News Monitor for April 2001
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Tracking current news on genocide
and items related to past and present ethnic, national, racial and religious
For abbreviated news sources (ie: AP, BBC) see below . Use Find (Ctrl+F) to search this webpage.
The news articles from April 2001 appearing on this webpage are listed below by country and categorized by the primary subject of the article and global region.
Find the articles under the country names listed below.
|1. Deadly mass violence against civilians, massacres||Algeria (Civilians, Berbers); DRCongo (Civilians, Relief Workers); Nigeria; Sudan (Bombings)||Colombia (AUC, FARC)||Indonesia (Kalimantan, Maluku), Palestine Authority||Russia (Chechnya)|
|2. Deaths from armed conflict||DRCongo; Liberia-Guinea||Colombia||Myanmar; Sri Lanka||Macedonia; Chechnya|
|3. Deaths by attrition||DRCongo||Iraq; Indonesia (West Timor)|
|4. Hate Speech/demonization||Libya||Iran, Israel, Syria||Germany|
|5. Increased/reduced polarization||Algeria (Berbers); Ethiopia, Liberia (Militias); Sudan, Uganda (DRCongo)||Guyana (post-election racial tensions); Mexico (Chaipas); USA (Cincinnati)||Afghanistan, China, Fiji (treason trials), Indonesia (Aceh), Pakistan, Vietnam||Albania, Bosnia, Greece, Kosovo, UK|
|6. Instability/stability changes||Burundi (coup attempt); Nigeria (Armed Forces); Sierra Leone||Afghanistan; Indonesia||Armenia, Macedonia|
|7. Movement of Refugees/ Displaced Persons||Somolia-Kenya||Afghanistan-Takjikistan; Tajikistan-Uzbekistan|
|8. Legal activity (investigation or calls for such, legislation)||Nigeria (1999 Odi Massacre); Rwanda (Gacaca courts); Sierra Leone (UN tribunal funding)||Colombia; Guatemala (forensic); Peru, USA||Indonesia (East Timor)||Andorra (ICC); Croatia (Krajina - forensic), France (Algeria)|
|9. Judicial activity (activity concerning individual defendants)||Cote d'Ivore (Oct. 2000 massacre; Senegal (Hibre),||Canada (Mugesera); Colombia; USA (IBM, New York Life)||Belgium (4 Rwandans), Bosnia, Germany (SS guard); Yugoslavia (Milisevic, 183 soldiers)|
|10. Historical legacy of past genocides and atrocities||Nigeria (Biafra War); Rwanda||USA ( Holocaust and Armenian genocide - Pres. Bush; Vietnam -former Senator Kerrey; CIA 1940s - Nazi criminals)||Iran (Armenian genocide); Israel (Armenian genocide); Korea (WWII); Japan (WWII); Syria (Hama 1982)||Bosnia (Srebrenica); France (US Vietnam War); Greece (Armenian genocide, Holocaust); Hungary (Holocaust); Poland (1941 massacre) Russia (Holocaust)|
Reuters 28 Mar 2001 Suspected rebels killed 15 people in an Algerian shantytown in the second such massacre this week, residents said Wednesday. A family of 11 was killed in their home and four members of another were also shot dead in the shack next door. The attacks followed the Sunday deaths of a family of 13, killed near Blida. About 450 people have been killed so far this year, mainly civilians shot or knifed in isolated villages. Like in many poor suburbs across the country, the population of Hai Benachour has risen in the past three years as thousands of people have fled the killings in remote villages for the apparent safety on the outskirts of bigger towns.
BBC 29 Apr 2001, Clashes in Algeria between protesting Berber youths and security forces have continued for another day in the Kabylie region to the east of Algiers. Eyewitness reports from the regional capital, Tizi Ouzou, speak of pitched battles in the town centre. Residents in nearby Bejaia said that a protest march today had degenerated into violence. About fifty people are now thought to have died in clashes over the past ten days. They were originally sparked by the killing of a Berber youth in police custody, but have turned into a more general protest against poverty and alleged discrimination. The mainly Berber political party, the RCD Rally for Culture and Democracy, has now threatened to pull out of the government, accusing it of firing live ammunition at the protesters. Correspondents say this does not threaten the government's survival but puts further pressure on President Abdelaziz Bouteflika who has, separately, come under criticism for failing to end the Islamist rebellion. The Berber community in Algeria has long campaigned for greater minority rights.
Reuters 30 Apr 2001 Clashes between protesters and security forces resumed today in the Berber region around Kabylia. Anger over reports that 40 people had died in ethnic-based rioting spread to the capital, Algiers. This city of 600,000 remained paralyzed as stone-throwing rioters fought battles with police officers who fired tear-gas canisters. Gunshots wounded two people, medical sources said. Some calm returned in the afternoon to streets strewn with debris, burned tires and felled trees. In Bejaia, to the east, tension also eased and shops reopened, the official APS news agency reported. Traffic on the road that links Tizi- Ouzou to Algiers, 55 miles west, returned to normal after residents had erected barricades on it. A week of violence in Kabylia, set off by the shooting of a student in custody and fanned by hatred of the police, has left at least 40 people dead, according to medical sources and residents. The government says 32 people have been killed and more than 600 police officers have been injured. The Algerian news media have given higher death tolls. Interior Minister Noureddine Zerhouni said bullets were used "as a last resort." Hospital workers said some victims were shot in the back. Most residents of Kabylia said the protests were mainly directed at the police. Most residents of Kabylia are Berbers, who have inhabited the North African coast since prehistoric times.
The Nation (Nairobi) 22 April 2001 Burundi's President Pierre Buyoya is not ruling out a wider conspiracy behind last Wednesday's attempted coup and has ordered a commission of inquiry to fully investigate the affair. In an exclusive interview with the Sunday Nation yesterday, President Buyoya also did not rule out complicity by what he termed "elements" opposed to the Arusha peace accords and to his government's policy of negotiations with Hutu rebel leaders.President Buyoya was in Libreville, Gabon, when a little-known junior officer, Lt Gaston Ntakarutimana, took control of Burundi's national radio station with several dozen soldiers of his platoon and announced the overthrow of the government.
NYT 16 Apr 2001 The United Nations' special envoy to Congo said a decision by Rwandan-backed rebels to deny clearance to land over the weekend to a plane carrying 120 United Nations peacekeepers "puts in jeopardy the process" of peace. "Sometimes I really wonder whether Rwanda and Uganda are really willing to leave Congo," the envoy, Kamel Morjane, said in an interview before the incident over the northeast city of Kisangani. The government of President Laurent Kabila, the new president's slain father, had been regarded as the main obstacle to peace talks. But there is now growing pressure on the rebels' backers, Uganda and Rwanda, to rein in their activities in Congo, according to officials from the United Nations and Congo and Western diplomats. The Kinshasa government — with, more importantly, its Zimbabwean and Angolan allies — has seized on this shift. Over the weekend Mr. Kabila announced a new cabinet that included only one hard-liner from his father's government and that immediately received the endorsement of Belgium, the former colonial ruler. In an interview last week here in the capital, Mr. Kabila, 29, also called on the West to be tougher against Rwanda and Uganda, which have backed Congolese rebels and sent their own troops to fight in the nearly three-year-old war. The Security Council has so far committed 3,500 peacekeepers to Congo. "Personally, I would like to see justice being done," Mr. Kabila said. "Our country's aggressed. The West should be there to say, `Mister, you've aggressed a country. Get out of that.' What happened in Iraq and Kuwait is a good example. In Kosovo, I was seeing recently, you've got 50,000 troops there — a country that can go 50, 60 times into the Congo. And here we send 3,500 men. What a joke." The reality was, of course, more nuanced. To begin with, Laurent Kabila became Congo's president only after the Rwandans and Ugandans plucked him from obscurity in 1996, and they supported him until a falling out led to this war in August 1998. The late president never held elections, ruled brutally, and many Congolese regarded his presidency — as they do the son's — as illegitimate. Another reason is the West's growing impatience with Rwanda and Uganda, which claimed to have entered Congo to protect their borders, and yet showed an equal, if not greater, interest in plundering the country's mineral riches. Yet another reason was that Mr. Kabila became president in January, around the same time as President Bush's own inauguration. Uganda and Rwanda were two of the Clinton Administration's staunchest allies in Africa. There was a genocide in Rwanda that each and every human being must condemn," Mr. Kabila said last week. "That's one. But when people try to use this problem of genocide as a weapon against another nation, which is basically what happened in the Congo, that's why you have a problem." "The Congolese people were not in Rwanda in 1994 to commit genocide," he added. "We're not part of that genocide." Soon after becoming president in January, Mr. Kabila visited Washington. The Bush administration is said to have received him more warmly than it did Paul Kagame, the president of Rwanda, who visited at the same time. A harder approach toward Rwanda and Uganda in the Security Council became immediately noticeable, said Mr. Morjane, the special envoy here, attributing it in part to the change in the White House. "The Republicans were not in power in 1994, so they are being more pragmatic," Mr. Morjane said.
WP 28 Apr 2001 Six Red Cross workers were found dead on a muddy, remote road in northeastern Congo on Thursday in the deadliest attack on the international agency since six nurses were killed in their sleep at a hospital in Chechnya in 1996. Thursday's attack occurred about 30 miles north of the small city of Bunia, in a region that has seen horrendous tribal fighting over the past two years. It was not known who committed the killings, or even how they occurred. In the past, warring tribes have accused aid agencies of providing support to one tribe over another. In 1999, the medical relief group Doctors Without Borders closed its operations in the area after staff members were attacked. The victims were killed while traveling to learn the medical and food needs of the local population. They were discovered by Ugandan soldiers, who nominally control the area along with a Ugandan-backed rebel group, the Congolese Liberation Front. The bodies were near two four-wheel drive vehicles clearly marked with large red crosses. The dead were Rita Fox, 36, a nurse from Switzerland; Julio Delgado, 54, a relief worker from Colombia; and four Congolese: drivers Aduwe Boboli, 39, and Jean Molokabonge, 56; Veronique Saro, 33; and Unen Ufoirworth, 29, who worked reuniting families separated by fighting.
IRC 30 Apr 2001 Preliminary Findings Indicate Some Two and a Half Million Deaths in Eastern Congo Conflict - The International Rescue Committee is finalizing a report on mortality in war-torn eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Initial estimates point to a shocking number of deaths as a result of fighting since August 1998. The IRC conducted a mortality survey in five provinces earlier this year and found that there has been an estimated 2.5 million deaths since the outbreak of fighting, in excess of the number that would have occurred using normal baseline mortality rates during this 32-month period. “If anything, the situation is worse than last year, when our previous Congo mortality survey estimated the loss of 1.7 million lives,” said epidemiologist Les Roberts, the IRC’s director of health policy and author of the study. This year’s survey reexamines several areas studied last year and covers three new health zones. Roberts found a stunningly high death rate in nearly all the areas surveyed—with extraordinary losses among children. The 2000 and 2001 surveys both indicate that the overwhelming majority of deaths were related to disease and malnutrition, while a proportionately smaller number were directly attributable to violence. Last year’s survey put the number of such deaths at 200,000. The ongoing fighting has driven hundreds of thousands of people into forests, jungles and other remote areas, where they have no food, medicine or shelter. Health care systems in the region have been decimated and war-affected areas have been largely inaccessible to aid organizations because of the insecurity. The International Rescue Committee hopes that the start of troop withdrawals from eastern Congo, the deployment of UN forces and the reinvigorated peace process will increase access to populations in need. www.theIRC.org o
WP 30 Apr 2001 Death Toll in Congo War May Approach 3 Million Conflict Leaves Trail of Starvation, Disease and Carnage As foreign armies pull back from Congo's farthest reaches and aid agencies move forward, the human toll of the country's 32-month war is being sketched in apocalyptic terms beyond any previously documented in an African conflict. According to a new "death census" conducted by a private American aid agency, the number of lives claimed by the Congo war now approaches 3 million. The survey by the New York-based International Rescue Committee (IRC) was conducted only in the rebel-held eastern half of the country, where most of the fighting and even more of the accompanying hardship has taken place. The toll would almost surely be higher if the government-held western half were included. The survey attributes a relatively small proportion of the deaths -- a few hundred thousand -- to the battles waged by the Congolese army, its rebel foes and troops from the half-dozen other African countries that have fought on both sides of the conflict. The vast majority of deaths have resulted from starvation, disease and deprivation on a scale emerging only as aid workers reach areas that have been cut off by fighting and lack of roads. "People are dying of nothing, of everything," said a worker for Pharmacists Without Borders, after returning from a humanitarian assessment in the Kasai region. Until the IRC sent survey teams into eastern Congo, little was known about the human toll of a war fought largely out of the world's sight. "Things are a little worse than the picture we painted last year," said Les Roberts, an epidemiologist formerly with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who conducted this year's IRC survey and one last year that estimated the death toll in eastern Congo at 1.7 million. "And last year's estimate turns out to have been low." Independent experts who have reviewed both IRC reports say the surveys appear to be sound. Epidemiologists offer two explanations for the extreme numbers: Strife in Africa usually goes unmeasured, and the strife in Congo has gone on for almost three years, perhaps a dozen times longer than the epidemics and carnage that typically produce the stunning death rates that IRC reports.The conflict began in August 1998, when rebels backed by Rwanda and Uganda rose up against Laurent Kabila, then the president of Congo. After Angola, Zimbabwe and Namibia sent troops, warplanes and armor to aid Kabila's army, the war settled into a stalemate that has left the vast country divided roughly in half. An agreement to bring in U.N. peacekeeping troops has moved forward since Kabila's assassination in January put his son, Joseph, in power. The new President Kabila frequently quotes IRC's first death estimate, calling it evidence that "this stupid war" verges on genocide. As assessments of Congo's devastation accumulate, help has been very slow in coming. A January plea from the World Food Program to more than double its Congo food aid to $110 million has been barely one-third funded by rich countries. UNICEF has received just a tenth of the $15 million needed for essential drugs and therapeutic feeding centers. And despite vows of action from Washington that greeted the IRC's first survey, U.S. disaster relief to Congo remains at just $13 million. Halfway through the fiscal year, that sum is already exhausted. In Congo, the hugely elevated mortality rates have continued for 32 months, steadily racking up deaths by the hundreds of thousands across a vast region rendered inaccessible to aid because of fighting and the lack of roads. For its latest estimate, IRC ventured into eight health districts scattered in the five provinces that historically define eastern Congo, an area of 20 million inhabitants. With the help of IRC country director Michael Despines, Roberts selected roughly representative zones that could be reached by plane or secure roads. Asked whether concerns about safety might bias the sample, Roberts said they surely did -- against finding the worst. "What's the main killer of the war? The main killer is people who don't have enough money in their pocket so they can take their kid to the clinic in time." Even so, IRC estimated that 200,000 of the first 1.7 million deaths were by violence, almost all of them civilians. Even as a cease-fire has held on the front lines, massacres have continued behind rebel lines where militias and rebel armies terrorize some of Congo's more densely populated districts, attacking villages on the suspicion inhabitants are helping the other side. Some groups are simply homicidal. The men with wild hair and bushy beards who kicked in the door of Jean Pierre Mushobozi's hut in the village of Buguli one night in November were Hutu extremists from Rwanda, who are associated with the group that carried out the 1994 genocide that killed more than a half-million Rwandan Tutsis and are now fighting for the Congolese government. They slashed to death the two youngest children, slashed the leg of another and carried away the family's goats, hens, money and clothes -- even the spoons. Congo's vast jungles are now populated by untold thousands who no longer feel safe in their homes but are ill equipped for living in the bush. "People hide in the forest," said Claude Jibidar, head of the World Food Program office in Bukavu, capital of South Kivu province, where 380,000 people have been driven from their homes, many into the forest. "You don't really see them. You don't see the bodies." "It's damn rare we see these kinds of hardship," Roberts said, using famines as reference points. "Probably in Somalia in the 1990s when we saw these skinny kids on TV. Probably in Ethiopia in 1984 you saw numbers like that." The IRC's figures are one-third higher than the number of deaths estimated from 18 years of war in Sudan, and three times the most frequently quoted death count for the Biafra conflict of the 1960s.
Reuters April 13 2001 Six paramilitary gendarmes in Ivory Coast have been charged with murder in connection with the massacre of 57 young men during violence after last year's elections, the ruling party's newspaper said on Friday. The bullet-riddled bodies were found in a forest reserve on the outskirts of the main city Abidjan days after a controversial presidential election last October triggered political and ethnic clashes in the West African country. The dead were thought to be mostly from the Muslim north, the heartland of support for former Prime Minister Alassane Ouattara, whose exclusion from the poll was at the root of clashes between his militants and FPI activists. The charges against the gendarmes come at a time when the Ivorian government is trying to prove it has put more than a year of political and ethnic strife firmly behind it. Foreign donors, who froze aid after Ivory Coast's first coup in December 1999, have indicated that its resumption could depend on the punishment of those responsible for last year's violence and the release of political prisoners. In December the United Nations ordered a separate inquiry into the killing, the results of which are not yet known.
BBC 17 Apr 2001 Hundreds of Ethiopian riot police armed with batons and riot shields stormed central Addis Ababa today beating up civilians including women and children. A wing of the Ethiopian police, known as the 'special forces', were called in to break up a riot which erupted when a peaceful demonstration turned into a violent protest. The rioters, who were not students, say they sympathised with the week-long boycott of classes by over 3,000 university students. The students have been demanding the removal of armed police from their campus.
BBC 26 Apr 2001 Ethiopia's released students tell their stories Nita Bhalla hears from some of the thousands of students from Addis Ababa University who were released on Thursday after eight days in detention following riots last week. Most students appeared exhausted and weak as they congregated outside the University campus to retell what they have described as their "unforgettable experience". Family members and other students gathered around to hear first hand of how thousands of students were taken from churches where they sought refuge last Wednesday, and transported in the middle of the night to a police training college in the village of Sendafa, 38 km outside of Addis. The students, who were all male, wore soiled clothes and had bloodshot eyes and looked weary. They say up to 3,000 students were crammed into an assembly hall at the police camp and claim that they were monitored at all times by armed police officers, who beat them severely if they spoke aloud or attempted to communicate with one another. The students say they are innocent and were not involved in any violence or rioting. The riots were Addis Ababa's worst for 10 years The government has accused certain opposition parties of inciting the riots and more than 100 members from the two main opposition parties have so far been arrested. In an attempt to incriminate the parties, the students claim that the police are trying to link the students with the opposition. "We were asked about our ethnic identity, which political party we support and even what newspaper we read," said one student. Despite their release, the students this afternoon were adamant that they would not resume classes. To gain re-admission, students have been asked to fill in a pre-conditional form admitting that they were responsible for the violence which took place last Tuesday and Wednesday. The students are refusing and say they are innocent.
Reuters 9 Apr 2001 Liberia has begun mobilizing thousands of fighters from its 1990s civil war to deal with an upsurge of fighting that has raised fears of a return to widespread bloodshed, military sources said on Monday. The new rebellion in northern Liberia, which erupted last year, is part of a power struggle centered on a remote, diamond-rich corner of West Africa where forces from Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia and several rebel groups are engaged in a brutal, messy war. The military sources said some 15,000 fighters of the now defunct National Patriotic Front of Liberia, which former warlord Charles Taylor led until he won the 1997 presidential election, were being assembled for battle in Monrovia. At least 1,000 people are reported dead there in clashes since last September which Guinea blames on Taylor. At its peak, Taylor's NPFL had an estimated 40,000 fighters. Like all the other factions in Liberia's war, the NPFL was often accused by local people of committing atrocities.
Panafrican News Agency (PANA - Dakar) April 22, 2001 As the 7 May deadline for the coming into effect of the UN sanctions on Liberia draws near, current efforts by Monrovia to avert the sanctions may have failed to impress the UN team that visited the country last week. By resolution 1343 on 7 March, the UN slammed sanctions on Liberia, accusing the country of supporting the rebel Revolutionary United Front (RUF) in its 10-year war against the government of Sierra Leone and using the rebels against other countries in the area. The sanctions, whose take-off date was delayed for two months at the request of ECOWAS, may include a travel ban on the leadership of the country. Liberia has been under a UN arms embargo since 1992. The resolution requires Liberia to expel all members of the RUF from the country, cease financial and military assistance to the rebels and end direct or indirect import of Sierra Leone's rough diamonds not regulated through the Certificate of Origin regime.
WP, April 25, 2001; President Charles Taylor's forces are being bloodied in an escalating border war with Guinea. His country's economy is descending ever deeper into the hole. The United Nations is moving toward imposing stiff sanctions on his government next month. Bad news is everywhere, but none of it seems to faze Taylor, a former warlord accused by the United States and Britain of destabilizing West Africa in general. In response, he is moving his nation to a war footing, stifling dissent and calling up 15,000 veterans of his old guerrilla army to active duty. "Taylor is always at his best when he is cornered," said a diplomat who has dealt with him for years. "He is a warlord at heart, not a politician, so when he has to fight, maneuver and keep everyone off balance, he is in his element." Last week dissident Liberian forces based in Guinea shot and killed a government minister visiting the war front. They also staged several attacks along the border. In a sign of the government's growing concern, Taylor last week mobilized 15,000 veterans of his guerrilla army to return to active military duty, despite an empty treasury. Since the war ended, the army has been left without weapons, communications equipment, transport or pay. Instead, Taylor has relied for security on paramilitary forces led by the Anti-Terrorist Unit, trained by South African mercenaries.
PANA April 20, 2001 From Algiers to Lusaka, 20 Months of Libyan Efforts It has taken 20 months of focus and re-focusing, debate and controversy, under the often sceptical scrutiny of foreign opinion, for the idea of an African Union to gain acceptance. With its institutional framework now set, there is no gainsaying that the dreams of its initiators will soon become a reality. Brought to the fore by the Libyan leader, Col. Moammar Kadhafi during the 35th OAU Algiers summit in July 1999, the idea had initially shocks the entire African diplomats present. The central idea was to transform by positive evolution of the concept of African unity as conceived during the creation of the OAU in 1963, to a more dynamic organisation, capable of preparing the continent to face the demands of globalisation. Once the Treaty of the African Union goes into force, the AU will replace the OAU for good. Let us take a retrospective look at this historic process which, in fact, is a continuation of the cherished African fight for unity initiated more than a century ago and upheld by successive generations of Africans. - 12 JULY 1999, ALGIERS: The Libyan revolutionary leader makes a plea of more than one hour immediately after the official opening ceremony of the 35th OAU summit. Col. Moammar Kadhafi reviews the long struggle of the sons of Africa and the Diaspora since the beginning of the century, for the liberation and subsequent unification of the continent. He proposed that the OAU such as it had been since 1963, should be scrapped and a "Pan African congress" established in its place. In that perspective, he suggested the holding in September 1999 during festivities marking the 30th anniversary of the Libyan revolution, of an OAU extraordinary summit in Sirte, Libya to have an in-depth discussion on the issue. The proposal was approved. . .2 MARCH 2001, SIRTE II: The fifth OAU extraordinary summit ends in Sirte with a solemn declaration for the establishment of the African Union whose birth will be effective 30 days after the submission of the 36th instrument of ratification to the OAU General Secretariat.
Reuters (Middle East Times) 27 Apr 2001 Qadhafi wants Africans to expel whites Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi urged Africans on April 22 to drive white people out of the continent and make them pay compensation for their exploitation of it. "The white colonialists have no place in Africa and their presence is unlawful," said Qadhafi, addressing a gathering of African women activists in Tripoli. Qadhafi, whose remarks were reported by the official Libyan news agency Jana, monitored in Tunis, also urged Africans to rid themselves of the white man's cultural legacy, including language. "This is another battleground before us, to shake off the leftover of the colonialist culture," he said. "Their languages and the colonial culture cannot express our feelings and thoughts, which we can do only by speaking the languages of our forefathers," he added. Qadhafi urged Africans to take their cue from Libya's experience when it expelled some 20,000 Italians during the late 1960s, and to do the same with whites who are still settling in other African states. "We (Africans) demand compensation from them and (then) send them packing because they colonized us and slaughtered us and made the most of our lands during the colonial era," he went on. The 59-year-old Qadhafi is the driving force behind a project to unify the 53 African nations into one state modeled on the United States of America. He hosted the signing of a declaration by 46 African countries in March announcing the birth of an African Union to replace the four-decades-old Organization of African Unity (OAU). Qadhafi said he was amazed to hear some white farmers in Zimbabwe asking for compensation from President Robert Mugabe, who vowed last week to continue his controversial drive to seize white-owned firms for redistribution to blacks. "Colonialist whites exhausted the African land, turned it into desert, destroyed forests and impoverished its soil," said Qadhafi.
Vanguard Daily (Lagos) March 28, 2001 Lagos President of the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), Dr. Frederick Fasehun wants the Federal Government to pay reparations to the victims of  Odi massacre. He was reacting to the reported apology made by President Olusegun Obasanjo over the Odi tragedy. The tragedy should not have happened in the first instance, he said, adding "if it had happened through human error, humans should endeavour to make reparations, not just verbal expression of remorse. The remorse must be genuine; it must be seen to be genuine and it must be a pointer to reparations."
Vanguard (Lagos) April 6, 2001 Former Minister of Sports, Air Commodore Samson Emeka Omeruah (rtd) has declared that only the practice of true federalism where all the federating units control their resources can set Nigeria on the track of actualising its full potentials. The former airforce chief who was reacting to President Olusegun Obasanjo's declaration that the clamour for resource control will lead to another civil war said the gruesome 30 months civil war which rocked the 60s was not the struggle for resource control but because of the genocide committed against the Igbos. The war started because the Igbos were purged, they were being massacred and they didn't know where to go but only to run to their homeland. "There were some argument which were not met and because of disagreement in meeting those agreement there was a civil war. "So it was basically not resource control war. If we know there was so much oil in Igboland as it is now the war would have been highly competitive."
Guardian (Lagos) April 14, 2001 AFTER a late-night attack on Tuesday, villagers in Qundum in Qua'an Pan council area of Plateau state, are protesting. They are seeking justice for the wanton destruction allegedly visited on their homesteads by the Fulani in the community. The villagers who stormed the Jos office of The Guardian claimed that Plateau state government's reference to the face-off as a "communal clash" did not reflect the true situation arguing that it was an incident where the Tiv in the area were singled out for attack. Spokesman for the Tiv in Jos, Mr. Ter Moses said his people in Qundum had fled the area because they could no longer guarantee their safety. Moses described the situation as "unfortunate," and blamed the acting chairman of the local government, Alhaji Mohammed Longsen for trivialising the issue. "The chairman said it was a communal clash whereas it was not. Only Tiv people were killed and their houses burnt. If it was a clash, why is it that nothing of Kwalla was torched or destroyed?" the leader questioned. He said the Kwalla people "targeted us while we were asleep and killed us like fowls. He frowned against a situation where people referred "to us as settlers," saying Tivs have been in Qundum locality before Nigeria's independence". According to Moses," The area was carved out by white settlers in those days and named it Sabon-Gida Gamji because of the stream, while the head of that place was called Bakur, while we still have Sabongida Jirm and Sabongida Magaji populated majorly by Tivs. The spokesman of the fleeing Tiv maintained that in the Qundum crisis one woman had her breast slashed which led to her death at the community's cottage hospital, claiming that no fewer than 20 people (Tivs) died in the raid. All attempts to get comments of the representative of the Fulani in the community proved unsuccessful.
BBC 24 Apr 2001 The heads of Nigeria's army, navy and air force have all retired in what is being seen as a major shake-up of the country's armed forces. The announcement of the retirement of army chief General Victor Malu, navy chief Vice Admiral Victor Ombu and air force chief Vice Marshal Ibrahim Alfa came as a surprise to most Nigerians. Political analysts in Nigeria are saying that the fact that the three men have stepped down at the same time is no coincidence and they may have been forced out. There is speculation that President Olusegun Obasanjo is trying to rid the armed forces of people who may be loyal to the previous military regime. The three men will be replaced by Major-General Ogomudia, who will head the army, Rear Admiral Afolayan, will head the navy and Air Vice-Marshal Wuyep will head the air force.
Guardian (Lagos) April 30, 2001 A spill-over of the violent clash that occurred early this month between Qundum and Tiv communities in Qua'an Pan council has claimed six more lives in Gidan Zuru and Makera Agu in Shendam council of Plateau State. The Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in the area, Yahaya Ogiri, who confirmed the incident, said four men and two women were confirmed dead while several others were wounded in the clash. The clash, which left Gidan Zuru, a predominantly Tiv settlement and Makera Agu, with surrounding villages deserted, is believed to be a spill-over of the conflict that occurred between Qundum and Nyeswe communities in Qua'an Pan local council early this month. The villages were burnt down by some people believed to be Fulanis (Hudawas). According to the witness, "what is however baffling about this uprising is the fact that nobody could identify the real people behind this act of terrorism and the destruction of lives and property." The Hudawas, whose number could not be ascertained, are still believed to be hiding in a thick forest bordering Awe Local council of Nassarawa State and Shendam and Qua'an Pan councils of Plateau State; also believed to be well armed with dangerous weapons. However, a community analyst said that the target of the Hudawas, (the Fulanis), seemed to be the Tiv people who were allegedly said to have killed a prominent Fulani farmer residing in Jirim in Awe local council in Nassarawa State, last year. The decomposed bodies of the six people killed in the early hours of Wednesday were buried in a mass grave in the Gidan Zulu village after post mortem examination by some doctors.
PANA April 2, 2001 Rwanda Rwandan Public Prosecutor Gerard Gahima, has accused Uganda, his country's former ally of assisting "genocide perpetrators" by allegedly granting them passports to avoid being taken to court. Gahima, who made the allegation on Rwandan Radio programme at the weekend, said "they (genocide perpetrators) are in our friendly and neighbouring country, Uganda, where dreadful Rwandan Hutu militiamen, killers known to all, are travelling using their (Ugandan) passports." Gahima also claimed that "many" of the genocide perpetrators were in several other countries. "But there are countries where their numbers are greater. Among these can be cited the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Zambia, France and Belgium," he charged.
PANA April 5, 2001 Rwanda Judicial sources in Kigali say over 20,000 suspects of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda have confessed their crimes since trials got underway in December 1996. The figure, observers noted, is insignificant compared to the 115,000 suspects presently held in Rwandan prisons. Since the opening of the genocide trials, 500 suspects have been condemned to death including 22 who were executed in April 1998, while 700 others were acquitted
ICRC News 5 Apr 2001 Over the last few days, the ICRC has stepped up its aid to Rilima prison, situated in the region of Bugesera, south-east Rwanda. The majority of the 7,400 inmates are being held awaiting trial, but deteriorating hygiene has killed dozens over the last few months. Poor detention conditions and lack of food are accentuating the effects of malaria (endemic in the region), typhus (diagnosis still to be confirmed) and diarrhoea. The ICRC makes regular visits to places of detention in Rwanda, meeting over half the food requirements of 92,000 detainees spread over 19 central prisons. Rwanda is currently trying to deal with the problem of holding 115,000 detainees, most of them accused of involvement in the genocide of April to July 1994. Some 20,000 are being held in village lockups, of which three-quarters are in the provinces of Gitarama and Butare.
BBC 6 Apr 2001 About three-hundred Rwandan exiles have held a demonstration at the Hague to highlight accusations of bias against the International War Crimes Tribunal. The rally was timed to coincide with the seventh anniversary of the shooting down of the plane carrying the Rwandan and Burundian presidents in 1994. The mainly Hutu demonstrators handed in a petition to the tribunal urging its branch in Arusha, in Tanzania, to investigate alleged war crimes by Tutsis as well as Hutus. All the forty-four suspects detained by the court so far are Hutus. The demonstration was organised by a pressure group, the Rally for the Return of Refugees and Democracy.
IRIN April 9, 2001 Rwandan President Paul Kagame has accused the international community of being "unjust and merciless" towards his country. In a speech on Saturday to commemorate the seventh anniversary of the 1994 genocide, broadcast by Rwandan radio, he recalled that the massacres - in which at least 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed - took place "before the eyes of the international community". Today, he said, the international community was accusing Rwanda of being in the DRC to plunder its wealth, rather than for security reasons. "We went to Congo for the sake of Rwandan security," he said. "We went there to make sure that what you see now [memories of the genocide] does not recur. I am saying this because the world is unjust and merciless...They [international community] see us as being in Congo in a search for minerals, and to kill people."
PANA April 9, 2001 Rwandan authorities Monday announced that an arrest warrant has been issued for former prime minister Pierre Celestin Rwigema, who is wanted for genocide crimes he allegedly perpetrated in 1994. Rwigema, 47, from the majority Hutu Republican Party (MDR), was appointed Minister of Education in July 1994 after the then rebel Tutsi-led Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) took over government. He was Rwanda's prime minister since 1995 until January 2000 when a vote of no-confidence by legislators on charges of corruption, misappropriation of public funds and abuse of office forced him to resign. Rwigema is said to have been in charge of security in Biryogo and was coordinating the hunting down of Tutsis by issuing the lists of those to be killed.
AP April 10, 2001, Rwanda delivered an international arrest warrant to the United States for former Prime Minister Pierre-Celestin Rwigema, who is wanted in connection with the 1994 genocide, prosecutors said Tuesday. Rwigema, 47, was forced to resign from office in February 2000 after a parliamentary vote of no-confidence over allegations of corruption and mismanagement. He then fled to the United States and sought asylum, claiming persecution by the government.
BBC 12 Apr 2001 The exiled former Prime Minister of Rwanda, Pierre-Celestin Rwigema, has strongly denied charges from Kigali that he helped organise the 1994 genocide. Speaking in a BBC interview after the Rwandan authorities issued a warrant for his arrest, Mr Rwigema questioned the motives of his accusers. Mr Rwigema is thought not to have done enough to stop the genocide He said such a charge had never been made against him throughout his nearly six years in government, following the mass killings of Tutsis and moderate Hutus. However, Mr Rwigema, a Hutu, said he had faced a politically-motivated attack in Kigali, which forced him to flee. Mr Rwigema, who stepped down as prime minister last year after five years in government, has been seeking asylum in the United States since last June. A warrant for Mr Rwigema was issued last month and Interpol is currently handling the case.
Reuters 11 Apr 2001 The Rwandan government has agreed to hand over to a United Nations tribunal any army officers suspected of committing crimes against humanity during and after its rise to power in 1994, officials have said. State-run Radio Rwanda said President Paul Kagame gave the pledge to the chief prosecutor for the UN's International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, Carla del Ponte, in Kigali on Monday. So far the tribunal has confined itself to trying prominent civil and military leaders of the defeated former Hutu government, as well as members of the notorious Interahamwe militia which led the 1994 massacres. But Hutu opposition organisations and some human rights groups have accused the court of bias for ignoring war crimes committed by the Tutsi-dominated Rwandan Patriotic Front rebels who rose to power in 1994. They ended the genocide and now dominate the government. Late last year Del Ponte said the tribunal might soon issue indictments against Rwandan Tutsis who took revenge in the aftermath of the genocide or while attempting to stop it.
AP April 17, 2001, The United Nations is looking into the legal basis for extraditing a U.N. employee to Rwanda to face charges of alleged involvement in the central African country's 1994 genocide, a U.N. official said. Callixte Mbarushimana was arrested Wednesday in Kosovo, where he had been working for the U.N. mission that has been administering the Serb province since the 1999 NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, U.N. spokesman Fred Eckhard said Monday. He was employed by the U.N. Development Program in Rwanda at the time of the 1994 massacre and is suspected of informing the Hutu Interahamwe militia of the location of Tutsi members of the UNDP, Eckhard said.
Reuters April 27, 2001 A former Rwandan bishop has been arrested in Kenya and taken to a U.N. court in Tanzania to face charges of involvement in Rwanda's 1994 genocide, the court said on Friday. Samuel Musabyimana, 47, was arrested by the Kenyan police in Nairobi on Thursday and was immediately transferred to the detention facility of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in Arusha. ``He is charged with four counts including genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide and crimes against humanity, specifically extermination,'' the ICTR said in a statement. An estimated 800,000 people, mostly ethnic Tutsis, were massacred by Hutu extremists in Rwanda in 1994, after a three and a half year civil war between the Hutu-led government and Tutsi rebels. The indictment against Musabyimana charges that in April and May 1994, in Gitarama prefecture in central Rwanda, he ''publicly stated that the situation for the Tutsi was very bad and that their end had arrived.'' It is also alleged the former Anglican bishop ordered a subordinate to register refugees arriving at his Shyogwe diocese according to their ethnic groups. ``The list of refugees was later used to select Tutsi refugees who were taken to nearby sites to be killed,'' the statement said. Musabyimana is also accused of paying the marauding Hutu militia who carried out the killings. Rwanda's government, which came to power to end the genocide in 1994, welcomed the arrest. ``We have enthusiastically hailed the arrest of Bishop Musabyimana,'' Justice Minister Jean de Dieu Mucyo said. ``This is just one of the many genocide criminals of different denominations who are scot-free in Western countries, notably Belgium, France, Italy, and Switzerland,'' he said. Musabyima fled Rwanda after the genocide. He was originally arrested in South Africa in September 2000 on immigration charges, but was later deported to Kenya where he escaped. An arrest warrant against Musabyimana was issued by the Tribunal on March 13, 2001.
Hirondelle News Agency (Arusha) April 30, 2001 Rwanda plans to create some 11,000 grassroots courts with between 250,000 and 300,000 elected judges when it launches its so-called gacaca project, said Vice-President of the Supreme Court in charge of Gacaca Aloysie Cyanzayire in a radio debate on Sunday. The long awaited gacaca project is based on an ancient form of traditional justice. An "organic law" laying down the workings of the system has been approved by parliament and by the country's Constitutional Court. It was published in the Official Journal of March 15th, 2001, meaning that it has now come into force. The government hopes gacaca will help resolve Rwanda's chronic problem of prison overcrowding, promote national reconciliation and speed up the pace of genocide trials. At the current rate of about 1,000 per year, dealing with all genocide and crimes against humanity cases would take more than a century. Cyanzayire said on Sunday that gacaca should last only five years. Last March, Cyanzayire said that gacaca judges could be elected at the end of May or beginning of June this year "if all goes well". She said one of the conditions would be publication of all the necessary legal texts. In particular, a presidential decree is still needed to define how elections for gacaca jurisdictions (General Assembly, Seat of 19 judges and Coordinating Committee) will be organized. Justice Minister Jean de Dieu Mucyo said in the same debate on Sunday that the bill was being finalized and would shortly be presented to the cabinet for approval. The President of the Supreme Court must also publish the operating rules for the gacaca courts. Training gacaca judges Before taking up their posts, the gacaca judges, who will not be trained lawyers, are to benefit from short training sessions in their home areas. The original idea was to run such courses simultaneously throughout the country. However, Cyanzayire said that would require more than 3,000 trainers and had proved impossible. She added that some one thousand trainers would now be available, including career magistrates, lawyers, law professors and students, and that they would themselves need some preparatory training. In March, Cyanzayire said that the election of the judges could be followed by their training in July and August and that gacaca courts could begin their work around the end of September. Before proceeding with trials, they will have to draw up lists of genocide suspects, categorize the suspects and collect evidence. Some 125, 000 people are currently held in Rwandan jails, of whom 115,000 are accused of genocide and crimes against humanity. Since 1996, Rwandan law has divided such suspects into four categories. Gacaca courts will be responsible for trying suspects classed in Categories Two, Three and Four. Category One suspects will still be answerable to the existing national courts. A new, updated Category One list published three weeks ago contains 2,898 names. Category One consists of "planners, organizers, instigators, supervisors and leaders of the crime of genocide or of crimes against humanity", perpetrators of sexual torture or violence, and notorious murderers whose criminal acts were marked by "zeal or excessive malice". Category Two consists of "persons whose criminal acts or whose acts of criminal participation place them among the perpetrators, conspirators or accomplices of intentional homicide or of serious attacks" which caused death or were intended to cause death. Category Three is of those who allegedly committed or were accomplice to serious attacks, without the intention of causing death to victims, while Category Four is of people suspected of "having committed offences against assets". Justice Minister Mucyo said the first gacaca trials would concentrate on suspects who had pleaded guilty and confessed their crimes. In March, the minister said that 20,000 prisoners had confessed to genocide and crimes against humanity. Gacaca court files are to be kept at administrative offices at the sector level, but out of 1,500 sectors countrywide, only 500 so far have suitable offices. Cyanzayire said the government had promised to make sure that every sector was provided with suitable premises for the files. She said that the transport of prisoners would require a large amount of vehicles and fuel.
BBC 7 Apr 2001, The Senegalese President, Abdoulaye Wade, has said the former President of Chad, Hissene Habre, must leave the country. "We have given him 30 days to leave Senegal," President Wade told Sud FM radio in Dakar, the Senegalese capital. But he said Senegal had not been given sufficient evidence by the Chadian Government for the courts to prosecute Mr Habre for alleged crimes against humanity. The case against Mr Habre, who has been in exile in Senegal since he fled Chad in 1990, has drawn comparisons with that of former Chilean President Augusto Pinochet, who avoided a trial abroad following a legal battle in the United Kingdom.
Agence France-Presse (AFP) 4 Apr 2001 The Sierra Leonean government and the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebel group appear more upbeat than ever that an end to the 10-year-old bloody civil war is at hand. RUF's traditional backer, Liberian President Charles Taylor, he added, was also succumbing to international sanctions and telling the rebels to talk peace. Taylor is accused of supplying arms to the RUF in return for "blood diamonds" mined from RUF-controlled areas in northern and eastern Sierra Leone. Spencer said RUF had split, with one faction, headed by Issa Sesay, ready for peace and a smaller group "of die-hard Foday Sankoh loyalists and Charles Taylor surrogates bent on continuing in the same path." RUF leader Sankoh, a hardliner, is currently in jail in Freetown. A UN Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) official said a big obstacle to peace in the west African country was that junior Defence Minister Hinga Norman was promoting the Kamajors -- a ragtag force comprised mainly of illiterate peasants -- to promote his own interests. "He is pushing them as a support base and preparing them for an eventual induction in the army," the official said.
ICG 11 Apr 2001 Sierra Leone is a human tragedy of massive proportions that is rapidly becoming a security nightmare for all West Africa. Two-thirds of Sierra Leone’s population are thought to have been displaced during the ten-year civil war. Another 600,000 have become refugees in neighbouring countries. The war is spilling over into Guinea, where heavy fighting since September 2000 threatens the collapse of the government and has already produced a massive, new refugee problem. In effect, Sierra Leone is now at the heart of a series of conflicts that risk forming an arc of violence from southern Senegal to the Ivory Coast. ICG believes the international community needs to take a radically different approach to that in which it has engaged so far. There should be no further negotiations with the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) other than for its complete disarmament and demobilisation. If the international community does not make a substantial commitment to help Sierra Leone resolve both its military and political problems now, however, it is all too easy to foresee the contagion of violence spreading out of control in West Africa much as has happened in Central Africa. RECOMMENDATIONS: To the UN Security Council 1) Abandon the Lomé Agreement and make no further deals with the RUF. 2) Call for immediate surrender of the RUF and, against those who refuse, support the threat and eventual use of military force by the Sierra Leone army, supported by the UK. 3) Give UNAMSIL a tougher mandate to occupy and protect areas liberated by the SLA and harmonise its objectives with the UK and with West African heads of state. 4. Impose targeted sanctions on Charles Taylor’s regime in Liberia -- involving visa restrictions, freezing of bank accounts and the like -- in order to persuade it to end its support for the RUF. 5. Provide adequate financing so that the Special Court established under UN Security Council Resolution 1315 of August 2000 can begin to investigate and prosecute those responsible for war crimes and a Sierra Leone Truth and Reconciliation Commission can start operations. 6. Support Demobilisation and Reintegration Programs for RUF and government militia (CDF) combatants. 7. Commit to a continuing international role in Sierra Leone, which may need to last five or more years, to assist the Sierra Leone government constitute a more reliable army, re-establish good governance, and restore its shattered society. http://www.intl-crisis-group.org/
AP April 18, 2001, The United Nations has been unsuccessful in raising the millions of dollars needed to finance a war crimes tribunal to try those responsible for atrocities during the West African nation's civil war, a U.N. spokesman said. Secretary-General Kofi Annan sent a letter on March 23 asking for funds for the tribunal, but so far no pledges have been received and Britain is the only country to announce its intention to make a contribution – $715,000, spokesman Farhan Haq said Tuesday. The operating cost for the tribunal is estimated at roughly $30 million a year, he said. Last August, the Security Council asked Secretary-General Kofi Annan to negotiate an agreement with Sierra Leone to create a joint war crimes tribunal, to be based in the country's capital, Freetown. Foday Sankoh, imprisoned leader of the Revolutionary United Front, is expected to be among the first people tried by the international court for crimes dating back to 1996.
AFP 27 Apr 2001 Sierra Leone's rebel Revolutionary United Front (RUF) has accused pro-government Kamajor militiamen and Guinean troops of renewed attacks against rebel positions in the east of the country, state radio said Friday. In protest against attacks in the rebel-held Kono district, the RUF on Thursday snubbed talks which were to have been held with government officials at Lunsar, 80 kilometres (50 miles) east of the capital. The rebels, who hold much of the country's diamond territories, in March authorised UN peacekeepers monitoring a fragile peace pact to deploy in Lunsar.
ICRC 5 Apr 2001 As part of a programme to incorporate international humanitarian law into the training of the Sudanese armed forces, 40 Sudanese Air Force officers – mainly fighter pilots – attended a law of war course in Khartoum at the end of March. The course was organized by the ICRC delegation in Sudan and given by an Indian instructor specialized in this type of training. The seminar – the first of its kind for the Sudanese Air Force – examined humanitarian law issues, focusing on the rules of air warfare and the responsibilities of commanders.
IRIN April 6, 2001 Two Kenyan nationals working with the US humanitarian agency Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) were handed over to the Kenyan ambassador on 31 March, in Khartoum. The release followed a plea by the visiting Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi to the Sudanese President Umar al-Bashir. They were released by the militia on 16 March, but were then held in government "safe house" until Saturday. According to official sources, the humanitarian workers were held for being in the country "without proper visas".
AFP 8 Apr 2001 A ship carrying 23,200 tonnes of wheat has been diverted to Sudan from a neighboring country amid heightened efforts to avert a new Sudanese famine, the World Food Program (WFP). In a report, the WFP warned that it was running out of food aid supplies and appealed to the international community to provide more than 100 million dollars in assistance over the next year. UN officials are asking donors to act swiftly to avoid a repeat of the famine that left around 250,000 people dead in 1985 and the devastating food crisis that hit war-torn Bahr al-Ghazal in 1998.
IRIN April 23, 2001 A plane carrying relief for the Nuba Mountains was bombed on 16 April at Kawdah (11.06N 30.31E) airstrip. A press release by the Italian NGO Koinonia Community said government planes dropped a total of about 14 bombs in three attacks, killing one person and injuring two. The first attack took place when hundreds of civilians had gathered at the airstrip around a relief plane on the ground. The arrival of a second plane carrying relief masked the noise of the approaching bomber, the press release said. The pilot of the approaching relief plane aborted the landing, and escaped unharmed, as did the plane on the ground, which took off immediately with its passengers. Kawdah airstrip is in an area controlled by the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA). The airstrip was described by the NGO as a vital link for civilians and the SPLA. "For a long time, relief organisations, human rights groups and churches have been pushing to gain access to the Nuba Mountains to deliver food and other relief supplies," the NGO said in the press release. The Sudan government has denied that government air force bombers attacked the Kawdah airstrip.
AFP 20 Apr 2001 The Sudanese government denied Friday reports that it had twice bombed civilians earlier this week, killing two of them, as they were gathered at an airstrip in the Nuba Mountains of central Sudan. Army spokesman General Mohamed Beshir Suleiman also denied rebel Sudanese People's Liberation Army (SPLA) claims that it has seized control of five areas in the Sudan's southeastern Blue Nile province after battles that killed hundreds of government troops. SPLA spokesman Samson Kwaje said Wednesday that two people -- Yusuf Hassan and El-Amin Kuku -- died when Antonov planes dropped 14 bombs at Kauda airstrip near a Roman Catholic missionary school two days earlier. On Tuesday, the Antonov planes again dropped eight bombs at Changaru, near the airstrip, wounding a student named Salah Hassan, Kwaje said. General Suleiman said Kwaje allegations were "baseless." Meanwhile, referring to the rebel claims about Blue Nile, General Suleiman said only that an "army reconnaissance unit had clashed with rebels at an SPLA position" in the province." He said the unit had successfully completed its mission of collecting intelligence on rebel arms and materiel.
IRIN April 23, 2001 A Sudanese plane dropped 16 bombs in and around the southern Sudanese town of Narus, Eastern Equatoria, on 22 April, Catholic church sources said. Two bombs landed in Narus marketplace and another two hit the church school, destroying adjacent buildings. According to the sources, one child was evacuated to a Kenyan hospital in critical condition, and two people sustained minor injuries.
IRIN 30 Apr 2001 The official Sudanese government spokesman, Information Minister Ghazi Salah al-Din al-Atabani, has expressed satisfaction at approach of the new US administration. "This is the first time that the US is adopting a direct approach to Sudan since 1998," Muhammad Dirdeiry, spokesman for the Sudanese Embassy in Nairobi, told IRIN. US Secretary of State Colin Powell set three conditions for relations with Sudan to improve, Reuters reported on 26 April. He said Sudan would have to cooperate with the US on a peace plan for the south, which could lead to "a higher level of US representation" in Sudan. 1) Khartoum would have to stop the aerial bombardment of southern towns and villages, and 2) ease restrictions on humanitarian relief to the south. 3) The US would like to see the Sudan get rid of "any vestiges of terrorist organisations within the country". Powell was testifying before the appropriations sub-committee of the House of Representatives' Commerce, Justice, State and Judiciary Committee. He told the panel that the Bush administration "have developed a road map on how to approach the authorities in Khartoum", according to Reuters. The sub-committee chairman, Frank Wolf, who visited southern Sudan in January, showed Powell a video on the effects of Sudanese air force bombings and urged him to name a special envoy for Sudan, Reuters reported. Powell, however, told the panel that "before you name someone you have to have a clear policy for that person to carry out, and we are still coming up with that policy", according to Reuters. Dirdeiry told IRIN that Sudan welcomed US involvement in the Sudanese peace process, but wanted the sanctions imposed on it lifted. He said that before there was any such US involvement, Sudan should be removed from the US State Department's list of states sponsoring terrorism.
Tanzania - ICTR
Pana (Arusha) April 3, 2001 American legal figure Ramsey Clark is at the ICTR to represent Elizaphan Ntakirutimana, an elderly Rwandan pastor about to face trial for genocide and crimes against humanity at the ICTR. On Monday Clark told the tribunal judges that the court itself is not independent, that it threatens detainees' fundamental rights and should not have been created by the UN Security Council under article VII of the UN Charter, which he calls "a war powers act." Far from denying the horrors of 1994, he sees the current one- sided prosecution as a manipulation of history, a rewriting of history using courts to serve a particular political agenda. That agenda serves the UN, and whether by accident or design, the current Rwandan government. And underlying that government's will, and UN politics, Clark sees the American government's foreign policy agenda as a primary driver. During our conversation Clark elaborates on the political and legal allegations in his motion and oral arguments, which highlight many of the legal issues that run through the other cases he has worked on recently, and which he sees recurring in US foreign policy. Considering Iraq, Clark talks about what he perceives as genocide against the Iraqi people through sanctions initiated and enforced by the US. He has lobbied the UN General Assembly and Security Council, visited Iraq and Turkey many times, and led an International Inquiry into war crimes committed in Iraq, to try to end what he sees as massive, needless suffering on the part of innocent Iraqis, in particular, women, children, and elderly civilians. The situation of Iraqi civilians is analogous to that of the Rwandan Hutu for Clark, in that they are being made to pay with lives or in criminal court in support of the moral victors in the war against their criminal leaders. Clark has spent much of the 1990s trying to convince the UN that the United States, along with several European countries are responsible for genocide in Iraq, as they use sanctions as the ultimate tool of persecution, targeting a large group of people based on their nationality.
NYT 26 Apr 2001 Two new judges have been added to the war crimes tribunal for Rwanda, raising the number to 11 and allowing the court to reinforce its appeals chamber. The new judges are Winston Churchill Matanzima Maqutu of the Lesotho High Court, and Arlette Ramaroson, former president of the criminal chamber of the Madgascar Supreme Court. The tribunal was set up after the 1994 genocide in which at least 500,000 Rwandans died. Barbara Crossette
AP 30 Apr 2001 Uganda's president withdrew on Sunday from a peace accord designed to end Congo's 2 1/2 -year civil war, infuriated by a U.N. report accusing his nation and other parties in the conflict of plundering Congo's vast natural resources. The United Nations is helping broker an end to the war, which now involves five foreign armies and has left the Congolese government holding just 40 percent of a country the size of Western Europe. Aid workers say the conflict is indirectly responsible for the deaths of at least 1 million Congolese and the displacement of 2 million more. Uganda's withdrawal could give the Congolese rebels it backs less incentive to stick to the peace agreement, reached in Lusaka, Zambia in 1999 by all warring sides. It could also enable Uganda to arm those rebels, unrestrained by the accord's prohibition on further military aid. But Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni also reiterated his commitment to pulling his troops from neighboring Congo, saying now that they have defeated Ugandan rebels operating there, it was time for his forces to leave. Museveni said his decision was motivated by an April 16 U.N. report that implicated his country, members of his government and his family in the alleged plundering of resources from Congo. The report called for sanctions against Uganda and Rwanda and the prosecution of their leaders and rebel leaders for economic crimes. ``The U.N. report does not only distort the source of the conflict in the Great Lakes region and malign us, but they also seek to destroy the Lusaka peace agreement. The report is in the main, shoddy, malicious and a red herring,'' Museveni said in a statement in the government-owned New Vision newspaper. ``Genocide, terrorism and disenfranchising the Congolese people are causes of this problem, not minerals,'' he said. Congo has vast deposits of key minerals, including diamonds, copper, cobalt, gold and coltan — a natural alloy of columbite and tantalite used to manufacture high-tech electronics. It also has large forests for timber. Museveni said his army will remain on the mountain slopes overlooking the Congo border to flush out any rebel incursions. He left open the possibility his troops may return to Congo if he decides they are needed there. In his statement, Museveni also cited the region's chaos and the world's ``indifference.'' ``Owing to the indifference to Africans suffering in the world, owing to ideological confusion and fragmentation in Africa where you cannot tell who is an enemy and who is a friend, I have decided to ... withdraw completely from Congo and also from the Lusaka peace process,'' Museveni said.
Toronto Star Apr. 12, 2001 Leon Mugesera, a man accused of inciting a 1994 massacre in Rwanda is not a war criminal and can remain in Canada, a federal judge said Thursday as he urged a review of the man's deportation case. Mugesera, who had been ordered deported by two immigration board tribunals, cleared a major hurdle in his bid to stay in Canada but could still eventually be forced to leave. Federal Court Justice Marc Nadon said one of the tribunals erred in its ruling that Mugesera should face charges of crimes against humanity. He also asked the lower tribunal of the immigration board to review its claim that Mugesera helped incite hatred and genocide. Deportation proceedings against Mugesera's wife and five children must be halted immediately, Nadon ordered. Nadon concluded there is no proof linking the speech to about 800,000 murders in the spring of 1994. He said the appeals tribunal of the immigration board should re-examine two conclusions it made. The first was that, although the speech may not have caused the deaths, it may have incited genocide. The other was that the speech incited hatred. It had been expected that Nadon's ruling would be the final step in Mugesera's long fight to stay in Quebec City, where he has lived since coming to Canada in 1993. The government can still appeal to the Federal Court of Appeals, said a spokesman for the federal Citizenship and Immigration Department. ''We are evaluating all our options,'' said department spokesman Rene Mercier. ''I want to underline that for war crimes and crimes against humanity, our position is not to accept these people in Canada.'' In his 1992 speech in Rwanda, Mugesera, an adviser to a Rwandan cabinet minister, implied that Hutus needed to cut Tutsi throats before Tutsis cut theirs and referred to Tutsis as Inyenzis, an ethnic slur. Mugesera wasn't in the country when three months of killings were sparked April 6, 1994, when Rwandan president Juvenal Habyarimana died as his plane was shot down.
AP April 1, 2001 The victims show up most mornings along streets or in grassy gullies. They are typically young men shot five or six times in the head – a trademark, officials say, of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, known as the AUC. Already this year, police have recorded nearly 200 homicides, compared with 570 for all of last year. The landowner-backed AUC previously operated mostly against rural villages. But the group is now believed to control about 80 percent of the neighborhoods of Barrancabermeja, a city of 300,000 people that processes three-fourths of the country's petroleum and was for decades a guerrilla stronghold. The assault on Barranca follows AUC advances in smaller towns and villages throughout a large northeastern region along the Magdalena River that was the cradle of the National Liberation Army, Colombia's second-largest guerrilla group. The AUC first stormed into a poor Barranca neighborhood in May 1998, killing seven people at a street fair and taking 25 others away in trucks. The prisoners were "tried" as rebel sympathizers and executed, the AUC later announced. Such massacres have now given way to selective assassinations, with rebels themselves taking part in the slaughter, officials and human rights monitors said. Offered guns, cell phones and a $250 monthly salary – more than they ever earned as guerrillas – dozens of rebels have defected to the paramilitaries and identified former comrades.
BBC 16 Apr 2001, . Initial reports said that about 50 villagers had been killed, but a local official later put the number at "about 25", including several children. Rebels from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc), the country's largest guerrilla group, raided the village of Caucana in northern Antioquia Province, following skirmishes with right-wing paramilitaries. They used guns and domestic gas canisters packed with explosives to attack a petrol station and other buildings, leaving only smoking ruins where the village used to stand, local mayor Angel Gomez told Caracol radio. Meanwhile, human rights investigators have arrived in a remote mountain area in south-western Colombia where as many as 30 civilians were reported to have been killed by the AUC last week. The massacre is said to have taken place at the town of Alto Naya, 650km (406 miles) south-west of Bogota. Human rights groups accuse the AUC, which is believed to have more than 6,000 fighters nationwide, of committing most of the massacres and other atrocities in an increasingly brutal civil conflict that has claimed more than 35,000 lives in the past decade. Both the AUC and their opponents are suspected of receiving substantial funds from the cocaine trade.
AP April 21 2001 Colombia Massacre Warnings Unheeded - As searchers comb mountain hamlets for the bodies of those killed in an Easter week chain saw massacre, fresh charges have surfaced that Colombia's U.S.-backed military is turning a blind eye to rightist paramilitary violence. Documents and statements by human rights workers suggest that top defense officials and army units stationed in the area of the massacre in western Cauca State had advance warning that the attack on villagers might occur. The military army contends it did all it could to prevent what may turn out to be the largest massacre in the South American country this year. Officials estimate that as many as 40 people were killed. But some say the three-day paramilitary rampage though a swath of high Andean villages demonstrates a pattern established in dozens of previous cases. ``It's a very similar situation,'' said Armando Borrero, a former national security adviser [under President Pastrana's predecessor, Ernesto Samper] who heads a $1 million U.S.-funded project to create an ``early warning system'' to stop attacks before they occur. ``The massacre is announced. There is information. But at the moment it occurs apparently no (troops) are in the area where the danger was the greatest.''
AP 30 Apr 2001 Claiming a major strike against rightist paramilitary groups, Colombia's military said it had killed three members of a rightist militia and captured 58 others involved in a gruesome Easter week massacre of dozens of villagers. The military cited the crackdown Monday as proof that security forces are fighting the right-wing United Self Defense Forces of Colombia, or AUC, as well as leftist guerrillas. The operations show the ``total commitment of the Colombian government and its armed forces to combat all of the illegal groups, independent of their ideology,'' Defense Minister Luis Fernando Ramirez told reporters in Bogota. Ramirez said it was the largest single capture of AUC fighters on record and raised the number of paramilitaries arrested this year to 320, equal to the number captured all of last year. He claimed an entire paramilitary front had been ``practically dismantled'' in the operation, in which marines reportedly clashed on six occasions with the AUC. Earlier in the day, reporters flown to a naval base on Colombia's Pacific coast were shown 17 of the detainees, young men accused of belonging to the AUC. The AUC has admitted it carried out the slaughter in mountain hamlets in Cauca state. Human rights officials say as many as 40 villagers were killed after being accused of collaborating with leftist guerrillas. Some were attacked with chain saws, the officials said. The massacre, one of the largest this year, raised fresh criticism that the U.S.-backed military is turning a blind eye to paramilitary violence. Human rights and refugee officials had warned the army repeatedly that a massacre might occur. Defending his troops, army chief Gen. Jorge Mora said Monday that he did not have enough troops to ``be in every part of country we would like to be.'' Ramirez, the defense minister, promised the massacre would ``not remain in impunity'' - as do so many killings by all factions involved in Colombia's 37-year conflict. Military officials deny there are any systematic links between the armed forces and the paramilitaries, who have massacred thousands in a ``dirty war'' against suspected leftists.
BBC 30 Apr 2001, A Guatemalan human rights group says it believes it has found bones belonging to sixty four victims of a massacre dating back to May 1982. The organisation, the Mutual Support Group, said on Sunday that remains had been found in nineteen communal graves near the village of San Antonio Sinache north of the capital, Guatemala City. The group said the victims are believed to have been murdered by the army together with local villagers who had been formed into so-called "civil self-defence patrols". It said that they appeared to have been tortured, attacked with both machetes and gun fire and in some cases raped before being killed and then burnt.
Reuters April 25 Guyanan President Bharrat Jagdeo and opposition leader Desmond Hoyte have agreed to work to halt racially motivated violence that has shaken this South American nation since an election in March. After a meeting in Georgetown late Tuesday, the two political rivals issued a statement in which Hoyte's People's National Congress Reform coalition recognized the government of Jagdeo's People's Progressive Party/Civic alliance. The March 19 election victory of Jagdeo's party, which is backed by the country's Indo-Guyanese majority, sparked a series of anti-government protests from ethnic African supporters of the PNC in this poor country where racial tensions run high. A woman died from gunshot wounds in the disturbances over the last month, in which property was set on fire and destroyed. ``The two parties accept that violence ought not to be part of any protest and will work toward the lessening of tensions,'' said the declaration by Hoyte, a 72-year-old former president, and Jagdeo, 37. On the eve of Tuesday's meeting, police reported violence outside opposition headquarters after party officials said gunmen opened fire on the complex. PNC militants overturned and burned a bus and damaged two others but no injuries were reported. While Hoyte's opposition party formally recognized the government elected in last month's poll, which was supervised by international observers, it reserved the right to challenge the election result in court.
Times of India 29 Apr 2001 Guyana's Indian community has come under increasing attacks since President Bharrat Jagdeo returned to power in March, with the opposition People's National Congress (PNC) saying the Caribbean nation should not be ruled by an "Indian party." Senior officials at India's foreign ministry, who are monitoring the situation closely, feel the stepped up violence is part of the poll hangover and would taper off. "This sort of attacks have always been there, but their intensity appears to have gone up. It is not anyway as alarming as what happened in Fiji," one official remarked. People of Indian origin make up for 50 per cent of Guyana's seven million population. The return to power of Jagdeo's Progressive People's Party (PPP), which has its support base among the Indian community, has been a bitter blow to his rival and PNC veteran Desmond Hoyte, whose predominantly Afro-Guyanese party has been in political wilderness since being voted out of office in 1992. The March 17 defeat is the third consecutive electoral setback for the PNC, and has triggered a minor revolt against the aging Hoyte's leadership, particularly from the younger generation who want him to "move over." There have also been reports of defection by some senior PNC leaders to PPP. Hoyte, who had threatened a "slow fire" before the elections, called for "more fire" after he lost the election in what is seen as an attempt to divert criticism about his leadership. According to reports from Georgetown, Indian-owned business blocks around the capital went up in flames after the elections results were announced. Gangs of Afro-Guyanese indulged in violence against the Indian community.The PPP government is in a quandary. If it calls in the security forces, the move could boomerang because the police and the security forces are largely composed of Afro-Guyanese who may well take the side of the attackers, going by the country's record of ethnic relations. The Indians, who were taken by the British as indentured labour to work in the island's plantations, were mostly from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. The Afro-Guyanese form about 32 percent of the population, the rest belong to mixed races. The Indian community has undergone remarkable transformation since its arrival in the country and today controls most of the economy. There is anger among members of the Indian community against the government for its failure to control the violence and its seeming unwillingness to help the victims, almost all of whom had voted for the PPP. And there have been charges of ethnic cleansing and comparisons with Yugoslavia and criticism of black leaders for not doing much to end it. PNC supporters who set ablaze dozens of Indian-owned businesses spared African-owned businesses. Some Indian PNC supporters also fell victim to the attackers. Indian officials said the situation was unlikely to go out of hand as the recent Quebec Summit of Americas had made it clear that any overthrow of lawfully elected governments of the 34 member nations would attract punitive measures and exclusion from the free trade area the summit proposes to establish by 2005.
April 20 2001 The Mexican army finished closing seven bases in the conflict-torn state of Chiapas on Friday in a key step toward the resumption of peace talks between the government and Zapatista rebels. The Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) took up arms in the impoverished southern state in 1994, saying it was defending the rights of Mexico's 10 million Indians. Before the rebels would agree to resuming stalled peace talks, they demanded the closure of the seven army bases, along with the liberation of Zapatista prisoners and Congress' passage of an Indian rights bill. ``With these actions, the federal government is advancing toward meeting the demands made by the EZLN for renewing dialogue and peace negotiations,'' government peace commissioner Luis H. Alvarez said. The EZLN guerrilla war lasted only about 10 days in early 1994, but peace talks stalled, and the state has seen a tense standoff between rebels and the military. Violence also continues to plague Chiapas, which has a large indigenous population and simmering disputes over land and resources that often pit Zapatista supporters against backers of the PRI or the state's powerful landowners. On Thursday, eight Chiapas peasants died in an ambush, officials said. In a radio interview on Friday, Gov. Pablo Salazar said officials were investigating three possible motives for the crime. One theory was that it was part of a long-standing rivalry between three groups with conflicting land claims, he said. Salazar said there was no reason to believe the massacre was related to the army's withdrawal.
AP 30 Apr 2001 Mexico's Zapatista rebels broke off all contacts with the government Thursday and called upon supporters to protest against an Indian rights bill that he says fails to meet rebels' demands. Subcomandante Marcos said the bill, modified by the Senate and passed by both houses of Congress last week, weakened clauses guaranteeing autonomy and self-determination contained in accords reached in 1996 by Zapatistas and members of a government peace commission. ``With this reform, federal legislators and the Fox government close the door to dialogue and peace,'' Marcos said in a communique issued from the rebel's jungle base in the southern state of Chiapas. ``It sabotages the incipient process of reconciliation between the government and the Zapatista National Liberation Army.'' Marcos also lambasted President Vicente Fox for praising the bill. ``In this way Fox demonstrates that he only pretended to make the initial agreement his, while he negotiated with hardline sectors of Congress a reform that doesn't recognize the rights of the indigenous communities.'' The Zapatistas want regional autonomy for Indian areas on issues like native languages and traditional government and law based on councils of elders or village assemblies. In Congress' version of the bill, autonomy would be more locally based, and state legislatures would have to enact those customs into law. The original version also established Indians' communal rights to land and natural resources. Congress inserted language protecting private land holdings in Indian areas and said Indians would have preference, but not sole rights, to natural resources in their territories. The Zapatistas launched a short-lived revolution in the name of Indian rights on Dec. 1, 1994. More than 140 people died in 12 days of fighting. While the rebels have not been a major military threat since, they have mounted a successful campaign to demand that Mexico rethink its treatment of its 10 million Indians. Passage of the bill was one of the three conditions established by the Zapatistas to reopen peace talks with the government. Submitting the bill to Congress was Fox's first official act after taking office in December. Last Wednesday, the Senate unanimously passed a modified version. The lower house of Congress overwhelmingly approved it Saturday. Salazar, the Chiapas governor elected by a coalition of political parties including Fox's National Action Party and the leftist Democratic Revolution Party, also rejected the bill Thursday, saying it represented a ``triumph for conservatism'' in Mexico.
AP April 2, 2001; A lawmaker on Monday asked Congress to investigate disgraced former President Alberto Fujimori for possible links to a paramilitary death squad blamed for two massacres and human rights abuses. Congresswoman Anel Townsend filed a "constitutional denunciation" against Fujimori for murders and disappearances committed by the Colina death squad, which human rights groups say was formed by his fugitive ex-spy chief Vladimiro Montesinos. Fujimori's 10-year autocratic rule ended in November after he fled to Japan, his parents' homeland, amid mounting corruption scandals surrounding Montesinos. Colina group members are widely blamed for the 1991 killings of 15 people in a tenement building in Lima's Barrios Altos district. For years, they were protected from prosecution under a 1995 military and police amnesty used to secure their release from prison for the 1992 assassinations of nine students and a professor at La Cantuta University.
Reuters April 8 Peruvians voted for a new president on Sunday to replace disgraced former leader Alberto Fujimori , but the poll pitting an ethnic Andean Indian against a lawyer and a failed ex-president was not expected to produce an outright winner and instead go to a second-round showdown. Peru's 14.9 million voters, many of whom have trekked by canoe and donkey from remote highland and jungle areas to polling stations across the country, have until 4:00 p.m. to vote for a new leader and Congress. Surveys show Alejandro Toledo, a centrist free-marketeer of Andean Indian descent, is up to 15 percentage points ahead of right-of-center ex-congresswoman Lourdes Flores, with leftist ex-President Alan Garcia trailing by around three points in a race for second place that is too close to call. Polls show five other minority candidates have no hope of winning. They also show most Peruvians expect Toledo, whose humble ethnic roots have struck a chord in this Andean country, where half of the 26 million people live in poverty, to become their next president even if a run-off is tight.
NewsFactor Network March 30, 2001 IBM Holocaust Lawsuit Dropped IBM, led by chairman and CEO Lou Gerstner, had been the subject of a lawsuit alleging that its German subsidiary used its tabulating machinery to help Adolf Hitler persecute victims of the Holocaust. The lead attorney for five plaintiffs who last month sued IBM for "knowingly suppl[ying] technology used to catalog death camp victims and aid[ing] in [their] persecution, suffering, and genocide" has agreed to drop the case. Michael D. Hausfeld, the plaintiff's attorney, told news sources Thursday that the case would be dropped so that his clients, all Holocaust survivors, would be able to collect from the compensation fund jointly established by the German government and German businesses. Last July, the German government and the country's business community jointly established the "Remembrance, Responsibility and Future" foundation to oversee the compensation plan funds, said to amount to approximately US$5 billion. Hausfeld said that the U.S. State Department promised to renew its efforts to obtain all the materials IBM archived during its period of apparent complicity with the Nazi regime from 1933 to 1945. Said the State Department's Boucher: "The United States strongly supports the opening of all archives, public and private, relating to the Holocaust era in order to facilitate further research and encourage greater understanding of the Holocaust and its historical context." Added Hausfeld: "If IBM opens their archives and turns all their materials over to us, that satisfies our objective." IBM has already donated more than 10,000 pages of documents delineating the company's Nazi dealings to Hohenheim University in Germany and to New York University. Edwin Black, whose book "IBM and the Holocaust" was published in February in tandem with Hausfeld's lawsuit, has asserted that there are probably 100,000 or more documents "scattered in basements and corporate archives around the United States and Europe."
AP April 11, 2001; New York Life Insurance Company reached a settlement with the beneficiaries of 10,000 heirs living in the United States and abroad whose family members purchased policies from before 1915. Under the settlement, New York Life will pay beneficiaries 10 times the face value amount of the policy and will contribute $3 million to Armenian civic organizations, the plaintiffs' attorneys said. The settlement comes months after Gov. Gray Davis signed into law what was known as the Armenian genocide bill, which allowed survivors or their heirs to sue in California courts to recover policy benefits and extended the statute of limitations to cover lawsuits filed by 2010. The original plaintiff in the case, Martin Marootian, said he was not pleased with all the details of the settlement, which attorneys said could be addressed in a court hearing on the settlement. The elderly Armenian filed his lawsuit in November 1999 after years of frustration with the company over a policy his uncle took out before being killed in 1915.
AP April 18, 2001; President Bush visited the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum on the eve of Holocaust Memorial Day, an event on the Jewish calendar commemorating the 6 million victims of the Holocaust during World War II. "This isn't like any other museum," Bush said. "This museum bears witness to the best and worst of the human heart. We must always remember the cruelty of the guilty and the courage of the innocent. An evil had never been so ambitious in its scope, so systematic in its execution and so deliberate in its destruction." In an awkward moment, Bush admonished his own guests when they applauded his arrival with hoots and whistles. With a frown, Bush said the museum was a "hallowed place" and that they should "behave." He then went on to praise the effort to forever capture the atrocities committed against the Jewish people. Bush also sent a signal that the United States' relationship with Israel is still that of close companionship. Bush, who was set to speak at a Capitol Hill ceremony marking the Days of Remembrance on Thursday, said he would "convey America's commitment to a friend as a friend to the Jewish people, to their cause and to the nation they built."
Armenian National Committee of America http://www.anca.org PRESS RELEASE President George W. Bush today broke his promise to recognize the Armenian Genocide, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA). In a statement issued on April 24th, the annual day of remembrance for the Armenian Genocide, the President resorted to the use of evasive and euphemistic terminology to obscure the reality of Turkey's Genocide against the Armenian people, saying "Today marks the commemoration of one of the great tragedies of history: the forced exile and annihilation of approximately 1.5 million Armenians in the closing years of the Ottoman Empire. These infamous killings darkened the 20th century and continue to haunt us to this day. Today, I join Armenian Americans and the Armenian community abroad to mourn the loss of so many innocent lives. I ask all Americans to reflect on these terrible events." In February 2000, prior to the hotly contested Michigan primary, then Governor Bush affirmed, "The Armenians were subjected to a genocidal campaign that defies comprehension and commands all decent people to remember and acknowledge the facts and lessons of an awful crime in a century of bloody crimes against humanity." Just two weeks ago, Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura, by signing a Minnesota Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day proclamation, brought the number of U.S. states officially commemorating the Armenian Genocide to thirty. Last October, responding to threats by the Turkish government, the Clinton Administration pressured the U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert, who had himself previously pledged to support Armenian Genocide Resolution, to withdraw it, only moments before it was to have come to a vote. As a candidate in 1992, then Governor Clinton had properly characterized the Armenian Genocide in campaign statements.
AFP 3 Apr 2001 Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak told US counterpart George W. Bush in Washington that "partition of Sudan was not an option," Egypt's Foreign Minister Amr Mussa said Tuesday. "Whether Sudan adopts a federal system or not is an internal issue," Mussa added. During last week's Arab summit in Amman, Mubarak and his Sudanese counterpart Omar el-Beshir agreed Cairo would attempt to improve US-Sudanese relations. Sudan recalled its ambassador to the United States in 1998 after Washington bombed a Khartoum pharmaceutical plant, which it said was producing chemical weapons.
WP April 19, 2001, An influential energy task force headed by Vice President Cheney has broached the possibility of lifting some economic sanctions against Iran, Libya and Iraq as part of a plan to increase America's oil supply. According to a draft of the task force report, the United States should review the sanctions against the three countries because of the importance of their oil production to meeting domestic and global energy needs.Until the president makes final decisions on that product, everything is subject to change." The energy report, due in the next few weeks, will be about 100 pages and divided into 10 chapters, administration officials say. A cross-section of the energy industry, including oil companies such as Exxon Mobil Corp. and production services companies such as Halliburton, have been pressing Congress and administration policy-makers under Bush and former president Bill Clinton to give them access to Libya, Iran and Iraq. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell has taken the lead in promoting a plan to ease the economic embargo on Iraq while tightening restrictions on imports and oil revenue that can be used to develop its military. Under the U.N. Security Council's oil-for-food program, Iraq is allowed to export petroleum -- much of which ultimately is sold in the United States. But the profits must be placed in a U.N. account, which can be used to pay for food, medicine and other humanitarian goods. Administration officials plan to craft a new program of sanctions on Iraq by June, when the restrictions come up before the Security Council for a review.
April 24, 2001 A white man has been accused of shouting racial slurs at a black man and then throwing a brick through his car window during three days of riots in black neighborhoods in other parts of Cincinnati, Ohio A grand jury has indicted Craig Carr, 20, on a charge of ethnic intimidation for throwing the brick April 12 during the riots that followed the fatal shooting by police of an unarmed black man, prosecutors said. Carr, of Cincinnati, also was indicted Monday on charges of criminal damaging and aggravated menacing. If convicted, he could be sentenced to a year behind bars for ethnic intimidation and six months each on the other two charges, for a total of two years incarceration. In Ohio, ethnic intimidation - the state's definition of a "hate crime" - cannot be charged as a sole offense, but can be attached to other criminal charges to bring a stiffer punishment, Hamilton County Prosecutor Michael Allen said. Officials announced 63 indictments Friday on crimes that were allegedly committed during the riots. All but one of the defendants are black. The same grand jury that returned those indictments lodged the charges against Carr, prosecutors said. The rioting stopped when Mayor Charles Luken imposed a citywide curfew on April 12 that remained in effect for four nights. Allen said a grand jury will soon investigate the April 7 shooting of Timothy Thomas, 19, that prompted the violence.
NYT April 26, 2001 Bob Kerrey, a former United States senator who won the Medal of Honor for his military service in Vietnam, has acknowledged that a combat mission he led there three decades ago caused the deaths of 13 to 20 unarmed civilians, most of them women and children. Days before an investigation of his role in the incident was to be published in The New York Times Magazine, Mr. Kerrey began describing his version of the events in interviews that appeared yesterday in other newspapers and on television. He first spoke publicly about the incident, which occurred Feb. 25, 1969, in the Mekong Delta, in a speech last week at the Virginia Military Institute. "I have been haunted by it for 32 years." At the time, Mr. Kerrey was a 25- year-old lieutenant who had arrived in Vietnam only a month earlier. On Feb. 25, 1969, he led a group of six Navy Seals — the informal name for Sea-Air-Land units, specialists in unconventional warfare — on a mission to capture a Vietcong leader who was supposed to be having a meeting in the area that night.
NYT 30 Apr 2001 WASHINGTON, April 30 For the first time, the State Department added the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia [AUC], an umbrella organization made up of paramilitary groups, to its compilation of terrorist groups. Two rebel groups are already on the list of designated foreign terrorist organizations. The Colombian National Police said 804 assassinations, 203 kidnappings and 75 massacres could be attributed to the paramilitary groups during the first 10 months of 2000. International terrorist attacks rose 8 percent last year from the previous year, largely because of an upsurge in bombings of a Colombian oil pipeline by two terrorist groups there, according to a State Department report issued today. In its annual report on the patterns of global terrorism, the department said South Asia remained the focal point for terrorism directed against the United States. The Taliban in Afghanistan continued to provide safe haven for international terrorists, and Pakistan continued to lend support to terrorists, the report said. Despite these concerns about Pakistan and Afghanistan, which were included in the report for the second straight year, those countries were not added to the previous list of nations accused of state-sponsored terrorism: Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea , Sudan and Syria. Of the 19 Americans killed in acts of international terrorism last year, 17 victims died in the attack against the destroyer Cole in October in the Yemeni port of Aden. Another American victim was one of three aid workers murdered in West Timor. In addition, an American journalist was killed when rebels in Sierra Leone fired at the car in which he and other journalists were riding. Over all, there were 423 terrorist attacks around the world in 2000, with 200 of them directed at the United States. The bombing attacks in Colombia accounted for much of the rise, officials said. US Dept of State http://www.state.gov/s/ct/rls/pgtrpt/2000/
WP 28 Apr 2001 U.S. intelligence agencies used a rogue's gallery of Nazi war criminals after World War II to help cope with the new threats posed by the Soviet Union and its communist allies, a long-secret trove of CIA records showed yesterday. The collaboration was mainly with middle-ranking Nazis, men with obscure names but often deadly backgrounds. Among them were an SS officer who hunted Jews in Genoa, an emissary in Rome wanted for a 1944 massacre, a Nazi intelligence officer "well versed" in the deportation of Jews to Auschwitz and the "intellectual leader" of an SS think tank who was wanted in Poland for war crimes. Their work for Hitler's Germany and then the Americans and other Western intelligence agencies is detailed in 20 CIA "name files," the first of several hundred to be made public. The CIA had refused to acknowledge the existence of the records until Congress passed a 1998 law requiring their declassification. Files on Adolf Hitler and other notorious war criminals were among the 10,000 pages released yesterday, but the most striking disclosures were about a second tier of Nazis who aligned themselves with Western powers eager to use their expertise against the Soviet Union. Many of these lesser-known men "committed serious crimes, but in the postwar period received light punishment, no punishment at all, or received compensation because Western intelligence agencies considered them useful assets in the Cold War," according to a panel of historians enlisted by the government to study the records. The documents confirm that three Nazis charged with war crimes -- Emil Augsburg, Wilhelm Hoettl and Klaus Barbie -- were employed by the U.S. Army's Counterintelligence Corps or the Office of Strategic Services, the precursor of the CIA, according to former representative Elizabeth Holtzman (D-N.Y.), a member of a federal panel in charge of carrying out the 1998 law.
WP April 14, 2001, The Rev. Walter E. Fauntroy, radio talk show host Joe Madison and Hudson Institute fellow Michael Horowitz were arrested yesterday after they handcuffed themselves to the front of the Sudanese Embassy to protest the Khartoum government's war with southern Sudan and its failure to end the enslavement of people captured from the south. "If they want slaves, then take me and release those today who are in human bondage," Madison said before attaching himself to an iron lamp next to the embassy's front door. Madison decided not to post bail and was planning to remain in jail for the weekend. The three said they want the Bush administration to make stopping the war in Sudan a top foreign policy priority. And they added that yesterday, Good Friday, they hoped to begin inviting a series of arrests similar to those that took place during the 1980s outside the South African Embassy and that drew attention to the anti-apartheid campaign. "The time has come for people of conscience across this nation and around the world to take direct action to end slavery in Sudan," Fauntroy said. The Bush administration has condemned the government of Sudan. In his confirmation hearing, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell called on the Khartoum regime "to stop acting in such a deplorable, horrible, terrible way with respect to its own citizens." About 2 million people have died in fighting over the past 17 years between the predominantly Muslim north and the largely Christian south. With virtually no economic interests and only modest strategic concerns in Sudan, the Bush administration is not likely to take an interventionist approach. Powell, however, has been holding talks about Sudan with advisers and others, including Fauntroy. Fauntroy told a group of about 35 people in front of the embassy that during a trip to southern Sudan last week, "I saw with my own eyes, I heard with my own ears, I felt with my own heart the deep pain that the people of southern Sudan experienced and the pain that my forebears years ago experienced." He appealed to others to court arrest at the embassy next week and to continue the campaign, "for however long it takes," to galvanize the Bush administration and to change the Sudanese government's policies. The few people who demonstrated in front of the embassy were diverse, including some Sudanese exiles and members of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Alexandria.
AP 30 Apr 2001 Kenneth Starr is remembered as the dogged special prosecutor who presided over the Whitewater investigation. Johnnie Cochran is the defense attorney whose successes include acquittals of O.J. Simpson and Sean ``Puffy'' Combs. On Tuesday, the two celebrity lawyers will share a table in District of Columbia Superior Court to defend a radio talk show host, a minister-lawmaker and a former aide to President Reagan on a misdemeanor charge. The three are accused of illegal entry in connection with an April 13 incident at the Sudanese Embassy. They handcuffed themselves to the entrance of the diplomatic mission to protest civil war and famines that have claimed 2 million lives since 1983. ``This is a holocaust going on, and decent people don't sit out holocausts,'' said Michael J. Horowitz, 63, the former Reagan staffer now with the Hudson Institute, a conservative think tank. Horowitz and his co-defendants want the Bush administration to appoint a special envoy to force changes in Sudanese government policies they describe as genocide and enslavement targeting animal worshippers and Christians who live in the southern region of the north African nation. Cochran will represent Horowitz, while Starr will represent talk show host Joe Madison and the Rev. Walter Fauntroy, a Baptist minister and the District of Columbia's former delegate to Congress. All have said they plan to plead innocent. Convictions on the charges carry penalties of up to six months in jail.
AFP 1 Apr 2001 Afghan Taliban militia have again fired at refugees camping on the border between Tajikistan and war-torn Afghanistan, Russian frontier guards said on Sunday. An armed group drove towards the refugee settlements on islets on the Pyandzh river on Saturday and twice fired rounds from an anti-aircraft gun. Some 13,000 refugees who have fled intensifying warfare between the ruling Taliban militia and supporters of Afghanistan's ousted president Burhanuddin Rabbani are sheltering on the border.
WP April 1, 2001 Religious Minorities Tread Carefully Under Taliban Rule. In Afghanistan, where the Taliban severely enforces its conservative interpretation of Sunni Islam, practicing any other religion is a tense and tenuous proposition. To survive, Sikhs and Shiites must constantly negotiate with authorities and adapt their worship to Taliban dictates. Other major religions scarcely have a presence here. There are only a few hundred Hindus in Afghanistan, virtually no Christians, and the only known Afghan Jew is a rabbi who is allowed to maintain Kabul's sole synagogue. There are no practicing Buddhists, but the Taliban recently demolished two historic Buddha statues in the central province of Bamian, claiming they were un-Islamic and idolatrous. The Sunni-Shiite schism also is largely responsible for long-standing enmity between Afghanistan and its majority-Shiite neighbor, Iran. "The government wants to null and void our culture," one Shiite man said. "They don't allow women to join in our celebrations, and in the past several years they didn't allow us to celebrate at all. Sometimes they caught us and put us in jail. Now things are getting better, and they mostly tolerate us.For Afghanistan's tiny Sikh minority, which includes a close-knit community of perhaps 500 people in Kabul, relations with the six-year-old regime have been smoother, in part because of their small numbers and in part because they have readily adapted their worship to Taliban rules. Taliban officials, in turn, point out their tolerance of Sikh practices when asked about religious persecution and the recent destruction of the Bamian Buddhas.
BBC 11 Apr 2001, Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee has described Afghanistan's Taleban rulers as a threat to regional stability. In an address to the Iranian parliament, Mr Vajpayee said the recent destruction of the ancient Buddha statues in Afghanistan was a "sin that cannot be forgiven". On Tuesday, he held closed door discussions with Iranian President Mohammad Khatami. The Indian premier was greeted with warm applause in parliament, as he recited a poem in Persian by the 14th century Iranian poet, Hafiz. Both Iran and India are opposed to the Taleban and have been accused by the regime of assisting the Afghan opposition in its military offensive. Agreements signed During their meeting, Mr Vajpayee and Mr Khatami also discussed the situation in Afghanistan as well as economic co-operation.
BBC 19 Apr 2001, China is stepping up pressure for the return of the founder of the outlawed Zhong-gong spiritual movement. Zhang Hongbao, who is currently seeking asylum in the United States, is wanted in China on manslaughter and rape charges. A spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Washington said that Mr Zhang "is a criminal suspect and a fugitive on China's most wanted list". The Zhong-gong movement is a meditative religious sect similar to the better-known Falun Gong movement. The group was founded in the early 1990s and boasts some 30 million followers. Mr Zhang was earlier this week released on bail after spending 13 months in detention on the American Pacific island of Guam. He was detained after trying to enter the US with a false visa. Asylum application Mr Zhang fled China when the government outlawed the Zhong-gong movement and began arresting its members. Chinese diplomats are making representations in the US on the case, providing documents intended to establish Mr Zhang's guilt. "It is absurd to call China's legal action against Zhang Hongbao as some kind of persecution effort against religious leaders," the Chinese embassy spokesman Zhang Yuanyuan said. Mr Zhang is waiting for the completion of his asylum application in Guam. His followers say that the charges against Mr Zhang are false and that he is a victim of political persecution.
AP April 25, 2001; Police detained at least 32 people on Tiananmen Square on Wednesday, the second anniversary of the outlawed Falun Gong spiritual movement's first large demonstration. The scattered demonstrations contrasted with previous national holidays and significant anniversaries in the 21-month crackdown on Falun Gong, when hundreds of demonstrators would appear and force police to shut the square. Protests by the spiritual movement have dropped off since five purported members lit themselves on fire Jan. 23 on Tiananmen Square and two women died. Falun Gong organizers in the United States deny the five were members, saying the group doesn't condone suicide. On Tuesday, Falun Gong members claimed in New York that Jiang cracked down on the spiritual movement to solidify his power base against "real or imagined enemies" in his own government and outside the country. Two years ago, Falun Gong made itself known to the world by gathering more than 10,000 members in a silent protest around Zhongnanhai, the Chinese leadership compound near Tiananmen. The group wanted official recognition. Instead, Beijing outlawed Falun Gong three months later as a threat to social stability and Communist Party rule. Tens of thousands of members have been arrested, and human rights groups say at least 100 members have died in police custody. Falun Gong attracted millions of followers in the 1990s with a blend of traditional and New Age spirituality that appealed to Chinese in the midst of wrenching market reforms.
AP April 18, 2001 Officials argued Wednesday over where to hold a hearing on treason charges against coup leader George Speight amid concerns it could trigger fresh violence in the South Pacific nation. Fiji's chief magistrate is insisting that a preliminary hearing against Speight be held in the capital, Suva, instead of at the prison where he is incarcerated. But public prosecutor Josaia Naigulevu and the Fiji army say for security reasons that the inquiry should be held at Nukulau, a small island in Suva lagoon that was transformed into a jail to hold Speight and 14 of his supporters after they were arrested following last year's nationalist coup. Speight led a gang of armed men who stormed Parliament May 19 and toppled the government of then Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry. Speight said he wanted to rein in ethnic Indians, who form a large and powerful minority in Fiji. Chaudhry was Fiji's first prime minister of ethnic Indian descent. Since July, chief magistrate Salesi Temo and prosecution and defense lawyers have taken a navy boat to Nukulau every two weeks to formally extend the pretrial detention of Speight and his 14 associates. But now Temo has written to Supreme Court registrar Musuka Tabete complaining that the Nukulau location was illegal and that as ``things are returning to normal,'' future hearings should be conducted in his Suva court. Authorities fear a repeat of an orgy of violence triggered by Speight's coup in which Fijian nationalists looted and torched Indian-owned businesses in downtown Suva. The inquiry to open in June will last ``several months'' according to the prosecutor's office and will hear from 244 prosecution witness. If convicted of treason, Speight faces the death sentence.
BBC 5 Apr 2001 The state authorities in West Bengal in eastern India say five people have been found dead near a bridge in Calcutta. Police identified the victims as Shia Muslims but say the motive for the killings is unclear. Correspondents say tension is high in the city as Shia Muslims mark a religious festival. The Communist government in the state says it will crack down on any attempt to provoke sectarian disturbances.
Hindustan Times 9 Apr 2001 Dalit woman, 5 kids burnt HT Correspondent (Aligarh, April 8) A DALIT woman and her five children were burnt alive allegedly by the staff of a brick kiln operating on Hathras Sikandra Rao Road under Hathras Gate police station. The miscreants also removed their burnt bodies to a lonely place, one km away from the spot and burnt them again with petrol. This was done to wipe out the factual evidence of the heinous crime. Sources said that one Naresh Majhi and his wife Kumari had been working as labourers with the brick kiln unit. Last night there were hot exchange of words between the Munim (accountant) of the brick kiln and Naresh Majhi, when the latter demanded wages from the accountant. In late hours of the night, the accountant, and his supporters raided the hut of Naresh Majhi in which his wife Kumari along with her five children, Phool Chand, Jitendra, Sulendra (sons) and Rubi and Lali (daughters) were sleeping. The hut then was set ablaze. Naresh Majhi who was sleeping outside in the open was then caught and closed in a room with other labourers. All the six members of the family of Naresh were burnt alive. Thereafter the burnt bodies were placed on a tractor trolley and taken to a lonely place, one kilometre away from the brick kiln. The bodies were burnt again with petrol. The police reached the spot on getting to know the incident and picked up the remains as evidence. Sources revealed that all the five children who were burnt with their mother were of the age ranging from 3 months to seven years. Reports said that Naresh and his wife Kumari was working at the brick kiln without wages as bounded labourers for the last five months. And when they pressed for wages and refused to work they were burnt alive. This is to teach a lesson to other workers engaged at the brick kiln site.
AFP 29 Apr 2001 India announced a ceasefire with the most powerful tribal insurgent group in the country's troubled northeast yesterday in a bid to end five decades of bloodshed. The government said the year-long ceasefire with a powerful faction of the splinter-ridden National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) of Nagaland state would "come into effect immediately." There are three main militant groups in Nagaland, a mountainous state bordering Myanmar, of which the banned NSCN is the most powerful. The other main group is the Naga National Council. The NSCN is split into two rival factions, one led by Thuingaleng Muivah and Isak Chishi Swu, and the other headed by S.S. Khaplang, who leads an estimated 2,000 outlawed rebels. Both the splinters are fighting for territorial supremacy, although their goal is carving out an independent tribal homeland. Advani said the latest ceasefire was agreed with the NSCN's Khaplang faction. Besides Nagaland, insurgencies and homeland campaigns in other northeastern states such as in oil-rich Assam, neighbouring Manipur, Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh have stunted regional economic growth, destroyed industry and spurred unemployment. New Delhi, in August 1997 forged a ceasefire with the NSCN faction led by Muivah and Swuof, but talks with the 4,000-member splinter stalled on its demand the truce be extended to all areas inhabited by the Naga tribe in regions that make up India's northeast. More than 25,000 people have lost their lives to insurgency in Nagaland since 1947. Insurgency-related loss of life in the past five decades in the entire northeast is estimated to be more than 50,000.
BBC 9 Apr 2001, At least 12 people have been killed in the latest outbreak of ethnic violence in Borneo, according to hospital officials. The Dayaks are now getting close to achieving their ultimate goal of removing all the Madurese migrants from the central province. But local sources say the clashes in the town of Pangkalan Bun between the indigenous Dayak people and migrants from the island of Madura have claimed as many as 30 lives. The mass evacuation of the Madurese migrants is continuing. Their violent campaign of ethnic cleansing began in February in the other main towns across the region. At least 400 people were killed as the Madurese were systematically driven out of their homes.
AFP 9 Apr 2001 East Timorese refugees are dying from a rapidly spreading diarrhea epidemic in fetid camps in Indonesian-ruled West Timor, a Catholic aid group said Monday. "We found a boy and an old lady dead in Tuapukan camp last week," Father Edi Mulyono, director of the Jesuit Refugee Service, told AFP by phone from West Timor's capital, Kupang. "In the last week of March we found five refugees dead from the epidemic - teenagers and adults." At the Tenubot camp in the border town of Atambua, six children aged between two and 10 died from diarrhea in March, the Jesuits' Atambua coordinator, Amang. All foreign aid workers fled West Timor after three UN refugee workers were killed in their office in the border town of Atambua by an anti-independence East Timorese militia mob in early September. Foreign aid workers have never been able to count the exact number of refugees. Estimates range from 50,000 to 100,000. They are the remants of some 250,000 to 300,000 East Timorese who were forced over the border by pro-Jakarta militia in the wake of East Timor's vote for independence in 1999. Cash-strapped authorities in West Timor, part of one of Indonesia's poorest provinces, have complained that they are too under-funded to keep feeding the refugees, citing the desperate conditions of their own people. Led by the UN East Timor administration (UNTAET)'s chief of staff, N. Parameswaran, the team is carrying videos and pamphlets about conditions in East Timor, and bringing Easter messages from the territory's two senior bishops, urging the refugees to return.
AFP 2 Apr 2001 Three people were killed and four others are missing after Muslims attacked a village on Buru in the Indonesian Maluku islands, a church activist said Monday. The attackers, who approached by sea aboard longboats, attacked Kase village near Leksula town on South Buru island on Sunday, killing three Christian villagers, said Sammy Waileruni of the Maranatha church. "The report, received by radio from Leksula yesterday (Sunday), said that the whereabouts of four others, including two very young children, remained unknown," Tensions between Christians and Muslims have raged on various islands in the Malukus since violence first erupted in Ambon in early 1999. Up to 3,000 people have been killed and more than 100,000 have feld.
BBC 12 Apr 2001, The Indonesian Government has ordered tough new military action against separatist rebels in the northern province of Aceh. The order to the police and military to restore law and order in the province was given in a decree signed by the country's president, Abdurrahman Wahid. The decree deliberately avoids using the words military operation. But it is well known that for months, army generals have been putting pressure on the government to sanction a crackdown on the separatist movement. The announcement was made despite an appeal to the president earlier this week by a delegation of Acehenese leaders to scrap the plans for a military crackdown. The government is officially describing the latest move as an effort to bring about a comprehensive solution to the Acehenese problem. The rebels recently have been gaining strength, especially as it became increasingly clear that direct peace talks were making little progress. Indonesia has been beefing up troops in Aceh In March, the government officially outlawed the rebel Free Aceh Movement to give legal cover for the planned military operation. There is an urgent need to quell the violence in Aceh, which has already claimed hundreds of lives this year. It also led to the closure last month of huge gas-fields in the province operated by the American company Exxon-Mobil, causing losses of $100m per month to the government. But among the Acehenese people and human rights campaigners, there is much opposition to the prospect of another military operation against the rebels. A similar crackdown in the 1990s led to thousands of people being killed. The army was accused of massive human rights violations. With 30,000 troops already in the province, there are genuine fears the bloodshed will now increase rather than peace being restored.
BBC 24 Apr 2001, Indonesian President, Abdurrahman Wahid, has issued a decree paving the way for the establishment of a long-awaited special court to try human-rights violations in East Timor. Up to two thousand people are thought to have been killed by militias backed by the Indonesian military in the violence that swept East Timor, when the territory voted for independence two years ago. Indonesia has been criticised for its slowness in bringing those responsible to justice. Parliament approved the prosecution of human rights crimes five months ago, but despite today's final approval, it's unclear when the court will actually begin hearings. Indonesian prosecutors say they already have dossiers on more than twenty suspects, but that their prosecutions have been delayed by the absence of human rights courts in Indonesia.
AFP 3 Apr 2001 The UN embargo imposed on Iraq for invading Kuwait in 1990 resulted in more than 10,000 deaths in February, the health ministry said Tuesday. "In February, 7,270 children and 3,255 adults died from illnesses such as diarrhoea, heart disease and breathing problems, as well as malnutrition," the ministry said, according to the official INA news agency. "The total number of people killed up to the end of February by the embargo has risen to 1,471,425 people because of the huge lack of medicine and medical equipment," it said. Baghdad argues that a UN 'oil-for-food' programme brokered in 1996 to allow Iraq to sell a limited amount of oil abroad in exchange for food and other basic essentials such as medicine does not meet the population's needs.
AFP 23 Apr 2001 The UN embargo imposed on Iraq for invading Kuwait in 1990 resulted in more than 9,000 deaths in March, the Iraqi health ministry said Monday. "In March, 6,638 children and 3,099 adults died from illnesses such as diarrhoea, diabetes, heart disease and respiratory problems, as well as malnutrition," it said as quoted by the official INA news agency. Baghdad argues that the UN oil-for-food programme launched in 1996 to allow Iraq to export oil in exchange for food and other basic essentials such as medicine does not meet the 22-million population's most basic needs.
Al-Ahram Weekly On-line 26 April - 2 May 2001 Issue No.531 Baghdad shifts diplomatic gears The recent cabinet shuffle in Iraq signals that Saddam Hussein is rethinking his foreign policy, writes Salah Hemeid. In a surprise move last week, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein removed his foreign minister, Mohamed Said Al-Sahhaf, and tapped Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz to serve in the post temporarily. He also named Iraq's ambassador to Austria, Naji Sabri Al-Hadithi, state minister for foreign affairs, a new post he created apparently to strengthen Iraq's diplomatic corps. Although Al-Sahhaf, a long trusted aide, was not completely dumped (he is now information minister), the shuffle is surely significant. In a country where decision-making is surreptitious and where there is no public debate about policy, any shuffle of major posts must raise questions about timing, significance and outcome. Noticeably, the shuffle came a few weeks after an Arab summit in Amman, Jordan, which commentators, including Oday, Saddam Hussein's son, held to be a failure for Iraqi diplomacy.
BBC 25 Apr 2001 The BBC has learned that the Attorney General has referred a case to the police about British hostage-taking at the start of the Gulf War. This could eventually lead to a war crimes indictment against the Iraqi president, Saddam Hussein, and his deputy prime minister, Tariq Aziz. A criminal case would focus on the plight of 4,500 British citizens and thousands of people from other countries who were held hostage in Iraq and Kuwait a decade ago. The Attorney General, Lord Williams, has said there is not yet sufficient evidence to give his consent for a prosecution to be pursued. But he said that the case merited further inquiry by the police.
BBC 24 Apr 2001, Several thousand members of the Armenian community in Iran have held a march in the capital, Tehran, to commemorate the large-scale killing of Armenians in Turkey in 1915. Chanting anti-Turkish slogans, the demonstrators marched from the Armenian church to the United Nations office to demand that the UN recognise the 1915 killings as genocide. On Monday, an Armenian deputy in the Iranian parliament called on Iran to do the same, in line with countries such as France and Italy.
Jerusalem Post, April 25 2001, Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told a pro-intifada conference in Teheran yesterday that Zionists exaggerated the Holocaust to justify crimes against Palestinians. "There is evidence which shows that Zionists had close relations with German Nazis and exaggerated statistics on Jewish killings," Khamenei said in a speech opening a conference to support the seven-month-old intifada. "There is even evidence on hand that a large number of non-Jewish hooligans and thugs of eastern Europe were forced to migrate to Palestine as Jews," Khamenei said. "The purpose was to install in the heart of the Islamic world an anti-Islamic state under the guise of supporting the victims of racism and to create a rift between the East and the West of the Islamic world," he said. Khamenei opened the two-day conference by declaring combat, not dialogue, is the language Israel understands.
AP April 25, 2001; A radical Palestinian leader on Wednesday called on Muslim countries to open a "united front" against Israel. The call from the leader of the radical Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command comes amid growing anger in the region over an escalation of violence that the Arabs blame on Israel. Speaking at a two-day conference in Tehran that opened Tuesday with calls for holy war against Israel, Ahmed Jibril called on Muslim states to help his group sow "fear in the hearts of Zionists." Conference attendees include some of Israel's deadliest foes: Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, leader of Lebanon's Hezbollah guerrilla group; Khaled Mashaal, a leader of the radical Islamic Hamas movement; and Abdullah Ramadan Shalah, head of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Until now, most Muslim countries had distanced themselves from Tehran, which considers Israel its archenemy, but growing anger against Israel appears to be driving moderates and radicals closer together. Parliamentary leaders from over 30 Islamic countries, including Egypt and Jordan, which both have peace treaties with Israel, are at the conference. Saudi Arabia, which is critical of Israel but holds back from lashing out at the Jewish state because of its own good ties with Washington, has also sent representatives to the conference. Saudi Arabia pledged $4.46 million in support of the Palestinian uprising, the official Saudi Press Agency reported Tuesday. It said money would go to the victims of the uprising and their relatives. "We want Muslim countries to help us open a united front to fight the Zionist enemy and liberate our lands," said Jibril. On Tuesday, Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said that combat, not dialogue, was the way to deal with Israel, a message echoed by speaker after speaker at the conference. In his speech on Tuesday, Nasrallah, warned Israel to expect surprise attacks from Palestinian extremists. Nasrallah's Hezbollah group is backed by Iran and Syria and it led the military effort to drive Israel out of southern Lebanon last May after an 18-year occupation. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's government has stepped up action over the past month amid a series of anti-Israeli bombings. Israeli jets struck a Syrian position in Lebanon in response to Hezbollah attacks at the border, and Israeli troops have repeatedly entered Palestinian territory in the Gaza Strip in retaliation for mortar fire on Israeli communities. Israeli-Palestinian clashes since September have killed 412 people on the Palestinian side and 70 on the Israeli side.
BBC 10 Apr 2001, The spiritual leader of Israel's ultra-orthodox Shas party, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, has provoked outrage with a sermon calling for the annihilation of Arabs. "It is forbidden to be merciful to them. You must send missiles to them and annihilate them. They are evil and damnable," he was quoted as saying in a sermon delivered on Monday to mark the Jewish festival of Passover. As founder and spiritual leader of the political party Shas, Rabbi Yosef is held in almost saintly regard by hundreds of thousands of Jews of Middle Eastern and North African origin. The Palestinian Authority has condemned the sermon as racist and is calling on international organisations to treat the rabbi as a war criminal. Palestinian cabinet minister Hassan Asfur urged international civil institutions and human rights organisations to consider Rabbi Yosef a war criminal in future. The utterances were "a clear call for murder and a political an intellectual terrorism that will lead to military terrorism", he said in remarks reported on Palestinian radio. He added that no punishment would come from Israel "because its political culture and action are in line with [the rabbi's] racist statements". Israeli Justice Minister Meir Sheetrit also condemned the sermon, saying: "A person of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef's stature must refrain from acrid remarks such as these."
Jerusalem Post, April 10, 2001 - Shas spiritual mentor Rabbi Ovadia Yosef yesterday found himself again claiming that hateful comments he made had been misinterpreted, explaining that when he said that Arabs must be "annihilated" he had only referred to "terrorists." Yosef said in a pre-Pessah sermon to followers that Arabs would be "eliminated from the Earth." Yosef has been assailed over the past year for calling Holocaust victims reincarnated sinners, in addition to attacks on Meretz leader Yosef Sarid and former prime minister Ehud Barak. Minister Sallah Tarif, responsible for minority affairs, said he regretted the remarks and they should not have been made, especially by a spiritual leader. Tarif said that the remarks calling for genocide against the Arab people were especially grave, and noted that this includes Israeli Arabs. Deputy Foreign Minister Michael Melchior said that people who know Yosef and his writings know that he did not intend to call for attacks on Arabs. However, he said he would have expressed the ideas differently. Melchior explained that the principle behind the ideas is that it is a good deed to harm those who harm the Jewish people. Meretz whip MK Zehava Gal-On said Yosef's ongoing remarks pose a threat to people's lives and are all the more grave since they come from a public figure with a following, and not a private individual. "Ovadia can talk nonsense as much as he wants, but not when he calls for attacks on people," she said. Shinui leader Yosef Lapid said the rabbi's "stupid comments would be used by the venomous Arab propaganda."
Arabicnews 10 Apr 2001 Leader of the Shas movement Rabbi Obadia Youseif has called for exterminating the Arabs by missiles and described them as " damned devils'. The Israeli radio on Monday quoted Youseif as saying in Saturday's sermon in a synagogue in Jerusalem on the occasion of the Jewish Passover holiday that " we should not have pity on the Arabs. They have to be bombed by missiles and exterminated." Worthy mentioning Youseif had earlier described the Arabs as " snakes."
BBC 11 Apr 2001 The Arab world has denounced Rabbi Ovadia Yosef's statements calling for the "extermination of the Arabs" as "racist" and "venomous". Palestinian Minister Hasan Asfur urged international bodies and human rights groups to denounce the rabbi as a "war criminal". "This is the culture of murder, terrorism and blood", Mr Asfur said. He said no one could expect Ariel Sharon's government to punish Rabbi Yosef for making such comments because the government's own "political culture and action are in line with his racist statements". He described the rabbi's statements as a "clear call for murder and a political and intellectual terrorism that will lead to military terrorism". Senior Palestinian official Al-Tayyib Abd-al Rahim linked the rabbi's remarks with subsequent Israeli attacks on police posts in Gaza during which an officer was killed and nearly 30 men wounded. He said the attacks were a "gift from Sharon's government to the racist Ovadia". As founder and spiritual leader of Israel's third largest political party Shas, Rabbi Yosef is also a significant political figure. In other Arab opinion, Syria's government-owned daily Al-Thawra highlighted the fact that Shas leader Eli Yishay had defended Yosef by saying he had merely expressed "the same policy pursued by Sharon". And such "provocative statements" together with the reality on the ground "reflect the true picture of Israel's suppressive and bloody policy", the paper said. An editorial in the pro-government Saudi newspaper Al-Watan said the remarks by the "leader of Israel's rabbis" showed the different factions within Israel had "chosen the path of confrontation" and that any effort to have peace with it is "no more than an illusion". Reward Meanwhile, one Jordanian businessman was so incensed by the rabbi's remarks that he sent a letter, published in a leading Jordanian paper under the headline "Who wants to be a millionaire?" offering 1m Jordanian dollars to anyone who would kill the "cursed extremist". Religious leaders in the region also condemned Rabbi Yosef. The Mufti of Jerusalem said as a man of religion Rabbi Yosef was supposed to preach sublime values, tolerance and amity instead of "spewing venomous statements". Spokesman for the Orthodox Church in Jerusalem Archimandrite Atallah Hanna described the rabbi's sermon as "inhumane and immoral and in conflict with spiritual values and religions".
Armenian National Committee of Jerusalem 13 Apr 2001 Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres has said that claims of an Armenian Genocide are "meaningless," according to the April 10th edition of the Turkish Daily News (TDN). The newspaper quoted him as saying that: "We reject attempts to create a similarity between the Holocaust and the Armenian allegations. Nothing similar to the Holocaust occurred. It is a tragedy what the Armenians went through but not a genocide." In response to inquiries from Asbarez Daily Newspaper to the Israeli Consulate in Los Angeles, the Israeli Foreign Ministry confirmed that Peres had in fact rejected any comparisons between the two of the major Genocides of the 20th Century. The Israeli Consulate released the following statement: "This issue [of the Armenian Genocide] should be dealt with by historians and not politicians. We do not support the comparison of the Armenian tragedies to the Jewish Holocaust. Israel will not take a historical and political stance on the issue."
WorldNews.com 14 Apr 2001 Professor Israel Charny, Executive Director of The Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide in Jerusalem, Israel, recently issued a public letter in response to Shimon Peres's statements as reported in the Turkish Daily News. Denial of genocide is a one aspect of genocide studies that Dr. Charny has devoted considerable energy to and published extensively on. It has become a major sub field of its own in the overall field of genocide studies. The Armenian Genocide Resource Center (AGRC) received the following letter from Dr. Charny who asked that it herewith be made public in the Armenian press. The Honorable Shimon Peres, Foreign Minister Ministry of Foreign Affairs, State of Israel Jerusalem, Israel Re: Report in Turkish Daily News, Ankara, 10 Apr 2001 Dear Mr. Peres: I offer you my deepest respects for your enormous contributions to the security and development of Israel, and to peace. Nonetheless, it has been my privilege for many years not to agree with your position regarding the Armenian Genocide. It seems that because of your wish to advance very important relations with Turkey, you have been prepared to circumvent the subject of the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1920. (Thus you advised me in a telephone conversation in 1982 not to insist on including the subject of the Armenians in the First International Conference on the Holocaust and Genocide that we convened in Tel-Aviv, and I then made the decision not to give in to pressures of the Foreign Ministry to cancel the lectures on the Armenian genocide or to cancel the entire conference.) It seems to me, according to yesterday's report in the Ankara newspaper, that you have gone beyond a moral boundary that no Jew should allow himself to trespass. You are quoted as follows: "We reject attempts to create a similarity between the Holocaust and the Armenian allegations. Nothing similar to the Holocaust occurred. It is a tragedy what the Armenians went through but not a genocide." For the record, in 2000, at a Conference on the Holocaust in Philadelphia, a large number of researchers of the Holocaust, including Israeli historians, signed a public declaration that the Armenian Genocide was factual. Also for the record, in 1997, at the meeting of the Association of Genocide Scholars, the Association as a whole officially voted a resolution that the Armenians had been subject to full-scale genocide. Even as I disagree with you, it may be that in your broad perspective of the needs of the State of Israel, it is your obligation to circumvent and desist from bringing up the subject with Turkey, but as a Jew and an Israeli I am ashamed of the extent to which you have now entered into the range of actual denial of the Armenian Genocide, comparable to denials of the Holocaust. Respectfully, Prof. Israel W. Charny Executive Director, Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide, Jerusalem, Israel Editor-in-Chief, Encyclopedia of Genocide [ABC-Clio Publishers, UK & USA, 1999]
Reuters April 22, 2001 Israel prevents distribution of food to Palestinians A convoy of about 60 members of a joint Arab-Israeli group arrived in the West Bank village of Yasof yesterday, bringing two truckloads of food and supplies for Palestinians cut off by the Israeli blockade. Israeli troops arrived quickly on the scene and tried to prevent unloading of the goods, saying the area was a closed military zone. Scuffles broke out as the group, saying they had permission from the Israeli security forces, ignored the soldiers' demands and continued to unload the truck. The group said eight members were arrested. The blockade on the West Bank prevents Palestinians from travelling to Israel and keeps thousands out of work.
BBC 29 Apr 2001, As violent clashes continue in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, Israel has agreed to ease security measures imposed on Palestinians "immediately and unconditionally". Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres announced the move after discussing a joint Egyptian-Jordanian peace plan with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo. While talks were going on, Israeli troops shelled Palestinian areas and there was another mortar attack against a Jewish settlement in the Gaza Strip, as well as two bomb explosions targeting settlers in the West Bank. Earlier, the Palestinian Authority said it had acted to prevent further mortar attacks against Jewish settlements in Gaza, dissolving a committee of the Fatah political movement thought to be responsible. Mr Peres - the first Israeli minister to visit Cairo since the election of hard-line Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon - held talks with Mr Mubarak before setting off for meetings in Jordan with King Abdullah and government ministers. A Palestinian was killed on Sunday morning when a bomb exploded close to a school bus carrying Jewish settler children near the West Bank city of Nablus. Army radio said the body of a possible suicide bomber had been found in a car nearby. Palestinians also fired several mortars at the Kfar Darom settlement in Gaza, in defiance of Mr Arafat's statement. Sunday's violence followed overnight battles in the Gaza Strip which left four Palestinians, including a young woman and 12-year-old child, wounded by Israeli tank fire.
Reuters April 30, 2001 Bomb blasts and gunfire killed four Palestinians Monday as Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres began a visit to the United States to discuss an Egyptian-Jordanian peace plan. The fresh violence underlined the urgency of efforts to halt seven months of Israeli-Palestinian bloodshed. Each side blames the other for pursuing the fighting in which at least 398 Palestinians, 75 Israelis and 13 Israeli Arabs have been killed. . Before flying to New York, Peres briefed Sharon and Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer on his talks with Egyptian and Jordanian leaders Sunday. Foreign Ministry spokesman Arye Mekel said Peres had presented Israel's reservations on the Egyptian-Jordanian plan. "The central reservation is that first of all there should be a complete cessation of violence against us," he said. "Only then will we be able to return to the negotiating table." The initiative, endorsed by Arafat, calls for an end to violence, confidence-building measures and renewed peace talks. Sharon rejects the plan's call for a freeze on building in Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and for peace talks to pick up where they left off under his predecessor. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak announced after his weekend talks with Peres that Israel and the Palestinians had agreed to a four-week cease-fire as a prelude to renewed negotiations. But he said in a speech Monday that Israelis and Palestinians had only agreed "in principle" to a cease-fire. After Mubarak's comments Sunday, Palestinian officials denied knowledge of any cease-fire agreement. Arafat, who often consults Mubarak on peacemaking, has made no public comment. Peres said he had told Egyptian leaders that Israel would move immediately to make life easier for Palestinians. Mekel said permits had been issued Friday for another 11,000 Palestinians to work in Israel, bringing the total to more than 20,000, including those who work in Jewish settlements or industrial zones on the edge of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Unemployment in the West Bank and Gaza Strip has soared to 37.7 percent from 10 percent at the start of the revolt, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics said Monday. Israel has blockaded Palestinian areas since the uprising began, citing security concerns. Palestinians say it is collective punishment that prevents around 120,000 Palestinians from working in Israel and is wrecking their economy.
BBC 9 Apr 2001, South Korea has recalled its ambassador to Japan in protest at Tokyo's approval of new school history textbooks which, according to Seoul, gloss over Japanese World War II atrocities. Last week, South Korea lodged an official protest with Japan over the books. Protestors in Seoul burn the Japanese flag A Foreign Ministry statement said the texts included material "rationalising and glorifying Japan's past wrongdoings, based upon a self-centred interpretation of history." South Koreans are particularly angered that there is no reference in the textbooks to Korean women being used by Japanese soldiers as sex slaves. The books have also prompted protests from China, North Korea and Taiwan. The original draft of the controversial textbook is reported to have described the "unopposed" annexation of the Korean peninsula as "necessary for Japan's security". It also referred to the 1937 Nanjing Massacre - in which some 300,000 civilians were slaughtered - as "nothing like a holocaust". The books were written by a group of nationalist historians, who argue that existing texts go too far to accommodate the views of Japan's former adversaries. The revised version, approved by the Japanese Education Ministry last week, is reported to acknowledge that an "armed struggle" took place in the Korean peninsula, and to have removed the attempt to play down the Rape of Nanjing. The ministry said that, in all, more than 130 revisions had been made to the text. But the Japanese authorities are so far resisting pressure from their Asian neighbours for further revisions to the controversial textbooks.
BBC 9 Apr 2001, By Japan analyst David Powers Arguments between Japan and its neighbours - particularly South Korea and China - about the way Japanese schoolchildren are taught about World War II and Japan's colonial domination of East Asia are a depressingly regular occurrence. The problem is twofold - it lies in the Japanese textbook approval system, and in the fact that Japan has never said 'sorry' in a way acceptable to countries that suffered wartime atrocities. There is a deep-seated resentment against Japan in the Korean national consciousness All textbooks - not just history ones - have to go through a rigorous government screening in Japan. But it is the history books that always cause the problem - and not just with neighbouring countries. A Japanese left-wing professor, Saburo Ienaga, waged a 30-year battle through the courts against the government in protest at the way the screening process distorts what children are taught about their country's past. Professor Ienaga's case went all the way to the Supreme Court, but was eventually thrown out. Nevertheless, the prime minister of the time promised that the feelings of neighbouring countries would be taken into account in all future schoolbooks. Judging by South Korea's reaction, Japan is still having problems understanding those feelings. Cultural clashes Japan's colonial domination of Korea from 1910 was often brutal and aimed at stamping out the Korean identity. Everyone was forced to learn Japanese and adopt Japanese names. Many were used as slave labour. Perhaps the most appalling case was that of the so-called 'comfort women', who were forced to act as prostitutes for Japanese soldiers... The title of next year's world cup caused a big row, All this is rather strange for the two countries that will be co-hosts to the football World Cup in a year's time. Even the naming of the event caused a major row with Japan, when Fifa decided it would be World Cup Korea-Japan and not the other way round. Close ties Yet official attitudes are often greatly at odds with the feelings of ordinary people, particularly those for whom the war really is history. More than half-a-million ethnic Koreans live in Japan - most of them second and third generation descendents of people brought to the country during the colonial period. A recent poll among them revealed that more than half will be cheering either for Japan or for both Japan and Korea in the World Cup. In South Korea, after years of official discouragement, there has been a surge of interest among young people in studying Japanese. One of the main reasons is because they want to watch Japanese anime (cartoons). The huge amount of trade between the two countries is also an important factor. The South Korean electronic industry is heavily dependent on technology and parts imported from Japan. The love-hate relationship between Japan and Korea is unlikely to change rapidly; and like most neighbours, they have little choice but to try to get on with each other. It will probably involve both sides making a considerable effort.
BBC 11 Apr 2001 South Korean President Kim Dae-jung has joined in complaints to Japan about the publication of controversial new history textbooks."The South Korean nation is expressing complaints about the text which falls far short of the mutual agreement announced in 1998," he said. He said he wished to resolve the dispute by having further changes made to the books. "The Korean Government will take up this issue based on our experts' study of historical facts," President Kim added. The Japanese education ministry has said it does not plan any further revisions to the text.
BBC 25 Apr 2001, The Burmese government says six of its troops have been killed in clashes with the Shan State Army in the northeast of the country. The Burmese have accused Thai troops of fighting alongside the separatist rebels during the clashes. The Thai government has strongly denied the allegations. Many border posts along the Thai-Burmese border are still closed since the two countries' forces were involved in sporadic fighting in February. Burma has accused Thailand of supporting the Shan rebels, while Thai officials say Burma allows ethnic militias on the two countries' border to produce drugs.
Ap April 18 2001 Two bombs exploded in rapid succession Wednesday, killing two people in Karachi at the start of a protest strike. No one took responsibility but police believe the bombings were linked to Wednesday's strike call by two militant ethnic-based parties. The Muttahida Qami Movement, an advocate for Urdu-speakers, and the Sindh nationalist Jeay Sindh group called the strike to protest police excesses in controlling almost daily demonstrations against a severe water shortage. Unruly mobs in Karachi also set on fire at least 40 vehicles, police and witnesses said. Gunmen ordered shops closed and fired automatic weapons in the air to keep people off the street, they said. Militants also waged a gun battle with security forces in one area. No injuries were reported. The two militant groups routinely enforce their strike calls - a common means of protest in southern Sindh province - with violence. Police swept through several neighborhoods overnight arresting about 200 people, many of them activists of the two parties. The military government that took power in Pakistan in October 1999 banned public protests and demonstrations.
BBC 23 Apr 2001 The Tamil Tiger rebels in Sri Lanka say have decided not to renew their unilateral ceasefire which expires at midnight on Tuesday. We are compelled to make this painful decision as a consequence of the hard-line, intransigent attitude of the Sri Lankan Government The Tigers have been observing a unilateral truce since 24 December, which they have extended every month. Despite their announcement, the Tigers said they remained committed to peace, and would continue to support Norwegian efforts to bring about talks between the two sides. The Sri Lankan Government has rejected the Tiger ceasefire as a stunt, saying the rebels were seeking a breathing space in order to regroup. The government announced a short ceasefire for the Sri Lankan New Year - but this was not renewed. More than 63,000 people are estimated to have been killed in the 17-year conflict since the rebels began their battle for an independent homeland in the north and east of Sri Lanka.
BBC 30 Apr 2001 The Norwegian peace envoy to Sri Lanka, Eric Solheim, has said that the latest upsurge in fighting between the government and Tamil Tiger rebels has set back the peace process. We will stay in touch with the LTTE and the government, and meet both sides in the very near future. Eric Solheim Mr Solheim, who arrived in Colombo on Monday, told the BBC he would be meeting both sides to try to revitalise peace talks. Norwegian diplomats said he would meet President Chandrika Kumaratunga, but had no immediate plans to travel to rebel-held areas. More than 400 troops and rebel fighters have been killed in the fighting over the past few days in the north of the country. The army had earlier conceded that it had been forced to withdraw from territory it had captured after the start of the operation. It says that in spite of being forced to retreat, it did succeed in destroying rebel positions that posed a threat to army defences. The Tigers have already claimed victory in the latest fighting.
Reuters (Middle East Times) 27 Apr 2001 Middle East tension erupts in war of words at U.N. In a reflection of tension in the Middle East, Syria accused Israel of genocide against Palestinian civilians while Israel reminded Syria of its massacres against its own people in Hama. The exchange occurred at the end of an all-day debate in the U.N. Security Council on April 23 about how to protect civilians in war zones. The council reviewed two reports by Secretary General Kofi Annan emphasizing that civilians in the past two decades were the main targets of conflict rather than accidental victims. Most members spoke in general terms or referred to vulnerable populations in Africa. But Arab envoys criticized Annan and the council for not highlighting Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza and the seven-month uprising against it. At least 385 Palestinians, 74 Israelis and 13 Israeli Arabs have lost their lives. The council last month defeated a second Palestinian attempt for a U.N. observer force in the West Bank and Gaza. The measure failed to get enough support the first time and was vetoed by the United States on the second try. Palestinian U.N. observer Nasser Al Kidwa said he was perplexed that Annan's reports "failed to make any mention of the Palestinians' situation." In response, Israeli envoy Yehuda Lancry complimented Annan on his reports and said Jews were committed to preventing genocide from happening anywhere in the world. But he said the debate had deteriorated into a one-sided exchange. "One would never know it to listen to today's speakers that both Israelis and Palestinians have suffered from the current violence," he said. Referring to Annan's denunciation of "hate speech" and "hate media," Lancry accused Egyptian newspapers of being "a major promoter of anti-Semitic diatribes." He said Syrian President Bashar Al Assad "had no scruples" about equating Israelis with Nazis. Even his late father, Hafez Al Assad "never used such an unbearably heinous analogy." In his right of reply, Syria's Ambassador Wahbeh accused Israel of spreading lies against his country. "Israel must cease practicing genocide if Israel itself fears genocide." He also quoted Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the octogenarian spiritual head of Shas, Israel's biggest ultra-Orthodox party, as calling Arabs "worse than snakes." "Israel is built on such racist myths," Wahbeh said. Ending the verbal ping-pong match, Oren David, a senior Israeli diplomat, said Wahbeh apparently forgot two decades of genocide, "and Hama is only one of them." He was referring to 1980 and 1982 army massacres in the central Syrian town of Hama that may have cost up to 30,000 lives. "The Syrian representative better check his own record and selective memory," David said.
AFP 6 Apr 2001 - Uzbek human rights activists protested Friday what they called the forcible deportation of Tajik citizens from Uzbekistan who fled here at the start of a five-year Tajik civil war. According to the visa and registration department of the Sukhandarinsk region, some 47 Tajiks, who lacked registration or a permit to live legally in Uzbekistan, were expelled from the Termez region of Sukhandarinsk in March. Many of the Tajik families had lived in Uzbekistan for nine years, since the start of the Tajik civil war in 1992, and were ethnic Uzbeks who came to live with relatives in Uzbekistan. The interior ministry in Tashkent confirmed that the resettlement of Tajiks was taking place but declined to comment on the reasons for the move. France-Presse
BBC 29 Mar 2001, The Vietnamese government has sent hundreds of soldiers to live with ethnic minorities in the Central Highlands, as part of a plan aimed at winning them over to its policies. The move follows serious unrest in the region last month, after hilltribes demonstrated against what they see as restrictions on their religious rights and at government plans to turn ancestral forests over to coffee-growing. The Communist government - which was taken by surprise by the unrest - also announced plans to hold a conference to build "awareness" of their policies among hilltribes. Hilltribes resent government coffee plantations on their land In another development, the Nhan Dan (People) newspaper published the section of the criminal code which covers rioting and anti-state activity on Thursday, which correspondents interpreted as a warning to potential demonstrators. Offences under the code can result in the death penalty. There have been widespread expressions of concern over the unrest, following a Vietnamese crackdown in the region. Religious repression Human rights groups have accused the government of carrying out religious repression, citing the crackdown on Protestant "house churches" which have attracted many followers from ethnic hilltribes. Some religious sources have said that up to 60 people have been arrested, including some church leaders. Ethnic minority groups make up 15% of the population The People's Army newspaper said the troops had been ordered to distribute free rice and medicine to people in the Central Highlands and help with infrastructure projects. The soldiers would be asked to try to persuade local families to accept them as guests and spread awareness of party policy, although the paper admitted that few spoke the local languages. Over the past two days, state television has boradcast brief footage of the unrest, in which masked protesters were shown hurling rocks at riot police. Clashes A new decree warns against complaints against the state and party The latest reports suggest that the ethnic tensions in the region are far more serious than was thought and may date back to October. One report said that a clash broke out when police dismantled a wooden prayer house in a village near Pleiku, the capital of Gia Lai province. Three men were arrested for trying to stop police, while some members of the Jarai tribe were wounded. Amnesty Interntional has said that 24 hilltribe fugitives who fled to Cambodia should be granted asylum, saying they would face persecution if they returned to Vietnam.
BBC 10 Apr 2001, The United Nations refugee agency UNHCR has granted refugee status to twenty-four Vietnamese of the Montagnard ethnic minority who've been in custody after entering Cambodia illegally last month. The decision paves the way for the group's resettlement in the United States which had said it would grant them asylum as soon as they'd been officially classed as refugees. It has also added to tension between Washington and Hanoi which described the offer as interference in its internal affairs and demanded that the group be returned. Montagnards began fleeing their homes in the central highlands of Vietnam in February when the army moved in to arrest people who'd taken part in anti-government demonstrations.
BBC 17 Apr 2001, Vietnam detained a Norwegian MP for lengthy interrogation last week after he visited dissident religious leaders, Norwegian embassy officials said on Tuesday. The disclosure came as the Vietnamese authorities launched a major law awareness campaign following recent protests - the biggest for years - by ethnic minorities in the Central Highlands. The politician, Lars Rise, said he was detained in the central city of Hue on 9 April, interrogated and then "sent out of the country". His statement was quoted by the dissident Free Viet Alliance website. Mr Rise, from Norway's opposition People's Party, was arrested as he walked out of a church building in Hue, where he was visiting a Catholic priest, Nguyen Van Ly. About 100 policemen had surrounded the church. He had also met Thich Quang Do - a dissident Buddhist monk who was a Nobel Peace Prize nominee - in Ho Chi Minh City. The two religious leaders are under house arrest after they criticised the authorities for imposing religious restrictions. Church crackdown A diplomat in Hanoi told Reuters news agency that Rise had come to Vietnam on a tourist visa, not with an official parliamentary delegation. "In Vietnam's view he violated the law by coming as a tourist, then going to see persons under arrest," the diplomat said. A decree has warned against complaints against the state Human rights groups have criticised Vietnam for religious repression, citing the crackdown on Protestant "house churches" which have attracted many followers from ethnic hilltribes. There have been reports that some churches were torn down by the authorities, provoking clashes between police and protesters. New campaign The new law awareness campaign in the Central Highlands, aimed at preventing further unrest among ethnic minorities, will see more than one million pamphlets being distributed to villages in Gia Lai province, officials said. The government also provided the provinces with pictures of Vietnamese revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh, to be distributed free. The region was swept by huge protests involving thousands of people in February, in the capitals of Gia Lai - Pleiku - and Daklak provinces. The protests were fuelled by anger over religious rights as well as the government turning ancestral forests into the country's largest coffee-growing region.
BBC 18 Apr 2001, Vietnam plans to prosecute 11 "troublemakers" for recent ethnic unrest in the Central Highlands region, an official news agency says. Vietnam's Tin Tuc news agency also issued a warning to Protestant groups, seen to have played a role in the recent protests. "Strong measures [are to be taken against] those profiting from the Protestant faith... to bend the truth and sabotage the revolution", said Y Luyen Niec Dam, an official with the ruling Communist Party's provincial committee, quoted by the agency. The party official said the 11 arrested would be prosecuted by the authorities in Dak Lak province. A decree has warned against complaints against the state "We have to unmask the local and international reactionaries who have created this bad situation... and at the same time practise clemency towards all those who have strayed and repented," he said. Vietnam has beefed up military and police reinforcements in the provinces to quell any protests, sending hundreds of soldiers to live with ethnic minority members.
BBC 19 Apr 2001, Top Vietnamese officials publicly confirmed for the first time on Thursday that the most powerful man in the country, the Communist Party's secretary-general, has been ousted from power. A formal announcement on his replacement is expected on Saturday, but the post is likely to go to the more moderate and younger Nong Duc Manh. Mr Manh, 60, is currently speaker of parliament and a member of the country's ethnic Tay minority. Corruption and degradation in political ideology, ethics and not a small segment of party officials and members have been very serious Secretary-General Le Kha Phieu Conservatives in the Politburo had backed him partly because it was hoped that would help ease tension among ethnic minorities in the Central Highlands, scene of some of the worst protests for years in February.
BBC 22 Apr 2001, The Vietnamese Communist Party has appointed a key moderniser, Nong Duc Manh, as its new secretary-general, the country's most powerful leadership post. Mr Manh, currently chairman of the National Assembly, replaces 70-year-old Le Kha Phieu, who has been forced to step down. We will have younger blood in the leadership. Foreign Minister Nguyen Dy Nien Mr Manh, 61, is the country's first secretary-general with no direct experience of Vietnam's long wars for independence. Mr Manh, a trained engineer, is the first secretary-general with a university degree. He started his official life in provincial government, before joining the politbureau at the seventh Party Congress in 1991. A member of the Tay minority, Mr Manh's first taste of high office was as head of the party committee for nationalities, where he fashioned ethnic policy. Analysts say his expertise in this regard may stand him in good stead following recent violent unrest among Vietnam's central hill tribes. Speculation persists in many quarters that Mr Manh is the illegitimate son of Vietnam's revolutionary leader, Ho Chi Minh. His mother is believed to have been the leader's servant for a time.
BBC 12 Apr 2001, Representatives of the Greek minority in Albania have called on their community to boycott the country's current census because it doesn't include questions about ethnic origin and religion. Omonia, a group representing the Greek minority, said that as the Albanian government had insisted that Macedonia count its Albanian population, the government in Tirana should do the same with its own minorities. On Wednesday the Prime Minister, Ilir Meta, said the government would make improvements to the census at a later stage. The last census was held twelve years ago by the Communist government and included questions about ethnicity. Albania says there are about sixty-thousand ethnic Greeks in the country; Greek nationalist groups put the figure at four-hundred-thousand.
ICC On Monday, April 30th, Andorra ratified the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, thereby becoming the 30th State Party to the treaty. Andorran Foreign Minister Mr. Juli Minoves-Triquell deposits the instrument of ratification with UN Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs Hans CorellThe Rome Statute will enter into force with 60 ratifications. To date, 30 countries have completed the ratification process and deposited the instrument of ratification with the UN Secretary General.
AP April 24, 2001, Armenians filed past a monument and eternal flame in Yerevan to mark the 86th anniversary of the beginning of the genocide in Turkey. Armenia's government has asked Turkey to apologize as a condition for establishing diplomatic relations. Turkey insists the killings did not amount to genocide. Student activists, carrying torches lighted from a burning Turkish flag, marched from Opera Square near the city center to the memorial on a hill in Yerevan. In a conciliatory note, Armenian politicians and religious leaders were accompanied to the monument Tuesday by Turkish intellectual Ali Ertan, who heads a group of Turks who want their government to recognize the killings. Ertan laid flowers on the monument. The deaths began before April 24, but the date was chosen for memorial services because it marks the day in 1915 when Turkish authorities executed a large group of Armenian intellectuals and political leaders, accusing them of helping the invading Russian army during World War I. Armenia was then part of the Ottoman Empire. On Wednesday, the Canadian Senate is scheduled to review two measures on recognizing the Armenian genocide. Similar laws are under consideration in the United States, Austria, Germany and other countries. Argentina, Greece, France, Cyprus, Russia and several other countries already have officially recognized the historic events as genocide, along with eleven U.S. state governments.
Los Angeles Times 30 Apr 2001 Armenians are leaving Armenia at an alarming pace For centuries, Armenians were a people without a state, ruled over by Turks, Persians, Mongols and Russians. In World War I--their blackest hour--they were rounded up, starved, raped and murdered in a genocide that foreshadowed the worst crimes of the century. Those who survived took sanctuary under Soviet rule or scattered across Europe, the Middle East and the Americas, keeping alive their 1,700-year-old Christian faith, their customs and their language with its unique alphabet invented by a monk in AD 404. Then, in 1991, with the collapse of the Soviet Union, an unforeseen opportunity opened up. For the first time since the Middle Ages, the Armenian people had their own sovereign state, a homeland where they could return, prosper and build a secure future for their children. Ten years later, however, the hopes remain unfulfilled. Instead of the Armenian diaspora flocking home to build their country, the opposite is occurring: Armenians are leaving at an alarming pace. Of the nearly 3.7 million living in the country at the time of independence, an estimated 1 million have left. Aside from the thin layer of development in the capital, the country is grindingly poor. Despite $1.4 billion in U.S. aid over the past decade, and the government's attempts to promote commerce and investment, 80% of the country's people live in poverty on less than $25 a month, says sociologist Gevorg Poghosyan. The official unemployment rate is 17%, but a more accurate figure is 50%, he says. "Armenia is being depopulated. Families are breaking up," he says. "And those who are leaving are the ones who are the most economically active." The emigration is also reflected demographically. With so many men working abroad, Poghosyan says, there are now 57 women to every 43 men, an imbalance that hinders the creation of families. Poghosyan, head of the Armenian Sociological Assn., says that three-fifths of the emigres go to Russia because it is nearby and because they have no language difficulties there. One-fifth go to Western Europe or the United States, and the others are dispersing around the world. (There are many more ethnic Armenians outside Armenia than inside it. Southern California, with 800,000, is considered the world's second-largest Armenian center after Yerevan.) The other two newly independent ex-Soviet states next door, Georgia and Azerbaijan, have also seen their populations severely depleted, losing more than half a million people each, for similar reasons. But the exodus is especially poignant for Armenia, whose people have paid a bitter price in the last century for the lack of a secure state. Historians differ on how many people died at the hands of Turkish nationalists in 1915 and 1916. Outside Turkey, estimates up to 1.5 million are generally accepted. But Turkey itself denies that there was ever an organized plan to exterminate Armenians en masse. To the Armenians, however, the results speak for themselves, says Lavrenty Barsekian, director of the Armenian Genocide Museum and Memorial, a Soviet-built gray granite needle rising 144 feet above a hill overlooking Yerevan. Barsekian notes that today's Armenia is only a remnant, the smaller portion of Armenian lands that fortunately were under Russian rule at the time of the genocide. He credits Armenians abroad, the descendants of those who fled or were deported, with keeping alive the memory of those who were killed. "The world must remember these acts, so that a genocide will never be repeated in the 21st century," he says.
PANA 5 Apr 2001 Belgium Trial of four Rwandan genocide suspects, including two nuns of the Congregation of Benedictine Sisters, opens 17 April before the Court of Assizes in Brussels, Belgian Attorney General De Lent de Decker has announced. The four defendants are Vincent Ntezimana of the University of Rwanda in Butare, Alphonse Higaniro of the Rwandan Match Factory, and two nuns - Consolata Mukagango (Sister Gertrude) who was Mother Superior at Sovugo Convent, and Julienne Mukabutera (Sister Maria Kisito). According to De Decker, at least 170 witnesses, including dozens from Rwanda and Burundi, will testify during the trial that may last four to six weeks. Foreign witnesses will be flown to Brussels on Sabena Belgian airline flights, but dates of the flights are being kept secret to protect them from possible attacks. Sources said the Rwandan and Burundian witnesses would arrive in three batches. The first group will testify in the case against Vincent Ntezimana, the second in the case against Alphonse Higaniro and third group will testify against the two nuns. For security reasons also, De Decker said, witnesses will be accommodated at the Royal Military Academy under the protection of the Belgian armed forces. This historic trial will cost Belgium about 90 million Belgian francs (1 US dollar = 45 BF).
NYT April 30, 2001 An Awful Task: Assessing 4 Roles in Death of Thousands in Rwanda By MARLISE SIMONS. The bulky neo-Classical Palace of Justice in the heart of Brussels suggests a yearning for order and rules, but anarchy and bloodletting on a staggering scale are the focus in one of its courts. An unlikely quartet of accused are lined up in the dock. One is the former mother superior of a Roman Catholic convent, Sister Gertrude, and next to her is Sister Maria Kisito, both wearing the beige and brown habits of their Benedictine order. Beside them are a physics professor, Vincent Ntezimana, and a businessman, Alphonse Higaniro. All four face charges of complicity in multiple murders during the frenzy in Rwanda in 1994 in which an estimated half million civilians were shot, hacked or beaten to death. What makes the scene in this somber, marble-clad courtroom so unusual is that for the first time, a jury of 12 citizens is judging people accused of war crimes in another country. Until now, military or civilian magistrates have decided such cases. Moreover, the suspects are not politicians, or military or police officers. They have all pleaded not guilty. The trial, which opened on April 17 and is expected to last until the end of May, has stirred wide interest among lawyers and human rights advocates, who see it as opening a new chapter in the use of human rights law. It goes well beyond the legal precedent established with the arrest of Gen. Augusto Pinochet, Chile's former dictator, in Britain at the request of Spanish authorities. He was eventually released for health reasons and returned to Chile. "This case is clearly a big step in applying the principle that justice has no borders and that every country has the right and the moral duty to investigate the worst atrocities," said Reed Brody, advocacy director of Human Rights Watch. The trial also carries great political significance for Belgium, Rwanda's former colonial master. Although victims' relatives filed complaints as long ago as 1994, the issue of whether a trial should be held has been divisive. Supporters of a trial maintain that Belgium bears a special responsibility for the killings in Rwanda. When the Hutu majority began its bloody rampage against the Tutsi minority (and after 10 Belgian soldiers were killed), Belgium pulled out of the United Nations peacekeeping force there. That led to the withdrawal of the rest of the force, easing the way for the killers. Further, after the genocide ended and a Tutsi-led government took office, members and supporters of the violent Hutu government fled to Belgium. It took a Belgian parliamentary inquiry, agitation by human rights groups and six years of unrelenting work by the investigating judge, Damien Vandermeersch, to bring the case to trial. At one point, the judge accused the attorney general's office of obstructing his work. Others accused the influential Christian Democrats of trying to block a trial in which nuns were implicated. But the political mood changed last year, when the new prime minister, Guy Verhofstadt of the Liberal Party, visited Rwanda and apologized for Belgium's failure to do more to prevent the slaughter. Now the trial is seen as a way not only to repay a moral debt to Rwanda's victims, but also to revive credibility in Belgium after scandals over corruption and an inept judicial system. "The government wants to improve the country's image and restore faith in its institutions, no doubt about it," said Dirk Rambour, a lawyer representing relatives of Rwandan victims. Now, the government is sparing no efforts on the trial. The court has called more than 170 witnesses, many of whom will be brought from Rwanda, Burundi and elsewhere at the expense of the government, which will also pay most legal fees. . . In the first days of the trial, the 12 jurors and their 12 alternates have been given a crash course in Rwanda's ethnic divisions and turbulent history by a number of expert witnesses. "The jurors will have to overcome a great cultural barrier to understand a situation unlike any they have ever known," said Alison Des Forges, a rights advocate who is to testify.
BBC 5 Apr 2001 Survivors of the Srebrenica massacre have tried to storm the gates of the United Nations building in Sarajevo. Several hundred gathered on Monday amid rumours that Naser Oric, a controversial wartime Muslim commander they consider a hero, was about to be arrested by the U.N. war crimes tribunal. The protesters, mostly female Bosnian Muslims, stoned security guards and police after breaking down a metal barrier and pounding the glass doors of the building. Security guards tried to push back the protesters who carried banners accusing the U.N. of participating in the Serb genocide over Muslims of Srebrenica. "We want Naser! We want Naser!" the crowd chanted. Oric is considered a hero by Bosnian Muslims for his defence of the town during the Serb siege. The siege ended in 1995 after Bosnian Serb forces stormed the enclave. Up to 8,000 Muslims and Croats were killed or disappeared in the bloodiest massacre of the 1992-1995 Bosnian war.
BBC 6 Apr 2001, Fierce riots have broken out in Bosnia amid moves to seize a bank chain accused of funding a Bosnian Croat breakaway movement. Crowds massed around branches which were seized and additional Nato-led Stabilisation Force (S-For) troops were being deployed to quell the unrest. Some of the worst rioting was in Mostar, a Bosnian Croat nationalist stronghold, where 21 S-For peacekeepers were injured. Local reports said at least two civilians had been hurt in the riots. The rioting erupted when officials of the international administration moved against the bank in Mostar early on Friday. Bosnian Croats overturned and set fire to cars, and hundreds of rioters tried to storm international offices. The injured soldiers - from Italy, France, Spain, Ireland and the US - were not seriously hurt, an S-For spokesman said. The bank at the centre of the dispute is thought to be funding an attempt by the Croatian Democratic Party (HDZ) to establish a separate Croat mini-state in Croat-dominated parts of Bosnia. Last month, the HDZ withdrew from the Muslim-Croat federation - one of the two entities that make up post-war Bosnia. An HDZ call on Bosnian Croat soldiers to desert the federation's army has been widely heeded and nationalists claim that about 8,000 Croat soldiers have abandoned their barracks. Bank records show the Croat component of the government army holds about 50 accounts there, which may be being used to fund an illegal Croat army, police force and customs administration.
BBC 13 Apr 2001, US Secretary of State Colin Powell has voiced concern about the reappearance of what he called nationalist extremism in Bosnia. Speaking during a visit to the capital, Sarajevo, Mr Powell said ethnic Croat separatism threatened to set back the progress made since the end of the Bosnian war in 1995. Mr Powell sought to allay fears of waning US interest in the region Mr Powell also reiterated President George W Bush's intention to reduce the number of US troops in the Balkans but said this would happen only after consultations with America's allies. Although some heavy armour and attack helicopters have been withdrawn, the US still has 10,000 troops in the Balkans - just over 6,000 in Kosovo and the rest in Bosnia. Despite insurgency movements throughout the Balkans, Mr Powell said the US wanted to keep borders where they were. "Multi-ethnicity can be a source of strength instead of weakness," he told a news conference following a meeting with regional leaders. While confirming US support for a single Macedonian state, Mr Powell insisted changes must be made to give its Albanian minority - at least 25% of the two million population - a greater say in running the country. For its part, the US appears content to be playing a less visible role, although an invitation has been issued to the Macedonian President, Boris Trajkovski, to visit Washington in two weeks. Mr Powell has used the opportunity of his first trip to Europe as secretary of state to meet the foreign ministers of 11 south-east European and Balkan countries, from Hungary to Turkey.
BBC 16 Apr 2001, A former Bosnian Serb army commander arrested by Nato-led Stabilisation Force (S-For) troops in Bosnia is expected to appear in the next few days before the international tribunal in The Hague on genocide charges. Dragan Obrenovic has been charged in connection with the extermination of thousands of Bosnian Muslim men from the town of Srebrenica in 1995. In July 1995, Colonel Obrenovic was chief of staff of the Bosnian Serb army brigade besieging Srebrenica. That month, Srebrenica - proclaimed a safe haven under the protection of Dutch UN peacekeepers - fell to Serb forces. Since June 1997, S-For has arrested and transferred to The Hague 21 suspects. One of Colonel Obrenovic's fellow officers at the time, General Radislav Krstic, is currently on trial there on charges of genocide. He is the highest ranking Bosnian Serb to go in the dock. Three Bosnian Serb war crimes suspects have been killed in S-For snatch operations.
Reuters 30 Apr 2001 A Bosnian court Monday acquitted five Muslims charged with war crimes against Croat soldiers and civilians in 1993, state radio reported. It was the second acquittal of war crimes suspects by the court in the past few weeks, something a Western monitor said raised some suspicion -- because both trials were held only under international rules requiring a strong body of evidence. The five, charged with killing two Bosnian Croat soldiers in the Western Herzegovina region and torturing civilians, were acquitted due to a lack of evidence, according to the court. Eight Bosnian Muslims, out of 23 indicted by the regional prosecutor in the southern town of Mostar for alleged war crimes against Croats, surrendered in November to a local court which had got the go-ahead for a trial from the U.N. war crimes court. The trial of another 13 Muslims from the same group is scheduled to begin this week. The International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) allows for local trials of what it calls low-level war crimes suspects if it feels there is strong enough evidence. According to the rules, Croat indictees are prosecuted by a Muslim with a Croat heading the court's panel of judges. Muslim indictees must be prosecuted by a Croat with a Muslim as the presiding judge. Monday's acquittal followed another acquittal earlier this month by the same court of four Bosnian Croat members of the so-called ``Mostar Five'' group charged with war crimes against Muslim civilians and soldiers in 1993. A Western official involved in monitoring that trial, where lack of evidence was also cited, said the prosecution's case failed due to conflicting testimonies by Muslim witnesses who changed their original statements, ``obviously out of fear.'' Many Muslims, tortured during the war by Croat soldiers still living in the area, refuse to bear witness against them for fear of reprisals at the time when they plan to return to homes in Croat-controlled areas, the official told Reuters. The release of the Muslims Monday made it look as if one acquittal had led to another, according to the Western official, who asked not to be identified. ``It must have been a deal,'' the official said.
BBC 23 Apr 2001 Forensic scientists working for the international war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia are to begin exhuming a suspected mass grave of Serb civilians in the southern Croatian town of Knin on Tuesday. The operation is going ahead despite opposition from Croatian army veterans, several hundred of whom staged a demonstration in the town on Monday. This is a protest against the non-investigation of the crimes committed against Croatians The veterans are angry with the Croatian Government's willingness to co-operate with the tribunal both in allowing exhumations and in arresting suspected war criminals. Opinion polls in Croatia suggest that a majority want co-operation with the tribunal in order to clear the reputation of all those soldiers who fought in the 1991-95 war but did not harm Serb civilians. Around 300 protesters gathered in Knin's main square, but were prevented by police from reaching the cemetery where the exhumations are due to begin. They dispersed peacefully. The regions rebelled against Zagreb's declaration of independence in 1991, setting up a self-styled state which covered a third of Croatia's territory. Most Serbs fled Krajina after the Croatian army took control of the area in August 1995. According to the human rights group Croatian-Helsinki committee, 263 Serb civillians were killed in the Knin area in the aftermath of the operation. Many are believed to be buried in the cemetery. The Croatian army has always denied killing civillians and maintains that any Serbs there were soldiers who died resisting their advance.
BBC 10 April, 2001 Icon tribute to Estonian premier Estonian Premier Laar (second from left) among the righteous Estonian Premier Mart Laar has had his image immortalised on an icon decorating the wall of a Ukrainian church in the capital Tallinn. The icon in the city's Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, reproduced on the website of the SL Ohtuleht newspaper, portrays Laar among senior church figures under the protective arms of the Mother of God. We have always learnt about our secular leaders from icons Ukrainian church elder A young girl in the foreground symbolises a new generation of Slavs in the smallest of the Baltic States. "We think this is a vivid illustration of the fact that integration works in Estonia," a spokesman for Mr Laar's party, the nationalist Pro Patria Union, told the paper. Slavs form the largest ethnic minority in the Baltic nation of 1.4 million, having settled here under the Russian empire and then the Soviet Union. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, relations have been strained between Estonians and Russian speakers. Less than half of the Slav minority hold Estonian citizenship. Many have complained about the stringency of Estonian language tests required for citizenship. Some 300 Russian-speaking policemen lost their jobs in 1999 after failing to pass the tests. The dispute has also spread to the church community. Estonian and Russian Orthodox churches clashed recently over the plans of the Russian church to register as an Estonian organisation. But the authorities of the newly opened Ukrainian Greek Catholic church describe Mr Laar's iconic image as a gesture of respect for their host nation.
NYT 15 Apr 2001 ART THE Georges Pompidou Center is justly celebrated for its 20th-century art, its rich permanent collection as well as its blockbuster exhibitions. When it was founded in 1977, however, it was given a much broader mandate, one that also embraces architecture, industrial design, experimental dance, electro- acoustical music and avant-garde cinema. In its latest exhibition, "Les Années Pop, 1956-1968," which runs through June 18, the Pompidou has assumed that risk. It has laid out a cultural smorgasbord from the United States, Britain and France to support its case that Pop Art was part of a larger international phenomenon including architecture, design, movies and music. Yet some French critics have seen in this a revisionist attempt to inflate France's role in the 60's. The final section of this show is called "Dream and Conflict." Here, though many of the earlier themes continue to be explored, the mood clearly darkens as a certain innocence is shattered by the shadow of the Vietnam War and the rise of the drug culture. George Maciunas revisits Mr. Johns's "Flag," but this time the stars are skulls and the stripes include lines like "U.S.A. surpasses all genocide records!" . . . By the end of this show, the case also seems to have been made that 1956 to 1968 did mark a period of artistic and social liberation in Europe as well as the United States. Less clear, perhaps, is whether different art forms were responding to one another sufficiently to represent a true cultural movement. And, in truth, France's role still looks fairly peripheral. France, on the other hand, is infamous for looking back. To judge by "Les Années Pop," it seems to be enjoying the 60's today as much as it did at the time.
HRW 30 Apr2001 Human Rights Watch today expressed dismay with the French government's failure to prevent a former Algerian defense minister accused of torture from leaving the country. General Khaled Nezzar departed from France on April 26th, one day after two victims of torture and the family of a third filed civil lawsuits alleging his responsibility for torture committed while he was Algeria's defense minister from 1990-93. Nezzar, 64, is now retired from government and was in Paris to promote his memoirs. "France has cynically placed it relations with Algeria ahead of its international legal obligations," said Reed Brody, advocacy director of Human Rights Watch. "It is shameful the French government let Nezzar leave the country without conducting an investigation of the very serious allegations against him." Nezzar headed the Algerian armed forces when it was given the leading role in fighting terrorism in the country. In 1992 the Interior Ministry and later the military began to engage in the systematic use of torture against persons suspected of being members or sympathizers of the Islamist movement. The 1984 Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment permits states, after an examination of available information, to take into custody a person alleged to have committed torture. The state must then make a preliminary inquiry into the facts of the allegations. France became a party to the Convention against Torture in 1986. Human Rights Watch has pressed for the prosecution of serious violators of human rights throughout the world. The organization initiated the prosecution in Senegal of the former dictator of Chad, Hissene Habre, and was a petitioner in the case involving Augusto Pinochet in Britain's House of Lords. The organization has also advocated for the creation of an International Criminal Court.
www.NewsFactor.com 10 Apr 2001 Police throughout Germany have seized computers and related media from 103 suspected traders of neo-Nazi songs, German officials announced Tuesday. Germany's federal crime agency, the Verfassungsschutz, told news sources that local police agencies coordinated a search of the suspects' residences last week. The federal prosecutor's office in Bonn has opened a total of 120 cases thus far against alleged purveyors of MP3's with far-right lyrics, which are illegal to sell or swap under German law. If convicted, suspects involved in the sting face up to three years in prison. German officials are appearing increasingly desperate in the wake of the proliferation of neo-Nazi content on the Web, and have expressed frustration over how the global nature of the Internet allows perpetrators of hate songs and propaganda to circumvent German law. As a result of these frustrations, the German government has sent mixed messages on how it plans to counter neo-Nazi Web sites located in Germany and abroad. "Internet sites with far-right, neo-Nazi content are a growing threat," the ministry said in a statement on Tuesday. "These offerings are nearly always put on the Net from abroad, so Germany has no legal grounds [to prosecute]." The interior ministry affirmed that it has joined forces with international governing bodies and with German authorities to stop the problem using legal means. However, on Tuesday a government official confirmed reports that German Interior Minister Otto Schily is considering employing spam in the country's campaign against online hate. Monique Krause, an Internet strategy analyst with the Boston-based Yankee Group, told NewsFactor Network that the Germans are threatening to open "a big can of worms" if they follow through with any of their threats. "I can't imagine the German government [employing] DoS or spam attacks," Krause told NewsFactor. "The entire world would be up in arms if they went through with something like this, particularly in the U.S., where we hold First Amendment rights in such high esteem." Yankee Group network security and management analyst Todd Miller agreed, adding that "Using hacker tactics is the wrong way" to confront the problem.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 23 Apr 2001 The trial of Anton Malloth, a former SS staff sergeant and guard at the Theresienstadt concentration camp, began here on Monday in the prison where he is being held. The 89-year-old Mr. Malloth stands accused of killing three Jewish prisoners at the camp between 1943 and 1945. Mr. Malloth was asked by Judge Jürgen Hanreich to enter a plea to the charges, saying Mr. Malloth had an obligation to those who were humiliated, tortured and murdered to help uncover the truth concerning their deaths. The defendant, who denies all of the charges, pleaded not guilty. Although Mr. Malloth is suffering from cancer of the esophagus, medical experts pronounced him fit to stand trial. He spent the session sitting listlessly in his wheelchair. Prosecutors in Dortmund twice closed cases against Mr. Malloth due to lack of evidence. But Munich prosecutors reopened the investigation after a new witness came forward in the Czech Republic. The witness claims he saw Mr. Malloth shoot and kill a Jewish laborer at Theresienstadt in September 1943 after catching him hiding cauliflower under his jacket. Prosectors also say the Austrian-born Mr. Malloth sprayed water at two naked prisoners in freezing temperatures in January 1944 until they died. In addition, Mr. Malloth faces a lesser charge of attempted murder for allegedly beating and kicking a Jewish inmate to death; authorities cannot determine conclusively if the person died.
AP 23 Apr 2001 Even as it acknowledged reaching out to violent skinheads, a far-right party on Monday denounced government efforts to have it banned for its alleged affinity to the Nazis as an attempt to impose ``Orwellian'' thought control on Germans. The National Democratic Party, also known by its German initials NPD, has presented its formal written arguments to Germany's highest court, which will review requests from the government and both houses of parliament to outlaw it. Postwar Germany has banned only two parties: a successor to the Nazis in 1952 and the Communist Party in 1956. The party must be proven not only to reject the German constitution but also to have violent tendencies. Arguing for dismissal of the case, the NDP appealed to the court to apply European civil rights norms to defend its right to debate issues such as racial differences and the ``real-historical reasons for Jew-hating.'' The party's lawyer, Horst Mahler, a former leftist activist turned far-right leader, said the NPD was also being unfairly stigmatized for its connections with the country's burgeoning neo-Nazi scene. The government and parliament insist that a ban is needed to bar it from facilities such as television advertising and state campaign funding. In its application filed with the court last month, parliament's lower house said there are ``an abundance of historical sources that show the NPD has a clear affinity with Nazism,'' racist ideology and aggressive rhetoric. The documents said the party belittles Nazi crimes and has a ``merely tactical relationship to legality.'' The court is to decide by the summer whether to accept the motions seeking a ban. It is not expected to issue a ruling before next year.
Kathimerini (Athens) 3 Apr 2001 Archbishop Christodoulos's claims to have discovered on the Internet evidence of an international Jewish plot to remove mention of religion from Greek state identity cards drew a pained response from Greek Jews, according to correspondence released yesterday. This was sharply dismissed by the Orthodox Church leader, who said anti-Jewish sentiment predated Christianity, being explicable on "purely theological grounds." In a letter published on the Church of Greece's Internet site, the Central Jewish Council of Greece said remarks of the kind Christodoulos made during an interview with To Vima daily on March 15 foster anti-semitic sentiment. In the interview, the archbishop of Athens and all Greece had said, regarding the government's controversial decision to abolish the faith slot from police ID cards: "Do you know who is behind the identity card matter? The Jews, and for the first time we have evidence of that." The 62-year-old church leader claimed he got wind of the plot on an Internet page belonging to the World Jewish Council, adding that international Jewry had also badgered the government into building a monument to the Jews of Salonica that were killed in German World War II concentration camps. "Remarks with such a content... lead to the creation of a general anti-semitic mood," the Central Jewish Council of Greece said in a letter to the archbishop dated March 20. "The results of such a mood can include vandalism at Jewish cemeteries and institutions, which even you yourself are forced to condemn." And the council said it could not understand why Christodoulos linked "as (he) should not have" the ID card issue with the monument "to the 60,000 Greek Jews of Thessaloniki who died in Nazi camps." Last month, Government Spokesman Dimitris Reppas dismissed the archbishop's comments as falsehoods that "cause problems to the country's international image." Christodoulos said the Jewish council's letter caused him pain to read, in a response dated March 26. "It was with pain that I read your letter, which I can only describe as a result of weak faith and memory," he said. "Anti-semitism is described in the Bible... it has a purely theological explanation and is clearly pre-Christian," he added. "Throughout the centuries, the enemies of the Jews did not wait for identity cards to be issued in order to organize their extermination. Nor were the only Jews led to crematoria those who had identity cards." The archbishop said he found the fact that the council had written to him citing "journalists' articles," instead of mentioning "the word of the Lord" most worrying. "I enjoin you not to abandon the faith of your ancestors, and continue to have their faith and its Truth as your guide and protector." And he noted that he had never accused Jews of acting in secret against Christians. "It was not Jews but Greek politicians who acted in secret, hiding from the people which interests they were serving and why," Christodoulos said.
Kathimerini (Athens) 23 Apr 2001 Jewish genocide remembered in Thessaloniki and Athens The country's Jewish community yesterday commemorated the tens of thousands of Jewish Greeks who were killed in Nazi death camps, in ceremonies attended by political and religious leaders in Thessaloniki and Athens. Archbishop Christodoulos, the head of the Church of Greece, was one of the main speakers at the Jewish memorial at the 3rd Cemetery in Athens. He said that religious groups should hold their religion as their flag or be doomed to repeating history. "Our religion is our flag, we hold it before us. We should not be ashamed to say that we are Orthodox and you are Jewish," he said. "Because those who want to erase these things... you must know then that these incidents will be repeated." *** In a message commemorating the start of a seven-year military dictatorship on April 21, 1967, Prime Minister Costas Simitis said on Saturday that "34 years later, the Greek people have won democracy and there is no way to turn back." He added that democracy in Greece was functioning in "an exemplary fashion."
Kathimerini (Athens) 23 Apr 2001 Armenian-Greek demonstrators clash with police in Athens yesterday morning during a protest march to the Turkish Embassy on the 86th anniversary of the genocide of some 1.5 million Armenians by the Turkish State in 1915. Hundreds of Armenians marched from Syntagma Square to the embassy, where they burnt Turkish flags. Demonstrators called on Turkey to own up to the genocide, stop its blockade of Armenia and return Armenian territory to Armenia proper. Earlier in the day, a memorial service was conducted at the monument to the genocide victims, on Chrysostomou Smyrnis Square in Nea Smyrni. *** The Armenian National Committee held a ceremony in Thessaloniki yesterday to commemorate the slaughter of 1.5 million Armenians by Turks in 1915. The ceremony, attended by Defense Minister Akis Tsochadzopoulos, was to mark the April 24 anniversary of the genocide. Van Coufoudakis, professor of political science at the University of Indiana-Purdue, urged US President George W. Bush to stand by a campaign promise to recognize April 24 as a day to commemorate the Armenian genocide, part of an international effort to have the day recognized. Tsochadzopoulos said that doing so would not be "an act of hatred." "Quite the opposite, (such actions) build bridges of friendship and cooperation between nations based on historical truth, and build defenses against policies that lead to genocides," he said.
BBC 18 Apr 2001, Hungary has held the first commemoration for its hundreds of thousands of victims of the Holocaust. The day was marked solemnly with a plenary session of parliament. Schoolchildren have in the past month received a new text book dedicated to the subject. Some 600,000 Jews and gypsies from Hungary perished in Nazi concentration camps, most of them in the last year of the war. The day marks the foundation of Hungary's first ghetto in 1944. The speaker of parliament, Janos Ader, condemned racial discrimination in all its forms, and said the deportations did not happen at the will of the majority. Hungary's chief rabbi, Jozsef Schweitzer, reminded deputies that the anti-Jewish laws of the 1930s and 40s were passed in the same chamber where they now sat, and that the Hungarian government handed over its own citizens to their executioners. The degree of Hungarian involvement in the deportations has been a source of bitter controversy ever since. Jewish leaders argue that as Nazi Germany was already losing the war, a Hungarian refusal to co-operate would have saved thousands of lives. The government plans to hold annual commemorations every 16 April, the anniversary of the foundation of the first ghetto in Hungary in 1944. This year's ceremony was held a day later because of the Easter holiday.
BBC 18 April, 2001 Italy has asked Germany to try a former Nazi SS officer on war crimes charges. Germany doesn't extradite its nationals for crimes committed abroad, but tries them at home. The former officer, Friedrich Engel, now aged ninety-two, has been quoted in Italian media as admitting that he was present at the killing of fifty-nine Italian prisoners of war in Genoa in 1944. But he's defended himself by saying that he only obeyed orders. German prosecutors say they'll decide whether to press charges when they've completed translating files of a 1999 Italian military trial of Mr Engel which related to other killings. In that trial, conducted in Mr Engel's absence, the court in Turin found him guilty of killing nearly two-hundred-and-fifty Italians during the war.
ICRC 19 Apr 2001 ICRC Last week the ICRC, which has been striving to help families uncover the truth, put out a second edition of the "Book of Missing Persons in Kosovo", in Pristina and Belgrade, as part of its ongoing efforts to find out what happened to those who remain unaccounted for in connection with the conflict. This 200-page document contains an updated list of 3,525 names of people from all ethnic backgrounds who were reported missing by their families between January 1998 and the end of March 2001. The book is a valuable tool which the ICRC uses in its endeavour to elucidate the fate of missing persons. This involves active dialogue with the authorities concerned and extensive field work, including visits to places of detention and assistance in the exhumation and identification process. It is intended to encourage the authorities and anyone else who might have useful information to come forward as quickly as possible for the sake of those whose relatives are missing. The right of families to know the fate of their loved ones is a basic principle of international humanitarian law.
BBC 18 Apr 2001, One Serb was killed and four others injured by a large bomb that went off near Yugoslav Government offices in the Kosovo capital Pristina. The bomb appeared to have been placed in a car parked near the Centre for Peace and Tolerance which houses the offices of Kosovo political parties and the Yugoslav passport office. International officials condemned the attack as they searched for witnesses and suspects. The bomb was placed in a parked car "For the future of Kosovo it could not be a more tragic incident," said UN police spokesman Derek Chappell. "This is an attack against everything that people trying to build this country are working for." Serb media identified the victims as employees of the Yugoslav Government office in Pristina and said that one of the four injured, a woman, was in serious condition. No arrests were immediately made and officials said they had no details on the type of bomb detonated, although UN spokesman Andrea Angeli estimated the device contained 10 kilogrammes (22 pounds) of explosives. It is not yet clear who the bomb was directed at, though ethnic Albanians often gather outside the building queuing to apply for Yugoslav passports. Kosovo's UN administrator, Hans Haekkerup, called the attack "an outrage" and said he was awaiting the investigators' report. " "Clearly Albanian terrorists and extremists are determined to continue with their evil works," said the Yugoslav Government minister for Kosovo, Momcilo Trajkovic.
BBC 9 Apr 2001, Macedonia has signed a stabilisation and association agreement with the European Union which officials hope will help avert more violence in the country. The signing, in Luxembourg, comes after two weeks of clashes between ethnic Albanian rebels and Macedonian security forces at the end of March. It puts Macedonia on the path towards eventual EU membership, ahead of all other Balkan states. The BBC's Central Europe correspondent, Nick Thorpe, says that accelerating the country's approach to the EU could help the different national groups living in the country to forget their disagreements. But diplomats say that if Macedonia hands over a letter formally asking to join the EU, there would have to be a long review before negotiations could even begin. Albanian demands Albanians are believed to make up about one third of the population and are demanding the status of an equal nation, not simply a minority in the country alongside the far smaller communities of Turks, Vlachs and others.
AFP 9 Apr 2001 -- Macedonia's Gypsies cast their lot with Skopje by Sonia Bakaric SKOPJE, The gypsies of Macedonia, traumatized by the persecution of their brethren in neighbouring Kosovo, have given their full loyality to the government in Skopje in its struggle against ethnic Albanian rebels. "We are loyal to Macedonia and we have a duty to defend our country," said Mustafa Miljenje, a senior official of the National Union of the Roma in Macedonia (SRM), the main political force of the country's gypsy population. The gypsies oppose the "terrorists," Miljenje said in a reference to the recent clashes between the ethnic Albanian separatist guerrillas of the National Liberation army (NLA) and government forces. Estimated at about 60,000 people out of a total population of two million, the gypsy community in Macedonia is mostly concentrated in a shanty district at the dead-end road from Skopje to the neighbouring hills. But they also live in the areas around the predominantly Albanian western town Tetovo, the scene of violent clashes between the NLA rebels and the security forces in mid-March. There, members of the gypsy community told AFP, "children and their parents sleep with their clothes on" so they can flee at any moment since "Albanians do not like gypsies." In Sutka, a poor, dust-swept suburb, houses are made of used bricks and cartons and exhausted horses pull wooden carriages packed with poorly-dressed children through the streets. Women collect wood for heating or wash clothes at the taps by the main road, where 1970s-era Mercedes cars pass by decorated with garlands and plastic dolls on the back windshield. Near an old merry-go-round, painted in the red and yellow of the Macedonian flag, other children play ball on a make-shift field, with goals marked by stones. The gypsy community owns two private television stations, SUTEL and BTR, and one daily newspaper, Roma Time, with a circulation of about 3,000. Among the issues often covered are sports and culture, and the election of Miss Roma in beauty contests held in January and July. But a fear of war still prevails despite an at least temporary halt to the fighting with rebels from the large ethnic Albanian minority. "I am afraid of war and terrorists, but I will never give up my Macedonia, I will never leave," Majda, a 33-year old mother of four, insisted. Nearby, a woman threatens to throw a shoe at a black cat, as if hoping to cast away bad luck. A smell of lilacs in bloom is mixed with strong smell of grilled coffee grounds, prepared from old traditional recipes -- on stoves dating back to another era. "We are the poorest community in Macedonia, some 80 percent of Roma live on welfare," Miljenje said. "A family of four gets about 40 dollars per month." But this situation "is nothing compared to horrible fate which has hit the Roma in Kosovo," he said. Since NATO-led peacekeepers arrived in the now UN-run Serbian province Kosovo in June 1999, gypsies and other non-Albanian minorities have come under a series of sometimes deadly attacks by extremists from the majority Albanian population. Accused by the Albanians of taking sides with the Serbs during the 1998-99 Kosovo war, gypsies felt they had no other choice but to flee the province. A police-guarded gypsy refugee camp is situated near Sutka, where children flying kites get them tangled in the chain-link fence surrounding the premises. sba/an/dlc/dm AFP Copyright (c) 2001 Agence France-Presse
Guardian (UK) 30 Apr 2001 Talks aimed at ending the conflict in Macedonia were in doubt yesterday after eight members of the security forces were killed in an ambush near the Kosovan border, and a further six injured. The attack on Saturday on a joint patrol of 16 soldiers and police officers was the most serious single incident since fighting erupted in February, and ended a month-long lull. It put a serious question against negotiations between the government and opposition parties for a new coalition which, it was thought, could pave the way for many of the reforms sought by the ethnic Albanian minority. Reports that the ambush victims' had been mutilated further reduced that prospect. The incident was discussed at an emergency cabinet meeting yesterday afternoon and the national security council, which encompasses the army, police, intelligence services and the presidents office, was due to decide last night what action to take. Officials said the patrol was ambushed near Vejce village, 12 miles north of Tetovo. "They were hit by everything," said Nikola Dimitrov, security adviser to President Boris Trajkovski. "They used hand grenades, rocket launchers and machine guns." He said the guerrilla's had gone out of their way to disfigure the corpses. "It's unbelievable, and it's going to damage the political process. Now it will be so difficult to proceed." The Macedonian media blamed the National Liberation Army (NLA), whose commanders denied breaking the unofficial ceasefire that has been in place since March. The NLA's spokesman, Ali Ahmeti, told Reuters that his troops had not attacked, although they might have acted in self defence. Mr Trajkovski cancelled a planned visit to Romania to attend the cabinet meeting. He is due to fly to Washington today for talks with President Bush. Arben Xhafari, leader of the Democratic Albanian party, and a member of the government, condemned the ambush. "I think it will endanger the progress of negotiations and will deepen the polarisation between Macedonians and Albanians," he said. Talks about a new government were due to conclude by the end of the week. Many Albanian politicians have expressed frustration at what they see as a lack of progress. Albanian parties want constitutional change, and more language and employment rights. The NLA says it has the same goals, but Saturday's ambush reinforced the view held by many majority politicians that the guerrillas merely want territory and are not interested in dialogue. "The roots of this crisis are not in the system of the state - they want a state for themselves," Mr Dimitrov said. Western military experts in Skopje agreed. "It's what the Macedonians feared. They are trying to make no-go areas; they want territory and not institutional change," a western diplomat said, adding that the rebels might have wanted to provoke a Macedonian army counter-attack. "They want an over-reaction - they want a Racak" - the massacre of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo which led to Nato's bombing campaign against Serbia.
Netherlands - ICTY
NYT 19 Apr 2001 A former Bosnian Serb Army commander, accused of playing a central role in the biggest massacre of the Bosnian war, pleaded not guilty today to charges of genocide and other war crimes before the international war crimes tribunal in The Hague. The officer, Dragan Obrenovic, 38, was arrested on Sunday in Bosnia by NATO-led troops. He was both the deputy and acting commander of a brigade in a Bosnian town, Srebrenica, in July 1995, when thousands of Muslim men and boys were separated from their families and killed. In indicting him, United Nations prosecutors charged that the former major had "participated in a criminal plan," whose purpose was "to detain, capture and summarily execute by firing squad over 5,000 Muslim men and boys" from the enclave in eastern Bosnia that was under United Nations protection. The indictment describes in detail how men of the Zvornik Brigade under Major Obrenovic's command moved their captives, blindfolded them and gunned them down with automatic weapons. It says brigade engineers used heavy equipment to dig mass graves and bury the victims. Weeks later, according to the indictment, Major Obrenovic and his troops became part of an extensive effort to cover up the killings by digging up hundreds of bodies and moving them to other sites. It was not clear why Mr. Obrenovic had not been indicted earlier. His name has come up at times in the trial of a superior, Gen. Radovan Krstic, who is being tried on charges in connection with responsibility for the Srebrenica killings. Last year, prosecutors stunned the courtroom with a tape of a radio intercept in which a voice identified as the major's is heard reporting that his troops had caught additional Muslim refugees, "some with guns and some with mines." General Krstic's reply was: "Kill each and every one of them. Do not leave a single one alive." Tribunal investigators questioned Mr. Obrenovic several times in Bosnia. His lawyer told Bosnian television that he was shocked by Mr. Obrenovic's arrest because Mr. Obrenovic had been cooperating. The lawyer said Mr. Obrenovic had made it clear that he would surrender if an indictment was issued. But tribunal officials said the indictment, signed by the prosecutor on March 23 and confirmed by Judge Liu Daqun of China on April 9, was kept secret until the arrest. Florence Hartmann, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor, said the decision was made to prevent the suspect's escape from his hometown, Zvornik, on the border with Serbia. Others accused of war crimes are hiding in Serbia. Mr. Obrenovic and General Krstic have been charged with similar crimes, including genocide and crimes against humanity, in connection with the killings at Srebrenica. Although the proceedings against the two commanders are widely seen as significant, they are also a reminder that the two main instigators of one of the most violent episodes of the war are still at large. Although they were among the first to be indicted, the former political leader of the Bosnian Serbs, Radovan Karadzic, and the former military commander, Gen. Ratko Mladic, have not been arrested. General Mladic, who repeatedly assured the Muslim refugees at Srebrenica that they were safe before they were led to the killing fields, has been seen in Serbia. Dr. Karadzic, who once told Serbian television that the taking of Srebrenica was proof of Serbian superiority, is generally believed to be hiding in Bosnia.
BBC 29 Mar 2001, A mass grave containing the bodies of hundreds of Polish Jews believed to have been massacred by their neighbours has been found in northern Poland. The Jews were burned to death in a barn in the village of Jedwabne, about 100km north-east of the capital Warsaw. For years the massacre, in July 1941, was blamed on Nazi occupiers, but the Polish President has now accepted that it was the Jews' fellow-villagers who were to blame. A stone monument blaming Nazi and Gestapo soldiers for around 1,600 deaths in the area has already been removed. But the wording to be used on the new memorial has still to be agreed and will be a highly sensitive issue. There has already been a strong public reaction to the government's acceptance of the guilt of its own citizens. A national debate over the Jedwabne killings was sparked when author Jan Thomasz Gross wrote a book, 'Neighbours', which provided detailed accounts of how Polish people carried out the murders with German approval. Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski faced a storm of protest when he announced earlier this month that he was planning to apologise to Jews for the massacre. "It was an act of genocide which Poles from Jedwabne carried out against their Jewish neighbours," he said in an interview with an Israeli newspaper. "It was an exceptionally bestial killing of innocent people." 'Too soon' to lay blame An inquiry into exactly what happened is still being conducted by Poland's new National Remembrance Institute. Some senior Polish figures have said it is therefore too soon to lay the blame on Polish citizens. The massacre took place only two weeks after German occupation forces replaced Soviet troops, who had invaded eastern Poland in September 1939.
Reuters 19 Apr 2001 Young Jews and Poles marched Thursday along ``The Path of Death'' at the former concentration camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau to commemorate victims of Nazi German genocide during World War Two. Some elderly survivors of Nazi horrors joined about 1,000 young marchers from across the world at the annual ``March of the Living'' that took them from the gates of Auschwitz to its sister camp of Birkenau two miles away. Members of Poland's 10,000-strong Jewish community, remnants of a pre-war population of 3.5 million, were in the procession. Two years ago, young Catholic Poles began to take part in the march as a sign of the growing reconciliation between Poles and Jews, whose shared history have often been painful. Relations with Jews came under the spotlight earlier this year with the publication of a book that unearthed new evidence about a wartime massacre of Jews in the town of Jedwabne, which showed it may have been the work of Poles and not Nazi Germans. Prosecutors have launched a probe into the murder of about 1,600 Jews from the town who were burned alive in a barn, and the case has forced many Poles to question their self-image as of defiant heroes in the struggle against Adolf Hitler.
AFP 10 Apr 2001 The bodies of 17 men killed by gunfire have been found in a building used by Russian police in the Chechen capital Grozny, the daily Kommersant reported Tuesday. The killings had taken place around six months ago, Kommersant reported. A mass grave containing around 60 bodies was found on the outskirts of Grozny in late February, civil rights spokesmen saying that at least 16 of them were those of civilians who had disappeared after being arrested by Russian police.
AFP 9 Apr 2001 Six Chechen villagers including the local administrative chief were killed by a group of armed men at Kulary, a rural district near the capital Grozny, Russian media reported on Monday. The armed men, wearing uniforms, approached a group of villagers early Sunday and after a short discussion opened fire on them with assault rifles, shouting "Allah akbar" (God is great), the Interfax news agency said, quoting interior ministry officials in Chechnya. Five of the villagers, one a novice policeman, were killed and another five were seriously wounded, the ITAR-TASS news agency said, quoting interior ministry spokesman Alexander Chekalin. Around the same time, four men burst into the house of the local administator and shot her dead, leaving her husband and child unharmed, Interfax said. Police officials said they believed a rebel band had killed the villagers because of their contacts with Russian federal authorities.
AP 19 Apr 2001 Prominent ultranationalist lawmaker Vladimir Zhirinovsky, protested a call for a moment of silence for Holocaust Remembrance Day on Thursday, saying the Russian parliament should not have to stand in memory of the Nazis' victims. Sergei Ivanenko, a deputy from the liberal Yabloko faction, asked the State Duma, the lower house of parliament, to stand for a moment of silence. Deputy Speaker Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the head of the ultranationalist Liberal Democratic Party, said Ivanenko's request was ``unacceptable.'' ``There are so many holidays. Should the Russian parliament stand every day?'' he said, using the word for ethnic Russian, instead of a more neutral term that applies to all Russian citizens, including Jews. Most of the deputies present chose to stand, NTV television reported. Russia has a long history of anti-Semitism running back through the czarist and Soviet periods. A handful of politicians still make anti-Semitic remarks in public, and in recent years there has been vandalism and isolated violence aimed at Jews.
AFP 26 Apr 2001 Five civilians, five policemen and seven rebels have been killed in the latest violence in Russia's breakaway republic of Chechnya, Russian news agencies reported Thursday, quoting official sources. The five civilians were gunned down before dawn on Wednesday by a group of around 15 unidentified assailants who entered their village of Duba-Yurt, about 30 kilometers (18 miles) south of the Chechen capital, Grozny, local police said. In other recent incidents, rebels shot and killed five policemen in the republic, where Russian forces have been unsuccessfully trying to crush a separatist rebellion for the past 18 months. The Russian interior ministry also reported that four rebels had been killed in skirmishes with government security forces and three others died when a landmine they were trying to plant exploded. The ministry said the three "preferred to die from their bomb rather than be arrested."
BBC 19 Apr 2001, Police deny 'no-go zones' for whites Racist graffiti in Oldham is stirring up tensions Police have denied that Asian youths are turning parts of Oldham into "no-go zones" for whites. Latest police figures show a record level of race attacks in the Greater Manchester town, with 60% of reported victims being white. Suggestions that no-go areas exist in Oldham followed the violence which flared at the weekend between white and Asian youths in Bradford. Chief Superintendent Eric Hewitt, of the Oldham division of Greater Manchester police, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that he did not believe there were any such areas in Oldham. But he warned that unless the public gave their full support to police initiatives there was a "very real danger" that no-go zones could become reality. It's a matter of getting revenge, a matter of giving as good as you can take Asian youth In a report on the Today programme, one young Asian on the Glodwick estate in the west of Oldham said there were signs all around the area saying "Whites enter at your own risk". "It wasn't done to say 'We don't want you in our area', it was just to show that 'What you've done to us, we can do to you'," he said. "It's a matter of getting revenge, a matter of giving as good as you can take. "No one comes in here and causes trouble any more." There has certainly been an increase of violence on white people Councillor, Abdul Jabbar But local councillor Abdul Jabbar said most people in the town lived in harmony, and only a small minority were responsible for the racist attacks. He said: "There has certainly been an increase of violence on white people. "This worries me and has to be resolved. "But also there are attacks on Asian people, some very serious ones." Racial crime unit Akbor Khan, who lost three teeth in an attack by a gang of white youths in a subway, told the programme he would not report the crime because he had no confidence in the police. But Mr Hewitt refuted the allegation that police were slow to respond to complaints from the Asian community. "To try to combat that under-reporting, over a year ago I set up a special racial crime unit in the town to demonstrate that we were taking it seriously and that we would identify and arrest people responsible for these offences by employing specialist officers. "That small unit alone arrested 75 people for racist crime last year. "We are taking it seriously and we are producing the results. Mr Hewitt urged community leaders to help the police identify anyone responsible for race attacks.
BBC 24 Apr 2001 Former bus conductor Walter Chamberlain, 76, was walking home from a rugby match on Saturday through a predominantly Asian area of Oldham when he was set upon. The pensioner, now awaiting surgery for several fractured bones, was pushed to the ground - and possibly struck in the face. Police are looking for three Asian youths who they believe were involved. A police spokeswoman also dismissed the notion of "no-go zones" but said: "We are investigating a number of racist attacks which took place over the weekend in the Oldham and Chadderton areas. "On Saturday a 76-year-old local man was walking along an access road when he was approached by an Asian male who demanded to know his address. "The aggrieved refused and was then pushed by the offender and received facial injuries." Since the attack the British Nationalist Party has indicated it will now be putting forward candidates in the forthcoming election for both wards in Oldham rather than just one as previously planned. Police are also investigating an attack on an Asian taxi driver's car by a white passenger in Fitton Hill on Saturday and the stabbing of 15-year-old Asad Zulfuquar who was set upon by 11 white males on Saturday. A 15-year-old from Werneth has been charged with affray and assault and will appear at Oldham Magistrates Court on Friday.
Guardian (UK) 28 Apr 2001 The Guardian Walter Chamberlain's battered face, and the five words one of his attackers allegedly said to him, have become the emblem of all that is wrong with Oldham. Here was a 75-year-old D-Day veteran, who served his country aboard a minesweeper, being told to 'get out of our area' by teenagers whose families had come here from a foreign land. Now it seemed they were threatening to make Oldham, this once-proud Lancashire mill town, into a foreign land for the white families. The attack took place on Saturday, three days after Asian teenagers had told a radio reporter that no-go zones had been created for whites, and it crystallised all the fears that report invoked. Members of the local Asian communities were both horrified and baffled by the attack. It did not fit the profile of violence, in which the victims have largely been young males, both white and Asian. Mr Chamberlain was attacked on an access road through an industrial estate towards the mainly white part of town where he lived. It was a no-mans' land unclaimed by any of the area's teenage gangs and therefore the words 'get out of our area' made little sense. Of Oldham's current population of 219,000, around 24,600 are Asian: 14,000 Pakistani, 9,000 Bangladeshi, and 1,600 Indians. But it is largely split between white, Pakistani and Bangladeshi areas. Primary schools are mostly dominated by one of these communities, so often the first time young people of different races mix is at secondary school. The divides are historic. Oldham's Asian population came here in the post-war decades to work the unpopular night shift in the cotton mills. They were skilled workers, recruited from textile factories in the Sylhet area of Bangladesh, parts of Pakistan, and Gujarat in India.
BBC 1 Apr 2001, Former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic has been arrested and taken to prison, where he is due to face questioning later on Sunday. His arrest came in the early hours of the morning, after a heavily-armed standoff at his Belgrade villa, where the ex-leader had been surrounded by police for nearly 36 hours. Under Yugoslav law, a judge must decide within 72 hours whether Mr Milosevic will remain in custody. Initially, suspects can be detained for one month, which can later be extended to six months. Mr Milosevic is wanted on war crimes charges by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, but so far the Belgrade authorities have been unwilling to consider extraditing him. A number of people who tried to prevent Mr Milosevic's arrest have themselves now been detained, including several of his bodyguards. They are charged with illegally possessing and using arms during the first failed police attempt to detain Milosevic on Friday night. The arrest coincides with the expiry of a US deadline for the Yugoslav Government to detain the former president or risk losing substantial American economic aid and loans from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
BBC 5 Apr 2001, Serbia has asked the United Nations war crimes tribunal to file charges against the political leaders of the now-disbanded Kosovo Liberation Army, especially its former head, Hashim Thaci. The Serbian Justice Minister ,Vladan Batic, said in a letter to the tribunal's chief prosecutor , Carla del Ponte that the KLA had been responsible for crimes against Serbs in the province, and that the abuses were still continuing.
BBC 6 Apr 2001, A senior official from the United Nations War Crimes Tribunal has managed to hand Yugoslav federal ministers a warrant demanding the extradition of ex-president Slobodan Milosevic. Hans Holthuis registrar of the court in The Hague had earlier been snubbed when he tried to hand the papers to Serbian officials. The tribunal, which has indicted Mr Milosevic over war crimes allegedly committed in Kosovo, wants him handed over immediately. As the row over Mr Milosevic's future goes on, the ex-president remains incarcerated in Belgrade's Central Prison. Yugoslav authorities are building a case against him over abuse of power, financial corruption and ordering his bodyguards to open fire to protect him during his arrest. President Kostunica has continued to rule out any early extradition of Mr Milosevic to The Hague, insisting he must answer primarily to his own people. As for Mr Milosevic himself, some reports say that he has been taking a mild tranquilliser to calm his nerves. His supporters say he is preparing to mount a vigorous defence of his actions, wherever his trial eventually takes place.
AP 13 Apr 2001, A judge ordered Slobodan Milosevic back to prison on Friday after reviewing hospital tests performed on him for possible heart problems, the former president's lawyer said. Milosevic has been under guard in a secluded ward at a Belgrade military hospital since late Wednesday, when he was rushed from Central Prison after complaining of chest pains. All medical tests on Milosevic, 59, were completed by midday Friday, Vasic said. It was not immediately clear whether Milosevic would return to his cell or the prison's medical ward, said Vasic. Doctors examining Milosevic on Thursday found no evidence of heart disease, officials said earlier. The former president was diagnosed as having high blood pressure – a condition he already had when admitted to the prison. Milosevic was detained on April 1 for 30 days, pending an investigation into abuse of power and corruption charges. Yugoslavia's new government is seeking to try him at home for alleged wrongdoings during his 13 years in power. It is refusing to give in to pressure to have him tried by the U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands, for alleged atrocities in the Kosovo war – at least until he faces justice in Serbia. © Copyright 2001 The Associated Press
BBC 18 Apr 2001, A court in Yugoslavia has found two ethnic Albanians from Kosovo guilty of terrorism, rape and murder, and sentenced them to twenty years in prison. The two men Luan Mazreku and his cousin, Bekim were accused of killing more than forty Serb civilians from the town of Orahovac, in Kosovo, in 1998. Both were said to have been members of the then ethnic Albanian separatist guerrilla force, the KLA. They denied the charges ; one said during the trial that he had been beaten until he agreed to make a confession of guilt.
Guardian (Manchester) 22 Apr 2001 Evidence that the Yugoslav army deployed a unit for burning bodies and erasing any trace of Albanians murdered during the war in Kosovo has emerged from the unlikeliest of places - a Yugoslav court martial trying three of its own soldiers. The existence of the 'trace-erasing' unit, testified by five soldier witnesses, is proof the army covered up war crimes. Forensic scientists working for the war crimes tribunal at The Hague have identified grave sites containing around 4,000 corpses, but 3,000 bodies have never been found - their traces have been erased. One Yugoslav Special Forces paramilitary who had been at a massacre site in South-western Kosovo said: 'I saw some terrible things, but I am not going to tell you because I do not want to betray my fellow Serbs.' The court martial in Nis found two soldiers and an officer guilty of murdering an elderly Albanian couple, the critical evidence coming from four soldiers and the war diary of army reservist Nebojsa Dimitrijevic, which said 'two people were cleansed'. During the trial, chaired by military judge Radenko Miladinovic - a Milosevic-era appointee, who was on Europe's list of banned Yugoslavs for jailing a journalist - it emerged that Dimitrijevic and other witnesses were members of the 'trace-erasing unit'. In Dimitrijevic's pre-trial statement, he said the unit in Gornja Susica, near Pristina, included 'a subdivision tasked with body removal and burning up the remains'. The murders took place in the aftermath of the Nato attack on Yugoslavia. Reservists in War Unit 5778, based in the Serb town of Gracanica, south-east of Pristina, fled Nato bombs on 27 March 1999, after two soldiers died and seven were injured. They were ordered to occupy two Albanian villages, Saskovac and Gornja Susica, and to 'cleanse' the inhabitants. Feriz Krasniqi stood in his front garden and told the advancing soldiers that his wife, Rukija, was paralysed and unable to leave her bed. Captain Dragisa Petrovic, angered by the old Albanian's refusal to budge, ordered soldiers Nenad Stamenkovic, Tomica Jovic and Dimitrijevic to kill them. Dimitrijevic aimed his gun at Krasniqi but couldn't pull the trigger. At that moment, Jovic fired a burst and killed Krasniqi. Sta menkovic went into the house and shot the wife. The trace-erasing unit was part of the battalion stationed in Gornja Susica, commanded by a Lt Stojiljkovic. He told the court that when he came to the village, he found Krasniqi's body and ordered two soldiers to bury it. Another three bodies were found later. Dimitrijevic was in a group of soldiers charged with burning remains. Svemir Mladenovic and Bratislav Zdravkovic said Petrovic had ordered them to dig up a carbonised body and rebury it. Jovic and Stamenkovic were sentenced to four and a half years each for the murders, and Petrovic four and a half years for abetting them. The judge said the sentences had been light so the men could 'be with their families'.
BBC 24 Apr 2001 The Yugoslav army says it has charged 183 soldiers with crimes committed during the conflict in Kosovo in 1998 and 1999. An army statement said the charges include killing people or putting them in danger, as well as charges relating to property - but made no specific reference to war crimes. We want to expose individuals for their crimes and avoid collective guilt for the nation Army spokesman. The military has previously said that 24 soldiers were under investigation, but the increased numbers reflect its growing acceptance that atrocities were committed during the conflict. "The charges range from murder, harassment, maltreatment and illegal arrests, to beatings and stealing," said an officer from the army's legal branch.
ICRC 25 Apr 2001 Following the recent examination of their appeals by the Serbian Supreme Court, 143 Kosovo Albanians who had been arrested in Gjakova/Djakovica in May 1999 were released on 25 Apr 2001. They are currently being transferred by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) from their places of detention in Serbia to Gjakova/Djakovica in Kosovo. The former detainees will be reunited with their families in the village of Bec, near Gjakova/Djakovica, where they are expected to arrive Wednesday afternoon. First aid and psycho-social assistance will be provided in cooperation with the local Red Cross and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. The process of liberating Kosovo Albanian detainees began in June 1999 and the ICRC has facilitated the return home of over 1,600 of them to date. The organization will continue to do so as more detainees are released. Approximately 300 of those registered and visited by the ICRC remain in captivity.
AP 25 Apr 2001 Yugoslavia is trying to avoid genocide charges filed by Bosnia in the World Court by saying its new government is not responsible for actions by the regime of ex-President Slobodan Milosevic. The legal effort to distance Yugoslavia from the previous government could also mean it intends to drop cases that Milosevic's administration filed against the United States and seven other NATO countries for the 1999 Kosovo bombing campaign, legal experts said. The World Court is separate from the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, which is trying individuals for war crimes allegedly committed during the 1991-99 Balkan conflicts. Bosnia brought the case to the highest U.N. judicial body in March 1993, claiming that Yugoslavia's Serb army breached the 1948 Genocide Convention during the Bosnian war. The former Yugoslav government had countered by accusing Bosnia of committing genocide against Serbian troops. Belgrade's lawyers noted that the new government of President Vojislav Kostunica signed an accord against genocide again this year, further distancing itself from the Milosevic government. "Yugoslavia did not continue the international legal and political personality of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia," said a statement from the court outlining the Yugoslav position. Andre Nollkaemper, head of the international law department of Amsterdam University, said the Yugoslav action was the first step in what Kostunica had promised would be a review of all Belgrade's legal affairs. Nollkaemper said the case could have implications for Yugoslavia's claims against the eight countries which participated in the NATO bombing that forced Milosevic to end his repression of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo. Two months ago, Belgrade filed for a one-year delay in those cases. A court official said it could take one year for the court to rule on the jurisdiction issue.
AFP 27 Apr 2001 A Belgrade-based association of Croatian Serbs on Friday called on the UN war crimes tribunal to investigate Croatian President Stipe Mesic for alleged "genocide" against his country's Serbs. The Association of Croatian Serbs sent a letter to the UN court's chief prosecutor Carla Del Ponte calling for a probe to be launched against Mesic for "inciting and organizing war crimes and genocide against Croats of Serbian nationality," the Tanjug news agency said. "Mr Mesic occupied extremely important positions in the Croat Democratic Community (the ultra-nationalist HDZ), in Yugoslavia and in Croatia" between 1990 and 1995, the period covering the war between Zagreb and Belgrade. "During this period he worked on the illegal destruction of Yugoslavia ... the formation of paramilitary groups in Croatia, their armament and preparation for war against the Yugoslav army," the group said. It said Mesic had done so in his capacity as the Croat representative in the former Yugoslavia's joint presidency, which comprised eight members. Then as a leader of the HDZ, the group said in a statement, he worked with late Croatian president Franjo Tudjman on the "psychological preparation for a genocide against the Serb people and their exodus from Croatia." Finally, the group accused him of having done nothing to facilitate the return of Serb refugees to their homes since becoming president early last year "and has obstructed decisions by the international community" to that end. More than 350,000 Serbs fled or were expelled from Croatia during the 1991-95 war which pitted separatist armed Serb groups, often backed by the Yugoslav army, against the forces of the secessionist Croatian government. Since Tudjman's death in December 1999, many Serb refugees have said they would like to go home, but fear harassment by the Croatian police, said Jovica Vejnovic, secretary of the Serb National Council, based in Zagreb. He said some 300,000 Serbs live in Croatia. Del Ponte was quoted by the Bosnian weekly Dani last week as saying that if Tudjman had not died he would have been indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, just as his former counterpart in Serbia, Slobodan Milosevic, has been.
AP 30 Apr 2001 A court on Monday ordered Slobodan Milosevic detained for two more months during an investigation for alleged wrongdoing while he was president of Yugoslavia, saying he might flee if let out of prison. The Belgrade District Court order gives the new, pro-democracy authorities more time to build a case against Milosevic, who was ousted last October after 13 years in power. Milosevic was arrested April 1 on suspicion of corruption and abuse of power and was ordered held for a month to be extended as warranted. Extending the detention, the court expressed concern about ``the danger of escape,'' said Milosevic's lawyer, Toma Fila. The court feared Milosevic supporters ``could 'abduct' him if he were released and subsequently render him inaccessible to judicial prosecution,'' Fila said, reading from the court statement. Fila dismissed such allegations as ``ridiculous.'' The lawyer said he would appeal to the Supreme Court in Serbia, the dominant republic in the Yugoslav federation. Milosevic, who is being held in a specially refurbished cell in the capital's Central Prison, has complained of deteriorating health. He was rushed to a hospital last month after complaining of chest pains but was returned three days later. Physicians examining Milosevic said he had high blood pressure but found he was well enough to stay in the prison with adequate medication. But the former leader's family, his Socialist Party and his lawyer protested that the doctors' report was made under political pressure from the new government. Milosevic is being investigated for issuing ``illegal orders'' that brought in some $100 million for himself and his inner circle, the independent Beta news agency reported. He is also wanted by the U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands, for alleged atrocities against ethnic Albanians in Kosovo, the southern province of Serbia. The new government of Vojislav Kostunica has been vague on whether it will extradite Milosevic to The Hague, insisting that Milosevic must first be tried at home for alleged wrongdoing against his own people. The tribunal insists it has priority to try Milosevic. In comments published Monday by the French newspaper Le Monde, the chief tribunal prosecutor Carla Del Ponte urged Serbian authorities to hand him over immediately to the U.N. court. Milosevic has denied all accusations. His lawyer has accused Serbian authorities of dragging out the case. ``We have wasted these first 30 days of detention on nothing,'' Fila said. ``I expect things to finally start happening now.''
Reuters 29 Apr 2001 IMF calls for strong crisis prevention strategy. Finance ministers from the world's most powerful nations told the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Saturday that crisis prevention should be its top priority. The ministers say that learning from the lessons of past crises, the IMF should be better able to monitor developments in emerging economies and "encourage early action to correct policies." The statement by officials from the United States, Japan, Germany, Britain, France, Italy and Canada signalled a policy shift since their last meeting in Palermo in February. The shift fits in with calls by Paul O'Neill, the US treasury secretary, for the international lender to develop an "early warning system" to spot crises early in emerging economies. The notion is also high on the reform agenda of Horst Koehler, the IMF managing director, and would hopefully help avoid a repeat of the financial crisis that rocked Asia between 1997 and 1999 and threatened the stability of the entire global economy. Officials from the G7 countries made their suggestions as part of an ongoing reform at the IMF, a global lending institution that was accused of doing too little to spot problems that led to the Asian crisis. Starting with the devaluation of the Thai baht currency in 1997, the crisis eventually ripped through the region and places as far afield as Brazil and Russia. One of the IMF's darkest chapters, the crisis made economies fall like dominoes as financial markets punished countries for creaky banking sectors, weak exchange regimes and a perception of government corruption and complacency.
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