News Monitor for January 2001
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BBC 4 Jan 2001 Algerian violence flares Soldiers have been battling rebels for several years Up to 15 people are reported killed in the latest two attacks blamed on Islamic rebels in Algeria, according to local press reports - the latest casualties in a wave of violence lasting several weeks. The reports say 11 soldiers were killed in an ambush on a military convoy, in the Batna region 435km (270 miles) east of Algiers on Wednesday Four members of the same family had their throats cut in the second reported attack, which occurred in Laghouat, 400km (250 miles) south of Algiers. Neither attack has been officially confirmed. If all media reports are correct, then 23 people have now died in sectarian violence in Algeria since the beginning of the new year. Fierce fighting The latest reports come amid fierce fighting between government soldiers and Islamic militants, in two areas known as rebel strongholds. The daily paper El Watan reported that crack troops who have been employed against the militants had killed 30 of the rebels over the last three weeks. The newspaper reported no casualties on the government side, but said the campaign against the rebels was continuing. Violence during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan - which ended on 27 December - left more than 300 people dead, most of them civilians.
BBC 19 Jan 2001 Algerian attack leaves 23 dead - President Bouteflika's attempts to end the violence have failed By Caroline Hawley in Cairo Twenty-three people are reported to have been killed in a new massacre in Algeria. Residents of the north-western area of Chlef told the French news agency that the killings took place in an isolated hamlet on Thursday night. Those killed were part of a community of farmers and herders. People in the area say 17 people were killed when a group of armed men attacked their village. They say the bodies of six others who had been kidnapped were found later. The massacre followed an attack on Tuesday in which 12 people died. Armed men shot at their vehicles at a roadblock. Residents say the victims were also attacked with knives and that some were set on fire. Reconciliation failed A string of recent massacres in Algeria has left President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's efforts to end the violence in shreds. In 1999, he offered a conditional amnesty to armed Islamists as part of a much touted civil reconciliation programme. That expired almost exactly a year ago. It was followed by a lull in the violence that lasted several months and ended in the summer. The Muslim holy month of Ramadan, when the extremists traditionally step up their struggle, brought a brutal new upsurge in December, and it is still going on. At least a 100 Algerians have been killed already this month
BBC 20 Jan 2001 Algerian president under pressure - Bouteflika offered amnesty to some Islamic militants By Middle East analyst Roger Hardy Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika is coming under increasing attack for what many see as the failure of his policy of national reconciliation. More than 100 people have been killed so far this year in Algeria in a wave of violence that seems to doom President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's efforts to promote national reconciliation. At least 23 people were killed in a massacre on Saturday in an isolated hamlet of farmers and herders in the north-western Algeria, according to residents. For a decade, the country has been wracked by a violent conflict between the security forces and armed Islamic groups, but when Mr Bouteflika came to power in 1999, he promised to end the violence and usher in a new era of national harmony. New era promised During his first months in power, President Bouteflika enjoyed a remarkable honeymoon. Security forces have been fighting Islamic militants since 1992 He offered an amnesty to some of the Islamic militants who'd been fighting the army since 1992 -- and more than 5,000 militants laid down their arms. Algerians badly wanted to believe this was a turning point in a conflict which had claimed 100,000 lives. Abroad, too, the president - a former foreign minister - launched a charm offensive, improving Algeria's relations with the West and even with its former colonial master, France. Media criticism But the violence has gone on, even though nowadays the Western media seldom report it - and Mr Bouteflika has recently come under a barrage of media criticism for the failure of his much-trumpeted policy of national reconciliation. In a move which has provoked much speculation, one of his predecessors, Chadli Benjedid, has broken a long silence and given interviews justifying his actions in the run-up to what's widely known as the "coup" of 1992 - when the military pushed President Chadli aside and cancelled elections the main Islamist party was poised to win. Some see Chadli's rehabilitation as a warning to Mr Bouteflika from the country's powerful generals that they, and they alone, can make or break an Algerian president. Whispering campaign The generals gave the green light for Mr Bouteflika to become president in 1999. But now it seems some of them - irritated by his tendency to pursue his own agenda rather than theirs - may be orchestrating a whispering campaign against him. As the political manoeuvring continues in the opaque world of Algerian politics, most Algerians look on with a feeling of alienation and helplessness.
BBC 28 Jan 2001 Algerian militants kill 25 More than 100,000 have been killed since 1992 Algerian rebels have reportedly killed 25 villagers, including 16 children and four women, in the country's worst massacre this year. They cut the throats of 25 people from two extended families Hospital doctor The killings are said to have taken place on Saturday night at El Guetaibia village, in the province of Chlef, 135 miles (220 km) west of Algiers. "They cut the throats of 25 people from two extended families," a doctor at a hospital in the area told Reuters news agency. The doctor and other officials at the hospital quoted relatives of the dead as saying the radical Islamic Armed Group (GIA) carried out the attack. He added that a 20-year-old woman had been abducted. The massacre brought the number of killings in Algeria this month to more than 90. More than 100,000 people have died since 1992, when the GIA began an armed insurgency following the cancellation of a general election in which radical Islamists had taken a commanding lead. Renewed attacks A BBC correspondent says that after a lull last year, village massacres and attacks against travellers on country roads have returned to terrify the residents of western and central areas of Algeria. Much of the violence against civilians is blamed on the GIA, a network of militants which operates out of the mountains in the western provinces. Hundreds of GIA members surrendered more than a year ago to take advantage of an amnesty offered by President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. The president had launched what he called a civil concord initiative, which now seems to be in tatters. In recent weeks, Mr Bouteflika has been facing a fierce campaign of criticism in the press and even by parties in the government coalition. Critics allege that his amnesty has encouraged the armed militants to increase their attacks without fear of punishment. Atmosphere of crisis However, observers say the real reason for the criticism is that relations are tense between Mr Bouteflika and the powerful army officers who put him in his position. The president has been trying to increase his influence by appointing those loyal to him in key positions. The mounting violence and the rumours of disputes at the top are now creating an atmosphere of crisis, something which Algerians thought they had left behind when Mr Bouteflika came to power.
BBC 29 Dec 2000 Burundi massacre blamed on Hutu rebels The army in Burundi has accused Hutu rebels of killing at least twenty civilians in an attack on a bus and another vehicle near the capital, Bujumbura. At least twenty other people were injured in the attack on Thursday, in which the two vehicles were stopped at a barricade and then attacked with machine-gun fire. The bus was on its way from Kigali in Rwanda to Bujumbura. A Burundi military spokesman Colonel Longin Minani said the Hutu rebels were deliberately attacking civilian targets rather than taking on the army.
BBC 3 January, 2001 Mother calls for massacre inquiry The mother of a Briton killed near the Burundian capital Bujumbura has called for the UK Foreign Office to treat it as a war crime and ensure a proper investigation is held. Charlotte Wilson, 27, and her Burundian fiancé were "executed" along with 19 fellow passengers when their bus was ambushed near Kilima, 18 miles north west of the capital. Margot Wilson told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "This was a political crime. If you're just stealing from people you don't then systematically shoot them all." Ms Wilson called for tighter controls over the supply of arms to the region "to make sure guns don't get into these extremely ruthless and undemocratic killers' hands". British people and the British Government have been doing some work out there that we can all be extremely proud Charlotte's brother, Richard Wilson "The gun that killed her could have come from Britain because we are a major supplier of arms," she said Charlotte's brother, Richard, added: "If there are people out there wondering if there is anything they can do, the first thing you can do is find out as much as you can about Rwanda and the region in general. "British people and the British Government have been doing some work out there that we can all be extremely proud of and it is important that we are all aware of it." A Foreign Office spokesman condemned the attack and reiterated its advice that British nationals should not travel to Burundi. Charlotte had been working with the Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) as a science teacher at Shyogwe secondary school in neighbouring Rwanda since September 1999. She was due to complete her placement in June. A further 20 people were injured in the attack. Most of the victims, including several women and children, were in their late 20s or early 30s from Rwanda and Burundi making what was seen as a routine journey south across the border from the capital Kigali. A Rwandan woman who escaped the massacre said the bus overturned before being surrounded by a gang of armed men. I began begging them to spare my life and my child's Survivor The woman said: "We were asked to lie down on the concrete road. "When they voiced their intention to kill us, I began begging them to spare my life and my child's." The Burundi Government has blamed Hutu guerrillas for the shootings. Minister of Interior, Asension Twagi Ramungu, said the ambush was a tragedy for Rwanda and Burundi and called for stronger international action against the Hutu rebels. Ms Wilson is the latest in a line of Britons to lose their life because of conflict between Hutus and Tutsis in east Africa. Four Britons were among eight tourists who were murdered with machetes and hammers, shot and raped by Rwandan Hutu rebels in Uganda's Impenetrable Forest in March 1999.
BBC 5 Jan 2001 Congo's forgotten war Lendu villagers use bows and arrows in self-defence By Chris Simpson from eastern DR Congo The hospital at Rethy in north-eastern Democratic Republic of Congo takes in a steady flow of war-wounded civilians. "They come from a radius of 150km," explains the head of nursing. "There will be people who have been shot, others who have been stabbed in the throat or the abdomen. I can say that from over 1,000 people we have treated here, over 45% will have died". In a nearby building, local officials show off shells, mortars and other war debris, all collected during the past year's fighting. The war in the north-eastern region of Ituri has claimed thousands of lives, but has gone largely unreported. Vicious conflict The main combatants are not regular armies, but rival militias, supposedly representing the Hema and Lendu ethnic groups. The conflict has been marked by vicious massacres and pogroms on both sides. Whole villages have been burned to the ground. Communities which once lived side by side are now fiercely polarised. Humanitarian agencies estimate that over 200,000 people have been displaced inside Ituri, with thousands crammed into ad hoc camps and settlements, facing hunger and disease. Conflict origins The origins of the war are heavily disputed. Patients travel as far as 150km to reach Rethy hospital According to Hema spokesman André Muhito Kasongo, the Hema have been fighting against "a campaign of extermination" led by Lendu extremists. He says that Hema cattle-grazers and land-owners have become a source of envy and resentment for rival Lendu farmers, who tend to be small-scale cultivators. Mr Kasongo says the Hema have fought a war of self-defence. "The only thing we could do when we were attacked was to flee." But Lendu community representatives say the conflict has been stoked by an unscrupulous Hema elite, intent on appropriating vast swathes of lucrative farmland. The Lendu maintain they have long been victims of discrimination, defined as second-class citizens under the Belgian colonial regime and mistreated by successive Congolese administrations. While there had been sporadic outbreaks of violence in the past, the current conflict began in June 1999 and appears to be strongly linked to problems within the Congolese rebellion. Ugandans blamed Ituri is nominally controlled by one of the Congolese rebel factions, the Congolese Rally for Democracy - Liberation Movement (RCD-ML). About 200,000 are thought to have been displaced Led by veteran academic, Ernest Wamba dia Wamba, the RCD-ML is an offshoot of the main, Rwandan-backed RCD. Having moved from Goma to Kisangani, RCD-ML is now based in Bunia, close by the border with Uganda. But the rebel movement's authority has been undermined by splits and faction-fighting and it appears to have little real power. Wamba dia Wamba has faced two coup attempts from his deputies and has accused Ugandan military commanders of plotting his downfall. Anyone who has any ounce of responsibility has to do everything they can to ensure the worst doesn't happen RCD-ML official Jacques Depelchin Congolese critics say sections of the Ugandan military have played a key-role in fuelling ethnic tensions in Ituri, forming tactical alliances with Hema politicians, supplying soldiers to fight against the Lendu and looking for a large stake in the local economy, buying up gold and timber concessions. Uganda denies the accusations. According to a senior Ugandan commander in Bunia, "our soldiers are here to protect Uganda's own security interests and keep the peace". Tension The RCD-ML has attempted to heal the Hema-Lendu rift, establishing peace commissions and encouraging dialogue. The area offers gold and timber concessions But rebel official Jacques Depelchin warns the war may not yet have run its course. "Anyone who has any ounce of responsibility has to do everything they can to ensure the worst doesn't happen". While tentative grassroots peace initiatives are under way again, tensions remain high. At villages near Rethy, Lendu residents produce bows-and-arrows. "We normally use these for hunting, now we use them for self-defence," a man explains. Lendu villagers now regard Hema villages just a few kilometres away as "no-go" zones. What we are doing at the moment is simply a drop in a bucket Oxfam's Anneke Woudenberg In Bunia, Hema victims of the war explain why they cannot return to their burned-out homes. They complain bitterly about the lack of security. The prevailing insecurity in Ituri has forced several relief organisations to leave the province. Oxfam's Programme Representative for Congo, Annke Van Woudenberg, says Ituri's problems are particularly severe given the scale of the fighting and the disruption it has brought. But she stresses they are part of a more generalised breakdown in Congo which the international community has failed to address. "The whole of Congo in terms of humanitarian issues has become what we call a forgotten emergency. There is so little money going to what is fast becoming one of the biggest humanitarian disasters in the world. What we are doing at the moment is simply a drop in a bucket".
AFP 12 Jan 2001 Thousands flee ethnic clashes in eastern DR Congo By Anna Borzello RWEBISHENGO, Uganda, Jan 12 (AFP) - Some 5,000 civilians fleeing bloody ethnic clashes in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (RDC) have arrived in western Uganda, with harrowing stories to tell. The refugees are from the pastoralist Hema tribe, whose members have been fighting the agriculturalist Lendu tribe over land disputes since 1998. The recent clashes in DRC's Ituri province broke out on Sunday. Although their disputes are longstanding, the ethnic conflict has intensified during the country's two-and-a-half year civil war, which has provided a steady flow of weapons into the region, and further ravaged a poor local economy. Thousands of people have died and more than 100,000 have been displaced, according to the United Nations. The Hema who arrived this week in Uganda also drove some 15,000 long-horned cattle into the plains of Rwebishengo in Uganda's Bundibugyo district, officials there told AFP. Many of the refugees fled fighting in the DRC border village of Ngabu, which was attacked early Wednesday by a group of men armed with spears, arrows and guns, they said. The recent fighting, which has killed an unknown number of people, continued until Thursday. Some of the injured who crossed into Uganda were being treated in local clinics. At one such clinic in Rwebishengo, a 12-year-old boy lay on a pillow soaked with blood from a machete wound on his head. In the next room, an injured woman lay still after having lost four children and her husband in the attack on Ngabu village. One man described how a woman had a child strapped to her back snatched and chopped with a machete. Another man said he had seen two corpses on the ground with arrows sticking out of them. "The injured were hit with pangas (machetes) and arrows. There are six injured here " said one of the clinic staff, Kwizera Wilberforce, producing two arrows that had been pulled from the bodies of the wounded. At the town's trading centre, Congolese customs officials stood around pick-up trucks which carried goods from across the border, which is marked by the shallow, fast-flowing River Semilike. "We ran away because of the war between the Balega (also known as the Lendu) and the Hema," said Patrick Mbuyi, who works at the Buguma Immigration Post. "The raiders came from the mountain. First they went to Nyankunde, then Bugoro, then Kapuru, and then Buguma. We saw them advancing. They were men and were in civilian clothes and had arrows and bows. They killed very many people," Mbuyi said. The Ugandan army crossed into Ngabu on Wednesday to quash the violence and remained stationed inside the DRC, officials on the Ugandan side of the border said. Ngabu village was now calm, the added. But the deep hatred between the ethnic groups remains. "The Lendu do not like the Hema because we have the cows and the Lendu are farmers and they are poor," a refugee whose two wives and four children were killed at Ngabu told AFP. Another refugee said: "Whenever the Lendu see that the Hema have produced too many children they kill us to reduce our numbers. "They are now using guns which they have never used before," said the refugee, who arrived from Hivale in eastern DRC after hearing rumours that the Lendu were about to attack. Several refugees said it was the first time the Lendu were armed with guns, and that they believed the attackers had been bolstered by the Mai Mai traditional warriors, along with Ugandan Allied Democratic
BBC 22 Jan 2001, Massacres in eastern Congo Tension over land distribution has led to conflict About 200 people have died in brutal ethnic massacres in the past few days in the north-east of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Vehicles went around town parading cut off heads that had been spiked on sticks rebel official Jacques Depelchin Rebel officials said that severed heads had been paraded around Bunia on the border with Uganda after violence erupted on Friday between the Lendu and Hema groups. "Vehicles went around town parading cut off heads that had been spiked on sticks - it was horrible," rebel official Jacques Depelchin told Reuters news agency. Officials say most of the dead have been taken off the streets and buried in mass graves. Tensions Tensions between the Hema and the Lendu, who share fertile land close to the Ugandan border, have existed for many years, but appear to have been exacerbated by the wider war in the country. According to a number of reports, Lendu warriors armed with spears and arrows attacked the town's airstrip and radio station on Friday. Gangs of Hema youths armed with machetes responded by attacking Lendu civilians on the streets and in their homes. "There have been a lot of revenge killings. Many houses have been burnt down, entire families have been killed," Mr Depelchin said Ethnic tensions between the Hema and Lendu have existed for decades. The Hema are traditionally pastoralist, while the Lendu are mainly farmers. No Kabila connection The two communities have periodically fought over fertile land. Our East Africa correspondent says the outbreak of violence is not connected to the killing last week of President Laurent Kabila in the capital, Kinshasa, but the traditional hostilities have been exacerbated by the two-and-a-half year old war. Some local aid workers accused the Ugandan army, which is backing rebels in the area, of stirring up trouble by giving support to the Hema. This is denied by Uganda. A statement by the Ugandan government says extra troops have been deployed to restore order in Bunia.
BBC 22 Jan 2001, 200 dead in Congo ethnic fighting Reports from the Democratic Republic of Congo say about two-hundred people have been killed in fresh fighting between two rival ethnic groups in the north-east of the country. The clashes are between the Hema and the Lendu, who've fought periodically over fertile land close to the Ugandan border. The reports said Lendus attacked the airstrip and the radio station in the town of Bunia with arrows and spears last Friday. Hemas, carrying machetes, then retaliated. The reports speak of brutal killings, with people burnt alive and severed heads displayed on sticks. The violence is not connected with last week's killing of President Laurent Kabila in the capital Kinshasa, but a BBC correspondent in the region says the traditional hostility between the groups has been exacerbated by the country's civil war. CONGO: Massacres in Ugandan-Controlled Areas Museveni Urged to Discipline Ugandan Troops in Bunia (New York, January 22, 2001) -- The Ugandan government must be held responsible for the security of the population and humanitarian workers in areas under its control in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Human Rights Watch said today. On January 19, rival Lendu and Hema militias killed at least one hundred and fifty civilians in the northeastern Congo town of Bunia. Uganda is one of six foreign governments that have intervened in the civil war in the Congo (DRC) where its troops now control a sizable portion of the northeast. "Foreign troops should not be taking sides in Congo's civil war," said Alison Des Forges, consultant to the Africa Division of Human Rights Watch. "But if they are there, they should certainly not be complicit in attacks against civilians. The perpetrators should be apprehended and punished." The outbreak of violence does not appear to be connected to the recent death of Congolese President Laurent Kabila and the transition of power to his son, Joseph Kabila. But it does further destabilize northeastern Congo at a time of uncertainty in the capital of Kinshasa. Militia of the Lendu and affiliated Ngiti people attacked near the Bunia airport at dawn, carrying to the provincial capital the violence which has taken scores of lives in villages to the south of Bunia in the last three weeks. One of their objectives was apparently to disable a Ugandan helicopter which had been used to attack them in the earlier conflicts. The militiamen, who attacked with bows and arrows and spears, were driven back by the Ugandans using heavy weapons. The Lendu and Ngiti militia then attacked Hema families in several residential areas, killing more than fifty and wounding another twenty. In reprisal killings later in the day, Hema militia wielding machetes searched houses in Lendu areas and killed more than one hundred people. Representatives of humanitarian organizations were reluctant to go to the assistance of victims because extremists have recently accused them of taking sides in the dispute or even of supplying arms to one of the rival groups. Some local observers believe that Ugandan support for the Hema, a local minority group related to the Hima of Uganda, has aggravated the long-standing ethnic conflict. According to early reports from local residents, Ugandan soldiers at first did nothing to stop the January 19 attacks and their commanding officer, Col. Edison Muzoora, failed to respond to pleas to halt the killing. Bunia residents belonging to none of the rival groups finally intervened to stop the slaughter. Only then or shortly after did Ugandan soldiers begin patrolling the streets to restore order.
Jan 2001 Background to the Hema-Lendu Conflict in Uganda-Controlled Congo
Human Rights Watch, January 2001 In the past two years, Ugandans have recruited
and trained both Hema and Lendu to serve in the forces of the Congolese Rally
for Democracy-Liberation Movement (RCD-ML), a rebel group which is backed by Uganda
and which nominally controls this area. Within the last year, however, at least
some Ugandan officers have reportedly favored the Hema: In June 1999 Brigadier
General James Kazini, then commander of the Ugandan People's Defence Force (UDPF)
in the Congo, ignored objections of the RCD-ML and created a separate province
of Ituri with Bunia as its capital. He named a Hema to head the new administration.
The installation of the new governor coincided with an outbreak of violence between
Lendu and Hema [see below], with the Lendu and others seeing Uganda and the RCD-ML
as increasingly committed the Hema. In the months of violence that followed, an
estimated 7,000 persons of both groups were slain and 200,000 fled their homes.
Investigatory commissions named by the RCD-ML and the local administration concluded
in late 1999 that UDPF soldiers had done little to contain violence in areas under
their control and that several of them had actively helped Hema attack Lendu.
Although the Ugandan government has denied these accusations, it has reportedly
begun judicial proceedings against one captain accused of having given such assistance.
Even as the extent of the Hema-Lendu conflict became clear, UPDF soldiers continued
to train recruits from both sides. More recently the Lendu trainees are said to
have deserted the RCD-ML forces to fight instead in locally based militias. At
the end of 1999 the RCD-ML replaced the Hema governor of Ituri by a person from
neither of the rival groups. In the following months, the ethnic fighting diminished
but it revived several weeks ago after Col. Muzoora named a Hema as interim head
of the province and placed the governor named by the RCD-ML under house arrest.
The colonel later "deported" the deposed governor to Kampala, where Ugandan authorities
continue to hold him without explanation. The Lendu attacked Hema first in Nyankunde,
a village south of Bunia where Col. Muzoora had recently visited with the new
Hema appointee. Lendu militia then attacked Hema in other villages south of Bunia,
killing scores of people and driving some 8,000 across the border into Uganda.
Ugandan troops intervened to end this fighting. During this period leaders of
the RCD-ML, locked in a struggle for power, have been in Kampala at the request
of Ugandan authorities, trying to settle their differences. The Congolese politicians
failed to come to an agreement until earlier this week when the RCD-ML factions
supposedly reconciled and agreed also to combine with the Congolese Liberation
Movement (MLC) into a new front against the Congolese government. Jean-Pierre
Bemba of the MLC was supposedly to head the new group, the Congo Liberation Front
(FLC). But Professor Wamba dia Wamba, head of the RCD-ML, balked at this agreement
which he said was "imposed" by Uganda. In Bunia, Wamba and his group are seen
as more allied to Lendu and other groups opposed to the Hema. The other RCD-ML
faction reportedly celebrated the merger, seeing it as confirming the status of
their leaders, one of whom is a prominent Hema. In a January 19 statement, Bemba
blamed "undisciplined" rebels supporting the Lendu for the violence. He asserted
that his troops, presumably meaning the RCD-ML forces supposedly now under his
authority, would soon restore order. Suliman Baldo, senior researcher at Human
Rights Watch who returned from the region last month, warned of the gravity of
the situation in Bunia. "What makes these attacks so dangerous," said Baldo, "is
the way the two groups are now identifying with the Hutu-Tutsi categories that
figured in the Rwandan genocide. The Lendu are now thinking of themselves as kin
to the Hutu, while the Hema are identifying with the Tutsi. The two groups have
competed for control of the land for a long time, but these identifications and
the connection they have to genocide threaten to transform the struggle into something
far more devastating." The Lendu, who number some 700,000 in the area, live primarily
from their crops while the Hema, about 150,000 people, rely on both cattle raising
and cultivation for their livelihood. The two ethnic groups share a similar language
and have regularly practiced interethnic-marriage. Human Rights Watch called upon
both the United Nations and donor countries with influence in Kampala to do everything
possible to persuade President Museveni to restore discipline among his troops
and to assure accountability for any killings and other abuses against civilians
in northeastern Congo.
NYT 29 Jan 2001 Congo's War Turns a Land Spat Into a Blood Bath By Ian Fisher BUNIA, Congo, Jan. 24 The head was hacked off a young man who was quite small, witnesses said. It was then skewered on the tip of a spear and paraded on the back of a white pickup truck, only five days before, around the streets of this city in northeastern Congo. Soldiers on the truck sang a soccer anthem. "You doubted we could win," they sang. "But now you see." This went on for several hours, as 250 or more people were hacked or shot to death in a resurgence of ethnic violence between the Hema and the Lendu, the two main groups here. Finally, a Congolese commander told the soldier with the spear it was time to bury the head. "In any family say of 10 children one or two will be a little odd," said the commander, Sion Malekera, fumbling to account for his soldier's behavior. "I was horrified. I have never seen anything like that." What is happening here, awful enough on its own, does not bode well for the rest of Congo. What began as a local dispute over land has now become entangled in Congo's larger two-and-half-year civil war and thus, experts say, has been raised a frightening notch. Politicians and businessmen apparently see something to gain in taking sides. There is now no government in this region and so no local authority to prevent everyday tensions in a very poor place from exploding. And the de facto rule by outsiders, in this case Uganda one of five outside nations with troops regularly in Congo seems to only fan the flames. These conditions exist, in varying degrees, all around Congo. The fear heightened by uncertainty around the assassination this month of President Laurent Kabila is that other parts of Congo where order has already been breaking down will also erupt into violence, as Bunia has sporadically done since June 1999. "We are reaching a situation where the soil is so thin that it may crumble beneath them, and we will see a crumbling of Congo," said Suliman Baldo, a senior researcher with Human Rights Watch who recently visited Bunia and wrote a report on the situation here. "I fear for the worst." It is hard to imagine much worse here, only a higher body count. "Cover me," a 9-year-old boy, Ngudjolo Bulo, asked his mother in a small, stone-walled room at a hospital with 20 beds, each filled with someone shot or hacked on Jan. 19. The boy's left hand was chopped off completely, along with most of the right, apparently as he tried to shield himself from his attackers' blows with machetes. Bandages cover deep machete gashes on his face. He is the second born of five children, and the only one who survived. He happens to be Hema, but even more Lendu died during the fighting. "These patients can recover but they will be scarred forever," said the doctor, Jean-Norbert Ngadjole. "This is a political problem. They are exploiting the tribal side of things so they do not expose the other side. "Before, all the tribes Hema, Lendu, Ngiti lived together," he added. "But since the war began, it has gone to the other extreme." No one knows how many people have died since the conflict between the Hema and Lendu, who have feuded for decades over land and other resources, erupted into violence two years ago. But most here agree that the number of dead is several thousand. There is also general agreement that it began in 1999 as a local dispute over a farm in Djugu, north of Bunia. The allegations are that the farm's owners, who are of the Hema, seen as richer than the Lendu, sought to expand their reach into land owned by Lendu. The disputes broadened, and for several months in late 1999 and early last year they battled viciously, killing hundreds of people in single attacks. From the start, two aspects of the larger war in Congo have been at play. The first is the weakening of local government as a mediator of such disputes as the Ugandan military effectively took control of northeastern Congo in August 1998. Then, Uganda and Rwanda began backing rebels to overthrow Mr. Kabila. The second is the role of Ugandan soldiers themselves: human rights groups and aid officials allege that rich Hema have hired rogue Ugandan soldiers to drive Lendu from their land, in some cases killing them. Uganda has essentially conceded that point by replacing commanders and removing soldiers accused in the disputes. And their move, along with other political changes, eased tensions considerably after the first wave of killings. But in the last several months the conflict has become embedded in the larger war, people here say, inflaming passions and raising the stakes of even the smallest dispute between individuals from each group. "It's different from the first fighting, which was more about land," said Alidor Mwanza, the editor of a local newspaper, who wandered around Bunia on Friday photographing dozens of bodies. "Now it seems to be more political." What has happened is that the Hema and Lendu have found themselves on opposing sides in an internal power struggle within the rebels here, who are controlled by Uganda. The Hema have sided with two mutinous rebel officials, among them a leading Hema businessman, John Mbogemu Thibasima. And the Lendu have sided with the rebel group's longtime leader, Ernest Wamba dia Wamba. Each side accuses the other's leaders of manipulating ethnic hatred for personal power or financial gain, though it is unclear to what extent that is true. In any case, the situation was not helped when Uganda called the feuding leaders to its capital, Kampala, after a coup attempt against Mr. Wamba dia Wamba in November leaving no local government at all. "Since November there is political confusion here," said one aid official. "No government. No ministers. Nothing." Officials here say a breaking point came when rumors circulated recently that Uganda had decided to replace Mr. Wamba dia Wamba with the Hema leader. It was then, officials say, that the Lendu essentially declared Uganda an enemy and gave up on any negotiated end to the dispute. On Jan. 19, before dawn, more than 100 Lendu warriors, armed mostly with spears and machetes, attacked the airport here, the main center for Ugandan troops. At the same time, other Lendu warriors attacked villages north of Bunia. When word reached Bunia itself, which is largely Hema, vigilantes went to kill any Lendu they could find. That was when the head, apparently of a young Lendu man, appeared on the spear paraded around the dusty streets of Bunia. "I washed my hands and I said: `God, I have never seen anything like that since I was born,' " said McLambert Isaiah Lutula, 29, an artist and sign painter here. "When I remember what they did, I don't want to eat anymore." The carnage was terrifying: Ugandan military officials told United Nations officials that they had killed 84 Lendu who attacked the airport. Mr. Mwanza, the newspaper editor, said he himself counted 48 Lendu dead many mutilated near another military encampment and another 12 Lendu in the market. Both sides committed atrocities: in a village called Soleniema north of Bunia, residents said Lendu fighters hacked about 24 people to death, many of them women and children. At least 30 houses were burned to the ground, on both sides. "We can't understand what happened," said Jackson Dunji, 37, a motorcycle repairman in town and a Hema (and whom the Lendu accuse of being a prolific killer of Lendu). "We were just sleeping in our beds." The worst of the reprisal killings of Lendu were in the Muzibela neighborhood of Bunia, where people from both groups lived before the attacks. A woman named Mbure Dzusu, 18, said Hema warriors beat her and her sister with sticks and tossed them into a latrine. Her sister died. But she lay in the filth for a day, until Congolese Red Cross workers burying the dead arrived and found her. In the end, Mr. Mwanza, the editor, tallied up 159 Lendu who died and 118 Hema a number that aid officials said seems roughly correct. Another 30,000 people have fled their homes on both sides, aid officials say, on top of the 120,000 already displaced from the earlier fighting. The question of what happens now has no easy answer in the absence of peace or a regular government. The onus, though, is on Uganda: aid groups and the United Nations are urging Uganda not only to step in to stop the killings but also to appoint neutral government officials. "They are the people controlling the area," said Col. Simon Caraffi, the chief of staff for the United Nations mission to Congo, who visited Bunia this week. "That is clear." For their part, the Ugandans are adamant that they are completely neutral, and deny allegations from Lendu and some aid officials that they did not act quickly enough to stop the killings. "We are stopping each side from finishing each other," said Col. Edison Muzoora, the Ugandan military commander of the area. Meantime, the hospitals are full of the war's victims and for all the tension, Hema and Lendu are nursing their wounds in the same rooms. At Rwankole Hospital, a Lendu teacher, his head battered, whose brother died beside him, lay on a mat recovering not 10 feet from a 2-year- old Hema boy, his cheek split by a machete from his mouth to his ear. "This hospital is too small," said the administrator, Oku-Onzi Dada. "We have no choice but to put them together. It's better that way. They can get used to it."
31 Jan 2001 No end to Christian-Muslim tension - Religious conflict in Nigeria
has led to vicious riots By Barnaby Phillips in Gusau, Nigeria One year on
there is no sign that enthusiasm for Sharia law is waning. Thousands of Muslim
men gathered in Zamfara's capital Gusau to celebrate the first anniversary of
the introduction of an Islamic legal code, or Sharia. It includes punishments
such as stoning to death, amputation and flogging. According to the Muslim's in
Zamfara, it is the fear of these punishments which have already made for a better
society. Sharia is the only way out of corruption Muslim man in Gusau "Sharia
is the only way out of corruption," one man told me, "anything that you feel is
evil, when it comes to Sharia, it is like you wash it, you clean it, so it will
clean the minds of our leaders and the followers." Tension high For the Christian
community these are nervous days. Christians were always a tiny minority, but
the Anglican Bishop of Gusau, Simon Bala, says their numbers have dwindled in
the past 12 months, because of the fear of Sharia. "It has affected the numerical
strength of my Church in particular, because some of the members of my Church
who felt insecure because of the introduction of Sharia have left. "And because
they have left the numerical strength has reduced and the financial strength of
the Church has reduced". The fear stems from events elsewhere. Attempts to introduce
Sharia in the neighbouring state of Kaduna - with its much larger Christian population
- led to terrible bloodshed last year. At least 2000 people died in fighting between
Christians and Moslems. Zamfara itself has remained peaceful. Religious freedom?
The Governor, Ahmed Sani, has been at the forefront of the Sharia revival, but
he says he has no intention of harming Christians. "They have total freedom. We
don't in anyway attempt to tamper with their religious freedom. As far as we are
concerned each religious group should be able to practice fully its own religion."
The problem is that Governor Sani's interpretation of complete religious freedom
for Muslims does, in itself, encroach on the freedoms of other peoples. The Christians
have been suffering... and will continue to suffer Christian priest Men and women
- of all faiths - are now prohibited from sharing public transport in Zamfara.
Boys and girls are taught in separate schools. The sale and consumption of alcohol
has been banned. More radical Christians in Zamfara, such as Father Linus Awuhe,
say their people have taken enough. "The Christians have been suffering here in
the north and will continue to suffer, until the Christians themselves stand up
and assert their own identity and their own rights, and tell the Muslims 'This
is where there is a demarcation - you don't come within this terrain.'" VIP visit
The spiritual head of the Anglican Church Archbishop George Carey is due to visit
Zamfara on a tour of Nigeria. He will be entering something of a minefield. Christians
in the north will be disappointed if he is not seen to be standing up for them.
Whilst the Moslem authorities will not take kindly to lectures from a visiting
Western clergyman. The Nigerian government, eager to heal divisions between the
two faiths, will be keeping a nervous eye on his progress.
29 January, 2001,New head of Rwanda genocide tribunal The United Nations
Secretary General, Kofi Annan, has appointed a new registrar for the International
Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, which tries cases connected with the 1994 genocide.
He's Adama Dieng from Senegal, who replaces the Nigerian, Agwu Okali. The tribunal,
which is based in Arusha in Tanzania, is charged with trying key suspects in the
Rwandan genocide, during which more than half-a-million ethnic Tutsis and moderate
Hutus were killed. The tribunal has secured the arrest of forty-four people and
convicted seven. From the newsroom of the BBC World Service Nigeria
January, 2001, 14:32 GMT
Nigeria : Ethnic clashes over oil revenues Reports from Nigeria say at least twenty people have been abducted and believed killed after ethnic clashes between communities in the oil rich southern Rivers State. Local newspaper reports said the violence erupted involving three groups -- the Ke, the Krakrama and the Bille -- competing for the siting of lucrative oil pumping stations. A regional police commander was quoted as saying that the situation in the region had been deteriorating over the past week. He said waterways had been blocked by armed youths, some of them wearing camouflage uniforms and using what he described as sophisticated weapons. Correspondents say disputes between communities over the siting of oil facilities in the Niger Delta region are quite common.
Tico Times (Costa Rica) 8 Dec 200 Suspected Nazi War Criminal Ordered to Go By Lauren Wolkoff Tico Times Staff After living 16 years in Costa Rica, suspected Nazi war criminal Bhodan Koziy has been officially ordered to leave the country by a recent appeals court order. In giving Koziy his walking papers last week, the judges finalized a government decision emitted last February and dismissed an earlier appeal filed by the Ukrainian-born suspect's legal counsel. However, judicial sources said that Koziy, 78, could still appeal to the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court (Sala IV) to avoid leaving, or at least prolong his stay here. Attorney Ademar Alfaro — a retired employee of Costa Rica's Judicial Branch who is now part of the legal team representing Koziy -- told The Tico Times this week that the lawyers have filed a motion with the appeals court seeking to clarify certain fundamental points. "There were some issues with the mechanics of the decision that were not clear," said Alfaro. For example, the expulsion order does not specify where Koziy is to go once he leaves Costa Rica, he said. Alfaro declined to say more about the case, or about the possibility of an appeal, saying he wanted to confer with the other lawyers. Koziy has lived in Río Segundo de Alajuela, roughly 20 km northeast of San José, since he was stripped of his naturalized U.S. citizenship in 1984. That citizenship — granted in 1956 because he claimed displaced-person status following World War II — was revoked by the U.S. Justice Department when officials determined that he had been an active member of the Nazi-run Ukrainian Security police and had participated in several murders during the war. As a police officer in the small town of Lysiec near the Carpathian mountain range in central Europe, Koziy was accused of shooting and killing a four-year-old Jewish girl and participating in the murders of more than 100 civilians. U.S. Justice Department officials told The Tico Times in 1985 that the evidence compiled against Koziy — involving videotaped testimony from witnesses to his alleged crimes — was "some of the strongest" presented to the department (TT, Aug.16, 1985). John Russell, of the U.S. Justice Department's Office of Special Investigations, said Tuesday that his office has no role in the matter, because the case is entirely in Costa Rica's hands now. "Once he's out of the U.S., we don't care what he does," he said. His office is currently investigating roughly 200 Nazi war criminals thought to be scattered all over the world. Koziy, who has not spoken to the press in years, has all along maintained his innocence, claiming the allegations are a case of mistaken identity. Once, in 1987, he narrowly escaped being extradited to the former Soviet Union under the administration of former President and Nobel Peace laureate Oscar Arias. At the time, the Costa Rican government refused to accept a promise from the U.S.S.R. that Koziy would not be sentenced to death, a punishment that does not exist here (TT, Sept.11, 1987). He has lived here ever since under the rentista residency status. Arias, who was in Brazil this week, failed to respond to a fax sent to his hotel by The Tico Times seeking comment on the news. Fernando Durán, executive director of the Arias Foundation for Peace, said he supports the Arias administration's decision not to extradite Koziy to the Soviet Union in 1987 because of the death penalty issue. Stressing that he was not speaking on Arias' behalf, Durán also said he supports the current administration's decision to expel him, provided it was based on solid judicial information from here and the U.S. "If the Costa Rican authorities are certain that it is not a case of mistaken identity, then it is reasonable that they would make this decision," he said. Koziy's residency in Costa Rica has fueled both national and international letter-writing campaigns and protests over the years by Nazi-hunting groups that have tried to pressure the government to declare Koziy persona non grata. The Simon Wiesenthal Center, a leading international Jewish organization, has been a main player in lobbying officials here to deport Koziy so he can be tried for war crimes by the Ukrainian government. "The decision of the Costa Rican court is a very positive step for justice, which we welcome with deep satisfaction as it marks the culmination of a 16-year battle to expel Koziy from Costa Rica," said the center's director in Israel, Efraim Zuroff, in a statement. "Now we will direct our attention to bringing him to trial, preferably in the Ukraine. . . so that justice can finally be achieved." Rabbi Hersch Spalter, of the orthodox Jewish congregation Beit Manachem, said he is "pleased, but not surprised" by the decision to oust the Ukrainian. "Justice has to be done. I don't see why people shouldn't accept that," he said. Some who have followed the case argue that Koziy has managed to maintain a relatively low profile here because he was not regarded as a "high-level" Nazi criminal. "If he had played in the big league, like [notorious Nazi war criminals] [Adolph] Eichmann or [Joseph] Mengele, it would be a different story," said Harry Wohlstein, a San José attorney who has been involved in the national campaign to expel Koziy. Wohlstein said that claims used to defend Koziy in the past, such as the fact that he is nearly 80 or that the war was a long time ago, have no merit. "This is not about vengeance; this man's life doesn't interest me at all," he said. "This is so people learn about the atrocities that happened so they can never be repeated." San José Archbishop Román Arrieta, one prominent national leader who intervened to prevent Koziy's extradition more than a decade ago and defended him ardently in the press, has since grown quiet. Arrieta said this week that he prefers not to comment on the matter, except to say that he is sure Koziy's attorneys are going to appeal. In 1994, Arrieta told The Tico Times that he was "absolutely convinced of Mr. Koziy's innocence," both from conversations with the accused and from other unspecified documents that proved to him that there was a confusion of identity (TT, June 10, 1994).
BBC 6 Jan 2001 Twelve killed in Colombia massacre Colombian police say gunmen in the northwestern province of Antioquia have killed at least 12 peasants, two days after an alleged paramilitary massacre in the same region. State police commander Guillermo Aranda said residents in the village of Guatape were taken one by one from their homes by men in combat uniforms and shot in the head. They came murdering peasants... these people did not have anything to do with the conflict in which these outlaw groups are engaged. Police commander Guillermo Aranda Coronel Aranda said it was not yet known if the killings had been committed by rebels or paramilitaries. The authorities say they do not know who committed this latest killing. The authorities have blamed paramilitaries for Wednesday's attack in which 11 suspected guerrilla sympathisers were rounded up in the town of Yolombo and killed. Rebels and paramilitaries have been involved in intense combat for control of the area. Getting worse Police say they recorded 205 massacres in 2000, in which 1,226 were killed. Most of the killings were attributed to paramilitaries. According to the US-based group Human Rights Watch, paramilitary groups are responisble for 70% of the human rights abuses in Colombia, most of them massacres of unarmed civilians. Correspondents say the conflict - which in the last decade has claimed some 35,000 civilian lives - has intensified in recent months. Peace talks began two years ago between Colombia's largest rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces (Farc), and the government, but were broken off two months ago by the guerrillas.
BBC 18 Jan, 2001 Colombian massacre: 25 dead Extra troops and police have been sent to Colombia's north-west coast to hunt for suspected right-wing paramilitaries who killed twenty-five people in one village on Wednesday. Witnesses said the gang raided the village, targetting those they accused of collaborating with left-wing guerrillas and setting houses on fire as they left. The killings came just days after the Colombian government announced it was setting up a task-force to track down death squads. The country's biggest rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the FARC, froze peace talks last November, accusing the government of not doing enough to tackle paramilitary groups.
BBC 9 Jan 2001 Guatemalan defence minister replaced The Guatemalan president, Alfonso Portillo, has dismissed the controversial defence minister, Juan de Dios Estrada, whose appointment led to widespread discontent within the armed forces. The new minister is General Eduardo Arevalo Lacs, who's been linked by human rights groups to a number of massacres during Guatemala's civil war, when he led counter-insurgency operations. General Arevalo will take office on Monday. Correspondents say the appointment is a further signal that Mr Portillo has lost ground to Guatemala's powerful military, a year after taking office with a promise to strengthen civilian control over affairs of state.
BBC 12 Jan, 2001 Mexico court approves extradition Miguel Cavallo is currently being held in Mexico A Mexican court has ruled that an Argentine man can be extradited to Spain to face charges of genocide and torture allegedly committed during Argentina's military regime from 1976-1983. Miguel Ricardo Cavallo, a former lieutenant in the Argentine navy, is accused of committing crimes of genocide, terrorism and torture against left-wing opponents of Argentina's former military rulers. I hope Mexico gives us justice Mariana Masera Relative of one of the 'disappeared' Criminal Court Judge Jesus Luna ruled that Mexico should "concede international extradition of Ricardo Miguel Cavallo for trial for genocide and terrorism" as requested by Spain. The Mexican Government now has 20 days to decide whether to accept the recommendation and hand Mr Cavallo over to the Spanish authorities. Leading the investigation of Mr Cavallo is Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon, who last year attempted to extradite Chile's former military ruler General Augusto Pinochet. Relatives approval Relatives of some of the thousands of people who disappeared during military rule in Argentina who were in court shouted their approval of the ruling. Only a few graves of the 'disappeared' exist "Assassin!" shouted a weeping Mariana Masera, whose father and grandfather died during the military regime. Human rights groups estimate that about 30,000 people were killed or "disappeared" in the Argentine military's war against left-wing guerrillas and their sympathisers. Many were tortured, drugged and thrown from aircraft into the River Plate or Atlantic Ocean. Mr Cavallo was originally arrested last August in the Mexican resort of Cancun after a newspaper accused him of being a former "Dirty War" intelligence agent who used the alias "Serpico". Question of identity Under this name, he allegedly ran the notorious Navy School of Mechanics in Buenos Aires, where many opponents of the military regime were imprisoned. Former members of the military cannot be prosecuted in Argentina However, Mr Cavallo says he has been the victim of mistaken identity, and instead claims to be a retired member of the Argentine marines. His lawyer argues that his client should be returned to Argentina, where he would likely not face trial thanks to an amnesty for alleged "Dirty War" participants. Argentina's President Fernando de la Rua has also said he is opposed to the extradition.
BBC 1 Jan 2001 US signs up for war crimes court Nuremberg was the scene of the first international war crimes tribunal The United States has signed up to the world's first permanent international court to try those accused of war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity. The US move came only hours before the deadline after which no more signatures will be accepted. Israel and Iran followed suit. The US has a long history of commitment to the principle of accountability US President Bill Clinton President Bill Clinton said he had endorsed the international court in order "to reaffirm our strong support for international accountability and for bringing to justice perpetrators of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity". But observers say other reasons include maintaining US leverage in defining the court's parameters and trying to set the agenda for his successor and the next Congress. Republican opposition Conservatives in the US have opposed moves to set up the court for fear that it might encroach upon US national sovereignty. Senator Jesse Helms, the influential Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, described Mr Clinton's move as "a blatant action by a lame-duck president to tie the hands of his successor." The Senate must ratify the treaty for Mr Clinton's signature to be valid. The court will act much like the two temporary war crimes tribunals currently investigating the 1994 Rwandan genocide and the Yugoslav conflicts. Supporters of the project hope that, because the tribunal will be a permanent body, it will be able to deliver swifter justice than an ad-hoc one, and thereby act as a greater deterrent. Hold-outs sign Israel signed the treaty a few hours after the US did. A temporary tribunal is already investigating the Yugoslav conflict Israel's UN ambassador, Yehuda Lancry. said Israeli lawyers who had contributed to formulating the court's statutes "had in mind and in heart the memories of the Holocaust - the greatest and most heinous crime against mankind." The Israelis had been concerned that under the new court's jurisdiction, Jewish settlers in the occupied territories could be charged with war crimes. Iran also signed the treaty shortly before the deadline. Reservations Mr Clinton said he still had reservations about some aspects of the treaty, including the possibility that the court might not be able to exercise authority over countries that had not ratified the treaty. Hundreds of thousands died in Rwanda's 1994 genocide The president had come under pressure from defence officials not to sign until Washington had guarantees that no US servicemen or other government officials abroad would be subject to the court's jurisdiction. BBC correspondent Tom Carver says the move is certain to be criticised by conservatives, who fear the court could subject American citizens to politically motivated prosecutions. Based on Nuremberg The tribunal - which will be set up in the Netherlands and based on the principles of the Nuremberg Nazi war crime trials at the end of World War II - will come into existence automatically after 60 countries have ratified the treaty. So far, 139 countries have signed the treaty and 27 have ratified it. The United Kingdom, which signed the treaty in November 1998, is expected to ratify it within the next few months.
BBC 31 Dec 2000 Clinton's statement on war crimes court - Clinton still has concerns about the treaty President Clinton has authorised the US signing of a treaty to establish an International Criminal Court. The following is the text of his statement from Camp David. President Clinton: "The United States is today signing the 1998 Rome Treaty on the International Criminal Court. In taking this action, we join more than 130 other countries that have signed by the 31 December, 2000 deadline established in the Treaty. The US has a long history of commitment to the principle of accountability Bill Clinton We do so to reaffirm our strong support for international accountability and for bringing to justice perpetrators of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. We do so as well because we wish to remain engaged in making the ICC an instrument of impartial and effective justice in the years to come. The United States has a long history of commitment to the principle of accountability, from our involvement in the Nuremberg tribunals that brought Nazi war criminals to justice to our leadership in the effort to establish the International Criminal Tribunals for the Former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. Our action today sustains that tradition of moral leadership. Under the Rome Treaty, the International Criminal Court will come into being with the ratification of 60 governments, and will have jurisdiction over the most heinous abuses that result from international conflict, such as war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. In signing... we are not abandoning our concerns about significant flaws in the treaty Bill Clinton The treaty requires that the ICC not supersede or interfere with functioning national judicial systems; that is, the ICC prosecutor is authorised to take action against a suspect only if the country of nationality is unwilling or unable to investigate allegations of egregious crimes by their national. The US delegation to the Rome Conference worked hard to achieve these limitations, which we believer are essential to the international credibility and success of the ICC. In signing, however, we are not abandoning our concerns about significant flaws in the treaty. In particular, we are concerned that when the court comes into existence, it will not only exercise authority over personnel of states that have ratified the treaty, but also claim jurisdiction over personnel of states that have not. With signature, however, we will be in a position to influence the evolution of the court. Without signature, we will not. Signature will enhance our ability to further protect US officials from unfounded charges and to achieve the human rights and accountability objectives of the ICC. I will not, and do not recommend that my successor submit the treaty to the Senate for advice and consent until our fundamental concerns are satisfied Bill Clinton In fact, in negotiations following the Rome Conference, we have worked effectively to develop procedures that limit the likelihood of politicised prosecutions. For example, US civilian and military negotiators helped to ensure greater precision in the definitions of crimes within the court's jurisdiction. But more must be done. Court jurisdictions over US personnel should come only with US ratification of the treaty. The United States should have the chance to observe and assess the functioning of the court, over time, before choosing to become subject to its jurisdiction. Given these concerns, I will not, and do not recommend that my successor, submit the treaty to the Senate for advice and consent until our fundamental concerns are satisfied. Nonetheless, signature is the right action to take at this point. I believe that a properly constituted and structured International Criminal Court would make a profound contribution in deterring egregious human rights abuses worldwide, and that signature increases the chances for productive discussions with other governments to advance these goals in the months and years ahead.
BBC 6 Jan 2001 Reward offered for Rwandan suspects More than 800,000 are believed to have died The United States has offered rewards of up to $5m for information on the whereabouts of nine people indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda (ICTR) who are still at large. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said the rewards would be given for information which resulted in the transfer to the tribunal or conviction of those indicted. Former Prime Minister Kambanda: Convicted for genocide by the ICTR Mr Boucher said the international community must continue to do all it can to help achieve justice for the genocide which ocurred in Rwanda in 1994, when over 800,000 Rwandan Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed by Hutu extremists. The tribunal, which meets in the Tanzanian town of Arusha, holds in custody 44 of the 53 publicly indicted individuals for alleged war crimes. 'Useful means' "We applaud those successful efforts and we're launching this programme in order to support the tribunal further," said Mr Boucher. "We believe that the rewards will provide a potentially useful means to achieve the apprehension or voluntary surrender of the remaining indicted fugitives of the ICTR." Washington already has similar reward programmes for information on those accused of war crimes in the Balkans and those accused of the 1998 bombings of two American embassies in Africa. The size of the rewards depends on the quality of the information - the largest amount ever paid so far was $2m.
Boston Globe 6 Jan 2001 Powell may pull 'special envoys' Career diplomats to pick up the job By John Donnelly, Globe Staff WASHINGTON - As part of a State Department shake-up, Secretary-designate Colin L. Powell is leaning toward abolishing about 70 special envoy positions as well as the War Crimes Bureau, according to department officials. The possible changes, among several to be instituted by Powell when he starts his job following Senate confirmation, are based on his belief that career foreign service officers have been underappreciated and underused for many years. US diplomats have high expectations that Powell not only will give them better jobs but also will bring more funds into the State Department, which now receives one-16th as much as the Defense Department. It was unclear whether Powell would eliminate such high-profile envoy positions as those held by the Rev. Jesse Jackson and George Mitchell, the former Senate majority leader. But two State Department officials, speaking on background, said that Powell wanted to instead use the talents of career diplomats for any similar duties. One official said Powell was dismayed to see that some of the envoy positions were given as political favors. On the War Crimes Bureau, a top priority of Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright, Powell simply has less interest than Albright on the issue and believes that the duties could be assumed by other parts of the bureaucracy, department officials said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. Some members of the current War Crimes Bureau have already been contacted by other parts of the department looking to fill vacancies. Other parts of the government, including the Justice Department, also have investigated war crimes suspects. Powell and a small team of close advisers have settled into the first floor of the labyrinthine State Department building, quietly holding dozens of meetings during the last two weeks with foreign service officers representing nearly every bureau. He first met with those specializing in Africa, a surprise to many given the lack of attention to the continent by George W. Bush during the campaign. F. William Smullen, Powell's longtime chief of staff and now a member of his inner circle for the transition, declined to comment on any prospective changes. He said the meetings were designed to include as many people as possible for the department's future direction. Powell has decided not to comment publicly until after his Jan. 16 confirmation hearing. ''What we are going to attempt to do is instill in these career officials a sense of importance, convince them quickly that they are important to him, and he will treat them like pros,'' Smullen said. ''I think you'll see Colin Powell popping in to all parts of the building where he is least expected.'' Powell, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also has been briefed by members of two commissions that are studying the State Department - a Council on Foreign Relations task force and the US Commission on National Security in the 21st Century. Both groups are expected to release their reports soon. One sure conclusion will be that the bureaucracy is woefully underfunded. In 1950, the account for civilian foreign affairs totalled 16 percent of the government budget; today it accounts for 1 percent. Also in 1950, its budget was half of the military's budget. This year, the State Department receives $21 billion; the Defense Department receives $309 billion. ''People in the administration, Congress, and the population have to have some greater appreciation for the importance of diplomacy, and they have to understand it is not free,'' said Marshall P. Adair, president of the American Foreign Service Association, a union representing 11,000 active and retired foreign service officers. A White House official who has served in both the State and Defense departments said he believed Powell will be shocked at the poor condition of the State Department's information systems, among other things. ''He's going to order up some reports, and he'll find out the computers aren't working or something else is broken and he'll know it's no longer the good times,'' the official said. But broken-down equipment isn't the State Department's only problem, said Adair. Morale also is poor. ''People had gotten really pretty down in the last four years,'' he said. There are several reasons. One has been Albright's dependence on a tight circle of advisers. Another is the State Department's declining voice in several areas, as experts in the National Security Council and Defense Department have had greater access to President Clinton. ''The hope with Colin Powell is that someone who has spent his career in the military will be much less likely tempted like the others to do it all himself,'' Adair said. ''He recognizes the need to delegate.'' / This story ran on page A6 of the Boston Globe on 1/6/2001. /
BBC 19 Jan 2001 Afghan fears over UN sanctions - The Afghan people are worried that food prices will rise By Kate Clark in Kabul There is widespread confusion among Afghans as to what exactly the new United Nations sanctions will mean. The sanctions are designed to target the Taleban authorities, to try to force them to expel the Saudi militant Osama bin Laden, whom the Americans accuse of masterminding bomb attacks against them. It will drive people towards more extremist measures Chris Johnson, Strategic Monitoring Unit But that is not the way it is seen on the streets of Kabul. The public is afraid that sanctions will only make their lives worse. "Everyone's worried about the sanctions because prices will go up - maybe we won't be able to get flour or cooking oil," said one man. "Some people are saying the United Nations is going to stop their aid programmes, and that's made us worried that everyone will go hungry." Another man said the sanctions would bring only misfortune. "The UN should feel guilty about doing this," he said. "We've suffered enough and the economic blockade will mean nothing will be allowed into the city." Market panic Afghans mistakenly believe the UN is going to close the borders and withdraw its aid. More trauma and hardship - that is what Afghans are expecting from the international community. The UN wants to put pressure on the Taleban The UN insists its humanitarian work will go on and ordinary people should not be affected by the new measures. They include a ban on senior Taleban officials travelling abroad except for religious, humanitarian or peace process-related trips, the closure of almost all the Taleban's overseas offices, and a unilateral arms embargo which leaves the opposition still free to buy weapons. Only a ban on international flights would have a direct economic effect. But that has not stopped people worrying. The national currency, the afghani, is devaluing and people fear food prices will rise. In Kabul's money market, people are racing to sell local afghanis and buy dollars or Pakistani rupees. People's worry over sanctions is not surprising given the steady message from the mosques and the state-run media. The UN has been accused of hatching conspiracies against the Afghan nation and against Islam itself. "Sanctions like this have been imposed many times in the history of Islam and now they are being imposed again," said Taleban information minister Qudrat Ullah Jamal. "When the prophet was calling people to become Muslims, he faced many problems and restrictions. "He was forced to leave secretly for Medina and he was surrounded and blockaded by the opposition. "Now the sanctions are being imposed not because of anything that we have done, but because of the hostility that there is towards the Islamic system." 'Extremist measures' The feeling on the street is not so much anger as perplexity. Why, people ask, has the world abandoned the Afghan people? America's most wanted man: Osama Bin Laden Chris Johnson, the director of a Kabul-based research organisation, the Strategic Monitoring Unit., believes the psychological impact of the sanctions on a people suffering from war, drought and poverty is already massive. "What they need to be able to see is some light at the end of the tunnel, some hope for a better future for their kids," she said. "And there's a huge belief still that the international community can help to deliver this. "And what these sanctions are doing is just knocking a huge hole in that, making them feel that absolutely everybody is against them. "And ironically I think it will have absolutely the opposite effect to that which the United States says is intended, and it will drive people towards more extremist measures because they see absolutely no other way out of the situation they're in." At the moment, Afghans are simply demoralised rather than angry. But that anger may come, especially if the economic situation gets even worse and the Taleban continues to blame the international community.
Saturday, 20 January, 2001, 17:38 GMT UN accuses Taleban of massacre The UN says the Taleban conducts summary executions By Kate Clark in Kabul The United Nations has accused Taleban forces of killing at least 100 civilians in central Afghanistan. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said they had received many reports of civilians in Yakawlang district being deliberately attacked and killed. It appears more than 100 people may have been killed, including Afghan humanitarian workers Kofi Annan The district of Yakawlang has been under Taleban control since 1998, but was briefly captured by opposition troops late last year. The UN says the killing of civilians took place when the Taleban recaptured the district, but the Taleban has denied the allegations, saying it has the support of civilians in the area. Displacement In a statement issued in New York, Mr Annan said there had been summary executions and arbitrary arrests. One UN employee has not been seen since 7 January and remains unaccounted for. Other Afghans working for aid agencies are also reported to be among the dead. The UN said the massacre has resulted in the displacement of thousands of civilians, who are fleeing Yakawlang. The secretary-general said 200 families were arriving every day in the town of Panjab alone. Perilous journey Travelling in this mountainous region in the middle of winter can be perilous, especially if families with children are setting out on foot in the snow. The whole area is severely affected by drought and food shortages. Mr Annan said the displaced people were in danger of death from exposure and hunger. He said the aid community would need unimpeded access to the area to give humanitarian assistance. He has also called for a full investigation into who was responsible for ordering the killings, and for justice to be done. The Taleban Minister of Information, Qudratullah Jamal, rejected the UN accusations. He said the Taleban had enormous support in the area, and there was no reason for them to target local civilians. He also said journalists were free to go to the region and judge for themselves what had happened.
AP 2 Jan 2001 Cambodia to Try Khmer Rouge Leaders By Chea Sotheacheath PHNOM PENH, Cambodia Cambodian lawmakers on Tuesday agreed to set up a tribunal to try former Khmer Rouge leaders, a key step forward in U.N.-led efforts to bring to justice those behind the Maoist regime that killed more than a million people in the 1970s. The passage follows two years of negotiations as the United Nations and United States pushed a reluctant Cambodian government toward the first thorough trial of Khmer Rouge leaders. The legislation largely meets the U.N. demands, but critics warned it gives the corrupt and politicized Cambodian legal system too much influence. Cambodian judges would have a one-person majority at each level of the proposed tribunal, but at least one international judge must side with them before a binding judgment can be made. The National Assembly approved the draft, which establishes a tribunal of Cambodian and international judges, after two days of discussion, with all 92 lawmakers in attendance backing it. Thirty legislators were absent from the vote. Surya Dhungel, with the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights office in Cambodia, said the legislation complied in "substantive matters" with an informal July agreement between the government and the U.N., but small details still needed to be combed through. The legislation must now be approved by the Senate and Constitutional Council, and signed by King Norodom Sihanouk. Then an agreement between the government and the United Nations must be signed before the tribunal can be convened. But the National Assembly was the major hurdle facing the legislation. Assembly president Prince Norodom Ranariddh has said it could take a year or two to prepare for a trial. Currently only two senior leaders are in prison from the brutal regime, which took power in 1975 and caused the death of some 1.7 million people from starvation, disease, overwork and execution in its campaign to create an agrarian utopia before it was toppled in 1979. The movement's top leader, Pol Pot, died in 1998. "To sentence the leaders of the Khmer Rouge genocidal regime is meant to finish the regime forever," said Heng Samrin, a former Khmer Rouge military subcommander who turned against the communist movement in 1977. According to the law, the tribunal would prosecute the "senior leaders ... and those persons who are most responsible" for atrocities committed by the Khmer Rouge. Former Khmer Rouge officials now in Prime Minister Hun Sen's Cambodian People's Party have feared they or their associates could be targeted leading to political unrest. But they and other opponents to a tribunal were placated by the clause specifying that only those "most responsible" for the atrocities would be tried. Despite the legislation's broad backing in the assembly, two of Cambodia's most prominent lawmakers assembly president Prince Norodom Ranariddh and Hun Sen were absent from the vote. Opposition lawmaker Chheam Channy warned Cambodia's legal officials not to "change the law's color" once the tribunal begins. Pol Pot and his top lieutenant Ieng Sary were tried in absentia after Vietnam ousted the Khmer Rouge in a military invasion in 1979, but it was widely regarded as a show trial not meeting reasonable standards of justice. Most of the Khmer Rouge's aging leaders have died or defected to the government side and live free in Cambodia. The two senior figures now in custody are Ta Mok, 74 once the Khmer Rouge's military chief and Kaing Khek Iev, known as Duch, the head of Tuol Sleng prison and torture center. Last month, Hun Sen said massive unrest could result if Ieng Sary is targeted by the tribunal. Leng Sary broke away from the Khmer Rouge's crumbling guerrilla organization and joined Hun Sen's government as foreign minister in 1996, bringing thousands of combatants and civilians with him. Hun Sen said Ieng Sary's followers might create unrest if he were tried. Hun Sen said the tribunal could reach two other top figures. Khieu Samphan, 68, the movement's nominal leader, and political ideologue Nuon Chea, in his early 70s, left the Khmer Rouge not long before its final collapse in late 1998. Both live modestly and freely in the northwestern town of Pailin, not far from the Thai border.
BBC 2 Jan 2001 Cambodia backs genocide law The communists' brutal regime killed up to 1.7 million Cambodia has taken a major step towards putting former Khmer Rouge leaders on trial for war crimes committed during the Pol Pot era. New laws have been unanimously approved by the National Assembly, ending months of deadlock over exactly what form the trials should take. We will try only the top leaders and the people who had direct responsibility for the genocide National Assembly vice-chairman Heng Samrin Under the legislation - which still needs Senate, constitutional and Royal approval - Khmer Rouge defendants will face a tribunal that will include foreign judges and prosecutors. The first suspects to face trial have yet to be named, but the Khmer Rouge is held responsible for around 1.7 million deaths in the 1970s. It is thought that up to 30 men, many in their 70s, could be brought before the tribunal. One of Pol Pot's most ruthless commanders, Ta Mok - nicknamed "The Butcher" - and chief executioner Kang Kek Ieu are being held in jail pending trial. Ta Mok - nicknamed The Butcher - is in custody Other surviving senior leaders include Nuon Chea, who was known as Brother Number Two, and the movement's public face, Khieu Samphan. They live peacefully in the town of Pailin, near the Thai border. Pol Pot himself died in his jungle hideout in 1998. "I am very happy that today the National Assembly has passed the long-awaited draft law on the Khmer Rouge trial, allowing us to fulfill the goal of all Cambodian people and also the world to try leaders of the genocidal regime," said the National Assembly's vice-chairman, Heng Samrin. He said lower-ranked Khmer Rouge officials would not be targeted. Khmer Rouge leaders Pol Pot - died in 1998 Ta Mok - the Butcher - captured and awaiting trial Kang Kek - chief executioner - in jail awaiting trial Ieng Sary - foreign minister - pardoned Nuon Chea - chief political theorist and "Brother Number Two" - at liberty Khieu Samphan - public apologist - at liberty "I would like to appeal to our compatriots who were with the Khmer Rouge in the past, please do not be scared because (we) will try only the top leaders and the people who had direct responsibility for the genocide," he said. The basic shape of the tribunals was agreed by Cambodia and the United Nations in April, after nearly a year of talks. Cambodia had been concerned that the foreign judges and prosecutors would override Cambodian sovereignty. Under the formula now agreed, Cambodian judges will have a majority of one at each level of the proposed court - but at least one international judge must side with them before a binding judgment can be made. The new law, passed more quickly than expected by the lower house of parliament, has still to be approved by the country's Senate and Constitutional Council, before being signed by King Norodom Sihanouk. Pol Pot led the Khmer Rouge's reign of terror It is not expected to meet any major obstacles. The Khmer Rouge took power with their brutal form of radical communism in 1975, declaring it Year Zero and forcing millions to work on the land, in what became the country's "killing fields". Pol Pot ruled until January 1979, by which time hundreds of thousands of people had died and the country's economy and infrastructure lay in ruins.
WP 5 Jan 2001 Bringing Justice Home Page A20 CAMBODIA'S NATIONAL Assembly this week took a step that would have been politically unthinkable in that country a few years ago: It voted to set up a special tribunal, with help from the United Nations, in order to try some of the world's most notorious mass murderers. The Khmer Rouge movement systematically killed more than 1 million Cambodians from 1975 to 1979, a staggering act of genocide for which no one has ever been brought to justice. The Khmer Rouge leader, Pol Pot, died two years ago, but a number of his chief lieutenants are still alive and could be tried by the new court if the government of Prime Minister Hun Sen sticks with the process.The move to establish the court has been politically difficult for Hun Sen, himself a former low-level Khmer Rouge member, and U.N. officials are worried that the prosecutions could be diluted by local pressure not to push too hard for a reckoning with the past. Still, the fact that the Cambodian tribunal may move forward at all offers more evidence of how recent international efforts to hold dictators and war criminals accountable are beginning to push national governments and judiciaries toward action of their own. Another brutal ruler from the 1970s, the Chilean Augusto Pinochet, is now at last facing a legal process in the courts of his country; the Chilean Supreme Court recently lifted the immunity he had enjoyed in a case prompted by Mr. Pinochet's 1998 arrest in London and near-extradition to face charges in Spain. And Yugoslavia's new democratic leaders have suggested they are likely to arrest and try their former president and warlord, Slobodan Milosevic, if only to head off demands for his extradition to the international tribunal on Yugoslav war crimes at the Hague.None of these prosecutions is likely to entirely satisfy Western human rights advocates. The Chilean courts, for example, seem likely to rule that the senile Mr. Pinochet is unfit to stand trial, and Mr. Milosevic remains a long way from being held seriously accountable in Belgrade for his many crimes of the past decade. But none of the local trials would be happening without the international impetus. And therein lies the right goal for the international justice movement: not trials before a world tribunal but justice delivered by the courts of the countries where the crimes take place -- courts that are subject to local politics and pressures but that ultimately can reinforce respect for human rights and the rule of law where it is most needed.That, ideally, would be one effect of the Rome treaty creating an international criminal court, which the Clinton administration signed last weekend. Critics have rightly focused on weaknesses in the treaty that could allow politically motivated international prosecutors and judges to single out U.S. citizens for prosecution. They also worry about the court interfering with national sovereignty and rules of due process. But a more positive likely consequence is a scramble by countries around the world to adjust their own criminal and military codes to cover genocide and war crimes so that they can avoid the new court and prosecute their own citizens in the event of such abuses -- an alternative the Rome treaty explicitly encourages. The continuing process in Cambodia demonstrates that when international justice is thus domesticated, compromises may be made, and legal purists disappointed. But to those in Washington who would scrap the Rome treaty entirely, Cambodia offers another message: Without some international initiative to set standards and apply pressure, the Khmer Rouges of the future are unlikely to be prosecuted at all.
WP 8 Jan 2001 Cambodians Chart the Khmer Rouge Paper Trail By Rajiv Chandrasekaran Washington Post Foreign Service Monday, January 8, 2001; Page A01 PHNOM PENH, Cambodia -- The three dozen gray filing cabinets are bulletproof and fireproof. They have combination locks that appear designed for bank vaults and sturdy casters so they can be spirited away in an emergency. During the day, the cabinets are watched by a half-dozen guards, and at night, five people sleeping on bamboo mats block the narrow hallway leading to the file room. "You can never be too careful here," said Youk Chhang, director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia, which houses the cabinets. "There are people who would want to destroy what's inside." The filing cabinets contain some of the darkest secrets of the Khmer Rouge: more than a half-million pages of frayed and yellowing documents, many of which detail the mass killings, torture and forced confessions carried out by the regime as it sought to turn Cambodia into an agrarian utopia in the 1970s. The documents, which are being analyzed and indexed by researchers at the center, could provide prosecutors with crucial evidence to bring genocide charges against Khmer Rouge leaders, who are believed to have caused the deaths of an estimated 1.7 million people through starvation, overwork, disease and executions. The documents, according to researchers who have pored through them, include incarceration orders, confessions and memorandums to and from top officials. "They will be punished by their own files," Youk Chhang predicted. "When they did these things -- and they wrote it all down -- they never expected it would come back to haunt them. But it will." Although researchers at the center have been studying and cataloguing the documents since 1995, their work has taken on added importance and pressure since Cambodia's National Assembly approved legislation last week to create a tribunal to prosecute senior Khmer Rouge leaders for genocide. The legislation must still be approved by the Senate and a constitutional council and signed by the king, but political observers here say that Cambodian and international prosecutors could begin work by the end of the year. The researchers have already begun to assemble dossiers on seven of the regime's surviving leaders who are considered the most likely to be prosecuted. Youk Chhang said he will offer the information to both prosecutors and defense attorneys. Among what he regards as the most powerful pieces of evidence are handwritten logs kept by Kaing Khek Iev, also known as Duch, who was the head of the infamous Tuol Sleng prison in Phnom Penh where an estimated 14,000 people were tortured and killed. In one orange-covered, dog-eared book, a list of four prisoners has a note in the margin saying, "Put them in jail for now and destroy them later." There are scores of messages sent to Nuon Chea, one of the regime's top leaders, detailing the interrogation of prisoners. "When he did not answer," a jail official wrote of a prisoner in a 1977 memo to Nuon Chea, "I tortured him until he confessed." For people who despised intellectuals -- teachers and those with glasses were among the first to be executed -- the Khmer Rouge were obsessive record keepers. Prisoners were methodically photographed. Notes of village meetings were dutifully transcribed. And more than 25,000 government functionaries wrote detailed autobiographies. "They were proud of what they were doing," said Youk Chhang. "They wanted to show that the enemy was being eliminated. To them, this was not a crime, it was a victory." After Vietnamese forces toppled the regime in 1979, some of the documents were collected for safekeeping, and they eventually wound up at the center. Other records have been retrieved from government buildings by researchers, and still more paperwork has come from citizens who stumbled upon it when they reclaimed their homes and offices in 1979. The center's 30 researchers have plowed through about 155,000 pages of documents and 6,000 photographs, cataloguing them in a computer database. More than 400,000 pages of text and 30,000 photos remain to be analyzed. The documents depict the 31/2 years of Khmer Rouge rule as painful and prosaic. While some notebooks detail a regimen of torture to be carried out on prisoners, others recount the humdrum routine of village life. Many reflect a deep-seated paranoia -- of CIA infiltrators, church workers and other "enemies of the revolution" -- and an unquestioning adherence to the exhortations of top leaders. Despite vast evidence of genocide -- researchers at the center have identified more than 20,000 mass graves and 400 bone-strewn "killing fields" -- legal experts say that building court cases will be challenging. Many of the surviving documents were sent to, not from, top leaders. Memos and reports indicate a maze of bureaucratic routing, with names and acknowledgments scribbled in margins. And in many of the records, authors used code language. Instead of "kill" or "execute," they used words such as "decide," "resolve," "raze" and "reduce to ash." "If the Khmer Rouge said, 'I decided on him,' what does it mean?" Youk Chhang said. "We believe it means kill, but it could be open to arguments among lawyers." Legal specialists and diplomats who have examined some of the records said they would give prosecutors a valuable head start, but they warned that the documents alone would not make a genocide case. "The documents will be important to show a pattern of activity, of how the Khmer Rouge conducted its operations, the chain of command and decision-making authority," said a diplomat in Phnom Penh. "It's good evidence to learn about the macro issues, but it's still not clear to what extent they will prove specific people committed specific offenses." The documents, however, will likely be instrumental in assembling other parts of the cases, particularly witness statements, the legal specialists said. Through the autobiographies, for instance, researchers have been able to track down several former guards at Tuol Sleng who might be called to testify against Duch. Youk Chhang said he believes the documentary evidence is strongest in the cases of Nuon Chea and Duch, but less so when it comes to two other senior leaders, Khieu Samphan and Ta Mok, the regime's military commander. "Nuon Chea and Duch are easy. You can prosecute them tomorrow," Youk Chhang said. "But with Khieu Samphan it's difficult. We don't have files signed by him, only ones sent to him." Duch and Ta Mok are in jail, but Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan are living freely in northwestern Cambodia after agreeing to end a long guerrilla war against government forces in 1998. Legal experts believe those four former leaders and two or three other officials are most likely to be prosecuted. Although the Khmer Rouge has been all but vanquished as a political and military force, it still has supporters in Cambodia who oppose the tribunal, fueling fears of attempts to destroy the documents. The documentation center operates with money from the U.S. government, administered by the Cambodian Genocide Program at Yale University, and from the Netherlands, Norway and other donors. The center was founded not just to assemble evidence for possible tribunals but to preserve the records for future research. Even so, Youk Chhang and others at the center said they want the trials to begin soon. They hope the proceedings will address one question whose answer is strangely absent in the documents. "People want to know why," he said. "Why did the village chief take my wife? Why did they starve my children? Why did they rape my daughter? They've been waiting 25 years for answers."
BBC 15 Jan2001Khmer tribunal law passed by Senate The brutal regime left skulls around the country Cambodia's Senate has approved a law to create a tribunal to prosecute former leaders of the Khmer Rouge government accused of genocide. All 51 deputies present in the 61-seat Senate voted for the draft law to be passed without any changes. Almost every Cambodian family lost relatives to the Khmer Rouge An estimated 1.7 million Cambodians died from starvation, disease or execution between 1975 and 1979, during the Khmer Rouge regime led by Pol Pot. Already passed by the lower legislative house, the draft law now requires approval from the Constitutional Council, King Norodom Sihanouk and the United Nations. The legislation ended months of deadlock over exactly what form the trials should take. 'The Butcher' held But officials have said it could still take many months to set up a tribunal. Ta Mok could go before the tribunal Mass trials are not expected, but it is thought that up to 30 men, many in their 70s, would be prosecuted under the tribunal. Prime Minister Hun Sen has said he expects the tribunal to start work this year. The first suspects to face trial have yet to be named, but one of the regime's most ruthless commanders, Ta Mok - nicknamed "The Butcher" - and chief executioner Kang Kek Leu are being held in jail pending trial. No Khmer Rouge leader has ever appeared in court to answer for the deaths. Hun Sen has warned against trying Ieng Sary, Pol Pot's brother-in-law Many surviving leaders have lived in quiet retirement while Pol Pot himself died in his jungle hideout in 1998. Other surviving senior leaders include Nuon Chea - known as Brother Number Two - and Khieu Samphan, who both live peacefully in Pailin, a town near the Thai border. The prime minister has cautioned, however, against trying Pol Pot's former foreign minister and brother-in-law, Ieng Sary, to the concern of activists. UN negotiations The head of the government task force on the trial, Sok An, told journalists that he believed negotiations with the UN over the legislation would be resolved soon. The UN had asked for some revisions in the draft law, which is based on American proposals. Pol Pot died in April 1998 Under the tribunal, both Cambodian and foreign prosecutors and judges will jointly indict defendants and reach verdicts. The foreign judges would be a minority, but would hold the power of veto over decisions. The arrangement was a compromise between Cambodian officials, who wanted to run it on their own, and the UN, which pressed for foreign control. The Khmer Rouge took power with their brutal form of radical communism in 1975, declaring it Year Zero and forcing millions to work on the land, in what became the country's "killing fields".
BBC 17 Jan 2001, Ta Mok taken for hospital treatment The jailed Khmer Rouge leader, Ta Mok, has been taken to hospital to be treated for high blood pressure. After being given medication, he was returned to his prison cell where he is awaiting trial on charges of genocide. His lawyer Benson Samay said that he believed that Ta Mok would die before being put on trial. But the doctor who treated the Ta Mok said that his condition was not serious. Ta Mok is the former military chief of the Khmer Rouge, and is one of two former Khmer Rouge leaders in prison awaiting trial over the deaths of more than a million people. Legislation for establishing a UN-backed tribunal to prosecute the former leaders is still awaiting approval by the constitutional council and the king. It was passed on Monday by the Senate. From the newsroom of the BBC World Service
Thursday, 25 January, 2001, 07:42 GMT First Timor militiaman sentenced The militias were encouraged by the Indonesian military An international court in East Timor has sentenced a pro-Jakarta militiaman to 12 years imprisonment for murder. It marks the first successful prosecution for the violence that surrounded the territory's 1999 independence vote. Joao Fernandes was found guilty of murdering a pro-independence activist in Maliana, close to the border with Indonesian-held West Timor. More than 1,000 people died in East Timor after the vote The court had heard how Fernandes dragged village chief Domingos Pereira from his hiding place in the police station and then repeatedly stabbed him with a sword. Militia members then attacked other independence supporters, leading to a massacre in which 40 people were killed. "This judgment should be enforced immediately," presiding judge Luca Ferrero, an Italian, said. Army influence The 22-year-old was a member of the militia gang "Merah Putih" - meaning red and white, the Indonesian flag's colours. Militiamen were blamed for many of the massacres During the trial, Fernandes testified that Indonesian army officers had given him a samurai sword and ordered him to kill independence supporters. His prison sentence was reduced from 20 years after he agreed to supply further information about militia activities in the Maliana district. A UN spokesman described the conviction as an important development, showing the East Timorese that justice was being done. More cases Prosecutors in East Timor, working under the UN administration, hope that 15 more cases will be heard in the next month. There are in total about 60 people being held in prison in the East Timorese capital, Dili. The UN wants to see mass destruction charges brought against the militias In Indonesia itself, where many of those who have been blamed for the violence are now living, no-one has yet been sentenced in connection with the violence. And, although militia chief Eurico Guterres is currently on trial in Jakarta, he is charged with the lesser offence of possessing illegal weapons. The militias, with backing from elements in the Indonesian military, waged a campaign of terror in East Timor after the territory voted for independence from Jakarta in 1999. More than 1,000 people were murdered and almost every town was burned to the ground in the violence.
BBC 15 Dec 2000, Vajpayee's double victory Vajpayee has gained the upper hand over Ayodhya By Vir Singh in Delhi In one stroke, Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee has staved off an opposition attack and pleased hardline Hindu groups. Hindu nationalists had become increasingly critical of his government over its refusal to openly support the construction of a temple on the site of the demolished mosque at Ayodhya. But several of Mr Vajpayee's coalition allies expressed alarm at his remarks in support of the temple and urged him not to deviate from the government's secular agenda. However, when their loyalty was put to the test, they stood by the prime minister. A motion in India's lower house of parliament calling for the dismissal of three senior ministers charged with inciting a mob to tear down the Babri mosque eight years ago was defeated. Now the government has the upper hand in the Ayodhya row. Playing to the gallery Mr Vajpayee's Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and at least two opposition parties want to extract maximum political mileage from the debate so as to broaden their appeal. Hindu nationalists want a temple to be built on the site of the mosque In Indian political parlance, this is known as building "vote banks." But some other parties, notably some regional allies in the BJP-led coalition, want to steer clear of Ayodhya. They fear that being linked with a "communal" party - a party associated with a particular religious community - will hurt them in upcoming elections to state assemblies. Mr Vajpayee's remarks last week, when he said the movement to build the temple was an "expression of national feeling," drew widespread criticism. Mr Vajpayee's reputation as a moderate Hindu leader, which helped him to form a coalition government 14 months ago, was seen as a "mask" that had now come off. Drumming up Hindu support But hardline Hindu groups such as the National Volunteer Corps (RSS) and the World Hindu Council (VHP), praised the prime minister and asked him to remain "resolute." Criticism from the RSS - whose grassroots workers the BJP depends on during elections - has grown over the last few years because of the BJP's gradual backing away from the Ayodhya issue. Mr Vajpayee's remarks in support of the temple were calculated to win back support from its ideological forebears who espouse a fiery mix of economic and religious nationalism. Taking the high ground As for India's main opposition party, Congress now has few fundamental differences with the Vajpayee government on economic reforms - certainly not enough to create a stir. The mosque's demolition prompted riots It tried criticising the government for neglecting Indian farmers but found that this issue did not arouse much interest. So Congress reached into its pockets and out came a temple. The party's decision to seek a motion against the BJP's Ayodhya-tainted ministers came just two days before the 6 December anniversary of the mosque's destruction - when tensions in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, where Ayodhya is situated, traditionally run high. By provoking the latest Ayodhya debate, Congress has taken the high moral ground, hoping its secular image will pay off in state elections. The party, which headed the national government when the Babri mosque was pulled down, wants to win back Muslim voters. Not over yet On Monday, the debate moved to the upper house, where the government lacks a majority. While a censure vote there could not bring down the government, it would be an embarrassment for the BJP. The next stage of the Ayodhya row promises to be as noisy and emotional as the drama of the past week.
National Post of Canada 18 Jan 2001 India’s Temple Mount Author: Daniel Pipes Publication: As Israeli intelligence services raise alarms about the prospect of radical Jewish groups attacking the mosques atop the Temple Mount, an eerily similar controversy is simultaneously developing in India, with possible lessons and implications for Israel. According to legend, the god-king Lord Ram, one of Hinduism's principal deities, was born in Ayodhya, about 300 miles southeast of New Delhi. The Muslim conquerors of India, destroyed the temple commemorating his birthplace centuries ago and built a mosque, known as the Babri Masjid, on the ruins. This was by no means a unique replacement; "in their zeal to hit Hinduism and spread Islam," one study notes, the Muslim rulers had the knack of desecrating or demolishing Hindu temples and erecting mosques, etc., in their place." A preliminary survey finds some 1600 temples destroyed and replaced by Muslim edifices. Ayodhya's temple was the most prominent of those destroyed Hindu sites, and that made the Babri Masjid especially unacceptable to the fundamentalist Hindus in the Bhartiya Janata party (BJP), which made Ayodhya the central plank of its 1991 election plank. These efforts culminated on Dec 6, 1992, when BJP officials led a march to the Babri Masjid and an out-of- control crowd climbed the centuries-old-mosque, furiously demolishing it by hand and with explosives. This led to India's worst outbreak of communal rioting since the 1947 partition of India and Pakistan, with some 2,000 to 3,000 people losing their lives and violence spreading to several countries (including Britain). Despite its high drama, this episode resolved nothing. Where a temple and a mosque once stood now lies an empty plot of land (and many policemen). Some Hindus insist on rebuilding the temple to Ram; some Muslims demand the Babri Masjid be rebuilt. A court case disputing the land's ownership has been wending its way through the torpid Indian legal system since 1949, with no end in sight. Since coming to power in 1998, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and the BJP have down played their goals in Ayodhya. As recently as October last year the BJP's president assured Indians that rebuilding the temple was not on his party's agenda. But the issue has resurfaced anyway and it may come to an explosive head shortly. Near the disputed site in Ayodhya, a Hindu nationalist group, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), is building a pre-fabricated temple that it plans soon to assemble on the site as a three-storied building. The first floor, it declared last July is "almost ready". Responding to the heightened fervour of his constituency, Prime Minister Vajpayee commented in December that this work on reconstructing the Hindu Temple "is an expression of national feeling." The parliamentary opposition jumped on his statement, paralyzing the government for more than a week and relenting only when the Prime minister more or less retracted his words ("I never supported the destruction of the structure in Ayodhya, I criticized it then and I still do not support it"). He also made it clear he would not permit the VHP to build a Hindu temple in Ayodhya unless it first secured legal permission. Ignoring Vajpayee, the VHP plans soon to begin on-site construction of the temple, perhaps as early as March. Muslim groups have threatened to stop this, with force if necessary. Ayodhya prompts several thoughts relating to the Temple Mount: *** It shows that the Temple Mount dispute is far from unique. Muslims have habitually asserted the supremacy of Islam through architecture, building on top of the monuments of other faiths (as in Jerusalem and Ayodhya) or appropriating them (e.g., the Kaaba in Mecca and the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople). This pattern still continues - as recently as October, it happened at Joseph's Tomb in Nablus; ***These situations are not conducive to compromise; in general, one side wins, the otherside loses. Achieving otherwise in Jerusalem would be a remarkable feat; ***Religious hotheads can trump governments (Al-Aqsa's fire in 1969, Ayodhya's destruction in 1992), showing the deeply unpredictable nature of holy sites and the high priority for governments to control them; *** The timetables are strikingly similar: Jewish schemes to avenge the murder of Binyamin Kahane by destroying the Islamic sanctities in Jerusalem parallel VHP plans for a Hindu temple; ***Although the Babri Masjid is a far lesser Islamic holy place than Jerusalem's Haram ash- Sharif, should plans to rebuild the Hindu temple go ahead, this could diffuse the Islamic attention that for months has been heavily focused on Jerusalem. (Daniel Pipes is director of the Philadelphia-based Middle East Forum)
Tuesday, 2 January, 2001, 05:10 GMT Timor militia chief goes on trial Guterres is not yet on trial for the massacres By South-East Asia correspondent Jonathan Head The trial has opened in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, of the Timorese militia leader, Eurico Guterres, the first such trial to be held. The UN wants to see mass destruction charges brought against the militias He was one of the leaders of the pro-Indonesian militias which laid waste to much of East Timor following the 1999 referendum on independence. Mr Guterres has been charged with illegal weapons possession and inciting violence over the border in West Timor last year. But he also faces possible charges of involvement in two massacres of civilians in April 1999. Volatile Eurico Guterres is among the youngest and most flamboyant of the militia leaders cultivated by the Indonesian military in the last year of their rule in East Timor. He is also a volatile and unpredictable character who instilled fear in the East Timorese population. Guterres' supporters call him a patriot There has been strong international pressure on the Indonesian government to bring those responsible for a number of violent incidents in East and West Timor to justice. By making him the first militia leader to be tried, the Indonesian authorities are clearly trying to send a signal to the international community that they are serious about dealing with those behind the violence in East Timor. But members of the powerful armed forces have opposed that process, and the initial charge against Mr Guterres is a relatively minor one. It relates to an incident last year when he took back weapons confiscated by the Indonesian police in a refugee camp over the border in West Timor. Hampered The United Nations investigating team based in East Timor would also like to see charges brought against militia leaders and members of the Indonesian armed forces for the mass destruction and killings they carried out before and after the 1999 referendum. However their own efforts to do so have been hampered by the Indonesian authorities' refusal to allow suspects in Indonesia to be either interviewed or extradited. There is very strong evidence of Mr Guterres' involvement in at least two massacres in April 1999, yet that case has not yet been brought before the courts. Despite their persistently violent behaviour, including the murder of three UN aid workers in West Timor last year, militias still enjoy the sympathy of some Indonesian nationalists and sections of the military. That makes it difficult for a weak and divided government to bring them under control.
BBC 24 Jan 2001 Jakarta security tight for Chinese festival Ethnic Chinese flocked to temples in Jakarta Thousands of armed guards patrolled Jakarta on Wednesday as the city's Chinese population celebrated the Lunar New Year amid rumours of bomb threats. Ethnic Chinese flocked to temples, despite fears of explosions similar to the Christmas attacks on churches in Indonesia, which is predominantly Muslim. Indonesian soldiers patrol a Jakarta temple where Chinese pray with incense It is only the second year the community has been allowed to openly mark the festival and the first time that the day - known locally as Imlek - has been declared an optional state holiday. During the Suharto era, Indonesia's six million Chinese were not allowed to use their language or promote their culture and quotas were placed limiting Chinese in universities, civil service and the army. Ethnic Chinese were targetted during riots in 1998 with some killed and raped. A 1967 decree banning public Chinese festivals was only recently lifted. Patrols Nowadays, you can never predict what's going to happen - we survived the riots and we can definitely survive other tragedies Jakarta temple caretaker Lie Oen Liong The Jakarta Post reported that some 30,000 civilian guards had been assigned to assist security forces to ensure a peaceful festival. Some 8,000 police and army officers have already been deployed to patrol Jakarta. Security has also been beefed up in Surabaya. However, rumours of possible violence at temples have so far proved unfounded. Jakarta temple caretaker Lie Oen Liong told the French news agency AFP that the introduction of the optional holiday was a sign discrimination was declining. Asians cities empty Elsewhere in Asia, ethnic Chinese marked the start of the Year of the Snake with parades and festivals, characterised by lion dances and firecrackers. A Japanese dancer in a Hong Kong parade to mark the festival Streets were empty and shops shut in many Asian cities as millions returned home for the event, which is also celebrated in Korea and Vietnam, where it is known as "Tet". The stock exchanges in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Seoul, Taipei and Kuala Lumpur remained closed for the festival. The mass exodus of millions of people from cities in China to their hometowns has been described as possibly the world's biggest single movement of humanity. The Chinese Government said it expected 1.6bn trips to be made by travellers during the week-long holiday, also known as the Spring Festival. Airlines have added 20% more flights, while train stations have opened overflow waiting rooms. China has extended the festival to a full week to encourage spending and so perk up the economy. The Chinese lunar calendar dates from 2600 BC and is based on the cycles of the moon. The Year of the Snake is associated with dramatic events including revolutions, financial upheavals and epidemics.
BBC Monitoring Middle East - Political Supplied by BBC Worldwide Monitoring January 1, 2001, Monday LENGTH: 321 words HEADLINE: Iran signs charter of International Criminal Court SOURCE: IRNA news agency, Tehran, in English 0938 gmt 1 Jan 01 BODY: Text of report in English by Iranian news agency IRNA New York, 1 January: Iran's permanent representative to the United Nations, Hadi Nezhad-Hosaynian, Sunday 31 December signed the charter of the International Criminal Court (ICC), thus bringing the total number of signatures to 139 countries, including those of 29 OIC Organization of Islamic Conference members. The 128-article charter was first compiled in the course of a diplomatic conference in Rome in the months of June and July, 1998. It established the first international tribunal to bring to justice those accused of the worst crimes of humanity. Signing of the charter does not mean the Islamic Republic of Iran is a member of the treaty that officially binds signatories as the same should still be ratified by the Islamic Consultative Assembly (Majlis) as in all other international documents. Speaking to IRNA here following the signing of the charter, Nezhad-Hosaynian said the ICC will officially come into being after its governing statute is ratified by 60 world countries, adding that so far 25 parliaments have approved the document. He said the court, based in The Hague, is the most important world body after the United Nations which was founded in 1945, and is expected to start work within the next two years. The court will have the competence to try individuals accused of mass murder, war crimes and other gross human violations, he said. Nezhad-Hosaynian further remarked that the court will have 18 judges elected by the assembly of states that are signatories of the charter and on the basis of proportional geographical representation. He said once the court starts to try cases there would be no more need for referring cases to specially constituted tribunals such as the War Crimes Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia or the Rwanda War Crimes Tribunal, both established by the United Nations Security Council.
BBC 10 Jan 2001, Iraq seeks uranium probe Thousands of DU-tipped shells were used in the Gulf War Iraq has called on the United Nations and other international bodies to investigate the effects of weapons containing depleted uranium used during the 1991 Gulf War, as well as in the Balkans. An Iraqi Foreign Ministry spokesman said the reports of cancer among Nato soldiers who served in Bosnia and Kosovo backed up what Baghdad had been saying about the "disastrous consequences" of depleted uranium for people and the environment. The spokesman, quoted by the official Iraqi news agency, said the use of such weapons in Iraq had caused an abnormal rise in cases of leukaemia and cancers of the lung, skin and digestive system, particularly among children. He also blamed depleted uranium for the increase in congenital diseases and deformities. Tribunal "Iraq requests the creation of an international tribunal to put US and British officials on trial for crimes against humanity and the genocide carried out by the Americans and British in Iraq and Yugoslavia," the spokesman said. Cancer cases have soared in Iraq since the war He accused the two governments of "deliberately concealing" the effects of DU weapons "to mislead public opinion". Leukaemia, which affects blood and bone marrow, was relatively rare in Iraq before 1990. But according to the Iraqi Health Ministry, there has been a fourfold increase in the incidence of the disease since then - a figure that is now generally accepted by international agencies such as the World Health Organisation. Gulf War Syndrome Baghdad says US and UK forces fired more than 940,000 armour-piercing DU projectiles during the 1991 conflict over Kuwait. Several countries, including Italy and Germany, want a moratorium on the weapons after a rash of leukaemia cases among former peacekeepers who served in the Balkans. DU is used because it is so heavy, easily puncturing the armour of tanks. On impact it vaporises, and can be breathed in. More than 100,000 Gulf War veterans have suffered unexplained medical problems since they returned from the conflict.
BBC Monitoring Middle East - Political Supplied by BBC Worldwide Monitoring January 1, 2001, Monday LENGTH: 380 words HEADLINE: Israel decides to sign International Criminal Court charter after US does SOURCE: The Jerusalem Post web site, in English 1 Jan 01 BODY: Excerpt from report in English by Israeli newspaper The Jerusalem Post web site on 1 January In a last-minute turnaround, Israel decided last night to sign a charter establishing the International Criminal Court to try individuals for war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity. Earlier in the day the cabinet decided not to sign the charter, because of a clause that defines one of the war crimes as "the transfer, directly or indirectly, by the occupying power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies." Attorney-General Elyakim Rubinstein, in a written opinion to the cabinet, said this clause was "politically motivated" and directed against Israel. The concern was that this clause would be used to indict government officials and settlers for "war crimes" because of the settlements in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip. The cabinet voted seven to four against joining the treaty. However, it left an escape route for signing the treaty, saying that if the US, which was also leaning against signing, decided at the last minute to do so, Israel would reassess its position and coordinate with the US. After US President Bill Clinton - who had come under great pressure from human rights organizations to sign the agreement - decided to do so yesterday, Israel decided to do the same. Cabinet secretary Isaac Herzog said that Israel was signing after coordinating its position with the US, ensuring that Israel's interests will not be damaged by becoming a member of the charter. Israel will also sign with the caveat that the questionable clause not be used against it. One of the strongest proponents of signing the charter in the cabinet was Minister Michael Melchior, who said the court was established as one of the lessons of the Holocaust, in order to prevent heinous war crimes. "A state that sees itself a part of the family of civilized nations cannot avoid signing this treaty. Opposition to signing the treaty is liable to be seen as a moral stain, and as if Israel has something to hide, something that will cause public opinion against us," Melchior said. Melchior also pointed out that Jews were instrumental in pushing for the establishment of the International Criminal Court...
Thursday, 11 January, 2001, 19:21 GMT US 'deeply regrets' civilian killings US generals thought refugee columns could hide infiltrators President Bill Clinton has said he "deeply regrets" the deaths of unarmed refugees by American troops during the first weeks of the Korean War. We understand and sympathise with the sense of loss and sorrow that remains even after a half a century has passed President Clinton "On behalf of the United States of America, I deeply regret that Korean civilians lost their lives at No Gun Ri in late July 1950," he said in a statement. The statement stopped short of the apology demanded by many survivors of the massacre. A Pentagon report into the incident and a statement of mutual understanding between the two countries are due to be released later on Thursday. 'No orders' President Clinton said that the two sides had agreed in the statement that "an unconfirmed number of innocent Korean refugees were killed or injured there". "To those Koreans who lost loved ones at No Gun Ri, I offer my condolences. Many American have experienced the anguish of innocent casualties of war. "We understand and sympathise with the sense of loss and sorrow that remains even after a half a century has passed," he said. The year-long Pentagon investigation involved the review of more than a million documents and interviews with about 170 veterans. The bridge at No Gun Ri as it is now The inquiry is reported to have failed to find conclusive evidence of any specific orders given by US commanders to fire on civilians at No Gun Ri. Instead, it is expected the report will suggest that ill-equipped and poorly-trained soldiers opened fire on civilians under the bridge because they had been warned that North Korean troops, disguised as refugees, were infiltrating their lines. Advocates for the victims say the fear of communist agents led to a deliberate attack on the group of civilians. As an expression of regret Washington has agreed to finance the construction of a monument to the civilian victims of the war in South Korea, and has offered to create a memorial scholarship for Korean students. US troops were stationed in South Korea at the head of a United Nations coalition defending the country after an invasion from the northern half of the divided peninsula in 1950.
Tuesday, 23 January, 2001, 21:44 GMT Race issue clouds Malaysian festivities Mahathir's message comes as ethnic Chinese celebrate By Simon Ingram in Kuala Lumpur As the ethnic Chinese community in Malaysia joins others around the world celebrating the lunar New Year, the Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohamad, has urged all ethnic groups in the country to accept political realities. Mahathir: Chinese have to accept political realities Dr Mahathir's comments appear to be directed at an ethnic Chinese lobby group, Suqiu, which provoked controversy last year. Suqiu openly challenged the preferential treatment enjoyed by the majority Malay community. The row, and another over the status of Chinese-language education, has cast a shadow over the New Year festivities. Subdued mood Malays get preferential entry into universities and state jobs On the stroke of midnight on Tuesday, a volly of firecrackers echoed briefly through central Kuala Lumpur, signalling the start of a long week of festivities for Malaysia's Chinese community. Yet, if the mood in Chinatown seems strangely subdued this year, the reasons are not hard to find. Race is never far from the political centre stage here, and in recent months it returned with a vengeance. In multi-racial Malaysia, no one community can be satisfied with whatever it gets and no one community will ever get all that it wanted Mahathir Mohamad Prime Minister Mahathir belatedly attacked Suqiu as extremists, while a Muslim organisation even threatened holy war. Suqiu quickly backed down, but the issue has not gone away. Ethnic tension In a message marking the advent of the Year of the Snake, the Prime Minister said that in a multi-racial country like Malaysia, no one community would ever get everything it wanted. The issue of Chinese-language schools has been a thorny one All communities should accept reality, he said. A further issue of dispute is education, triggered by government efforts to close a Chinese-language primary school outside Kuala Lumpur. But opposition groups say fear of renewed ethnic tension, witnessed most dramatically in riots more than 30 years ago, are misplaced. They accuse Dr Mahathir of deliberately playing up racial issues in order to win back support from Malays, who have been drifting away from the ruling Umno organisation which he heads. This does not make the position of ordinary Chinese any easier. Many do resent the preferential treatment that Malays get in everything from jobs and housing to university education - but they accept it as a fact of life. http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/asia-pacific/newsid_1133000/1133114.stm
Friday, 5 January, 2001, 11:26 GMT Malaysian Chinese drop demands for equality A Malaysian Chinese group has agreed to withdraw its controversial demands for the government to abolish special privileges for ethnic Malays. The decision by the group, Suqiu , comes on the eve of a planned demonstration in the eastern Terengganu state by Malay students angered by the group's stance. Suqiu agreed to drop its demands after talks with the governing United Malays National Organisation. The deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi told the Bernama news agency that the move was a victory for all Malaysian people who wanted to preserve racial co-existence. The government introduced an affirmative action programme favouring Malays in 1971 after anti-Chinese race riots in 1969. But Suqiu's petition, issued last year, said it was time for Malaysia to move towards a meritocracy.
Friday, 5 January, 2001, 11:26 GMT Malaysian Chinese drop demands for equality A Malaysian Chinese group has agreed to withdraw its controversial demands for the government to abolish special privileges for ethnic Malays. The decision by the group, Suqiu , comes on the eve of a planned demonstration in the eastern Terengganu state by Malay students angered by the group's stance. Suqiu agreed to drop its demands after talks with the governing United Malays National Organisation. The deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi told the Bernama news agency that the move was a victory for all Malaysian people who wanted to preserve racial co-existence. The government introduced an affirmative action programme favouring Malays in 1971 after anti-Chinese race riots in 1969. But Suqiu's petition, issued last year, said it was time for Malaysia to move towards a meritocracy. From the newsroom of the BBC World Service http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/asia-pacific/newsid_1102000/1102107.stm Chinese Organisations Election Appeals Committee (Suqiu)
The Singapore Straits Times 2nd December 2000 Mahathir blames 'dirty tactics' for Lunas loss His words were twisted and he never labelled all Chinese people as 'extremist', only those groups that 'spread hatred among people', he says By WAN HAMIDI HAMID IN KUALA LUMPUR MALAYSIAN Premier Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad admitted that his remarks against the Chinese educationists and election appeals group Suqiu may have had some impact in the outcome of the Lunas by-election. But the Umno President, putting the blame on the opposition's alleged dirty tactics for the loss of Lunas, believes his views were twisted by certain people. 'I never said the Chinese are extremists. I only directed my criticism against the extremist groups. 'The Chinese understand that when I use the word extremist I was referring to those who spread hatred among the people. I also criticised the Al-Ma'unah sect, even though they are Malays, for being extremist,' he said. Dr Mahathir was speaking to reporters after chairing the Umno Supreme Council meeting here yesterday, two days after the opposition Parti Keadilan Nasional ousted Barisan Nasional from its stronghold in Lunas. The loss had a great impact in Dr Mahathir's home state of Kedah, as the ruling coalition no longer has the two-thirds majority in the state legislative assembly. From a majority of 4,700 votes gained in last year's general election, BN lost when Anwar Ibrahim's Keadilan candidate polled more than 10,000 votes to win with a 530 majority. While the Chinese had solidly supported BN last year, the voters in Lunas surprised everyone by swinging their votes to the opposition. Observers noted that the Chinese in Lunas were upset with Dr Mahathir, who had been critical towards organisations they revered such as the educationists Dong Jiao Zong and Suqiu. However, Dr Mahathir rejected such a view, insisting that demands by the Chinese community had been fulfilled from time to time. He said that when the Chinese wanted the powers of the Education Minister to change the status of a Chinese school to a national school be removed, the government complied. 'We thought it was over. But the extremists are not satisfied, they want more. So what's the problem with Vision Schools? It is just a concept of three types of schools combined together so that pupils can learn from each other and live in a real multiracial society. 'Don't tell me the Chinese want to segregate themselves. In that case, we can no longer allow Malays to send their children to Chinese schools,' he said. The Malaysian Prime Minister appealed to the Chinese community not to listen to the extremist groups that fought on the premise of applying pressure on the government. 'Friends can pressure me but I will never bow down to extremists' pressure.' 'And I have the right to criticise anybody I like. When I criticise the extremists, I hope the Chinese community will not think that I am attacking them.' Umno Supreme Council member Datuk Shahrir Samad was one of the few politicians who blamed Dr Mahathir's criticism against the Chinese for losing Lunas. However, the party President rejected such claims, stating that Umno has its own stand on the matter. The Premier believes BN gained more votes in Lunas compared to last year's election despite the opposition's scare tactics. He accused the opposition of bringing in more than 100,000 outsiders to campaign in the constituency, hinting that there could also be phantom voters among them. The opposition alleged that BN tried to bring in phantom voters to Lunas, including the incident where Keadilan supporters detained 12 buses carrying 300 passengers on the eve of polling day. 'They confiscated our supporters' identity cards. We are thinking of taking legal action against this act of gansterism,' Dr Mahathir said.
BBC 27 Jan 2001 China creates special riot squads The authorities in China are reported to have ordered the creation of special police squads in cities to cope with growing social and ethnic unrest. The Chinese news agency, Xinhua, says the move has been authorised by the Ministry of Public Security; large cities such as Shanghai and Beijing will have a force of at least three-hundred specially trained personnel. Xinhua quotes an official at the ministry who warns that police units lacking proper training and equipment are hardly capable of maintaining social stability, and could even risk escalating conflicts. Correspondents say various groups pose a threat to the authorities in Beijing, among them separatists such as Muslim militants in Xinjiang province and millions of people in Chinese cities who are without work.
BBC 25 Jan 2001 Armenia, Azerbaijan join Council of Europe Armenia and Azerbaijan have been admitted to the Council of Europe, the body devoted to the promotion of human rights and democracy on the continent. At a ceremony in the Council building in Strasbourg, President Kocharian of Armenia and President Aliyev of Azerbaijan signed the European Human Rights Convention. The two delegations then attended a flag-raising ceremony outside the building. Armenia will have four seats in the Council and Azerbaijan six. The Council had decided that the two countries, which have fought over the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, would join at the same time.
Friday, 19 January, 2001, 16:39 GMT Kostunica builds trust with Bosnia visit Hands of friendship: Kostunica with the Bosnian presidency The Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica has made a historic visit to Bosnia-Hercegovina, attempting to build trust between the two nations which were once sister republics in Yugoslavia. It is the first official visit by a Yugoslav leader since the Bosnian war ended in 1995. Belgrade - then under the Milosevic regime - was widely blamed for fuelling the bitter ethnic war, which pitted Bosnia's Serbs, Croats and Muslims against each other in a bloody three-year conflict. Looking at the achievements of the new Yugoslav administration, I think that establishing ties with Bosnia was the greatest Vojislav Kostunica Mr Kostunica said establishing ties with Bosnia was the greatest achievement of the new Yugoslav administration. Mr Kostunica stressed that Yugoslavia was committed to the peace accords which ended the war. "The Dayton peace agreement is a model for co-existence between countries which have been torn by tension and conflict," Mr Kostunica told journalists. The Dayton accords ended the Bosnian war in 1995 and set up two entities - one Serbian, the other Muslim-Croat - within the Bosnian state. Mr Kostunica also used his visit to repeat his insistence that the use of DU weapons by Nato forces in Kosovo should be considered a war crime. Thousands were killed in the brutal war Mr Kostunica was given a warm welcome on his arrival on Friday. The three members of Bosnia's post-war presidency - Serb Zivko Radisic, Croat Ante Jelavic and Muslim Halid Genjac - joined hands with Mr Kostunica in a single handshake. Diplomatic relations were restored in mid-December, and the two sides signed a protocol consolidating them on Friday. Mr Kostunica said Yugoslavia and the Bosnian Serb entity would have a special relationship, though Yugoslavia would see it as part of Bosnia Hercegovina. Slobodan Milosevic's presence is still felt One of the pressing issues for discussion is how to divide the assets of the former Yugoslavia. Mr Kostunica has faced demands for Yugoslavia to admit responsibility for genocide and war crimes carried out in the Bosnian war. Ousted president Slobodan Milosevic has been indicted by the war crimes tribunal in the Hague over his role in the Bosnian war. Mr Kostunica has said Mr Milosevic may be put on trial in Belgrade, but has ruled out handing him over to the tribunal in the Hague.
HINA 3 Jan 2001 US Holocaust Museum to Return Jasenovac WWII Artifacts to Croatia HINA (Zagreb) January 3, 2001 US HOLOCAUST MUSEUM TO RETURN JASENOVAC WWII ARTIFACTS TO CROATIA Zagreb, Jan 3 (Hina) -- Croatia's Culture Ministry on Wednesday confirmed that the Washington-based Holocaust Memorial Museum had took over the material plundered from the Jasenovac Museum and kept, in extremely bad conditions, in the Bosnian Serb entity (the Republic of Srpska) since 1991. According to the ministry's statement, 19 tin boxes with artifacts taken in 1991 from the museum built in memory of victims of the World War II concentration camp in the Croatian village of Jasenovac, were transported in Washington on 27 November 2000. The stolen material included documents, films and photographs. Under an agreement the Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Croatian ministry have reached, the material will be given back to Croatia by 26 October 2001. The final agreement, signed by Culture Minister Antun Vujic and "Holocaust Memorial Museum" director Siane Salzmann, was made on 26 October 2000. According to media reports, the trunks with the museum material were transported from the Republic of Srpska to Washington two months ago by NATO-led international forces in Bosnia-Herzegovina (SFOR) with the approval of the then Bosnian Serb entity's premier Milorad Dodik. The ministry reported that the transferred material was being examined and processed by experts and the trunks would be opened in Washington in the presence of Croatian Embassy officials and the Jasenovac Museum Director Mate Rupic. Culture Minister Vujic was quoted by the Croatian Television this evening as saying that the good cooperation between his country and the United States contributed to efforts aimed at finding the looted museum material. The Holocaust Memorial Museum was set up in Washington in 1993. It is one of the world biggest museum facilities which gather, keep and display material and documentation on the horrible suffering of Jews in World War II. So far, 13 million people have visited it. Last summer, Croatian President and Premier, Stjepan Mesic and Ivica Racan respectively, toured that museum as well.
AP (22 Feb 2001) Maj. Gen. Mirko Norac, who turned himself in to police Wednesday, arrived Thursday afternoon at the district court of Rijeka, which opened a war crimes investigation against him Feb. 7. .... Prosecutors say that as a local commander, he was responsible for the deaths of about 40 Serb civilians ... the new [Croatian] government, which took power in January 2000, maintains that war criminals on both sides should be prosecuted. President Stipe Mesic welcomed Norac's surrender and the tribunal's decision to leave his case in local courts, saying it showed international confidence in Croatia's justice system..
Thursday, 18 January, 2001, 13:12 GMT French parliament approves Armenian genocide bill The lower house of the French parliament has unanimously approved a bill which publicly recognises the massacre of Armenians in 1915 as genocide. The measure was passed in spite of warnings from Turkey that there'd be a crisis in relations with France. The bill -- which was initiated by individual members of the French parliament and strongly opposed by the government -- does not explicitly blame the Turks for the mass killings. Supporters insist it's not about castigating modern Turkey either, merely recording historical facts. But Turkey, which does not dispute the deaths, argues there was no campaign of mass killing against the Armenians and denies the charge of genocide. Armenians say one-and-a-half-million people were massacred and deported by the Ottoman Empire between 1915 and 1917; Turkey says far fewer died, and blames the violence on a revolt against the Ottoman authorities. When the bill was adopted by the French upper house, the Senate, last November, Turkey condemned it for passing judgement on another country's history. From the newsroom of the BBC World Service
Tuesday, 9 January, 2001, 08:53 GMT Profile: Joschka Fischer's three lives Fischer: Passion for controversial and big ideas By European affairs analyst, William Horsley Joschka Fischer is an exception to the rule in German politics - he is witty, has star quality, and he courts controversy. At 52, his career faces a crisis over his activities as a militant left-wing activist in the 1970s. But he is Germany's most popular politician, and public opinion wants him to stay on as foreign minister and vice-chancellor in the Red-Green coalition government, despite his recent admission that he beat up a policeman during a street demonstration in 1973. Born the son of a Hungarian master-butcher in Germany, Joschka Fischer has had three quite different personas in his life. Taxi-driver He has been a young political rebel, a "realo" - a member of the "realists" faction of the Greens - and a high-profile foreign minister who faced down the pacifists in his own his own party and sent German airmen to war in Kosovo. He has always been one to break the rules. He dropped out of school, and at 19 eloped to Gretna Green in Scotland to marry his first wife, who was then a minor. In Frankfurt, a centre of revolutionary and left-wing causes in the 60s and 70s, he took casual jobs, including that of taxi-driver. He opposed the Vietnam war, and mixed with the likes of "Danny the Red" - the radical student leader Daniel Cohn-Bendit - as well as figures such as Hans-Joachim Klein, a suspected kidnapper and murderer who is now standing trial for his part in the 1975 attack on an OPEC oil ministers meeting in which three people died. Joschka Fischer is due to testify as a witness in that trial. More embarrassment He was recently forced to apologise for his past as a left-wing militant when a series of pictures were published showing him as a bearded young demonstrator attacking a policeman in the street. Hans-Joachim Klein on trial in Frankfurt He may face more embarassment if, as threatened, video pictures of the same scenes are released. The Super 8 film is held by Bettina Roehl, the daughter of Ulrike Meinhof, a leader of the left-wing armed struggle who is writing a book on the movement. Joschka Fischer may also face more tough questions after an investigation was re-opened into another incident in 1976 in which several policemen were injured by firebombs, although he denies all knowledge of that case. In 1983, he became Green member of parliament, and two years later he was the first German Green to take up a government post, as environment minister in Hesse, around Frankfurt. Chaotic disputes over the Greens' anti-nuclear, anti-business programme made this experiment a disaster. 'Realos' vs 'Fundis' But Fischer's stature grew as one of the "realos" able to give a tough profile to a party dominated by the flower-waving "fundis", or fundamentalist, rank and file. His third incarnation, as a maverick at the top table of power politics, came after he had led the Greens to their best ever result in the 1998 elections. His reward was the post of foreign minister. Once again he stood against the mainstream, by facing down the majority of Green Party members who opposed the participation of German forces in the Kosovo campaign. Fischer argued that pacifism must be discarded in the face of genocide and ethnic cleansing. At one party meeting he was struck on the head by a bag of red paint thrown by an angry party member, but he won the argument. It added to his reputation as a high-class political act. Transformed by diet In the mid-1990s, after his third wife left him, Joschka Fischer began a drastic regime of running and dieting, and transformed his physique. He was badly overweight and a candidate for a heart attack, but in a short time he lost more than 30kg. When he came into the government, by now married for a fourth time, he changed again, swapping his jeans and gym shoes for smart suits and silk ties. But he has not lost his passion for controversial big ideas. Last year he stirred new passions over Europe by proposing the ultimate creation of a true "European government" for a federal Europe, with a much smaller role for the nation states. That speech put Joschka Fischer in the limelight, where he loves to be. And as ever, he is at the centre of a heated debate on great issues. On 24 January Joschka Fischer will be in London to accept the "booby prize" from the German-British Forum for the most controversial contribution to German-British relations of the last year. The one-time taxi driver has become, in his own way, a true celebrity
BBC 1 Jan 2002 Serb hostages released in Kosovo Both sides have agreed to pull back from the edge of the buffer zone Ethnic Albanian guerillas have released six Serb civilians kidnapped on Sunday in the demilitarised zone which runs along Serbia's provincial border with Kosovo. Serb officials said the men were all well and their release had been negotiated by the Serb authorities, United Nations admnistrators and the Nato-led peacekeeping force, K-For. They were stopped just to identify whether they were people who committed crimes in Kosovo who take this route.The six men were taken from their cars at a checkpoint as they entered the buffer zone from United Nations-administered Kosovo on Sunday. The kidnapping occurred only a day after Nato brokered an accord between Serbian authorities and the ethnic Albanian rebels to reduce tension in the region. The deal included agreements from both sides to remove checkpoints and pull back from their positions around the town of Veliki Trnovac on the edge of the buffer zone. Identification The latest incident was blamed on the rebel group Liberation Army of Presevo, Medvedja and Bujanovac (UCPMB). The ethnic Albanian guerrilla group, which has been operating in the buffer zone for the past year, stopped a convoy of four Serb cars. They later released elderly members of the group but kept six men. A spokesman for the UCPMB's political wing, Shaqir Shaqiri told Reuters news agency the group was "stopped just to identify whether they were people who committed crimes in Kosovo who take this route". He said the release had been ordered by commanders of the guerilla group and its political wing. Tension The five-km (three-mile) wide buffer zone, which runs along the Serbian side of the boundary, was set up as part of the deal that ended Nato's 1999 bombing campaign against Yugoslavia. Under the accord, only lightly-armed local Serb police are allowed inside the zone. This has made the zone an ideal base for the ethnic Albanian rebels. Four Serb police were killed in clashes with the guerrillas in November. The guerrillas say they are defending ethnic Albanians in Serbia's Presevo Valley area from police harassment. But Belgrade says they are terrorists attempting to join the region onto ethnic Albanian-dominated Kosovo. 15 January, 2001, 14:24 GMT Kosovo boss faces tightrope walk Waiting to return: Haekkerup faces balancing act over refugees By Nicholas Wood in Pristina The new head of the UN mission in Kosovo, Hans Haekkerup, takes up his position at a particularly difficult time. The last few months have seen a wave of politically-motivated violence that has angered the international community, and many Kosovar Albanians are warning there could be worse to come unless further attention is paid to the region. The murders were some of the most shocking to hit Kosovo in the past few months - four members of a gypsy family were killed late last year as they returned to rebuild their destroyed homes. They were shot, one by one, through the head. The men were Ashkaeli gypsies, Albanian-speaking Muslims and members of the closest ethnically related group to Kosovo's majority Albanian population. Hans Haekkerup: Not convinced about Albanian Kosovo-wide government It is believed they were killed by hardliners opposed to the return of Serb and gypsy refugees to their homes. The killers' message was stark - no minority, not even the Ashkaeli, has the right to live in Kosovo. Since the killings, a wave of violence has swept across the province, including the assassination of politicians. Armed guard Xhemajl Mustafa, a senior adviser to moderate leader Ibrahim Rugova, was one of the best-known among them. Since his killing in late November, colleagues have had to live under armed guard. Violence has extended to Pristina "We are being guarded by the UN mechanisms for security and of course, this creates a feeling that freedom in Kosovo is yet not incomplete," said one colleague. In the same week as Mr Mustafa's murder, the house of the Yugoslav representative in Pristina was blown up, killing his driver. It is events like these that have prompted Western leaders - among them Nato Secretary-General Lord Robertson - to issue stark warnings to Kosovo's Albanian community. Donor fatigue "The international community has invested time and effort to people and a lot of money in making Kosovo safe and secure again, but that firm support could easily be undermined," he said. This sense of fatigue with Kosovo can not only be seen among politicians, but charities. The past 18 months have seen money pouring into the reconstruction of schools, houses and hospitals. It is now, when organisations actually have the time and resources to be focused on long-term projects, that we're seeing a drastic cut in the funding International Rescue Committee spokeswoman But the International Rescue Committee in Pristina says money for long-term projects is drying up. "These types of projects are not just putting plastic sheeting over a window or something like that," said a spokeswoman. "It is now, when organisations actually have the time and resources to be focused on long-term projects, that we're seeing a drastic cut in the funding." Both the lack of aid and the increase in violence followed the fall of Slobodan Milosevic and Yugoslavia. Kosovo 'second fiddle' The fear among many Albanians is that the West is now focusing on Serbia's needs at Kosovo's expense. It is up to Hans Haekkerup to convince people that this is not the case, say local political watchdogs. The first step in that process will be reassuring ethnic Albanians that they are well on the way to establishing a Kosovo-wide government, which Bernard Kouchner firmly supported. Mr Haekkerup seems less convinced though. He says he wants to consult with local political parties before he commits himself. Failure to organise those elections this year could lead to more bloodshed.
BBC 26 Jan 2001 Albanian guerrilla group surfaces in Macedonia A previously unknown ethnic Albanian guerrilla group has said it was responsible for an attack on a police station in Macedonia four days ago, which killed one officer. A statement claiming responsibility sent by fax from Germany said the uniform of the Macedonian occupier would be targetted until the Albanian people are freed. The statement came from a group calling itself the National Liberation Army. The BBC Balkans Correspondent says the group is made up of former fighters in Kosovo who came originally from Macedonia, and who now want greater ethnic rights there. Our correspondent says that ethnic-Albanians comprise up to one-third of Macedonia's two-million people, and only a tiny minority favour an armed campaign for greater rights. 29 January, 2001, 17:09 GMT Albanian killed in Kosovo attack An ethnic Albanian man has been killed and two others injured in a grenade attack by Serbs in the divided Kosovo town of Kosovska Mitrovica. NATO-led peacekeepers say a group of Serbs threw three grenades; several were thrown back in retaliation. French riot troops were deployed to prevent further clashes. The latest killing follows a weekend of increased tension in the town. French peacekeepers were shot at on Saturday when they intervened to prevent a group of Serbs beating up two Albanians.
Thursday, 11 January, 2001, 02:14 GMT Bosnian Serb leader goes on trial Mrs Plavsic: Will she testify against Mr Milosevic? The former president of the Bosnian Serb Republic is due in court on Thursday to face charges of genocide and war crimes. This is the only place where she can prove that she is not guilty, which she deeply believes Plavsic lawyer Kstran Simic Biljana Plavsic, 70, was formally indicted by the United Nations war crimes tribunal in The Hague on Wednesday, after she turned herself in. During the 1992-95 Bosnian war, Mrs Plavsic was a key aide to the Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, the tribunal's most wanted Bosnian suspect. She is the highest ranking Bosnian Serb official - and the first woman - to face charges at the tribunal. About 250,000 died during the war in Bosnia Mrs Plavsic's scheduled appearance is a major success for the court - a few years ago it was struggling to bring any of the alleged Yugoslav war criminals to justice. Prosecutors now hope the new Yugoslav leadership will deliver the most senior indicted war criminals to international justice. Earlier, the Belgrade authorities announced plans to set up a Commission for Truth and Reconciliation in the former Yugoslavia. Yugoslav Justice Minister Momcilo Grubac said he hoped the commission would bring together representatives from Bosnia, Croatia and federal Yugoslavia. 'Innocent' Mrs Plavsic surrendered to the court on Wednesday morning, after being told there was a sealed indictment against her. Mrs Plavsic was a key ally of Radovan Karadzic Her defence lawyer said she had decided to hand herself in "because she believes she is innocent". Krstan Simic told SRNA news agency that Mrs Plavsic believed the tribunal was the only place where she could defend herself. She faces nine war crimes counts, including genocide, complicity in genocide, murder, wilful killing, persecutions and deportation. Strong nationalist Mrs Plavsic was a senior figure in the Bosnian Serb leadership during the Bosnian war - in which Bosnian Serb forces kept the capital, Sarajevo, under siege and killed and expelled tens of thousands of Muslims and Croats. In 1992, a widely-published photograph showed her stepping over the body of a dead Muslim civilian to kiss the late Serb warlord Zeljko Raznjatovic, known as Arkan. She was elected president of the Bosnian Serbs in 1996, but was defeated at the polls two years later. In 1997, she attracted Western support after publicly criticising Bosnian Serb hardliners, alleging widespread corruption. However, she remained a strong nationalist, and spoke out against the arrests of suspected war criminals by Nato-led troops in Bosnia. Since it was established in 1993, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia has sentenced 14 Bosnian Serb, Croat and Muslim suspects to up to 45 years in prison.
Monday, 15 January, 2001, 23:20 GMT Chechen refugees 'lack food' Lord Judd: "Refugees receive the bare minimum" The head of the European team investigating alleged human rights abuses in Chechnya has expressed concern about the conditions at a refugee camp in the breakaway republic. The UK's Lord Judd drew attention to the lack of food, clothes and medicine for the 2,000 occupants of the camp in the town of Znamenskoye. I went into one tent where there were 16 people - two families - living, and all the children had measles Lord Judd The team, from the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly, is investigating claims that investigations into alleged Russian atrocities are far too slow. The delegation met the Kremlin's human rights envoy, Vladimir Kalamanov, who told them the situation was getting better. But the BBC's correspondent in Moscow, Steve Rosenberg, says Russia will have to convince the world it is serious about human rights in Chechnya if it wants the Council to restore its right to vote. 'Sad' situation The team arrived in the breakaway republic as Russian troops continued to search for kidnapped charity worker Kenneth Gluck, who heads a team from the charity Médecins Sans Frontières. Russian troops are still searching for Mr Gluck "No matter who did this, it is clear such acts undermine the efforts of non-governmental organisations to bring humanitarian aid to Chechnya," Lord Judd said before leaving for Chechnya. Lord Judd told reporters that the refugees the team visited received the minimum of supplies. "I think it is very sad that in Europe we still have people living in tents in the winter with no prospect of an early return to their homes." "I went into one tent where there were 16 people - two families - living, and all the children had measles," he added. The team also visited a newly-opened judicial court at Znamenskoye. Questions The delegation is asking military prosecutors why, out of 500 complaints made, only 10 have so far been brought to court. They will spend four days in the area, collecting information which will be put before the Council of Europe when it decides whether to reinstate Russia's voting rights. The rights were suspended last April over concerns at Russia's treatment of Chechens during its military offensive. Russia has denied claims that its forces carried out massacres, indiscriminate bombing and ill-treatment of detainees during its offensive against separatist rebels. Mr Kalamanov told Russian television he hoped the team would be convinced that the overall picture was improving. "I hope that the results of the improving situation during the past year will have some influence on the parliamentary assembly, whose decision last April was wrong, in my opinion," he told the NTV channel.
Human Rights Watch 22 Jan 2001 -- Field Update on Chechnya With major military clashes between Russian and Chechen forces ending in spring 2000, civilian lives in Chechnya are blighted by Russian forces who detain, torture, extort, and harass them on a daily basis; and by Chechen rebels who target civilians who cooperate with the Russian administration, and who bomb Russian positions in densely populated areas. Even though civilians are far less frequently the victims of indiscriminate bombing and shelling than they were in the early months of the war, (1) they still face the daily risk of torture, "disappearance," and summary execution. Russian forces now control all districts of Chechnya, except for parts of the mountainous south, where it continues to bomb and launch artillery strikes on Chechen positions. Chechen rebels mount frequent ambushes on Russian government troops in Russian-controlled areas, kill soldiers at checkpoints, attack police stations and Russian military positions, and target for murder Chechens working with the Russian administration. Human Rights Watch has documented violations of human rights and humanitarian law regarding Chechnya in four reports. (2) The most recent of these, Welcome to Hell: Arbitrary Detention, Torture, and Extortion in Chechnya, detailed the cycle of arbitrary detention, torture, and extortion perpetrated by Russian forces from January through April 2000 against Chechens suspected of rebel collaboration. Two Human Rights Watch researchers returned to the region (3) in November and early December 2000 to investigate Russian government claims that civilians are returning to a "normal life," and that allegations of widespread human rights violations by Russian forces documented in Welcome to Hell are "outdated." (4) On the basis of almost one hundred new interviews with victims and witnesses, Human Rights Watch found that violations of human rights and international humanitarian law have not lessened; they have become routine. Civilians continue to live in a stranglehold of fear. Russian soldiers and police on sweep operations arbitrarily detain men and women, particularly young Chechen men ranging in age from fifteen to forty-five, and loot homes. Detainees are frequently taken to makeshift detention facilities such as earthen pits, where they are routinely tortured and denied all due process rights. Many detainees have "disappeared" without a trace. Groups of masked men, often speaking unaccented Russian, burst into homes of civilians at night and take away or kill their inhabitants. Chechen rebels have threatened and killed civilian administrators and are presumably responsible for the bombing of Russian positions that have killed and wounded numerous civilians. All of the abuses described in this brief research summary took place from July to November 2000, a time the Russian government has characterized as a "period of normalization" of the situation in Chechnya. The pattern of abuses described confirms the work of other human rights and humanitarian organizations active in Chechnya, including the Memorial Human Rights Center, a prominent Russian nongovernmental organization. Sweep Operations: Arbitrary Detention and Pillage Russian forces conduct sweeps of towns and villages ostensibly to seize illegal weapons and ferret out those suspected of rebel collaboration. In many Chechen villages, sweeps may occur anywhere from every week to every few days. During a sweep, soldiers typically surround a village, district, or street and conduct systematic house-to house searches. Russian forces on sweep operations have arbitrarily detained large numbers of people, primarily young men, for indefinite periods, often holding them in pits or other makeshift facilities. They have also systematically stripped homes of valuables. The most frequently cited grounds for detention of Chechens is the need to check the identity of the detainee or his or her lack of a residence permit for the town or village where the sweep operation is taking place. (5) Periods of detention may last from a day or two to weeks or months. Russian forces have detained Chechens on other, wholly arbitrary grounds as well; following are several examples: "Sulumbek P." was detained on August 23, 2000, in Alkhan Kala. Soldiers were reportedly in search of his brother, but when they learned he was not home, they took Sulumbek P. They gave no other reason for his detention. (6) "Kheda L." was detained in a town in eastern Chechnya in September 2000 when soldiers found a picture in her house of her in traditional dress standing next to a man with a beard. (7) "Ali A." was detained on September 1 or 2, 2000, in the Chernoreche district of Grozny when soldiers allegedly found bullets in his home during a sweep operation. According to "Ali A.," the soldiers planted the bullets themselves under his couch. (8) Several young Chechen men told Human Rights Watch that they had destroyed photographs of themselves with beards or in military garb to avoid detention. In the vast majority of cases Human Rights Watch documented, officials at police stations or military command posts did not formally register the detentions. Detainees are often held in unofficial detention centers, have no access to lawyers, and are not formally charged; while they interrogate detainees, it is not clear whether police and other Russian forces carry out further further investigatory measures, such as summoning witnesses or gathering material evidence. In the three cases cited above, the detained individuals were kept in makeshift detention areas: "Sulumbek P." told Human Rights Watch that he was kept in a pit near Tangi-Chu for five weeks, during which he was interrogated and tortured. Relatives bribed soldiers for his release. (9) According to a doctor who knows her, "Kheda L." was first kept at a local police station and then taken to the Khankala military base, where she was tied to a pole in the ground. She was ill-treated for several days and eventually dumped half conscious by the side of a road. (10) "Ali A." told Human Rights Watch that he was held for three days in an oil tank and tortured, together with dozens of other men from Chernoreche district. (11) Numerous Chechen civilians told Human Rights Watch that their houses had been stripped of their valuables by soldiers and police officers during sweep operations. In fact, these operations were so frequently the occasion of systematic pillage that many Chechens believe they are carried out not to seek out rebel fighters and their weapons or ammunition depots but for the personal enrichment of the troops. In one case documented by Human Rights Watch, Russian soldiers on a sweep operation in Sernovodsk on October 23, 2000, fired on twenty-two-year-old Apti Vagapov when he ran out of the courtyard of his house. Vagapov's father, who witnessed the incident, told Human Rights Watch that a soldier shot Vagapov through the head, without uttering a warning or firing warning shots. After two months of lying in a coma, he died in an Ingush hospital. (12) Torture and Ill-treatment Twelve persons provided Human Rights Watch detailed testimony of torture they suffered, through November 2000, while being detained by Russian security forces. Several medical professionals told Human Rights Watch that they frequently treat persons who are victims of torture, suggesting that the practice is widespread and ongoing. A doctor from a mid-sized village in Chechnya, for example, told Human Rights Watch that for months he has examined new torture victims every week. (13) All former detainees, without exception, told Human Rights Watch that they had been beaten and kicked while being held by Russian security forces. Many said they were tied up, or suspended by their hands above the ground, and beaten and kicked on the arms, legs, head, and kidneys. Several former detainees said they had been beaten on the genitals. "Adlan A." was detained in July 2000 and held at a police station in Achkhoi-Martan for three days. He told Human Rights Watch that police officers tried to make him confess to the murder of several women. They beat and kicked him in the back, kidneys, and genitals, and slammed his head into a wall. He refused to confess, and was released after two days. (14) "Aslambek S." was detained in October 2000 and held in a pit for four days. He said that soldiers repeatedly threatened to execute him. He was beaten and kicked on each of the four days. One day, he was put on a chair and asked whether he was married. When he said "no," the soldiers beat him in the genitals saying "then you don't need these." (15) A number of former detainees also reported being tortured by electric shock. "Vakha T." was detained on October 19, 2000 in Chernoreche and held for five days at the commandant's office in a certain district of Grozny. According to his brother, he reported being subjected to electroshock every day with wires attached to his ears or to the handcuffs on his wrists, which released a current through his body. (16) Soldiers threw cold water over "Sulumbek P." before attaching electric wires to various parts of his body, including his genitals. He said he was also frequently beaten and told he would be executed. "Sulumbek P." lost much of his sight in his left eye as a result of a blow with a rifle butt. Human Rights Watch researchers saw his left eye, which appeared to have been knocked out. (17) Extortion Most former detainees told Human Rights Watch that Russian forces had extorted payment from their relatives in exchange for their release; sums ranged from several thousand roubles to thousands of dollars, and would include demands for weapons and ammunition. (18) According to relatives of former detainees, Russian forces set specific sums and deadlines for paying. Extorted sums were paid either directly to soldiers or police officers holding the detainee, or through middlemen. (19) "Sulumbek P."'s brother, for example, told Human Rights Watch that he located Sulumbek P. through Chechen middlemen five days after he was detained on August 23, 2000. The following four weeks, he and other relatives collected money for the $1,000 ransom and were compelled to purchase ten automatic weapons indirectly from an intermediary and then hand them over to Russian forces. (20) Some Chechens have great difficulty amassing the required sum. In one recent example, a duty officer at the military commandant's office at the Khankala military base told the mother of a nineteen-year-old detainee that he would be released if she delivered U.S.$1,000 and two automatic weapons to the base before December 9, 2000. Russian forces had detained her son on November 26, 2000 at a checkpoint when he was traveling to Grozny to extend his identification card. On December 2, the woman, the mother of ten children, was permitted to speak to her son for a few minutes at the military commandant's office in Assinovskaia. She said his face was swollen and bloody on the left side. According to the woman, her son said he had been beaten and told her: "Mama, mama, sell everything, get me out of here." When Human Rights Watch interviewed the mother on December 6, she was trying to collect the money. (21)
Moscow Times 22 Jan 2001. Page 5 Human Rights Emergency Declared By Sarah Karush Staff Writer Sergei Kovalyov, a liberal Duma deputy, talking at the congress. Prominent politicians and former dissidents joined more than 1,000 activists in Moscow this weekend to declare a national emergency for human rights and urge a consolidated fight to protect the Constitution. Human rights campaigners from 65 regions representing more than 300 organizations attended the two-day Emergency Congress in Defense of Human Rights. Yabloko leader Grigory Yavlinsky and Human Rights Commissioner Oleg Mironov were among the speakers. The congress, which was sponsored by Yabloko and half a dozen U.S. foundations and labor unions, devoted attention to the war in Chechnya, judicial reform, freedom of the press, civilian control over law enforcement and the rights of workers and businessmen. But Yavlinsky and other speakers cited the perceived threat to the Constitution as the primary component of the current "emergency." "The Constitution, which we did not support in 1993 [when it was passed], has become Yabloko’s platform, and we will defend it using every parliamentary and nonparliamentary method," Yavlinsky said in his address Sunday. Click here to read our special report on human rights. The bill in question, introduced by State Duma Deputy Boris Nadezhdin of the Union of Right Forces, would provide for the formation of a constitutional assembly. Chapters 1, 2 and 9 of the Constitution — which outline the major principles of governance, the rights of citizens and the procedure for amending or rewriting the Constitution — can only be changed by a constitutional assembly. Under Nadezhdin’s bill, which reportedly enjoys the support of the presidential administration, the assembly would consist of the president, the Federation Council, 100 Duma deputies, top judges and 100 lawyers appointed by the president. Opponents of the bill say it would create a "nomenklatura assembly," since most of its members would be appointees. The speakers at the congress also issued warnings about a bill on political parties recently submitted by President Vladimir Putin. The bill’s backers say it would eliminate fly-by-night parties and encourage the emergence of an orderly two-party system. Grigory Yavlinsky, the Yabloko party leader, stepping up to make his speech at the Russian Congress for Human Rights on Sunday. Opponents maintain it would wipe out small parties and prevent new ones from emerging. "Those countries that have two- or three-party systems don’t limit the number of parties that can participate in elections. The system is created by the voters themselves," said Duma Deputy Sergei Kovalyov, a longtime human rights activists and former dissident who was one of the congress organizers. In his address to the congress, Kovalyov said the organizers debated about whether to call the congress chrezvychainy, which can be translated as "emergency" or "extraordinary." "Some say that nothing extraordinary is happening here. It’s a trend. When a former superpower is turning into a second-rate third-world country, the rise of nationalism is inevitable," Kovalyov said. Yelena Bonner, the doyenne of the human rights movement and honorary chairwoman of the congress, could not attend due to illness. In a written address to the congress, she scolded the human rights movement for losing sight of their values. Despite the increased openness of society since the Soviet Union’s collapse, moral choices have become more murky, she said. "Today we have gotten entangled in our adherence to various movements and parties. But it was precisely our clear moral position … that had influence on society — significantly more influence than the hundreds, or perhaps thousands, of human rights organizations that exist today," Bonner said. Mironov, who was appointed human rights commissioner by the Duma in 1998, also had words of warning. "The situation with human rights today evokes alarm and concern and can be characterized as unsatisfactory," Mironov said. Despite the pessimistic tone of the congress, some hopeful notes were also sounded. "Russia has all the components of civil society. We have many nongovernmental organizations, many private businesses, independent media, political parties," said Lyudmila Alexeyeva, chairwoman of the Moscow Helsinki Group. "Civil society has not strengthened yet and there are many trials ahead, … but we have great chances for success." Organizers said between 1,200 and 1,300 people attended the congress, which was held at the Kosmos Hotel in northeastern Moscow.
Tuesday, 23 January, 2001, 10:27 GMT Bitter history of Armenian genocide row Armenians believe 1.5m of their ancestors were killed By Chris Morris in Istanbul In a country where the interpretation of history is still a sensitive political issue, the allegation of genocide has raised a political storm. Turkey had warned France it faced substantial retaliation for passing a bill which labelled as genocide the mass killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire in 1915. Within days, warnings became action. A spy satellite contract with a French firm was cancelled, and the future of 10 other lucrative projects was in doubt. Appalling atrocities were committed in the declining years of the Ottoman Empire The Turkish ambassador to France had already been withdrawn for consultations, and Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit has talked of a serious crisis in bilateral relations. There have been demonstrations and calls for consumer boycotts. It could take years to repair the damage. For the Armenian diaspora, though, it has taken decades for them to get their message onto the international agenda. Now they hope to go further, but Turkey intends to fight them all the way. This bitter dispute is rooted in a violent period of world history, as Europe and much of the Middle East was torn apart by World War I. The Ottoman Government regarded its Armenian citizens as 'the enemy within' Everyone involved knows there were appalling atrocities committed in the declining years of the Ottoman Empire. During the war, the Armenians fought with the Russians, the Turks with the Germans, and the Ottoman Government regarded its Armenian citizens as "the enemy within". Modern Turkey admits that thousands of Turks and up to 300,000 Armenians were killed in widespread clashes between 1915 and 1917. Armenians celebrate getting their message onto the international agenda. But Armenians insist the number was far higher. They believe 1.5 million of their ancestors were killed in an organised campaign of genocide, designed to wipe out an entire race. Many died on a long march into exile in the Syrian desert. Both sides produce stacks of documents to back up their arguments, and the Turks say the issue should be left to the historians. Archive dispute Many researchers, however, complain that they have not been given full access to the Ottoman archives to make a proper assessment. And so the dispute rages on. It has now become a serious political issue between Turkey and France, home of the largest Armenian community in western Europe. The vast majority of Turks regard this as a matter of honour, and an insult to a country which was created from the ruins of the Ottoman Empire Many French politicians who voted in favour of the bill in the National Assembly say they had no intention of condemning modern Turkey, but most Turks think that is exactly what has happened. There is a strong body of opinion in Turkey which believes that the genocide allegations are part of a broader campaign to discredit Ankara's application for membership of the European Union. National pride Now, they fear, other European parliaments will implement similar legislation. In a country where national pride is so important, and sensitivity to criticism from abroad is so acute, the Armenian genocide debate stirs deep and lasting anger. The vast majority of Turks regard this as a matter of honour, and an insult to a country which was created from the ruins of the Ottoman Empire. Only a few voices are daring to suggest that Turkey should confront its past with a more open mind.
Friday, 5 January, 2001, 15:24 GMT Armagh massacre is remembered Relatives remembered their loves ones A commemoration service to mark the 25th anniversary of the murder of 10 Protestant workmen by republicans, has been held in south Armagh The Kingsmills Massacre was one of the worst single sectarian attacks in the history of the Troubles in Northern Ireland. On 5 January 1976, a minibus carrying Protestant mill workers was stopped. The men were lined up and 10 of them were shot dead. The attack was carried out by a group calling itself the South Armagh Republican Action Force, which was widely believed to have been made up of IRA members. Only one man, Alan Black, survived the attack despite being shot 18 times. Another workman on the bus, a Catholic, was ordered away from the scene. It is believed the men were killed in retaliation for the murder of six Catholics by loyalist paramilitaries the previous night. Those shootings happened in Whitecross and Lurgan in County Armagh. Nine of the Kingsmills victims lived in Bessbrook, while the minibus driver was from Mount Norris. Victim's mother Edith Wharton did not see her son's body The families of the victims laid wreaths at the scene of the attack, on the road between Whitecross and Bessbrook, on Friday. Some also took a minibus journey along the route taken by the van carrying the workmen 25 years ago. William Frazer of the south Armagh-based victims' group, Families Acting for Innocent Relatives, was among those who attended the ceremony and spoke of the bitter legacy of the massacre. "Our people are just so sickened," he said. "This was one of the worst atrocities carried out in Northern Ireland. "They fired 200 rounds into a group of men. I don't know what sort of animal could do it." Edith Wharton, a mother of one of the victims, said: "He was just coming home to two wee girls in Bessbrook and he was just mowed down. "We didn't see him at all. His coffin wasn't opened. We just buried a box. We don't know what was in it." No-one was ever charged over the murders. But some relatives still live in hope. Sidney Walker, a brother of one of the victims, said: "I only hope they get what they deserve, because I can't forgive them." The relatives hope to erect a permanent memorial at the site.
Monday, 8 January, 2001, 10:48 GMT Peer calls for probe into Nazi claims Jack Straw has been asked to look into the claims The government has been urged to investigate claims that up to 1,500 members of a former Nazi SS unit are living in Britain. A Labour Party peer has written to Home Secretary Jack Straw asking him to investigate the claim, made in a television documentary. These are people who were involved in mass killing Lord Janner Lord Janner, who is a member of the all-party parliamentary war crimes group, called for any members of Nazi SS units living in Britain to be brought to trial. He said members of the "killer regiment" should not be allowed "to sleep easy in their beds". The ITV television documentary claimed that 1,500 members of a Ukraine-based Nazi SS unit arrived in Britain after World War II. Massacres Lord Janner said the programme "made it quite clear" that hundreds of the men were involved in "the massacres of Ukrainians, and Poles and Jews". Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme, he said: "These are people who were involved in mass killing who should never have been allowed in and who should be investigated now." Lord Janner said that if there was evidence that anyone who came to Britain after the war had been involved in the massacres they needed to be brought to trial. Lord Janner has asked for an investigation "What we are saying is that if, but only if, there is sufficient evidence against people who were in that killer regiment that they themselves were involved in the massacres then certainly they should be prosecuted because it is criminal." Lord Janner said he had also asked Mr Straw to allow the public to see the evidence for themselves. "Fifty years have now past ... at last there is a right now to see the evidence. "We know that there were files on these people which have been hidden ever since and they shouldn't be any more."
BBC 15 January, 2001, 02:43 GMT Straw targets Nazi suspects The UK's record for investigating war crimes suspects has been criticised Suspected Nazi war criminals living in the UK could be stripped of their nationality before being deported under Home Office plans being considered. Officials have confirmed that Jack Straw is examining the scope of his powers under UK immigration and nationality legislation in relation to individuals suspected of involvement in war crimes and crimes against humanity. The Home Secretary is thought to be scrutinising cases in the US and Canada, where 'denaturalisation and deportation' action has been taken against individuals alleged to be Nazi war criminals. A Home Office spokesman said: "He (Mr Straw) is considering the scope of our legislation to see if something similar would be possible here." Difficult to extradite Mr Straw's move coincides with claims that 1,500 members of a Ukrainian Waffen SS division, which massacred civilians in the former Soviet Union and Poland during World War II, are living in the UK. Many of the suspects entered the UK shortly after the war and became British citizens, making it difficult for them to be extradited for trial abroad. The UK has been criticised for being a safe haven for Nazi war crimes suspects, particularly after Jack Straw opted not to detain war crimes suspect Konrad Kalejs. He subsequently left the UK for Australia, where he was eventually arrested. Lord Janner has supported extradition moves Lord Janner, secretary of the Parliamentary All-party War Crimes Group, is among those pressing for all former SS members to be brought to trial. He has also supported the Lithuanian Government's move to extradite Anton Gecas, suspected of Nazi war crimes. Mr Straw would like to make it easier to extradite war crimes suspects, and has asked officials to examine whether he could extend his powers under the 1981 British Nationality Act.
Guardian UK 20 Jan 2001 Hunger strike Sukhdev Sandhu on Late Victorian Holocausts - the famines that fed the empire - by Mike Davis Saturday January 20, 2001 The Guardian Late Victorian Holocausts: El Nino Famines and the Making of the Third World Mike Davis 464pp, Verso, £20 Buy it at a discount at BOL Recording the past can be a tricky business for historians. Prophesying the future is even more hazardous. In 1901, shortly before the death of Queen Victoria, the radical writer William Digby looked back to the 1876 Madras famine and confidently asserted: "When the part played by the British Empire in the 19th century is regarded by the historian 50 years hence, the unnecessary deaths of millions of Indians would be its principal and most notorious monument." Who now remembers the Madrasis? In Late Victorian Holocausts, Mike Davis charts the unprecedented human suffering caused by a series of extreme climactic conditions in the final quarter of the 19th century. Drought and monsoons afflicted much of China, southern Africa, Brazil, Egypt and India. The death tolls were staggering: around 12m Chinese and over 6m Indians in 1876-1878 alone. The chief culprit, according to Davis, was not the weather, but European empires, with Japan and the US. Their imposition of free-market economics on the colonial world was tantamount to a "cultural genocide". These are strong words. Yet it's hard to disagree with them after reading Davis's harrowing book. Development economists have long argued that drought need not lead to famine; well-stocked inventories and effective distribution can limit the damage. In the 19th century, however, drought was treated, particularly by the English in India, as an opportunity for reasserting sovereignty. This carb blocker patch is designed to work with the Atkins... naturalpatch.com A particular villain was Lord Lytton, son of the Victorian novelist Edward Bulwer-Lytton ("It was a dark and stormy night...") after whom, today, a well-known bad writing prize is named. During 1876 Lytton, widely suspected to be insane, ignored all efforts to alleviate the suffering of millions of peasants in the Madras region and concentrated on preparing for Queen Victoria's investiture as Empress of India. The highlight of the celebrations was a week-long feast of lucullan excess at which 68,000 dignitaries heard her promise the nation "happiness, prosperity and welfare". Lytton believed in free trade. He did nothing to check the huge hikes in grain prices, Economic "modernization" led household and village reserves to be transferred to central depots using recently built railroads. Much was exported to England, where there had been poor harvests. Telegraph technology allowed prices to be centrally co-ordinated and, inevitably, raised in thousands of small towns. Relief funds were scanty because Lytton was eager to finance military campaigns in Afghanistan. Conditions in emergency camps were so terrible that some peasants preferred to go to jail. A few, starved and senseless, resorted to cannibalism. This was all of little consequence to many English administrators who, as believers in Malthusianism, thought that famine was nature's response to Indian over-breeding. It used to be that the late 19th century was celebrated in every school as the golden period of imperialism. While few of us today would defend empire in moral terms, we've long been encouraged to acknowledge its economic benefits. Yet, as Davis points out, "there was no increase in India's per capita income from 1757 to 1947". In Egypt, too, the financial difficulties caused to peasants by famine encouraged European creditors to override the millennia-old tradition that tenancy was guaranteed for life. What little relief aid reached Brazil, meanwhile, ended up profiting British merchant houses and the reactionary sugar-planter classes. The European "locusts" did not go unchallenged. Rioting became common. Banditry increased. In China, drought-famine helped to spark the Boxer uprising. In Europe, the fin de siècle was largely an opportunity for pale-faced men to wear purple cummerbunds and spout rotten symbolist poetry; for colonized peoples it genuinely seemed to presage mass extinction. It was, says Davis, "a new dark age of colonial war, indentured labour, concentration camps, genocide, forced migration, famine and disease." Davis's attention to the importance of environment may recall the work of the Annales school of historians, but he is far more radical than any of them. His writing, both here and in such classic books as City of Quartz and Ecology of Fear, is closer to that of Latin American intellectuals such as Ariel Dorfman and the Urguayan, Eduardo Galaeno, who for decades have spotlighted capitalism's casual abuse of the third world and who have sought to champion the poor and dispossessed. Such commitment, forcefully and lucidly expressed, is unfashionable these days. "Class" may be passé in academic circles, yet the catalogue of cruelty Davis has unearthed is jaw-dropping. A friend to whom I lent the book was reduced to tears by it. Late Victorian Holocausts is as ugly as it is compelling. But, as Conrad's Marlow said in Heart of Darkness : "The conquest of the earth, which means the taking away from those who have a different complexion and slightly flatter noses than ourselves, is not a pretty thing when you look at it too much."
BBC 26 Jan 2001 Holocaust invite risks diplomatic row Holocaust and later genocides were to be remembered Relations between the UK and Turkey threaten to be strained after an Armenian delegation was invited to take part in Holocaust Memorial Day. With only 48 hours to go before the Prince of Wales and the Prime Minister remember the millions who died in the worst atrocities of the past century, the event has become embroiled in controversy. The Armenian question has already disrupted relations between Turkey and France and now it could provoke a Turkish reaction against Britain. America has remembered Armenian dead Turkish officials say they will be watching events in London closely and would respond accordingly. Historians believe that up to 1.5 million Armenian civilians were killed in 1915. The Foreign Office accepts that the massacres took place, but insists that they do not qualify as genocide. Turkey has refused to acknowledge that there were any massacres of Armenian civilians, despite compelling evidence from the time. Many politicians will only concede that about 300,000 Armenians were killed in a "revolt against the authorities", and that people died on both sides. Signal of change The invitation to the Armenians to take part in an event alongside other victims of genocide could be regarded as a signal of change in British government policy. Originally, the Armenians were excluded from the ceremony on Saturday on the ground that it was intended only to commemorate events during and after the Second World War. Most of the ceremony will be dedicated to the memory of the six million Jews killed by Hitler. Speakers will also remember those who died in the genocides of Cambodia and Rwanda, and in the Balkans. Limit set "We have to set some sort of limit to this event," a Home Office spokesman said. "The Second World War seemed to be the right place to start." However, an angry response from Armenians and supporters persuaded the Home Office to reconsider. It has invited a delegation of about 20 Armenians, including two survivors of the 1915 massacres, Yerevant Shekerdenian and Anig Bodossian. The Home office says they have been invited as members of the "community" and not direct participants. Costly dispute The recognition could provoke a reaction from Turkey which had been assured by the Foreign Office that the Armenians were being excluded. Politicians are concerned that it could become involved in a costly dispute, similar to the one being waged between Paris and Ankara. The French parliament passed a Bill this month recognising the 1915 massacres as genocide. Turkey responded by recalling its ambassador from Paris, cancelling a spy satellite contract with a French company and threatening to ban French companies from other government tenders. The US was also threatened with sanctions by Turkey after a Congressional resolution aimed at recognising the genocide last year. 'Double-sided attitude' Turkish officials said that they would be watching events in London closely and would respond accordingly. Korkmaz Haktanir, the Turkish ambassador to Britain, has already accused the UK government of "a double-sided attitude", according to Turkish news agency Anatolia. He said: "On the one hand, the British government claims that it did not recognise genocide on Armenians. "On the other, they say that both [the] then British government and current government condemned genocide on Armenians in 1915. This is a double-sided attitude."
Saturday, 27 January, 2001, 22:47 GMT Service recalls Holocaust victims Holocaust survivor Reverend Ernest Levy remembers Fifty-six years after British troops helped liberate Nazi concentration camps, survivors, politicians and community leaders have gathered in London to remember the victims of genocide. Britain's first Holocaust Memorial Day, coinciding with memorial days in Germany, Italy and Sweden, was marked at Westminster Hall in central London. The ceremony, which was broadcast live on BBC Two and BBC Radio 4, was attended by Prime Minister Tony Blair, Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks and Prince Charles. Princes Charles represented the Royal Family at the ceremony It began with the lighting of a commemorative flame by a six-year-old refugee from Kosovo, and the reciting of a poem by actress Emma Thompson. Mr Blair told the ceremony that the Holocaust was the greatest act of collective evil the world had known. "What made the Holocaust so frightening was its goal, its unimaginable scale and its wickedness in attempting to use false science to further human destruction," he said. "It is to reaffirm the triumph of good over that evil that we remember it." Genocide Sir Bob Geldof paid tribute to the British "righteous" who saved Jewish lives, saying: "They became through their deeds our living conscience. "If we all behaved as them, genocide would be a crime of the past and not the contemporary sickness we still bear witness to." Actor Sir Ian McKellen spoke of the plight of the unknown number of homosexuals and other minorities killed in the camps. Another actor, Sir Anthony Sher, spoke of other genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda and Bosnia. We cannot pass by, but resist the oppressive state, the foul tyrant and the murderous racisms Sir Bob Geldof The audience listened in silence as concentration camp survivors Roman Halter and Esther Brunstein gave a harrowing account of their experiences. Mr Halter told of the moment when the slaughter began near his home, saying: "I heard shots... I saw my Jewish friends being used as target practice. "One of the SS recruits was a boy from school - we had played together." Mrs Brunstein said: "It was like a world gone mad." As well as the Holocaust, there was also recognition of genocide in Cambodia, Rwanda and Bosnia-Hercegovina, but the Turkish massacre of thousands of Armenians in 1915 was not included. The day of remembrance marks the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp on 27 January, 1945. Survivors invited The ceremony at Westminster City Hall featured a broadcast of Richard Dimbleby's famous BBC radio broadcast at the liberation of Belsen. He described seeing thousands of naked bodies and the smell of rotting flesh as he entered. The starved prisoners of war had slit open the bodies of their dead compatriots to eat their kidneys and livers, such was the extent of the starvation, he said. Prince Charles attended the ceremony to light a candle in remembrance. Home Secretary Jack Straw, Conservative Party leader William Hague, Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy and the leaders of all Britain's main churches were among the congregation. Holocaust Memorial Day marks the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz Some 200 survivors of Nazi concentration camps and survivors of the century's other atrocities also attended. From the Armenian community in Britain, its church's spiritual leader here, the Right Reverend Nathan Hoviharnissian, was present. There have been protests about the remembrance day from some Armenians, who feel their suffering is still being ignored. The Armenians were the victims of what they say was genocide by the Ottoman Empire between 1915 and 1917. They estimate the Turks wiped out between 1.1 million and 1.8 million out of a population of 2.8 million, but the issue is hugely sensitive and the facts remain in dispute. Scottish First Minister Henry MacLeish and the Secretary of State for Scotland, Helen Liddell, attended a simultaneous event at Edinburgh's Usher Hall. Countrywide events Other events were organised all over the country for what will become an annual event. In Leeds a ceremony of remembrance and a one-minute silence will be held in Victoria Gardens on Sunday, followed by a candle-lit procession to the Civic Hall. A free exhibition commemorating innocent victims murdered in the last 100 years opened at Carmarthenshire County Museum, south Wales, with children across Torfaen planting commemorative snowdrops. Residents of Cardiff came together at a special National Memorial Service at Cardiff City Hall on Friday night with a multi-faith service at the Temple of Peace on Sunday.
BBC 24 Jan 2001Most wanted: Yugoslavia's top suspects BBC News Online profiles some of the key players most wanted by United Nations war crimes prosecutors. Slobodan Milosevic Slobodan Milosevic The ex-president of Yugoslavia, toppled by popular revolution in October, is top of the wanted list. His successor, Vojislav Kostunica, has made it clear he will not hand him over, but says he could face trial in Belgrade. Mr Milosevic was indicted in May 1999 for crimes against humanity committed earlier that year in Kosovo - including the deportation and murder of Kosovo Albanians. -- Radovan Karadzic Twice indicted by the Hague Tribunal for war crimes, the wartime leader of the Bosnian Serbs is believed to be in hiding somewhere in eastern Bosnia. Nato-led S-For peacekeepers have been tightening the net around him with the arrests of other suspects, most importantly with the apprehension of his former right-hand man, Momcilo Krajisnik. The International Crisis Group (ICG), a Brussels-based research organisation, says: "Karadzic is not difficult to spot: he travels with a relatively large security entourage." -- Ratko Mladic Ratko Mladic Mr Karadzic's wartime military commander, the general was increasingly at odds with his political leader in the final phase of the Bosnian conflict. Since then he has sought to escape arrest by moving to Belgrade. When he goes out of his fortified home to watch a football game, he is surrounded by a large group of bodyguards. He was indicted for genocide in November 1995 for his alleged role in ordering the murder of thousands of Bosnian Muslims at Srebrenica. -- Milan Milutinovic Milan Milutinovic The Serbian President was indicted on similar charges to Mr Milosevic, as a member of the Yugoslav supreme defence council. He still holds office. -- Milan Martic Milan Martic At one time leader of a self-proclaimed Serbian republic within Croatia, Martic is accused of ordering long-range missiles to be fired into the centre of the Croatian capital, Zagreb. The weapons were said to have been carrying cluster bombs, which caused horrific injury and deaths to civilians. -- Colonel Milan Mrksic Milan Mrksic Veselin Sljivancanin Miroslav Radic The three army officers, known as the Vukovar Three, are accused of involvement in the massacre of about 260 non-Serbs who were captured in the grounds of a hospital in Vukovar, Croatia. They were indicted in October 1995. Colonel Mrksic is the former commander of the Yugoslav national army's guards brigade, Major Sljivancanin was a military police battalion commander, and Captain Radic was a special police unit commander.
BBC 2 February, 2001, Presevo valley tension Yugoslav paratroopers bury a comrade killed in the Presevo valley By South-east Europe analyst Gabriel Partos The conflict in the Presevo region is part of the legacy Yugoslavia's new democratic administration has inherited from ex-president Slobodan Milosevic's regime. At the end of Belgrade's war with Nato over Kosovo in 1999, Mr Milosevic had to agree not only to the withdrawal of his security forces from the province, but also to the establishment of a 5km-deep demilitarised zone along Kosovo's boundary with Serbia. The Yugoslav army is watching closely This buffer zone provided the opportunity for ethnic Albanian militants to launch an armed campaign against Serbian rule. With Yugoslav army and Serbian special forces excluded from the area at that time, a guerrilla force, known as the Liberation Army of Presevo, Medvedja and Bujanovac, emerged last year in these three municipalities which have a substantial ethnic Albanian population. KLA successor Modelled on the Kosovo Liberation Army - which was disbanded after the war in Kosovo - the new guerrilla movement has been able to operate with relatively little concern about retaliation from Belgrade, which has been allowed to keep only the local police force in the area. The UCPMB says it is acting in self defence As the casualty toll has mounted the multinational peacekeeping force in Kosovo, K-For, has stepped up its patrols along the border between Kosovo and the Presevo valley in a bid to cut down the scale of cross-border movements - both of guerrillas and supplies. Initially, the guerrillas' publicly-acknowledged objective was to protect the local ethnic Albanian population of some 70,000 people from the repressive actions of the Serb security forces. At one stage during the clashes several thousand ethnic Albanians fled to Kosovo - either to avoid Belgrade's crack-down or to escape the fighting. Uniting with Kosovo Since Mr Kostunica's victory the Serbian police have adopted a much less hostile attitude towards the local Albanians in a bid to win the hearts and minds of the inhabitants. But as the guerrilla force has become better established, its leaders have started to talk about more far-reaching goals, first and foremost, of uniting their region with Kosovo. President Kostunica wants Nato to clamp down on rebel activity That raises considerable concern among Serbs, who are already fearful that Kosovo - currently under a United Nations administration - is moving towards independence. The last thing they would want to see is Presevo - an area that's internationally acknowledged to be an integral part of Serbia - joining Kosovo Albanians in their bid for independence. But concern goes well beyond Serbia. The Presevo valley is strategically important insofar as it is located on the northern border of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Fears of larger conflict Macedonian Slavs are worried about their own militant ethnic Albanians who harbour the desire for a greater Albanian entity that would bring together Kosovo, northern and western part of Macedonia and the Presevo valley. Later on that state could potentially even merge with Albania itself. In the Presevo region - a small area with a small population - the guerrillas number just a few hundred fighters. But Belgrade and Skopje were concerned that while Serbian forces were barred from Presevo, the localised clashes could one day reignite a larger conflict. That is why President Kostunica repeated his calls for Yugoslav and Serbian forces to be allowed back into the buffer zone - or, at the very least, for the zone to be reduced in size. Initially the UN was reluctant to accept this request - partly because it feared that such a move would lead to an escalation of the fighting, and partly because it wanted to avoid possible border incursions which could trigger clashes between Yugoslav forces and K-For.
AFP - Agence
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