Monitor for March 16 - 31, 2005
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UN New Centre 21 Mar 2005 With call for action, not more words, Annan outlines plan for radical UN reform Kofi Annan addresses General Assembly 21 March 2005 – Calling for action, not more words, to fulfil pledges already made, Secretary-General Kofi Annan today laid before the General Assembly his plan for United Nations reform, ranging from greater investment in developing countries to steps to fight catastrophic terrorism and collective action against genocide and ethnic cleansing. “I make no apology for the detailed, matter-of-fact nature of this presentation. As far as detail goes, I assure you it is merely the tip of the iceberg,” he told the 191-member body, stressing that the proposals in his report – “In Larger Freedom: towards development, security and human rights for all” – were a package and not an a la carte menu from which nations could choose only those aspects they fancy. “As for being matter-of-fact, I have deliberately spared you any flights of rhetoric. This hall has heard enough high-sounding declarations to last us for some decades to come. We know what the problems are, and we all know what we have promised to achieve. What is needed now is not more declarations, but action to fulfil the promises already made,” he added. Mr. Annan described the report, released yesterday as a five-year update on the Millennium Declaration in which world leaders pledged to build a better and safer planet for the next century through collective security and a global partnership for development, as comprehensive strategy. “It gives equal weight and attention to the three great purposes of this Organization: development, security and human rights all of which must be underpinned by the rule of law,” he declared. “You may or many not find my argument convincing. But please remember, in any event, that if you need the help of other states to achieve your objectives, you must also be willing to help them achieve their objectives. That is why I urge you to treat my proposals as a single package,” he added. Outlining the three pillars, he stressed that the first element – “Freedom from Want” – called on developing countries to improve their governance, combat corruption and adopt an inclusive approach to development to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which seek to halve extreme poverty and hunger, slash maternal and infant mortality and increase access to education and health care by 2015. At the same time developed countries must increase the amount they spend on development and debt relief, give immediate duty-free and quota-free market access to all exports from least developed countries and commit themselves to spending 0.7 per cent of their gross domestic product on official development assistance by 2015. The second part of the report, entitled “Freedom from Fear” calls on all states to agree on a new security consensus, “by which they commit themselves to treat any threat to one of them as a threat to all, and to work together to prevent catastrophic terrorism, stop proliferation of deadly weapons, end civil wars and build lasting peace in war-torn countries,” he said. “Among my specific proposals in this area, I ask all states to complete, sign and implement the comprehensive convention on terrorism, based on a clear and agreed definition, as well as the convention on nuclear terrorism and the fissile material cut-off treaty,” he added. The report backs the definition of terrorism – an issue so divisive agreement on it has long eluded the world community – as any action “intended to cause death or serious bodily harm to civilians or non-combatants with the purpose of intimidating a population or compelling a government or an international organization to do or abstain from doing any act.” On the third pillar – “Freedom to Live in Dignity” – Mr. Annan stressed the need for the international community to embrace the principle of the “Responsibility to Protect” as “a basis for collective action against genocide, ethnic cleansing and crime against humanity – recognizing that this responsibility lies first and foremost with each individual state, but also that, if national authorities are unable or unwilling to protect their citizens, the responsibility then shift to the international community.” In the last resort, the Security Council may take enforcement action according to the UN Charter, he added. Mr. Annan also noted his proposals for strengthening the UN system itself by revitalizing the General Assembly, expanding the membership of the Security Council to 24 members from the current 15, and establishing a new Human Rights Council, elected by a two-thirds majority of the General Assembly, to replace the current Commission on Human Rights, “whose capacity to perform its tasks has been undermined by its declining credibility and professionalism.” www.un.org/largerfreedom/
IRIN 23 Mar 2005 AU proposes pan-African contingency force [ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations] © IRIN EU troops in eastern DR Congo in August 2003. The AU would like to have a stand-by force by June 2006. ADDIS ABABA, 23 Mar 2005 (IRIN) - The African Union (AU) began drawing up plans on Tuesday to establish a 15,000-strong African stand-by force by June 2006. The entire contingent should be able to be deployed within 30 days of an order from the AU's Peace and Security Council. A draft roadmap on peacekeeping in the continent, released by the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, said five brigades of 3,000 men each would be in place by next year. The roadmap was presented to conflict-resolution experts at the start of a two-day meeting to draw up guidelines for the force. These experts, who represent regional bodies in Africa, are expected to endorse the roadmap and draw up plans to improve cooperation between the continent's regions. Said Djinnit, the AU's peace and security commissioner, said it was critical that Africa addressed its own conflicts by "harmonising" its regional peacekeeping forces. "We need to agree on a roadmap for an African stand-by force," he told the experts. "It is extremely important we all move forward in the same direction." In addition, a "robust" rapid-reaction force, able to be deployed in 14 days, would be set up by 2010 to prevent genocide if the international community failed to step in, according to the roadmap. The five brigades of the stand-by force, whose troops would be based in their countries of origin, were expected to be comprised of up to 750 men and 120 military observers, plus helicopter units, engineer units, logistics, military police and medical staff. A police force would also work with the peacekeepers for more difficult missions. The proposed force, intended to prevent and combat wars on the continent, would be made up of forces from five regions - north, east, south, west and central Africa. Initially it would offer military expertise to political missions like those in Cote d'Ivoire and the observer mission in Sudan. At the meeting, the AU said that while southern and West African nations had made considerable progress in drawing up plans for the stand-by force, central Africa was lagging behind. Funding for the stand-by force also remained an issue. The AU will present its plans to the G8 group of wealthy countries in April, where it will try to secure support. The European Union has already donated euros 250 million (US $327 million) to the AU’s peace fund, which will be used for training the stand-by force. In its report, the African Union admitted that lessons needed to be learnt from its mission in Darfur, where it has been criticised for not having enough troops on the ground. Earlier in March , AU commission chairman Alpha Oumar Konare appealed to African countries to provide more peacekeepers for hotspots. He said that while African nations were willing to offer troops, the international community must be willing to provide greater logistical support.
IRIN 29 Mar 2005 Annan recommends dual inquiries on genocide 29 Mar 2005 14:26:08 GMT Source: IRIN NAIROBI, 29 March (IRIN) - UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has recommended the establishment of two panels - a non-judicial "truth commission" and a special chamber within Burundi's court system - to bring to justice those responsible for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in the country since its independence from Belgium in 1962. In a letter to the UN Security Council, dated 11 March but made available to the media on Monday, Annan said his proposal would avoid having two identical commissions, but would include "a mixed composition of both national and international components". His letter accompanied a report compiled by an assessment mission that visited Burundi in May 2004. Annan said the mission's report also took into account facts and events that post-dated its visit, "to the extent of their relevancy to its final recommendations". He added, "Given a mandate to consider the advisability and feasibility of establishing an international judicial commission of inquiry for Burundi, the mission is convinced of the necessity of establishing a commission, though not necessarily in the shape and form requested by the government of Burundi." Burundi had previously requested a single, judicial, truth commission. Annan said the recommendation was nonetheless based on the recently enacted law that provided for a national Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Burundi, as specified in the Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement. Burundi's transitional government was set up under the Arusha agreement of 28 August 2000. He said that the mission took into account not only the Arusha agreement, but also the needs and expectations of Burundians, the capacity of the Burundian administration of justice, established UN principles and practice, and the practicality and feasibility of any proposed mechanism. A truth commission with a substantial international component would enhance its objectivity, impartiality and credibility, Annan said. A sense of national ownership would be provided by the participation of Burundians in the process of clarifying historical truth and pursuing national reconciliation. In recommending a special chamber within Burundi's legal system, Annan said that the mission opted for a "court within a court". This would leave behind a legacy of international standards of justice, as well as trained judges, prosecutors, defence counsel and experienced court managers. He said three UN commissions of inquiry had been established in the last decade at the request of the Burundian government, to investigate the assassination of Burundian President Melchior Ndadaye in 1993 and the massacres that followed. "No legal or practical effect, however, has been given to any of their recommendations, and no action has been taken by any of the United Nations organs," Annan said. "The mission concludes that the United Nations can no longer engage in establishing commissions of inquiry and disregard their recommendations without seriously undermining the credibility of the organisation in promoting justice and the rule of law. I fully concur with this conclusion," he added. If the Council approved the report and instructed him to negotiate its practical implementation, Annan said he would initiate negotiations with the Burundian government. National actors and members of civil society would be consulted to ensure that the views and wishes of the people of Burundi were taken into account, he added.
www.crisisgroup.org 24 Côte d'Ivoire: The Worst May Be Yet to Come Cynically exacerbating social tensions for political gain, Côte d'Ivoire's leaders risk losing control, sparking wide-spread ethnic cleansing and initiating a disastrous regional conflict. With both UN and French peacekeeping mandates expiring in April, the international community must act decisively to prevent an explosion of violence. The UN Security Council should strengthen the efforts of the African Union (AU) mediator, South African President Thabo Mbeki, and the AU, together with the UN, should organise the process to disarm, demobilise and reintegrate former soldiers; undertake voter registration; and establish a new calendar for the elections. Targeted sanctions should be introduced against those who attempt to block the peace process. While Paris should gradually withdraw its controversial peacekeeping force, any departure of French troops should only happen once adequate UN replacements are on the ground.- Crisis Group reports and briefing papers are available on our website: www.crisisgroup.org
Prosecute ex-militia leaders, Kinshasa urged [ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations] KINSHASA, 16 Feb 2005 (IRIN) - The International Centre for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) has urged the Congolese government to vet and prosecute former militia leaders instead of appointing them to high-ranking positions in the newly integrated national army. "If the Democratic Republic of the Congo [DRC] is to achieve a lasting and sustainable peace, it must not appoint individuals to the army when there is evidence that they may be responsible for serious abuses," Juan Méndez, the president of the ICTJ and UN Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide, said. He issued the statement in New York on Tuesday, just days after a military court in the DRC capital, Kinshasa, sentenced 21 soldiers to death for atrocities they committed in the east of the country. The court handed down the sentences only a few weeks after the government commissioned four suspected human rights abusers as army generals. The ICTJ said there were reports that two more alleged human rights violators also wanted to become generals. The ICTJ urged the Congolese government to desist from appointing militia leaders, "suspected of penetrating massacres and other war crimes", to senior command positions in the army. Instead, it urged the government to "prosecute the promoted former militias". The four, recently made generals, were leaders of militia groups that allegedly terrorised, abused and killed civilians in the south and east of the country until a peace deal was reached in 2003. Under the agreement, former rebels could to be assimilated into the national army. Last week, two other militia leaders, Jean-Pierre Guena, also known as Shinja Shinja - meaning "throat-cutter" in Swahili - and Bakanda Bakoka, both from the southeastern Katanga Province, demanded military appointments in exchange for commitments to disarm their groups. In an interview with UN-supported Radio Okapi, Guena threatened to burn down north Katanga if he received a rank lower than general, the ICTJ said. It added that the alleged crimes of the former militia and aspiring generals compared with those of the 21 rank and file soldiers who received death sentences. The soldiers received death sentences for looting, raping and disobeying orders. The convicted soldiers were fighting against dissident army units when they committed their crimes. "The objective of the Beni trial was to instil discipline in the reunified army," Jean-Willy Mutombo, the spokesman for the chief of staff of the Congolese armed forces, said. He said besides those sentenced to death, another soldier was jailed for 20 years for raping minors while six others received prison sentences of 10 to 20 years for indiscipline. Commenting on the trial, the official in charge of the human rights section of the UN Mission in the DRC, Sonia Bakar, told IRIN: "The trial was fast, Everything was done on one day while there should have been a thorough investigation into the matter." The president of a Congolese NGO, the Association for the Defence of Human Rights, Amigo Gonde, said it was unacceptable that people "who have blood on their hands" are named into the army hierarchy instead of being punished. "They should be brought to justice," he said. In October 2003, three Congolese NGOs submitted a report to the International Criminal Court (ICC), documenting atrocities committed by militias led by Guena and Bakoka. An investigation by the UN Mission in the DRC concluded that Guena and his militiamen were responsible for killings, torture, rape and mutilations of civilians in Katanga in February 2004. ICTJ has been involved in transitional justice in the DRC since early 2003 by providing advice and support to civil society groups, government institutions and international humanitarian organisations. Mendez said steps must be taken to end impunity and to promote justice and accountability. He said the Congolese government should implement a comprehensive and publicly transparent vetting programme for prospective and current high-ranking military officers, based on a criteria designed to exclude human rights abusers from military service. "Experience has shown that integrating rebel leaders into the regular army does not guarantee their loyalty," the ICTJ said. "Dissident army units led by two reintegrated rebels, Col Jules Mutebusi and Gen Laurent Nkunda, clashed with regular army forces in May and June of 2004 and occupied a provincial capital for several days."
Independent Online 16 Mar 2005 www.iol.co.za Will Africa unite to disarm Congo rebels? March 16 2005 at 05:55PM By Anthony Mitchell Addis Ababa - The African Union is considering sending 6 000 to 7 000 troops to eastern Congo to forcefully disarm Rwandan rebels linked to the country's 1994 genocide - but the organisation still has to work out key details for the operation, an official said on Wednesday. Experts will hold meetings later this month to flesh out details of the mission and whether the force will operate on its own, with United Nations troops are already in Congo or with Congolese forces, said Peace and Security Commissioner Said Djinnit. The presence of Rwandan rebels in eastern Congo has fuelled years of warfare in the vast Central African nation. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The rebels, who include members of the former army and extremist Interahamwe militia from Rwanda's Hutu majority, fled to Congo after leading the genocide of at least 500 000 minority Tutsis and politically moderate Hutus. They then attempted to invade Rwanda in a bid to regain power. Rwanda has invaded Congo twice in the last decade. A total of 13 775 UN peacekeepers are also deployed in Congo, mainly in provinces bordering Rwanda, to improve security. "These groups live in mountainous areas and forests and it is very difficult to access. Issues we will need to look at include air support" for the African force, Djinnit said. He was speaking to reporters at the end of a two-day meeting attended by representatives of the UN mission in Congo, the UN refugee agency, the European Union and officials from Rwanda, Congo and Burundi. The crisis is the worst humanitarian situation in the world, overtaking Sudan's troubled Darfur region, the UN's humanitarian chief said on Wednesday. Killings continue unabated in the east of the African country, despite the official end of hostilities over two years ago, said Jan Egeland, head of UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs. "Measured in human lives lost, I think that Congo is the number one problem in the world today," Egeland told reporters, adding that the number of casualties amounts to "a tsunami every month, year in and year out, for the last six years". About three million Congolese are now in acute need of assistance, Egeland said. Congo's five-year, six-nation war killed nearly four million people, according to aid groups. The war ended in 2002 with the formation of a transitional government that has struggled to extend its authority to the long-ungoverned east, where violence continue. Both Congo's President Joseph Kabila and Rwanda's President Paul Kagame have agreed to allow the African Union to coordinate any new operation involving African Union troops to help restore order in the region. - Sapa-AP
Reuters 21 Mar 2005 Congo arrests militia leader from lawless east 21 Mar 2005 19:41:57 GMT Source: Reuters By David Lewis KINSHASA, March 21 (Reuters) - Congolese security services have arrested the head of a militia group accused of widespread human rights violations in the lawless northeastern district of Ituri, the government and militia sources said on Monday. Congo has been under pressure from the United Nations and foreign governments to hunt down those responsible for 60,000 deaths in the district since 1999 and to find the killers of nine Bangladeshi U.N. peacekeepers who died there last month. A government spokesman confirmed the arrest of Thomas Lubanga but declined to give any details. "The international community says he is responsible for atrocities during his time in Ituri but he is not thought to be involved in the killing of the Bangladeshis," a security source said. A senior member of Lubanga's Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC) said he was arrested and sent to Makala prison in the capital Kinshasa on Saturday. "His arrest is arbitrary and does not conform to any procedures," UPC secretary general John Tinanzabu told Reuters. Lubanga had been based in Kinshasa for more than a year and had registered the UPC, an ethnic Hema rebel group, as a political party, Tinanzabu said. Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo is suffering the world's worst humanitarian crisis with a death toll outstripping that of Sudan's Darfur region, the U.N. said last week. The conflict in mineral-rich Ituri pits various ethnic-based militias against each other and has displaced some 100,000 people since December, hampering the former Belgian colony's efforts to recover from a wider five-year war. Security sources said that Lubanga was being held alongside eight other military and political leaders from Ituri after several weeks of house arrest. International pressure to arrest Ituri's warlords, some of whom have joined Congo's national army as part of a peace deal, increased last month after the Bangladeshi peacekeepers were killed in an ambush by unknown gunmen. Security services arrested Floribert Ndjabu, head of the ethnic Lendu-dominated Nationalist and Integrationist Front (FNI) militia, earlier this month along with an FNI commander and a general allied to the group. The U.N. has stepped up efforts to disarm militia groups in the past few months. It said on Monday some 550 militiamen had disarmed in the district in the last two days alone. "The growing number of militia members giving in their weapons and joining the reintegration process indicates that the recent political and military efforts in the district are staring to bear fruit," the U.N. mission said in a statement. The prosecutor for Ituri and U.N. human rights experts have been gathering evidence of crimes carried out in the district. Those accused will be tried either in a Congolese court or the International Criminal Court, due to try those responsible for crimes committed in Ituri after July 1, 2002.
IRIN 23 Mar 2005 Ituri militias take war to civilians [ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations] © IRIN An aerial view of the IDP camp in Tche, Ituri District. BUNIA, 23 Mar 2005 (IRIN) - Three months after the resumption of fighting between Lendu and Hema militias in Ituri, a district in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a vivid picture of human-rights violations is emerging. Pregnant women have been gang raped, children burnt to death and villages razed to the ground. UN observers and NGOs believe the militias' objective is to change the ethnic composition of Djugu, a territory to the north of Ituri's main town, Bunia. "The strategy of the Lendu militias is to chase away the Hemas from their territory in Djugu. The means to achieve this is a policy of burnt earth, selected killing, rape, total destruction of entire villages and kidnapping for sexual slavery," said Louis-Marie Bowaka, coordinator for human rights in Ituri for the UN mission in the DRC, known as MONUC. Large portions of Djugu certainly seem abandoned from the air. Neither livestock nor people are visible. Verdant hills with neatly carved plots are unattended, even though it is the start of the planting season. Safety in Tche Thousands of people have fled to a camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Tche, a village 62 km north of Bunia. Tche's camp, dotted with hundreds of straw-and-stick huts, sits between rolling hills. On the overlooking hilltop, MONUC's Pakistani 2nd Battalion, armed with tanks, keeps watch - its presence a comfort to the camp's 20,000 residents. Our mortars control the hillsides," Irfan Hashmi, a major in the battalion, told IRIN. His troops, he said, had "directly saved about two thousand people from the Lendu, and rescued three children who came with their necks half cut-off." UN peacekeepers guarding the Tche IDP camp, Ituri District, eastern DRC. "He said his battalion had secured a perimeter of four to six kilometres around the camp in order to keep the IDPs safe from militias. A community defence committee had also been set up, with the support of village chiefs. Almost two months since the camp was established, some kind of a routine has returned to life. The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) has set up a special primary school for displaced children. Women are able to pound corn, while others haul water from a water point constructed by Oxfam, a British-based NGO. Newcomers have flattened portions of the hillside and started to build new homes. The battalion set up the camp at Tche on 28 January, following several Lendu raids on Hema villages. Since mid-December 2004, these attacks have caused the displacement of some 100,000 Hema; 80,000 of them are now living in the Kakwa, Gina, Tchomia and Tche camps according to MONUC and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Bunia. Inhabitants of Tche gave vivid accounts of their ordeals. One of them, Bubu Moubin, came from the village of Niamamba near Lake Albert, about 30 km southeast of the camp. He told IRIN that attackers had used machetes to kill 10 of his 80-member extended family. He had hidden in the bush for a month before reaching Tche. "They left us nothing; now we are half naked," he said. Losina Bius, from Bui village, about seven kilometres north of Tche, recounted the day when Lendus attacked. "The children were in the church praying - then we heard the sound of bullets being fired and the older ones ran outside and fled," she said. Another witness, Leonard Losida, said: "We were running to the hill and saw that the church was burning. We did not see the children anymore." Some of the attacks have been extremely brutal; victims have been badly mutilated and often raped. "Now Hemas run away as soon as they hear the Lendus coming," Losida said. However, it was not always like this. Lonema Lano, who used to be a teacher in Tche village, said: "Six years ago there were no problems between Lendus and Hema. We even intermarried. "Now many have divorced. We don't know why the Lendus attack us." The Lendu have killed four members of Lano's family. Background to the latest hostilities The fighting in December probably sprang from a struggle to control smuggling operations and tax fiefdoms along Lake Albert, according Modibo Traore, the OCHA humanitarian affairs officer in Bunia. By the beginning of January, the Hema Union des patriotes congolais (UPC) and Lendu Front des nationalistes et integrationnistes (FNI) had begun to attack civilians as well as each other. The fight was no longer simply over revenue but territory too. One political observer of the Ituri situation for the last 30 years, who did not want to be named, said the situation in the district was similar to ethnic wars elsewhere. "We often talk about Bosnia and what happened there. It looks very similar here," the observer said. Witnesses of the Lendu attacks said the raids followed a familiar pattern: militias attacked with guns and machetes, and were followed by women, children and even elderly people who looted the villages and carried away everything of value. Then they burned homes to the ground. Rudi Stelz, the project coordinator at German Agro Action, the largest NGO providing food and non-food items to the IDPs in Tche, said this type of action was already the "normal behaviour" of the militia. "Looting and stealing is part of the conflict culture here. It is like an income," he said. Traore said six years of war had removed all inhibitions among young men. "For them, killing and raping is now totally normal - the militias even maltreat their own people. The latest conflict is no longer between militias; it is against civilians," he said. MONUC's coordinator for human rights in Ituri, Bowaka, said that what was happening in Ituri could be described as "ethnic cleansing". He said: "What we see is definitely not genocide. Their goal is to drive the villagers into the camps and keep them there." In fact, he said, on 14 and 15 January, FNI militias found 1,500 Hema in the bush and brought them to the camp in Kakwa. In another instance in Lydio, eight kilometres south of Tche, FNI militias held 52 people for four days before telling them to seek protection at the Pakistani camp. While investigating a number of human rights abuses, Bowaka said, "Now there are very few people actually killed." A local NGO in Bunia, Justice Plus, has been monitoring the Hema - Lendu conflict since 1999. The organisation's director, Aime Magbo, said the Lendu and Hema had both committed "grave human rights violations" in the three months they had been fighting over control of territory. Degeneration of the conflict Following the killing of nine Bangladeshi peacekeepers on 25 February, aid operations have been suspended several times. "The dynamics before December 2004 were clear, we knew who and where the commanders were. Now everything is out of control," Massiomo Nicoletti-Altimori, the head of the UNICEF office in Bunia said. "There are problems within the militias themselves - FNI, UPC, and PUSIC [Parti pour l’unité et la sauvegarde de l’intégrité du Congo] are split." He added: "Some [combatants] entered the process of disarmament and reintegration - and the demilitarisation of commandos caused confusion among the militias. With the exit of the big bosses, there is no more control over them." Major Hashmi of MONUC said: "The FNI became disorganised after MONUC retaliated for the killing of the Bangladeshi blue helmets. They are now trying to establish a new base in villages. They have lots of AK-47s and mortars but no ammunition." He described the situation as calm, but not normal. One of the most serious problems facing humanitarian actors and the Congolese government is how to deal with incredibly brutal rape. Some women have even been sexually abused with knives, according to Nicoletti-Altimori. UNICEF, together with its partners, is now trying to set up a women's committee, which will sensitise the public to the problem. However, this is a difficult task since it touches on cultural sensitivities. "Women don't want to come forward when they were raped," Nicoletti-Altimori said. "The problem is that their husbands abandon them and the victims are stigmatised. We have to handle the issue in a very delicate manner." Cooperazione Internazionale, an Italian NGO, has been providing psychological care for rape victims. Those with physical trauma are taken to Bunia for medical treatment, obeying strictures laid out by the UN World Health Organization. If five days have elapsed since the rape occurred, the victims receive contraceptive pills and antibiotics against venereal diseases. If, on the other hand, up to 72 hours have elapsed, then women also receive post-exposure prophylactics against HIV infection. "But this is in an ideal situation. Mostly, it is too late," Nicoletti-Altimori said.
cririsgroup.org 30 Mar 2005 The Congo's Transition Is Failing: Crisis in the Kivus As the UN Security Council debates this week the terms of renewing the mandate of its peacekeeping force in the Congo (MONUC), decisive action is needed to prevent a return to full-scale combat and the possible destabilisation of much of Central Africa. The country's political transition is stalled, and there are new military tensions in the Kivus region, where 1,000 people are dying every day in the ongoing political and humanitarian tragedy. The international community, which funds the political transition, needs to rein in spoilers, both inside the transition and outside it, and do a better job of training the new Congolese army. MONUC also needs to get tougher with the Rwandan insurgents. All sides must live up to the promise of the Sun City Agreement that brought the transition into existence: former belligerents must complete their military integration. ------------------------------------- Crisis Group reports and briefing papers are available on our website: www.crisisgroup.org
IRIN 18 Mar 2005 Soldiers to be tried over Gambella killings [ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations] ADDIS ABABA, 18 Mar 2005 (IRIN) - Six Ethiopian soldiers are to face trial for their role in a massacre in the border region with Sudan where hundreds were killed in months of violence, officials said on Friday. "Those six army members' allegedly participated in the killings and will face trial," government spokesman, Zemedkun Teckle, said. No date, he added, had been set for the trial. Hundreds of people were killed and thousands fled their homes after clashes in the oil and gold-rich region of Gambella, 800 km west of the capital, Addis Ababa, in 2003. An independent inquiry said the army was involved in the extra-judicial killing of 13 people. Gambella, which has a total population of 228,000, is ethnically diverse with people from the Nuer, Anyuak, Majanger, Komo and Opo tribes. Fighting erupted in December 2003 after eight government refugee workers were killed in an ambush on their vehicle. Anyuaks were blamed for the attack and dozens died in a violent three-day clash in Gambella. The government said 56 people were killed, while a human rights report from the US State Department stated that 100 people were killed, mostly from the Anyuak ethnic group.
BBC 24 Mar 2005 Ethiopia army 'killed and raped' Thousands of people have fled Gambella since the December 2003 massacre The Ethiopian army has been killing, raping and torturing people in the western Gambella region since the end of 2003, Human Rights Watch says. It says some 425 Anuak people were killed after an alleged ambush by Anuak gunmen on a government vehicle. The army carried out the human rights violations under the guise of combating Anuak bandits, the organisation says. Ethiopia's Information Minister Bereket Simon has rejected the claims, calling them a "blatant lie". "We don't accept such recriminations. We don't believe this is a crime against humanity," Mr Simon told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme. Government investigations had revealed that 65 people were killed in December 2003 in violence between local ethnic Anuaks and highlanders, in which the army had remained neutral, he said. 'Soldiers shooting' The HRW report says: "The prevailing climate of impunity that now exists in Gambella has allowed ENDF (Ethiopia National Defence Forces) soldiers to prey upon and terrorise the Anuak communities they patrol." A three-day rampage followed the ambush in December 2003 in which local Anuak people were killed, raped and mobs burned down more than 400 houses. The soldiers tied his hands to his legs and put him on the road and then ran him over with a military truck Eyewitness of the Gambella massacre Out of the 19 communities surveyed by HRW, entire villages were burned to the ground and thousands of Anuak fled their homes after the reprisal attacks. "I saw people running. All of a sudden I saw and heard the government soldiers shooting," a young Anuak man told HRW about the first moments of the massacre. "Because there were so many people running here and there we collided and I fell down. I started to see people who were fallen down dead and so I got up and started running again." The 64-page report also quoted a person who saw soldiers tie an Anuak man's hands to his legs before running him over with a military truck. On trial HRW says the vast majority of the army are drawn from the same ethnic group as Gambella's highlander community. Four hundred homes were destroyed in the violence Gambella's former governor Okello Akuaye, who accused the soldiers of taking the highlanders' side during three days of ethnic fighting, has sought political asylum in Norway. But Mr Simon said the army during this period had been "on a mission to stabilise the situation". Government investigations had found six military officers were involved in the killings and they would be prosecuted, he said. "Now they are in custody and are going to be charged for the killing and will face the court." HRW has called for an independent investigation into the human rights violations in Gambella from December 2003 to the present. The BBC's Mohammed Adow in Addis Ababa says insecurity in Gambella - one of Ethiopia's least developed regions - is often aggravated by competition for land.
Coalition for the International Criminal Court For more information, contact: Sally Eberhardt, Media Liaison Telephone: (+)1.212.687.2863, ext. 17 Email : firstname.lastname@example.org FOR IMMEDIATE DISTRIBUTION Kenya brings ICC States Close to 100 Mark As Conflicts Rage in Neighboring Countries, Kenya's ICC Ratification Offers Bacon of Hope (New York, 15 March 2005) - This afternoon, Kenya, a country that continues to play a leadership role in peace-building in the most troubled areas of Africa, became the 98th State Party to the International Criminal Court (ICC) treaty when it deposited its instrument of ratification at the United Nations in New York. The total number of African States Parties to the ICC now outnumbers that of any other continent. The Coalition for the International Criminal Court (CICC) - an international network of more than 2,000 non-governmental and civil society organizations - which just two months ago conducted a world-wide campaign urging Kenya to join the ICC, welcomes this major step forward for justice in the African continent. The CICC also commends Kenya for its principled resistance to pressure from the United States government to sign a Bilateral Immunity Agreement (BIA). Such an agreement would put Kenya in a position of having to provide immunity to US citizens and personnel (including foreign sub-contractors working for the United States) for alleged war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, which are included in the ICC treaty. At the treaty deposit this afternoon, the Kenyan Attorney General Amos Wako stated, "We have worked hard and are proud of our international reputation as a key peace-builder on the African continent. Becoming party to the ICC will help us continue to pursue this crucial role in the world." "Kenya's ratification of the ICC treaty couldn't come at a more important time. With horrific conflicts raging at the very borders of Kenya - in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in Sudan, in Uganda - this ratification offers a great hope to all those desperate for peace and justice in the region.," said Benson Olugbuo, CICC Anglophone Africa Coordinator based in Nigeria. Noting that Kenya's ratification reflects a growing movement for international justice around the world, CICC Convenor William Pace stated, "The UN has mentioned the possibility of holding a special ceremony in 2005 to mark the symbolic 100th ratification of the ICC treaty. We hope that as many states as possible will ratify this crucial international treaty without delay so they can be part of this historic event and join the majority of the world's countries that have invested in the ICC and the rule of law."The website of the Coalition for the International Criminal Court: www.iccnow.org The website of the International Criminal Court: www.icc-cpi.int About the Coalition for the International Criminal Court The Coalition for the International Criminal Court is a network of over 2,000 civil society organizations working to promote a fair, effective and independent International Criminal Court.
P a r l i a m e n t a r i a n s f o r G l o b a l A c t i o n FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: PGA Int'l Law Programme Tel: (212) 687-7755 x108 / (39) 333-166 0309 Fax: (212) 687-8409 E-mail: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org Parliamentary Group Welcomes Kenya's Ratification of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Statute Kenya is 98th ICC State Party, Dominican Republic expected to become 99th NEW YORK; March 15, 2005 - Following the decision by the Government of Kenya to ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on February 17, 2005, the Attorney General, Mr. Amos Wako, MP and Member of Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA), deposited today at United Nations Headquarters in New York the instrument of ratification of the Rome Statute, thus bringing to 98 the number of ICC States Parties. The ICC is the first permanent judicial institution aimed at putting an end to the impunity for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The Deputy-Speaker and leading PGA Member in Kenya, Hon. David Musila, MP, expressed deep satisfaction for Kenya's participation in the new system of international criminal justice. "It is very important for all East African countries to be part of the ICC system, especially at a time when the ICC Prosecutor is investigating atrocities committed in the African Great Lakes region," Deputy-Speaker Musila said. Earlier today, a status conference on the investigations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) took place in The Hague before the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber. Recent attacks against civilians in Ituri, Eastern DRC, are a reminder of the importance of the ICC, which can intervene in cases where national authorities are unable or unwilling to investigate and prosecute. Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA) highlights the dedication of its members to the ICC, noting in particular the developments in Kenya and the Dominican Republic. Thanks to the leadership of PGA Board Member Dip. Minou Tavarez Mirabal, the Chamber of Deputies of the Dominican Republic voted unanimously in support of the ICC Ratification Bill on February 17, which was consequently adopted unanimously by the Senate on March 8, 2005. As Dip. Tavarez Mirabal stated, "The Dominican Republic will be the 99th Member State of this new judicial institution, thus paving the way for the historic achievement of 100 ratifications of a treaty that was adopted only six and half years ago, on July 17, 1998." Dip. Tavarez Mirabal, a member of the Special Committee on Criminal Law Reform and a staunch advocate of international human rights, expressed her satisfaction with the adoption of the Dominican ICC Bill and the imminent approval of the new Penal Code of the Dominican Republic, which incorporates the crimes and general principles enshrined in the Rome Statute, including those relating to gender-justice. "We obtained multi-party support for the reform of the Penal Code, which offered a unique opportunity to begin implementing the ICC Statute in domestic law even before the ratification process began," Tavarez Mirabal affirmed. "Implementing the Rome Statute in the domestic legal order will be the next stage on the ICC process in Kenya", Mr. Amos Wako, MP told PGA last Friday in New York. PGA is an association of over 1350 legislators from 110 countries united to promote solutions to global problems. PGA members have supported the establishment of the ICC since 1989 when A.N.R. Robinson, then Prime Minister of Trinidad & Tobago, introduced a UN General Assembly resolution calling for the establishment of an International Criminal Court. Since the adoption of the Rome Statute of the ICC on 17 July 1998, PGA MPs have promoted the ratification and effective implementation of the Statute, which entered into force on July 1, 2002. The PGA Law Programme receives support from the European Commission, European Union.
IRIN 15 Mar 2005 Raiders kill 22 in inter-clan violence [ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations] © IRIN NAIROBI, 15 Mar 2005 (IRIN) - Armed attackers shot and killed 22 people when they raided a village in the northeastern Kenyan district of Mandera at dawn on Tuesday, a police spokesman said. Three other people were wounded. Police later pursued the group of about 40 raiders and gunned down eight of them, Jaspher Ombati, told IRIN on Tuesday. The attack happened at El Golicha village, near El Wak town, which is situated close to Kenya's border with Somalia. The village where the attacks occured is about 600 km from the capital, Nairobi. "We have sent reinforcements and police are still pursuing the attackers," the police spokesman added. Ombati said the assailants were believed to be members of the Murule clan, while the victims were thought to be from the Garre clan. It was not immediately clear what triggered the latest violence, but the two groups, both Kenyan Somalis, have a history of feuding over pasture and water points. In January, more than 20 people were killed during inter-clan violence between the Murule and the Garre communities in Mandera district, which is situated in Kenya's Northeastern Province. Much of the province is arid and notoriously lawless, with bandits often carrying out attacks.
BBC 15 Mar 2005 Villagers die in Kenya clan raid Some 40 people have been killed in an attack on a village in north-eastern Kenya in a revenge killing between rival Somali clans, say officials. The BBC's Bashkash Jugsodaay said eight militiamen were also killed after clashing with police. Since December some 50 people, mainly women and children, have died in violence in Mandera district. The area's severe drought is causing the Garre and Murule clans to battle for control of water and pastures. Land degraded Officials have said about 80 heavily armed men who had crossed the border from neighbouring Somalia were involved in the attack. Police believe Murule militiamen killed the Garre villagers and Mandera's provincial commissioner said a security operation has been launched. Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai, Kenya's deputy environment minister, said in January she was ready to use her influence to reconcile the warring clans. But our correspondent says there has been little evidence so far of efforts by authorities to resolve the dispute. The communities grazing their livestock are scattered over a large area and police find it difficult to monitor, he says. Professor Maathai said frequent clashes in Kenya and Somalia were rooted in land degradation and conflicts between pastoralists and farmers.
United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) 15 Mar 2005 Children victims of brutal slaughter - UNICEF appalled by the massacre of at least 16 children in KenyaNAIROBI, KENYA, 15 March 2005 - UNICEF is appalled by the brutal slaughter of at least 16 children in clashes in Mandera District, Kenya, today. Speaking from South Africa, UNICEF Representative for Kenya, Heimo Laakkonen, expressed horror at the viciousness of the attack. "The shocking reality is that children seem to have been the primary target," he said. The attack took place at El Golicha, about 10km from Elwak Town in Mandera District. El Golicha is a watering point for pastoralists, and where members of the Garre clan live. Their assailants apparently came from a rival clan, the Murule. The two clans have feuded over access to water for many years. Last time the Marule were apparently the victims of a Garre attack. During the early hours of March 15, they came to seek revenge. The assailants crept into El Golicha while most of the Garre men were out guarding their livestock. They attacked the manyattas where children and women were sleeping, setting some of the huts ablaze, and using guns and swords to attack those who tried to flee. "In the arid lands of Kenya, water means life," said Laakkonen, "yet too often these days it is an excuse for killing and death." He pointed out that this was just one incident in a series of clashes that have engulfed communities in many parts of Mandera, and elsewhere in Kenya as well. In Mandera alone, over twenty thousand people have been displaced by violence in recent months. "No one wins in these conflicts," said Laakkonen. "Whole livelihoods are destroyed, families are torn apart and it is always the children who suffer the most." He called on the authorities to restore order, to protect children, and also pleaded with civil society to work with communities like the Garre and the Murule to help build peaceful methods of conflict resolution. "So that the children of these clans will have the same rights as most of Kenya's children, to grow up, go to school, and sleep in peace," he said.
AFP 16 March 2005 Militiamen kill 22 in fighting among Kenyan tribal rivals Bogonko Bosire NAIROBI — Up to 5000 terrified villagers fled their homes in northeast Kenya yesterday after militiamen massacred 22 members of a rival clan, many of them women and children, in a pre-dawn raid, officials said. The villagers began to flee shortly after details began to emerge of the ferocity of the attack in which about 40 raiders used firearms as well as garden implements to shoot, hack and slash their victims to death. The Kenyan Red Cross said more than 1 000 families of three to five members each had left their homes along the Kenyan-Somali border where the attack occurred on the village of Elgolisha near to the frontier town of Mandera. They “have started fleeing the area because of fear that they might be the next targets,” spokesman Anthony Mwangi said. “There is a very serious conflict in the region.” Yesterday’s massacre is believed by police to be the deadliest single attack in the restive region where members of the Murule and Garre clans, both pastoralists of Somali origin, have fought often over water and pasture rights. It was also unusual for its brutality, police said. “They came with guns, machetes and clubs and killed mostly women and children,” said a senior police officer in Kenya’s Northeastern Province. Police blamed the attack on the Murule, noting that all the victims were Garre, some of whom had Kenyan nationality, and the Red Cross spokesman said those fleeing belonged to both clans. “The aim of the Murule militiamen was to kill,” Mwangi said. “There are fears of a revenge attack."
AFP 16 Mar 2005 Kenya boosts security after village massacre, loses track of attackers NAIROBI, March 16 (AFP) - Kenya has boosted security along its northeast border with Somalia following a brutal massacre there by Somali gunmen of 22 members of a rival clan that forced thousands of villagers to flee their homes, police said Wednesday. "We have boosted security and patrols along the areas that we think are vulnerable to revenge attacks," said Gabriel Ndolo, the commander of police in Kenya's Northeastern Province where Tuesday's pre-dawn raid took place. "We just want to ensure that normal life resumes," he told AFP by phone from the provincial seat of Garissa south of the attacked village of Elgolisha near the frontier town of Mandera. Eight of the some 40 attackers were killed by Kenyan security forces and officials said the surviving gunmen had escaped into lawless Somalia despite a massive search by paramilitary police assisted by a helicopter. "They fled into Somalia and it is very difficult to pursue them into the country because it has no administration," Ndolo said. "But we shall do everything to ensure that somebody is held responsible. "We cannot allow such attacks to go on," he said. Police believe that Tuesday's raid on Elgolisha -- which targetted members of the Garre clan and has been blamed on the rival Gurule faction -- is the worst single attack in the dustbowl region known for ethnic clashes, mainly over water and pasture rights. In it, the Murule attackers used guns, machetes and clubs to shoot, hack and slash to death their victims, many of them women and children including a six-month-old infant, police said. The marauders also killed nearly a dozen livestock, destroyed a number of rudimentary homes and wounded at least three people in the raid. As the scale and ferocity of the attack became clear, as many as 5,000 terrified villagers fled their homes around Elgolisha which sits only about two kilometers (1.2 miles) from the Somali border, the Kenyan Red Cross said. Ndolo said authorities in the region were working to help the more than 1,000 families -- each with three to five members -- who fled Eloglisha to the relative safety of the nearby town of El Wak. "We are making great effort to ensure that people return to their homes," he said. "We are also meeting with clan elders to discuss the issue of security because this is a long-standing problem."
BBC 29 Mar 2005 Kenyan women take rape case to UN The women and their supporters have been involved in protests Several hundred Kenyan women who say they were raped by British soldiers based in the country are taking their case to the United Nations. Their lawyer Joyce Majiwa has accused the Kenyan and UK governments of not taking adequate action to help them. The women, mostly from the Samburu and Masai tribes, are seeking millions of pounds in compensation. The British High Commission has said all known reports of alleged rape by British Army soldiers were forgeries. The Ministry of Defence said it had no comment to make on the case at present. Many of the women are represented by UK human rights lawyer Martyn Day. Ms Majiwa told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme that investigations into the alleged rapes had not been carried out in Kenya, and that the Kenyan authorities were not pressing the UK government for compensation. "What kind of local remedy is going to be sufficient?" she said. "We want to bring this matter into the international fore because it involves several nations." She said she was sure the case would be covered by UN jurisdiction. Children The women allege they were raped by British soldiers based in the north of Kenya in the 1980s and 1990s. They have accused an investigation by the Royal Military Police of not being independent. The British High Commission said in 2003 all known reports of alleged rape by British soldiers had been forged. But Ms Majiwa says the women have evidence to prove the rapes did take place - including the children which were born as a result. "The children are there. I think they are more than sufficient evidence," Ms Majiwa said. "The women are there. They are able to give oral testimony. "There are eye witnesses who saw what was happening and we believe this will support the case," she added.
The NEWS (Monrovia) 23 Mar 2005 Taylor Ex-General Explains Lutheran Massacre Monrovia The dreadful event that occurred in 1990 at the Lutheran Church in Sinkor which left nearly 600 persons dead, has become a history but the untold story has surfaced from one of its survival in person of a former general of exiled former President Charles Taylor, Adolphus Dolo. Making revelation Tuesday at the Edward Wilmot Blyden Lecture forum organized by the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) in Monrovia, Dolo explained that he was a student activist at the time of the Lutheran Church massacre. Explaining what he described as a "terrible"experience at the Lutheran Church, Dolo told the forum of mostly journalists that he and his friends, including Wuo Garpe Tarpeh and Lewis Brown were arrested at the Church during a meeting with the Liberia Council of Churches. "We did not know what war was like or about. As the war intensified, I took several persons for refuge at the UN Compound but unfortunate for us the bandits came over night and killed a lot of us". The Nimba County Senatorial aspirant narrated further that following the incident, the late President Samuel Doe later came the following morning and apologized to us and told us that the act was not sanctioned by him and asked us to go to our various homes. Mr. Dolo at the time of the massacre spearheaded a team to resettle Nimbaians fleeing the war. Mr. Dolo said at the time of Mr. Doe's visit, "I asked the president as to what assurance we had upon our return to our homes. Will we not be killed?" "It was due to this fear that I requested the LCC to transfer the rest of us at the Methodist Compound where we spent a night." Dolo explained. The former general indicated that the next morning he talked to former Lutheran Bishop Ronald Diggs who later resettled us at the Lutheran Church. "I can still remember it was around 6 p.m. when soldiers started looting the Sinkor Shopping Center and by 11:00 p.m., they came over to the Church and forced the door open with shooting. It was only by the grace of God that we survived," Mr. Dolo lamented. Commenting on his involvement with the decade-long civil war, Dolo noted that he got involved because he needed to survive following his narrow escape from the Lutheran Church massacre. He apologized to Liberians for his role in the war saying, "I did whatever I did to survive and I did it for the people of Nimba County because they needed to survive as well."
The New Times (Kigali) 16 Mar 2005 Gacaca: Over 600 Leaders Implicated By Edwin Musoni Kigali Legislators have raised dust over hundreds of leaders, who played a role in the 100-day genocide and now want them tried. The outrage on Monday followed a presentation by the Gacaca National Executive Secretary, Domitila Mukantaganzwa, to members of both Chambers of Parliament. Mukantaganzwa told the legislators that six hundred and sixty eight people who are holding leadership positions in the country have been implicated in the 1994 genocide. She also disclosed that some MPs participated in the genocide, while others are sabotaging the proceedings of Gacaca trials. "There are some legislators who deliberately don't want to contribute anything to the Gacaca courts, while others played an instrumental role in the massive killings and are now sitting in the Parliament" she said. She did not give names. According to statistics, Kibungo province, with 186 people, leads the list of leaders who participated in the genocide, followed by Cyangugu, with119 leaders. Others are seven in Byumba, while Kigali City has thirty seven leaders who have been cited in the heinous crimes. During the open debate, MPs sought to know how first phase of the Gacaca trials were progressing. In response, Mukantaganzwa disclosed that out of the 192 cases that were scheduled to be heard on March 10, only 34 were settled and 116 were pending in the courts. She said that among the punishments handed down the biggest was thirty years in prison in Kigali city and Gitarama, while the lightest punishment meted out on that day was one year, in Byumba. Mukantaganzwa also highlighted the challenges that cropped up during the first day of the Gacaca trials. "In Mutura District of Gisenyi the one who was supposed to be tried did not appear, while in Kacyiru district of Kigali City, the court tried only six cases out of fourteen. She disclosed that in Kigali-Ngali fourteen cases were not tried, while sixteen cases were not tried in Kibuye.
Reuters 18 Mar 2005 Village court genocide trial for Rwandan governor 18 Mar 2005 17:34:29 GMT Source: Reuters By Arthur Asiimwe NYAMUGALI, Rwanda, March 18 (Reuters) - Thousands of Rwandans gathered in a hilltop village on Friday to see their governor defend himself against accusations that he took part in the country's 1994 genocide. Boniface Rucago, a powerful governor from Rwanda's North West Ruhengeri province is the first senior government official to be summoned by Rwanda's village courts or "gacaca" whose trials have been taking place across the central African nation. "I have all the evidence to prove that our governor had a role in the death of a man by the name of Kabaija," said Juliana Mukagakwaya, one of 12 locals accusing Rucago of playing a key role in planning the killing of Tutsis in the small village. "I surely know he had a role in the slaughter of my nephew," a woman veiled in a Muslim cloak told the court which was watched by almost 4,000 people in Nyamugali. But speaking in a shaky voice, the governor said after the hearing, in which he talked about the reason for the war: "Everything the villagers are saying is untrue. They have made it up." Rucago, who has been governor of the province for almost nine years, will be given the chance to defend himself against the accusers' specific allegations and then the court will give its verdict. Gacaca (meaning grass) dispenses with the formalities of the normal court system, using venues such as grassy knolls and relying on villagers' testimonies against those suspected of being involved in the massacre by Hutu extremists of some 800,000 Tutsis and Hutu moderates. The traditional courts were established to deal with a backlog of suspects awaiting trial in conventional courts, with more than 80,000 people still on remand in prisons. So far, the village courts, led by locally elected judges sitting as investigative panels, have concentrated on questioning thousands of low-level suspects. An estimated 700 senior and low-ranked government officials including three members of parliament have been summoned to appear before the courts. The Rwandan government says that up to 1 million of Rwanda's 8 million people, are expected to be tried in the gacaca courts. Focusing on confession and apology, they are also intended to ease the way to national reconciliation. Under gacaca, those who confess and plead guilty before a set date will have their sentences reduced. Analysts say some Rwandans have started fleeing the country for fear of being paraded before the courts. "It is true we have had these reports but the figure of those running away is not that big," the director of legal services for gacaca Augustin Nkusi told Reuters. Gacaca courts were traditionally used by village communities who would gather on a patch of grass to resolve conflicts between two families, employing the heads of each household as judges.
AP 20 Apr 2005 Traditional courts convict 192 people in Rwanda for participation in genocide By EDWARD RWEMA Associated Press Writer Associated Press Newswires KIGALI, Rwanda (AP) - Traditional courts in Rwanda have convicted and sentenced 192 people for crimes related to the 1994 genocide within the first ten days of their operation, a justice official said Saturday. The community courts, known as gacaca, also have an additional 300 trials under way, said Domitila Mukantagazwa, the executive secretary of gacaca jurisdictions. The sentences given to those convicted range from one year to 30 years in prison, he said. Only one person has been acquitted, Mukantagazwa added. The traditional courts allow survivors to try alleged perpetrators of the 1994 genocide, in which a government of extremists from the Hutu majority orchestrated the slaughter of more than 500,000 people, most of them minority Tutsis. But some survivors are concerned about what they say are lenient sentences for those who confess, while human rights groups have said the proceedings do not meet international standards for criminal courts. Rwandan officials, however, say they turned to the community courts to speed up a massive undertaking -- trials for the 761,000 people accused of taking part in the genocide. It could be decades before their cases are heard in conventional courts, which are trying only the leaders of the 100-day slaughter, the officials say. A U.N. tribunal in neighboring Tanzania is trying top genocide suspects. Rwandan officials also say the community courts, by bringing together survivors and perpetrators, will promote reconciliation. Gacaca courts have identified 668 local and senior government officials as possible suspects. The governor of Ruhengari province appeared in front of a gacaca investigative panel on Friday, where angry witnesses accused him of meeting with men who were leading the killing in the province in 1994. Governor Boniface Rucagu, who was a member of parliament at the time, denied he was involved in the massacres. He is the first senior official to appear before a gacaca trial. "He knew everything that was going on, his vehicle was used to carry militias who were killing Tutsis and the roadblock that verified who was a Tutsi was in front of his house and why didn't he use his power as a member of parliament to stop that?" a survivor asked at the hearing. Rucagu said he was doing all that he could at the time to protect Tutsis from the Hutu extremists who were carrying out the massacres. The minister of defense, Gen. Marcel Gatsinzi, is also expected to appear before a gacaca trial in Butare province, Mukantagazwa said.
Hirondelle News Agency (Lausanne) 29 Mar 2005 Gacaca: 179 Sentenced, One Acquitted in First Two Weeks Kigali The semi-traditional Gacaca courts, which were given the task of trying the majority of those suspected to have taken part in the 1994 genocide, have sentenced 179 suspects and acquitted one since the trials opened two weeks ago. Official sources in Kigali told Hirondelle News Agency Tuesday that the acquittal and the sentencing of 34 of the accused took place March 10, the first day of trials. "As of March 23, we had managed to wrap up 180 cases", said Anastase Balinda, head of the documentation unit in the National Service of Gacaca Jurisdictions (NSGJ). "So far, the sentences passed range between one and 30 years in jail", he said, adding that the trials of another 126 were still going on. 30 years is the maximum sentence that can be passed by the tribunals. "Five people so far have been given the maximum sentence", revealed Balinda. Most of those who were tried in the first two weeks were those who had confessed to their crimes earlier. "The majority of confessions were considered to be complete and accepted by the judges in most trials", continued the Gacaca official. The Gacaca jurisdictions have since they were set up three years ago, been mostly preoccupied with investigations. The start of the Gacaca pilot trials were delayed on many occasions. The Gacaca judicial system is inspired by the traditional Rwandan courts where the village elders and wise men solved disputes while sitting on a grass mound (called Gacaca in Kinyarwanda) in a public square. This "participatory justice system" has been given a triple mission by the Rwandan government of bringing out the truth, judging and helping in reconciliation. Gacaca judges are not professional jurists, but are elected from within the community based on their moral integrity, although they have all undergone basic legal training.
UN News Centre 22 Mar 2005 Sierra Leone court welcomes arrest of Dutch man accused of war crimes 22 March 2005 – The prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone today welcomed the recent arrest of a Dutch businessman on charges of committing war crimes against Liberians and violating a United Nations arms embargo as "a major blow against Western profiteers who enrich themselves on the suffering of Africans." "I have long been aware of Gus Kouwenhoven's criminal activity, his involvement in (former Liberian President) Charles Taylor's inner circle and direct support for Taylor's war machine," Prosecutor David Crane said. The trial in a Netherlands courtroom of Mr. Kouwenhoven, who was arrested on Friday, would spotlight the roles of arms traffickers and international financiers, as well as the abuse of West Africa's resources, he said. Mr. Crane added that he had not collected the evidence to place Mr. Kouwenhoven among those bearing "greatest responsibility" for international crimes during Sierra Leone's civil conflict, but he had instructed his Special Court investigators to cooperate with the Dutch authorities. Former President Taylor remains wanted by the Special Court to face a 17-count indictment for war crimes and crimes against humanity. The Special Court is the world's first hybrid international war crimes tribunal, and was established by an agreement in January 2002 between the United Nations and the Republic of Sierra Leone. It is headquartered in the capital Freetown.
NYT 20 Mar 2005 African Artists Raise Voices Against Malaria By LYDIA POLGREEN DAKAR, Senegal - As far as causes go, malaria may well be the least trendy. Luckily, when more than a dozen African musical superstars converged on this coastal capital to strut their stuff against the disease, Africa's most persistent scourge, the organizers thought to invite the singer Corneille. "Corneille, I love you," the young women screeched as he took the stage on a recent Saturday evening, his pectoral muscles bulging through a white embroidered shirt, Hugo Boss underwear peeking out of his low-slung blue jeans. When he started to sing a ballad, one young woman swooned and had to be carried away by the police. Another screamed and shook her head hysterically; yet another waved a sign that read, "Welcome back to Africa!" Corneille, a Rwandan who fled the genocide in 1994 and became a pop star in Canada, was the fourth act in Africa Live, a two-day megaconcert billed as an all-African version of Live Aid, the groundbreaking concert held to raise money to fight the deadly famine that gripped Ethiopia in the 1980's. This time, however, the concert was held by Africans and for Africans, to raise money and awareness to fight one of Africa's often forgotten killers, malaria. Despite being relatively easy to prevent and treat, malaria kills well over a million people a year worldwide - estimates vary - most of them children. Youssou N'Dour, the Grammy-winning Senegalese singer, recited these statistics, shaking his head in disbelief, in a backstage interview as he waited to perform to a surging crowd of 20,000 in Dakar's main stadium. "When I learned that malaria kills so many people just because they can't get simple medicine or a net to cover their beds, I said, 'This is not possible, we must do something,' " he recalled, massaging his vocal cords. "It is like a tsunami every day here in Africa, only it happens slowly so no one notices, no one pays attention. So we have to bring the attention ourselves." A plan to hold a concert with a big lineup of stars from across Africa was already under way, so Mr. N'Dour decided to join that effort by Roll Back Malaria, an organization that aims to cut the burden of malaria in half by 2010. Profits will largely come from the broadcast and videos of the concert, which organizers hope will reach a billion people worldwide. Mr. N'Dour, who enjoys a sort of demigod status here, even wrote an antimalaria anthem, urging Africans to take precautions against mosquito bites and to clean up standing water that could act as breeding grounds for the insects. The concert occurred at an auspicious moment in Africa's history, when other nations are turning their attention to this continent's most recalcitrant problems, promising to increase aid to fight poverty. Whether it is the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, which aim, among other things, to halve extreme poverty by 2015, or a British report that called for a huge increase in aid to Africa, the continent that long seemed forgotten is finally being remembered. That may explain why malaria has suddenly become a celebrated cause. The facts about malaria's devastating effects have been well known for a century. That may be why the disease has received much less attention than AIDS, which has devastated Africa but still infects fewer people. Indeed, Malaria affects twice as many people as AIDS, measles, leprosy and tuberculosis combined, according to Roll Back Malaria, and every day 3,000 children die of the disease. It eats up 40 percent of public heath spending, and costs developing countries $12 billion a year in lost productivity. It hurts Africa, particularly African children, the most: 90 percent of malaria deaths occur in Africa. Yet many affordable means to fight the disease exist. "It is the lowest-hanging fruit," said Jeffrey D. Sachs, the economist and antipoverty crusader, who attended the concert. "We are talking about $5 nets and inexpensive pills to save thousands upon thousands of lives." Behind the concert is a new approach, Dr. Sachs said, that emphasizes simply giving away nets rather than trying to sell them at a reduced price, which has been the traditional distribution method. "How can you sell something to someone who has no money?" he said. "It just doesn't make sense." Onstage the entertainers did not bore their audience with lectures about insecticide-treated nets and antifever pills. They stuck to what they knew best. Salif Keita, the Malian singer, strutted on the stage, belting his shrill anthems to a spellbound audience. Baaba Maal, on his home turf, pranced barefoot around his kora player, and Angelique Kidjo, the songbird of Benin, serenaded the crowd with a tender rendition of the classic Swahili love song, "Malaika." Of course there was Corneille, who got perhaps the most rousing response, from a largely female audience. When he left the stage to try to shake hands with the adoring crowd, he nearly set off a riot and had to be carried back onstage. As he prepared for his final performance, which would end the show, Mr. N'Dour said musicians held a special place in the African imagination, making them the best agents of progress and change. "We are guardians of Africa's diamond, its shining jewel, our culture," he said. "It has sustained us for so long, and now it can move us forward."
IRIN 15 Mar 2005 SADC prepares for the African Standby Force [ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations] © Pretoria News The SADC brigade is expected to be ready by the end of this year JOHANNESBURG, 15 Mar 2005 (IRIN) - Military experts from member states of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) are meeting regularly to prepare for the formation of a standby peacekeeping brigade in the region by the end of this year, a senior official told IRIN. "Troops will be volunteered by the member states according to their capacity, as and when the need arises," explained Magang Phologane, political officer in the SADC Organ for Politics, Defence and Security. SADC is one of the five continental regions that are each contributing a brigade to form an African Standby Force as part of an African Union (AU) initiative to develop a common security policy by 2010. According to researchers Vanessa Kent and Mark Malan at the Pretoria-based Institute for Security Studies, the force will also include expert police and civilian capacity. African defence chiefs have established long-term deployment targets for the standby force that coincide with UN timelines: to be able to have boots on the ground in a traditional peacekeeping operation within 30 days of the adoption of a resolution, and in complex peacekeeping operations within 90 days, said Kent and Malan. The SADC's Phologane said, "There are no pre-identified troops/weapons/military equipment for the brigade, which will be headquartered within the SADC secretariat, which is currently based in Botswana's capital, Gaborone." South African Defence Minister Mosiuoa Lekota, chairman of the SADC's interstate defence and security council, called an unscheduled meeting earlier this month to "exchange views on the finalisation of the SADC brigade of the African Standby Forces", among other issues, reported the South African Press Agency (SAPA). He told SAPA that SADC was becoming increasingly involved in "theatres of conflict" and the brigade would ensure that this responsibility was carried as a collective and not left to individual countries. Lekota has often commented that South Africa's peacekeeping capacity was stretched to the limit. Besides deploying troops to UN operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi, South Africa has sent military observers and staff officers to missions in Ethiopia/Eritrea, Liberia, and Sudan. With over 3,000 men and women from the South African Defence Force deployed in these operations last year, South Africa was "a significant, if not the largest, contributor of peacekeeping troops in Africa", noted the ministry's 2003/04 annual report.
IRIN 8 Mar 2005 No let up in sexual violence in Darfur - MSF [ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations] © IRIN/Claire Mc Evoy Displaced women on the outskirts of Al-Junaynah, West Darfur. NAIROBI, 8 Mar 2005 (IRIN) - The incidence of rape and sexual violence against women and girls, often perpetrated by armed men, continues to be high in the war-torn western Sudanese region of Darfur, according to the medical charity, Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF). In a report released on Monday, the eve of International Women's Day, MSF reported that between October 2004 and mid-February 2005, doctors in several locations in North and South Darfur had treated almost 500 women and girls who had been raped. "These women come to us for treatment of sexually-transmitted diseases, physical injuries and psychological trauma," Paul Foreman, MSF Head of mission in Khartoum, told IRIN on Tuesday. "The problem is massive." The report, entitled, "The Crushing Burden of Rape: Sexual Violence in Darfur", said: "MSF believes that these numbers reflect only a fraction of the total number of victims because many women are reluctant to report the crime or seek treatment." It called on local government and other health care providers in Darfur to ensure full and appropriate treatment for victims of sexual violence. MSF quoted rape survivors as saying most attacks occurred when women left the relative safety of their villages and internally displaced persons' camps to search for firewood and water. Eighty-one percent of those treated by the NGO claimed members of militia groups or the military assaulted them. Almost a third (28 percent) of the rape survivors who sought treatment from MSF reported that they had been raped more than once, either by single and multiple assailants, the report said. In Darfur, as in other conflicts, MSF said, rape had been a deliberate and regular tool of war, used to destabilise and threaten a part of the civilian population. It said that survivors of rape in Darfur, rather than being given appropriate medical and psychosocial care, often faced rejection and stigma. In some cases, the report added, victims of rape had been imprisoned while perpetrators of the crime went unpunished. "Despite its devastating consequences, rape in Darfur and in other conflicts has not yet received the attention that the scale of the crime or the gravity of its impact call for," Kenny Gluck, MSF director of operations, said from Amsterdam, the Netherlands. "This has to change," he added. "It is time to end this vicious crime, which is a clear breach of international humanitarian law. Perpetrators should be prosecuted, not tolerated." Speaking in Khartoum on Monday, Jan Egeland, UN emergency relief coordinator, added his voice to the condemnation of continued sexual violence in the war-ravaged region of Darfur. "The government officials said the Sudan had not known this outrageous crime against women before," Egeland told a news conference. "They conceded that it has recently become a rampant phenomenon in the society, where hundreds of cases have been documented." Foreman said MSF had released the damning report despite a request by the Sudanese government that it refrain from doing so. Jan Pronk, special envoy of the UN Secretary-General to Sudan, upon receiving a copy of the report, said in a statement: "I am concerned about the findings of the report. These findings are consistent with the reports from UN human rights observers and UN humanitarian agencies in Darfur." He added: "I will give a very high priority to this issue and will continue to work with UN agencies and other partners, including MSF, in addressing this evil, this phenomenon of rape. This report is an opportunity for the government of Sudan to reaffirm its commitment to end impunity with regard to these severe cases of rape and sexual abuse." There was no immediate comment from the Sudanese government. The conflict in Darfur dates back to February 2003 and pits Sudanese government troops and militias, allegedly allied to the government, against rebels fighting to end what they have called marginalisation and discrimination of the region's inhabitants by the state. Tens of thousands of people have been killed and up to 1.85 million internally displaced or forced to flee to neighbouring Chad. www.msf.org
BBC 14 Mar 2005 UN's Darfur death estimate soars Many refugees have died from preventable causes At least 180,000 people may have died in Sudan's Darfur region over the past 18 months, according to the United Nations' top emergency relief official. Jan Egeland said the figure refers to victims of illness and malnutrition and excludes those who have been killed in the ethnic violence. The UN previously gave an estimate of 70,000 non-conflict deaths. Pro-government militia are accused of killing and raping villagers and driving two million from their homes. The UN has not put a figure on violent deaths in the region. Attacks 'continuing' An average of 10,000 people have died each month over the past year-and-a-half from disease and other preventable causes, the emergency relief chief said. How many have died in Darfur? "It could be just as well more than 200,000 [over 18 months] but I think 10,000 a month... is a reasonable figure," Mr Egeland told AFP news agency. Last year, the World Health Organisation said it believed 10,0000 people had died each month from March to October, mostly from disease and some from random violence in camps. Amnesty International's best estimate for how many may have died from violence since the conflict began - taking into account attacks on hundreds of villages - was 50,000 as of last month. Most of the estimated two million people who fled their villages since the violence began in early 2003 have sought refuge in the camps in Darfur's main towns. As many as 200,000 have also sought safety in neighbouring Chad. A UN report earlier this year concluded that while the killings in Darfur did not amount to genocide, killings, torture, enforced disappearances and sexual violence were carried out on a widespread and systematic basis and could amount to crimes against humanity. The BBC's Susannah Price at the UN says the latest reports from Darfur say lawlessness and attacks by the Janjaweed militia continue to blight the lives of civilians. The Janjaweed attacked villages, targeted an internally displaced peoples camp and burnt abandoned homes to discourage those who wanted to return, she says..
Vatican Denounces Violence in Darfur Catholic Information Service for Africa (Nairobi) NEWS March 14, 2005 Posted to the web March 15, 2005 The Vatican The Holy See has described the situation in Darfur as a disgrace to humanity, and called for a mechanism to protect internally displaced people. Msgr Fortunatus Nwachukwu, the Nunciature Counsellor at the Holy See Permanent Observer Mission to the United Nations at Geneva, said this on March 10, 2005, during the 32nd a meeting of the Standing Committee of the United nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) which began March 8. "The refugee situation in Africa remains a deep scar on the human family everywhere," he was quoted by the Vatican Information Service as saying, in a talk focused on the displaced population crisis in Darfur, Sudan. "As international community, we should develop a reliable system which effectively protects those staying in their own country, but displaced from their homes," Msgr Nwachukwu said. "The precarious and tragic condition of these millions of persons forcibly uprooted from their villages and their lands calls for concrete and prompt decisions to alleviate their suffering and to protect their rights," he noted. The envoy said that the African Union military monitors in the region were "insufficient in number and lack the necessary logistical support."
Thousands Join 'Fast for Justice in Sudan'; Nationwide Effort Demands Immediate Action to End Genocide in Darfur Amidst Week of Key Votes 3/15/2005 9:49:00 AM To: National, International and Assignment desks Contact: Ricken Patel of DarfurGenocide.org, 646-229-5416 or email@example.com, Web: http://www.darfurgenocide.org NEW YORK, March 15 /U.S. Newswire/ -- On the eve of key votes in the US Congress and United Nations Security Council regarding measures to end the genocide in Sudan, almost 2000 Americans from all 50 states have committed to go without food on Wednesday, March 16th. This rapid, nationwide response answers a call issued by DarfurGenocide.org over the weekend to generate pressure on the US Congress and the UN as they consider support for security measures and humanitarian relief. "We cannot allow governments to hide behind half-measures and diplomatic gridlock while the Sudanese government's genocide-by- starvation steadily continues. With our small sacrifice, we hope to spark the consciences of our leaders to meet the moral urgency of the moment," said DarfurGenocide.org Co-Director Ricken Patel. Over 300,000 people have already been killed in Darfur since the Government of Sudan launched its plan to "change the demography" of its western province two years ago. The government's "janjaweed" militias continue to massacre civilians, and have already forced over 2 million people to flee their homes for camps where they are vulnerable to attacks, disease and starvation. Hundreds of people continue to respond to the recent "call to fast." A map is available that displays the location of every participant and a personal testimonial of their reasons for fasting. Each version includes data on 400 of the fasters nationwide and can be accessed through http://www.darfurgenocide.org. One example of a testimonial from Columbus, Ohio: "I'm striking in solidarity with and to bear witness to what the people of Darfur are enduring, and also to send a message to our governmental leaders that we have a moral imperative to do all we can to stop atrocities like Rwanda and Darfur...so that genocide is never EVER an answer again in the house of our world community." The "Fast for Justice in Sudan" is organized by DarfurGenocide.org, a web-based information and action resource devoted to ending the genocide in Darfur. DarfurGenocide.org is a project of Res Publica, a group of public sector professionals dedicated to promoting good governance and virtuous civic cultures.
washingtonpost.com 20 Mar 2005 In Darfur, My Camera Was Not Nearly Enough By Brian Steidle Sunday, March 20, 2005; Page B02 Our helicopter touched down in a cloud of camel-brown sand, dust and plastic debris. As the cloud gradually settled into new layers on the bone-dry desert landscape, we could make out the faces of terrified villagers. "Welcome to Sudan," I murmured to myself, grabbing my pen and waterproof notebook. A former Marine, I had arrived in Sudan's Darfur region in September 2004 as one of three U.S. military observers for the African Union, armed only with a pen, pad and camera. The mandate for the A.U. force allowed merely for the reporting of violations of a cease-fire that had been declared last April and the protection of observers. The observers sometimes joked morbidly that our mission was to search endlessly for the cease-fire we constantly failed to find. I soon realized that this was no joke. The conflict had begun nearly 1 1/2 years earlier and had escalated into a full-scale government-sponsored military operation that, with the support of Arab militias known as the Janjaweed, was aimed at annihilating the African tribes in the region. And while the cease-fire was supposed to have put a stop to that, on an almost daily basis we would be called to investigate reports of attacks on civilians. We would find men, women and children tortured and killed, and villages burned to the ground. The first photograph I took in Darfur was of a tiny child, Mihad Hamid. She was only a year old when I found her. Her mother had attempted to escape an onslaught from helicopter gunships and Janjaweed marauders that had descended upon her village of Alliet in October 2004. Carrying her daughter in a cloth wrapped around her waist, as is common in Sudan, Mihad's terrified mother had run from her attackers. But a bullet had rung out through the dry air, slicing through Mihad's flesh and puncturing her lungs. When I discovered the child, she was nestled in her mother's lap, wheezing in a valiant effort to breathe. With watery eyes, her mother lifted Mihad for me to examine. Most Sudanese villagers assume that a khawadja -- a foreigner -- must be a doctor. And my frantic efforts to signal to her to lay her struggling daughter back down only convinced her that I had medical advice to dispense. It broke my heart to be able to offer her only a prayer and a glance of compassion, as I captured this casualty with my camera and notepad. I pledged, with the linguistic help of our team's Chadian mediator, that we would alert the aid organizations poised to respond. "This is what they do," the mediator -- a neutral party to the conflict -- screamed at me. "This is what happens here! Now you know! Now you see!" I was unaware at that time that when the aid workers arrived the next day, amid continued fighting, they would never be able to locate Mihad. Mihad now represents to me the countless victims of this vicious war, a war that we documented but given our restricted mandate were unable to stop. Every day we surveyed evidence of killings: men castrated and left to bleed to death, huts set on fire with people locked inside, children with their faces smashed in, men with their ears cut off and eyes plucked out, and the corpses of people who had been executed with gunshots to the head. We spoke with thousands of witnesses -- women who had been gang-raped and families that had lost fathers, people who plainly and soberly gave us their accounts of the slaughter. Often we were the witnesses. Just two days after I had taken Mihad's photo, we returned to Alliet. While talking to a government commander on the outskirts of the town, we heard a buzz that sounded like a high-voltage power line. Upon entering the village, we saw that the noise was coming from flies swarming over dead animals and people. We counted about 20 dead, many burned, and then flew back to our camp to write our report. But the smell of charred flesh was hard to wash away. The conflict in Darfur is not a battle between uniformed combatants, and it knows no rules of war. Women and children bear the greatest burden. The Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps are filled with families that have lost their fathers. Every day, women are sent outside the IDP camps to seek firewood and water, despite the constant risk of rape at the hands of the Janjaweed. Should men be available to venture out of the camps, they risk castration and murder. So families decide that rape is the lesser evil. It is a crime that families even have to make such a choice. Often women are sexually assaulted within the supposed safety of the IDP camps. Nowhere is really safe. If and when the refugees are finally able to return home and rebuild, many women may have to support themselves alone; rape victims are frequently ostracized, and others face unwanted pregnancies and an even greater burden of care. The Janjaweed militias do not act alone. I have seen clear evidence that the atrocities committed in Darfur are the direct result of the Sudanese government's military collaboration with the militias. Attacks are well coordinated by Sudanese government officials and Arab militias, who attack villages together. Before these attacks occur, the cell phone systems are shut down by the government so that villagers cannot warn each other. Whenever we lost our phone service, we would scramble to identify the impending threat. We knew that somewhere, another reign of terror was about to begin. Helicopter gunships belonging to the government routinely support the Arab militias on the ground. The gunships fire anti-personnel rockets that contain flashettes, or small nails, each with stabilizing fins on the back so the point hits the target first. Each gunship contains four rocket pods, each rocket pod contains about 20 rockets and each rocket contains about 500 of these flashettes. Flashette wounds look like shotgun wounds. I saw one small child's back that looked as if it had been shredded by a cheese grater. We got him to a hospital, but we did not expect him to live. On many of the occasions we tried to investigate these attacks, we would find that fuel for our helicopters was mysteriously unavailable. We would receive unconvincing explanations from the Sudanese government's fuel company -- from "we are out of fuel" to "our fuel pumps are broken." At the same time, government helicopters continued to strafe villages unimpeded. Those villagers who were able to escape flocked to existing IDP camps, where they would scrounge for sticks and plastic bags to construct shelter from the sun and wind. In even these desperate situations, however, the Sudanese government would not give up its murderous mission. First it would announce the need to relocate an IDP camp and assess the population of displaced people, often grossly underestimating the numbers. Then after international aid organizations had built a new, smaller camp, the government would forcibly relocate the population, leaving hundreds to thousands without shelter. It would bulldoze or drive over the old camps with trucks, often in the middle of the night in order to escape notice. It would then gather up and burn the remaining debris. The worst thing I saw came last December, when Labado, a village of 20,000 people, was burned to the ground. We rushed there after a rebel group contacted us, and we arrived while the attack was still in progress. At the edge of the village, I found a Sudanese general who explained why he was doing nothing to stop the looting and burning. He said his job was to protect civilians and keep the road open to commercial traffic and denied that his men were participating in the attack. Then a group of uniformed men drove by in a Toyota Land Cruiser. The general said they were just going to get water, but they stopped about 75 yards away, jumped out, looted a hut and burned it. The attacks continued for a week. We have no idea how many people died there but tribal leaders later said close to 100 were missing. Since I left Darfur last month, I have tried, in press conferences, newspaper interviews and congressional testimony, to publicize conditions there in the hope that the international community will intervene more vigorously instead of watching the atrocities run their course. That way we won't look back years from now and ask why we didn't stop another genocide. I believe this conflict can be resolved through international pressure and international support of the African Union. Weapons sanctions and a no-fly zone throughout Darfur are critical. I have seen that the mere presence of A.U. forces can discourage attacks and, with more support, they could stop the conflict. In December, the Sudanese general at Labado had told us that his mission was to continue clearing the route all the way to Khartoum, hundreds of miles away. The next town in line was Muhajeryia, roughly twice the size of Labado. The African Union placed 35 soldiers into Muhajeryia, not to protect the village, but to protect the civilian contractors who were establishing a base camp. Yet this small force alone was able to deter the government of Sudan, with a force of a few thousand soldiers and Janjaweed militiamen, from attacking. Shortly after that, the A.U. was able to deploy 70 more soldiers from the protection force and 10 military observers to the scorched village of Labado. Within one week, approximately 3,000 people returned to rebuild. In addition, the A.U. negotiated the withdrawal of Sudanese government troops from the area. To secure and protect all villages in Darfur, the African Union needs several things: an expanded mandate that would allow it to protect civilians and ensure secure routes for humanitarian aid, advanced logistics and communication support, and an increase in the size of the protection force by tens of thousands. The attention paid to Darfur in Congress and at the United Nations hasn't been enough. For the first time, we might be able to stop genocide in the making. We must not fail the men, women and children of Darfur. During my time in Darfur, as I listened to the victims, I was astounded at their composure. Their unwavering faith provides some rationale to what seems to me an inexplicable horror. By handing over their lives to God, somehow each day is a gift, despite the massacres. "We're going to die," they acknowledge with fear, "but we hope to survive . . . Inshallah [God willing]." Unfortunately, they just don't have a choice. We do. Author's e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Brian Steidle, who served four years in the U.S. Marine Corps, recently spent six months working for a State Department contractor as a cease-fire monitor with the African Union force in Sudan's Darfur region. His sister, Gretchen Steidle Wallace, assisted in the writing of this piece.
washingtonpost.com An Opportunity in Darfur Sunday, March 20, 2005; Page B06 DURING A VISIT to The Post on Tuesday, Sudan's U.S. ambassador, Khidir Ahmed, stated that his government wanted more African Union peacekeepers in the territory of Darfur, where some 300,000 civilians have perished. Moreover, he claimed, his government would be happy for this force to have a clearer mandate to protect civilians rather than being limited to monitoring the ostensible cease-fire in the province. These declarations stand in contrast to Sudan's previous policy of opposing a strong mandate, of hampering the African Union's movements by denying fuel for its helicopters and even of shooting at one of its aircraft in December. The United States and its allies should take Sudan's new position at face value and organize an expanded peacekeeping mission quickly. The importance of seizing this opening is clear from listening to Brian Steidle, a former Marine captain who describes his experience as an adviser to the African Union peacekeepers in The Post's Outlook section today. Mr. Steidle's experience shows that African deployment has been at least sporadically effective. In December, for example, the African Union deterred an expected government attack on a town called Muhajeryia by stationing 35 troops there. By deploying 70 troops and 10 observers in the ruins of another town that had been razed by government forces, it emboldened about half the villagers to return home. Mr. Steidle has other good things to say about the African Union deployment. The 300 military officers who make up the observer mission are drawn from all over Africa and are committed to their mission; they hope that their presence in Darfur shows that Africans can address their own problems. But Mr. Steidle's overwhelming message is more somber. Like every other military expert, he begins by saying that the African Union force is too small to cover a territory the size of Texas. The 300 observers are accompanied by a protection force of fewer than 2,000; Mr. Steidle says at least 25,000 are needed. The African Union also needs better equipment. When Mr. Steidle left Darfur in February, the force had the hardware to send satellite e-mail but could not actually use it, since nobody had negotiated service with a satellite company. The awful truth is that Sudan's openness to an expanded African Union mission probably reflects these weaknesses. The government thinks it can score diplomatic points by issuing an invitation that the world will leave on the table, even though acting on it could save lives by the thousand. To get more peacekeepers into Darfur, the African Union would have to negotiate the details with Sudan's government; it would require diplomatic and technical support from the United Nations, more troop contributions from African countries, and more money and logistical backup from the United States and its allies. But recent experience shows that the United States is unwilling to invest the effort to make these disparate actors work together; only two-thirds of the currently mandated African Union deployment is on the ground. So long as Sudan shut the world out as it killed Darfur's civilians, it was the primary culprit for atrocities that amount to genocide. But if Sudan's government is inviting the world into Darfur, the moral burden shifts a bit. The United States and its allies are being challenged to show that they care about genocide enough to shake off their passivity and organize a peacekeeping force. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her new team at the State Department must rise to this challenge, so that stories like the saving of Muhajeryia are no longer the exceptions.
washingtonpost.com 22 Mar 2005 Sudan Leader: World Must Pressure Darfur Rebels Government Blamed Unfairly, Powerful Vice President Says in Interview By Emily Wax Washington Post Foreign Service Tuesday, March 22, 2005; Page A01 KHARTOUM, Sudan, March 21 -- Sudan's first vice president said foreign nations must put more political pressure on Sudanese rebel groups to lay down their guns before lasting peace can be achieved in the war-shattered western region of Darfur. In a two-hour interview with The Washington Post, Ali Uthman Muhammad Taha said his government had received an unfair share of the blame for the war in Darfur, which has displaced 2 million villagers and killed tens of thousands in the past two years, mostly through hunger and disease. "We need a strong, unequivocal message that the rebels have to honor the cease-fire," said Taha, who heads a government task force aimed at ending the Darfur crisis and who is considered by many to be the most powerful man in Sudan, partly because he helped negotiate a peace deal in a separate conflict in the country's south. The rebels in Darfur "started this war by attacking police stations and the airport. . . . What is needed at the moment is for them to have pressure from Europe and the U.S. to stop," Taha said. In his most extensive remarks yet on Darfur, the vice president reiterated statements by Sudanese authorities denying international allegations of genocide in the region. The Bush administration and the U.S. Congress have said the widespread deaths there amounted to genocide. A U.N. commission stopped short of using the term but found that war crimes and crimes against humanity had been committed. "We do understand and appreciate people having sympathy with the victims of Darfur," said Taha, 57, who called the situation a "sad chapter" in Sudan's history. But he added: "This was not genocide, but an unfortunate internal conflict . . . that has nothing to do with ethnic cleansing. We urge people to see the difference between the innocents caught in the middle and the rebels who are escalating their claims to gain sympathy." Taha's comments came two months after a peace accord was signed in the conflict between the Khartoum government, represented by Taha, and the Sudan People's Liberation Army, a rebel group in southern Sudan led by John Garang. That agreement gave religious and political autonomy to the southern region. Taha said he was optimistic about peace lasting in the south. He called the pact "a real landmark" in Sudan's recent history and said it "paves the way for a new horizon for the Sudanese people." The two-decade civil war, which pitted the Islamic government against rebels based in the mostly animist and Christian south, left 2 million people dead, primarily from famine and disease. Under the accord, which was backed by the Bush administration, the south will have a six-year period of self-rule, then vote on whether to remain part of Sudan. The agreement also calls for Garang to replace Taha as first vice president. The conflict in Darfur broke out in early 2003 when two largely black African rebel groups attacked police stations and military outposts to protest what they called discrimination by the mostly Arab governing elite. The United Nations and human rights groups accuse the government of arming and supporting militiamen, called the Janjaweed, to crush the rebellion, and of bombing villages where rebel supporters were said to be hiding. Taha, interviewed in the national palace, called the Janjaweed bandits and said they were beyond the government's immediate control. He said that those who broke the law or committed atrocities would be punished, but that the rebels had to stop fighting and turn in their arms before the government could pursue the Janjaweed. "In Darfur, there has been a huge influx of weapons from the Chad conflict, from instability in the Central African Republic and from the south of Sudan," Taha said. "This phenomenon of lawlessness and the habit of looting and attacking have made conditions very tough." He said the report issued earlier this year by the U.N. commission of inquiry, which found that war crimes and crimes against humanity had been committed in Darfur, was based on "weak evidence" and "political judgments, rather than legal findings." The Security Council is considering whether to impose economic sanctions on Sudan because of the Darfur conflict. Taha said that such sanctions could exacerbate the crisis, adding that the government did not have enough money to develop the region. He said the Darfur conflict had historical roots and had not been planned by the government. There had been tensions and periodic violence among regional tribes for decades over access to water and grazing areas, he said. Taha said he planned to establish panels to address the basic causes of the conflict. Taha said he wanted to see the Darfur issue resolved quickly. The government was willing to be patient in seeking peace with the rebels, he said, and has been practicing a policy of "self-restraint" in fighting them. However, he said, Sudan would not agree to U.N. appeals for a "no-fly" zone over Darfur. Taha visited Darfur in late 2002 to discuss the needs of the local populace. He said the visitors were told that "there was need of fresh water, health care and primary schooling. . . . We agreed with that." But just a few months later, Taha added, "the response was shooting by the rebels" and "other tribes felt insecure as well." The government had "no intent to go on a military track," he said, "but to a certain degree we had to combat rebel attacks." He said there had been a misunderstanding by critics who accused the government of arming the Janjaweed. He said officials had called up the Popular Defense Forces, a government-backed paramilitary group, and that volunteers who responded "were individuals from different parts, not only the Arabs."
Sudan Times 23 Mar 2005 Less talk, more action By BEN KIERNAN, the Scotland on Sunday March 20, 2005 -- IN TWO years of mass killings and forced population displacements, Sudan and its Arab Janjaweed militias have caused the deaths of more than 200,000 Africans in the country's Darfur provinces. Though existing international law already provides both a relevant statutory definition of genocide and a court to judge these crimes, needless semantic disputes are hampering effective punishment and deterrence. Failure to promptly bring those responsible before the International Criminal Court (ICC) could render the international community helpless onlookers - and would further encourage such crimes. Despite persistent reports of attacks on Africans in Darfur, military intervention has been slow. The African Union peacekeeping force is small. Guarding their own sovereignty, few African or Arab governments will intervene in a regional Islamic state, or prosecute its crimes. US intervention, with American forces extended in Iraq and elsewhere, seems unlikely. Washington favours a genocide tribunal, in a special court restricted to hearing the Darfur case. It opposes the new permanent ICC, which one day might try US war crimes. Differing definitions of genocide plague the legal response. A United Nations commission, urging referral of the case to ICC prosecutors, recently found that crimes against humanity and war crimes are occurring in Darfur. The commission avoided charging Sudanese government officials with genocide stating that "only a competent court" can determine if they have committed "acts with genocidal intent". Meanwhile, the US government, the German government and the parliament of the European Union all accuse Khartoum of "genocide". Why this debate over the definition of genocide? Although the concept preceded the invention of the term, the jurist Raphael Lemkin coined the word in his 1944 classic Axis Rule in Occupied Europe. Warning of what we now call the Holocaust, he cited previous cases, particularly the 1915 Armenian genocide perpetrated by the Ottoman Young Turk regime. Lemkin thought the term should denote the attempted destruction not only of ethnic and religious groups but also of political ones, and that it encompassed systematic cultural destruction as well. The 1941-45 Nazi genocide of Jews and Gypsies constitutes not only the most extreme case of genocide, it differs from previous cases - the conquistadors' brutality in the New World or Ottoman massacres - in an important respect: the Holocaust was one of the first examples of attempted physical racial extermination. On a smaller scale, this fate had already befallen a number of indigenous peoples in the Americas, Africa and Australia - and, later, the Vietnamese minority in Cambodia and Tutsis in Rwanda in 1994. By then, planned near-complete annihilation of a people had become the colloquial meaning of "genocide". Yet the postwar UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide adopted Lemkin's broader concept, which encompasses the crimes in Darfur. Ratified by most UN member states, the 1948 convention defines genocide as acts committed "with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial, or religious group, as such". It includes even non-violent destruction of such a group. While excluding cultural destruction and political extermination, the convention specifically covers removal of children, imposing living conditions that make it difficult to sustain a group's existence, or inflicting physical or mental harm, with the intent to destroy a group "as such". Australia's Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission found in 1997 that the UN definition of genocide applied to the removals of Aboriginal children from their parents to "breed out the colour" - as one Australian official put it in 1933. The law thus expands the popular understanding of genocide. As in the case of Darfur, genocide may fall well short of total physical extermination. The legal recourse now available to victims under international law is a good reason to accept the 1948 UN definition. In 2003, Sudan acceded to the Genocide Convention. It is statutory international law, binding on 136 states. In the past decade, UN tribunals for Bosnia and Rwanda have convicted genocide perpetrators from both countries. The convention's definition is enshrined in the statute of the ICC, created in 2002 and ratified by 94 states. The legal definition is broad in another sense. In criminal law, the term "intent" does not equal "motive". One of Hitler's motives for the construction of Auschwitz was to destroy the Jews directly, but other genocide perpetrators have pursued different goals - conquest (Indonesia in East Timor), "ethnic cleansing" (in Bosnia and Darfur) - which resulted in more indirect cases. If those perpetrators did not set out to commit genocide, it was a predictable result of their actions. The regimes pursued their objectives, knowing that at least partial genocide would result from their violence: driving Africans from Darfur, crushing all national resistance in East Timor, imposing totalitarian racism in Cambodia. When such policies knowingly bring genocidal results, their perpetrators may be legally judged to have possessed the "intent" to destroy a group, whatever their motive. Such crimes are not the same as the Holocaust, but international law has made them another form of genocide. The 1948 Convention also outlaws complicity, incitement, conspiracy and attempt to commit genocide. A government could commit those crimes by facilitating an ongoing genocide against indigenous people. Darfur may include such cases of official complicity with the Janjaweed militia attacks. In colonial Australia, British authorities did not set out to exterminate Aborigines but some police and settlers did. Nor did US federal officials adopt such a goal in California and the West, though some state governments and bounty-hunting posses did. Yet courts in both countries prohibited testimony by native people. Such official policies and their deliberate, sustained enforcement facilitated or resulted in the predictable genocide of a number of Aboriginal and Native American peoples. Complicity, discrimination and refusal of legal responsibility to protect threatened groups continued in the 20th century. Even after World War II, the UN Security Council failed to enforce the 1948 Genocide Convention until the crime recurred in Europe. By then genocide had proliferated elsewhere. A few independent scholars, inspired by Lemkin, had long been working to broaden understanding of the phenomenon beyond the Holocaust. Most scholars now include the Armenian, Bangladeshi, Cambodian, East Timorese, Guatemalan, Sudanese, and other cases, along with those of Bosnia and Rwanda. Attention has also turned to indigenous peoples. A German official recently apologised to the Herero people of Namibia for Berlin's genocidal conquest of South-West Africa in 1904-05. The US and Australia have yet to acknowledge genocides against their indigenous inhabitants but now the Muslim Africans of Darfur have a legal remedy. After a century of genocide, resistance and research on the phenomenon, the world community has a legal definition, an international statute outlawing the crime and a court asserting jurisdiction over it. The task now requires less definitional disputation, more investigation, rigorous enforcement and compensation for the victims. Unless either the Sudanese government invites the ICC, or the UN decides to send the case before the ICC, the Darfur crimes may go unpunished. Lest international efforts to prevent genocide disintegrate into empty talk, the ICC should be allowed to take up the case of Darfur. Ben Kiernan is the A.Whitney Griswold Professor of History and director of the Genocide Studies Program at Yale University
Reuters 23 Mar 2005 UN Council may act in S. Sudan but not in Darfur Wed March 23, 2005 8:29 AM GMT+02:00 By Evelyn Leopold UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The U.N. Security Council may adopt a resolution this week sending peacekeepers to relatively calm southern Sudan but take no action against perpetrators of atrocities in Darfur. The United States decided on Tuesday to split its draft resolution on Sudan into three parts, with only the peacekeeping force for southern Sudan fairly certain of approval. The two main measures on the Darfur region -- sanctions and a venue to try war crimes suspects -- face opposition. "We were literally running out of time on Sudan and we felt strongly that we had to move ahead," Anne Patterson, the acting U.S. ambassador, told reporters. "So what we have done is circulate three draft resolutions, one on peacekeeping, one on sanctions, and one that would provide for measures to end impunity," she said. The United States hopes to have at least the peacekeeping resolution adopted this week. Council members are consulting their governments before consultations on Wednesday. "It is clear there is very broad support for the peacekeeping resolution and that is very very critical because it will strengthen the new government in Sudan and get more boots on the ground," Patterson said. Tens of thousands of people have been killed in the 2-year-old rebellion against the government in Darfur over power and resources. Thousands are dying every month in miserable camps that house the almost 2 million people who have fled their homes after attacks from Arab militia, at times backed by the Khartoum government. The peacekeeping resolution would authorize a 10,000-strong peacekeeping force in southern Sudan to monitor an agreement that ended a 21-year civil war between Khartoum and southern rebels. That accord calls for power-sharing in both the army and government. The second resolution would impose a stiffer arms embargo on Darfur and initiate sanctions against human rights violators and those who jeopardize a cease-fire in the region. Russia and China, which have veto power, as well as Algeria and possibly other nations object to some of those measures. Patterson said the third resolution, on making war criminals accountable, kept all options open and "makes no judgment as to which would be preferable, but simply enables discussions to continue until a decision is reached." Most council members support the new International Criminal Court in The Hague, which the Bush administration rejects. The United States has proposed a new U.N.-African Union tribunal, which few nations back. To complicate issues, Nigeria, president of the African Union, has suggested a special panel to hear cases and foster reconciliation. Ronaldo Moto Sardenberg, Brazil's ambassador and this month's council president, said the council needed to take some action after weeks of talks. "I always thought if you were to have a single resolution, it is much more difficult," he said. The International Criminal Court, the world's first permanent tribunal for war crimes, mass human rights violations and genocide, was recommended as the best place to try Darfur suspects by an inquiry commission requested by the council. Washington fears its officials abroad could be targets of the new court. Nine of 15 council members have ratified the treaty creating the court -- Britain, France, Brazil, Greece, Denmark, Argentina, Romania, Tanzania and Benin.
Reuters 24 Mar 2005 Sudan court indicts 72 for coup attempt KHARTOUM (Reuters) - A Sudanese court has indicted 72 men, including members of the opposition Islamist Popular Congress (PCP) party, for involvement in an attempted coup, party officials and one of their lawyers said on Thursday. The group's lead lawyer, Kamal Omar, told Reuters the correct court procedures were not followed and the proceedings were flawed. He called it a "political hearing". The preliminary hearing for 78 men, including 6 in absentia, began in December and a Khartoum court decided last week there was enough evidence for 72 of the men to go to trial charged with attempting a coup in September last year, PCP officials said. "They have decided that there is a case against these 72 men who are accused of planning a coup d'etat," Hassan Abdallah Ahmed, the deputy leader of the PCP told Reuters. "They have been indicted," he added. If convicted, the men could face the death penalty, but they are more likely to be jailed and have their property confiscated, Ahmed said. Those not charged were released, but a few had since been detained again, he said. He said not all the accused were members of the PCP, led by Islamist Hassan al-Turabi, who was jailed in April last year after a similar accusation that the movement was planning to overthrow the government. Turabi is not being tried, but remains in jail. The party, suspended in April last year, denies the charges. "Not so many of them are members of the party -- maybe 15-20 of them," Ahmed said. "The others are mostly boys from Darfur." A senior PCP member, Haj Adam, is being tried in absentia. Party officials said he fled the country to the Eritrean capital Asmara, where many Sudanese opposition politicians live. The Khartoum government has been fighting since early 2003 a rebellion in its remote western region of Darfur, where tens of thousands have been killed and thousands die every month in camps for the near 2 million people who have fled their homes. Rights groups complain the authorities randomly detain and torture men from Darfur accusing them of belonging to rebel groups. Lawyer Omar said the hearing had been a farce, adding every man who had signed the 38 confessions received by state security forces told the court the confessions were extracted under torture and death threats. "They said they had been hung from fans on the ceiling, beaten, and told they would be killed if they did not confess," Omar said. "There were two killed by torture," he said. Reuters had seen the death certificate of Shamseddin Idriss who the PCP said had been killed by torture. It showed broken limbs and a blow to the head. Sudan had said an investigation would be launched into the death, but the results have yet to be made public. State security and judicial officials declined to immediately comment. Omar said the trial would begin on April 2.
washingtonpost.com 25 Mar 2005 [Excerpt] Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at The Post Friday, March 25, 2005; 10:00 PM The following is a transcript of an interview with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's by Post editors and reporters in the Post newsroom on Friday, March 25, 2005. Q: How many peacekeepers do you think it would take to stop the genocide in Darfur? SECRETARY RICE: I can't give a number. The problem right now is that we've got to find a way to leverage the north-south agreement for both a stronger government that is unified and able to address Darfur, and a government that has something at stake and where we have leverage. So we've focused on trying to get the north-south agreement complete, well supported internationally which means that it's a good thing that the peacekeeping resolution went through yesterday because now you can get the ten thousand peacekeepers in the south and you can solidify the north-south agreement. The next issue is what we do about sanctions. If [inaudible] act. The third is to fill out the AU monitoring mechanism because in fact the AU monitoring mechanism has done relatively well where it is. I mean it has diminished the violence considerably where it is but it's a very small number at this point, 1,700 or 1,800. And it meets, you know, the ceiling, I'm sorry maybe a little bit more than that now, 2,300 now, but the ceiling is 3,400 and the AU has said they'd like to go to five or six thousand. I think we ought to try to fully realize that, Q: But hence my question. I mean if you go to six thousand would that be enough? SECRETARY RICE: Well it's a monitoring mechanism that has a chance of making a big difference as even a small monitoring mechanism has made. One of the problems right now is I'm not sure what kind of peace you would be keeping. You've got rebels, you've got the Janjaweed, you need their supporters to rein them in, and that's been a lot of the conversation with Khartoum. It's also the conversation with John Garang now about his responsibilities in Darfur. The other piece of this is to try to reestablish on the humanitarian side some of the progress that we've made over the last several months, it's worsened over the last month, the access has, and so we're trying to reestablish that, And then the final piece is to try to get the AU peace process moving a little bit more rapidly. So those are the steps that we've been taking, and the other thing that the United States has done is that we've been kind of constantly trying to shine the light on Darfur to remind people that this is a responsibility and that we should not be hung up about issues that get in the way of our trying to deal with this. So that for instance getting the Chinese and the Russians to deal with sanctions would be very, very useful. Q: [Inaudible] said in December to the Financial Times that if the deterioration of humanitarian access continued, he could imagine 100,000 people dying a month, which would put the number at about six times the death toll in 2004. Does that sound like a plausible -- -- SECRETARY RICE: I just can't judge. We spend every day trying to avoid the problem, trying to solve the problem, and on the humanitarian side the disappointing thing is that we had(n't)? made a lot of progress, largely, you know, opening the third route through Libya and the like. When I met with NGOs, it must now have been several months ago, it was certainly before November, I think it was around September/October of last year, they felt they were getting pretty good access. The security situation was still difficult but they were getting pretty good access. We've got to immediately reestablish that. Immediately.
washingtonpost.com 27 Mar 2005 Editorial: Don't Move On Sunday, March 27, 2005; Page B06 DARFUR'S GENOCIDE has been in the news for about a year now. There's a temptation to say, okay, we failed on that, but that was last year's failure; move on. But Darfur will be this year's story even more than last year's. The number of deaths will likely be more appalling, not less so. Yet the diplomacy on Darfur spins pointlessly around irrelevant side questions. Within the Bush adminis- tration, panic is nowhere. The latest diplomatic diversion is a French-backed United Nations resolution that would hand responsibility for trying Darfur's war crimes to the International Criminal Court. If this resolution passes, Sudanese officials and warlords responsible for the killings will face a permanent threat of indictment and, if authorities can get hold of them, trial. This will remove their incentive to halt the genocide in the hope of gaining international acceptance; it will undermine the strategy of sanctions and diplomatic pressure. True, indictments would set a precedent that might deter future potential war criminals in other countries. But that won't help Darfur. The Bush administration opposes this French resolution but for the wrong reasons. It believes that a referral to the international court would legitimize a posse of politically unaccountable prosecutors, even though in this instance the prosecutors would be acting under the authority of the Security Council. If it refuses to support the French resolution, especially on this flimsy basis, the administration will undermine its wider push for action. The French, Russians and Chinese will feel free to drag their feet on meaningful resolutions -- including ones that impose sanctions on Sudan's officials. The best course for the Bush administration is therefore to back the French resolution despite its drawbacks. Then, accepting that a further push for sanctions may be pointless, it should focus all its efforts on expanding the small peacekeeping force in Darfur. This option is especially urgent given the projected death rate in the region. In recent months a huge relief effort has reduced mortality in accessible camps for displaced people, but fighting makes many supply roads unusable and puts much territory beyond the reach of aid workers. In western Darfur, humanitarian groups have been unable to venture outside the main town recently; in southern Darfur, a U.S. aid convoy was attacked on Tuesday, probably by the Janjaweed militia backed by Sudan's government. More such attacks could force aid organizations to withdraw from Darfur altogether. And yet the need is greater than it was a year ago. More villages have been razed; more coping mechanisms have been exhausted; displaced farmers won't be able to plant food this spring. Last month a U.N. official estimated that the number of relief-dependent civilians could grow to 4 million, roughly double the number reported last summer. The best shot at breaking this cycle of violence and hunger is to put a serious peacekeeping force into Darfur. But all sides are engaged in an outrageous pretense of seriousness. The African Union, which has provided about 2,000 peacekeepers when 25,000-plus are necessary, is infatuated with rhetoric about "African solutions for African problems"; the United States and its powerful allies defer to this slogan, partly out of a virtuous desire to see Africa develop its own capacity to manage crises but mostly out of a base desire to pass the buck. The Bush administration's policy is to draft U.N. resolutions and dispatch humanitarian assistance. But it refuses to spend real military or diplomatic capital to stop killings that, by its own admission, amount to genocide.
Reuters 29 Mar 2005 Sudan Arrests 15 Accused in Darfur Crimes By REUTERS Published: March 29, 2005 HARTOUM, Sudan, March 28 (Reuters) - Sudan has made its first arrests of military and security forces accused of raping and killing civilians and of burning villages in the Darfur region of western Sudan, Justice Minister Ali Mohamed Osman Yassin said Monday. Mr. Yassin said that a government committee had arrested 15 members of the police, military and security forces in Darfur in connection with human rights abuses and that they would immediately be sent to court. Advertisement They are accused of crimes that include "rape, killing, burning and other things - different kinds of atrocities," he said. The United Nations Security Council is expected to vote Wednesday on a French-drafted resolution that would send those responsible for war crimes in Darfur to the International Criminal Court. Sudan rejects the notion of referring any Sudanese citizen to a court outside Sudan, saying its own judicial system is competent to prosecute those guilty of crimes. "Now it is high time for us to prove ourselves and to prove how genuine we are and how seriously the Sudanese judiciary can do the job," Mr. Yassin said. "This is a start." Tens of thousands of people have been killed in remote Darfur in more than two years, in response to a rebellion in the region.
Reuters 30 Mar 2005 Officials in the dock over Darfur killings One hundred and sixty-four people, including civil servants, will stand trial in Sudan for abuses in Darfur, the government has said. The announcement comes as the UN Security Council prepares to vote on prosecuting criminals from the western Sudan conflict in an international court. Sudan has repeatedly said it would not accept international trials for people accused of atrocities in the Darfur conflict. Foreign Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail reiterated on state television today: ‘‘We will never hand over any Sudanese national, whether he is an outlaw, an army officer or a government official, for trial outside Sudan.’’ The UN Security Council is scheduled to vote tomorrow (Wednesday) on a draft resolution that would empower the International Criminal Court to prosecute violators of human rights in Darfur, where a two-year rebellion and counter-insurgency has led to the death of an estimated 180,000 people and the displacement of about two million residents. The resolution, proposed by France, may not pass as the United States opposes the International Criminal Court and prefers that Darfur suspects stand trial in a court to be set up by the African Union and the United Nations. ‘‘We will do our level best to stop such a resolution from being adopted,’’ Foreign Minister Osman told a morning talk show. The head of a Sudanese investigation committee into abuses in Darfur, Judge Mohammed Abdul Raheem, said the government will prosecute 150 alleged perpetrators in North Darfur and 14 in South Darfur, the official Sudan News Agency reported yesterday. ‘‘All those persons, including some persons working with the government, will stand fair trial,’’ Abdul Raheem told the agency. His committee was set up by presidential decree after foreign governments and the United Nations accused Sudan of failing to stop atrocities in Darfur. Sudan argues it is capable of bringing to justice those responsible for rights abuses in Darfur. But the world does not accept this, partly because a UN panel that investigated the conflict found the government itself was implicated in mass killings in Darfur. In a report issued in February, the UN commission recommended that 51 Sudanese, including high-ranking government officials, stand trial in the International Criminal Court. It was only in October last year, 20 months after the conflict began, that Sudanese courts first convicted a leader of the Janjaweed, the pro-government militia accused of conducting an ethnic cleansing campaign in Darfur. Mohammed Barbary Ahab el-Nabi, an Awalad Zeid tribal leader, was sentenced to three years in jail and fined the equivalent of US$39,000 for arson and stealing cattle. The conflict began in February 2003 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 Janjaweed, an Arab militia, committed wide-scale abuses against the African population. Meanwhile, the United States acknowledged yesterday that it has failed to end the genocide in Darfur or resolve two major rights cases in Libya as it issued a report on its efforts to promote human rights abroad. The annual State Department report, "Supporting Human Rights and Democracy," is a companion to its country-by-country human rights assessments released on February 28. The reports have angered many foreign countries, which accuse the United States of ignoring its own abuses while highlighting those of others. Presenting the report, Acting Assistant Secretary of State Michael Kozak said Washington was trying to maintain humanitarian access to Darfur, to raise the number of African Union forces there to deter violence and to pressure the Sudanese government to stop it. "(It) hasn’t worked yet but that’s the line of approach that we’re trying," Kozak said, adding that Sudanese officials keep "bobbing and weaving" despite the pressure. "That is one of the most acute human rights problems in the world right now," he said. Tens of thousands have died over the past two years in the Darfur region of western Sudan where armed Arab militias known as Janjaweed have been accused of conducting a widespread campaign of raping, killing and looting. The State Department has described the campaign as genocide. Kozak also said the United States had not seen any "forward movement" from Libya on Fathi al-Jahmi, a Libyan man imprisoned last year after advocating free speech and democracy, or on five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor sentenced to death for allegedly infecting children with the Aids virus. Human rights groups say the United States’ moral authority has been eroded by detaining people without trial at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, abuses of prisoners by US troops at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison and the practice of "rendition" or sending suspects to countries where they may be tortured.
NYT 30 Mar 2005 U.N. Council Approves Penalties in Darfur By WARREN HOGE New York Times UNITED NATIONS, March 29 - The Security Council voted Tuesday to impose sanctions on individuals in the conflicted Darfur region of Sudan who commit atrocities or break cease-fire agreements. The vote was 12 to 0, with three countries - Algeria, China and Russia - abstaining. Under the resolution, all 15 countries would contribute members to a new panel that would decide who was eligible for punishment. The measure, drafted by the United States, bans travel by individuals who are deemed guilty of offenses and freezes their assets. It also forbids the Sudanese government in Khartoum from conducting offensive military flights into Darfur and from sending military equipment there without first notifying the Security Council. It did not contain an oil embargo, a step that probably would have brought a veto from China, which is a principal buyer of Sudanese oil. It was the second Sudan resolution in a week. Criticism of the Council has been rising after two months of inaction on Darfur. The other one, also written by the United States, passed Thursday and authorized a 10,715-member peacekeeping force to monitor the peace agreement in the south of Sudan and to lend assistance to the 2,000-soldier African Union force in Darfur. A third resolution, which would determine what court should handle war-crimes suspects, is scheduled for action Wednesday. The resolution, drafted by France and supported by 11 of the Council members, proposes that suspects be tried in the International Criminal Court in The Hague. The United States opposes the court, and Stuart Holliday, a deputy American ambassador, declined Tuesday to say whether the United States would veto the measure. The United States suggested creating a new court for Sudanese crimes in Arusha, Tanzania, but the idea attracted little support. Nine of the 15 Council members have ratified the treaty creating the international court, and three others, Algeria, the Philippines and Russia, have signed it. The Darfur sanctions resolution said the people subject to its terms would be those who were found to "impede the peace process, constitute a threat to stability in Darfur and the region, commit violations of international humanitarian or human rights law or other atrocities." In statements by their ambassadors, the three abstaining countries said they felt that putting pressure on Sudan would be counterproductive. "You may end up complicating the situation and making it more difficult to resolve," said Andrei Denisov, the Russian ambassador. Passage of the measure brought a rebuke from Elfatih Mohamed Ahmed Erwa, the Sudanese ambassador, who complained that the real impulse had come from members of the United States Congress who he complained were beholden to "pressure groups and drum-beaters." He charged that American lawmakers knew nothing about his country and never visited or read about it, a critique that brought a rejoinder from Mr. Holliday. Saying he had not meant to make a statement, Mr. Holliday asked for the floor to "defend the honor of the United States Congress." He told Mr. Erwa that, contrary to his assertion that the lawmakers ignored his country, many of them had gone there to see the situation firsthand. The United Nations office in Khartoum reported Tuesday that the number of people displaced from their homes as a result of the conflict in Darfur had reached 2.4 million. The United Nations estimates that 180,000 people have died, but other reliable estimates place the figure at 300,000. Pro-government Arab militias, including those known as the janjaweed, have been blamed for most of the violence, including rape, murder and arson. The Security Council has been pressing the government to arrest and prosecute the militia leaders, and this week Khartoum announced that it had taken 24 people into custody on suspicion of crimes including rape and murder in Darfur.
IRIN 30 Mar 2005 Gunmen ambush AU monitors in South Darfur 30 Mar 2005 15:16:13 GMT Source: IRIN NAIROBI, 30 March (IRIN) - Unidentified gunmen wounded two African Union (AU) monitors on Tuesday near the town of Niteaga, northwest of Nyala, the capital of the western Sudanese state of South Darfur, an AU spokesman told IRIN on Wednesday. The monitors' sector team leader, an officer from Mali, was shot in the neck during the ambush, said Nourreddine Mezni, spokesman for the AU in Khartoum. "His surgery was successful and he is now recovering in a hospital in Khartoum," said Mezni. "The other monitor, an Egyptian captain, was only lightly injured and has been released from the hospital." "It is a regrettable incident, but we are aware of the risks of our mission, and we will continue to monitor the ceasefire and protect the people of Darfur," he added. Meanwhile the UN Security Council decided on Tuesday to freeze assets and impose a travel ban on those believed to have committed human-rights abuses, or violated the ceasefire agreement, in the western Sudanese region of Darfur, UN News reported. Tuesday's resolution also extended the current ban on the sale or supply of military equipment to non-governmental entities or individuals involved in the Darfur conflict to include the Sudanese government. It further demanded that the government immediately cease conducting offensive military flights in the region. The Council strongly condemned "all violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in the Darfur region, in particular the continuation of violence against civilians and sexual violence against women and girls," and urged "all parties to take necessary steps to prevent further violations." However, the Sudanese representative to the UN, Elfatih Mohamed Ahmed Erwa, said the Council had adopted an "unwise resolution" that might aggravate the situation in Darfur. A committee, consisting of all Council members, was established to specify which individuals would be subject to the restrictive measures, and to monitor their implementation. In addition, the resolution requested UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to appoint a four-member panel of experts based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to assist the committee for six months. Once again, the Council condemned the failure of the Sudanese government to disarm Janjawid militias and bring to justice their leaders and associates who had carried out human-rights violations and other atrocities. Unless the Council determines that the parties in the conflict have complied with certain demands and commitments, the measures set out in the text will be enforced 30 days from the adoption date. These commitments were set out in previous Council resolutions in 2004: the April N'djamena Ceasefire Agreement and the November Abuja Humanitarian and Security Protocols, signed by the Sudanese government and the two main rebel groups - the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A), and the Justice and Equality Movement. The Council emphasised that there could be no military solution to the conflict in Darfur, and urged the government and the rebels to resume the Abuja talks without preconditions, and to negotiate in good faith to reach an agreement quickly. On Thursday, the Council unanimously agreed to send 10,000 troops, and up to 715 civilian police, to southern Sudan. Their purpose, for an initial period of six months, was to support the peace agreement between the Sudanese government and the SPLM/A, which ended more than two decades of civil strife in the south. However, Council members remained deadlocked over Darfur, in particular over where to try perpetrators of atrocities. France proposed a resolution, supported by European nations, to send war-crimes suspects to the International Criminal Court. A vote is expected on Wednesday. According to relief agencies, over 2.4 million people have been affected by the conflict in Darfur between Sudanese government troops - and militias allegedly allied to the government - and rebels fighting to end what they have called the marginalisation and discrimination of the region's inhabitants by the state. Almost 80 percent of those affected have either been internally displaced or forced to flee to neighbouring Chad.
IRIN 14 Mar 2005 Rwanda: UN tribunal sentences ex-civic leader to six years in jail[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations] ARUSHA, 14 March (IRIN) - The UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) sentenced a former Rwandan civic leader on Monday to six years in prison after he pleaded guilty to involvement in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. Vincent Rutaganira, 60, is the fourth man to have pleaded guilty to genocide before the tribunal, set up by the UN Security Council in November 1994 following the April-July genocide in which 937,000 people were killed, according to Rwandan government estimates. Former Rwandan Prime Minister Jean Kambanda was the first to plead guilty before the tribunal. He is serving a life sentence in Mali. A journalist and the only non-Rwandan convicted by the tribunal, Georges Ruggiu, a Belgian, was the second to plead guilty to genocide before the UN court. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison. Rwandan businessman Omar Serushago was the third; he is also serving a 15-year prison sentence in Mali. Rutaganira, a former councillor for Mubuga Commune in Rwanda's western province of Kibuye, entered a guilty plea when he appeared before the tribunal in December 2004. Judge Andresia Vaz, presiding, ruled that Rutaganira was guilty of the crime against humanity by extermination. However, she said Rutaganira's sentence would take into account the three years he had already served in the UN detention facility in Arusha. Therefore, he will only serve three years of the sentence. Rutaganira, a diabetic father of 10 children, was arrested in March 2002 in a refugee camp in northwestern Tanzania after he surrendered to the tribunal's authorities. Initially, he faced 19 counts of genocide and crimes against humanity, but these were later reduced to seven and finally, to one count of crimes against humanity (extermination) after he entered into a guilty-plea bargain with the tribunal's Office of the Prosecutor. Under this deal, Rutaganira acknowledged full culpability for the deaths of thousands of Tutsi civilians who took refuge at Mubuga Church in Kibuye on 8-15 April 1994. He admitted that he took no action to protect the Tutsi refugees in the commune where he was a government official during the genocide. Rutaganira's conviction brings the number of suspects already sentenced to 24, including three acquittals. The special representative of the Rwandan government to the tribunal, Aloys Mutabingwa, said Rutaganira's admission of guilt demonstrated his willingness to express remorse. "He showed courage by admitting to what happened in Rwanda and this helps in reconciliation," he said.
IRIN 23 Mar 2005 Genocide tribunal abolishes joint trials 23 Mar 2005 13:26:12 GMT Source: IRIN KIGALI, 23 March (IRIN) - The UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda has abolished group trials for genocide suspects whose cases are pending before the court, a senior official told IRIN on Wednesday. "We have decided to do away with the system of grouping suspects together under one trial," Adama Dieng, the tribunal's registrar, said on a visit to the Rwandan capital, Kigali. "It creates a lot of voluminous work, and slows down the pace of conducting the trials," he said. Dieng said the tribunal was conducting eight trials, five of which were group trials, with only three suspects being tried singly. The UN Security Council set up the tribunal in 1994 to try the planners of Rwanda's 1994 genocide, in which up to 937,000 Tutsis and politically moderate Hutu were killed, according to Rwandan government estimates. Based in the northern Tanzanian town of Arusha, the tribunal is scheduled to complete its work in 2008. One trial currently before the tribunal, dubbed the "Butare trial", has six co-accused, while the four other group trials have four co-respondents each. Since its first trial in January 1997, the tribunal has handed down 17 judgements involving 23 accused: 20 convictions and three acquittals. Six of the convicts are serving their sentences in Mali. Some 57 suspects are presently in the tribunal's custody, 17 of whom still await trial. Nine are waiting to appeal, and six are due to be transferred. The tribunal has indicted 14 others who are still at large. Survivors of the genocide and the Rwandan government have criticised the court for being "deliberately slow" in completing trials. In 2003, the UN Security Council increased the number of tribunal judges to 18, in an effort to get the tribunal to complete its work on time. "As a result, it is estimated that the cases involving the 25 accused whose trials are currently in progress will be completed from 2005 to 2006," Dieng said. In its remaining three years, the tribunal hopes to have completed the trials for up to 75 accused - a significant portion of whom are still at large.
The East African (Nairobi) NEWS March 14, 2005 Memories of Massacre Nairobi David Kaiza travelled to Lira for the first anniversary of the Lira massacre to get first-hand accounts of the survivors ON FEBRUARY 21 LAST, YEAR rebels descended on Barlonyo displaced people's camp in northern Uganda's Lira district, burning all the huts and killing over 300 villagers in the internally displaced people's camp. A year later, as they marked the first anniversary of the massacre, villagers give their personal accounts of that bloody evening. John Okello, 28, said: "They came at about 5 o'clock in the evening from the east of the camp. When they fired at the barracks, the soldiers ordered us to go indoors. There were only 40 soldiers in the barracks and they could not repulse the rebels, who were all over the camp. "They burnt all the huts, including mine, which was at the centre of the camp. When the firing started, we tried to run, but we were already surrounded. The rebels were killing everyone in sight, using guns and machetes. I ran away with my wife. But my mother, Rosalinda Angom, my brothers Abel Okello Ayo, Paul Okwir and their wives Jennifer Acen and Rose were not so lucky. They were all shot dead. "After escaping from Barlonyo, we ran to Ogur camp. The people in Ogur were frightened when they saw us, but they quickly contacted the army who mobilised a mamba (armoured assault vehicle). That night, we slept in Ogur camp, where the Red Cross brought us food. In the morning of Sunday, February 22, we left Ogur at 7 o'clock for Barlonyo to bury those who had been killed. "We were speechless when we saw the bodies. Some had cuts all over them, most were burnt to charcoal. All we could do was to start the burial ceremony. We started at about 8 O'clock and worked until noon, burying them in a mass grave." NEXT WAS GEOFFREY Kot's account. "I was shot in the leg after the soldiers were defeated by the rebels. I lost three of my five children. I was shot as I tried to run away. I fell to the ground and crawled to hide in a hut. But I had to crawl out again because the rebels set the hut on fire. I climbed over the wall and went into another hut, which they also burnt down. I had lost so much blood that I could not move any more. I survived because there was a blanket in the hut under which I hid. I pulled the blanket over my head and kept pouring water on it to keep out the flames. My head was covered, but part of my back and legs were exposed. I was burnt badly. And because I had to put my hand out to get water, it was also burnt. The attack started at 5:30 pm; by the time the soldiers came, it was already dark. I was pulled out and loaded onto a lorry and taken to Lira hospital and immediately put on blood transfusion. "When I left Lira Hospital in July, I went to live in Ogur camp. It is a hardship place. We receive food once in three months. We have to work hard for little money. Those who are strong can dig, but in my condition, I limit myself to easy tasks like thatching roofs." Dorcus Abeja, 21, said, "We were cooking that evening in the camp. There was a group of people who had gone out to harvest honey from the beehives, but they came back without honey and said they had seen strange soldiers hiding in a sunflower field. They wanted to go closer to see who they were, but they were scared. We thought they were Karimojong cattle raiders but we did not give it much thought. However, when soldiers from the barracks went to find out who the strangers were, fighting immediately broke out. The first person they killed that day was Pastor Neri Odongo. He had gone to check his on charcoal when he was caught in the crossfire. But we still thought it was the Karimojong. As we headed for the huts the barracks and the camp were bombed. We fled as every hut was on fire "We ran up to Ogur and reported that that the camp had been attacked and that everyone had been killed. My husband, Tom Omara, had been shot in the foot. We came back to Barlonyo in the morning and found that my mother, Kerubina Alum and grandmother, Sylvia Akullu, had been killed. My grandmother was shot while my mother's head was cut off. This was Sunday morning. We started burying everyone after which I went to Lira hospital to look after my husband. He had to stay in hospital for two months. "I have four children with whom I escaped that night of terror but I cannot afford to feed them now. We want to go back home because life in the camps is unbearable." The story of 19-year old Bonny Odyeny was no different. "I was a student. I had been in school for only three days when I heard that the rebels had killed people in Barlonyo and immediately left for home. "When I reached Barlonyo, there was mayhem. Some people had been shot, some people's heads had been crushed while others had been burnt beyond recognition. Of all the houses there had been in Barlonyo, only one, an iron-roofed one, was left standing. My brother told me that our father Cypriano Odyeny, had died in the attack. He had been stabbed in the neck and burnt. My mother, Gertrude Apet, was stabbed twice but survived. "She was hospitalised in Lira Hospital for five months and till today she complains of chest pains. "Education has become difficult. When I had gone to school on February 18, I had gone without school fees. Now it became impossible to pay. I told the headmaster that my father was dead and that I could not continue with my studies and he paid my fees. I passed the Uganda Certificate of Education in first grade but I have no means of furthering my education. We are three children in the family. "Life in the camps is characterised by hunger and disease. We receive two jugs of beans in two months. Second, when people live together in this condition, morals break. Because of congestion, fires easily break out. Dysentery and malaria are also common." MARY AYO SAID: "THE rebels attacked at 5 o'clock in the evening. My daughter-in-law and her family lived at the edge of the camp, near where the attack started. Their house was one of the first to be burnt down. Everyone had been told to go indoors when the firing started, and my daughter-in-law and her child obeyed. When the fire broke out, they came out to flee, only to run into the hands of the rebels. They were hacked to death. "I was in the house with two children when our hut started burning. We ran towards the Abwor river and found a log at a crossing under which we hid till morning when returned to the camp. It was God who saved us." Samuel AcilI, 28, survived the attack together with his family. However, his wife was later to kill all three of their children out of frustration. Soldiers in the barracks had left for Agweng when the rebels came. "After the attack, the wounded were taken away in the night. I was one of those who were shot in Barlonyo. They broke into my house where I was hiding and when I tried to run away they shot me in the knee. I was rescued and taken to hospital, where I was to remain for five months. AFTER I WAS DISCHARGED I went to live in Orit camp. That was where my wife, Grace, had gone. One day, she went away with our children. "I did not hear about her for some time. Then one day, someone went to the village and found all our children dead. Later, my wife said she was the one who killed them. She is now in police custody. "You see, I was disabled and had no way of feeding my children. Grace was unhappy with me. Before she killed the children, she told me that her father would pay for the deaths of the children. I did not understand this. We had been receiving food from the World Food Programme but it was not enough. Grace could not bear it any longer. She was tired of the children crying for food all the time. She killed them because we could not feed them."
IRIN 16 Mar 2005 Acholi leaders in The Hague to meet ICC over LRA probe [ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations] © ICC KAMPALA, 16 Mar 2005 (IRIN) - Leaders from war-torn northern Uganda arrived in The Hague, Netherlands, on Tuesday to appeal to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to refrain from issuing arrest warrants against the leaders of the rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). "The meeting follows [the prosecutor's] invitation and is in order to hear the views of the Acholi leaders about issues concerning their communities, local justice traditions and efforts to end the violence," Yves Sorokobi, spokesperson for the Office of the Prosecutor, said on Wednesday. "We respect and admire the leaders' effort to start a dialogue between the Court and their communities," he added. A source close to the delegation told IRIN: "The purpose of the visit is to meet the chief prosecutor [Luis Moreno-Ocampo] - letting him know that [the] ICC's intervention in northern Uganda will seriously jeopardise efforts to end the conflict in Uganda through peaceful means. "They [the delegation] will put across our usual view that we cannot have justice without first getting the peace," the source added. "Both of those supplement each other." The six-man delegation included the cultural head of the northern Ugandan Acholi ethnic group, Rwot David Onen Acana II, and the Roman Catholic archbishop of the northern diocese of Gulu, John Baptist Odama. In July 2004, following a request by Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni, the ICC initiated investigations into crimes committed in the war between government troops and the LRA. Recently, the ICC announced plans to issue arrest warrants for LRA commander-in-chief, Joseph Kony, and several other high-ranking rebels. The move has met with vehement opposition from several local leaders and human rights groups, who argue that such a step would only serve to heighten hostilities and hinder ongoing peace negotiations between the government and the rebels. "To start war crimes investigations for the sake of justice at a time when the war is not yet over risks having, in the end, neither justice nor peace delivered," Gulu's Catholic archdiocese's Justice and Peace Commission said in a January statement. The Ugandan government, however, said the delegation's efforts went against its position on the issue. "The government position is very clear," Grace Akello, minister for the rehabilitation of northern Uganda, told IRIN on Wednesday. "We wanted these people prosecuted and I think that is the appropriate position that I also support." The LRA's brutality is well documented, with civilians in the north being subjected to extensive and extreme brutality - mutilation, rape, abduction, torture and random killings are all characteristic of the rebels' operations. However, the ICC has come under increasing pressure to also investigate possible abuses by the Ugandan army, including the recruitment of child soldiers and the rape and torture of civilians. "The ICC prosecutor cannot ignore the crimes that Ugandan government troops allegedly have committed," Richard Dicker, director of the international justice program at Human Rights Watch, said in January. The LRA has been at war with the Uganda government since 1988, a conflict that has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced more than one-and-a-half million more. Relief agencies have described it as one of the world's worst humanitarian crises.
The Monitor (Kampala) 18 Mar 2005 Mystery Surrounds Kanungu Massacre The Monitor (Kampala) NEWS March 18, 2005 Posted to the web March 18, 2005 By Hussein Bogere Kampala It is Five years since the Kanungu massacre, but the leaders of the cult are still at large and there is no explanation so far. The police issued arrest warrants for the leaders, and success is yet to be registered. "The international arrest warrant is still on. Investigations were concluded but no arrests have been made so far," a police source said yesterday. It was on March 17, 2000 that over 1,000 people were burnt beyond recognition in three different sites. The cult was called Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God and was led by Joseph Kibwetere, Credonia Mwerinde, Angelina Mugisha, Fr Joseph Kasapurari and Fr Dominic Kataribabo. The source said there had been some leads to arrest the perpetuator, which could not be revealed for fear of jeapordising the investigations. In Kanungu, there was no activity planned for the Kanungu anniversary. "We have not organised anything, there is no need to," the mayor for Kanungu, Mr Godfrey Karabenda, said in an interview recently. He said the district could not organise anything because the government had not yet handed over the land to the district authorities.
The Monitor (Kampala) 18 Mar 2005 ANALYSIS Kibwetere Massacre, the Forgotten Event By Francis Niwagaba It is now five years since Joseph Kibwetere, a self-styled prophet and bishop, burnt up more than 1,000 Ugandans in one of the world's worst massacres. Francis Niwagaba visited Kanungu to find out the developments if any : - It happened at 11 a.m. Friday, March 17, 2000, at Katate, Kanungu, Kinkizi, in the then Rukungiri district. The masterminds of the cult besides Kibwetere, a failed politician and retired teacher, were Catholic priests Domenic Kataribabo and John Kasapurari, both renegades from the Mbarara Diocese. Credonia Mwerinde, a one-time prostitute and barmaid who owned the Kanungu Independent bar, assisted them. Their cult was based on restoring the Ten Commandments before the world ended, an event predicted for 2000. According to A Timely Message From Heaven, a book, followers were supposed to read three times a week. Kibwetere claimed to have communicated to the Virgin Mary and been instructed to reformulate the Commandments. Similarly, Credonia claimed that on June 14, 1980, she had been instructed to guard against the Sixth Commandment, the breach of which had brought Aids down on people. The Monitor visited the site of the massacre to find out what it is like now. The home of the former Kibwetere cult is about 450 kilometres from Kampala in the southwestern district of Kanungu. The place is two and a half kilometres east of Kanungu town, on a road called in reference to the tragedy, "Inferno Road." "We named the road Inferno Road so as to remember what happened to our brothers in 2000," says Magezi Emmy, the area L.C.5 Councilor Kanungu District. The home is abandoned now. Cars cannot get to the area because a log bridge connecting the road to Kanungu town council has decayed and can no longer support the weight of vehicles. Once magnificent buildings that served as the cult's headquarters are falling apart. Not a single building still possesses windows or doors. Haruna Katwigi, the immediate neighbour, says local authorities have neglected the complex. "The doors and windows were stolen by the villagers due to the fact that there are no policemen guarding the place," says Katwigi, a witness to the massacre. The villagers also have taken iron sheets and most of the buildings have collapsed or are about to because of the rain. Ivan Twinamasiko, a resident of the area, explains, "A public good that is not protected belongs to nobody. I think this is where Kibwetere property lies." The once extensive farm Kibwetere owned has turned into bush. The pineapple fields have vanished and the banana plantation is nearly extinct because domestic animals have grazed in this area. A spring the cult used is abandoned even by neighbours. Katwigi says there's a stigma attached to the place. "People do not want to be associated with Kibwetere. That is why they cannot use his water," he says. All the statues of Jesus and the Virgin Mary that cult followers prayed to have long since been stolen or broken. "After the massacre, not all people who flocked to the place were mourners," says Turyahikayo Alex, a witness. "Some of them, including police were hunting for money." These people destroyed many of the monuments in the buildings, he adds. The mass grave where the burnt people were laid to rest can no longer be identified. Bush covers the place and no sign marks the sad spot. "But you are standing on the grave," says Katwigi, who can find it still. The massacre seems well on the way to being forgotten, and that seems to be what the people of Kanungu want. Moses Niwagaba, a cult member for two months, says there is nothing good to remember. "As one of the practices of the Kibwetere cult, followers were buried alive. Sex denial to married couples was a practice in the camp and sleeping on empty stomachs for many days under the guise of fasting was a common practice. "Use of prayer as a substitute for medicine for patients was a remedy for Kibwetere who did not have a health centre for his big population," Niwagaba recounts. Most survivors of the massacre were once recruits of Kibwetere who no longer want to be associated with the cult. District officials said they want to develop the cult site soon, in a way that will keep the memory alive. "We are planning to build the first-ever cult museum in the whole world at this site," said John Engabi, senior community development officer for the Kanungu District. The mayor of the Kanungu Town Council said that a magnificent hotel is to be constructed at the place too. None of these grand visions have begun to materialise though. Officials say the place looks abandoned and no work has begun because the land has to be legally obtained before it can be developed. "We have now acquired the land officially and that is why we are preparing to develop the place," Engabi said. According to the Kanungu District Tourism Development Plan, a document prepared by EDSA and Dr. Anna Spenceley last year, the existing church will be converted into a museum and a café, ticket office, toilets and a shrine to the Blessed Virgin Mary will be restored or built. In order for an authentic museum to be made, all statues, monuments and other things identified with Kibwetere cult have to be retained. That could be a problem since statues have been stolen, chairs Kibwetere used are gone and the buildings are collapsing. While officials debate what to do with his land, there are no new developments after in trying to locate and arrest Joseph Kibwetere. Police ask that any individuals with information about him call them. Kitaka Gawera, the Residence District Commissioner during the cult's active years, who commissioned and laid a foundation stone for cult's primary school, was the main official who helped the cult. The primary school did not fulfil Ministry of Education requirements and was soon closed. Immediately after the massacre, in a visit to the place, then vice president, Dr. Kazibwe Specioza, said a commission of inquiry into Kibwetere-Kanungu massacre would be instituted. That commission never materialised. Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda, the Minister of Internal Affairs, said it "did not sit because of budgetary constraints, and there is no way its results could be published. The results are not there."
BBC 18 Mar 2005 Uganda rebels take more children Some 1.6m people have fled their homes because of the fighting Ugandan rebels have attacked a village in the north abducting 49 people, mainly teenagers, a district security official at the scene told the BBC. It comes as the International Criminal Court (ICC) said prosecution of Ugandan rebel commanders could be delayed to allow peace efforts to continue. The BBC's Will Ross said attacks have escalated in recent weeks since peace talks stalled. The rebels kidnap the children to make them sex slaves and fighters. Some 1.6 million people have been driven from their homes into refugee camps during the 19-year conflict. Boosting ranks Ten well-armed LRA rebels attacked Minakulu village, about 30km south of Gulu on Thursday night and looted food before abducting their victims, the security official said. I have to understand the interests of the victims Luis Morena-Ocampo ICC chief prosecutor He said the fact that they abducted so many teenagers suggests this was not only a food looting spree but also an operation intended to boost the rebel ranks. Ugandan military spokesman Tabaro Kiconco confirmed the attack but said just 10 people had been abducted and were later rescued. Recently LRA attacks on both civilian and military targets have increased significantly. In the last two weeks there have been another five reported attacks on civilians in which at least 25 were abducted and 12 people killed. Humanitarian sources in Gulu note with concern that the attacks have often followed claims by military, government and other officials that the war against the LRA is won or nearly won, our correspondent says. 'Strong case' Meanwhile, ICC chief prosecutor Luis Morena-Ocampo said he may delay the prosecution of the rebels after he met a delegation of religious, cultural and district leaders from northern Uganda. The ICC has indicated that soon it intends to issue arrest warrants for several senior LRA rebel commanders. The chief prosecutor said he was still gathering evidence, and had already built a strong case. But he said he was sensitive to the concerns and mindful of traditional justice and reconciliation processes, and in exceptional circumstances he could delay issuing warrants. "I am collecting evidence but at the same time assessing carefully what happened, because I have to understand the interests of the victims," he told the BBC. Many people in the region feel the ICC's work is likely to dissuade the rebels from accepting an amnesty offered by the Ugandan government. A former minister working as a mediator between the rebels and the Ugandan government has said she would have no option but to abandon the whole peace process if the warrants were issued.
IPS 22 Mar 2005 President Hands Over Former Torture Centre Marcela Valente In a ceremony outside of the Navy School of Mechanics (ESMA) -- the most notorious detention centre operated by Argentina's 1976-1983 dictatorship -- President Néstor Kirchner apologised in the name of the state for the silence that has surrounded the atrocities committed by the de facto regime. On the 28th anniversary of the coup d'etat that gave rise to one of Latin America's bloodiest dictatorships -- some 30,000 dissidents were ''disappeared'', according to human rights groups -- Kirchner lived up to two promises he had made to human rights activists. First, he ordered the army chief Wednesday to remove the portraits of former dictators Jorge Videla and Reynaldo Bignone from a gallery in the Military School -- a gesture demanded by activists for the past two decades. In a second ceremony, held outside ESMA, he officially handed over the 19-hectare naval complex to local human rights organisations, which will convert it into a memorial museum. Visibly moved after hearing speeches by young people who were born in ESMA when their parents were held there as political prisoners, Kirchner told the crowd that ''I have come as the president, to apologise in the name of the Argentine state for having remained silent regarding such atrocities during 20 years of democracy.'' ''This is neither rancour nor hatred. But we do not want impunity; we want justice,'' said the president. ''Those who committed such macabre and sinister acts'' in clandestine detention centres like ESMA ''have only one name: they are murderers, repudiated by all Argentines,'' said Kirchner, to loud applause by the relatives of victims, represented by groups like the Mothers and Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo. Shortly before Emiliano Hueravillo, a young man who was born in ESMA, went up on stage to speak, he told IPS that his parents were abducted and taken to the detention centre, and never heard from again. His mother, Mirta Alonso, was seven-months pregnant when she was taken away. When he was four-months old, he was left at the Pedro de Elizalde hospital with a letter that gave his name and those of his parents. Standing nearby, Karina Castro could hardly talk, she was so choked up. But she managed to tell IPS that her mother, Graciela Campolongo, was taken from her grandmother's home in 1976. Although the three-year-old Graciela was there, she remembers nothing. ''I don't know if she was at ESMA because we never heard anything more from her. But I came because I believe this place is a symbol for all of us,'' said Karina. At least 5,000 of the disappeared were held at some point in ESMA, where the officers' club served as the torture centre. Many of the political prisoners who survived their torture sessions and ''interrogations'' ended up being drugged and thrown alive into the sea from airplanes. Juan Cabandié, 26, who like Emiliano was born in ESMA, said he only found out his real identity two months ago, thanks to the efforts of the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo. ''I always knew my name was Juan,'' he said, referring to the name his mother gave him when he was born in a clandestine detention centre, and which he now uses. Hundreds of babies born to the disappeared were stolen and raised by military families. The ceremony outside of ESMA ended with three songs: 'La Memoria' (Memory) and 'Todavía cantamos' (We Are Still Singing) performed by Argentine singer-songwriters León Gieco and Víctor Heredia, respectively; and 'Para la libertad' (For Freedom), by Spanish singer-songwriter Joan Manuel Serrat. Two hours before the ceremony, human rights groups hung banners with the photos of thousands of disappeared on the bars surrounding ESMA. Mabel Gutiérrez, a member of the group Relatives of Political Prisoners and the Disappeared, read out a message that stated that ''the president's political decision and the 28 years of struggle by the human rights groups to keep alive the memory of what happened made it possible'' for ESMA to become ''the property of all Argentines'' today. Mario Villani, who attended Wednesday's ceremonies, was one of a group of around 30 torture survivors who toured ESMA last Friday with Kirchner. Villani spent time in five different torture centres during the dictatorship. The last place he was held in was ESMA, from which he was not released until 1981. ''I think I survived because I'm a physicist, and I know something about electronics, so they used me to fix TV sets and other household appliances that they stole,'' he told IPS, referring to the furnishings that the armed forces took from the homes of political prisoners, which were stored in an ESMA warehouse. Villani commented to IPS that when he ''returned to the world of the living'' -- he refuses to say he was ''freed'' because the Navy continued to keep surveillance over him -- he thought he would want to kill one of his torturers with his own hands. But that hatred, he explained, was transformed into a desire to fight against impunity, and to make sure that those responsible for the human rights crimes were brought to justice. For rights groups, the removal of the portraits of the former dictators from the walls of the Military School and the hand-over of ESMA were two victories in their long struggle for justice. There were a few signs of resistance by the military to Wednesday's events. The portraits of the former dictators which were removed by General Roberto Bendini in the Military School were actually amplified photos in gold frames put up hastily Tuesday after the original oil paintings mysteriously vanished. The ceremony itself, in which Kirchner stated that the democratic ''order in Argentina must never again be subverted,'' was boycotted by a small group of officers. Although Bendini had suggested taking down the pictures prior to the anniversary of the coup, and in private, the president insisted on making it a public event to mark Mar. 24. In addition, despite the fact that Navy chief, Admiral Jorge Godoy admitted this month for the first time that ''aberrant'' acts were committed in ESMA during the ''dirty war'', several Navy officers opposed the hand-over of the naval school. The centre-left Kirchner, who belongs to the Justicialista (Peronist) Party, has taken a proactive stance on human rights since he took office last May. The president, who was himself an activist in the Peronist Youth, and who belongs to the generation of many of the disappeared leftists, said at his inauguration that he was coming to the government as ''a son of the Mothers and Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo.'' ''I form part of a decimated generation, which was castigated with painful absences,'' said the president, who was himself briefly imprisoned twice during the dictatorship, and who saw many of his friends and fellow activists disappear. On his first day in office, on May 26, Kirchner ordered 27 army generals, 13 admirals and 12 brigadier-generals into retirement, in an unprecedented purge of the military brass. He later overturned a decree that blocked the extradition of former members of the military wanted by foreign courts in connection with the disappearance in Argentina of citizens from Spain, Italy and other countries. At the president's behest, Congress annulled last August the amnesty laws that in the late 1980s put an end to prosecutions of junior officers and soldiers who were deemed to be ''following orders'' when they committed human rights crimes. After the amnesty laws were revoked, the courts reopened human rights cases that had been closed in the late 1980s. Last Monday, a federal judge declared unconstitutional the 1990 pardons granted by then-president Carlos Menem (1989-1999) to the former members of the dictatorship's ruling junta, who had already been tried and sentenced.
Canadian Press 24 Mar 2005 Dallaire now a senator By JOHN WARD PM announces new senators Klein, senators-in-waiting, grumble Romeo Dallaire. (CP) OTTAWA (CP) - As a soldier, Romeo Dallaire followed orders from government. Now, in his incarnation as a senator, he's looking forward to have a say in such orders. The 58-year-old retired general, who lost his mental equilibrium and eventually his military career to the horrors of the 1993-94 Rwandan genocide, was named to the Senate on Thursday by Prime Minister Paul Martin. Dallaire says he relishes the idea of getting inside government instead of preaching from outside. "That's one of the fundamental reasons I accepted," he said in an interview. "Now I've been given an opportunity to get into entrails of government in caucus and the like. "Hopefully, I'll be able to bring a more specific influence into decisions that are being taken." Child soldiers, human rights and help for the poorest countries are high on his list of priorities. Dallaire, a decorated soldier and winner of the Governor General's Award for his best-selling memoir, Shake Hands with the Devil, says he wants to emphasize international human rights and development when he speaks in the Liberal caucus and in the upper chamber. As a soldier who led a doomed United Nations intervention into Rwanda and ended up watching helplessly as hundreds of thousands were slaughter in a paroxysm of tribal hatred, he's going to watch carefully if the government commits soldiers to similar missions in the future. "I think that Canada has, in fact, learned a lot from that last Rwandan experience," he said. "It's certainly my ambition to continue to work towards Canada's involvement ethically and morally in advancing human rights." Defence Minister Bill Graham will have a former general with a lot of bitter experience watching him in the Liberal caucus. "I'm not so sure how the hell that works inside of government," Dallaire said with a laugh. "I'm looking very much forward to have an opportunity to speak to him and other colleagues on these subjects in maybe an even more candid way." Dallaire, son of a Canadian army sergeant and a Dutch war bride, was raised on military bases and joined up as a matter of course. He graduated from Royal Military College and carved out a career as an above-average young officer. He was an up-coming artillery general in 1993, when he was tabbed to lead a UN force to oversee a shaky truce in Rwanda. It seemed a natural assignment. He was a French-speaking soldier going to an area of Africa where French was the second language. Canada carried no colonial baggage to inflame local sensitivities. But the world collapsed on Dallaire and his small force within months of their arrival. The UN ignored his warnings of coming strife. After it broke out, major international players rebuffed his pleas for more soldiers, leaving him standing as a helpless observer to genocide. He came home to medals and promotion, but his spirit was broken and he spiralled into depression and alcohol. His health suffered. Thin, haggard, with his haunted eyes sunken in his thin face, he was another casualty of Rwanda. But a decade later, after much psychological help, support from his wife and kids and a book into which he poured his troubled soul, Dallaire has bounced back. He has filled out, although his eyes keep their deep sadness. But he can joke and laugh and he speaks with pride of his son's entry into the army, a third generation of soldiering Dallaires. Rwanda will never leave him though, and he'll use his Senate seat to make sure that Canadians will never forget either.
Metro News Vancouver 22 Mar 2005 Section: local - page 4 I was disappointed with the lack of originality in your article in last Friday’s issue (Compensation demanded for kids abused in residential schools) concerning the so called ”compensation” given to native people who suffered the residential school nightmare. As someone who has acted as an advocate for residential school survivors since 1996, and has been an advisor to litigants in this process, I must take exception to your depiction of organizations like the Indian Residential School Survivors Society (IRSSS) and the Assembly of First Nations as somehow being representative of native people in this issue. On the contrary, both of these groups are entirely government-funded agencies established by the same state that, along with the Catholic, Anglican and United Church, were running residential schools where the abuse happened. The truth is that most of the survivors of residential schools have been ignored and deliberately silenced by their own ”leaders” in collusion with the churches and government, for a simple reason: so that the evidence of genocide in Canada will remain buried forever. The reality of ethnic cleansing in Canada has been safely spun and contained by its perpetrators as a matter only of ”sexual and physical abuse.” REV. KEVIN D. ANNETT Nanaimo
Reuters 24 Mar 2005 Chile's Pinochet Retains Immunity Thu Mar 24, 2005 12:37 PM ET By Gabriela Donoso SANTIAGO, Chile (Reuters) - Chile's Supreme Court on Thursday reversed a lower court ruling that would have stripped ex-dictator Augusto Pinochet of immunity from prosecution in the 1974 car bombing assassination of political foe Gen. Carlos Prats in Buenos Aires, a court official said. Pinochet, 89, has been accused in almost 300 of human rights case related to the thousands of killings and tortures during his 1973-90 regime, when the military repressed leftists and opposition movements. The Supreme Court struck down the Santiago Appeals Court's earlier ruling to strip Pinochet of immunity in the Prats case because the same appeals court had already refused an Argentine judge's request to have his immunity removed so he could be prosecuted there. The high court did not address the accusations in the case: that Pinochet had some level of involvement in the car bombing that killed Prats and his wife. "I'm very pleased with the ruling because there is nothing that links Gen. Pinochet with such a horrible and fearful case," said Pablo Rodriguez, a lawyer for Pinochet. Former Chilean secret police agent Enrique Arancibia is serving a life sentence in Argentina for his role in the killing of Prats, Pinochet's predecessor at the head of Chile's military. Prats was loyal to socialist President Salvador Allende, who was ousted during the 1973 coup. He sought exile in Argentina. When Pinochet stepped down from the presidency in 1990 he continued as commander of the armed forces and as a senator. It was not until the late 1990s that he started to be held accountable for any crimes. In 2000, the Supreme Court stripped Pinochet of immunity for the first time. It was in the so-called Caravan of Death case involving a group of army officers that toured Chile in a helicopter and executed dozens of opponents shortly after the 1973 military coup that launched Pinochet to power. But in 2002, the same court threw out the charges in that case, saying Pinochet's health was too weak for him to face the judicial process. In Chile's capital, courts do not hold open trials. One judge investigates, charges, convicts and sentences in each case. Court decisions here do not set precedent, so in each individual case against the former strongman, the Supreme Court must rule on the immunity issue. Last year, the Supreme Court removed Pinochet's immunity so he could be prosecuted with kidnappings and murder in the Operation Condor case, a South American joint military effort to eliminate opposition. Pinochet is free on bail in that case. Chile returned to democracy in 1990 and has been led by three successive center-left presidents. Pinochet has become increasingly isolated and irrelevant to Chilean politics. He has been diagnosed with mild dementia and has heart problems and diabetes.
Prensa Latina, Cuba 20 Mar 2005 Blockade to Cuba is Genocide, UN Rapporteur Asserts Geneva, Mar 20 (Prensa Latina) The pugnacious blockade the US government has kept over Cuba for over four decades is a genocide, the United Nations for Food rapporteur Jean Ziegler has asserted here Sunday. Ziegler, a renowned Swiss lawyer and sociologist, denounced this anti-Cuban policy as "a flagrant violation of human rights", adding that the US hostile policy had not caused more catastrophic damage on the Island because the Cuban government had given full priority to public health, feeding and education for people. "The US runs after any business relationship Cuba sets with foreign enterprises from any given third country, interferes in any Cuban financial transaction and limits family remittances and visits," he denounced. He said that as a UN rapporteur, he has the right to ask governments for explanation, but the Bush administration had turned down a visa request when the UN asked the US State Department for permission so he could visit Washington to discuss the blockade issue. The White House -he pointed out- rejected the petition and addressed the UN a letter on October 18, denying the UN rapporteur authorization for the visit. Ziegler attended a meeting of solidarity with Cuba, in which he accused Washington of violating the international law and regarded President Bush as "a Pinochet in the White House" in reference to the victims by the war in Iraq. The Swiss lawyer praised the work of hundreds of Cuban health workers who are assisting Third World nations. Regarding US plans against Cuba at the UN Commission of Human Rights (UNCHR), Ziegler upheld that Cuba had just like any other nation in the world the right to self-determination, sovereignty and independence. mh/tac/ool
AP 15 Mar 2005 Salvador president rejects probe of 1981 civil war massacre By Marcos Aleman ASSOCIATED PRESS 12:58 p.m. March 15, 2005 SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador – An international agency's decision to reopen a probe into the bloodiest incident of Central America's civil wars of the 1980s was rejected on Tuesday by President Tony Saca. "Reopening cases is returning to a past that definitely could be very dangerous for the country," Saca told a news conference. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights recently voted to reopen the file on the 1981 massacre at El Mozote, asking both government and independent groups to provide evidence, Commission President Claire Roberts said last week. The commission is a branch of the Organization of American States. The legal office for El Salvador's Roman Catholic Archbishopric had petitioned to reopen the case, alleging government responsibility. According to the church office, members of the U.S.-trained Atlacatl Battalion "concentrated and killed hundred of civilian residents, including children, women and the elderly" in December 1981. The few survivors and human rights investigators say the villagers – largely Evangelical Christians – apparently thought they were safe because they had generally stayed aloof from both the rebels and government troops. They had not joined neighboring towns in fleeing alongside rebels as the army approached. Many government supporters at first denied the massacre had even occurred. It came as part of a 12-year civil war between leftist rebels and a U.S.-backed government that killed some 75,000 people and left enduring political bitterness in this small country. The government never fully investigated the case, but an independent truth commission established by the peace treaty concluded that at least 500 people had died. Most investigators put the number much higher. The church office argued that excavations of 365 bodies by forensic anthropologists since the 1992 peace treaty have added important evidence of the massacre's scope. Then-President Alfredo Cristiani declared a general amnesty in 1993, saying the country needed to put the war behind it. Prominent figures on both sides had been accused of atrocities. Cristani's own party was founded by a man the truth commission blamed for the murder of El Salvador's archbishop in 1980. Saca said he had not yet received the commission report, but said that Salvadorans had decided to put "a boundary between the sad past and a promising future." "I am not in agreement with reopening cases," he said, stressing that he would not revoke the amnesty law that he said had given "peace and stability to the country." Maria Julia Hernandez, director of the archbishop's legal office, said the case "represents the fight against impunity."
AP 25 Mar 2005 Salvadorans Commemorate Romero's Death DIEGO MENDEZ Associated Press Writer SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) - Activists from around the world gathered in this Central American country Thursday to remember Bishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero, a human rights proponent who was gunned down 25 years ago. The bishop had spoken out against alleged repression by the Salvadoran army at the beginning of the country's 12-year civil war between a right-wing government and leftist rebels. Romero was slain down on March 24, 1980, while celebrating a Mass at a Catholic hospital where he lived. Romero's assassin was never brought to trial, and a Roman Catholic human rights office has called on the Salvadoran government to reopen the investigations. Processions and memorial services took place amid hopes that the Vatican will proclaim Romero a saint. Church leaders in Rome announced recently that they had begun the process of beatification for Romero, the last formal step before possible sainthood. Children carried photographs of the cleric in a procession that began at the chapel and concluded at his tomb, housed in the central cathedral in El Salvador's capital, San Salvador. Margaret Dexheimer, 52, and her husband, Lutheran Minister Guillermo Dexheimer, 48, both of Saint Paul, Minn., carried a bouquet of flowers and a 10-foot-tall painted portrait of Romero during their second visit to El Salvador to commemorate the bishop's death. ``Even though Msgr. Romero was killed a long time ago, people still remember him, even young people,'' said Jennifer Lau, 33, editor of a Canadian religious magazine. The country's Truth Commission, created by the United Nations after the war to investigate violations of human rights, determined the assassination was ordered by Maj. Roberto D'Abuisson, now dead, who founded the Nationalist Republican Alliance party. Last year, a U.S. federal judge found a retired Salvadoran air force captain living in the United States liable for Romero's killing and ordered him to pay $10 million in damages. The decision was based on a lawsuit filed by Romero's relatives arguing that Alvaro Rafael Saravia conspired to commit the killing by providing the sniper with a gun, payment and transportation. The hospital chapel where Romero was killed is hallowed ground for some, as well as an attraction for foreign tourists. Thursday's events marked the beginning of two weeks of marches, Masses and pilgrimages to remember Romero.
IPS 25 Mar 2005 US Restores Military Aid After 15-Year Hiatus Jim Lobe WASHINGTON, Mar 25 (IPS) - The restoration of U.S. military aid to Guatemala 15 years after it was suspended for human rights abuses was assailed late Thursday by several rights groups, who said the move was premature. On a visit to the Guatemalan capital earlier in the day, U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld announced that the George W. Bush administration was releasing 3.2 million dollars in aid to reward the government of President Oscar Berger for reforming the armed forces whose human rights record in the 1980s was considered the worst in the Americas. ”I've been impressed by the reforms that have been undertaken in the armed forces,” Rumsfeld told reporters. ”I know it is a difficult thing to do, but it's been done with professionalism and transparency.” But rights groups did not agree with his assessment, although they did give Berger credit for making efforts in the right direction. ”Despite its commitment to ending impunity and combating clandestine groups, the Berger administration has demonstrated a lack of political will and ability to make progress in establishing an effective mechanism to investigate and dismantle clandestine groups,” according to a joint statement by the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Centre for Human Rights, and other groups. It noted that these clandestine groups or illegal armed groups, which were supposed to have been dismantled after the signing of the historic 1996 Peace Accords, are believed to have ties to Guatemala's military intelligence apparatus, which is also widely believed to have become increasingly active in drug trafficking and organised crime. The rights groups, which also included the Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala (NISGUA) and the Guatemala Human Rights Commission, added that at least 26 human rights defenders have been threatened or attacked, presumably by or at the instigation of the clandestine groups, so far this year after a reported 122 attacks in 2004. ”The clandestine groups have become a serious obstacle to the peace process, rule of law, democracy, and the respect for human rights and must be stopped,” the groups declared. Despite the relatively small dollar value of the package announced by Rumsfeld, the resumption of U.S. military aid marks a real landmark in U.S. relations with the Guatemalan armed forces, which it actually put in power in a 1954 CIA-directed coup d'etat against the civilian government led by President Jacobo Arbenz. The record of U.S. complicity with a succession of military governments is relatively complete due to the release of thousands of secret documents obtained by the independent National Security Archive (NSA), which helped Guatemala's U.N.-backed Historical Clarification Commission conduct a major study in the late 1990s. The Guatemalan commission, set up under the 1996 U.N.-mediated peace accord, found the country's military guilty of ”acts of genocide” against the Indian population during the 36-year civil war and of 93 percent of the estimated 200,000 killings which took place. It also found that Washington, particularly through its spy agencies, ”lent direct and indirect support to some illegal state operations.” So thorough was the documentation that U.S. President Bill Clinton felt compelled to apologise during an informal gathering of leaders from Guatemalan civic groups during a four-day tour of Central America in 1999. ”For the United States, it is important that I state clearly that support for military forces or intelligence units which engaged in violent and widespread repression, of the kind described in the report, was wrong,” he said. ”The United States must not repeat that mistake.” One 1966 report obtained by the NSA revealed how U.S. personnel advised Guatemala's military intelligence on setting up a safe house in the presidential palace to coordinate counter-insurgency operations. That office, at which a CIA officer also worked until well into the 1970's, evolved into an operation which Amnesty International denounced in 1980 as the headquarters for political murder in Guatemala and was finally officially dissolved only two years ago. State Department, CIA and Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) officers reported in detail about specific operations, including kidnapping, torture, and murder, carried out by the Guatemalan army and its paramilitary auxiliaries over more than 30 years. The documents also revealed that U.S. intelligence agencies knew about specific massacres committed by the army in the early 1980s, even while senior officials of the Ronald Reagan administration assured Congress that reports of such atrocities were disinformation spread by solidarity groups and Amnesty International. Congress forbade most military aid to the government during the period, but Washington spent millions of dollars on covert support to Guatemala's army during the period, halting it only in 1990 when it was disclosed that an army colonel on the CIA's payroll had been responsible for the murder of a U.S. innkeeper and the torture-killing of a guerrilla leader who was married to a U.S. lawyer. After the peace accords, rights abuses have generally diminished, but activists, particularly those involved in investigating notorious massacres and assassinations of the 1980s, have repeatedly been threatened and occasionally assaulted or even murdered. Judges and prosecutors were also subject to threats from clandestine groups. According to the final report of the U.N. Verification Mission to Guatemala (MINUGUA) published in January last year, ”attempts to investigate and prosecute security forces members for atrocities committed during the conflict have been generally unsuccessful; those who try have been subject to threats, violence and years of judicial obstruction.” Rights groups agree that some advances have been made, particularly under Berger's administration. Among other things, the armed forces have been reduced to 15,000 soldiers from 27,000 and have adopted a new military doctrine that emphasises defence against external attack, rather than counter-insurgency. ”The shadows that have plagued our army have disappeared,” Berger said Thursday. But the rights groups complain that the military continues to participate in joint police-military operations in direct violation of the Peace Accords. They note that a landmark agreement signed in January 2004 to establish a U.N.-led Commission for the Investigation of Illegal Armed Groups and Clandestine Security Apparatuses, an initiative supported by Washington, was struck down as a result of a court decision. New proposals put forward last November to revive it have so far not moved forward, according to the rights groups. But the Bush administration, increasingly concerned about drug-trafficking through Guatemala in particularly, has decided to restore funding now. Almost three billion of the 3.2 million dollars that is being restored will be used to upgrade Guatemala's air force and small navy for use in drug-interdiction operations.
ft.com 14 Mar 2005 White House is quiet as Darfur killings continue By Guy Dinmore in Washington Before long, warns US Senator Jon Corzine, we will be watching a sequel to the film Hotel Rwanda called Hotel Darfur, and asking again why the world failed to stop genocide. President George W. Bush welcomed to the White House last month Paul Rusesabagina, the hotel manager portrayed in Hotel Rwanda. Mr Rusesabagina saved hundreds of lives in the Rwandan genocide of 1994, while the international community largely abandoned the country. But during the discussion Mr Rusesabagina warned Mr Bush that the current situation in western Sudan's Darfur region was “exactly” what happened in Rwanda 11 years ago. For more than two months, Mr Bush has not mentioned Darfur in public, and the last time he did speak of the two-year-old conflict in western Sudan, which may have cost 300,000 lives and displaced 2m people, it was only in passing. A White House official insisted the president was “still very focused” on Darfur. “There are other issues that the president finds more pressing,” he explained. Six months ago it was different. After visiting Darfur, Colin Powell, then secretary of state, told Congress that the killings, systematic rapes, burning and destruction directed against mostly African Muslim villagers amounted to the internationally accepted legal definition of “genocide”. The US blamed the Arab Janjaweed militia and their government backers. It launched diplomatic efforts to impose an oil and arms embargo on Sudan through the UN Security Council, as well as targeted sanctions, such as a travel ban and assets freeze and a no-fly zone. Although discussions on a new, watered-down resolution continue at the UN this week, it is widely acknowledged that diplomacy is failing. Meanwhile, security in drought-stricken Darfur is worsening, in spite of the efforts of nearly 2,000 African Union monitors many sent by Rwanda. US legislators who recently visited Darfur cite estimates of 10,000 deaths each month from killing, famine and disease, though no one knows the true figures. The sense of failure is triggering debate in Washington over whether the world's superpower is unwilling or unable to commit resources to end a conflict that carries wider ramifications for the US. Inside the UN, the Bush administration faces considerable resistance from China, the main customer for Sudan's oil exports, and Russia, Sudan's main provider of weapons and aircraft. US officials complain that France also opposes an oil embargo, in spite of recent harmony with the US over Syria and Lebanon. The Bush administration's opposition to use of the International Criminal Court to prosecute Sudanese war criminals is also delaying a resolution. Mr Corzine, a New Jersey Democrat, says Darfur has undermined the Bush administration's credibility in its commitment to spreading democracy and freedom. He argues that the US should put more pressure on Russia and China to use their leverage on Khartoum, and should give more resources to the AU monitoring mission. Ed Royce, a California Republican congressman who recently went to Darfur, said Mr Bush remained “very engaged”. But Mr Royce suggested the US force a UN vote on oil sanctions. Senator Sam Brownback, a Kansas Republican who co-sponsored the Darfur Accountability Act with Mr Corzine, says that if the UN cannot produce agreement, it may be necessary to form another “coalition of the willing”. This suggestion is backed by influential neo-conservatives, who cite Darfur as another example of the UN's uselessness and want the US to send military forces to support the AU. The White House regards this option as a very last resort. Sudan, once a haven for al-Qaeda, has generated support from some Islamic states in portraying international intervention in Darfur as a next step, after Iraq, in a western-led war on Islam. Moreover, Russia and China are important allies in the US-led “war on terror”. But a senior US official argued that the main US constraint was the fear that too much pressure over Darfur would destroy the US-mediated agreement signed in January that ended Sudan's separate north-south conflict, Africa's longest-running civil war, which cost some 2m lives. US hopes appear to rest on a political settlement in Darfur in parallel with the north-south accord, but efforts to reach out to the disparate Darfur rebels have not been easy. Brian Steidle, a US Marine captain, resigned in frustration after spending six months attached to the AU monitoring mission. Back in the US, he is mounting his own one-man campaign. “We can stop this,” he said. He believes the AU needs 50,000 troops and a clear mandate to stop the violence. But Nancy Soderberg, a former Clinton administration adviser and author of The Superpower Myth, says Darfur like Rwanda demonstrates that nations are not prepared to intervene beyond their spheres of perceived influence. Darfur, she says, exposes the hollowness of the “never again” mantra.
Independent UK 14 Mar 2005 Independent.uk Massacre in church ends America's weekend of gun murders By Andrew Gumbel in Los Angeles 14 March 2005 The United States is in shock after a weekend of gun violence which culminated in the shooting of seven members of a church congregation. The gunman, a loner who lived with his mother in suburban Wisconsin, then turned the weapon on himself. It was the third serious incident in as many days, coinciding with the bloody climax to a courthouse triple murder in Georgia and the shooting of a two-year-old boy in Texas by his four-year-old brother. The toddler picked his mother's loaded pistol out of her handbag and appeared unaware to the damage he had done. The church shootings involved a small fundamentalist denomination called the Living Church of God, which believes Anglo-Americans are one of the lost tribes of Israel and that the world is poised on the verge of the End Times, heralding the return of Jesus Christ. Police and local media reports said Terry Ratzmann, 44, pulled out a handgun during Saturday's service - held in a Sheraton hotel in Brookfield, outside Milwaukee - and began firing at the back row of worshippers. Congregants dived under seats and behind the podium, sparing many lives. He stopped at least once to reload, then shot himself after one worshipper begged him to consider what he was doing. Among those he killed were two teenagers, the regional pastor of the church and a 74-year-old man. Four others were injured, several of whom were in their teens or early twenties. The motive for the shooting was unclear, although various reports suggested that Ratzmann was upset by a taped sermon sent out by the church's spiritual leader a couple of weeks ago, or that he was prone to alcoholism and depression. An archive of sermons on the Living Church of God's website came up empty yesterday, while a message on the home page said the church was co-operating with the police to get to the bottom of the "tragedy". Neighbours described Ratzmann as a loner who loved tending to his greenhouse, spending many hours devising a system to feed trout waste to his tomatoes and zucchini. The shooting of the two-year-old boy happened at his home in Houston, Texas. Police said the four-year-old became angry after his brother threw a toy at him. He went to his mother's handbag, picked up a .32-calibre semi-automatic and fired at the two-year-old's head. The victim was in a Houston hospital in critical condition. Police did not blame the boy - who was too young to understand his actions and spent much of yesterday at the hospital where his brother was being cared for- but said they might press charges against the mother. Child Protective Services said they would investigate the case. Police declined to name the family. In Georgia, meanwhile, there was a dramatic follow-up to Friday's shooting of a judge, a court stenographer and a sheriff's deputy, allegedly by the man who they were all about to put on trial on rape charges. The suspect, Brian Nichols, escaped from the courthouse in Atlanta and evaded police roadblocks by taking a commuter train instead of a car that he had allegedly stolen from a news reporter. He surprised an off-duty US Customs agent at his home in the suburb of Lennox, killed him and took his badge and car, police said. He then burst into an apartment complex and took a woman hostage. By Saturday morning, the woman had managed to get out of the building under circumstances that are not yet clear and alerted the police. When Nichols realised he was surrounded by heavily armed Swat teams, he raised a white flag and surrendered. Nichols was in custody yesterday on a charge of illegal gun possession, the minimum required to hold him while police prepare a more exhaustive charge sheet. He is expected to make his first court appearance today.
Chicago Sun Times 15 Mar 2005 'This is a massacre': 911 tape March 15, 2005 BY ART GOLAB Staff Reporter BROOKFIELD, Wis. -- The terrified voice of a woman emerged from a background of screaming sobs, shouts and chaos. "Oh, my God, there's been a shooting at the Sheraton!" Thus began the first of six chilling 911 tapes of calls from the scene of a church service shooting that one of the callers told dispatchers was a "massacre." The recordings, released Monday, convey a portion of the terror experienced by members of the Living Church of God when one of their own walked into a service at a Brookfield, Wis., hotel Saturday and shot 11 people, killing eight. "Oh! My friend is lying on the floor," said another woman, who had grabbed the phone from the first woman. "I think she's dead. Oh, this is awful. This is a massacre." Asked about the shooter, the woman said, "He's dead. He's dead. He shot himself. Terry Ratzmann, he's one of the members." Who was Ratzmann? During the shooting, Ratzmann seemed to be targeting the church's pastor, Randy Gregory of Gurnee, who was sitting in a rear row when he was killed along with his teenage son, James. Gregory's wife was critically injured. Others appeared to be shot because of "their location in the room closest to the shooter," said Police Capt. Phil Horter. Besides releasing the tapes, Brookfield Police held a news conference at which they said investigators were focusing on Ratzmann's relationship with church members or church teachings as a possible motive, rather than employment problems. They also said Ratzmann, of New Berlin, Wis., had legally acquired the handgun used in the shooting in a purchase from a Waukesha, Wis., gun dealer in 2004. Experts were poring over thousands of files found in three computers at Ratzmann's home and one computer from his job. They said nothing significant had been found so far. The gunman's employers did not report any problems. In fact, Ratzmann was due to show up Monday for work at GE Health Services in Waukesha. Though his temporary assignment was due to end this month, he had applied for a full-time job at GE, and if that didn't work out, his temporary employment contractor was trying to find Ratzmann a project at another company, according to Horter. 'We need ambulances, hurry!' Living Church of God is one of about 300 offshoots of the World Church of God, founded by radio preacher Herbert W. Armstrong. It believes in a Saturday sabbath and no eating of pork or shellfish. And while they believe in Jesus and God, followers do not believe in the holy spirit. Its leaders often preach that the end of the world is near. On Saturday, assured help was on the way, one woman spoke with a 911 dispatcher as children cried, men and women shouted for help and chairs tumbled in the Sheraton Hotel ballroom. "All of a sudden, we heard 'Bang!' like a firecracker, it was so loud and it was again and again," the woman said. "My husband pushed me down to the floor. My son, we all went to the floor -- everybody." Another female caller said, "We need ambulances and police, please hurry." Asked if she could see who was hurt, she said "I don't know, I'm under a chair. . . . Please hurry. There are people screaming, they're hurt." "I thought it was just a balloon going off," said a male caller. "Then, someone said. 'This is real, this is real,' and I ran off." The man said the shooter, identified as Ratzmann, "was putting in another magazine when I ran out." Police arrived at the hotel within five minutes, and just before they got there, the second female church member was still talking to the dispatcher and trying to accept what had happened. "Right after this, we were having a pot luck, and then an entertainment show. . . . I think that's all on hold."
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 15 Mar 2005 www.jsonline.com Search for wife pained shooter - Friends describe Ratzmann as desperate By STEVE SCHULTZE email@example.com Posted: March 15, 2005 A desperate and frustrated Terry Ratzmann would seek out marriageable women during one eight-day period every year in which single members of his Living Church of God had the best chance to date, sometimes driving from city to city in vain attempts to find a match, a member of Ratzmann's Milwaukee area congregation said Tuesday. The 44-year-old Ratzmann would use the church's annual "Feast of Tabernacles" in September or October to meet and possibly find a mate at different celebrations around the country, said Chandra Frazier of Milwaukee. "He would go from feast to feast site to see if he could find someone interested in him," but apparently did not, said Frazier. "It was kind of sad," she said. "He was doing it to find a wife." Because local congregations are small - the Milwaukee-area group has about 80 members - dating other church members effectively is limited to the "Festival of Tabernacles," when singles can meet each other, she said. Dating non-church members is discouraged. The 31-year-old Frazier said she sympathized with Ratzmann's plight, noting that as an unmarried woman, she's acutely aware of the pressure singles are under in the church. It was at a church meeting at a Brookfield hotel Saturday that Ratzmann opened fire, killing seven and wounding four others before turning his gun on himself. It was well-known in the local congregation that Ratzmann suffered from depression, Frazier said. But she said church teachings strongly discourage members from consulting with psychiatrists or other therapists to deal with emotional problems. The church similarly frowns on the use of mood-altering medications, especially more powerful anti-psychotic drugs, said Frazier, believing they "weaken your mind" and make one "susceptible to demons," she said. However, the Rev. Sheldon Monson, an area pastor in Wisconsin for the Living Church of God, said the church had no policy against outside counselors. "We encourage people to seek medical advice and see what the problem is," Monson said. He declined to comment on whether Ratzmann had mental health issues. Frazier said it was the role of the congregation's pastor to counsel members having personal problems. Authorities have said Ratzmann probably targeted his pastor, the Rev. Randy Gregory, and his family during the shooting rampage at Brookfield's Sheraton hotel. Gregory and his 16-year-old son, James, were killed, and Gregory's wife, Marjean, was seriously wounded. Ratzmann reportedly was upset with a sermon given two weeks before the shootings and had some contact with congregation members before Saturday's service, which started at 12:30 p.m. But Ratzmann went home before the service started, apparently dropping off a briefcase with a Bible inside, and returned to the Sheraton, opening fire about 20 minutes into the service. Ratzmann's failure to find a wife or girlfriend caused him much pain in recent years, local church members Mark and Natalie Lorenz said Tuesday. Neither could recall a time when Ratzmann was dating. "He wanted a wife in the worst way," Mark Lorenz said. That was depressing for Ratzmann, especially in a church that places so much focus on family and marriage, Mark Lorenz said. But the depression wasn't visible all the time, Mark Lorenz said. Instead, it showed up sporadically. And the sermon two weeks ago wasn't the first one Ratzmann had walked out of, he said. "Some days, Terry was perfectly fine," Lorenz said. "Other days, he wasn't." The Lorenzes have known Ratzmann for at least several years. Natalie Lorenz took a 2001 church trip to Australia with Ratzmann, her brother David Mohr and other church members. Ella Frazier, Chandra Frazier's mother, recalled a time when she was showing Ratzmann photos of plants. "He said, 'I don't want to see a photo of plants; I want to see a photo of a woman,' " Ella said. According to a search warrant filed Tuesday in Waukesha County Circuit Court, police discovered syringes with rubbing alcohol in a room with a ventilation system at Ratzmann's New Berlin home - something that initially was thought to "be used in preparing controlled substances for ingestion." However after a closer look, police found that Ratzmann used the syringes and the room for making scented soaps, Waukesha County District Attorney Paul Bucher said. "It was not contraband or any illegal substances," Bucher said. Frazier said Ratzmann was well known for his soaps, which he carefully packaged and frequently handed out as gifts. He also regularly baked bread, which he shared with church friends, she said. Police seized three computers and computer equipment from his home, as well as 9mm ammunition and a .22-caliber rifle, according to the search warrant. A manual for a 9mm Beretta handgun also was taken by police, who said that was the type of weapon used in the hotel shooting. A hint of Ratzmann's social life can be gleaned from pictures he posted on a personal Web site. They included a series of pictures taken at Devils Lake State Park in Wisconsin in 2001 and 2003, as well as photos from a 2001 trip to Australia during the "Feast of Tabernacles." Among the Devils Lake photos was a shot that appears to be Ratzmann sitting with an unidentified woman. The caption reads, "Break time - No beer here! But the rocks were pretty cool." The next photo shows a wooded trail with the caption, "Yeah!!! We finally reached the end of the trail. This is where it all began." Also Tuesday, the gun store owner who in 1982 sold Ratzmann the 9mm Beretta handgun used in Saturday's rampage said he could not remember Ratzmann, whose required 48-hour background check cleared without incident. John Fletcher of Fletcher Arms in Waukesha said that Ratzmann never bought anything else, nor took any target practice at the store's indoor shooting range, according to a review of store records from the past five years. "He's not a regular customer," Fletcher said. "Basically, we don't know him. We're still looking to see if we had his name on anything." Fletcher said he has sold guns before to clergymen. But he said he was having a difficult time reconciling how someone as devout as Ratzmann has been described could use the handgun for such violence. Lisa Sink, Megan Twohey and David Doege of the Journal Sentinel staff contributed to this report.
www.sun-sentinel.com 14 Mar 2005 Ruling sparks Schiavo rally aimed at blocking her death sTaff and wire reports Posted March 14 2005 TALLAHASSEE · Women knelt in prayer and raised their hands to the sky during a rally Sunday set up to urge state legislators and other officials to prevent Friday's court-ordered removal of the feeding tube keeping Terri Schiavo alive. The brain-damaged woman's parents told the emotional crowd that their daughter still jokes with them and is trying to learn to say "I love you." And religious groups at the rally argued the removal of the feeding tube would be cruel. "Terri may be disabled, but her life is of great worth to God," James Dobson, founder of the Christian group Focus on the Family, said on a recorded message that was played to the crowd. Doctors say Terri Schiavo is in a persistent vegetative state -- and that any movements or sounds she makes are coincidental and not a result of consciousness. Her husband, Michael Schiavo, contends his wife would not want to be kept alive artificially, and the courts have agreed with him. Bob and Mary Schindler doubt their daughter had end-of-life wishes and have fought their son-in-law in court for nearly seven years. They also dispute that she is in a vegetative state, saying she laughs, cries, interacts with them and tries to speak. Bob Schindler said his daughter's situation is "the inception of genocide." Steve Hering, an engineer who drove from Atlanta to attend the rally, held a sign reading "Criminals and animals don't get starved ... why should Terri?" Another sign read "Stop starving elderly and disabled people." State legislators are rushing to pass bills requiring doctors to provide nutrition and hydration to incapacitated patients who fail to leave very specific advance instructions. The measure is designed to be retroactive and could apply to Terri Schiavo. The bill is expected to move through the House in the next few days, and the Senate will likely consider a companion bill this week, said the Schindlers' attorney, David Gibbs III. Critics of the proposed law say it could force people who thought they had denied such measures to undergo surgery to insert a feeding tube. The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida has called the measure an assault on privacy rights. Turning to the Internet, alternative media and grassroots organizations to spread their right-to-life messages has unleashed an avalanche of support for Schiavo's parents. That has ignited not only the legislative effort in Tallahassee, but a national debate on the withdrawal of medically supplied hydration and nutrition, drawing the likes of the Vatican, and on Saturday, actor Mel Gibson, to their cause. The first goal of the campaign, said Rev. Pat Mahoney, executive director of the Christian Defense Coalition, is to save Terri Schiavo's life. But he and others also hope to roll back the laws and ethical and medical guidelines that have evolved since 1990, when the U.S. Supreme Court recognized artificial sustenance and hydration as medical treatment. That ruling eventually cleared the way for the parents of Nancy Cruzan, the Missouri woman whose case predated Schiavo's, to remove her feeding tube. Now, patients or their health care decisionmakers in every state have the right to refuse or withdraw artificial feedings under certain circumstances. That is something many of those joining the Schindlers' campaign reject as immoral and inhumane, and a step down the road to legalizing euthanasia. "I cannot disagree more: Food and water is not medical treatment. It's ordinary care," said John Stemberger, the Orlando-based president of the Florida Family Policy Council. "Our primary interest is what the law should be, not what the law is, and this will be one of our top priorities: to create new public policy." Maya Bell of the Orlando Sentinel contributed to this report, which was supplemented by The Associated Press.
Armenian National Committee of America 15 Mar 2005 For Immediate Release ~ 2005-03-08 Contact: Elizabeth S. Chouldjian ~ Tel: (202) 775-1918 SEN. ALLEN CALLS FOR U.S. RECOGNITION OF ARMENIAN GENOCIDE Virginia Legislator: U.S. “Not Willing to Sweep History under the Rug” WASHINGTON, DC - In a principled stand for U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide, Senator George Allen (R-VA), today, in his capacity as the presiding officer of a Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee hearing on the Black Sea region, noted that the United States "wants to have good relations with Turkey but we are not willing to sweep history under the rug," reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA). The hearing, on "The Future of Democracy in the Black Sea Area," was held before the Subcommittee on European Affairs and featured testimony by John F. Tefft, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, European and Eurasian Affairs; Bruce P. Jackson, President of the Project on Transitional Democracies; Vladimir Socor, a Senior Fellow at the Jamestown Foundation, and; Zeyno Baran, Director of International Security and Energy Programs for the Nixon Center. Senator Allen, during his remarks, also noted the chilling nature of Adolf Hitler's remarks to quiet the reservations of his military staff on the eve of invading Poland - "Who, after all, remembers the Armenians?" "As he has done so often in the past - as a member of the Virginia legislature, a U.S. Representative, Governor of the Commonwealth, and now as Senator - George Allen has spoken with moral clarity on the need to end any association with Turkey's shameful policy of genocide denial," said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. "Armenians throughout the Old Dominion and around the nation appreciate the Senator's strong leadership on the issue of the Armenian Genocide and the full range of legislative issues dealing with Armenia and the surrounding region." Early in her testimony, Baran of the Nixon Center cited the “deterioration in the U.S.-Turkey bilateral relationship.” She went on to voice her opposition to the Armenian Genocide Resolution, noting that its passage would harm U.S.-Turkey relations. “Given the prevalent Turkish view that the U.S. is running a campaign against Turkey, it would be very damaging if the “Armenian Genocide” resolution passed Congress this year,” stated Baran. “This year is the 90th anniversary of the tragic 1915 massacre and certainly Armenian diaspora groups would like to get recognition. However, such a resolution would play right into the hands of the growing set of anti-Americans and ultra-nationalists in Turkey.” "We are profoundly troubled that there remain voices whose recipe for reining in the Turkish government's increasingly anti-American policies is to reward Turkey by compromising our nation's principled stand against genocide," said Hamparian. "American leadership requires that we stand up for our values, not run away from them."
Providence Journal 13 Mar 2005 www.projo.com Symposium on genocide today at RIC 01:00 AM EST on Monday, March 14, 2005 Five years ago, the Genocide Education Bill was passed into law in Rhode Island, but not all the state's school systems have incorporated the corresponding curricula. But a symposium organized by several local educators that is scheduled to take place today may change that. The first genocide education symposium in the state is being held at Rhode Island College's Gaige Hall. It will feature noted authors and professors, as well as U.S. Sen. Jack Reed and U.S. Rep. James R. Langevin. Esther Kalajian said that she and co-organizer Pauline Getzoyan embarked on "a two-year labor of love to promote genocide education in our schools," that led to today's symposium. The Armenian National Committee of Rhode Island and the Armenian Martyrs' Memorial Committee of Rhode Island have lent their support. Kalajian, an educator and parent, whose own parents "were very dedicated teachers themselves," said that "this was a cause that I believed in." The speakers include Peter Balakian, author of The Burning Tigris; Judith Claire Mitchell, author of The Last Day of the War; Jim Fussell, director of Prevent Genocide International; Jimmie Jones of Facing History and Ourselves; George Aghjayan of the Eastern Region Board of the Armenian National Commtitee of America, and Dr. Henry Theriault, associate professor of philosophy at Worcester State College. The sessions will cover topics including the writing process and the effects of uncovering history, genocide denial, labeling and genocide, when neighbor turns against neighbor, legislation and foreign policy. The bill that passed in 2000 was sponored by former state Rep. Aram Garabedian. It opened the door for elementary and secondary educators to develop curriculum on genocide and human-rights issues, says Kalajian. "Obviously, there are pockets of genocide education in the state, and maybe one or two that are covered more extensively than others. But we wanted to give teachers as much information as possible, and let them see what is done in other states," Kalajian said. Educators will receive a copy of a working curriculum from California, she said, and hear about curriculum in other states, including New Jersey, Massachusetts and New York. "We invited people from outside of Rhode Island, experts in the field . . . not only in their chosen field but experts who work well and relate well with students and teachers. We read books, and we went to hear them," Kalajian said. "We are excited not only by the integrity and ability of the people," but also by their ability to relate to students and faculty, she said.
Woonsocket Call 20 Mar 2005 WoonsocketCall.com The birth of genocide MICHAEL HOLTZMAN , Staff Writer PROVIDENCE - The template for genocide in the modern era happened in 1915 to the Armenian people in their homeland of the Ottoman Empire, an acclaimed author on this subject shared with an education-minded audience last week at Rhode Island College. Former President Theodore Roosevelt called the annihilation of 1-1½ million Armenians "the greatest crime" of World War I, said Peter Balakian, a Colgate University English professor and author of "The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America's Response." Balakian, the keynote speaker, and other scholars and writers addressed an audience of teachers, students and participants during a "genocide symposium" of workshops titled "Remembering Our Past, Educating Our Future." Organizers distributed to teachers a California curriculum guide on human rights and genocide, the first in the country focused on the Armenians as a case- study of victims in the 20th century. World history teachers in the San Francisco Continued from Page A-1 Unified School District prepared it. "I think this history is in the process of an exciting recovery," said Balakian, likening this relearning to previous rebirths of African American, Native American Indian and women's history in recent decades. He and other presenters encouraged educators to find opportunities to teach about the Armenian and subsequent modern genocides. Decades of continued Turkish government denial of the Armenian genocide remains a potent weapon for keeping the event buried beneath world history. At the same time, genocide scholars like Balakian say America retains "blood on its hands" for its unacknowledged extermination of Native American Indians tribes. With Rhode Island one of a handful of states in the country to recently legislate pursuit of teaching genocide and human rights issues -- coupled with the 90th anniversary of the Armenian genocide next month -- Armenian committees organized the symposium at RIC. Crimes of these proportions, U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, (D-R.I.,) told about 100 people, "are usually perpetrated by ordinary people. The people who actually do it are not too much different than us," he said. Reed cautioned that Americans would not necessarily be different under similar wartime circumstances. "We, individually, have a responsibility to resist" atrocities like genocide, he noted. In 1915, the most able-bodied Armenians in the Ottoman Turkish Army were disarmed, thrown into labor camps and gunned down by their military comrades. But an even more insidious, systematic extermination followed, Balakian said. On the night of April 24, 1915, and the following day, about 250 of the cultural and community leaders in the capital city of Constantinople (present-day Istanbul) were rounded up and tortured by the Turks. Most of them were killed, reported Balakian, who in his award-winning memoir "Black Dog of Fate" traced his own family roots to this genocide. "After April 24 it would be easy to carry out the genocide program, for many of the most gifted voices of resistance were gone," Balakian wrote. Subsequently, thousands of other Armenian leaders were quickly rounded up and killed throughout the country. He likened the killing the Armenian soldiers and intellectuals by the Turkish government during World War I to "cutting out the tongue" and "chopping off the head." The women, children and less able men became easy prey for a purpose Adolf Hitler would openly emulate during his extermination of six million European Jews during the Holocaust of World War II. As the Nazi Armies invaded Poland, on Aug. 22, 1939, Hitler reportedly told his commanding generals that any criticism of his planned genocide would bring execution by firing squad. "Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?" Hitler said. The Holocaust has been followed in this century by Cambodian dictator Pol Pot in the 1970s killing and starving 1.8 million of his people, the Hutus eliminating 800,000 Tutsi in Rwanda and 200,000 to 300,000 killed and 1 million homeless during the ongoing Sudanese genocide in Darfur. Yet the Armenian genocide, Balakian said, "remains a seminal event." "It was the first time Americans were confronted with unfathomable numbers of the murder of innocent, unarmed civilians," he said. When Balakian said half to two-thirds of the 2.5 million Christian Armenians perished at the hands of the Turkish government, one listener asked if it was the responsibility of teachers like himself to place this history into its proper place in the classroom. "How did this fall off the map?" asked Marco McWilliams, a junior African American history major at RIC. Terry McMichael, who teaches social studies at Cumberland High School, said the symposium information and resources she's gained would help bridge the gaps in instruction she provides her students. "I know the history of the genocide has been neglected in the history books," said McMichael. "I think this is important enough to spend a few days on it. I know about the Armenian genocide. I'm interested in Middle Eastern history." McMichael said she immediately acquired Balakian's books and two about the Armenian genocide written for young adults called "Forgotten Fire" and "The Road from Home" that she'd use in her classroom. "I feel a strong duty to teach them social responsibility," McMichael said. As testimony to that aim, she said after discussing with students the genocides in Rwanda and elsewhere around the globe, she wrote a letter to United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan. She told him the United Nations "was shirking its duties." "How can I teach my kids about the responsibilities of the U.N.?" she asked. Beth Bloomer, a junior at Cumberland High who accompanied McMichael to the symposium, said she's enthusiastic about the Armenian genocide being taught at her school. Her classmates, she believes, "will respond in a kind of awe or shock that this was happening," Bloomer said. Her parents asked initially why she was going. "I'm into history and I want to learn more about the world and people around us," she said, "and how other people survived." "In most history books, it's not there," agreed Lincoln High social studies teacher Caroline Ricci. "It's originally a political issue," said Ricci, who called the symposium "very valuable." If you're at the forefront of a movement and are vocal, you get your voice heard. And it took a long time to get their voices heard." Perhaps it takes a reading of the 400-page "Burning Tigris" and other literature of the Armenian genocide to understand how it happened -- and why there have been so many obstacles to uncovering this critical piece of history. In a way, it's stunning, because the history is well documented, Balakian said. In 1915The New York Times published 145 stories, many on the front page, about a "campaign of extermination" perpetrated upon upwards of 1 million of the Armenian people. America responded with unprecedented aid to the "starving Armenians," sending more than $100 million at a time a loaf of bread cost a nickel. As the horrors of the genocide unfolded, it was also a time that American ambassadors in Turkey -- most notably Henry Morgenthau -- documented the mass murders of Armenians in an effort to raise alarm and action back home. Balakian said he used hundreds of those documents in the National Archives in Washington, D.C. for "Burning Tigris." "It was a reminder of a time," he said, "people in government wrote with clarity and ethical purpose." He said it was also shortly before America adopted its new policies toward the Middle East in the pursuit of oil.
Coalition of thirty five human rights organizations wins major victory For Immediate Release March 18, 2005 Contact: Biju Mathew (212) 781 1877/(917 232 8437) Contact: Shaik Ubaid (516) 567-0783 Contact: Ashwini Rao (917) 279 4923 Contact: Usha Zacharias (413)-534-8281 NOTORIOUS INDIAN HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSER DENIED ENTRY INTO US! Coalition of thirty five human rights organizations wins major victory "Victory and a New Resolve for Justice" Rally to be held as scheduled on Sunday March 20th 4:30 PM Outside the Madison Square Garden NEW YORK - The American State department decision to deny Mr. Narendra Modi, the Chief Minister of Gujarat and chief architect of the Gujarat pogrom of 2002, a diplomatic visa and to revoke his existing tourist/business visa based on the International Religious Freedom Act is a landmark victory for the Coalition Against Genocide (CAG). The denial of a visa to Mr. Modi is not the outcome of a diplomatic battle between governments, instead it reflects the strength of the transnational alliance between South Asian organizations and human rights groups in the U.S. The CAG action against Modi that began February 24th 2005, ran simultaneous campaigns on multiple fronts and received strong support from international organizations such as Human Rights Watch (HRW), Institute on Religion and Public Policy (IRPP) and Amnesty International (AI). The 35 organizations in U.S. and Canada that constitute CAG represent a spectrum that include women³¹s organizations, youth collectives, secular groups as well as Hindu, Sikh, Christian and Muslim organizations (www.coalitionagainstgenocide.org) Mr. Modi is directly implicated in the 2002 massacre in Gujarat, India, of more than 2,000 persons and is a member of a violent and chauvinistic Hindu nationalist organization called the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS - National Volunteers Corps). The RSS is a shadowy all-male organization drawing inspiration from Hitler and Mussolini that trains militia-like groups of men and indoctrinates them into ideologies of racial/religious cleansing. Mr. Modi currently faces two law suits for crimes against humanity in India, and is in violation of international laws and conventions including Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women, and the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998. The Coalition Against Genocide (CAG) campaign focus was to educate and inform the American public and policymakers about Mr. Narendra Modi³¹s role in the 2002 Gujarat pogrom and in preventing justice being delivered to the victims of the pogroms. Although Mr. Modi is attempting to characterize the state department³¹s visa denial as a nationalist issue, we would like to point out that he was not here to represent the Indian state. Instead, he was sponsored by a corporate entity, the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA) that condoned his abysmal human rights record and invited him as chief guest for their annual convention in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on March 24, 2005. CAG's publicity and outreach actions included letters to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, a campaign to inform members of the U.S. Congress, and a phone and fax campaign against MSNBC host Chris Matthews, American Express and the California State University, Long Beach, who were sponsoring and participating in Mr. Modi legitimation process during his U.S. visit. CAG's first success came when Chris Matthews withdrew from the AAHOA convention. Further, the CAG campaign moved Rep. Conyers to introduce Resolution 156 in Congress condemning Mr. Modi and finally led to the denial/revocation of the visas by the State department. Responding to the announcement of visa denial, CAG spokesperson Usha Zacharias said the visa denial decision "is a testimony to the work done by large segments of the progressive organizations in India and abroad who documented in great detail the abuses of Mr. Modi. CAG's work in the U.S .was to use this detailed documentation and highlight the desperate need for justice to the victims of the pogrom in Gujarat." CAG will continue with its plans to hold a rally on Sunday March 20th at 4:30 PM outside the Madison Square Garden where Mr. Modi was to speak, except that it will be a "VICTORY AND A NEW RESOLVE FOR JUSTICE" rally instead of a protest. The Sunday rally will highlight the continuing human rights violations in Gujarat and push further for the speedy delivery of justice to the victims of the 2002 pogrom. In addition the rally will challenge the role of the US supporters of the divisive politics espoused by Mr. Modi and his political party, and their attempts to direct money to institutions in India that promote hate-mongering and communal violence. CAG considers the denial of visa to Mr. Modi as a clear victory for supporters of human rights and justice in the U.S. and in India. It sends a clear message that perpetrators of religious and political persecution can be held accountable for their actions through dedicated work by broad, inclusive coalitions. Indian and U.S. groups share a long, common tradition of battling for human rights, and securing justice for the oppressed that CAG and its partners will continue to build on. In this context, we call on the Indian government to legally follow up this decision by pressing criminal charges against Modi, and by choking the funding pipeline that runs from the U.S. to India to facilitate the growth of Hindutva's violent politics. We also call on all organizations concerned with minority rights and women's rights to join us in our battle against the RSS ideology of ethnic cleansing we witnessed in horrific detail in the 72-hour pogrom in Gujarat. Amnesty International has clearly held the state of Gujarat, headed by Mr. Modi, responsible for gender crimes in its report, Justice, the victim - Gujarat state fails to protect women from violence http://web.amnesty.org/library/index/engasa200012005, as has Human Rights Watch. The cancellation of Mr. Modi's visit represents the first step in a battle we must continue to fight.
AP 19 Mar 2005 Indian Official's Visa Denial Criticized By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Filed at 6:51 p.m. ET NORTH BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) -- Indian-American leaders Saturday criticized the U.S. government's decision to deny a visa to a high-ranking Indian official, calling it an insult to the world's largest democracy. Narendra Modi, chief minister of India's western Gujarat state, had planned to visit New Jersey, New York and Florida this weekend, but the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi turned down his diplomatic visa application. ``Let me say this as a U.S. citizen ... my president is promoting democracy all over the world, and now I'm confused because my president has stopped the democratically elected leader (Modi) from coming to my country,'' said Niku Trivedi, an organizer of the Association of Indian-Americans of North America. The U.S. State Department said Modi was denied a visa in response to a finding by India's National Human Rights Commission that held his state government responsible for clashes between Hindus and Muslims in Gujarat in 2002 that killed 1,000 people, mostly Muslims. Indian-American leaders, however, said at a gathering Saturday in North Brunswick that groups critical of Modi have a right to protest him but not to prevent him from speaking in the United States. ``They have their freedom of speech, but he had a right to come to the United States. The dismissal of his visa was a great mistake,'' said Seema M. Singh, president of the New Jersey Asian-Indian Chamber of Commerce. This weekend's trip would have been Modi's fourth visit to the United States. He was scheduled to arrive Sunday with a delegation of 20 people at Newark Liberty International Airport, then travel to New York City to meet with business leaders and give a speech at Madison Square Garden. Indian-American groups had planned to turn the event at Madison Square Garden into a protest rally instead, with more than 5,000 people expected to attend. Modi was then expected to travel to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Tuesday to speak to the group of Asian-American hotel owners. Despite the criticism from Modi supporters, the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations said that it has received messages from Indians of all religious backgrounds supporting the decision to reject his visa application. ``He's a controversial figure because of his past, and that cannot be ignored,'' said Rabiah Ahmed, a spokeswoman for the council, which had lobbied for the visa denial.
washingtonpost.com Shattered Reviewed [Excerpt only] by Michael Dirda Sunday, March 20, 2005; Page T01 Saturday by Ian McEwan Doubleday, 289 pp. $26 Ian McEwan is on a roll: His last novel, Atonement, received dream reviews, and he was called the best novelist in English, even compared in psychological astuteness with Jane Austen. The novel before that, Amsterdam, won the Booker Prize and caused one excited reviewer (me) to liken that gallows-humored tale to the work of Evelyn Waugh. And before Amsterdam there were Enduring Love and Black Dogs, both of which earned rapturous notices as well. . . . The high concept of the novel is simple and classic: Here is one day in a man's life, in this case that of 48-year-old neurosurgeon Henry Perowne. The book opens with Henry awaking from uneasy sleep at 3 a.m. on Saturday morning, Feb. 15, 2003, just in time to watch a burning airplane descend from the night sky onto London. Is it a terrorist attack? From this dramatic overture Saturday pauses to tell us about Henry, a workaholic doctor, a husband who passionately loves his wife (the attorney for a big newspaper), a father who ungrudgingly admires his blues-musician son and worries about his poet daughter's free-spirited ways. Clearly, the Perownes represent the very flower of Western civilization -- decent, thoughtful, productive, cultivated, deeply, fundamentally good. And yet. It is 18 months after the Twin Towers. Are such humane values enough to safeguard them in a world in which one can never know, hardly even guess, from where the blow will fall? . . . Yet this blunt statement isn't Henry Perowne's, and McEwan remains too much an artist to fall into the purely and easily programmatic. He grants Daisy compelling arguments when she lashes out at her father for his support of war -- and when Perowne quickly admits he might be wrong, Daisy swoops in: "Then why take the risk? Where's the cautionary principle you're always going on about? If you're sending hundreds of thousands of soldiers to the Middle East, you better know what you're doing. And these bullying greedy fools in the White House don't know what they're doing, they've no idea where they're leading us, and I can't believe you're on their side." Perowne later ripostes, "the iPod generation" doesn't want to know about "the genocide and torture, the mass graves, the security apparatus, the criminal totalitarian state. . . . Let nothing come between them and their ecstasy clubbing and cheap flights and reality TV. But it will, if we do nothing. You think you're all lovely and gentle and blameless, but the religious nazis loathe you."
AP 23 Mar 2005 Conviction In Migrant Massacre HOUSTON, March 23, 2005 Truck driver Tyrone Williams leaves the federal courthouse in Houston, in shackles, Monday. (Photo: AP) The 2003 journey was the deadliest human smuggling attempt in U.S. history. (AP) As the temperature inside the airtight tractor-trailer soared to 173 degrees, the immigrants inside grew more desperate. Some clawed at the doors until their fingers were bloody; others crowded around a hole they had punched through the wall so they could breathe. Screams filled the tomblike box. Then the bodies started falling in the darkness with a hard thud against the floor. Truck driver Tyrone Williams, who prosecutors said ignored the immigrants' cries as 19 of them slowly died, was convicted Wednesday of 38 counts of transporting illegal immigrants in the deadliest human smuggling attempt in U.S. history. But he was spared the death penalty because the jurors could not agree on whether he bore direct responsibility for the deaths. The judge also declared a mistrial on 20 counts of conspiracy and harboring after the jury deadlocked on those charges during 2½ days of deliberations. One of those charges also carried the death penalty. Williams smiled and received congratulatory pats from his attorneys when he learned he would not face the death penalty. The 34-year-old could get life in prison. Prosecutors said during the trial that Williams was paid $7,500 by a smuggling ring to carry more than 70 illegal immigrants from Harlingen to Houston in May 2003. The refrigeration unit on Williams' trailer was not turned on for the trip. Survivors testified that as the heat in the trailer became unbearable, the immigrants took off their sweat-drenched clothes and crowded around holes they punched out of the truck so they could breathe. They also kicked out a signal light to try to get the attention of passing motorists, and pounded on the walls. One survivor said he used a cell phone to call 911 twice. The first call was answered in English. After he called back and got a Spanish-speaking dispatcher, no help arrived. Prosecutors said Williams ignored the immigrants' screams and banging and even called the operators of the smuggling ring on his cell phone to demand more money because he feared they would damage his truck. Williams eventually abandoned the trailer about 100 miles southwest of Houston after opening the doors and finding some of the immigrants lying in the trailer. He was arrested a few hours later at a Houston hospital. Seventeen people, including a 5-year-old boy, died inside the trailer of dehydration, overheating and suffocation. Two others died later. Authorities who found the trailer at the truck stop described piles of half-naked bodies piled 4 feet high on the vomit-covered floor and bloody claw marks on its doors. The defense had argued that prosecutors singled out Williams for the death penalty because he is black. But prosecutors said he deserved such a punishment because he alone could have freed the immigrants. U.S. District Judge Vanessa Gilmore set an April 11 hearing on whether to retry Williams on the deadlocked counts. No sentencing date was set. Defense attorneys argued that while Williams was guilty of transporting the immigrants, the ring's other members were responsible for the deaths because they packed too many people into the trailer. "We don't give the death penalty in this country for an accident," defense attorney Craig Washington said. "Tragedies happen everyday. But every tragedy is not a crime." Washington said his client could not understand the immigrants' pleas because he doesn't speak Spanish, but when Williams found out what was happening, he bought 55 bottles of water for them at a truck stop and shoved them through the hole in the trailer. However, Fatima Holloway, who rode along with Williams, said she pleaded with him to help the immigrants sooner. She said both of them could hear the immigrants banging on the sides of the trailer. Williams "was just trying to get rid of them. He was just concerned about his truck," she testified. Williams, a Jamaican citizen who lives in Schenectady, N.Y., is the only one of 14 defendants in the case to face a possible death sentence. Federal law allows capital punishment in smuggling cases that result in death. In December, two other defendants in the case were convicted of various smuggling charges and are awaiting sentencing. Five others have pleaded guilty. One man remains a fugitive.
chicagotribune.com THE TERRI SCHIAVO CASE: WHAT'S THE REPUBLICAN STRATEGY? `Culture of life' theme a potent political weapon Social conservatives reframe battle over abortion, analysts say By Jill Zuckman Washington Bureau Published March 22, 2005 WASHINGTON -- With their intervention in Terri Schiavo's life-or-death case, social conservatives have dramatically expanded the political terrain of the "culture of life" philosophy and all it implies, seizing the high ground and throwing liberals on the defensive. Once a phrase devoted primarily to questions about abortion, lawmakers hope to apply that ideological--and politically appealing--imprimatur of "life" to an array of matters, from the genocide in Darfur to embryonic stem cell research to cloning and even prison reform issues. What `culture of life' means "`Culture of life' means all life is sacred and has to be protected," Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) said in an interview. "That includes somebody in Darfur or in the womb or disabled or somebody trying to get ahead in the inner city. We should look at this as a very holistic message." Still, some Republicans worry that too much government intrusion into the lives of everyday Americans could spark a backlash. "I think there comes a point that they have to be very careful," said Tom Rath, the Republican national committeeman from New Hampshire, who called the Schiavo debate a political plus for the GOP so far. "There's this line of when is it OK for the government to get involved in personal family decisions and when is it not." The use of terms such as "pro-life" and "culture of life," along with such slogans as "Defend life," have proven extraordinarily politically potent, political analysts say, enabling their backers to seize the high moral ground and rise above the emotional details of such issues as abortion. The strategy seems to throw abortion-rights proponents on the defensive, requiring them to insist that they are not "anti-life." Democrats and liberals bristle at the notion that they value life less because they believe in abortion rights and think that Schiavo's husband, Michael--or the courts--should make the final decision on whether to remove her feeding tube. Some note that many conservatives who talk about being "pro-life" are in favor of the death penalty. And opponents of the Schiavo measure say that if Republicans are serious about the compassion implied in the "culture of life" terminology, they should consider helping suffering people on a larger scale. "We should say, `OK, you're so compassionate, let's look at: Do they have adequate medical care, what sort of support do the families get?'" said Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.). "Some Democrats say: These are the people who cut Medicaid in the House. Where's the compassion there?" In addition, opponents see the weekend's emergency session and late-night rush to the White House as a Pandora's box that could result in other family dramas playing out in the halls of Congress. "What do they say to the next father, brother, mother, son or grandmother who says, `I disagree and I'm coming to Congress to resolve it.' How do you say no?" Frank asked. John Pitney, a government professor at Claremont McKenna College in California, said the Republicans' approach leaves them with the upper hand. "It's an attempt to reach the rhetorical high ground because once you've claimed the mantle of the culture of life, where does that leave the other side?" Pitney asked. Gary Bauer, president of American Values, a conservative think tank and lobbying group, said he sees the "culture of life" view affecting more and more issues in Washington. "That's something we ought to be promoting every place we can," Bauer said. "It's a good thing and helps people to understand that we've all got a stake in these things." The mid-1990s genocide in Rwanda, he said, is an example where the world community did nothing to step in. "It's not enough for us then to go to a couple of moving movies at the local cinema and feel good because we watched that movie and then miss it the next time another one of these atrocious cases happen," Bauer said. While the legislation calling for Schiavo's case to be reviewed by a federal court was limited to her case alone, Brownback and others hope to hold hearings on the rights of patients like the Florida woman. "You're seeing this very strong and continuous thread that all life is sacred and should be protected," he said. "That's the thread that holds it all together." `Viable' life on agenda Over the next five years, Bauer said, many issues that fall under the "culture of life" rubric will coalesce into one large political debate, Bauer said, citing the treatment of the disabled and the terminally ill, as well as abortion and stem cell research. He also said he expects the Schiavo case to add impetus for broad-based legislation guaranteeing that "viable" individuals are not deprived of basic medical care. "I think it's probably going to be a little messy because the science is way ahead of any kind of serious ethical conversation or morality conversation by our culture," Bauer said. Rath said many voters are likely to wonder how many other Terri Schiavos are out there. "These are the kinds of cases that people in real life face every day," he said. "And as heart wrenching and tragic as they are, the Congress doesn't get involved."
www.in-forum.com 23 Mar 2005 Nazi Web site blames society for massacre By Amy Dalrymple, The Forum Published Wednesday, March 23, 2005 · advertisement · The Nazi Web site with posts by Jeff Weise foreshadowing the Red Lake school shooting responded Tuesday by calling Monday's shootings a symptom of society's failure. Steve Martinez, spokesman for the Libertarian National Socialist Green Party, said Weise sacrificed himself and others to wake people up to a problem. "He was ready to die and did so bravely," said Martinez, who is based in Austin, Texas. "What he wanted to do was send a warning to us all that our society has become rotted from within, and that we need to fix it." Weise posted 34 comments on www.nazi.org last year under the names Todesengal, meaning "angel of death" in German, and NativeNazi. In a message from April 19, 2004, Weise said someone threatened to shoot up the school on Hitler's birthday, April 20, and people suspected him because he's a National Socialist. His most recent post was Aug. 20. The message board moderator said Weise was "clearly highly intelligent and contemplative, especially for one so young." A profile for Todesengal says he registered on the site March 18, 2004, with the e-mail address decemberofthesoul@ hotmail.com. His instant message screen name was listed as verlassen4_20. Verlassen is a German word for lonesome or desolate, and the number could be another reference to Hitler's birthday. The yahoo profile for verlassen4_20, last updated in June, shows a disturbing image of a young male's face with demon eyes and skull-like teeth. It lists his nickname as totenkopf, German for death's head or skull, and his occupation as "bein a problem." Under "latest news," the profile says he is on anti-depressants and seeing a therapist. It also says: "I got a brand new pair of cuts on my wrists that are gonna turn into beautiful scars some day." On many of Weise's nazi.org posts, he included these comments: "Native pride" and a Hitler quote, "Obstacles do not exist to be surrendered to, but only to be broken." John Helgeland, a history professor at North Dakota State University who studies violent extremist groups in the heartland, said some of Weise's Internet postings contained typical Nazi sentiments. Weise, for instance, embraced Hitler and condemned Jews. But he said it's hard to place those views within a context that would be appealing to an American Indian. Nazis, after all, touted an Aryan "master race." "It's a quandary," said Helgeland, who has studied the Posse Comitatus and other extremist groups. The appeal for Weise seemed to be the idea that different races would remain "pure" by isolating themselves in racial colonies, he said. In one post, Weise says his parents were both American Indians, but he also has some German, Irish and French Canadian in his blood. In this message from July, Weise explains his philosophy: "As a result of cultural dominance and interracial mixing there are barely any full blooded Natives left. Where I live less than 1% of all the people on the Reservation can speak their own language, and among the youth wanting to be black has run rampant. Under a National Socialist government, things for us would improve vastly... That is, if we haven't already become too soft from the way this materialistic life-style has made us, and that is why I am pro-Nazi. "It's hard though, being a Native American National Socialist; people are so misinformed, ignorant, and closed-minded it makes your life a living hell." Forum reporter Patrick Springer contributed to this report.
AFP 23 Mar 2005 Red Lake steeped in social unrest Red Lake - Plagued by poverty and high unemployment, the proud but troubled Red Lake Indian Reservation in northern Minnesota has a history of social difficulties and unrest. And while the native Chippewa Indian community, that makes up virtually 100 percent of the reservation's 5 000 or so population, has faced the horror of Tuesday's high school massacre with almost defiant solidarity, it was internal strife that triggered its previous brushes with violence. In the bloodiest incident, two Chippewa teenagers died and several others were wounded in a 1979 insurrection by armed dissidents, angered by the ousting of one of their sympathisers from Red Lake's tribal council. The insurgents broke into the tribal police headquarters, took hostages, and then went on the rampage, burning several reservation government buildings. 'This could just as easily have happened in a non-Indian community' The FBI was called in and, by the time the mini-uprising had been finally quelled, two teenagers had been shot and killed and around four million dollars worth of property destroyed. And in 1986, then chief tribal judge George Sumner was gunned down by a man who accused him of overseeing a judicial system that violated civil rights. One of only two "closed reservations" that stand on land never ceded to the US federal government, the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians enjoys a particularly high degree of autonomy. The tribe has its own constitution, and civil and criminal justice system, with the tribal police responsible for law enforcement. Major crime, such as Tuesday's school shooting, also comes under the jurisdiction of the FBI, but federal officials have taken care to acknowledge the sovereignty and authority of the reservation's tribal leaders. "We will not do anything without consulting the Tribal Council," said United States attorney for Minnesota, Tom Heffelfinger who, while recognising the special status accorded the reservation, rejected suggestions that the killings were somehow a by-product of the tribe's relative isolation. "This could just as easily have happened in a non-Indian community," he said, recalling the 1999 Columbine massacre in Colorado. "This is an American problem, not a Native American problem," he added. There were indications, however, that the 16-year-old gunman, identified as Jeff Weise, who shot dead five fellow students at Red Lake High School, may have taken his own brand of Native American pride to extremes. A person identifying himself as Jeff Weise from the Red Lake reservation had posted comments on a neo-Nazi website denouncing interracial mixing within the community he lived. "As a result of cultural dominance and interracial mixing, there is barely any full-blooded Natives left," one 2004 posting attributed to Weise said. "Where I live, less than one percent of all the people on the reservation can speak their own language." A Minnesota department of education report last year found that nearly 25 percent of Red Lake High School's 355 students required special education, and the school failed to meet federal standards for reading and math. Four in five of the students met government poverty standards making them eligible for free and reduced-price lunches and other benefits. The Red Lake Chippewa Tribe is one of the poorest in the state, a situation exacerbated by a very high unemployment rate. The reservation boasts three casinos, but its isolated location 530km north-west of Minneapolis and St. Paul has robbed it of the same level of gambling revenue that has transformed the economies of other Minnesota tribes.
www.theherald.co.uk 23 Mar 2005 Fight for life in the shadow of the gun Beth Pearson March 23 2005 A week or so ago I spent a good 20 minutes tutting at the sleeve of the new 50 Cent album The Massacre, which sold 1.14 million copies in the first four days of its release in the US. On each page it features the rapper posing with guns. Sometimes they're incidental, such as when he's counting his money and his gun is just resting on the table; sometimes they're props, like when he has two bikinied women at his side and each is holding aloft a shiny silver something-or-other; sometimes they're being put to use, like when he and a buddy are hanging out of the side of a car, their bright yellow gunfire streaming across to the target of their drive-by shooting. Yesterday I wondered whether this and the shooting on Monday of nine people by a 17-year-old student at a high school in the Red Lake Indian Reservation in northern Minnesota have anything in common. I don't mean a causal relationship – this isn't the Daily Mail – but where they figure in the apparent monolith that is American gun culture. The US is a country where guns as a cultural symbol – if we give 50 Cent's artwork a generous interpretation – and guns as a means to a high school massacre co-exist. Yet when we issue criticisms of gun crime and culture in the country, it appears we're criticising the same thing: it includes the gangstas-turned-rappers posing with guns, the white NRA members shooting down the range and the teenager who steals his grandfather's gun to kill his grandparents, five students, a teacher, a security guard and himself. They're all the same aren't they? That kind of wholesale disapproval of guns and their users is fine if that's all you intend to do, but not if you want to understand what kind of culture accommodates six shootings in schools over the past eight years and 30,242 gun deaths in 2002, according to a 2005 CDC National Centre for Health Statistics report. The crucial point appears to be that there is no single gun culture. That such a tragedy occurred in a place where there is no cultural precedent is one indication of this. As a resident of the Red Lake reservation and founder of the American Indian Movement, Clyde Bellecourt, commented of the killings at Red Lake High School: "No-one would ever think that that type of violence would visit itself in our communities. It's not part of our culture and our traditions, so we're kind of puzzled by it all." That we persist in associating gun crime with people for whom guns are culturally embedded – a group more popularly known as white trash gun nuts – does nothing but polarise the gun debate into stasis. The anti-gun lobby has effectively isolated gun owners by identifying them with a certain ideology (Republican), gender (male), race (white) and education (not much), while associating themselves with a non-violent, intellectual position. This leaves incidents such as that at Red Lake to occupy a grey area where there are no simple explanations except the blanket "I told you so" response to gun crime by those who argue there is insufficient gun control (plus an extra point for the related argument that all gun users are inherently irresponsible and inevitably will kill). Indeed, a deeper division – philosophical and political as much as cultural – necessitates that we take a broader view of gun culture. The Red Lake shootings have taken place at a time when President Bush and Congress have intervened in the case of Terri Schiavo. Her parents want their daughter, who is in a persistent vegetative state, to have a feeding tube reinserted to prolong her life (a federal judge has most recently ruled that the tube should not be reinserted). This is a government who will defend the right to life of a woman in a persistent vegetative state yet will not acknowledge with legislation the threat to the right of life presented by the right to own and use guns. There's something odd about the principle that life ought to be valued when it's on the brink of ending – except in the case of capital punishment, of course – but becomes a less pressing concern when it is not as immediate or predictable. When it's a forward-looking, preventative policy on gun control, for instance. Many gun owners – including George W Bush – do not accept that this second strategy embodies value for life because they don't accept that gun control would reduce gun deaths. A further obstacle is the belief that gun ownership implies value for the life of the owner. Treating gun owners as a single, homogeneous entity does nothing to dissuade people of such views because in attempting to address everyone, the gun control lobby is reaching no-one. Not white trash, not educated liberals, not the NRA, not the president. Certainly not 50 Cent.
washingtonpost.com 25 Mar 2005 Native Americans Criticize Bush's Silence - Response to School Shooting Is Contrasted With President's Intervention in Schiavo Case By Ceci Connolly Washington Post Staff Writer Friday, March 25, 2005; Page A06 MINNEAPOLIS, March 24 -- Native Americans across the country -- including tribal leaders, academics and rank-and-file tribe members -- voiced anger and frustration Thursday that President Bush has responded to the second-deadliest school shooting in U.S. history with silence. Three days after 16-year-old Jeff Weise killed nine members of his Red Lake tribe before taking his own life, grief-stricken American Indians complained that the White House has offered little in the way of sympathy for the tribe situated in the uppermost region of Minnesota. "From all over the world we are getting letters of condolence, the Red Cross has come, but the so-called Great White Father in Washington hasn't said or done a thing," said Clyde Bellecourt, a Chippewa Indian who is the founder and national director of the American Indian Movement here. "When people's children are murdered and others are in the hospital hanging on to life, he should be the first one to offer his condolences. . . . If this was a white community, I don't think he'd have any problem doing that." Weise's victims included his grandfather and five teenagers; seven other students were wounded, and two of them remain in serious condition in a hospital in Fargo, N.D. White House spokesman Scott McClellan, in an informal discussion with reporters Tuesday, said: "Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who were killed." "I hope that he would say something," said Victoria Graves, a cultural educator at Red Lake Elementary School on the reservation. "It's important that there's acknowledgment of the tragedy. It's important he sees the tribes are out here. We need help." The reaction to Bush's silence was particularly bitter given his high-profile, late-night intervention on behalf of Terri Schiavo, the brain-damaged Florida woman caught in a legal battle over whether her feeding tube should be reinserted. "The fact that Bush preempted his vacation to say something about Ms. Schiavo and here you have 10 native people gunned down and he can't take time to speak is very telling," said David Wilkins, interim chairman of the Department of American Indian Studies at the University of Minnesota and a member of the North Carolina-based Lumbee tribe. "He has not been real visible in Indian country," said former senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-Colo.). "He's got a lot of irons in the fire, but this is important." Even more alarming than Bush's silence, he said, is the president's proposal to cut $100 million from several Indian programs next year. After hearing grumbling from tribal leaders, Jacqueline Johnson, executive director of the National Congress of American Indians, called the White House on Thursday to inquire about Bush's silence. "I wanted to make sure the White House is paying attention to this issue," she said. "I wasn't sure." Asked Thursday about Bush's silence, spokeswoman Dana Perino said that he plans to dedicate part of his Saturday radio address to the Red Lake tragedy and that he is following the case closely through the FBI and the Justice Department. In the hours after the massacre at Columbine High School in Colorado in 1999, President Bill Clinton publicly expressed his condolences and followed up a few days later with a radio address in which he proposed new gun control measures and school safety projects. At the Red Lake Urban Indian Office here, volunteer Marilyn Westbrook said she was disappointed but not surprised. "I don't feel he cares about the American Indian people," said Westbrook, as she collected donations of gas cards and money to enable fellow Red Lake members to make the 260-mile journey to the reservation. "Why hasn't he made any statements about what happened with this shooting?" Staff writers Dana Hedgpeth in Red Lake and Peter Baker in Waco, Tex., and research editor Lucy Shackelford in Washington contributed to this report.
AP 26 Mar 2005 Bush praises fallen security guard WACO, Texas (AP) -- President Bush on Saturday praised Minnesota high school security guard Derrick Brun for saving countless students by bravely confronting the teenage gunman who shot and killed him. "Derrick's bravery cost him his life, and all Americans honor him," Bush said in his first public comments about Monday's shootings on Minnesota's Red Lake Indian reservation. Brun, a former police officer, was working at the doors of Red Lake High School when 16-year-old student Jeff Weise approached with a loaded shotgun and other weapons. "Although he was unarmed, Derrick ignored the pleas of a colleague to run for his life," Bush said in his weekly radio address. "By engaging the assailant, he bought vital time for a fellow security guard to rush a group of students to safety." Besides Brun, Weise shot to death five students and a teacher, before killing himself. Earlier, he shot to death his grandfather and the man's girlfriend. Bush said he and the first lady are praying for the victims and that the federal government is helping the community. He said the FBI and Department of Justice are coordinating with other authorities to provide counseling, help with funeral arrangements and offer other assistance. "As we help the families in this community, we must do everything in our power to prevent tragedies like this from happening," Bush said. "Children benefit from a sense of community, and the support and involvement of caring adults. "To keep our children safe and protected, we must continue to foster a culture that affirms life and provides love, and helps our young people build character." Some American Indians have complained that Bush did not respond publicly to the shooting for four days. His first communication with the community came Friday morning in a five-minute telephone call to Floyd Jourdain Jr., chairman of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa. In contrast, President Clinton publicly expressed his condolences within hours of the shootings that left 15 dead at Columbine High School in 1999. He also proposed new gun control measures and school safety projects in a radio address a few days later. Bush also used Saturday's address to celebrate Easter and remember military members overseas. "Easter is the victory of light over darkness," Bush said. "In this season of renewal, we remember that hope leads us closer to truth, and that in the end, even death itself will be defeated. That is the promise of Easter morning."
The Asian Age India 23 Mar 2005 How we made U.S deny visa to Modi | Angana Chatterji Nishrin Hussain lives in the United States. She is the daughter of Ahsanhusain A. Jafri of Gujarat, former Member of Parliament, who was tortured, decapitated, and murdered in 2002. The events of Gujarat 2002 have placed Nishrin in exile. Zaheera Sheik, who experienced the trauma of her family's murder and was present for the Best Bakery ordeal, was coerced and intimidated by the Sangh Parivar. Bilkis Yakoob Rasool (Bilkis Bano) of Randhikpur village was gang-raped. She was five months pregnant at the time of her rape and lost 14 family members, including her three-year-old child, mother, and two sisters. Since then, she has been forced to move 20 times due to threats against her. These and other women of Gujarat live and relive the violence of 2002, their families and futures devastated. Such realities compelled the formation of the Coalition Against Genocide (CAG). CAG was formed in February 2005 to protest the planned business visit to the US in March 2005 of Narendra Modi, the chief minister of Gujarat, and demand accountability and justice in response to the Gujarat genocide. CAG is a spectrum of 38 organisations and 10 supporting groups, and individuals, across the US and Canada (www.coalitionagainstgenocide.org). CAG utilises several avenues, including grassroots mobilisation, e-mail, phone and fax campaigns, public demonstrations, and draws from various constituencies — students, those self-employed, professionals, academics, artists, people of/from India, and allies. CAG is comprised of Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, and those who profess other faiths or none. CAG challenges Modi supporters, primarily upper-caste Hindus, in the US who claim to represent Hindus and India, and others guided into buttressing Hindutva, "Hindu Tatva" — "Hindu principles," Nazi inspired, advocated by Hindu extremist groups dedicated to promoting a Hindu rashtra (theocracy) in India. The Association of Indian Americans of North America (AINA) invited Narendra Modi to New York on March 20. Sangh members in the US formed AINA for this purpose. The Asian American Hotel Owner's Association (AAHOA) invited Modi as chief guest for their annual convention in Florida on March 24-26. CAG called on Chris Matthews, host of Hardball, MSNBC, to decline the invitation to speak at the AAHOA Convention, and American Express to rescind its sponsorship of AAHOA. On March 8, Chris Matthews withdrew from the AAHOA event, giving up an estimated professional fee of thousands. The Institute on Religion and Public Policy wrote to secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, some CAG members lobbied with Capitol Hill, and 125 South Asia Studies and other faculty in the US wrote to the state department, the House and Senate Foreign Relations Committees, and the United Nations, to decline Modi's visa. Disturbingly, Modi was also invited to inaugurate the Yadunandan Centre for India Studies at the Asian and Asian American Studies Department of California State University at Long Beach on March 22, demonstrating once again the infiltration of Hindu nationalists into the academy. Again, 135 faculty wrote to the university asking it to rescind Modi's invitation. Uka Solanki, a Gujarati businessman and recipient of the 2005 Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin's Pravasi Bharatiya Community Service Award, has given a large donation to the Asian American Studies Department and to the Centre for India Studies. University spokespersons so far have commented only that the request for Modi to inaugurate the Centre came from some donors. Former President of India, K.R. Narayanan, recently testified to a "conspiracy" between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) governments in New Delhi and Gujarat, where between February 28 and March 2, 2002, under Narendra Modi's leadership, Hindu nationalists perpetrated an event distinctive in the movement's malevolent reach for a Hindu state. In 16 of Gujarat's 24 districts, 2,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed, 200,000 were internally displaced. In many districts, the violence continued beyond those three unimaginable days into April and May. Over 100,000 homes, thousands of hotels and establishments were damaged or destroyed. Relief camps were attacked at night. Narendra Modi and the Gujarat government enabled the genocidal violence. Appointed in 2001, Modi contested election as chief minister in December 2002, and won, in the climate of terror that prevailed in Hindu nationalist ruled Gujarat. An economic boycott against the Muslim community continues; 239 Muslims and one Sikh remain detained under Prevention Of Terrorism Act (Pota) even as the Indian Parliament repealed Pota in December 2004. The events of February 28-March 2, 2002 constitute genocide under the United Nations Genocide Convention. Modi and the Gujarat government face charges for crimes against humanity and genocide. Inquiries and commissions, including the Indian National Human Rights Commission, have condemned Modi's role in the politically motivated attacks on minorities. The interim report from the Justice U.C. Banerjee Commission has concluded that the fire in coach S-6 of the Sabarmati Express on February 27, resulting in the deaths of 59 people, was an accident and not a "terrorist" attack on Hindu pilgrims as claimed by those who organised the carnage that followed. Three years later, the survivors still await justice and reparations. Even as Muslims were the primary targets of violence in 2002, Christians were attacked and robbed during the post-Godhra riots. For those targeted, including dalits and adivasis, Narendra Modi, the architect of the state organised pogrom, is a monster whose words and deeds have endorsed rapes, the forced abortion of foetuses and their display on trishuls — brutalities that irrevocably scar the present. More than 2,000 of 4,000 cases filed by the victims were never investigated or dismissed, leading the Supreme Court of India to transfer several out of the state. On February 23, 2005, an Ahmedabad court sentenced three persons to four years' imprisonment for stabbing to death Naseembibi Safar Ali, a pregnant woman, on February 28, 2002, in Madhavpura, Ahmedabad. To find the male perpetrators guilty of murder and punish them with four-year sentences makes a mockery of justice and aligns the state, once again, with the sexualised violence that was Gujarat in 2002. Modi is a pracharak (proselytiser) for the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the xenophobic Hindu fundamentalist organisation, which, along with other Hindu extremist groups, receives funds from the US and UK. Modi's current trip to the US would have been a fundraising event. Sudhir Parikh, a prominent Indian and Sangh Parivar affiliate living in the US, invited Modi in 2004. Parikh is on the board of the Indian American National Foundation, an umbrella organisation of AAHOA, American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, National Federation of Indian American Associations, and Indian American Forum for Political Education. Other Hindu nationalists associated with hosting Modi's New York visit include Suresh Jani, former secretary, Overseas Friends of the BJP (OFBJP); Ved Nanda, Sanghchalak (chief), Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, the overseas wing of the RSS, and former president of Friends of India Society International; and Mukund Mody, founder and former President of the OFBJP (www.narendramodi.net/agenda.htm). Research undertaken by two independent groups, the Campaign to Stop Funding Hate and South Asia Watch Limited, demonstrate the linkages between money raised in the US and UK and Hindu fundamentalism in India, yet little has been done to curtail fundraising for hate. There has been bi-partisan support in the US for human rights in Gujarat. Former President Clinton condemned the events in Gujarat. In 2002, Congressman Joseph Pitts (Republican-Pennsylvania) condemned the premeditated brutality and cited insufficient action on the part of the US. Congressman Pitts also conveyed that Hindu extremist groups receive some of their funds from charities in the US. In 2003 and 2004, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom recommended that India be designated a "Country of Particular Concern." On March 15, 2005, House Resolution 156 was introduced in the United States Congress by Congressperson John Conyers, ranking Democrat (Michigan), House Judiciary Committee, and Dean, Congressional Black Caucus, and Congressperson Pitts, member, India Caucus and the Congressional Human Rights Caucus, "condemning the conduct of Chief Minister Narendra Modi for his actions to incite religious persecution and urging the United States to condemn all violations of religious freedom in India." On March 18, Modi was denied a diplomatic visa under Section 214(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) by the US embassy in New Delhi, as this was not a diplomatic visit, and his tourist and business visa was revoked under INA Section 212(a)(2)(G), "as an official responsible for carrying out severe violations of religious freedom," under Section 3 of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998. Following this, AAHOA has withdrawn Modi's invitation, and American Express has cancelled $150,000 in sponsorship money. In response, militant workers of the Bajrang Dal set fire to a PepsiCo warehouse in Surat. Other acts of arson and aggression will likely follow. The Indian government must stop the cycle of violence and refuse to be held captive by Hindu nationalists. The Congress government has elected to interpret Washington's decision as "anti-India." How is upholding religious freedom, rule of law, and accountability in governance contrary to the interests of the nation? While the US continues to violate the rights of citizens in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere, in this instance, Washington's decision is supportive of human rights. Indian jurist L.M. Singhvi has alleged that the US denied and revoked Narendra Modi's visa without due process of law. It should be incumbent on the government of India to initiate due process of law investigating Modi's role in executing the Gujarat massacre, as individual and chief minister of Gujarat. That Narendra Modi was denied a visa, that his active involvement in crimes against humanity has been officially noted, is something to celebrate. The larger task remains to hold accountable Narendra Modi, who has committed genocide. Angana Chatterji is associate professor of Anthropology at California Institute of Integral Studies, and member, Coalition Against Genocide
www.tucsoncitizen.com 22 MAr 2005 Teen Columnist: We close our minds, hearts to genocide in Sudan ERICA NANNINI firstname.lastname@example.org When I received an e-mail from a dedicated Tucson Citizen reader, challenging me to take on a difficult topic for my next column, I looked into the subject a bit to see if it would elicit any strong responses. I sifted through the Internet for information on an issue relatively foreign to me: the genocide in Sudan. Sure enough, I met my research with near disbelief. The violence and bloodshed of what is now commonly referred to as an "ethnic cleansing" plagues the Darfur region of Sudan, even after the recent peace treaty ending the 46-year Sudanese civil war. The Sudanese government continues to employ Arab "Janjaweed" militias for systematic killing of Christian Sudanese, deliberately destroying homes and civilian areas, devastating hundreds of peaceful villages and displacing as many as 2 million Sudanese to camps in Darfur cities or neighboring regions. As reported by the BBC recently, the United Nations estimates at least 180,000 Sudanese refugees have fallen victim to malnutrition or illness over the past 18 months. Although sources can't seem to come to consensus on statistics, those killed in ethnic violence boost that number to more than 300,000, according to top U.S. and British officials. The situation is frighteningly reminiscent of the Holocaust during World War II: religious persecution of staggering proportions. We can look back on the Holocaust and wonder how America and other civilized nations stood by during the systemic slaughter of more than 6 million Jews. One factor may have been the lack of an effective network of communication and world-wide awareness; perhaps not enough people knew about the conflict to generate intervention. If so, what excuse do we have now? News travels instantaneously. From Time magazine to 24-hour news channels to the Internet, the Information Age envelopes us. However, certain information is more readily available and highly publicized than the rest, a valuable lesson I learned on the trusty World Wide Web. Consider the tragic tsunami that ravaged Southeast Asia on Dec. 24, leaving more than 170,000 dead and more than 126,000 still missing. Any American would have to be comatose not to have heard about the tsunami, and not one public school nationwide has failed to rally some type of fund-raiser to aid the victims. These efforts are rightly justified, of course, but I am mystified as to why the world was so ready and willing to mobilize an overwhelming relief effort for one tragedy, while another crisis of catastrophic proportions goes relatively ignored. On Google, a search for "tsunami relief" retrieved a mind-boggling 7.16 million matches, while "Darfur relief" pulled up just 287,000 hits. Such a gap suggests the world is far more capable of rallying around one defined natural disaster than a man-made tragedy that builds slowly but surely over time. Yet if we can promote awareness and support for the people being murdered, raped, orphaned and displaced in Darfur, it is possible to halt the killings where they stand and prevent the Sudanese genocide from reaching Holocaust proportions. It would be a shame to make the same heart-rending mistake twice. Moreover, as the e-mailing reader notes, America prides itself on spreading the seeds of democracy and pervading civilization with justice and equality. Although strides arguably have been made toward that goal of "life, liberty and happiness" in Iraq, it is time to recognize another large-scale, real and present horror, then rally the international community to take steps to quell the violence and end these crimes against humanity. It will take a unified stance and collaborative effort among nations to effectively bring about the change that the persecuted Sudanese desperately await. If we doubt the worth of such an effort, simply fast forward 50 years and consider how we want the history books to read. Teen columnist Erica Nannini (email@example.com) is a junior at Salpointe Catholic High School. Teen columns appear on Tuesday.
washingtonpost.com 26 Mar 2005 Panel to Continue Unsealing Secrets From World War II Reuters Saturday, March 26, 2005; Page A03 CRAWFORD, Tex., March 25 -- President Bush signed legislation into law Friday extending by two years the life of a government panel charged with declassifying CIA documents that detail the spy agency's ties to former Nazis and war criminals. The legislation, which won final congressional approval earlier this month, clears the way for the release of thousands of documents on former Nazis, including some who assisted in the CIA's Cold War espionage against the former Soviet Union. The Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government Records Interagency Working Group was established by the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act of 1998 and had been set to disband by the end of this month. The law Bush signed extends the group's life through March 2007. The Nazi war crimes act requires federal agencies to provide the working group with all documents pertaining to Nazi war criminals for possible declassification and release. The CIA, which has already turned over an estimated 1.25 million pages of documents, refused to release hundreds of thousands more, many of which detail its postwar ties to Nazis who have not been accused of war crimes. The agency relented this month and agreed in principle to release more documents after Sen. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio), a prominent backer of the legislation, demanded that CIA Director Porter J. Goss explain the agency's refusal at a public hearing before the Judiciary Committee.
Lake County, CA Record Bee 30 Mar 2005 www.record-bee.com This is the beginning of genocide Wednesday, March 30, 2005 - I am very concerned about a society that would allow a man who is not blood kin to request that his wife be starved to death. They say she will not be uncomfortable, then why have they sedated her? He stopped her therapy years ago, who is to say that she is not suffering from this starvation? Has anyone ever been hungry or thirsty? It is a horrible way to die. If I did this to my dogs, cats, cows or any other animals, I would be put into jail for cruelty to animals. Why is it that a judge has power over her blood kin, over the president, over Congress, the governor or anyone else? Who made these men in robes gods with the power of life and death? Who is to say she's not suffering? I had a cardiac arrest once and was aware of everything. People in comas feel and hear what is happening around and to them. Starve a person to death! I thought this only happened in backward countries. This is the beginning of genocide. The black-robed judges will have the power to kill anyone; no one has the power to stop them. God help us all, they have given the judges in this country the power of God. I know many patients fit this condition. Are we going to starve all of them? Why not just gas them like Hitler did? That way we can get rid of a lot of unwanted in our country. Her husband did not want her. She was his live-in and now she is disposable. God help us and God help our country. God help the children who are retarded and those who are old and injured, will they be next? If her parents wanted to care of her, why not let them? Helen Hale Lakeport
www.nysun.com 28 Mar 2005 CIA Was Scooped in Eichmann Case BY COLIN MINER - Special to the Sun March 28, 2005 The Central Intelligence Agency discovered that Adolf Eichmann, the Nazi fugitive who escaped American custody just after World War II, was captured by Israeli agents in 1960 the same way the rest of the world did: from press reports out of Israel. The director of central intelligence, Allen Dulles, sent an urgent cable to agents in Germany asking them to check the Berlin Document Center for all files on Eichmann. The cable cited "NEWS RELEASES" that "EICHMANN IN ISRAELI CUSTODY. WILL BE TRIED AS WAR CRIMINAL ACCUSED OF MASS EXTERMINATION JEWS DURING WW 2 IN AUSTRIA, CZECHOSLAVAKIA, POLAND, HUNGARY." That same day, Dulles received a cable from an agent in Israel who summed up the day's events: "Prime Minister announced to the Knesset that Adolf Eichmann had been arrested and would stand trial in Israel." The CIA agent said other sources "did not furnish any details of the circumstances surrounding Eichmann's capture," other than the fact that Israeli agents had been working on the case for six months, that Eichmann had been living in the open, and that he would be back in Israel in two days - the same information that Prime Minister Ben-Gurion had announced. The CIA agent also showed a strong sense of the politics of the intelligence world, telling his superiors: "It is suggested that some sort of congratulations is due from HQS - perhaps a letter...would be appropriate." The documents are part of the three volume CIA "Names File" on Eichmann that was posted last week on the Web site of the nonprofit National Security Archive. The records detail the agency's immediate reaction to Eichmann's capture, before it was widely known that the Nazi war criminal had been living in Argentina under an assumed name and was caught on a street by Peter Malkin, an Israeli spy. The CIA file contains hundreds of documents that detail everything from how the CIA scrambled to find out how Eichmann had been tracked down to concerns within the agency that his arrest would lead to the exposure of Nazi officials who had become CIA assets. While some of the documents had been declassified over the past few years, many have only recently been disclosed. "The Eichmann file reveals a true mosaic of information that the CIA had on Eichmann and his associates," said the National Security Archive's Tamara Feinstein, who edited the papers. "The files show how the agency was using press reports to get information, and also the pitfalls of having relations with assets and individuals with known shady backgrounds." The documents were compiled by the CIA in response to the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act and were released by the Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government Interagency Working Group. Last Friday, President Bush signed a law extending the life of the group another two years. "These files concern very dark days in our history, showing how the world had largely lost interest in these cases," said Eli Rosenbaum, a member of the working group and director of the Justice Department's Office of Special Investigations, which tracks war criminals. "They make fascinating and disturbing reading." The documents illustrate that while the CIA was interested in capturing fugitive war criminals, the Cold War had created higher priorities. So in 1953, when the CIA came under pressure from religious and political figures to find Eichmann, they had to explain why they had no idea where he was. "While CIA has a continuing interest in the whereabouts and activities of individuals such as EICHMANN, we are not in the business of apprehending war criminals, hence in no position to take an active role," an official with the Agency's Near Eastern Affairs section wrote in a memo. By 1958 - just two years before the Israelis captured Eichmann in Argentina - the CIA wasn't sure where he was. An internal memo that year indicated that while Eichmann was "reported to have lived in Argentina" since 1952, "one rumor has it that despite the fact that he was responsible for mass extermination of Jews, he now lives in Jerusalem." When word of Eichmann's capture broke, the agency found itself trying to catch up. Two days after Ben-Gurion announced the arrest to the world, a CIA official in Washington picked up an Israeli counterpart and "drove around for a half hour discussing business." The CIA official's purpose was to "elicit from him whatever I could on the capture of Eichmann" in part because "Richard Helms had expressed an interest in receiving all possible details to pass on to the director," according to the documents. The official wrote that: "I opened the conversation by asking him to transmit...congratulations on the final accomplishment of what appeared to be a magnificent job and our desire to help in any way possible. ...With apparent enthusiasm I asked him where they found EICHMANN and how they got him out of the country of residence. [Deleted] replied that he actually did not know; that he had worked on this case at one time and was just as keen as I was to learn details." The official closed his memo writing that his counterpart had mentioned spotting "a new army topographical map of Israel in a Department of State office and asked me to get a set for his office. I volunteered to get sets for BEN-GURION as well. (They have such maps for the entire Middle East.) This is a new one on just Israel and should make quite an impression." While CIA officials quickly sent a note to the Israelis offering to help in any way they could - one memo said they were "ransacking the captured German documents" for anything pertaining to Eichmann, noting that it was "quite a formidable task as there are something like over five miles of documents" - the CIA documents make it clear they were still relying on press accounts for much of their information. "There are rumors that Eichmann was kidnapped from Argentina or Brazil. The suggestion is made that he was in Kuwait, was discovered, and fled to South America," according to one memo from late May. "The papers have noted that a special El Al plane carrying the Israeli government delegation to Argentina's 150th anniversary celebration departed on 18 May. The Post, 24 May 60, reported on May 24 that the plane returned early on 22 May from Buenos Aires. 'It made a brief stop at Recife airport in Brazil, where it was held up three hours by the airport manager there who, for reasons that are unclear, tried to prevent the plane from taking off.' There is therefore considerable speculation that EICHMANN may have been on that plane." As the CIA was struggling to piece together what had happened, one thing became evident: Eichmann's arrest could lead to the disclosure that some people employed directly or indirectly by the agency after the war had worked with Eichmann. One example was the case of Dr. Alfred Six who was doing intelligence work in Germany after the war. The agency was concerned that if the Soviets found out about Six's past, it could make him vulnerable. "HQ HAS INCOVERED MUCH INCRIMIATING MATERIAL RE: SIX'S ACTIVITES...AND CONNECTIONS EICHMANN'S ANTI-JEWISH OPS," Dulles cabled to agents in Frankfurt. "IF ALL OR PARTS OF THIS INFO KNOWN TO SOVS SIX VERY VULNERABLE AND COULD HAVE EASED HIS RECRUITMENT.... IF SIX RECRUITED BY SOVS HE COULD HAVE INFORMED THEM." In September, the CIA discovered that Eichmann had written a memoir. The agency set out to determine, "HOW MUCH MATERIAL THAT DAMAGING MEMBERS FEDREP GOVERNMENT, SO AS BE ABLE ATTEMPT SUPPRESS MEMOIRES IF DESIRABLE AND POSSIBLE DO SO." To carry out that plan, CIA agents were planning to pose as people "OSTENSIBLY INTERESTED" in publishing the book. As it happened, the CIA didn't have time, because Life magazine got their hands on the material. The agency realized it would not be able to keep the material secret, and the CIA's field agent in Frankfurt told the West German government that its planned attempt to suppress the material would be futile. "Appears situation soon likely get very complicated. Would appreciate HQS suggestions re further handling," he cabled headquarters. The documents recently released did not indicate what information was ultimately in the Life article. In 1961, just before Eichmann's trial got underway, the CIA's Office of National Estimates prepared a briefing for the director of central intelligence on how different countries were expected to exploit and react to the trial. "There will be considerable latitude for various interested states to exploit the proceedings for their own purposes," the briefing said. It added: "Arabs have so far devoted little attention to the matter" and "all the political advantage the Arabs can hope to get out of the matter" will be concerning parts of Eichmann's testimony that "implicates certain Israeli or Zionist leaders in deals with the Nazi leadership during World War II. There is enough substance to these charges to make a certain amount of useful anti-Zionist propaganda." According to the CIA estimate, the propaganda efforts of the Eastern Bloc countries were already in full swing, trying to use the trial to destabilize West Germany by pointing out the number of Nazis in leadership positions, particularly Hans Globke, the secretary of state and a chief adviser to the German Chancellor." The attack on Globke will carry with it the implication that in the person of Eichmann, the Bonn Government itself is on trial," the briefing said. However, the CIA estimate also pointed out the Soviets had to be careful in how much they made of the trial because they would run the risk of creating more sympathy for Israel and raising the profile of Soviet Jews. Thus," the briefing said, "it appears to us that Bloc authorities will tend to play the case by ear, selectively, and differently for different audiences." The CIA director was warned that the trial was causing the most tension in West Germany, which was following the case with "growing apprehension, sometimes bordering on hysteria. They are concerned that the publicity resulting from the trial will give new impetus to what they regard as an already existing anti-German trend both popular and official in the Western world, particularly in the US and UK." [See Uncovering the Architect of the Holocaust: The CIA Names File on Adolf Eichmann CIA Surprised by Adolf Eichmann Capture in 1960, File Review Uncovered Eichmann Ties to CIA Assets National Security Archive Posts CIA Names File on Adolf Eichmann Released Under Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 150 Edited by Tamara Feinstein Intern Assistance: Sara Coburn March 24, 2005 Intro includes 16 documents, Vol. 1 includes 73 documents, Vol. 2 includes 123 documents; Vol. 3 includes 77 documents. www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB150
PTI 25 Mar 2005 Bangladesh remembers victims of 1971 massacre by Pakistan troops [Bangladesh News] Dhaka, Mar 25 : Bangladesh today remembered the victims of the first day of massacre by Pakistani troops in 1971 to silence the voice for an independent country. Memorial meetings, candlelight vigils, wall paintings and other programmes marked the "Black Day" which has been described as the worst single day killing since the World War II. At least 50,000 people were killed, some 10,000 of them in capital Dhaka alone, as the Pakistani government of military dictator general Yayha Khan launched "Operation Search Light" on the night of March 25, 1971. The genocide, officially left three million people dead. The massacre triggered a nine-month war of independence by the Bengalis with eventually victory on December 16, 1971 with the help of India which had sheltered millions of refugees who had fled the then East Pakistan. Pakistani troops surrendered to a joint Indo-Bangla command in Dhaka. Bangladesh celebrates its 34th anniversary of independence tomorrow, the day when independence was proclaimed.
Reuters 25 Mar 2005 Bickering casts shadow on Bangladesh freedom day 25 Mar 2005 10:59:44 GMT Source: Reuters By Nizam Ahmed DHAKA, March 25 (Reuters) - In most countries, celebrating independence day is cause for joy and pride. In Bangladesh, it has become a symbol of the malaise that is eating away at the nation's future. Bangladesh celebrates its 34th anniversary of independence on Saturday but for most in the impoverished country, the military parades and street fairs ring hollow. The country has become a byword for political instability and is notorious for its corruption. Strikes, nine so far this year called by the opposition to try to oust the government, are paralysing the nation. Another nationwide strike is planned for March 31. People watching the two main parties say the government and opposition are engaging in meaningless bickering when majority of the country's 140 million people are struggling to overcome endemic poverty. "I am not going to buy what the people in position or opposition are saying," said Alamgir Chowdhury, a college teacher. "Politicians are a relatively rich group of people in the country...and they care little for those who have toiled endlessly just for two square meals a day," Chowdhury said. The strikes and frequent violent street protests between activists from the ruling Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and opposition Awami League have curbed investment and disrupted the economy, businessmen say. At the heart of the unrest is the immense distrust between the two female leaders of the BNP and Awami League. Both parties claim credit for declaring Bangladesh's independence from Pakistan, on March 26, 1971, an event the late husband of Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia and father of opposition leader Sheikh Hasina were key players. WAR OF WORDS Bangladesh was part of India under British rule between 1772 and 1947. After the British quit the subcontinent the land now known as Bangladesh became East Pakistan. A nine-month guerrilla war, backed by India, helped it become independent in December, 1971. The Awami League says it was its late supreme leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman who declared the nation independent over state radio before being arrested by Pakistani troops. The BNP rejects the claim, saying it was army Major Ziaur Rahman, Khaleda's late husband, who proclaimed independence. Mujib, interned in a West Pakistani jail through the war, became Bangladesh's first president and later prime minister through popular votes in 1973. But he was killed, with most members of his family, in a military coup in August 1975. Both women traditionally use independence day and other national occasions to lash out at one another. This year is no different. The BNP has called for a massive demonstration in Dhaka on Sunday to protest against what it says are opposition attempts to cause chaos and portray Bangladesh as a failed and corrupt nation. In turn, the Awami League said its March 31 countrywide strike would be a show of no-confidence in Khaleda's government. "I myself fought in the 1971 war after receiving training and arms in India, and had hoped to live in an independent country that will also achieve economic independence soon," said Abdus Sukkur in the eastern district of Brahmanbaria. "But this is being delayed partly because our politicians are spending much of their time and energy in fighting each other," said Sukkur, a farmer who also owns a shop. Golam Murtaza, a Dhaka garment factory supervisor, agreed and said he worried that Bangladesh would remain mired in political conflict. "They (politicians) speak good things, they promise a heaven for the countrymen but at end of the day it is the same old story."
Reuters 28 Mar 2005 Nations pledge $38 million for Khmer Rouge trials 28 Mar 2005 23:14:07 GMT Source: Reuters By Evelyn Leopold UNITED NATIONS, March 28 (Reuters) - Nearly three decades after Cambodia's genocide began, the United Nations hoped on Monday that it had raised enough money for trials of Khmer Rouge leaders still alive. Nations at a pledging conference promised about $38 million for the court action, with Japan alone saying it would contribute $21 million. Cambodia will pay some $13 million for the court, estimated to cost $56.3 million over three years. "We had indicated we needed three years of pledges and one year's contribution paid up for us to start," Secretary-General Kofi Annan told reporters after the conference. "So I suspect that some of the money would be released very early for us to have a year's contribution in cash and then begin the proceedings," not expected this year, he said. An estimated 1.7 million people died of starvation, forced labor, disease or execution during the Khmer Rouge "killing fields," from 1975 to 1979. The Khmer Rouge leader, Pot, died in 1998. Many fear the rest of the aging leaders will die before they can face trial. But before the trials begin, the United Nations has to certify that the Cambodian court meets international justice standards. The tribunals will have a sprinkling of international judges and prosecutors working alongside their Cambodian colleagues. Sok An, Cambodia's chief negotiator on the accord, hopes the tribunal will be set up this year to try up to 10 former leaders of the Khmer Rouge regime. The trials are eagerly awaited by many Cambodians, many of whom are too young to remember the horrors of the 1975-79 regime ousted by a Vietnamese invasion. Critics have accused Cambodia of foot-dragging over a tribunal, as some current government officials were once members of the Khmer Rouge, including Prime Minister Hun Sen, a former regimental commander/. The Khmer Rouge was overthrown by Vietnam-backed rebels in 1979, who them put Hun Sen in power.
AFP 11 March 2005 1410 hrs Fresh charges laid against Khmer Rouge leaders PHNOM PENH : Cambodia's military court has laid fresh charges against former Khmer Rouge leaders Ta Mok and Kang Kek Ieu which will keep them in prison without trial, a judge said. The two men are the only ex-Khmer Rouge bosses in detention among some six who are expected to be tried for crimes against humanity under a much-delayed international tribunal. A start date is still to be determined. Cambodian military court investigating judge Ngin Sam An told AFP that former commander Ta Mok and Kang Kek Iue, alias Duch, were charged with war crimes and harming foreign nationals under the 1975-79 regime in late February. "So they may be kept under detention for three more years, or less than this if we can solve the cases earlier," he said. "If they were released on bail, it would affect the investigation." Both men were orginally incarcerated in Phnom Penh in 1999 and charged with genocide, which under Cambodian law meant they could be held for three years without trial. In 2002, they were charged with crimes against humanity to prevent their release. The one-legged Ta Mok, 80, was the much-feared commander of the country's southwestern zone and his bloody purges earned him the nickname "The Butcher. Duch, 63, was the boss of Phnom Penh's notorious Tuol Sleng prison, or S-21, where nearly 17,000 people were tortured before being exterminated at a "killing field" just outside the capital. Duch underwent an operation in February this year for a urinary problem, highlighting that time is running out for the proposed UN-backed tribunal as former leaders risk succumbing to old age. The United Nations is seeking 56 million dollars to fund the tribunal. Japan has pledged 21.5 million dollars, France 4.0 million dollars, Australia 2.1 million dollars and Britain 940,000 dollars. Cambodia committed two million dollars, as well as up to 7.3 million dollars of in-kind payments, and plans to ask donors to meet the remainder of its share of the budget, which will total 13.3 million dollars. Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot's regime, bent on building an agrarian utopia, left up to two million Cambodians dead from starvation, disease, overwork and summary execution
Sydney Morning Herald AU 12 Mar 2005 www.smh.com.au Catch me if you can, taunts Khmer Rouge killer By Connie Levett, Herald Correspondent in Bangkok Chhouk Rin, the convicted killer of three Western hostages, including the Australian David Wilson, in Cambodia in 1994, is on the run. But three weeks after being sentenced in his absence to life in jail, the former Khmer Rouge leader says he likes to spend most of his time in the capital, Phnom Penh, seemingly unperturbed by the arrest warrant hanging over his head. In an interview given to a Cambodian cameraman, the man who was desperately ill throughout his trial says he feels reinvigorated by the way he has been made a stooge of the courts, and suddenly the invalid can stand and walk again. When the guilty verdict was upheld last month, David Wilson's father, Peter, refused to comment, saying he would wait until Chhouk Rin was under arrest. More than three weeks later Chhouk Rin is still at large, and confident enough to give the two-hour interview to the cameraman, a partial transcript of which has been obtained by the Herald. In the video, Chhouk Rin claims his innocence, taunts the authorities and challenges them to arrest the real killers. To hear him talk, the Supreme Court appeal hearing in February was a miscarriage of justice. Members of the supreme court and the appeals court told him they were being pushed by donor countries to convict him, he said. "When I met them they all said they were under pressure. They mixed my criminal case with politics ... But I want an independent court. Not the court that only makes decision by order. I'm scared of this way." He named the French and Australian governments in particular as putting pressure on the courts to have him convicted. "I have good experience from the jungle war so they can't arrest me if I don't surrender. But I'll surrender if the court reconsiders my case, especially intervention from [the] king. They cannot find me if they do it like this now," he said in Khmer from Phnom Voar, an old Khmer Rouge stronghold where Chhouk Rin has been a substantial landholder and has some sway with police. The cameraman, who asked not to be named, thought the police were "more likely" to leave the fugitive "to die". Mr Wilson, Mark Slater, a Briton, and Jean-Michel Braquet, a Frenchman, were taken hostage when the Khmer Rouge attacked a Sihanoukville-bound train in July 1994. Ten Cambodians died in the attack and the three Westerners were taken. After negotiations to buy their release collapsed the men were shot. Depending on whom you believe, Chhouk Rin led that attack on the train and held the hostages for a time before handing them on to his superior, Nuon Paet; ordered the attack but was too sick to lead it; or had already defected to the government side and had nothing to do with it. In the interview Chhouk Rin said he could not have led the attack because he had already defected. "Vith Vorn did it ... but Paet ordered it. Many attackers are still alive and living in Phnom Voar. Ninety per cent of the attackers are here. You can ask them now."
www.indiaexpress.com 12 Mar 2005 Jehanabad massacre accused held in Delhi 18.13 IST 12th Mar 2005 By Agencies Delhi Police has arrested a leader of banned Ranvir Sena extremist outfit and accused in the Jehanabad massacre of 2000 in which 33 people were killed and several injured. Vinod Sharma, district organiser of the outfit in Bihar, was nabbed by the sleuths of Special Cell in an East Delhi area following an information and police claimed to have recovered one country-made pistol and five live cartridges from him. The 38-year-old accused was wanted in a number of heinous crimes, including mass killings and gunning down of a Member of Legislative Council, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Special Cell) Ashok Chand said in New Delhi. During interrogation, he said that he, along with some other associates, had shot dead 33 people and injured 50 others in Miyapur village of Devkund Police Station of Bihar's Arwal District in 2000, Chand said. Sharma and his associates also shot dead Manju Devi, MLC from Bansi Kalyanpur in Arwal district in 2003, the DCP said. In the same year, he and his associates gunned down five people in Katesharnala area of Arwal district after barging into their house, Chand said. He had come to Delhi to evade Bihar Police and started residing in Shahdara area, the police official said, adding the house was used to provide shelter to Ranvir Sena activists who fled from Bihar. Sharma was associated with two NGOs in Delhi and was responsible for raising money for financing the activities of Ranvir Sena, Chand said. Indo-Asian News Service 14 Mar 2005 After 18 years, judicial redress for forgotten massacre? (SPECIAL) By Murali Krishnan, Indo-Asian News Service New Delhi, March 14 (IANS) With all the legal procedures in place, the judiciary is all set to finally take up the case of a group of policemen who allegedly killed 43 Muslims of Hashimpura near Meerut. For the first time, a court here will hear on March 23 the prosecution and the defence accounts of what the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) did in May 1987 at the Hindon river in Ghaziabad district. Additional Sessions Judge R.K. Jain at the Tiz Hazari courts here will hear the case. A court official said: "Everything is ready. All procedural problems have been sorted out. All this time either the accused would not be present or there were complaints of judicial lethargy." The wheels of justice finally got moving in October 2004 when a new special public prosecutor, Surender Adlekha, was appointed. Adlekha told IANS: "Yes, I agree that the case has been delayed but that has been more because of procedural wrangles. Let's hope it gets underway." What agonises the relatives of the dead is that the 19 PAC men charged with killing the 43, all Muslims, have been rehabilitated in the force. It was in the midst of the 1987 communal riots that enveloped Meerut that the PAC personnel rounded up 150 men from the predominantly Muslim locality of Hashimpura. Some of them were then herded into a bus and taken to a deserted spot near the Hindon river at Ghaziabad where they were allegedly shot. The bodies were thrown into the river. Miraculously, some of the victims survived, despite being shot, and related the story to their families, the media and rights organizations. Some of the survivors as well as relatives of the deceased filed two separate First Information Reports (FIRs) charging the 19 PAC personnel for the killings. But it was nearly 10 years later, in 1996, that the authorities filed a chargesheet before the Ghaziabad Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) against the PAC personnel under sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) including murder. But despite repeated summons from the CJM, none of the accused ever appeared in courts. Finally, the case was committed to trial in July 2000 by the district and sessions judge in Ghaziabad. But even then the accused failed to appear. Advocate Vrinda Grover, appearing on behalf of the victims, told IANS: "Though the chargesheet was filed in 1996, till 2001 there was absolutely no progress in the case." The hearings kept getting adjourned for some reason or the other. In 2001, the exasperated families moved the Supreme Court, which ordered the transfer of the case to Additional District and Sessions Judge Jain in New Delhi. But the case did not take off. To compound matters further, it took the Uttar Pradesh government nearly two years to appoint a special public prosecutor. In early 2004 Ashish Kulshreshta was assigned to the case. But Grover objected to his appointment, saying he did not have the mandatory 10 years experience required to be a public prosecutor. Now a new public prosecutor has replaced him.
Jehanabad massacre accused held in Delhi 18.13 IST 12th Mar 2005 By Agencies Delhi Police has arrested a leader of banned Ranvir Sena extremist outfit and accused in the Jehanabad massacre of 2000 in which 33 people were killed and several injured. Vinod Sharma, district organiser of the outfit in Bihar, was nabbed by the sleuths of Special Cell in an East Delhi area following an information and police claimed to have recovered one country-made pistol and five live cartridges from him. The 38-year-old accused was wanted in a number of heinous crimes, including mass killings and gunning down of a Member of Legislative Council, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Special Cell) Ashok Chand said in New Delhi. During interrogation, he said that he, along with some other associates, had shot dead 33 people and injured 50 others in Miyapur village of Devkund Police Station of Bihar's Arwal District in 2000, Chand said. Sharma and his associates also shot dead Manju Devi, MLC from Bansi Kalyanpur in Arwal district in 2003, the DCP said. In the same year, he and his associates gunned down five people in Katesharnala area of Arwal district after barging into their house, Chand said. He had come to Delhi to evade Bihar Police and started residing in Shahdara area, the police official said, adding the house was used to provide shelter to Ranvir Sena activists who fled from Bihar. Sharma was associated with two NGOs in Delhi and was responsible for raising money for financing the activities of Ranvir Sena, Chand said.
AP 19 Mar 2005 Group Torches PepsiCo Warehouse in India By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Filed at 12:56 p.m. ET AHMADABAD, India (AP) -- Hindu nationalists set fire to a PepsiCo warehouse in western India on Saturday to protest the U.S. denial of a visa for a top state official due to his role in religious riots in 2002. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asked the U.S. government to urgently reconsider its decision. The State Department said Friday it had denied a diplomatic visa to the Hindu nationalist chief minister of Gujarat state, Narendra Modi, and revoked his existing tourist/business visa under the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act that bars people responsible for violations of religious freedom from getting a visa. Nearly 150 activists barged into the warehouse of U.S.-based PepsiCo in the western city of Surat, smashed bottles and set fire to the place, said Dharmesh Joshi, a witness. Police confirmed the attack. The warehouse was partially burned. The demonstrators were from the Bajrang Dal, a group affiliated with Modi's Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, which governs Gujarat state. The State Department had no immediate comment, spokesman Noel Clay said Saturday in Washington. A witness said about a dozen workers at the warehouse fled during the attack and firefighters doused the flames. The protesters also ransacked a nearby PepsiCo office and demonstrated outside the American consulate in Bombay. PepsiCo representatives could not be reached for comment. Some carried placards reading: ``Down with the United States,'' ``Boycott the U.S. goods and the Americans.'' The attacks came despite a tightening of security in western India where Hindu nationalists have a strong presence, to prevent retaliation to the U.S. decision. The State Department said Modi was denied a visa in response to a finding by India's National Human Rights Commission that held his state government responsible for the 2002 Hindu-Muslim violence in the state, India's worst in a decade. Human rights groups have accused the state government of doing little to stop the violence that killed 1,000 people, most of them Muslims. Up to 150 Bajrang Dal activists also tried to enter the U.S. visa application center in Ahmadabad, the main Gujarat city but were turned back by police. The Indian prime minister said the U.S. government had been clearly told of his nation's concern at the visa denial. ``We have also called for the urgent reconsideration of decision by the U.S. government,'' Singh said in a statement in India's parliament. The decision, he said, showed a lack of sensitivity and courtesy to an elected authority. Modi, who had been scheduled to address an association of motel owners in New York and to meet with Indians living in several U.S. cities, has called the decision an insult to India. In Ahmadabad, Suleiman Shaikh, a Muslim who had lost his wife and two children in the 2002 rioting, welcomed the decision. ``While the Indian judiciary system is yet to prosecute Modi and his men responsible for the killing of innocent Muslims, the U.S. decision comes as an indication of how Modi was being dealt with internationally,'' Shaikh told The Associated Press.
UPI 14 Mar 2005 Military questions Qaim massacre reports: [World News]: WASHINGTON, March 14 : U.S. military officials in Iraq investigating reports that up to 26 bodies were found last week near the Syrian border say they have major doubts it happened. The March 9 report appeared in various publications, but the reports did not agree on who found the bodies and when, how many there were, who they were, or how they had been killed. The reports said between 19 and 26 had been killed, with their bodies found either March 8 or March 9 by either a shepherd, U.S. forces or Iraqi police. A senior U.S. military official told UPI Monday U.S. forces had made no such discovery, and the mayor of Qaim, the largest town near the alleged incident, said no bodies had been found. One Iraqi National Guard commander told U.S. officials the bodies had been discovered, but presented no photographic evidence of either bodies or graves.A hospital administrator in the region said there was no spike in the number of corpses brought to hospitals. "Nobody that we have talked to or had contact with have seen any dead bodies or graves," the military official told UPI."It doesn't mean they aren't there.The Ramana area north of the river is very bad, bad-guy country."
IRIN 15 Mar 2005 Evidence of insurgents using child soldiers [ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations] © IRIN Some Iraqi children are being drawn into the insurgency BAGHDAD, 15 Mar 2005 (IRIN) - Early every morning Mahmoud, 13, leaves his uncle's home in Baghdad to take lessons in how to fight US troops. Orphaned when his father was killed by US-led troops, Mahmoud has absorbed the feelings of hate held for the US by his uncle who fights with the insurgents. Now he is ready to fight them too. "I want to die as a martyr as my father did. I want to learn how to kill people who entered our country to kill our parents. I'm alone. I don't think that school is something bad but when I hit one of the US guys I feel that I have learned a true lesson, better than mathematics and sciences," Mahmoud told IRIN in Baghdad. He has been living in the capital for over two years, but his family are originally from Latifyah, a Sunni insurgent stronghold south of Baghdad. According to Mahmoud's uncle, who calls himself Abu Omar, Mahmoud is one of 23 Sunni children, either orphans or children of insurgents, who have been involved in the fight against the US. They have been receiving daily lessons in how to use Kalashnikovs and grenades and how to access their targets with safety, he told IRIN. The insurgents often use the children as informers and messengers, Abu Omar said, as they believe that the US troops are likely to see them as innocent. They are also used in diversion tactics to distract troops so that insurgents can get to their targets more easily. If necessary the children will also use their guns against parked humvees [US military vehicles] in the streets. US Coalition force officials told IRIN that they have been informed of these kinds of operations and that some children have been captured for interrogation. However, being under age the children are released fairly quickly, often due to pressure from NGOs concerned about the rights of children. The US military is also careful to ensure that the children do not get too close to their humvee vehicles for safety reasons. "For our security and the children's security we advise children not to be come closer to the humvees or any US convoy since in case of attacks we won't be able to differentiate the insurgents from the innocent ones. It's difficult, and for this reason most of the capital has been handed over to the Iraqi army to prevent such incidents," Brig. Gen. Brian Smith, a senior Coalition force official, told IRIN. Smith said that last week a child was arrested at a checkpoint in the capital for carrying grenades. So far they haven't been able to reach his parents, he said. "They are using their own children in the middle of this mess, they are putting a very cheap price on the lives of their children," he added. About 90 children and youths under 18 years old are being held in Abu Ghraib prison outside Baghdad, Lt Col Barry Johnson, spokesman for the army detainee operation, told IRIN. "Most of them are just being questioned and will be set free as soon as we end our investigation. They are being taken care of according to their rights despite what they have done," Johnson added. Maj. Abdalah Hassan, a senior policeman in Hayfa Street, one of the most volatile areas in the capital due to a heavy insurgent presence, told IRIN that they had captured more than 60 children and youths in the area who were found to be fighting or working for the insurgents. Hassan said that during their interrogations they had assumed that the youths were working as insurgents and that most of them were captured carrying Kalashnikovs and grenades. "Three days ago we captured a 12-year-old child who attacked our police car with a grenade but thank God no one was inside it," he added. Deputy Minister of Interior Sabah Kadham, told IRIN that according to humanitarian law, no child can be captured or punished for this kind of action. But he added that the problem lies with the children's families who are giving incentives, in which case something should be done to stop it. "We are trying to get information from the children captured but the biggest problem is that most of them have rejected the idea of helping us and some of them don't even know where they live," Kadham complained. But the most worrying aspect of the situation is the negative psychological impact on the children, according to an Iraqi Red Crescent Society (IRCS) medical team. One doctor, who preferred not to be named for security reasons, told IRIN that he had examined some of the captured children and he found that they had effectively been brainwashed. Some of them believe fervently that justice should be carried out through killing and that beheading people is normal in the name of God, he said. "I have found my calling, I want to be a fighter in the name of God and even if I have to die, I will do it," Mahmoud said. "My uncle says that in the future it could bring good money for me and my sister." .
AP 15 Mar 2005 23:26 Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel warns against universalizing Holocaust By Haaretz Service and The Associated Press United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Tuesday at the inauguration of a new Holocaust museum at Yad Vashem that he hoped it would inspire the world to "find a better way" than the hatred and intolerance he said the world body must combat. "Let Yad Vashem inspire us to keep striving as long as the darkest dark crawls the face of the earth," he said, paraphrasing Israeli author Aharon Appelfeld. Annan was addressing the leaders and dignitaries from some 40 countries who attended the state ceremony in Jerusalem. Annan said the main task now is to prevent a repetition of the Holocaust anywhere. "A United Nations that fails to be at the forefront of the fight against anti-Semitism and other forms of racism denies its history and undermines its future," he told the dignitaries. But Nobel Peace prize winner and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel rejected the universalization of the Holocaust, saying it was not an example of "man's inhumanity to man." "It was man's inhumanity to Jews," he said. "Jews were not killed because they were human beings. In the eyes of the killers, they were not human beings, they were Jews." President Moshe Katsav said the inauguration marks the commitment of world leaders to the values of humankind and to passing on the lessons of the Holocaust to future generations. He also warned of renewed anti-Semitism and said the museum serves as a warning to the world, calling it "an important signpost to all of humankind, a signpost that warns how short the distance is between hatred and murder, between racism and genocide." "We are concerned about Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism," Katsav told the crowd. Europe "must accept the burden of the memory and lessons of the Holocaust for the future it is building. It owes this to the millions of Jews who were murdered on its soil." The ceremony sought to link the horrors of the genocide with the hope of the survivors and their descendants. A children's choir sang as scenes of Jewish children from the war era flashed on a huge screen behind them. A man sounded the shofar, while others played violins and clarinets and sang songs in Hebrew and Yiddish. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, in his address, said "the state of Israel is the only place in the world where the Jews have the right and the power to protect themselves by themselves. This is the only guarantee that the Jewish people will never know another Holocaust." Human dimension to Holocaust statistics The visiting dignitaries toured the museum in the afternoon, after Katsav cut the ribbon and former chief rabbi Israel Meir Lau affixed a mezuzah to its doorpost. The $56 million museum, part of the Yad Vashem memorial museum in Jerusalem, focuses on the personal tragedies of the six million Jews who perished in the Nazi genocide. To give a human dimension to Holocaust statistics, some 90 personal stories are woven into the museum's displays, which also feature some 280 works of art. "This is a moment of commemoration for the six million murdered by Nazi Germany," German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer said in Jerusalem. "Of course Germany is my country so it's also a historical and moral responsibility to never forget what happened and the responsibility of my country for the Shoah," he added, using the Hebrew word for Holocaust. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, representing the United States, told reporters, "Freedom is something we constantly have to fight for and if we ever compromise our standards, we see just how far it goes." "We cannot allow intolerance any place against any people," he said. Not since Yitzhak Rabin's funeral in 1995 has such a large number of dignitaries come to the capital, the Foreign Ministry said. Ministry official Roni Leshno-Ya'ar, who is responsible for Annan's visit, said, "The new atmosphere in the area and the advancement of the peace process has made it possible for many leaders to come to Israel." Security forces on guard Security was intense in Jerusalem on Tuesday as police, already on guard for possible terror threats, expected to face major security and traffic management challenges as motorcades for dignitaries course through the gridlocked city. A police helicopter hovered over the capital, monitoring the VIPs' movement in the city. In the evening, police blocked an attempt to block the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem highway, which was apparently planned as an anti-disengagement protest. Far-right activists opposed to the pullout had vowed to set up a protest tent near the ceremony, comparing the planned evacuation of Gaza and West Bank settlenents to the Nazi trains that brought Jews to the gas chambers of Auschwitz.
JPost.com 15 Mar 2005 Opening remarks of Yad Vashem dedication By ETGAR LEFKOVITS Under a gray overcast sky on the wind whipped Yad Vashem hilltop, the main state ceremony to inaugurate the new Holocaust Museum opened. "The museum that we are dedicating today is a monument to those who were murdered, attempting to preserve their names, faces, and identities for future generations. This museum is the authentic personal cry of the generation of those who can tell the story. It is their story and ours, and is the story of the rupture and universal eclipse of an entire world in which the perpetrator committed murder, the neighbor silently stood idly by and only the very few choose to save their fellow human beings," said Avner Shalev, chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate and chief curator, at the inauguration ceremony. In his address he stressed the importance of creating such a museum at a time when the number of holocaust survivors are slowly dwindling. "For years we worked diligently to recover the shards of their stories and the fragments of their memories, their faded pictures, the little - too little - that the victims left behind. And these we exhibit in our new museum," he added.
www.haaretz.com 16 Mar 2005 Voices from the Yad Vashem museum inauguration ceremony By Haaretz Staff President Moshe Katsav: "We are concerned about Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism. Europe must accept the burden of the memory and lessons of the Holocaust for the future it is building. It owes this to the millions of Jews who were murdered on its soil." Prime Minister Ariel Sharon: "The state of Israel is the only place in the world where the Jews have the right and the power to protect themselves by themselves. This is the only guarantee that the Jewish people will never know another Holocaust." Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel: "It was man's inhumanity to man - no. It was man's inhumanity to Jews. Jews were not killed because they were human beings. In the eyes of the killers, they were not human beings, they were Jews." United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan: "A United Nations that fails to be at the forefront of the fight against anti-Semitism and other forms of racism denies its history and undermines its future." German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer: "This is a moment of commemoration for the 6 million murdered by Nazi Germany. Of course Germany is my country, so it's also a historical and moral responsibility to never forget what happened and the responsibility of my country for the Shoah." New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg: "Freedom is something we constantly have to fight for, and if we ever compromise our standards, we see just how far it goes. We cannot allow intolerance any place against any people." Yad Vashem curator Yehudit Inbar: "We gave the victims an identity. We gave them a voice. We gave them a face. We did the same thing to the Nazis ... For each one we showed who they were - that they were not monsters but people who did monstrous things."
www.haaretz.com 16 Mar 2005 Yad Vashem was the first, and now it's the latest By Amiram Barkat When Yad Vashem first opened in 1957, very few museums in the world even mentioned the Holocaust. Today, as the new Yad Vashem museum opens, there are at least 250 Holocaust museums and memorials worldwide - in Israel, the United States and Europe, but also in such far-flung places as Australia, Argentina, South Africa and Japan. Almost all are less than 10 years old. But among Israelis and Jews who deal with memorializing the Holocaust, this development has evoked mixed feelings. On one hand, these institutions play an important role in combating ignorance of the Holocaust among non-Jews. But at the same time, there are fears about the messages that will be sent by these institutions' exhibits. Noah Flug, chairman of the Center of Organizations of Holocaust Survivors in Israel, says that interest in the Holocaust is growing from year to year. "The events marking the 60th anniversary of [Auschwitz's] liberation attracted much more interest worldwide than did previous events marking the 50th and 40th anniversaries," he notes. Today, he says, Auschwitz serves as a symbol not only of the murder of the Jews, but of racism and hatred of the other in general. But Professor Israel Gutman, formerly the chief historian of Yad Vashem and an Auschwitz survivor, sees a troubling aspect to this development. As Auschwitz has become a universal symbol, he says, the fact that almost all of the 1 million people murdered there were killed because they were Jews has been virtually forgotten. Israel Singer, president of the World Jewish Congress, warns that if non-Jews take over the job of teaching the Holocaust, this will lead to a distortion of history and a loss of the Holocaust's status as a Jewish event. Non-Jews, he argues, are less likely to protest comparisons between the Holocaust and, for instance, the slaughters in Rwanda or Kosovo. "Therefore, in my opinion, Yad Vashem must remain the most central and most authoritative body, from which the `Bible of the Holocaust' will go forth to the rest of the world," he says. "Otherwise, you'll see that in the end, the Jews will become the guilty parties." Over the last few years, Holocaust museums and memorials have opened in Paris, Budapest, Warsaw, Ukraine, London and on the site of the Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria. In Moscow, a large Holocaust museum is currently being planned, with the support of Russian President Vladimir Putin. In addition, there has recently been a spate of new Holocaust museums in the U.S. The movement began with the opening of the federal Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., which quickly became one of the capital's most popular tourist sites, attracting some two million visitors a year. That museum has the largest budget of any Holocaust memorial in the world, four times the size of Yad Vashem's budget. But the Washington Museum has since been joined by large Holocaust museums in major cities such as Los Angeles, New York and Detroit, as well as by smaller ones in unlikely places such as El Paso, Texas or Terre Haute, Indiana. According to Professor Dan Michman, Yad Vashem's chief historian, the motives for the opening of Holocaust museums are different in America than in Europe. In eastern Europe, he says, such museums are an expression of national feeling in the post-Soviet era. In central and western Europe, they stem from a coming to terms with these countries' own role in the Holocaust. But in the U.S., such museums are usually founded by local Jews who want to educate their non-Jewish neighbors about the Holocaust. In 1997, for instance, three Jewish residents of Richmond, Virginia, decided to found a Holocaust museum in their city. At first it consisted of five rooms in a local synagogue, whose chief exhibit was a German cattle car of the kind used to take Jews to the death camps. In its first year of operation, the museum attracted some 10,000 visitors from all over the U.S., some of whom donated money or objects related to the Holocaust. The, two years ago, the Virginia legislature made it the state's official Holocaust Museum and donated an entire building for its use. For symbolism's sake, the new building will be inaugurated on Israel's official Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day.
Jerusalem Post 23 Mar 2005 Don't call it 'racism' - STEVEN PLAUT, THE JERUSALEM POST Mar. 23, 2005 In 1977 Israel's criminal code was changed. Section 144A made "racism" a crime. Racism was defined as "persecution, humiliation, demeaning, displaying animosity, hostility, violence or strife toward a population group or parts of such a group, all on the basis of skin color or membership in a racial or ethnic-national grouping." At first glance, this law seems innocuous enough. After all, who can be in favor of racism or against attempts to eliminate it? But the main problems in this law quickly become clear. First, the law criminalizes some expressions of speech, and so infringes free speech. Second, the definition of "racism" in the law is so vague as to render the entire law arbitrary and useless. Third, in its implementation and enforcement the law has already been used in an arbitrary and anti-democratic manner for partisan purposes. The law has become a bludgeon to suppress free speech selectively, used against some right-wing Israeli Jews. At the same time there has never been any attempt to prosecute Arabs nor left-wing Jewish extremists under the same law. The immediate motivation for the framers of Israel's law was the activities of followers of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane. The law's purpose was to suppress the freedom of speech of these Kahanists and of some other fringe groups among Israeli Jews. But prosecuting Kahanists for "racism" is inconsistent and arbitrary. Most of the problems with the anti-racism law became clear soon after it was passed by the Knesset. One of the first cases prosecuted under the law was the State of Israel v. Rabbi Ido Elba (Docket 2831/95). Elba had published an article arguing that in the Torah there are separate rabbinic laws applying to killing Jews, covered in the part of the Ten Commandments prohibiting "murder," and the killing of Canaanite non-Jews living among Jews, which was prohibited under a separate law given to all humans descending from Noah. The article was a scholarly exercise in explaining rabbinic laws and especially the commentary on manslaughter by Maimonides. But the publication came out shortly after the massacre of Arabs in Hebron by Baruch Goldstein, and the public and some politicians were looking for a target to prosecute for anti-Arab racism. In April 1995, Elba was convicted under the anti-racism law and sentenced to four years' imprisonment (two of them being a suspended sentence). The Supreme Court upheld the conviction and the sentence the following year. The vagueness of the anti-racism law is extremely problematic. The law's language was so poorly formulated and thought through that it would make statements like "I do not want to date non-Jews," or "I do not like blond women" crimes. Should reading certain passages in the Bible be prohibited because they offend some modern ears? The law explicitly makes advocating discrimination against a demographic group to be racism. But Israel is full of groups advocating discrimination against Jews as part of affirmative action preferences, and, of course, also discrimination against males. Not a single person has ever been prosecuted in Israel for this. Why not? Racism is, after all, a belief or a feeling, albeit an evil one, but a private one. Do we really want a Racism Patrol inspecting bars and poker games, hunting down individuals making racist statements in chat rooms or in salons? The anti-racism law is not merely an assault against free speech, but arguably the most ludicrous law Israel has on its books. A Kahanist was indicted and convicted of racism for selling T-shirts printed with the words "Where there are no Arabs there is no terrorism." Another is under investigation for selling an anti-disengagement-plan board game. In contrast, no racism by Arabs has been prosecuted. Nor has bigotry by politicians such as Shinui's Tommy Lapid, whose entire party agenda is based on anti-haredi bigotry. When communist Sami Michael, a prominent writer and a leader of the Association of Civil Rights in Israel, made comments which struck me as justifying Hamas's mass murders of Jews, he was not prosecuted as a racist. No Arab political parties – regardless of how outrageous their statements are – have been banned or prosecuted under the anti-racism law. Neither have Israeli professors, artists or intellectuals endorsing and justifying Arab terrorism against Jews, or declaring that Jews are not entitled to any form of self-determination. Free speech is alive in Israel, but wounded and threatened as the internal political divisions in Israel deepen. Besides the prosecution of those utilizing free speech and saying things of which the political establishment disapproves, there are growing, open threats from the government to use the police, intelligence services and preventive detention without trial to bully opponents of government policy into silence. The very fact that assaults against free speech for "racists" are so popular in Israel, especially among the chattering classes, illustrates how shallow, conditional and dubious is the commitment by so many in Israel to democracy. The writer is a professor at Haifa University. .
BBC 20 Mar 2005 Kyrgyz protesters torch police HQ Police have been holding back protesters for several days Opposition demonstrators in Kyrgyzstan have burned down a police station, as protests continue a week after the second round of disputed elections. In Jalal-Abad, 10,000 people forced police to take refuge on the roof of their station. They then left compound before the buildings were set ablaze. Protesters say President Askar Akayev's party resorted to fraud in the parliamentary elections. The government now says it is ready to negotiate with the demonstrators. "We hope there will be no further violence," said presidential aide Abdil Seghizbayev. But an opposition leader said talks would only be worthwhile if President Akayev himself took part. "All other lower level negotiations will be just a waste of time," Kurmanbek Bakiyev of the People's Movement of Kyrgyzstan told the Associated Press news agency. Arrests Interfax news agency reported local officials as saying that up to 10 people had been killed in clashes between police and protesters, but there has been no confirmation of this. The protesters were said to be armed with sticks and home-made petrol bombs as they entered the police compound. Police officers were firing shots in the air from the roof of their headquarters, but a spokesman said they were only using blanks. The assault on the Jalal-Abad police station comes a day after protests in the city and in Osh. Several demonstrators and a police officer were reported injured on Saturday, as the authorities tried to clear people from official buildings. There were also some arrests. "The authorities' decision to use force against people won't bring any good. It will only provoke anger," said Mr Bakiyev. The police deny that excessive force was used. Ethnic flashpoint A number of protesters have camped out in Osh's main square since the second round of the elections, claiming that the results were rigged. Monica Whitlock, a BBC correspondent in the region, says it is not surprising that the authorities in the south of Kyrgyzstan are treading cautiously. This is a highly sensitive region close to the border with Uzbekistan, she says. Police shot dead several demonstrators at a similar rally three years ago and in 1990, hundreds of people were killed in inter-ethnic violence in the area.
BBC 23 Mar 2005 Kyrgyz capital sees first protest Reports said 10 people were arrested Riot police have broken up a protest in Kyrgyzstan's capital Bishkek, the first since anti-government demonstrations swept the country's south. Up to 200 people gathered in Bishkek's main square, but police broke up the rally before it could get going. Police reportedly hit some of the crowd with sticks and arrested 10 organisers. It is not clear how closly the event was linked to protests in the south, where the cities of Osh and Jalal-Abad are under effective opposition control. The new Kyrgyz Interior Minister, Keneshbek Dushebayev, warned protesters in the south that the authorities could use force to restore order. "The law gives us every right to take action, including by using physical force, special means and firearms," he was quoted as saying. The wave of unrest was sparked by disputed parliamentary election results earlier this year, and protesters want President Askar Akayev to step down. A BBC Central Asia correspondent, Monica Whitlock, says protesters in the southern city of Osh, where demonstrations have been staged for days, are now trying to organise a bus convoy to travel to Bishkek for a larger rally later in the week. OPPOSITION ANGER Protesters say parliamentary poll was rigged and want president to resign Opposition includes local leaders who lost seats Protests fuelled by dissatisfaction at the economy and official corruption Presidential election due in October but Mr Akayev barred from running Profile: Askar Akayev Frontrunners for top job The authorities will be especially sensitive about opposition actions in the government's seat of power, and our correspondent says this may be the reason why Wednesday's protest was broken up so quickly. Earlier on Wednesday, President Akayev sacked those responsible for security - his interior minister and prosecutor general. A presidential spokesman said Bakirdin Subanbekov and Myktybek Abdyldayev were dismissed due to their "poor work". The ministers' departure comes as a result of mounting protests sparked by elections in February, and a second round on 13 March, which saw the opposition reduced to just a handful of seats in the 75-member parliament. Towns occupied Osh and Jalal-Abad were both quiet on Wednesday morning. A small group of protestors gathered in the main square in Osh, reiterating an opposition demand that Mr Akayev should stand down. Protesters are still occupying official buildings, the television station and the airport, and security forces have all but disappeared from the city centre. But the tension of the last few days in Osh has evaporated, according to our correspondent. Many people in the town are not especially bothered by the local administration collapsing, she added. Some support the opposition, while others do not see that it makes much difference. On Tuesday evening, President Akayev appeared on television and invited the opposition to open what he called a civilised dialogue. Appearing calm and assured, he said he was ready and waiting for an opposition leader to come forward to begin discussions. This speech has put the protesters on the spot, our correspondent says. The opposition is splintered along regional lines and so far no central figure has emerged. Mr Akayev's Prime Minister, Nikolai Tanayev, was due to fly to Osh on Thursday in an effort to start a dialogue, according to the president's spokesman.
www.crisisgroup.org 24 Mar 2005 Nepal: Dealing with a Human Rights Crisis Effective international action on Nepal's deteriorating human rights crisis -- beginning at the UN Human Rights Commission (CHR) now in session -- is vital to forming a substantial peacebuilding process in the war-ravaged country. The international community now finds itself confronted with what it fears the most: a no-party state that has decimated democracy and kills people at will. The crisis of protection clearly parallels the deepening military conflict, and to assist the return to a peace process, the international community needs to speak with one voice on human rights. The current CHR can contribute significantly to peace by passing a strong resolution that calls for restoration of basic freedoms and establishes robust enforcement mechanisms and clearly defined benchmarks, including an effective, on-the-ground UN human rights monitoring mission to strengthen national efforts. Crisis Group reports and briefing papers are available on our website: www.crisisgroup.org
news.scotsman.com/(UK) 19 Mar 2005 Shrine Bombers Massacre 24 "PA" A powerful bomb exploded at a gathering of minority Shiite Muslims in a remote town in southwestern Pakistan today, killing at least 24 people and wounding 16 others, police said. Thousands of worshippers had congregated at the shrine of a Shiite saint near the town of Naseerabad, about 210 miles south of Quetta, when the bomb went off outside at about 10:20pm. (1720 GMT), said Mubarak Ali, a local police official. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, and police said they were investigating. “It was a powerful bomb. There was blood and body parts everywhere,” Mehrab Khan, said another police official. “Right now people are angry. They are wailing and crying. Some of them have blocked roads in the town and we are trying to control the situation.” Khan said the dead and injured, some in critical condition, were taken to a nearby hospital. He said he expected the death toll to rise. Pakistan has a history of sectarian violence, mostly blamed on rival majority Sunni and minority Shiite extremist groups. About 80% of Pakistan’s 150 million people are Sunnis and 17% Shiites. Most of the Muslims live together peacefully, but small groups of militants on both sides stage attacks. The schism between Sunnis and Shiites dates to the 7th century over who was the true heir to the Prophet Mohammed.
Pacific News Service 14 Mar 2005 A Forgotten My Lai: Philippine Massacre Showed Horrors of War News Feature, Steven Knipp, Pacific News Service, Mar 14, 2005 Editor's Note: On the 36th anniversary of the My Lai massacre in Vietnam, the writer looks back to a bigger, earlier bloodbath in the Philippines. WASHINGTON, D.C.--This week will mark the 36th anniversary of the My Lai massacre in which more than 560 men, women and children, all Vietnamese civilians, were murdered by soldiers of Company C of the U.S. Army 20th Division. Photo by Steven Knipp of a plaque marking one of the church bells of Balangiga, which were stripped from the church by the U.S. Army and now reside in a base in Wyoming and a U.S. base in South Korea. The slaughter was a watershed in the history of modern American combat, and a turning point in the public perception of the Vietnam War. But this was not the first time American soldiers ran amok. Some 60 years before America entered Vietnam, a far larger but now forgotten bloodbath took place on the remote Philippine island of Samar. And, by eerie coincidence, the military unit involved was also Company C -- but this time they were the first victims. Facing directly into the Pacific and unprotected by coral reefs, Samar suffers the worse weather in the 7,000-island archipelago. Lashing rains and typhoons regularly sweep in from the sea. The poorest and probably least developed island in the Philippines, Samar is a place where people come from rather than go to. Its tragic story begins in August 1901, at the end of the Spanish-American War, which began a world away in sunny Havana. The United States had quickly defeated Spain's force in the Philippine capital of Manila, then proceeded to claim the Philippines, betraying its ally, the anti-Spanish Filipino independence movement. Filipino resistance continued throughout the far-flung islands for almost four years. Thousands of Americans and Filipinos were killed in the bloody jungle fighting of what became know to Filipinos as the Philippine-American war, and to Americans as the "Filipino Insurrection." But by mid-1901, the Americans believed they had finally crushed Filipino resistance. In fact, thousands of peasants vowed to fight on. On Aug. 11, 1901, 74 soldiers of the Ninth U.S. Infantry Division, Company C, landed at a remote village in southern Samar, called Balangiga. Aside from a crumbling old Spanish plaza, a church, a convent and town hall, Balangiga was a mere collection of 200 thatched-roof huts standing on a rain-swept shore, accessible only by boat. Balangiga's Spanish mayor had specifically petitioned the U.S. government in Manila to send American troops to protect the town from what he called "bandits and pirates." As their transport ship lifted anchor and sailed back to Manila, Company C was billeted in the town plaza. They were exceedingly well armed. But to encourage trust among the locals, the company commander ordered that only sentries carry weapons. Eight weeks after arriving, the troops settled in into local life feeling safe. Then, on the evening of Oct. 6, a score of battle-hardened Filipino resistance fighters -- dressed as old women to attend a child's funeral -- quietly slipped into Balangiga at dusk. At dawn the following day, a Sunday, amid the ringing of church bells, the disguised rebels and several hundred townspeople rose up against the U.S. troops. Only three of the 74 soldiers were carrying arms as they ate their breakfasts. The Filipinos used native razor-sharp machetes called bolos. The Americans wielded shovels, knives or whatever was at hand. In the ensuing massacre, only 26 of Company C's original contingent survived long enough to reach the beach, most of them suffering ghastly wounds. The bloodied Americans staggered onto native boats and headed north for reinforcements. One surviving soldier was overheard quoting the Bible: "They have sown the wind and they shall reap the whirlwind." The massacre surprised and appalled the U.S. colonial government in Manila. The first U.S. governor of the Philippines, Howard Taft (later to become president) wrote his wife: "It comes like a clap of thunder on a clear day." Despite his shock, Taft insisted that a civilian government must still rule in the Philippines. For its part, the U.S. Army was determined to crush further resistance in Samar by sending a veteran of the savage Plains Wars against the American Indians, General "Roaring Jake" Smith. Arriving on Samar, Smith, 66, tells his men: "I want no prisoners. I want you to kill and burn. The more you kill and burn, the more it will please me." Asked the age limit, the general replies: "Ten years and older. The interior of Samar must be made a howling wilderness." In the ensuring months, hundreds of villages are burned, all crops and livestock destroyed. Thousands of Filipinos are shot as suspected rebels. Other civilians are rounded up and put in "concentration camps" -- so called because they are "concentrated" into a small area making it easier to guard. Word of Smith's murderous methods later hits Washington like a bombshell. The disgraced general is dismissed from the army amid great controversy regarding the U.S. presence in the Philippines -- strikingly similar to later arguments about American involvement in Indochina. The U.S. campaign in the Philippines was vicious on both sides; neither Americans nor Filipinos gave, or expected mercy. But in the end, as in most wars, it was the non-combatants who paid the highest price. Exact figures of how many Filipinos were killed in Samar were never made public. But it is estimated that 10,000 were killed or starved to death over a two-year period following the massacre, the majority women and children. And even today, more than a century after the fighting ended in the summer of 1902, Samar is still a forlorn place. The wild, uninhabited interior never recovered from the whirlwind of war; it remains, as Smith wanted, a howling wilderness. PNS contributor Steven Knipp is the Washington, D.C., correspondent for the South China Morning Post. He visited Samar in 2003.
ICRC 14 Mar 2005 ICRC News 05/22 Philippines: Philippines National Red Cross and ICRC help displaced families in Sulu "It's hard, but we have no choice." The speaker is a young mother of two living near Indanan on the tropical island of Jolo in the Sulu archipelago, in the south-west of the Philippines. Young child in makeshift shelter at displaced persons evacuation centre, Indanan, Jolo, Sulu.© ICRC Jolo is home to 700,000 people, most of whom are fishermen, local merchants or small farmers. Over the last month, the island has witnessed a series of clashes between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and dissident groups. Preciosa Chiong is the local administrator of the Philippines National Red Cross (PNRC). She has mobilized PNRC volunteers to help the estimated 5,400 displaced families. But it has not been easy. Land travel in the early part of the relief operation was impossible due to the risks of crossfire, landmines and attacks by armed groups. "I believe the Red Cross is respected in Sulu Province," says Pinky, as Preciosa is known to her Red Cross colleagues; "Eventually we were able to penetrate the hinterland, even in areas known to be home to the Abu Sayyaf. But at the outset, even I was afraid." Evaluating the number and needs of displaced persons has been tricky: remote communities like Luuk and Panglima Estino are only accessible by sea, and most displaced families remain home-based, staying with other families. They visit the nine local-authority evacuation centres only to collect food distributed by the PNRC (with ICRC support), local and national government and development agencies. People here have been displaced before, and both families and the Red Cross knew the evacuation sites. But that makes it no easier for the people concerned, many of whom fled with nothing but the clothes they were wearing. Displacement also makes it difficult to look after domestic animals, which play an important role in family economies. © ICRCFighting has stopped in some areas, allowing many people to return, but elsewhere clashes continue. People are afraid of going home and being caught in the middle. And for some who have returned, the discovery that fighting has destroyed their homes has added to the trauma. It is difficult for the Red Cross: "We want to give people plywood so they can rebuild,” says Pinky, “but it is very difficult to help some without helping all." Symeon Antoulas, head of the ICRC delegation in Manila, visited Jolo City on 9 March accompanied by a Davao-based ICRC field officer. The visit follows the close cooperation between the local PNRC chapter and the ICRC sub-delegation on neighbouring Mindanao island. That resulted in the PNRC procuring and distributing rice, noodles and sardines, together with shelter materials for almost 21,500 people from 60 villages over the last three weeks. Conditions in the centre the ICRC visited on the outskirts of Jolo are satisfactory but makeshift, and certainly not ideal for a lengthy stay. A second round of distributions will start in the next few days. "I think we should continue to help. I think we must help!" says Pinky.
BBC 30 Mar 2005 Thailand debates southern unrest By Simon Montlake In Bangkok The south has been wracked by violence for more than a year Thailand has opened a rare joint parliamentary session to look at ways to tackle escalating violence in the country's far south. More than 550 people have died in the Muslim-majority southern provinces since January 2004. Bangkok has faced criticism for using repressive tactics against the south, which has a long history of resisting government control. The Human Rights Watch agency says the approach is likely to inflame tensions. Thailand has not held a joint parliamentary meeting in more than a decade. Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said Wednesday's session would help his government to reach a consensus on how to calm tensions in the far south of the country. Seeking support Violence in the south has risen since Mr Thaksin's party was re-elected in February without winning a single seat in the three provinces most affected by the trouble - a measure, say critics, of the unpopularity of his approach. About 20,000 soldiers have been deployed in the area since the start of the year. Now, Mr Thaksin appears to be reaching out to his opponents. He recently appointed a former prime minister to chair a special reconciliation commission for the south. In the latest violence on Sunday, armed rebels attacked a train near the border with Malaysia, injuring railway workers and police.
Observer UK 20 Mar 2005 Want to join EU? Turn in your war criminals Wanted Serbs and Croats are going on trial to help their nations into the elite club, writes Tim Judah Sunday March 20, 2005 The Observer What do buses and indicted war criminals have in common? You wait for ages, then they all come along at once. The United Nations war crimes tribunal on the former Yugoslavia seems to have been marooned for years. The trial of Slobodan Milosevic has been mired in controversy and theatricality as the Americans have been pushing for the whole experiment in international justice to be shut down. Yet suddenly, there is some action as the tribunal issues final indictments against men alleged to have committed the most appalling atrocities. Article continues - Far from mocking the court or hiding, the indictees are on the next plane to the Netherlands and practically beating down the doors to get into its seaside detention centre at Scheveningen. This is an extraordinary turn of events with implications far beyond The Hague and the former Yugoslavia, taking in Brussels, Washington and Khartoum. Of course, the three highest-profile fugitives are still at large: Radovan Karadzic, the wartime Bosnian Serb leader; General Ratko Mladic, his military chief; and Ante Gotovina, the Croat general who led his country's troops to victory over the Serbs in 1995. Along with 13 others, the first two at least have been thumbing their noses at justice for almost a decade. So what is going on? In the past few weeks nine Serbs have turned themselves in; Ramush Haradi naj, the Prime Minister of Kosovo, has resigned and moved to Scheveningen; and the former head of the Bosnian Muslim army has done the same. Two Macedonians are also expected in the next few weeks, as are a clutch more Serbs. 'You must be feeling pleased with yourselves,' I said to a friend at the European Union in Brussels, who works on the Balkans. 'Good, yes,' he replied modestly. But for all his coyness, the fact that the tribunal is reeling in indictees at such speed is a direct consequence of EU muscle-flexing. The message is: 'Want to join the club? Then hand over the killers.' So far, Serbia and the Bosnian Serb authorities have been loath to risk the wrath of their electorates and security establishments by arresting those on the run, but they are not beyond bribing men to turn themselves in. Feted as heroes, those who have recently left received promises that their governments would stand bail for them and that their families would be looked after, if they sacrificed themselves for the national good. Last weekend one Serbian minister presented the family of an indictee who had agreed to go with a thank you present: a new car. This might seem a novel way to get men accused of genocide and murder into court, but Serbia has a lot at stake. In the next few weeks Brussels will decide whether to open EU accession talks with Serbia. These arrests may help but, in the long run, Brussels wants Karadzic and Mladic behind bars. Croatia found that out to its cost last week when talks on its accession were cancelled because Gotovina remains at large. But what is happening in The Hague has far deeper ramifications: the realisation that the road to Darfur leads through Belgrade. If the Yugoslav tribunal can now be seen to be completing its task then, runs an American argument, let's repeat it for Sudan, using the UN's Rwanda tribunal in Tanzania. The US believes genocide is taking place in Sudan. By contrast, the Europeans and others agree with the UN Commission of Inquiry on Sudan that war crimes in Darfur should be dealt with at The Hague's new International Criminal Court. They believe that by using the ICC, it will be possible to avoid much of the politicisation that has crept into the Yugoslav tribunal. The US opposes the ICC, fearing its own soldiers and politicians might one day be indicted by it. So as Darfur burns, the big powers fiddle and a UN resolution on Sudan is stalled. Whatever the eventual solution, one thing is sure. The train of international justice has left the station and there is no going back. Its first stop is Brussels, the next is Khartoum.
www.e-belarus.orgThe first website about WW II Khatyn massacre launched in Belarus Author: Mikhail Doroshevich 22/03/2005 The first website about WW II Khatyn massacre of March 22, 1943 was presented by the Ministry of Culture at the press conference held on 21st of March. The web-site presents documentaries about the massacre and pictures of Khatyn memorial. The web-site provides information on concentration camps, ghettos and appalling Nazis' crimes in Belarus during the WW II. The web-site was developed by Pixelhead comapny. Useful links: Khatyn Memorial Complex www.khatyn.by The Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Belarus Pixelhead
washingtonpost.com 19 Mar 2005 CIA Helped Serbia Hunt Mladic, Says Ex-Premier Bosnian Serb Still Wanted at Hague By Misha Savic Associated Press Saturday, March 19, 2005; Page A18 BELGRADE, March 18 -- CIA agents took part in dozens of unsuccessful attempts by Serbian police in 2003 to capture the Bosnian Serb wartime commander Gen. Ratko Mladic, who faces war crimes charges before an international tribunal, a former prime minister said Friday. Zoran Zivkovic, who headed Serbia's government for nearly a year starting in March 2003, said an agreement on Serbian-U.S. cooperation in the hunt for Mladic had been reached with former secretary of state Colin Powell, former CIA chief George Tenet and other top U.S. officials. "We had a clear agreement with Washington that . . . for at least six months there must be coordinated activities" in the search for Mladic that would yield either his capture or proof that he was not in Serbian territory, Zivkovic told the Associated Press. U.S. officials in Belgrade had no immediate comment on his account. "Three CIA employees arrived here whose task was to check, together with members of the Security and Information Agency, all reports, tips and indications about Mladic's alleged hideouts," Zivkovic said, referring to a Serbian government organization. He added that "dozens of actions were carried out" in Belgrade and elsewhere in Serbia. Zivkovic did not name the CIA agents but said they were unarmed and "took part as observers." The tips on Mladic's suspected hideouts came from the U. N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague, as well as from what Zivkovic described as Western sources. "None of the alleged places was left unchecked," he said. Extradition of Mladic, who is accused of genocide in the 1992-95 Bosnian war, has been a key condition for Serbia's membership in the European Union and NATO. By late 2003, the former prime minister said, the Serbian-U.S. search for Mladic was close to concluding that the fugitive general was not in Serbia. But the cooperation ended after Zivkovic's Democratic Party was defeated in general elections in December 2003 and he was replaced two months later by the current prime minister, Vojislav Kostunica.
Spiegel 22 Mar 2005 spiegel.de NEW HOLOCAUST BOOK, NEW THEORY Goetz Aly, Hitler's People's State: Robbery, Racial War and National Socialism How Germans Fell for the 'Feel-Good' Fuehrer By Jody K. Biehl in Berlin Hitler not only fattened his adoring "Volk" with jobs and low taxes, he also fed his war machine through robbery and murder, says a German historian in a stunning new book. Far from considering Nazism oppressive, most Germans thought of it as warm-hearted, asserts Goetz Aly. The book is generating significant buzz in Germany and it may mark the beginning of a new level of Holocaust discourse. DER SPIEGEL Hitler took great care to pamper and coddle his people and they loved him -- and the Nazi regime -- for it. A well-respected German historian has a radical new theory to explain a nagging question: Why did average Germans so heartily support the Nazis and Third Reich? Hitler, says Goetz Aly, was a "feel good dictator," a leader who not only made Germans feel important, but also made sure they were well cared-for by the state. To do so, he gave them huge tax breaks and introduced social benefits that even today anchor the society. He also ensured that even in the last days of the war not a single German went hungry. Despite near-constant warfare, never once during his 12 years in power did Hitler raise taxes for working class people. He also -- in great contrast to World War I -- particularly pampered soldiers and their families, offering them more than double the salaries and benefits that American and British families received. As such, most Germans saw Nazism as a "warm-hearted" protector, says Aly, author of the new book "Hitler's People's State: Robbery, Racial War and National Socialism" and currently a guest lecturer at the University of Frankfurt. They were only too happy to overlook the Third Reich's unsavory, murderous side. Financing such home front "happiness" was not simple and Hitler essentially achieved it by robbing and murdering others, Aly claims. Jews. Slave laborers. Conquered lands. All offered tremendous opportunities for plunder, and the Nazis exploited it fully, he says. Once the robberies had begun, a sort of "snowball effect" ensued and in order to stay afloat, he says Germany had to conquer and pilfer from more territory and victims. "That's why Hitler couldn't stop and glory comfortably in his role as victor after France's 1940 surrender." Peace would have meant the end of his predatory practices and would have spelled "certain bankruptcy for the Reich." Instead, Hitler continued on the easy path of self deception, spurring the war greedily forward. And the German people -- fat with bounty -- kept quiet about where all the wealth originated, he says. Was it a deplorable weakness of human nature or insatiable German avarice? It's hard to say, but imagine if today's beleaguered government of German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder could offer jobs and higher benefits to the masses. "No one would ask where the money came from and they would directly win the next election," Aly says. Stadtarchiv Oberhausen The Nazis helped themselves to Jewish wealth and used it to feed the war machine. Likewise, in the 1940s, soldiers on the front were instructed to ravage conquered lands for raw materials, industrial goods and food for Germans. Aly cites secret Nazi files showing that from 1941-1943 Germans robbed enough food and supplies from the Soviet Union to care for 21 million people. Meanwhile, he insists, Soviet war prisoners were systematically starved. German soldiers were also encouraged to send care packages home to their families to boost the morale of their wives and children. In the first three months of 1943, German soldiers on the Leningrad front sent more than 3 million packages stuffed with artifacts, art, valuables and food home, Aly says. "About 95 percent of the German population benefited financially from the National Socialist system. The Nazis' unprecedented killing machine maintained its momentum by robbing from others. ... Millions of people were killed -- the Jews were gassed, 2 million Soviet war prisoners were starved to death ... so that the German people could maintain their good mood." By contrast, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill cajoled his people in 1940, just after France had fallen, to "brace ourselves to our duties" so that in a thousand years, "men will still say, this was their finest hour." How to make a criminal regime thrive DPA The Nazi war plunder had a snowball effect. If Hitler stopped it, the Reich would have been bankrupt. Aly's theory is not only fascinating for its brazenness, but also for the ruckus it is causing in Germany, where lately the trend has been to accept that Germans, too, suffered under Hitler and under the Allied bombing raids at the war's end. Aly is now negating much of that suffering, insisting that every single German benefited from Hitler's culture of killing. The Feuilleton, or cultural pages, of German newspapers -- which only recently exploded with coverage of the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Aushwitz -- have teemed with articles about Aly since the book, "Hitler's People's State" came out on March 10. In the left-leaning newspaper Die Tageszeitung, he has even engaged in an open fight with Cambridge economics historian Adam Tooze who has criticized the mathematical methods he used to substantiate his theory. Sales, too, are much better than he or his publisher imagined. "I didn't write the book for the lay person," he says. "It's crammed full of facts and dry historical and economic data and has close to 1,000 footnotes." But if people want to read it, he says he won't complain. It will come out in French this autumn and in English in 2006. The timing for the book's German release, as his publishers well know, couldn't be better. Germany will spend the next six weeks hitting dozens of World War II anniversaries before arriving at memorial celebrations on May 8 and 9 marking 60 years since the war's end. It is also, says Aly, no coincidence that the work comes close to three generations after Hitler's suicide. "The book could have been written 10 years ago, even 20 years ago," he says. All of the documents were there. We just weren't open to them. Personally, I didn't have the questions then." The documents include reams of complex economic, bank and tax records as well as thousands of clippings from regional newspaper archives that Aly spent the past four years scouring. In the book, he uses them to support his theory that half the war was financed by government credit and that close to 70 percent of the rest came from plunder. "I am not trying to turn the history of National Socialism on its head," he insists. "But I think -- despite all the time that has passed -- it is still important to ask the most fundamental questions, namely how all this happened. What were the most important elements that allowed this criminal regime to thrive? So much came out of the German middle class. That is the most troubling aspect of the history." AP Jewish slave workers toil at the Dachau concentration camp to benefit the Reich. Such ground has been broken before. In his 1996 bestseller, "Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust," controversial Harvard professor Daniel Goldhagen -- an American Jew -- dared to point his finger at average Germans and insist they not only knew about the Third Reich atrocities, but in their rabid anti-Semitism were eager co-conspirators. And for decades, historians have spoken of Hitler's popular appeal, his ability to head off unemployment and shore up the nation's shoddy infrastructure. In fact, Germany's famous "Autobahn" (highway) is sometimes called the "Hitler Bahn" because it was built by the Nazis. His Napola and Adolf Hitler schools famously cut through social classes, admitting rich and poor to Nazi indoctrination. Still, until now, economists have struggled to prove that the plunder from abroad really drove the war machine. Perhaps, says Aly, that is partly because German historians weren't ready to look at what he calls "secondary" questions about the structural and financial underpinnings of the Nazi war machine. "Writing about them would have reduced the human scale of the tragedy," he says. Plus, he insists, it is always "much easier to say it was the fault of a small group of elites, the power-crazed SS commanders, or even big businesses" than to point to your own greed. German society has spent decades digesting and "perhaps now we have reached a new level," he says. Were Germans liberated from the Nazis, too? REUTERS German President Horst Koehler bows in memory at Auschwitz. Do Germans belong at Holocaust memorial ceremonies? Current politics seems to mirror this sentiment. These days, making use of an agile word and mind flip, Germans have begun to insist that they -- like the rest of Europe -- were also liberated on May 8, 1945. They say it marks the day they and their children were freed from Nazi oppression. Still, in 1945, says Aly, Germans didn't think they were being liberated. "They had to be liberated from themselves," he says. "That's the problem." In truth, Germans have made great strides in accepting their guilt and have even "liberated themselves," enough that it is now politically acceptable for German politicians to participate in World War II anniversaries in other countries. In May, Gerhard Schroeder became the first German chancellor to participate in a D-Day celebration. In January, German President Horst Koehler bowed his head at Auschwitz in memory of the 1.5 million people killed before the Red Army liberated the camp. Another trip is planned to Moscow for May celebrations. Scholarship and even more delicately, German Holocaust sensitivities, too have progressed in recent years. In January, the first post-war German-Jewish comedy, "Alles Auf Zucker" (Bet it all on Zucker) was released and became an immediate box office hit. Before its release, film and television executives had long held that any productions involving Jews and Germans meant poison at the box office. Germans are also starting to talk about their own suffering during the war, particularly during the relentless Allied bombing of German cities such as Dresden. Aly accepts such suffering as truthful, saying talking about it shows that Germans have made advances from the shame-faced decades just after the war when no German academic could look at the war objectively. The question, he says is, "how do you relegate that suffering? We were also victims of our own aggression." The important thing, he says is that German perspectives continue to evolve. He sees his book as an important part of that process. "I think in 10 years, because of this book, our understanding will be very different than it was less say a year ago," he says. "That's because my book contains a large number of short descriptions and sketches, and I am quite certain that the questions I ask will be investigated by my colleagues. That will definitely give us a lot more information. I notice it already in the echo from the book. I am getting letters from families who corroborate what I write. I'm sure more of that will come."
AZG 2 Mar 2005 Armenian Daily #037, www.azg.am Armenian Genocide AN UNPRECEDENTED EVENT IN GERMANY A Panel on Armenian Genocide With Turkish Intelligentsia A citizen of Germany of Armenian origin Artin Aqyuz sent an email to daily Azg on February 25. The name of the addresser is the distorted variant of Armenian name of Harutyun but the last name has no Armenian trace. Obviously, the addresser is a former citizen of Turkey, a country that does not bother too much about precisely putting Armenian names in the passports. In other words, it is almost impossible for a Turkish-Armenian to make a Turkish official at the Passport Department write his name correctly in the document, especially when the name is ending in "ian". However, Artin Aqyuz attached a notification informing of a seminar in Cologne on March 5. The name of the seminar is "The 90th anniversary of Armenian Genocide and social responsibility. A panel with Turkish intelligentsia". It is organized by the Central Council of Germany and the Armenian Church Center of Germany in association with the Church Union of Cologne and TODAY Turkish NGO. Aqen Birdal, honorable president of the Turkish General Union of Human Rights, journalist Demir Qyucuqaydn, Rag?p Zaraqolu, publisher and public figure, writer Recep Marasl? will lecture at the seminar. Dogan Aqhanl?, vice-president of Union Against Genocide, will preside the workshop. The notification informs that the Turkish society having neglected the processes of the Ottoman military court in 1919, the investigation of the parliament, numerous documents and studies, as well as the fact that thousands Armenians escaped Genocide by finding shelter in different countries of the world, continues denying the Genocide and even places the blame on the victims of the atrocities 90 ago. All participants of the seminar are from Turkey alone. It’s an incredible step given Turkey’s state negationism. The following questions put by participants for discussion are more than incredible: "Will Turkey be able to follow Germany’s example in acknowledging Holocaust by 2015? Can it display ability of reconciling with the genocide it committed instead of turning deaf ear to just claims? Will it remember that the Armenians and Assyrians massacred in 1915 were the country’s citizens and not a country waging war against Turkey? Will it trace links between the crime committed in the past and the violence in different spheres of social life in today’s Turkey in order to free the coming generations from bearing moral, jural and civil responsibility? If negation and threats are no way out, then what will be the approach and responsibility of Turkish intelligentsia, mass media and political figures to the genocide issue?" We think that the coming seminar will contribute to the initiative of Christian Democrats’ to honor the victims of Genocide in Bundestag and will be an adequate counteraction to Turkish official circles. By Hakob Chakrian “Verein der Völkermordgegner eV Frankfurt/M.”
AP 16 Mar 2005 Ex-Macedonian Officials Accused of Murder By TOBY STERLING Associated Press Writer The U.N. tribunal for war crimes in the Balkans unsealed its final indictment Tuesday, charging Macedonia's former interior minister and a top police officer in the torture and deaths of ethnic Albanians. The court's last indictment was also its first issued for Macedonia, where ethnic Albanian rebels and government forces fought for six months before a 2001 peace deal. It other indictments were for war crimes elsewhere in the Balkans. Ljube Boskovski, 44, the former minister, and Johan Tarculovsky, 30, a senior police officer, were each charged with three counts of murder, cruel treatment and wanton destruction for the August 2001 raid on the village of Ljuboten, just outside Skopje. Boskovski, currently held in Croatia on unrelated charges, has denied the allegations. Tarculovsky, who is in detention in Macedonia's capital Skopje, could not immediately be reached for comment. Prosecution spokeswoman Florence Hartmann said it was the tribunal's final indictment for crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia, in line with U.N. instructions. Further indictments could be issued by national courts in the region. The U.N. Security Council set up the Yugoslav and Rwanda tribunals to deal with the most serious human rights abuses in the 1990s - the genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity committed during the break-up of former Yugoslavia and the 1994 Rwanda genocide. The council has directed both tribunals to focus on prosecuting leaders, and to transfer cases involving intermediate- and lower-ranking suspects to national courts, which need strengthening. It set out a timetable for the Yugoslav and Rwanda tribunals to wrap up investigations by the end of 2004, complete all trials by 2008 and finish appeals by 2010 - the target for ending their operations. But the chief U.N. war crimes prosecutor, Carla Del Ponte, has said the Yugoslav tribunal will not end its operations until three top fugitives are brought to The Hague - Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and his military chief Gen. Ratko Mladic, who were indicted in 1995 for genocide; and Croatian Gen. Ante Gotovina, who was indicted in 2000 for allegedly orchestrating the killing of at least 150 Serb civilians and the expulsion of 150,000 others. Boskovski and Tarculovsky were charged in connection with an operation by Macedonian police and army troops in Ljuboten only two days before a Western-brokered peace deal ended the country's six-month conflict. Ljuboten was shelled for three days before the police and army entered the village. The indictment said that seven civilians were killed in house-to-house searches on Aug. 12. Police forces gutted 14 houses with hand grenades or fire, while shelling destroyed more buildings. Villagers who fled were stopped at checkpoints and beaten. The indictment called the three days of beatings "organized, systematic and pervasive." The Ljuboten operation was launched in an apparent retaliation for the deaths of eight Macedonian soldiers who were killed when their truck hit a land mine in the area.
BBC 24 Mar 205 Macedonian ex-minister surrenders Mr Boskovski denies all the tribunal's charges The former Macedonian Interior Minister, Ljube Boskovski, is on his way to The Hague, where he has been indicted for war crimes. The international tribunal indicted him and former bodyguard Johan Tarculovski on charges relating to the killing of seven ethnic Albanians in 2001. Mr Boskovski left a jail in Croatia, where he had been held on separate charges since last August. Mr Tarculovski appeared before the tribunal on Monday. He was given another 30 days to enter a plea. The killings took place in the village of Ljuboten near Skopje, during an ethnic Albanian rebellion in Macedonia in 2001. Macedonian prosecutors have also accused Mr Boskovski of luring seven Asian migrant workers into Macedonia in 2002 and stage-managing their murder to make it look as if they had been al-Qaeda members fighting for the ethnic Albanian cause. Mr Boskovski, who has Macedonian and Croatian citizenship, was the last person to be indicted by the Hague tribunal. The tribunal has until 2008 to finish trials, with a further deadline of 2010 to cover any outstanding appeals.
AFP 24 Mar 2005 Ex-Macedonian minister to surrender to UN war crimes court ZAGREB, March 24 (AFP) Former Macedonian minister Ljube Boskovski, who is wanted on charges of war crimes committed against ethnic Albanians, left Zagreb early Thursday to surrender to the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague. Boskovsi, who had been in prison in connection with another affair, made no statement to reporters before boarding a regular Croatia Airlines flight for the Netherlands. Boskovski, 44, a former interior minister, is charged jointly with Johan Tarculovski, his former bodyguard, who surrendered to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) last week. The two men have been charged over the murder of seven ethnic Albanian civilians in 2001 in Ljuboten, northwest Macedonia, during a seven-month conflict between ethnic Albanian guerrillas and government security forces. Boskovski and Tarculovski are the only Macedonians indicted by the ICTY, which said last week that it would not be issuing any more charges against major figures from the 1990s wars that broke up the former Yugoslavia. Boskovski, who has both Croatian and Macedonian citizenship, was arrested and detained in Croatia in August 2004 on a warrant issued by Skopje accusing him of the murder of seven south Asian immigrants in 2002. In February Zagreb indicted him over the same charges. The seven immigrants, six Pakistanis and an Indian, were wrongly accused of attacks on western embassies in Skopje and killed in March 2002 by Macedonian special forces while Boskovski was interior minister. Macedonian authorities acknowledged afterwards that the murder of the immigrants had been organised to show the world that the former Yugoslav republic was playing its part in the "war on terrorism" led by the United States. Pakistan condemned the murder of its citizens as a despicable crime by the Macedonian authorities and demanded reparation. Boskovski, who is married to a Croat, obtained Croatian nationality in 1993 after living for more than 20 years in Croatia before settling in Macedonia.
Netherlands see Sierra Leone
BBC 18 Mar 2005 Dutchman in Iraq genocide charges - Mr Van Anraat lived in Iraq for several years before March 2003 Prosecutors in the Netherlands have formally charged a Dutch businessman with complicity in genocide for selling chemicals to Iraq's former regime. Frans van Anraat, 62, is accused of selling US and Japanese chemicals which were used to produce poison gas. The gases are said to have been used to kill more than 5,000 in a 1988 attack on the Kurdish Iraqi town of Halabja. Mr van Anraat earlier admitted selling chemicals but told Dutch TV he had not known what they would be used for. The full trial of the businessman - the first Dutch national to be prosecuted for genocide - is not due to start until November. Evidence being used by prosecutors includes information obtained from the former head of Iraq's chemical weapons programme, Ali Hassan al-Majid, otherwise known as Chemical Ali. He has been charged in Iraq of masterminding the mustard gas attack on Halabja for which Saddam Hussein also faces charges. 'Not my order' Frans van Anraat listened to the charges on Friday in the Rotterdam courtroom in the presence of four survivors of the Halabja attack, each of whom are demanding more than $10,000 (7,513 euros) in damages. The images of the gas attack on the Kurdish city Halabja were a shock. But I did not give the order to do that. Frans van Anraat Interview, 2003 The atmosphere in the courtroom was sombre as a prosecutor read them out, the BBC's Geraldine Coughlan reports. The prosecution said there was a direct link between the injuries of two victims and a chemical substance known as TDG, allegedly supplied by the businessman. "Van Anraat was conscious of... the fact that his materials were going to be used for poison gas attacks," said prosecutor Fred Teeven. "The damage and grief caused will not be rapidly, if ever, forgotten." Mr van Anraat is charged with supplying thousands of tons of raw materials for chemical weapons used in the 1980-1988 war against Iran and against Iraqi Kurds. According to prosecutors, the United Nations has described Mr van Anraat as "one of the most important middlemen in Iraq's acquisition of chemical material". His defence lawyers said there was no convincing evidence linking the material supplied by Mr van Anraat and chemical weapons used by Saddam. In a 2003 interview, Mr van Anraat denied being aware of the attack. "The images of the gas attack on the Kurdish city Halabja were a shock. But I did not give the order to do that," he told Dutch magazine Revu. "How many products, such as bullets, do we make in the Netherlands?" Iraqi haven One of the survivors in court, Karwan Abdula, told AFP news agency that the arrest of van Anraat "was nearly as important as the arrest of Saddam Hussein". Prosecutors say the Dutchman had been a suspect since 1989, when he was arrested in Milan, Italy, at the request of the US government. Kurds have demanded justice over the Halabja attack But he was later released and fled to Iraq, where he remained until 2003. During that time, reports say he fed information to the Dutch intelligence agency on Saddam Hussein's weapons programme. After the US-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003, he returned to the Netherlands and was arrested in December 2004 at his Amsterdam home. The UN suspects he made 36 separate shipments of chemicals via the Belgian port of Antwerp through Aqaba in Jordan to Iraq, the prosecution says. At Friday's hearing, judges rejected a request by Mr van Anraat to be provisionally released pending trial - to applause from the public gallery.
BBC 17 Mar 2005 Analysis: Hague court's changing role By Gabriel Partos BBC South-East Europe analyst Slobodan Milosevic's trial has lasted more than a year When the United Nations decided 12 years ago to set up the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, the move was widely seen as an admission of failure. Sceptics argued it was no more than a fig leaf to cover up the international community's failure to take action to prevent war crimes and genocide in the Balkans. The war in Bosnia-Hercegovina - the bloodiest in Europe since World War II - was still raging seemingly without an end, but the major powers remained divided over the issue of military intervention. In the face of public pressure for some kind of action, the UN's decision to set up a tribunal appeared to be a salve for guilty consciences. Cynics added that it was hardly likely to work since there was, at the time, no outside force prepared to apprehend those who were to be charged with war crimes. Dayton success That view was shared by the warring sides. Ex-KLA commander Ramush Haradinaj surrendered last week The tribunal's establishment had little - if any - deterrent effect. Some of the worst crimes, most notably the Srebrenica massacre of more than 7,500 Bosnian Muslims, were committed in 1995 - after the tribunal had opened for business. Yet with the Dayton accords which ended the war in Bosnia in December 1995, the tribunal began to come into its own. Dayton itself disproved one of the arguments directed against the tribunal - that if it indicted some of the leaders, they would have a strong personal interest in prolonging the war, lest they should be handed over to the tribunal afterwards. But the indictment of the Bosnian Serb leader, Radovan Karadzic, and his military commander General Ratko Mladic did not prove an obstacle to a deal - they were simply replaced by other leaders at the peace talks. Initially, the tribunal was able to secure the surrender of only minor figures: the prominent leaders were still being sheltered by their associates. 'Real change' But gradually, as the Nato-led peacekeepers tightened their hold on Bosnia, more important indictees began to be arrested, while others gave themselves up. Most wanted: Bosnian Serb war leader Radovan Karadzic The real change came with the death of Croatia's nationalist President Franjo Tudjman in 1999, which led to the emergence of a more co-operative administration in Zagreb; and even more significantly, with the fall of the authoritarian Yugoslav President, Slobodan Milosevic, in 2000, which made it possible to put him on trial as well as some of his closest associates. By the beginning of the decade, the tribunal had been transformed from an unpromising experiment into a fully-fledged institution of international justice. It was able to perform several functions, most notably, in meting out justice, regardless of however powerful the defendants may once have been. As a result, it was also beginning to develop perhaps something of a deterrent effect - not in Kosovo in 1999, but more perceptible in the behaviour of combatants in Macedonia in 2001. Besides, it was giving a practical demonstration of the principle that guilt should be attached to individuals, not collectively to nations or ethnic groups. Political armoury However, that principle has yet to gain wide acceptance in the Balkans; and the expectation that the tribunal would serve inter-ethnic reconciliation also remains in large part unfulfilled. More recently, the tribunal's role has expanded considerably in another area - it has become a powerful weapon of conditionality in the political armoury of the major foreign partners of the former Yugoslav republics. Wednesday's decision by EU foreign ministers to postpone the start of Croatia's EU accession talks was based on the assessment of the tribunal's chief prosecutor Carla Del Ponte, who argued that Zagreb was failing to co-operate in tracking down the Croatian General Ante Gotovina who was indicted for war crimes four years ago. The EU is due to complete a feasibility study by the end of this month on whether it should launch talks with Serbia and Montenegro leading to the conclusion of a Stabilisation and Association Agreement, or SAA. Final indictment Although Belgrade is several steps behind Zagreb in terms of European integration, it, too, faces conditionality in relation to its compliance with the tribunal's requests. And the EU is putting pressure on the Serb authorities to ensure that the remaining 16 fugitives from justice - several of whom are in Serbia - are handed over to the tribunal. Conditionality in relation to the tribunal has been used by the US administration for several years - most notably in cutting of financial assistance to the Belgrade government. One reason it has now been adopted by the EU is that as the prospect of closer links with the EU, or even membership, becomes more realistic, the former Yugoslav republics become more amenable to pressures of this kind. For its part, the tribunal doesn't want to be portrayed as a political instrument. Its purpose is the administration of justice which it carries out in the manner of an independent judiciary. This week, it has issued its final indictment, involving former Macedonian interior minister Ljube Boskovski - making a grand total of 160 indictments for war crimes. But however independently it may function as a judicial institution, the tribunal - as a body set up by the UN - cannot avoid being used for political purposes by some of the UN's member-states.
BBC 23 Mar 2005 Poland lobbies Russia over Katyn By Adam Easton BBC News, Warsaw More than 21,000 army officers and intellectuals were executed at Katyn The Polish parliament has called on Moscow to publish the names of any surviving perpetrators of a World War II massacre. Members of parliament passed a resolution demanding the killing of thousands of Polish soldiers in the Katyn Forest be recognised as genocide. Moscow only took responsibility for the killings in 1990, after previously blaming it on the Nazis. Polish legislators stood for a minute's silence before passing the resolution. Members of the victims' families were also present to mark the 65th anniversary of the massacre. Classified files The resolution stated that only a full disclosure of the truth and a condemnation of the perpetrators could lead to improved relations between Poland and Russia. Moscow ended a lengthy inquiry into the crime last year, which concluded the killings were not genocide. Poland then set up its own investigation, but Moscow has refused to hand over many files which are still classified. Both Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union invaded Poland at the start of World War II. The Soviet secret police arrested millions of Poles. Many of them ended up in Siberian labour camps, but more than 21,000 army officers and intellectuals were executed on Stalin's direct orders in the Katyn Forest near the city of Smolensk. The Nazis discovered the mass graves in 1943, but Moscow only admitted Soviet guilt 47 years later. Katyn Forest massacre www.geocities.com/Athens/Troy/1791/
NYT 17 Mar 2005 Russia Denies Aiding Serb By THE NEW YORK TIMES MOSCOW, March 16 - The Russian Embassy in Sarajevo said Wednesday in a statement that a former Bosnian Serb police commander who is suspected of war crimes may have hidden in Russia, but it denied that he had been under Moscow's protection. The suspect, Gojko Jankovic, turned himself in to the United Nations tribunal in The Hague over the weekend. Until late last year, according to his wife, he was hiding in Russia where he was under 24-hour protection.
Reuters 20 Mar 2005 Serbia Delivers 8th Suspect as EU Report Nears By REUTERS Published: March 20, 2005 Filed at 11:18 a.m. ET BELGRADE (Reuters) - Bosnian Serb General Vinko Pandurevic will surrender to face genocide charges this week, the eighth man to give up in two months as Serbia strives to meet Western demands for cooperation with The Hague tribunal. Five officers have surrendered in March alone as Belgrade races to convince the European Union that its cooperation with the United Nations court has improved enough to merit a positive EU membership feasibility report at the end of March. Advertisement ``I expect we'll keep up this trend of surrenders. We have to do everything possible in the next two weeks to convince the Tribunal and the international community that we shall fulfil all our obligations,'' said Human Rights Minister Rasim Ljajic. He told Radio B92 that 12 others remained at large. They include what could be the ultimate litmus test for Serbia's government, the capture or surrender of top fugitive Ratko Mladic and Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic, still on the run from genocide charges. In what has become a standard formulation over the past few weeks, the government statement Sunday said Pandurevic would go to The Hague Wednesday of his own free will to help the state, the nation and his family. Pandurevic was indicted five years ago on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity for planning, ordering and instigating the killing of up to 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre. Prime Minister Vojilslav Kostunica has implemented a policy of ``persuasion but not arrest'' to encourage war crime suspects to surrender to The Hague tribunal. The tactic, meant to avoid unpopular arrests of soldiers some see as heroes, was criticized as a weak form of self-service justice, but it is working. LEGAL HELP The government of the Bosnian Serb Republika Srpska is cooperating closely with Belgrade in the surrender program, which offers various forms of assistance to the families of indictees, plus a dignified exit to The Hague and legal help. It is not clear whether any form of coercion has also been used. Many who have surrendered recently have, like Pandurevic, been indicted for years but have avoided arrest. With Pandurevic's surrender, the number of aides to Mladic now in custody has grown to about six, fueling speculation one of them could reveal the whereabouts of the former overall commander of the Bosnian Army. Mladic and Karadzic are charged with genocide at Srebrenica massacre and for the siege of Sarajevo. Pandurevic's surrender came as Serbian ministers increased calls on two top Serb generals to give themselves up and report for trial to the Hague on charges related to the 1998-99 Kosovo conflict or face arrest. Former Army Chief of Staff Nebojsa Pavkovic and former top Interior Ministry general Sreten Lukic are not in hiding by rely on the Kostunica policy of avoiding arrests. Justice Minister Zoran Stojkovic told Beta news agency on Sunday that Pavkovic should soon surrender. ``I can only repeat that the credibility our country has won in the past few months regarding cooperation with the Hague should not be spoiled by someone's delaying tactics,'' he said. EU Foreign Policy chief Javier Solana said Friday that Serbia had stepped up cooperation with the Hague, but ``more progress must be encouraged."
HRW 21 Mar 2005 Chechnya: 'Disappearances' a Crime Against Humanity EU Fails to Take Action (Geneva, March 21, 2005)—With “disappearances” continuing on a wide scale in Chechnya, the practice has now reached the level of a crime against humanity, Human Rights Watch said today. The European Union, which had in previous years introduced a resolution on Chechnya at the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, has declined to do so at this year’s Commission, which is now in session. “It is astounding that the European Union has decided to take no action on Chechnya at the Commission,” said Rachel Denber, acting executive director of Human Rights Watch’s Europe and Central Asia Division. “To look the other way while crimes against humanity are being committed is unconscionable.” Under international law, a widespread and systematic pattern of enforced disappearances constitutes a crime against humanity—an act that outrages the conscience of humankind. Any state may prosecute the perpetrators of such crimes, including responsible government officials and heads of states. “Thousands of people have ‘disappeared’ in Chechnya since 1999, with the full knowledge of the Russian authorities,” Denber said. “Witnesses now tell us that the atmosphere of utter arbitrariness and intimidation is ‘worse than a war.’” The 57-page briefing paper documents several dozen new cases of “disappearances” based on Human Rights Watch’s recent research mission to Chechnya. Most occurred in the past months, as the Russian government claimed to the international community that the situation in Chechnya was steadily normalizing. “‘Disappearances’ are a signature abuse in the six-year conflict in Chechnya,” said Denber. “The Commission on Human Rights must adopt a strong resolution to send the message that Russia’s continuing practice of ‘disappearances’ will have consequences.” Local human rights groups estimate that between 3,000 and 5,000 people have “disappeared” since the beginning of the conflict in 1999. Russian governmental statistics put the figure at 2,090 persons. All of these people are either civilians or otherwise unarmed when taken into custody. Russian authorities deny all responsibility for their fate or whereabouts. Human Rights Watch said that the vast majority of the “disappearances” are perpetrated by government agents—either Russian federal forces or, increasingly, local Chechen security forces who are ultimately subordinate to Russian authorities. In the last five years law enforcement agencies have opened more than 1,800 criminal investigations into the “disappearances,” but not a single case has resulted in a conviction. “The Russian government is fully aware of the scale of the problem,” said Denber. “It simply isn’t committed to bringing the perpetrators to justice. And this perpetuates the cycle of abuse.” Among the victims whose cases are detailed in the briefing paper are: Twenty-two-year-old student Adam Demelkhanov and forty-four-year-old carpenter Badrudin Kantaev, both detained by federal forces in the village of Starye Atagi on the night of November 7, 2004. Holding the families at gunpoint, the soldiers drove both men away in armored personnel carriers. The two men have not been seen or heard from since then, despite their families’ tireless efforts to find them. Thirty-seven-year-old Khalimat Sadulaeva, mother of four, who was detained by a large group of armed men on the early morning of September 12, 2004, in her house in the town of Argun. Since then, the family has heard that Sadulaeva was seen by an employee at the Khankala military base near Grozny, but has not received any official information on her fate or whereabouts. Eight relatives of Aslan Maskhadov, the leader of rebel forces killed in March 2005. Maskhadov’s three siblings and five other relatives were detained in December 2004 by forces under the command of vice prime minister of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov. All but one remain missing to date. The operation was part of an unwritten policy of “counter-hostage taking” employed in Chechnya by Russian and pro-Moscow Chechen forces to compel rebel leaders and fighters to surrender. Human Rights Watch said that in all of these cases the criminal investigation opened into the “disappearances” yielded no results. “The relatives of the ‘disappeared’ have no redress and no hope of finding their loved ones,” said Denber. “They are also increasingly reluctant to even report the ‘disappearances’ to the authorities, fearing for the safety of their remaining family members.” Human Rights Watch urged Russia to invite key U.N. thematic mechanisms, particularly the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances and the Special Rapporteur on Torture to visit Chechnya. Human Rights Watch also urged U.N. member states to press Russia to issue the invitations. The conflict in Chechnya, now in its sixth year, has brought untold suffering to hundreds of thousands of civilians, who have fallen victim to abuses perpetrated by both Russian forces and Chechen rebels. Chechen fighters have committed unspeakable acts of terrorism in Chechnya and in other parts of Russia. In addition to enforced disappearances, Russia’s federal forces, together with pro-Moscow Chechen forces, have also committed numerous other crimes against civilians, including extrajudicial executions, torture, arbitrary detention and looting. The overwhelming majority of these crimes remained uninvestigated and unpunished. In both 2000 and 2001, the U.N. Commission on Human Rights passed resolutions calling on the Russian government to stop abuses, establish a meaningful accountability process and invite the U.N. monitoring mechanisms to the region. Human Rights Watch said that Russia has defied the resolutions and failed to comply with the majority of their recommendations.
Neue Zürcher Zeitung AG 30 Mar 2005 www.nzz.ch Swissinfo Armenia features high in Swiss-Turkish talks Switzerland and Turkey have agreed to disagree over whether the massacre of Armenians early last century constituted genocide. During a visit to Ankara, Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey and her Turkish counterpart, Abdullah Gül, said more research was needed into the issue. "I talked to Mrs Calmy-Rey at length about our point of view on the Armenian question and the historical evolution of this problem," Gül told a news conference after the discussions. "The positions of Switzerland and Turkey are different," he added. Gül commented that the decision by the cantonal parliamant of Vaud to recognise the 1915 slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Armenians as genocide - which put paid to a previously scheduled visit by Calmy-Rey - was "unreasonable". Condemnation In December 2003, a similar vote in the Swiss House of Representatives reached the same conclusion, drawing renewed condemnation from Turkey. Gül also said on Tuesday he believed that the version of facts put forward by the Armenian diaspora was the cause of misunderstandings on the issue. Armenians say that about 1.8 million people were killed in 1915, while Turkey disputes this, putting the figure closer to 200,000. "Switzerland believes it is up to each country to go back over its history and come to terms with it," Calmy-Rey commented. She welcomed Gül's willingness to set up an international commission of historians to throw more light on what was a "difficult subject of history". Ankara wanted Switzerland to send experts to take part in the commission's work, according to Camly-Rey's diplomatic adviser Roberto Balzaretti. But he added: "It is too early to talk about that". Human rights The two ministers also discussed human rights, with Calmy-Rey congratulating Gül for the "reforms and efforts that had been made". But in a reference to last week's demonstrations in Istanbul that were violently put down by the authorities, she said she wished that "the political will could be translated on the ground". The talks also featured economic ties, which Calmy-Rey said, "could be improved". In particular, she mentioned the possibility of an agreement between the two countries on the double taxation of goods. Gül recalled that trade between the two countries had reached $4 billion (SFr4.81 billion) a year, while Swiss investments in Turkey totalled $2 billion. He also thanked Switzerland for playing host to United Nations talks on Cyprus last year at the Bürgenstock resort in canton Nidwalden. Courtesy call Earlier on Tuesday Calmy-Rey paid a courtesy call on the country's president, Ahmet Necdet Sezer. She also laid a wreath at the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, founder of the Turkish republic and its first president. On the second day of her visit Calmy-Rey is due in the city of Diyarbakir in the mainly Kurdish southeast of the country, where she is expected to meet local representatives and non-governmental organisations. This section of the trip was viewed in poor light by Ankara in 2003. Shortly after the invitation was withdrawn, the Turkish authorities accused Calmy-Rey of meeting a member of a banned Kurdish organisation in Lausanne. The Federal Prosecutor's Office later launched an investigation to find out whether the Swiss foreign minister had been spied on by Turkey's secret service. On the final day of her trip, Calmy-Rey is due to give an address to the Swiss and Turkish business leaders in Istanbul. "Turkey is Switzerland's most important business partner in the Middle East. Around 40 Swiss firms move there every year," said Balzaretti.
Turkey See Switzerland
www.yerkir.am 18 Mar 2005 Turkey Must Beg Armenians’ Pardon, Say Turkish Human Rights Defenders Leader of the Turkish human rights organization "Mazlum-Der" Aikhan Bilgen and Chairman of the Human Rights Organization Yusuf Alatas said that no accusation should be brought against the Armenian people under the discussion of the Armenian Genocide in order not to offend the Turkish citizens of Armenian nationality. "Neither the present Turkish leadership has a responsibility for the past, nor the present Turkish Armenians have responsibility for the Dashnaks’ deeds in the past", Bilgen said. The Turks must admit the deportation of the Armenians from Ottoman Empire, noted the human right defender and added that that was done “to prevent a coup organized by the Armenians". "They were citizens of Ottoman Turkey that is why the responsibility for the death of the Armenians lies in the Ottoman state. Nevertheless, the Turks must beg pardon for the Armenians who died under the deportation", Aikhan Bilgen stressed. Yusuf Alatas who supported his colleague said commenting the assertion by Turkish writer Orkhan Pamuk that "1.5 million Armenians were killed in the Ottoman period": "In Turkey persons whose statement do not coincide with the official propaganda are lynched. Discussion on the Armenian Genocide in such conditions will not bring objective results". See MAZLUMDER (Insan Haklari ve Mazlumlar Için Dayanisma Dernegi - association is organization of human rights & solidarity for oppressed people), founded in 1991 www.mazlumder.org
www.turkishdailynews.com.tr 2 Mar 2005 The Beginning of the Armenian Relocation Turkish people were struggling to survive. Enemies -- those within the country as well as those abroad -- seemed determined to destroy Turks this time, having considered them subhuman. Toynbee says that the disintegration of an empire is the most 'painful' phenomenon in the human adventure called history. The Ottoman Empire was going through the final phase of that process Gündüz AKTAN We would not be able to understand the relocation of the Armenians if we isolated it from its historical context. At that time the Ottoman Empire was fighting its last war. Millions of Turks and Muslims had been massacred or driven out of their homes since 1821 as the empire lost one territory after another. Only two years before the Armenian relocation the empire had lost the Balkans and the 1.4 million subjects it had there, with 400,000 “migrants” taking refuge in Anatolia. Its forces were fighting with the armies of the British, French and Russian empires -- at Gallipoli and on the eastern and southern fronts. Since the non-Turkish groups of Ottoman subjects were trying to carve out from the realm the biggest piece of land possible, the second (1908) attempt to switch to constitutional monarchy too had failed. The economy was underdeveloped and its agricultural sector had collapsed as well when farmers had to join the army. Medical and health facilities were inadequate and epidemics of infectious diseases broke out in that climate. Law and order in the empire was disrupted. Brigands flourished in the mountains, especially those in eastern Anatolia. Turkish people were struggling to survive. Enemies -- those within the country as well as those abroad -- seemed determined to destroy Turks this time, having considered them subhuman. Toynbee says that the disintegration of an empire is the most “painful” phenomenon in the human adventure called history. The Ottoman Empire was going through the final phase of that process. Enver Pasha, the acting commander-in-chief, sent Interior Minister Talat Pasha the following written message on May 2, 1915: “Around Lake Van … the Armenians remain gathered and ready to continue with the uprising … I think that the Armenians should be driven out of these places to disperse the hotbeds of rebellion. According to the information supplied by the Third Army Command, the Russians drove into our borders, in a miserable state, as of April 20, 1915 the Muslims that had been living inside their borders. As a reprisal to that and, at the same time, to achieve the aim I've mentioned above, the Armenians should be, together with their families, either sent to Russia or … spread to various locations inside Anatolia. I am kindly asking for the selection of the suitable one of these two alternatives and for its implementation. If it is not going to be deemed inappropriate I would prefer the sending outside our borders of the rebels' families and the inhabitants of the region in whose place could then be settled the Muslim population coming from abroad.” (Prime Ministry's Ottoman Archives, DH.SRF, nr 52/282). Talat Pasha opted for the second alternative, that is, for sending the Armenians to some other parts of Anatolia (and later to north Syria which was also a part of the Ottoman realm). In other words, he never had the “intent to destroy a particular group.” He could have adopted the first alternative suggested by Enver Pasha and done to the Armenians what the Russians had done to the Muslim population of Russia. That would have been the kind of operation called ”ethnic cleansing” in our day, that is, the kind of operation Turks and Muslims in the Balkans and the Caucasus had already been subjected to. Roughly half of the Turks and Muslims driven out of the Balkans and the Caucasus had died as a result of the military operations of that kind. If Talat Pasha had opted for that alternative the Armenians too would have died in the same manner and no one would be able to demand an account for those deaths in our day. Talat's opting for a relocation, which is a much more regulated form of resettlement, reduced greatly the Armenian casualties. However, that choice, which could be humanitarian under the conditions existing at that time, was later presented to the world as a case of genocide by embellishing it with fictitious exaggerations. I am not writing all this in order to downplay the tragic aspects of the event. However, the Armenians oppose any attempt to call the relocation “tragic.” This is because what they understand from that word is "both sides suffering in a conflict with none of them admitting responsibility for what happened." They seek out the term “genocide” in order to shift the blame entirely onto us. For them, denying their responsibility for their historical follies is much more important than the tragic fate of those who died. For these reasons, their insistence on the “genocide” concept (despite the fact that application of that term to the 1915 events would go against historical realities and international law) constitutes the biggest obstacle to the recognition of this human tragedy. This particular generation of Armenians are doing their own dead the biggest injustice by selfishly refraining from facing their historical responsibility. This problem becomes all the more complicated due to those persons in Turkey who call themselves “intellectuals” and who identify their own personal traumas with the traumas of others and accept these as “historical facts.” These persons suffer from a loss of identity and from a resulting tendency to consider themselves guilty of everything. They present this as “intellectual integrity” though, in reality, loss of identity is a psychopathological state.
www.turkishweekly.net 23 Mar 2005 Turkish FM Gul blames imperialist circles for the Armenian issue Turkish Foreign Minister & Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Gul spoke openly about the so-called Armenian genocide, Tuesday, stating, "Genocide is to eradicate traces of any ethnic or religious group. Why then do Armenian churches still exist in Turkey? And why then do we have Armenians here?" Gul said that it was the minority of Armenians living in Europe and the U.S. who were causing the issue to escalate. "It is the imperialist circles and chauvinist Armenian nationalists who have created this problem. They do it to hold onto their power." Gul also said that the Armenians living abroad have very good lifestyles and don't go home to Armenia to help their brothers. The Turkish government have called for a historical study of what happened, requesting that all documents and archives be examined by experts, to find some closure on the issue. " The archives in Lenin, Britain, Paris and Armenia should be opened," Gul added. The Turkish government stands by its convictions that the genocide happened on both sides, to both Armenians and Turks: "Armenians and Turkish people lived together for thousands of years, contributing to each others' culture and security." (Hurriyet)
www.theaustralian.news.com.au Turkey to fight genocide claims From correspondents in Ankara, Turkey March 25, 2005 TURKEY has enlisted the help of a United States historian today as part of its campaign to counter damaging, decades-old claims Armenians suffered genocide at Ottoman Turkish hands during and after World War I. Turkey is worried the 90th anniversary of the alleged genocide on April 24 will trigger a fresh outpouring of sympathy for the Armenians which could harm Turkey's image and even derail the planned start of European Union entry talks in October. Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan went on the offensive earlier this month, calling for an impartial study of the genocide claims and declaring Turkey's archives open to all scholars. Invited to address the Ankara parliament today, Justin McCarthy, an expert on the Ottoman period, argued a complex historical tragedy had been manipulated for ideological reasons, becoming a vehicle for anti-Muslim, anti-Turkish prejudice. "The Armenian question has from the start been a political campaign... Yes, many Armenians were killed by Turks at this time and many Turks were killed by Armenians, but this was war, not genocide," Mr McCarthy said. "Many politicians use the Armenian genocide not so much because they believe it but because they see it as a means to prevent Turkey joining the European Union," said Mr McCarthy. Armenia says 1.5 million of its people died between 1915 and 1923 on Ottoman territory in a systematic genocide and says the decision to carry it out was taken by the political party then in power in Istanbul, popularly known as the Young Turks. Turkey denies genocide, saying the Armenians were victims of a partisan war during World War I which claimed even more Turkish Muslim lives. Turkey accuses Armenians of carrying out massacres while siding with invading Russian troops. Mr McCarthy urged Turkey to fund translations from Turkish into English and other European languages of historical records and books providing documentary evidence there was no genocide. Foreign diplomats said Turkey's support for an impartial study of the genocide issue, possibly under the aegis of the United Nations, was a positive development. But they said inviting an opponent of the genocide claims to address lawmakers who largely shared his views would merely reconfirm, not challenge, people's firmly held views. It would have been more fruitful to invite people of differing opinions on the subject to the parliament, said one. "They are still very timid," the diplomat said. Armenia, a tiny ex-Soviet republic which has no diplomatic relations with Turkey, has rejected Mr Erdogan's proposal for an impartial investigation, saying scholars had already established the genocide as indisputable fact. The European Parliament and several national assemblies from France to Canada have also backed the claims in recent years, passing resolutions urging Turkey to accept its past misdeeds. Some EU politicians, notably in France, home to Europe's largest community in the Armenian diaspora, say Turkey must accept the genocide claims before it can start talks to join the wealthy bloc.
www.turkishpress.com 24 Mar 2005 Europe Expects Turks To Confess Armenian Genocide First To Join EU: McCarthy ANKARA - American Historian Prof. Dr. Justin McCarthy of the Louisville University said on Thursday that Europe expected Turks to confess Armenian genocide first to join the European Union (EU). ``Can it be appropriate to join an institution which demands acceptance of a lie as an entrance fee? Can you enter an organization which tells you that you can join it only if you accept that your father is a murderer? Will Turkey enter the EU by telling a lie about its history?... Such a confession will make everything worse,`` said McCarthy addressing the meeting on ``Truth about Armenian Issue`` held at the Turkish parliament. During his speech, the American historian explained that the Armenian genocide claims didn`t have historical ground. McCarthy said that Ottomans and Armenians lived as friends for years, stressing that this friendship which continued for 800 years was harmed when Russians incited Armenians to revolt against the Ottomans. McCarthy pointed out to the fact that the decision of deportation was taken seven months after the Armenian revolt, stressing that ``that was a war, not a genocide.`` He also stressed that Ottomans were right to see Armenians as an enemy in that period of time. Noting that the documents of the so-called genocide allegations put forward by the Armenian sources were either `false or biased,` McCarthy said that the Ottoman documents on the issue had sound basis and that the Ottomans didn`t fabricate false documents. McCarthy remarked that Turks should oppose the lies told about their ancestors, adding that it was a difficult fight because there was prejudice against Turks. ``But the truth is on your side,`` he said. McCarthy suggested that the academic studies written on the issue by Turks should be translated into English, noting that he knew that Turks were not afraid of the realities. Referring to the schemes of the Armenian nationalists, McCarthy said that they wanted Turks to ``confess (committing the genocide) first, but then they will ask for compensation and finally they will demand territory.`` McCarthy remarked that Armenian nationalists wanted to get lands (provinces) of Erzurum, Van, Elazýg, Sivas, Bitlis and Trabzon and added that he knew that Turks would not give in to that pressure. He said that EU should see the fact that Armenian nationalists didn`t want the wellbeing of Europe. ``Europeans use genocide claims for their short-term interests,`` he said. Responding to questions after his speech, McCarthy said that the deportation of Armenians didn`t mean genocide. ``You can`t talk about genocide when 80 percent of the people survive. The number of those who died because of starvation is much more than the one who died being shot... Also the Armenians living in Istanbul, Izmir and Edirne were not deported. In Germany where a genocide was committed, Jews living in Berlin and in other parts, all died...Ottomans were very smart, if they wanted to kill Armenians, 80 percent of the Armenians would not survive...Nobody talks about that, but Russians are more responsible for the killing of Armenians as they maltreated them.`` In sum McCarthy said that all the deaths were a result of the war. Reminding of the Turks who died because of hunger due to Russian occupation and Armenian revolt, McCarthy said that bloody massacres were committed by the Armenians and this was an indisputable fact and a proven history. McCarthy ended his words saying that the `Blue Book` included a series of lies and in that respect it was a book based on fabricated documents.
AZG Armenian Daily #052, 25/03/2005 Armenian Genocide PASTOR SHOCKS TURKISH TV VIEWERS BY BOLD REMARKS ON GENOCIDE Even though the Turks are supposed to be on their best behavior in order to convince the Europeans that they are civilized enough to join the European Union, they are still extremely intolerant of anyone who dares to bring up the taboo subject of the Armenian Genocide. Last month, when Orhan Pamuk, an internationally-known Turkish novelist, boldly told a foreign reporter that one million Armenians were killed around 1915, just about all Turkish commentators, historians (government-paid propagandists) and politicians severely condemned the writer for making such a statement. A radical Turkish group even called for the murder of this "traitor." Furthermore, a Turkish publisher is being prosecuted by the government for releasing the Turkish translation of an English language book that urges the acknowledgment of the Armenian Genocide. Around six months ago, in the midst of trying to qualify for the start of membership talks to join the EU, the Turkish Parliament adopted a new law that makes it a crime for anyone to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide. If this is how the Turkish government is acting, while trying to impress the Europeans, imagine what it would do if its actions were not under scrutiny! Given all the controversy this issue has generated within Turkey, the Turkish "Flash TV" decided to air earlier this month a five-hour live talk show on the Armenian Genocide. The host of the program requested that the Armenian Patriarchate send a representative to take part in this show. However, the Patriarchate refused to participate by saying that it did not have an expert on the subject to be discussed. The host then invited Rev. Krikor Aghabaloghlu, the outspoken and courageous pastor of a local Armenian evangelical church, to present "the Armenian point of view." Rev. Aghabaloghlu is a well-known activist who has already been jailed once for challenging the confiscation of his church’s property by the Turkish government. While there have been many talk shows on the Armenian issue, no one has ever dared to go on Turkish TV and repeatedly assert in a bold and brazen manner, as Rev. Aghabaloghlu did, that there is no doubt a genocide was committed against the Armenians. Both Hulki Jevizoglu, the host of the show, and his main guest, historian Mehmet Saray were dumb-founded and tongue-tied by the Armenian clergyman’s unexpectedly outspoken remarks. In a very calm and congenial manner, and with always a smile on his face, Pastor Aghabaloghlu said on national Turkish TV that all Turks in Anatolia know the truth about the Armenian Genocide. He said that no one dared to talk about this subject and that anyone who had the courage to speak about it, is called a traitor, condemned by the media, taken to court, and sent to jail. Despite all attempts to shut him up during the show, Rev. Aghabaloghlu kept on insisting that as a clergyman he has the obligation to tell the truth. When asked to back up his comments, he said that he knew the facts first-hand from the experiences of his own family. Besides, he added, there is plenty of evidence for the Genocide in thousands of books and that everyone knew that the Armenians in Anatolia were the victims of Genocide. Otherwise, he said, what did happen to the Armenians inhabiting that region? Did they evaporate? Did they decide to migrate en masse? Are there any Armenians left in Anatolia? Making the Turks even angrier, Rev. Aghabaloghlu said that since Armenians are mistreated in Turkey today, one can only imagine how much worse their treatment must have been back then under the Ottoman Empire? Mehmet Saray, the Turkish historian, was so enraged by the Armenian clergyman’s assertions that he kept asking the host of the show, "where did you find this man?" Saray said he would have refused to appear on the show if he had known that he would take part in such a "low quality" discussion and that his years of research and his books on this issue would be ignored. When a viewer from Erzeroum called to say that mass graves of Turks were recently uncovered, Rev. Aghabaloghlu immediately retorted: "How do you know that these bones did not belong to Armenians?" This astounding conversation, broadcast live to millions of Turkish viewers, went on until the wee hours of the morning. Rev. Aghabaloghlu is the courageous shepherd not only of his own flock, but that of all Armenians in Turkey who dare not to speak out fearing for their lives! The good pastor risked his life by making such bold remarks on a taboo subject in Turkey. European Union officials should warn the Turkish government that Turkey’s EU membership prospects would be seriously jeopardized should anything happen to this brave Armenian servant of God who, as he says, has an obligation to tell the truth! By Harut Sassounian; Publisher, The California Courier
See Resources on the Armenian Genocide on this website
BBC 25 Mar 2005 Ukraine airs Crimean Tatar radio By Helen Fawkes BBC News, Ukraine The new radio station hopes to tackle social issues A Crimean Tatar radio station has opened in Ukraine - the first time a dedicated station there has broadcast news in the Tatar language. Tens of thousands of Tatars were exiled to Central Asia by Soviet authorities and they were only allowed home to the Crimea in the last years of the USSR. Many Crimean Tatars in Ukraine say they are still treated like second class citizens in the Black Sea peninsula. But the launch of Radio Meydan is a sign of growing acceptance. On air 12 hours a day, seven days a week, Radio Meydan has traditional music as well as speech programmes. Key topics More than 250,000 Crimean Tatars have returned home after the mass deportation 60 years ago. But life has been hard. There are problems with discrimination, housing and poverty. These are some of the issues which the radio station is aiming to cover. During last year's presidential election in Ukraine, Crimean Tatar leaders supported the opposition. Under the new administration of Viktor Yushchenko, they are now hoping they will be rewarded with a greater political role in the region. They also hope that this radio station will be the first of many projects which advance the culture of Crimean Tatars in Ukraine.
All Party Parliamentary Group on the Great Lakes Region and Genocide Prevention 14 Mar 2005 www.appggreatlakes.org For immediate release 14 March 2005 Press Release: MPs and Peers demand peace enforcement in Darfur In a statement released today, an influential group of MPs and Peers, drawn from both Houses of Parliament and including Rt Hon Clare Short MP, Lord Lester QC, and former Shadow Secretary of State for International Development John Bercow MP, have called on the UK to propose that the UN Security Council mandate peace-enforcement operations in Darfur. Noting the progressive deterioration of the situation in Darfur over recent months, and the tense dialogue between the Government of Sudan and the SLA/JEM rebels, the Parliamentarians argue that security in Darfur must be the priority, and that the current African Union monitoring mission is wholly inadequate in size, resources and its mandate. Clare Short said We are calling on the UK government to propose a UN resolution that would mandate an enlarged African Union force, with peace enforcement powers. This is of the utmost importance: such a resolution would ensure that the Darfur mission had greater powers and was funded through the normal system whereby member states are required to fund UN peacekeeping missions.She added, Such as resolution would also increase the authority of the African Union force, enable it to be enlarged and obtain better logistics. Ends. For further information, please contact Jessica Drewery: firstname.lastname@example.org, tel 020 7219 4264 Darfur: People need Protection Despite humanitarian efforts, political dialogue and the process of justice, civilians in Darfur continue to perish. We note that: · On 29 January the UN Under Secretary for Humanitarian Affairs, Jan Egeland, said the high level of insecurity was seriously hampering the ability of international organizations to deliver aid to many internally displaced people. In January, the World Food Programme only reached 900,000 people around 50% of their target. This was significantly less than the previous month. He estimates that if access was cut off from Darfur because of insecurity people would die at a rate of 100,000 per month. · The African Union envoy to Sudan, Baba Gana Kingibe, has stated that the security situation in North and South Darfur in particular had progressively deteriorated to appalling levels over the last four months with unacceptable consequences to the peace and tranquillity of the civilian populations. · The UN estimates that 70,000 people died between April and September 2004. Combined mortality from violence, malnutrition and disease from the beginning of the conflict in February 2003 until now could be more than 300,000 people. · The political dialogue between the Government of Sudan and the SLA/JEM rebels has been characterised by tension and breaking of the ceasefire throughout 2004. · The report of the UNs International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur detailed many atrocities in Darfur. The Commission recommends the situation in Darfur be referred to the International Criminal Court, to bring individual perpetrators to account. · Violence is continuing and the use of rape is increasing. We argue that: · The security of people in Darfur must be given priority; the discussion on whether it is genocide is taking place or not is immaterial to those who are suffering continuing violence and intimidation. Debates about what to call the crisis can be discussed and decided by lawyers over time. The international community has discussed this growing catastrophe for too long. There is urgent need for action to provide protection. · The current observer mission in Darfur of less than one thousand African Union soldiers is wholly inadequate in size, resources and its mandate. · The success of the North-South Sudanese peace deal is likely to be at risk without a resolution of the crisis in Darfur. We propose that: · HMG should propose that the UN Security Council should mandate peace-enforcement operations in Darfur. Forces should be led by the African Union and supported with finance and logistics through a UN mandate. Signed (at 14th March 1700h): · Clare Short MP · Lord Judd · George Foulkes MP · Tom Clarke MP · Tony Lloyd MP · Rob Marris MP · Mark Lazarowicz · Dr Jenny Tonge MP · Lord Lester · John Bercow MP · Lord Astor · Andrew Robathan MP · Baroness Cox · Lord Alton __________ Mark Pallis Coordinator and Policy Director All Party Parliamentary Group on the Great Lakes Region and Genocide Prevention House of Commons London SW1A 0AA www.appggreatlakes.org Tel: +44 (0)207 219 1165 Fax: +44 (0)207 219 2798
Roma Network 14 Mar 2005 Ustiben report UK ANTI-GYPSY RACISM REACHES DANGER LEVEL By Grattan Puxon The same rabid anti-Gypsy racism which gave rise to the Nazi genocide is now being deliberately whipped up ahead of the UK general election, speakers at this year's Roma Nation Day rally will warn the UK Government. Romani Rose, of the Central Council of German Sinti, who lost 17 members of his family during the Holocaust, will be among those addressing the Commemoration of Roma Victims taking place (12 noon) at St James's Church, Piccadilly, on Saturday, 9 April. Paying their respects to the 500,000 Roma who died at the hands of the Nazis will be members of the foreign diplomatic corps and representatives of the Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh and Jewish communities. After the signing of a Book of Condolence, candles will be lit to those who died both in the Holocaust and as a result of present-day racism. Among those to be remembered is Johnny Delaney, the 15-year-old Traveller murdered two years ago in Cheshire. The church ceremony will be followed by a procession across central London in support of the aims of the GTLRC and in protest against threatened evictions at Dale Farm, Smithy Fen and elsewhere. Attended by members of the Gypsy Council, TERF, the NTAG, UKAGW, ITM and other groups, the rally will be headed by the Romani Rad ensemble and a decorated horse-drawn vehicle. Some marchers intend to deliver a demand to Savile Row police station for the SUN newspaper to be investigated for incitement to racial hatred over its recent article headed "Stamp on the Camps". Similar complaints against other newspapers, among them the Evening Standard, the Mail and Daily Express will also be included. At a public meeting following the march, Richard Sheridan is to announce his participation in the general election as a candidate for Billericay. He will be standing against the present Tory MP John Baron, well-known for his anti-Gypsy stance on the issue of the future of unauthorised caravan parks. "As the first Traveller to stand for Parliament," says Mr Sheridan, "I intend to make our voice heard not only at Crays Hill but around the whole country." His adoption by Dale Farm residents follows an intense voter registration scheme which ended on 11 March. Meanwhile, a plan for the creation of a housing association has been submitted to Basildon District Council as an alternative to the threatened 13 May eviction. Known as the Sheridan Plan, the proposed Dale Farm Housing Association, drawing on Housing Corporation and local authority funding, would aim to build several family-sized mobile-home parks for people presently occupying unauthorised plots at Crays Hill. "The first step is to obtain status as a registered social landlord," explained Patrick Egan, chair of the Traveller Community Project, which is meeting shortly to form the association. At the same time, up to l5 fresh planning applications have been prepared for submission to Basildon council ahead of the May deadline. Also in the pipeline are eight human rights cases arising out of evictions by Hertsmere District Council and Chelmsford Borough Council. It is hoped that these cases will help deter Basildon council from resorting to similar methods - the employment of Constant & Co security men, riot police and bulldozers - to raze the homes of the many hundreds of residents at Dale Farm.
www.milligazette.com 25 Mar 2005 "Modi Escapes Genocide Threat", Security Concern was a pretext London, 25 March, 2005: Instead of security it was the fear of being arrested and tried for genocide of more than 2000 innocent Muslims in 2002 that made the fascist chief minister of Gujarat Narendra Modi to cancel his trip to UK, Council of Indian Muslims – UK (CIM) claims. “If there could be any risk to his security that would have been in 2003 when he visited London and when the memories and pain of his crimes were fresh in the minds of Muslims.” CIM’s Chairman Mr Munaf Zeena said in a statement today. “That there was a threat to Modi’s security is just another attempt to tarnish the image of Muslims.” Zeena added. “This man is a shame for India and the Central Government must get rid of such an embarrassing character.” Said Zeena. He also said that in his letter sent to foreign Secretary Mr Jack Straw he had made it clear that if Modi was allowed to come to UK and be welcomed by his fascist supporters, it would have an impact on his election campaign as he has a sizeable number of Gujarati Muslims in his constituency who have been directly or indirectly affected by the pogroms engineered by Modi in 2002. “After faxing the letter to Mr Straw I phoned his office and was assured that my letter would be seen by the Foreign Secretary himself. I am sure that after the receipt of our letter and the announcement by the known solicitor Imran Khan at a London public meeting that he would get arrest warrants against Modi as soon as he puts his feet on British soil, Foreign office must have advised Delhi to save both the governments from the embarrassment in case Modi was arrested.” Zeena said. Imran Khan made his plans, to have Modi arrested, knwon in the presence of Chancellor of Exchequer Mr Gordon Brown, Liberal Party leader Charles Kennedy, several ministers and MPs and media representatives on 23 March at The Muslim News Awards For Excellence 2005, after he was awarded Iman Wa Amal (Practice what you say) Special Award for his outstanding contribution to campaign for justice. Mr Khan, acting for Dawood family, who lost their two sons in the savage riots in 2002, failed in his bid to have Modi arrested on his earlier visit in 2003 for want of what the courts said “direct” evidence. Since then Mr Khan has prepared strong evidence to prove Modi’s crime.
Reuters 27 Mar 2005 UK cardinal compares abortion to Nazi genocide LONDON - Britain's most senior Roman Catholic has compared abortion to the eugenics of Nazi Germany, in comments which seem certain to push the issue back up the political agenda ahead of a widely expected general election. Writing in the Sunday Telegraph newspaper, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor criticised abortion, euthanasia, embryo selection and embryonic research. "In all these cases, the terrible truth is that it is the strong who decide the fate of the weak," wrote Murphy-O'Connor, leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales. "Human beings therefore become instruments in the hands of other human beings. That way lies eugenics, and we know from German history where that leads. "We are already on that road: for what else is the termination of 6 million lives in the womb since the Abortion Act was introduced, and embryo selection on the basis of gender and genes." In drawing attention to the 6 million abortions carried out in Britain since the practice was legalised in 1967, the cardinal appeared to be making a deliberate comparison with the Nazi massacre of nearly 6 million Jews in the Holocaust. His comments echoed those of Pope John Paul, who in his recently published book Memory and Identity described abortion as a "legal extermination" comparable to attempts to wipe out Jews and other groups in the 20th century. The Pope's comparison sparked protests from Jewish groups. Responding to Murphy-O'Connor's article, published on Easter Sunday, a spokesman for the Reform Synagogues of Great Britain said he strongly disagreed. "It is somewhat disingenuous for him to use the image of the 6 million," the spokesman told the Sunday Telegraph. "It is possible to be both religious and pro-choice." Earlier this month, Murphy-O'Connor helped propel abortion onto the political agenda ahead of an election expected on May 5 by saying he welcomed the stance of the opposition Conservative Party, which has said it will consider lowering the legal limit for abortion -- currently 24 weeks after pregnancy. The cardinal was criticised for wading into the political debate but, in his article on Sunday, said he was unrepentant. "I am glad I spoke out, for a nerve was touched, and it gave the chance for many, many people -- the majority according to a number of recent opinion polls -- to express their unease at the thousands of abortions that take place each year in our country." Almost 200,000 terminations are performed annually in England and Wales, most in the early stages of pregnancy. A recent poll in the conservative Daily Telegraph newspaper showed 55 per cent of voters favoured reducing the legal limit. Catholics make up only around 1 million of Britain's 58 million strong population. But their stance on abortion has also found support among Britain's much larger Protestant population.
- 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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