some wounds don't fully heal because they're too deep and cut too close to the bone. The story that Deep Throat was Mark Felt has torn open old wounds. Pat Buchanan, Robert Novak and Chuck Colson--all at the top of their game 30 years ago, all very much in the game today--were passionate in their criticism, saying Mr. Felt has little to be proud of, was unprofessional, harmed his country. Ben Stein was blunt: Mr. Felt "broke the law, broke his oath, and broke his code of ethics." Old Watergate hand Richard Ben-Veniste and the Washington Post's Richard Cohen called Mr. Felt a hero. The old battle lines fall into place. As to the higher themes of the story, some were credulous. On the "Today" show yesterday Chris Matthews called those who have criticized Mr. Felt "hacks and flacks," whereas reporters "are looking for the truth" and can be trusted. Glad he cleared that up. Was Mr. Felt a hero? No one wants to be hard on an ailing 91-year-old man. Mr. Felt no doubt operated in some perceived jeopardy and judged himself brave. He had every right to disapprove of and wish to stop what he saw as new moves to politicize the FBI. But a hero would have come forward, resigned his position, declared his reasons, and exposed himself to public scrutiny. He would have taken the blows and the kudos. (Knowing both Nixon and the media, there would have been plenty of both.) Heroes pay the price. Mr. Felt simply leaked information gained from his position in government to damage those who were doing what he didn't want done. Then he retired with a government pension. This does not appear to have been heroism, and he appears to have known it. Thus, perhaps, the great silence. His motives were apparently mixed, as motives often are. He was passed over to replace J. Edgar Hoover as director of the FBI by President Nixon, who apparently wanted in that place not a Hoover man but a more malleable appointee. Mr. Felt was resentful. He believed Nixon meant to jeopardize the agency's independence. Here we have a hitch in the story. The liberal story line on the FBI was that under Hoover it had too much independence, which Hoover protected with his famous secret files and a reputation for ruthlessness. Mr. Felt was a Hoover man who joined the FBI in 1942, when it was young; he rose under Hoover and never knew another director. When Hooverism was threatened, Mr. Felt moved. In this sense Richard Nixon was J. Edgar Hoover's last victim. History is an irony factory. Even if Mr. Felt had mixed motives, even if he did not choose the most courageous path in attempting to spread what he thought was the truth, his actions might be judged by their fruits. The Washington Post said yesterday that Mr. Felt's information allowed them to continue their probe. That probe brought down a president. Ben Stein is angry but not incorrect: What Mr. Felt helped produce was a weakened president who was a serious president at a serious time. Nixon's ruin led to a cascade of catastrophic events--the crude and humiliating abandonment of Vietnam and the Vietnamese, the rise of a monster named Pol Pot, and millions--millions--killed in his genocide. America lost confidence; the Soviet Union gained brazenness. What a terrible time. Is it terrible when an American president lies and surrounds himself by dirty tricksters? Yes, it is. How about the butchering of children in the South China Sea. Is that worse? Yes. Infinitely, unforgettably and forever. And so the story that Mark Felt was Deep Throat exposes old fissures, and those fissures are alive and can burst open because a wound this size--all this death, all this loss--doesn't really heal. Maybe the big lesson on Felt and Watergate is as simple as the law of unintended consequences. You do something and things happen and you don't mean them to, and if you could take it back you would, but it's too late. The repercussions have already repercussed. Mark Felt cannot have intended to encourage such epic destruction. He must have thought he was doing the right thing, protecting his agency and maybe getting some forgivable glee out of making Nixon look bad. But oh the implications. Literally: the horror. Were there heroes of Watergate? Surely many unknown ones, those who did their best to be constructive and not destructive, those who didn't think it was all about their beautiful careers. I'll give you a candidate for great man of the era: Chuck Colson. Colson functioned in the Nixon White House as a genuinely bad man, went to prison and emerged a genuinely good man. He told the truth about himself in "Born Again," a book not fully appreciated as the great Washington classic it is, and has devoted his life to helping prisoners and their families. He paid the price, told the truth, blamed no one but himself, and turned his shame into something helpful. Children aren't dead because of him. There are children who are alive because of him. Is the Deep Throat story over? Yes, in the sense that it will no longer be treated as a mystery. In spite of the million questions we'll be hearing--and there are and will be many serious questions--the MSM will stick with the heroic narrative. Mr. Felt was Deep Throat. Deep Throat was a great man who helped a great newspaper put the stop to the lies and abuses of an out-of-control White House. End of story. Why? Because in celebrating this story in a certain way journalists of a certain age celebrate themselves. Because to bring unwelcome and unwanted skepticism to the narrative would be to deny 20th-century journalism--and 21st-century journalists--their great claim to glory. Because the MSM is still liberal, and the great Satan of all liberals, still, is Richard Nixon. And because, as Ben Bradlee might say, It's a goddamn good story. Or as they put it in yet another John Ford masterpiece, "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance," "When the legend becomes the fact, print the legend." Ms. Noonan is a contributing editor of The Wall Street Journal and author of "A Heart, a Cross, and a Flag" (Wall Street Journal Books/Simon & Schuster), a collection of post-Sept. 11 columns, which you can buy from the OpinionJournal bookstore. Her column appears Thursdays.