News Monitor for October 1- 15, 2005
Tracking current news on genocide and items related to past and present ethnic, national, racial and religious violence.
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The New Times (Kigali) 16 Sep 2005 EASBRIG HQs in Nairobi, Addis By Patrick Bigabo Kigali The Council Meeting of Ministers of Defence of Eastern Africa member countries, ahead of strengthening the Eastern African Standby Brigade (EASBRIG), have chosen Kenya to host the headquarters of the brigade, a communiqué released at the meeting has confirmed. Kenya has been urged to work closely with Ethiopia in effecting the changes. Ethiopia has been home of EASBRIG. The meeting that was chaired by Rwanda Defence Minister Gen. Marcel Gatsinzi, and attended by Kenya's minister for Security in the Office of the President, Uganda's State Minister for Defence Ruth Nankabirwa, and a Tanzanian delegation, approved the establishment of an independent EASBRIG coordinating mechanism. It also approved EASBRIG's replacement of the Intergovernmental Authority on Drought (IGAD). Earlier, Maj. Ndoli Rulinda of the Rwanda Defence forces (RDF) had told this reporter that the ministers were to discuss details of the report of the earlier Kampala meeting that involved the Chiefs of Staff of the armies that form EASBRIG. "The Council meeting of Defense Ministers is also expected to tackle the issue of establishing the headquarters of EASBRIG, currently based in Addis Ababa. The meeting will also discuss the budgetary planning elements and coordination mechanism of the regional standby brigade," Maj. Rulinda explained. EASBRIG is expected to become operational this year and be deployed in conflict areas in host countries. Uganda's Army Commander Lt. Gen. Aronda Nyakairima is the Chairman of the EASBRIG Committee of Chiefs of Defense. Military sources said the Eastern Africa Standby Brigade is a step towards forming an African Army.
Background: The East African Standard, Nairobi 14 July 2005 www.eastandard.net African states set up standby army Author: Ken Ramani The Eastern African Brigade of the African Union (EASBRIG) has formally been established in Nairobi. EASRBIG, one of the five regional brigades envisioned in the AU’s African Standby Force, will be composed of units from eleven countries and will have its headquarters in Addis Ababa and secretariat in Nairobi.African states set up standby army The African Union has formally established the Eastern Brigade, which is part of the union's standby force for peacekeeping missions in and outside the continent. The heads of state of Eastern Africa endorsed EASBRIG during a recent summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The member countries of EASBRIG include Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Eritrea, Madagascar, Sudan, Comoros, Somalia and the Seychelles. The secretariat of EASBRIG will be the Defence Staff College in Nairobi, but the headquarters will be in Addis Ababa. The secretariat, whose Chief of Staff is Colonel Robert Kibochi of Kenya, will host the planning elements (PLANELM). Lieutenant General Aronda Nyakairima, the chairman of the EASBRIG Committee of Chiefs of Defence, presided over the inauguration of the secretariat whose main functions are planning and training. Senior military officers from the EASBRIG countries except Tanzania, which was said to have joined the Southern Brigade, also attended the function. Flags of the member countries and that of the AU were hoisted by officers from the Kenya Army, Air Force and Navy. The standby brigades in each of Africa's five regions - Eastern, Southern, Western, Northern and Central - will comprise four light infantry battalions, each with 750 personnel and 70 vehicles and a military observer unit with 120 officers. A peacekeeping force could be sent to a war zone within a month after the AU and UN's approval. In the event of genocide, the intervention force would be deployed within 14 days after the AU and UN approves a request. The units assigned to the brigade will remain in their respective countries. Yesterday, Internal Security minister John Michuki, said by establishing the five brigades, AU was devolving power to regional economic groupings to deal with security.
Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) A Seven member subregional Development Organisation formed by Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda. See also Canada's news site on IGAD http://www.igad.org/ http://www.igad.ca/
BBC 1 Oct 2005 Violent past haunts Algeria's fresh start By Jeremy Bowen BBC News, Algiers Algerians have overwhelmingly approved a government peace plan aimed at ending its civil war which began in 1992. In the capital, Algiers, Jeremy Bowen discovers the legacy of what Algerians refer to as "the black decade". The architecture in Algiers reflects its French colonial legacy Algiers has a lot of sadness, but there is something irresistible too. It took a particularly savage war to dislodge the French colonialists who went in 1962. But they left behind a beautiful city. The old buildings in the centre are whitewashed, and gleam in the Mediterranean light, with narrow, tall windows and blue slatted shutters. Some people hang blue and white awnings over the balconies to keep the sun out and they billow in the wind that comes off the bay in the afternoons. Dangerous towns I went to a small town called Rais, where around 800 people were killed in a single night Algiers is a sad city, because of what happened here, and in the outlying towns during the 1990s. Their war started in 1992, after the military cancelled elections that an Islamist party was about to win. At least 150,000 people were killed. The war has been more or less over for a couple of years although there are still pockets of killing. The government still provides armed bodyguards for visiting journalists, if you tick the box requesting protection when you apply for your press card. But although this is not a normal country it is starting to look like one. Most Algerians are poor but a litre of petrol in this oil rich place only costs about the same as a bar of chocolate. 'Brutality' Over 150,000 died in the war between the military and insurgents Driving out of Algiers is a slow business because the roads are choked with cars. During the worst time in the war the same roads were very empty. In the summer of 1997 and the winter of 1998 there was a series of massacres of civilians, and people were too terrified to move. Then, I went to a small town called Rais, where around 800 people were killed in a single night. Some were shot, some had their throats cut, the heads of babies were severed. A group of extremists who claimed to be motivated by Islam carried out the killings, but there were always dark whispers about the role of the security forces in what was happening. The claim was that the insurgents had been infiltrated by the military and pushed even deeper into brutality to discredit them. There was an army base close to Rais, but local people complained that no soldiers had arrived in the town until the killers had gone. The massacre eventually made the Islamist insurgents look so bad that some of them gave up their fight, but the killing left deep wounds among the survivors. 'Anger' One of the big drawbacks of the president's peace charter is that he has chosen not to establish a truth commission as they did in South Africa Rais this week, 8 years later, still feels stunned. Thirty seconds into every conversation I have with people there, in two visits, the rawness of their pain and anger became very obvious. The two men who run a small grocer's shop at the top of Tariq Hussain Street were furious when I asked them about President Bouteflika's plan to pardon Islamist insurgents. "I don't believe in reconciliation." One of them spat, angrily. "I'm 20 years old and I lost 10 years of school. Because of the war, I have no education." Half a dozen members of his family were killed in the massacre, along with his future. When I pointed out to them that the president's charter for peace and national reconciliation says explicitly that those responsible for massacres, rapes and the bombing of civilians would not get pardons, they dismissed it as a lie. The eyes of the other man, who was in his mid-30s, filled with tears of rage. "The president said on TV," he insisted "that the charter would make the fighter in the hills the same as the victim." Whether or not the president meant it like that, it is not a comparison they like in Rais. 'Reconciliation' Tariq Hussain Street is dusty and straight with small houses behind high walls and gates. Seventy of its residents were killed in the massacre and their families are still waiting for justice. One of the big drawbacks of the president's peace charter is that he has chosen not to establish a truth commission as they did in South Africa. However painful or difficult, South Africans needed to know what happened, why and how people died. It is hard to escape a conclusion that there are events here that powerful Algerians want to keep secret Former fighters and repentant killers had to make a full confession before they could get an amnesty. That is not considered necessary in Algeria. Perhaps it was easier in South Africa because the old regime had gone. There was a new ruling elite. That is not the case here. The generals are still powerful, though they have stepped back from politics. It is hard to escape a conclusion that there are events here that powerful Algerians want to keep secret. But the great mass of Algerians are exhausted by war. Even though it is flawed, the charter for peace and reconciliation is what they have now. They are ready for a new start. No-one wants to fight, and in a country that has had so much sadness, that is good.
Reuters 1 Oct 2005 Algerian Rebels Said to Reject Amnesty By REUTERS ALGIERS, Oct. 1 (Reuters) - An Internet statement attributed to Algeria's largest outlawed Islamic militant group, aligned with Al Qaeda, says that it opposes amnesty in exchange for laying down its arms and that it will continue its jihad, or holy war. In a Sept. 29 referendum, Algerians approved a government offer of partial amnesty for combatants in a civil war that lasted more than a decade and claimed more than 100,000 lives, mostly those of civilians. "This vote is a waste of time," said the statement on an Islamist Web site, dated Sept. 27 and attributed to Abdelmalek Droukdal, also known as Abu Mossab Abdelwadoud, the leader of the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat. "Algeria is not in need of a charter for peace and national reconciliation, but in need of a charter for Islam." It was the first time the Salafist Group had seemed to comment on the controversial amnesty project, but the statement's authenticity could not be immediately verified. The Salafist Group is on the United States' list of foreign terrorist organizations and has recently expanded its activities to neighboring countries. "The jihad will go on," the statement said. "We have promised God to continue the jihad and the combat." The conflict began after the army in 1992 canceled the second round of Algeria's first multiparty legislative election, which the Islamic Salvation Front was on course to win. The authorities estimate that only a few hundred rebels are still armed and fighting security forces. Most belong to the Salafist Group. At its height in the mid-1990's, up to 25,000 Islamists were involved in the insurgency. Many have since accepted amnesties, or been captured or killed. "There will be no peace and no reconciliation as long as Islam is not taken into consideration," said the statement attributed to Mr. Droukdal, which also praised Osama bin Laden and his deputy in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
IRIN 10 Oct 2005 Govt denies claims of ethnic cleansing [ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations] © Survival International Bushmen groups claim the government has conducted a forced evictions campaign JOHANNESBURG, 10 Oct 2005 (IRIN) - The government of Botswana says accusations that Bushmen are being evicted at gunpoint from the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR) are "absolute rubbish". In a damning statement, 'Ethnic Cleansing Reaches Final Phase', the London-based rights group, Survival International, said police carried out forced removals of Bushmen from the CKGR at gunpoint at the weekend. A local Bushmen rights group, First People of the Kalahari, claimed police were "setting fire to their huts". The government said they had merely assisted a group of Bushmen, who had returned to the reserve after having been resettled outside the park, to leave the CKGR voluntarily because their livestock were diseased. According to the Botswana Department of Wildlife and National Parks, the residents of Molapo settlement in the CKGR "requested that they be transported back to the village where the came from, New Xade. Government facilitated their transport - 34 people in total - to the village on the 7th and 8th October 2005". Another "12 people from Metsiamanong settlement also requested for transport to New Xade, and government again facilitated their return to that village and the houses they have there". Officials alleged that several Bushmen had said they were returning to New Xade so they could claim their old-age pensions. "Contrary to some reports, at no time was anyone removed forcibly or at gunpoint". But Survival reported that the "the police have told them [Bushmen still in the CKGR] they will be killed, and are following them to prevent them hunting or gathering any food". The rights group said the "Botswana government has been trying to get the Gana and Gwi Bushmen off their ancestral lands in the CKGR since the 1980s when diamonds were discovered". Survival's Stephen Corry accused the government of "ethnic cleansing". Presidential spokesman Jeff Ramsay told IRIN the accusations were "absolute rubbish, an insult and a disgrace". "The group [of Bushmen] who requested to go back to New Xade were facilitated in doing so," he said. "The whole return exercise was fully filmed and documented so anybody is free to see [the footage] in its unedited form if they like - it runs for a couple of hours." Botswana's government had resorted to "filming these things" due to the number of accusations it has faced with regard to its dealings with the Bushmen. "We're not taking any chances," Ramsay added. He admitted that tensions had escalated in recent weeks, when "a group of people tried to enter the park and police fired rubber bullets and teargas", but said there "is no ethnic cleansing in the CKGR; there's no shooting [of people] in the CKGR".
WP 11 Oct 2005 Bushmen Villages Nearly Emptied Botswana Accused Of Forced Removal By Craig Timberg Washington Post Foreign Service Tuesday, October 11, 2005; Page A13 JOHANNESBURG, Oct. 10 -- All but a few of the Bushmen living in Botswana's Central Kalahari Game Reserve have been forcibly removed from their homes in recent days in what spokesmen for the affected communities said is a final push by the government to end human habitation there after tens of thousands of years. The First People of the Kalahari, an activist group in Botswana, said that Bushmen villages had been cut off from their main sources of food and water and that outsiders had been prohibited from entering to provide relief for the past six weeks. The group said a heavy contingent of police, military and park rangers trucked out about 40 people -- most of the remaining residents -- at gunpoint on Friday and Saturday. The stragglers face constant harassment, it said. Botswana officials gave a strikingly different account, saying the police activity was prompted by a quarantine because of a disease affecting the goats many Bushmen keep. The officials also said that all those who had left had done so voluntarily. But Jumanda Gakeredone of the First People of the Kalahari said that such basic activities as hunting game and gathering water-filled roots had been prohibited and that officials had seized goats, sheep and other livestock the Bushmen use for food. "The situation is really, really bad," he said from Gaborone, the capital of Botswana. "Every day, they are there with guns." Officials acknowledged that one of the game reserve's two main villages, Malapo, had been deserted since 25 residents were trucked out Friday. The other substantial settlement, Metsiamanong, lost nearly half its remaining residents when 14 left on government trucks Saturday. They are not permitted to return as long as the quarantine remains in force, the government said. No date has been set for the end of the quarantine, and activists said it was just a pretext for removing the Bushmen while their right to stay is being argued in a major court battle. Government officials have long sought to drive the Bushmen from the game reserve, saying their increasingly sedentary lifestyle -- which includes keeping domestic animals and using motorized vehicles -- makes them incompatible with a park for wild animals. The Kalahari reserve is a major tourist attraction for the southern African nation of 1.6 million. The total number of Bushmen remaining in the reserve, which is larger than Switzerland, is now 27 people in three villages, said Ruth Maphorisa, the top government official for the district, speaking from Gaborone. "There was no harassment whatsoever," Maphorisa said. "We didn't force anybody to leave." She added that a government videotape of the removals shows the villagers leaving freely. She said police and military troops were there only to help load household belongings onto waiting trucks. Told of her comments, Gakeredone responded angrily. "It's a lie. No one has left Malapo by choice," he said. "Every day, the police are there and threatening with guns." He also said he could not verify the number of Bushmen left inside the reserve because he and other activists had been barred during the quarantine. His account of incidents there, he said, was based on conversations with those who had been removed. Bushmen once roamed most of southern Africa, before the encroachment of white settlers moving north from Cape Town and African Bantu farmers migrating south squeezed them nearly out of existence. Among the final places where Bushmen have maintained traditional ways is the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. But the government has gradually cut off water deliveries and medical services, while forcing children to study outside the reserve in classrooms dominated by speakers of Setswana, the national language. An estimated 2,000 Bushmen lived in the reserve before the government undertook forced removal campaigns in 1997 and 2002. Most were relocated to New Xade, a settlement outside the reserve. Some Bushmen said they grew despondent in New Xade, separated from their homes and the graves of their ancestors. Last month, the First People of the Kalahari loaded five trucks full of cornmeal, water and tobacco and attempted to defy the quarantine. There was a confrontation, which grew violent, and police fired rubber bullets to disperse the crowd, injuring one, the government has said. Twenty-one people were arrested.
Diamonds.net, NY 16 Sep 2005 9th Grader Rallies for Bushmen, Court Grants Time By Jeff Miller Posted: 9/16/2005 1:59 PM (Rapaport...September 16, 2005) Botswana's visitor ban in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve has prohibited journalists and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from access to some 200 San Bushmen still living in the reserve. Miriam Ross of Survival International (SI) told Rapaport News that it is difficult to get an accurate picture of what is going on in the reserve other than conversations between some Bushmen and the SI representatives in the region. But Ross said the situation is only worsening for the Bushmen. There are no photographs or video available to document events after the reserve was put off-limits by Botswana on September 1, 2005. However, during this past week, Botswana deployed armed wildlife guards into the game reserve and the government contends that sarcoptic mange has spread amongst the Bushmen's goats. Sarcoptic mange is an external mite that burrows into the skin of the host. Bushmen held the right to live on the reserve, which is the basis for their court case against Botswana, but a constitutional change before Parliament is expected to remove that right. Furthermore the Bushmen have claimed that Botswana removed them in order to open the reserve for mining diamonds. London-based SI also claims that Bushmen were driven out of the Kalahari in order to mine diamonds and has waged a campaign against De Beers for its diamond concessions on the reserve. However, the Bushmen's court case took a new turn on September 14. Attorney Gordon Bennett, representing the Bushmen, requested a five-month reprieve in order to raise more funds. The judge granted the delay that now buys Bennett until February 2006 before resuming defense of Bushmen settlement claims on the reserve, which has been their ancestral homeland for the past 20,000 years. "We did not have the funds to see the case through. We needed a break to try to raise more money," Bennett said. SI's director, Stephen Corry, says that Botswana's government and presidential appointments to the country's diamond company, Debswana, are part of a "clique" with deep-seated racism against the Bushmen. Half the world away from Botswana, in Cleveland, Ohio, 9th grade student, Aaron Kohn of the Hawken School has taken action as well. Kohn, 14, said that he learned about the Bushmen in 2004 during his world cultures studies. "I was inspired by the lifestyle of the indigenous peoples known as the Bushmen, as portrayed in the popular 1984 movie 'The Gods Must Be Crazy.' I later found out that the movie was inaccurate in its portrayal of the Bushmen's lifestyle," Kohn wrote in a letter the school released on September 14. Kohn says the Bushmen's culture is "going through a cultural genocide. "This culture, the more politically correct name of which is the San people, is the oldest human culture in existence today. According to the well-known Human Genome project, there is a San woman in the ancestry of each one of us, as far back as 200,000 years." But the student's letter is not his first attempt to raise awareness about the Bushmen. In April 2005, Kohn brought experts on the San's culture to his private school "for a conference to tell the truth about the situation. It ended up being the biggest conference ever for the Kalahari Peoples Fund, the biggest turnout (over 100 people,) biggest fundraiser, and most press coverage (local and national,)" he writes. And now Kohn announces that two Bushmen will visit the school in October. "Tinau Thu and Gkao Goma are from the Nyae Nyae Conservancy (NNC) in Namibia, which is a long 10-hour drive in off-road vehicles into the northern region of the country. This is where a small but strong population of San people retain some hunting and land rights to preserve the national land for nature conservation." Hawken will sponsor the event on October 19 to raise funds for the Kalahari Peoples Fund. "The San people have lived for a long time with little conflict or dissent," Kohn writes. "This shows that their environmental, political, and social skills are lessons for us all. They offer lessons that we can learn, so that we can preserve their culture, even after they have become completely modernized in the world we have created. "They have answers to the needs and conflicts in our modern society, and also they can give us a sense that we have not destroyed the entire world through change. This is why our help is so critical, because the Bushmen could be gone in just a few years, and their heritage will vanish if we do not fight to learn about it now."
AP 4 AOct 2005 Ex-Chad leader's atty. expects extradition By NAFI DIOUF ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER DAKAR, Senegal -- A lawyer for Chad's former dictator said Tuesday he was confident Hissene Habre would not be extradited to Belgium to stand trial for war crimes allegedly committed during his rule in the 1980s. Belgium issued an international warrant last week for Habre, who has lived in exile in Senegal's capital, Dakar, since rebel forces ousted him 15 years ago. "We are not at all worried," Habre's lawyer El Hadji Diouf told The Associated Press. "They are just wasting their time." Senegal's high court dismissed earlier Senegalese charges against Habre in 2001, ruling it had no jurisdiction to try him. Diouf said that precedent could bode well for Habre this time around. Habre, 63, is accused of torture, murder and a host of other crimes during his eight-year reign. A commission set up in Chad in 1992 accused Habre's regime of 40,000 political killings and 200,000 cases of torture. He is being pursued under Belgium's "universal jurisdiction" laws which allow for prosecutions for crimes against humanity wherever they were committed. On Monday, Belgium sent Senegal a request for Habre's extradition, which has been forwarded to legal authorities here, a close aid to Senegal's President Abdoulaye Wade said on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the press. Habre is not the only ex-African head of state being pursued for alleged war crimes. Former Liberian President Charles Taylor has been indicted by the U.N.-backed tribunal in Sierra Leone for alleged crimes against humanity for backing Sierra Leone rebels during a vicious decade-long insurgency.
BBC 30 Sep 2005 Leaders pursue Ivory Coast peace Laurent Gbagbo did not give a reason for his absence West African leaders are meeting to try to revive the stalled peace process in Ivory Coast. At least nine heads of state from the regional grouping, Ecowas, are meeting, but Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo has said he will not be attending. Ivory Coast has been split in two since a failed coup and subsequent uprising by rebels who now control the north. The meeting in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, is expected to discuss South Africa's role as mediator. Leaders of the New Forces rebel group have objected to South Africa's involvement, saying that the South Africans favour Mr Gbagbo. 'Not tired of summits' Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo's determination to hold this summit was interpreted by many as a desire to bring the peace process back into West African hands. Mr Gbagbo has already said he will not accept any Ecowas mediation on Ivory Coast, accusing member states of having supported the New Forces rebels. This is a reference to Burkina Faso and Mali, who deny the accusations. Elections were due to be held in Ivory Coast at the end of October but these have been postponed. Neither the rebels not the pro-Gbagbo militias have disarmed as planned and few other preparations have been made. Several summits have been held in France and Africa to try and solve the problems in Ivory Coast - previously West Africa's richest country. But Remi Oyo, spokeswoman for Mr Obasanjo told journalists: "The heads of state are not tired of trying to solve the problem. African solutions can always be found to African problems." "
Congo, Dem. Rep. of the
BBC 2 Oct 2005 UN investigates DR Congo graves The DR Congo saw incursions by Rwandan troops in 1996 A United Nations team has started investigating three mass graves found in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Dozens of skulls and bones have been exhumed from the graves, discovered at Rutshuru, about 50km (30 miles) north of Goma more than a week ago. They are the latest in a number of mass graves found in the region recently. A UN spokeswoman told the BBC the remains were believed to be those of Congolese and Rwandan Hutus killed by Rwandan soldiers in 1996. At the time the Rwandan Army was venturing into the DR Congo trying to find those responsible for mass genocide in Rwanda in 1994. The graves were exhumed by Congolese troops. "They are Congolese Hutus who were massacred by the Rwandan army in 1996 and in the following years," the commander of the troops, Col Jean-Marie Shekasikila, said. Following the 1994 genocide, which saw more than 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus killed, many Rwandan Hutus fled to neighbouring DR Congo fearing for reprisals from the new-Tutsi-led government. Hutu extremists who are thought to have helped carry out the killings also crossed the border to set up camps. Some 15,000 are still thought to be in the country. The resource-rich country has been in turmoil for years We believe that thousands of people were massacred and that we will discover more graves," said Colonel Shekasikila of the 5th Brigade, who are carrying out the diggings.. "We found the first one as we were doing digging work to build a latrine, then town residents showed us two other spots where there were bones," he said. Captain Jose Mabiala, a spokesman for the 5th Brigade, accused Rwandan officers of being responsible for the killings. "Rebels backed by Rwanda dominated the Rutshuru region at the time and young army officers came to kill residents," he said. The country, one of Africa's most resource-rich states, was in political turmoil at the time, which eventually led to the overthrow of its dictator Mobutu Sese Seko. UN troops continue to keep the peace in the country, which threatens to erupt into civil war.
IRIN 6 Oct 2005 Kigali says it not responsible for mass killings [ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations] © IRIN Richard Sezibera, Rwandan President Paul Kagame's special envoy to the Great Lakes region. KIGALI, 6 Oct 2005 (IRIN) - A senior Rwandan government official dismissed on Thursday allegations that the army was responsible for a massacre nearly 10 years ago of hundreds of people in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), whose bodies were discovered recently in mass graves. "It is very unfair to jump at accusations," Richard Sezibera, Rwanda's special envoy to the Great Lakes Region, told IRIN. "The area has a bad history of killings which should be investigated." Sezibera pointed to a 1993 massacre of Congolese ethnic Tutsis by the army of the late Congolese president, Mobutu Sese Seko, as well as numerous ethnic clashes in that country. Sezibera said there were many mass graves in the area. He said thousands of Rwandan Hutu refugees in camps in Goma, capital of Congo's North Kivu Province, and Rutshuru, 50 to 70 km north of Goma, died from a cholera epidemic in 1994 and were buried in mass graves. The information officer of the UN Mission in the DRC in Goma, Jacqueline Chernard, said residents of Rutshuru town discovered mass graves two weeks ago and alerted the Congolese army. Then, the army informed the UN mission. The spokesman for the mission know as MONUC, Kemal Saiki, said from Kinshasa on Thursday that a UN team of investigators had gone to the grave sites. Skulls, bones and human tissue have been exhumed. The graves contained the remains of hundreds of people believed to be Rwandan exiles and Congolese citizens killed sometime around 1996, at the start of the country's armed conflict. Residents of the area where the graves were found allege that at least 300 people were killed by a Rwandan-backed Congolese armed group, which was fighting Mobutu's government. Another now deceased Congolese president, Laurent-Desire Kabila, father of current President Joseph Kabila, led the insurrection against Mobutu.
IRIN 4 Oct 2005 Thousands return to Ituri gold town after army ousts rebels [ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations] BUNIA, 4 Oct 2005 (IRIN) - Some 5,000 civilians who fled fighting last week between the army and local armed groups in a gold mining area of northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)'s Ituri District began returning to their homes on Monday, a Roman Catholic clergyman said. "They have been in perpetual movement. They need help to resettle," Abbot Innocent Ngabu said on Monday in Kilo, a locality 25 km north of the Bambu Gold Mines. The information officer in Bunia for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Idrissa Conteh, said, "We don’t yet know the humanitarian situation but we plan to organise a mission in the region." Armed groups had first attacked government troops on 27 September who were guarding the Bambu Gold Mines, which serves as the headquarters of the state-owned Office des Mines d’Or des Kilo Moto - OKIMO, an army officer who asked not to be identified told IRIN. Thousands of civilians fled in various directions: some to the army post at Bambu Mines; others 12 km south to the town of Petsi. Many others just hide in the surrounding bush. The mines are in a mountainous area 50 km north of the district capital Bunia. The officer identified the attackers as members of the Front des Nationalistes Intégrationnistes (Nationalist and Integrationist Front led by Floribert Ndjabu) and those of the Union des Patriotes Congolais (Union of Congolese Patriots) headed by Thomas Lubanga. The army officer said the attackers surrounded the government troops and started shooting. One soldier was killed, he said, and at least 10 of the attackers were wounded. By Wednesday the army had repulsed the attackers who fled into their sanctuary in the Dala Forest some 30 km northeast of Bambu Mines. The army has since deployed to the locality of Kilo, which is 25 km north of Bambu Mines in an effort to secure the area.
UN News Centre 6 Oct 2005 DR of Congo: clock is ticking on political transition goals, UN Mission chief says William Lacy Swing 6 October 2005 – The United Nations and its peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have nine months to accomplish crucial objectives in the country’s political transition – organizing credible elections, maintaining peace and security and addressing the devastation wrought by war, senior UN envoy William Lacy Swing said today. “Our biggest challenge is that of time,” he told a news conference at UN Headquarters in New York as he reviewed the recent work of the UN Organization Mission in the DRC (MONUC), established in November 1999. “That, I think, is really what lies before us: whether we and the international community in the Congo, working together, can ensure that the remaining nine months of the transition are sufficient to accomplish these objectives overall to arrive at conditions of stability and legitimacy before the end of the transition on 30 June 2006,” the Special Representative of the Secretary-General said. Saying he was explaining, not complaining, he responded to persistent questions about the likelihood that the Security Council would increase the 16,900-strong MONUC force by saying: “The province of Kinshasa is about the size of Kosovo, where we had 46,000 troops. Ituri district, where we have 4,800 troops, is the size of Sierra Leone, which had 17,500 troops.” In addition, DRC is five times larger than Côte d’Ivoire, Burundi, Liberia and Sierra Leone put together, with twice the population, Mr. Swing pointed out. The Security Council has authorized a force of 7,090 for Cote d’Ivoire, 5,650 for Burundi and 15,000 for Liberia. With MONUC stationing 80 per cent of its forces in the troubled eastern DRC, Mr. Swing said it had created the first-ever UN divisional headquarters in Kisangani, bringing the peacekeepers two hours closer to the conflict areas of Ituri and the Kivus. Meanwhile, though, the rest of the vast country – Equateur province, which is larger than France, Bandundu, the Kasais, Bas-Congo and Kinshasa – has three UN battalions, he said. “I work with what I am given and we try to make the adjustments that we need to make,” he said. .
BBC 6 Oct 2005 Congo soldiers on trial for rape Many women in the DRC have become victims of rape Twelve soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo have gone on trial accused of raping 119 women. The soldiers are accused of the gang rape in north-eastern Equateur province following a mutiny on 21 December 2003. The United Nations has welcomed the trial as it says it is the first time alleged rapists in DR Congo are being charged for crimes against humanity. Armed men have raped tens of thousands of women and girls since DR Congo's five-year civil war began in 1998. Only a handful of the perpetrators have been brought to justice. Stealing pay "Rape is for the first time being charged as a crime against humanity," the UN's Kemal Saiki said. The war in DR Congo Soldiers from the 9th Battalion of the DRC army mutinied in December 2003 after accusing their commanding officer of stealing their pay. They were then allegedly involved in gang-raping women and girls in Nsongo Mboyo, as well as looting afterwards. "According to our investigations, at least 119 women, including girls under the age of 18, were raped," Reuters quotes UN spokeswoman Rachel Eklou as saying. The accused soldiers originally fought for the Congolese Liberation Movement rebel group and were integrated into the national army following the 2002 peace deal. The trial began on Tuesday in Mbandaka, the main city in Equateur province, and is set to continue on 18 October, the UN says.
www.prnewswire.com 6 Oct 2005 U.S. Holocaust Museum Online Congo Exhibition Highlights Angelina Jolie and John Prendergast's Trip to Country More Than 3.5 Million Dead From Ongoing Conflict Precipitated by 1994 Rwandan Genocide WASHINGTON, Oct. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum's Committee on Conscience, in cooperation with Angelina Jolie and the International Crisis Group, launched an online exhibition, Ripples of Genocide: Journey Through Eastern Congo, chronicling the devastation unfolding in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The site, http://www.ushmm.org/museum/exhibit/online/congojournal, includes a teachers guide to aid educators in developing lessons on the country's situation. The site features a travel log narrated by Angelina Jolie, who visited the region in September 2003 with John Prendergast, Senior Advisor, International Crisis Group. Jolie, reading from her travel log, delivers commentary on the country's dire situation and details her meetings with affected populations: child soldiers, rape victims and civilian refugees. Observations are accompanied by extensive photographs of the trip and of the region. Prendergast provides historical context to the complex conflict engulfing the region. "Despite the horrors that continue to be perpetrated in the Congo, Angelina and I returned from our trip with the overwhelming sense that the Congolese people still hope and work for a better future," stated Prendergast. "There are solutions, but they require more international engagement. This can only happen if citizens in the U.S. and around the world tell their governments it is unacceptable to allow 1,000 Congolese to die every day." The conflict's causes are multifaceted, with a bewildering array of foreign armies, militias, criminals, and others with disparate loyalties fighting over ethnic divisions and for economic dominance. Caught between these warring factions are Congolese civilians and some refugees. They have been targeted, often along ethnic lines, for murder, rape, torture and other human rights abuses on a colossal scale. "Since 1998, more than 3.5 million people have died in the Democratic Republic of the Congo," states Jerry Fowler, Director of the Museum's Committee on Conscience. "More people have died in this conflict than in any other since World War II, but it has received scant attention in the U.S., and few Americans are aware of its massive scope." The destruction began following the 1994 Rwandan genocide. The Tutsi-led Rwandan Patriotic Front overthrew the Hutu government that orchestrated the Rwandan genocide. The genocidaires fled into eastern DRC (then known as Zaire) along with more than one million Hutu civilians, who feared Tutsi reprisals. The presence of the genocidaires, who used eastern Congo/Zaire as a base to attack Rwanda, ultimately precipitated the present conflict. At one point, more than a half-dozen African nations had military forces in Congo. Numerous militias and rebel groups also formed, often along ethnic lines. An internationally backed accord, signed in 1999, called for the formation of a unity government that incorporates the major rebel groups from the East and for foreign forces to leave the country. While some aspects of the accords have been fulfilled, they have not been successful in rebuilding communities in the East, which remain vulnerable to militias and ethnically based violence. In addition to the conflict's military and political aspects, governments, militias, corporations, and individuals are exploiting the chaos to loot Congolese resources. Everything of value -- from mineral resources to food and medical supplies -- is being pillaged as the civilian population increasingly suffers and is targeted for attacks. In June 2003, Luis Moreno Ocampo, the International Criminal Court prosecutor, announced that the Court's first-ever investigation would probe crimes committed throughout the DRC. The investigation was requested by the Congolese transitional government. However, the violence continues, and many more lives are at risk. Situated among our national monuments to freedom, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is both a memorial to the past and a living reminder of the moral obligations of individuals and societies. The Museum fulfills its mission through a public/private partnership in which federal support guarantees the institution's permanence and hundreds of thousands of donors nationwide make possible its educational activities and global outreach. More than 22 million people -- including more than 7 million schoolchildren -- have visited the Museum since it opened in 1993, and through its Web site, traveling exhibitions and educational programs, the Museum reaches millions more every year. The Committee on Conscience guides the Museum's efforts to educate about, prevent and respond to contemporary genocide and related crimes against humanity. For more information, visit http://www.committeeonconscience.org. The International Crisis Group is an independent, non-profit, non- governmental organization covering over 50 crisis-affected countries and territories across four continents, working through field-based analysis and high-level advocacy to prevent and resolve deadly conflict. For more information, visit http://www.crisisgroup.org SOURCE United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Web Site: http://www.ushmm.org http://www.committeeonconscience.org http://www.crisisgroup.org
Reuters 10 Oct 2005 Suspected rebels massacre Congo civilians-official By David Lewis BUNIA, Congo, Oct 10 (Reuters) - Suspected Rwandan Hutu rebels hacked to death 24 Congolese villagers, including several children, in the latest attack against civilians in eastern Congo, a senior local official said Monday. United Nations spokesmen said the massacre was carried out by machete-wielding raiders who attacked at least two hamlets late on Sunday in the Walungu area of Democratic Republic of Congo's South Kivu province, which borders with Rwanda. "The territorial administrator who is on the ground has told me that 24 people were killed," Didace Kaningini, the interim governor of South Kivu, told Reuters. "All reports indicate that the Rwandan Hutus are responsible for the killings," said Kaningini, who added many other civilians had been wounded in the attack. Thousands of Rwandan rebels, many of whom fled to neighbouring Congo after participating in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, have been terrorising villagers in South Kivu province two years after Congo's latest war ended. Kaningini said letters written in Lingala, one of Congo's main languages, and also in Swahili, found left at the villages claimed the attacks in the name of the Rastas, a violent splinter group of Rwanda's FDLR rebels. "In the letters, they said that the war had begun and they were not afraid of the Congolese army. They also said they had proved what they could do and would continue doing it," he said. The United Nations mission in the Congo said earlier at least 10 to 12 civilians were killed. "There are definitely children amongst them ... These people were killed with machetes," U.N. military spokesman Major Hans Reichen told Reuters. He said a patrol of U.N. peacekeeping troops reached one of the attacked villages, but arrived too late to intercept the raiders and could give only first aid to the survivors. Twice during the 1990s, Rwanda used the rebels' presence in the Congo as justification for invading its western neighbour, sparking two large-scale conflicts. The United Nations has it biggest peacekeeping force in the world -- nearly 17,000 troops -- deployed in the Congo. But the U.N. blue helmets are thinly stretched across a vast country the size of Western Europe and have focused recently on trying to organise Congo's first democratic elections in more than 40 years. (Additional reporting by Charles Dimandja in Kinshasa)
MONUC.org 13, October 2005 All Conferences MONUC condemns the massacre of at least 15 people by Rwanda Hutu rebels in South Kivu Yulu Kabamba MONUC condemns the massacre of at least 15 people by Rwandan Hutu rebels in South Kivu MONUC "condemns in the strongest terms possible the attack by a group of about 25 Rwandan Hutu rebels on the locality of Buba, 60 km south west of Bukavu, in South Kivu," the Director of MONUC Public Information and spokesman, Mr. Kemal Saïki told the weekly news conference today. "The attack happened during the night of Sunday 9 October to Monday 10 October, between 22h30 and 23h30," indicated Mr. Saïki before adding, "MONUC recorded that 15 people were killed with knives and 12 seriously injured. DRC authorities, for their part, reported 25 dead." Referring to the "South Kivu brigade that rushed a quick reaction unit to the scene along with a medical assistance team," MONUC military Spokesman, Lieutenant-Colonel Thierry Provendier, informed that on the basis of "the information gathered by MONUC troops, a group of about 25 Rwandan Hutu elements infiltrated, from Mugaba forest, the Kanyola-based Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC)." Hence, with a view to securing more effectively the area, "the South Kivu brigade ever since has been maintaining a military presence in the Walungu territory. Three patrols secure the surroundings of Kanyola around the foothills of Mugaba forest. Operation Night Flash has been also stepped up and has been ongoing every night," further said Lieutenant-colonel Provendier. Moreover, "MONUC team conducted a preliminary investigative mission but was denied access to the attacked villages by the local population. The team returned to Walungu and visited the 12 injured in Walungu hospital without being able to interview them due to their poor health condition," highlighted Ms Sonia Bakar of MONUC Human Rights Division. The Director of MONUC Public Information, recalled that "DRC, Rwanda and Ugandan governments had issued an ultimatum to Rwandan hutu rebels operating in the DRC that they had up to end of September to implement their decision to lay down weapons and return to Rwanda," indicating, "MONUC believes the Tripartite Commission should implement its decision to enforce the serious consequences against Rwandan hutu rebels. FARDC must take concrete actions against the Hutu rebels operating in North Kivu." "North Kivu brigade proceeds with deterrent and sensitisation actions with a view to neutralising Nkunda and the troops that joined him and to encourage the disarmament of civilians (.). A mobile operational basis was established in Burungu, not far from Kichanga," indicated the Military Spokesman. Following the news on the human bones uncovered in the headquarters of the newly deployed 5th integrated Brigade of the FARDC, in Rutshuru, "a MONUC multidisciplinary mission based in Goma visited Rutshuru on 27 September 2005 to enquire about the locations and origin of the mass graves. MONUC visited three mass graves, along with the Commander of the 5th integrated Brigade, Colonel Jean-Marie Kasikila," underscored Ms Sonia Bakar. "MONUC team saw human skulls and bones at three locations within the perimeter of the headquarters of the 5th Brigade. During the visit, Human Rights colleagues were approached by people who introduced themselves as either survivals of the massacres or members of the families of the victims (.). They claimed knowing many other mass graves in the area," reported Ms Sonia Bakar. At this point, MONUC "is unable to confirm these allegations. A forensic investigation is needed and must be complemented by witnesses' testimonies," added Ms Sonia Bakar. However, "MONUC will provide the necessary assistance to the transition government officials to help preserve the various identified sites against deterioration or possible intromission likely to destroy the mortal remains and hence enable the Congolese authorities to conduct investigations," concluded Ms Sonia Bakar. "The departure of LRA members from the DRC territory made the news since last week," also indicated the Director of MONUC Public Information, Mr. Kemal Saïki. Indeed, "MONUC was due to meet with some members of the Lord's Resistance Army, a Ugandan armed group on Friday 7 October - noted that the latter had left - the information was confirmed by the FARDC which maintains a military presence in Aba. MONUC and FARDC travelled to Ima - 6 km from Aba - where the Mission noted that the LRA group had left through the same route it came to the DRC, across Imbesi river, towards Sudan," explained MONUC Spokesman. The United Nations Secretary-General "hailed Friday the indictment of six members of the Lord's Resistance Army by the International Criminal Court, referring to it as a strong and clear message by the Court against impunity," also reported Mr. Kemal Saïki, who noted, "as of now three dossiers have been filed to the ICC: the Darfour, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the LRA," echoing the UN Secretary General. Finally, "MONUC firmly condemns the heinous and dangerous rhetoric over the media by the provincial leader of UNAFEC (Union nationale des Fédéralistes du Congo)," declared the Director of MONUC Public Information. "Statements inciting to violence and offence against national security are unacceptable in the current context, especially in a country which is in the process of laying the foundations of a democratic state, respectful of the Rule of Law," noted Mr. Saïki before highlighting, "the UNAFEC national leader is the Minister of Justice who has the responsibility of putting in place the Rule of Law." "Intimidation and threats against members of the Public Information in Lubumbashi, notably Radio Okapi staff, are also unacceptable. As a result, we are warning any individual who would be tempted to indulge in such activities that they will certainly meet an appropriate reaction. We would react most vigorously," the Director of MONUC Public Information hammered.
IRIN 30 Sept 2005 West African leaders try to revive flagging peace efforts [ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations] © ECOWAS ABUJA, 30 Sep 2005 (IRIN) - West African leaders have met for an extraordinary summit aimed at reviving flagging efforts to bring peace to divided Cote d’Ivoire although the country’s president refused to attend. Winding up the talks in the Nigerian capital late Friday, leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) publicly issued no new proposals to end the three-year crisis, instead referring the matter to next week's wider African Union (AU) summit, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Ivorian leader Laurent Gbagbo boycotted the talks after accusing ECOWAS of bias towards the rebels, who seized control of the northern half of the cocoa-rich nation in 2002. After the AU summit 6 October, the United Nations Security Council is due to consider the crisis in Cote d’Ivoire on 13 October. In a statement, ECOWAS leaders “expressed deep concern about the persistence and the deterioration of the situation in the country, a situation with the potential to destabilize the entire West African Sub-region." The summit significantly said that a recent peace deal known as the Pretoria Accord that was brokered by AU mediator and South African President Thabo Mbeki, along with two previous failed accords, the Linas Marcoussis and Accra III agreements, were their preferred framework for the peaceful resolution of the crisis. On the eve of the talks, the UN envoy to the once prosperous and peaceful Cote d'Ivoire warned that the country once again stood teetering on the brink of war. “We are far off from national reconciliation and this dangerous atmosphere explains why ECOWAS, the AU and the UN are becoming involved,” Pierre Schori told reporters in Abidjan, the de facto capital, before heading to the Nigerian capital for the summit. Schori said tension was rising ahead of 30 October, the date when Gbagbo's current mandate was supposed to end with fresh elections sealing the peace, according to the terms of the Pretoria Accord. But like earlier accords the deal crumbled and everyone -- from Gbagbo, to the rebels, the UN -- has acknowledged that the ballot cannot be held. Rebels in the north have refused to disarm, pro-Gbagbo militia in the south have failed to hand in weapons, electoral registers have not been updated and the country is still divided. Gbagbo meanwhile has said he has the constitutional right to remain in office until a new election is held, while the opposition and the rebels insist that he must stand down and allow a transitional authority to take his place. At the Abuja talks, attended by nine West African leaders, Gbagbo’s delegates circulated documents stating that he had respected pledges made under the Pretoria Accord though the rebels had not. “I was the sole signatory of the accords to have held to my commitments,” the president told the Ivorian nation in a speech broadcast on state radio and television this week. He announced he would boycott the ECOWAS summit on the grounds that some countries backed the insurgents. “Cote d’Ivoire will never agree to allow these countries to decide its fate while they are both judges and players,” he said. Meanwhile the rebels have rebuffed further mediation efforts by Mbeki and said they will have no further dealings with him. In this stalemate, analysts say ECOWAS, the AU and the UN will have few options other than proposing new election deadlines and hardening the threat of sanctions against individuals holding up the accord.
12 Oct 2005 Ethiopia pins hopes on new settlements By Martin Plaut BBC
News, Ethiopia As the Ethiopian government tries to alleviate poverty by encouraging
people to move into uninhabited areas, Martin Plaut meets one of the families
trying to make a new life on the land. Last year our fields produced 600 kilograms.
This year's harvest will be even better Adema In pictures: The resettlement Adema
cradles his one-year-old daughter in his arms, as he stands outside his hut. His
wife, Alamit, who is heavily pregnant, sits beside him. The rain, which has been
coming down incessantly, has eased off for a while. Adema is wearing shorts and
a T-shirt but has no shoes on. The thick, brown mud oozes between his toes. It
has taken two days driving south of Addis Ababa to get this far. Leaving the floor
of the Rift Valley, with its banana plantations and lakes, we climbed over the
mountains. Finally, stopping by the side of the road, we see the settlement of
Gum-Gumeta in the distance. The terrain slopes steeply into a valley before rising
to the newly cleared village lands. It looks a 20-minute walk. But the rains have
turned the path into a sticky morass and within moments our shoes are encased
in heavy clay. Every step is an effort. Panting and sweating, we arrive an hour
later. Adema is immensely proud of his new farm. Harvest Two years earlier he
had walked here from his village 15 miles away to hack down the forest and begin
to build his hut. Alamit joined him, living off government rations until the first
crop came in. Now the second is ready for harvesting: stalks of maize standing
almost as tall as the hut. "We are a big family," Adema tells me. "Many brothers
and sisters so our family farm was not big enough. There was nowhere else to go.
That is why we came. Last year our new fields produced 600 kilograms. This year's
harvest will be even better." I ask Alamit what would really make a difference
in her life. She looks down, and smiles shyly. "I am happy," she says. I press
her, what more would she like. "We have one child," she says. "Soon we'll have
two. So I would like to have a cow for milk." It is not much to ask. And with
their new land they might just be able to afford one. Exhausted earth Families
like this are found all across Ethiopia. Some, like Adema and Alamit, are fortunate
in being within walking distance of their villages. Others have to travel hundreds
of miles in search of a new life. What the aid agencies call 'emergencies' are
now an annual, predictable event The government sees resettlement as the answer
to the perennial problem of what to do about the highlands. Denuded and degraded
after 3,000 years of cultivation, many farms are no longer sustainable. The soil
is exhausted by generations of farming. Divided and sub-divided again and again,
families scrape a living on pocket-handkerchief sized holdings. Oxen drag wooden
ploughs up the steep slopes. Rain sends torrents of mud into the rivers, which
carry the topsoil as a precious gift to Sudan and Egypt, just as they have since
the time of the pharaohs. But now that agricultural system, which has been handed
down since the Queen of Sheba ruled on the Ethiopian throne, is finally bankrupt.
Urban slums and vast pools of discontent are the last thing the government wants
Between 3 million and 5 million Ethiopians simply cannot feed their families
from their own efforts. What the aid agencies call "emergencies" are, in reality,
now an annual, predictable event. This is no crisis. It is a problem that will
not go away. Year after year trucks loaded with American grain make the tortuous
journey from the port of Djibouti, bringing food to remote feeding stations in
the mountains. The farmers of the American Midwest are now as tied in to feeding
the destitute of Ethiopia as they are the underclass of Detroit or Milwaukee.
Malaria If the resettlements fail, the poor could stream into Ethiopia's cities
searching for a better life So the government in Addis Ababa encourages its
farmers to look for a new life elsewhere. In the lower lying parts of the country
there is malaria and other diseases, which is why the area was not farmed in the
first place. Opening up new land is a risk but one that cannot be postponed. A
lot hangs on the success of these resettlement programmes. They are central to
the government's aim of raising living standards and keeping peasant farmers on
the land. If they fail, the poor could stream into Ethiopia's cities, searching
for a better life. Urban slums and vast pools of discontent are the last thing
this government wants. New roots Adema and Alamit are the lucky ones. Their farm
is relatively high up. There may be some tsetse flies but the agricultural officer
thinks it can be controlled. They are beginning to put down roots and make a new
life. But when their daughter grows up, where will she find the new lands she
needs? And can some way be found to break the tragic spiral of deforestation,
soil erosion and degradation? As I leave, I turn and wave. They wave back. Smiling
and happy. There may be problems in the future but for the moment their thoughts
are on the coming harvest. And, who knows, that cow might just be on the cards.
Comment: in 1984-85 the Dergue regime in Ethiopia also embarked on a program of resettlement. What steps is the current regime taking to make sure that the present resettlement scheme is truly voluntary? Since the current regime is not democratic how can it be held accountable for abuses of this program?
Reuters 6 Oct 2005 US renews plea for Liberian ex-president's arrest Thu Oct 6, 2005 8:17 AM GMT UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United States renewed a plea to the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday to authorize peacekeepers in Liberia to arrest former President Charles Taylor if he returns home after next week's elections. A draft resolution circulated among council members by Washington would empower the U.N. mission in Liberia "to apprehend former president Charles Taylor in the event of a return to Liberia" and transfer him to a special court in Sierra Leone, where he is wanted for war crimes. A previous U.S. effort to authorize peacekeepers to nab him failed when some African nations objected. Taylor, who has lived in exile in Nigeria since 2003, was granted asylum on condition he stay out of Liberian affairs. Nigerian officials have denied he was interfering in Liberian politics and say he would be released only to a democratically elected Liberian government and not to the Sierra Leone court. The court's chief prosecutor, Desmond de Silva, said this week in New York, however, the tribunal had convincing "raw evidence" that Taylor was supporting candidates in Liberia's October 11 presidential and parliamentary elections and planned to return there one day. Taylor was indicted by the Sierra Leone tribunal in March 2003 on 17 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity for fuelling civil war in West Africa through an illicit trade in arms for diamonds mined by rebel groups. Experts from the council's 15 member nations met on Tuesday to discuss the U.S. draft resolution but have not yet reported back on what changes, if any, would be required to win their support for the measure, council diplomats said.
Morocco see Spain
BBC 5 Oct 2005 Violent clashes in Nigerian city Nigerian police regularly demand and accept bribes Three Nigerians have died in violent clashes in Lagos as soldiers fought running battles with Nigerian police. The dead were civilians caught in the crossfire of a battle that began when a soldier tried to stop a policeman demanding a bribe, reports said. The police officer hit out at the soldier, who raised the alarm at a nearby barracks, sparking violence. Soldiers and police then exchanged live fire across the main highway in Lagos, the country's largest city. Some 60 vehicles, including 20 police cars, were set ablaze during the clashes. Urban 'warfare' Troops were reported to have stormed a police station, setting it on fire and freeing scores of prisoners. "They were shooting at the police and the police were shooting back," local resident Kanayo Azubogo told the Associated Press. "The soldiers went to the Western Avenue police station and set it on fire." One police officer described the scene as "like a war". The violence flared when a soldier was beaten for attempting to stop a police officer demanding a small bribe of just 20 nairu (seven US cents, four UK pence) from a motorcycle taxi driver. Law enforcement throughout Lagos broke down for about five hours until senior officers visited the scene of the clashes and re-asserted control. The governor of Lagos, Bola Tinubu, and Police Commissioner Ade Ajakaye appealed for calm from all sides.
BBC 6 Oct 2005 Nigeria oil rebel treason charge Asari says he wants Ijaws to benefit more from Nigeria's oil wealth Nigerian separatist militia leader Mujahid Dokubo Asari has been charged with treason for which he could face the death penalty. Mr Asari denied that charge and several others including unlawful assembly and conspiracy in a court in the capital. He shouted "Freedom to my people!" before being led from the courtroom. He was detained two weeks ago following a newspaper interview in which he was quoted as calling for the dissolution of Nigeria. His arrest sparked protests in the oil-producing Niger Delta region in southern Nigeria. Mr Asari says he is fighting for the self-determination of the Ijaw people and greater local control of the profits from the oil and gas industries. Threats The BBC's Mannir Dan Ali in Abuja says that if convicted by the court for treason, Mr Asari could be sentenced to death or face life imprisonment. In pictures: Fighting for oil It is not clear how his Niger Delta People's Volunteer Force (NDPVF) will react to these charges that carry such steep penalties, our correspondent says. Hundreds of armed police blocked roads surrounding the Abuja court. After his detention two weeks ago, Mr Asari's supporters threatened oil production in the Niger Delta if he was not released and at one point US oil company Chevron was forced to shut down one of its facilities in the area. The NDPVF also told expatriate oil workers to leave the area, but later withdrew the threat. The Niger Delta remains one of Nigeria's poorest and least developed regions, although it accounts for most of the 2.4 million barrels of oil produced by Nigeria, Africa's largest oil-producer, each year. Last year, the NDPVF contributed to a sharp rise in world oil prices when it threatened war against oil companies. Mr Asari will be held in custody until his next appearance in court on 10 November.
Rwanda See Belgium, DR Congo
AP 30 Sep 2005 Genocide court charges ex-radio chief ARUSHA, Tanzania (AP) -- A former technical director at a radio station that promoted Rwanda's 1994 genocide pleaded innocent Friday to five counts of genocide and crimes against humanity at the U.N. tribunal trying accused masterminds of the 100-day slaughter. Joseph Serugendo, who was arrested in Libreville, Gabon, on September 16, was also a leader of the Interahamwe militia, an extremist Hutu force that led the genocide, prosecutor William Egbe said. During the genocide, broadcasters at Serugendo's Radio Television Libre des Mille Collines, or RTLM, used their influence to promote the slaughter, urging Hutus to kill Tutsis. "RTLM broadcast messages that instigated the killings of hundreds of thousands of civilian Tutsis throughout Rwanda," Egbe said. More than 500,000 members of Rwanda's Tutsi ethnic minority and political moderates from the Hutu majority were killed in the genocide orchestrated by an extremist Hutu government then in power. The prosecutor said Serugendo "planned, instigated, ordered, committed or aided and abetted in the planning, preparation or execution of these crimes." No date has been set for Serugendo's trial. An executive and a journalist from Radio Television Libre des Mille Collines, along with a newspaper editor, were convicted in December 2003 by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda for their roles in promoting the slaughter. Radio Television Libre des Mille Collines was shut down after President Paul Kagame's Rwanda Patriotic Front, a Tutsi-led rebel group, toppled the Hutu extremists and ended the genocide. The U.N. Security Council set up the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in 1994. It has so far convicted 22 people and acquitted three. The tribunal has 63 genocide suspects in custody and 25 are standing trial.
www.ifex.org 13 Oct 2005 RSF delegation meets with detained priest, calls for his immediate release Français: RSF demande la libération immédiate du père Guy Theunis Country/Topic: Rwanda Date: 13 October 2005 Source: Reporters Without Borders (RSF) Person(s): Guy Theunis Target(s): other Type(s) of violation(s): detained , legal action Urgency: Bulletin (RSF/IFEX) - After visiting Rwanda from 30 September to 6 October 2005 and meeting with detained Belgian priest Guy Theunis, the former editor of the Rwandan magazine "Dialogue", Reporters Without Borders insists that the charges against him were politically motivated and baseless and reiterates its call for his immediate release. The press freedom organisation also reported that Father Theunis was cheerful and in good health, and the conditions in which he was being held in Kigali's main prison were acceptable. "The first night, which I spent in a police station, was very tough, but since then I have been treated well," Theunis told Reporters Without Borders. "I got a good welcome from the other detainees and I receive regular visits from the Belgian embassy and members of the Company of Missionaries of Africa, who are based in Kigali." The press freedom organisation said it would soon issue a detailed report on the case and, in particular, the charges that were brought against him at a gacaca (popular tribunal) on 11 September, namely "inciting ethnic hate" in the run-up to the Rwandan genocide of 1994 and "negationism," that is to say, denying that the genocide ever took place. After speaking to the main prosecution witnesses, gathering many other statements and getting copies of relevant documents, Reporters Without Borders said it was in a position to confirm that there were absolutely no grounds for arresting Theunis. "This case is political," the organisation said. "No prior investigation appears to have been carried out by the judicial authorities. It seems that the Rwandan prosecutor's office signed an arrest warrant under pressure from certain leaders of the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front, some of whom testified against Father Theunis during his appearance before the popular tribunal." "Furthermore," Reporters Without Borders added, "the Rwandan government's promise to extradite him to Belgium on condition that he is tried in Brussels is unacceptable as the evidence presented by the Rwandan judicial authorities does not justify bringing him to trial." When Theunis appeared before a gacaca in the Rugenge district of Kigali on 11 September, he was classified as a category one suspect accused of high-level responsibility in the 1994 genocide and was immediately transferred to Kigali prison. He is alleged to have incited hate and ethnic divisions by quoting passages from the extremist newspaper "Kangura". But his sole reason for quoting "Kangura" was to condemn hate and intolerance. Now aged 60 and no longer a resident of Rwanda, he was arrested on 6 September during a stopover in Kigali airport on his way back to Belgium after attending a peace and reconciliation seminar in the neighbouring eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo. A member of the Company of Missionaries of Africa, Theunis is the first foreigner to appear before one of the gacacas, which were created to try the hundreds of thousands of individuals still being held on suspicion of involvement in the genocide.
www.unhcr.ch 29 Sep 2005 29 killed in attack on Darfur camp: UNHCR gravely concerned Displaced people in Aro Sharow camp, beneath the Jebel Moon mountains where most of the camp's inhabitants are reported to have fled after the attack on Sept. 28. © UNHCR/J-B.Mollard GENEVA, September 29 (UNHCR) – The UN refugee agency expressed grave concern Thursday over an unprecedented attack on a camp for thousands of internally displaced people in Sudan's West Darfur region that reportedly left 29 dead and another ten seriously wounded. Initial reports received by UNHCR indicate a group of 250-300 armed Arab men on horses and camels attacked Aro Sharow camp, in the northern part of West Darfur, on Wednesday afternoon, sending thousands of camp residents fleeing into the countryside. The attackers reportedly burned about 80 makeshift shelters – about one-quarter of the total number in the camp. Initial reports indicated that 29 people were killed and 10 seriously wounded. While many villages have been attacked in this way, this was the first such direct attack on a camp for displaced people anywhere in Darfur since the conflict began in early 2003. Aro Sharow is located 16 km north of the town of Saleah. Between 4,000 and 5,000 internally displaced Sudanese were believed to be living in the camp, and most have apparently fled. The nearby village of Gosmeina was also reportedly attacked and burned. High Commissioner António Guterres called on the Sudanese government to do everything it could meet its responsibility to protect the internally displaced people in Darfur. "As long as this insecurity continues, the international community cannot provide the assistance that is so desperately needed by hundreds of thousands of people," said Guterres. "The government of Sudan has a responsibility to ensure security for all of its citizens." UNHCR, which carries out protection monitoring in West Darfur, has three offices in the region, with five more planned. But the Jebel Moon area around Aro Sharow has been a no-go zone for the United Nations for several months because of continuing insecurity. Many residents of the Jebel Moon area had earlier fled to the Chad border in 2003-04, then returned to Jebel Moon in May 2004 following a government-announced peace agreement. Before the conflict began in Darfur, Aro Sharow was a small village with about 300 inhabitants. As people fled 26 other nearby villages because of regular armed attacks and raids in the area, it developed into a major camp. Aid workers familiar with the region said the Aro Sharow residents stayed in the camp at night for safety reasons, but would return to their own villages during the day to cultivate their fields. The attack is the latest and most serious in a series of alarming security incidents throughout Darfur. UNHCR is concerned that the deterioration in security is preventing the provision of vital aid to tens of thousands of internally displaced people in Darfur and could prompt them to flee again – possibly to neighbouring Chad, which is already struggling to cope with more than 200,000 refugees from Sudan in an extremely hostile physical environment with a very limited water supply. There are an estimated 2 million internally displaced people in Darfur, including 715,700 in West Darfur; 770,800 in South Darfur, and 480,000 in North Darfur.
Reuters 30 Sep 2005 UN says death toll in raided Darfur camp now 34 Fri 30 Sep 2005 1:59 PM ET GENEVA, Sept 30 (Reuters) - A total of 34 people were killed when hundreds of armed Arab horsemen raided a refugee camp and nearby villages in Sudan's Darfur region this week, the United Nations said on Friday. The world body's refugee agency, the UNHCR, said the dead -- five more than it initially reported on Thursday -- were all men. It quoted witnesses as saying one had been dragged to his death behind a horse. The attack on the Aro Sharow camp on Wednesday, the first reported on a centre for internally displaced people in Darfur, involved 250-300 armed Arab men on horses and camels, the UNHCR said. It said an agency team on the ground had established that 17 camp residents had been killed and 17 others from nearby villages who had been in the area for market day. The raiders also stole cattle and burned down the flimsy shelters that house between 4,000 and 5,000 people. Fighting erupted in Darfur in early 2003 when rebels took up arms over what they saw as Khartoum's preferential treatment of Arab tribes. They accused the government of backing militias that have driven non-Arabs from their villages. Tens of thousands have been killed and more than 2 million people are living in the camps, mostly inside Darfur, which is the size of France. Clashes have continued in Darfur despite the rebels and Khartoum signing a ceasefire. Little progress has been made in peace talks. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres said on Thursday it was the responsibility of the Sudanese government to restore order.
www.africaaction.org 30 Sept 2005 Darfur Attack Underscores Urgent Need for International Protection Force Ongoing Genocide Belies Bush Administration Claims of Progress; U.S. Still Failing to Prioritize Civilian Protection in Darfur Friday, September 30, 2005 (Washington, DC) - As reports confirm a deadly attack by Arab militias on a camp for internally displaced people in Darfur, Sudan, Africa Action today expressed outrage at Bush Administration claims this week that the security situation in the region is improving and that the U.S. is providing strong leadership in responding to the crisis. Africa Action emphasizes that the government-sponsored genocide is continuing in Darfur, and that the U.S. is failing to take the necessary steps to provide protection to civilians and humanitarian operations in the region. Salih Booker, Executive Director of Africa Action, said, "The crime of genocide is continuing in Darfur. This is clear from recent violent attacks on camps and villages, and it is also clear from the horrific conditions in camps where more than 2 million displaced people now struggle to survive after having been driven out of their homes by the Khartoum government and its proxy militias. The immediate and urgent need to stop the violence and provide security to the people of Darfur is simply not a priority for the Bush Administration." United Nations (UN) officials this week reported that they have had to suspend humanitarian operations in some areas of Darfur because the security situation has become too dangerous. Yet Deputy Secretary of State Zoellick testified this week before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the situation on the ground in Darfur is improving, largely as a result of U.S. efforts. He noted U.S. humanitarian aid for Darfur, as well as U.S. engagement with promoting North-South peace in Sudan, as evidence of the Administration’s commitment to the region. Zoellick failed, however, to provide any evidence that the U.S. has a plan to achieve protection for millions of vulnerable people in Darfur who continue to die. Ann-Louise Colgan, Director of Policy Analysis & Communications at Africa Action, said, "The African Union (AU) urgently needs international reinforcement to stop the violence in Darfur. The U.S. should bring this crisis to the United Nations Security Council immediately, and it should introduce a resolution to give the AU a robust mandate and to supplement its efforts with a blue-helmeted international force. Without such an intervention, countless more Darfuri lives will be lost in the coming weeks and months." Africa Action notes the interest of several Senators at this week’s Foreign Relations Committee Hearing in expanding the African Union mandate and reinforcing its efforts with a United Nations Peacekeeping Operation. This emphasis on the need for a robust international intervention to protect the people of Darfur echoes the growing demand from people of conscience across the U.S. for leadership from the White House to achieve such a humanitarian intervention force through the United Nations.
BBC 1 Oct 2005 Sudan accused over Darfur attacks More than two million have fled their homes in Darfur The African Union has accused Sudanese government forces of supporting Arab militiamen targeting civilians in the troubled region of Darfur. The head of the AU mission in Sudan said government helicopters gunships had flown overhead during a recent militia attack on a refugee camp. But he suggested that rebels had also broken a truce signed by both sides. About 180,000 people have been killed and two million have fled their homes since the conflict began in early 2003. There has been an upsurge in violence in recent days. On Wednesday at least 32 people died during a attack by pro-government Janjaweed militias on Aro Sharow refugee camp in western Darfur. The head of the AU's peacekeeping mission in Sudan, Baba Gana Kingibe, told reporters that army helicopters had been flying overhead in an "apparent air and land assault". He said this gave "credence to the repeated claim by the rebel movements of collusion between the government of Sudan forces and the Janjaweed". Both sides blamed Mr Kingibe also spoke of close co-ordination by Sudanese forces in militia attacks earlier in the month in north Darfur. Janjaweed militias are accused of widespread atrocities The head of the AU mission in Sudan said both sides in the conflict had violated the ceasefire. "There is neither good faith nor commitment on the part of any of the parties," he said. The Sudanese government denies any links to the Janjaweed and describes them as criminals. United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan on Friday condemned "attacks of civilians, humanitarian workers and assets and the African Union mission in Sudan". Mr Anan called for those responsible to be brought to justice. The conflict began in early 2003, after a rebel group began attacking government targets. About 5,600 peacekeepers from the African Union are monitoring a ceasefire agreement reached in April 2004.
www.arabnews.com 1 Oct 2005 AU Calls for Restraint After Darfur Flare-Up Agencies KHARTOUM, 1 October 2005 — The African Union appealed for restraint yesterday after deadly attacks by Arab militias in Darfur and neighboring Chad threatened to wreck months of political, security and humanitarian efforts. “We are issuing an urgent appeal to all parties involved to halt all hostilities,” AU spokesman in Khartoum Nureddin Mezni told AFP. He confirmed there had been a deadly attack by marauding horse- and camel-riding Arab gunmen in northwest Darfur against Aro Sharow camp for displaced Darfurians but could not confirm the UN’s death toll of 29. “Such acts have serious humanitarian repercussions since these people are already living a tragedy,” Mezni said, adding that an investigation into the incident was under way. Mezni also said that such incidents were a blow to ongoing negotiations between Darfur rebel groups and the Sudanese government to end the 30-month-old civil conflict. The Darfur war has pitted ethnic minority black Darfurians against government troops and their proxies — sometimes described as Janjaweed — since February 2003, killing up to 300,000 people and displacing more than two million. The conflict spilled over into neighboring Chad this week, when 75 people, including 55 herdsmen, were killed in the village of Madayoun near the border with Sudan. Chadian President Idriss Deby — himself a Zaghawa, one of the main tribes in Darfur — charged the attack had been carried out by Janjaweed. The word Janjaweed is an Arab acronym which roughly means “men who ride horses and carry G-3 guns,” in reference to a German-made automatic rifle. They have been accused of carrying out massacres and rapes against local tribes. Meanwhile, a senior Foreign Ministry official said yesterday Sudan will change its delegation to the Darfur peace talks to include former southern rebels who joined its coalition government earlier this month. The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement joined the ruling National Congress party to form a new government following a January peace deal that ended more than two decades of civil war in the south. But the deal did not cover a separate conflict in the Darfur region. A sixth round of peace talks is under way in the Nigerian capital Abuja to end that 2-1/2 year old rebellion, in which tens of thousands of people have been killed and more than 2 million forced from their homes. “They are going to participate,” Mutrif Siddiq, a senior Foreign Ministry official told Reuters.
AP 1 Oct 2005 Sudan accused over Darfur killings KHARTOUM, Sudan (AP) -- The African Union has accused Sudanese government forces of attacking civilians in Darfur, committing acts of "calculated and wanton destruction" that have killed at least 44 people and displaced thousands more during the past two weeks. Government forces have also painted their military vehicles in the white colors of the African Union cease-fire monitors "in violation of all established norms and conventions," the chief African Union envoy to Sudan, Ambassador Baba Gana Kingibe, told a press conference in the Sudanese capital on Saturday. Kingibe gave four instances of Sudanese army troops conducting what he called "coordinated offensive operations" with the Janjaweed Arab militia since Sept. 18 in Darfur. His charge is politically embarrassing to the new government as Sudan has repeatedly denied any collusion with the Janjaweed, which has been blamed for the bulk of human rights violations in the two-year conflict. More than 180,000 people have died in Darfur and another 2 million people have been displaced since residents of African ethnic origin rebelled against the government, accusing it of neglect and discrimination. It is rare that the African Union directly apportions blame for the fighting in Darfur. Normally it takes pains to call for restraint from both sides. Kingibe said the latest escalation in fighting began with attacks by the rebel Sudan Liberation Army in late August that continued through September. Initially the government forces showed restraint and managed to stop the Arab militia from attacking the SLA. But the regular army "suddenly decided to abandon such responsible behavior and posture and resorted to the violent destructive and overwhelming use of force not only against the rebel forces, but also on innocent civilian villages and the Internally Displaced People's camps," Kingibe said in a prepared statement. On Sept. 18, the army and Janjaweed attacked the settlements of Khartoum Djadeed, Sandego, Khasantongur, Tary, Martal and Djabain. The raids killed 12 people, seriously wounded another five, and displaced about 4,000 civilians, Kingibe said. On Wednesday Sept. 28, government and Janjaweed forces attacked the Aro Sharow camp for displaced people and the villages of Acho and Gozmena, resulting in the death of 32 people, with another seven missing, and the looting and burning of about 80 homes. During this attack, Kingibe said, "reportedly 400 Janjaweed Arab militia on camels and horse back went on the rampage" while government helicopter gunships flew overhead. On Thursday, government troops and police raided the town of Tawilla and the adjacent camp for displaced people in North Darfur. "The government of Sudan forces used approximately 41 trucks and 7 land cruisers in the operation, which resulted in a number of deaths, massive displacement of civilians, and the destruction of several houses in the surrounding areas as well as some tents in the Internally Displaced People's camps," Kingibe said. Some of the government vehicles were painted in the white color of the African Union mission. "During the attack, thousands from the township and the IDP camp, and many humanitarian workers, were forced to seek refuge near the African Union camp," he added. On Friday, the African Union received reports of ground forces attacking Sheiria, a town of 33,000 people in South Darfur, and helicopter gunships dropping bombs on the nearby village of Ato. The African Union is investigating the extent of casualties and damage, Kingibe said. "If the government of Sudan forces claim that their latest acts of cease-fire violations are in retaliation for earlier acts of provocation by the SLA, this cannot be justified given the deliberately calculated and wanton destruction wrecked by the disproportionate use of force on innocent civilians and IDPs in their camps," he said. "Whatever the circumstances, we expect a greater sense of responsibility and a greater standard of behavior on the part of the government of Sudan troops, and their allies, than they have exhibited in the last 4 days," he added. Kingibe said he was calling on the government, as he had earlier called on the rebels, to immediately abide by the cease-fire that was proclaimed in Darfur last year. He also called on the government to stop the "unethical practice" of painting its vehicles in the African Union color. The African Union will convene in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Monday a meeting of its Peace and Security Council to discuss the recent developments and consider appropriate action, Kingibe said.
BBC 3 Oct 2005 Direct Darfur talks amid violence The on-off talks have achieved little so far Sudan's government and two rebel groups have met face-to-face for the first time since they resumed talks to end the crisis in Darfur. The groups have been in Nigeria's capital, Abuja since the middle of September. They are expected to discuss power-sharing. The army has denied a recent African Union allegation that it attacked civilians in Darfur. Some 2m Darfuris are homeless, driven from their villages by militia attacks. On Saturday, the head of the African Union in Sudan told reporters that government forces had engaged in a number of coordinated offensives with Arab militia, which led to scores of casualties. A Sudanese military spokesman said that as the AU's information had come from aid agencies, it could not be considered reliable. More than two million have fled their homes in Darfur Helicopters have not flown in Darfur for two weeks, he said, and then they had been used to defend, not attack, civilians. The BBC's Jonah Fisher in Darfur says the Sudanese government is still reeling from the normally cautious AU's damning statement on the continuing role of the state military in Darfur. The statement said that in the last two weeks there had been a number of coordinated offensives by the Sudanese army and the Arab militia - known as the Janjaweed. Refugee camps and villages have been attacked, according to the AU, with government helicopters, heavy weaponry and trucks. At least 44 people died. The Janjaweed have been blamed for driving people from their villages in Darfur. The Sudanese government has admitted arming them, but now says they are bandits, and out of control.
US State Department 4 Oct 2005 Press Statement (Revised) Sean McCormack, Spokesman Washington, DC October 4, 2005 United States Condemns Violence in Darfur The United States welcomes the African Union's prompt investigation, and forceful and candid condemnation of the violence in Darfur. We have informed the African Union leadership of our unequivocal support for their efforts and to encourage the participants at the Peace and Security Council meeting on Wednesday to send a clear message to all the parties to stop the violence. The United States strongly condemns the upsurge of violence in Darfur by all the parties. We expect the Sudanese Government to immediately halt attacks and to stop the jinjaweed from perpetrating violence. The jinjaweed attack last week on the internally displaced persons' camp of Aro Sharow and the village of Gosmeina was a particularly heinous act and underscores the need for rapid action by Sudanese Government to stop the jinjaweed. At the same time, we note the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army attack on the village of Sheiria. Perpetrators of violence and atrocities must be held accountable. It is imperative that all the parties cooperate with the African Union. However, the Sudanese Government is ultimately responsible for the protection and safety of its citizens. The parties must immediately stop all violence in Darfur, abide by the cease-fire they signed in N'djamena, Chad, and adhere to United Nations Security Council resolutions and the terms of the humanitarian and security protocols they signed earlier in Abuja, Nigeria. They must support all humanitarian and African Union operations, and achieve a political settlement for Darfur by the end of the year through the peace talks in Abuja. We remain firmly committed to the cause of peace in Sudan, including implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and resolution of the conflict and humanitarian crisis in Darfur. Only through a political solution can a durable peace and reconciliation be achieved in Darfur. Accomplishing this is essential in order to ensure a peaceful, prosperous, and unified future for all the Sudanese people. 2005/914 Released on October 4, 2005
Crisis Group 6 Oct 2005 Unifying Darfur's Rebels: A Prerequisite for Peace The Abuja peace talks will fail and Darfur's conflict continue until the main rebel groups stop fighting each other, mend internal divisions and present a unified negotiating front. The chief figures in the Sudan Liberation Army/Movement (SLA) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), must return to Darfur, organise broad-based conferences to resolve leadership disputes, restore command and control and instruct their Abuja delegations. Otherwise, they will be vulnerable to Khartoum's manipulation and become increasingly isolated as they lose legitimacy. The international community should coordinate better so rebel factions cannot play them off against each other; press them to resolve internal problems; and support the conferences each needs to do so. If the rebels continue their descent into banditry and warlordism, the crisis will continue indefinitely, and civilians will pay the costs. Crisis Group reports and briefing papers are available on our website: www.crisisgroup.org
Guardian UK 7 Oct 2005 Comment: Darfur wasn't genocide and Sudan is not a terrorist state Even MI6 and the CIA are frustrated by the attitude of US neocons and the Christian right towards the Sudanese conflicts Jonathan Steele in Khartoum Friday October 7, 2005 The Guardian Question: when do Bush administration officials cuddle up to leaders of states that the US describes as sponsors of international terrorism? Answer: when they are in Khartoum. I know because I saw it the other day. It was in the garden of the headquarters of Sudan's intelligence service, not far from the Nile. Fairy lights twinkled on wires draped round palm trees. African drummers played. Sadly, no alcohol was served, but clearly there was something in the air. Up stepped a senior CIA agent. In full view of the assembled company, he gave General Salah Abdallah Gosh, Sudan's intelligence boss, a bear hug. The general responded by handing over a goody-bag, wrapped in shiny green paper. Next up was a senior MI6 official, with the same effusive routine - hug, hand-shake, bag of presents. We were attending the closing dinner of a two-day conference of African counter-terrorism officials, to which the US and the UK were invited as observers. The western spooks were less than happy to have the press on hand, especially as their names were called out. But loss of anonymity was a small price for the excellent cooperation both agencies believe Sudan is giving in the campaign to keep tabs on Somali, Saudi and other Arab fundamentalists who pass through its territory. Pragmatic Britain has had polite relations with Sudan's Islamist government since it took power in a military coup in 1989. Ideological Washington has not. Bill Clinton designated Sudan a terrorist state in 1993 and later slapped on trade sanctions, partly under pressure from Congress and America's Christian right. US officials have produced no proof that Sudan finances, trains or harbours terrorists, and the Bush people would probably lift the bans if they could. But once on the terrorism-sponsor list, few countries manage to get off. It is a rare case where the great warrior on terror finds himself trapped by US politicians even more extreme than himself. Bush's Sudan policy contains other big contradictions. As secretary of state last year, Colin Powell described the conflict in the western region of Darfur as "genocide". He had hesitated for months, because a finding of genocide requires a state to take immediate action to stop it. Yet what did the US do next? Nothing, or at least no more than many other states, including Britain, which did not want the genocide label to be lightly used, and so devalued. The US supported an armed African Union (AU) mission to monitor a ceasefire and protect humanitarian relief. It pressed for a peace deal. More reluctantly than any other state, it supported an inquiry that could lead to indictments of Sudanese leaders at the international criminal court. But Washington's lack of follow-through showed that, as with the terrorism label, the genocide finding was a sop to the Christian right and anti-Islamist neocons. Coverage of Darfur has dwindled, but AU monitors, as well as UN officials in Khartoum, report a marked improvement since last year's campaign of rape and killing left close to 200,000 dead and forced 2 million to flee. Janjaweed militias, usually backed by the government in clashes with rebel groups, were behind most of the atrocities. Thriving on bad news - typical was Caroline Moorehead's Letter from Darfur in the New York Review of Books this summer - commentators who still write about Darfur often thunder away without any sense of time or context. In fact, the UN secretary general's latest report to the security council points out that the influx of 12,500 aid workers has "averted a humanitarian catastrophe, with no major outbreaks of disease or famine". Patrols by the hundreds of AU monitors have reduced violence and other human-rights violations. The report attacks the government for not disarming the Janjaweed or holding enough people accountable for last year's atrocities, but it blames the rebels for most of this year's abductions of civilians and attacks on aid convoys. In recent weeks there has been a turn for the worse. A new chain of tit-for-tat violence is developing. Janjaweed forces attacked a displaced people's camp in western Darfur last week, an unprecedented assault on a sanctuary in which at least 30 people died, and AU monitors report that government helicopter gunships were seen over the camp. This may have been retaliation for a rebel seizure of a town a few days earlier. To its credit, Washington has stepped up efforts to get the anti-government rebels to stop blocking the peace talks now under way in Abuja. As inter-ethnic tensions among the rebels grow stronger, leaders of the Zaghawa, the main fighters, are unwilling to attend despite face-to-face pleas from US and UN diplomats urging them to accept the model that ended the much longer war between the government and the south. Former southern rebels, who recently joined the Islamists in Sudan's new government of national unity, will soon go to Abuja for the first time, to act as mediators if necessary. This is a big step forward. As Riek Machar, the new vice-president of south Sudan told me in Juba last week: "We believe we are the people who can crack the issue of Darfur. We have experience of negotiating a settlement with the group governing in Khartoum. We will take that experience to Abuja. The liberation movements have confidence in us." Even if peace were agreed, implementation would be rocky. The north-south deal has made a poor start. The Arab-led former ruling party denied its new southern partners any of Sudan's key ministries; this will not encourage the Darfurians. UN analysts believe peace-building in Darfur will be harder than in the south. "Destruction progressed over 20 years in the south, and it wasn't mainly done by locals. It was done by the Sudanese army and militias from outside. In Darfur you've had dozens of ethnic groups clashing ... Some won, some lost, and it has been very quick. Bitterness and hatred are still raw," said one official. Grim though it has been, this was not genocide or classic ethnic cleansing. Many of the displaced moved to camps a few kilometres from their homes. Professionals and intellectuals were not targeted, as in Rwanda. Darfur was, and is, the outgrowth of a struggle between farmers and nomads rather than a Balkan-style fight for the same piece of land. Finding a solution is not helped by turning the violence into a battle of good versus evil or launching another Arab-bashing crusade.
NYT October 9, 2005 Walking the Talk By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF A year ago, a group of Swarthmore students decided to take on an unusual extracurricular activity: stopping genocide. Mark Hanis, one of the students, is Jewish and all four of his grandparents survived the Holocaust. He was troubled by the way generations of Americans acquiesced in one genocide after another - only to apologize afterward and pledge "Never Again." So Mr. Hanis and fellow students started to raise money to help provide security to stop the slaughter in Darfur. In particular, they wanted to help pay for African Union peacekeepers. Their Genocide Intervention Fund has now raised $250,000 and is about to hand over the first installment to the leaders of the African Union. The money may be used to pay for female African police officers to protect Darfur women from being raped. The Genocide Intervention Fund now has an all-star cast, including the backing of former White House officials, generals, and celebrities like Mia Farrow and Don Cheadle. Its spokeswoman, a Rwandan genocide survivor who is now a Swarthmore sophomore, introduced Bill Clinton at a student conference. It has opened a Washington office and is lobbying for the bipartisan Darfur Peace and Accountability Act, which calls for sanctions on Sudan and a no-fly zone. "We do lobby days, where we arrange for people to come to Washington to meet their Congressional offices and say, 'I've put $20 down to protect the people of Darfur. What are you doing?' " said Mr. Hanis, who graduated recently. So far more than 100 colleges have raised money for the fund (http://www.genocideinterventionfund.org/), and universities have become the center of the movement to stop the slaughter. A group started at Georgetown, Stand (Students Taking Action Now: Darfur), has chapters nationwide and across Canada, and Harvard led a divestment effort by having its endowment sell stock in companies that support the Sudanese government. In the long term, the organizers hope to encourage more education about genocide in American schools - California and a few other states have passed laws that public schools must include education about genocide - and to bolster an early warning system so that the world will respond to atrocities more promptly. "We're getting smarter at this," Mr. Hanis said. "We're building a permanent political constituency against genocide." He paused and added soberly: "Of course, there are lives lost every day." So while President Bush is proving wimpish on genocide, the response of many ordinary Americans like Mr. Hanis has been inspiring. Aside from students, the leaders in the effort include Jewish and Armenian groups (the word genocide has special resonance for both) and religious groups. In Dallas, Temple Emanu-El started Dolls for Darfur, which has made thousands of tiny paper dolls representing the victims of Darfur. It has sent them to senators and is preparing "advocacy kits" to help people lobby for a sterner American response to the genocide (see dollsfordarfur.org). Then there are the big-hearted folks at Ginghamsburg Church, a large Methodist church in Tipp City, Ohio. After the pastor, Mike Slaughter, read about atrocities in Darfur, he decided to ask the congregation to spend only half as much on Christmas presents last year as they planned, and to donate the rest to victims in Darfur. The result, along with other fund-raising efforts, was $327,000 in donations; the congregation is planning the same campaign this Christmas. The money is being used to keep children alive and safe in South Darfur. "We recognize that this is only a pittance in the face of the entire crisis in Darfur," says Karen Smith, director of operations for the church. "However, if we can successfully engage other churches across the U.S. in this call so that they issue the same challenge to their constituents, the impact could truly be God-sized." During the Holocaust, when Franklin Roosevelt was as uninterested in genocide as George W. Bush is today, Arthur Koestler referred to those who demanded action as "the screamers." Today, Mr. Hanis, Ms. Smith and others like them are "the screamers," and if it weren't for them the death toll in Darfur would be even higher. Countless thousands of survivors sitting in refugee camps owe their lives to screams coming from places like Swarthmore or Ginghamsburg. So out of the miasma of horror that is Darfur, something uplifting is taking place. Ordinary Americans are finding creative ways to respond to the slaughter, so that they personally inject meaning into those traditionally hollow words: Never Again.
NYT 14 Oct 2005 A Test in Darfur To the Editor: Re "Walking the Talk," by Nicholas D. Kristof (column, Oct. 9): With 2.5 million lives at stake, Americans should be concerned. The United States government and the American media have ignored this crisis long enough. The situation in Darfur is dire, and the choice is simple: Act now and save lives, or watch the region deteriorate into chaos as the agents of genocide continue their deadly trade. With the diplomatic weight of our government and coverage by our media, this moral and humanitarian crisis can be brought to an end. This is one of the "culture of life" issues that our generation will be judged by. When Congress and the president recognized the atrocities as genocide last year and proceeded to do nothing to stop it, something in our national soul died. We must revive that by refusing to rest until a sustainable peace agreement is signed that guarantees full citizenship and protections for the people of Darfur. Eric McFadden Director Catholics for Faithful Citizenship Dublin, Ohio, Oct. 11, 2005
UN News Centre 10 Oct 2005 Situation in Darfur, Sudan is worsening, UN genocide expert warns 10 October 2005 – Just back from the troubled Darfur region of Sudan, the United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide warned today that the situation there is worsening and called for action to protect civilians, facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance and bring those responsible before the International Criminal Court (ICC). Juan Mendez noted that it was not for him to determine whether genocide had taken place, but said “we have not turned the corner” on preventing genocide from either happening or happening again – depending on the perspective – in Darfur. Mr. Mendez said he had expected that the situation would have stabilized, if only in a status quo that was unacceptable but at least not worsening. “Unfortunately, I have to say that I found the situation much more dangerous and worrisome than I expected it to be,” he said, citing renewed fighting, especially in north and south Darfur, among all factions. He also pointed to growing lawlessness evidenced by two recent unprecedented attacks on camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs). “In one of them, the attackers went in on horseback, and in the other one apparently trucks of the Sudanese army,” he said. Up to 35 civilians were killed, while many huts and houses were destroyed. He called this “an escalation of violence against civilians that points to how serious the situation is becoming.” The expert called for enhanced protection of civilians as well as the provision of humanitarian assistance, noting that the delivery of relief aid had recently been complicated by violence. On the issue of accountability, he said “we have to insist that cooperation with the ICC is not a matter of choice for any State.” He pointed out that Sudan said it does not need the ICC and would instead use its own court, but chided the Khartoum Government for dealing ineffectively with the problem. “We observed the first decisions and trials of the special court that they have created and we’re very disappointed they deal with cases that are completely marginal to the problem, that have nothing to do with what happened at the peak of the conflict in 2003-2004, and that there is no clear rationale for crimes that seem to be common crimes have been brought to the Special Court.” He voiced hope that the Abuja peace talks would yield a framework to meet the urgent need to end the underlying conflict that has caused so much suffering in Darfur. At the same time, he urged inter-communal conversations among ethnic communities that are now “pitched against one another.” Mr. Mendez called for separating the perpetrators of wrongdoing and crimes against humanity from the communities that they claim to have represented. “We need to have authentic representation of all communities to start talking about reconciliation.” That process must deal with such issues as land tenure and land use, he added. “Right now there is a lot of animosity and a lot of possibility even of taking up arms in a cycle of communal retribution that would be very dangerous and could be at least as dangerous as the events of 2003-2004.” Asked if he would brief the Security Council, Mr. Mendez said Secretary-General Kofi Annan had requested that he brief the Council, adding that he was available to do so.
Reuters 10 Oct 2005 US blocks U.N. briefing on atrocities in Sudan By Irwin Arieff Mon Oct 10, 7:00 PM ET U.S. Ambassador John Bolton blocked a U.N. envoy on Monday from briefing the Security Council on grave human rights violations in Sudan's Darfur region, saying the council had to act against atrocities and not just talk about them. Bolton, joined by China, Algeria and Russia, prevented Juan Mendez, Secretary-General Kofi Annan's special adviser for the prevention of genocide, from briefing the council on his recent visit to Darfur, despite pleas from Annan and 11 other council members that Mendez be heard. "I strongly regret and deplore that Mr. Mendez ... was not authorized to brief the council today as Mr. Kofi Annan had asked," French Ambassador Jean-Marc de la Sabliere told reporters outside the council chambers. But Bolton said he had objected to the briefing to make the point the council should be "talking more about the steps it can take to do something about the deteriorating security situation" in Darfur. He gave no new proposals. "How many officials from the secretariat does it take to give a briefing?" he said, noting the council had just concluded a briefing on Darfur from Hedi Annabi, the assistant secretary-general for peacekeeping operations. Mendez, who visited Darfur for a week in late September, later briefed reporters on his findings. He said Sudanese officials were taking only cosmetic steps to prevent systematic human rights abuses there that might amount to genocide. crimes against humanity or war crimes. He also accused Khartoum of refusing to cooperate with the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, a tribunal strongly opposed by the Bush administration on grounds it might pursue frivolous prosecutions of U.S. soldiers or officials working abroad. INTERNATIONAL PRESSURE "We cannot let the government of Sudan get away with that," Mendez told a news conference. "I haven't seen any indication of the international community telling Sudan, 'You don't have a choice, you have to cooperate with the ICC."' Mendez said the Security Council had to put more pressure on the Sudanese to disarm nomad Arab gangs, known as Janjaweed, responsible for many of the atrocities now escalating in camps housing African tribesmen thrown off their land. So far Sudanese trials of any perpetrators were meaningless, he said. Secondly, Mendez recommended that the international community make good on its pledges to give aid to the Africa Union, which has monitors and troops in Darfur. Council diplomats who wanted to hear from Mendez said it was a council tradition to give the envoy a platform when Annan called for a briefing from his adviser on genocide. They noted Bolton had lined up with the three council members -- Algeria, China and Russia -- which have watered down action against Khartoum. "He's playing into the hands of people who don't want to do anything," said one council diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity so as not to irritate Washington. The Security Council met for a briefing on the latest developments in Darfur after rebels in the western Sudanese region abducted a number of African Union peacekeeping troops and killed some of them. The incident prompted Annan to warn in Geneva on Monday that a surge of violence in the region may force the world body to suspend some aid to Darfur. (Additional reporting by Evelyn Leopold)
Christian Broadcasting Network, VA 13 oct 2005 Bolton Urges UN to Act on Sudanese Genocide By Sarah Pollak CBN News Reporter CBN.com – WASHINGTON - New UN Ambassador John Bolton is ruffling some feathers at the United Nations. He blocked a second briefing on the genocide in Darfur, Sudan Tuesday. Bolton says the UN needs to stop talking about the problems and come up with solutions. The genocide in Sudan's western region of Darfur has been fought over the past two years. The Arab Muslims continue to attack their black Muslim neighbors. The government-backed Janjaweed militia has been raping the women, burning everything in sight and killing anyone who gets in their way. And still the government of Sudan has not complied with any of the UN's demands, chief among them, disarming the Janjaweed. So, when it came time to hear a second briefing on Tuesday about how bad the situation is in Darfur, Bolton said, "Why isn't the (security) council talking more about steps it could take to do something about the deteriorating security situation? That's what the council should be talking about, and not who's sitting in what chair." Bolton says he does not want the UN Security Council to "simply react from incident to incident," but work on finding a more effective, permanent resolution to the fighting. China, Algeria and Russia agreed and blocked further briefings, saying "No more talk, let's find a solution." Meanwhile, another group of Sudanese black Muslims, in the South, has also suffered greatly at the hands of their Arab Muslim "brothers." They have grown disenchanted with the radical brand of Islam spread from the north. They too have faced a brutal campaign by Arab Muslims for the past 21 years and have only in recent months enjoyed a peace treaty. A black Muslim leader from the south tells CBN News that the violence in Darfur is an example of what happens when a country establishes a radical form of Islam as a national religion. Official Amar Amoun remarked, "Waging holy war by Islam against Muslims themselves and against Christians and against everybody, it is out of the teaching of Islam. This war of jihad they declared fought against me. I was on the other side. This is why I am saying adopting Islam as a national ideology created all these problems." Despite the Islamic attacks in Sudan, there is no guarantee the UN will act soon enough to prevent more deaths in the ongoing genocide.
IRIN 11 Oct 2005 Violence forces many to flee North Darfur [ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations] © Derk Segaar/IRIN Hawa Wadi Kogere. EL FASHER, 11 Oct 2005 (IRIN) - Hawa Wadi Kogere arrived in Zam Zam camp for internally displaced persons' (IDPs), on the outskirts of El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur state, on 20 September after her village was attacked. Since then, the 75-year-old woman from the Zaghawa community has lived beneath a tree, without enough food or any other shelter. "We were chased, some of us killed and we lost all our property," Kogere told IRIN at Zam Zam. "Those who survived had nothing left and came here." She was in the fields when the attack on Dugumare village - about 50 km south west of El Fasher - took place. She managed to get away, but her son and grandson were killed. Her house was torched. During an offensive that lasted from 18 to 20 September, local Sheikhs claim that government soldiers and Janjawid fighters - Arab militia aligned to the government - attacked more than 20 villages. The villages included Tarni, Soraj, Amar Jadid, Jabaien and Korofola. The attacks were possibly the largest ceasefire violations in Darfur since the beginning of 2005. "There were people on camels and a number of Land Cruisers [all-terrain vehicles]. They had heavy weapons on vehicles and RPGs [rocket-propelled grenades]. Then they started shooting," Ali Mohamed Fadul, a local Sheik who oversees 45 villages, told IRIN. "When the Janjawid and soldiers arrived, they took all our property. They shot the men and abducted women and girls. We ran with only the clothes on our bodies," he recounted. "Some elderly men couldn't run. They [the attackers] put a rope around their necks and dragged them around with horses until they died," he added. According to Fadul, 35 people were killed during the attacks and 10 were still missing. He stressed, however, that it was hard to give an exact number of casualties as everybody had dispersed. African Union (AU) observers in the region put the preliminary number of fatalities at 27. Fadul claimed the reason behind the recent spate of attacks was that the government was using the Janjawid as a proxy force to chase them out of their area. Although land in Darfur was traditionally divided among the local people, Fadul claimed the government had made a contrary declaration. Now it was using the Janjawid to terrorise people and take control over their land. The Janjawid were predominantly interested in looting their animals and most of the villagers' livestock was taken. He said from the villages in his area, approximately 250 head of cattle were taken, as well as 500 camels, 700 donkeys, 1,000 goats and 1,600 sheep. Escalation of conflict IDPs who recently arrived in ZamZam camp, North Darfur Observers have expressed concern that the attacks on the villages, as well as the numerous incidents that followed, mark a standoff between the government and the rebel Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A) - in particular its Zaghawa faction - that constitutes a substantial threat to the region's security. Many members of the Zaghawa community have received professional military training in the Chadian and Sudanese armies and provide the bulk of SLM/A's military strength, while the Fur tend to dominate the political leadership of the movement, the International Crisis Group noted in a 6 October report. Growing rifts between both political leaders and military commanders as well as between Zaghawa and Fur factions of the SLM/A have led to a breakdown in the movement's command structure and a disconnect between political aspirations at the peace talks and military operations on the ground. An observer in the region noted that the most recent scorched earth campaign by government-aligned forces had been targeting Zaghawa villages in particular. This followed considerable SLM/A activity by rebels loyal to SLM/A's Zaghawa commander, Minni Arko Minawi. At the beginning of September, rebels looted several thousand animals from Arab nomads near Malam. This was followed by at least three SLM/A attacks on government towns, resulting in the brief take-over of the Sudanese garrison town of Shearia on 19 September, the observer added. "If the GOS [Government of Sudan] forces claim that their latest acts of ceasefire violations are in retaliation for earlier acts of provocation by the SL[M/]A, this cannot be justified given the deliberately calculated destruction wreaked by the disproportionate use of force on innocent civilians and IDPs in their camps," Baba Gana Kingibe, head of the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS), told reporters on 1 October in Khartoum. Unconfirmed reports said there were more government attacks on villages southwest of El Fasher on 3 October, leading to the destruction of Kapka village and possibly Abu Zereiga. Large troop movements of both SLM/A and the Sudanese armed forces in the area did not bode well for a cessation of hostilities in the near future, the observer warned. He expressed concern that a potential breakdown of the ongoing Darfur peace talks in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, would spark a new SLM/A offensive. "How many razed villages still constitute a ceasefire violation and when is it simply the end of the ceasefire?" he asked. Tawilla On 29 September, a government convoy of 41 trucks and nine all-terrain vehicles stopped on the outskirts of Tawilla, a town west of El Fasher, and numerous soldiers entered the town. Many shops and houses were burnt to the ground, forcing thousands of inhabitants to flee to the nearby camp of the AMIS military observers. Tawilla is a government-controlled town, but many residents are of Zaghawa origin. An AMIS officer in Tawilla told IRIN that the Sudanese armed forces suspected many of its inhabitants of being SLM/A sympathisers. Government soldiers said the 29 September violence erupted when they were attacked by SLM/A rebels, but the AMIS officer insisted "it was a premeditated attack". "Four elderly men were killed at close range - execution style - and seven people were injured," the AU officer noted. "The armaments used varied from small arms to heavy 12.7 mm machine guns and RPGs." During an earlier outbreak of fighting in Tawilla on 9 September, five people died and between 30 and 40 were injured. On 7 October, a Sudanese army convoy of 16 vehicles stopped near Tawilla and 15 minutes of sustained firing with heavy weapons took place outside the town. The result is still under investigation. The 29 September attack led to the reported displacement of about 2,500 individuals who erected makeshift shelters near the AMIS group site camp in Tawilla. Although two international NGOs withdrew from the area as a result of the attacks, the IDPs were receiving some emergency assistance from the AMIS forces. A woman who had fled Tawilla and had been staying near the AMIS compound for the last 10 days said the insecurity was continuing. "I don't expect to go home anytime soon," she said. However, as the immediate threat dissipated, most people returned to town or to their fields during the day in order to cultivate their fields or access some basic live-sustaining services, including food and water. People felt far from secure, however, and a man whose house had been burnt told IRIN that every night Tawilla town emptied as its inhabitants moved to the outskirts of the AMIS compound to spend the night. "Nobody stays in town at night," he noted. Impact on IDP population Recently burnt homes in Tawilla, Darfur. Humanitarian agencies estimate that some 5,223 IDPs had fled to Zam Zam IDP camp following the September attacks on the villages. More people were continuing to arrive. Non-food items and food had thus far been provided to 700 families who arrived immediately following the attacks, but Sheikhs were insisting that the current figure of recently displaced people was as high as 22,900. Various humanitarian agencies were planning a verification exercise to obtain correct figures in order to provide appropriate assistance. "The days following the attacks on the villages, about 4,000 directly affected individuals came to Zam Zam for support," one aid worker said. "But people continued to trickle in, some who fled into the mountains first, and are arriving now; others who arrived following the most recent attacks on villages south of El Fasher as well as on Tawilla town itself," he added. Aid workers were crosschecking registration lists from the areas where the violence erupted in order to try to establish whether people were really coming from the affected areas. "With so many IDPs in nearby camps, it is next to impossible to establish whether an IDP is coming from Abu Shouk [a large IDP camp next to El Fasher] to try to get a double ration or a genuine new arrival who needs immediate assistance," the aid worker noted, adding that the agencies wanted to start a new distribution as soon as possible. "We have cultivated a lot of millet, but with the insecurity, we are afraid to go back to harvest," Fadul said. Humanitarian agencies had predicted a bumper harvest in the region this year, but fear it may be of little benefit to most of the recently displaced. Nama Abdellah Saleh, a 45-year-old Zaghawa woman with eight children, arrived in Zam Zam on 22 September from Tawilla when the Janjawid and government soldiers attacked the area south of the town on 18 September and took most of her animals. "I was in the cattle camp when the attack took place. The Janjawid came on horses and camels and the soldiers arrived in Land Cruisers with heavy weapons. They took women, children and men and killed them. The majority of our animals were taken," Saleh explained. "This is the third time an attack like this happened around Tawilla. Each time we ran away and came back again. Now we lost hope, and we are here," Saleh said. "We cannot go back. The Janjawid will kill us. I lost my two sisters," she added, before breaking into tears.
Sudan - East
www.economist.com 29 Sep 2005 Enemies everywhere Sep 29th 2005 | HAMESHKOREIB From The Economist print edition Discord in eastern Sudan threatens the peace accord with the south “WE'VE learnt the lessons of Darfur,” says Sheikh Ali, who runs the town of Hameshkoreib, in eastern Sudan, for the rebel Eastern Front. “This government only listens to people who carry guns.” What he means is that, while Sudan's main southern rebel movement has, after some 30 years of on-off fighting, won a deal that promises autonomy and perhaps even eventual independence for the south, other disaffected regions must now fight for similar concessions. While strife in Sudan's western province of Darfur continues, a growing rebellion in the east is further weakening the central government in Khartoum—and could even cause the delicate north-south deal to unravel. As the main southern group, the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), withdraws its forces from the country's eastern belt as part of its agreement signed earlier this year with the government in Khartoum, eastern rebels are replacing them. The Eastern Front's bases are over the border, in Eritrea. Sudanese government forces and tribal militias are limbering up for a showdown on the Sudanese side of the border. There are growing fears that the government in Khartoum is planning to unleash the militias, just as they did in the west, when mounted Arab levies known as the janjaweed were allowed, and probably encouraged, to commit an array of atrocities against the disaffected Darfuris, leaving perhaps 180,000 dead. The Eastern Front was set up last year as an alliance between two eastern tribal rebel groups, the Rashaida tribe's Free Lions and the Beja Congress. They were later joined by the Darfuris' Justice and Equality Movement (JEM). The rebels' gravest threat is to block the flow of oil, which is exported through Port Sudan at a rate of 300,000 barrels a day. The government also plans to build a second refinery nearby that would double the output of Sudan's refined oil within three years. That plan, too, could be stymied. The government is rattled. A senior intelligence official privately admits that it already has three times more troops in the east than in embattled Darfur. It is vital, he adds, that government forces retake the eastern areas from which the SPLM has withdrawn. Tension began rising earlier this year when at least 17 rioting Beja people were killed by police in Port Sudan. Since then, a steady trickle of angry young Beja men has flowed towards rebel camps across the border in Eritrea. “You can't breathe,” says Ahmed, a recent arrival in one of the camps, who accuses the government of stealing the area's wealth while “keeping one foot on our throat...I'd rather die fighting.” The Eritrean government in Asmara is plainly abetting the Sudanese rebels, just as the Islamist government in Khartoum gives succour to the Islamist opposition in Eritrea. For the JEM, whose heartland is Darfur, its alliance with the Eastern Front and the relocation of some JEM troops from west to east is a chance to pose as a movement with national ambitions. At present, its western branch has a representative at the on-off peace talks in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, but its eastern one does not. The JEM's eastern commander, Abdulaziz Osher, who is based in Asmara, says that the historic peace accord between north and south is “flawed”—because it leaves his lot out of the equation; in particular, the eastern provinces are denied what he considers to be a fair cut of Sudan's oil wealth, which will be allocated in a complex formula between north and south. “The international community is again making the mistake it made in Darfur by insisting on its application and continuing to ignore those of us, whether in the east or the west, who say we're not happy,” he says. Riots followed the death in a (probably accidental) helicopter crash in Uganda two months ago of John Garang, the southern rebel leader who had just become Sudan's vice-president in the north-south deal that provides, among other things, for a referendum in six years on full independence for the south. Since then the southerners have been fairly quiescent. But they are particularly annoyed that, in a carve-up of ministerial posts announced last month, their new leader, Salva Kiir, agreed to let the northerners keep the energy (ie, oil) and mineral portfolio as well as the finance ministry and 14 other posts, to the SPLM's nine. The strife in Darfur is by no means over. Peace in the south is fragile. And now, to make matters worse, the easterners are demanding a bigger slice of the cake, both in budget revenue and government posts—and say they will fight to get it. Sudan is barely holding together.
Libyan Jamahiriya Broadcasting Corporation, Libya - Oct 4, 2005 Leader receives Sudanese tribe delegation 2005-10-04/ The Leader of the Revolution received Monday a delegation from al-Rashayda tribe in Eastern of the Sudan. The Sudanese tribesmen came to congratulate the Leader on the occasion of the 36th anniversary of great al- Fatah Revolution and the 6th anniversary of Sirte Declaration. They expressed to the Leader their appreciation of his constant efforts to resolve the Darfur problem and to ensure peace and stability in the Sudan as a whole.
www.sudantribune.com 6 Oct 2005 Sudan’s ruling party accuses Libya of meddling Oct 5, 2005 (KHARTOUM) — A prominent leader from the Sudanese ruling National Congress Party (NCP) has fiercely condemned attempts by the Libyan government to mediate the eastern Sudan rebelst and government over the eastern problem. Muammar GaddafiIn a statement to the pro-NCP Sudanese Media Centre (SMC), Musa Hussein Dirar, a leader in the NCP, said Libya should concentrate on the Darfur issue, which is closer to its borders, and which it earlier sought to bring closer the views of the government and those of rebels. Dirar said that the Sudanese government should be the one to seek Libyan mediation to reconcile Khartoum and Asmara. However, it is totally unacceptable Libya to take up internal negotiations like the eastern issue, as was reported in the press recently. He urged the government to look into the eastern issue through what he called "national efforts" and not via foreign initiatives. He said the issue did not need regional interference since the political administration was capable of solving the problem. Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi received on Monday October 3 a delegation from al-Rashayda tribe in eastern Sudan. At the same time a Libyan delegation headed by Foreign Ministry Suleiman al-Shahabi was in Asmara to discuss the issue with Eritrean President Isayas Afewerkii.
Sudan - South
Southerners get new assembly [ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations] JUBA, 30 Sep 2005 (IRIN) - The Interim Legislative Council of Southern Sudan, which brings together many former military and political adversaries, was officially inaugurated on Thursday in Juba, the southern Sudanese capital. The establishment of the new parliament constitutes a milestone in the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), signed on 9 January by the Sudanese government and the former southern rebels of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A). It also represents an important step in fulfilling the southerners' aspirations for greater political autonomy and the decentralisation of power, for which the SPLM/A fought during a 21-year war that claimed two million lives. "This is clearly a significant and historic moment. This is what people have been waiting for since the signing of the CPA, and probably for the past 20 years," David Gressly, the UN deputy resident and humanitarian coordinator for southern Sudan, told IRIN at the ceremony. "With the establishment of the new assembly, the south will have the ability to govern its own affairs," he added. One of the first tasks of the new parliament would be to ratify the new southern Sudanese constitution, which would pave the way for the formation of a new southern government and the establishment of the various ministries. "It is symbolically significant that all the groups that were formerly divided - the different militias, the political representatives - are together here today," a political analyst, who requested anonymity, said. "You can't heal wounds unless you're actually coming together." He added: "The signing of the peace agreement was one thing - but not everybody believed it. The new parliament is now a concrete fact and every step further cements people's belief in a better future." The establishment of the legislative council also opens the door for the adoption of a host of new legislative powers - from approving budgets to decisions on the framework of local governance - that are essential for the implementation of development and reconstruction programmes for the war-ravaged region. "We stand ready to support the new government institutions as they are formed and look forward to working with the new government as they take a leadership role in the development of southern Sudan," Gressly said. During the ceremony - attended by the Sudanese first vice-president and president of southern Sudan, Salva Kiir Mayardit, and southern Sudanese Vice-President, Riek Machar - James Wani Igga was elected Speaker of the new legislative and Tor Deng became Deputy Speaker. Igga, a former secretary-general of the SPLM/A, is considered the third-highest ranking member of the movement. Tor Deng, a former minister of education, is a member of the ruling National Congress Party in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum. "This [the election of Deng] is once more a confirmation of our commitment to the cooperation with the National Congress Party," Igga told the new legislative. The transitional southern parliament will remain in place until legislative elections are held in approximately four years. After a six-year interim period, which began on 9 July, the south will hold a referendum to decide whether to remain part of a united Sudan or secede. During the ceremony, Kiir said the major tasks of the government of southern Sudan included the provision of health, education, water and food services. The official Sudanese news agency, SUNA, reported that Kiir also announced that an institution would be set up to combat corruption in the south and called on the new assembly to adhere to its supervisory role.
IRIN 10 Oct 2005 Zanzibar police shoot at crowd, 18 wounded [ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations] © IRIN DAR ES SALAAM, 10 Oct 2005 (IRIN) - At least 18 supporters of the main opposition party in Tanzania's semi-autonomous island of Zanzibar were wounded on Sunday after police opened fire on a crowd. "I heard the gunshots," said Salma Mohammed, a Zanzibar-based reporter covering the political campaign there ahead of 30 October elections. She and other witnesses said riot police, known as the Field Force Unit, fired bullets and teargas canisters into the crowd at the town of Donge 30 km north of Zanzibar's capital, Stone Town. The confrontation occurred after supporters of the opposition Civic United Front (CUF) party attempted to hold a campaign rally that authorities had cancelled in the last moment. The deputy director of the police Criminal Investigations Department for Zanzibar, Ramadhan Kinyogo, said CUF supporters had hurled stones at the police and that one police officer was injured. He denied that police responded with live bullets. However, a doctor at Al-Rahma Hospital near Stone Town told IRIN on Sunday that at least eight of the 18 injured people had serious gunshot wounds. Other injuries occurred as the crowd panicked and trampled each other in a stampede, Mohammed said. Dozens of people were also arrested, she said, including Tanzanian photojournalist Hamisi Halfan. Zanzibar is the stronghold of the CUF. The party lost previous elections in 1995 and 2000 but party leaders have complained of government fraud, intimidation and violence.
Tanzania - ICTR
AP 3 Oct 2005 Ex-president's ally tried for genocide Prosecutor says trial will open up secrets ARUSHA, Tanzania (AP) -- A former Rwandan politician and businessman went on trial Monday on charges of extermination and murder related to the 1994 genocide of more than half a million people in his country. Protais Zigiranyirazo, the brother-in-law of late Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana and a member of his shadowy Akazu inner circle, ordered extremist militiamen to kill at least 48 people on two separate occasions during the genocide of the Tutsi ethnic minority and political moderates from the Hutu majority, prosecutors said. "The trial brings out for the first time close members of the family of Juvenal Habyarimana for their roles in the 1994 genocide," senior trial attorney Wallace Kapaya told The Associated Press. "The trial shows how Akazu jointly conspired to systematically eliminate the Tutsi ethnic group ... We are opening up the secrets of Akazu." The 100-day genocide was orchestrated by the extremist Hutu government then in power. Members of the former army and the Interahamwe Hutu militia led the slaughter. The killings ended when Tutsi-led rebels, under President Paul Kagame, ousted the extremist government in July 1994. Zigiranyirazo talked quietly to his lawyer and appeared tense as the judges, prosecutors and defense lawyers discussed how the trial will proceed during the next one-and-a-half months. Zigiranyirazo was arrested in July 2001 in a Brussels airport while traveling with a fake French passport seeking asylum in Belgium. On October 4, 2001, the Belgian government handed him over to the U.N. tribunal trying the alleged masterminds of the genocide. Zigiranyirazo, a former governor of Rwanda's northwestern Ruhengeri prefecture, pleaded not guilty to the charges laid against him when he made initial appearances before the tribunal in October and November 2001. Kapaya said that, in May 1994, the suspect ordered the Interahamwe to kill at least 30 members of the family of Jean-Sapeur Sekimonyo who had sought refuge at the former president's home in the northwestern Gisenyi prefecture. He did the same thing on May 14, 1994, leading to the death of about 18 other Tutsis. "The victims were related to one of Zigiranyirazo's wives," Kapaya said. The U.N. Security Council set up the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in 1994. It has so far convicted 22 people and acquitted three. The tribunal has 63 genocide suspects in its custody and 25 are standing trial.
IRIN 20 Sep 2005 Disarm LRA rebels, Museveni tells Kinshasa and MONUC [ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations] © IRIN Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni. KAMPALA, 30 Sep 2005 (IRIN) - Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said on Thursday the Congolese government and the UN mission there known as MONUC must, in two months, disarm Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels who recently crossed into eastern Congo or his army would do so. "If the international community does not come in to do it, we shall go there," he said at a news conference in the Ugandan capital, Kampala. LRA Deputy Commander Vincent Otti led some 400 rebels into Congo's Garamba National Park in early September, fleeing Ugandan military operations in south Sudan. On Monday, the Congolese vice-president in charge of security and defence, Azarias Ruberwa, said in the Congolese capital, Kinshasa, that the army was planning operations to oust the LRA rebels and their families. The government has given an ultimatum to all foreign groups to leave the country by the end of Friday. "We have no choice, we absolutely have to disarm them," Ruberwa said. However, on Thursday Museveni said: "We shall not wait for two months as Otti [LRA deputy commander Vincent Otti] and his group eats up the animals in Garamba National Park. We shall not allow that." He said there were "better strategies" to pacify the eastern DRC, which had become home to several foreign and local rebel groups as well as armed militias. "MONUC should disarm all these fighters in the DRC, if they can't, there are joint agreements with neighbouring countries," he added. "In the case of Uganda we can have joint operations with the Congolese army to handle this situation." He suggested that any capable African Union member state could assist to disarm the LRA insurgents as well as the other militia groups. "What is not acceptable is to continue as we are now. My slogan now is down with the status quo in eastern Congo," Museveni said. He added that giving the LRA rebels more time to disarm was equivalent to the DRC "giving bases to terrorists". Museveni criticised MONUC and the government in Kinshasa for not "doing much" and allegedly allowing the "defeated" Ugandan Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) to regroup and rebuild strength in the eastern DRC over the past two years. "You give a terrorist group two years of holiday; this means that you are supporting terrorism. The ADF has been there for two years, growing food and resting," he said. The LRA has waged a devastating rebellion in northern Uganda against Museveni's government since 1988, targeting civilians and abducting mainly children as rebel conscripts and sex slaves. The ADF sprang up in 1996 by attacking areas in western Uganda, claiming that it wanted to topple Museveni's government that used the ADF's presence in Congo to justify Uganda's 1998 troop deployment to Congo. The Ugandan troops ended up fighting alongside rebels seeking to oust the government in Kinshasa in a war that sucked in six African armies, which, however, had withdrawn by 2003 at the end of the main Congo war. Despite this withdrawal, northeastern DRC remains unstable with the presence of various rebel groups killing hundreds of civilians in spates of lawlessness. The situation has improved somewhat with the deployed of MONUC troops to the area. However, remote areas in eastern Congo have remained under threat with very little government authority of any kind, a vacuum filled by various militias and rebel groups.
www.newvision.co.ug 3 oct 2005 Kony arrest warrant out Monday, 3rd October, 2005 E-mail article Print article NAIROBI, Kenya, Sunday - The UN International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued a warrant of arrest for LRA chief Joseph Kony, a senior UN official said in Nairobi over the weekend. UN Under-Secretary General for Political Affairs Ibrahim Gambari said the warrant of arrest was written on Tuesday but had not been publicised by the ICC, a unit of the UN, until now. “We believe he (Kony) is in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) but we cannot say as to whether the UN forces can apprehend him,” Gambari revealed when asked whether UN forces were in pursuit of Kony. The warrant for Kony, wanted for atrocities committed in northern Uganda, comes as Uganda appealed for help to bring rebels based in the Congo to book. “The ICC has issued a warrant for the arrest of Ugandan rebel leader but it has not been publicised. The issue here is where to locate Kony and the capacity of the UN to apprehend him,” Gambari said. Kony’s crimes include torture and mutilation, abduction, sexual violence, forced recruitment and the killing of people the LRA considers are supporters of President Yoweri Museveni. The ICC assumed the jurisdiction to investigate serious war crimes in northern Uganda last year after Museveni referred the matter to the court. On Thursday, Museveni said the Congolese government and the UN mission there known as MONUC must, in two months, disarm the LRA rebels who recently crossed into eastern Congo or else the UPDF would do so. “If the international community does not come in to do it, we shall go there,” he told reporters in Kampala. LRA deputy commander Vincent Otti led 400 rebels into Congo’s Garamba National Park in early September, fleeing Uganda’s military operations in southern Sudan, where the rebels have been based for years. On Monday, the Congolese vice-president in charge of security and defence, Azarias Ruberwa, said in the Congolese capital, Kinshasa, that the army was planning operations to oust the rebels. Kinshasa gave an ultimatum to all foreign groups to leave the country by the end of Friday. “We have no choice. We absolutely have to disarm them,” Ruberwa said. Yesterday, the army said Otti had rejected calls to surrender or disarm voluntarily. The LRA has waged a devastating rebellion.
Reuters 6 Oct 2005 Global court targets Uganda cult in first case By Evelyn Leopold UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The International Criminal Court has issued arrest warrants for five leaders of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), a Ugandan cult notorious for raping, maiming and killing children, a U.N. official said on Thursday. The warrants are the first issued by the ICC, based in The Hague. The tribunal, which began functioning in mid-2003, is the world's first permanent global court set up to try individuals for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. "I know they have issued arrest warrants for five people," said William Lacy Swing, the American diplomat who heads the U.N. mission in the Congo. In Kampala, Minister of Internal Affairs Ruhakana Rugunda told Reuters: "I have no specific information on whether warrants have been issued or not. All I can say is, if they have been issued, it would not be a surprise to me at all." A spokesman for the ICC in The Hague declined to comment. Swing told a news conference that notifications went out last week to the governments of Uganda, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where a remnant of the LRA took refuge last month. Nineteen years of warfare by the LRA, led by a Christian mystic, Joseph Kony, has devastated northern Uganda and uprooted more than 1.6 million people. More than 10,000 children have been kidnapped by the rebels, based in the Sudan, and forced to become fighters, labourers and sex slaves. Swing said he could not reveal the names of the five. But Kony is certain to be among them. Richard Dicker, an attorney for the New York-based Human Rights Watch, said the arrest warrants gave the victims of LRA crimes a first opportunity for justice. "It stamps the accused, not just as people associated with horrific acts, but as indicted war criminals by an international court. That has not happened before," he said. Dicker said the indictments were a first step and needed the cooperation of governments. He said he hoped that the ICC prosecutor, Argentine Luis Moreno-Ocampo, would not limit himself to crimes committed by the LRA but look into abuses by the Ugandan army. The military is accused by human rights groups of beating and killing civilians they were supposed to protect from the LRA. Kony is believed to be hiding in the mountains of southern Sudan. He was originally given support by the Sudanese military during its conflict with Uganda. The LRA received international notoriety in 1996 when it abducted 152 teenage girls from St. Mary's College, a boarding school in northern Uganda. Nuns pursued 200 armed men and 109 girls were released while "the prettiest" were taken as "wives." Unlike other tribunals, the ICC has no time limit. Its indictments remain in force until the suspect is tried, dies or runs out of hiding places.
www.csmonitor.com 7 Oct 2005 Ugandan rebel push threatens neighbors The LRA crossed into Congo, opening a new front in the conflict. By Blake Lambert | Contributor to The Christian Science Monitor KAMPALA, UGANDA - The Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), a cultish Ugandan rebel group known for abducting and enslaving teenagers, appears determined to expand its operations into a third country, the Democratic Republic of Congo. More than 350 rebels crossed into the country's northeast last month from Sudan for the first time in the 19-year conflict. The opening of a new front follows a recent rise in rebel attacks after 10 months of relative quiet, and precedes expected indictments of rebel leaders by the International Criminal Court. Despite losing key backing from the Sudanese government in the past year, the LRA has managed to continue its fight by taking advantage of distrust between neighboring governments and their weak control over war-torn areas. Observers say the rebel expansion into Congo requires stepped up regional cooperation and military force to prevent any further instability in this volatile corner of Africa. "The LRA's opening of a potential new front in DRC will further destabilize extremely tense regional relations unless [UN forces] and the Congolese Army move quickly to address this threat," says John Prendergast of the International Crisis Group, a think-tank in Brussels. "The end [of the LRA insurgency] is within sight, but will require much more coordinated action by regional governments, the UN peacekeepers in Congo and Sudan, and other external actors led by the US." Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni is worried enough about the rebels that he threatened to invade the Congo if the government in Kinshasa and the United Nations Mission in Congo (MONUC) did not move to stop the LRA incursion. "In effect, Congo is giving bases to terrorists," he said. Ugandan forces have invaded Congo two previous times in the past decade as part of the so-called "world war" that ripped apart central Africa. "This is yet another foreign armed group entering the Congo ... and this is the pretext used by neighboring countries to invade the DRC," says a UN official. To head off the possibility of a third invasion, the UN has airlifted hundreds of commandos to the town of Aba in northeastern Congo while supplying an attack helicopter to Congolese ground troops searching Garamba National Park where the rebels, led by the LRA's deputy leader Vincent Otti, are believed to be operating. For now, the Ugandan government has expressed confidence that the MONUC and Congolese troops will be able to flush out the LRA for them. However, at least one Ugandan opposition member of Parliament says he doubts those forces will succeed in tackling the combat-hardened rebels. "The moment [MONUC forces] get 20, 30 coffins from the battlefield, I think countries will want to withdraw their troops," says Reagan Okumu, an MP from war-affected northern Uganda. Nor does he believe Congo is competent enough to protect its own sovereignty because of the alphabet soup of militias, beyond the LRA, who are concentrated in the country's vast eastern region. The MONUC has come under past criticism for its weak efforts to disarm these militias, though the UN force has flexed more muscle recently. The militias in eastern Congo had until Sept. 30 to disarm or surrender peacefully, but some failed to accept that deadline. Meanwhile, the LRA continues to menace northern Uganda, killing five people this past week in a daylight ambush near the southern Sudanese border. Ugandan Army spokesman Lt. Col. Shaban Bantariza says that LRA leader Joseph Kony has now moved above Uganda's "red line" in southern Sudan, the Juba-Torit road, where Ugandan forces are not allowed to chase him. "He's actually on leave, having free time. Nobody's attacking him," says Colonel Bantariza. "Nobody's asking him to leave." However, Ugandan officials will soon meet with their Sudanese and southern Sudanese counterparts to formulate a plan as to how to flush out Mr. Kony and his forces, according to Bantariza. And Uganda has reinforced its troops near the Congolese border in its West Nile region. As for the new front in the Congo, Ugandan President Museveni suggested several solutions to the problem. One is to allow Uganda, Rwanda, and Congo to launch joint antirebel attacks. He has also floated the possibility of deployments from the African Union or a Western nation such as Britain or France to repel the rebels. Even though he holds out little hope that MONUC and Congo forces alone can handle the problem, Mr. Okumu doesn't want to see an invasion by the Ugandan Army. "It would be a disaster, an invasion without cooperation," he says.
IRIN 7 Oct 2005 ICC issues arrest warrants for LRA leaders [ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations] © ICC-CPI / Wim van Cappellen - Reporters ICC prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo. KAMPALA, 7 Oct 2005 (IRIN) - The International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued arrest warrants for five senior members of the rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), including the group's leader, Joseph Kony, Ugandan defence minister Amama Mbabazi said on Friday. "The [ICC] investigation is complete and the court has taken a decision," Mbabazi told reporters in the Ugandan capital, Kampala. "The following people have been indicted: Joseph Kony, Vincent Otti [LRA deputy commander-in-chief], Raska Lukwiya, Okot Odhiambo and Dominic Ongwen," he added. "The warrants were served on Uganda for the government to execute the arrest order." The ICC has, since 2004, been investigating war crimes committed in the 19-year-old conflict between the LRA and the government in northern Uganda. The probe pertains to crimes committed since July 2002, when the court came into force. It specifically targets those who bear the greatest responsibility for crimes committed in the war. "We have decided to co-operate with the court and we call upon the public to co-operate in the arrest of any of these named individuals," Mbabazi said, and added that the warrants had been passed on to Uganda's Director of Public Prosecutions in accordance with procedure. The ICC does not have its own military or police force, nor does it have access to witnesses or criminals in the same way that governments do. It therefore relies on the support provided by the government and the international community at large for assistance with its procedures. Mbabazi said one of those indicted, Dominic Ongwen, had been killed by Ugandan troops on 30 September during an LRA incursion into the eastern sub-region of Teso. Otti - Kony's deputy - was still in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), some 90 km from Aba, in the country's northeast, he added. He is leading a group of LRA rebels who recently moved to northeastern DRC from their base in southern Sudan. Mbabazi told reporters the governments of the DRC and Sudan had been served separately with arrest warrants for the five men. While the DRC is a signatory to the ICC's governing Rome Statute, Sudan is not. The ICC's decision drew criticism from some leaders in northern Uganda, who have long maintained that the Court's involvement in the conflict was hampering ongoing peace efforts led by former Ugandan minister Betty Bigombe. "This is like a blow to the peace process. The process of confidence-building has been moving well, but now the LRA will look at whoever gets in contact with them as an agent of the ICC," Archbishop Odama of northern Uganda’s Gulu Catholic Archdiocese, told IRIN on Friday. "We thought the peace process would yield fruits if it were given more time, but it seems there is no patience," he added. However, Mbabazi said the government remained committed to the peace process and the amnesty given by the government to any rebel who denounces the rebellion. However, he added, those who had been indicted by the ICC would "not be treated the same as before the indictment". "The government will treat the others [rebels who have not been indicted] as people we can hold talks with and who can benefit from the amnesty," he said. "We shall continue to encourage Bigombe in her efforts to talk peace with the LRA." Mbabazi said if Kony returned to Uganda from southern Sudan - where he is believed to be based - the Ugandan military would attempt to arrest him on home soil. However, if the Ugandan government got permission from Sudan, they would pursue Kony across the border. He noted that the Ugandan Army Commander, Lt-Gen Aronda Nyakairima, was currently in Sudan requesting permission for Ugandan troops to cross the "red line" beyond which it is not permitted pursue the rebels. The LRA has waged a 19-year war against the government of President Yoweri Museveni and aid workers estimate that the rebels have abducted more than 20,000 children to serve as fighters, porters and sex slaves. The group is notoriously brutal, routinely mutilating and torturing civilians in the region. The conflict has driven approximately 1.6 million people from their homes to live in internally displaced persons' camps.
IRIN 10 Oct 2005 ICC indictments to affect northern peace efforts, says mediator [ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations] © IRIN Bigombe (wearing cap) and the UNICEF executive director, Ann Veneman, talking to children at Palenga IDP camp, near Gulu town in July 2005. KAMPALA, 10 Oct 2005 (IRIN) - The decision by the International Criminal Court's (ICC) to issue arrest warrants for the leaders of the rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) has changed the dynamics of ongoing peace talks between the Uganda government and the rebels, the mediator said. "You can no longer talk to the LRA as before, the dynamics have changed. The situation is different and I would not like to talk to the LRA now because the ICC has not yet given me details of the warrant," Betty Bigombe told IRIN on Monday. Speaking from the Burundi capital, Bujumbura, Bigombe, who for months has tried to persuade both sides to end the war through dialogue said she had not decided what the way forward should be. She, however, would need to make "some adjustments" in the way she had been working. "There is no doubt I need to make some adjustments, but the situation has been made difficult by the warrant. I have talked to the prosecutor [Luis Moreno-Ocampo] to let me know the details but they have not gotten back to me yet," she said. The ICC last week issued five indictments for LRA commanders - the first ever to be issued by the court. The ICC has, since 2004, been investigating war crimes committed in the 19-year-old conflict between the LRA and the Uganda government. The LRA insurgency has devastated large areas of northern and eastern Uganda and driven up to 1.4 million people from their homes into internally displaced persons' (IDP) camps. Bigombe managed to win some trust from both the LRA and the government as a mediator. Backed by the governments of Britain, the Netherlands, Norway, and the United States, she pitched camp in the region to mediate the peace process that had been started by religious leaders in northern Uganda. She came close to brokering a successful ceasefire agreement between the two sides late last year, when she organised the first face-to-face meeting in a decade between a senior government minister and a dozen LRA officials in the bushes in Kitgum district, some 450 km north of the capital, Kampala. However, last minute hitches saw the attempt fail. Bigombe said she had been trying to persuade the LRA leadership to end the rebellion and accept an offer of amnesty from the government. However, the ICC’s move has scuttled the amnesty option for the leaders accused of a number of atrocities, including the kidnap and murder of children. Amnesty in jeopardy The head of the Uganda Amnesty Commission (UAC), a statutory body set up by the government to give a blanket amnesty to surrendering rebels, also said the decision by the international court had left their work in "total confusion". "Since the commission started its work, we have based our sensitisation on the blanket amnesty and the impact has been tremendous. But now the issue has changed and we also have to deal with the uncertainty the ICC warrants have brought about," Peter Onega, the UAC chairman, told IRIN on Monday. Onega said the warrants would scare away willing rebels and frustrate the commission's efforts to negotiate for ex-rebels' return. "It means we have to start afresh to sensitise them [the rebels] that the warrant is only for a few people and the rest are free to come back home," he said. "The statute establishing the ICC overrides the national laws and the court may decide to issue other warrants of arrest for people we have even issued amnesty to. Where does this leave the amnesty statute, where we derive our mandate?" he added. The indictment, he added, would give the LRA leadership the tools to consolidate the rebel ranks. "They will be at liberty to tell these people that 'this is just the beginning, don't think we are the only ones wanted by the ICC - your turn is coming' and very few will come out [of the bush] if such a message was driven home," he said. However, some leaders in northern Uganda have supported the ICC on the grounds that the rebels were given enough time to give up fighting but had not taken up the chance. "I have told people that [LRA leaders] Kony and Otti will never talk peace. The ICC is right to issue the arrest warrants. The time given was enough but they never took advantage of it, so the ICC is right in issuing out the warrants," Walter Ochora local council chairman for the northern district of Gulu, said. Kony still eligible for amnesty Onega said if his commission was to follow the laws in Uganda, the five indicted people were still eligible for the blanket amnesty. He expressed the fear that the ICC's decision could only encourage more atrocities because the LRA leadership could act as "desperately as a wounded buffalo". "The ICC should have known all the consequences before they issued the warrants. They should have also considered another issue in all this - reconciliation. Does the taking of only five people for prosecution at The Hague bring about reconciliation among the divided Acholi [northern ethnic group] people? The warrants are not any good for national unity if you have people who will go to testify against others," Onega added. The LRA is notorious for abducting children for use as soldiers, porters or sex slaves. A recent report by the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) said out of an estimated 25,000 children abducted by the LRA since the conflict began 19 years ago, approximately 7,500 were are girls, 1,000 of whom had conceived during captivity. The report stated that over the past three years, the number of IDPs in the conflict-affected districts (Gulu, Kitgum, Pader, Lira, Apac, Soroti, Katakwi and Kaberamaido) was estimated to have risen from 550,000 to 1.4 million due to insecurity. The report added that the conflict had perpetuated a severe humanitarian crisis in the north, with the rights of children and women to access basic health services, water, primary education and security going largely unfulfilled.
BBC 3 Oct 2005 Mass arrests in new Harare blitz Many of those whose homes were demolished have received little help More than 14,000 people have been arrested in Zimbabwe's capital in the past two weeks in a new police crackdown, state media reports. They are mostly petty traders, street children and illegal currency and fuel dealers, police say. The police say the operation is designed to stop people returning to central Harare. Earlier this year, some 700,000 people were left without jobs or homes, the UN said, condemning the operation. The government said it was an attempt to clean up Zimbabwe's cities, demolish illegal homes and stamp out the black market. The opposition said its urban supporters were unfairly targeted and those affected were not given enough warning. "[The latest drive, dubbed Operation Siyapambili/Hatidzokereshure - No Going Back] aims to make follow-ups to monitor the city so that we deal with any of those who are returning to the city and conducting shady dealings," police spokesperson Loveless Rupere told the Herald newspaper.
NYT October 8, 2005 As Economy Plummets, Zimbabwe Arrests Street Vendors By MICHAEL WINES JOHANNESBURG, Oct. 7 - Against a backdrop of mounting economic collapse, the police in Zimbabwe say they have arrested nearly 15,000 street merchants since late September in a reprise of a campaign in May that cleared destitute squatters and vendors from urban areas. The United Nations estimates that at least 700,000 Zimbabweans were routed from their homes and driven into rural areas during the last campaign, dubbed "Operation Drive Out Trash." The new campaign, "Operation No Sneak Return," is aimed at vendors who, stripped of any way to earn a living, have tried to return to the cities to resume business. Because the government effectively bars foreign journalists from working in Zimbabwe, it is difficult to ascertain details of what is occurring. But telephone interviews and reports in the nation's press indicate that this week, riot-equipped police officers swept through some of the poorest areas, mostly informal settlements outside major cities, and seized goods being sold by vendors. In a number of cases the vendors chose to fight the police - a measure, some experts say, of the rising desperation among ordinary Zimbabweans who are increasingly unable to buy essentials for their families. Basic foods have been in short supply for years, and gasoline has been all but unavailable for months. Newspapers this week reported that there was a mosquito infestation in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second-largest city, because the city government had no gasoline to dispatch trucks to spray breeding areas. The International Monetary Fund forecast this week that Zimbabwe's economy would shrink by 7 percent this year and that inflation, now officially pegged at 265 percent a year, would exceed 400 percent by December. Some experts consider those figures conservative. Perhaps most ominously, shortages of seed and fertilizer are threatening to devastate next year's harvest. Officials told the pro-government newspaper The Daily Mirror that the sweep of vendors, which has resulted in 14,706 arrests, was a routine operation that had met no more than ordinary resistance. But telephone interviews with some Zimbabweans suggest that resistance was more widespread. Joseph Rose, 40, lives in Tafara, an impoverished settlement of about 100,000 on the eastern outskirts of the capital, Harare. Paramilitary forces demolished countless homes there in May and June, and Mr. Rose said the police were now rousting people from shopping centers and even from homes where they had been quietly selling goods to passers-by. "On Tuesday there came some police constabularies," he said. "They came to arrest people, and I understand they were beaten up by the vendors at the Kamunhu shopping center. There were three police beaten up, three of them." The police later returned in force and arrested three men suspected of having taken part in the beatings, he said. His report could not be independently verified. But The Daily Mirror and other news sources in Zimbabwe have reported that there have been running battles between the police and some vendors in Harare's destitute suburbs and that crowds of people have besieged some markets where scarce commodities like sugar were rumored to be available. Those accounts tend to bolster the suspicions of some analysts that Zimbabweans may be running short of patience - and their government cracking down on dissent - after years of privation and growing shortages. The Daily Herald, considered the government's most reliable media ally, reported this week that the campaign in May to send the urban poor into rural areas had been ordered by President Robert G. Mugabe to head off any peasant-led revolt like those that toppled governments in Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan earlier this year. Mr. Mugabe's government has steadfastly argued that its campaign was a civic beautification drive, intended to eliminate unsightly shacks and stalls from the landscape. But critics say the crackdown on vendors is a measure of economic desperation, an attempt to assert state control over the underground economy, which operates free of taxes and free of currency exchange rates, set by the government, which have little grounding in reality. And by any measure, it is apparent that the country's already parlous economic situation has turned for the worse in recent months. Recent news reports have indicated that the government is paring down the 40,000-soldier army because it is no longer able to feed the troops, and that some soldiers have protested the absence of any raise in salary since January despite a steep decline in the value of the Zimbabwean dollar. The South African newspaper Business Day quoted anonymous Zimbabwean officials as saying that some soldiers could be court-martialed for their role in the protests. John Robertson, an economist and onetime official of Zimbabwe's reserve bank who is harshly critical of the government's economic policies, said in a telephone interview on Friday that a shortage of foreign currency had all but dried up the supply of seed, fertilizer and other basic commodities needed to begin planting for the crops that are supposed to be harvested next May and June. "Even before the rains have come, we have a crop failure," he said. "It's done a great deal to demoralize people, and made them realize that the next year's foreign currency earnings are going to be used to buy foreign maize." The government says the latest roundup of street vendors is aimed at alleviating the economic crisis. It accuses the street merchants of encouraging runaway inflation by selling goods at black-market rates. Many of the goods that were confiscated - particularly staples like corn meal, cooking oil, sugar, rice and soap - are all but unavailable in Zimbabwe's stores, in part because merchants cannot obtain the foreign currency needed to buy the products from foreign-based wholesalers. Zimbabwe suffers a dearth of foreign currency because its shrunken economy produces little that can be sold profitably abroad. Mr. Robertson said a headlong decline in the Zimbabwean currency's value was driven in part by the government, which soaked up most of the nation's foreign exchange last month to make a payment to the International Monetary Fund on a long overdue billion-dollar debt. Manufacturers and merchants who needed foreign currency to buy ingredients and other supplies outside the country were forced into a bidding war for the few American dollars that the government had not seized, he said.
Financial Gazette, Zimbabwe www.fingaz.co.zw 13 Oct 2005 Personal Glimpses Dictators' callous view of human life must be rejected 10/13/2005 9:13:02 AM (GMT +2) ARE there any circumstances under which it is ever justified for the leader of a country to abandon his role as protector of the population and resort to torture, mass killings, ethnic cleansing, genocide or some such other horrific atrocity against his own people? I ask the question because Gift Nyoka of New Marlborough in Harare, whose letter (which I had prior sight of) is published on the Readers' Forum page in this issue of The Financial Gazette, seems to think so. He takes me to task for a feature I wrote in the September 29 to October 5 issue of this paper about the trial of deposed Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein later this month. Nyoka's views make an interesting study in the phenomenon known as selective perception. He censures me for 'accusing' Saddam of abuses such as the gassing of the Kurds and the demolition of entire towns and draining of marshland to suppress a Shiite rebellion when it is crystal clear that I am not the one making these charges against the deposed tyrant. These are documented facts in the public domain which any journalist or writer can quote as background information to amplify an article. It would be a different matter if the letter writer were arguing that the deposed dictator was being falsely accused of these crimes and abuses. The statement, "Makuni went to town about how Saddam Hussein is going to face up to a dozen trials on genocide, crimes against humanity and other atrocities committed by his regime . . ." further demonstrates how seriously Nyoka's need to defend the indefensible has compromised his ability to look at facts objectively. Once again, it is not Mavis Makuni saying from the top of her head that Saddam Hussein is facing such a grave situation. That is the reality as explained by Laith Kubba, spokesman for the transitional government in Iraq who I quoted verbatim in my article. Whether Nyoka likes it or not, Saddam Hussein committed these terrible atrocities against his own people and taking umbrage at anyone who refers to them is similar to shooting a messenger because he or she bears bad news. The Iraqi issue is so complex that literally, there can be as many angles as writers tackling different aspects. The issues he raised, such as the Iraq/Iran war, the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, terrorism, US hypocrisy on nuclear arms and abuses committed by George Bush are valid, but these were not the topics I was looking at. My article was about Saddam's impending trial and its impact. Nyoka must accept that the trial is going ahead despite all the other issues he raises, which have been exhaustively analysed in different media. The main thrust of Nyoka's complaint seems to be that by being obliged to stand trial, Saddam Hussein is getting a raw deal because he was being funded by the United States of America when he committed the array of atrocities he must now answer for. In other words, this correspondent seems to be suggesting that because he enjoyed American support at some point during his brutal rule, the former dictator's defence during his forthcoming trial should be: 'somebody made me do it!' This would hark back to the trial of Nazi officers at Nuremberg in 1945 when they pleaded: "We were following orders" about their role in the holocaust during which six million Jews perished. The question Nyoka does not seem keen to confront is whether ' following orders' or succumbing to the divide and rule tactics of powerful nations for financial gain is a valid and acceptable defence for culprits responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands or millions of innocent people? Saddam Hussein may have received material support from the US during the cold war between the West and the former communist bloc, but no one ordered him to butcher his own people. And even if he had been ordered to do so, I would still ask what kind of leader succumbs to that kind of pressure. This definitely is not the calibre of leader needed in the developing world or anywhere else. After Joseph Stalin's gruesome purges of the 1930s in the former Soviet Union during which an estimated 20 million people were killed, the holocaust in Hitler's Germany and genocide committed in various countries, including Rwanda and Sudan in Africa, it is time for the world to say 'no' to this kind of brutality. The only way to get the message across to ruthless dictators like Saddam Hussein and other tyrants that their callous view of human life is abhorrent to the rest of humanity is to make sure that they are brought to justice. The trial of the former Iraqi strongman is therefore important in that it will give the people of his country and the world at large an opportunity to hear from the horse's mouth the explanation for his unfathomable cruelty and lack of compassion for his own people. Man is a free agent with a conscience and freedom to choose between right and wrong. People with hearts of stone like Saddam Hussein who have no qualms about torturing, maiming, killing and pauperising their own people, cannot be let off the hook for the reasons suggested by Nyoka. I find it hard to believe that he wants the world to feel sorry for Saddam Hussein for having sold his country and people out by agreeing to be used by the US during the cold war. Rather than being a mitigating factor in the current situation, this actually increases his culpability because it shows a lack of spine and moral fibre. Through trials like Saddam's, the world must register its rejection of the ethos of the expendability of human life which characterises the brutal rule of dictators throughout the world. Killing innocent people is indefensible under any circumstances and must be rejected by all men and women of conscience throughout the world.
www.theglobeandmail.com 13 OAct 2005 Canada deports Serbian wanted in war-crimes caseBy MARINA JIMENEZ Thursday, October 13, 2005 Page A17 Toronto -- A Serbian war-crimes suspect wanted in Belgrade for alleged murders in the Kosovo war was deported yesterday. Dejan Demirovic, a former member of the Serbian special police unit known as the Scorpions, was deported from Toronto via the Italian city of Milan and immediately detained in Belgrade's central prison, the private Beta news agency said. He fled to Canada in 2001 and sought asylum. After a victim of a 1999 massacre in which 14 Albanian civilians were killed sought out Canadian law-enforcement officials to tell her story, Mr. Demirovic was arrested in January, 2003.
AP 12 Oct 2005 Colombia told to pay damages in massacre By MARIANELA JIMENEZ ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER SAN JOSE, Costa Rica -- An international human rights court announced Wednesday that it has ordered Colombia to pay damages in the 1997 massacre of dozens of villagers by right-wing paramilitary fighters. Human rights groups and former soldiers have criticized the Colombian army for not sending troops to the village of Mapiripan to stop the bloodshed, in which the anti-rebel militias killed dozens of unarmed civilians they accused of being leftist guerrilla sympathizers. In the ruling, issued last month but not released until Wednesday, the InterAmerican Human Rights court ordered the government to pay $1 million in material damages and another $2.6 million in punitive damages to family members of 20 victims who have been identified. The San Jose, Costa Rica-based court also ordered the government to construct a monument and identify the rest of the victims. A total of 49 people were believed slain. Colombian Vice President Francisco Santos told The Associated Press that his government "respects and accepts the ruling." He said, however, that the amount of monetary damages Colombia was ordered to pay is "very high." When the human rights court began deliberating the case in March, the Colombian government said that it accepted responsibility "for violating the rights of life," but said it does not accept blame for "violating legal protections and guarantees," referring mainly to its handling of the case after the massacre. The gunmen descended on the town after flying into a nearby military airport and town officials in Mapiripan said soldiers ignored repeated telephone pleas for help during the killings. Two local military commanders were convicted by Colombian courts for dereliction of duties regarding the massacre, though one of the convictions was thrown out by a higher court and is under review. Human rights groups say the military had full knowledge of the impending bloodbath. The paramilitary group was created by wealthy cattle ranchers as a vigilante force to attack leftist guerrillas, who have been waging a lefist insurgency for decades. In all, more than 3,000 people are killed in the fighting in Colombia each year, most of them civilians.
AP 10 Oct 2005 Guatemala's Indians Refuse Flood Aid By MARK STEVENSON The Associated Press Monday, October 10, 2005; 9:03 PM SANTIAGO ATITLAN, Guatemala -- A Guatemalan Indian community, haunted by a government-sponsored massacre during the country's brutal civil war, refused soldiers' help Monday in recovering those killed in a week of flooding and mudslides and conducted its own searches instead. Guatemalan officials were likely to give up searching for 384 missing throughout the region. They will likely be added to the 652 people already declared dead across Guatemala from torrential rains last week associated with Hurricane Stan, raising the total number killed to more than 1,000. Another 133 people were killed in El Salvador, Mexico, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Honduras. In Guatemala's isolated western township of Tacana, near the Mexico border, rescue workers on Sunday recovered more than 130 bodies from a mudslide that buried a shelter where people had taken refuge from rains and flooding. In Panabaj, a community on the outskirts of Santiago Atitlan buried by a mudflow a half-mile wide and up to 20 feet thick, residents on Sunday blocked troops who had come to help dig out victims. "The people don't want soldiers to come in here. They won't accept it," said Panabaj Mayor Diego Esquina, who said memories are still too vivid of a 1990 army massacre of 13 villagers. In all, tens of thousands died in Guatemala at the hands of soldiers and death squads in the 1960-96 civil war. "There is a very strong resistance in the name of maintaining their culture," said Rodolfo Pocop, 35, a Santiago Atitlan resident who represents a national Indian rights group. All the mudslide victims were Sutujil Indians. There are only about 100,000 Sutujil Indians in the country, and all live in communities on the shores of Lake Atitlan, Pocop said. "It was a very severe blow to this ethnic group," he said. The Indians struggled Monday to reconcile the demands of tradition _ which require that bodies be recovered and buried exactly 24 hours after dying _ with the shifting fields of mud and rotting corpses. Experts "have advised us not to dig anymore because there is a great danger" that the still-soaked earth may collapse again, said Uvaldo Najera, a Tacana municipal employee reached by telephone. Esquina said community leaders have asked that the area be declared a cemetery. "We are tired," he said. "The bodies are so rotted that they can no longer be identified. They will only bring disease." Hundreds of Mayan villagers who had used shovels, picks and axes to dig for victims in previous days gave up their efforts Sunday, overwhelmed by the task. Many of the missing will simply be pronounced dead, and the ground where the bodies rest declared hallowed earth. About 160 bodies had been recovered in Panabaj and nearby towns, and most were buried in mass graves. Many could not be identified, either because no family members were left alive or because the bodies were too decomposed. Guatemalan Vice President Eduardo Stein said steps were being taken to give towns "legal permission to declare the buried areas cemeteries" as "a sanitary measure." In addition, the government asked the United Nations on Monday for $21.5 million in aid because its own emergency response funds would not be enough to cope with the crisis. Indian residents of Santiago Atitlan, dressed in embroidered shirts and cotton, knee-length shorts with sashes, performed incense- and herb-laden rituals both to pacify the spirits of the dead and to ask to be spared from further disasters. Also visible at the site were a series of iron rods tied with red plastic to indicate where sniffer dogs had located bodies. The sun shone brightly Monday as government and foreign helicopters ferried in medicine and water treatment supplies to Santiago Atitlan's town square, a stone courtyard fronting a 16th-century Roman Catholic Church.
AP 2 Oct 2005 Students, Unions Mark '68 Mexico Massacre The Associated Press Sunday, October 2, 2005; 10:51 PM MEXICO CITY -- Thousands of students and union activists marched through downtown Mexico City on Sunday to mark the 37th anniversary of the 1968 massacre of student protesters. This year's commemorative march comes after a judge in September refused to issue arrest warrants for former president Luis Echeverria and other former officials, ruling that the statute of limitations had run out on the crimes. The leftist Mayor of Mexico City, Alejandro Encinas, held a ceremony in Tlatelolco Plaza, the city square where it occurred, to honor the dead. "We must create a climate of vengeance, but we must find out the truth," Encinas said. City Interior Secretary Ricardo Ruiz Suarez called Tlaltelolco "the absurd and stupid massacre of youths, men and women who were only demanding liberty and democracy." Flags were flown at half staff in some Mexico City boroughs. In 1968, as for most of the 20th century, Mexico was largely ruled by a single party, the PRI, which brooked little open dissent. Hundreds of university students and union activists marched through city streets, shouting "Oct. 2 will not be forgotten!" Only minor acts of vandalism and scuffles were reported in the traditionally rowdy annual march. The ruling in September marked the latest setback in government efforts to prosecute political crimes from the 1960s and 1970s. Other judges had earlier dismissed charges against Echeverria related to the 1971 killings of student protesters. Echeverria served as interior minister in 1968, and as president from 1970 to 1976. Dozens of students and other civilians died on Oct. 2, 1968, when police and military officials opened fire on them during a government protest. Officials estimated that about 25 people died, while activists contend that as many as 350 were killed. Military reports reviewed by the special prosecutor show that 360 sharpshooters fired from buildings surrounding the Tlatelolco Plaza.
Reuters 2 Oct 2005 Hopes fading for justice in 1968 Mexican massacreBy Lorraine Orlandi MEXICO CITY, Oct 2 (Reuters) - Exactly 37 years after a brutal crackdown on students ushered in an era of state terror in Mexico, hope that President Vicente Fox can bring former top officials to justice for the bloodshed is quickly fading. Fox, whose 2000 election ended 71 years of single-party rule, pledged to uncover the truth about the Oct. 2, 1968 student massacre in Mexico City by soldiers and police, and to punish those responsible. But with 14 months left in Fox's term, and after a series of setbacks in the drive to try ex-President Luis Echeverria, the chances of winning justice for victims look slim. To survivors and rights leaders, the case is emblematic of Fox's failure to end impunity for once-powerful public officials, which many see as crucial to achieving full democracy. "It's sad to think that this sort of historic opportunity may be lost," said Eric Olson of Amnesty International in Washington. "We'll continue to insist on truth, justice and reparations for the victims and their families, but at this point it's disappointing." The 1968 attack days before the Olympics opened in Mexico City is remembered as the Tlatelolco massacre and remains shrouded in mystery. Witnesses said troops shot dead some 300 people. Officials said agitators provoked a shootout that killed 30. It marked the beginning of an era of repression under the long-ruling PRI party. Echeverria, now 83, was then interior minister and is widely blamed for the 1968 blood bath. He went on to lead Mexico from 1970-76 at the height of a so-called dirty war in which hundreds of dissidents died or disappeared. He has twice evaded moves to indict him and denies any wrongdoing. In September a court dismissed genocide and kidnap charges against Echeverria and eight others for the Tlatelolco massacre, citing insufficient evidence and the time elapsed. Victims and a special prosecutor appointed by Fox say such rulings reflect entrenched political interests that still wield influence, and they vow to continue the legal battle. "Thirty-seven years of judicial complicity with those who commit genocide must end," said Raul Alvarez, who survived the massacre as a 26-year-old student leader. "Everyone knows what happened at Tlatelolco, but there is brutal resistance to punishing it." RESIGNATION RUMORED Echeverria's defense lawyer Juan Velasquez declared the process dead after the latest ruling, perhaps giving rise to rumors that Special Prosecutor Ignacio Carrillo was resigning. Instead, Carrillo appealed the court's decision. He argues that the massacre was part of a calculated government strategy to wipe out a dissident movement. Legal experts say the genocide charge may go too far, however, and prosecutors' hands are tied by legal obstacles such as the statute of limitations. As the clock ticks, activists say Fox failed to give the special prosecutor the tools and backing he needed. Many expect the process to fizzle out altogether after Fox leaves office. "In terms of choosing among various issues that he wanted to pursue ... Fox sure hasn't used up much of his attention or his political capital on this issue," said Roderic Camp, a Mexico expert at California's Claremont McKenna College. Perhaps Fox chose caution to avoid instability at a moment of political transition, in contrast with Argentine President Nestor Kirchner's bold move to prosecute dirty war crimes, said Amnesty's Olson. But he sees Fox's approach as misguided. "He should have been bold and taken the historic opportunity, but he didn't," Olson said. "Had he done what Kirchner has in Argentina, his legacy might be different."
washingtonpost.com 1 Oct 2005 Bennett Defends Radio Remarks Republicans Join Criticism of Talk on Race, Abortion and Crime By Michael A. Fletcher and Brian Faler Washington Post Staff Writers Saturday, October 1, 2005; A02 Conservative commentator William Bennett yesterday defended comments he made on his radio talk show suggesting that aborting black children would reduce crime, saying he was merely musing about a hypothetical argument and he made plain to listeners that he was not stating his own position. Bennett, a former U.S. education secretary and national drug policy director, is under fire from Democrats, civil rights leaders, black conservatives and, as of yesterday, the White House and the Republican Party for saying Wednesday that "you could abort every black baby in this country and your crime rate would go down." He added immediately that such a thing would be "an impossible, ridiculous and morally reprehensible thing to do." Yesterday, with the storm over these comments intensifying, Bennett released a defiant statement saying critics unfairly had pulled his comment out of context: "A thought experiment about public policy, on national radio, should not have received the condemnations it has." Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, in a statement typical of a parade of similar comments from Democrats, denounced the remarks and called on Bennett to apologize. "Bill Bennett's hateful, inflammatory remarks regarding African Americans are simply inexcusable," he said. ". . . Are these the values of the Republican Party and its conservative allies?" The White House and other Republicans made haste to say that the answer to Dean's question is no. Asked President Bush's reaction to Bennett's remarks, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said, "The president believes the comments were not appropriate." Similarly, Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman, who has been reaching out to African Americans and other minorities, called Bennett's comments "regrettable and inappropriate." But Mehlman also lashed out at liberals whom he accused of engaging in racially divisive rhetoric when it suits their interests: "What's much worse is the hypocrisy . . . from the left." The combative Bennett, whose syndicated radio show airs on the Salem Radio Network, offered no apologies. He explained that his comments came in response to a caller who suggested that Social Security would be in better financial shape if abortion were illegal, leaving more people to pay into the system. Bennett cautioned against making such far-reaching arguments and drove home his point by offering what he called "a noxious hypothetical analogy" to reducing crime by aborting black children. Bennett's statement went on to say that "the whole issue of crime and race" has been on people's minds in light of the situation in New Orleans, and is aired frequently in academic settings. Given that, he called his comments barely noteworthy. "Anyone paying attention to this debate should be offended by those who have selectively quoted me, distorted my meaning, and taken out of context the dialogue I engaged in this week," his statement said. Others disagreed. Michelle D. Bernard, senior vice president of the conservative Independent Women's Forum, said Bennett's remarks underscore why many African Americans distrust conservatives even if they share similar values on some social and religious issues. "In choosing to use the hypothetical genocide of black children as a way to reduce crime . . ., Bennett shamefully traded on the pervasive stereotype that it is African Americans who are responsible for all of the crime in the United States," she said. "People wonder why black people don't trust . . . notions such as compassionate conservatism, and Bill Bennett just added fuel to the fire the Bush administration has worked hard to put out." Robert Woodson Sr., president of the National Center for Neighborhood Enterprise, said "it was stupid" for Bennett to even ruminate on such an explosive topic but defended him as a good man. "Sometimes intellectuals become detached from common sense," he said.
washingtonpost.com 4 Oct 2005 A Specious 'Experiment' By Eugene Robinson Tuesday, October 4, 2005; A23 There's no need to pillory William Bennett for his "thought experiment" about how aborting all black children would affect the crime rate. I believe him when he says he wasn't actually advocating genocide, just musing about it to make a point. Instead of going into high-dudgeon mode, let's put him on the couch. Bennett, the former education secretary and anti-drug czar who has found a new calling in talk radio, told his audience last week that "if you wanted to reduce crime, you could -- if that were your sole purpose -- you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down." He quickly added that doing so would be "impossible, ridiculous and morally reprehensible," which is certainly true. So why would such a horrible idea even cross his mind? How could such an evil notion ever pass his lips? Bennett was referring to research done by Steven D. Levitt, a University of Chicago economist and lead author of the best-selling book "Freakonomics." The iconoclastic Levitt, something of an academic rock star, argues that the steep drop in crime in the United States over the past 15 years resulted in part from the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion. In defending his words, Bennett has said he was citing "Freakonomics." So why did his "thought experiment" refer only to black children? Levitt's thesis is essentially that unwanted children who grow up poor in single-parent households are more likely than other children to become criminals, and that Roe v. Wade resulted in fewer of these children being born. What he doesn't do in the book is single out black children. Perhaps the ostentatiously intellectual Bennett went back and read Levitt's original 2001 paper on the subject, co-authored with John J. Donohue III. The authors do mention race briefly, in a discussion of the falling homicide rate, but attribute most of the decline to those race-neutral factors that Levitt later cited in "Freakonomics." To bolster their argument, they cite research on abortion and lowered crime rates in Scandinavia and Eastern Europe -- not places where you're likely to find a lot of black people. If he was citing Levitt's work, Bennett could have said that to lower the crime rate "you could abort every white baby" or "you could abort every Hispanic baby" or "you could abort every Asian baby," since every group has unwanted, poor children being raised by single mothers. So now that we have Bennett on the couch, shouldn't we conclude that he mentioned only black children because, perhaps on a subconscious level, he associates "black" with "criminal''? That's what it sounds like to me. I grew up in the South in the days when we had to drink at "colored" water fountains and gas stations had separate "colored" restrooms; I know what a real racist is like, and Bennett certainly doesn't fit the description. But that's what's so troubling about his race-specific "thought experiment" -- that such a smart, well-meaning opinion maker would so casually say something that translates, to African American ears, as "blacks are criminals." What makes it worse is that his words came in the context of abortion. That Bennett staunchly opposes abortion is beside the point. He should know enough history to understand why black Americans would react strongly when whites start imagining experiments to limit black reproduction. For hundreds of years, this country was obsessed with the supposed menace of black sexuality and fertility. Bennett's remarks have to make you wonder whether that obsession has really vanished or just been deemed off-limits in polite discourse. I've heard people argue -- mostly in discussions of affirmative action -- that the nation's problem of racial discrimination has mostly been solved. The issue now is class, they say, not race. I'd like to believe that, but I don't. Bennett is too intelligent not to understand why many of us would take his mental experiment as a glimpse behind the curtain -- an indication that old assumptions, now unspoken, still survive. He ought to understand how his words would be taken as validation by the rapper Kanye West, who told a television audience that "George Bush doesn't care about black people," or by the New Orleans survivors who keep calling me with theories of how "they" dynamited selected levees to flood the poor, black Lower Ninth Ward and save the wealthy French Quarter and Garden District. I have a thought experiment of my own: If we put our racial baggage on the table and talk about it, we'll begin to take care of a lot of unfinished business.
http://www.swans.com/library/art11/gsmith56.html 10 Oct 2005 The Insurgent Word: Genocide by Gerard Donnelly Smith (Swans - October 10, 2005) Shame on Bill Bennett. May god have pity on his miserable soul. By now everyone has heard his racist comment: I do know that it's true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could -- if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down. That would be an impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down. So these far-out, these far-reaching, extensive extrapolations are, I think, tricky. Yet, this statement is far worse that bigotry, because it speculates that an act of genocide against African Americans would have economic benefits. Mr. Bennett might argue that such genocidal measures "would be an impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing to do," but he does not understand that just making such a statement is morally reprehensible, ridiculously racist, and impossible to defend as a "thought experiment." Indeed, it is rather tricky to defend at all! Unfortunately, such "thought experiments" often reflect more belief, than "thought." Mr. Bennett admits that he thinks this causal relationship between African Americans and crime is true. Then it is not so much a "thought experiment" as a belief, a reprehensible and ridiculous belief. Mr. Bennett believes that crime is caused by African-American babies: after the birth of African-American babies the crime rate goes up; therefore, if all African-American babies are aborted, crime will be reduced. After this, therefore because of this (post hoc ergo proctor hoc)? Mr. Bennett is supposedly a highly educated man, very moral man, and highly educated men with morals should not make such blatantly illogical, and patently racist, statements. But is Mr. Bennett alone in his thinking? Other such reprehensible programs have already been carried out. Indeed African-American women on welfare have been offered cash to become sterilized, so they will no longer give birth to black crack babies. CRACK (Children Requiring A Caring Community) provided $200 in cash for sterilization or permanent, implanted birth control. The origination of this equally genocidal program was an equally reprehensible thought experiment: sterilize all the African-American crack whores, so there will be no more crack babies, thus less welfare expense for the state, and less crime as well. For further reading on this reprehensible, right-wing program see Mother Jones's article, "Surgical Strike," by Barry Yeoman. 1 Perhaps Mr. Bennett thought CRACK was a good "thought experiment" too. How else can one explain his "thought experiment" except that he must have been on drugs! Certainly as a former Drug Czar and former Secretary of Education, he should have known better! No reasonable person would use the First Amendment to justify a genocidal statement. A reasonable person would never suggest that genocide of African Americans in the United States is a legitimate thought experiment. If he is reasonable, then Mr. Bennett should review the definition of genocide: (a) Killing members of the group; (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group. Bennett's suggestion to abort "every black baby in this country" represents, on its face, a statement suggesting that genocide against black babies would reduce crime. Defending himself by saying such "thought experiments" and "extrapolations" are protected by the First Amendment, Bennett offers no apology for his genocidal bigotry. By defending his statement as protected speech, Mr. Bennett gives solace to bigots everywhere whose hate speech has been declared unprotected by the Supreme Court. Perhaps new Chief Justice Roberts should be asked for his legal opinion concerning Bennett's statement. "Dear Mr. Chief Justice Roberts, is Mr. Bennett's statement a legitimate thought experiment or is it hate speech?" Wouldn't you like to know his answer? Then you should demand an apology and demand an answer, because some folks in this country wish to suppress your right to vote, deny your civil liberties, and carry out thought experiments in which black folks are exterminated. The African-American community has every right to be angry, very angry!
AP 2 Oct 2005 21-Year-Old Man to Run for Seat in S.C. By SEANNA ADCOX The Associated Press Sunday, October 2, 2005; 8:54 AM COLUMBIA, S.C. -- The oldest member of the state House of Representatives is facing a challenge from a 21-year-old looking to become the body's youngest member. Bakari Sellers announced his candidacy Saturday, less than two weeks after his birthday. His opponent in the Democratic primary next June will be Rep. Thomas Rhoad, an 82-year-old lawmaker seeking his 13th term in office. Sellers, whose father became an icon of the civil rights movement in South Carolina, wasn't even born when Rhoad was first elected to the Statehouse in 1982. "I have nothing against him, but I definitely think it's time for a change," said Sellers, a law student. Rhoad says he's done a good job representing District 90, and plans to continue doing so. He declined to comment on Sellers' campaign. "I don't have anything to say about him because I don't know him," Rhoad said. If elected, Sellers would become one of the youngest state legislators to hold office. Former Gov. David Beasley was 21 when voters first elected him to the House in 1978. State law sets 21 as the minimum age for a House member. Currently, the state's oldest legislator is 86-year-old Sen. John Drummond. The youngest is Rep. Thad Viers, 27. Sellers' father, Cleveland Sellers, was the only person imprisoned in connection with the "Orangeburg Massacre," in which state troopers killed three black students during a civil rights rally in 1968. He spent seven months in jail for inciting a riot but was pardoned 25 years after the conviction.
STAND (Students Taking Action Now: Darfur) 1 Oct 2005 www.standnow.org State Department Receives 5700+ Calls in the National Call-In Month During the month of September, nineteen schools officially participated in the National Call-In. Schools averaged about 300 calls a piece combining for a total of 5700 calls to the State Department. The overall effort was an overwhelming success in terms of national participation, organization, and response. The Call-In project was punctuated by an official State Department acknowledgement of the effort. The accomplishments of the National Call-In were two-fold: 1) the effort received the desired effect of gaining the attention of the federal government on diplomatic effort in Darfur 2) and it proved that our future national efforts are quite feasible in terms of coordination and execution. The National Call-In served as a good experiment for gauging the student movement concerning Darfur. With upcoming events such as Darfur Fast, it can be used as great motivation for students to get involved and a prime example of what can be achieved when coordinating schools on a national level. The following participating schools should be commended for their efforts: American Hebrew Academy American University Brandeis University Carleton College Claremont College George Washington University Georgetown University The Harker School Ithaca College Seattle University Springbrook High School Stanford University Stetson University University of Florida University of Cincinnati University of Wisconsin- Madison University of Southern California Western Illinois University William and Mary
MIami Herald 3 Oct 2005 Fixing responsibility for Abu Ghraib abuse OUR OPINION: PUNISHING ONLY LOW-LEVEL SOLDIERS ISN'T ENOUGH The conviction and sentencing of Lynndie England last week, the last of nine courts-martial of enlisted men and women for abusing detainees at Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison, brought an unsatisfactory conclusion to the scandal. Responsibility for what happened must not end there. Those young soldiers did not act in a vacuum. They were part of a mission bigger than themselves. They were carrying out assignments to defeat an enemy defined by military brass at the Pentagon and civilians in the White House. When the final chapter in this scandal is written, all who had a part in it should be identified and made to own up to their responsibility -- just as happened with Lynndie England and the other foot soldiers. Private England was sentenced to three years in prison and given a dishonorable discharge from the Army. No officer or commander thus far has been tried, although several have gotten administrative punishments. Chain of command It doesn't take a genius to figure out that in an organization as rigidly controlled as the military, commanders bear some degree of responsibility for the actions of troops under their command. The top officers are responsible for the training, or lack thereof, supervision, discipline and guidance of troops under their command. In Iraq, military leaders on the ground decide what the specific missions are and how to achieve them, including whether to adhere to Geneva Conventions, international law or the U.S. Constitution. And the colonels and generals themselves are following orders from their civilian bosses, who define the broader goals and objectives. In this war, the civilian leadership in Washington defined the fight as a war against terrorism. It is easy to see how all of this may have been fuzzed up with the detainees at Abu Ghraib. Are they civilians, insurgents, prisoners of war or terrorists? What are the rules applicable to their detention? At Abu Ghraib prison, soldiers were put in a confused and chaotic environment either with, (a) tacit instructions about what was expected of them or, (b) no instructions at all. In either case, they are not lone actors in what occurred. Army Capt. Ian Fishback, 26, succinctly states the case for responsibility. He spent nearly 18 months going up the chain of command, reporting on abuses at Abu Ghraib, asking questions and trying to get answers and guidance. Frustrated with denials and avoidance, he went public with his concerns. ''We did not set the conditions for our soldiers to succeed,'' he said. ''We failed to set clear standards, communicate those standards and enforce those standards. For us to get to that point now, however, we have to come to grips with whether it's acceptable to use coercion to obtain information from detainees.'' Clearly, Capt. Fishback gets it. Is anyone in Congress listening?
www.news24.com 3 oct 2005 'Worse things' at Abu Ghraib 03/10/2005 10:48 - (SA) Related Articles 'Respect the laws of war' Lynndie England goes to jail US private guilty of abuse England's guilty plea rejected US soldier joked during abuse Lynndie England admits guilt Washington - A US soldier convicted of humiliating and abusing Iraqi prisoners said, in remarks made public late on Sunday, she knew of "worse things" happening at Abu Ghraib and insisted military commanders were fully aware of what was going on in Iraq's infamous jail. The comments, made by Private First Class Lynndie England in her first post-court marshal interview, contradicted assertions by top Pentagon officials that a small group of out-of-control soldiers were responsible for abuse at Abu Ghraib, and that however repulsive that mistreatment was, it didn't amount to torture. England, who became the face of the scandal because of a photograph of her holding a naked prisoner by a leash, was sentenced last Tuesday to three years in prison and dishonorably discharged from the Army after a military jury found her guilty of maltreating prisoners and committing an indecent act. The trial capped a damaging scandal that erupted in 2004, following publication of pictures that showed Abu Ghraib inmates piled up naked on the floor in front of US soldiers, cowering in front of snarling military dogs, chained to beds in stress positions and forced to stand naked in front of female guards. 'This guy was screaming bloody murder But England, appearing on NBC's "Dateline" programme, said the pictures didn't convey the full extent of the abuse that took place in the cell block. "I know worse things were happening over there," admitted the 22-year-old convict. She said one night she heard blood-curdling screams coming from the block's shower room, where non-military interrogators had taken an Arab detainee. "They had the shower on to muffle it but it wasn't helping," she recalled. "They never screamed like that when we were humiliating. But this guy was like screaming bloody murder. I mean it still haunts me I can still hear it just like it happened yesterday." The interrogators were not identified but several investigations into the abuse have disclosed that Central Intelligence Agency operatives worked at Abu Ghraib alongside US military intelligence, trying to glean useful information.
washingtonpost.com 6 Oct 2005 Senate Supports Interrogation Limits 90-9 Vote on the Treatment of Detainees Is a Bipartisan Rebuff of the White House By Charles Babington and Shailagh Murray Washington Post Staff Writers Thursday, October 6, 2005; A01 The Senate defied the White House yesterday and voted to set new limits on interrogating detainees in Iraq and elsewhere, underscoring Congress's growing concerns about reports of abuse of suspected terrorists and others in military custody. Forty-six Republicans joined 43 Democrats and one independent in voting to define and limit interrogation techniques that U.S. troops may use against terrorism suspects, the latest sign that alarm over treatment of prisoners in the Middle East and at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is widespread in both parties. The White House had fought to prevent the restrictions, with Vice President Cheney visiting key Republicans in July and a spokesman yesterday repeating President Bush's threat to veto the larger bill that the language is now attached to -- a $440 billion military spending measure. Senate GOP leaders had managed to fend off the detainee language this summer, saying Congress should not constrain the executive branch's options. But last night, 89 senators sided with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a former prisoner of war in Vietnam who led the fight for the interrogation restrictions. McCain said military officers have implored Congress for guidelines, adding that he mourns "what we lose when by official policy or by official negligence we allow, confuse or encourage our soldiers to forget . . . that which is our greatest strength: that we are different and better than our enemies." The vote came hours after Senate Democratic leaders blasted Republicans for canceling a classified briefing on anti-terrorism matters by the director of national intelligence, John D. Negroponte. Senate Democrats also sent Bush a letter demanding more information about how he intends to succeed in Iraq. The president, who defended his Iraq policies at a news conference Tuesday, plans to deliver "a significant speech on the war on terrorism" today, spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters. He said Bush will "talk in unprecedented detail about the nature of the enemy we face" and "about our comprehensive strategy for defeating" that enemy. The Senate's 90 to 9 vote suggested a new boldness among Republicans to challenge the White House on war policy. The amendment by McCain, one of Bush's most significant backers at the outset of the Iraq war, would establish uniform standards for the interrogation of people detained by U.S. military personnel, prohibiting "cruel, inhuman or degrading" treatment while they are in U.S. custody. McCain's allies included Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), a former military lawyer, and Armed Services Committee Chairman John W. Warner (R-Va.). They said new detainee standards are needed to clear up confusion among U.S. troops that may have led to the mistreatment alleged at the Navy's Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba and to the abuse scandal at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. The military came under condemnation throughout the world two years ago upon the release of photos showing U.S. troops humiliating and terrifying inmates at Abu Ghraib. Some low-ranking soldiers have been sentenced to prison for the abuse, but many lawmakers and others said they continue to worry about tactics that border on torture in Iraq and at Guantanamo Bay. In his closing speech, McCain said terrorists "hold in contempt" international conventions "such as the Geneva Conventions and the treaty on torture." "I know that," he said. "But we're better than them, and we are the stronger for our faith." In its statement on the veto threat, the White House said the measure would "restrict the president's authority to protect Americans effectively from terrorist attack and bringing terrorists to justice." But as new allegations of abuse surface, the chorus of McCain supporters is broadening. McCain read a letter on the Senate floor from former secretary of state Colin L. Powell, who endorsed the amendment and said it would help address "the terrible public diplomacy crisis created by Abu Ghraib." Powell joins a growing group of retired generals and admirals who blame prison abuse on "ambiguous instructions," as the officers wrote in a recent letter. They urged restricting interrogation methods to those outlined in the U.S. Army Field Manual on Intelligence Interrogation, the parameters that McCain's measure would establish. McCain cited a letter he received from Army Capt. Ian Fishback, who has fought in Afghanistan and Iraq. "Over 17 months, he struggled to get answers from his chain of command to a basic question: What standards apply to the treatment of enemy detainees?" McCain said. "But he found no answers. . . . The Congress has a responsibility to answer this call." Despite his victory last night, McCain has two major obstacles remaining: House GOP leaders object to attaching it to a spending bill, and Bush could veto it. However, senior GOP Senate aides said they believe the differences could be bridged, either by tweaking the measure or by changing the field manual. The Maryland and Virginia senators voted for the McCain amendment. Earlier in the day, tension over Iraq triggered an unusually testy exchange between the chamber's top Republican and top Democrat. Negroponte had accepted yesterday a Sept. 22 invitation from Democrats to brief all senators privately on intelligence matters. But Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) said in a floor speech that he had told Negroponte to stay away. Frist said the invitation was a partisan ploy and unnecessary because of periodic briefings to Congress conducted by Negroponte and other administration officials. "I have been offended" by the Democrats' move, Frist told Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.). Reid replied that canceling Negroponte's planned appearance was another example of the administration and its congressional allies refusing to provide information about progress and challenges in the Iraq war and the broader battle against terrorism. Reid and at least 39 other Democratic senators sent a letter to Bush saying it was unclear whether "your administration has a strategy for success that will preserve our fundamental national security interests and permit us to bring our troops home." The letter called on Bush "to provide direct answers" to several questions, including the number of adequately trained Iraqi security forces that will be needed to allow U.S. troops to begin withdrawing. Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (Del.) was among several senior Democrats who told reporters that Bush risks a further erosion in public support unless he talks more openly about the challenges in Iraq and realistic plans to overcome them. "It's time the president tell us how he plans on getting us out of the hole he's dug us so deeply into," Biden said.
sfweekly.com 5 Oct 2005 Dancing on Evil A take-no-prisoners approach to dance theater brings tragedy to life By Nirmala Nataraj Thomas Dorn Uplifted, Tortured, Illuminating, Powerful: Compagnie Jant-Bi's Fagaala is all that. Who / What: Fagaala Event Category: Dance - Performance Details: See Fagaala Friday and Saturday, Oct. 7-8, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $14-25 978-2787 www.ybca.org Where: Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater, 700 Howard (at Third Street), S.F. Dancers swathed symbolically in cloths of white, red, and black alternately glide and writhe on a darkened stage; pulses of light create flickering halos around them. Projected images of torture victims loom grimly over gossamer stage curtains. A dancer covered entirely in white powder gestures upward, a ghostly figure silently entreating inexplicable powers. As shadowy bodies slink across the backdrop, a man hunkers over his own entrails, a scream soundlessly frozen on his lips. Such exquisite tableaux of suffering are strewn throughout Fagaala, a balletic meditation by Senegalese choreographer Germaine Acogny, known as the "mother of contemporary African dance." Performed by Acogny's modern dance group, Compagnie Jant-Bi, Fagaala, which means "genocide" in Wolof (a Senegalese language), is a nonlinear interpretation of novelist Boris Boubacar Diop's Murambi: The Book of Bones, a fictional account of the 1994 Rwandan genocide. The performance refrains from a narrow chronological account of the novel, and moves seamlessly between past and present, victim and torturer, absurdity and tragedy. It's an explosive, ritualistic idiom; as you watch, you get the sense of bearing witness to the physical resurrection of memory. The dance has already been performed extensively, and is a collaboration between Acogny and Japanese choreographer Kota Yamazaki. The latter is a master of butoh ("dance of darkness" in Japanese), an art form that examines the human potential for chaos and ensues from another destructive and tragic event: the decimation of Japan and much of its cultural traditions after World War II. The all-male ensemble combines the exaggerated theatrics of Japanese butoh with the rhythmic vigor of African dance, creating a performance that oscillates between deliberation and speed. Using dance to dramatize the most extreme violation of human rights is an unexpected aesthetic maneuver; and although Fagaala may prove to be more intense than most dance pieces, the performers' descent into a maelstrom of fear, pain, and hope resonates with beauty and compassion. As the dancers look back on the tragedy of 1994 in a relentless quest to understand the pointless terror, viewers are swept along on the journey. The collision of movement and sound wrenches both dancers and audience members from disbelief and denial, as subtle and dynamic shifts of lighting and character take us from visions of solidarity to images of bereavement. Through gesture and rhythm, the performers transcend the very language of suffering, pushing the tale into a context far beyond a mere tragedy of intertribal violence. Acogny and Yamazaki's take-no-prisoners approach to dance theater makes for a testament that isn't limited to those who suffered, but also includes those forced to account for their crimes. True to Diop's novel, this is more than just an encomium to the human spirit -- it's about what happens when suffering turns from a whisper to a scream, forcing all within earshot to listen and respond.
October 6, 2005 President Bush's Speech [Excerpt] The following is the transcript of President Bush's speech, as provided by CQ Transcriptions. PRESIDENT BUSH: Thank you for the warm welcome. I'm honored once again to be with the supporters of the National Endowment for Democracy. . . These extremists distort the idea of jihad into a call for terrorist murder against Christians and Jews and Hindus and also against Muslims from other traditions that they regard as heretics. Many militants are part of global borderless terrorist organizations like Al Qaida, which spreads propaganda and provides financing and technical assistance to local extremists and conducts dramatic and brutal operations like September 11th. Other militants are found in regional groups often associated with Al Qaida; paramilitary insurgencies and separatist movements in places like Somalia and the Philippines and Pakistan and Chechnya and Kashmir and Algeria. Still others spring up in local cells inspired by Islamic radicalism but not centrally directed. Islamic radicalism is more like a loose network with many branches than an army under a single command. Yet these operatives fighting on scattered battlefields share a similar ideology and vision for our world. We know the vision of the radicals because they've openly stated it in videos and audiotapes and letters and declarations and Web sites. First, these extremists want to end American and Western influence in the broader Middle East, because we stand for democracy and peace and stand in the way of their ambitions. Al Qaida's leader, Osama bin Laden, has called on Muslims to dedicate, quote, their resources sons and money to driving infidels out of their lands. Their tactic to meet this goal has been consistent for a quarter century: They hit us and expect us to run. They want us to repeat the sad history of Beirut in 1983 and Mogadishu in 1993, only this time on a larger scale with greater consequences. Second, the militant network wants to use the vacuum created by an American retreat to gain control of a country, a base from which to launch attacks and conduct their war against non-radical Muslim governments. Over the past few decades, radicals have specifically targeted Egypt and Saudi Arabia and Pakistan and Jordan for potential takeover. They achieved their goal for a time in Afghanistan. Now they've set their sights on Iraq. Bin Laden has stated the whole world is watching this war and the two adversaries: It's either victory and glory or misery and humiliation. The terrorists regard Iraq as the central front in their war against humanity, and we must recognize Iraq as the central front in our war on terror. Third, the militants believe that controlling one country will rally the Muslim masses, enabling them to overthrow all moderate governments in the region and establish a radical Islamic empire that spans from Spain to Indonesia.With greater economic and military and political power, the terrorists would be able to advance their stated agenda: to develop weapons of mass destruction, to destroy Israel, to intimidate Europe, to assault the American people and to blackmail our government into isolation. Some might be tempted to dismiss these goals as fanatical or extreme. Well, they are fanatical and extreme and they should not be dismissed. Our enemy is utterly committed. As Zarqawi has vowed, We will either we achieve victory over the human race or we will pass to the eternal life. And the civilized world knows very well that other fanatics in history, from Hitler to Stalin to Pol Pot, consumed whole nations in war and genocide before leaving the stage of history. Evil men obsessed with ambition and unburdened by conscience must be taken very seriously, and we must stop them before their crimes can multiply. Defeating a militant network is difficult because it thrives like a parasite on the suffering and frustration of others. ..
NYT October 7, 2005 10 Plots Foiled Since Sept. 11, Bush Declares By DAVID E. SANGER WASHINGTON, Oct. 6 - President Bush on Thursday tried to refocus American attention on terrorism, declaring in a speech that the United States and its partners had disrupted 10 serious plots since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The White House said they included a failed effort in 2002 to use hijacked airplanes to attack "targets on the West Coast," and a similar plot on the East Coast in 2003. The 2002 plot appeared be the most significant disclosure, and counterterrorism officials said Thursday evening that it had been led by Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, who is said to have been the mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks. He was captured in Pakistan in 2003. A listing, produced hastily several hours after Mr. Bush's speech, also included some previously known cases, including the one that led to the arrest in May 2002 of Jose Padilla, who intelligence officials say was exploring the possibility of setting off a dirty bomb in an American city. It was not immediately clear whether other items on the list represented significant threats. The president's speech came on a day of a major terror alert involving a possible bombing threat in the New York subways. The speech also came as senior government officials described a warning from one senior Qaeda leader to another that attacks on civilians and videotaped executions committed by his followers could jeopardize their broader cause. Mr. Bush used his speech, before the National Endowment for Democracy in Washington, to warn that Syria and Iran had become "allies of convenience" for Islamic terror groups, appearing to step up political pressure on both countries. He said, "The United States makes no distinction between those who commit acts of terror and those who support and harbor them," and he warned that the "the civilized world must hold those regimes to account." A senior White House official said Thursday evening that the President's 40-minute speech about Al Qaeda and Iraq arose from Mr. Bush's desire to remind Americans, after "a lot of distractions" in recent months, that the country was still under threat, and had no choice but to remain in Iraq so Al Qaeda did not use it as a base to train for attacks on the United States and its allies. The warning from Ayman al-Zawahiri to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the top militant leader in Iraq, was spelled out in a 6,000-word letter, dated early in July, that was obtained by American forces conducting counterterrorism operations in Iraq, the official said. Mr. Bush's warnings about the need for renewed American attention to what he called "this global struggle," and the release of information on past plots that the White House had previously been reluctant to discuss on security grounds, came at a moment of heightened criticism of the president's handling of the war in Iraq and the broader effort against terrorism. It also comes as he is trying to heal fractures in his own party about his selection of a nominee for the Supreme Court, and as he has faced complaints about the government's response to Hurricane Katrina. A poll released by CBS News on Thursday evening indicated that Mr. Bush's approval rating had dropped to 37 percent, and that disapproval of his handling of terrorism was at an all-time high. Democrats were quick to answer Mr. Bush, saying that he was gliding past major errors of tactics and strategy in Iraq, and that Al Qaeda began operating there only after the American invasion. Senator Harry Reid, the Democratic leader, said: "The truth is, the administration's mishandling of the war in Iraq has made us less safe, and Iraq risks becoming what it was not before the war: a training ground for terrorists." Mr. Reid, of Nevada, said it was vital that the administration change course in Iraq. In an unusual move, Mr. Bush named Osama bin Laden, the Qaeda leader, five times in his speech, and quoted Mr. bin Laden's own statements to support the president's argument that terror groups inspired by Al Qaeda were trying to "enslave whole nations and intimidate the world," starting in Iraq. "They achieved their goal, for a time, in Afghanistan," Mr. Bush said of the country that was Mr. bin Laden's sanctuary until the American-led invasion in the fall of 2001. "Now they've set their sights on Iraq," he continued. "Bin Laden has stated: 'The whole world is watching this war and the two adversaries. It's either victory and glory, or misery and humiliation.' " Mr. Bush compared Islamic militant leaders - at one point he used the phrase "Islamo-fascism" - to Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot, and said their ideology, "like the ideology of communism, contains inherent contradictions that doom it to failure." He addressed critics who contend that he has deliberately conflated the battle against terrorism with the question of whether to remain in Iraq, an issue on which members of his own party are increasingly divided. He said those calling for an American withdrawal from Iraq to avoid inciting militancy were engaging in "a dangerous illusion." "Would the United States and other free nations be more safe, or less safe, with Zarqawi and bin Laden in control of Iraq, its people and its resources?" he asked. "Having removed a dictator who hated free peoples, we will not stand by as a new set of killers, dedicated to the destruction of our own country, seizes control of Iraq by violence." Mr. Bush used particularly harsh language in referring to Syria and Iran. While the administration has steadily been increasing pressure on Syria for the last few months, it had held back, until just two weeks ago, from direct criticism of the new Iranian government, which has declared it will never give up its ability to produce nuclear fuel. The United States has contended that Iran has a secret nuclear weapons program, which it denies. But on Thursday, Mr. Bush took up what he and Britain have charged is Iran's continuing, covert support for insurgents in Iraq. He said militants "have been sheltered by authoritarian regimes, allies of convenience, like Syria and Iran, that share the goal of hurting America and moderate Muslim governments and use terrorist propaganda to blame their own failures on the West and America and on the Jews." As he has before, the president compared Islamic militants' ideology to the Communist expansionism of the last century. The militants were being aided, he said, "by elements of the Arab news media that incite hatred and anti-Semitism." "Against such an enemy, there's only one effective response: We never back down, never give in and never accept anything less than complete victory," he said. The White House released no details of the two hijacking plots that it said were disrupted. The Sept. 11 commission had said in its report last year that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed had originally envisioned a broader operation in which as many as 10 aircraft would be hijacked and crashed into targets on both coasts, including buildings in California and Washington. That report said Mr. Mohammed had described such a plot to his American interrogators. But it had not previously been disclosed publicly that Mr. Mohammed envisioned carrying out a new plot on targets in the West Coast in 2002, after the Sept. 11 attacks. Some other plots listed in the White House release have previously been known, including a thwarted attack in Britain in 2004. The list also included other plots to bomb several sites in Britain in 2004; to attack Heathrow Airport in London using hijacked commercial airliners in 2003; to attack Westerners at several places in Karachi, Pakistan, in spring 2003; to attack ships in the Persian Gulf in late 2002 and 2003; to attack ships in the Strait of Hormuz, a narrow part of the gulf where it opens into the Arabian Sea, in 2002; and to attack a tourist site outside the United States in 2003. Douglas Jehl contributed reporting from Washington for this article, and Marjorie Connelly from New York.
KS-TV (Utah) 10 Oct 2005 Was Hofmann Tied to Mountain Meadows Massacre Document? October 10th, 2005 @ 3:49pm John Hollenhorst Reporting Lectures and workshops this weekend will bring back memories of a shocking crime. 20 years ago this week, master forger Mark Hofmann killed two people with homemade bombs. Many questions still swirl around Hofmann. One of the most intriguing mysteries concerns a mysterious scroll that blames Brigham Young for a terrible massacre. Mark Hofmann has been in prison for nearly two decades, yet some say he may have been the brains behind a document found three years ago inside this old fort at Lee's Ferry, Arizona. It's an engraved message on a lead scroll, purportedly written by John D. Lee in 1872. Lee was a leader of the infamous Mountain Meadows Massacre, an attack on a wagon train that killed 120 men, women and children. The scroll says it was done on orders from Brigham Young. For three years the scroll's authenticity has been a matter of debate. Will Bagley, Historian: "There is something of a consensus. The Mormon scholars claim it's a fake. The non-Mormon scholars believe it's gospel." Massacre researcher Will Bagley says a scientific test indicates the lead in the lead scroll was mined in the 1850's. Will Bagley: "For my money the forensic evidence, the hard evidence, says it's authentic." Steven Mayfield, Crime Scene Investigator: "Will Bagley wants it to be real!" Steven Mayfield, Crime Scene Investigator: "It's the phoniest thing in the world, but he will not accept that, and there's other people who want it to be real." Mayfield has spent 20 years studying the forgery career of Mark Hofmann. He thinks the scroll bears some of the Hofmann hallmarks. Steven Mayfield: "There's not any hard-core evidence to show that Hofmann had anything to do with producing, distributing or dealing with that scroll. However, there's a lot of circumstantial evidence that I'm not willing to eliminate him as a potential person producing that. That's my hundred dollar answer. Ten dollar answer, I don't know." Bagley though, says Hofmann's motive was always to make money, His M.O. was to plant false clues, lending authenticity to the documents he was selling. Will bagley: "One of the hallmarks of his fakes was he led a trail of bread-crumbs for the gullible to follow. And just tossing something into a building and waiting 20 years for it to show up wasn't Hofmann's M.O." Most experts denounced the scroll as a fake almost from the start, but Bagley says those are just opinions. He's still waiting for proof. Many of the key players in the Hofmann saga will gather to discuss the case on Saturday, the 20th anniversary of Hofmann's bombings. The all-day event at the Red Lion Hotel is open to the public for a fee of 40 dollars.
www.tikkun.org/magazine 13 Oct 2005 Journalism as Activism: Nicholas D. Kristof & the Genocide in Darfur Document Actions Or N. Rose Nicholas D. Kristof is an op-ed columnist for The New York Times. In 1990 Mr. Kristof and his wife, Sheryl WuDunn, also a Times journalist, won a Pulitzer Prize for their coverage of China’s Tiananmen Square democracy movement. Over the last two years Kristof has been a steadfast public advocate for the people of Darfur, Sudan, holding accountable the Bush administration and the American media for largely ignoring the first genocide of the twenty-first century. Or N. Rose: Over the last few years you have emerged as a unique voice in the mainstream media, using your column as a vehicle for social justice. How did you cultivate this approach to writing? Nicholas D. Kristof: My most formative journalistic experience was covering the rise of the student democracy movement in China and its subsequent suppression. Earlier in my career I attempted to remain objective in my reporting, but this story forced me to take sides; how could I not stand with the students in the face of government troops that were murdering these young people simply for expressing their opinions? In truth, I sometimes feel like a fraud in the opinion business because I am not a strongly opinionated person. I tend to live in the gray; I usually react adversely to absolute truth claims. As you can imagine, this often makes my writing process somewhat difficult. Nonetheless, there are certain situations that require a direct, unequivocal response. ONR: Darfur is one issue that you have pursued doggedly over the last two years. How did you learn about the situation there and what moved you to pursue this story with such determination? NDK: In early 2004, I heard both from Doctors Without Borders and the International Rescue Committee about a terrible situation brewing along the Sudan-Chad border. As it happened, there was another story I wanted to do in Chad, so I decided to look into this matter as well. I should say that I tend to be suspicious of long-distance reports; they tend to be much more complicated than one expects. In this case, it was just the opposite: when I arrived at the border, everyone I spoke with told me about how their villages were being destroyed by the Janjaweed and the Sudanese army, how men and boys were being killed and how women and girls were being raped. What I found most powerful on that trip was a story that I heard from several people in hiding about their struggle to find drinkable water. When men would go to the wells, the Janjaweed would shoot them; when women would go to the wells, the Janjaweed would rape them. So they decided to send their young children, ages 6 or 7, to fetch water, hoping that the Janjaweed would ignore them. It made me wonder what I would do as a parent of three young children—would I send my kids to these wells knowing they would be met by gunmen… but if I didn’t send them, how would we get water? To this day, I do not have a clear answer. ONR: This was the first of several trips you made to Darfur. What led you back to western Sudan? NDK: As a columnist it would have been tempting to say, “I have done Darfur and now I’ll move on to the next interesting story in Venezuela, China, or Germany.” But after I published a few pieces on Darfur and nothing much changed, I became frustrated and determined to continue to shine a light on this neglected subject. At first, I thought that if I pushed the genocide button the international community would respond in some way. When that didn’t happen, I decided to return to Darfur two months later to see what had unfolded there since my first visit. The image that has remained with me from that trip is the scene of refugees camped along the border, seeking shelter under trees. Under the first tree I approached were two orphans whose parents had been killed—a cute little girl about four years old sitting with her baby brother in her arms. Under the second tree were two brothers. Both had been shot, but the one with less severe injuries carried his sibling on his back for 49 days in search of safety. Under the third tree was a widow whose husband and parents had been shot and her parents’ bodies thrown into the village well to poison it. Under the fourth tree was a woman whose husband and children were killed in front of her, she and her sister were raped, and her sister killed; this woman survived but was mutilated. These were just the first four of many trees, and underneath all of them were more refugees with horrific stories. ONR: Why has Darfur received such little attention in the United States from the government or the media? NDK: Historically, Americans have done very little about genocide, so Darfur fits into a larger pattern of inaction. In fact, one could argue that we’ve responded better to Darfur than we did to Rwanda. Part of the issue may be racism: the fact that it is black Africans being murdered doesn’t help the situation. But more so than racism, I think there is a widespread feeling among policy makers and ordinary Americans that Africa is a mess. While people agree that Darfur is a tragedy, they also feel that Africa is a wreck and will always be a wreck. “We tried to help in Somalia and that was ineffective, so why get involved in Darfur?” This has led many people to turn away. This seems to be President Bush’s approach—why use valuable political capital in such a messy circumstance when it is easier to pretend it doesn’t exist? Related to this issue is the limited attention span of Americans. In the media, we tend to think that Bush can’t walk and chew gum at the same time—he is so preoccupied with Iraq that other issues get neglected. While this is true, it is also true of the media: so much of our attention is dedicated to Iraq that we fail to pay attention to other issues. ONR: What do you think our administration should do about Darfur? NDK: I think the president needs to appoint an envoy to coordinate policy in the region, to work with other governments—especially other Arab and African governments—to put pressure on Sudan to make real change. The American government must use the bully pulpit more than it has to date. President Bush has to shine a light on Darfur and shame the Sudanese into changing their behavior. I think we also need to apply sanctions against Sudan, not necessarily because the sanctions themselves will be effective, but to show Khartoum and other governments that this is an issue that is important to us. There should also be a no-fly zone imposed over Darfur. If monitors observe a Sudanese plane destroying a village, the plane should be destroyed. Soon enough, they will stop using their planes for this purpose. ONR: What about a military presence in Darfur—American, UN, or African Union troops? NDK: I don’t think we should send American troops into Darfur. That would be perceived throughout the Arab world as yet another misguided Neo-Con maneuver. There is, however, much more we can do to support the African Union troops, in terms of supplies and logistics. For example, the African Union forces are running low on fuel; it is ridiculous that they can’t move more freely because they don’t have proper supplies. If the ground forces need to be expanded, they should be African troops, but if this does not work then UN peacekeepers or NATO forces should also be deployed. ONR: What can the average American citizen do to help stop the genocide in Darfur? NDK: Fundamentally, I think it’s a question of getting our government to respond with greater focus and determination. In the abstract, it should not be so difficult because there is no political constituency in this country that supports genocide. It’s just a matter of having enough people express their outrage before the machinery of the political system will click into place and things will begin to change. Sadly, this has not yet happened.
www.vheadline.com October 05, 2005 Bylined to: Patrick J. O'Donoghue Venezuelan Vice President remembers the Cantaura Massacre as barbaric Venezuelan Executive Vice President Jose Vicente Rangel has been remembering the Cantaura massacre that took place on October 4, 1982 as " one of the most barbaric acts" that have taken place in Venezuela. Relating the story at the presentation of a book on the subject, Rangel recalls that on that day Venezuelan Air Force (FAV) Canberra and Bronco planes, more than 400 Armed Force (FAN) soldiers and dozens of State Political & State Security (DISIP) Police agents initiated an assault on a camp in the hills surrounding Cantaura (eastern Venezuelan). 40 activists belonging to the then clandestine guerrilla group, Bandera Roja (BR) had assembled to discuss whether to abandon the armed struggle (in the cities) and enter the political camp. The majority of the participants were young people and women. Rangel argues that the government offensive was disproportionate and the order was to seek and destroy. The public reaction to the bombardment and killings was disbelief and coincided with the view that it was a massacre and completely unnecessary. Even inside the FAN itself there was a reaction against the operation. According to author Alexis Rosas, 14 of 23 bodies presented execution bullets in the neck. The same happened in similar seek and destroy operations against the remnants of 60-70s guerrilla groups in Yumare and Cano Las Coloradas. Each year a commemorative meeting is held in Cantaura. Rosas says he knew some o f the victims and is a friend of people directly or indirectly connected to the incident.
www.abc.net.au 11 OCT 2005 Historian defends claim of Victoria's first Aboriginal massacre near Portland Tuesday, 11 October 2005 Reporter: Kirsty Bradmore Is the site of Victoria's first massacre of Aboriginal people now part of prime coastal development land in Portland? Lawyers, historians and local Aboriginal folk are clashing over this idea. Image courtesy: Museum of Victoria Having argued historical accounts of massacres of Tasmanian Aboriginals were wrong or exaggerated, historian Keith Windschuttle is now taking aim at the historical account of Victoria's first ever recorded massacre of Aboriginal people. It's a small strip of land that has either long subsided back into the ocean, or is now privately owned beachfront property being prevented from development by the State Government and a native title claim. The Convincing Ground, near Portland, has long been regarded as the site of a massacre of Aboriginal people at the hands of white whalers, in the late 1830s - the very first in the history of European settlement of Victoria. The site is now at the centre of a Federal Court native title case and a Victorian Civil Administration Tribunal hearing. Robinson wrote 'Among the remarkable places on the coast is the Convincing Ground, originating in a severe conflict that took place a few years previous between the Aborigines and whalers in which occasion a large number of the former were slain.'... Australian historian Keith Windschuttle has described the heritage claim by local Aboriginies as doubtful and a myth. He has based his claims on research by Tasmanian historian, Michael O'Connor in his yet to be published book, The Invention of Terra Nullius. In questioning the historical veracity of the Convincing Ground, Windschuttle and O'Connor query the work of fellow historian Dr Ian Clark, Associate Professor at the University of Ballarat. Dr Clark's book, Scars In the Landscape (of which the relevant extract is linked to at the end of this article) details the earliest written recorded reference to the site. Dr Clark says he rejects Windschuttle and O'Connors' comments regarding his research, saying, "[My] knowledge is derived from the primary sources. They are not something that [I've] made up. It's grounded in the earliest records of the 1840s." George Augustus Robinson was appointed the first Chief Protector for Aborigines in the Port Phillip District in 1839. Edward Henty is considered the founding white settler in Victoria's western district. It is from the journals of these two men that Dr Clark references the Convincing Ground. Dr Clark says the earliest reference to the Convincing Ground, "...is an entry in Henty's diary, dated 17th September 1835, when he noted that he walked to the Convincing Ground." Dr Clark notes it was not "...really until Robinson's visit in 1841 that we get the reference to the link with the massacre. Robinson in his journal and his report refers to it as one of the most remarkable places that he new about on the coast." Robinson wrote '...Among the remarkable places on the coast is the Convincing Ground, originating in a severe conflict that took place a few years previous between the Aborigines and whalers in which occasion a large number of the former were slain.' ...some explanation has to be made as how could this local clan at the Convincing Ground be reduced to just two people in the early 1840s... Dr Clark says he has no reason to doubt the references nor can he see a hidden agenda or cause for any of the men to lie about the existence of the Convincing Ground. He says of Robinson, "He may have overstated his own claims or his own achievements, but I'm certainly not aware of any evidence where he fabricated massacres." "If his evidence is to be considered spurious, yes, he's reporting what he is being told... but the wider evidence tends to confirm that this story has some integrity, because Robinson also records a bit later in some of this journal notes that the local clan from the Convincing area has been reduced to just a mere fragment, maybe only two survivors - and yet the nearest group at Mt Clay were something like 158 strong in 1841. So some explanation has to be made as how could this local clan at the Convincing Ground be reduced to just two people in the early 1840s. So the account given to Robinson by Henty and Blair is very plausible," he says. When questioned about oral historical records to substantiate his claims, Dr Clark says his "...research has primarily been grounded in written records. It's never really been my brief to communicate with indigenous communities and record oral history." Dr Clark says he is not at all surprised to have been drawn into the debate, which has come to be known as the 'history wars' amongst Australian academics. Discussion has raged amongst the historical fraternity since the publication of Windschuttle's, The Fabrication of Aboriginal History. The book questions the extent of interracial violence in Australia since British settlement. Windschuttle also asserts that since the 1970s in Australia, academics and Aboriginal Australia have claimed there were widespread killings of 'blacks on the frontiers of settlement'. Windschuttle's first volume of the book focused on Tasmania, or Van Diemen's Land as it was known until 1855, but he has now extended his argument to take in South West Victoria and the Convincing Ground. (This is part of a series on the Convincing Ground broadcast on the ABC South West Victoria Breakfast Program with Kirsty Bradmore.) Related Links: Some of these links may be to sites outside the ABC and as such the ABC has no editorial control over such sites. Extract of Ian Clark's book Scars in the Landscape: A Register of Massacre Sites in Western Victoria, 1883 - 1859 http://www.museum.vic.gov.au/encounters/Journeys/Robinson/Convincing_Ground.htm Excerpts of Ian Clark's book, including the historical references to the Convincing Ground made by George Augustus Robinson in 1841, hosted on the Musuem of Victoria website http://www.museum.vic.gov.au/encounters/Journeys/Robinson/Convincing_Ground.htm
BBC 1 Oct 2005 Indian curfew after students shot By Subir Bhaumik BBC News, Calcutta Soldiers are helping to enforce a curfew in a strife-hit region of India's north-eastern Meghalaya state after police shot dead 12 protesters. Police say they opened fire on Friday when students attacked them with stones but protesters say it was unprovoked. The state's home minister has rejected opposition calls to resign. Students from the Garo tribe have been staging protests against planned educational reforms that have created divisions with the Khasi tribe. Troops have been carrying out high-profile marches in the Garo Hills region after being called out on Friday to help restore order amid an indefinite curfew. 'Brutal' State Home Minister Mukul Sangma refused to concede to opposition demands for his resignation. "It is a sad incident , but why should I resign? I did not ask the police to shoot at the boys. It all happened on the spur of the moment," Mr Sangma said. The situation is tense but under control with soldiers given orders to shoot-on-sight anybody violating curfew orders A Marak, police official The most notable politician from Garo Hills, India's former parliament speaker Purno Sangma, said the entire Congress government in Meghalaya should resign. "The police used AK-47 assault rifles on a peaceful gathering. These were students who might have thrown a few stones, but the police reaction was clearly brutal," Purno Sangma told the BBC. He threatened to resign his parliament seat and said legislators of his Nationalist Congress Party in Meghalaya would resign theirs if the government did not. The protests took place in the towns of Tura, in West Garo Hills, and Williamnagar, in East Garo Hills. The deputy inspector general of the Garo Hills range, Vijay Kumar, told the BBC from Tura that the Garo Students Union (GSU) was not given permission to hold a rally. Despite that, he said hundreds of people gathered in Tura for the rally. When the police arrived, the crowd threw stones injuring some policemen, he said. The police and paramilitary soldiers then opened fire in retaliation, Mr Kumar said. He said seven people died in Williamnagar and five in Tura. Overstone Marak, a spokesman for the Garo Citizens' Committee, the organisation jointly leading the protest campaign, said: "Police opened fire on the agitators without any provocation and without resorting to baton charging first - which is the normal practice." The GSU began a campaign of protests earlier this month against the state government's proposed educational reforms. The government has asked the student body to end its protest actions before it negotiates over the reforms.
AFP 6 Oct 2005 India probes massacre charge in Kashmir Thursday Oct. 06, 2005, SRINAGAR: The Indian army is probing charges that a group of soldiers butchered four civilians in Kashmir and presented them as Islamist guerillas in the hope of securing military awards, an official said on Wednesday. Police have also joined the investigation into the allegations that a colonel, a major and 10 troopers gunned down the four men in the northern Kashmiri village of Devar on April 20, 2004 and claimed they were insurgents killed in a firefight. The probe was launched after the father of one of the slain men, Madan Lal, said he had received an anonymous letter alleging the four were killed by the 12 alleged glory-hunters.
Radio New Zealand International 5 Oct 2005 www.rnzi.com Activists push for Pacific Forum to grant observer status to Indonesia’s Papua province Posted at 03:58 on 05 October, 2005 UTC Supporters of the self determination movement in Papua are calling for Pacific leaders to consider the plight of the Indonesia province when they meet in Papua New Guinea later this month. The struggle of the indigenous people of Papua has regularly featured on past Forum communiques with encouraging dialogue and calls for Jakarta to ensure that special autonomy is implemented. However last year, at the summit in Samoa, Papua did not rate a mention. John Kawowo of the Melanesian Solidarity National Facilitating Committee for a Free West Papua says the Forum needs to confront the issue of Papua.
FT.com 30 Sep 2005 Suharto coup victims seek recognition By Shawn Donnan Published: September 30 2005 01:30 | Last updated: September 30 2005 01:30 Under the Suharto regime, Toga Tambunan spent 13 years detained without trial in an assortment of jails and prison camps. He was beaten for reasons such as planting flowers that unexpectedly bloomed a communist red. When he was finally released in 1978 he was shunned by a father-in-law ashamed of his past as a political prisoner. So, more than seven years after Suharto's 1998 fall, the former poet and journalist believes he has a right to be compensated for his suffering. Or at least to have it formally recognised in the hope that future generations of Indonesians might avoid the same fate. “I have already forgiven the people who tortured me and who beat me. Even Suharto I have forgiven,” he says. “But I want to make sure the system will be changed so they can't do the same thing again.” It has been 40 years since the September 30 1965 coup that led to Suharto's 32-year rule, and Indonesia these days does a commendable job of asserting its place as the world's third largest democracy. For victims of Indonesia's bloody crackdown on alleged communists and their sympathisers, however, justice has been slow. Historians and leading Indonesians say this is just one of the legacies of history. From small villages in Borneo, Java and Sumatra to the holiday island of Bali, between 500,000 and 2m people were killed in the military-led crackdown that followed the coup. Historians estimate 1m more were thrown in jail, many for more than a decade. But what happened in 1965 is discussed in public only rarely in Indonesia. Left mostly unchallenged is the official version of events, as endorsed by Suharto that the Indonesian Communist party, or PKI, was behind the attempted coup and the future strongman heroically helped save south-east Asia's largest economy from the ravages of Marxism. “It is the biggest and saddest tragedy that we have ever had,” says Taufik Abdullah, a historian at the Indonesian Institute of Sciences. “But in Indonesia many people prefer to forget.” That is aided by a decidedly murky history. In 2003, Mr Abdullah was asked to lead a team to draft a definitive history of the September 30 coup. Two years on he and his team have managed, he says, to narrow it down to half-a-dozen possible scenarios and given up narrowing it any further. Even that exercise has proved controversial. Under pressure from radical Islamic groups, the government earlier this year abandoned a plan to amend the official high school history curriculum to reflect alternative versions of who might have been behind the 1965 coup. (Among the favourites: that Suharto himself plotted the coup in a convoluted effort to seize power or that the CIA backed it to bring about the demise of an increasingly influential PKI.) Indonesia's parliament last year called for a truth and reconciliation commission modelled on South Africa's to resolve Suharto-era atrocities. But this remains only an idea debated at symposiums for now. Who would sit on the commission is unclear, as is the history it would be allowed to explore. Part of the issue, say historians and activists, is that many in Indonesia's political elite owe their stations to the 84-year-old Suharto, who has repeatedly avoided trial in spite of allegations that he and his family stole as much as $35bn (€29bn, £20bn) during his rule. Though he is considered a reformist figure by many, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is a former Suharto-era general. Mr Yudhoyono's father-in-law, Sarwo Edhy, was the general who led the 1965 crackdown on suspected communists. Indonesia's constitutional court last year restored the right of former political prisoners and their families to run for elected office. Recent governments have eliminated the special identity cards they were once required to carry. Bans on relatives of accused communists being hired as civil servants are also supposed to have been lifted, though it remains unclear if this is carried out in practice. But efforts to secure compensation for former political prisoners and other victims have gone nowhere. A Jakarta court earlier this month dismissed a class action lawsuit filed by a group of 1965 victims against Suharto, Mr Yudhoyono and three other presidents. Lawyers for the victims have filed an appeal. Additional reporting by Taufan Hidayat
Jakarta Post, Indonesia 1 Oct 2005 www.thejakartapost.com Eradicating evil in the courts I agree completely with the abolishment of the legal mafia as advocated by Satjipto Rahardjo in Kompas last month. As a distinguished professor of law, he should know what he's talking about. The professor's statement should receive the full support of the judiciary and all the institutions concerned. Those involved in judicial work should not blame each other for the legal mafia continuing to exist. In its 60 years of existence as an independent country, Indonesia has yet to reform its judicial system and purge the said mafia from it. The corruption in the system is still widespread and every party has a role to play. The Ministry of Law and Human rights and the Supreme Court are surely well aware of the existence of graft, so why have they done little or nothing to stop it? All parties have been very slow in dealing with this pervasive evil. YANPYTUA MANIHURUK, Jakarta
Jakarta Post, Indonesia 1 Oct 2005 www.thejakartapost.com PKI killings leave many questions unanswered ID Nugroho, The Jakarta Post, Blitar How many people were killed in the violence after the aborted Sept. 30, 1965, coup blamed on the Indonesian Communist Party? The actual number of those massacred is unclear, despite a series of investigations into the incidents, both domestic and foreign. The United States Central Intelligence Agency puts the number at around 250,000 dead, some activists say up to three million perished, while Encyclopedia Britannica speculates the number could be as small as 80,000, or as large as a million. That big question has never been answered and probably never will be, said Budi Rahardjo, the chairman of the Murder Victims Inquiry Foundation (YKKP) researching the murders. Budi's father disappeared after the coup and is believed to have been killed. Poor census information and the often covert nature of the violence made it difficult for researchers to put a figure on the tragedy, he said. However, it is certain that the killings were among the worst in East Java, especially Bakung, Blitar, one of the PKI strongholds in the country. "Almost every day, bodies were seen floating on the Brantas and Bengawan Solo Rivers passing through East Java." "(Recently) when a group of public work agency employees were about to build a new road, they found human bones in earth they had just dug, which were believed to be the remains of PKI members. The bones of about dozens of people were also found in a cave in a hilly area in Larejo here on August 18, 2002," said Budi whose father disappeared after the coup. A resident near the cave confirmed that a group of people whose their hands tied were escorted in the direction of the cave direction after the aborted coup. They were never seen again. "The killing sprees happened several times," said the resident, who asked for anonymity. Budi believed the massacre was carried out by an anti-PKI group, whose methodology was later used by other groups in other conflicts. "The most popular case was the murders in the Piket Nol area in Lumajang, East Java when many PKI members and sympathizers were thrown off a 30-meter tall bridge. All those people died instantly as they fell into dry river bed full of scattered rocks," said Budi. However, Sgt. Major. (ret) Roeslan, a former Army combat intelligence agent assigned to crush a possible PKI rebellion in Blitar Selatan, rejected stories of a massacre. He said many PKI members surrendered to the Indonesian military while those arrested were brought to trial. "There were hardly any wrong arrests as the PKI was well-organized and they had complete data on PKI members," Roeslan said.
Jakarta Post, Indonesia 1 Oct 2005 www.thejakartapost.com Past atrocities still create fear ID Nugroho, The Jakarta Post, Blitar Traveling along the unpaved road in Lorejo in the South Blitar area seemed endless. Limestone rocks covering the two-kilometer road made it difficult for vehicles to traverse the four-meter wide road, not to mention the potholes, 10 to 20 centimeters deep, along the road that at times severely rocked the vehicle. After about 30 minutes traveling down this road, it suddenly ends in front of the No. 2 Lorejo elementary school, then continues on as a walking track winding through the hilly Lorejo area. "The distance to the top of the hill is 1.5 km, where you can find the Goa Tikus (Rat Cave)," said a farmer, pointing toward one of the hills with its peak barren of vegetation. It was no easy task to locate the 70-meter-deep cave, requiring a hard trek through harsh terrain of steep and rocky gorges, rice fields and rivers. The cave, located about 30 kilometers from Blitar, is now overgrown with tall grass and rocks. The bamboo fencing which marks the site has also been damaged over time. Blitar residents, especially those from Lorejo and Bakung village and surrounding areas, believe the cave was once a breeding place for rats. It was also used by the Indonesian military (TNI) and local residents to dump bodies of Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) members who had been murdered during a series of massacres in South Blitar in 1968. The massacres were conducted following an alleged coup attempt on Sept. 30, 1965, dubbed the G30S/PKI movement by the incoming military-backed New Order regime led by Gen. Soeharto. The arrests of top PKI figures in Jakarta and several major cities in Indonesia had forced members of the Central Committee (CC) of the PKI to retreat to remote areas in East Java, such as Tulungagung, Blitar, Malang and Kediri, where geographical conditions are harsh with hills pocketed with many caves. Several prominent PKI leaders like Rewang, Mochammad Munir, Ruslan Wijaya Sastra, Tjugito and B. Oloan Hutapea were reported to have stayed in these towns at some time. A former member of the 511 Blitar Intelligence Combat Battalion, Sergeant Major (retired) Roeslan, said that the arrival of the PKI leaders from Jakarta was initially warmly welcomed by residents in South Blitar. "They thought that the arrival of the PKI leaders was a sign that there would be an improvement in South Blitar," Roeslan told The Jakarta Post. The moment they arrived in South Blitar, they convinced residents by building schools, such as the People's Resistance School (SPR) and the Rapid Course on People's Warfare, trained especially by PKI brass. Their activities were eventually detected by commanders at the Brawijaya Military Command, who immediately authorized an intelligence operation. Sergeant Major Roeslan was one of the first members of the intelligence team deployed to the area. "After becoming aware of communist activities in South Blitar, we immediately conducted a territorial operation called the Trisula Operation," he recalled. The commander of this operation was Colonel Witarmin. During the two-month Trisula Operation, 21 PKI leaders were arrested, including Rewang, Mochammad Munir, Ruslan Wijaya Sastra (PKI Politburo chief), Tjugito (chairman of the Labor Union) and Pratomo (commander of the Armed Resistance), all captured alive. Two other PKI leaders, Oloan Hutapea (executive board of the CC of the PKI) and Surachman (assistant director of the Jakarta CC of the PKI) were killed in the operation. Some 33 others were killed; seven soldiers and 26 local citizens. Some 800 local PKI figures who had been indoctrinated to spread the ideology, were arrested. Roeslan said that some 4,000 PKI sympathizers from Bakung district who had fled to the mountains were also caught up in the operation. "They were, however, released on parole," said the former Bakung village chief. According to chairman of the Murder Victims Inquiry Foundation (YPKP) in East Java, Budi Raharjo, the extensive military operations supported by elements in the community to destroy the PKI has led to a prolonged trauma for area residents, especially for those whose relatives were accused of involvement, or those who had seen the massacres. "Reports gathered by the YPKP shows that many local residents refuse to talk about the incidents to this day for fear of being accused of being involved," Budi told the Post. Not to mention the ill-treatment they received, especially those in Bakung village, which did not end until the reformasi period, following the ousting of the autocrat Soeharto in 1998. Previously, they had to arrange travel permits every time they wanted to leave the town. They were required to attend courses on the "guidelines for carrying out the Pancasila basic principles" (known as P-4) once every fortnight. During the New Order regime, only the Golkar Party had the strength and means to build its network in this village, and it was not surprising that the party garnered the most votes in every election, whereas in fact the area had been known as a stronghold for the Indonesian National Party (PNI) and the Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI). When the Post visited Bakung district, the suspicion on the faces of residents was palpable and their fear could be felt. One of them, Supiah, who at the time of massacres was only 12-years-old, refused to relate much about the incidents. "Not me ... I don't know anything. Just ask those at the village administration office," she said briefly. A similar response was also given by a villager in Lorejo, where Goa Tikus is situated. The resident, who wished to remain anonymous, said locals had witnessed atrocities being carried out by the military and others, and that the victims had been shoved into the cave.
Jakarta Post, Indonesia 1 Oct 2005 www.thejakartapost.com If GAM is entitled to rehabilitation, why not PKI? Ribka Tjiptaning Proletariyati is the writer of a book entitled Aku Bangga Jadi Anak PKI (I'm proud to be a daughter of the Indonesian Communist Party, or PKI). She is a politician of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) and now heads the House of Representatives Commission IX on health and manpower. Question: The Central Jakarta District Court has recently rejected the class action lawsuit filed by former political prisoners accused of being involved in the 1965 aborted coup. Would you like to comment on that? Answer: From the very beginning, I predicted that we would lose the case. How can you win a court battle in a country whose legal system has not changed. We all know that the legal system is the product of the New Order regime. The lawsuit is a good example for this country's political education, and we just have to fight for it no matter what the outcome is. Even until today, the 1965 tragedy has caused prolonged trauma for all of us -- the plaintiffs and the children and relatives of former PKI members -- as we still have to deal with rights abuses and discrimination. As for me, I am a physician but I couldn't even set up a clinic of my own simply because I am a daughter of a PKI member. The patients were also reluctant to come to me as they have branded PKI as evil. But, who will testify for us that what we actually see in the 1965 tragedy is gross human rights abuses against us with a record that shows that no less than three million people, most of them PKI members, were killed? Our former president, Abdurrahman Wahid, once admitted the mass killing, and even apologized for it because members of his organization, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), may have been responsible for the victimization of no less than 800,000 PKI members. Do you have any other plan to fight for your rights? In conjunction with the commemoration of the Pancasila Sanctity Day on Oct. 1, we are going to make a petition to ask the government to rehabilitate our names. If members of the separatist Free Aceh Movement (GAM) can enjoy rehabilitation, then why can't we? We have never asked for independence. We have never waged an armed rebellion against the government. All we want is the government to rehabilitate our families, our parents, our names. Besides the rehabilitation, what will you ask for in the petition? I want the state to provide a clarification of its own history. Don't blame the PKI as the only evil in the 1965 tragedy. How can we sit together and reconcile if we fail to clarify our darkest history? Following the downfall of the New Order regime, most of the history books which tell about the New Order's role in defeating communism were withdrawn. Television stations have also stopped showing the film which tells about the tragedy. Can't we see that we are in a doubt over our own history? What is the ultimate goal of filing the petition? I want the government to make a public confession declaring the PKI clean in the 1965 tragedy. The confession will be more than enough, and we are ready to forgive and forget the past and there will be no more place for hatred. No more revenge. That we all are equal as Indonesian citizens. How valuable is it for your struggle? The government must provide clarification not because of our own interests, but in the country's interests. And we must do it while many of the political prisoners are still alive. They -- men, women and children -- are witnesses of history. Many former members of PKI's affiliated organization Gerwani (the Indonesian Women Movement) are still alive and they can tell the truth as to whether they received orders to torture the seven Army generals in the Lubang Buaya area. Thousands of former members of other PKI-affiliated organizations, such as the farmers's association BTI or artists' association Lekra, are also still alive and they can testify to tell the truth of the history. They deserve rehabilitation while they are still alive. The government has come up with the idea of setting up a commission of truth and reconciliation (KKR) for victims of the 1965 tragedy. Could you comment on that? I initially supported the idea, but later on I disagreed as I learned that the KKR legislation has no single article which referred to the suspects. The legislation merely talks about the victims; that we will receive amnesty, that we will receive compensation, that we agree to offer our forgiveness. How come? Do we have a strong legal basis or valid data or evidence which shows that PKI was proven guilty in the 1965 aborted coup? What about (then president and former New Order ruler) Soeharto's role in the tragedy? How was the United States' intelligence agency CIA involved in the tragedy? Why did the tragedy happen? As of today, Communism is considered to be a threat to the state. Your comment? I don't understand why Communism remains the nation's top threat. Isn't it true that the New Order regime and the military as its backbone have always claimed to have defeated Communism right to its roots? I have heard that ever since I was a child. The campaign, however, sounds ironic as on the other hand, I saw that the New Order regime made Communism, as well as PKI, greater and greater by repeatedly accusing the two of being behind any anti-government movements. The authorities used to say that PKI was behind the labor movement as they staged rallies against the government's unjust policies. If the regime and the military had crushed PKI, then why is Communism still a top issue? So, who is behind rampant corruption which implicates the state officials and causes bankruptcy to this state?
AP 30 Sep 2005 Indonesia’s Long Wait for Justice By Niniek Karmini/AP Writer/Jakarta, Indonesia September 30, 2005 Four decades after former dictator Suharto crushed Indonesia's communist party in one of the 20th century's bloodiest massacres, former political prisoners still suffer from discrimination, and justice for the victims remains a dream. Since Suharto's downfall in 1998, successive governments have been unable or unwilling to uncover the truth of the country's darkest days amid lingering anti-communist suspicion fanned by the still-powerful military and right-wing Islamic groups. On Saturday, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono—himself a former general—will attend a ceremony at the spot where alleged coup plotters executed six army generals and tossed their bodies down a well. Suharto said the murders were part of a failed September 30, 1965 takeover attempt by the powerful Communist Party and led a bloody purge on anyone suspected of leftist links that left more than 500,000 people dead nationwide. He went on to replace President Sukarno as Indonesia's leader and ruled with an iron fist for the next 32 years, making anti-communism a benchmark policy until his own ouster during a wave of street protests. The United States, which wanted to halt the spread of communism in Southeast Asia, supported his rise to power and stayed quiet on the purge and the bloody human rights abuses that were to characterize the regime that followed. An estimated 1.7 million leftists and their sympathizers were imprisoned in the months before and during Suharto's rule. All remaining political prisoners were released in 1998, but fear and mistrust of communists still lingers. Murad Aidit—whose brother Dipa Nusantara Aidit was the now-defunct party's leader and was killed by the military in 1965—talks bitterly about his years spent on a notorious prison island, his status as a second class citizen and the stigma his four children continue to face. "For years people avoided us," said Aidit, who in the 1950s was a member of parliament and later graduated with an economics degree from a Moscow university. "Even our neighbors were afraid to speak to us." Even today, children of ex-political prisoners are banned from working in government institutions, and many still have tags labeling them as communists on identification cards that can make it difficult to apply for official documents, such as drivers' licenses. Aidit, now 78, was one of 12,000 communist sympathizers exiled to Buru, a remote island in the Banda Sea 2,400 kilometers (1,500 miles) east of Jakarta, where he and others say they were forced to take part in hard labor and often physically and mentally tortured. Many died from malnutrition and disease. Today he lives in a modest home on the southern outskirts of Jakarta, earning money by translating books because he could not get work in government institutions due to his Communist Party ties. "While millions of his victims still endure continued discrimination, Suharto the architect of their suffering, lives in secluded luxury with his children who enriched themselves during his years in power," said Carmel Budiardjo, another former political prisoner who now runs the London-based Indonesian human rights group TAPOL. "He must not be allowed to go unpunished," she said in a statement. Suharto, 84, lives in a luxury mansion in central Jakarta and his lawyers have successfully argued that he is too sick to face trial for the corruption committed during his reign or the alleged rights abuses that took place. Some historians have speculated that Suharto himself may have been involved in the coup attempt, noting he was not targeted by the alleged plotters and emerged as the chief benefactor. The role of the US Central Intelligence Agency has also been a matter of debate. Suharto reinforced his version of events—that the Indonesian Communist Party was to blame—through the use of crude propaganda that demonized the ideology and with history books that made no mention of the controversy. Though the Communist Party is still banned, last year the country's Supreme Court ruled that people formally branded as communists could stand for election starting in 2009. The government says it is revising history books to better reflect the events of 1965 and the uncertainty that still surrounds them. Aidit says his neighbors now speak to him and intelligence officers no longer make monthly visits to his home. But he complains that post-Suharto governments are still not following through on promises to uncover the truth and fully restore his and other people's civil rights.
www.bordermail.com.au 10 Oct. 2005 Genocide in Irian Jaya IRIAN Jaya is the land of the West Papuan people. The Dutch and Indonesian governments signed an agreement in New York in 1962 to hold a plebiscite on Papuas future, an “act of free choice”. This was never carried out. On Tuesday, August 9, the Indonesian President met Papuan leaders to hear their grievances but the previous day told the Governor, J.P. Solossa that Papuans should not allow the US Congress Bill provoke them into questioning the legitimacy of the 1969 “Act of Free Choice”. According to human rights reports and West Papuans themselves, many West Papuans have been murdered, tortured to death and have disappeared at the hands of the Indonesian military. Homes, churches and schools have been burnt, overt opposition met with death and HIV positive prostitutes brought into communities. These claims raise serious issues concerning Jakartas intentions in Papua. It seems, the Indonesians, are pushing the West Papuans into a corner so that they will have to fight. The countrys assets are being stolen by the Indonesians and the Papuans get very little employment or benefit. This dire situation is beyond politics, beyond trade. Australia must not sweep this under the carpet and become a tacit ally of the Indonesians. Make an effort, write to governments and help stop this genocide. KEN ASHLEY, Albury
Green Left Weekly, October 12, 2005. www.greenleft.org.au/ How the West backed the massacre of a million people Clinton Fernandes The destruction of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI), 40 years ago following the seizure of power by pro-US military officers headed by General Suharto was a decisive event in the history of South-East Asia in the second half of the 20th century. By 1965, the PKI had three million members and was said to be the largest Communist party in the world outside of the Soviet Union and China. In addition to its large membership, about 15 million people had indirect connections to the party through their membership of peasant associations, labour unions and other social movement organisations led by PKI members. It was, according to a September 1, 1965, US National Intelligence Estimate, “by far the best organized and most dynamic entity in Indonesia”. Within a few months of the October 1, 1965, Suharto-organised military coup, however, the PKI would be destroyed in a cataclysmic campaign of political terror and mass murder carried out by the Indonesian armed forces (ABRI) and right-wing Islamic organisations. According to a 1968 study by the CIA, “in terms of the numbers killed the anti-PKI massacres in Indonesia rank as one of the worst mass murders of the 20th century, along with the Soviet purges of the 1930s, the Nazi mass murders during the Second World War, and the Maoist bloodbath of the early 1950s”. At least one million Indonesians were slaughtered in the anti-PKI massacres. Nowadays, of course, Western policy-makers are trying to rehabilitate the Indonesian military's reputation in order to fight Jemaah Islamiyah. This article, therefore, examines Western support for this anti-PKI terror campaign, which seriously weakened Indonesian political life and set the scene for the emergence of Islamic terrorism in the region. For reasons of space, it takes up the story after the massacres had commenced. Once the killings were underway, Western policy-makers and diplomats were keen to support the ABRI. The problem they faced was that President Sukarno's previous anti-imperialist rhetoric had resonated strongly with the Indonesian public. Any overt support would therefore serve only to expose the Indonesian army as a tool of the West. Sukarno's towering reputation presented a significant obstacle. A deft touch was required. US ambassador Marshall Green understood that economic aid should not be offered because economic difficulties hurt the reputation of the civilian administration, not the army. His military contacts told him that there was an urgent need for food and clothing in Indonesia but it was more important to let Sukarno and his foreign minister, Subandrio, “stew in their own juice”. Western media coverage The information campaign in support of the killings was created along similar principles. The ABRI secretly urged that foreign news broadcasters not give the army “too much credit” or criticise Sukarno. Instead, they should emphasise PKI “atrocities” and the party's role in the mutiny by left-wing ABRI officers that preceded the Suharto-led coup. While Sukarno could not be directly attacked, an Indonesian general offered to provide Western agencies background information on foreign minister Subandrio, who was regarded as more vulnerable. Australian ambassador Keith Shann was told by his superiors that Radio Australia should never suggest that the ABRI was pro-Western or right-wing. Instead, credit for the anti-PKI campaign should be given to other organisations, such as Muslim and nationalist youth groups. Radio Australia had an important role to play because of its high signal strength and huge audience in Indonesia. Its listeners included the elite as well as students, who liked it because it played rock music, which had been officially banned. It was therefore told to “be on guard against giving information to the Indonesian people that would be withheld by the Army-controlled internal media”. The Australian ambassador worked to ensure that it gave “prominent coverage” to “reports of PKI involvement and Communist Chinese complicity” while playing down or not broadcasting “reports of divisions within the army specifically and armed services more generally”. Another senior official recommended that Radio Australia “not do anything which would be helpful to the PKI”. Instead, it “should highlight reports tending to discredit the PKI and show its involvement in the losing cause”. The US, Britain and Australia co-operated closely in the propaganda effort. Marshall Green urged Washington to “spread the story of PKI's guilt, treachery and brutality”, adding that this was “perhaps the most needed immediate assistance we can give army if we can find [a] way to do it without identifying it as [a] sole or largely US effort”. The British Foreign Office hoped to “encourage anti-Communist Indonesians to more vigorous action in the hope of crushing Communism in Indonesia altogether”. Britain would emphasise “PKI brutality in murdering Generals and families, Chinese interference, particularly arms shipments, PKI subverting Indonesia as the agents of foreign Communists”. British ambassador Sir Andrew Gilchrist wrote: “I have never concealed my belief that a little shooting in Indonesia would be an essential preliminary to effective change”. Throughout this period, Western radio stations continued to recycle stories from Radio Jakarta or the army newspapers and broadcast them back to Indonesia. US embassy officials established a back-channel link through the US army attache in Jakarta, who regularly met with an aide to Suharto ally General Haris Nasution. The US embassy also compiled lists of PKI leaders and thousands of senior members and handed them over to the Indonesian military. While these kinds of lists were based entirely on previous reporting by the PKI's press, they proved invaluable to the military which seemed “to lack even the simplest overt information on PKI leadership at the time”, according to a report Green sent to Washington in August 1966. General Sukendro, a senior army intelligence officer, secretly approached the US embassy in early October 1965, asking for assistance in the army's operations against the PKI. This included supplying “small arms to arm Muslim and nationalist youths in Central Java for use against the PKI”. Green authorised the provision of 50 million rupiahs to the Kap-Gestapu movement, which was leading the anti-PKI terror campaign. He advised the State Department that there was “no doubt whatsoever that Kap-Gestapu's activity is fully consonant with and coordinated by the army. We have had substantial intelligence reporting to support this.” Overall, the US provided the ABRI with money, medicines, communications equipment, weapons and intelligence. It was satisfied with the return it received on this investment. On February 21, 1966, Sukarno tried to reshuffle his cabinet and sack General Nasution as defence minister. But with the public cowed in fear of the killings, Sukarno's attempt to assert his authority failed. There were large demonstrations backed by the army, and on March 11 soldiers mounted a show of force outside the presidential palace. Sukarno signed a letter of authority handing over executive power to General Suharto. He remained president until 1967, continuing to defend the PKI and to speak out against the massacres and anti-Chinese racism that accompanied them. Without access to the media, however, his speeches failed to achieve political traction. In the wake of the massacres, Indonesia's pre-eminent cultural and intellectual organisations — the Peoples' Cultural Institute, the National Cultural Institute, and the Indonesian Scholars' Association — were shut down, and many of their members were arrested or imprisoned. More than one and a half million Indonesians passed through a system of prisons and prison camps. The PKI was physically annihilated, and popular organisations associated with it were suppressed. The whole of Indonesian society was forcibly depoliticised. In village after village, local bureaucrats backed by the army imposed a control matrix of permits, rules and regulations. Citizens were required to obtain a “letter of clean circumstances” certifying that they and their extended families had not been associated with the left before 1965. Indonesian society became devoted to the prevention of any challenge to elite interests. Control of the universities, newspapers and cultural institutions was handed to conservative writers and intellectuals, who collaborated with Suharto's New Order regime and did not oppose the jailing of their left-wing cultural rivals. Along with the violence, certain cultural values were strongly promoted. Discussion of personal, religious and consumerist issues was encouraged, while discussion of politics was considered to be in bad taste. The conservative establishment also monopolised Indonesia's external cultural relations. Suharto would rule for more than 30 years until a popular uprising and a crisis-ridden economy forced his resignation on May 21, 1998. [Dr Clinton Fernandes is a historian and author of Reluctant Saviour: Australia, Indonesia and the independence of East Timor (Scribe, 2004). He is currently a visiting fellow at the Australian National University.]
HRW 3 Oct 2005 Iraq: Insurgent Groups Responsible for War Crimes Report Challenges Justifications for Attacks on Civilians (Amman, October 3, 2005) – The various rationales offered by insurgent groups in Iraq for their attacks on civilians are not justified in international law, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The 140-page report, A Face and a Name: Civilian Victims of Insurgent Groups in Iraq, is the most detailed study to date of abuses by insurgent groups. It systematically presents and debunks the arguments that some insurgent groups and their supporters use to justify unlawful attacks on civilians. The laws of war do not outlaw insurgent groups or prohibit attacks on legitimate military targets, but they restrict the means and manner of attacks and oblige all forces in a conflict to protect civilians and other non-combatants. The deliberate targeting of civilians during an armed conflict constitutes a war crime. “There are no justifications for targeting civilians, in Iraq or anywhere else,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa Division. “Armed groups as well as governments must respect the laws of war.” The report examines the civilian groups targeted by insurgents—such as Iraq’s ethnic and religious communities, politicians, academics, media and women—and the impact of targeted attacks on these groups. Through photos and eyewitness accounts obtained on the ground in Iraq, as well as media reports, the report gives the victims a face and a name. The U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and the ensuing military occupation has resulted in tens of thousands of civilian deaths and sparked the emergence of these insurgent groups. Two chapters in the report summarize laws of war violations by U.S. and Iraqi government forces. But these violations do not justify the insurgents’ unlawful attacks, the report says. “U.S. forces have used excessive and indiscriminate force, tortured detainees and held thousands of Iraqis without due process,” Whitson said. “But that does not justify attacks by insurgent groups that have deliberately targeted and killed civilians.” Previous Human Rights Watch reports have documented the U.S. military’s use of indiscriminate and excessive force, illegal detentions, and the use of torture at places like Abu Ghraib, as well as torture by the Iraqi police (see related material on right). The new report analyzes the insurgency in Iraq and highlights the groups that are most responsible for the abuse, namely al-Qaeda in Iraq, Ansar al-Sunna and the Islamic Army in Iraq, which have all targeted civilians for abductions and executions. The first two groups have repeatedly boasted about massive car bombs and suicide bombs in mosques, markets, bus stations and other civilian areas. Such acts are war crimes and in some cases may constitute crimes against humanity, which are defined as serious crimes committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack against a civilian population. The report documents the assassinations of government officials, politicians, judges, journalists, humanitarian aid workers, doctors, professors and those deemed to be collaborating with the foreign forces in Iraq, including translators, cleaners and others who perform civilian jobs for the U.S.-led Multi-National Force. Insurgents have directed suicide and car bomb attacks at Shi`a mosques, Christian churches and Kurdish political parties with the purpose of killing civilians. Allegations that these communities are legitimate targets because they support the foreign forces in Iraq have no basis in international law, which requires the protection of any civilian who is not actively participating in the hostilities. Insurgent groups also have tortured and summarily executed civilians and captured combatants in their custody, sometimes by beheading. And they have carried out attacks against legitimate military targets, such as army convoys, in such a manner that the foreseeable loss of civilian life was greatly disproportionate to the military gain. Some insurgent groups and supporters of the insurgency have condemned attacks targeting civilians. In one case, a group ordered its members to avoid attacks on civilians and apparently stopped operations in urban areas where civilians might get hurt. The report recommends that all insurgent groups issue similar condemnations and order their members to stop attacking civilians. Political and religious leaders in Iraq and abroad who support the insurgency should also condemn unlawful attacks, the report said. Human Rights Watch has been meeting with representatives of the media and civil society in the Arab world to discuss the practice of targeting civilians by armed groups in the Middle East. “People we have spoken with in the Middle East are increasingly repulsed by the behavior of insurgent groups in Iraq, even if they support a withdrawal of U.S. troops,” Whitson said. “It is time for political and religious leaders who support the insurgency to denounce the atrocities in public."
AP 9 Oct 2005 Bid to Delay Saddam's Trial Dismissed By HAMZA HENDAWI The Associated Press Sunday, October 9, 2005; 8:10 PM BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Saddam Hussein's lawyer has asked that the start of the ousted leader's trial be delayed and challenged the court's competence, but officials dismissed the request and said Sunday that the Oct. 19 starting date is firm. Saddam and seven members of his toppled regime are due to stand trial before the Special Iraqi Tribunal on charges they ordered the 1982 massacre of 143 people in Dujail, a mainly Shiite town north of Baghdad, after a failed assassination attempt against the ousted leader. If convicted, Saddam and his co-defendants could face the death penalty. If their final appeals are turned down and their sentences upheld, the execution by hanging must take place within 30 days, according to the court's statutes. The trial is expected to be the first of about a dozen involving crimes against humanity committed by Saddam and his regime's henchmen during his 23-year rule. These include the 1988 gassing of up to 5,000 Kurds in Halabja and the bloody 1991 suppression of a Shiite uprising in the south after a U.S.-led coalition drove the Iraqi army out of Kuwait. Abdel Haq Alani, a Britain-based legal consultant to Saddam's daughter Raghad, told The Associated Press Sunday that Saddam's Iraqi lawyer Khalil Dulaimi was served Sept. 25 with a written notification designating Oct. 19 the starting date. Additionally, Dulaimi was also "handed some documents, said to be pertinent to the alleged evidence to be presented in court," Alani added. Dulaimi has petitioned the court to delay the opening session, "because the court should not expect to give us only two weeks to review the case and the documents, while it took it two years to do so," Alani said. A second petition questions the competence of the court, Alani said, without elaborating. Dulaimi was not available for comment. In Baghdad, a senior official from the Iraqi Special Tribunal confirmed Dulaimi's actions, saying the petitions were turned in a week ago, but dismissed them as "marketing gimmicks" without legal basis. Such motions can be presented to the court when it convenes, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to protect himself from retaliation. Court officials have said privately they expect the defense will ask for a delay during the first session and that the judges will agree to a 15-day adjournment, which could be extended. Due to Iraq's precarious security, the identities of the court's five judges have not been revealed and may remain concealed during the trial. Also, witnesses are likely to testify from behind a screen or some other arrangement to protect their identity. The Iraqi Special Tribunal was created during the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq, which began in April 2003 and formally ended 14 months later. Its statute, however, has been endorsed by Iraq's democratically elected parliament this year
AP 11 Oct 2005 Insurgents Kill More Than 40 Iraqis By SINAN SALAHEDDIN The Associated Press Tuesday, October 11, 2005; 8:10 AM BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Insurgents determined to wreck Iraq's constitutional referendum killed more than 40 people and wounded dozens in a series of attacks Tuesday, including a suicide car bomb that ripped apart a crowded market in a town near the Syrian border, police said. U.S. and Iraqi officials have repeatedly warned that the insurgents would step up their attacks to undermine Saturday's referendum, a crucial step in Iraq's democratic transition. In the deadliest attack in nearly two weeks, a suicide car bomb exploded at about 11 a.m. in a crowded open market in the northwestern town of Tal Afar, killing 30 Iraqis and wounding 45, said Brig. Najim Abdullah, Tal Afar's police chief. U.S and Iraqi forces routed insurgents in a major offensive there last month. He said all the victims appeared to be civilians since no Iraqi or U.S. forces were in the center of Tal Afar, which is 260 miles northwest of Baghdad. Insurgents also used two suicide car bombs, three roadside bombs and four drive-by shootings in the capital on Tuesday to kill a total of 14 Iraqis; 29 were wounded, police said. The worst attack involved a suicide car bomb that exploded about noon at an Iraqi army checkpoint in a busy area of western Baghdad, killing eight Iraqi soldiers and one civilian and wounding 12 soldiers, said police Capt. Qassim Hussein. The violence came four days ahead of Iraq's key vote on the draft constitution, which Kurds and the majority Shiites largely support and the Sunni Arab minority rejects. Sunnis are campaigning to defeat the charter at the polls, although officials from all sides have been trying up to the last minute to decide on changes to the constitution to swing Sunni support. Many Sunnis fear the document would create nearly autonomous Kurdish and Shiite mini-states in the north and south, where Iraq's oil wealth is located, and leave most Sunnis isolated in central and western Iraq under a weak central government in Baghdad. Whether the constitution passes or fails, Iraq is due to hold elections for a new parliament on Dec. 15. Militants are demanding that Iraqis boycott the referendum and have killed at least 384 people in the last 16 days in a series of attacks. In another development, a top election official said Tuesday that Iraqi law will allow Saddam Hussein and thousands of other detainees who have not been brought to trial to vote in the referendum. However, Abdul Hussein Hindawi, one of the eight highest-ranking officials on the Independent Electoral Commission in Iraq, also said the organization was still awaiting a full list from the Interior Ministry and the U.S.-led coalition of the detainees who should be allowed to receive copies of the draft constitution and to vote at Abu Ghraib prison and several other U.S. detention centers. "All non-convicted detainees have the right to vote. That includes Saddam and other former government officials. They will vote," Hindawi said in a telephone interview. Said Arikat, a United Nations spokesman in Baghdad, said U.N. officials recently left 10,000 copies of the constitution at the U.S. detention centers in Iraq for distribution. "We don't know if Saddam and other officials from his government got copies or not, Arikat said. U.S. Lt. Col. Guy Rudisill, a supervisor at Abu Ghraib prison, declined comment on whether detainees, including Saddam, would be given copies or be allowed to vote. Saddam's long-awaited trial is scheduled to begin Oct. 19 on charges that he and seven of his regime's henchmen ordered the 1982 massacre of 143 people in a mainly Shiite town north of Baghdad following a failed attack on Saddam's life. More than 12,000 detainees are being held at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison, Camp Bucca and two other U.S. military camps in Iraq, many awaiting trial or, in some cases, formal charges. Many of the detainees are believed to be Sunni Arabs who were rounded up by U.S. and Iraqi forces on suspicion of supporting Sunni-led insurgent groups. Tal Afar, 95 miles east of the Syrian border, is located in an area where Iraq's Sunni-led insurgents have been active, making it difficult for coalition forces to maintain security in a large northwestern region of Iraq stretching to the Syrian border. On Sept. 28, a woman suicide bomber attacked an Iraqi army recruitment center in Tal Afar, killing at least six people and wounding 30. The woman, wearing men's clothing as a disguise, detonated her hidden explosives while standing in line with job applicants outside the center. Iraqi authorities claimed that nearly 200 suspected militants were killed and 315 captured during the September offensive in Tal Afar. But when they completed the sweep, they discovered many of the insurgents had slipped out, some of them through a network of underground tunnels. In another development, Iraq issued arrest warrants against the defense minister and 27 other officials from former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi's U.S.-backed government over the alleged disappearance or misappropriation of $1 billion in military procurement funds, officials said. Those accused include four other ministers from Allawi's government, which was replaced by an elected Cabinet led by Shiite parties in April, Ali al-Lami of Iraq's Integrity Commission said Monday. Many of the officials are believed to have left Iraq, including Hazem Shaalan, the former defense minister who moved to Jordan shortly after the new government was installed. For months, Iraqi investigators have been looking into allegations that millions of dollars were spent on overpriced deals for shoddy weapons and military hardware, apparently to launder cash, at a time when Iraq was battling a bloody insurgency that still persists. With strong U.S. backing, Allawi was named head of the first transitional government after the U.S. returned sovereignty to Iraq in June 2004, but his Iraqi List party did poorly in parliamentary elections that swept the Shiite-Kurdish coalition into power. Besides Shaalan, warrants were issued against Allawi's labor, transportation, electricity and housing ministers, as well as 23 former Defense Ministry officials, said al-Lami, who heads Iraq's De-Baathification Commission, part of the Commission of Public Integrity. He did not identify all the officials, and Shaalan and the ministers could not be reached for comment.
NYT 12 Oct 2005 OPINION Silence and Suicide By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN If I were editor of my newspaper, I would have led last Thursday's issue with the news report, under a big headline, saying that a Sunni Muslim suicide bomber attacked the Shiite mosque in Hilla, Iraq, on Wednesday -- the Shiites' first day of Ramadan -- and blew himself up, killing at least 25 worshipers and wounding more than 87. According to the AP, "The explosion hit the Husseiniyat Ibn al-Nama mosque, ripping through strings of light bulbs and green and red flags hung around the entrance to celebrate the start of the holy month." This attack, which got scant attention, deserved much, much more because it's the essence of the terrorism problem we now face. When a Sunni Muslim jihadist blows up a Shiite mosque -- a mosque -- during Ramadan -- Ramadan -- and virtually no one in the Sunni world utters a word of condemnation, it means there is no moral authority in the Sunni Muslim community anymore. When Sunni Muslim insurgents have no respect for the sanctity of Muslim lives, Muslim houses of worship or Muslim holy days -- and no one from their own wider Sunni community really moves to restrain or censure them -- then there are no boundaries anymore. No one is safe. Anything goes, against anyone, anywhere. If the Sunni Muslim world does not act to halt this genocidal ethnic cleansing of the Shiites of Iraq, which this week included a teacher's being dragged from a classroom and shot in front of his students, the Sunni world will eventually be consumed by this very violence. A civilization that tolerates suicide bombing is itself committing suicide. Inexplicably to me, the Bush team, which has finally settled on the right rationale for the war in Iraq -- to help Arabs carve out a space in the heart of their world where they can create a decent, progressive future -- is equally silent. Instead of going to the United Nations and seeking a resolution declaring the Sunni terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and his ilk war criminals, it sends Karen Hughes around the Arab world to get flagellated by Sunni Muslim women for how awful we are. The Bush team calls that "public diplomacy." I call it losing a public relations war to mass murderers. Yes, we, too, are hypocrites. I think the U.S. abuses of prisoners of war in Iraq and Afghanistan (we apparently tortured to death scores of prisoners in our custody) is a lasting blot on us all. But at least we have news media, a religious elite and courts that are exposing this, and a Senate majority that is now acting to bring it to a halt. Try to find an Arab head of state, or a major Sunni Arab cleric, who has consistently and repeatedly condemned Zarqawi or Osama bin Laden by name. There are very, very few. Oh, yes, they arrest these jihadists in their own countries. But they rarely take them on -- head on -- in the war of ideas, because they are afraid of their own Sunni fundamentalists. And that is a real problem. Because there is only one way to stop this terrorism we are seeing from Indonesia to Iraq and from Madrid to London: It takes a village. It will stop only when the religious and political leaders, and parents, in these Sunni Muslim communities delegitimize it and anyone who engages in it. Western leaders keep saying after every terrorist attack, "This is not about Islam." Sorry, but this is all about Islam. It is about a war within Islam between a jihadist-fascist minority engaged in crimes against humanity in the name of Islam, and a passive Sunni silent majority. Many of those Sunnis, I'm sure, are appalled by the violence against Iraqi civilians, but are too afraid, too morally leaderless or too quietly anti-Shiite to act. As I said, a civilization that tolerates suicide-genocide will eventually be devoured by its extremists from within.
Israel / Palestinian Authority
www.palestinenet.org 10 Oct 2005 Anniversary of Qalqilya massacre of 1956 Mustapha Sabri, Qalqilya 12:14 am 10.10.05 Today marks the 50th anniversary of the Qalqilya massacre (known as the "center" massacre), which took place on October 10, 1956 and which claimed the lives of over 60 people, killed at the hands of Jewish gangs, the Hagana in particular. ?Many political leaders in Israel once belonged to the Hagana such as Yitzhak Rabin, who headed the group that carried out the massacre, and Moshe Dayan. The people of the city clearly recollect the slaughter, including Abdel Qader Walwil, who miraculously survived. The center was blown up after members of the Hagana killed the people inside. Haj Hussam Nazzal remembers the details of the massacre clearly. "At 9:40 on October 10, a large force of Jewish gangs, backed by tanks and ground forces, entered Qalqilya from the northern entrance from the direction of Al Tireh inside the Green Line. They mobilized around the center, which belonged to the Jordanian army, which is adjacent to the Green Line or the truce line. Then they entered the center. At first, they did not shoot but used weapons other than firearms. They began murdering soldiers and residents of the city who were in the center so the people of Qalqilya would not know they came because the center was in an area a distance away from people's houses. After they finished killing everyone inside, they planted bombs in the corners of the center, which was built during the British Mandate. The whole city heard the explosion, which was as strong as an earthquake." Nazzal continues, "I can't describe the horror of that night. It was terrible, seeing the bodies of martyrs which where distorted because of the stabbing and killing. There were about 60 martyrs." In the place of the massacre today there is the largest zoo in the West Bank. The residents have taken care not to use the center for any facility in the zoo and have kept it empty out of respect for the martyrs who died inside. The municipality is currently memorializing the martyrs by building a monument embossed with the names of those who died. It should be noted that at the time, Israeli sources commented on the massacre saying, "This operation in which Yitzhak Rabin and Moshe Dayan participated was a response to the resistance that came out of the center against Jewish communities in Kfar Saba, Kofbitz, Nir Eliahu and Qabalan."
NYT 1 Oct 2005 Japanese Court Rules Premier's Visits to War Shrine Illegal By MARTIN FACKLER TOKYO, Sept. 30 - A Japanese court on Friday handed a rare victory to opponents of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's visits to a war shrine, ruling that the visits violated Japan's constitutional separation of religion and the state. Experts said the ruling by the Osaka High Court probably would not force the Japanese prime minister to stop visiting the Yasukuni Shrine, which honors Japan's war dead, including those hanged for criminal conduct during World War II. But they called it a symbolic victory for critics here and elsewhere, who regard the visits as a measure of Japan's lack of contrition for wartime atrocities. "This will strengthen Koizumi's opponents," said Hiroshi Nakanishi, a professor of international politics at Kyoto University. "More people will be encouraged to speak out against the visits." Mr. Koizumi questioned the ruling but left his intentions about future visits unclear. There was no immediate reaction from either China or South Korea, the most vociferous objectors to Mr. Koizumi's visits to the shrine, as well as to Japanese history textbooks that critics say underplay atrocities Japan committed during the war. This is the second time a Japanese court has ruled against the visits while courts have rejected eight other cases, including a ruling Thursday by the Tokyo High Court dismissing a civil suit. Plaintiffs in that suit said they would appeal to Japan's Supreme Court. While Mr. Koizumi has apologized for Japan's wartime conduct, notably last spring at a meeting of Asian and African leaders in Jakarta, Indonesia, his widespread popularity in Japan partly reflects a desire among many Japanese to see their country play a more assertive role in global affairs and to disentangle itself from what they view as its burdensome wartime past. At the same time, the number of court cases brought over the Yasukuni Shrine issue reflects the intense emotions the prime minister's visits provoke in Japan and Asia. The ruling on Friday concerned a case brought by 188 people, including 116 citizens of Taiwan, a former Japanese colony. While ruling the prime minister's visits unconstitutional, the court rejected a request for 10,000 yen, or about $90, in compensation for each plaintiff for "psychological damages" caused by the visits. Many of the Taiwanese are relatives of soldiers from Taiwan who died fighting for Japan in World War II and had been memorialized in the Yasukuni Shrine against their families' wishes. Since taking office four years ago, Mr. Koizumi has paid annual visits to the shrine, a sprawling Shinto complex in central Tokyo that is a favorite gathering spot for veterans and rightist groups. Shinto served as Japan's state religion until 1945, when Emperor Hirohito disavowed its veneration of him as a living deity. Mr. Koizumi has not visited the shrine since January 2004, but before the ruling on Friday there had been widespread speculation that he might visit it before the year's end. "I don't understand why my visits to Yasukuni violate the Constitution," Mr. Koizumi told Japan's Parliament after the ruling, The Associated Press reported. "I'm paying my respects to those who died in the war, with the conviction that we must never wage such a war again." Mr. Koizumi was also quoted as saying he had visited the shrine "as a private citizen, and as prime minister, but not in a public capacity." The apparent contradiction in that statement captured the difficult position in which Mr. Koizumi now found himself, experts said. In the ruling, the court said Mr. Koizumi's visits were a public act as prime minister and therefore unconstitutional. In the past, Mr. Koizumi tried to sidestep the legal aspects of his visits by leaving vague whether he went as a private citizen or as a public figure. But the court ruled that merely by leaving his status vague, the visits appeared to be public acts. Experts said the ruling might force Mr. Koizumi to state clearly that he was visiting as a private citizen. But doing that would anger conservatives, who want the prime minister to honor Japan's war dead in an official way. Professor Nakanishi of Kyoto University said the ruling carried extra weight because it was handed down by a higher court. The previous ruling against the visits was by a district court in Fukuoka in April 2004.
BBC 7 Oc 2005 Japan eases A-bomb payout rules Thousands are still affected by radiation from the bombs Japan's government has said it will change a requirement that atomic bomb survivors living abroad must travel to Japan to claim benefits. The decision came in the wake of a court ruling which awarded compensation to the widow of a South Korean who survived the Nagasaki attack in 1945. The government said it would not challenge the ruling. Survivors living in Japan are eligible for monthly allowances, free medical checkups and funeral costs. The government had in 2001 decided to extend financial assistance to atomic bomb survivors living abroad - many of them Koreans who were working as forced labourers in Japan at the time - but insisted that they travel to Japan to claim it. Many, however, were too sick or old to travel. Health and Welfare Minister Hidehisa Otsuji told reporters he had decided to change the rules. "I made a political decision... given the ageing of atomic bomb survivors and the grave fact that they were exposed to the bombs in Japan," he said. Stranded At least 3,000 atomic bomb survivors are estimated to live outside Japan. Some 1,300 have not received help as they cannot come to Japan, according to the Asahi Shimbun newspaper. Paek Nak-im, the widow of Choi Gye-chol, who had brought the case against Fukuoka High Court in Nagasaki, said she was relieved by the government's change in policy. "I only wish my husband were alive. I want to report this to his grave," Jiji Press quoted her as saying. The court ruled on 26 September that she should receive allowances on Choi's behalf. He had died a year earlier. More than 200,000 people were killed in Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the bombs and their aftermath. Survivors have developed numerous serious illness as a result of radiation exposure, including cancer and liver problems.
IRIN 2 Oct 2005 Palestinian refugees complain they are second class citizens. [ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations] © Salma Zulfiqar/IRIN The massacre of refugees in Shatila has left bitter memories BEIRUT, 2 Oct 2005 (IRIN) - Rajah, a mother of four living in the Shatila refugee camp in the heart of the Lebanese capital, Beirut, dreams of going back to Palestine. “My dream is to go home. This place is terrible,” she said referring to the dilapidated refugee camp, which the UN says houses 12,000 Palestinians. “We don’t have anything here and my children suffer. They are ill and I can’t get proper health care. My husband does construction work, but he is also off work because he is ill, so we have to beg and borrow,” she said with a big sigh. Aid workers say that part of the problem is that the rights of 400,000 Palestinian refugees living in Lebanon are restricted. They are not allowed to own land and they are legally barred from many of the country’s best paid jobs. A walk around Shatila camp, which adjoins the sprawling and downtrodden Sabra neighbourhood of Beirut, is testament to the misery that many Palestinians living in Lebanon have to endure. People are forced to brush past the exposed electricity wires and water pipes that protrude into Shatila’s narrow streets. And the stench of sewage is everywhere under the hot midday sun. “Many people have been electrocuted because of this and some have died,” Rajah said referring to the exposed wires. There are some 400,000 Palestinian refugees registered in Lebanon with the UN Relief Works Agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) and about half of them still live in camps, although not all of them are as bad as Shatila. The first wave arrived over half a century ago when the first Arab-Israeli war erupted in 1948. About half of the Palestinian refugees still live in camps, and although not all are as bad as Shatila, aid workers say the the Palestinians face worse conditions in Lebanon than in neighbouring Jordan and Syria, where they are well integrated and have better facilities. “They have few labour and property rights,” said Hoda Samra Souaiby, a spokeswoman for UNRWA in Beirut. “There are many areas in which Palestinians are deprived,” “NO RIGHTS” Palestinian refugees have been denied the right to own property since 2001, when a decree was issued saying that Palestinians were not allowed to own homes in the country. The government said it passed the law to support of the right of return of Palestinians. However, given the continuing tense security situation in Israel and areas governed by the Palestinian Authority, aid workers believe that conditions are not conducive for their early return. “The real problem is that Palestinians are being dealt with on a security basis and not a humanitarian one. We have to organise Lebanese-Palestinians on the basis of respecting international laws that stipulate a refugee should be treated as an equal citizen but without the citizenship,” said Ghassan Abdallah, the Palestinian Human Rights Organisation in Beirut. “Here they applied the second part regarding nationality and forgot about equality,” he added. “This is a real nightmare for them,” Souaiby stressed. RESTRICTIVE LABOUR LAW Until mid-2005, a total of 72 professions were restricted to Lebanese only, including all the high profile jobs such as medicine and law. This left very few job opportunities for the Palestinians and other migrant communities. The situation improved, on paper at least, on 7 June, when the government issued a memorandum allowing Palestinian refugees to work in 50 of the 72 professions previously reserved for Lebanese, but they are still barred from several high-ranking ones, such as medicine and law. And according to the Palestinians themselves there is still deep-rooted discrimination. “A young man trained at one of our social centres in Shatila camp in IT applied for a job in three Lebanese companies, but was turned away,” said Ahmed Halimeh of Popular Aid for Relief and Development (PARD), a Lebanese NGO that helps displaced people. “Employers said they would not employ him because he is not Lebanese,” he added. The teenager in question has now opted to open a computer shop in the refugee camp instead. “The Palestinians are traditionally only employed in low wage and daily labour jobs, this is something which we cannot change easily,” Halimeh complained . Abdallah, at the Palestinian Human Rights Organisation, maintained that despite the June memo allowing refugees into more professions, the situation remained much the same. “The truth is nothing much has changed on the ground, they still can't work as lawyers or doctors, and so most Palestinian workers continue to work the same way they did before and without the legal cover,” he said. UNRWA is not mandated to provide legal protection to refugees. “We do however, advocate with officials from a humanitarian point of view,” the UNRWA spokeswoman noted. A TRAGIC HISTORY Sabra and Shatila are in the poorest areas in Beirut and are now mainly home to Palestinians, although some Syrians and some Lebanese gypsies also live there. Both settlements were originally established in the 1950s to accommodate Palestinians fleeing the war in the Occupied Territories. Walking into Shatila, there is a memorial square where people killed in the refugee massacre of 16 September 1982 are buried. Now known as Martyrs Square, the ground is a memorial place with graphic photos of dead bodies of women and children. The slaughter of hundreds, some say thousands, of Palestinians, was committed by the Phalangists, a right wing Christian militia that was allied to the Israelis during their occupation of Beirut in 1982. The Phalangists carried out the killings in revenge for the murder of their leader, Bashir Gemayel shortly before he was due to be sworn in as President of Lebanon. They believed Gemayel had been killed by the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) and entered the camp looking for its members. There is no official death toll for the massacre that ensued, but estimates range between 800 and 3,500. Today, although the camp is peaceful, there are still bitter memories. “I buried people here, we covered the bodies with metal sheets and then earth so that they would not be eaten by animals,” Halimeh said referring to the spot where three brothers died together during the fighting. Shatila also came under attack from Lebanon’s Shi’ite Amal militia in 1986. Although there is peace now, conditions in the camp have deteriorated. “It’s a hopeless situation here now,” said Jamile Ibrahim Shehade, the head of one of 12 social centres in the camp. “There are 15,000 people living in one square kilometre,” The centre she runs provides basic facilities such as a dental clinic and a nursery for children. It receives assistance from Norwegian People’s Aid and the Lebanese NGO, PARD. “This whole area was nothing before the camps were here and there has been very little done in terms of building infrastructure,” Shehade explained. Continued misery in camps has taken a heavy psychological toll on the residents of Sabra and Shatila, aid workers there say. Tempers run high as a result of frustration from the daily grind in the decrepit housing complex. According to a 1999 survey by the local NGO Najdeh (Help), 29 percent of 550 women surveyed in seven of the 12 official refugee camps scattered across Lebanon, had endured physical violence. Aid workers also warn that drug abuse is increasing in the refugee communities. They say hashish and cocaine consumption is rising fast. ASSISTANCE IN CAMPS LIMITED Countrywide, UNRWA runs 87 schools and 25 primary health care centres that cater for the refugee population. However, these barely cover the Palestinians’ basic needs and many communities are still without electicity and a reliable source of clean drinking water. “Schools are doing double shifts and electricity and water are still very problematic,” Shehade said. Health services for the Palestinians leave much to be desired, although there is collaboration between UNRWA and the Lebanese Ministry of Health in some fields like the treatment of HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis patients, the control of outbreaks of infectious diseases and the provision of vaccines used in national immunisation campaigns. “Palestine refugees are not treated at the expense of the Lebanese government,” Souaiby said.
BBC 7 Oct 2005 Eight killed in Pakistan attack Police in Pakistan say at least eight people were killed and 19 injured when gunmen opened fire as worshippers gathered for Friday prayers. The attack on members of the minority Ahmadiyya sect took place near the town of Mandi Bahauddin in Punjab. The Ahmadiyya profess allegiance to Islam, but were declared heretical by a constitutional amendment 30 years ago. Police official Mohammed Arif said the gunmen rode up on motorbikes before entering the mosque and opening fire. "So far we only know that three men riding on a motorcycle suddenly came in the village Friday morning. Two of them went inside the mosque and started firing," he told the Associated Press. The motive for the attack is not yet known. When I reached the mosque, I heard cries and saw blood everywhere Masood Ahmed Raja, eyewitness Masood Ahmed Raja, a doctor belonging to the Ahmadiyya sect, said he was going to a mosque when he saw three masked men escaping on a motorcycle. "I had no idea who these men were, but when I reached the mosque, I heard cries and saw blood everywhere," he said. "I don't know who attacked our mosque, but it seems to be an act of religious terrorism." Persecution Human rights groups have constantly highlighted the persecution suffered by the Ahmadiyya in Pakistan. In August, authorities closed down the offices of 16 publications run by followers of the sect in Punjab city for "propagation of offensive material." Bangladesh has also banned publications by the Ahmadiyya movement amid demands from Islamic hardliners that it be declared non-Muslim. The Ahmadiyya were declared non-Muslims under the Pakistani constitution in 1974. The sect was founded by Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam, who was born in the town of Qadian in Punjab in 1835. The Ahmadiyya believe he was the Imam Mahdi, or the Promised Messiah.
BBC 14 Oct 2005 Syria death 'could herald change' Former intelligence chief Ghazi Kanaan was a powerful figure A prominent Syrian rights activist says the death of Syria's interior minister - apparently by suicide - could herald a more positive future for Syria. Aktham Naisse told the BBC Ghazi Kanaan's death on Wednesday meant the loss of one link in a small but strong chain of individuals ruling Syria. Mr Naisse - who won a prestigious human rights award this week - said it could spell the end of Syria's old guard. An inquiry found Mr Kanaan had killed himself with his own gun in his office. After examination of the body and questioning witnesses, Syria's chief prosecutor has closed the case. Mr Kanaan was buried on Thursday after a huge funeral convoy from Damascus to his home town of Bhamra. 'Address issues' The former intelligence chief was for years the most powerful figure in Lebanon during Syrian domination. His death came a week before the UN is to publish a report into the killing of Lebanon's former Prime Minister, Rafik Hariri, which many Lebanese blamed on Syria although Damascus denies it. Mr Naisse, one of the founding members of the Committees for the Defence of Democratic Liberties and Human Rights in Syria, this week won the 2005 Martin Ennals award. In his acceptance speech in Switzerland, he said there were important issues for human rights in Syria "and it is now time to address these issues in a democratic way". These included releasing political prisoners, the return of exiles, investigating the fate of the missing and the issue of the Kurds, he said.
NYT 6 Oct 2005 Islamic Militants Kill 5 Soldiers, Thailand Says By REUTERS BANGKOK, Oct. 5 (Reuters) - Gunmen suspected of being Islamic militants killed five soldiers and wounded two others in an ambush on Wednesday, the police said. An army radio message transmitted earlier said the gunmen had raided an outpost, wounding five soldiers and escaping with five guns, but the police at the scene said five soldiers had been killed. "The soldiers were taking an evening break when dozens of militants attacked them, and these troops had no way to defend themselves," said a police colonel in Narathiwat Province, Thanongsak Wangsupa, who was at the scene. It was the most deadly single attack on security forces since the insurgency began in January last year. More than 900 people have been killed in the insurgency in the country's three southernmost provinces, where there is a Muslim majority. The attackers on Wednesday used spikes and trees to block the road and prevent counterattacks by soldiers, the radio account said. Militants are also suspected in the beheading of a villager in southern Thailand. The head and torso of a man, thought to be in his 50's, were recovered in a rubber plantation in Yala, one of the provinces where the violence has taken place. The police said that villagers told them about the beheaded man on Tuesday, but that they were too frightened of booby traps or ambushes to examine the scene until Wednesday. "We were afraid of falling into the militants' trap," a police investigator at the scene said by telephone. "They might have triggered a bomb once we reached there." The police investigator said it was unclear whether the victim was Buddhist or Muslim, although as with previous beheadings of Buddhists, a note was left beside the victim's head saying the killing was in retaliation for police actions. "You have arrested innocent people from the village," the note said, according to the investigator. "I have killed innocent people in return." The decapitation was the 11th in 21 months of violence. The recent troubles began in January 2004 in Yala, Narathiwat and Pattani Provinces, where militants fought a low-level separatist war in the 1970's and 1980's. The Thai government has flooded the region, where 80 percent of the people are ethnic Malays who are Muslims, with 30,000 troops and police officers. Their presence has angered many residents.
IRIN 4 Oct 2005 Rights activists welcome EU sanctions [ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations] ANKARA, 4 Oct 2005 (IRIN) - Rights groups have welcomed a decision by the European Union (EU) to impose sanctions on Uzbekistan, following the country's refusal for an international probe into the Andijan killings of May. "It's the right thing to impose these sanctions with regard to Uzbekistan and I support it," Surat Ikramov, head of the Independent Initiative Group of Human Rights Activists of Uzbekistan (IIGHRAU), a local rights group, said from the Uzbek capital Tashkent on Tuesday. His colleague Tolib Yakubov, head of the Human Rights Society of Uzbekistan (HRSU), another local rights body, agreed. "What the EU has done is the right thing," Yakubov said, adding, however, that given the magnitude of the crime the sanctions should have been tougher. Adding their assessment, Human Rights Watch (HRW) stated that by imposing sanctions on Uzbekistan over its refusal to allow an independent inquiry into the Andijan massacre, the EU gave new impetus to international efforts to pursue accountability for atrocities committed in the eastern Uzbek city on 13 May. "With today's [Monday’s] decision, the EU has given much-needed concrete meaning to its human rights policy," Holly Cartner, Europe and Central Asia director of HRW, remarked. Their comments came after the EU imposed an arms embargo, cut aid and suspended a cooperation accord on Monday to punish Tashkent for refusing to investigate the violent suppression of an uprising in Andijan. The EU foreign ministers also banned senior Uzbek officials cited as involved in the killings from travelling to Western Europe. The decision marks the first time in the EU's history that it had suspended a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) with another country. The agreement contains a human rights clause that states: "respect for democracy, principles of international law and human rights...underpin the internal and external policies of the parties and constitute essential elements of partnership and of this agreement." According to the Associated Press (AP), out of the US $9.7 million originally earmarked for economic and political reform in Uzbekistan in 2005, $1.8 million is expected to be shifted to non-governmental organisations. Aid for 2006, totalling $13.6 million, is to be cut to $11.2 million with the savings to be redirected to anti-poverty campaigns in Uzbekistan and neighbouring Kyrgyzstan. Upwards of 1,000 civilians may have been killed in Andijan on 13 May, according to some rights groups, when Uzbek forces opened fire indiscriminately at anti-government protesters. Tashkent says the official death toll was 187. But while activists welcome the move by Brussels, they warn that the actual impact of the sanctions should not be overstated. "These sanctions adopted by the EU perhaps in a way will urge the [Uzbek] authorities [to act], but I don't think that this will provide the possibility that they agree to an international inquiry into what transpired in Andijan," Ikramov continued. "It is very difficult to predict the implications of the sanctions. The Uzbek authorities would not be very worried about the EU's ban on sales of arms as Russia and China are supplying them with arms. These states might somehow support [President Islam} Karimov's regime financially. For those officials who are responsible for Andijan and won't be able to fly to Europe it is not a big deal, they will simply use a policy of 'wait and see'," Yakubov said. "However, it is a very good move because Karimov's regime should know that the world community is alert and watching the things in Uzbekistan," Yakubov added. Meanwhile, HRW urged the EU to use its summit with Russia to raise its concerns about Uzbekistan with Russian President Vladimir Putin and seek Moscow's support for an independent, international inquiry into the Andijan events. Russia has been a staunch supporter of Uzbekistan since the Andijan massacre. "Russia can play a crucial role in ensuring accountability for the Andijan massacre," said HRW's Cartner. "This week's summit in London provides an important opportunity for the EU to demonstrate its resolve by seeking President Putin's support on this issue."
washingtonpost.com 8 Oct 2005 Editorial: The Ugly Uzbek Saturday, October 8, 2005; A20 ALMOST FIVE months after Uzbekistan's president, Islam Karimov, ordered his security forces to massacre hundreds of mostly unarmed demonstrators in the city of Andijan, European governments are finally taking steps to punish his regime. On Monday in Brussels, foreign ministers of the European Union agreed on an arms embargo against Uzbekistan as well as visa restrictions for government officials complicit with the slaughter. That was an important and necessary step, especially given Mr. Karimov's defiance of Western calls for an international investigation and the campaign of repression he now wages against survivors of the massacre. It raises the question of why the Western government that claims to be at the forefront of promoting freedom in the Muslim world -- the Bush administration -- has not taken similar action. After Sept. 11, 2001, the United States cultivated Mr. Karimov despite mounting evidence that he was one of Asia's most brutal rulers. The reason was simple: The Pentagon coveted the Karshi-Khanabad airbase, which Mr. Karimov provided as a staging point for U.S. air and rescue operations in Afghanistan. Under pressure from Congress, the State Department finally suspended several aid programs to Uzbekistan last year. But the action was publicly disavowed by the Defense Department, which quickly supplied Mr. Karimov with alternative funding. After Andijan, the State Department joined in denouncing the violence and helped to organize the evacuation of several hundred refugees from neighboring Kyrgyzstan to asylum in Europe. The security relationship, however, remained intact until the aggrieved dictator himself ended the base deal in July. Mr. Karimov didn't stop there. His thugs have beaten some of Andijan's survivors into confessing that the prison break and anti-government demonstration that preceded the massacre were funded by the U.S. embassy, which supposedly gave its support to an Islamic terrorist group linked to al Qaeda. This allegation would be merely ludicrous if not for the fact that American soldiers have fought and died in neighboring Afghanistan while combating that very extremist movement. As it is, it is a gross insult by a ruler who has benefited extraordinarily from the U.S. intervention. Far smaller offenses have caused the Bush administration to downgrade cooperation with democratic countries in Europe and Latin America. Yet there seems to be abundant patience for Mr. Karimov. Last week he was visited by a delegation of senior officials, who offered him another chance to rescue relations with Washington. Meanwhile, the Pentagon is insisting on paying $23 million for what it says are services rendered by Uzbekistan at Karshi-Khanabad. It's hard to believe the payment would be made if the Pentagon did not hope to mend its relationship with the tyrant. A better approach would be that adopted by the Senate this week, in an amendment to the defense authorization bill: suspend the payment for a year, while waiting to see whether Uzbekistan will demonstrate a willingness to cooperate with the United States. A renewed partnership, the official delegation told Mr. Karimov, must include political liberalization and an end to the malicious propaganda. In the very likely event that neither of those conditions are met, the Bush administration should join European states in siding against a dictator who deserves no more chances.
www.abc.net.au/pm/ 12 Oct 2005 Human rights fears as 15 charged with massacre in Uzbekistan PRINT FRIENDLY EMAIL STORY PM - Wednesday, 12 October , 2005 18:42:00 Reporter: Emma Griffiths MARK COLVIN: It’s nearly six months since government troops in the former Soviet state of Uzbekistan opened fire on a crowd of protesters and killed scores of men, women and children. International requests for an independent inquiry into the massacre have been denied. Instead Uzbekistan appears to be closing itself off from the West. It’s holding 15 men responsible for the deaths - men accused of being Islamic extremists. But human rights groups are worried the suspects are being tortured and will be sentenced to death. ABC Correspondent, Emma Griffiths, reports. EMMA GRIFFITHS: The government in Uzbekistan is one of the most authoritarian to emerge from the collapse of the Soviet Union. The regime has been accused of corruption and human rights violations. The most deadly atrocity was a government crackdown in the eastern city of Andijan in May. Human rights groups say more than a thousand unarmed civilians were killed. The President, Islam Karimov, claims the number is far fewer and insists that the perpetrators were Islamic militants. Amnesty International’s Denis Krivosheev says the truth may never be known. DENIS KRIVOSHEEV: Uzbekistan is increasingly reluctant to admit international researchers on various human rights issues and would certainly not accept anyone to investigate events in Andijan. Therefore it’s hard to tell what really happened. EMMA GRIFFITHS: Bahrom Hamroev is a member of Uzbekistan’s main opposition party. He says he’s been arrested several times and his family threatened. He now lives in exile in Moscow. (Bahrom Hamroev speaking below translation) “I’ve been fighting against this dictator’s regime for 13 years," he says. "He’s still hiding the truth about what has happened in Uzbekistan and doesn’t let international organisations in to investigate." Instead, the Uzbek Government has blamed 15 men for the bloodshed. Their trial began late last month with immediate confessions from the suspects. They pleaded fully guilty. Prosecutors say they’re Islamic militants who stirred up the protest then fired on the crowd. Human rights defenders say the trial is a farce and believe the defendants have been tortured. Uzbek opposition politician, Bahrom Hamroev, says it’s all done to confuse the world, to pretend that these 15 people are guilty of something. (Bahrom Hamroev speaking below translation) "In reality, nobody knows the truth," he says. "These people are horribly tortured. I had a call from one of the relatives who said these people were tortured and are under physical and psychological pressure." Amnesty International fears the worst, too, and believes that the men will be found guilty and sentenced to death. Denis Krivosheev again: DENIS KRIVOSHEEV: It’s difficult to take these confessions for face value. We know of torture, we know of how confessions are systematically extracted from suspects in Uzbekistan and when it’s such a plain confession of guilt, some of it sounding quite unbelievable, then we very seriously suspect torture, ill treatment and persecution of, including families and people close to the suspects. EMMA GRIFFITHS: Then United Nations has pressed for access to the court and the suspects, but to no avail. Its request for an international investigation into the massacre was ignored too. Western criticism of the Uzbek regime has been met with anger from President Karimov. He’s ordered American troops and warplanes out of an air base set up shortly after the 9/11 attacks and used for counter-terrorism operations in Afghanistan. American officials say Uzbekistan has also abandoned an agreement to cooperate with the West in fighting terrorism. Instead, Karimov is turning to an old ally: Russia. It has accepted the government’s explanation about the events in Andijan and the prosecutor’s allegations in the trial over the massacre. Late last month the two countries held their first joint military exercises since the break-up of the USSR. This is Emma Griffiths, in Moscow, for PM.
HRW 13 Oct 2005 Critic of Andijan Massacre Arrested Source: Human Rights Watch (Tashkent, October 13, 2005)-The Uzbek government has stepped up its campaign of repression against human rights defenders by arresting a prominent rights activist and vocal critic of the Andijan massacre on the eve of her departure for an international conference in Dublin, Human Rights Watch said today. Mukhtabar Tojibaeva was arrested on October 7 while preparing to leave for a human rights conference in Dublin. In recent weeks, she had been the focus of growing government pressure due to her human rights work, including her vocal criticism of the government's May 13 massacre of hundreds of civilians at Andijan. "This arrest shows the relentlessness of the Uzbek government's campaign to silence independent voices after Andijan," said Holly Cartner, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. "The Uzbek authorities should release Tojibaeva immediately and consider dropping the charges against her, which we believe are politically motivated." Tojibaeva is the head of the "Fiery Hearts" club, a human rights organization based in Margilan in the Fergana Valley. Tojibaeva had been invited to participate in an international conference for human rights defenders who are at risk. This conference was organized by Front Line, an international foundation for the protection of human rights defenders based in Dublin. She had been planning to depart Margilan for the Dublin conference the night of her arrest. At approximately 11 p.m. on October 7, 16 police officers in Margilan stormed into Tojibaeva's house as she was preparing to leave for Tashkent, where she planned to catch a flight toward Dublin the next morning. Several of the officers were wearing masks and wielding automatic weapons and nightsticks. The Uzbek authorities have charged Tojibaeva with extortion in what appears to be a politically motivated effort to stop her human rights work and prevent her from attending the conference. The charges stem from a dispute Tojibaeva had with an employee of a fish farm she owns. According to Tojibaeva, the employee had previously confirmed in writing that he owed her 1 million sum (approximately US$1,000). He had already repaid her 350,000 sum. Before her trip, Tojibaeva asked the employee to repay the amount still owed. On October 7, he came to Tojibaeva's house and repaid her 250,000 sum. The police then burst in, accusing Tojibaeva of extortion. "The charges against Tojibaeva appear to be completely spurious," said Cartner. "The Uzbek government often uses such tactics to discredit human rights defenders and intimidate them into silence," Cartner said. Tojibaeva has been a vocal critic of the Uzbek government and has spoken openly about the massacre in Andijan. On September 22, she gave an interview to Radio Liberty's Uzbek service, Ozodlik, in which she observed that pressure against the members of her club had intensified since the Supreme Court began the trial of 15 defendants accused of participation in the Andijan events. She also stated her belief that, following Andijan, local authorities had been given orders to silence all independent human rights defenders and political activists. "We do not need a government that does not follow its own laws," she said in the interview. Previously, police had arbitrarily detained Tojibaeva on May 13, the day of the massacre in Andijan. Tojibaeva had been working with several families of the 23 businessmen who were on trial in Andijan at the time and was planning to visit them that day. That morning, the head of the Department of Social Order of Fergana province's Ministry of Internal Affairs phoned her and ordered her not to leave her house. Later that day, several police officers were sent to her house to prevent her from leaving. At 5 p.m., the head of the Anti-Terrorist Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs summoned Tojibaeva, saying he had to speak with her briefly. When she arrived at the police department, authorities detained her but refused to record the arrest officially. Tojibaeva was kept in custody until May 16. In August, police also blocked her from traveling from her home in Margilan to Namangan to work on a case there, turning her back at a police checkpoint between the cities. The government has denied all responsibility for the hundreds of deaths that occurred when government forces opened fire on unarmed demonstrators on May 13 in Andijan. Instead, the government has engaged in an effort to rewrite the history of the Andijan events and has launched a brutal crackdown on human rights activists, independent journalists, and others who have spoken out about the Andijan events and called for accountability. At least a dozen activists are currently imprisoned on politically motivated charges while others have been forced to flee the country in fear for their safety. Other activists have reported increased surveillance, harassment and interference in their work. Human Rights Watch urged the international community, particularly the United States and EU member countries with embassies in Tashkent, to take up Tojibaeva's case and call for her and other wrongfully detained human rights defenders' immediate release. They should also call on the Uzbek government to grant urgent access to Uzbekistan for the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Human Rights Defenders and the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.
independent.co.uk 14 Oct 2005 Armenians to share $17m payout for Ottoman massacre By Stephen Castle in Brussels Published: 14 October 2005 Descendants of some of the 1.5 million Armenians killed during the collapse of Ottoman rule in 1915 will share a $17m (£9.7m) payout after a settlement with the French insurance giant AXA. The relatives lodged their legal case in California, home to one of the world's largest Armenian communities, claiming for life insurance benefits that were never paid. The settlement is likely to be approved in November in the US District Court in California. Armenians are stepping up their campaign to win formal classification of the murders as an act of genocide. Turkey has always denied there was a systematic campaign of ethnic cleansing against Armenians, saying they were casualties of partisan fighting and of a political vacuum during the final days of the Ottoman Empire. Ankara says that as many as 300,000 Armenians, and at least as many Turks, died during civil strife in eastern Turkey during the First World War. Last month the authorities finally allowed the issue to be debated on Turkish soil by historians at an academic conference. But the organisers had to side-step two legal orders banning it by rearranging the venue. The California settlement will be administered in France, which also has many expatriate Armenian communities and which was one of the first countries to recognise the murders as genocide. AXA's headquarters are in France and the company operates in the US through subsidiaries. Under the settlement, AXA agreed to donate several million dollars to various France-based Armenian charities. It will also contribute $11m toward a fund to pay valid claims of heirs of policyholders with AXA Group subsidiaries that did business in the Turkish Ottoman Empire before 1915. The AXA case was the second lawsuit of its kind to be settled in US courts, although the United States, along with Turkey, does not officially recognise the deaths as genocide. In February, New York Life agreed to pay $20m to descendants of its Armenian policyholders killed in 1915. Mark Geragos, an Armenian descendant who was a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said: "The AXA and New York Life settlements are important building blocks not only toward seeking financial recovery for the losses resulting from the Armenian genocide but also in our ultimate goal, which is for Turkey and the US to officially acknowledge the genocide." This month, Turkey launched EU membership talks which are expected to last at least a decade. Despite criticism of the stance taken by Ankara on the issue, EU member states did not seek to make recognition of the Armenian case as genocide a condition of beginning negotiations on joining the bloc. The failure to acknowledge the genocide has also bedevilled Turkey's relations with its neighbour, Armenia. Turkey shut its border with Armenia in 1993, angry at the Armenian separatist forces fighting for independence from Azerbaijan in the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. For Armenians, the behaviour of the Young Turks, the dominant party in the Ottoman Empire in 1915, in systematically arranging the deportation and killing of 1.5 million Armenians, is central to their national self image. They say persecutions continued with varying intensity until 1923 when the Ottoman Empire ceased to exist and was replaced by the Republic of Turkey. Ankara angrily rejects the claim of a planned genocide, but some EU politicians still want Turkey to recognise the killings as genocide before Ankara is allowed to join the EU. Descendants of some of the 1.5 million Armenians killed during the collapse of Ottoman rule in 1915 will share a $17m (£9.7m) payout after a settlement with the French insurance giant AXA. The relatives lodged their legal case in California, home to one of the world's largest Armenian communities, claiming for life insurance benefits that were never paid. The settlement is likely to be approved in November in the US District Court in California. Armenians are stepping up their campaign to win formal classification of the murders as an act of genocide. Turkey has always denied there was a systematic campaign of ethnic cleansing against Armenians, saying they were casualties of partisan fighting and of a political vacuum during the final days of the Ottoman Empire. Ankara says that as many as 300,000 Armenians, and at least as many Turks, died during civil strife in eastern Turkey during the First World War. Last month the authorities finally allowed the issue to be debated on Turkish soil by historians at an academic conference. But the organisers had to side-step two legal orders banning it by rearranging the venue. The California settlement will be administered in France, which also has many expatriate Armenian communities and which was one of the first countries to recognise the murders as genocide. AXA's headquarters are in France and the company operates in the US through subsidiaries. Under the settlement, AXA agreed to donate several million dollars to various France-based Armenian charities. It will also contribute $11m toward a fund to pay valid claims of heirs of policyholders with AXA Group subsidiaries that did business in the Turkish Ottoman Empire before 1915. The AXA case was the second lawsuit of its kind to be settled in US courts, although the United States, along with Turkey, does not officially recognise the deaths as genocide. In February, New York Life agreed to pay $20m to descendants of its Armenian policyholders killed in 1915. Mark Geragos, an Armenian descendant who was a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said: "The AXA and New York Life settlements are important building blocks not only toward seeking financial recovery for the losses resulting from the Armenian genocide but also in our ultimate goal, which is for Turkey and the US to officially acknowledge the genocide." This month, Turkey launched EU membership talks which are expected to last at least a decade. Despite criticism of the stance taken by Ankara on the issue, EU member states did not seek to make recognition of the Armenian case as genocide a condition of beginning negotiations on joining the bloc. The failure to acknowledge the genocide has also bedevilled Turkey's relations with its neighbour, Armenia. Turkey shut its border with Armenia in 1993, angry at the Armenian separatist forces fighting for independence from Azerbaijan in the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. For Armenians, the behaviour of the Young Turks, the dominant party in the Ottoman Empire in 1915, in systematically arranging the deportation and killing of 1.5 million Armenians, is central to their national self image. They say persecutions continued with varying intensity until 1923 when the Ottoman Empire ceased to exist and was replaced by the Republic of Turkey. Ankara angrily rejects the claim of a planned genocide, but some EU politicians still want Turkey to recognise the killings as genocide before Ankara is allowed to join the EU.
CRISIS GROUP - NEW REPORT 11 Oct 2005 Nagorno-Karabakh: A Plan for Peace A compromise peace in Nagorno-Karabakh looks possible but significant stumbling blocks remain. The two sides appear close to agreeing on key principles of a peace deal; it is essential that the governments now begin preparing their people for a compromise. Major elements of the proposed settlement package include: withdrawal of Armenia-backed Nagorno-Karabakh forces from the occupied districts of Azerbaijan surrounding the entity; renunciation by Azerbaijan of the use of force to reintegrate the entity; deployment of international peacekeepers; return of displaced persons; and re- opening of trade and communication links. Nagorno-Karabakh's status should ultimately be determined by an internationally sanctioned referendum with the exclusive participation of Karabakh Armenians and Azeris, but only after the above measures have been implemented. Crisis Group reports and briefing papers are available on our website: www.crisisgroup.org
Reuters 4 Oct 2005 Rwanda wants to hand over genocide suspect: Belgium Reuters Oct. 4, 2005 - Belgium said on Tuesday Rwanda was willing to hand over a Belgian priest arrested by Rwandan authorities last month on charges of helping to incite the African country's 1994 genocide. Belgian Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht said last month he wanted the Belgian justice department to take over the case against priest Guy Theunis. Belgium's Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday Rwanda had agreed in principle to hand over Theunis and Belgium and Rwanda were discussing the technical aspects of the transfer. Rwanda's arrest of Theunis has drawn criticism from human rights activists. Human Rights Watch says Rwanda does not have the evidence to support the charges against Theunis, a member of the Catholic order of the White Fathers who worked as a missionary in the central African country between 1970 and 1994. Theunis has denied charges of publishing articles in a local newspaper that encouraged Hutus to take part in the killings. Theunis is the first European arrested by Rwanda on genocide accusations following the 1994 slaughter of 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus by militant Hutus.
Expatica 5 Oct 2005 www.expatica.com Belgian 'genocide priest' to face justice at home 5 October 2005 BRUSSELS – Rwanda is to allow a Belgian priest charged with genocide crimes to face trial in his home country, it emerged on Wednesday. Guy Theunis was arrested on 6 September and was set to become the first foreigner to be brought before a Rwandan village court, or ‘gacaca’, set up to investigate the genocide that killed 800 000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus in 1994. However, international observers, including Human Rights Watch, and the Belgian government were shocked by his arrest and intense diplomatic talks have been under way since on the case. On Wednesday, Le Soir reported that Belgian Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht was "delighted" that Theunis was to be extradited to Belgium to face trial here. De Gucht had formally requested his Rwandan counterpart Charles Murigande extradite the 60-year-old Catholic priest. In a statement, De Gucht said: "The Rwandan authorities have officially replied to Belgium's request to handle the Theunis case in our country. The reply is positive." He said the case was currently being transferred by Kigali's court to the Belgian judiciary and then Theunis could return home. De Gucht said the Belgian and Rwandan authorities would hold further discussions about the trying of the case. Theunis denies the charges that he was guilty of inciting genocide through republishing articles from the extremist publication Kangura in his Dialogue magazine. He says he personally wrote articles to press for human rights and that Kangura articles only ever appeared as part of a press review. Former Kangura editor Hassan Ngeze has been sentenced to life in prison by the United Nations court set up to try those responsible for genocide. The gacaca referred Theunis to a higher, conventional court which has in its power the right to hand down the death penalty. The priest worked as a missionary in Rwanda, which is a former Belgian colony, from 1970 until 1994.
BBC 5 Oct 2005 Srebrenica massacre list compiled Many victims found in mass graves have been reburied The Bosnian Serb government has drawn up a list of 19,473 Serb soldiers who operated in the region of Srebrenica at the time of the massacre there in 1995. The secret list, compiled since 2003, includes almost 900 people still thought to be working for the Bosnian Serb government, army or police. It will be forwarded to the state prosecutor's office for review. More than 7,000 Muslim men and boys died when Bosnian Serb troops overran the UN-protected enclave in 1995. The disclosure is part of an ongoing process instigated by the international community to force the Bosnian Serb government to acknowledge and account for the war crimes committed at Srebrenica, the BBC's Matt Prodger says. Prosecution aid Not every single person on it was directly involved in the massacre, our correspondent says. The list also steers clear of apportioning responsibility onto people involved in the massacre. Many have not yet come to terms with the loss of loved ones But it does include people previously identified as giving orders for the killings and the actual executioners. Authorities have pledged to investigate the roles of the 892 people who are still understood to be holding official positions in the autonomous Bosnian Serb republic. The list is also supposed to provide Bosnian prosecutors with a fuller picture of how the crimes were perpetrated. The head of the Bosnian Serb army at the time, Ratko Mladic, and his civilian counterpart, Radovan Karadzic, have been charged with genocide over Srebrenica. But they remain fugitives thought to be hiding in Bosnia or neighbouring Serbia and Montenegro. The massacre in eastern Bosnia is considered the worst single atrocity in Europe since World War II.
washingtonpost.com 4 Oct 2005 200 Victims of Srebrenica Massacre Found The Associated Press Tuesday, October 4, 2005; 11:53 AM TUZLA, Bosnia-Herzegovina -- Forensic experts have recovered the remains of 213 victims of Europe's worst massacre since World War II, an official said Tuesday. The mass grave in the northeastern Bosnia village of Liplje has so far been found to contain "212 incomplete (bodies) and one complete body," said Murat Hurtic, the head of the forensic team. In 1995, Serb troops overran the eastern Bosnian enclave of Srebrenica, which had been declared a safe zone by the United Nations, and killed as many as 8,000 Muslim men and boys. The bodies found Tuesday were originally buried elsewhere but later dug up by bulldozer and moved to Liplje to cover up the massacre, Hurtic said. About 1,000 victims were found in four other mass graves previously discovered in Liplje, Hurtic said. After the remains are found, DNA is extracted from the bones of victims and matched with DNA from living relatives. Thousands of victims from the 1992-95 Bosnian war have been identified this way, Hurtic said. Over the years, U.N. and local forensics experts in Bosnia have exhumed 16,500 bodies from more than 300 mass graves. Thousands of people remain missing and are presumed dead. About 260,000 people were killed and 1.8 million driven from their homes during the 1992-1995 war, which pitted Bosnia's Muslims, Catholic Croats and Orthodox Serbs against one another.
NYT 12 Oct 2005 Serbian Soccer Loyalties Cross Borders By IVANA SEKULARAC and NICHOLAS WOOD BELGRADE, Serbia, Oct. 12 — Buses carrying hundreds of Bosnian soccer fans made their way through the capital on Wednesday, but most of the fans made the trip to root not for Bosnia but for its opponent, Serbia and Montenegro. The game, which Serbia won 1-0, was for a spot in next year’s World Cup finals in Germany. But when these two nations have a rare soccer match, memories of the Bosnian civil war, from 1992 to 1995, quickly flare up. In those years, Serbia intervened in support of Bosnian Serbs trying to carve out a broader Serbian state. Ten years later, most Serbs in Bosnia still see their loyalties lying across the border. “Thirty of us came from Trebinje,” on Bosnia’s border with Montenegro, said a 25-year-old Serbia supporter who gave his name only as Sinisa. “How can we support those we fought in the war against us?” When the war ended, international officials tried to bring together the Croats, Muslims and Serbs in Bosnia to make a unified state out of Bosnia, creating a single currency, uniform license plates, a flag and even a national anthem. But in sports as in other areas, Bosnia remains divided. Of the 2,500 Bosnian fans who the police estimated attended the match, just 700 were believed to be cheering for Bosnia. In Sarajevo, Bosnia’s capital, Bosnian Muslim politicians loudly declared their support for the Bosnian team, but some of their Bosnian Serb counterparts were vague. The Parliament speaker, Nikola Spiric, a Serb, said, “I will support our team,” and added that people could define “our” whatever way they wanted. The Bosnian Serb member of the three-member Bosnian presidency, Borislav Paravac, would “support the team he has always supported,” Drago Vukovic, one of his advisers, told the Srna news agency, adding that he supported Serbia. Not so Prime Minister Adnan Terzic, a Muslim, who came to Belgrade to watch the game. The division extends to the players as well. Savo Milosevic, who is from the northern Bosnian town of Bijeljina, is Serbia’s captain. But the Bosnian captain is Branimir Bajic, who decided to play for Bosnia although he is living in Belgrade and playing for one of the biggest clubs here, Partizan. Security was tight at the stadium, with more than 4,000 police officers on duty. Bosnian Serb supporters could be seen across much of the stadium, many holding banners with the names of their hometowns in Bosnia. Supporters of Bosnia came into the stadium through a separate entrance, protected by officers in riot gear and two on horseback. Some Serbia fans jeered and shouted “Turks,” by way of an insult toward Muslims, as the the Bosnia fans walked in. Many Bosnian fans appeared undeterred. “The police were very professional, both at the border crossing with Bosnia and here at the stadium,” said Ibmel Romic, a 30- year-old professor from Zenica. “We came here to support our state,” said Hasan Alik, 25, a student from Lukavac, near Tuzla. Soccer and nationalist politics were intertwined for much of the 1990’s. Zeljko Raznatovic, known as Arkan, the notorious Serbian paramilitary leader accused of involvement in massacres both in Bosnia and Kosovo, recruited his forces from Belgrade soccer fans. This was the third time the two sides had met. The last was a year ago, in Sarajevo, where the Serbian fans were taunted with a banner that said, “We have 250,000 reasons to hate you,” a reference to the number of people killed in the war. The Serbian fans responded by shouting the name of Radovan Karadzic, the wartime leader of the Bosnian Serbs, who oversaw the siege of Sarajevo and is accused by international investigators of the massacre of tens of thousands of Bosnian Muslims.
BBC 30 Sep 2005 Croatia 'disappoints' UN tribunal All smiles - but Ms del Ponte wants Croatia to arrest Gen Gotovina The UN's chief war crimes prosecutor has expressed disappointment at the level of Croatia's co-operation with The Hague war crimes tribunal. Carla del Ponte said Zagreb's failure to arrest a top war crimes suspect, Ante Gotovina, was still a problem. Ms del Ponte is to report on Croatia's co-operation to the European Union. Croatia is keen to resume membership negotiations with the EU which were suspended earlier this year because Mr Gotovina remains at large. General Gotovina, has been charged with war crimes against Serb civilians in 1995 during a Croatian offensive to expel Serb forces from Croatia. Correspondents say a more positive evaluation might have persuaded Austria, which wants to start Croatia's EU entry talks, to drop its objections to starting EU accession talks with Turkey on Monday. Accusations But after meeting Prime Minister Ivo Sanader and President Stipe Mesic, Ms del Ponte said: "You cannot imagine how disappointed I am. We have always [the] same problem, Gotovina is still at large." Gen Ante Gotovina is accused of war crimes against ethnic Serbs The Croatian government has said it is unable to locate Mr Gotovina. Last week, Ms del Ponte accused the Catholic Church in Croatia of sheltering the fugitive general, who is considered a hero by many of his countrymen. A spokesman for the Croatian Catholic Church rejected the charges. On Thursday, Ms del Ponte criticised Serbia and Montenegro for not arresting The Hague tribunal's two most wanted men - Bosnian Serb General Ratko Mladic and his wartime political counterpart, Radovan Karadzic. But she welcomed the fact that other wanted Serb suspects had been handed over to The Hague.
Macedonian Press Agency 1 oct 2005 www.mpa.gr PONTIAN ORGANIZATIONS CALL FOR THE RECOGNITION OF THE GENOCIDE OF THE PONTIAN GREEKS BY TURKEY Thessaloniki, 30 September 2005 (14:05 UTC+2) The World Council of Pontian Hellenism and the Greek Federation of Pontian Associations with letters addressed to the European Parliament President and the heads of political groups in the European Parliament request that the genocide of the 353,000 Greeks from Pontos (Black Sea) be recognized by Ankara as a precondition for the promotion of the Euro-Turkish relations. In the letters they point out that a precondition in order to build a peaceful future is to recognize and admit past mistakes to avoid ever repeating them again. They stress that the recognition of the genocide by Turkey will be a proof of its intention to become a true member of the European family. They also request a public debate to be held in the responsible European Parliament committee during which the representatives of the Pontian organizations will have the opportunity to present facts that document the genocide.
Netherlands - ICTY
Reuters 10 Oct 2005 Five facts about UN war crimes tribunal 10 Oct 2005 22:10:18 GMT Source: Reuters Background CRISIS PROFILE: Death and displacement in Chechnya MORE AMSTERDAM, Oct 11 (Reuters) - The UN war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia begins the trial of three former Yugoslav army officers on Tuesday over the 1991 Vukovar massacre. Mile Mrksic, Veselin Sljivancanin and Miroslav Radic are charged with complicity in the killings of at least 264 Croats and other non-Serbs, who had sought refuge in a hospital in Vukovar as the town fell to Serb forces in November 1991. Following are five facts about the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). -- The case of the so-called Vukovar Three is one of the first investigated by The Hague-based ICTY after it was set up by a UN Security Council resolution in 1993 to try people accused of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s. -- The court has indicted 161 people for serious violations of international humanitarian law committed on the territory of the former Yugoslavia. The court is best known for the case of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, who was handed over to the UN tribunal four years ago. Milosevic is charged with genocide over the massacre in Srebrenica. -- Seven accused are still at large, among them top fugitives Bosnian Serb Army commander Ratko Mladic, Bosnian Serb wartime president Radovan Karadzic and Croatian general Ante Gotovina. Both Mladic and Karadzic were indicted for genocide in 1995. Gotovina is charged with crimes against humanity during a 1995 offensive to defeat rebel Croatian Serb forces. He is also held responsible for plunder. -- At present nine accused are on trial. So far the court has found 40 people guilty and five have been acquitted. Ten cases are under appeal and 35 persons have had their indictments withdrawn or have died. One of them, Slavko Dokmanovic, committed suicide while at the UN detention unit. Dokmanovic was president of the Vukovar municipality and was accused of aiding and abetting in the events that led to the Vukovar massacre. -- The court still has 42 cases at the pre-trial stage. It is supposed to complete all cases, including appeals, by the end of 2010. The prosecution has said that if Mladic and Karadzic are not arrested by the end of the year, the tribunal will not be able to meet this deadline. The court relies on local authorities and UN forces to arrest wanted suspects.
BBC 11 Oct 2005 Croatia massacre trial under way The men are accused of one of the worst atrocities of the war in Croatia Three former Yugoslav army officers charged over a massacre in a hospital in Croatia in 1991 have gone on trial in The Hague. Veselin Sljivancanin, Mile Mrksic and Miroslav Radic are accused of allowing Serb troops to kill over 250 patients and refugees at the Vukovar hospital. The three defendants deny murder, torture and persecution. The capture of Vukovar by the Yugoslav army was a pivotal event in Croatia's 1991-1995 war for independence. Mass graves At the start of the war in Croatia, hundreds of refugees, hoping to be evacuated in the presence of international observers, gathered at the Vukovar hospital. Prosecutors say the Yugoslav army handed 400 Croats and non-Serbs over to Serb rebel forces. They say as officers, Mr Sljivancanin, Mr Mrksic and Mr Radic should have known what would happen to the victims. The victims were forced on to buses and taken to a remote location where at least 264 of them were killed and buried in mass graves, according to the indictment. The men are also accused of trying to cover up the murders afterwards. After more than seven years on the run, the three were arrested and transferred to the UN International War Crimes Tribunal in 2002 and 2003. The trial is expected to last up to six months. The Vukovar massacre is specifically mentioned in the indictment against the former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. In Serbia, a major trial of 17 people accused over the killings got under way earlier this year.
AP 30 Sep 2005 Romanian Denies Exhumation of Ceausescus The Associated Press Friday, September 30, 2005; 3:12 PM BUCHAREST, Romania -- A court Friday denied a request by the daughter of the late communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu to have her parents' remains exhumed to ensure that authorities were telling the truth about the burial site. Ceausescu and his wife, Elena, were executed after a popular revolt toppled his administration in 1989. The government said they were buried in the Ghencea Cemetery in western Bucharest, the capital. Zoe Ceausescu, 52, sued the Defense Ministry and the Cemetery Administration to exhume the bodies, saying she had doubts her parents were buried there. She asked to have the remains exhumed for a forensic investigation to determine if they were those of her parents. She also noted that there are no official documents showing they were buried at the cemetery. On Friday, the court ordered the Cemetery Administration to produce documents that prove that the Ceausescus are buried there, the daughter's lawyer, Haralambie Voicilas, was quoted as saying by state news agency Rompres. Zoe Ceausescu and her brother Valentin Ceausescu spent eight months in jail in 1990 while under investigation for "undermining the national economy." They later were cleared. Their other brother, Nicu, died in Vienna in 1996 from cirrhosis after having spent three years in prison for involvement in repressing the revolt. After 25 years of harsh rule, the Ceausescus were accused in a summary trial of genocide and undermining the national economy. Some 1,000 people died during the uprising when forces loyal to Ceausescu battled street protesters.
BBC 13 Oct 2005 Re-trial acquits Russian officers By Steven Eke BBC News Prosecution of soldiers over crimes in Chechnya are rare Two Russian officers have been acquitted of murdering Chechen civilians during a re-trial. A military court in Rostov, southern Russia, found Yevgeni Khudyakov and Sergei Arakcheyev not guilty. The relatives of the victims condemned the court's verdict as racist, and say it proves they cannot secure justice in Russia. Prosecutions of Russian servicemen for crimes allegedly committed in Chechnya remain rare. 'In cold blood' Unlike at the first trial, the court this week acknowledged that three civilians had been murdered. Travelling on a bus near the airport in the Chechen capital, Grozny, one winter morning in 2003, they were stopped at an impromptu roadblock. The prosecution said the men, all construction workers, were then ordered out of the bus by a mob of drunken soldiers, made to lie on the ground, and cold-bloodedly shot in the head. The prosecution said its investigation found the soldiers to harbour racist, anti-Chechen views. Despite this, and the accounts of eye-witnesses who observed the event, a first trial concluded that no crime had been committed. Rare prosecution That verdict was overturned by Russia's Supreme Court, which sent the case back for re-trial. Lawyers for the victims' relatives say the jury in the second trial expressed anti-Chechen views. And they have vowed to take the case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, where a number of Chechen cases are now under examination. In more than 10 years of conflict in Chechnya, with frequent reports of torture, abduction and summary execution, there have been very few trials of servicemen, and almost no convictions. Human rights groups, Russian and international, say this reflects a culture of impunity and a lack of official willingness to acknowledge both the extent and the seriousness of the crimes carried out by Russian forces in Chechnya.
FENA 29 Sep 2005 (23:23) DEL PONTE SATISFIED WITH BELGRADE’S COOPERATION WITH ICTY BELGRADE, September 29 (FENA) – The Chief Prosecutor of The Hague Tribunal, Carla del Ponte, on Thursday said that she is satisfied with the cooperation of Serbia and Montenegro with this court and stressed that 16 fugitives were transferred to the ICTY from October last year. After meeting with Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica in Belgrade, Del Ponte said that the ICTY now has access to witnesses and documents, but emphasized that six fugitives are still at large and that they are most probably in Serbia. She also reiterated that the problem of Ratko Mladic is still unresolved. “Prime Minister Kostunica and I discussed that Ratko Mladic should be transferred to The Hague until the celebration of 10th anniversary of signing the Dayton Accords” in November, said Del Ponte. Prime Minister Kostunica said that the negotiations of SCG with the European Union on a Stabilization and Association Agreement should commence next month and that the matter of Belgrade’s cooperation with the ICTY would affect the course of the negotiations. He stressed that cooperation with The Hague “is of vital interest” for Serbia. “There is no other solution, no alternative and we are aware that cooperation must be completed”, said Kostunica, Tanjug reports.
Serbia - Kosovo
NYT 2 Oct 2005 Kosovo at a Crossroads: U.N. Sees a Deal Just Ahead By NICHOLAS WOOD PRISTINA, Kosovo, Sept. 29 - For more than six years, this small Balkan province has been the subject of one of the most ambitious nation-building projects in recent history. A United Nations mission, exercising near absolute authority and backed up by a NATO-led peace-keeping force, has been trying to forge a modern democratic system in this region, torn by decades of bitter ethnic tension between an ever more assertive Albanian majority and an isolated Serbian minority. At the cost of about $1.3 billion a year, international civil servants and police officers - some 11,000 at the peak - helped to build ministries, a parliament, local councils, a bureaucracy, courts, customs and police services as well as new media. Now, as the United Nations appears to be ready to broker a deal between Serbs and ethnic Albanians and to end its mission in Kosovo, judging the result of that long, expensive effort is not easy. At first glance, the province appears relatively thriving today - particularly when compared with the war devastation of 1999. New houses can be seen everywhere, the result of a postwar construction boom. In the regional capital, Pristina, the streets are filled with cafes, restaurants and stores. Only the ubiquitous white four-wheel drive vehicles of the United Nations mission and the infrequent military checkpoints hint at another reality. The region remains in limbo - the poorest part of the Balkans, and the most unstable. Enmity between the Serbs and Albanians still runs deep. The hostilities boiled over in March 2004, when up to 50,000 ethnic Albanians took part in a three-day wave of attacks on Serbs and other minorities, as well as on United Nations buildings and property. Nineteen people were killed and 4,000 were forced from their homes. Today, most Kosovo Serbs remain in enclaves and in small rural communities, often fearful of venturing out. Albanians steer clear of the Serb-dominated northern part of the province, for fear of attack. Estimates of unemployment range from 30 to 70 percent. The regional government is close to bankrupt, and the United Nations expects the economy to shrink by 2 percent this year. For many, including United Nations experts and Kosovars, talks expected to begin soon on the province's political status - and whether it will remain part of Serbia - stand a chance of solving problems that the United Nations mission could not. Once the issue of Kosovo's sovereignty is resolved, they say, progress can be made on political and economic issues. But others say there is a deeper lesson to be learned: the model of nation-building adopted here - a government staffed and directed by foreign officials - was too narrow and too authoritarian. "The focus of the international mission from the start was on security and politics," said Gerald Knaus, director of the European Stability Initiative, a nongovernmental political research group with offices in Kosovo. International bureaucrats, he said, ignored economic needs - the World Bank estimates that 37 percent of the population lives on less than $1.75 a day. He said they built institutions "almost as an end in itself." Mr. Knaus said the European Union set worthy examples of nation-building in Bulgaria and Romania. There the union spent at a per capita rate equal to that of European governments and the United Nations in Kosovo, but on economic development, not on building institutions. The very presence of the United Nations mission, past a certain point, delayed the maturing of Kosovo's own governing bodies, some of those involved say. Larry Rossin, a retired American diplomat who is deputy head of the United Nations Interim Administrative Mission in Kosovo, "I think the development of their institutions is somewhat retarded by our continuing role." From June 1999, when the United Nations first arrived in the wake of NATO bombs that helped drive Serbian forces from Kosovo, through to 2001 or so, their efforts were held up as an example for building democracy elsewhere. But then, the process started to stall, at least in the eyes of international officials and observers, and of Kosovo's Albanians. Those critics said the international administration here became unproductive. Before this year, Kosovo's Albanian politicians accused the mission of a deliberately slow transfer of power to local authorities. "The focus has been on buying time, and that's the only focus there has been," Veton Surroi, an ethnic Albanian publisher in the regional parliament, said of the wait for a Security Council decision on Kosovo's future. In the next few days, a Norwegian diplomat, Kai Eide, is expected to tell the United Nations Security Council the results of a study commissioned by Secretary General Kofi Annan on whether to move forward with the talks on Kosovo's future, even though the enmities remain. Javier Solana, the European Union's foreign policy chief, has said he believes Mr. Eide will come out in favor of the talks - and pave the way for the United Nations' withdrawal. The ethnic Albanians, who make up an estimated 90 percent of Kosovo's two million people, hope the talks will be the final step toward seceding from Serbia. But Serbs, in Kosovo and in Serbia, see in such a secession the loss of their homeland and some of Serbia's most treasured Serbian Orthodox churches and monasteries to an Albanian-controlled state. The negotiations between the Albanians, Kosovo Serbs and the Serbian government will require international oversight, and almost certainly will result in an international presence remaining in the province. A decision on Kosovo's status would help solve one part of its economic problem, Mr. Rossin said: with its current ambiguous status, the province cannot borrow money internationally. "We are in a situation where we are living off, almost entirely, customs revenues and donations from donors," Mr. Rossin said. "The budget is extremely tight, school construction is nearly nil in the year 2005 because there is just no money in the capital budget to do it in a place that has crying needs in a whole range of social areas." What money has been invested in economic development appears to have had a marginal impact. The province's two power stations suffer daily power cuts, despite more than $700 million in capital spending. Kosovo's banking and payments authority report for 2004 states that the economy has been disinvesting since 2000, despite substantial international aid. United Nations officials here note that Kosovo was the poorest part of the old Yugoslavia, even before tensions exploded in the late 1980's and Slobodan Milosevic rode nationalist tensions to seize and consolidate power and to bring Kosovo under direct rule from Belgrade. Eventually, an underground ethnic Albanian guerrilla movement - the Kosovo Liberation Army - started attacking Mr. Milosevic's forces in 1998. Retaliation was so fierce that NATO decided in 1999 to bomb Mr. Milosevic's forces out of Kosovo. Hundreds of thousands of Albanians who fled returned, while around a third of the Serb population abandoned Kosovo. That history prompted the United Nations to focus on promoting democracy and improving interethnic relations, as well as developing institutions of autonomous government. For two years the goal has been "standards before status," a policy drive aimed at bringing the region up to Western democratic standards - which regional politicians, both Albanian and Serb, derided. Meanwhile, violence that can dissipate for months on end has resurfaced. On Aug. 27, two Serbs were gunned down in their car. Late last Wednesday, gunmen shot and wounded Kosovo's top Serbian police officer, Dejan Jankovic, near Gnjilane just two weeks after he was appointed regional commander.
BBC 5 Oct 2005 Spain may judge Guatemala abuses Rigoberta Menchu wants Guatemalan abuses investigated Thousands of disappearances and killings committed during Guatemala's civil war may be judged in Spanish courts after a change in the law. Spain's highest court ruled that cases of genocide committed abroad could be judged in Spain even if no Spanish citizens have been involved. The ruling follows a request by a Guatemalan Nobel prize winner for Spain to probe abuses in the 1970s and 1980s. The decision overruled a rejection of the request by Spain's lower courts. The Constitutional Court ruled that: "The principle of universal jurisdiction takes precedence over the existence or not of national interests. "Spain should investigate crimes of genocide, torture, murder and illegal imprisonment committed in Guatemala between 1978 and 1986." Around 200,000 people were killed during that time, according to the case filed by Nobel peace prize winner Rigoberta Menchu, a campaigner for indigenous rights. Argentine example In 2003, the Supreme Court narrowly rejected the request saying the alleged genocide of native Indians by the then Guatemalan regime was not tied to Spanish national interests. The Constitutional Court said that ruling violated Mrs Menchu's basic legal rights. Spanish courts have tried international cases before, but they have involved Spanish victims. Earlier this year, former Argentine naval officer Adolfo Scilingo was convicted in Spain of crimes against humanity and given 640 years in prison. He was found by a court to have been on board planes from which 30 people, including a number of Spaniards, were thrown to their deaths during the military rule. Under a similar law, two Rwandan businessmen were jailed by a Belgian court for war crimes and murder during the 1994 genocide. But in Belgium, those charged must be living in the country.
BBC 6 Oct 2005 Six die at Spanish border fence Spain has sent reinforcements to the border fence Six migrants have died trying to cross a security fence around the Spanish enclave of Melilla in North Africa, Moroccan officials say. The deaths come as Spain and Morocco are finalising plans to start expelling immigrants who have entered Melilla and the other enclave of Ceuta illegally. Spain said 70 would be shipped to Morocco in the first set of expulsions. Hundreds of migrants have stormed the barbed wire fences surrounding the enclaves in recent weeks. Around 1,000 were repelled by police in a mass crossing attempt on Thursday. It is not clear how the six died, but media reports quote Moroccan sources as saying some were shot by security forces as a group of migrants tried to storm a guard post on the wire. Others are said to have been crushed. See how migrants try to cross Melilla's defences Five other migrants were killed last week. But Spain's Interior Minister Jose Antonio Alonso said an internal investigation had confirmed that Spanish troops did not fire the shots that killed them. The deaths and the attempted crossings are part of a sustained bid by thousands of mainly sub-Saharan Africans, living in tents on the Morocco side of the border, to reach Spanish territory - seen as a stepping stone to Europe. Hundreds have made it across, thousands more have been repelled. The crossings have prompted reinforcements to the physical barriers and to the police and army patrols along the perimeter. The plan to return those who do get across revives a 1992 accord with Morocco to allow expulsions of illegal entrants back to Morocco, even if they are of different nationalities. The agreement has never before been implemented. EU monitors The BBC's Pascale Harter in Rabat says it is unclear what will happen to the immigrants once in Morocco, as most are of West and Central African origin and are already illegal there. The United Nations has warned against any harsh treatment. Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has said urgent work is needed to reduce the poverty gap between Spain and Morocco. He said the root of the problem was drought and famine affecting sub-Saharan Africa. At Spain's request, the EU has agreed to send a delegation to study the situation in Ceuta and Melilla from both sides of the border.
BBC 7 Oct 2005 African migrants 'left in desert' Spain has expelled 70 immigrants to Morocco An aid agency says it has found more than 500 migrants abandoned in the Moroccan desert after being expelled from Spain's North African enclaves. The migrants said they had entered or tried to enter Ceuta and Melilla but were forced back, loaded onto trucks and driven to the Algerian border. The discovery by the Spanish branch of Medecins Sans Frontieres follows migrant bids to storm border fences. Six died on Thursday, some apparently shot while trying to enter Melilla. Illegal expulsions A group of 70 migrants were expelled from Melilla on Friday, in the first set of official expulsions expected under a revived 1992 accord between Spain and Morocco. Migrants run the enclave gauntlet hoping to reach Europe It allows illegal entrants to be sent back to Morocco, even if they are of different nationalities. Until now, migrants who successfully entered the enclaves have been housed in holding centres or sent to mainland Spain to await expulsion to their country of origin, often resulting in their release. But an MSF spokeswoman said that while some of the 500 found in the desert had been detained before they managed to cross the Ceuta and Melilla fences, others had been illegally expelled by Spanish police. Click below to see how Spain plans to upgrade the enclaves' border defences Enlarge Image MSF said the sub-Saharan migrants had been "abandoned to their fate" near El Aouina-Souatar, hundreds of kilometres south of the enclaves. The group included pregnant women and children. The agency said staff had treated more than 50 of them for injuries suffered as a result of crossing the barbed-wire fences. But the MSF statement claimed some of the injuries were also the result of violence inflicted by the Spanish and Moroccan police as "some showed bruises from being hit by rubber bullets". EU mission Javier Gabaldon, co-ordinator in Morocco, denounced the "expulsion and later abandonment of these immigrants to a zone without access to food and water and without the possibility of receiving medical or humanitarian aid". MSF said "the sending back of immigrants as agreed by Spain and Morocco to a country which does not have minimal capacity to receive them violates Article Three of the (UN) Convention against Torture". Other aid organisations said they had evidence of similar incidents in recent weeks. The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) has also raised concerns and called for joint action to tackle the crisis. The European Union and Spain are both sending missions to Morocco to tackle the issue of illegal immigration.
IRIN 13 Oct 2005 Rights activists urge UN to investigate abuse of migrants [ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations] © Pierre Holtz/IRIN Illegal Senegalese migrants were repatriated by Moroccan authorities DAKAR, 13 Oct 2005 (IRIN) - While Morocco continues deporting masses of West African migrants in the face of international condemnation, a pan-African human rights group is calling on the United Nations to investigate charges of rights violations linked to border control. “The UN high commission for human rights must open an investigation into rights violations tied to immigration,” Alioune Tine, secretary general of the pan-African human rights group, Rencontre Africaine des Droits de l'Homme (RADDHO), told IRIN. The Moroccan government acknowledged on Thursday that its armed forces had shot at illegal immigrants trying to scale a barrier between Africa and Europe last week, and appealed for a Euro-African effort to tackle illegal immigration and its root causes. The thorny and long-standing problem came into the world media spotlight in recent weeks, with televised images of desperate African migrants being shot at and crushed trying to enter Europe and scores of others deposited in the vacant sands of Morocco with no food or water. Earlier this month hundreds of illegal African migrants attempted to clear barbed-wire barriers to enter Spain’s enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla in Morocco. At least 14 were killed – some by crushing, others by gunfire. Morocco has drawn a sharp reprimand from humanitarian groups and other international organisations for dumping some of the destitute migrants in the desert. “We are extremely troubled by these events,” RADDHO’s Tine said. “Troubled by these unspeakable, cruel, degrading attacks on human rights, by people treated like trash, left with no water or food, dumped like garbage.” The Moroccan communications minister Nabil Benabdallah told Radio France Internationale on Thursday that its forces had in fact shot at migrants with live bullets, but said it was “in self-defense.” Benabdallah said Europe and Africa must work jointly to resolve the problem of illegal immigration. “Morocco alone cannot take on the responsibility for the conditions of poverty and desperation that exist in certain Sahel countries,” he said. “Morocco calls for a Euro-African conference on the question of immigration because we think that today the problem is critical and we must decisively take it on.” At a meeting of European and African leaders in Brussels this week, African Union head and former Malian president Alpha Oumar Konare also said it is time to look at the root causes of mass illegal immigration. “These young people we saw storm the barrier [into Europe] are not criminals,” he told reporters on Wednesday. “We must look at and understand why they are migrating. They reflect the impoverishment of the continent.” Green Party members of the European Parliament, just back from a visit to the enclaves in North Africa, are calling for an investigation into Spanish authorities’ involvement in the shooting of migrants. Dejected Senegalese, Malians arrive back home The Moroccan government – which has deportation agreements with Senegal and Mali – began transporting nationals of the two countries back home by plane this week. Over 500 Senegalese arrived in the capital, Dakar, between Monday and Wednesday. The first Malian deportees – about half of the some 630 to be expelled – arrived in the capital, Bamako, on Wednesday. Thirty-five-year-old Sekou Barry, gaunt-faced and wearing a tattered shirt, said that after his experience in Morocco he was relieved when he learned the group would be transported back home. “Our misery began on 3 October, when the Moroccans handcuffed us and put us on a bus,” he said. “People were brawling in the bus and Moroccan gendarmes intervened.” He said he and his fellow migrants went without food for three days. His account echoed that of other Senegalese and Malian returnees, some bearing bruises or other injuries from their ordeal. Despite the hardship in store for most clandestine migrants, the wave of eager Africans heading north remains constant. The European Commission says about 20,000 clandestine African immigrants are in Algeria, 10,000 in Morocco, pining for a chance to beat the odds and reach Europe. Senegalese abroad contribute third of national budget About 2.5 million Senegalese live outside of Senegal – principally in other African countries, France, the United States, Italy and Spain, according to Abdourahmane Kane of the ministry for Senegalese living abroad. Senegal’s population is about 11 million. “In 2004, Senegalese living abroad sent nearly 309 billion francs CFA (US $618 million) to Senegal – a third of the national budget,” Kane told IRIN. “And that does not even include the constant informal transactions.” And migrants invest considerably in the building of schools and hospitals. One knock-on effect of the masses of Senegalese living overseas is that – with their foreign-financed villas and 4x4s back in Senegal – they feed the illusion that Europe is a paradise. Kane is dismayed at the rush to emigrate. “The physical and financial effort they put into getting to Morocco – if they would apply that at home with the support of the government, they could build something. But they can’t wait. They are mesmerized by Europe.” RADDHO’s Tine said it is the failure of development at home in Africa that continues to drive young people abroad. The UN Office for West Africa in a recent report deplored the lack of opportunity for young people in the region. Back in Bamako, Barry said he depleted all his means on his failed attempt to get to Europe. “I have nothing left.” He said his prospects for making a living in Mali are no better now than before he set out on his journey. “I will try to get to Europe again as soon as possible.”
Assyrian International News Agency 4 Oct 2005 Turkey Must Acknowledge the Assyrian Genocide: Liberal Party of Sweden Folkpartiet, the Liberal Party of Sweden, held its Congress in Gothenburg on 19-21 August. The Congress forms the policy for the future and is Folkpartiet's highest decicion taking body. Eight thematic manifestos were debated and adopted, on issues such as integration, education, justice and home affairs and globalisation. All documentation are available (in Swedish). One of the issues were the genocide on Armenians and Assyrians during World War One in the Ottoman Empire. Folkpartiet decided to make following statement: "The genocide that Armenians, Assyrians, Syriacs, Chaldéans and Pontic Greeks were exposed to has for long time beeing viewed as a Turkish-Armenian affair. Turkey belong to the European fellowship and has in several respects fulfilled the requirements for membership in EU. In short time from now negotiations are planned about when the membership should begin. Turkey must take their responsibility and make the truth known about the genocide on Armenians and others, and aknowldedge the suffering of the victims. EU should bring considerable pressure to Turkey in order for them to aknowledge the genocide on Armenians, Assyrians, Syriacs, Chaldéans and Pontic Greeks. Turkey and other countries should open their archives and in other ways promote research about this dark side of the region's history. Strong lobby is also required to make sure that Turkey respect the Kurdish and the Christian people's rights." Folkpartiet is one the third biggest party according to the latest election in 2002. They are expected to form the government with the non-Socialist parties after next year's general elections. In Folkpartiet there are several politicians that work with Assyrian related issues such as the EU-parliamenterian Cecilia Malmstrom, Cecilia Wikström and Fredrik Malm; the president of the Liberal Youth Federation. Translated from Swedish by Ninos Maraha
washingtonpost.com In Turkey, a Clash of Nationalism and History Exhibit Marking Anniversary of Istanbul Pogrom Breaks Taboos and Kindles Anger By Karl Vick Washington Post Foreign Service Friday, September 30, 2005; A15 ISTANBUL -- The exhibit opened 50 years to the day after the mayhem it chronicled in the cobblestone street right outside the gallery. Captured on black-and-white glossies was a modern-day pogrom, a massive, state-sponsored assault on a foreign community that awoke on the morning of Sept. 6, 1955, still feeling safe in Istanbul. By sunset a day later, a mob of perhaps 100,000 Turks had attacked foreigners' homes, schools and churches, and filled whole streets with the contents of the ruined shops that lined them. In the aftermath of the attack, a city for centuries renowned for its diversity steadily purged itself of almost everyone who could not claim to be Turkish. The exhibit at Karsi Artworks attempts to confront that history, dubbed the Events of Sept. 6-7, in the era before "ethnic cleansing" entered the popular lexicon. But when ultranationalist thugs swarmed into the gallery on opening night -- throwing eggs, tearing down photos and chanting "Love it or leave it!" -- the question became whether it really is history at all. "Just like what happened 50 years ago," said Mahmut Erol Celik, a retired civil servant emerging from the defaced exhibit. "It's the same mentality. That's what's so embarrassing." Appearances have lately counted for a lot in Turkey. Under intense international scrutiny, its government hopes to begin negotiations Oct. 3 that should conclude with Turkey as a member of the European Union. Even if the process takes 15 years, as many predict, the result would apparently fulfill an ambition such as that which drove modern Turkey's founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who preached that the country's future lay firmly with the West. But questions arise almost daily about whether either side wants to proceed. Europe's mixed feelings about absorbing Turkey's large, poor and overwhelmingly Muslim population are well known. But Turkey harbors its own ambivalence, apparently rooted in the recurring question of how much the country cares about the world beyond its own borders. That question came up again this month, when a Turkish court made headlines by barring a handful of scholars from gathering to discuss the deaths in 1915 of perhaps a million ethnic Armenians, in circumstances that Armenia and many independent scholars describe as genocide but Turkey calls the consequences of war. The disagreement has poisoned relations between the neighboring nations for decades with an obsessiveness that overtakes Turkish efforts to appear poised. This summer, readers of Time magazine's international edition found a DVD tucked into a four-page ad for Turkish tourism. The disc included 13 minutes of commercials and an hour-long propaganda film accusing Armenians of slaughtering Turks. "It's not a polemic," said a spokeswoman for the Ankara Chamber of Commerce, which paid for the disorienting mix of polished commercials and grainy footage of dead bodies. "We just wanted to position Turkey on this issue." Last May, the prospect of scholars gathering for an independent assessment of the controversy brought a chilling warning from Turkey's justice minister, who called them "traitors." After objections from the E.U., the scrapped conference was rescheduled and was finally held this month, but not without an accompanying demonstration by Turkish nationalists. Also this month, a prosecutor filed charges against Orhan Pamuk, the country's most acclaimed novelist, for observing that the Armenian issue was off-limits in the country. "There is no other country which harms its own interests this much," Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said. But then few other countries are so nationalistic. Turks are raised to believe that Turkey is surrounded by enemies and can rely only on itself. The unitary notion of the state views all citizens as ethnic Turks and regards any other presence as a dire threat. So there was deep concern in official circles this month when Pope Benedict XVI made plans to travel to Istanbul at the invitation of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, the ethnic Greek who serves as spiritual leader of the world's 300 million Orthodox Christians. The Orthodox patriarchy remained in Istanbul, then called Constantinople, after the city was overtaken by Muslims half a millennium ago. But modern Turkey still refuses to acknowledge the patriarch's authority and hastened to issue its own official invitation to the pope, who obliged by postponing his trip. To cultivate Europe, the government also invited Catholic, Orthodox, Jewish, Assyrian Christian and Muslim leaders to an ecumenical conference due to conclude four days before the crucial opening of the prospective E.U. negotiations, which one analyst predicted will be "contentious." "When a country is embarking on a major negotiation process, when it's trying to eradicate old taboos and embrace modern norms, you usually do that in the name of nation-building," said Katinka Barysch, an analyst at the London-based Center for European Reform. "As Turkey embarks on this, it invokes nationalism. Which doesn't sit very well with the E.U. process." So far, E.U. officials have been quick to label the prosecutions, court rulings and other embarrassments as transparent provocations intended to sabotage Turkey's image. But each also reflects a debate within Turkish society that was on plain view in the lobby of the Karsi gallery the day after the thugs trashed it. Two visitors were recalling the 1955 attacks from memory. "I was in the street that day and I remember very clearly," said Mehmet Ali Zeren, 70. "In a jewelry store, one guy had a hammer and he was breaking pearls one by one." Celik, the retired bureaucrat, called the attack a stain on Turkish history, comparable to the infamous "wealth tax" that was enforced only against foreigners. "Therefore Istanbul lost many things," he said. "It lost most of its beauty." "Why are you all speaking English here?" asked an agitated man, overhearing an American reporter's questions. He carried a bound volume of Ataturk's speeches and pointed angrily to a photo caption on the wall that identified leaders of the pictured mob as provocateurs. "Shame on you!" he said. "These are our lands! A man holding a Turkish flag cannot be called a provocateur!" Can San and other officials from the History Foundation, a co-sponsor of the exhibit, answered the man's complaints, then watched him leave through the exit the thugs had poured through the night before while chanting their slogans. "But," San noted, "the public in the street did not join them."
Reuters 2 Oct 2005 Genocide? Turkey's last Armenian village unmoved Vakifli Turkey | October 02, 2005 9:31:51 AM IST The European Parliament might want Turkey to recognise a 1915 massacre of Armenians as genocide, but the people of the last remaining Armenian village in the country have other things on their minds -- oranges. Of all the towns and villages once inhabited by Armenians across eastern Turkey under the multi-ethnic Ottoman Empire, only the picturesque village of Vakifli remains, nestled in the foothills of the Musa Mountains overlooking the eastern corner of the Mediterranean Sea and within sight of the Syrian border. For the influential Armenian diaspora, Musa Mountain is a source of pride as one of the few places where Christian Armenians resisted deportations that killed many thousands. The European Parliament this week became the latest international body to call on Turkey to recognise the killings as genocide; a political slap in the face for Ankara which is due to start European Union membership talks yesterday. ''Of course it saddens us when the European Parliament makes such a decision,'' said Vakifli village headman Berc Kartun ''Isn't it over yet? ... Ninety years have passed and as an Armenian, I think it should be over and done with.'' Smoking and playing cards in the plain, white-walled tea-house surrounded by lush orange groves stretching down to the shores of the Mediterranean, other villagers said they were sick of foreigners harping on about genocide. ''Are there any citizens of Turkey who think that way, any Armenians here who think that way?'' asked 72-year-old Musa Emekliyan. ''What I am worried about it is what will happen to my oranges, will they sell this year.'' RAIN NOT RESOLUTIONS Turkey sees an international campaign led by the Armenian diaspora to blacken its name behind the claims of genocide. Turkish nationalists also fear the EU's calls for minority rights are a repeat of Western meddling that ended in war and the break-up of the Ottoman Empire. With Russian forces advancing across the eastern frontier, in 1915 Istanbul's Ottoman rulers ordered local Armenians to be sent to Syria and Lebanon, fearing they might side with the Russians. Many were killed or died from deprivation.
Independent UK 3 Oct 2005 Last-minute talks on Turkish membership stall By Stephen Castle in Luxembourg Published: 03 October 2005 Eleventh-hour talks to agree on the launch of EU membership negotiations with Turkey remained deadlocked early this morning as Austria held out despite massive pressure and hours of frantic diplomacy. After a hectic series of meetings, Britain, which holds the presidency of the EU, postponed discussions until 9.30am today, just hours before formal negotiations with Turkey were due to begin. Going into last night's crucial meeting, Austria was still blocking the start of talks, calling for consideration of a possible alternative to EU membership for Turkey. Such demands are anathema to Ankara, which first sought to join the bloc more than four decades ago. During the course of a dramatic evening, the Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, held a series of face to face meetings with his Austrian counterpart, Ursula Plassnik. Meanwhile Tony Blair spoke by phone to Austria's Chancellor, Wolfgang Schüssel, and the Europe minister, Douglas Alexander, called the Turkish Foreign Minister, Abdullah Gul, who was waiting to learn whether to make the journey to Luxembourg to start talks. Germany, France and Greece all backed British efforts to launch the talks with Turkey today. But Austria continued to press for changes to the language of the negotiating mandate. It remained unclear whether there was enough progress to clinch a deal. Asked about the prospects, a senior official replied: "God knows." As talks broke just after midnight Mr Straw said: "It is a frustrating situation but I hope and pray that we may be able to reach agreement." Amid mounting tension, supporters of Turkey's accession argued that a rebuff to Ankara would provoke a crisis in the EU's relations with the Muslim world. The Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, speaking at a resort outside Ankara, said Europe was at a historic crossroad. "Either it will show political maturity and become a global power, or it will end up a Christian club," he said. "No EU decision will deviate Turkey from its course" toward further democracy and reforms, Mr Erdogan added. "We will, however, be saddened that a project for the alliance of civilisations will be harmed." Asked if a deal could be reached, Ms Plassnik, replied: "I hope so. We will listen to each other, come towards each other in a good European spirit. " None of the main Austrian political parties backs Turkish accession. But despite his tough stance on Turkey, Mr Schüssel, appeared to have suffered a blow in regional elections in Austria yesterday. Turkey has been knocking on Europe's door for decades, and has instituted a massive reform programme to get to the point of opening membership talks. Originally scheduled for this morning, the negotiations are now due to begin in the late afternoon. However Mr Gul has made it clear that he will not make the journey to Luxembourg if the negotiating text is deemed unsatisfactory. Mr Erdogan phoned the Austrian Chancellor on Friday to make clear that second-class status was not acceptable to Turkey. If they open today, the negotiations with Ankara will take a decade and at least two EU nations will have to hold referendums before giving Turkey the green light to join. Even starting the talks has proved highly controversial, despite all 25 member nations agreeing last December that they should begin today. Since then the referendum "no" votes on the EU constitution in France and the Netherlands have changed the climate, and surveys show the majority of the EU population against Turkish accession. Austria was seeking to delete a passage in the negotiating mandate which states that the objective of the talks is accession. Vienna's preference is for the inclusion of an alternative, "privileged partnership". History ensures Austrians remain bitterly opposed Across Europe, opinion may be divided on whether Turkey should be allowed to enter the EU. But in Austria there is little sign of a debate because history ensures that the issue touches the rawest of nerves. In 1683 the Ottoman army of Kara Mustafa Pasha was routed at the gates of Vienna in a defeat that marked the last Turkish effort to take the city. All around the Austrian capital are reminders of the battle and so strong is the event in the national consciousness that newspapers have characterised Ankara's EU bid as a new siege of Vienna. To complicate matters further Austria is a strong supporter of (Christian) Croatia, which also wants to join the EU. This step has been held up because of a row over Zagreb's lack of co-operation in surrendering a suspected war criminal, Ante Gotovina. Austrians feel it would be wrong to start talking to Turkey while holding back on Croatia. Vienna's critics suggest darkly that Austria's own past may prompt it to worry less about punishing war crimes than other nations. Taking a tough stance has proved politically popular for the Austrian Chancellor, Wolfgang Schüssel, but his party was crushed in regional elections yesterday. Elsewhere in Europe, the echoes of history have played a part in the debate. France, home to Europe's largest Armenian population, has sometimes had difficult relations with Turkey. In 2001 its parliament formally recognised the Armenian genocide (during the collapse of the Ottoman empire) provoking fury from Ankara. Ironically Ankara's biggest rival, Greece, has not sought to hold up talks, believing that a Turkey inside the EU would be more modern, restrained and susceptible to outside influence. Stephen Castle Eleventh-hour talks to agree on the launch of EU membership negotiations with Turkey remained deadlocked early this morning as Austria held out despite massive pressure and hours of frantic diplomacy. After a hectic series of meetings, Britain, which holds the presidency of the EU, postponed discussions until 9.30am today, just hours before formal negotiations with Turkey were due to begin. Going into last night's crucial meeting, Austria was still blocking the start of talks, calling for consideration of a possible alternative to EU membership for Turkey. Such demands are anathema to Ankara, which first sought to join the bloc more than four decades ago. During the course of a dramatic evening, the Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, held a series of face to face meetings with his Austrian counterpart, Ursula Plassnik. Meanwhile Tony Blair spoke by phone to Austria's Chancellor, Wolfgang Schüssel, and the Europe minister, Douglas Alexander, called the Turkish Foreign Minister, Abdullah Gul, who was waiting to learn whether to make the journey to Luxembourg to start talks. Germany, France and Greece all backed British efforts to launch the talks with Turkey today. But Austria continued to press for changes to the language of the negotiating mandate. It remained unclear whether there was enough progress to clinch a deal. Asked about the prospects, a senior official replied: "God knows." As talks broke just after midnight Mr Straw said: "It is a frustrating situation but I hope and pray that we may be able to reach agreement." Amid mounting tension, supporters of Turkey's accession argued that a rebuff to Ankara would provoke a crisis in the EU's relations with the Muslim world. The Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, speaking at a resort outside Ankara, said Europe was at a historic crossroad. "Either it will show political maturity and become a global power, or it will end up a Christian club," he said. "No EU decision will deviate Turkey from its course" toward further democracy and reforms, Mr Erdogan added. "We will, however, be saddened that a project for the alliance of civilisations will be harmed." Asked if a deal could be reached, Ms Plassnik, replied: "I hope so. We will listen to each other, come towards each other in a good European spirit. " None of the main Austrian political parties backs Turkish accession. But despite his tough stance on Turkey, Mr Schüssel, appeared to have suffered a blow in regional elections in Austria yesterday. Turkey has been knocking on Europe's door for decades, and has instituted a massive reform programme to get to the point of opening membership talks. Originally scheduled for this morning, the negotiations are now due to begin in the late afternoon. However Mr Gul has made it clear that he will not make the journey to Luxembourg if the negotiating text is deemed unsatisfactory. Mr Erdogan phoned the Austrian Chancellor on Friday to make clear that second-class status was not acceptable to Turkey. If they open today, the negotiations with Ankara will take a decade and at least two EU nations will have to hold referendums before giving Turkey the green light to join. Even starting the talks has proved highly controversial, despite all 25 member nations agreeing last December that they should begin today. Since then the referendum "no" votes on the EU constitution in France and the Netherlands have changed the climate, and surveys show the majority of the EU population against Turkish accession. Austria was seeking to delete a passage in the negotiating mandate which states that the objective of the talks is accession. Vienna's preference is for the inclusion of an alternative, "privileged partnership". History ensures Austrians remain bitterly opposed Across Europe, opinion may be divided on whether Turkey should be allowed to enter the EU. But in Austria there is little sign of a debate because history ensures that the issue touches the rawest of nerves. In 1683 the Ottoman army of Kara Mustafa Pasha was routed at the gates of Vienna in a defeat that marked the last Turkish effort to take the city. All around the Austrian capital are reminders of the battle and so strong is the event in the national consciousness that newspapers have characterised Ankara's EU bid as a new siege of Vienna. To complicate matters further Austria is a strong supporter of (Christian) Croatia, which also wants to join the EU. This step has been held up because of a row over Zagreb's lack of co-operation in surrendering a suspected war criminal, Ante Gotovina. Austrians feel it would be wrong to start talking to Turkey while holding back on Croatia. Vienna's critics suggest darkly that Austria's own past may prompt it to worry less about punishing war crimes than other nations. Taking a tough stance has proved politically popular for the Austrian Chancellor, Wolfgang Schüssel, but his party was crushed in regional elections yesterday. Elsewhere in Europe, the echoes of history have played a part in the debate. France, home to Europe's largest Armenian population, has sometimes had difficult relations with Turkey. In 2001 its parliament formally recognised the Armenian genocide (during the collapse of the Ottoman empire) provoking fury from Ankara. Ironically Ankara's biggest rival, Greece, has not sought to hold up talks, believing that a Turkey inside the EU would be more modern, restrained and susceptible to outside influence. Stephen Castle.
Reuters 9 Oct 2005 Turkey's Gul: writer will win genocide claim case PARIS (Reuters) - Turkey's foreign minister said on Sunday he was confident a court would dismiss charges against a best-selling Turkish writer who faces prison for his views on the massacres of Armenians 90 years ago. Orhan Pamuk has been charged with insulting Turkish identity for supporting Armenian claims they suffered a genocide under Ottoman Turks in 1915. He faces 3 years in jail if convicted. Pamuk further upset the establishment and nationalists by saying Turkish forces shared responsibility for the death of more than 30,000 Kurds in southeast Turkey during separatist fighting there in the 1980s and 1990s. Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul sought to play down the controversy, telling Canal television he expected the case to be dismissed as a court had already thrown out similar charges against a different person. "The same trial has been held before, over the same phrases, the same words," Gul said through an interpreter. "The judge ruled that everyone has the right to express their opinion. The same decision will be handed down (in Pamuk's case), I have no doubt about this." Pamuk's prosecution has highlighted concerns over whether Turkey's human rights record is compatible with EU membership. Some 60 percent of French voters say they don't want mainly Muslim Turkey joining the EU. In a show of support, EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn met Pamuk at the writer's Istanbul home on Saturday and urged Ankara to respect freedom of expression. Pamuk, best known for historical novels such as "My Name is Red" and "The White Castle", goes on trial on Dec. 16. Gul said that despite the case, human rights had come on in leaps and bounds in the past three years. "We have a limited democracy in Turkey ... but thanks to the reforms of the past few years, its scope has widened enormously." Turkey had offered to open its archives to international historians so as to resolve the Armenian massacre issue, which has complicated Ankara's bid to join the European Union. The European Parliament last month passed a non-binding resolution saying Ankara must recognise the Armenian massacres as a genocide before joining the EU, and gave only grudging support to the start of entry talks with Turkey on Oct. 3.
Guardian UK 9 Oct 2005 Nobel split delays book prize Alex Duval Smith in Stockholm Sunday October 9, 2005 The Observer The secretive group of intellectuals who award the Nobel Prize for literature have delayed their decision for at least a week amid reports of a split over honouring the controversial Turkish author, Orhan Pamuk. For the first time in at least 10 years, the literature prize was announced neither in the run-up to, nor in the same week as the four other main Nobel awards - medicine, physics, chemistry and peace. Each marks the pinnacle of achievement in its field and is worth 10 million Swedish kronor (£730,000). The suspected row over Pamuk - which is officially denied - comes amid revelations about the secretive workings of the committee that, since 1901, has chosen Nobel winners. The literature award is now due to be announced on Thursday. Pamuk's latest novel, Snow, has been widely acclaimed for addressing Turkey's internal clash of cultures. His earlier work, My Name is Red, established his literary prowess. But the author is controversial for an assertion he made in a newspaper interview earlier this year that the Turkish state was guilty of a 20th century genocide against Armenians and Kurds. He faces trial for the comments in his country on 16 December. Observers of the Nobel process say that, given that the European Union has decided to engage talks on Turkey's entry without condemning the Pamuk trial, some members of the Swedish Academy, which chooses the literature laureate, feel politically exposed. 'If the Pamuk row is real, the academy's reluctance is not based on a fear of being political, or controversial,' said Svante Weyler of Nordstedts publishers, 'but on concern that literature must not be overshadowed by politics.' Others believe a split in the academy over Pamuk could be based on a long-entrenched principle of avoiding fashions and fads. Pamuk is widely acclaimed but, at the age of 53, is considered on the young side. 'The Nobel Prize must never go to the book of the season. It exists to reward a life's work,' said poet and literary critic Eva Ström. The suspected row over Pamuk bears the hallmarks of the 'Rushdie affair' - a conflict whose impact can still be felt in the Swedish Academy today. In February 1989, author and academy member Kerstin Ekman called on her fellow elders to issue a statement condemning the fatwa against Salman Rushdie. They refused, prompting Ekman and author Lars Gyllensten to resign from the Nobel selection process. The remaining 16 academy members are understood at this stage to have reduced their choice to two candidates. The winner will be chosen by majority vote. Some observers have suggested the delay in announcing the 2005 prize might not be related to Pamuk, and that academy members may be grappling with a non-fiction candidate or an essayist. Earlier this year, academy head and committee member Horace Engdahl suggested it was time to 'broaden' the literature prize stating that 'It is important that the prize develops as literature develops.' His comments have been taken to mean that a journalist such as Poland's Ryszard Kapuscinski could be considered. In the same vein, philosopher Bertrand Russell won it in 1950 and Winston Churchill was given the literature prize three years later for his historical writings. The favourite to win in Stockholm literary circles is Syrian poet Ali Ahmad Said, also known as Adonis.
AP 10 Oct 2005 Ukrainian Jews honor victims of Babi Yar massacre Oct 10 2005, 20:45 (AP) - Hundreds of Jews lit candles and prayed Oct. 9 near the Babi Yar ravine where the Nazis killed tens of thousands of Ukrainian Jews during World War II, and Jewish leaders expressed concern over recent anti-Semitic acts in the former Soviet republic. The commemoration at the edge of the ravine followed 10 days after an official ceremony marking 64 years since the massacre, which began on Sept. 29, 1941, when Nazi forces occupying Kyiv marched local Jews to the brink of the ravine and shot them. "The official commemoration looks like a political rally, so we Jews alone gather here separately for years," said Ukraine's chief rabbi, Yakov Blaikh, standing near a modest sculpture of a menorah near the edge of the ravine - a mile from the huge Soviet-era monument to Babi Yar victims that is the site of annual official ceremonies. Leaning against a crutch on the brink of the ravine, Leya Osadcha, 79, lit candles in memory of 16 relatives who died here. She said she watched from behind some trees as the Nazis gunned their victims down. "My mother sent me, then a 15-year old girl, to a nearby village to trade clothes for some food. When I came back, our neighbors told me Nazi forces occupying Kyiv ordered people to gather and bring their warm clothes and valuables - as if they were to be deported," Osadcha said. "I ran to catch up with my family but I was too late. So I survived." Debora Averbukh, 85, said she had been a student at the time and had been evacuated to Tashkent, far to the east in Soviet Central Asia. She received a letter from a Kyiv neighbor saying that her parents and aunt had been killed. It was the most dreadful, painful day in my life," Averbukh said. More than 33,700 Jews were killed over just a few days at Babi Yar, and within months the toll is believed to have reached more than 100,000, including thousands of Red Army prisoners of war and resistance fighters. Decades later, Blaikh criticized today's Ukrainian authorities for doing too little to combat anti-Semitism. "I won't keep silence, I won't let people forget, as rabbi, Jew and a man who believes in democracy, freedom of speech and religion," Blaikh said. Last month, a rabbi and his son were beaten in Kyiv in an attack police called hooliganism, meaning that they do not consider it to have motivated by anti-Semitism. During the summer, skinheads in Kyiv severely beat a Jewish student who was taken, in a coma, to a Tel Aviv hospital for brain surgery. Police said that attack was also hooliganism. Vandalism at Jewish sites occurs often in Ukraine, now home to some 100,000 Jews. Hundreds of thousands have been killed in pogroms over the centuries, and millions died during the Holocaust.
NYT 9 Oct 2005 'Our Inner Ape': Hey Hey, We're the Monkeys By TEMPLE GRANDIN Our closest genetic cousins, the apes, are capable of great empathy but also of violent, ruthless killing. Frans de Waal, a prominent primatologist, compares our social behavior with that of two species of apes: chimpanzees and bonobos (which look like smaller, more upright chimps). Despite their physical similarities, the two species behave very differently. Bonobos live in a relatively peaceful matriarchy; when conflicts do arise, instead of fighting they often use sexual activity to resolve them, defusing the aggression with friendly physical contact. Like hippies, they make love, not war. Chimp society, however, is a male-dominated hierarchy based on power. Unlike the gentle bonobos, who seldom kill, chimps will hunt for meat and even kill members of rival groups. In this fascinating book, de Waal suggests that the two species represent sides of our own nature. We have "not one but two inner apes," he writes, speculating that humans may act like a hybrid of bonobos and chimps. (Little is known about actual bonobo-chimp hybrids except for a group that lives in a French traveling circus and strikes visitors with its "gentility and sensitivity.") Helping the weak and sharing are part of both bonobo and chimp societies. De Waal gives a rather fierce example for the chimps: When individuals cooperate to hunt a monkey, they always share the meat. Among bonobos, Kidogo, a male with a heart condition, was having difficulty adjusting to shifting routines when he was transferred to a new zoo. The other bonobos "approached Kidogo, took him by the hand and led him to where the keepers wanted him, thus showing they understood both the keepers' intentions and Kidogo's problem." Kuni, meanwhile, a bonobo at a zoo in Britain, helped an injured starling that had crashed into the glass of her enclosure. She picked it up and tried to set it on its feet, then climbed a tree and carefully spread its wings to help it to fly before she released it. "She tailored her assistance to the specific situation of an animal totally different from herself," de Waal writes. Where the two ape species diverge most are in the realms of sex and violence. Bonobos don't exactly distinguish between sex and friendly touching. Since their behavior is so often X-rated, you will have to read the book to learn the details. There you'll also find details of chimpanzee violence. Infanticide, de Waal tells us, is a leading cause of death among chimps, both in zoos and in the wild. One reason bonobos engage in so much sex is to prevent rival males from killing their babies. If everybody has sex with everybody else, there's no saying who's the daddy. Like humans, chimps can be ruthless toward individuals who are not part of their troop. De Waal explains that large-brained animals capable of using empathy to do kind things for others are also capable of great cruelty, because they can imagine what their victims will feel. One of the most shocking incidents he describes occurred at Gombe National Park in Tanzania, where a group of chimps lived peacefully for years. As youngsters they played and groomed one another, but the group gradually drifted apart and formed two new groups. Chimps that had known one another for years were now in conflict. "Shocked researchers watched as former friends now drank each other's blood. Not even the oldest community members were left alone. An extremely frail-looking male, Goliath, was pummeled for 20 minutes and dragged about." De Waal compares this horrible chimp behavior to genocide in Rwanda and Bosnia. With chimps, as with humans, fighting within one's own group is restrained compared with attacks on outsiders. De Waal does not discuss the possible genetic implications of many of his observations. Animals who have high-fear genetics are less inclined to be aggressive because they are afraid to fight, and stressful, scary situations can affect them more dramatically. When bombs fell on Munich during World War II, de Waal tells us, all the bonobos in the zoo died of heart failure, but all the chimps survived. Unfortunately, he does not discuss how these differences in fearfulness might affect social behavior. Fear and other traits, like aggression and sociability, have a strong genetic component. In my own work with antelopes, I have observed huge differences in the startle and fear response between individual animals. It is likely that there may be genetic differences between the most peaceful and most violent chimps. Also, since I am a person with autism, I do not agree with de Waal's view that emotions are required for making choices and storing memories. I use my visual thinking all the time to make logical choices. When Kuni helped the injured bird, emotion may have been the motivation, but visual thinking was the method. She compared the wing to her visual memories of flying birds and spread it to fit that image. I think her brain and mine would perform the task the same way. De Waal's most hopeful message is that peaceful behavior can be learned, as he showed when he raised juvenile rhesus and stumptail monkeys together. The aggressive rhesus juveniles picked up peaceful ways of resolving conflict from the larger, gentler stumptails. And the lessons took: even after the two species were separated, the rhesus continued to have three times more grooming and other friendly behavior after fights. This important and illuminating book should help our own species take that lesson in civility to heart. Temple Grandin is an associate professor of animal science at Colorado State University and the author of "Animals in Translation."
- 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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