Monitor for June 16-30, 2005
Tracking current news on genocide and items related to past and present ethnic, national, racial and religious violence.
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San Francisco Chronicle 26 June 2005 Rape as a weapon of war It persists in Africa where HIV/AIDS takes a heavy toll - César Chelala Sunday, June 26, 2005 Rape as a weapon of war is taking a particularly heavy toll on women's lives in today's conflicts around the world, particularly in several African countries. It is a form of gender genocide. A high proportion of the women who are victims of rape end up infected with sexually transmitted diseases and infections, including HIV/AIDS. Because most of the countries experiencing internal strife lack medicines and basic health care services, becoming HIV-infected is virtually a death sentence. "It's much more dangerous to be a civilian in these wars than to be a soldier," Jan Egeland, a top U.N. relief official said last week, the New York Times reported. Sexual violence in parts of Africa, he said, "persists virtually unchallenged." Rape as a weaponof war in Rwanda has practically stopped now, and is much less frequent in Sierra Leone and in Liberia, but it continues on a wide scale in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda and Sudan. It is estimated that half a million of Rwanda's population of 8 million are living with HIV/AIDS. A high proportion of those are women raped and infected during that country's bloodshed in 1994. In the Congo, where more than 3 million people have been displaced by war, fighters have raped more than 40,000 women and girls over the past six years, according to Amnesty International. In Uganda, soldiers from the Lord's Resistance Army use rape and mutilation of women in their struggle to replace a secular government in the country. In Sudan, there is documentation of a pattern of rapes against women in Darfur by the government-sponsored Janjaweed militia. In the Congo, human rights activists say that girls as young as 3 years old have been raped by knives, sticks and guns. Military personnel and informal militias are particularly at risk of exposure and transmission of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including HIV/AIDS. While STD infection rates among military personnel is generally two to five times higher than in civilian populations, in times of conflict the difference can be 50 times higher or more. Some estimate that approximately 60 percent of combatants in Congo are HIV-infected and Zimbabwean troops there may be up to 70 percent infected. The group Women's Equity in Access to Care and Treatment has estimated that 67 percent of rape survivors in Rwanda are HIV-infected. Many women become pregnant after being raped, a consequence sought by some rapists as a perverse form of punishment. In other cases, women raped are killed afterward by the perpetrators. Among those who survive, high proportions are forced to become sex slaves. Some survivors of rape stated that they were told that they were left alive so that "they might die of sadness." For many men, the rape of their wives is a form of humiliation not only for themselves but also for their ethnic, tribal or religious group, leading many husbands and communities to reject the victims and even their children. The women, having endured the brutality of rape and its physical and psychological consequences, then find themselves denied their most basic human rights. Even when pregnancy does not occur, men in patriarchal societies still may reject their wives, mothers or daughters after they have been raped. Given the scale of abuses against civilians, including the rape of children as young as 8 and women as old as 80, an international commission of inquiry should be created to focus on sexual crimes. It should investigate and document rape and other forms of sexual violence for the purpose of prosecuting the perpetrators of those crimes. Except for a few cases, the rapists enjoy total impunity. According to Juan E. Méndez, the U.N. secretary general's special adviser on the prevention of genocide, "Trying those accused of rape, and punishing those guilty, is a necessary step toward eliminating rape as a weapon of war, and its terrible consequences." César Chelala, an international public health consultant, is the author of "AIDS: A Modern Epidemic," a publication of the Pan American Health Organization. Page F - 3
IPS 29 June 2005 Africans Back U.N. Intervention for Serious Abuses Jim Lobe WASHINGTON, Jun 29 (IPS) - Africans strongly support military intervention authorised by the United Nations Security Council to stop serious abuses of human rights in their region, according to a just-released survey which also found that they prefer U.N. forces to those of the African Union (AU). The survey of nearly 11,000 Africans from eight countries -- Angola, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe -- found that about two-thirds of respondents agreed that the U.N. should have the right to intervene in such cases and that just over half agreed that intervention was justified even without the Security Council's authorisation. The surveys, which were conducted by Globescan between late last year, were released here Wednesday along with a the results of a new poll of U.S. public opinion by the University of Maryland's Programme on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) that also found continuing majority support for U.N. military intervention in Darfur, Sudan. The U.S. poll, which was conducted just last week, found that 61 percent of respondents said U.N. members should ”step in with military force to stop the violence in Darfur” and that 54 percent said the United States should be willing to contribute troops to such an operation. A higher percentage -- nearly three quarters -- of U.S. respondents said they thought NATO, including the U.S., should contribute equipment and logistical support to the current AU monitoring operation in Darfur, Sudan, where as many as 400,000 have died as a result of a two-year-old counterinsurgency campaign against the region's African inhabitants that the Bush administration has called ”genocide.” ”What is quite striking here is that even as the U.S. is tied down in Iraq and suffering daily casualties, a majority of Americans would support contributing troops to a multilateral operation in Darfur,” said Steven Kull, PIPA's executive director. ”This suggests that what is occurring there goes against strongly held values in the American public.” ”Indeed, multiple polls have now found that many Americans believe that if severe human rights abuses are occurring, especially genocide, the U.N. should have the right to intervene and the U.S. should be willing to contribute troops,” he added. The belief that military intervention for humanitarian purposes should trump concerns about national sovereignty in cases of serious abuses of human rights is apparently shared by most Africans, according to the Globescan surveys which, however, found a significant divergence of opinion among citizens of specific individuals. Support for U.N.-authorised intervention was strongest in Ghana (80 percent), Kenya (75 percent), Nigeria and Tanzania (66 percent), Zimbabwe (65 percent), and Cameroon (64 percent). In Angola, support for U.N. intervention was 55 percent, while in South Africa a plurality of 47 percent of respondents took the same view. Overall, only 19 percent of respondents opposed U.N.-authorised intervention, although opposition was almost twice as high in Angola, at 37 percent, according to the Globescan survey. Asked a choice of actors to intervene in conflicts ”like Darfur,” 30 percent of the African respondents said they preferred U.N. peacekeeping operations, while 22 percent opted for an AU force. Only five percent said they would prefer the intervention of a ”rich” non-African nation, and seven percent they would support all three options. The U.N. was most preferred by Ghana, home of U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Kenya and Zimbabwe, while it was least preferred by South African respondents a plurality of whom nonetheless favoured U.N. intervention over any of the alternatives. ”Clearly, Africans are looking outside their own countries and especially to the United Nations to help deal with some of their problems,” said Globescan's Lloyd Hetherington. ”Contrary to their leaders, it appears that they would like to see the U.N. intervene in dealing with problems such as the crisis in Darfur, with a growing confidence in the African Union to also take on this role.” Thirteen percent of African respondents said they either opposed any foreign military intervention (11 percent) or no intervention at all (2 percent), while 24 percent expressed no opinion. The greatest number of people rejecting any foreign military option were found in the one Francophone country, Cameroon. The preference for the United Nations, according to a Globescan analysis, reflected a broader confidence in the world body despite its mixed record in Africa in recent years. Overall, 69 percent of Africans polled said they have a lot or some trust in the U.N. to operate in the best interests of their society. This was slightly higher than their confidence in the AU (63 percent), their national governments (59 percent), local governments (51 percent), and tribal councils (45 percent). Just over one-third of Africans interviewed by Globescan said they had heard or read a great deal or a fair amount about the Darfur conflict, according to the report. When compared with other recent polls on Darfur, the latest U.S. survey showed that public attitudes are affected by whether or not the violence amounts to genocide. Last December, when PIPA informed respondents that Bush himself had labeled the violence in Darfur a ”genocide,” 75 percent of respondents said the U.N. should intervene with military force, and 60 percent said the U.S. should contribute troops. But when PIPA last week presented the situation more equivocally as ”large-scale violence in Darfur àthat some, including the Bush administration have called genocide,” support for U.N. intervention was 13 percent lower and support for U.S. troops contributions 6 points lower.
Congo, DR see Australia
AP 26 June 2005, 6:48PM Rape being used more often as a weapon of war in Congo Brutal attacks are one of the most serious challenges for those trying to protect civilians By BRYAN MEALER Associated Press PANZI, CONGO - The teenager with flowers in her hair crossed her hands to keep them from trembling and described how she was raped by 10 militiamen. ADVERTISEMENT Abducted two years ago when she was 16, Ombeni was kept as a concubine in the forests of eastern Congo. She became pregnant and at nearly nine months' gestation, her captors cut her with a machete, leaving the baby dead and abandoning the girl in the forest. "I laid there for one week," Ombeni said. She was eventually rescued by a woman who was foraging for food and made her way to a clinic for rape victims. She is one of thousands of women who are brutally raped each year in Congo, another layer of degradation in a war that never seems to end. In a briefing before the U.N. Security Council last week, U.N. humanitarian chief Jan Egeland said rape as a weapon of war was at its worst in eastern Congo and the Darfur region of Sudan. Egeland said the scale, prevalence and profound impact of sexual violence made it one of the most serious challenges facing those trying to protect civilians caught up in war. Ensuring rapists were punished and restoring local justice systems were key to addressing the problem, he said. In Congo, for those who manage to survive kidnappings and gang rapes, there is the clinic at Panzi General Hospital. Located on the outskirts of the provincial capital Bukavu, it treats more than 300 rape victims each month. Ombeni has spent months at the clinic, undergoing three operations to repair her bladder and awaiting a fourth. She says her captors were not trying to "deliver my baby, but to kill me and the baby." With funding from the European Commission, the clinic provides medical and psychiatric care, as well as counseling to help women re-enter society. Rape victims are often ostracized in Africa, where husbands and families routinely kick out their wives and mothers if they have been raped. The United States government also provides funding to more than a dozen organizations in the region offering counseling, family mediation, medical care and legal representation to victims and their families. Since 2003, the combined programs have helped more than 16,000 women. Most rapes in the area are committed by Rwandan Hutu rebels, who fled into eastern Congo after Rwanda's 1994 genocide, said Panzi's medical director Denis Mukwege. Generally, militiamen will circle a village and rape all the women, he said. Then they'll choose the young ones and take them as slaves into the forest-covered mountains. "This is not an issue of sexual desire," he added. "The aim is to destroy." The number of rape cases is increasing, he said. Since January, 1,700 women have been admitted to the clinic. The clinic expects to treat about 3,600 women by year's end — up from 2,700 last year. Mukwege said this number is only a fraction of the women who are raped in outlying villages. Most choose to keep silent, fearing reprisals by militia or banishment. When victims arrive at the Panzi clinic, they're put in touch with Cecile Mulolo, a psychologist who counsels the women, who often turn up alone. Mulolo visits a recovery ward where a dozen patients have undergone surgery to treat injuries from brutal rapes. "I praise God that I'm alive, that I made it here," one girl said.
June 17, 2005 latimes.com : World E-mail story Print Most E-mailed Sudanese Visitor Split U.S. Officials By Ken Silverstein, Times Staff Writer WASHINGTON — A decision by the CIA to fly Sudan's intelligence chief to Washington for secret meetings aimed at cementing cooperation against terrorism triggered such intense opposition within the Bush administration that some officials suggested arresting him here, sources said. The internal debate over the April visit by Maj. Gen. Salah Abdallah Gosh, whose government Washington accuses of committing genocide in the Darfur region, goes to the heart of a broader dispute about the CIA's alliances with foreign intelligence services. ADVERTISEMENT Critics say that when the U.S. works with controversial countries such as Sudan, it suggests that it isn't serious about promoting democracy and human rights. Many experts on intelligence matters, however, say that Washington has no choice but to rely on some governments with questionable human rights records to help fight its war against terrorism. Gosh's agency has allowed the CIA to question Al Qaeda suspects living in Sudan and detained foreign militants moving through the country on their way to joining Iraqi insurgents, U.S. and Sudanese officials have said. The trip was intended to help strengthen the relationship. With plans for the visit on the verge of collapse, two people familiar with the situation said, a compromise was struck with opponents of the visit in the State and Justice departments. Gosh was allowed to come, but a scheduled meeting with CIA Director Porter J. Goss was canceled. The CIA, Justice Department, State Department and Sudanese government declined to comment about the dispute on the record because of the sensitivity of the relationship. But Ted Dagne, a Sudan specialist with the Congressional Research Service, said State Department officials believed Gosh's trip would "send a political signal to the [Sudanese] government that Darfur would not prevent Sudan from winning support in Washington." The disclosure of Gosh's visit, first reported by the Los Angeles Times, also angered some members of Congress. Members of the Congressional Black Caucus criticized the visit during a meeting with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Tuesday. Rep. Donald M. Payne (D-N.J.) told a State Department official who was testifying on Capitol Hill last month that bringing Gosh "to visit Washington at this time is tantamount to inviting the head of the Nazi SS at the height of the Holocaust." A senior U.S. official, who commented officially but declined to be named, defended the visit. "Mr. Gosh has strategic knowledge and information about a critical region in the war on terror. The information he has is of substantial value to law enforcement, the intelligence community and the U.S. government as a whole, and this relationship will be of both current and future value." Gosh's visit, the official added, did not mean that Sudan would receive "a free pass on critical policy issues" such as Darfur. Partnerships with foreign governments, known as liaison relationships, are "an indispensable part of CIA's counterterrorism strategy," former agency Director George J. Tenet told the commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks last year. Duane "Dewey" Clarridge, who spent 33 years at the CIA and founded its counterterrorism center, said dealing with controversial regimes is sometimes unavoidable. "You have no choice but to work with and recruit the bad guys because the Mother Teresas of the world don't have the information you need," he said. However, others say the U.S. often ends up protecting extremely repressive regimes, including some in the Mideast. "The method of governing in the Middle East is to force your enemies to keep their heads down," said Bob Baer, a former CIA officer. Intelligence agencies there "let people know that if they plan anything against the regime, they're going to die." The CIA inevitably becomes committed to protecting elites that offer to collaborate on intelligence, he said. The CIA's relationship with Sudan is especially controversial because of the government's previous ties to Islamic radicals. Osama bin Laden lived in Khartoum, the country's capital, from 1991 to 1996, before he departed for Afghanistan. In 1993, the Clinton administration put Sudan on a list of state sponsors of terrorism, and the Bush administration has kept it there. The U.S. continues to harshly criticize Sudan for human rights violations. In September, then-Secretary of State Colin L. Powell accused Sudan of committing genocide in Darfur. President Bush reiterated that charge this month. Yet cooperation between the CIA and the Mukhabarat, Sudan's intelligence agency, has steadily grown since the Sept. 11 attacks. "Sudan's overall cooperation and information sharing improved markedly and produced significant progress in combating terrorist activity," the State Department said this year in a report on global terrorism. CIA and Mukhabarat officials have met regularly over the last few years, but Gosh had been seeking an invitation to Washington in recognition of his government's efforts, sources told The Times. The CIA, hoping to seal the partnership, extended the invitation. "The agency's view was that the Sudanese are helping us on terrorism and it was proud to bring him over," said a government source with knowledge of Gosh's visit. "They didn't care about the political implications." But an internal debate erupted after word of the invitation spread to other government agencies. Their concern stemmed in part from a 2004 letter that 11 members of Congress sent to Bush, which accused Gosh of being a chief architect of the violence in Darfur. The letter said Sudan had engaged in a "scorched-earth policy against innocent civilians in Darfur." It identified 21 Sudanese government, military and militia leaders as responsible and called on the administration to freeze their assets and ban them from coming to the U.S. Gosh was No. 2 on the list. Sudan's government has rejected accusations of genocide. It says the clashes in Darfur are part of long-standing conflicts between farmers and nomadic tribes that are fueled by disputes over water, land and other resources. It denies that senior officials such as Gosh have ordered attacks on civilians, which it blames on militias operating largely beyond its control. Two senior U.S. officials told The Times that they have no direct evidence that Gosh has directed military operations in Darfur. Several sources, including a State Department official, said the question of the propriety of the visit provoked sharp divisions at that agency. Similar opposition emerged at the Justice Department, where officials discussed arresting Gosh, according to two sources. One person said Gosh learned of the discussions during his meetings with CIA officials. Despite the internal dissension, CIA chief Goss remained committed to the trip. However, sources said, he agreed to scratch his meeting with the Sudanese official. Gosh arrived here aboard a CIA jet and met with other senior agency officials April 20 and 21. The CIA canceled the meeting with Goss on the second day, saying that the director was unavailable because he needed to attend John D. Negroponte's swearing-in to the position of director of national intelligence, a source said. Gosh returned to Sudan on April 22, again traveling in a jet provided by the CIA. Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.), who wrote to the administration this month protesting Gosh's visit, said the CIA should not have brought him to Washington and could have arranged to meet him in Sudan or a neighboring country. "I understand that in the intelligence business you have to deal with unsavory figures, but this sends very bad signals," he said. "Unless he's providing information that's going to save the Western world, it's hard to see how you can justify this." Payne was equally harsh. "How can the administration say that genocide is occurring in Darfur and then bring Gosh over here?" he said. "It was a dastardly and unconscionable act." Payne, of New Jersey, said he asked about Gosh's visit in the meeting with Rice. He said she defended the visit, saying that "in situations of high stakes, there has to be a balancing and that you sometimes need to do things that you wouldn't under normal circumstances." David Shinn, director of East African affairs at the State Department from 1993 to 1996, said the Bush administration's engagement with the Sudanese government had produced important gains. In January, Muslim government forces in the north and Christian and animist rebels in the south agreed to end a two-decade civil war in a deal brokered by the U.S. The peace agreement will take effect next month, when a national unity government is to be formed. "Counterterrorism cooperation and ending the war with the south are pretty big deals," said Shinn, who also worked at the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum. "Engagement with Sudan is appropriate, and so is putting pressure on the government in Darfur. The two are not mutually exclusive." Shinn also said that some U.S. critics of engagement had been largely uncritical of human rights violations by southern rebels during the civil war. "A lot of people blame the government for all of the problems there," he said. "There are bad guys on the other side, too."
The Ethiopian Herald (Addis Ababa) 28 June 2005 Court Passes Prison Sentence On Genocide Convicts, Acquits Suspect By ENA Addis Ababa The Federal High Court has sentenced six people, who were convicted of involving in genocide in the former Chebo and Guraghe Province to up to 11 years' prison terms. The 6th Criminal Bench of the Federal High Court passed the verdict on five of the defendants after looking into their cases in absentia. The court sentenced Beyene Delme to 11 years behind bar, while it sentenced Adugna Ali, Wondimu Gebre, Gulima Gemechu and Argawa Jeda to 10 year jail terms each. The other convict, Getu Gebre-Michel also received 10 years behind bars on court's session held on June 15, 2005. The court has ordered the Federal Police and the Central Prison to arrest the convicts and enforce the decision passed in absentia. The court also stripped off the civil rights of the convicts for three years after their release from jail. Meanwhile, the Federal High Court has acquitted Brig.-Gen. Kebede Armidie, who was accused of committing the crime of genocide while he was Commander of the 92nd Militia Brigade in the former Eritrea province. The Special Prosecutor had filed charges against Brig.-Gen. Kebede for ordering the killing on July 12, 1979 of Second Lieutenant Deboch Kebede at Nakfa front in the former Eritrea province. Although the Special Prosecutor had presented to the court what it said would substantiate the charge, the jury, however, decided by a majority vote that the evidence presented does not corroborate the allegation. The Special Prosecutor had nevertheless appealed to the Federal Supreme Court which decided that the accused should defend. As per the decision of the Supreme Court, the case was brought back to the Sixth Criminal Bench of the Federal High Court, where the defendant presented his defense witnesses through whom he proved his innocence. He was, accordingly, acquitted by the court on May 23, 2005 from the charges filed against him.
The NEWS (Monrovia) 16 June 2005 Punish Perpetrators of River Gee 'Massacre' Youths Insist By Monrovia The River Gee Progressive Youth Alliance (GEPAY) is demanding the speedy prosecution of perpetrators of the River Gee Massacre. It can be recalled in March 2004, the Chairman of the Independent National Human Rights Commission, Atty. Dempster Brown accused a Lebanese Businessman Abbas Fawaz and Internal Affair Minister Dan Morais for their alleged link to the massacre of 369 persons in River Gee County. Atty. Brown then quoted eyewitnesses and escapees of the alleged massacre that the act occurred in April of 2003 in the towns of Youbor and Tuobo Gbahieleken, Grahoo District. He claimed that the escapees told him those militiamen loyal to exiled former President Charles Taylor slaughtered men, women and children. Minister Morais has since denied the allegation linking him to such massacre and threatened to take court action against Atty. Brown. Since the revelation by Atty. Brown, nobody has been brought to book thus leaving youths of the county to raise another alarm. GEPAY, in a release said, "We are calling on Chairman Charles Gyude Bryant to immediately dismiss without precondition those government officials who are accused of killing River Gee Citizens." Describing the massacre as "barbaric", the group insists that the perpetrators should not go unpunished; if the nation must set its human rights record straight and promote peace and reconciliation.
BBC 17 Jun, 2005 Sudanese flee south despite peace South Sudan remains one of the world's poorest regions Thousands of southern Sudanese are still crossing into Uganda despite a peace deal in January that ended the 21-year civil war. The United Nations refugee agency said at least 7,500 people had fled into Uganda this year. They say they were fleeing ethnic tension, food shortages and forced recruitment into the former rebel army. Some described horrific attacks by Uganda's rebel Lord's Resistance Army, which has bases in southern Sudan. They said they had witnessed their neighbours being hacked to death. The refugees said that food distribution had stopped in refugee camps inside Sudan. The continuing crisis in Sudan has jeopardised the scheduled repatriation of at least 160,000 refugees from Uganda, which had been due in October, said UNHCR official Roberta Russo. During the war, some two million people died and hundreds of thousands fled into neighbouring countries. Many more fled their homes but remained within Sudan. Thousands have already started to return home. Under the peace deal, the mainly Christian and animist former southern rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army will share power and wealth with the Muslim-dominated government. After years of fighting, southern Sudan is one of the world's poorest regions.
washingtonpost.com 14 June 2005 A Sudan Story By Stephen R. Weissman Post Tuesday, June 14, 2005; A21 The scene : A home in Washington, Christmas 2005. Son : Dad, tell me again how you helped save all those people's lives -- mostly kids. Dad : Well, son, it was like any other big political campaign I've worked on. Last June everybody we knew was just heartbroken about the killing and starvation in Darfur, Sudan, and frustrated by their inability to help stop it. It wasn't that Americans, the most generous people in the world, wouldn't lift a finger to help people in extreme danger, including Africans. The basic problem was that the groups that were working hardest to save the people in Darfur didn't seem to know enough about how American politics works in the 21st century. Then someone decided to hire our political consulting and lobbying firm. We set up a campaign plan, just like we do for candidates or businesses and governments trying to influence federal domestic policy. Eight weeks after we began, President Bush announced an agreement for rapid deployment of a 25,000-member African Union-NATO "protection" force to beef up the small African "observer" force on the scene. Son : Wow! How did you do that? Dad : We were hired by a coalition of groups that were active on the issue. We supplied them with our normal major-policy-change package. It's standard for tough domestic issues: · Lobbyists, many of them former members and staffers of the administration and Congress. · Pollsters to see what arguments would fly with the general public. · TV ads. The main one, "Muna's Story," played eight or 10 times on broadcast and cable networks in selected media markets to create public pressure on President Bush, key congressional leaders, vulnerable candidates and people who might want to run for president in 2008. The spot began with a map showing how close Sudan is to the Middle East. Then you saw a beautiful 14-year-old girl standing in front of a tent in a ramshackle refugee camp in the desert, saying, "I remember my village." Shift to a peaceful, sunlit place, houses with thatched roofs, small gardens. Suddenly there was a horrifying shot of an entire village going up in flames from a bombing raid by the Sudanese government. Then Muna said, "This is what the government soldiers and their Janjaweed militias are doing to us. I think Americans care about what happens to people like us." A young ex-Marine who had advised the African observers came on: "Every single day you go out to see more dead bodies"; meanwhile, the numbers "200,000 dead" and "2 million homeless" appeared on the screen. "Experts and senators from both parties agree a larger joint African and Western force can stop this genocide." The ad ended, "Please call this number or visit this Web site now to ask your representatives in Congress and President Bush to send help immediately before it's too late." The ad campaign was followed up by our free-media blitz, which helped get hundreds of stories printed, produced and played on talk radio, cable TV and popular news Web sites. · Targeted mail and Web appeals -- based on polling, list purchases and data-mining technology -- to build the coalition's dues-paying membership and grass-roots lobbying operation. We focused on key groups likely to be supportive, such as those with strong religious connections (including evangelical Protestants), African Americans and NPR listeners. Within a month we had 600,000 messages from concerned citizens rolling into the White House and Congress. We got many of our members and supporters to organize local meet-ups and to participate in nearly 500 personal meetings with members of Congress. Son : But Dad, this must have all cost a fortune. Who paid for it? Dad : We spent $6 million over two months, but that was a good deal -- about a third of what the health insurance industry spent on the "Harry and Louise" ads that torpedoed the Clinton health plan. Some of the money was donated by a couple of big foundations, mainly to subsidize the coalition's expanded educational work. Maybe they got tired of funding think tanks and advocacy groups that produced great foreign policy ideas but lacked the grass roots to get the government to implement them. Even more important, a few really rich people chipped in to finance most of the lobbying effort. One was the son of a businessman who had earlier given big bucks to the John Kerry campaign. Another was a wealthy Republican woman who had done a lot of fundraising for the GOP national convention because she believed the president would stand strong against the threat of terrorism. Son : Why didn't this kind of thing happen earlier, before so many people had died? Dad : Somehow, a lot of smart, well-intentioned people felt that influencing foreign policy was completely different from influencing domestic issues -- health care, Social Security, energy, the environment. They hoped that getting op-eds and editorials published in the newspapers, testifying before Congress, putting good information out on beautiful Web sites that relatively few people knew about, and fostering student activism might be enough to shame our government into doing something effective. Son : I hope I get a chance to help people like that someday. Dad : Let's pray you don't have to. The writer, former staff director of the House subcommittee on Africa, works on campaign finance policy issues. He is the author of "A Culture of Deference: Congress's Failure of Leadership in Foreign Policy."
US Congress report calls for rapid UN reforms Wed June 15, 2005 4:15 PM GMT+02:00 WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. congressional report on Wednesday criticized the United Nations as lacking oversight and accountability and urged rapid management reforms by Secretary-General Kofi Annan amid dismal staff morale. The report from a bipartisan task force gave dozens of recommendations, including creation of a rapid-reaction capability to prevent genocide and of a new human rights council. It opposed creating a standing U.N. military force. "The need for internal reform has never been more pressing," the report said. "If we are to see the United Nations recover from its present difficulties, American leadership will be indispensable in effecting change," it said. The report follows a slew of scandals at the United Nations, from sex abuse by peacekeepers to allegations of corruption in the Iraq oil-for-food program, which is the subject of many other investigations. The report also appeared to stop far short of endorsing legislation proposed by Republicans to tie U.N. reforms to U.S. payment of dues to the world body. But it said without far-reaching reforms at the world body, challenges to international security and development would be all the greater. Task force members interviewed scores of U.N. officials for the study. "The stories heard were frequently grim accounts of poor management, excessive politicization, and missed opportunities for reform," the report said. "Despite the efforts of a few member states, the United Nations remains lacking in oversight and accountability," it added. The task force, created by the U.S. Congress last December to find ways to make the U.N. more effective, was led by former House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich, a Republican, and former U.S. Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell, a Democrat. Several members of Congress have called on Annan to step down because of the scandals in the oil-for-food program and what they see as his poor management style. Rep. Henry Hyde, an Illinois Republican who chairs the House International Relations Committee, has introduced legislation that would withhold half of the United States' dues to the United Nations unless it makes certain reforms. The United States is by far the biggest donor to the United Nations and contributes 22 percent of the regular operating budget and nearly 27 percent of the peacekeeping budget. Hyde's bill is expected to be put to a vote in the House on Thursday. The Bush administration opposes it so far and there is no companion measure in the Senate, which would have to approve. The task force backed many of Annan's own recommendations to overhaul the world body, including a proposal for a permanent Human Rights Council to replace the current Human Rights Commission, which has been criticized because its members include countries with poor human rights records such as Libya and Zimbabwe. The task force will discuss its findings with Congress in a hearing on June 22.
Government pleased with UN resolution on truth commission 22 Jun 2005 13:16:16 GMT Source: IRIN BUJUMBURA, 22 June (IRIN) - The government of Burundi has welcomed the UN Security Council's adoption of a resolution to create a mixed truth commission and a special court to prosecute war crimes and human rights violations committed during decades of civil war in the country, Justice Minister Didace Kiganahe said on Tuesday. He attended a special briefing on 15 June in New York, the UN headquarters, on the preparation of resolution 1606, which the Council adopted on Monday. Once operational, the truth commission and the special chamber would fall under Burundi's judicial system. It would comprise three international and two Burundian commissioners, mandated to investigate killings that have taken place in the country since independence in 1962 through 2000, when Burundian parties signed the Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Accord. The commission would have become operational in September but Kiganahe said he had asked for more time to allow the new government, which would be in place in September following presidential elections on 19 August, to take stock of the situation. The commission and special court would also classify the types of crimes committed and identify those behind them. Kiganahe said those responsible for the crimes would thus be known, and if they sought forgiveness, they would be accorded a chance to defend themselves. Those found responsible would be punished. The commission's findings would help the special chamber, also composed of three international and two Burundian judges, to judge those responsible for crimes committed in 1972 and 1993. Mass killings of the majority Hutu by the minority Tutsi occurred in the country in 1972 and those of the Tutsi, by the Hutu, in 1993. The 1993 deaths followed the assassination, by Tutsi paratroopers, of the first Hutu democratically-elected president, Melchior Ndadaye. Kiganahe said the presence of international commissioners and judges would lend fairness to the conclusions of the mixed truth commission and special chamber, for both the Hutu and the Tutsi. However, not all Burundians favoured the creation of the commission. The chairman of the Action Contre le Genocide (Action Against Genocide or AC Genocide), Venant Bamboneyeho, said neither the truth commission nor the special chamber would be helpful to Burundi. "That special chamber has not been created anywhere else, why will it work for Burundi?" he said. He added that the commission would have been suitable for the country had genocide crimes not been committed. AC Genocide has made several appeals to the UN to set up an international judicial commission of inquiry before the holding of general elections in Burundi to ensure that those implicated did not take part in the polls. Bamboneyeho said setting up such a special chamber now that a series of elections are already under way in the country was treacherous. The Arusha peace accord signed in 2000 provided for the creation of a truth and reconciliation commission and an international judicial commission of inquiry. Kiganahe said Burundi would set up a 25-member truth and reconciliation commission as the law setting it up was promulgated in December 2004. However, a UN mission, led by the Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Tuliameni Kolomoh, to Burundi in May 2004 to investigate the feasibility of an international judicial commission, recommended the merger of a truth commission and the special chamber into a single mechanism. On Tuesday, Kiganahe said the idea of a special tribunal for Burundi that the government requested in 2002 was rejected because it would be expensive and, by experience, inefficient. However, he deplored the fact that the "the reconciliation aspect has not been given its due importance" in setting up of the truth commission and special chamber for Burundi. Rwanda
June 22, 2005 latimes.com : World Print E-mail story Most E-mailed Rebels Fear of Revenge Keeps Them in Congo By BRYAN MEALER, Associated Press Writer KAZIBA, Congo -- With Kalashnikovs slung over their shoulders, the four young killers paced the dusty chicken yard in their Wellington boots, growing more nervous by the minute. The fidgety gunmen -- Rwandan Hutu rebels who fled to Congo after killing in Rwanda's 1994 genocide -- said they were ready to return home after living like fugitives for 11 years. But they were wary. From afar in Europe, their leader, Ignace Murwanashyaka, has promised some 8,000 fighters of his Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda, known by its French acronym FDLR, would disarm and leave Congo for home. But in the dense forests of eastern Congo, the fighters say they fear going home means humiliation, imprisonment or death. Earlier this month, Murwanashyaka, who lives in Germany, toured the rebel camps trying to persuade his troops to return home. He had little to say as he left, leading many to believe he'd made little progress. The Hutu rebels are warlords over entire areas of Congo's forests, controlling gold mines and villages. Every week, they are accused of raping and killing local residents. Large parts of FDLR territory are too dangerous for even Congo's army or U.N. peacekeepers. The U.N. would like to see the Hutus go home and has promised to help with any repatriation, but could instead find itself fighting them. Last week, the U.N. general in charge of peacekeepers in eastern Congo told The Associated Press he was planning stepped-up operations against gunmen in the region using attack helicopters and Guatemalan special forces. There are signs of dissension among the Hutu fighters. Earlier this month, four of them stopped a passing U.N. officer's vehicle and hinted they wanted help going home. For a promise of beer, the rebels agreed to meet at a nearby wooden shack, where they could talk without being seen by their comrades. Several rebels have been executed by their officers, accused of trying to desert. Soon after arriving at the rendezvous, the rebels became paranoid, afraid their fellow soldiers stationed nearby would see them talking to the United Nations. "How has our life been in the bush? It has been hell," said one of the rebels, who only gave the name Abdul. His soiled yellow shirt featured dozens of tiny American flags. "We can be at ease only in our own country." Abdul said he was 27-years old, meaning he was just a teenager when he joined the execution squads that slaughtered 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus in the Rwandan genocide a decade ago. "We have killed, but they have killed, too," said Abdul, speaking about Rwanda's Tutsi army, who were also accused of massacring thousands of ethnic Hutus in Congo following the genocide. Rwanda's president Paul Kagame -- the former Tutsi rebel leader who finally crushed the genocide -- has refused to offer any guarantees of amnesty to the rebels. "We know Kagame very well," said Nkunda, another rebel. "He'll put us in prison and make us build houses for Tutsis." "We need guarantees," said Nkunda. "We're afraid the government will sell us out. We need them to find us jobs and guarantee our livelihood." Rwanda invaded Congo twice, in 1996 and 1998, intending to drive out the rebels, but never seemed to succeed in catching them. The 1998 invasion sparked a five-year war in Congo that sucked in six African armies and killed nearly 4 million people, mostly from war-induced sickness and hunger, aid groups say. The rebels talked about being lonely in the forest, and how it's hard to meet women. A dowry cost around $300, said Abdul. "I've never even seen fifty dollars," he said, shrugging his shoulders. The rebels chain smoked cigarettes while chickens scratched at the dirt. An old woman in an open doorway pounded manioc root into flour, oblivious of all the talk of genocide, loneliness and revenge. Two fellow rebels in plainclothes suddenly appeared, wondering what was going on. The U.N. officer shook his head. As feared, the four Hutu rebels got cold feet and ditched their plans for repatriation. "Maybe next Saturday," one of them said. He strapped on his Kalashnikov and went off to drink his beer
AP 29 June 2005 Rwanda: No death penalty if Canada deports genocide suspect KIGALI, Rwanda (AP) -- Rwanda is ready to forego seeking the death penalty to ensure a former government adviser is returned from Canada to face charges related to the 1994 genocide, an official said Wednesday. Canada's Supreme Court ruling Tuesday that Leon Mugesera helped incite the slaughter and should be deported to face trial in his homeland. With all of Leon Mugesera's legal channels exhausted, the Canadian government must now decide whether Canada, which has no death penalty, will send a man to Rwanda where he faces a possible death sentence. Ottawa may seek a pledge from the government in Kigali that it will not execute Mugesera if he is convicted of inciting genocide. "We are happy with the decision and we are ready to make any necessary guarantee that any party would require, including that this man would not face the death penalty," Deputy Chief Prosecutor Martin Ngoga told The Associated Press. "For us, there is nothing that should stand in the way of having this man tried in Rwanda," Ngoga said. "We have assembled all the necessary evidence to have him prosecuted if he is brought to Rwanda. We are ready and we have expressed our intention to have him here." More than 500,000 Tutsi ethnic minority and politically moderates from the Hutu majority were killed in a 100-day genocide orchestrated by the extremist Hutu government then in power. The Canadian government has sought to deport Leon Mugesera for a decade on grounds that he promoted hatred, genocide and crimes against humanity in a speech he made two years before the killings began. Mugesera, who moved to Spain, then Canada before the genocide began, had appealed against two deportation orders by Canada's Immigration and Refugee Board. He became a permanent resident of Canada in 1993 and lives with his family in the French-speaking province of Quebec. Mugesera's lawyer said his client feared he would be tortured and killed if forced to return to Rwanda. A Canadian appeals court ruled two years ago that the evidence did not indicate Mugesera deliberately incited murder. The appeals panel said the translation of the speech cited by the government in seeking Mugesera's deportation was inaccurate. But the Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that the lower court erred in its review of the case. The decision exhausts Mugesera's legal channels, leaving it up to the Justice Ministry to take the next step. Mugesera was accused of encouraging attacks on Rwanda's Tutsi minority in a 1992 speech. At the time, he was an adviser to Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana, whose death in a plane crash in April 1994 sparked the genocide. "In this case, the allegation of incitement to the crime of genocide was well founded," the court ruled. "Mugesera's message was delivered in a public place at a public meeting and would have been clearly understood by the audience."
BBC 18 June 2005 Sudan 'foes' sign landmark deal NDA chairman Mohammed Osman al-Mirghani called for co-operation The Sudanese government and the biggest opposition grouping have signed a landmark reconciliation agreement. The deal, signed in Cairo, brings the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) into a power-sharing administration set up with ex-southern rebels in January. The NDA includes some of Sudan's oldest parties. They went into exile after the Islamist-backed 1989 coup that brought the current government to power. The deal does not include the Darfur conflict - a big obstacle to peace. January's peace agreement with the southern rebels ended more than 20 years of civil war. 'Backbone to unity' There were cheers and applause as NDA chairman Mohammed Osman al-Mirghani signed the accord with Sudanese Vice-President Ali Osman Taha at a ceremony broadcast live by Egyptian television. The Sudanese people are the main beneficiary of this agreement, which heralds a new era Mohammed Osman al-Mirghani NDA chairman Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak attended the event, along with his Sudanese counterpart, Omar al-Bashir, the former southern rebel leader, John Garang, and the leadership of the opposition alliance. "We are starting a new era where Sudan is free of struggle... Let us work hand in hand to offer the Sudanese the prosperity they have been lacking," said Mr Bashir. "This latest agreement... will be the backbone of Sudanese unity," he said. Mr Mirghani said the deal "heralds a new era in which all of us have to co-operate to achieve global peace, strengthen the march towards real democracy". More than two million people have fled their homes in Darfur The NDA alliance includes some of Sudan's oldest political parties, such as the Democratic Unionists, along with the Communists and various trade union and professional groups. They will now take up seats in an interim government, broadening the base of support for the historic peace deal signed earlier this year to end the civil war in the south. But according to the opposition alliance, key details have yet to be finalised, including of its share of seats in the administration and whether its fighters will be demobilised or integrated into the national army. The Egyptian president said the Cairo accord "should serve as an inspiration for finding a settlement for Darfur, this crisis we all look forward to end".
Reuters 21 June 2005 UN says rape is systematic weapon of war in Darfur Tue 21 Jun 2005 23:42:38 BST By Claudia Parsons UNITED NATIONS, June 21 (Reuters) - One medical charity has has treated 500 victims of sexual violence in Darfur in four months and this is just a fraction of such attacks in the Sudanese province, a senior U.N. official said on Tuesday. Under-Secretary General Jan Egeland told the Security Council women and children were being systematically raped and assaulted in the ravaged region and urged Sudanese authorities to do more to protect civilians and end a culture of impunity. Addressing the U.N. Security Council on the need for more international effort to protect civilians in armed conflicts, Egeland said Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo were among the countries where sexual violence was worst. The Darfur conflict broke out two years ago when rebels took up arms against the Sudanese government, complaining of discrimination. Khartoum is accused of retaliating by arming militias who burned villages and killed and raped civilians. At least 180,000 people have died from violence, hunger and disease and two million have been driven from their homes. Egeland said medical charity Medicins Sans Frontieres had reported treating 500 survivors of sexual violence in Darfur in just four months. "We believe this represents only a fraction of the total victims," he said, adding that the impact of the violence was compounded by Sudan's failure to acknowledge the scale of the problem and to act to stop it. "Not only do the Sudanese authorities fail to provide effective physical protection, they inhibit access to treatment." He said in some cases unmarried women who became pregnant after being raped had been treated as criminals and subjected to further brutal treatment by police. "This is an affront to all humanity," Egeland said. The U.N. Security Council has asked the International Criminal Court to investigate alleged war crimes in Darfur. Earlier this month Sudan formed a special court to try alleged criminals in the western Darfur region. RAPE AS WEAPON "In Darfur ... rape is systematically used as a weapon of warfare," Egeland said. France had organized the debate on civilian casualties around the world, an issue which has been before the council for several years and eventually resulted in a mandate for peacekeepers to protect civilians. Egeland said that while he was concerned about the targeting of civilians in conflicts around the world, including Iraq where he said as many as 1,000 civilians may have been killed since April, his biggest concern was Africa. "In North Kivu, in eastern Congo, one nongovernmental organization reported 2,000 cases of sexual abuse ... in one month," Egeland said. He said most of the cases were rape. He said U.N. officials in the area estimated there were at least 25,000 cases a year of sexual violence against women and children in North Kivu, a situation partly attributable to the breakdown of discipline in the regular armed forces. The United Nations has more than 16,000 peacekeepers in the Congo, where peace deals in 2003 officially ended a five-year war that killed nearly four million people, mostly from hunger and disease. Armed groups still operate in much of the east. He picked out Ivory Coast, Liberia, northern Uganda and Nepal as areas where civilians were most endangered by conflicts. "Today it is much more dangerous to be a civilian than to be a soldier in most of the armed conflicts," Egeland said.
VOA 22 June 2005 Official Says US Committed to Darfur Solution By Dan Robinson Capitol Hill 22 June 2005 Robinson report (Real Audio) Download 453K Listen to Robinson report (Real Audio) Download 453K Members of Congress are urging stronger U.S. action to quell violence in Sudan's Darfur region. A top State Department official appeared at a hearing on Capitol Hill Wednesday to discuss what the Bush administration is doing to support African peacekeeping efforts. U.S. legislators have made clear what they think needs to be done to stop killing in Darfur, and one of the items at the top of the list is more American support for an expanded African Union peacekeeping force. Robert Zoellick is welcomed by an African Union soldier as he arrives in Northern Darfur region's administrative capital El Fasher (file) Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick says the administration is committed to strengthening the AU force, while continuing to work to help Sudan resolve its long-standing ethnic and political divisions. "A key component which many of you refer to is the need to expand the AU mission. You have just gotten the AU security forces up to about 2,700," Mr. Zoellick said. "Over the course of this year we have urged them [and] they have agreed to expand to 7,700. There is some discussion among the African Union about possibly going up to a higher number, they have referred to 12,000, but frankly each of [these steps] take work." Mr. Zoellick said the United States has carried most of the weight of assisting peacekeeping efforts in Darfur, for example through airlifting Rwandan members of the AU force and constructing facilities for them. The United States has provided hundreds of millions of dollars for humanitarian needs in Darfur and neighboring Chad, including refugee assistance, support for African Union troops, and to help implement the North-South agreement between Khartoum and southern rebels. Tom Lantos Congressman Tom Lantos, the top Democrat on the committee, has been recommending for some time that the United States persuade NATO to get involved in Darfur. "Has the administration considered the possibility of calling a NATO emergency session to call on our NATO allies, particularly the ones who have no forces in the two main areas [Iraq and Afghanistan] where we are currently committed, so that an interim major NATO force could be put in place to prevent what we correctly called genocide," he said. Mr. Zoellick says obtaining a NATO agreement to put forces on the ground in Darfur would be difficult, adding that time must be given for an African solution to work. Wednesday's hearing provided another opportunity for some lawmakers to voice concern about a visit to Washington in April by Sudan's intelligence chief. Administration officials have said the visit by Salah Abdallah Gosh was necessary as part of ongoing intelligence consultations with Sudan involving the war on terrorism. But to some members of Congress, this sent the wrong signal about U.S. intentions to put an end to killing in Darfur. Donald Payne Congressman Donald Payne was more blunt in denouncing the visit last May. "A person who leads the killing, who instructs the Janjaweed [Arab militia]), who has blood on his hands, who allows rape to go on, who condones killing of children, burning of villages, bombing of cities, he was flown to Washington, D.C. to meet with our State Department and CIA officials. It's a disgrace," Mr.Payne said. Mr. Zoellick Wednesday said such contacts provide another opportunity for the United States to drive home points about the need for cooperation on Darfur. "When the [Sudan] intelligence official came to the United States, we coordinated with the [U.S.] intelligence agencies," Mr. Zoellick said. "The State Department actually saw the intelligence official, and we coordinated with our intelligence officials to drive home the message that counter-terrorism cooperation was not enough, that we had to action on Darfur, and the implementation of the North-South agreement." Congressman Payne told VOA Wednesday that, although he has no direct evidence regarding the role Mr. Gosh may have played in Darfur, "everything leads" to him having been involved. The chairman of the House International Relations Committee, Congressman Henry Hyde, said Sudan's "reported cooperation" in the war on terrorism should not outweigh the issues of Darfur or the need to see the North-South Sudan agreement succeed.
BBC 24 June 2005 Sudan planes 'bomb' rebel forces As in Darfur, the government is accused of ignoring the east Sudanese government warplanes have dropped bombs on north-eastern rebel forces who have been fighting the army since Sunday, the rebels say. A number of people were injured in the raid, the Eastern Front rebels said. The group complains the Beja and Rashaida communities have been marginalised in favour of Arab groups and want a fair share of resources. Sudan accuses Eritrea of backing the rebels who hold an area close to the joint border, where they operate. 'Hospitals full' "Today they are bombing with aircraft... We are collecting information on the number of people injured," said Eastern Front spokesman Salah Barqueen. He also said that hospitals in Tokar and Sudan's largest port, Port Sudan, were full of civilian casualties. Q&A: Eastern rebellion Simmering rebellion There has been no independent confirmation of these claims. "They are bombing because they failed to face our troops on the ground, so now they are doing the same as in Darfur," Mr Barqueen said. More than two million people have fled their homes in a separate conflict in the Darfur region of western Sudan. In Darfur, many refugees said their villages were bombed before Arab militias rode in on camels and horses, killing, raping and looting. The rebels are positioned south of Tokar, 120km from Port Sudan, which is vital to Sudan's growing oil industry. Both sides say have been heavy casualties in fighting on the ground since the weekend. Rebels fall out The clashes are a setback for efforts to bring peace to Sudan, which were boosted at the weekend when a deal was signed between the government and the biggest opposition grouping, the National Democratic Alliance. Eastern rebels were part of the NDA alliance, which has been exiled for more than 15 years. The rebels said they launched their biggest offensive for years when they attacked three garrisons near Tokar on Sunday. They also claim to have captured 20 soldiers but admit they do not control Tokar itself. Attempting to defuse the rebellion, Khartoum said last month it would give about $88 million to develop east Sudan. Meanwhile, talks in Nigeria to solve a separate conflict in Sudan's western region of Darfur have suffered new setbacks, amid arguments between the two rebel groups talking to the government. The Justice and Equality Movement (Jem) accused the Sudan Liberation Army of attacking its positions.
Reuters 25 June 2005 East Sudan rebels urge media to view bomb damage By Ed Harris ASMARA, June 25 (Reuters) - Rebels in Sudan's remote east urged the world's media on Saturday to come and see damage in civilian areas that they say was caused by government bombing. Rebels from Sudan's Eastern Front parade north of Kassala town, near the Eritrean border, in March 2005. (AFP). The Eastern Front insurgents -- lesser-known but with similar complaints to rebels in the western Darfur region -- say Khartoum ordered warplanes to bomb the area in recent days in retaliation for attacks on army bases. The government of Africa's largest nation, already under pressure for its military tactics in Darfur including aerial attacks, denies any bombardment in the east and there was no immediate confirmation from witnesses in the region. "They failed on the ground, so they bombed the whole area," Salah Barqueen, spokesman for the Front, told reporters in neighbouring Eritrea on Saturday. "We are inviting the international media to come and see for themselves what happened ... The Khartoum government are liars, big liars." As well as reports of injuries to civilians and livestock, the Front official said civilian houses and wells were damaged. "Why would we say (invent) this story now? There have been plenty of other opportunities," he said. There were no immediate reports of any injured being brought into the hospitals in Tokar or Port Sudan. SEARCH OPERATIONS Sudanese officials have confirmed aerial "search operations" were under way in the east to find those responsible for attacks on military posts last weekend that rebels say led to the capture of 20 soldiers. But they deny bombing. The Front, like the Darfur rebels, say they are fighting to end neglect and discrimination against Sudan's outlying areas from central government. They want a bigger share of power and wealth in the oil-producing nation. If the bombings were confirmed, it would be the first time in years that warplanes had targeted the eastern areas. Analysts fear eastern Sudan could become the next major flare-up in Sudan, where the Darfur conflict has brought international condemnation and a 21-year-old war in the south only ended a few months ago. The Front says bombing in the last couple of days took place in the Barka Valley west of Tokar, a town 75 miles (120 km) south of Port Sudan on the Red Sea. The latest offensive first broke out in the east last weekend near Tokar, when Front fighters attacked army bases. The eastern rebels have held a small piece of territory just next door to Eritrea in eastern Sudan since the late 1990s. The Eastern Front has friendly ties with rebel groups in Darfur and former rebels in the south. Although a poor and arid area, the east of Sudan is crucial to its budding oil industry as it contains a major port. Barqueen said Khartoum's peace overtures were hypocritical. "They talk about peace in Cairo, they talk about peace in Abuja, they talk about peace in Naivasha. But at the same time, they are killing people," he said, referring to various recent rounds of peace negotiations Sudan has held with different opposition groups.
AFP 25 June 2005 US to consider lifting sanctions on Sudan: FM WASHINGTON, June 24 (AFP) -- Sudan's Foreign Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail said US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has agreed to consider the possibility of lifting sanctions imposed on the northeast African state. Mustafa Ismail Speaking after talks with the top US diplomat, he said "most of the problems" that used to hinder normal relations between the two countries had been removed and that he urged her to lift the trade and economic sanctions. "Secretary Rice told me, she promised me, that she is going to start looking at it," Ismail told reporters at the State Department. State Department officials were not available for comment. Rice did not speak to reporters. Ismail's visit to the State Department prompted concern among some lawmakers because of Khartoum's role in the violence in the Darfur region that President George W. Bush's administration has called genocide. The sanctions against Sudan has been in place since 1993 when it was put on the State Department list of states that sponsor terrorism. Ismail's visit comes several months after the trip by Sudanese intelligence chief Salah Abdallah Gosh, who was invited by the CIA to share information about the war on terrorism, according to news reports. The visit sparked outrage because of the violence in Darfur, with lawmakers saying Washington was letting Sudan's strategic role in the war on terrorism overshadow the need to confront the genocide. The conflict is believed to have left between 180,000 and 300,000 people dead and displaced some 2.4 million from their homes, with 200,000 fleeing into neighbouring Chad. A ceasefire, concluded in April last year, has never been respected. Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick, who has made two visits to Sudan in recent months and who met Ismail on Thursday, talked about the possibility of his going to Khartoum for the July 9 inauguration of the Government of National Unity.
Reuters 29 June 2005 Sudan may not be trying key Darfur suspects - ICC 29 Jun 2005 06:07:47 GMT Source: Reuters Background CRISIS PROFILE-What's going on in Sudan's Darfur? MORE By Evelyn Leopold UNITED NATIONS, June 29 (Reuters) - Sudan has promised to prosecute murder and rape suspects in Darfur but the key perpetrators may not be among those Khartoum plans to put on trial, the prosecutor of a global court said on Wednesday. Darfur is the first case the U.N. Security Council has referred to the new International Criminal Court but Sudan has said it would not extradite anyone. Instead Khartoum announced it would hold its own trials of 160 alleged suspects. In a report ahead of his first appearance before the Security Council on Wednesday, prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said any Sudanese trial probably would not conflict with an ICC probe aimed at "prosecuting persons most responsible for crimes." He said that in Sudan there appeared to be an "absence of criminal proceedings relating to the cases on which the Office of the Prosecutor is likely to focus." Moreno-Ocampo has received 2,500 items including documents, video footage and interview transcripts as well as a list of 51 suspects, including army and government officials, from a U.N-appointed International Commission of Inquiry. An estimated 180,000 people have died in the Darfur, in Sudan's west, and 2 million have fled their homes to escape slaughter, pillaging and rape in what the United States has termed "acts of genocide." The fledging ICC, the world's first permanent criminal court, was created to try perpetrators of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. It is a tribunal of last resort when local judicial systems are unable or unwilling to do so. But Moreno-Ocampo said once he had completed his investigation, his office would determine whether any ICC cases were "the subject of genuine national" prosecutions in Sudan. The Security Council decided that Sudan over the past two years had not brought suspects to justice and asked the ICC, based in The Hague, Netherlands, to do so instead. The United States, which opposes the court, abstained in the resolution, adopted on March 31. Moreno-Ocampo said he had met Sudanese officials in the Netherlands and received information about the country's legal system. He also met officials from the African Union, which has a monitoring force in Darfur. But he said his investigation required "specific, full and unfettered cooperation of the Government of Sudan and other parties in the conflict." While Moreno-Ocampo has set up an investigative team, he gave no indication when he would seek to visit Sudan or whether the Khartoum would issue a timely visa. The ICC, unlike temporary tribunals, has no time limit for its work. Its indictments remain in force until the suspect is tried, dies or runs out of hiding places. Moreno-Ocampo, 52, an Argentine, prosecuted generals in his country's "dirty war" in 1985, when wounds from the 1976-1983 dictatorship were still fresh. As many as 30,000 people were killed or disappeared.
Crisis Group 23 June 2005 Building a Comprehensive Peace Strategy for Northern Uganda Peace may yet be possible in Northern Uganda in 2005. While mediation has occurred in recent months against a backdrop of continuing atrocities against civilians by the insurgent Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), many of the elements seem to be in place for a deal between the LRA and the government of President Yoweri Museveni. However, in addition to clearer LRA commitment to the process, a more comprehensive framework is needed, including increased backing for the mediation, a more robust effort to reintegrate LRA returnees into society, a justice component that complements the peace process, improved reconciliation initiatives, and a hearts-and-minds strategy so the North feels government commitment. The overall strategy also needs more visible international support, especially from the U.S. Crisis Group reports and briefing papers are available on our website: www.crisisgroup.org
The Monitor (Kampala) 28 June 2005 Kisanja Passes 1st Vote By Richard Mutumba, Gerald Walulya & Emma Mutaizibwa Parliament The Constitution Amendment Bill that includes the proposal to lift presidential term limits passed the first major step in Parliament after pro-Movement MPs voted overwhelmingly to send it to the next stage. A total of 232 members voted in support of the motion seeking to commit Constitution (Amendment) Bill No.3 to the committee stage where each clause will be considered independently. Fifty MPs opposed the motion, while one, UPDF representative Col. Fred Bogere, abstained. Earlier in the day police crushed an opposition demonstration that was organised to protest against the impending removal of term limits. Parliament's public gallery was filled to capacity, while down in the chamber the famous Movement "yellow girls," clad in shouting yellow attire, foot-stamped and shouted loudly whenever a member voted "aye". Yesterday's voting pattern suggested there was little hope of the opposition MPs stopping the Bill from finally sailing through. According to the Constitution, the Bill required the support of two-thirds majority of members (at least 196 MPs) to proceed to the next stage. It will now go through two more stages before it is passed. These include the committee stage and the motion for a third reading of the Bill. This stage will also require two-thirds majority. Yesterday the new system of open voting, which was included in the parliamentary rules of procedure about four months ago, was put to test for the second time. During the voting exercise presided over by the Speaker, Mr. Edward Ssekandi, new voters emerged on the side of the pro-third term camp, including the recently converted Capt. Guma Gumisiriza, Dr Steven Chebrot, Prof. Ephraim Kamuntu, and the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee chairman, Mr Jacob Oulanyah. At least 148 MPs contributed to the heated debate on the Bill, which started last week. Yesterday's voting attracted a large number of pro-Movement MPs including all the army representatives. Brig. Andrew Gutti, who recently replaced Brig. Henry Tumukunde was one of the members who voted in favour of the motion seeking the Bill to proceed to the next stage. The Bill has 98 clauses. The Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee had proposed that 60 clauses should be dropped and be handled later by the next Parliament in order to expedite the constitution amendment process. This is yet to be agreed on, although the House is expected to pronounce itself on the proposal at the committee stage some time next week. The opposition maintains that the proposal to remove presidential term limits is meant to open the door for President Yoweri Museveni, whose last constitutional term expires next year, to contest for the 2006 and future elections. The ruling Movement and its supporters in Parliament argue, on the other hand, that term limits unfairly deny citizens the opportunity to choose a leader of their choice who could have served beyond the two terms currently provided for in the Constitution. The Bill also proposes the introduction of dual citizenship and it seeks to create the constitutional office of the Prime Minister and the Deputy Attorney General. Other clauses in the Bill include giving Kampala a special status, holding both Presidential, Parliamentary and district chairperson elections on the same day.
BBC 17 June 2005 What lies behind the Zimbabwe demolitions? By Joseph Winter BBC News website The homes of some 200,000 Zimbabwean city dwellers have been demolished in the past three weeks, according to the United Nations. See before and after images of township clearance in Harare. Enlarge Image Police have been moving from area to area, in some cases forcing people to knock down their own homes. In others, they have turned up with bulldozers to demolish structures which they say have been built illegally. "We were busking, enjoying the winter sun when we heard trucks and bulldozers roll in. There was pandemonium as we rushed to salvage the little we could," one resident of the capital, Harare told the BBC News website. "In no time the cottage I had called home for three years was gone. Then it dawned on me that I was now homeless, you try and pinch yourself and wake up but this was no dream. My life had been shattered before my very own eyes." Worshippers at a Harare mosque have even been made to destroy it, says opposition MP Trudy Stevenson. Thousands of desperate Zimbabweans are living on the streets, others have gone back to their rural homes, while some have managed to squeeze into parts of the cities not yet touched by what some are calling the "tsunami". No-one was spared, not even 80-year-old grannies Tinashe, Harare Send us your account President Robert Mugabe said "Operation Murambatsvina [Drive out rubbish]" was needed to "restore sanity" to Zimbabwe's cities, which he said had become overrun with criminals. His critics say it is no coincidence that opposition to his rule is strongest in urban areas - and that in March the opposition Movement of Democratic Change (MDC) won almost all urban seats for a second election in a row. 'Pre-emptive strike' "This is harassment of urban voters," MDC secretary general Welshman Ncube told the BBC. He says the government wants people to go to rural areas, where they can be controlled more easily. Some children left school after their homes were demolished "It could also be a pre-emptive strike against poor urban people who will be worst affected by the inevitable hunger which is going to stalk the population in the next few months." The UN World Food Programme estimates that more than three million people will need food aid in the coming year. Some of the areas where whole rows of houses have been destroyed, such as Mabvuku and Tafara, have seen anti-government riots in the past few years. So far, the security forces have managed to put a lid on such protests and prevent them spiralling into mass demonstrations capable of toppling the government. But maybe Mr Mugabe does not want to take any chances. Zimbabwean politics is, however, rarely that simple. 'Necessary evil' Many of the illegal structures which have been demolished were built on farms seized from their white owners in the past five years of a controversial land reform programme. This government has been shooting itself in the foot for a long time - The question is whether the people are willing to take political action Welshman Ncube, MDC This is Mr Mugabe's core policy and most of those who have moved onto the farms are supporters of his Zanu-PF party. Zanu-PF chief whip Jerome Macdonald Gumbo points to this as proof that the operation is not political. "Harare used to be a very smart town. Now it has become dirty and dangerous," he said. "The exercise is painful but it has to be done. It is a necessary evil." Mr Ncube says that the government is actually quite glad to be moving against the war veterans, who spearheaded the invasion of white-owned farms in 2000, attacking opposition supporters as they went and paving the way for Zanu-PF's victory in the 2000 parliamentary elections. "If they could destroy the war veterans, who have been holding this government to ransom, that would be an added bonus," he says. Economic control Last year, Jabulani Sibanda, the leader of the veterans of Zimbabwe's 1970s war of independence, was disciplined by Mr Mugabe, after being identified with a Zanu-PF faction which had fallen from the president's favour. These are the remains of a mosque built in Harare's Hatcliffe township Human rights lawyer Brian Kagoro agrees that the eviction of Zanu-PF supporters from the farms shows that Operation Murambatsvina cannot simply be described as punishment for pro-opposition urban voters. But he says that whoever the victims are, their rights have been violated. "They should have been given adequate notice. Children have been pulled out of school and people with Aids have had to stop their treatment." Some have been living in their shacks for more than 10 years and been told to demolish it in a single day, he says. He also says that the government is destroying informal "flea markets" in order to tighten its control of the economy. 'Hypocrisy' Most of all, the government wants to bring all the foreign currency generated in Zimbabwe into formal structures and stamp out the black market. Some traders have been found with huge caches of foreign currency. Supporters of President Mugabe (in photo) have not been spared Mr Gumbo denies that the action has been unfair. "These people knew that the structures were illegal - we always told them not to build them. They did not think the government would take any action," he said. He also accuses the opposition of hypocrisy, after previously criticising the government for tolerating a situation of lawlessness. A coalition of opposition groups, including the MDC, last week organised a general strike to protest at the demolitions but it was a failure. Mr Ncube says that Zimbabweans are angry but they are not prepared to stand up and take the risks needed to change the government. "Every second person wants someone else to take action on their behalf." So he is reluctant to predict that the demolitions will alienate a new section of Zimbabweans from Zanu-PF and drive them into the arms of his party. "This government has been shooting itself in the foot for a long time, alienating more and more constituencies. The question is whether the people are willing to take political action," he says.
SAPA 21 June 2005 Mugabe targets backyard gardens By Staff Reporter Last updated: 06/21/2005 15:58:17 ZIMBABWEAN police have extended a demolition campaign targeting the homes and livelihoods of the urban poor to the vegetable gardens they rely on for food, saying the crops planted on vacant lots are damaging the environment. President Robert Mugabe was quoted Tuesday as saying concern about the campaign was misplaced and agreeing to allow in a UN observer. The crackdown on urban farming - at a time of food shortages in Zimbabwe - is the latest escalation in the government's monthlong Operation Murambatsvina, or Drive Out Trash, which has seen police torch the shacks of poor city dwellers, arrest street vendors and demolish their kiosks. Mugabe defends the campaign as a cleanup drive. But the political opposition, which has its base among the urban poor, says the campaign is meant to punish its supporters. The United Nations estimates the campaign has left at least 1,5 million people homeless in the winter cold. Police say more than 30 000 have also been arrested, most of them street vendors the government accuses of sabotaging the failing economy by selling black market goods. Senior assistant police commissioner Edmore Veterai said Zimbabwean authorities were now targeting urban farming, saying the practice was causing "massive environmental damage," state radio reported Tuesday. The destruction of city plots is a painful reminder of one of the most hated policies of the white government that ruled before independence in 1980 - the random slashing of crops on roadsides and railroad embankments. The current crackdown comes when this southern African country needs to import 1,2 million metric tons of food to avoid famine. Years of drought, combined with the seizure of thousands of white-owned farms for redistribution to black Zimbabweans, have slashed agricultural production. Many poor families depend on their vegetable patches for food and a tiny income at a time of 144 percent inflation and 80 percent unemployment. Many of the capital's two million residents till any vacant ground they can find for an annual production of 50 000 metric tons of corn - over a fifth of their total food requirements - according to farming expert Richard Winkfield. The Reverend Oskar Wermter, former secretary to the Zimbabwe Roman Catholic Bishop's conference and a parish priest in one of the poorest downtown areas, called the crackdown against these plots "insane and evil". "They are sleeping in the open air - tiny children and people dying of Aids - and people you thought still had some decency are defending this crime against humanity," said Wermter. "It is a watershed, it is the beginning of the end, but the end will be terrible." Charlie Hewat, executive director of Environment Africa, said controlled urban agriculture was essential for the poor throughout the developing world's cities. There were, however, no legal allotments in Harare. The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change has accused the 81-year-old Mugabe of imitating Cambodia's former Pol Pot regime by driving pro-MDC urban voters back to rural areas for "re-education." It alleges food access is being used as a weapon of political reprisal following March 31 parliamentary elections won by Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front. Mugabe expressed surprise at the "misplaced hue and cry over Operation Murambatsvina" in a recent telephone conversation with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, presidential spokeseperson George Charamba told The Herald newspaper. Mugabe agreed in the phone call to let Anna Tibaijuka, Tanzanian head of the United Nations Habitat agency, come as Annan's envoy to asses the impact of Operation Murambatsvina, Charamba confirmed. On Sunday, police spokeseperson Whisper Bondayi said the demolition campaign was also being extended to wealthier suburbs. He said some residents had illegally converted their homes into offices and workshops. No demolitions have been reported in such neighborhoods. Wealthy home owners have recourse to judges and lawyers - unlike the poor who rush to salvage what possessions they can before their homes are burned or bulldozed. However, police have arrested 335 prostitutes and 161 illegal aliens - mostly "fugitives from justice in their own countries" - in raids on lodges and apartments near downtown Harare, Bondayi told Tuesday's edition of The Herald. - Sapa-AP
BBC 24 June 2005 Africa rejects action on Zimbabwe The opposition say their supporters are being punished The African Union has rejected calls from the UK and the US to put pressure on Zimbabwe to stop its demolition of illegal houses and market stalls. An AU spokesman told the BBC that it had many more serious problems to consider than Zimbabwe. The UN says that 275,000 people have been made homeless. At least three children have been crushed to death. Urging the AU to take action, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice described recent events as "tragic". The opposition say the demolitions are meant to punish urban residents, who have rejected President Robert Mugabe in recent elections. He denies this, saying the crackdown is designed to "restore sanity" in urban areas, which he says have become overrun with criminals. 'Irritated' "If the government that they elected say they are restoring order by their actions, I don't think it would be proper for us to go interfering in their internal legislation," AU spokesman Desmond Orjiako told the BBC's Network Africa programme. She was killed when the walls collapsed on top of her Lavender Nyika Mother of Charmaine, 2 Why Africa won't speak out Human tragedy Have Your Say His comments were backed up by South Africa, Zimbabwe's giant neighbour, which some see as the key to solving Zimbabwe's problems. Presidential spokesman Bheki Khumalo said he was "irritated" by calls from UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw to do more to end the "horrors" in Zimbabwe. "South Africa refuses to accept the notion that because suddenly we're going to a G8 summit, we must be reminded that we must look good and appease the G8 leaders," he said. "We will do things because we believe they are correct and right." The G8 summit of the world's most powerful nations is due to discuss efforts to relieve poverty in Africa on 8 July in Scotland. The UK wants the G8 to do more to forgive Africa's debts and improve its term of trade. See before and after images of township clearance in Harare. Enlarge Image The US insists that such efforts should only be made if African countries improve their standard of governance. Correspondents say that many African leaders see Mr Mugabe as a hero for leading the fight against colonial rule. South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki has questioned why the West is so concerned by Zimbabwe but makes relatively little noise about other African emergencies, such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, where some three million people died in a civil war, and where armed bands kill, rape and loot with impunity in some areas. The BBC's Elizabeth Blunt also says that many African countries have carried out similar slum clearances and so will be unwilling to criticise Zimbabwe. Living rough Some 46,000 people have been arrested for trading without a licence, hoarding and illegal possession of foreign currency, Zimbabwe's police chief Augustine Chihuri said, according to state radio. Mr Chihuri said that burglary and car-theft had declined by 20% since the operation began four weeks ago. Some children have left school after their homes were demolished The children who have died were crushed to death when their homes were knocked down during Operation Murambatsvina [Drive out rubbish]. One of those killed in the capital, Harare, was the 18-month-old son of a police officer, reports the state-run Herald newspaper. The police have moved across Zimbabwe's urban areas, armed with bulldozers and sledge-hammers, destroying shacks and informal markets. Often, residents have been made to demolish the structures themselves. The United Nations is due to send a special envoy to Zimbabwe to investigate the demolitions. Many people are living on the streets, while others have returned to their rural homes, encouraged by the government.
BBC 24 June, 2005 Why Africa won't condemn Zimbabwe blitz By Elizabeth Blunt BBC News Foreign ministers from the G8 grouping of the world's richest and most powerful countries have called on other African leaders to denounce the forced evictions which are causing so much suffering in Zimbabwe. Some children in Zimbabwe have left school after their homes were demolished Yet many of those other African governments have overseen similar brutal evictions in their own countries, and yet have suffered very little outside criticism. The sad truth is that what is going on in Zimbabwe at the moment is not at all unusual. From one end of Africa to the other, governments have set about slum clearance schemes without any consideration for the people who live there, or any sense of responsibility for what happens to them afterwards. Unsanitary Nigeria, the current chair of the African Union, was the scene of a huge mass eviction in 1990, when around 300,000 people were bulldozed out of the Maroko neighbourhood in Lagos in a single week to make way for corporate office buildings and executive villas. Soldiers cleared the Washington area of Abidjan in Ivory Coast at gunpoint in 2002, turning people out of their homes, sometimes with less than an hour's notice. See before and after images of township clearance in Harare. Enlarge Image Hundreds of families in Bonaberi area of Douala in Cameroon, lost their homes in similar purges. In every case it was absolutely true that the areas were unsanitary, and the houses built without permission, yet there was never any sense that these exercises were being carried out to give residents a better place to live. The evicted families inevitably were driven further to the margins and ended up living in even worse conditions. The victims of the Zimbabwe eviction are lucky that because of the political campaign being run against President Robert Mugabe, both inside and outside the country, there are well-organised and well-funded people calling attention to their plight. But it seems unlikely that Africa's other leaders will sympathise with the displaced rather than with a fellow president cleaning up his country's city, and will speak out on their behalf.
AFP 25 June 2005 Mugabe knocks demolition critics June 25, 2005 HARARE, Zimbabwe (Agence France-Presse) -- President Robert Mugabe yesterday hit back at what he termed "unprecedented" international criticism of his government for its neighborhood demolition drive and said there were plans to resettle the hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans left homeless. "I am addressing you against the backdrop of unprecedented renewed attacks on our party, our government and country by the usual British-led anti-Zimbabwe Western coalition," he said in an address to his ruling ZANU-PF party. Mr. Mugabe singled out former colonial ruler Britain, which has repeatedly criticized Zimbabwe for human rights abuses and the seizure of white-owned farms in 2000, saying it was leading international condemnation. "The latest pretext is the clean-up operation we launched nearly a month ago, whose objectives are both clear and laudable," said Mr. Mugabe in the address, excerpts of which were shown on state television and quoted by the New Ziana news agency. "This is the program which has drawn broadsides from a motley of our habitual critics, led of course by Britain and as usual supported by the Washington administration and the government of Australia," he said. "Even more ridiculous is the fact that the new World Bank president, himself an ex-official of the American administration, joining in the attack without any firsthand impression of what is going on here. What has the World Bank to do with it?" Mr. Mugabe asked. World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz described the evictions as a "tragedy" when he traveled to South Africa last week. But more criticism of the demolitions came yesterday even as Mr. Mugabe made his defense. Ten human rights experts, who report to the U.N. Human Rights Commission on issues from torture to health, said they "deplore and demand an end to the government's campaign of forced evictions." The crackdown has violated international human rights rules, they said in a statement from Geneva. They also expressed "deep concern at the rapidly deteriorating situation of respect for civil, political, economic and social rights in Zimbabwe." British charity Action Aid International, meanwhile, urged African regional groupings and pan-continental organizations to pressure Zimbabwe. For the past month, police have been carrying out Operation Murambatsvina, which means "drive out the rubbish," demolishing backyard shacks and shop stalls in cities and towns across Zimbabwe and leaving between 200,000 and 1.5 million people homeless, according to the U.N. and the political opposition. Mr. Mugabe said he found it hypocritical for Western countries to criticize the demolition campaign of the "illegal structures" when he had agreed to let a U.N. special envoy carry out an assessment of the situation. He said the visit by envoy Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka would enable U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan to "understand and appreciate what Zimbabwe is trying to do for its people who deserve better than the shacks that were now being romanticized as fitting habitats for them."
Reuters 27 June 2005 U.N. Envoy to Study Zimbabwe Crackdown By REUTERS HARARE, Zimbabwe, June 26 (Reuters) - A special envoy from the United Nations secretary general, Kofi Annan, arrived in Zimbabwe on Sunday to assess conditions here with international criticism increasing over President Robert Mugabe's crackdown on shantytowns. The envoy, Anna Tibaijuka, the executive director of U.N.-Habitat, the United Nations housing agency, will spend several days observing the results of the government campaign that has demolished tens of thousands of homes and shops and left as many as 300,000 people homeless. "I'm here at the request of the secretary general to assess the situation here and to see how we can work together to put everything in the way that everybody would like to have them," said Ms. Tibaijuka, of Tanzania. "The secretary general is of course following the situation with keen interest," she said. The destruction of housing has added to the misery of Zimbabweans, who are already facing their country's worst economic crisis since independence in 1980, with shortages of food and fuel. Western countries have been increasing their criticism of the operation, in which at least two children have been crushed to death as houses were demolished and many families have lost their housing or income. Mr. Mugabe, whom critics accuse of using the campaign to single out political opponents in Zimbabwe's urban shantytowns, said he welcomed the chance to explain the operation to the United Nations. "Our people," he said in remarks published Saturday in the state news media, "deserve much better than the shacks that are now being romanticized as fitting habitats for them."
washingtonpost.com 24 June 2005 New Hope for Justice in Argentina Ruling Clears Way For Military Trials By Monte Reel Washington Post Foreign Service Friday, June 24, 2005; A20 BUENOS AIRES -- For two decades, Estela de Carlotto has kept in a folder the name of the man she believes killed her daughter Laura, who vanished in 1977, at the height of the Argentine military government's crackdown against political dissidents, known as the "dirty war." Until recently, though, she saw little point in pursuing the case. The man was a low-ranking military official, legally exempt from punishment for crimes committed in uniform. Instead of brooding fruitlessly, Carlotto banished him to the file on her office shelf. But last week, Argentina's Supreme Court ruled that laws passed in the 1980s to protect such officers were unconstitutional. That meant Carlotto and other relatives of the thousands of people believed tortured and killed during a seven-year dictatorship were finally free to seek criminal and civil cases against the officers they held responsible. Soon after she heard the news, Carlotto reached for the long-untouched folder. "I'm going to start looking into this man, to find out where he is, and to start compiling all of the information that I can about him," said Carlotto, 75, a widow with white curls and a composed, determined air. "If I can prove he killed my daughter -- that he pulled the trigger -- he will finally go to jail." The Supreme Court decision is the latest in a series of steps Argentina has recently taken to confront its bloody past. At least 10,000 Argentines disappeared during the dictatorship, which means that further investigations into past human rights abuses could affect a wide swath of the population on a deeply personal level. While human rights groups have praised the court decision, critics argue that the country is foolishly picking at wounds that had started to heal. And while some victims' relatives say they are eager to take advantage of the ruling, others are not sure they want to endure the legal and emotional ordeal of digging into long-ago crimes. In the mid-1980s, the civilian government led by President Raul Alfonsin moved cautiously on human rights issues to avert a possible military coup. Prosecutions were confined to leaders and senior officers of the 1976-83 military dictatorship, while lower-ranking officers were given immunity. After that, a succession of civilian rulers maintained that it was better to turn toward the future than dwell on the past. "Something happened after they passed the protections. Maybe some part of the population thought justice was hopeless after that point," said Jose Miguel Vivanco, director of the Americas division of Human Rights Watch, speaking from Washington. "Only in recent years have they realized it's possible again." It was not until President Nestor Kirchner took office in 2003 that officials began pushing to hold the military more accountable. Kirchner has fired several commanders. He also removed a Catholic bishop assigned to the armed forces for declaring that the health minister should be "thrown into the sea" -- a fate many long-missing dissidents are believed to have suffered -- for suggesting abortion should be legalized. Moreover, in the past two years, four of the Supreme Court's nine justices have been impeached or have resigned under threat of impeachment. Last week, the four new justices appointed by Kirchner voted in favor of reversing the immunity laws. The vote was 7 to 1 with one abstention. "The laws of immunity are not applicable to crimes against humanity," Justice Antonio Boggiano said in explaining his vote. "If they were applied, they would be unconstitutional." Laura Carlotto, a 22-year-old political activist, was 2 1/2 months pregnant when she disappeared on Nov. 26, 1977. Ten months later, her family got a call from military officials who said she had been killed during a shootout between the army and members of a radical political group. "They lied, saying that she'd never been kidnapped and that she was fully armed when she was killed," said Estella de Carlotto, who eventually received her daughter's body. "Forensic analysis showed that she had been shot at a distance of 30 centimeters, lying on her back, on the floor. One of her arms had been broken, probably because she tried to resist." Several witnesses later said they had seen Laura in a military detention center. They said that she gave birth there to a boy named Guido on June 26, 1978, and that a high-ranking officer claimed the baby as his own. In 1985, during a government investigation of military crimes, a former soldier testified that he knew who had shot and killed Laura. Carlotto obtained a copy of the testimony but took no action. "It was never my intention to pursue him myself. I want the justice system to pursue him," she said. "People sometimes ask me what I would do if I ever met him face to face . . . . I say I would feel deep pity for him, and enormous contempt." Carlotto did make efforts to locate Guido, who would be 27. She joined an advocacy group dedicated to finding an estimated 500 children of those known as "the disappeared" who were believed to have been illegally adopted by military families. Although she never tracked down her grandson, she helped 80 children of victims discover the truth about their adoptive parents and steered them toward their biological families. Recently, she has noticed that Argentines are increasingly willing to delve into the past, especially young people whose parents disappeared years ago. Despite the psychological upheaval, she said, almost every day someone walks into her office seeking to investigate personal history. "Everyone has his own time, but it seems that many of the children get more courage to investigate this as they get older," Carlotto said. "The doubts they might have grow into certainties. They start to say, 'I need to know who I really am.' " As he grew up, Matias Olivera always knew his father had been kidnapped at a train station on his way to work. But the crime occurred when Matias was an infant, and he had a happy childhood with a mother and stepfather who loved him. He never told his friends about his father's fate, and he avoided advocacy groups for relatives of the disappeared. But two years ago, he said, an indefinable urge prompted him to type his father's name into the Google Internet search engine. Links filled the screen. He followed them to Web sites for human rights groups, biographies of the disappeared and a history of his father's labor union. He created a folder to file the information he collected. "I don't know why, but it seems like a lot of young people had decided to put a wall between themselves and this subject," said Olivera, 27, who works for a telecommunications company. "But in the last couple of years, everything seems to have started over. A lot of people my age are going through the same process that I am." The recent Supreme Court ruling filled Olivera with contradictory feelings. He said he had learned the location where his father was detained and the name of the officer who ordered it. With more effort, he said, he could probably create a detailed picture of his father's last days and add that to the folder. For now, however, Olivera plans to leave the case alone. The justice system might finally be ready for him to dig deeper into his father's fate, but he's still not sure he's ready to handle the entire, grim truth. "I don't really want to know how he was tortured and killed, and I don't care about getting revenge," Olivera said, pausing to control a surge of emotion. "But when things like this happen, it reminds you how much of your life is connected to that time. You start to see that even though you might have been safe during your own life, what happened back then can ruin your life in many ways."
Canadian Press 27 June 2005 Court to rule on Rwandan deportation Accused war criminal Jim Brown Leon Mugesera, right, and and his lawyer Guy Bertrand smile as they walk out of a Quebec City courtroom April 12, 2001. (CP/Jacques Boissinot) OTTAWA -- More than a decade after the Rwandan genocide, the Supreme Court of Canada is set to rule on whether Leon Mugesera, once a high-profile political figure in the African country, should be kicked out of Canada for allegedly helping to set the scene for the slaughter. The federal government has been trying for years to deport Mugesera on grounds that he incited fellow Hutus to kill Tutsis, their traditional ethnic and political rivals. At issue is a speech Mugesera gave in late 1992 in which - according to federal lawyers - he counselled murder, promoted genocide, spread hatred and thus committed a crime against humanity. Two immigration tribunals have ordered his removal from Canada, but the Federal Court trial and appeal divisions overturned the verdicts. The Supreme Court is to weigh in on the matter Tuesday. Mugesera, now a resident of Quebec City, has been defended by maverick lawyer Guy Bertrand, who insists his client is being persecuted by federal authorities based on flawed evidence. "Mr. Mugesera never incited people to kill Tutsis or political opponents," Bertrand argued in written submissions to the Supreme Court. "His speech should be read in the context of legitimate defence." Bertrand maintained that Tutsis who died in Rwanda were not targeted because of their ethnic identity but because they were "aggressors" invading from neighbouring Uganda, or were allied with the invaders. Bertrand also contended that Justice Minister Irwin Cotler is biased against his client and attempted to "infiltrate" Canada's highest court by appointing Justice Rosalie Abella to the bench. Abella joined the Supreme Court last summer but did not sit on the Mugesera case. She stepped aside because her husband Irving, a former head of the Canadian Jewish Congress, had written to then-immigration minister Denis Coderre urging him to appeal the last Federal Court decision and continue pressing to deport Mugesera. Bertrand nevertheless contended the whole Supreme Court had been tainted by Abella's appointment and demanded the case against his client be thrown out. Justice Department lawyers called the allegations "absurd, even shocking" and said they didn't deserve serious consideration. The eight remaining judges on the court rejected Bertrand's effort to quash proceedings and went ahead with a hearing in December. Mugesera was a district vice-president of the Mouvement republicain nationale pour la democratie et developpement, or MRND, a Rwandan political party, when he gave a fiery speech to 1,000 party members in November 1992. He was later quoted as telling the crowd they should kill Tutsis and "dump their bodies into the rivers of Rwanda." He also allegedly spoke of "exterminating these bastards" and warned that "the person whose neck you do not cut is the one who will cut yours." The Federal Court of Appeal concluded, however, that some of the comments had been badly translated and may have been altered to make Mugesera look guilty. The court agreed other comments were accurately reported but said they must be read in context. Mugesera had a reputation as a "fervent supporter of democracy, patriotic pride and resistance to invading forces," said the three-judge appeal panel. They described the overall themes of his speech as "elections, courage and love." The judgment shocked human rights groups and Rwandan exiles who had been campaigning to have Mugesera deported. The Rwandan government of the day issued an arrest warrant against Mugesera following the 1992 speech, but he fled the country and made his way to Canada. Eight months after his arrival here, Hutus in his homeland massacred an estimated 800,000 Tutsis. Mugesera says he also suffered in the strife that swept the country, losing 26 relatives including his mother and mother-in-law. He and his wife and five children were granted permanent residence in Canada in 1993, but Ottawa moved to revoke that status in 1995, saying Mugesera had lied about his background. He had been teaching at Laval University in Quebec City but lost his job when the accusations were levelled against him.
BBC 29 June 2005 Colombia war crimes probe urged The AUC has been laying down its arms under a disarmament deal A human rights coalition has called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate alleged war crimes by Colombia's main paramilitary group. The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), said the right-wing AUC militia had committed 2,000 atrocities since December 2002. The FIDH also condemned laws setting out incentives for the AUC to disarm, saying they amount to an amnesty. The government insists the legislation is vital to the peace process. Bogota has been holding talks with the AUC aimed at getting the group to renounce violence. Justice A report submitted by the FIDH said the AUC had been guilty of assassinations, kidnappings and mass killings since it entered the peace process more than two years ago. QUICK GUIDE The Colombian conflict "Tens of thousands of crimes are being committed on a monthly basis," Alirio Uribe Munoz, the FIDH's vice president said on Wednesday. "An ICC investigation is the only hope that there will be justice against those who commit crimes against humanity," he said. The ICC, based in the Hague in the Netherlands, is allowed to launch prosecutions against suspected war criminals where other means for trying them have failed. Colombia is one of nearly 100 nations that have ratified the ICC's charter. 'Government complicity' The FIDH attacked Colombia for approving legislation that, it says, effectively grants the AUC immunity from prosecution. According to its critics, the law promises AUC members - several of whom are wanted in the US on cocaine trafficking and terrorism charges - immunity from prosecution and extradition. The FIDH report named several paramilitary soldiers as war crimes suspects. It also calls for Colombian officials - including President Alvaro Uribe - to be prosecuted for their alleged failure to prevent and punish the crimes. Colombia's paramilitaries have their origin in private armies formed by wealthy landowners to combat Marxist rebels.
NYT 16 June 2005 How Haiti's Future May Depend on a Starving Prisoner By GINGER THOMPSON PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, June 11 - Once again, one man has become the center of a political storm that threatens to foil this country's uphill struggle for stability. This time, it's not Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the former priest and charismatic slum leader who was deposed last year by an armed uprising and forced into exile. It is the man who rose and fell in Mr. Aristide's shadow, his former prime minister, Yvon Neptune. The former senator and radio talk show host has been jailed for a year without charges under a new government installed by the United States and is slowly starving himself to death in a minimum-security prison cell. Last year, Haiti's new government arrested Mr. Neptune, 58, accusing him as the mastermind of a massacre in a small northern town, St.-Marc. Prime Minister Gérard Latortue argued that justice was the best way to heal Haiti's wounds, and promoted the case as proof that no one, no matter how powerful, could stand above the law. But as the anniversary of Mr. Neptune's arrest approaches, his continued detention has become an embarrassment to the Bush administration and a symbol of the failures of what was supposed to be Haiti's transition to a fully functioning democracy. From prison, the former prime minister has denounced his case as a "political witch hunt" aimed at seeking vengeance, not justice, against those who supported Mr. Aristide. In February he started a series of hunger strikes to demand that the government try him or set him free. When a visitor went to the two-story house where Mr. Neptune is being held, the former prime minister could not lift his bony body off a foam mattress on the floor of his cell. He was wearing striped boxer shorts and listening to music on a Walkman. His most striking feature was the lines of his rib cage. "I feel weak," he said barely above a whisper. "Some days I feel weaker than others. But it was my choice to go on hunger strike." The hunger strikes have sent Mr. Neptune twice to the hospital in critical condition and brought expressions of concern, even outrage, about the injustices that continue to plague Haiti's justice system. Only about 20 of the more than 1,000 prisoners at the federal penitentiary have been convicted of crimes; many have spent years awaiting trial. But Jocelyn McCalla, executive director of the National Coalition for Haitian Rights in New York, said much more is at stake than Haiti's justice system. Rather than a political achievement for Haiti's interim government, he said, it has become a serious liability less than four months from the start of important national elections. And rather than uniting this violently polarized society, Mr. McCalla said, the case against Mr. Neptune has seemed only to keep old political hostilities festering, raising questions about the crimes of the past government, and about the legitimacy of the current one. "The Neptune case has raised hard questions about the legitimacy of the United States' intervention in Haiti," Mr. McCalla said. "The intervention was based on the premise that the United States was ousting a criminal despot, namely President Aristide, who had used his powers to subvert democracy, and that the interim government was going to establish rule of law. That has not happened." It is not easy to tell exactly what happened in St.-Marc. Estimates of the dead range from 5 to 50. But according to rights investigators and reports by the Haitian press, the violence had its roots in the upheaval that ousted President Aristide. That rebellion began in early February 2004 in Gonaïves, when a rag-tag group of former soldiers attacked police stations and forced officers to abandon their posts. Word spread rapidly to St.-Marc, where Aristide opponents who called themselves Ramicos attacked the police station and set up barricades. Mr. Neptune arrived there in the presidential helicopter on Feb. 9. Witnesses said he toured the city, summoned police officers back to their stations and vowed in an angry speech that the government would not surrender. "What we are doing is to make sure that peace is re-established," he was quoted as saying in a Haitian newspaper account. "We are encouraging the police to get together with the population so that the cycle of violence can cease. We ask all the population that wants peace to mobilize against the spiraling violence." In hindsight, some today see those words as giving the police a license to kill. Others see them as a beleaguered prime minister's striving to give confidence to his constituents. Two days later, witnesses said, the presidential helicopter returned and circled over the city. Police officers accompanied by pro-Aristide gunmen called Bale Wouze (the Creole phrase describes a cleansing ritual) broke through the barricades around a Ramicos stronghold, setting buildings on fire and throwing people inside to burn alive. No one claims to have seen Mr. Neptune. In fact, several days passed before anyone dared to enter the area to search for survivors. Terry Snow, a missionary from Tyler, Tex., who has worked in Haiti since 1986, recalled that the streets were littered with bodies. He was too scared to take photos of them, he said, but he recalled seeing at least seven in one house and three heads in an outhouse. Others told him there were bodies on the hillside, being eaten by hungry pigs and dogs. "By the time the police started looking for the bodies," he said, "they weren't there anymore." By then, neither was President Aristide. The growing instability in Haiti brought immense pressure by the United States, and Mr. Aristide fled the country for exile in Africa. Mr. Neptune, however, refused to flee, and cooperated with the United States by handing over power to Mr. Latortue, whose government repaid the favor with a warrant for Mr. Neptune's arrest. Three weeks ago, the emaciated prisoner was carried on a stretcher to his first court hearing in St.-Marc and testified for several hours, the latest sign that the interim government had begun to buckle under mounting pressure and was seeking a way to expedite the Neptune case. Months earlier, the government offered to fly Mr. Neptune for emergency medical treatment to the Dominican Republic, but Mr. Neptune refuses to leave Haiti until his name is cleared of wrongdoing. [On Tuesday, Justice Minister Bernard Gousse resigned, a move that may clear a final obstacle to Mr. Neptune's release.] The Haitian government blocked numerous attempts by two reporters from The New York Times to visit Mr. Neptune. Last Thursday, a reporter based in Haiti who works for The Times posed as a family friend and was allowed to visit him for seven minutes. He was rail thin and could barely speak above a whisper. Still he was clean and well groomed, his hair combed, his fingernails filed and his signature goatee clipped in a neat line around his jaw. He did not know for sure whether he was going to be released soon, he said. But if he was, he said, he would go to the United States for a while to recover with his wife and daughter. Still, he said he would not leave Haiti for long. "I will be back," he said. "I made the decision that I am never going to live in exile. I am going to stay here. I think I can be a lot more useful in Haiti than in the United States. "Haiti needs me more." Régine Alexandre contributed reporting for this article.
ZNet 23 June 2005 www.zmag.org [Excerpts only - Article followed by 58 endnotes] Faking Genocide in Haiti Canada’s Role in the Persecution of Yvon Neptune, Part 1 by Kevin Skerrett The unpalatable truth is that Haiti just does not matter very much. - editorial, The Guardian, February 17, 2004, 12 days prior to coup On to Part 2 The US, Canada, and France-backed coup d’état that overthrew Haiti’s elected President on February 29, 2004 put an end to almost ten years of constitutional democratic government in that country. Ostensibly, the removal of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was an expression of the “international community’s” desire to “re-establish democracy” in Haiti. But having seen similar rationales used to justify support for an attempted coup in Venezuela in 2002 (as part of a long-term and continuing destabilization program there), observers of US, French, and Canadian intentions in Haiti are well advised to examine what has happened there – both prior to and following the 2004 coup – with an especially critical and skeptical eye. . . Conclusion After sharp condemnations of Yvon Neptune’s imprisonment from a number of human rights organizations, he was finally brought before a judge on May 26 2005. In an especially farcical scene, Neptune was brought before the judge lying on a stretcher, so weakened by his hunger strike that he was barely able to speak.(57) Neptune’s legal and human rights continue to be treated with contempt, all under the approving eyes of CIDA’s supposed human rights watchdog NCHR, whose representative referred callously to the hearing as a “good occasion” for the ailing Neptune to “defend himself.”(58) It is difficult to read in detail through international media reports of the violence in St. Marc on February 11, 2004, compare them to the (fluctuating) descriptions of these events within the sketchy press releases published by NCHR, and maintain any conviction that NCHR operates under a non-partisan and independent organization. While in the years leading up to the February 29 coup the organization’s activities were focused almost exclusively on what they claimed were victims of human rights abuses committed by Haitian police, supporters of President Aristide’s Lavalas party, or the Haitian government itself, their orientation has shifted qualitatively since the February 29 coup. As the above brief review shows, NCHR’s criticism of the post-coup attacks carried out by the Haitian police is muted, and qualified by the suggestion that when innocent civilians are killed by the police, now it is an instance of “collateral damage”. The above analysis raises very serious questions about the potential debasement of the very concept of human rights and human rights advocacy by partisan politics – particularly when foreign-government financing is a major influence as we see in Haiti and many other Latin American countries. It strongly reinforces the concern that wealthy, militarily powerful countries are in certain instances utilizing their enormous financial power to undermine highly dependent developing country governments whose policies they seek to influence. To the questions posed here, the evidence reviewed above confirms the conclusions reached by an increasing number of independent observers: there was no genocide, and not even a “massacre”, but rather a series of violent confrontations that resulted in a number of deaths – possibly as many as 10 or 12 – on both “sides” of the conflict in Haiti that led to the February 29 coup. Our review strongly suggests that NCHR’s confident allegation that Prime Minister Yvon Neptune was implicated in these killings was political in nature, and in any case remains completely unsupported by evidence. When these conclusions are viewed alongside the fact that Neptune has now been illegally jailed for almost a year (provoking his hunger strike), it becomes obvious that any conception of the fundamental human rights enshrined in the UN and OAS systems require his immediate release. Finally, the issues raised by this episode also suggest that a serious review of CIDA’s human rights programming is in order, with the aim of ensuring that Canadian-funded and supported organizations that are ostensibly working in defense of human rights or in support of democracy are not being manipulated into serving very narrow Canadian foreign policy or trade policy interests. Clearly, Canadians do not want their government to join the list of countries best known for manipulating a rhetoric of human rights and democracy toward self-serving political and economic objectives that are in fact hostile to both. Back to Part 1 Kevin Skerrett is active in the Canada Haiti Action Network (CHAN). To join the CHAN email list, or for more information, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
New charges expected against Mexico's ex-president 19 Jun 2005 22:39:16 GMT Source: Reuters By Lorraine Orlandi MEXICO CITY, June 19 (Reuters) - A Mexican prosecutor said on Sunday he intends to file long-awaited charges this week against a former president and others for a 1968 massacre of students by government troops. Special Prosecutor Ignacio Carrillo, boosted by last week's Supreme Court ruling that former President Luis Echeverria can be tried in another case, said new charges of genocide and kidnapping against Echeverria and several others were "completely assembled" and would likely be filed by week's end. Echeverria, 83, was Interior Minister and head of national security at the time of the 1968 bloodbath, which occurred days before the Olympics opened in Mexico City. Officials said about 30 people were killed by police and soldiers at a rally in the capital, but witnesses put the death toll as high as 300. Prosecutors say it was part of a systematic government campaign to wipe out dissidents during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. Echeverria denies he orchestrated the violence. The move to prosecute Echeverria is a major test of Mexican President Vicente Fox's pledge to investigate past repression and punish those responsible. Hundreds of leftists died or disappeared at the hands of security forces during Echeverria's 1970-1976 term. Carrillo, appointed to lead that work, has been hindered by legal obstacles, resistance from police and lack of resources. He won a partial victory last week in a different case of genocide against Echeverria for a 1971 attack that killed scores of student protesters in Mexico City. The case was rejected by a lower court due to the statute of limitations. The high court ruled it was not too late to charge Echeverria and ex-Interior Minister Mario Moya, but time had run out to try nine lower-level officials. A lower court is expected this week to decide whether there is enough evidence that genocide occurred and whether the evidence shows Echeverria and Moya played a role in the 1971 attack. Depending upon the court's findings, arrest orders could be issued. In the 1968 massacre case, Carrillo said he has strong evidence to convince the courts that the statute of limitations on the crimes has not run out. In another victory for the prosecutor, a judge in Mexico City ordered four arrest orders against former officials for the abduction and disappearance of six peasant activists during the 1970s, prosecutors said on Sunday. A judge in Hidalgo state had rejected the same case, saying the disappearance did not constitute a kidnapping. Prosecutors changed jurisdictions and won the arrest orders. Carrillo would not provide the suspects' names until the orders are executed. They are believed to include two former secret police chiefs, one who is facing trial in two other abductions and another who is in hiding from several warrants. .
EMERGENCY CAMPAIGN TO END GENOCIDE: TAKE THE DARFUR PLEDGE News Release: 1,000 Take "Darfur Pledge" to End Genocide (Printer-friendly version) FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 17, 2005 Contact: John Morlino, Founder and President The Essence of True Humanity Is Compassion (The ETHIC) http://www.the-ethic.org http://www.the-ethic.org/darfur.htm 1,000 TAKE “DARFUR PLEDGE” TO END GENOCIDE As “Shake Hands with the Devil” Opens Nationwide, Dallaire-Inspired Campaign Reaches Milestone Kensington, MD, June 17 — One thousand Americans have pledged to contact President Bush every day until 44,000 peacekeepers have been deployed to stop the genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan, Africa. The “Darfur Pledge Campaign” was inspired by General Romeo Dallaire, whose return to Rwanda on the tenth anniversary of the genocide he futilely sought to prevent is depicted in the film “Shake Hands with the Devil.” The Essence of True Humanity Is Compassion (The ETHIC), an all-volunteer nonprofit organization, launched the Darfur Pledge Campaign after hearing General Dallaire speak at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in February. In his speech, General Dallaire estimated that 44,000 peacekeepers -with a mandate to protect innocent civilians- could stop the cycle of violence in Darfur. Currently, there are fewer than 3000 African Union monitors without peacekeeping authority in the region, which is the size of Texas. Dallaire encouraged American citizens to call for more leadership and involvement from the U.S. to stop the killing. “With the memory of Rwanda weighing heavily on our conscience, we simply cannot be silent while another genocide goes unchallenged,” said The ETHIC’s Founder John Morlino. “General Dallaire reminds us that as citizens of the US, we have the collective capacity to compel our government leaders to act. We just need to use that power.” Over the past two years, 400,000 Sudanese have been systematically slaughtered by government-sponsored militias in the Darfur region. Two million more have been displaced and face the prospect of death from disease or starvation. There has been a shameful lack of action by the US and the international community to stop the genocide and protect the people of Darfur. As John Morlino states, “"I have become increasingly frustrated and despondent over the lack of will to send an adequate number of peacekeepers to stop the genocide in Darfur. I simply had to do something. This campaign represents a simple act that everyday people can do to make a difference and hopefully save lives." In its entirety, the Darfur Pledge consists of the following: Until 44,000 peacekeepers have been deployed in Darfur to stop the killing, I pledge to take the following actions: 1) EVERY DAY*, I will call the White House switchboard (202-456-1414) and leave the following message for President Bush: "This is [name] from [state]. Forty-four thousand peacekeeping troops could stop the genocide in Darfur. Please act immediately. Thank you." If calling long distance is a financial hardship or if I can't leave a message due to the volume of calls, I will send an email to President@WhiteHouse.gov every day with the same message. (* You can leave a voice message at the White House Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. eastern time.) 2) I will recruit at least ONE other person to take this pledge. 3) To ensure that my actions are counted, I will register my pledge with The ETHIC by emailing my name and address to DarfurPledge@peacemail.com or by signing the online pledge petition at http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/391810134. As of June 17, one thousand people from across the United States have taken the Darfur Pledge, either by signing the online petition or by emailing their pledge to The ETHIC. The ETHIC is an all-volunteer non-profit founded in 2002 to promote peace, nonviolence and compassion toward all beings. More information about this campaign is available on our website at http://www.the-ethic.org/.
NYT 18 June 2005 C.I.A. Role in Visit of Sudan Intelligence Chief Causes Dispute Within Administration By SCOTT SHANE WASHINGTON, June 17 - A decision by the Central Intelligence Agency to fly Sudan's intelligence chief to Washington in a C.I.A. jet in April set off a dispute inside the Bush administration, with some officials arguing that such recognition for a government accused of genocide and ties to terrorism sent a regrettable signal, administration officials said on Friday. The visit by Salah Abdallah Gosh for consultations with the Central Intelligence Agency this year was intended by American intelligence officials to reward Sudan's cooperation since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, in detaining suspected terrorists and providing information on Al Qaeda. But some officials in the State Department and the Justice Department objected, arguing that the trip would send a misleading message both to the government of Sudan and to other countries about American priorities, officials said. Mr. Gosh's trip was first reported April 29 in The Los Angeles Times, which reported on the controversy within the administration in an additional article on Thursday. The visit has provoked criticism from members of Congress and human rights groups, who say that Mr. Gosh has played a role in the government's collaboration with militias that have displaced millions of people and killed tens of thousands in the Darfur region. The United States has condemned Sudan for committing genocide in Darfur. A United Nations inquiry this spring referred a sealed list of names of 51 people suspected of committing crimes in Darfur to the International Criminal Court, which announced on June 6 that it had opened an investigation. "We're very uncomfortable and unhappy with his coming to the U.S.," said Jemera Rone, a Sudan researcher at Human Rights Watch. "From the human rights point of view, it sends the worst possible message." Members of the Congressional Black Caucus protested the visit in a meeting this week with Condoleezza Rice, the secretary of state, said Representative Donald M. Payne, a New Jersey Democrat who has made several trips to Sudan. "When I heard Gosh came over here, I said this is absolutely unconscionable," Mr. Payne said. "I liken it to some Nazi SS official coming to the U.S. during World War II." Both Ms. Rone and Mr. Payne said they did not have any direct evidence of the role Mr. Gosh might have played in the Darfur atrocities. But they said that as chief of Sudan's intelligence and security service, he undoubtedly had knowledge of the offenses and complicity in them. A senior administration official said that despite the record of Sudan and its top officials, the C.I.A.'s mission requires ties with its Sudanese counterpart. "The purpose of this visit was to continue to build a stronger professional relationship between two intelligence services," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of relations with foreign intelligence agencies. "For years the C.I.A. was forbidden to meet with anyone who didn't qualify for choirboy. After 9/11 it became clear that you have to talk to bad guys from bad neighborhoods to fight terrorism." Adam Ereli, a State Department spokesman, declined to comment on any objections raised by department officials to Mr. Gosh's visit. He said Sudan remained a state sponsor of terrorism, despite "improved cooperation on counterterrorism." Mr. Ereli said an official of the department met with the Sudanese official at C.I.A. headquarters "to send a clear and unequivocal message that the government of Sudan has to take action to stop the killing in Darfur." Officials denied the Los Angeles Times report that there had been any discussion of arresting Mr. Gosh, saying no legal case had been prepared to support such a step. Sudan's ambassador, Khidir Haroun Ahmed, said his country's cooperation with the C.I.A. predated the 2001 attacks and had only grown stronger. "Frankly, this is very surprising to me that there are people who still question our cooperation over combating international terrorism," Mr. Ahmed said. Differences over Darfur, he said, "should be no reason to stop exchanges with Sudan." One Congressional official said that Mr. Gosh, who holds the rank of major general, met with midlevel officials and did not see Porter Goss, the C.I.A. director. Flight records show that a Boeing 737-style business jet controlled by the C.I.A. flew from Khartoum to Baltimore-Washington International Airport on April 17 and returned on April 22. The Bush administration has built its foreign policy since Sept. 11, 2001, not just on an aggressive pursuit of Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups but also on the promotion of democracy as an antidote to terrorism. But those two policies have sometimes clashed, as the administration has sought the cooperation of Sudan, which harbored Osama bin Laden in the mid-1990's, as well as Uzbekistan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and other authoritarian governments. In its 2004 report on terrorism, the State Department said Sudan "deepened its cooperation with the U.S. government to investigate and apprehend extremists suspected of involvement in terrorist activities."
washingtonpost.com 19 June 2005 A Sorry History Why an Apology From the Senate Can't Make Amends By Laura Wexler Post Sunday, June 19, 2005; B01 "Dear Pres. Truman," the letter begins, "I am a little girl about 12 year old and I think that someone up there in Wash DC ought to put a stop to these murder . . . because it is getting terrible to walk down the street any moore." Scrawled in childish handwriting that runs crookedly across the page, the letter is signed by Miss Vinita Ann, one of the thousands of citizens who wrote to President Harry Truman and Attorney General Tom Clark in the wake of the lynching of two black men and two black women in Walton County, Ga., on July 25, 1946. Though the letters varied in their specifics, each made the same general demand: The federal government should use its power to punish those who committed the lynching, and act to prevent future lynchings. Last Monday, the Senate offered Vinita Ann -- now about 71 years old, if she is still alive -- a kind of reply when it formally apologized to the nation's nearly 5,000 lynching victims and their descendants for having failed to enact anti-lynching legislation. Like Mississippi's current efforts to pursue justice in both the 1955 killing of 14-year-old Emmett Till and the 1964 murders of civil rights workers Michael Schwerner, James Chaney and Andrew Goodman, the Senate's apology speaks of progress and redemption -- a new day in race relations. And yet, the apology is ultimately unsatisfying. Though it would be comforting to finger the Senate as the "bad guy" -- the evildoer who, five decades later, has seen the light and is asking for forgiveness -- the reality is that the Senate is not the main villain in the story of American lynching. And so its apology is mismatched to the crime. Admirable and welcome as it is, it is not the balm that can heal the wound. Lynching -- unlike simple murder -- is a form of collective violence in which individuals act with the explicit or implicit support of the community, or at least without its condemnation. A particularly American brand of domestic terrorism, it thrived and went unpunished from the late-19th through the mid-20th century largely because of the racism of American citizens. The fact is, even if the Senate had passed one of the 200 anti-lynching bills proposed since 1909, lynchers still would have gone unpunished, and lynchings still would have continued to occur. We know this to be true because, starting in 1939, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt created the Civil Rights Section (CRS) of the Justice Department, the federal government did pursue lynchers -- but repeatedly failed to earn convictions. In 1942, a mob in Sikeston, Mo., broke into a state jail, seized a black prisoner named Cleo Wright, tied his feet to the back of a car, dragged him through the streets and finally burned him to death. After a state grand jury failed to indict anyone for murder, the CRS asked a federal grand jury to indict under Sections 51 and 52 of the United States Code, the two civil rights statutes that remained from those passed in the wake of the Civil War. But the federal grand jury followed the lead of its state counterparts and also failed. One year later, CRS lawyers persuaded a federal grand jury to return indictments against five men in the lynching of Howard Wash in Laurel, Miss. But after the defendants' attorney raised the issue of states' rights at trial, the jury found all five not guilty -- even though one had signed a confession admitting to having participated in the lynching. Certainly these failures, just two among many, resulted partly from the federal government's slim jurisdiction in lynching cases; it could prosecute only for civil rights violations -- not for murder, which is a state crime. But even if the Senate had solved the jurisdictional problem by passing a federal anti-lynching law, that law would still have had to be enforced by American juries. And throughout the first half of the 20th century, it was the rare court that would convict, or even indict, a white man for a serious crime against a black man -- especially in the South, where the majority of lynchings occurred. Not until October 1946, seven years after its creation, did the CRS win its first victory in a lynching case, when Tom Crews, a Florida constable, was convicted of civil rights violations in the killing of a black farmhand. That Crews's punishment -- a $1,000 fine and one year in prison -- was so paltry was, ironically, one of the reasons the jury probably voted to convict him. Had the punishment been life in prison -- had, in other words, the punishment been for the crime of murder and not for the crime of civil rights violations -- it is hard to believe the Florida jury would have acted the same. Even the federal government's few successes in prosecuting lynchings, then, can be seen as proof of the fact that in the past jury problems -- which is to say, the racism of the ordinary American citizen -- even more than the jurisdictional problems, account for the fact that less than 1 percent of lynchers were ever convicted. This is not to argue that the Senate shouldn't have passed a federal anti-lynching law. It should have. This is not to argue that the federal government should not have pursued lynchers; it certainly should have. The mere presence of federal agents in a county that had experienced a lynching sent a message to locals from the Justice Department: We may not be able to convict you, but we will make your life hell for a few months. That message, in conjunction with widespread media coverage of lynchings, growing African American political and economic power and the increasing urbanization of the South, among other things, led to the eventual end of the lynching epidemic. After the quadruple murders on July 25, 1946, the nation would never again see as many victims lynched on a single day. In 1952, the nation finally celebrated its first lynchless year, And by 1968, there were few enough incidents that the Tuskegee Institute, which had documented lynchings since 1882, stopped counting. Somewhere in the early 1990s -- perhaps in 1994, when Byron de la Beckwith was convicted for the murder of civil rights leader Medgar Evers 30 years after the murder itself, -- we entered an age of atonement in which we still live, and likely will for a while. In the best cases, revisiting the sins of our racial past has produced justice. In other cases, it has provided the consolation prizes of official acknowledgment and apology, which, depending on where you stand -- and how much you have suffered -- may be consoling, or may not. It is admirable that the Senate has honestly and publicly acknowledged its role in American lynching. But just as no one can ask forgiveness for a sin he or she did not commit, the Senate cannot apologize for the real crime of lynching: the countless burnings, beheadings, mutilations, assassinations and hangings that occurred on American soil. And it cannot apologize for the failure of countless juries to convict those who committed such hideous acts. A crime as widespread and inhumane as lynching -- or slavery or genocide -- requires multiple apologies, because multiple individuals and entities created, carried out and benefited from it. In this case, the Senate, a bit player in the tragedy, has offered its apology. But instead of providing comfort, it has pointed to the gaping hole that exists, and will always exist, where the other apologies -- the ones from citizens-- should have been. Laura Wexler, who lives in Baltimore, is the author of "Fire in a Canebrake: The Last Mass Lynching in America" (Scribner).
washingtonpost.com 16 June 2005 Beyond the Senate's Apology for Lynching Post Thursday, June 16, 2005; A28 The Senate is not the only powerful institution in Washington that owes an apology for the lynchings that took place in this country ["Repairing Senate's Record on Lynching," front page, June 11]. The article about the Senate apology included an excerpt from an 1894 Post article about a lynching. The excerpt described the lynched man -- who, it claimed, committed assault -- as "brutal." It did not use any similar adjective to refer to the people who barbarically murdered him. Instead, the subhead called them "peaceable citizens." The article also referred to the lynching as "a short trial and a speedy punishment." As Avis Thomas-Lester's article noted, these acts of mob torture and murder often were met with impunity and a lack of public condemnation. From the brief excerpt from the 1894 Post, it appears that the newspaper shared some responsibility for enabling these horrific crimes. KAREN O'KEEFE Washington · It is gratifying to see a shameful chapter of our nation's past finally given broad exposure and even more gratifying that two southern lawmakers sponsored the resolution to apologize for the Senate's repeated failure to pass a federal anti-lynching law. While we are setting the historical record straight, however, we should acknowledge the contributions of the writer who did more than any other white person to awaken the conscience of America to the disgrace of lynching. Albion W. Tourgee began pressing for anti-lynching legislation in 1888, even before Ida B. Wells, who memorialized him in her autobiography as the "Negro's best friend." It was Tourgee who persuaded President Benjamin Harrison to argue for making lynching a federal offense. Unlike most whites, Tourgee recognized that the purpose of lynching was not to protect white women against black rapists but to "terrify the colored man . . . drive him out of business, compel him to accept such wages as the 'superior race' may choose to give, and cease to assert in any way his own manhood." CAROLYN L. KARCHER Washington · Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and George Allen (R-Va.) and their colleagues presumably meant well in introducing their resolution that the Senate apologize "in the spirit of true repentance" to the victims of lynching and their descendants for its repeated failure to enact anti-lynching legislation, but, frankly, both talk and Senate resolutions are cheap. If the Senate really wants to show remorse, let it look to the Russell Senate Office Building, where Mr. Allen keeps his office. Richard B. Russell Jr., a senator from Georgia, was one of the most effective voices in the Senate in fighting off anti-lynching bills in 1935 and particularly in 1938. Trading on his image as a "gentleman," Mr. Russell argued that federal legislation to outlaw the mob murder of blacks, as well as other civil rights bills, "would destroy the white civilization of the South." It has long been a scandal that the Senate's oldest and most prestigious office building is named after Russell. If the Senate feels the spirit of true repentance, it should vote to rename it. MICHAEL BAUM Gaithersburg
washingtonpost.com 20 June 2005 Seeking More Than Apologies for Slavery Activists Hope Firms' Disclosure of Ties Will Lead to Reparations By Darryl Fears Washington Post Staff Writer Monday, June 20, 2005; A01 It was a brief mea culpa, a few short paragraphs typed on a sheet of paper. "On behalf of Wachovia Corporation, I apologize to all Americans, and especially to African Americans and people of African descent," Chairman and chief executive G. Kennedy Thompson said after a study found that his company had purchased two banks that exploited slaves. Wachovia revealed on June 1 that one of the banks put hundreds of slaves to work on railroads and another accepted more than 100 more as collateral on defaulted loans in the 1800s. Wachovia, one of the nation's largest banks, was required by the city of Chicago to investigate its past to participate in the redevelopment of a housing project on the city's South Side. Chicago's law is the result of a campaign by a network of black politicians, lawyers, professors and reparations activists who say they want Americans to know that slave purchases were often financed with bank loans and insured. Since 2000, when the first disclosure law was enacted by the state of California, similar laws have been passed in Los Angeles, Detroit and Philadelphia. New Orleans is considering a version of the law, and numerous other city lawmakers have expressed interest, said Dorothy J. Tillman, the Chicago alderman who sponsored the ordinance. Disclosure laws in the past have required companies to reveal their ties to the Holocaust and South Africa's former apartheid government. Tillman said Americans deserve to know that companies they rely on for mortgages, credit cards and insurance supported the slave trade with similar loans. "We have a history that's not being told," she said. "We want our history to be told in every book and every school -- our true history." The activists see the apologies, in some cases, as possible preludes to reparation payments. But Wachovia, and every other company that has acknowledged ties to slavery, has declined to make any such payments. A spokesman for Aetna, which had a reparations lawsuit thrown out, said the insurance company believes that no court would grant reparations for a crime, no matter how tragic, that occurred so long ago. Reparations to African Americans are extraordinarily rare. The $1.8 million award in 1994 to victims of the riot and massacre in Rosewood, Fla., is one of a few. In that 1923 incident, white authorities and citizens killed 26 black men, women and children and buried them in a mass grave. About 355 black residents were driven from their homes as the community burned. The U.S. government has never apologized or paid reparations to the descendants of slaves. Other groups, such as Japanese Americans who were forced into camps during World War II, have been more successful. Swiss banks paid reparations to Holocaust victims after the banks acknowledged they had accepted money and goods stolen from Jews by Nazis during World War II. A CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll in 2002 showed that nine out of 10 white Americans said the government should not make cash reparations payments, while half of black respondents said it should. Sixty-two percent of white respondents also believed that the government should not apologize to African Americans for underwriting slavery, while 68 percent of African Americans said it should. But as corporate leaders have come under pressure from some state and local governments, and the extent of their companies' participation in slavery is revealed, they are feeling compelled to apologize. "We know we can't change the past, and we can't make up for the wrongs of slavery," Thompson, the Wachovia chairman, said in his statement. "But we can learn from our past and begin a dialogue about slavery and the experience of African Americans in our country." Wachovia spokesman Scott Silvestri said the company is talking to the NAACP, the Urban League and other civil rights groups about how to proceed. "We didn't want to have a donation or gift right out of a gate," he said. "We wanted to think about what's the best way to address that." Charles Ogletree, a Harvard University law professor and reparations activist whom Tillman consulted to help craft the Chicago ordinance, said research required by the law has revealed involvement in slavery by companies that have historically denied it. "Investigations are turning up substantial evidence of connections between their corporate success and their exploitation of slaves in the 18th and 19th century," he said. Ogletree said the disclosures and apologies could be a turning point in convincing the courts and average Americans that reparations are warranted. A 111-page report released by Wachovia along with its apology showed that a bank it acquired, the Georgia Railroad and Banking Co., put 529 slaves to work on railroads. Another, the Bank of Charleston, accepted 162 slaves when clients defaulted on loans. Wachovia contracted a group in Chantilly, Va., called the History Factory to search its records. In 2002, Aetna was forced to acknowledge its role in insuring slave owners in the 1850s against the deaths of slaves after Deadria Farmer-Paellmann, a reparations activist, discovered the policies. Through the mid-1800s, insurance companies often paid claims when slaves escaped, then would place ads in publications offering rewards to bounty hunters to track them down and bring them back, even if they had escaped to free states. The slaves would be resold. In January, J.P. Morgan Chase, the nation's second-largest bank, apologized for the role its subsidiaries played in using more than 10,000 slaves as collateral for loans and accepting more than 1,000 slaves when their owners defaulted. J.P. Morgan's apology also was prompted by the Chicago disclosure law. Bank of America Corp. is fighting accusations at Chicago City Hall that it did not disclose its ties to slavery on a sworn affidavit. The city is reviewing evidence showing slave ownership by John Brown -- a former director of Providence Bank, which became Fleet-Boston, a bank later acquired by Bank of America. A host of other companies fought the lawsuit, filed in 2002, after investigations found links to slavery. They include investors Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and Brown Brothers Harriman; insurers American International Group Inc. and Lloyds of London; tobacco makers R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Holdings, Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp., and Liggett Group Inc.; and the railroad firms Union Pacific Corp. and Norfolk Southern Corp. A similar lawsuit against the federal government seeking $100 million was dismissed in 1995 by a federal appeals court. No dollar figure was mentioned for the 2002 lawsuit, but an estimate of the value of work provided by slaves was placed at $40 million, which today could amount to more than $1 trillion, according to the lawsuit. A judge for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois threw out the complaint, saying it was brought "more than a century after the end of the Civil War and the formal abolition of slavery." But the judge, Charles R. Norgle Sr., dismissed the lawsuit without prejudice, meaning it could be amended and filed again. Reparations activists say that former slaves and their descendants sought restitution years ago but were turned away by hostile courts. I.H. Dickerson of Nashville founded the Ex-Slave Mutual Relief, Bounty and Pension Association in 1897. His quest for reparations ended when the federal postal service accused him of receiving a money order under false pretenses. He was convicted and sentenced to 12 years in prison in 1901. His assistant, Callie D. House, was later tried, but the outcome is unknown. Today's activists are more influential. In addition to Tillman and Ogletree, they include Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), who sponsors legislation to study reparations proposals for African Americans during each Congress, and a host of other public officials, groups and historians. The National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America, or N'COBRA, was formed a year after the United States acknowledged wrongdoing and paid reparations to Japanese Americans. Farmer-Paellmann, a former N'COBRA law clerk, is credited with the idea of challenging such corporations as Aetna and J.P. Morgan Chase to expose their ties to slavery. In the mid-1990s, she began researching the companies' pasts and publicized her findings. Aetna Chairman John W. Rowe responded in April 2000. "The fact that Aetna had written policies on slaves more than 140 years ago was brought to the attention of Aetna's management. They were deeply disappointed and embarrassed." Farmer-Paellmann said the apology was worth her work then and now. "It's to get them to apologize and also ask them to pay restitution," she said. A trust fund was established at Carver Federal Savings Bank in Harlem, but attracted few donations, she said. "Why is it important to pay restitution? Historically, the lack of financial capital has been a barrier to black progress," she said. "It's harder for us to get bank loans, and red lining is a vestige of slavery. It's about them helping us to heal the wounds they historically caused."
The Capital 22 June 2005 www.hometownannapolis.com Witness to genocide - Annapolis man documents atrocities in Sudan's Darfur Wednesday June 22nd, 2005 04:30. Printer-Friendly version Send this article to a friend Destinator : (enter destinator's email address) From (enter your name) (enter your email) By E.B. FURGURSON III, The Capital ANNAPOLIS, June 20, 2005 -- Brian Steidle doesn't know what happened to Mihad Hamid. When he photographed the 1-year-old girl last year in a refugee camp in the western Sudan region of Darfur, she was suffering from a serious gunshot wound. Ret. U.S. Marine Capt. Brian Steidle talks at a news conference, Thursday, March 10, 2005, in Washington about the six months he spent monitoring Dafur with the African Union Mission in Sudan. (AP). Mihad was the first of hundreds of victims the former Marine captain photographed as part of a State Department contract to monitor the conflict between African and Arab Muslims. For six months he wrote reports and took photographs recording what he saw every day. The reports seemed to go nowhere. The world seemingly didn't wake up to the murder, rape, torture of thousands of men, women and children at the hands of government-backed militias. Nor did they spark help for the appalling conditions survivors are living under in refugee camps on both sides of the Sudan-Chad border. But with his photographs, the Annapolis resident has helped to bring worldwide attention to the atrocities. He has told his story to Congress, international courts and anyone else who will listen. Mihad was the first person he took a picture of. She had been shot in the back as her fam-ily fled an attack by Sudanese Arab militia and helicopter gunships in October. The bullet punctured her lung. She was wheezing as her mother handed the child to Mr. Steidle because she thought all foreigners were doctors. She likely died in the refugee camps along the border with Chad. That encounter haunts him and drives his effort to stir the world into action. After Mihad and the countless other atrocities he saw in the following months, Mr. Steidle decided to break the constraints of his diplomatic, neutral position with the African Union and go public. "My conscience would no longer allow me to stand by without taking further action," he said in an interview. "I thought I could be more effective by bringing the story of what I witnessed to the world." In addition to Congress, Mr. Steidle has testified for Britain's House of Commons, and appeared on media outlets throughout the world. He's made his information available to the International Criminal Court in the Hague, which announced on June 6 it would open formal war crimes investigations into the Darfur debacle. The Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., has put some of his photographs on its Web site. Now he is going back. This month Mr. Steidle, who has been living on a sailboat in the Annapolis area since February, is returning to the camps in Chad - this time with an HBO film crew to document the horrific stories the displaced thousands have to tell. Ethnic cleansing The tragedy in Darfur, a region about the size of Texas, has deep roots. The Arab militias, also called the Janjaweed, are historically a nomadic tribe who have been fighting non-Arab farmers for years. The current, more intense, conflict began in 2003 when two rebel groups from the non-Arab side attacked government installations. The Sudanese government responded with air assaults supported by the Janjaweed. That response quickly turned into scorched-earth ethnic cleansing witnessed by Mr. Steidle and other members of the team of international observers under the auspices of the African Union, an organization founded in 2002 to attract foreign investment and spread democracy. "We came upon villages that had been burned, people had been locked in their huts and burned alive," he said. "Others had their ears and noses cut off, their eyes popped out. We found men who had been castrated and left to bleed to death. We saw this every day." This has happened to hundreds if not thousands of villages. The death toll has varied from 80,000 to 300,000. Mr. Steidle thinks it is closer to the higher number. A recent British Parliament report concurs. The Sudanese government denies its troops have been involved in any ethnic cleansing. But Mr. Steidle's pictures of a Sudanese soldier standing next to a food store he has just torched, a shot of a helicopter gunship strafing a village, dead bodies and aerial pictures of torched villages, prove otherwise. That is why some say Mr. Steidle's efforts have helped the cause. "He has been powerful for three reasons," said Jerry Fowler, staff director of the Committee on Conscience at the Holocaust Memorial Museum. "First, he is an incredibly credible witness, in his presentation, his manner and his background. Second was his unique access as part of a monitoring force. And third, he documented what he saw through his photographs." He said Mr. Steidle helped get wider coverage for the plight of those being killed and displaced. "There has been a lot of coverage of this story. But unfortunately it has still not broken through the white noise we live with. It is not getting sustained coverage like the Michael Jackson trial." Rep. Frank Wolfe, R-Va., met with Mr. Steidle and got him a meeting in March with Secretary of State CondoleezzaRice. In that brief meeting and subsequent hours with her staff he made the same plea he did before Congress. "I believe this conflict can be resolved through international support for the African Union ... We cannot fail the men women and Chirdren of Darfur. We must stop the ongoing genocide," he said. He pushed a three pronged AU effort: Expanded powers to protect civilians and secure routes for humanitarian aide, advanced logistic and communication support and a sharp increase in the number of international troops on the ground. His story was entered into the Congressional Record in March in support of bills addressing the Darfur debacle. In April the Senate passed the Darfur Accountablity Act of 2005. A similar bill is in committee in the House. Mr. Wolfe credited Mr. Steidle's effort. "How can you remain silent when you watch genocide take place?" Family inspiration The decision to take a stand comes from family roots too. When he was in Darfur in the spring of 2004, he regularly talked to his sister, former Annapolis resident Gretchen Wallace, by satellite phone. "He shared with us a lot of the things he was experiencing," she said. "He talked about witnessing these things, and seeing the lack of coverage was so frustrating for him. How can this be happening on such a large scale and no one knew about it?" The AU reports seemed to be secreted somewhere; the word was not getting out. It seemed strange because Mr. Steidle had previously served as an observer in the Nuba mountain region overseeing a treaty from an older Sudanese conflict. Information gathered there made it to the press. "It seemed everything was in the open, more transparent." Ms. Wallace said. "But in Darfur it was closed." His father, who served as an A-6 pilot in Vietnam, then head of the Joint Strike Fighter program before becoming a NASA official, thinks part of his son's inspiration to serve came from an awareness of other cultures from living in different places around the world. "Being aware of politics world wide came from that background ... being uprooted and moved around had its positive effect in the long-term," said retired Adm. Craig Steidle, who lives in Virginia. He is not the only sibling with that world view. He is taking his sister to Chad where, aside from the HBO documentary, they will work on a project for Global Grassroots, a non-profit founded by Ms Wallace. Global Grassroots aims to help women in stricken areas like Darfur by finding small-scale solutions developed by the people themselves that can be used elsewhere. Of course Mr. Steidle is taking a chance returning to the area. "The ICC warned me it's not a good idea." "(They) can't be happy with him," Mr. Fowler said. Some think, considering the tactics used by the government of Sudan in Darfur so far, it is dangerous for him. "If it is willing to go the extremes of violence to protect itself, I think that suggests he needs to be very cautious about returning to the region." But Mihan and the others changed this Marine's life. "I got into this for selfish reasons," he said. "I got out of the Marine Corps and heard about this job. It was adventure and it paid real well." But when he hit Darfur, it was a different story. "I did not have a clue. Now I have to do it for them, not for myself . . . I have to do what's right."
www.paulharvey.com 23 June 2005 ABC RADIO NETWORKS I've been choking on something for weeks. Lets get it, up and get it out, for what it's worth. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Winston Churchill said that the American people, he said the American people he said, and this is a direct quote, "We didn't come this this far because we are made of sugar candy." That was his response to the attack on Pearl Harbor. That we didn't come this far because we are made of sugar candy. And that reminder was taken seriously and we proceeded to develop and deliver the bomb even though roughly 150,000 men, women and children perished in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. With a single blow, World War II was over. NewYork'ss September 11 Pearl Harbor, Winston Churchill was not here to remind us that we didn't come this far because we are made of sugar candy. So following the New York disaster we mustered our humanity, we gave old pals a pass even though men and money from Saudi Arabia were largely responsible for the devastation of New York and Pennsylvania and our Pentagon. We called Saudi Arabia our partners against terrorism and we sent men with rifles into Afghanistan and Iraq and we kept our best weapons in their silos. Even now, we're standing there dying, daring to do nothing decisive because we've declared ourselves to be better than our terrorist enemies, more moral, more civilized. Our image is at stake, we insist. But we didn't come this far because we are made of sugar candy. Once upon a time we uh, elbowed our way onto and into this continent by giving smallpox infected blankets to Native Americans. Yes, that was biological warfare. And we used every other weapon we could get our hands on to grab this land from whomever and we grew prosperous. And yes, we greased the skids with the sweat of slaves. And so it goes with most great nation-states, which feeling guilty about their savage pasts, eventually civilize themselves out of business and wind up invaded and ultimately dominated by the lean, hungry, up and coming who are not made of sugar candy. Paul Harvey - Good Day!
www.fair.org Action Alert Paul Harvey's Tribute to Slavery, Nukes, Genocide Hateful rant shows Disney's double standard on speech 7/1/05 Disney/ABC radio personality Paul Harvey, one of the most widely listened to commentators in the United States, presented his listeners on June 23 with an endorsement of genocide and racism that would have been right at home on a white supremacist shortwave broadcast. Harvey's commentary began by lamenting the decline of American wartime aggression. "We're standing there dying, daring to do nothing decisive because we've declared ourselves to be better than our terrorist enemies--more moral, more civilized," he said. Drawing a contrast with what he cast as the praiseworthy nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II, Harvey lamented that "we sent men with rifles into Afghanistan and Iraq and kept our best weapons in their silos"--suggesting that America should have used its nuclear arsenal in its invasions of both countries. Harvey concluded: "We didn't come this far because we're made of sugar candy. Once upon a time, we elbowed our way onto and across this continent by giving smallpox-infected blankets to Native Americans. That was biological warfare. And we used every other weapon we could get our hands on to grab this land from whomever. "And we grew prosperous. And yes, we greased the skids with the sweat of slaves. So it goes with most great nation-states, which--feeling guilty about their savage pasts--eventually civilize themselves out of business and wind up invaded and ultimately dominated by the lean, hungry up-and-coming who are not made of sugar candy." Harvey's evident approval of slavery, genocide and nuclear and biological warfare would seem to put him at odds with Disney's family-friendly image. The media conglomerate syndicates Harvey to more than 1,000 radio stations, where he reaches an estimated 18 million listeners. Disney recently signed a 10-year, $100 million contract with the 86-year-old Harvey. In 2004, Disney forbid its Miramax subsidiary to distribute Michael Moore's film Fahrenheit 9/11, even though Miramax was the principal investor in the film. A Disney executive told the New York Times (5/5/04) that it was declining to distribute the film because, in the paper's words, "Disney caters to families of all political stripes and believes Mr. Moore's film...could alienate many." One wonders whether Disney executives are worried about alienating families who oppose slavery, nuclear war and Native American genocide. ACTION: Ask Disney why it finds Paul Harvey's nostalgia for slavery and genocide and his calls for nuclear war acceptable, but deemed Michael Moore's film unacceptable. CONTACT: ABC Radio Networks John.E.McConnell@abc.com email@example.com Phone: 212-456-5387 Paul Harvey Irma.N.Aviles@abc.com Phone: (312) 889-4085 Disney Corporation Phone: 818-560-1000
washingtonpost.com 24 June 2005 Ex-Klansman Gets 60 Years in Prison for Civil Rights Slayings Killen Expresses No Remorse for 1964 Killings By Emily Wagster Pettus Associated Press Friday, June 24, 2005; A03 PHILADELPHIA, Miss., June 23 -- Former Ku Klux Klansman Edgar Ray Killen was wheeled before a judge Thursday, an 80-year-old relic of Mississippi's hate-filled past, and sentenced to 60 years in prison for the 1964 slayings of three civil rights workers. Killen sat in his wheelchair in a bright-yellow jail uniform and stared straight ahead, stone-faced. He offered no remorse and no explanations as Judge Marcus Gordon gave him the maximum -- thus closing one of the most shocking chapters in the movement to end segregation across the South. "Each life has value. Each life is equally as valuable as the other life, and I have taken that into consideration," the judge said. "The three lives should absolutely be respected and treated equally." In imposing the prison term, Gordon noted that some people "would say a sentence of 10 years would be a life sentence." The judge asked whether Killen had anything to say. "None, your honor," he said. Killen, a Baptist preacher and sawmill operator, was convicted of manslaughter Tuesday, exactly 41 years after the three civil rights volunteers were killed while working in Mississippi to register blacks to vote. Killen has been in a wheelchair since breaking his legs in a March logging accident. The victims -- black Mississippian James Chaney and white New Yorkers Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman -- were beaten and shot by Klansmen. Their bodies were found 44 days later, buried in a red-clay dam. Witnesses said Killen rounded up carloads of Klansmen to intercept the three men and helped arrange for a bulldozer to bury the bodies. The killings made headlines across the country, exposed the depth of southern resistance to integration, and helped speed passage of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964. The case was dramatized in the 1988 movie "Mississippi Burning." During the sentencing, more than 25 armed law enforcement officers stood against the walls of the 200-seat, oak-paneled courtroom. Killen's relatives were on one side of the aisle and the victims' families on the other. Schwerner's widow, Rita Schwerner Bender, blinked and nodded slightly as Gordon announced each sentence. She leaned on her husband, Bill Bender, and he firmly squeezed her hand. "I want to thank God that today we saw Preacher Killen in a prison uniform taken from the courthouse to the jailhouse," said Chaney's younger brother, Ben Chaney. Killen's wife, Betty Jo, pushed past security to give her husband three kisses before he was wheeled from the courtroom. Defense attorney James McIntyre said Killen's last words were: "I'll see you." Killen will be taken to a state prison outside Jackson, where he will be held in solitary, Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood said. He said Killen must serve at least one-third of his sentence -- 20 years -- before becoming eligible for parole. Hood said Killen has expressed no remorse. "I know at some point he'll get to that realization: You don't get to heaven unless you admit what you've done and ask for forgiveness," Hood said. Killen was tried in 1967 on federal charges of violating the victims' civil rights. But the all-white jury deadlocked, with one juror saying she could not convict a preacher. Seven others were convicted, but none served more than six years. Killen is the only person to be brought up on state murder charges in the case. But the jury of nine whites and three blacks convicted him on the lesser charge of manslaughter. The judge sentenced him to 20 years on each count and said the terms will run consecutively. Killen's lawyer said he will argue on appeal that the jury should not have been allowed to consider manslaughter.
www.indiancountry.com 24 June 2005 Challenge for trust reform measures met Email this page Print this page Posted: June 24, 2005 by: David Melmer / Indian Country Today WASHINGTON - When Congress asked Indian country leaders to unite and develop a plan for trust reform, Indian country met the challenge. Now the ball is back in Congress' court. Senate Indian Affairs Committee Chairman Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., Vice Chairman Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D. and House Resource Committee Chairman Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Calif., threw down the gauntlet - and the result is a set of 50 principles adopted by a national tribal task force that gives Congress guidelines for developing legislation to change how the Department of Interior does business with Indian country. Congress received the list of principles for consideration. ''Now they [Congress] have to deliver, and if they deviate from what we asked for we will not accept that,'' said Elouise Cobell, lead plaintiff for Cobell v. Norton. A settlement amount of $27.5 billion is one of the principles extended to the government. According to some accounting experts, the actual figure the U.S. government owes to tribal members is close to $175 billion: a highly debated amount. ''That is what I would like to see, but how many people will die before we get that?'' Cobell asked. ''My main concern is to try to get people paid who are older, who have been victimized by this horrible management. I will never go less than $27 billion,'' Cobell said. The largest class action suit ever filed against the federal government lists 500,000 tribal members who are leased-land payment (Individual Indian Money accounts, or IIMs) recipients who either have not received any, or just a portion, of what they are owed. IIMs - money that individual Indian land owners should have received for grazing, agriculture and mineral leases on their family lands - are not part of a federal funding program. ''We won the trust reform. It was one of the first victories and it has to be done,'' Cobell said. The plaintiffs have won every judgment in Cobell v. Norton and the result is that Interior has engaged in reform measures that have been neither adequate nor acceptable to the court, nor to Congress. Dan DuBray, Department of Interior spokesman, accused the plaintiffs of changing the goals midstream. ''They sued to achieve an accounting and the department has spent $100 million on an historical accounting. Now they're saying that's not the goal. It's an odd turn of events,'' DuBray told The Associated Press. Former Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Neal McCaleb said there would have to be an agreed settlement because of a problem in finding all source documents to obtain historic accountability. McCaleb admitted the government could not do an accounting. ''I don't know how long Interior can continue to lie to the court. They say the security system is in place and we find out they have nothing; their own inspector general said nothing was fixed,'' said Cobell. ''In the private sector you wouldn't get away with that: you would be in jail.'' She said that until there are severe sanctions imposed against Interior, and as long as Congress continues to let the department get by with inaction, nothing will change. The first principle addresses the historical accounting of individual Indian trust accounts. Congress needs to appropriate the funding necessary to repay the individuals. The task force stated that to take money out of Interior or the BIA's budget to repay the recipients would be unjust. The principle requests a permanent and indefinite appropriation. Since an accurate accounting is impossible, the principles suggest a lump-sum amount that reflects the aggregate correction of accounts be adopted as the settlement figure. Further, legislation should affirm and spell out specific standards for the administration of trust funds and transactions with clarity of the fiduciary duties that must be administered in accordance with law. The task force report suggested the creation of an independent executive branch entity to provide oversight and enforcement for federal trust administration, a branch that could not diminish tribal governments' inherent sovereign authority. This entity would theoretically be separate from Interior and prohibited from engaging in trust management functions. The principles requested that the Deputy Secretary of Indian Affairs manage and administer IIMs. The position would ideally have oversight of the Office of Special Trustee, and consultation with the tribes would take place before appointing anyone to the position. One of the most contentious parts of trust reform and management of trust assets is the fractionation of land. The principles request that consolidation of such land take place. A buyback program for highly fractionated lands would give the secretary the authority to purchase such land from individuals at a rate higher than the market value. Another principal suggested that tribal governments be allowed to repurchase fractionated lands allowing flexibility for cultural needs and priorities. A recommendation for any such legislation would be to affirm that land consolidation payments would not diminish eligibility for federal benefits such as TANF, Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid and Veterans Affairs benefits; and that such payment should not be taxable. Finally, the principles recommended that Congress provide a fair offer to the trust recipients which would fairly reimburse the individuals for decades of mismanagement, and that mismanagement should be treated much the same as the savings and loan was handled. One very important point made by the principles calls for Congress to ensure that individuals who wish to seek redress for federal mismanagement of their trust resources will not have their rights involuntarily terminated. ''The federal government's mismanagement of the Indian trust system for the past 125 years has brought tremendous damage and loss to Native American tribes and individuals across the Unites States,'' said Tex Hall, president of the National Congress of American Indians and one of the leaders who participated in the task force. ''This national injustice has today resulted in a historic union of Indian nations across the country and individual Indian allottee organizations who are rallying together behind these principles which stand for fairness, accountability, restitution and honesty,'' Hall said. For a complete list of the principles, visit www.indiantrust.com.
Sioux Falls Argus Leader, SD -27 June 2005 Indian's proposal targets roots of mismanagement PETER HARRIMAN firstname.lastname@example.org Published: 06/27/05 The dollar amount – $27.5 billion – is sure to grab attention. But that obscures about 50 other points Native American leaders are proposing to resolve decade-old trust mismanagement litigation and to reform the way the U.S. government carries out its trust responsibilities for tribes and individual Indians. The out-of-court settlement proposal that requires the huge cash payment to resolve past claims was announced last week. It also includes new federal legislation to fix the problems that led to the claims. The proposed settlement comes at the request of members of committees in both chambers of Congress that deal with Native Americans. Those committee members want to see the unwieldy trust problems resolved. “When we talked about our top priorities at the beginning of the congressional session, this was definitely one of them,” said Jenifer Zuccarelli, a spokeswoman for the House Resources Committee. “We want to do something where the federal government pays these people back.” She pointed out, however, that while Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo, R-Calif., “has been consulting extensively within Indian Country, he is not part of the proposal to settle for $27.5 billion. This is something they came up with on their own. “We are trying to find a balance – a real and fair approach to this. What he is also looking for is to do something that will prevent this from happening again,” she said of Pombo. Jim Gray is chief of the Osage Nation and chairman of the InterTribal Monitoring Association. That group, composed of 64 tribes affected by trust mismanagement, has been a major clearinghouse for Indians’ own suggestions on trust reform and settlement proposals. The ITMA, along with the National Congress of American Indians, founded the Trust Reform and Cobell Settlement Workgroup that developed the settlement proposal announced Monday. Quicker payments The major advantage of an out-of-court settlement is that it would expedite payments to Indians, many of them elderly, who have been shortchanged by the government managing their assets. “Many of them have waited so long,” Zuccarelli said. A possible shortcoming of such a settlement is that anything less than a full review in court might not address all the structural problems with trust management. But Gray says the settlement proposal of 50 principles deals with much of that. “I think what you are looking at is an opportunity for some of that to happen,” he said. “If we just take Congress at its word, they wanted to see a change in how the business practices were being done. “They asked us to respond to what any trust reform ought to have. That’s what you see in those principles. Does it make all the problems go away? I doubt it. But it moves things further down the road than they are now and ensures people will not have to contend with another Cobell case.” Ripples from Cobell case In 1996, Eloise Cobell, a member of Montana’s Blackfoot tribe, filed a federal class action lawsuit on behalf of generations of individual Indians and tribes that were shortchanged billions of dollars by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. That agency of the Department of the Interior is charged with managing Indians’ land and natural resources held in trust. The lawsuit accused the BIA of failing spectacularly. In 1999, Federal District Judge Royce Lamberth found the BIA not only shortchanged trustees, it made it impossible to reconcile errors in trust accounts for 300,000 Indians by disregarding or destroying great numbers of Indians’ financial and real estate records. Since then, Lamberth held both Bruce Babbitt, President Clinton’s Interior Secretary, and Gale Norton, President Bush’s Interior Secretary, in civil contempt for failing to redress those failings to his satisfaction. And the problem of paying many trustees only worsens as trust land owned by Indian families is subdivided and allotted to heirs in succeeding generations. The BIA spends more money managing those fractionalized trusts than the trusts generate in income. The principles set forth in the June 20 proposal are grouped in four areas: providing a historical accounting of individual Indian trust accounts, reforming both the individual Indian and tribal trust account systems, promoting consolidation of minutely fractionalized land holdings, and dealing with individual Indian resource mismanagement claims. The first point set forth in the proposal is that any settlement payment ought to be a new federal appropriation and not money diverted from existing programs serving Indians. The proposal also justifies the $27.487 billion. “There is general agreement between the parties about the aggregate amount which has been generated by the trust (between $13 billion and $14 billion for a designated period),” the proposal reads. Compound interest on that accounts for the nearly $27.5 billion. Both Zuccarelli and Gray acknowledge such a figure will be hotly debated in Congress. The proposal also wants to create clear reporting lines within the Department of the Interior for Indian trust management. Currently, trust responsibilities are scattered throughout the BIA. The proposal wants to pull that together and have the Interior Department name a Special Deputy Secretary for Indian Affairs to manage the trusts. Independent oversight It also calls for an independent entity appointed by the president to oversee the way tribal trusts are managed. Having trusts directly managed by the Interior Department and the quality of that management overseen by the Executive Branch of the federal government ensures the Interior Department is not providing oversight of its own work. That had been a serious flaw in trust reform proposals advanced by the Interior Department in recent years, in the eyes of many Indians dealing with trust reform issues. Gray calls the slate of proposals promoting land consolidation “some real common sense solutions” to the problem of fractionalized land ownership. The final three principles in the settlement proposal, dealing with the claims of individual Indians on resource mismanagement, underscore the point that, as the proposal claims, “Congress cannot leave the individual allottee to the mercy of the federal bureaucrats as there is a documented history of widespread, systematic and continuing mismanagement of Indian resources.” “I expect a full and spirited debate in Indian Country as well as in the administration” on the settlement proposal, Gray said. But he hopes in that debate the far-reaching effort at trust reform is not obscured by the magnitude of the $27.487 billion request to resolve the Cobell litigation. “A lot of work went into that stuff,” he said. “I would hate to see it marginalized because of the settlement issue.”
AP 25 June 2005 Illinois Law Bans State Investments in Sudan The Associated Press Saturday, June 25, 2005; 10:19 PM SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- A new state law requires Illinois to divest about $1 billion worth of pension investments in companies that do business in Sudan to protest the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the country's Darfur region. Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed the bill into law Saturday, saying it makes Illinois the nation's first state to sever all financial ties to Sudan. The law takes effect in January 2006. "The people of Illinois will not condone human rights abuses and genocide. We will take our money elsewhere," Blagojevich said in a statement. Similar legislation is pending in other states, and Harvard University also recently announced plans to stop Sudanese investments. U.N. officials say at least 180,000 people have died since fighting flared in the western Sudanese region of Darfur in February 2003. An estimated 2 million others have been forced to flee the region. The conflict 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 Janjaweed, committed wide-scale abuses against ethnic Africans. A message left at the Sudanese embassy in Washington, D.C., Saturday was not immediately returned.
www.oregonlive.com Canyon site may be named for massacre Sunday, June 26, 2005 RICHARD COCKLE ENTERPRISE -- The notorious site where a band of horse thieves killed up to 34 Chinese gold miners in 1887 came a step closer Saturday to a name that acknowledges one of the most horrific acts in Oregon history. The Oregon Geographic Names Board voted 16-5 to recommend the spot, known for its proximity to Deep Creek, officially be called Chinese Massacre Cove. "What happened to these Chinese was an egregious event that should never happen again," said Jeff Ford of Boise, former chairman of the Idaho Geographic Names Advisory Council who formally proposed the name. The site -- an inlet off the Snake River on the Oregon side of the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area -- is overshadowed by Idaho's Seven Devils Mountains and accessible only by boat, horseback or a three-mile hike from the nearest road. The U.S. Board of Geographic Names has the final say and will meet as soon as September to consider the recommendation. If approved, the cove would join almost a dozen other ominously named points of interest in Hells Canyon, including the canyon itself and various Idaho peaks such as Devil's Tooth, The Goblin, The Ogre, He Devil, She Devil, Twin Imps and Tower of Babel. Wallowa County officials didn't like the idea of naming the site after the massacre, believing there was more to the Chinese experience in Oregon, said county Commissioner Ben Boswell. "We are opposed to focusing on a single event," he said. The killings began on May 27, 1887, when a group of armed men suddenly appeared on a steep, rocky bluff above a camp of 10 Chinese miners and opened fire with revolvers and repeating rifles. The killing continued all afternoon and resumed the next day when eight more Chinese miners arrived by boat. Thirteen more were slain nearby at a second camp. The actual number of victims may never be known. David H. Stratton, a retired Washington State University professor, studied correspondence between the U.S. and Chinese governments and suggested that 31 miners had been killed. Ford has suggested as many as 34 were killed. The killers came away from their grisly work with gold valued in those days at $1,000 to $2,000, according to some accounts. Six Wallowa County men eventually were charged with murder. Three of the suspects, among them a 15-year-old, were tried and acquitted, and three others galloped out of the county on horseback and were never captured. Two years later, Congress paid $276,619.75 to the Chinese government as "full indemnity" for the crime. The victims had come into the Snake River canyon six weeks earlier from Lewiston, Idaho, 60 miles north, to mine for gold. Historical accounts say they walked along the shoreline using ropes to pull boatloads of provisions upriver through the Snake River's rapids to the place where they were killed. After the murders, the attackers threw the bodies into the Snake River and took the gold. The slaughter came to light when bodies began washing ashore, some as far downriver as Lewiston. A break in the case came in 1888 when some of those thought to be involved were caught stealing horses and talked about the killings. A two-day trial followed in Enterprise, and three suspects, Hiram Maynard, Hezekiah Hughes and Robert McMillan, a schoolboy in Imnaha near Hells Canyon, were acquitted. Records of the trial testimony have disappeared. Three others -- J.T. Canfield, Homer LaRue and Bruce Evans -- fled the county. Another of the suspected conspirators, Frank E. Vaughan, a teenager at the time, turned state's evidence and was never charged. A relative of Vaughan's later said he "was guilty as sin."
BBC 17 June, 2005, 10:34 GMT 11:34 UK E-mail this to a friend Printable version Australia softens detention rules There are some 60 children in Australia's detention centres Australia's government has softened its controversial mandatory detention of immigrants who arrive without visas. The biggest change is that families with children will no longer be held in detention centres. The move follows recent media coverage of a three-year-old who had spent her entire life in detention and had mental health problems. The policy change staved off a revolt within Prime Minister John Howard's government over immigration laws. Mr Howard said that illegal immigrant families released from custody centres would still be technically in detention, but would be hosted by the community. Amnesty International Australia welcomed the changes, but stressed that there were still areas of concern. Amnesty said in a statement that it was not clear what conditions they would live in. "It is unclear whether existing restrictions attached to alternative detention, such as surveillance and monitoring, will be enforced. It is unclear if families, including fathers, will all be reunited in community detention," it said. Timing Other changes announced by Mr Howard include plans to speed up the processing of asylum applications. He said that a primary decision on someone's detention would now be required within three months, and that the government would have to report to ombudsmen on the cases of asylum seekers detained for more than two years. Mr Howard added that the cases of 4,000 people on Temporary Protection Visas would be assessed by 31 October. "What we now have, I believe and what we believe we have even more so after these changes, is a mandatory detention system with a softer edge, but nonetheless a mandatory detention system," he told reporters. The move follows intense pressure from some of Mr Howard's own party members who had threatened to defy him in parliament if their demands for easing the immigration laws were not met. Government rebels, led by Victoria state politician Petro Georgiou, have been calling for a conscience vote over the policy of indefinitely detaining all illegal immigrants, but Mr Howard said Mr Georgiou would now be withdrawing his private members bills on the issue. The government is also currently scrutinising 201 cases of possible wrongful detention under its immigration policy, and the results of the inquiry are due in two weeks' time. Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone has said she will take a decision on its release as to whether it should be made public in its entirety.
scotsman.com UK 19 June 2005 Aborigines vow to wipe pioneer Scot off the map KURT BAYER A SCOTTISH pioneer revered as one of Australia's foremost explorers faces being erased from maps amid accusations that he was responsible for the cold-blooded murder of hundreds of aborigines. The aborigines are calling for the electoral district of McMillan in the southern state of Victoria to be renamed out of respect for the men, women and children they say were slaughtered by Angus McMillan and his 'Highland Brigade' in the massacre of Warrigal Creek. The 1843 massacre was one of several attributed to McMillan, originally from Glenbrittle, Skye, and his band of Scottish settlers, who styled themselves the 'Highland Brigade'. They are accused of carrying out a genocidal campaign against the aborigines for a decade. Generations of Australian schoolchildren have been taught that McMillan was a trailblazing settler, the first to cross the Snowy Mountains, opening up the fertile lands beyond. In 1841, McMillan founded Port Albert, Victoria's oldest sea port and the first European settlement in Gippsland, the rich agricultural territory he discovered. The official Clan MacMillan society, which boasts thousands of members throughout the world, hails Angus McMillan as a famous son. Australia's Presbyterian community have also voted the devout Christian one of the nation's "greatest Presbyterians". But the Koori aboriginal people of East Gippsland in southern Victoria have altogether different views on the Scottish explorer. The Koori Heritage Trust says that the number of aborigines slaughtered by McMillan and his colleagues is thought to be in excess of 300, with evidence of 14 separate massacres, including women and children. The most notorious was at the remote settlement of Warrigal Creek, where up to 180 aborigine adults and children were shot after a native reportedly murdered Ranald Macalister, nephew of Lachlan Macalister, the Scottish sponsor of McMillan's expeditions. An account of the massacre from George Dunderdale, who collected local stories and published them in The Book of the Bush in 1898, said: "The blacks were found encamped near a waterhole at Gammon Creek, and those who were shot were thrown into it." Richard Frankland, founding member of Australia's pro-indigenous political party, Your Voice, has called on Prime Minister John Howard to launch an investigation into McMillan's shrouded past. Last night, Frankland said: "Australia has a nursery version of history in its head. All of these people who committed these war crimes, including McMillan, should be outed publicly and I urge our prime minister to set up a select committee to make a judicial investigation into these atrocities. "If there are statues or commemorations pronouncing them as wonderful men, then they should be torn down or renamed to reflect what they commonly are. There also needs to be a massive renaming of any town or area that is named after these explorers, who in some cases were drunks, rapists and murderers. "You can't go on ignoring history and making heroes of someone like McMillan, it is blatantly wrong." Greta Jubb, research officer for the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service, said: "We're not going to stand by and let these events in history go past without notice. We're going to kick up a fuss." Last night, Clan MacMillan International Centre refused to comment.
www.theage.com.au 20 June 2005 Lawyer to push for probe into massacre By Fergus Shiel Law reporter June 20, 2005 Page Tools Email to a friend Printer format Main: Lawyer Richard Meeran, who represents some victims of the Congo bloodbath, will ask police to investigate Anvil Mining's co-operation with troops. Left, top: Kitenge Kalonda Mireille was beaten and shot by soldiers. Left bottom: Former police chief Kunda Musopelo Pierre was tortured. Photo: John Woudstra A Melbourne lawyer will formally ask the Australian Federal Police this week to investigate an Australian mining company's alleged role in the massacre of at least 100 people. Richard Meeran will present the AFP with witness accounts of the slaying of scores of people, mostly civilians and including children, by soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Witnesses say Perth-based Anvil Mining provided vehicles and a plane to transport the troops into the remote town of Kilwa, the site of the bloodbath. A United Nations investigation into the suppression of a small rebel uprising on October 14 found that at least 28 of those killed might have been summarily executed. Anvil, which says it did no more than co-operate with a lawful government and denies any prior knowledge that a massacre would take place, has a mine 50 kilometres from Kilwa, where rebels attacked the police station. Australian, African, British and American human rights groups are calling on Attorney-General Philip Ruddock to authorise a full investigation into Anvil's conduct in Congo. Mr Meeran, who works for law firm Slater & Gordon, said individuals who committed crimes against humanity or war crimes overseas could be prosecuted under Australian law. "Anvil and its employees clearly didn't kill people but anyone who assists in the commission of those crimes who knows and intends that its assistance will have that consequence can also be guilty of an offence," he said. "So that's what we want the Australian Federal Police to investigate. It's their role under these legal provisions to investigate and, if appropriate, prosecute." Mr Meeran was asked by British-based group Rights & Accountability in Development (RAID) and a Congolese non-government organisation to help them to hold Anvil to account. He said the company would have a case to answer if its knowledge of the army's likely conduct could be established. "RAID and the local NGO asked us to advise on what avenues might be available. The obvious aspect to consider is whether any criminal offences might have been committed," he said. Mr Meeran represents three Congolese: former police commander Kunda Musopelo Pierre, 60, Mwayuma Farai Adele, 48, and Kitenge Kalonda Mireille, 36. Mr Pierre and 11 of his police colleagues were bashed by soldiers who he says used Anvil vehicles and drivers. He says he was later flown in an Anvil plane to the provincial capital, where he was tortured for 20 days. "For three days he was held in a small room without a window with 48 people, including civilians and 14 police. It was difficult to breathe and about 12 people suffocated," Mr Meeran said. "Another 17 people were taken from the room and executed by shooting. He and the other police were acquitted. He still suffers pain from the torture, including internal injuries." Two sons of Ms Adele, a mother of 10, were killed at Kilwa. Ms Mireille, 36, a mother of four, was beaten and shot by soldiers. Mr Meeran has acted on behalf of African workers in successful cases against British multinationals, including a settlement on behalf of 7500 South African asbestos miners in 2003.
Japanese lawyers help massacre survivors' appeal for official apology www.chinaview.cn 2005-06-20 20:34:11 SHENYANG, June 20 (Xinhuanet) -- Four Japanese lawyers, who helped Chinese survivors of the Pindingshan Tragedy to appeal for apologyand compensation from Japan, said they would continue to help the massacre survivors win the lawsuit. Shiroh Kawakami and three other Japanese lawyers are now in Fushun, a city in northeast China's Liaoning Province, where the massacre occurred 73 years ago, to visit Yang Baoshan, a survivor of the massacre, and other people in Fushun to discuss the lawsuit. It was lodged by Chinese massacre survivors to appeal for apology and compensation from the Japanese government. "We have appealed to the Supreme Court of Japan, and this is the last step of the lawsuit," Shiroh said. Shiroh and many other Japanese attorneys voluntarily established a suing group for the "Pingdingshan Tragedy" in 1996. The Pingdingshan Tragedy refers to the massacre of more than 3,000 innocent people at the Pingdingshan Village by invading Japanese soldiers on September 16, 1932. These victims included elders, women and children. Japanese soldiers burnt the bodies of the villagers and blew up a hill to bury the bodies for the purpose of covering up their crimes. Japanese soldiers also burnt more than 800 houses in the village. Survivors of the massacre lodged a lawsuit, demanding the Japanese government admit the crimes of Japanese troops committed in the Pingdingshan tragedy, apologize and compensate the victims.The district court of Tokyo acknowledged the tragedy was caused by invading Japanese troops but turned down the damage suit in June, 2002. Three survivors of the massacre appealed to the Tokyo High Court, which rejected their appeal and upheld the lower court ruling at the second instance in May this year, acknowledging thatthe tragedy was caused by intruding Japanese army in Pingdingshan but rejecting the damages suit by the three Chinese survivors. Shiroh said the Japanese lawyers will, together with the Chinese plaintiffs, do their best to win the lawsuit, demanding for the Japanese government's compensation and building of a cemetery for the tragedy victims. They will also continue to publicize Japan's sins during the World War II, Shiroh said. Ooe Kyoko, one of the Japanese lawyers coming to Fushun, said, "More and more people in Japan are coming to know the truth of the Pingdingshan Tragedy, and more and more people are coming to support us. There are more than 3,300 Japanese websites on the Pingdingshan Tragedy". "The aim of the lawsuit is not only for a verdict by the court, but also for the publicity of the truth among the Japanese people",Ooe said. Yang Baoshan, 84, a survivor of the Pingdingshan Tragedy, said,"I will carry through to the end. If Japan's Supreme Court can not give a just verdict, I will appeal to the international court."
Reuters 29 June 2005 Tibet group brings genocide case against China 29.06.05 MADRID - A Tibetan group presented a criminal case against top Chinese officials for genocide and crimes against humanity on Tuesday, seeking to take advantage of Spain's laws on international human rights crimes. The case, which the Committee for the Support of Tibet says is the first of its kind, accuses senior Chinese officials including former president Jiang Zemin and former prime minister Li Peng of authorising massacres and torture in Tibet. Spain's High Court must now decide whether to assign a judge to the case, who could call for Chinese authorities to arrest those accused and even impound their property. "The Chinese tortured me and many of my friends in Tibet," said Buddhist monk Palden Gyatso, who said his teeth were knocked out in beatings during 33 years in prison. "For me, this is a great day because we can present a case against China." Communist China sent troops to Tibet to impose its rule in 1950. Tibet's Buddhist leader, the Dalai Lama, fled to India nine years later after a failed uprising against Chinese rule. "Many countries are more concerned by business opportunities in China and so they silence the human rights situation in Tibet," prosecution lawyer Jose Elias Esteve told reporters outside the High Court, flanked by three Tibetan monks. "There is more attention for terrorist acts in the press while the peaceful struggle of the Tibetans, who have demanded their rights for 50 years, has had absolutely no success," he added. Officials at the Chinese embassy in Madrid were not available for comment. Spanish judges have taken a leading role in prosecuting international human rights crimes. In April, the High Court sentenced an Argentine former navy captain to 640 years in prison for crimes against humanity during his country's 1976-1983 "dirty war" against leftists. At the time, the court asserted powers to try suspects for genocide, terrorism or torture committed anywhere in the world if Spanish victims were involved. "The precedents in Spain make it a good place to hear the case as China does not recognise international courts and Chinese courts are subject to the Communist party," said Esteve. While it was not strictly necessary for Spanish citizens to be affected for the High Court to try the case under the principle of "universal justice", Esteve said, one of the Tibetan monks presenting the case held Spanish nationality. "I was born in Tibet and was only four when the Chinese invaded," said Thubten Wangchen, who lives in Barcelona. "The Chinese killed 1.2 million citizens, including my mother ... All my life I have lived as an exile." A judicial source said the High Court was unlikely to accept the case without evidence of some Spanish involvement. The Dalai Lama, who leads a Tibetan government-in-exile in the Indian hill station of Dharamsala, is seeking greater autonomy for Tibet although he does not advocate full independence from China. Beijing refuses to allow him to return.
Thursday, June 16, 2005 INDONESIA: Bombing of Christian Town in Sulawesi Two bombs exploded in quick succession [May 28] in a crowded market place in Tentena, a small town with a mainly Christian population on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. At least 20 people were killed, of whom 19 were Christians. The twentieth is suspected to be the bomber. The first bomb went off soon after 8:00 a.m. As people gathered at the scene to help, a much larger bomb exploded some minutes later, flattening many of the nearby food stalls. Among the dead were a church leader and a toddler. Estimates of the number injured range from 30 to 50, with some of them very seriously hurt. The second bomb was the most powerful blast in Indonesia since the Bali bombing in October 2002. Although no one has claimed responsibility, Islamic militants are suspected of being behind the blasts. Church leaders have called for Christians not to retaliate. A week earlier - on Saturday, May 21 - police had discovered an unexploded bomb outside a church in Tentena. Tentena is in the Poso District of Central Sulawesi, a district which has already seen much anti-Christian violence, especially in the period 2000-2002 when an estimated 1,000 people were killed. At that time Tentena was a place where many Christians fled for refuge from other parts of Poso. Since a peace treaty signed in 2002, violence has continued at a lower level. Source: Barnabas Fund
June 19, 2005 'Chemical Ali' Among Latest Saddam Aides Questioned By REUTERS Filed at 3:09 p.m. ET BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Saddam Hussein's feared cousin Ali Hassan al-Majid, known as ``Chemical Ali,'' has appeared before Iraq's special tribunal as it steps up the process of questioning former regime loyalists over war crimes. Majid was one of eight aides to the former president to be questioned by investigators this week, officials said on Sunday, raising to at least 12 the number interrogated in the past 10 days. Majid last appeared before a judge in December. The new Iraqi government, facing fresh elections by the year's end, is keen to put Saddam and others on trial soon. But officials with the independent Tribunal, set up 18 months ago, say the process cannot be rushed and no trial date has been set. Majid, who acquired his nickname after Iraqi forces dropped poison gas on Kurdish villagers in 1988, was questioned on Thursday about the suppression of religious political parties and the killing and detention of Fayli Kurds, a Shi'ite Muslim minority among the mostly Sunni Kurds. Also questioned on the same accusations were Taha Yassin Ramadan, Saddam's former vice-president, and Saadoun Shaker, interior minister early in Saddam's rule, who was also asked about the killing of Shi'ite villagers from Dujail in 1982. The killings in Dujail -- more than 140 villagers were killed after a failed assassination attempt on Saddam as his motorcade passed -- may be key to an early trial of Saddam, who was questioned about the incident himself a week ago. Though minor compared to the genocide and crimes against humanity with which the former president may be charged, government officials say it may be easier to prove Saddam's personal responsibility for ordering the alleged retribution. ``Dujail is a discrete case and not as factually complex as some of the others,'' a source close to the Tribunal said on Sunday, explaining that made it easier to investigate. Five Saddam lieutenants -- including Ramadan and Saddam's half-brother Barzan -- have already been questioned in connection with Dujail, along with three other Baathists. Sources close to the Tribunal said that the investigative stage of the Dujail case could be completed within a month or so, at which point evidence would be presented to a trial judge who would decide whether the case goes ahead. According to tribunal rules, there must be at least 45 days between the referral of a case to trial and the trial itself, but in theory if Saddam ended up being charged in the Dujail case, he could be tried before the end of the year. RELIGIOUS OPPRESSION Senior Iraqi officials have in recent weeks expressed their hope that Saddam will come to trial within the next couple of months, but the Tribunal has been adamant in saying justice must not be rushed. At the same time, over the past two weeks the Tribunal has questioned around a dozen suspects and released muted video of several of them, including Saddam, being questioned, clearly keen to show it is pushing ahead with the judicial process. Also interrogated this week with Majid was Abid Hamid Mahmud, Saddam's secretary, who ranked fourth in a U.S. list of the 55 most wanted figures after the fall of the old regime. Mahmud was also questioned about the suppression of religious parties -- a reference to parties representing the Shi'ite majority which were forced underground by the 1980s. Two other, less-well-known defendants were questioned on the ``events of 1991,'' in reference to the suppression of Shi'ite and Kurdish uprisings after the Gulf War. A further two were questioned about oppressing political parties, one with reference to religious parties, the other secular parties. Saddam's Sunni Arab-dominated Baath party eliminated all opposition including the Shi'ite Dawa Party and the Iraqi Communist Party. Many of their leaders were killed.
Telegraph UK 28 June 2005 Aziz blames bloody campaign to suppress the Shias on Saddam By Our Foreign Staff (Filed: 28/06/2005) Tariq Aziz, the former Iraqi politician who was one of Saddam Hussein's closest associates, blames the bloody suppression of a Shia uprising on his former boss in a video released yesterday. The footage, given out by the tribunal prosecuting members of the deposed regime, is likely to demoralise Saddam loyalists involved in the Iraqi insurgency because it contradicts claims by Aziz's lawyer that he would never betray Saddam. 68-year-old Tariq Aziz [right] appears before the special tribunal Under questioning from an investigative judge six days ago, 68-year-old Aziz, a former deputy prime minister, accused the ousted president of ordering the savage response to the Shia revolt without consulting aides. Aziz, who was dressed all in white with his prisoner number, C1, stencilled in black on his chest, said he had nothing to do with the quashing of the 1991 uprising which left thousands of Shias dead. The judge asked: "Who issued this order?" Aziz answered: "The president himself." Asked about the positions he held in March 1991, Aziz replied: "I was foreign minister. I had no effective role at that time, I was sitting inside the foreign affairs building." The judge pressed him. "Weren't you also deputy prime minister, a member of the Revolutionary Command Council and Ba'ath Regional Command?" "Yes," said Aziz. He was then asked if had been notified, as a member of the command council, about a 1991 decree which gave regional commanders of the ruling Ba'ath party "amnesty and punishment powers". "It was not part of my scope of work as foreign minister," he said. After some prompting by the judge, he added: "I heard that some members of the regional command went to the restive areas in the south, but what they did I do not know. They were not reporting to me since I was foreign minister." He said Saddam was taking decisions "without discussing them with us". "As head of the Revolution Command Council he was behaving as if his decisions carried the weight of the law." The tape, which also shows the questioning of his co-accused, Saber Abdulaziz al-Douri, an ex-chief of military intelligence, shows Aziz's lawyer taking notes. The video of Aziz, who surrendered to American forces shortly after the overthrow of the regime, is the fifth to be released by the special tribunal in recent weeks and follows one that showed Saddam being questioned. It is the first such footage to include dialogue between investigative judges and the accused. There was no explanation as to why the sound from Aziz's evidence was released, but it seemed likely that prosecutors were seeking to score a propaganda victory prior to Saddam's trial, as they seek to build a compelling and watertight case. No trial date has been set for Saddam or the unknown number of Ba'athist allies who are also in US custody. The tribunal was set up to try crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed during Saddam's rule. He faces charges that include killing rival politicians over 30 years, gassing Kurds in Halabja, invading Kuwait in 1990 and suppressing Kurdish and Shia uprisings in 1991. Specific indictments have yet to be made public.
NYT June 20, 2005 60 Years Later, the Story as Lived in Nagasaki By LOUISE STORY Initial American reports of the devastation caused by the use of an atomic bomb against Nagasaki, Japan, have finally been published, almost 60 years after they were first written. In September 1945, a few weeks after the war ended, George Weller, a correspondent for The Chicago Daily News (now defunct), sneaked into Nagasaki, an industrial city more than 600 miles southwest of Tokyo, ahead of American ground forces. He wrote dozens of articles detailing the effects of the atomic bomb dropped there on Aug. 9. Mr. Weller sent his reports to Gen. Douglas A. MacArthur's censorship office in Tokyo, as he was required to do. Unknown to him for much of his stay in Nagasaki, the articles were never published. Some of his observations appeared for the first time on Thursday in the Japanese daily Mainichi Shimbun and in English on the paper's Web site. His writing and photographs from Nagasaki were thought to have been lost for most of the last 60 years until his son, Anthony Weller, discovered them in his father's old apartment in Italy. Mr. Weller died in 2002. The articles that appeared online were filed on Sept. 8 and 9, 1945, early in Mr. Weller's roughly three-week stay in Nagasaki. Written in the first person, they provide a raw account of the destruction and the sad confusion that survivors experienced as they watched their neighbors and members of their families die from radiation exposure. When Mr. Weller arrived in Nagasaki on Sept. 6, 1945, the atomic bomb, he wrote, seemed "a tremendous, but not a peculiar weapon," "Nobody here in Nagasaki has yet been able to show that the bomb is different than any other, except in a broader flash and a more powerful knockout," his account said. (The first American use of a nuclear weapon occurred three days earlier, against Hiroshima.) By telling those he encountered that he was an American colonel, Mr. Weller acquired an official guide, driver and place to stay. He also began to witness the bomb's different character and long-lasting effects. "Several children, some burned and others unburned but with patches of hair falling out," a dispatch of his said, "are sitting with their mothers. Yesterday Japanese photographers took many pictures with them. About one in five is heavily bandaged," but none, he said, were "showing signs of pain." "Some adults are in pain as they lie on mats," Mr. Weller wrote. "They moan softly. One woman caring for her husband, shows eyes dim with tears. It is a piteous scene and your official guide studies your face covertly to see if you are moved." Mainichi Shimbun bought the articles from Mr. Weller's son, who hopes to publish the rest of them, about 25,000 words in all, in a book. George Weller was already a well-known, sometimes swashbuckling, reporter before going to Nagasaki. He won a Pulitzer Prize in 1943 for an article about an emergency appendectomy performed on a submarine. He was detained for two months by the Gestapo in Europe and had many other narrow escapes during the war. Anthony Weller, 47, said his father believed that his carbon copies of his Nagasaki articles, which were written in a telegraphic shorthand, had been lost. "It was a source of enormous frustration to him," he said, "because obviously he was a celebrated war correspondent and he thought this was one of the biggest stories he had gotten." Mr. Weller said his father was furious that the censors blocked his articles, which not only detailed Nagasaki's destruction but also included accounts from witnesses of the explosion - prisoners of war who had survived the explosion by burying themselves in trenches. "All of this was kept from the American people who had a right to know," Anthony Weller said. Greg Mitchell, the editor of Editor & Publisher, which first reported the publication of the articles, and an author with Robert Jay Lifton of "Hiroshima in America," said Mr. Weller's articles were of great historical importance. "To me, it's one of the great historical spines of our times," Mr. Mitchell said. "For decades, the full picture of what the bomb did was kept from the people."
BBC 20 June 2005 Nagasaki bomb account published Weller describes a Catholic church "torn down like gingerbread" Revealing stories by a US journalist who visited the Japanese city of Nagasaki a month after the atomic bomb have been published almost 60 years on. George Weller's account, serialised by Japan's Mainichi daily, describes the "wasteland" created and the suffering of victims of radiation sickness. He was the first foreign reporter in the ravaged city, declared off-limits to journalists by the US occupiers. The writings, rejected by US censors, were lost, but re-discovered last year. She lies moaning with a blackish mouth stiff as though with lockjaw and unable to utter clear words George Weller, describing radiation sickness sufferer Weller's son Anthony found copies of them in his father's apartment in Rome, Italy, two years after the journalist's death. About 70,000 people were killed in the initial blast at Nagasaki, and thousands more died from the effects of radiation. Japan surrendered days later, ending World War II. Sensitive material Weller dodged US military checks to reach the city - at one point posing as an army colonel. The effects were little understood at the time of Weller's visit But on his return he submitted his reports - 75 typed pages and more than 20 photos - to the censors. Gen Douglas MacArthur, who headed the US occupation of Japan, was so angered by the reports that he personally rejected them. The originals were never returned. Anthony Weller told Mainichi he thought the account was quashed because it could have turned US public opinion against the build-up of a nuclear arsenal. George Weller's account describes the city as he saw it in September 1945. "The following conclusions were made by the writer - as the first visitor to inspect the ruins - after an exhaustive, though still incomplete study of this wasteland of war," he begins. Doctors 'nonplussed' At first he appears sceptical about the effects of radiation. "Hours of walking amid the ruins where the odour of decaying flesh is still strong produces in this writer nausea, but no sign of burns or debilitation," he says. Their patients, though their skin is whole, are all passing away under their eyes George Weller "Nobody here in Nagasaki has yet been able to show that the bomb is different than any other." But in a later report, Weller describes a visit to a hospital containing patients suffering from radiation sickness, which he calls "disease X". They include a woman who had been virtually unaffected by the initial blast but fell ill three weeks later. "She lies moaning with a blackish mouth stiff as though with lockjaw and unable to utter clear words," he writes. "Her exposed legs and arms are speckled with tiny red spots in patches." Weller quotes doctors as saying they are nonplussed by the disease, which was killing patients at a rate of around 10 a day. "Their patients, though their skin is whole, are all passing away under their eyes," he writes. A Nagasaki Report By George Weller Part I Part II Part III Part IV American reporter George Weller American George Weller was the first foreign reporter to enter Nagasaki following the U.S. atomic attack on the city on Aug. 9, 1945. Weller wrote a series of stories about what he saw in the city, but censors at the Occupation's General Headquarters refused to allow the material to be printed. Weller's stories, written in September 1945, can be found below. NAGASAKI, Sept.8 -- The atomic bomb may be classified as a weapon capable of being used indiscriminately, but its use in Nagasaki was selective and proper and as merciful as such a gigantic force could be expected to be. The following conclusions were made by the writer - as the first visitor to inspect the ruins - after an exhaustive, though still incomplete study of this wasteland of war. Nagasaki is an island roughly resembling Manhattan in size and shape, running in north and south direction with ocean inlets on both sides, what would be the New Jersey and Manhattan sides of the Hudson river are lined with huge-war plants owned by the Mitsubishi and Kawanami families. The Kawanami shipbuilding plants, employing about 20,000 workmen, lie on both sides of the harbor mouth on what corresponds to battery park and Ellis island. That is about five miles from the epicenter of the explosion. B-29 raids before the Atomic bomb failed to damage them and they are still hardly scarred. Proceeding up the Nagasaki harbor, which is lined with docks on both sides like the Hudson, one perceives the shores narrowing toward a bottleneck. The beautiful green hills are nearer at hand, standing beyond the long rows of industrial plants, which are all Mitsubishi on both sides of the river. On the left, or Jersey side, two miles beyond the Kawanami yards are Mitsubishi's shipbuilding and electrical engine plants employing 20,000 and 8,000 respectively. The shipbuilding plant damaged by a raid before the atomic bomb, but not badly. The electrical plant is undamaged. It is three miles from the epicenter of the atomic bomb and repairable. It is about two miles from the scene of the bomb's 1,500 feet high explosion where the harbor has narrowed to 250 foot wide Urakame River that the atomic bomb's force begins to be discernible. This area is north of downtown Nagasaki, whose buildings suffered some freakish destruction, but are generally still sound. The railroad station, destroyed except for the platforms is already operating. Normally it is sort of a gate to the destroyed part of the Urakame valley. In parallel north and south lines? here the Urakame river, Mitsubishi plants on both sides, the railroad line and the main road from town. For two miles stretches a line of congested steel and some concrete factories with the residential district "across the tracks. The atomic bomb landed between and totally destroyed both with half (illegible) living persons in them. The known dead-number 20,000 police tell me they estimate about 4,000 remain to be found. The reason the deaths were so high -- the wounded being about twice as many according to Japanese official figures -- was twofold: 1. Mitsubishi air raid shelters were totally inadequate and the civilian shelters remote and limited. 2. That the Japanese air warning system was a total failure. Weller's son, Anthony, holding his father's camera and a photograph he took in Nagasaki. I inspected half a dozen crude short tunnels in the rock wall valley which the Mitsubishi Co., considered shelters. I also picked my way through the tangled iron girders and curling roofs of the main factories to see concrete shelters four inches thick but totally inadequate in number. Only a grey concrete building topped by a siren, where the clerical staff had worked had reasonable cellar shelters, but nothing resembling the previous had been made. A general alert had been sounded at seven in the morning, four hours before two B-29's appeared, but it was ignored by the workmen and most of the population. The police insist that the air raid warning was sounded two minutes before the bomb fell, but most people say they heard none. As one whittles away at embroidery and checks the stories, the impression grows that the atomic bomb is a tremendous, but not a peculiar weapon. The Japanese have heard the legend from American radio that the ground preserves deadly irradiation. But hours of walking amid the ruins where the odor of decaying flesh is still strong produces in this writer nausea, but no sign or burns or debilitation. Nobody here in Nagasaki has yet been able to show that the bomb is different than any other, except in a broader extent flash and a more powerful knock-out. All around the Mitsubishi plant are ruins which one would gladly have spared. The writer spent nearly an hour in 15 deserted buildings in the Nagasaki Medical Institute hospital which (illegible). Nothing but rats live in the debris choked halls. On the opposite side of the valley and the Urakame river is a three story concrete American mission college called Chin Jei, nearly totally destroyed. Japanese authorities point out that the home area flattened by American bombs was traditionally the place of Catholic and Christian Japanese. But sparing these and sparing the allied prison camp, which the Japanese placed next to an armor plate factory would have meant sparing Mitsubishi's ship parts plant with 1,016 employees who were mostly Allied. It would have spared a Mounting factory connecting with 1,750 employees. It would have spared three steel foundries on both sides of the Urakame, using ordinarily 3,400 but that day 2,500. And besides sparing many sub-contracting plants now flattened it would have meant leaving untouched the Mitsubishi torpedo and ammunition plant employing 7,500 and which was nearest where the bomb up. All these latter plants today are hammered flat. But no saboteur creeping among the war plants of death could have placed the atomic bomb by hand more scrupulously given Japan's inertia about common defense. NAGASAKI, Saturday, Sept.8 (odn) -- In swaybacked or flattened skeletons of the Mitsubishi arms plants is revealed what the atomic bomb can do to steel and stone, but what the riven atom can do against human flesh and bone lies hidden in two hospitals of downtown Nagasaki. Look at the pushed-in facade of the American consulate, three miles from the blast's center, or the face of the Catholic cathedral, one mile in the other direction, torn down like gingerbread, and you can tell that the liberated atom spares nothing in the way. The human beings whom it has happened to spare sit on (illegible) One tiny family board their platforms in Nagasaki's two largest (illegible) hospitals, their shoulders, arms and faces are strapped in bandages. Showing them to you, as the first American outsider to reach Nagasaki since the surrender, your propaganda-conscious official guide looks meaningfully in your face and wants to knew: "What do you think?" What this question means is: do you intend saying that America did something inhuman in loosing this weapon against Japan? That is what we want you to write. Several children, some burned and others unburned but with patches of hair falling out, are sitting with their mothers. Yesterday Japanese photographers took many pictures with them. About one in five is heavily bandaged, but none of showing signs of pain. Some adults are in pain as they lie on mats. They moan softly. One woman caring for her husband, shows eyes dim with tears. It is a piteous scene and your official guide studies your face covertly to see if you are moved. Visiting many litters, talking lengthily with two general physicians and one X-ray specialist, gains you a large amount of information and opinion on the victims. Statistics are variable and few records are kept. But it is ascertained that this chief municipal hospital had about 750 atomic patients until this week and lost by death approximately 360. About 70 percent of the deaths have been from plain burns. The Japanese say that anyone caught outdoors in a mile by half-mile area was burned to death. But this is known to be untrue because most of the allied prisoners burned in the plant escaped and only about one-fourth were burned. Yet it is undoubtedly true that many at 11:02 o'clock on this morning of Aug. 9 were caught in debris by casual fires which kindled and caught during the next half hour. But most of the patients who were gravely burned have now passed away and those on hand are rapidly curing. Those not curing are people whose unhappy lot provides the mystery aura around the atomic bomb's effects. They are victims of what Lt. Jakob Vink, Dutch medical officer and now allied commandant of prison camp 14 at the mouth of Nagasaki harbor calls "disease." Vink himself was in the allied prison kitchen abutting the Mitsubishi armor plate department when the ceiling fell in but he escaped this mysterious "disease X" which some allied prisoners and many Japanese civilians got. Vink points out a woman on a yellow mat in hospital, who according to hospital doctors Hikodero (sic) Koga and Uraaji (sic) Hayashida have just been brought in. She fled the atomic area but returned to live. She was well for three weeks expect a small burn on the heel. Now she lies moaning with a blackish mouth stiff as though with lockjaw and unable to utter clear words. Her exposed legs and arms are speckled with tiny red spots in patches. Near her lies a 15-year-old fattish girl who has the same blotchy red pinpoints and nose clotted with blood. A little farther on is a window lying down with four children, from one to about 8, around her. The two smallest children have lost some hair. Though none of these people has either a barn or a broken limb, they are presumed victims of the atomic bomb. Dr. Uraji Hayashida shakes his head somberly and says that he believes there must be something to the American radio report about the ground around the Mitsubishi plant being poisoned. But his next statement knocks out the props from under this theory because it develops that the widow's family has been absent from the wrecked area ever since the blast yet shows symptoms common with those who returned. According to Japanese doctors, patients with these late developing symptoms are dying now a month after the bombs fall, at the rate of about 10 daily. The three doctors calmly stated that the disease has them nonplussed and that they are giving no treatment whatever but rest. Radio rumors from America received the same consideration with the symptoms under their noses. They are licked for cure and do not seem very worried about it. NAGASAKI, Sept.8 (cdn) -- More pieces to the broken mosaic of history are supplied by prisoners in the liberated, but still unrelieved camps on Kyushu, Japan's southernmost island. While waiting for Gen. Walter Krueger's army to arrive, the inmates are receiving humble bows and salutes from the Japanese officers who formerly ruled them with an iron red. By exchanging visits with prisoners from other parts of Kyushu they are able to find out what happened in the blacked out periods of the past. Camp No. 14 which was inside Mitsubishi war factory area until the atomic bomb fell there is now moved inside the eastern mouth of the Nagasaki harbor. Here you can meet Fireman Edward Matthews of Everett, Washington and the American destroyer Pope. He fills in the unknown story of how the Pope fought trying to take the cruiser Houston through the Sunda straits in the face of a Japanese task force of "eight cruisers and endless destroyers. "We contacted the Japs at seven in the morning. They opened fire at 8:30 a.m. We held out until 2 p.m., when a Jap spotter plane dropped a bomb near out stern and watched us go down. A Jap destroyer saw us sink. It was a perfectly clear day. They let us stay in the water - 154 men with one 24 man whaleboat and one life raft - for three days. We were about crazy when they picked us up and took us to Macassar." From Camp No. 3 at Tabata near Mojie in northern Kyushu come three ex-prisoners who have found the lure of the open roads irresistible after three years confinement and have come to Nagasaki in order to view the results of the atomic bomb. Charles Gellings of North East, Md., says, "The Houston was caught on the eastern side or Java side of Sunda. It was in the straits near Bantan Bay. Three hundred and forty-eight were saved, but they were all scattered." Chicago born Miles Mahnke, Plane, Ill., who looks all right, though his original 215 pounds dropped to 160, says, "I was, in the death march at Bataan. Guess you know what that was." Here is Albert Rupp of the submarine Grenadier, who lives at 920 Belmont av., Philadelphia, "We were chasing two Nip cargo boats 450 miles off Penang. A spotter plane dropped a bomb on us hitting the maneuvering room. We lay on the bottom, but the next time came up we were bombed again. We finally had to scuttle the sub. Thirty-nine men of forty-two were saved." Also from the submarine is William Cunningham, 4225 Webster av. Bronx N.Y., who started with Rupp on his tour of southern Japan. Another party of four vagabond prisoners from camps whose Japanese commanders and guards have simply disappeared, are Albert Johnson, Geneva, Ohio; Hershel Langston, Van Buren, Kans., Morris Kellogg, Mule Shoe, Tex., all crew members of the oil tanker Connecticut, now touring Japan with a carefree marine from North China Guard at Peking, Walter Allan, Waxahachie, Tex. The three members from the oil tanker would like a word with the Captain of the German raider who took them prisoner. The captain told them that "in the last war you Americans confined Germans in Japan; this war we Germans are going to take you Americans to Japan and see how you like a taste of the same medicine." Kyushu has about 10,000 prisoners, or about one-third the total is all Japan, mixed in the completely disordered fashion, the Japanese used and without any records. At Camp No.2, by the entrance to Nagasaki Bay are 68 survivors of the British Cruiser Exeter which sank in the Java Sea battle while trying to expel the Japanese task force. Eight inch shells penetrated her waterline. Five of the supposed total of nine survivors from the British destroyer the Stronghold, sunk near the Sunda straits at the same time are also here. There are also 14 Britons of an approximate 100 from the destroyer Encounter lost at the same time, besides 62 R.A.F. mostly from Java and Singapore. Among 324 Dutch cruisers the Java and De Ruyter were sunk at 2300 the night of Feb. 27, 1942 by torpedo attacks which the Japs boasted were staged not by destroyers or submarines, but cruisers. There is also a Dutch officer from the Destroyer Koortenaer, torpedoed by night in the Java Sea battle. Husky Cpl. Raymond Woest, Fredericksburg, Tex., told how remembers of the 131st Field Artillery poured 75 caliber shells into the Japs for six hours outside Soerabaya before Java fell, killing an estimated 700. To correspondents eager questions about this outfit which had been into action in Java, Wuest said that 450 members (illegible) and were now scattered in the Far East. (illegible) Nagasaki, whereof most were moved to Camp No. 9 (at least one further sentence follows, but it is illegible.) NAGASAKI, Sept.9 (cdn) -- The atomic bomb's peculiar "disease," uncured because it is untreated and untreated because it is not diagnosed, is still snatching away lives here. Men, woman and children with no outward marks of injury are dying daily in hospitals, some after having walked around three or four weeks thinking they have escaped. The doctors here have every modern medicament, but candidly confessed in talking to the writer - the first Allied observer to Nagasaki since the surrender - that the answer to the malady is beyond them. Their patients, though their skin is whole, are all passing away under their eyes. Kyushu's leading X-ray specialist, who arrived today from the island's chief city Fukuoka, elderly Dr. Yosisada Nakashima, told the writer that he is convinced that these people are simply suffering from the atomic bomb's beta Gamma, or the neutron ray is taking effect. "All the symptoms are similar," said the Japanese doctor. "You have a reduction in white corpuscles, constriction in the throat, vomiting, diarrhea and small hemorrhages just below the skin. All of these things happen when an overdose of Roentgen rays is given. Bombed children's hair falls out. That is natural because these rays are used often to make hair fall artificially and sometimes takes several days before the hair becomes loose." Nakashima differed with general physicians who have asked the regiment to close off a bombed area claiming that returned refugees are infected from the ground by lethal rays. "I believe that any after effect out there is negligible. I mean to make tests soon with an electrometer," said the specialist. A suggestion by Dutch doctor Lt. Jakob Vink, taken prisoner and now commander of the allied prison camp here, that the drug (illegible) which increased white corpuscles be tried brought the answer from Nakashima that it would be "useless, because the grave (illegible). At emergency hospital No. 2, commanding officer young Lt. Col. Yoshitaka Sasaki, with three rows of campaign ribbons on his breast, stated that 200 patients died of 343 admitted and that the expects about 50 more deaths. Most severe ordinary burns resulted in the patients (sic) deaths within a week after the bomb fell. But this hospital began taking patients only from one to two weeks afterward. It is therefore almost exclusively "disease" cases and the deaths are mostly therefrom. Nakashima divides the deaths outside simple burns and fractures into two classes on the basis of symptoms observed in the post mortem autopsies. The first class accounts for roughly 60 percent of the deaths, the second for 40 percent. Among exterior symptoms in the first class are, falling hair from the head, armpits and public zones, spotty local skin hemorrhages looking like measles all over the body, lip sores, diarrhea but without blood discharge, swelling in the throat (illegible) of the epiglottis and retropharynx and a descent in number of red and white corpuscles. Red corpuscles fall from a normal 5,000,000 to one-half, or one-third while the white's almost disappear, dropping from 7,000 or 8,000 to 300 to 500. Fever rises to 104 and stays there without fluctuating. Interior symptoms of the first class revealed in the postmortems seems to show the intestines choked with blood which Nakashima thinks occurs a few hours before death. The stomach is also blood choked, also mesenterium. Blood spots appear in the bone narrow and bus-arachnoydeal, oval blood (illegible) on the brain which, however, is not affected. Going up part of the intestines have a little blood, but the congestion is mainly in (illegible) down passages. Nakashima considers that it is possible that the atomic bomb's rare rays may cause deaths in the first class, as with delayed X-ray burns. But second class has him totally baffled. These patients begin with slight burns which make normal progress for two weeks. They differ from simple burns, however, in that the patient has a high fever. Unfevered patients with as much as one-third of the skin area burned have been known to recover. But where fever is present after two weeks, healing of burns suddenly halts and they get worse. They come to resemble septic ulcers. Yet patients are not in great pain, which distinguishes them from any X-ray burns victims. Up to five days from the torn to the worse, they die. Their bloodstream has not thinned as in first class and their organs after death are found in a normal condition of health. But they are dead - dead of atomic bomb - and nobody knows why. Twenty-five Americans are due to arrive Sept. 11 to study the Nagasaki bombsite. Japanese hope that they will bring a solution for Disease X. "A NAGASAKI REPORT" by George Weller Copyright (c) 2005 by Anthony Weller. All rights reserved. Published with permission of Anthony Weller, Gloucester, Massachusetts through Dunow & Carlson Literary
www.telegraph.co.uk 24 June 2005 Burma's 'slow genocide' is revealed through the eyes of its child victims By Anton La Guardia (Filed: 24/06/2005) Burma's military junta is carrying out a "slow genocide" of ethnic minorities in the east of the country, according to a British researcher who has spent five years gathering evidence from the jungles. The bodies of 10 villagers, including five girls aged between three and 13, lie in a clearing in Dooplaya Hundreds of villages have been burnt down, often several times, and between one and two million civilians have been scattered into the jungle, gathered into "relocation" camps or driven across the border into Thailand. Civilians are killed, women are raped, villagers' food is burnt, their livestock is killed and medical facilities are systematically destroyed as part of the regime's policy of "Burmisation" in the east. Those forced to move to government-controlled camps are subjected to forced labour, made to marry Burmese settlers or soldiers and compelled to hand over land for "development" projects. Guy Horton, a British human rights researcher and a friend of Michael Aris, the late husband of Burma's main opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, has spent the past five years documenting the persecution of groups such as the Karen, Karenni and Shan. Children's paintings of the genocide - Click to enlarge He made several secret cross-border trips to Burma to try to verify allegations of atrocities, and interviewed refugees in Thailand to compile fresh evidence of massacres - the killing of 3,000 to 4,000 people in the Irrawaddy Delta in October 1991, and the murder of about a dozen inhabitants of the village of Dooplaya in 2002. The bulk of his 600-page report, Dying Alive, draws on earlier work by Burmese and international human rights groups, as well as the United Nations, to build a legal case that the junta is responsible for violations of the Geneva Conventions, crimes against humanity and genocide. He said thousands of people living in "free fire" zones declared by the Burmese army face the greatest risk of genocide. But Mr Horton said there was a slower but equally destructive process at work among more than 500,000 people forced to move to government-held areas. "Forced labour, rape, burning of villages, destroying farm implements and destroying animals - many of these issues have been the subject of previous reports," said Mr Horton. "But the cumulative effect is that people cannot ultimately survive in these conditions. People are not fleeing mass killings, as in Rwanda. They are fleeing a situation that is deliberately depriving them of the resources indispensable for survival. A victim in Karen state, one of those targeted by the junta Mr Horton drew a parallel with the treatment of the Jews by the Nazis. "It is more like the gathering of the Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto by the Nazis, rather than the mass killing of the death camps." Much of the persecution of groups such as the Karen, Karenni and Shan is largely unseen by the world. But the pictures drawn by children who fled the oppression illustrate the horror as vividly as any photograph. One depicts people fleeing their burning village; another shows a half-naked woman about to be raped by soldiers; yet another has a baby dumped in a rice pounder while villagers are killed. The drawings are from a batch made by children aged 10 to 15 at Umpien refugee camp in Thailand. Dr Martin Panter, international president of Christian Solidarity Worldwide, which has campaigned on the Burmese issue for years and recently reported evidence that the Burmese junta had used chemical weapons, said the children were given pencils and paper and asked to paint whatever they liked. "I said it might help to draw painful things, but nothing else. Some drew typical flowers and harmless village scenes but two thirds produced images of these terrible experiences. "Some had seen their mothers raped, or children killed. They played and looked like normal children but with this great burden of pain." Mr Horton said evidence of atrocities was difficult to gather because of the terrain, diseases such as malaria, the lack of roads and the danger of landmines or being caught by a Burmese patrol. Even inside, it was hard to record what happened. "When a village made of straw and bamboo is burnt down the jungle just grows over it after a year or two and there is nothing to find. You sometimes find bodies in the jungle, but usually just one, two or three." Ethnic minorities make up more than a third of Burma's estimated 52 million people. Guerrilla groups have fought on the eastern fringe since independence in 1948 when Britain left a constitution that guaranteed full local autonomy for ethnic minorities. The military regime that came to power in 1962, dominated by an ethnic Burmese officer class, pursued an aggressive policy of "Burmisation". The army, known as the Tatmadaw, adopted a counter-insurgency strategy called "Four Cuts" to sever insurgents from new recruits, intelligence, food, or finances. However, Mr Horton said civilians overwhelmingly bore the brunt of the fighting, and it was ordinary villagers who were being deliberately cut off from their livelihoods. Eyewitness testimony in his report includes the actions of the notorious Sa Thon Lon, a special intelligence unit, ranging from casual brutality to grisly killings. One recounted how the Sa Thon Lon had killed two fishermen. "After killing them they cut off their heads and took them to [two villages]. They hung one of the heads on the path to Mone and the other on the path to Ler Doh. They ordered people to guard the heads and said that if the heads were lost, they would be replaced by the heads of those guarding them. "People on sentry duty watched them all day and night. They finally threw the heads away when they were decomposing. They had been hanging there for over a month before they finally ordered them thrown away." Often the soldiers would demand that local girls be given to them for marriage. A Sa Thon Lon soldier tried to rape a 19-year-old called Na. When she ran away, he forced her family to give her up. "Both the parents and the village headman had to tell her to marry him, a witness said. "The villagers told her the same thing. They said, 'If you don't marry him, they will kill us all.' Finally she had to give herself to the Burmese [soldier] because she loves her parents, the village headman and the villagers." The soldier later wanted to take her away. When she refused, he burnt down her family's house. "When he had finished, he was worried that the people would say 'He is the one who burned his own father-in-law's house', so he burned down every house in the village." The army's terror campaign has included selected capture and sometimes killing of villagers considered to be sympathisers or aides to rebels. One woman, Paw Htoo, described the night when soldiers took her husband in Mone township. "When they called him to go with them, I told my husband, 'Don't be afraid, pray to God'." A soldier then put a knife to her throat and said if she uttered another word she would be killed. The soldiers took away her husband, covering his face with an old sarong and tying his hands behind his back with one of his guitar strings. He was killed later that night. Mr Horton called for international legal action against Burma. However, Rangoon has not signed the treaty that created the International Criminal Court, the new global war crimes tribunal, so its prosecutors cannot take up the case on their own. Mr Horton proposed a back-door approach instead, based on the fact that Burma is a signatory of the 1948 Genocide Convention. This means that another country, such as Britain or the Netherlands, could bring a case against Burma in the International Court of Justice, which deals with inter-state disputes. Its ruling would not be binding, but could force the United Nations Security Council to take up the matter. The Security Council can refer a case to the ICC. A spokesman for the Foreign Office said that despite Britain's "concerns" about Burma's human rights record, it had "no plans" to refer to Burma to the ICJ. It would "study" Mr Horton's report, but the spokesman pointed out that neither the UN nor other human rights groups had described the atrocities in Burma as genocide.
washingtonpost.com Game of Golf Stirs Up Criticism of U.S. Role in Nepal By John Lancaster Washington Post Foreign Service Sunday, June 19, 2005; A21 KATMANDU, Nepal -- Arrested in a crackdown on civil liberties, politician Ram Mahat was languishing in his jail cell last month when a guard slipped him a daily newspaper. There on the front page, he said, was an article that made his blood boil. It reported that the U.S. ambassador, James F. Moriarty, had played golf the day before in Katmandu with Crown Prince Paras, whose father, King Gyanendra, was responsible for the jailing of Mahat and hundreds of other perceived opponents of the monarchy. "Moriarty was planning to play only nine holes, but the royal company spurred him to complete the round," the Katmandu Post reported. "The ambassador playing golf with the crown prince was a wrong message," said Mahat, a bearded, gangly economist and former finance minister who is a leader of the Nepali Congress party. "It was in very bad taste. We all commented, 'What is this American ambassador doing?' " Moriarty was traveling in the United States and unavailable for comment last week. The embassy spokeswoman, Constance C. Jones, said by e-mail that Moriarty "suggested that the crown prince be invited" to play in the annual U.S. ambassador's golf tournament in early May because "he saw this as a good opportunity to get a personal impression of Paras since they had not conversed before." Like most, though not all, of those imprisoned in the crackdown, Mahat has since been released. Gyanendra, meanwhile, has eased some of the harsher restrictions on press freedom and other liberties that he imposed Feb. 1 in the name of defeating a Maoist insurgency, which has claimed more than 12,000 lives since it began in 1996. Nevertheless, Nepali politicians as well as human rights workers, lawyers, journalists and other civil-society advocates have expressed disappointment with the United States, which they say is not putting enough pressure on the monarchy to restore multi-party democracy in this impoverished and mountainous land of 27 million people. In that regard, they say, the United States has stumbled in an early test of President Bush's Feb. 2 State of the Union pledge to make democracy a centerpiece of U.S. foreign policy with the "goal of ending tyranny in our world." Critics also accuse the embassy here of exaggerating the threat of a Maoist takeover in order to prepare the ground for a resumption of arms shipments, known as lethal military aid, which were suspended in response to Gyanendra's seizure of power in February. "The way to tackle the Maoists is to let the political energy back in our veins," said Kanak Dixit, a U.S.-educated magazine publisher and one of the country's most influential journalists. The U.S. ambassador, he added, "says all the right things about pluralism and democracy, but again and again he is coming down softly on a king who has carried out a regime change." The State Department has condemned the king's Feb. 1 takeover as a setback to democracy and to the fight against the Maoists -- assertions that Moriarty has repeatedly echoed in Nepal. He also has tried to emphasize U.S. support for democracy by making frequent attempts to meet with senior politicians, including Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, who was placed under house arrest during the first weeks of the crackdown. The deputy chief of mission at the embassy, Elizabeth Millard, denied that the embassy had been soft on the king. "I do not want to be in a position to apologize for the situation here," she said in an interview Thursday. "We thought that the steps taken on February 1 were unhelpful. They were a step back from democracy." But Millard said the threat posed by the insurgency was sufficiently grave that the United States could not afford to withdraw all of its support from the monarchy and army, which continues to receive nonlethal military assistance from Washington while the Bush administration considers whether to resume arms shipments. Embassy officials assert that the Maoists are active in 70 of Nepal's 75 administrative districts. Democracy is a relatively new concept in Nepal, whose ruling family came to power in 1768. The country became a constitutional monarchy in 1990 and legalized political parties after massive protests. In 2001, Gyanendra ascended to the throne after his brother, King Birendra, was murdered along with other family members in bizarre palace massacre carried out by Birendra's son. The current constitutional crisis dates to 2002, when Deuba, the prime minister, dissolved parliament, called for new elections and then sought their postponement, prompting Gyanendra to fire him and appoint a caretaker government. A year ago, Gyanendra reappointed Deuba, then fired him again on Feb. 1. Embassy officials have suggested that the parties and the king will have to show "some give and take" to resolve the political crisis, as Moriarty put it in a recent interview with the Katmandu Post. The officials expressed doubts about the parties' demand for a restoration of the dissolved parliament, which the king has dismissed as unconstitutional, and expressed support for the king's plan to hold municipal elections, which the parties have dismissed as window dressing. Embassy officials also have voiced concern about reported contacts in New Delhi between Nepali politicians and Maoist leaders, saying an alliance against the king could plunge the country further into chaos. To critics of U.S. policy here, such statements sound as if the embassy is making excuses for a monarch who, in their view, is largely to blame for the political crisis and therefore should yield to the country's democratically elected politicians. "They would like us to say something that would be acceptable to the king," said Mahat, of the Nepali Congress party. "What we're saying is that whether the king likes it or not, the solution must be democratic and within the constitution." Millard cited "some progress, in the release of political prisoners," although she acknowledged that some had been rearrested immediately after being freed, which she described as "very, very troubling."
BBC 19 June, 2005 Nepal rebels end civilian attacks The statement follows the deadly bus bombing of 7 June The Maoists in Nepal have called a halt to attacks on civilians and offered to join political parties opposing the rule of King Gyanendra. Maoist chairman Prachanda said cadres had been ordered not to carry out "physical attacks on unarmed people". The move comes two weeks after a Maoist landmine killed 38 civilians on a bus. King Gyanendra assumed direct control of Nepal on 1 February, dismissing parliament and accusing politicians of failing to tackle the Maoists. 'Positive development' Mr Prachanda's offer to join hands with an alliance of seven opposition parties came a day after the alliance again urged the rebels to give up violence. The Maoists have been fighting a 10-year insurgency The parties have made it clear they cannot work with the Maoists until the rebels renounce violence. Mr Prachanda did not say his cadres would lay down arms. However in a media statement, he said: "Our party has issued special instructions to all cadres, the People's Liberation Army and other units not to carry out physical attacks on any unarmed person until another decision." He said the seven parties' demand for an interim government and elections to a constituent assembly was a positive development. However, he did not comment on one of the major alliance demands that the House of Representatives, dissolved three years ago, be reinstated. About 12,000 people have died in the rebels' 10-year armed insurgency aimed at replacing the monarchy with a communist republic. Mr Prachanda said his party was committed to human rights, competition among political parties and the rule of law. The Maoists said that the land mine attack on the bus in southern Chitwan district on 7 June was a mistake. Mr Prachanda later said those who carried out the attack had been suspended. There was widespread condemnation from ordinary Nepalis and international organisations.
21-06-2005 ICRC News 05/56 Philippines: ICRC and Philippine National Red Cross remain concerned about plight of Sulu civilians “People are genuinely grateful to know the Red Cross remains interested in their fate,” said Jean-Luc Joliat, head of the ICRC sub-delegation in Davao City, mid-way through a three-day visit to the island of Sulu in the Philippines' Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao which terminated on 18 June. The visit by Joliat and three Filipino field officers came some four months after a series of intense clashes between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and dissident groups. Its purpose was to support the local branch of the Philippine National Red Cross in its response to the situation on the ground. Owing to the security situation, ICRC visits to Sulu have not been easy to organize. This most recent visit follows a one-day exploratory trip undertaken by the head of the ICRC delegation in the Philippines on 9 March. The joint ICRC-Philippine National Red Cross team was well received by local authorities who were anxious to impress upon the visitors that normalcy had returned to the island. The ICRC and National Society representatives took part in a series of meetings with local community and religious leaders and with representatives of women’s organizations in order to inform themselves about any need for protection or assistance that might exist. The ICRC’s first priority was to assess the situation of the approximately 30,000 people displaced at the outset of the fighting. In places where the displaced had previously taken refuge the team observed that the vast majority had returned to their homes. The ICRC has taken a keen interest in developments in Sulu ever since the renewed outbreak of hostilities, and remains concerned about the situation there. On 21 February the organization issued a statement reminding all parties involved in military hostilities of their obligation to obey the rules of international humanitarian law. On 17 June the ICRC delivered to the local provincial hospital medical dressings and other supplies for treating conflict-related injuries and seasonal diseases such as dengue fever. In accordance with its humanitarian mandate, the ICRC team also visited the military hospital and the provincial prison to assess basic conditions in each facility. It distributed soap and hygiene items for the prisoners as well as vitamin supplements provided by the National Society. “The role of independent humanitarian action is critical in Sulu,” said Jean-Luc Joliat. “The local people have seen conflict in the past. In the absence of any local monitoring body, they are resigned to what they believe is an uncertain future. That is why the permanent presence of the Philippine National Red Cross on the island is vitally important.”
scotsman.com 20 June 2005 UK helped train massacre army JAMES KIRKUP POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT Key points • British soldiers helped train the Uzbekistan army last year • Army of the central Asian republic then killed 173 civilian demontrators • Raises questions over UK support of Uzbek president, Islam Karimov Key quote "Our limited activities in Uzbekistan are designed to sow the seeds of democratic management and accountability of the military. The Uzbek defence minister is very forward-leaning in his desire to modernise and increase professionalism in the armed forces." - MOD STATEMENT Story in full BRITISH soldiers helped to train the army of Uzbekistan, which last month slaughtered hundreds of pro-democracy protesters, The Scotsman can reveal. The government of the central Asian republic has admitted that its troops killed 173 civilian demonstrators on 12 and 13 May in the city of Andizhan - and the true toll is believed to have been much higher. Human rights groups have condemned the massacre. Last year, about 150 British Army veterans of the Iraq war travelled to Uzbekistan to train with the army responsible for the killings. According to one independent witness, the British soldiers "shared tactics" with the Uzbeks. The revelations will raise fresh questions about the UK government's support for the autocratic regime of Islam Karimov, the Uzbek president. Craig Murray, the former British ambassador to Uzbekistan who has been critical of UK policy towards Mr Karimov, was outraged that British troops had worked so closely with Uzbek forces. "One of the most chilling things about the massacre was that it was not a spur-of-the-moment thing," he said yesterday. "The morning after, the soldiers searched the square, methodically killing the wounded with bullets to the head. "The idea that British Army soldiers were training alongside people who do that is simply appalling." Last autumn, 150 officers and men of the Royal Regiment of Wales travelled to Uzbekistan to take part in a major army training operation that apparently included combat operations. The Uzbeks codenamed the operation Timur Express, a reference to the 14th-century warlord known in the West as Tamburlaine. The exercise took place at the Farish training camp, 200 miles south-west of the capital, Tashkent. Pictures of the operation obtained by The Scotsman appear to show British and Uzbek troops firing a machine-gun and engaging in combat simulations. The Welsh soldiers are members of the Territorial Army and most of them had served at least one tour in Iraq, "The soldiers were able to use their experience gained in Iraq and other operations to train the Uzbeks using British tactics," said one person who observed the Farish training operation. Previously, the Foreign Office and the Ministry of Defence have admitted offering only support and training to selected Uzbek army officers, hoping to encourage democratic reform and Uzbekistan's participation in international peacekeeping missions. The government has been reluctant to admit providing operational support to the Uzbek army. The last time the MoD told parliament about military support, in February 2004, ministers said Britain had provided training and advice ... focused on assisting the Uzbekistan ministry of defence with its defence reform efforts". The United States has also faced questions about its military support for Uzbekistan, seen as a key ally in the war on terrorism. Unconfirmed reports suggest that the Uzbek army units involved in the Andizhan killings had benefited from US military training. In a statement last night, the MoD said: "Our limited activities in Uzbekistan are designed to sow the seeds of democratic management and accountability of the military. "The Uzbek defence minister is very forward-leaning in his desire to modernise and increase professionalism in the armed forces." The MoD described the Welsh troops' presence in Uzbekistan as an "annual peacekeeping exercise". A spokesman was unable to say whether there would be another such exercise this year.
BBC 29 June 2005 Two Rwandans guilty over genocide Ndashyikirwa (l) and Nzabonimana (r) were well-known businessmen Belgium's court has found two Rwandans guilty of war crimes and murder linked to the 1994 genocide in their country. Half-brothers Etienne Nzabonimana, 53, and Samuel Ndashyikirwa, 43, were convicted by the court in Brussels. They were tried under a new law which allows Belgium to hold trials for alleged war crimes, even when committed by foreigners in other countries. The two men denied charges of helping extremist Hutu militia massacre some 50,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus. Prosecutors said the two businessmen provided weapons, vehicles and beer for militias in Rwanda's south-eastern Kibungo region during the April killings. Dozens of Rwandans testified against the two men. After two Rwandan nuns were convicted of taking part in the genocide in a landmark 2001 trial, Belgium was inundated with lawsuits for war crimes against world leaders, such as Israel's Ariel Sharon and former US President George Bush Snr. The law was changed so that those charged had to live in Belgium - which was the case of the two Rwandan half-brothers. Some 800,000 people were slaughtered in the 1994 genocide.
AP 29 June 2005 Two Rwandans Get Prison for War Crimes The Associated Press Wednesday, June 29, 2005; 9:55 PM BRUSSELS, Belgium -- Two Rwandan businessmen were sentenced to 10 and 12 years in prison Wednesday after being convicted for helping Hutu militias who killed thousands during the 1994 Rwanda genocide. While the prosecutor sought life terms _ or at least 25 years in prison as permitted under Belgium law _ the judge and jury agreed on lesser sentences because the businessmen had no direct role in the killings. The two were convicted of participating in plans to massacre people at a church and a nearby municipal hall where Tutsis and moderate Hutus met. The prosecution said the two offered transport for the killers and helped arrange for weapons. Hutu militias killed more than 500,000 minority Tutsis and politically moderate Hutus during the genocide, which lasted from April to July 1994. Some estimate that up to 800,000 died. The court handed down a 12-year sentence to Etienne Nzabonimana, 53, who was convicted Tuesday on 56 counts of aiding and abetting in the slaughter of Tutsis and moderate Hutus in Kibungo, southwest of the Rwandan capital, Kigali. His half-brother Samuel Ndashyikirwa, 43, was given 10 years in jail after being found guilty on 23 counts. "It was people like them who also have a crime to answer for, just as the people who wielded the machetes," Luc Walleyn, a lawyer representing victims' families, told VRT radio during a break in the trial. The two lived in Belgium when they were arrested in 2002. They denied any wrongdoing and entered innocent pleas during the trial at which about 170 witnesses testified. Meanwhile, in Paris, judicial officials said the prosecutor of a French military tribunal will request preliminary hearings for six Rwandans who alleged that French troops had a role in the 1994 genocide. The move comes in response to a lawsuit the six filed in February, which accused troops of "complicity in genocide" and "crimes against humanity." The request was expected in the coming days, but will take much longer for the army court, the only one capable of judging actions by French soldiers on duty, to carry it out, officials said. The judge must either ask Rwandan judges to hear testimony from the six _ all of whom live in the central African nation _ or travel there himself. It was the second trial in a Belgian court involving Rwanda's slaughter of the early 1990s. In 2001, a Brussels court convicted two Roman Catholic nuns, a former government minister and a university professor for their role in the atrocities of 1994. They received prison sentences of 12 to 20 years. Belgium held that groundbreaking trial, hailed as a milestone in international law, under a 1993 law that gave local courts jurisdiction over violations of the Geneva Conventions on the conduct of war, no matter where they occurred. However, that law was watered down in 2003, limiting its scope after activists tried to bring cases against world leaders including President George Bush. As Belgian residents, the two Rwandan suspects still fell under the new application of the rules.
washingtonpost.com 30 June 2005 10 Years After Bosnia Massacre, Justice Not Yet Served Experts Doubt Top Suspects Will Be Tried Before U.N. Court Is Scheduled to Expire By Daniel Williams Washington Post Foreign Service Thursday, June 30, 2005; A20 SREBRENICA, Bosnia -- Nearly 10 years after Serb troops massacred close to 7,000 Muslim prisoners around this mountain town, war crimes investigators have all but wound up their probe into the killings, but express doubts that all major suspects will be brought to justice before a U.N. tribunal's scheduled closure in 2008. As forensic experts complete the examination of a newly discovered mass grave, the two main targets of the war crimes manhunt remain at large. Ratko Mladic, who commanded the military forces of the breakaway Bosnian Serb state during the 1992-95 war, and Radovan Karadzic, its political leader, have been wanted men for a decade. Preparations are underway in the town of Potocari near here for a July 11 ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of the worst atrocity in Europe since World War II. Serbian President Boris Tadic has announced that he will attend the event, to be held at a cemetery where 2,000 of the victims lie. Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica recently issued a statement denouncing the "massive crime" of Srebrenica. Serbia has surrendered close to a dozen other war crimes suspects to the U.N. court this year, and this month, a half-dozen people in the part of Bosnia dominated by ethnic Serbs were arrested for alleged involvement in the massacre. Despite gestures like these, deep suspicions remain. The Serbian parliament has refused to issue a condemnation of the massacre. And some Bosnian Muslims have called for Tadic to stay away from the ceremonies, saying his presence would signal that Serbia considers Srebrenica part of its territory. So far, the U.N. court in The Hague has convicted several Serb perpetrators, some of whom are appealing the verdicts. Former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic is on trial, and several other suspects await hearings. Bosnian Muslims also committed atrocities, investigators say. Naser Oric, the Bosnian Muslim military commander for Srebrenica, is on trial for overseeing the killing and expulsion of Serb civilians in the years before the massacre. But for now, the wait for the two big names continues. Carla del Ponte, the chief U.N. war crimes prosecutor, has said she will not attend the anniversary event unless Mladic and Karadzic are captured. Fears that the tribunal might shut down before Mladic, Karadzic and other suspects come to trial prompted the court president, Theodor Meron, to call for an extension. "I can already predict that trials will have to run into 2009," he told the U.N. Security Council in a report this month. Today, Srebrenica looks eerily the same as a decade ago. Gutted buildings dominate the winding main road. A pair of new mosques replace a couple that the Serbs razed. About 6,000 Serbs live in the town and nearby villages, along with 4,000 Muslims. Members of the two groups barely speak to each other, townspeople say. The sum of information on Srebrenica points to a methodical killing campaign. The deaths took place not in a single orgy of destruction and bloodletting, but in a step-by-step process of capture, transfer, distribution and execution of thousands of detainees in multiple places around the town over four days, and by some accounts longer. The killings took place two months before the end of the war. The United Nations had declared the town a "safe area" and stationed Dutch troops in it. But on July 11, 1995, Serb forces backed by tanks defied the United Nations and pushed straight into the town. Hussein Karic, a Muslim who retired as a gamekeeper, returned from Sarajevo two years ago. He recalls being at his home above Srebrenica that day, when Serb forces started to descend from the mountains. He walked with a granddaughter to the town center, where hundreds of Muslims gathered. "I saw Mladic just a few feet away. He was trying to calm people. No one believed him," Karic said. Karic joined a column of civilians heading for Potocari, down the valley. Occasionally, Muslim men were pulled out of the crowd and confined to buildings; there were screams and shots. "I kept circulating in the crowd. I didn't let anyone's eyes meet mine," Karic recalled. Videos shot during the invasion showed Mladic moving about, patting little boys on the head and telling mothers not to wail. But at one point, he told Serbian television: "The time has come to take revenge on the Turks." Turks is the dismissive Serb label for Bosnian Muslims. On July 13, buses arrived and a two-day evacuation began. Serb guards separated men from women and boys. Karic sneaked onto a bus for women and boys and stayed silent. He remembers looking into the eye of the driver. The driver did nothing. "I don't know why. It must be said some Serbs among the drivers knew there were men on board, but did not throw them off. It was God's will," Karic said. Elsewhere, Serb guards were directing men and boys off the road, and women toward the trucks and buses. Sabaheta Fejzic recalls trying to shield her 16-year-old son. "The guards told me to go to the right, where the white buses were. 'Your son goes left.' . . . They grabbed him. I could not even cry, but my son was crying. I will never forget the tears falling from his eyes, his olive-colored eyes," she said, speaking slowly and pausing to recover from a sob. "I knelt down and yelled out, 'Kill me.' One aimed a rifle at me. I said, 'Kill me.' But they said, 'Why waste the bullets?' And they threw me into a truck. It was all a haze after. I just see his olive eyes." Captives were transported all over eastern Bosnia, war crimes investigators said: some just down the road to villages near the Drina River, others as far as 45 miles north, west as far as the outskirts of Sarajevo and several miles to the south. Today, there are plenty of vivid traces of the operation. In the agricultural warehouse in Kravica, a few miles from Potocari, tribunal investigators say that scores of men and boys were packed into a long, white building and killed with bullets and grenades. Investigators have a photo of bodies piled up at the broad front doors. Currently, the building is empty except for an occasional wandering goat. Bullet and shrapnel holes on the outside have been covered over. Inside, the walls are blackened by smoke and the bullets holes remain. Similar remnants are visible in Pilica, 40 miles north, in a building called the Dom Kultura. Blackened flooring underneath a stage and pocked walls indicate shooting and fire within. There, on July 16, Serb soldiers killed prisoners, investigators say. Drazen Erdemovic, a solder in the Serb army, confessed to shooting dozens of men in Pilica. In his defense, he said, "I had to do this. If I had refused, I would have been killed together with the victims. When I refused, they told me: 'If you are sorry for them, stand up, line up with them and we will kill you too.' " He was sentenced to five years in prison, his sentenced mitigated by his willingness to help investigators. Investigators have identified numerous other places where prisoners were assembled and killed: a soccer field, a warehouse and a school in Bratunac, a warehouse in Konjevic Polje, a riverside at Drinjaca, a bend in the road at Nova Kasaba and a school and nearby dam at Petkovci. One of the worst mass executions occurred at a place called Branjevo farm, where more than 1,200 men and boys were shot down in a field. Using aerial photographs, tribunal investigators have uncovered numerous grave sites filled with hundreds of bodies. Some of the bodies had been buried first at other sites, then dug up and moved in an attempt to hide evidence after the war ended. Many victims had their hands manacled or were blindfolded. In addition to the 2,000 corpses buried at the cemetery at Potocari, about 3,500 bodies remain in storage in Tuzla, Bosnia, where forensic experts are trying to identify them. Last month, Serbian human rights campaigner Natasa Kandic, who has been investigating war crimes, provided a videotape of a unit of Serb soldiers called the Scorpions gunning down six Muslim men and boys at a house near Sarajevo. A vivid documentary account of an execution like this had never been found and shown before. It briefly set off a wave of soul-searching inside Serbia. Nura Alispahic, a survivor of the killings, watched the tape at her home in Sarajevo. She later told reporters that her son Azmir was one of the prisoners: "I recognized his face, his shoes. That was my Azmir. They chased him, he turned around. I saw my enemies killing my child." Azmir had left the family house in Srebrenica in an attempt to escape the town, but returned in a few minutes. "I forgot to kiss you, mother," Alispahic recalled him saying. That was the last time she saw him, or knew what happened to him, until the broadcast of the video in early June.
TRANSITIONS ONLINE: Serbia & Bosnia: Massacre Video Sparks Confusion by Tim Judah 30 June 2005 A video showing the execution of Bosniaks from Srebrenica may have shaken Serbs, but it has also left many confused and embittered. SREBRENICA, BELGRADE, BANJA LUKA | The prosecution in the trial of Slobodan Milosevic, the former Serbian and Yugoslav leader, played a videotape at his trial on 1 June, a tape shown later that evening. The tape apparently showed men from a Serbian paramilitary group called the Scorpions executing six young men from Srebrenica following the fall of the Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) enclave in July 1995. The result has been a political storm that has yet to abate and that has left many Serbs angry and confused. When the tape was first shown, the prosecution at the Hague-based International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) claimed that the Scorpions were under the control of the Serbian Interior Ministry. If this is proved to be the case, it will have enormous political and judicial significance. In effect, the prosecution claims to have found the “smoking gun” linking Serbia and its former leadership to the Srebrenica massacre, which the UN tribunal in an earlier case has already judged unequivocally to be genocide. As many as 8,000 Bosniak men and boys were killed in the aftermath of the fall of the enclave. At first, Serbia’s leadership rushed to denounce the crime seen on the video. Both Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica and Serbian President Boris Tadic made trenchant statements and several former members of the Scorpions were arrested. However, as the recriminations began pouring in, there was no agreement as to what to do next. If the video had been shown at almost any other time in the past few years, it would certainly have had less political significance than it does now. The problem for Serbia, however, is that the Scorpions affair exploded just weeks before the commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the massacre, which will be held at Potocari, just outside Srebrenica on 11 July. It will be a major political and media event with dignitaries from both the region and around the world attending. Before the showing of the video, President Tadic had received an invitation to attend from the Bosnian presidency – but he had not yet replied and was presumably weighing up his options. In the wake of the media storm after the showing of the video, Tadic had little option but to confirm he was going. However, he now felt he needed political backing for his trip. BELGRADE ON THE SPOT Action then moved to the Serbian parliament. Here, even before the showing of the video, liberal deputies Zarko Korac and Natasa Micic had already introduced a motion inviting members of the assembly to condemn the massacre as genocide. They had done this in the wake of a public meeting on 17 May at the law school of Belgrade university in which extreme nationalist and right-wing groups had celebrated the “liberation” of Srebrenica (where before the war 73 percent of the population were Bosniaks) and had claimed either that no massacre had taken place or that the Bosniaks had inflated beyond recognition the numbers of those who died. With the appearance of the video, the question of the resolution became urgent. There was no question, however, of acknowledging that genocide had taken place – especially while Serbia and Montenegro is still facing a potentially extremely damaging law suit taken out by Bosnia and Herzegovina at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), charging the former with genocide. What frightens Serbia’s leaders is not just the political cost to Serbia and the Serbs in general of losing this case, but the billions that Bosnia will demand in reparations if it wins. Nevertheless, Tadic’s party wanted to pass a resolution in which the specific nature of the crime would be acknowledged. However, Kostunica’s party felt unable to agree, not only for ideological reasons but also because it relies on votes from Milosevic’s Serbian Party of Socialists and the extreme nationalist Serbian Radical Party in order to survive. Since the former was in power at the time of the Srebrenica massacre and the latter provided Milosevic with paramilitaries to fight in Bosnia, neither was prepared to support anything more than a vague and watered-down resolution condemning war crimes across the former Yugoslavia by all parties during the wars. Negotiations on a resolution collapsed on 14 June. This was followed by a condemnation of what happened at Srebrenica by the Council of Ministers of Serbia and Montenegro – an extremely weak body that does not have the political clout of the republican governments. The failure to pass a resolution means that Tadic could face protests when he goes to Potocari. Indeed, the Mothers of Srebrenica group, which helps families of survivors, has called his visit a “planned provocation” and an attempt to “demonstrate that Srebrenica is part of the holy Serb land in whose name this genocide was committed.” They then called on the families of Srebrenica victims to physically prevent Tadic “and every other unwanted guest” from attending the 11 July ceremony. POWERFUL FORCES AT WORK As the resolution battle was playing out in parliament in Belgrade, it became clear that there were powerful forces in Serbia determined to destroy either the credibility of the tape or the evidence it purported to show. There were several reasons for this. Firstly, the tape has significance for Bosnia’s case against Serbia at the ICJ. Secondly, the link claimed by Hague prosecution team and Natasa Kandic, Serbia’s leading human- rights activist who brought the video to light, is also extremely damaging for a number of individuals currently awaiting their trials in The Hague. They include Jovica Stanisic, the former head of Serbia’s secret police. Firstly, stories began to emerge in the press that the killings on the video had taken place before the main massacre and, secondly, that the Scorpions, who had operated under the command structure of the Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA) in eastern Slavonia in Croatia in 1991, had then become part of the army of the short-lived, would-be breakaway Serbian state in Croatia, the Republic of Serbian Krajina (RSK). Finally, on 17 June, current Serbian Interior Minister Dragan Jocic insisted that the Scorpions had never been a reserve unit of the ministry. If that is proven true, it will significantly devalue the prosecution’s case in The Hague. Florence Hartmann, the spokeswoman for the Hague prosecution, hit back hard, though, saying that not only would the prosecution soon introduce evidence to prove the link, but adding that the Scorpions wore the uniform of the RSK army simply as a front. Everyone agrees that one of their main tasks was to guard supplies of oil produced in then Serbian-held eastern Slavonia, which was exported to Serbia. However, as the region had by that stage come under a UN mandate, Hartmann pointed out that the Scorpions could hardly operate openly in Serbian police uniforms. The result of the uproar caused by the Scorpions video has been both conflicting and confusing. Before the video was shown, half of Serbs questioned said they did not believe that Serbs had committed war crimes during the wars of the 1990s. Since the video was shown, a new poll has found that one-third of the public believe it to be a fake. Another poll published in the Serbian daily Blic on 17 June showed that 37 percent of those asked said they did not believe that General Ratko Mladic, the wartime commander of Bosnian Serb forces, should be extradited to The Hague, where he faces genocide charges relating to Srebrenica. A slightly larger percentage of those polled thought that he should face trial in The Hague. However, of those, only 20 percent thought he should go because he was responsible for war crimes, while another 23 percent thought he should go only because that was the only way for Serbia to join the EU. AMONG BOSNIAN SERBS With the commemoration looming, the debate about Srebrenica shows no signs of abating. Indeed, Vesna Pesic, a well-known liberal politician, added fuel to the fire, suggesting that the day be a day of mourning in Serbia. Within Republika Srpska (RS), Bosnia’s Serb-dominated entity, the debate has been somewhat different. Lord Paddy Ashdown, the international community’s High Representative in Bosnia, has demanded that RS provide a list of names of all men who could have been involved in the massacre – something the authorities have been dragging their feet on, claiming it is an impossible task, since some papers were long ago seized by NATO-led troops in Bosnia and because the papers relating to any involvement by Serbia were in Belgrade. Last year, under extreme pressure from Ashdown, the RS authorities finally acknowledged that a crime had taken place in Srebrenica and a list of 7,800 missing provided, tallied with that of the International Committee of the Red Cross. In the wake of that, RS President Dragan Cavic called the massacre “a black stain on the history of the Serb people.” Now, however, he is calling for a mutual apology of Bosniaks, Serbs, and Croats in Bosnia. “When speaking about the crime in Srebrenica and an apology for it,” he said recently,” many are making a comparison with the apology of [then] German chancellor Willy Brandt to the victims of Nazi Germany. Bosnia would need three Brandts to appear at the same time, since only then would these apologies have any sense. Outside this context, they would represent only politics.” For some Bosnian Serbs, Cavic’s idea may seem farfetched, but it may also coincide with the feelings of many others who feel embittered that the world will pay homage to Srebrenica’s Bosniak victims on 11 July, while Serb victims, they say, are forgotten. For example, in the Bosnian Serb village of Bibici, a few kilometers from Srebrenica, local bus driver Radivoje Bibic says that he believes 99 percent of local Serbs agree with him when he says that what happened to the Bosniaks in the wake of the fall of Srebrenica was entirely justified. “What they asked for, they got. They deserved it,” he told ISN Security Watch. In Srebrenica, Milos Milovanovic, the head of the local branch of Bosnian Serb war veterans association complains that Bosniaks “killed a lot of Serbs,” during the war, but foreigners “only ever talk about Muslim victims.” In nearby Kravica, a seven-meter high cross is being erected to commemorate the Serbs who died during the war from this region. The number is some 3,500, says Jovan Nikolic, who is a member of the committee for the memorial, but he admits that almost all of them were soldiers. Among them, however, are 49 people, mostly civilians, who died when the hungry Bosniaks of Srebrenica raided Kravica at dawn on the morning of Orthodox Christmas Day on 7 January 1993. JUST A SPARK Down the road from Kravica’s cross is the factory hangar where up to 1,500 Bosniaks were executed after having been caught trying to escape from Srebrenica in 1995. The walls are still riddled with bullet holes. A local Serb, who is working on the cross and asked that his name not be used, says, “Kravica also had a lot of victims.” Asked about the Bosniaks killed in 1995, he says, “It was not such a big thing. Something happened, but it was not as big as they say.” In Bibici, Vukosava Bibic, an elderly cousin of bus driver Radivoje Bibic, whose son died as a soldier in the war, says of the neighbors, whom she disparagingly calls the “Turks,” “It would have been better if they had killed all of us or we had killed all of them because we can’t live together now, after the war.” Her feelings are reciprocated. In Tuzla, where many Bosniaks from Srebrenica now live, Hajra Catic is the president of the Women of Srebrenica organization, which helps the families of the dead and missing. Noting that many refugee Serbs who have been living in Srebrenica have been leaving for Serbia she says, “I wish Serbia would burn.” In the village of Bibici, Radivoje Bibic says that if it were not for the presence of international peacekeepers, “it would take just a spark for us to start all over again.” Tim Judah is the author of The Serbs: History, Myth and the Destruction of Yugoslavia and Kosovo: War and Revenge, both published by Yale University Press. This article originally appeared in ISN Security Watch. www.isn.ethz.ch
Reuters 25 June 2005 France asked to pursue suspect in Rwanda genocide By Evelyn Leopold UNITED NATIONS, June 25 (Reuters) - After years of trailing a former U.N. employee suspected of directing or taking part in the killing of 32 people during Rwanda's 1994 genocide, the United Nations now wants France to take action against him. Callixte Mbarushimana, a Hutu once employed by the U.N. Development Program (UNDP) in Rwanda, has repeatedly denied the allegations, which include the death of a U.N. colleague. But survivors and some U.N. staff members stand by the claims. Mbarushimana was granted refugee status in France in 2003, where he has been living ever since. French officials would not comment until a formal request was received. "We've been pursing the avenue of national prosecutions over the past year," U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq said late on Friday. France, he said, would be asked to either bring him to trial or extradite Mbarushimana to Rwanda. Belgium, in unrelated cases, reopened its Rwanda genocide investigations earlier this year. Carla del Ponte, then-prosecutor for the U.N. Rwanda genocide tribunal, refused to indict Mbarushimana in 2002. Del Ponte claimed she lacked sufficient evidence for an indictment. Her successor Hassan Jallow has followed her lead. "We've been exploring this one way or another ever since Carla del Ponte over two years back took decision not to prosecute," Haq said. After the genocide, witnesses told investigators at the U.N. tribunal in Arusha, Tanzania, that Mbarushimana was seen collaborating with Hutu death squads in fingering Tutsis, directly or indirectly bearing responsibility for 32 deaths. Among his alleged victims was Florence Ngirumpatse, the UNDP administrator in Kigali, who was hacked to death along with schoolgirls she was protecting. "Killing U.N. personnel is even an international crime," Haq said. About 800,000 Rwandans, most of them Tutsis and some moderate Hutus, were beaten to death with clubs, slashed with machetes or thrown into latrines to drown in April and May of 1994. Some said Mbarushimana manned road blocks at which people were killed. As the U.N. court was collecting evidence, Mbarushimana continued to work for the United Nations, first in Angola and then in Kosovo in 2000 where the charges against him became public in 2001 and he was dismissed. After learning Mbarushimana was on the U.N. payroll in Kosovo, Jean-Marie Guehenno, the head of U.N. peacekeeping, asked an international judge in 2001 to extradite him to Rwanda. That effort foundered in the thicket of rules and U.N. division of labor. In September, an independent U.N. administrative tribunal took the controversial step of awarding Mbarushimana 13 months of back pay because he had not been found guilty of the genocide charges. The panel's ruling overruled arguments from UNDP and Secretary-General Kofi Annan. The United Nations secretariat, according to an opinion by the International Court of Justice, does not have the right to go against the administrative tribunal, once appeals are exhausted. But others say the decision could be reversed if France takes action.
Reueters 29 June 2005 France considers action on Rwanda genocide suspect By Evelyn Leopold UNITED NATIONS, June 29 (Reuters) - France has said it will consider prosecuting a former U.N. employee suspected of directing or taking part in the killing of 32 people during Rwanda's 1994 genocide. After years of trailing Callixte Mbarushimana, a Hutu once employed by the U.N. Development Program (UNDP) in Rwanda, the United Nations earlier this week asked France to take action. Mbarushimana has been granted asylum in Paris. UNDP's legal counsel sent a letter to France's U.N. ambassador, Jean-Marc de la Sabliere, apprising Paris that there was an outstanding warrant from Rwanda for Mbarushimana's arrest, UNDP spokesman William Orme said. It does not ask for any specific action from France but says that if Paris takes up the case, the United Nations would provide whatever evidence it had against him. In Paris, Jean-Baptiste Mattei, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Tuesday: "The United Nations referred this case to us and it will be quickly forwarded to the competent judicial authorities since it is up to the prosecutor's office to decide whether to begin proceedings." Mbarushimana, has frequently denied the accusation while living in Paris where he was granted refugee status in 2003. Carla del Ponte, former prosecutor for the U.N. Rwanda genocide tribunal, refused to indict Mbarushimana in 2002. Del Ponte claimed she lacked sufficient evidence for an indictment. Her successor Hassan Jallow has followed her lead. After the genocide, witnesses told investigators at the U.N. tribunal in Arusha, Tanzania, that Mbarushimana was seen collaborating with Hutu death squads in fingering Tutsis and bore direct or indirect responsibility for 32 deaths. Among his alleged victims was Florence Ngirumpatse, the UNDP administrator in Kigali, who was hacked to death along with schoolgirls she was protecting. About 800,000 Rwandans, most of them Tutsis and some moderate Hutus, were beaten to death with clubs, slashed with machetes or thrown into latrines to drown in April and May of 1994. Some said Mbarushimana manned road blocks at which people were killed. As the U.N. court was collecting evidence, Mbarushimana continued to work for the United Nations, first in Angola and then in Kosovo in 2000 where the charges against him became public in 2001 and he was dismissed. In September, an independent U.N. administrative tribunal took the controversial step of awarding Mbarushimana 13 months back pay because he had convicted by any court. The panel's ruling overruled arguments from UNDP and Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
Greek Helsinki Monitor 23 June 2005 www.ifex.org (GHM/IFEX) - GHM condemns the partial censorship by Greek television stations of a Srebrenica atrocities video, shown repeatedly on 2 and 3 June 2005. The video's opening scene, which features a Serbian Orthodox priest blessing paramilitaries who are later seen committing war crimes against Bosnian Muslims, was cut by all Greek television stations that aired the video, although it was aired uncut around the world the same day. The Greek stations presented the cut version to the public as being the complete version. GHM notes that during the Bosnian war, the overwhelming majority of Greeks, including Greek media and politicians, sided with the Serbs in general, and with wartime Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic - now a fugitive from international justice- in particular. It is widely believed that the "self-censorship" of the Srebrenica video is the result of the Orthodox Church's powerful position in Greece. In his book, "Unholy Alliance: Greece and Milosevic's Serbia in the Nineties", independent journalist Takis Michas documents the pro-Serb, pro-Karadzic position of Greek public opinion, politicians and media, and the participation of a Greek volunteer force alongside Serbs in the Bosnian war and the Srebrenica atrocities. It is not surprising then, that only one piece of criticism of this censorship is known to exist: a commentary piece with the title "My pretty ostrich", in the 18 June 2005 edition of the "NTV" weekly TV guide of "Ta Nea" daily. The piece states, among other things, that "the revealing video . . . was shown censored and clumsily cut by absolutely all Greek television channels . . . what we saw only half of was shown in full by the televisions of all other European countries."
Reuters 27 June 2005 Greece starts probe into Srebrenica massacre 27 Jun 2005 11:09:59 GMT Source: Reuters By Karolos Grohmann ATHENS, June 27 (Reuters) - An Athens prosecutor launched a preliminary investigation on Monday to determine whether Greeks took part with Bosnian Serbs in the 1995 massacre of up to 8,000 Muslims in Srebrenica. The slaughter of the unarmed men and boys taken by the Bosnian Serb army from the U.N. protected area at Srebrenica was Europe's worst atrocity since World War Two. Greek Justice Minister Anastasios Papaligouras said in parliament on Friday Greek citizens may have taken part in the atrocity but ruled out that they were members of the country's armed forces. An unspecified number of Greek citizens volunteered to join fellow Orthodox Christian Serb forces fighting in the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s, saying they volunteered to support their "Orthodox brothers" in battle. "A preliminary investigation is already under way by the prosecutor ... to determine whether there were Greek nationals involved in this," a Justice Ministry official told Reuters. "Obviously this will not be a short investigation. It will not take just a few weeks. It will be longer than that." The investigation, coming before the massacre's 10-year anniversary on July 11, was triggered by a Greek deputy's question to the country's justice minister to probe the matter of Greek participation in the massacre. At the time, several of the Greek volunteers openly talked about their missions in the Greek media, but there had never been any mention of involvement in the Srebrenica massacre. Greece, which traditionally has had better ties with Serbia and formerly with Yugoslavia than any of its other Balkan neighbours, was one of the strongest opponents of the NATO-led bombing campaign against Serbia during the 1999 Kosovo war. While Belgrade has yet to officially acknowledge its support of Bosnian Serb forces during the Bosnian war, compelled by unrelenting Western pressure, the Bosnian Serb parliament earlier this year admitted the scale of the Srebrenica atrocity and Bosnian Serb responsibility for it.
BBC 16 June 2005 Official confirms Chechen horror By Stephen Eke BBC News, Moscow Years of war have devastated much of Chechnya A top human rights official in the Russian-backed administration in Chechnya says there are more than 50 mass graves in the troubled republic. Nurdi Nukhazhiyev told the BBC that tens of thousands of civilians had "disappeared" since 1999. He said the war had seen human rights violations on an unimaginable scale. Mr Nukhazhiyev added that figures on civilian deaths were approximate, but that the graves and who might be buried there could no longer be ignored. The Russian government launched the second Chechen war at the end of 1999. The pro-Moscow administration needs more money and political support to deal with the legacy of disappearances, kidnappings and murders that it says have resulted from a war the Kremlin calls "the counter-terrorist operation". There isn't a single Chechen family that didn't suffer during the first and second Chechen war Nurdi Nukhazhiyev "We have identified 52 mass graves. We've been raising the question of exhuming the remains and doing DNA analyses for three years now," said Mr Nukhazhiyev, who heads the Council of Human Rights Organisations of Chechnya. "The absence of suitable medical facilities here makes this impossible." Shaky position Many of the accusations levelled against the Russian authorities by human rights groups - namely the deliberate targeting of civilians by the Russian military - have angered the Moscow authorities. Mr Nukhazhiyev, however, says many of the accusations are true. "There isn't a single Chechen family that didn't suffer during the first and second Chechen war," he said. "If the Russian state was interested in establishing the truth, it would announce the formation of an independent post-conflict commission." He said the administration in Grozny had made a start by setting up a database with information on all those who have suffered or died. Human rights groups have said the Chechen administration to which Mr Nukhazhiyev belongs is also guilty of abuses, particularly kidnappings. Mr Nukhazhiyev denies this. "I'm telling you directly - and everyone who knows me would tell you the same - that I'm the first to make an objective and honest case for human rights," he said. "So I'm telling you that those allegations are both incorrect and untrue." Some Russian analysts have questioned the loyalty of the administration Moscow established in Chechnya, stressing that its members are seen as traitors by most ordinary Chechens. They have warned that tensions are likely to grow ahead of parliamentary elections due in the region in the coming months, and that the administration could resort to anti-Russian outbursts to bolster its own shaky position. This would embarrass and anger Russia, which insists, despite suffering daily casualties in Chechnya, that life there is returning to normal.
RFE/RL 17 June 2005 Russia: Pro-Moscow Chechen Official Confirms Atrocities By Robert Parsons A leading human rights official in the Russian-backed administration in Chechnya says tens of thousands of Chechen civilians have disappeared since 1999. Nurdi Nukhazhiev said that many of the accusations made by human rights groups against the Russian armed forces -- among them that they have targeted civilians – were true. He said there was not a single Chechen family that had not suffered in the first and second Chechen wars. Prague, 17 June 2005 (RFE/RL) -- There is nothing new in these accusations. They have been made -- and ignored -- countless times by every human rights agency that has ever worked in Chechnya. What makes these different is that they come from the heart of the pro-Moscow Chechen administration itself. Nurdi Nukhazhiev is the chairman of the pro-Moscow Chechen government's committee for civil rights. At a meeting of the Chechen state council this week, he admitted that up to 60,000 people had lost a relative or a friend in the disappearances that have tormented the republic since the start of the second Chechen war in 1999. He went further. The Chechen authorities were aware of the existence of 52 mass graves, which, he said, had to be properly exhumed. And, he said, speaking to the BBC, federal forces had to take responsibility. "You know, when measures of this kind are undertaken, responsibility must be borne by those who use force. In both conceivable and inconceivable ways, this violates human rights, the Constitution of the Russian Federation and the international obligations of Russia before the Council of Europe. Those responsible refuse to take into account many things. That's why we have such heavy consequences," Nukazhiev said. Oleg Orlov of the Moscow-based human rights organisation, Memorial, speaking to RFE/RL, welcomed Nukhazhiev's frankness. "It's very good that the authorities are starting to talk about mass murder and mass violation of human rights, that they are recognising this and are prepared to take part in the exhumation of the bodies. It's very important that, apparently, they're talking about the existence of such burial sites in places where federal forces were located," Orlov said. He was, however, sceptical that the official admission of the existence of the mass graves would lead to convictions of the murderers. "Of course, it's necessary to start a criminal investigation into the deaths of these people but I have no hope that an investigation will establish precisely who was responsible. Still, it's important that the Chechen authorities have raised this issue," Orlov said. Moscow has frequently rejected accusations by human rights organisations and others that its forces in Chechnya have deliberately targeted civilians in the course of the two Chechen wars. Nukhazhiev, however, makes it clear that the Chechen administration believes many of the accusations are true. He said he couldn't put a figure on the number of people buried in the mass graves but the bitter truth, he said, was that many of them were civilians -- victims both of indiscriminate bombardment and the notorious "cleansing" operations of Russian federal forces. Ironically, the pro-Moscow Chechen administration is itself often accused by human rights organisations of responsibility for the crimes highlighted by Nukhazhiev. It's an accusation he was quick to deny. Oleg Orlov of Memorial suggests the truth is rather more complicated. "The Chechen administration is not united. There are many different structures within it that are independent of each other. It's clear that the so-called Kadyrovtsy units [a militia led by Ramzan Kadyrov, vice premier of the pro-Moscow Chechen administration], which today are formally subordinate to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, are not strictly speaking part of the Chechen administration. Of course, things aren't really like that. The federal authorities do no not have much control over the Kadyrovtsy and these people are actively engaged in abductions. So, from one point of view you can say the Chechen administration is not involved in abductions but, from another, pro-Moscow Chechen forces are involved," Orlov said. The key now, said Nukhazhiev, was to establish an independent postconflict commission. A start, he claimed, had already been made. The Chechen administration was creating a database with information on all those who had suffered or died.
AP 26 June 2005 Russia raid hints at new ethnic conflict AP Photo/MUSA SADULAYEV Kremlin-backed Chechen President Alu Alkhanov, right, and the head of the Chechen presidential security service, first deputy Chechen Prime Minister Ramzan Kadyrov, center, visit a makeshift tent camp settled by the village of Borozdinovskaya residents in an open field near the town of Kizlyar, Dagestan, southern Russia, Sunday, June 26, 2005. After a security forces' raid that followed the usual script: the announcement of a document check, the arrival of masked troops in armored personnel carriers, the rough interrogation of hundreds of residents, even the disappearance of some, the residents of Borozdinovskaya abandoned their houses and moved to Kizlyar. They live in tents on a bleak field, where two makeshift outhouses serve as the only sanitary facilities. By FATIMA TLISOVA, ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER KIZLYAR, Russia (AP) - Masked Chechen soldiers apparently avenging the killing of a woodcutter raided a tiny village, beat and killed residents and set homes afire in an onslaught threatening to touch off new ethnic conflict in the region. The Kremlin called for an inquiry into the raid, in which a 77-year-old man was killed and 11 people disappeared. If such incidents are repeated, "the North Caucasus will burn," warned Russian President Vladimir Putin's special envoy to the region, Dmitry Kozak. Chechnya has been locked in a separatist conflict for much of the past decade, and human rights groups accuse Russian forces and their local allies of persistent abuses against civilians, including kidnappings and killings. But the June 4 raid in Borozdinovskaya pitted ethnic Chechens against ethnic Avars, marking the first serious conflict between the two groups. It was so frightening that villagers, failing to attract local authorities' attention to the abuses, abandoned their houses June 16 and fled to nearby Kizlyar in Dagestan, about 1,250 miles south of Moscow. Now, the refugees live in tents on a bleak field, where two makeshift outhouses serve as the only sanitary facilities. The village's cows provide milk and cheese to supplement food aid, and the children carry water back from the nearby Terek River. On Sunday, Kremlin-backed Chechen President Alu Alkhanov made trips to both Borozdinovskaya and the tent camp, promising to investigate the raid and punish the culprits. "Such barbaric actions are inadmissible," he said. "I will take every effort to return those who were kidnapped and bring those responsible for this crime to justice." The president urged villagers to return home, but so far, they have refused. "We have no life there," said Maisarat Umarov, 60. "If we believe these promises and return, then maybe we'll live there quietly for a year. And then it will all start over again: 'This is Chechen land, get lost!'" Some authorities fear the Borozdinovskaya exodus could set an example for other disenchanted groups, fueling new conflicts across Russian provinces in the Caucasus Mountains already destabilized by the second war in Chechnya in a decade. Chechnya is mainly ethnically homogenous, and Avars populate just two villages in the war-shattered province. But the broader region is a patchwork of ethnic groups, many forcibly uprooted from their ancestral hometowns and relocated during Soviet times. Several armed conflicts over territory broke out in the region in the early 1990s, and they continue to simmer. Borozdinovskaya's residents say the raid was carried out by members of the Vostok Battalion, a mostly ethnic Chechen unit headed by one-time rebel Sulim Yamadayev that is subordinate to the Russian armed forces. The battalion said the raid was aimed at finding people accused of aiding rebels, but the villagers believe it was revenge for the killing of Tagir Akhmatov, a Borozdinovskaya woodcutter whose son serves in Vostok. Unidentified gunmen took Akhmatov from his home and he was later found dead on the village outskirts with gunshot wounds. The battalion came to the village two days after the killing, and "they were shouting: 'What, you forget that he was a Chechen, that his son works for Yamadayev?'" said Abdurakhman Aliyev, 79, whose own son, Abubakar, was among those who disappeared in the raid. The security forces rounded up the men and brought them to the local schoolyard. Zukhrakhan Adzhigitova's husband was among those rounded up that day and "I haven't seen him since," she said while waiting in line outside a tent in Kizlyar to give testimony to military prosecutors. She said Chechen troops forced her to the ground with their rifle butts and shot into the soil around her. They then dragged her from her yard onto the street and hit her on the head, knocking her unconscious, she said. "When I came to, I saw that these people had poured gasoline on my house and set it on fire. The whole thing burned down," she said. The men were forced to lie face-down in the schoolyard for hours, she and others said. Eventually, 11 men were called by name and taken out of the schoolyard, according to Memorial, a Russian human rights group active in the region. None has returned, and villagers believe charred bones found in the ruins of one torched home could belong to four of them. In addition, a 77-year-old villager was shot and killed in his home, which also was burned down. While villagers are pleased to be heard now, they also fear that speaking up may prompt later Chechen revenge. "Everyone who testifies openly will suffer revenge from the Chechens," Aliyev warned.
Reuters 26 June 20005 Chechen president urges refugees to return home MOSCOW, June 26 (Reuters) - Chechen President Alu Alkhanov on Sunday visited refugees who say they fled to a neighbouring Russian region after a terrifying security service search, asking them to return home and promising a full investigation. Residents of Borozdinovskaya village in Chechnya escaped to a field in the Dagestan region earlier this month, saying they were scared after troops detained 11 young men in a search for rebels who have fought Russian rule for a decade. "Our task ... is to ensure stability and security, and if the people return, this will be ensured," Itar-Tass news agency quoted Alkhanov as saying. But the refugees were not convinced. "We can't return home -- we can't forget this fear, everything we have lived through. We're peaceful people," NTV television showed one woman living on the camp as saying. The refugees are demanding the return of the 11 missing men. "If they are not alive, let them return the bodies," Itar-Tass quoted one camp resident as saying. Itar-Tass reported more than 230 families were living on the make-shift camp, too frightened to return to Chechnya and the house-to-house searches, known as "zachistka". The main question surrounds what exactly happened in the village on June 4 and Alkhanov said a commission had been set up to find the answer. A top federal official denied his forces had been involved in any search in the village that day. "I can say with full responsibility ... that no special operation took place in Borozdinovskaya on 4 June, or indeed 3 June," Arkady Yedelev, chief of regional counter-terrorist headquarters, said on NTV. "Everything happened as a result of operations by illegal armed groups." Human rights groups accuse Russian troops of abducting and torturing young men caught up in such searches. Russia accuses Chechen rebels of being Islamic extremists who will stop at nothing to impose religious rule on the Muslim Caucasus region. .
AP Serb President To Attend Bosnian Massacre Anniversary 20 June 2005 -- The office of Serbian President Boris Tadic today said he will attend the 10th anniversary of the massacre of Bosnian Muslims by Serbian troops in Srebrenica. The official commemorations of the death of about 8,000 Muslim men and boys -- Europe's worst massacre of civilians since World War II -- will be held on 11 July in the eastern Bosnian town of Potocari, near Srebrenica. However, a group of women whose sons and husbands were killed in the 1995 massacre have said Tadic and other Serbian officials are not welcome as long as wartime Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and former military commander Rako Mladic, who allegedly masterminded the killings, are not brought to justice. Karadzic and Mladic have both been indicted in absentia for genocide by the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands.
Serbia - Kosovo
BBC 13 June, 2005, 16:40 GMT 17:40 UK E-mail this to a friend Printable version Serbs block Kosovo bridge opening By Matt Prodger BBC News, Belgrade Times when people can cross will be gradually extended More than 200 Serbian protesters turned out to block traffic at the reopening of a bridge between the divided ethnic communities in Mitrovica, Kosovo. The town was the flashpoint for serious violence between Serbs and Kosovo Albanians in March last year. For the first time in more than a year private vehicles were allowed to cross between the mainly Serbian half to the north and the southern Albanian side. Despite the protest, the UN will open the bridge for two hours each day. Crossing times will eventually be extended. It is a small but symbolic step. Click here to go to map of Mitrovica Mitrovica has to a large extent come to embody the ethnic divisions in the province. On one side of the River Ibar lies the largest single enclave of Serbs in Kosovo, separated from Kosovo Albanians on the other by armed Nato peacekeepers. The tentative reopening of the bridge came hours before the arrival of Kai Eide, a UN envoy sent to Kosovo to assess its readiness to begin negotiations on its final status. The majority of the population wants independence but Serbs in the province want it to remain part of Serbia and Montenegro.
ICRC 10 June 2005 Press Release 05/32 Geneva Protocol banning chemical and bacteriological weapons turns 80 – What now? Geneva (ICRC) – Over the past 80 years, the 1925 Geneva Protocol has been instrumental in the successful effort to avert the use of chemical and biological weapons. That was the message today from Jacques Forster, vice-president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), speaking at a seminar to mark the Protocol’s 80th anniversary. In the midst of widespread abhorrence at the gas warfare of the First World War and following a forceful public appeal by the ICRC, the Protocol was adopted by the international community in 1925. In 2002, faced with advances in biosciences making chemical and biological agents increasingly easier to produce, conceal and use, the ICRC made another, similar appeal. In Mr Forster’s view, the risk of failing in the struggle against poisoning and the deliberate spread of disease can be reduced if governments, scientists and industry cooperate. There is little time to lose, he stressed, but any framework for addressing the full range of threats must include the existing legal framework of the 1925 Protocol and the two treaties it gave birth to: the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Biological Weapons Convention. In 1925, the “poison gas protocol” was agreed to after the event – exactly 10 years after the first-ever gas attack in the First World War. Today, the massive increase in the number of potentially dangerous agents, their proliferation and the multiplication of States, groups and individuals having access to them create a much more alarming picture. This time, argues Forster, it is essential to act before the event.
www.dw-world.de Ankara Haunted by Armenian Massacre Armenians honor the 1.5 million victims of Turkish violence When the German parliament condemned the mass killing of Armenians by Turks 90 years ago, it sparked angry protest from Ankara. But if it wants to be taken seriously by the EU, it needs to face up to its past. In a vote Thursday, Germany's main parliamentary parties joined forces to deplore the systematic murder of 1.5 million Armenians between 1915 and 1916. Berlin is now urging Turkey to set up an independent committee of Turkish, Armenian and international historians to document what happened. The resolution looks set to test relations between Ankara and Berlin. So far, the German government has been a key supporter of Turkish EU aspirations. Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul described the resolution as one-sided and "provocative," and said German lawmakers had ignored repeated warnings of the harm the resolution would do to bilateral ties. Time for reconciliation Faruk Sen is the director of the center for Turkish studies in Essen in Germany. He feels disapointed by the Turkish Foreign Minister's harsh criticism of the resolution, and says Turkey has to look forward. "80,000 Armenians live in Turkey," he told DW Radio. "Each year, more than 100,000 come to Turkey to work there. It is time for reconciliation. I think to look back on 90 years of history doesn't help at all. Turkey and Armenia need good relations today." Genocide? Turkey is worried that it will come under mounting pressure to recognize the killings as "genocide" after it starts EU entry talks in October. Other European nations, including Poland and Greece, have also passed resolutions condemning the genocide. President Jacques Chirac of France, home to Europe's largest Armenian diaspora, said failure by Turkey to recognize the genocide could harm the country's EU bid. Faruk Sen, however, is critical of the EU's stance. "If that's the opinion of the EU, it is a shame," he insisted. "Because then, Turkey and the EU cannot negotiate anymore. The EU would have to do without Turkey." Turkey gets impatient The German resolution comes at a time when the EU is already displeased with Turkey over its dragging human rights and judicial reform. Faruk Sen says the EU has tested Turkey's patience. "People in Turkey are increasingly against the EU and now the Armenia debate has been added to Turkey's obligations to join the EU. I think if the EU-membership fails because of the Armenia-issue, the people in Turkey won't be too sad." Turkey denies the claims that 1.5 million Armenians were slaughtered in a systematic genocide between 1915 and 1923 as the multi-ethnic Ottoman Empire collapsed. It accepts that hundreds of thousands of Armenians were killed, but says even more Turks died in a partisan conflict in which many Armenians backed invading Russian troops. Ignorance and taboos But political theorist Ahmet Insel pointed out that the reason so many Turks deny the extent of the massacre has nothing to do with nationalistic or racist sentiment -- it's simply ignorance. "Generations of Turks have grown up never learning about this tragedy," he said. "Now that it's being discussed, they're realizing how little they actually know. At the moment, we're experiencing a time of complete confusion." He explained that much of the population is appalled by the wave of recent media reports depicting the crimes perpetrated by their forefathers. "The cat is out of the bag," he said. "Turkish society is finally beginning to talk about these matters. We have to come to terms with our past, and the first step is to face up to our history." DW staff (jp)
www.dailystar.com.lb Turks seethe over German resolution Erdogan rejects as 'ugly' the decision to investigate massacres and expulsion of Armenians a century ago By Rym Ghazal Daily Star staff Saturday, June 18, 2005 BEIRUT: Just days after Lebanese Armenians protested in Beirut during Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's visit, German Parliament passed a resolution on Thursday asking Turkey to re-examine its role in the "Armenian massacre" a century ago and take "responsibility," sparking great anger from Turkish officials. German lawmakers adopted a cross-party resolution asking the Berlin government to press Turkey to investigate the "organized expulsion and destruction of the Armenians" and foster reconciliation, a motion passed "with votes from the whole house," announced parliamentary Vice President Antje Vollmer after a show of hands. Turkish Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan reacted by calling the decision "wrong" and "ugly" upon returning from Lebanon. Erdogan said it was "wrong that the Federal German Parliament has, without discussing or negotiating the issue, sacrificed it to the demands of simple [Armenian] lobbies. Beyond it being wrong, it is ugly." An official statement from the Turkish Embassy in Lebanon said: "This resolution is regrettable and we strongly condemn it. There is no evidence for the Genocide claims up to this day and it should be left to the historians to decide, not by parliamentarians." Meanwhile the Tashnag Party, the largest Armenian party in Lebanon, released a statement that said: "The Armenians all around the world are truly grateful for this courageous step." The statement also noted that resolution fell short of using the word "genocide," using instead "killings" and "massacres" in reference to the mass killings, and added that "if Turkey had similar courage and dared to deal with the dark side of its past, the Armenian quest would have been resolved a long time ago." Lebanon is home to the largest Armenian community in the Arab world, made up of descendants of survivors of the 1915-17 massacres in Turkey. Armenians have been accusing Turkey of genocide for the past 100 years, where the community annually protests against Turkey's mass killings of 1.5 million Armenians as part of what they claim a 1915-23 Turkish campaign to force Armenians out of eastern Anatolia. At the time, Armenia was part of the Ottoman Empire. Turkey remains extremely sensitive over this issue, denying the killings and stating the death count is inflated and that Armenians were killed or displaced along with others as the empire tried to quell civil unrest. While the motion didn't mention Turkey's bid to join the EU, it did say that the Armenian issue is an example of how Turkey needs to "guarantee freedom of speech," an area where Ankara has been told it must improve if it is to join the EU. Germany's Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has been one of Turkey's strongest backers in its membership bid. In addition, the motion included recognizing a limited German role in the massacre as Germany was Ottoman Turkey's main ally during World War I and failed to stop it, with the German Parliament asking "the Armenian people for their forgiveness."
www.timesonline.co.uk 18 June 2005 OPINION June 18, 2005 What's the Turkish for genocide? Ben Macintyre If Turkey wants to join the EU it must confront its bloody past and admit to the massacre of the Armenians HISTORIANS HAVE become the moral accountants of our time, poring over the archives to establish, as nearly as possible, the unpaid debts still owed by the present to the past. In China there have been violent demonstrations demanding Japan’s penitence for its wartime aggression. In Mississippi, an elderly white man and reputed Klansman has gone on trial accused of murdering civil rights workers more than four decades ago. The Argentine Supreme Court this week opened the way for a full inquiry into the crimes of the “dirty war” between 1976 and 1983. Even France, for so long in denial, has begun to address the unquiet ghosts of Vichy and Algeria. The process of historical self-examination is neither simple nor easy. In the wrong hands, history becomes a weapon of recrimination and revenge, intercepted by bigots who would use old battles to stoke new ones. Yet historical introspection is crucial to democracy. The fledgeling South African democracy bravely sought to cauterise a traumatic past through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The Bloody Sunday inquiry may have been expensive and lengthy — seven years, £155 million and 1,700 witness statements — but it was a necessary step towards freeing Northern Ireland from the locked grip of competing histories. Postwar Germany has confronted its demons in a conscious and continuing act of national catharsis. The alternative is self-delusion. Treat the past as self-serving myth and it forms a canker of moral equivocation. Amid the debate over Turkish membership of the EU, there is one matter that has hardly been raised, and that is Turkey’s bitter and blinkered refusal to make peace with its past. In Turkish history, no event is more divisive and explosive than the “Armenian question”, the long-disputed massacre of hundreds of thousands of Armenians during the First World War. Armenia claims that, as the Ottoman Empire crumbled in 1915, Turkish soldiers and Kurdish tribesmen were unleashed in a deliberate act of genocide that killed 1.5 million Armenians. Turkey has refused steadfastly to accept that version of events, declaring that the Armenian death toll was far lower, and that the dead perished mainly through civil war, hunger and disease. This, the Turks insist, was not a systematic slaughter, but a bitter partisan and ethnic conflict in which Armenians sided with the invading Russians against Ottoman rule, leading to the deaths of at least 350,000 Turkish Muslims. This month, historians at Bosphorus University scheduled a conference to debate the tragic events of 1915-1916. Turkish nationalists reacted with fury. Cemil Ciçek, the Justice Minister, described the planned conference as “treacherous” and accused the historians of “preparing to stab Turkey in the back”. With government pressure mounting, and nationalist students threatening to converge on the university campus, the conference organisers buckled. The event was cancelled. The argument, which continues to poison relations between Turkey and Armenia and destabilise the region, boils down to a single, intensely emotive word. As Caroline Finkel writes in her excellent forthcoming book Osman’s Dream: The Story of the Ottoman Empire 1300-1923: “The Armenian question today has come to focus exclusively on whether the massacres constituted genocide . . . and all other aspects of this acutely sensitive matter tend to be scrutinised for their value in clarifying this central point.” But clarity is impossible in a debate that evokes such violent emotions. The Turkish Foreign Minister has dismissed the term genocide as “pure slander”, and when the celebrated Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk dared to declare this year that a million Armenians had been murdered in Turkey, he received three lawsuits for “damaging the State” and a volley of death threats. To complicate matters further, much of the killing in 1915 appears to be have been carried out by Turkish secret societies, whose records have disappeared and whose relationship to the Ottoman authorities is unclear. Turks point out that there is no official document ordering the killing of Armenians. Armenians allege that the archives have been purged. The parliaments of 17 countries, including France and Russia, have already passed resolutions recognising the Armenian genocide. Britain and America have held back, wary of angering a powerful and important ally. But staying silent is not the act of a friend, and it is hard to see how Turkey can join the EU — an organisation founded on a determination to avoid repeating the mistakes of history — without first acknowledging its own bloody past. The precise numbers of dead, and the meaning of the term genocide, can be debated for ever, but of this there is no doubt: hundreds of thousands of innocent Armenians perished as a consequence of Turkish actions. Most historians outside Turkey now agree that what happened after 1915 constituted “ethnic cleansing”, for which the Ottoman Government was ultimately responsible. Acknowledging this, while genuinely encouraging the widest and most dispassionate debate on the subject, would establish Turkey’s commitment to freedom of speech and democratic ideals in the run-up to accession talks in October. So far, British officials have side-stepped the issue, insisting that the Armenian question is a matter for historians. As a country with its own ghosts, Britain has a responsibility to encourage Turkey to see it own history beyond confining notions of treachery or loyalty. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish Prime Minister, while reiterating his belief that the genocide never happened, has called for a joint commission to look into the Turkish archives. But a far more emphatic demonstration of openness would be to revive the conference at Bosphorus University and open it to the widest possible range of scholarly opinion. “Who today, after all, remembers the annihiliation of the Armenians?” Thus spake Adolf Hitler, reassuring his generals that the Jewish Holocaust would be forgotten in the glow of Nazi victory. Ninety years after the killing, the Armenians remember one way, and the Turks another. The passage of time has calcified these rival histories, but Turkey’s desire to enter the EU represents an opportunity for genuine historical reconciliation. The Armenian question may yet be answered, if Turkey can be persuaded to ask it.
The Seattle Times 19 June 2005 seattletimes.nwsource.com Guest columnists Preventing genocide By Eric B. Larson and Reva N. Adler Special to The Times With the popularity of the Oscar-nominated movie "Hotel Rwanda," many Americans have become newly aware of the horrors of modern-day genocide. Whether considering the 800,000 people murdered in Rwanda in 1994, or the thousands killed in Sudan in recent months, one question prevails: Why do such atrocities continue? The world would appear to have learned little, if anything, from these human tragedies that might prevent genocide from recurring. As scientists trained to promote the well-being of entire populations, we propose a new approach — one we believe gives societies more power to prevent genocide. It is an approach grounded in the principles of public health. Treating genocide as a public-health concern may seem incongruous, simply because we've come to think of it more as a political issue. But genocide — defined by the United Nations as "a specific series of acts committed with intent to destroy in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group" — has become one of the most-pressing threats to global health over the past century. In fact, some 192.3 million people died from genocide in the 20th century, far exceeding the 110.9 million killed by war. Genocidal death rates worldwide were 7,700 per 100,000 between 1900 and 2000 — an eight-fold increase over the previous 69 centuries. Genocide now results in the death of more people worldwide than any disease, including malaria and HIV/AIDS. In addition, genocide devastates the economic and health-care infrastructure of societies, harming health for generations to come. Recognizing genocide's public-health implications, we can begin to develop effective prevention strategies. Similar approaches have proven effective against a wide range of problems, from breast cancer and drunken driving to gang-related youth violence. The first step is to look at the entire population and determine which factors put people at higher risk. Just as we now recognize that high rates of smoking put populations at risk for lung cancer, we can detect certain factors — totalitarian governments, discrimination against certain groups, economic hardship, and the overlay of war — that put a society at risk for genocide. Officials using a public-health approach can then develop interventions aimed at changing conditions to eliminate those risks. In the case of smoking, you might have media campaigns to discourage taking up the habit, or "quit lines" where smokers can call for help to stop. In the case of genocide, interventions might include diplomacy, economic-development efforts, or public education in conflict resolution. Preventing death from genocide is analogous on many levels to preventing death from cancer. If we eliminate the risk factors, we may prevent the disease from growing in the first place. If cancer does occur, early screening allows us to detect a tumor while it's still small and harmless. Once the tumor is removed, the body can recover and be restored to health. But if we turn a blind eye, the cancer may remain undetected for years until some biochemical trigger is switched. Then the cancer begins to spread rapidly, invading one organ system after another. By then, it's too late for intervention; death from cancer is inevitable. In the same way, we can identify the factors that put a society at risk for genocide. Once those risks are recognized, we can set up systems to screen for trouble and introduce interventions while they can still make a difference, changing attitudes and preventing violence. Or, we can ignore the red flags, allowing fear, hatred, violence and retribution to fester. Then, when some economic and/or political triggers are switched, all hell breaks loose. By that time, it may be too late for intervention; mass execution of large segments of the population may have already begun. Such a comparison is more than theoretical. Public-health scientists are already applying preventive-care strategies to address problems of violence in the United States. For instance, Harvard University researchers worked with jailed teens in California to identify risk factors that led to violent behavior. The researchers found that the teens often failed to gather facts about a situation before jumping into fights. The teens also had a hard time thinking of alternatives to violence as a way to solve their conflicts. But after a 12-session program that taught new ways to think about conflict, the teens became less impulsive. They also had fewer parole violations than other similar teens after their release from jail. While the problem of preventing genocide differs in scale and complexity, we believe that applying similar strategies would be helpful. The approach would include four major actions: • Defining the population at risk and collecting data on incidents of interethnic violence, including the identity of victims and perpetrators, when and where the violence occurs, and the kinds of weapons used; • Identifying related risk factors — for example, tolerance for crimes, or inequitable treatment against certain disadvantaged groups; • Developing, testing and implementing interventions; and, • Measuring the results and making improvements accordingly. It already is well-established that all genocide is characteristically preceded by warning signs such as escalating hate propaganda, exclusionary legislation and mounting violence. In Nazi Germany, the deportation and mass execution of Jews were preceded by a 10-year campaign of gradually increasing persecution and exclusion. First, qualified individuals lost jobs in key areas such as academia and medicine. Next, Jews and non-Jews were forbidden to intermarry. Then, Jewish businesses were boycotted and soon after, Jews were confined to ghettos. In Rwanda, the catastrophic Tutsi genocide of 1994 was preceded by periodic mass executions dating back to 1959, when the majority Hutu government took power. Recognizing that warning signs of future genocide reliably appear, officials should be able to track and analyze such warnings years before the catastrophic violence erupts. Tactics might include calculating the number of one-on-one, interethnic attacks across a country and intervening as soon as it's clear that the number and severity of those attacks are increasing. This kind of monitoring already is under way in the Gulu province of Northern Uganda, where a Canadian relief organization has developed a program for systematically collecting information on interethnic violence and injuries at 50 schools throughout the province. Just as public-school officials in the United States might track rates of immunization as a way to circumvent a measles epidemic, Ugandans may find that such "early warning systems" can serve as red flags to prevent future genocide. Analysis of past genocide reveals the specific characteristics that put societies at higher risk for mass killings: a totalitarian government; dominant ideologies that target "outsiders"; recent armed conflict that can obscure genocidal killing; economic hardship; and ambivalence of other influential nations. History shows these factors were present in Germany prior to World War II. Ruled by the totalitarian Nazi regime, the government promoted an ideology of exclusion against the Jews, blaming them for Germany's defeat in World War I and attributing the country's economic woes to a so-called "Jewish banking conspiracy." The Nazis then used the nation's military personnel, mobilized for the war, to carry out atrocities against the Jews. Historians have shown that intelligence communities in the United Kingdom and the United States knew of the Nazi concentration camps starting in about 1941, but said and did nothing. A similar set of risk factors was present in Rwanda. The country was ruled for 17 years by a single political party that severely restricted the formation of other parties. Despite a paucity of concrete evidence, Tutsis were being characterized as foreigners who had migrated to Rwanda from Ethiopia some 400 years ago. During the genocide, killers were encouraged to "send the Tutsis back to where they came from," by murdering them and dumping their bodies into rivers flowing north. Rwanda was involved in a war in 1994. At the same time, the bottom had fallen out of the coffee market — the country's main export — so the nation was suffering economically. Despite warnings to the United Nations that atrocities were about to occur, the international community did not respond. Certain psychological norms among individuals in a population also make societies more vulnerable to genocide. Among these are the tendency to dehumanize victims of violence and to "compartmentalize" thinking. The latter allows people to participate in discrete, genocide-related tasks (gathering weapons, inventorying victims' property, etc.) without confronting the horror and implications of the broader effort to which they're contributing. A classic example is Franz Stangl, the commandant of the Treblinka death camp in Germany. Scholars have noted that although he was responsible for the management of every aspect of the killing process, he did not think of himself as a killer because he did not work directly in the gassing areas. Once identified, risk factors for genocide can be modified through the development of targeted, populationwide prevention activities. Successful examples include broadcast-based interventions designed to promote peace and reconciliation between traditionally opposing groups in Congo, Burundi and other areas identified as high-risk for genocide. In Congo, Search for Common Ground, a Washington, D.C.-based organization, has produced a series of programs broadcast on U.N. Radio Okapi, ranging from "The Dialogue Tree," a weekly roundtable discussion among leaders of disparate groups, to a soap opera called "My Neighbor, My Brother," which focuses on two neighboring families from different tribes who are learning to deal peaceably with their conflicts. In Burundi, Studio Ijambo produces about 100 programs per month, all aimed at fostering communication between conflicting factions and providing credible, nonpartisan information. Created in 1995 by a team of Hutu and Tutsi journalists, Studio Ijambo stands in striking contrast to Radio Mille Collines, the station that fomented hatred and violence in Rwanda prior to the 1994 genocide. No single solution will rid the world of the complex specter of genocide. Nevertheless, the public-health strategies we advocate can add synergy to political and military interventions that, almost exclusively, comprise today's standard approach. Success ultimately lies in the ability of all stakeholders — influential governments, nongovernmental organizations, international justice organizations, academics and others — to develop innovative, comprehensive and lasting solutions. Given the disastrous and widespread health problems that genocide has produced, failure to act is not an option. Dr. Eric B. Larson is director of Group Health Cooperative's Center for Health Studies in Seattle. Dr. Reva N. Adler is a Fulbright scholar and associate professor of medicine at the University of British Columbia. She is studying public-health approaches to genocide prevention in Rwanda.
THE WASHINGTON TIMES 27 June 2005 Warfare waning across the world By David R. Sands Published June 27, 2005 The world is winning the war on war. Despite daily headlines of carnage in Iraq, nuclear saber rattling in Iran, South Asia and the Korean Peninsula, and civil and ethnic clashes across sub-Saharan Africa, researchers Monty Marshall of George Mason University and Ted Robert Gurr of the University of Maryland say the numbers don't lie: In terms of the number of armed conflicts worldwide and their intensity, the world is living through a period of relative peace not seen in about 40 years. What's more, according to the latest global survey the two men co-authored for the University of Maryland's Center for International Development and Conflict Management, the number of democratic regimes has soared while civil and ethnic wars, which peaked with the end of the Cold War, are at their lowest level since 1950. "You always want to temper the good news with a measure of caution," Mr. Gurr said at a press briefing this month. "But you should also recognize that there is good news here, good news that we think a lot of policy-makers don't really appreciate," he added. Their report, "Peace and Conflict 2005," continues the work of two surveys the researchers issued in 2001 and 2003. The findings have been remarkably consistent: Despite September 11, 2001, the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, the specter of genocide in Sudan and other crises, the number of wars worldwide topped out with the end of the Cold War in 1991 and since has been in free-fall. -51 conflicts in 1991- According to the center's findings, there were 51 armed conflicts in 1991, when the Soviet Union broke apart. That number had fallen in half by 2002, even with the U.S.-led campaign against Afghanistan's Taliban rulers after the September 11 attacks. Early this year, there were 20 "major armed conflicts" around the world, with just eight -- Iraq, Colombia, Russia/Chechnya, India, Burma, Nepal, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Sudan -- rated medium or high-intensity conflicts. "The global trend in major armed conflict has continued to decrease markedly in the post-Cold War era both in numbers of states affected by major armed conflicts and in general magnitude," Mr. Marshall wrote in the 2005 update. "According to our calculations, the general magnitude of global warfare has decreased by over 60 percent since peaking in the mid-1980s, falling by the end of 2004 to its lowest level since the 1950s." Since the first report in 2001, researchers have counted five new major conflicts around the world: the al Qaeda attacks of September 11, the U.S.-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a civil war in Ivory Coast in 2002, and the Darfur clashes in Sudan beginning in 2003. At the same time, however, 11 wars were resolved or suspended, from the Hutu-Tutsi battles in Rwanda to ethnic and political clashes in Sierra Leone and Liberia. Colonial and "self-determination" wars, often underwritten by superpower rivalries during the Cold War, also are in decline, from a high of 40 in the five-year period ending in 1990 to 25 from 2001 to 2004. Researchers Victor Asal of the State University of New York at Albany and Amy Pate of the University of Maryland looked at global patterns for discrimination by governments against some ethnic groups and found additional positive news. The percentage of countries practicing political discrimination against an ethnic group fell from 64.6 percent in 1950 to 38.2 percent today. The percentage of countries employing economic discrimination declined from 59.5 percent in 1950 to 37.3 percent last year, while the number of countries with policies aimed at remedying discriminatory policies quintupled. "It was a consistent finding throughout every region we looked at," Miss Pate said. "There was a peak in ethnic conflict with the breakup of states such as the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, but that has largely resolved itself," she said. Conflict specialists say they are still trying to understand the factors causing the unexpected decline in global conflict, wars and military spending worldwide. With the number of wars falling steadily since 1990, many think the end of the Cold War was directly responsible for much of the shift. Although the United States and Soviet Union never fought a direct war during the Cold War, many lower-intensity conflicts and civil wars often went unchecked for decades with the tacit encouragement of the superpowers. New Republic writer Gregg Easterbrook, in a recent essay on the Marshall-Gurr findings, cited the case of Angola, where U.S., Russian, Cuban and regional players helped both the government and a rebel movement stay on the battlefield. "When all these nations stopped supplying arms to the Angolan combatants, the leaders of the factions grudgingly came to the conference table," Mr. Easterbrook noted. Many also credit the European Union and the United Nations with playing significant roles in the decline of war. While the European Union sorts through some bruising internal organizational and funding issues, the 25-nation bloc still gets credit for making warfare on the continent where both world wars began virtually unthinkable. The United Nations' peacekeeping mission also has been attacked for a series of high-profile failures, from failure to prevent genocide in Rwanda and ethnic killings in Bosnia to more recent accusations of rape and abuse by U.N. troops deployed in Africa. But a string of lower-profile U.N. missions, to places such as East Timor and Eritrea, are credited with preserving peace or keeping small conflicts from becoming wars. -'Things do change'- John Mueller, an Ohio State University political scientist, predicted in a 1989 book that the shifting international scene meant the great-power wars of the first half of the 20th century were becoming less and less likely. "I do not hold that everything is getting better in every way," Mr. Mueller wrote in an essay published in 1991, "nor do I hold that everything people generally consider bad will vanish from the earth. "But things do change. Slavery used to be an institution as venerable and apparently as natural and inevitable as war. Formal dueling used to be widely accepted as an effective method for resolving certain kinds of disputes. Both became thoroughly discredited and then obsolete. There is reason to believe the institution of war could eventually join their ranks." Mr. Gurr and Mr. Marshall say in the conclusion to their 2005 survey that there is some danger in reporting the good news of the decline of war, with some worrying it "may contribute to complacency and undermine the progress being made." About a fifth of the world's countries still face a "serious risk" of civil war or political collapse, according to the survey. Barbara Harff, who studies trends in genocide at Clark University, wrote in the report that, in addition to Sudan, five countries suffer from a number of the risk factors associated with ethnic or political genocide: Burma, Algeria, Burundi, Rwanda and Ethiopia. Asia has three "flash points" that could trigger a broader war: the North-South Korea divide, the China-Taiwan dispute and the India-Pakistan tensions. The authors have deep reservations about the U.S. military efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq, warning that even an American military victory could fuel further Islamist jihad. But they also note that the Bush administration has chosen multilateral diplomacy in trying to deal with nuclear threats in North Korea and Iran and with the Darfur crisis. "International cooperation in peace-building, in short, seems to have recovered somewhat from the shock of U.S.-led military intervention in the Middle East,' " Mr. Marshall and Mr. Gurr conclude. Although "serious disagreements and enormous challenges" remain, "to underestimate the overall progress being made would be a disservice to those who have worked so hard and contributed so much." •Staff writer Seth Rosen contributed to this report.
- Agence France-Presse
Institute for War & Peace Reporting
(the Balkans, Caucasus and Central Asia, with a special project on the Yugoslav
war crimes tribunal)
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