News Monitor for July 2001
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AP 17 July 2001 Africans Practice Peacekeeping DAKAR, Senegal A 4-year-old U.S. peacekeeping training program for Africans opened its first multinational exercise, setting up a mock peace mission on a fictional African island. Officers of West Africa's own, Nigerian-led peace force are acting as mock higher-ups in the drill, giving orders to about 65 officers in Senegal and 40 in Malawi who are linked across the continent by satellite. The Senegalese speak French, the Malawi officers, English - one of the complications meant to give ``a better concept of the challenges they would face when working with a multinational force,'' said U.S. reserve Col. Chris Gallivan of Dallas. The scenario has officers handling deployment in a fictional force under a U.N.-brokered peace, with all sides agreeing to the foreign forces' presence. The mock peace mission is the first multinational one since the Clinton administration started the African peacekeeping training in 1996 - prodded in part by the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, but still reluctant to commit U.S. soldiers directly in Africa. It also marks the first follow-up training of the program, known as the African Crisis Response Initiative. The future of the U.S. peacekeeping program is uncertain under President Bush . Secretary of State Colin Powell voiced support for limited training while visiting Africa in May, but drew hisses in South Africa when he spoke of African conflicts as ``fundamentally a problem for Africans.'' Britain and France also have commitments to peacekeeping training in Africa. Critics of the U.S. program question its results to date. Some say limited funding has handicapped the training and that Washington's reluctance to train peacekeepers in lethal force is unrealistic. Since its start, about 8,000 military members from Benin, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mali, Malawi, Senegal, Kenya and Uganda have gone through the U.S. program. U.S.-trained participants have served under the United Nations or the West African force in conflicts in Sierra Leone, Guinea Bissau, the Central African Republic and Congo.
WP 3 July 2001 Pentagon Role in Africa May End Training Program Put Under Review By Douglas Farah, Page A16 BUNDASE TRAINING CAMP, Ghana -- U.S. Special Forces trainers strode up and down the firing line here one recent morning, barking instructions and encouragement as Ghanaian troops struggled to get a feel for the new American-supplied M-60 machine guns they will take with them to nearby Sierra Leone on a U.N. peacekeeping mission. Earlier in the morning, some of the 100 Americans from the 3rd Special Forces Group trained the Ghanaians on M-16 rifles. During the 10-week training program, the troops also will learn to use mortars and sophisticated communications equipment. "We are trying to make sure these people will operate under live fire," Lt. Col. Jay Glover said as he sat in the camp's U.S.-style mess tent built for the training. "If they can't, people will get killed when they turn around and go into combat." Glover and his team are part of Operation Focus Relief, the most visible and costly of the myriad programs the Pentagon has been conducting in 22 countries of sub-Saharan Africa. They include training elite battalions like this one for peacekeeping duties, readying other soldiers for disaster relief, AIDS prevention, and other smaller programs. But many of the programs, which together cost $130 million a year, may be short-lived. Most were initiated by former president Bill Clinton as a compromise between sending U.S. troops into war-torn African countries and doing nothing. They are now under review by the Bush administration, which is divided over what military commitments to make on this continent. The White House must assess whether the programs are "misguided, inadequately resourced or simply need more time to bear fruition," according to a working paper published last month co-written by Jendayi E. Frazer, director of African affairs at the National Security Council. Despite the programs, the paper said, "there was no noticeable change in any of Africa's wars." During a visit to Africa last month, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell acknowledged that he disagrees with Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld over funding military missions here. The United States, Powell said, should remain committed to equipping and training African peacekeepers, but Rumsfeld "is always looking for opportunities to back off on some of the overseas commitments we have. It is just trying to find the right balance between getting too committed and not getting committed enough." So far, two 800-man Nigerian battalions have been trained, equipped and deployed to Sierra Leone under the $90 million Focus Relief program. The Ghanaian battalion, along with one from Senegal and three from Nigeria, are to be deployed by the end of the year. The program was rushed into existence last year after the rebel Revolutionary United Front in Sierra Leone took 500 U.N. peacekeepers hostage. With the U.N. operation in disarray and Britain, the former colonial power there, rushing in troops, Clinton was under pressure to do something to help fight a rebel force renowned for hacking off the arms and legs of women and children. He was unwilling to commit troops and opted instead to provide training and equipment for seven West African battalions to step into the breach. "Certainly the motivation was to get troops on the ground that were not U.S. troops," said a senior Pentagon official. According to U.N. sources and observers in Sierra Leone, the two Nigerian battalions are a marked improvement over other African forces deployed there, but have not yet faced any serious challenges in combat. A broader U.S. program is the $20 million-a-year African Crisis Response Initiative, started in 1996 to create a pan-African force for peacekeeping and disaster relief. U.S. Special Forces provide training, uniforms and communications equipment but no weapons. With State Department funding, the ACRI program has trained 8,000 troops since 1997, and plans to train a total of 12,000, U.S. officials said. It began when the Clinton administration feared Burundi would implode on the heels of the 1994 Rwanda genocide crisis. A U.S. official familiar with the program said it was initially "ill thought-out and rushed" through the policy-approval process. None of Africa's major armies took part, either because they declined or could not qualify because of rules that limited participation to countries with democratic governments. Nigeria was initially ineligible and later chose, along with South Africa, not to participate. Uganda, Ethiopia and Ivory Coast all joined but were suspended because of military coups, political unrest or involvement in wars. Only smaller countries such as Benin, Malawi, Mali and Ghana signed up. The NSC paper said that after spending more than $100 million on ACRI, "it is unclear what the United States has to show for its efforts." Other programs include a $10 million U.S. Navy program to combat the spread of AIDS in African armed forces, and the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, which brings regional military and civilian leaders together. In Guinea, the United States has supplied more than $1 million of communications equipment, spare parts and meals to its army. A multimillion-dollar aid package is under consideration, Pentagon officials said. Many African armed forces, faced with sharp budget cutbacks and the end of Cold War largess, welcome the U.S. training and the equipment that often goes with it. Ghana, participating in both Focus Relief and ACRI, is one of the most enthusiastic countries about the new military ties. In an interview, Defense Minister Kwame Addo-Kufuor said his troops received advanced equipment and "orientation toward democratic traditions and a better appreciation of the democratic way of life." About 300 of the 800 soldiers being trained here come from the 64th Battalion, known for its loyalty to former president Jerry Rawlings, who led two coups, governed the country for 20 years and is widely accused of using the unit to suppress dissent and violate human rights. Rawlings left office in January. None of the units trained in either Focus Relief or ACRI has been accused of human rights abuses. But human rights groups argue that training armies that have histories of brutality must include effective vetting of participants and have a strong focus on human rights and humanitarian law. Janet Fleischman, Africa director of Human Rights Watch, said human rights training and vetting are the "weakest link" in the Focus Relief program. "If done right, with strong human rights vetting, humanitarian law instruction and a clear mechanism for monitoring and accountability, this could be a new model," she said. "But we haven't seen if they are going to give sufficient emphasis to these fields to make it work." Lt. Col. Glover said troops he trains receive seven hours of human rights instruction, with additional training incorporated into other exercises. A senior Pentagon official said "all participating individuals are vetted for human rights violations." But in the cases of Nigeria and Ghana, where until recently the United States has had scant military contact, vetting is limited to checking the names of training candidates against lists of suspected rights abusers kept by the State Department, Defense Department or intelligence agencies. "We don't really know who these guys are or where they come from," acknowledged a U.S. official in the region. "We have very little to match the names against because we haven't worked with this army for decades."
BBC 24 July 2001 Family massacred in Algeria -- Ninety people have been killed so far this month By North Africa correspondent David Bamford Suspected Islamist militants in Algeria have massacred three generations of the same family in an attack on a holiday camp to the west of the capital, Algiers. In one of the bloodiest months in the long-running insurgency campaign by the militants, the number of people killed since the start of July has reached 90. These latest killings took place near the seaside resort of Tipaza. According to reports, at about 0100 local time (0000 GMT) on Monday the electricity to the area was suddenly cut. The attackers then arrived in a convoy of vehicles and moved into the house of the Merabet family, which was apparently deliberately targeted. Killers took their time The grandmother, mother, teenagers and young children were all killed - seven people in all - in an operation in which the insurgents took their time. They did not leave until 0300 local time and help did not arrive until five hours later. The attackers may have been from the same group that on Saturday night killed another seven people in Ain Tagourait, a town just a few kilometres closer to Algiers. Whatever the case, the authorities in Algeria seem unable or unwilling to do what is necessary to bring about an end to the killings, in which about 1,300 people have died since the start of the year.
BBC 19 July, 2001, 21:44 GMT 22:44 UK Losing battle for Kalahari Only several hundred remain on their ancestral lands By Rageh Omaar The modern world has barely touched the Kalahari desert, in the middle of Botswana. Nature, not man, governs the daily pattern of life. It is as bare, remote and harsh as life can get - and yet there is a natural, undisturbed order that gives this land its own sense of beauty. It's up to us, we will stay here even if they try to kill us. We know this land. We are as free as birds and we will live as we want Gakemothowasepe Molapong But yet people do live here, as they have done for nearly 30,000 years. This is home to the San people - or the Bushmen of the Kalahari. They have lived here as hunter-gatherers. Only several hundred remain on their ancestral lands. But now they face a battle to cling on to their way of life. The Botswanan Government is urging - some would say forcing - them to move. Huddled around fires outside their huts in the cold early morning the villagers told me about their plight. "It's up to us, we will stay here even if they try to kill us", said 28-year-old Gakemothowasepe Molapong. "We know this land. We are as free as birds and we will live as we want." It is a competition between the indigenous rights of the San people, and the economic interests of Botswana. The government says it wants to protect the wildlife, but many believe that they are motivated by the huge mineral wealth the Kalahari is believed to possess, including diamonds and possible uranium. And so, the government wants to relocate the San communities. Camps The Botswanan Government says that if they do move, they can provide them with a better life in relocation camps. The camps are located hundreds of miles away. It took six hours to drive to the main camp, New Xadi. The government wants to relocate Bush communities It has many things that people would recognise as being part of the modern world. Most people live in houses, there is electricity. In stark contrast to their villages in the desert, you can hear the sound of radios around the camp and you can see quite a few consumer goods. The government provides them with regular food parcels. But despite this, those who have moved are now living a life of dependency. There is little sense of belonging amongst those that are now living in the camp. Instead, people who used to be self-reliant now live on handouts. They sit all day with nothing to do. Alcoholism is rife. Tsamxegea Dumela told me: "We don't have any work. Every day we get up, and the only time we move is to keep in the sunlight. That's all. We have nothing else to do." Another way On a farm on the outskirts of the town of Ghanzi, three Bushwomen gather wild roots and fruit. They have been able to live here and freely preserve their culture. They share the land with Andrea Hardbattle. She speak their language, and considers these people as family. They don't want to move to these resettlement camps because they will feel totally lost. I think a lot of them will just die there Andrea Hardbattle Her father was a policeman from a small village near Hull, in England. He settled here in the 1900s. He met and married her mother, who was a Bushwoman. When she was young and her mother was unable to breastfeed her, Andrea was instead breastfed by Nxaniki who still lives with Andrea. Nxaniki is 70. I spoke to her as she sat under a thorn tree, cooking as her still fit 90-year-old mother, looked on quietly smoking her home-made pipe. I asked Nxaniki how life had changed for the San people over the years. She looked at me quizzically, and said she would not know as she was still a young woman. But she acknowledged that she was fortunate to be able to live all her life, on her own land. Andrea Hardbattle says the Bush people are slowly losing the ability to shape their own lives. Bush people have lived in this harsh environment for nearly 30,000 years "Probably they'll eventually have to move," she says, "but a lot of them, particularly the old, are making a stand. "They were born on their ancestral lands in the Kalahari and they want to die there. "They don't want to move to these resettlement camps because they will feel totally lost. I think a lot of them will just die there." Andrea Hardbattle says the San people are not fighting against modernisation, but they want the right to determine the pace of change and how they adapt their ancient culture to it. The San people of the Kalahari are determined to prevent their way of life from simply disappearing. But they know all too well that the desert itself is set to change forever, as the mineral wealth that lies within its dry soil is developed - and as more and more tourists are drawn to this region. In the face of this, they feel they are fighting a losing battle, but it is a battle they have to fight.
AP 23 July 2001 Burundian President Named to Lead By JOCELYNE SAMBIRA, Associated Press Writer BUJUMBURA, Burundi (AP) - Hours after surviving a coup attempt by Tutsi soldiers, President Pierre Buyoya sealed a power-sharing deal with Hutu politicians Monday designed to end Burundi's eight-year civil war. The soldiers mutinied against the deal before midnight Sunday, setting off a battle with assault rifles and grenades that could be heard in the capital, Bujumbura. The mutineers fled with army chief of staff Gen. Libere Hicuburundi as a hostage, pursued by loyalist troops. They were intercepted near the central town of Ngozi, and Hicuburundi was freed, according to a driver of a vehicle seized by the mutineers. The driver was reached by mobile telephone and spoke on condition of anonymity. Army spokesman Col. Augustin Nzadamtema said the mutinous soldiers surrendered peacefully and that 11 junior officers were arrested. The soldiers were to be escorted to their barracks, he said. Two of the at least 72 young Tutsis who tried to overthrow Buyoya were killed, Defense Minister Gen. Cyrille Ndayirukiye said. The Bujumbura area commander, Col. Fabien Ndayishimye, and his bodyguard were injured in the fighting. As loyalist soldiers put down the coup, Buyoya wrapped up negotiations at a regional summit in Arusha, Tanzania, that made him the leader of a new, transitional government. Under the plan, Buyoya, a Tutsi, will lead Burundi's government for 18 months, with Domitien Ndayizeye, a Hutu, as vice president. A Hutu will be president for the next 18 months, with a Tutsi as his deputy, after which elections are supposed to be held. The agreement, known as the Arusha accords, was signed last August but had not been implemented because the 19 political parties and interest groups could not agree on who should lead the transitional government. The accord calls for an ethnically balanced army and legislature, as well as the protection of politicians should they return from exile. Although in the minority, Tutsis have effectively ruled Burundi for all but four months since independence in 1962. The civil war began when Tutsi paratroopers assassinated Burundi's first democratically elected president, a Hutu, in 1993. Hutu rebels took up arms and more than 200,000 people have been killed. Buyoya, who twice seized power through coups, told reporters the situation in Burundi was ``perfectly under control'' and the transitional government could be in place ``even before November.'' ``We are in a framework of a reforming process and when you are reforming, such kinds of events can happen,'' Buyoya said. ``Maybe there will be another (coup) attempt, but it will fail also.'' Buyoya returned to Burundi on Monday night, where he congratulated senior military officers for putting down the coup. Many Tutsis fear a Hutu government would carry out a genocide similar to the 1994 massacres in Rwanda. More than 500,000 Tutsis were killed then by an extremist Hutu government. The soldiers apparently mutinied because of these fears. ``These mutineers are against the Arusha peace accords and do not know the necessity of the accords,'' Ndayirukiye said. He said military commanders had been alerted to the coup a few hours in advance and had beefed up security at the airport, radio stations and other key installations. Joseph Nyezimana, leader of a hard-line Tutsi party, said the coup attempt demonstrated Buyoya's weakness. ``The coup (attempt) was carried out to show that there is no military support for Buyoya,'' Nyezimana said in Arusha. Asked when there could be peace in Burundi, South African President Nelson Mandela, who mediated the deal, said, ``let's not speculate ... we are dealing with the problems of today.''
Central African Republic
IRIN 21 July 2001 Thousands of Central African Republic (CAR) residents trying to reach relatives who fled the country after the failed coup in May have been turned back by the military as they tried to cross the Ubangui River border to the DRC, AFP reported on Thursday. Before the announcement of the closure of the 1,000 km long border on Tuesday, people from the CAR capital Bangui had been crossing the river daily to Zongo in the DRC to where tens of thousands had fled. Bangui residents had been taking food to relatives, mainly from the southern Yakoma tribe, the ethnic group of former military ruler Andre Kolingba, whom CAR authorities blame for the coup bid. According to AFP, refugees fear reprisals by the CAR army, despite assurances from President Ange-Felix Patasse's government that no such action will be taken.
ICRC News 01/29 - 26 July 2001 Central African Republic: ICRC phases out emergency aid for displaced The ICRC is currently concluding its first emergency aid programme for 10,000 displaced persons near the capital, Bangui. The supplies distributed comprised plastic sheeting, kitchen utensils, blankets and soap. The coup attempt in Bangui at the end of May forced thousands to flee the areas where the worst fighting occurred. Many took refuge in the suburb of Ouango and the villages of M'boko and Sandimba, to the east of the capital. Some of the aid went to about 5,000 people who had already returned to their homes, only to find them looted, burned or destroyed.
BBC 14 July, 2001 Ugandan army arrests 'witch-hunters' The Ugandan army says it has arrested 70 people across the border, in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo, suspected of hacking to death more than 300 people. The army maintains a strong presence in the area, in support of a rebel movement opposed to the government in Kinshasa. An army spokesman, Lieutenant-Colonel Phinehas Katirima, told the BBC the suspected killers were armed bandits known as Ninjas. He said they had been robbing and murdering people under the pretext that they were witches.
Guardian (UK) 31 July 2001 A people persecuted by killers on all sides of a bloody war 'They came many times. They killed civilians, not soldiers...' The full horror of an African tragedy starts to unfold Chris McGreal in Kongolo, Katanga, The suffering of Albert Tambwe and his family is almost unbearable. Twenty of his relatives - including two of his children - were murdered or died of disease during the civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and some of the women in his family were raped. Mr Tambwe, his wife and young child are emaciated from malnutrition and disease. "My village is Lemba. It is not large but many people died there. I do not know how many because I do not know who died and who ran away but I do know that I helped to bury a lot of people besides my own relatives," he said. Visits to Kongolo, Manono, Kalemie and other parts of rebel-held Congo reveal that Mr Tambwe's experience is all too common in a region awash with armed groups. They range from the Rwandan and Ugandan armies and their Congolese rebel allies to the interahamwe Hutu militia responsible for the Rwandan genocide seven years ago, Mayi-Mayi traditional warriors and Burundian insurgents. In Kongolo, where Mr Tambwe and his remaining family have sought shelter, malnourished children barely cling to life as their parents tell of atrocities at the hands of the Mayi-Mayi. Two-thirds of the residents of Manono - home town of the assassinated Congolese president, Laurent Kabila - fled intense fighting and bombing by the Zimbabwean military that destroyed many buildings. Families tramped hundreds of miles through bush in search of safety. Thousands remain unaccounted for. In Kalemie, three-quarters of children born during the war are dead before their second birthday. In January, the British medical agency, Merlin, recorded two-and-a-half times more deaths than births in the relatively peaceful district of Kalemie - an alarmingly high figure. The ordeal for Mr Tambwe's family began a little more than two years ago as Congolese government troops fought against the rebel Congolese Rally for Democracy (RCD) and Rwandan forces for control of his village. "When the RCD and Rwandans came to Lemba, the government soldiers attacked. Many people were killed. I don't know how many because we ran into the bush. When we came back, people were dead or missing," he said. The Rwandans wrested control of Lemba from the government and moved on with the front line. The villagers settled back into their homes and thought their ordeal was over. It was just beginning. Civilians killed Over the following two years, the Mayi-Mayi repeatedly attacked Lemba in search of food, women and whatever they could loot. "The Mayi-Mayi came to trouble us. They were not killing soldiers, they were killing civilians. Others were bitterly beaten. Then they looted the houses. The Mayi-Mayi came many times, and every time they killed people. They burnt houses before they left," said Mr Tambwe. As Mr Tambwe recounted the attacks, his wife, Kia Suybakene, lay wrapped in a dirty cloth on a bare concrete floor hardly able to move. Her skin was drawn tight over her sunken face - her cheeks sucked deep into her mouth, her eyes bulging. If her eyes had not moved, she might have been mistaken for a corpse. Her husband said she was suffering a mix of disease and malnutrition. But at the mention of the looting of the food Mrs Suybakene stirred and briefly managed to hold herself upright. "They took all our food; maize, groundnuts, chicken, goats, pigs. If you did not give it to them they killed you. They said you were giving the food to their enemies instead, so they ate everything and we had nothing," she said. Then she slumped back next to her immobile four-year old son, Leopold. The Mayi-Mayi cordoned off a part of Lemba. There were only two circumstances in which the villagers were permitted near, and neither of them was welcome. When the Mayi-Mayi decided to kill someone, the victim was dragged to the lair and butchered. Other villagers were then ordered to bury the corpse. Stories circulated in Lemba that the militiamen were eating body parts after the burial parties noticed that the corpses were mutilated and organs removed. "The Mayi-Mayi were eating flesh. They cut up the bodies, they took part and they ate it. We could see they had been cut open and pieces removed," Mr Tambwe said. Certainly, some of the Mayi-Mayi took to wearing severed hands around their necks, a practise reminiscent of the Belgian colonial practice of amputating hands as punishment. The killings were only part of the suffering. With the plunder of the village food supply, and the dangers of venturing into the fields to plant new crops, malnutrition set in. With hunger came disease. Two of Mr Tambwe's five children died. He does not know of what but said they became sick because they did not have enough to eat. Lemba is in the southern province of Katanga. The region is so fertile that in times of peace it fed the capital, Kinshasa, thousands of miles away. But the front line runs across Katanga and the war cut people off from their fields, leaving them to starve and become vulnerable to disease. The World Food Programme estimates that it will need to feed 1.3m Congolese this year. And then there was the systematic rape of Lemba's women. "If they arrive and you are with your wife in the house, they take your wife by force," Mr Tambwe said. "She becomes theirs. If you want to object to the idea, they kill you. If you have young daughters who are not married, who have never known a man, they were taking them by force." Rape appears to have been widespread across eastern Congo during the fighting, and all sides have been accused. But the most notorious case of mass rape to emerge so far is in the town of Shabunda, deep into rebel-held territory. Shabunda was occupied by Rwandan troops but attacked and besieged by the interahamwe in June 2000. As the town grew increasingly short of food, women ventured into fields on the outskirts in search of cassava for their families. The unlucky ones were abducted by the interahamwe as sex slaves. People in Shabunda were not certain what happened to the women until the Rwandans and RCD launched an offensive earlier this year that drove the interahamwe beyond the town. As the Hutu militiamen fled, they left behind 2,000 women who had been systematically raped. When the women returned to Shabunda, there was initially silence and shame. But because it was widely known that they had been raped, some of the victims spoke publicly of their plight. Some had children by their attackers. Others discovered that their husbands wanted no more to do with them. In a few cases, the women had been raped in front of their families before being abducted. But it is not solely the irregular Hutu extremist forces and the Mayi-Mayi that have persecuted the civilian population. In Katanga, the Rwandan army systematically looted several towns, including Kongolo and Kalemie, after capturing them from the Kinshasa government. The Rwandans have also hunted down Hutus deemed guilty of genocide. The UN has accused the RCD of carrying out massacres claiming thousands of lives in more than a dozen towns, including one incident in which 15 women were buried alive after being tortured. The rebels are accused of rape, looting and a scorched earth policy in other areas. Mulawa Ngoy and her five children were burnt out of their home in Kateya village by the Congolese rebels. "When the war came, it was suddenly. We saw some troops coming and we ran away. We lived in the bush, drank muddy water, were bitten by mosquitoes. We did not get enough food. Then we went back to our village," she said. "The RCD came a second time, and this time they burned out village, all the houses. We ran away again, and when we got back we found some corpses. It was very difficult because they had been there some days and they were smelling badly. The RCD forced us to bury the corpses." Crops destroyed Mrs Ngoy says that at least four other villages near her own - Kaombo, Loni, Kisaka and Kisampi - were torched and their crops destroyed by the RCD, presumably to deny shelter and other assistance to its enemies. But the result was that thousands of people were left exposed in the bush with little to eat, their children growing sick. Aid workers are themselves targets at times. Six International Red Cross staff were murdered near Bunia, in north-eastern Congo, in April. The identity of the culprits remains unclear. Ultimately, many Congolese blame Rwanda for their misery. Rwandan troops are widely unpopular in the east, even among the Congolese rebels they support, and held responsible for creating the war that has caused so much misery. Rwanda's president, Paul Kagame, denies his government has blood on its hands. "Why is it Rwanda that has blood on its hands? Why is it not the international community? If we are talking about people dying in the Congo, it is not Rwanda's creation. Congo's problems are all over Congo. They are not only in eastern Congo. People focus on eastern Congo because they want to bring out Rwanda as the culprit. But all of Congo has problems, serious problems, emanating from a long history," he said. But while many Congolese want rid of the Rwandan army, they also fear its departure. They worry that they will be even more vulnerable to the Mayi-Mayi and interahamwe. And they are not at all certain that the Kinshasa government's forces will not retaliate against people in the east of the country for a perceived collaboration with the rebels and invaders. "I liked the future better under Mobutu," said Mr Tambwe. "Mobutu did not know we existed so we were not afraid of him. Now we have to be afraid of too many people when all we want is live in our homes and eat." Principal military groups in eastern Congo: Congolese Rally for Democracy (RCD) Main rebel organisation in the southern part of rebel-held Congo. Heavily reliant on support from the Rwandan military which has done much of the fighting Rwandan and Ugandan armies Invaded what was then Zaire in 1996 and spearheaded the overthrow of Mobutu Sese Seko. Reinvaded in August 1998 after a rift with Mobutu's successor, Laurent Kabila. Although initially allies, the two armies have clashed and are now hostile to each other Interahamwe The Hutu extremist militia that led the genocide of about 800,000 Tutsis in Rwanda in 1994 in alliance with the then Rwandan army. Backed and trained by the government in Kinshasa Mayi-Mayi Traditional warriors in eastern Congo who believe that magical charms can ward off weapons. The Mayi-Mayi have switched sides several times and largely prey on the civilian population Kinshasa government forces Joseph Kabila's army is heavily reliant on support from the Zimbabwe military and on its backing for the interahamwe to pursue the war against the rebel-held east.
AP 23 July 2001 U.N. Probes Ivory Coast Massacre A U.N. inquiry has found Ivory Coast's paramilitary police responsible for the massacre of some 60 young men during turmoil in October that broke out as the president took office. Eight officers are scheduled to go on trial in Abidjan on Tuesday for their alleged involvement in the killings. The bodies of about 60 young men were found in a field on the outskirts of Abidjan days after President Laurent Gbagbo was swept to power in a popular uprising after chaotic elections. Most had been shot in the head. Followers of opposition leader Alassane Dramane Ouattara say the victims were members of his Rally of the Republicans party and that the killings were politically motivated. In February, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan established a commission of inquiry to look into the events surrounding the elections. In a 65-page report released Friday, the three-member commission wrote that the gendarmes bear responsibility for the massacre and that the military bears the same responsibility in the deaths of civilians during demonstrations in the days following the election. The commission, led by U.N. Ambassador Colin Granderson of Trinidad, concluded that members of the security forces, in particular the gendarmes, used excessive force and committed human rights violations during the demonstrations. The commission, which spent two months in Ivory Coast, called on the government to increase efforts to prosecute authorities involved in wrongdoing and improve human rights training for security forces. International rights groups have sharply criticized Ivorian authorities for the slowness of their investigation into the killings. The EU and other donors that have cut off aid to Ivory Coast, have said a full resumption of aid will depend on improvement in the country's political and human rights.
AP 27 July 2001 Survivor Details W. Africa Massacre His body scarred by automatic weapon fire, one of two known survivors of an October massacre blamed on Ivory Coast security forces came forward Friday with an account of a roundup that claimed at least 57 lives, most of young men or boys. Whipped, tortured and sprayed with bullets at a paramilitary camp, the victims were taken to a field on the outskirts of Abidjan, forced to lay out the bodies of those already dead, sit among the corpses — and wait to die, the young man told reporters. ```This is your last day,''' he quoted paramilitary police as telling them before opening fire. Human rights groups brought the 20-year-old survivor — age 19 at the time of the killings — before reporters Friday. He spoke only on condition neither his name nor location be given. His account provided some of the most detailed allegations of the Oct. 26  massacre, which came amid days of political and ethnic violence following tumultuous presidential elections in Ivory Coast. Once a center of stability and prosperity in West Africa, Ivory Coast saw international aid cut off after its first-ever military coup, in December 1999. The European Union and others have made clear they'll resume full aid only if Ivory Coast's elected government makes reforms — particularly, bringing culprits in the October massacre to justice. Military trials of eight paramilitary police officers charged in the massacre opened this month in a military camp. Witnesses and families of the slain men have told The Associated Press they have received threats from paramilitary police warning them not to testify. The 20-year-old who spoke to reporters Friday said he is too afraid to take the stand. Some paramilitary officers have threatened a new revolt over their colleagues' prosecution — saying the killings were ordered by unspecified higher-ups. Paramilitary police supported the current Ppresident Laurent Gbagbo, who came to power in the tumult after the elections. But there has been no serious suggestion Gbagbo was involved in the massacre of the 57, and he denies responsibility. The massacre — targeting the Muslim ethnic Dioula minority — came the day after the presidential elections, which the then-military junta leader tried and failed to rig in his own favor. Gbagbo declared himself president in the chaos, while supporters of rival opposition leader Alassane Dramane Ouattara took to the streets to demand new elections. Paramilitary police broke up the marches with tear gas, ran down the fleeing marchers, and surrounded them, said the young man, one of those caught. The opposition supporters were taken to a paramilitary camp, stripped, beaten with belts and clubs, then doused with buckets of pepper-laced water that burned their wounds, the young man said. Without warning, two officers ordered all the men to lie on the ground and say their prayers, the survivor said. ``You Dioulas, we will show you that you have taken advantage of our hospitality,'' one officer told the terrified prisoners. He opened fire. The young man, whose left arm was ripped open by bullets, fell down and pretended to be dead. ``One kid was crying. He begged them not to shoot him saying he was still in school,'' the survivor said Friday. ``They didn't listen.'' At dark, survivors were told to gather the dead in three police vehicles. Officers took the prisoners to a deserted, grassy patch of road in Yopougon, a crowded neighborhood on the outskirts of Abidjan. When the firing started again, no one made a sound, the man said. He survived both rounds of firing because the bullets hit only one arm and the back of one leg, and because — both times — the bodies of other prisoners shielded his. Feigning death, he listened to the last breaths of dying men. ``I remember at one point one of the officers said: 'There's one here still alive.' And I thought they meant me,'' he told reporters. Officers considered, and rejected, pouring gasoline over the bodies and burning them. Later, the young man said he heard another man stir, then call out. Hearts racing, the two walked cautiously out of the clearing and in the direction of town, he said. Human rights groups have identified the other survivor as Brahima Toure, who led a group of victims' families in filing a human-rights complaint against Ivory Coast officials last month in Belgium. Human rights groups estimate 175 people died in the violence surrounding the election. In a report last week, a U.N. commission held paramilitary police responsible for the massacre in the field.
BBC 31 July, 2001 In Ivory Coast, the trial has resumed of eight gendarmes in connection with the massacre of fifty-seven people during political violence that followed presidential elections last year. The first hearing was adjourned last week after defence lawyers argued over the legality of the trial by a tribunal. The case arose after a mass grave with bullet-ridden bodies of men thought to be supporters of the opposition leader Alassan Ouattara was discovered in October. Mr Ouattara was barred from contesting the elections on the grounds that he was not fully Ivorian. A United Nations inquiry into the massacres said the role of gendarmes seemed indisputable.
Al-Ahram Weekly Online 12 - 18 July 2001 Issue No.542 The force of law, not the law of force Why is Ariel Sharon not being tried for crimes against humanity? Nur Farahat* proposes a strategy When formulating his theory on law, the German philosopher of law Ihering found inspiration in Heinrich von Kleist's Michael Kohlhass. The protagonist of this story was a simple peasant who owned a number of horses from which he earned a living. One day, a local squire happened along, spotted the horses and decided he wanted them. At first he offered to buy the horses but when the peasant proved reluctant the nobleman simply confiscated them. The distraught Kohlhass exhausted all avenues of litigation to get his horses back, or at least a fair price for them, but to no avail. What could a poor peasant expect when justice was so skewed in favor of the nobility? In the end, Kohlhass had only his gift of eloquence to fall back on and he used this to great effect in stirring a throng of downtrodden peasants to rise up against oppression, a revolt that developed into a revolution that succeeded in restoring to the peasants all their usurped rights. Far from condemning the intrepid peasant leader as a "terrorist" and the peasant uprising as "an act of violence" -- labels that have become common currency these days to describe peoples struggling for their rights -- the German philosopher of law found in von Kleist's novella a paradigm on which to construct his theory on the fight for law and the fight for right. Indeed, the philosopher borrowed some of the protagonist's maxims, among them "Law is the will of power. Law without power is a flame that cannot burn, a light that gives off no light;" and "Citizens must defend their law as soldiers defend the walls of their city." One wonders: are these notions still applicable to the relationship between law, revolution and power in the age of globalisation? To answer yes is to expose oneself to the accusation of promoting terrorism, the knee-jerk reaction of those Western intellectuals whose consciences are numb to the meaning of self-determination and the right of peoples under occupation to seek recourse to armed resistance. What I will do, however, is compare two contemporary cases to illustrate the double standards the global order has applied in implementing international codes of justice, an illustration from which we must conclude that the world today is in need of the idealism of von Kleist and the principles of Ihering. On 24 May 1999, the International War Crimes Tribunal read out the indictment against four Yugoslavian war criminals -- the first time in history officials have been arraigned on such charges while still in positions of power. The accused were Slobodan Milosevic (born in Serbia on 20 August 1941), president of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and commander-in-chief of the Yugoslav army; Milan Miotnovic (born in Serbia in 1942), president of Serbia and member of the Supreme Defence Council; Nicolai Sanovic (born in Serbia in 1948), deputy prime minister of Yugoslavia; and Vlagko Stujilkovic (born in Serbia), Serbian minister of interior. From 1 January to the end of May 1999, the court said, these individuals had committed war crimes and crimes against humanity through murder, persecution and mass deportation for political reasons and based on ethnic and religious discrimination. The indictment against Milosevic and his codefendants was issued in a court established by a 1993 Security Council resolution invoking Chapter 7 of the UN Charter to call for the prosecution of individuals who have perpetrated crimes against international humanitarian law in the former Yugoslavia from 1991 onwards. The jurisdiction of that tribunal was explicitly restricted in terms of time and place. The charges brought against Milosevic did not state that he personally perpetrated crimes of war and crimes against humanity; rather, he was indicted on the basis of a principle adopted by the tribunal and recognised in national and international jurisprudence: that of the commander's direct responsibility for crimes committed under his orders. The charges brought against Milosevic also reflect two other established principles of international criminal law. The first is that there can be no immunity in the cases of war crimes and crimes against humanity, a principle brought to bear in other instances, most notably in the trial of Chilean dictator Pinochet, whose position as a state official, in the opinion of both the Spanish and British courts, did not entitle its occupant to immunity against criminal accountability for crimes of such magnitude. The second principle is that, while ad hoc international courts are competent to adjudicate on cases of war crimes and crimes against humanity that fall under their jurisdiction, the same is true of every signatory nation to the Geneva Convention of 1949, even if the accused committed the offenses outside the national boundaries. This principle is made explicit in Article 146 of the Fourth Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilians in Time of War, which stipulates: "Each High Contracting Party shall be under the obligation to search for persons alleged to have committed, or to have ordered to be committed, such grave breaches, and shall bring such persons, regardless of their nationality, before its own courts. It may also, if it prefers, and in accordance with the provisions of its own legislation, hand such persons over for trial to another High Contracting Party concerned, provided such High Contracting Party has made out a prima facie case." Now, have Israeli officials contravened international law, and specifically the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention, pertaining to the protection of civilian populations in areas under occupation? If indeed they have committed war crimes or crimes against humanity, what has been the stance of the international community towards these crimes and their perpetrators? If accused and convicted, will Israelis follow Milosevic and his cohorts, the war criminals in Rwanda and, before that, the defendants in the Nuremberg and Tokyo trials following World War II? To answer these questions, I will examine the case of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Not only Palestinian homes and fields are buried beneath the concrete jungle of Israeli settlements, highways and byways; the Fourth Geneva Convention lies there as well. Born in 1928, Ariel Sharon was 14 when he joined the Haganah, the underground Zionist terrorist group whose paramilitary off-shoots destroyed Palestinian villages and murdered their inhabitants as part of a campaign to terrorise the local populace. In 1953, Sharon founded and led Unit 101, the objective of which was to drive Palestinians out of their native villages through acts of genocide. It was as commander of Unit 101 that Sharon committed his first documented war crime, when he ordered a raid on Al-Burayj refugee camp in Gaza in August 1953. According to the available sources, between 15 and 50 defenceless Palestinians were killed during this raid. In his report on this brutal attack, United Nations envoy Major- General Vagn Bennike wrote that Sharon's men threw bombs through the windows of huts in which the refugees were sleeping; as the victims fled, they were attacked by small arms and automatic weapons. It was also as commander of Unit 101 that Sharon committed his second atrocity, one that shook world public opinion at the time. The Qibya massacre, as it came to be known, took place shortly after the Burayj attack. On 14 October 1953, Sharon's forces invaded the small West Bank village of Qibya, blew up 45 homes and murdered 69 Palestinian civilians, at least half of them women and children. On 18 October the US secretary of state issued a statement in which he expressed the deepest sympathy for the families of those who lost their lives in the Qibya attack as well as the conviction that those responsible should be brought to account. Needless to say, those responsible, foremost among them Sharon, were not brought to account; nor were measures taken to prevent the recurrence of such tragedies. On the contrary; graver atrocities followed, in the absence of international humanitarian conscience or justice. In 1956, Sharon became commander of a paratroop brigade that took part in the tripartite invasion of Egypt. Forty years after this French- British-Israeli aggression against Egypt, information began to surface about one of the most repulsive acts of mass murder ever perpetrated by a military commander on the battlefield. Ariel Sharon is alleged to have committed this crime. His accusers are neither Arabs nor UN representatives but eyewitnesses from within the Israeli military establishment. Beneath the headline, "Israelis admit massacre" in the Daily Telegraph of 16 August 1995, Ohad Gozan, writing from Tel Aviv, reported: "Reports of how Israeli paratroopers killed about 270 Egyptian prisoners of war 40 years ago are straining relations between the two countries. Egypt has demanded an investigation into the alleged atrocities, which date back to Israel's involvement in the 1956 Anglo-French campaign to take the Suez Canal. The killings were revealed in a paper on the Sinai campaign commissioned by the army's military history division. They were described in graphic detail in newspaper and television interviews." In 1967, Sharon was appointed IDF Head of the Southern Command Staff. In August 1971, the forces under his command blew up 2,000 houses in Gaza; 12,000 Palestinians were made homeless. Hundreds of Palestinian youths were arbitrarily arrested and deported to Jordan and Lebanon, and 600 relatives of Palestinian freedom fighters were deported to Sinai. In the second half of 1971, 101 Palestinian resistance fighters were executed without trial. In 1982, as minister of defence in the government of Menachem Begin, Sharon masterminded the invasion of Lebanon. Israeli forces, acting on his orders, killed thousands of civilians and drove half a million more from their homes. By the end of July, the government of Lebanon announced a toll of 14,000 dead, 90 per cent of whom were unarmed civilians. The number of seriously wounded was double that figure (i.e. approximately 28,000). Shortly before the end of the invasion, Sharon colluded with the Lebanese Phalangist Party in the Sabra and Shatila massacre. Israeli forces surrounded these refugee camps to prevent their inhabitants from fleeing, while the Lebanese militiamen inside tortured and executed some 2,000 Palestinians, raping the women before killing them. The massacre, reminiscent of the Nazi atrocities perpetrated during World War II, so appalled international public opinion that Israel was forced to form a commission of inquiry into the incident. As might have been expected, the Kahan Commission, so named because the chief magistrate of the Israeli Supreme Court headed it, issued a very watered- down condemnation of Sharon's involvement. The commission did not find him directly accountable for the massacre, despite considerable evidence of his responsibility. Rather, it found him guilty of not having foreseen that a massacre would occur. Remember, though, that the Kahan Commission only announced its conclusions. Annex B of its findings, which contains many details of the inquiry, has yet to be released to the public. Any impartial international investigation would have found Sharon guilty of genocide. Numerous international reports have documented the crimes committed by the Israeli army since 28 September 2000 in their attempt to crush an uprising triggered by Sharon personally through his highly provocative visit to Al-Aqsa Mosque, and by the Israeli troops' brutal repression of the protests that followed. The report submitted by UN High Commissioner on Human Rights Mary Robinson following her visit to the occupied territories several months ago is the most important such document. Following Sharon's election, the horrors perpetrated in the name of putting down the Intifada dramatically increased in scale. A report from the Palestinian Council for Peace and Justice reveals that by April 2001, Israelis had killed 492 Palestinians, of which 172 were under the age of 18, and wounded 231,740. Many of the victims were doctors and nurses killed on the job because the IDF randomly shells hospitals and ambulances. During the Intifada, 1,850 Palestinians have been detained, 41 schools have been closed down, 108 artesian wells and 3,802m of water pipes have been destroyed, some 1,000 heads of livestock have been killed, 280,000 olive and citrus trees have been uprooted, and approximately a million square metres of land in Gaza have been confiscated for settlement expansion and road construction to link the settlements. Israeli forces have also razed 400 homes, 30 mosques and 12 churches, and forcibly removed 4,000 families from their homes. Ariel Sharon is indisputably a dangerous war criminal and should be brought to justice, and every signatory to the Geneva Convention has the obligation to arrest him, should he enter its territory, and bring him to trial. That he is currently prime minister does not entitle him to immunity against prosecution for crimes of war and crimes against humanity. Why has Sharon not met the same fate as Milosevic, although Sharon's crimes continue? Why did the Security Council create an ad hoc war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and not for the Palestinian occupied territories? Is it because Arab blood is cheaper to spill than European blood, or because Israel's butchers are above the law? Was one element of the Milosevic trial a final settling of accounts with the former Eastern bloc? Are the Arabs simply too insignificant for the international community to ensure they obtain justice and the defence of their human rights? Although Mary Robinson considered international protection necessary for the Palestinian against what she determined were gross violations of their rights, and despite the resolutions adopted by the UN Commission on Human Rights, Israeli war criminals, and especially Ariel Sharon, remain at large, and the crimes they continue to perpetrate barely merit passing mention in the international media. The long arm of international justice, here, cannot be bothered to stretch out. The notion of an international war crimes tribunal dates back to the end of World War I. The Treaty of Versailles demanded that Wilhelm II be put on trial, an effort frustrated by Holland's refusal to hand over the deposed German emperor. The principle, however, was given concrete form following World War II in the Nuremberg and Tokyo trials of German and Japanese war criminals. If scholars have been correct in pointing out that these trials were manifestations of the justice the victors imposed upon the vanquished, they succeeded nevertheless in establishing a set of universal principles. Foremost among these is that war crimes and crimes against humanity are among the gravest crimes in international law; this properly overrides any domestic legal provisions or regulations that condone such acts or minimise their criminal nature. Secondly, they are crimes that cannot be subject to any statutory limitations; thirdly, the international community has both the right and the obligation to take all necessary measures towards the apprehension, prosecution and punishment of criminals of war. These principles have been set down and elaborated upon in a number of international human rights instruments, most notably the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1948, the four Geneva Conventions of 1949, and the 1973 International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid. This legislation has also been accompanied by ongoing efforts to establish a permanent international criminal court, efforts that began in 1950 with the creation of a General Assembly committee charged with drafting the charter for such a tribunal, and which eventually bore fruit in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court of 1998. According to Article 1 of that statute, the tribunal is to serve as a permanent institution for trying individuals accused of committing genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. It further states that the ICC will be established formally after 60 countries have ratified its Rome Statute. Currently the statute has 139 signatories, but only 33 ratifications. Now, since recourse to the ICC is not currently available, could nations and groups concerned with promoting peace, justice and human rights obtain a UN resolution to establish an international war crime tribunal for Palestine such as that which was created for former Yugoslavia? One strongly suspects that any such efforts will be thwarted by the US veto, which was used recently merely to block the creation of a mechanism providing the Palestinians with international protection. Perhaps the only way to circumvent this is through the UN General Assembly, especially since the non-permanent members of the Security Council recently argued that the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal should have been established not by a Security Council but by a General Assembly resolution. A General Assembly resolution to create a war crimes tribunal for Palestine therefore seems like a distinct possibility. Also encouraging is the UN General Assembly resolution of 1950, known as the Resolution for the Federation for Peace, which grants the General Assembly the right to assume the Security Council's powers and take the necessary measures to safeguard international peace if the Security Council proves incapable of fulfilling this function because one of its permanent members is abusing its right to veto. In short, it is theoretically possible to bring Israeli war criminals such as Sharon to justice before an international tribunal. But to turn theory into practice will require sustained and concerted efforts at both the official and grassroots levels. Above all, it will be important to raise the issue of Israeli war crimes, with accompanying documentation, in all possible international forums, and it will be necessary to mount an intensive, carefully thought-out and sustained media campaign. Finally, all national, regional and international human rights groups will have to do their utmost to sensitise the international community, which appears to have succumbed to the logic of the law of power rather than the power of law. "Law is the will of power. Law without power is a flame that cannot burn, a light that gives off no light," said Michael Kohlhass. This maxim expresses the universal moral value of the stone in hand of the Palestinian child, who has taken on the burden of the world's idle conscience and heralds its redemption. Tomorrow the light of justice will prevail, for the stone in the Palestinian child's hand is not the stone of Sisyphus. * The writer is professor of the philosophy and history of law at Zaqaziq University and a former UN consultant on human rights in Central Asia.
BBC 30 July, 2001 Egyptian court orders clashes retrial -- Egyptian Christians say they will demand compensation The Supreme Court in Egypt has ordered a retrial in the case of nearly 100 Muslims and Christians accused of being involved in bloody inter-religious clashes over a year ago. Twenty Christians and one Muslim were killed after violence broke out in the town of el-Kosheh, 440 kilometres (275 miles) south of Cairo, following a dispute between a Muslim and a Christian. Out of 96 people originally charged in connection with the worst sectarian fighting in Egypt for decades, only four - all Muslims - were jailed, although none for murder. Egyptian Coptic Christians say they are discriminated against in everyday life The initial verdict had angered Egypt's Coptic Christian community, who said it served as a green light for Muslims to kill them. The court did not say why it was reversing the earlier ruling. The decision was welcomed by the country's Christian leaders. "We think justice can now prevail," Coptic Christian Bishop Wissa told the Associated Press news agency. "There were killers and there were victims and we only want to know who was who," he added. Quarrel over money The violence broke out on 31 December, 1999, after a row over money between a shop-owner and a customer. Fighting spread to the nearby village of Dar el-Salam, where the Christians and Muslim were killed in a massacre on 2 January, 2000. We (Copts) think it restores trust in the Egyptian justice system and law Coptic lawyer Mamduh Nakhla Christian clerics say Egyptian police did nothing to prevent Muslim gangs who went on the rampage. The judge in the first trial, Mohammed Affifi, said it was not possible to identify which defendants had been responsible for which actions. He also accused three Coptic priests of failing to stop the quarrel which sparked the trouble. The BBC's Heba Saleh in Egypt says there is speculation Judge Affifi opted for a lenient verdict to avoid inflaming sectarian tensions. A Coptic lawyer involved in the case, Mamduh Nakhla, welcomed the decision to overrule the lower court's verdict. Mr Nakhla told the French news agency AFP: "We (Copts) think it restores trust in the Egyptian justice system and law...The retrial will give us an opportunity to submit new evidence against the accused. Also we can demand compensation."
IRIN 21 July 2001 A court in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, has acquitted, for insufficient evidence, four of seven former officials charged with genocide, Ethiopian state radio, monitored by the BBC, reported on 13 July. The four had been charged with genocide and crimes against humanity allegedly committed while they were serving during the military dictatorship of Mengistu Hailemariam. Among those released by the Federal High Court are the former commander of the eastern command of the then provisional military government of Ethiopia, Maj-Gen Mulatu Negash, and Maj-Gen Embibel Ayele. The court also acquitted corporals Kefelegn Tadese and Sileshi Mengistu, who were tried in absentia. The court ordered one defendant, Mengesha Yibka, to submit his defence, because the prosecution had proved the charges levelled against him beyond doubt, said the radio.
WP 8 July 2001 Small Arms' Global Reach Uproots Tribal Traditions By Karl Vick, Page A01 KOLOWA, Kenya -- In the calculus of Africa's semi-arid and ever more violent grazing lands, there is no measuring the cost of a human life. But everything else is computed in cows. Guns, for instance. In 1967, when the rangy, proud Pokot herdsmen of northwest Kenya bought their very first rifles, the weapons were old and heavy Lee-Enfield Mark IV guns of World War I vintage and their price was heavier still: 60 cows apiece. By 1986, the price was down to 15 cows and the rifles were more likely much deadlier AK-47s. Today those automatic Kalashnikovs run only five head of cattle each. "Even four," said Joshua Yatta, a Pokot chief. So it comes as no surprise that, in a society that a generation ago relied on spears to beat back rivals who attacked with poisoned arrows, the assault rifle has become the weapon of choice. "The Pokot need guns," said Yatta, whose tribe once lost hundreds of square miles and thousands of cows to raiders who got guns first. All over the world, small, low-cost weapons are proliferating into private hands at an accelerating rate. In countries as diverse as Indonesia, Colombia, Macedonia, Somalia, Sri Lanka and Liberia, an infusion at the village level of light weapons known as "small arms" -- assault rifles and pistols, grenades and shoulder-fired rockets -- has altered life and death alike. On Monday, delegates from close to 180 countries will sit down at U.N. headquarters to try to begin negotiating the world's first international treaty to reduce illicit trade in small arms. A draft program of action would have the conference begin crafting a global system to identify and track lines of arms supplies and to restrict production and trade to companies authorized by states. The treaty is a favorite cause of U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, a West African who has argued that the trademark weapons of the civil wars of recent times perpetuate "the cycle of violence by their mere presence." The world today has at least 550 million firearms, according to the Geneva-based research group Small Arms Survey. Most are controlled by national armed forces or legally owned by private citizens, many of them Americans. But the driving force behind the the U.N. conference is the estimated 1 million guns in the hands of insurgents and the huge numbers -- the survey doesn't attempt an estimate -- that are illegally owned by ordinary and often impoverished people like the Pokot. The guns are bought from the backs of trucks driven by faceless arms merchants or looted from the armories of disintegrating governments. Often they are wielded by children. UNICEF estimates that there are 300,000 child soldiers in various conflicts of the world; most often the victims of the fighting are not combatants but civilians. As military technology, small arms are hardly advanced killing machines. But their impact often goes far beyond their role in combat. ---When introduced into societies such as that of the Pokot, they can have a profound effect on how people govern, discipline and feed themselves. The weapons of death change the fabric of life. A visit to the Pokot community illustrates the point well enough: In the rocky northern reaches of the Great Rift Valley, even a warrior society has found occasion to wonder what all those guns are doing to the people they were supposed to save. Power, which from time immemorial in African society has accrued with age, suddenly comes from the barrel of a gun. Village elders who once mulled every crucial decision are today deferring to armed "youth elders," who are often governed by hot blood. And women who formerly fashioned songs that glorified the physical strength of a generation now sing about automatic weapons. "The gun culture has just completely undermined the principles of warfare here," said Sam Kona, a northwest Kenya native who works in conflict resolution for the British-based aid group Oxfam. "Somehow, the seat of authority has moved from the elders to the youths, and that has some very, very bad consequences for managing conflict." The worst of those consequences exploded at dawn on March 12, when several hundred young Pokot, many carrying AK-47s, mounted a raid on the Marakwet, their neighbors to the south and west. By the time the raiders retreated back to their side of the Kerio River, the valley had been dubbed The Valley of Death. Schools, houses and shops had been torched, and most of the 47 dead were women and children, traditionally spared by a culture forbidding attacks on noncombatants. "They did what isn't supposed to be done," said John Rutto, a young Pokot man, voicing an opinion widely expressed in Kolowa, a Pokot trading center. The raid prompted a spasm of introspection among the Pokot. Like other pastoral communities across East Africa, they have seen cattle-rustling slide from an occasionally violent but orderly tradition -- the raiders announcing their presence by drums and chants, never by ambush -- to something messier. "Guns are changing things," said David Kakuo, 23. "The major thing is, it breaks discipline. The young ones, they don't respect elders." "Guns created people who put away cowardice," said Jackson Kirop, also 23. "You also can end up using all your animals to buy a gun." If you don't have a weapon, said Rutto, "your grave is open." Among educated Pokot -- those who have been to school at all, unlike the youths who carried out the Kerio Valley raid -- opinion is divided on whether the "incident" was the nadir of a downward spiral of exceptionally nasty raiding, or a harbinger of something more sinister just getting started. But no one is really talking about giving up guns. After the Kerio Valley slaughter, the Kenyan government declared an amnesty period for turning in weapons, which after all are illegal in Kenya. The grand total surrendered: one. "It is not about saving a way of life," said Yatta, the local Pokot chief, of the pastoralist love affair with the rifle. "It is about saving our lives." Yatta, at 32, bridges the Pokot experience before and after firearms. He was born when boyhood was marked by graduating from herding stick, at age 6, to shooting bow and arrow at age 8, to receiving a spear in a ceremony that announced him as a man, at age 18. Even so, a Pokot man might not be allowed along on a raid until he was 30. All that began to change in the early 1970s, when the sound that Yatta's parents had warned him about -- the rip of gunshots that the Pokot verbalize as tool-tool -- sent him and his family into the bush at dawn. A fierce rival tribe from the north, the Turkana, were driving the Pokot ever-farther south. They were using guns they had been given decades earlier by Ethiopian Emperor Menelik II, who was fighting Italian invaders. In Kenya, British colonial overseers had long prevented the nomadic Turkana from using these weapons, brutally enforcing a ban on intertribal fighting that northern Kenyan communities remember today with nostalgia. After the country's independence in 1963, the Kenyan government managed less well, and by the time Yatta's family stopped running, the Turkana had chased the Pokot scores of miles. The running ended because the Pokot, in turn, upgraded their armory. The handful of World War I Lee-Enfields they had acquired in the 1960s were discarded in the 1970s for AK-47s. Ethiopia and Somalia were at war, and the light, hardy Kalashnikovs spilled into Kenya, which shares a border with each. Other AK-47s were brought down from neighboring Sudan, home of another long-running civil war. But the biggest haul came from Uganda, where the chaotic war to depose dictator Idi Amin opened an arms depot to the populace at large. The balance of terror eventually quieted the conflict with the Turkana in the 1980s. At that point, the Marakwet, the foes of the Pokot in the March violence, were not yet enemies. Herding communities generally raid other herders, and the Marakwet, settled in the relative lushness of the Kerio Valley, were essentially farmers. They lived peacefully beside the Pokot, trading and intermarrying, until a Marakwet shot a poisoned arrow into a Pokot during a drunken argument in 1991. The Pokot mounted an avenging raid, and in ensuing years there were sporadic skirmishes stoked by tribal politicians on both sides. "We have had several peace meetings with the Marakwets, but the only people who attend them are old people," Yatta complained. "The young just say, 'So you went to a meeting, what is the good of that?' " The Marakwets make the same complaints. Schools around Tot, the Marakwet town closest to the Pokot side, have recently seen something extraordinary in Africa: more female than male pupils. Young men have been dropping out to become moran, or warriors. Many in the once-peaceful community have even adopted the warrior-culture Pokot custom of wearing bead necklaces. A string of white beads means you have killed. As a local official recently drove by a meeting of Marakwet elders -- several dozen wizened figures, resplendent in colored beads, brass earrings and huge tin lip studs -- she dismissed a reconciliation effort with the Pokot as preliminary at best. "The person who is killing people is the boss, not us," said the official, Lydia Bailengo, a councilor in Tot. "We will have to consult with the youth elders to see if they will support the effort." The Marakwet have guns now, too. The story is that they got the first from a Pokot arms dealer, Domotepa Kamarkorot, who crossed the river in 1997 and sold a bundle of Kalashnikovs to his enemies, who then shot him dead with their new purchase. The incident provoked a fresh round of fighting. "It is strange," Yatta acknowledged. "He was a traitor to the Pokot. But the Pokot said, 'Why did you have to kill him?' " In its bitter illogic, the incident presaged the appalling March raid on the Kerio Valley. Its roots lay in last year's drought, which thinned the Pokot's elderly and sent the tribe's cattle from parched Pokot lands into the better-watered valley to graze. There, the cows were confiscated by Marakwet, who proceeded to do what no pastoralist tribe would think of doing: They slaughtered the hump-backed beasts by the hundreds. "Because we don't want to take care of cows for the Pokot to come and take them back, it is better for us to eat them," said Bailengo, the councilor. "You could go house to house to house and meet meat in every house." The Pokot were infuriated. By slaughtering the cows, the Marakwet had "broken the rules of this game," Yatta said. Young Pokot men picked up their guns and crossed the river to attack. By killing women and children, they too broke rules. Afterward, the Pokot raiders were nowhere to be found. The Pokot said they had gone to "cleanse themselves," smearing themselves with waste from a black goat and exiling themselves from their families for one month. The ritual is a solemn tradition that must follow taking a life. But Kona, the Turkana who now makes peace for Oxfam, said the cleansing ritual is seldom observed faithfully now that guns have made life so cheap. And as one elder recently told him, the trauma that goes unpurged remains to torment the killer, and keeps his guiding spirits out of balance. "They say a generation of mad people is growing," Kona said. "These people just kill and kill."
BBC 31 July 2001 Morocco considers Berber rights- King
Mohamed wants his country to be a beacon for human rights King Mohammed
VI of Morocco has promised to set up a body to preserve the language and culture
of the country's Berbers, who make up a majority of the population. In a speech
to mark the second anniversary of his accession to the throne, the king said
the body would work towards integrating the Berber language into the education
system. Berber activists have been campaigning for their language, Tamazight,
to be recognised as the country's official language. Reiterating his pledge
two years ago to build of a modern democratic state, the king said the issue
of identity was "crucial" and affected all Moroccans. Besides its role of reviving
the Berber culture, the institute will be in charge of preparing and monitoring
the integration of Tamazight into the educational system. King Mohamed VI The
Moroccan constitution recognises only Arabic as the official language. This
has effectively prevented many Berber children, who speak only Tamazight, from
gaining an education. In June, Moroccan authorities stopped Berber activists
from holding a meeting aimed at creating a united group to press for Berbers'
rights. 'National treasure' Berbers, also known as Amazigh, lived in what is
now Morocco before the Arab invasion in the seventh century. King Mohammed said
he had decided to set up the Royal Institute for Amazigh Culture "to strengthen
the pillars of our ancestral identity" bearing in mind "the need to give a new
impulse to our Amazigh culture, which is a national treasure". The king said:
"The institute will be in charge of preparing and monitoring the integration
of Tamazight into the educational system, in conjunction with the other ministerial
services." Berber activists welcomed the announcement. They pointed out, however,
that in 1978 the Moroccan parliament approved the creation of a national institute
for Berber studies, but the institute was never set up.
BBC 11 July, 2001 Court blow for southern Nigerian states By David Bamford in Lagos The Supreme Court has ruled that the federal government could go ahead with legal moves to stop 12 of the country's 36 states from seeking to keep the lion's share of revenues derived from their oil reserves. This issue goes to the very heart of a constitutional battle in Nigeria about whether power should remain in the hands of the central government. The states argue they produce 90% of the country's wealth, yet their populations live in poverty and underdevelopment. Under military rule, the oil producing states were obliged to hand over all of their revenue to the central government - a system which was frequently abused by corrupt military rulers. Residents of oil producing states puncture pipelines leading to deadly explosions With the return of civilian government two years ago, the oil states have been allowed to challenge the centralised system. But the federal government has countered, saying that if the state governments have their way, the rest of Nigeria would suffer and national unity would be undermined. Environmental damage Currently, the southern oil states are allowed to keep 13% of the revenue as compensation for environmental damage. Hundreds of oil workers have been taken hostage in disputes with local inhabitants But now the coastal populations say this formula is under threat from the central government's insistence that oil produced offshore should in future come under federal jurisdiction. Since the return of civilian rule, populations in both the north and the south of the country have become more militant in demanding their local rights. The federal government is anxious to prevent Nigeria moving towards the kind of open split that has in the past led to civil war.
ICRC 26 July 2001 Nigeria: Red Cross aids thousands of displaced people in central regions Over the past four weeks a series of intercommunal clashes in central and northern Nigeria has left many dead or wounded and forced an estimated 65,000 people to flee their homes in Nasarawa, Benue, Bauchi and Kaduna states. Working with the Nigerian Red Cross Society, since the beginning of July the ICRC has distributed relief supplies such as blankets, buckets, soap and mats to a total of 22,500 displaced people living in improvised camps. In Nasarawa state, fighting broke out between members of the Tiv and Hausa communities after the killing of a Hausa traditional ruler on 12 June. This prompted large sections of the population to seek refuge in the state capital Lafia, while many more fled to nearby Benue state. The Nasarawa branch of the Nigerian Red Cross responded rapidly, collecting the dead, evacuating the wounded to hospital and helping hospital staff to cope with the influx of casualties. The Nigerian Red Cross was also instrumental in setting up a camp for the displaced in Lafia, where Red Cross workers remain in charge of monitoring the situation and providing displaced families with assistance. Despite efforts deployed by the government, there is still a serious shortage of food for the displaced people, and the ICRC and the Nigerian Red Cross are currently organizing a food distribution for 2,000 of them in Lafia, due to take place during the last week of July. At the same time food distributions are being set up for some 15,000 displaced people in Bauchi, where fighting erupted between members of the Sayawa and Hausa/Fulani communities in the last week of June. In Kaduna, food will be distributed to the 1,000 displaced people currently taking refuge in various locations in Lere local government area after the communal clashes that erupted on the last day of June between members of the Christian and Muslim communities. In addition to food and other relief supplies, the Nigerian Red Cross is providing basic health care for the displaced.
BBC 8 July, 2001 A prominent Rwandan musician, Juvenal Masabo Nyangezi, has been jailed for six years for having associated with those who carried out the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. The French news agency, AFP, said that Mr Nyangezi, who gained fame in the 1990s for his songs about love, Rwanda's landscape and its contemporary culture, was found guilty of having joined a group of people who killed Tutsis in the Gikongoro commune. The prosecution, which had sought a life sentence, said it would appeal against the ruling.
IRIN 11 July 2001 Eleven people were sentenced to death for involvement in Rwanda's 1994 genocide by a court in Gikongoro, southwest Rwanda, the Hirondelle news agency reported. The group was part of a joint trial of 28 people from Kinyamakara commune who were charged with genocide and crimes against humanity. Four others were acquitted, seven were sentence to life imprisonment and six were given prison sentences of between six and 15 years. Of these, four pleaded guilty. Meanwhile, the court also ordered that the accused, Masabo Nyangezi, to be immediately released. He was sentenced to six years in jail but had already spent seven years in "preventive detention". Masabo was the director-general at the Rwandan environment and tourism ministry in 1994 and is well known to the Rwandan public as a singer-songwriter, Hirondelle added. He fled Kigali during the genocide and took refuge in his home commune of Kinyamakara, where he stayed until his arrest in August 1994. The court found him guilty of participating in an attack against a local family.
The East African (Nairobi) BOOK REVIEW July 23, 2001 Will 'Victor's Justice' Lead to Another Genocide? Paul Redfern. While much has been written on the 1994 Rwanda genocide, little is written on the willingness of so many formerly innocent people to participate in the slaughter. A new book by a Ugandan-born US academic says the current policy of Kigali with regard to the post-genocide era is unsustainable and could lead to another war. Mahmood Mamdani's book, When Victims Become Killers, is controversial in many aspects, not the least of which is his view that the original Rwandese Patriotic Front invasion of Rwanda was an outcome of President Yoweri Museveni wanting to "export" a political problem of his own. He also spends much time looking at the issue of the genocide which took place in 1994, arguing that the mass involvement of some many hundreds of thousands of the majority Hutu population was because they saw themselves as losing out in the struggle. Prof Mamdani says that while much written work on the 1994 genocide concentrates on the Hutu extremist leaders who encouraged the victim mentality by painting the RPF as Tutsi outsiders or even as settlers who would take away Hutu rights and power, little is written on the willingness of so many formerly innocent people to participate in the slaughter. "We may agree that genocidal violence cannot be understood as rational; yet, we need to understand it as thinkable," Mr Mamdani writes. "Rather than run away from it, we need to realise that it is the "popularity" of the genocide that is its uniquely troubling aspect. In its social aspect, Hutu-Tutsi violence in the Rwandan genocide invites comparison with Hindu-Muslim violence at the time of partition of colonial India. Neither can be explained as simply a state project." The author looks at both the history, geography and politics of Rwanda in examining the willing participation of so many hundreds of thousands of people in the genocide. Prof Mamdani argues that the majority Hutu population willingly accepted the argument that the Tutsi population was foreign and alien and that the killings were not therefore "ethnic" but "racial." Kigali is now trying to build a post-genocide society in a way that transcends ethnicity and does not talk about Rwandans as Hutu or Tutsi. But the author argues that such a policy, which he believes is similar to that adopted by Israel with regard to the Palestinians, is unworkable and is based on "victor's justice." Prof Mamdani accuses Kigali of trying "to build a post Zionist-type state on the ashes of the genocide." He argues that Rwanda is once again at a historic crossroads where its political leadership is faced by two clear options. "The first is a continuation of the civil war, as those defeated in the last round prepare for battle in the next; the second is its termination through a political reconciliation that rejects both victory and defeat and looks for a third and more viable possibility." The second policy, which the author terms "survivor's justice," would not be victor's justice, which he describes as "simply revenge masquerading as justice." The key issue, Mr Mamdani believes, is that ways must be found to marry the twin aims of reconciliation and justice. Doing this entails acknowledging victims, but not perpetrators, he argues. At present there are two conflicting strands in Rwandan society. The minority demand justice while the majority want democracy. "The two demands appear as irreconcilable, for the minority sees democracy as an agenda for completing the genocide and the majority sees justice as a self-serving mask for fortifying minority power. To break out of this logjam we need to link both political justice and political democracy to a reform of institutions of rule." But Rwanda or even the countries involved in the Great Lakes region cannot take on such a task alone, Mr Mandani argues. "To reform Rwanda will require a regional approach through a regional agenda that approaches the centre as firefighters would approach the heart of a raging fire, from the outside in. "If a regional reform of citizenship needs to be its first step, its second step may have to focus on Rwanda's spitting political image, Burundi. Precisely because Rwanda and Burundi read developments in each other's backyard as prophetic signs of their common fate, reform in Burundi can serve as a compelling example for Rwanda. For that reason if for no other, it is in Burundi that the regional and international community would be wise to invest physical resources alongside political guarantees to bring political reform." Prof Mamdani argues that without a reform of the power structure, "one that recognises both the importance of a majority in politics and the need for fearful minorities to participate in the exercise of power, there can be no sustained reconciliation between Hutu and Tutsi." A critical part of both regional and international involvement in trying to stabilise and normalise politics in Rwanda and Burundi will be a "drawn-out cooling off period" according to the author. He also believes that at some stage the people will have to begin by making one basic choice: between political union and political divorce. The latter, he argues, would be fraught with impractical difficulties on the nature of the states involved and the future of small minorities. Political union, he believes, could be on a grand scale involving the different communities across the Great Lakes region and this would address Rwanda's key dilemma - how to build a democracy that can incorporate a "guilty majority" alongside an aggrieved and fearful minority in a single political community. Critics such as Mamadou Diouf have described Mr Mamdani's book as "original and stimulating," but predicted it "will cause considerable controversy." Charles Tilly describes the work as "daring and wise" and adds that it has "clarified the struggles of the 1990s in Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and the DRC as well as helping identify ways of preventing future bloodshed." Well known historian Michael Ignatieff said that the book was "very impressive" and was "an attempt to move beyond the cliches of horror towards a genuine understanding of the social dynamics which made horror possible." Title: When Victims Become Killers Author: Mahmood Mamdani Publisher: James Currey (UK),
BBC 25 July, 2001 Interahamwe: A spent force? The army says it is winning its fight against the rebels By Helen Vesperini in north-east Rwanda Military commanders in Rwanda say they are winning the battle against rebels who have posed a constant threat since fleeing the genocide in 1994. When the latest round of rebel attacks in Rwanda began, the number of rebels based across the border in eastern Congo was believed to be about 30,000. Military commanders now reckon they have put nearly half of their fighters out of action. The Army for the Liberation of Rwanda rebels are split into two groups, Alir 1 and Alir 2. Both are formed from members of the former Rwandan Armed Forces (FAR) and the Interahamwe militia. The fighters were behind the 1994 massacres Interahamwe - which translates as "those who work together" - are a mixture of the Hutu extremists who carried out the 1994 genocide in Rwanda and boys who were recruited - often forcibly - by hard-liners in the camps in what was Eastern Zaire. "What I'm sure of is that we have really crippled Alir 1," said a senior Rwandan army commander. "They have been killed, captured or dispersed, dispersed beyond the capacity to regroup," he said. Fractured force He added that Rwandan forces capture between 15 and 20 of those dispersed daily, and they are never in military formations. The fighters are gradually being rounded up All that is left of Alir 1, he went on, are the units guarding the headquarters and it will be difficult to turn those men into a fighting force. The Rwandan Army reckons Alir 1 is the tougher of the two armies out to overthrow the government of President Paul Kagame. "They are the braver fighters anyway because they're the ones who stayed in Eastern Congo and they were further hardened by their attacks on Rwanda from 1997 to 1999," said a senior Rwandan military commander. The military capacity of Alir 2 will now depend largely on the attitude of the Kinshasa government. When the late president Laurent Kabila turned against his Rwandan backers, he hit on the idea of recruiting and supplying their arch enemy, the ex-Armed Forces of Rwanda (FAR) and the Interahamwe to fight alongside his forces. Big asset The highly-disciplined ex-FAR were a big asset to his own ill-disciplined troops. Both the former FAR troops and the hardcore Interahamwe were men with nothing to lose. Let them come ... we are ready for them Rwandan commander "If Kinshasa stops supporting them then they are finished as a force," said a Rwandan commander. Congolese rebel leaders say that the Kinshasa government foreign minister Leonard She Okitundu has admitted to giving financial support to the Interahamwe. Captured Interahamwe say they received arms air-dropped to sites in Eastern Congo by the Kinshasa government. Some arms they received directly, dropped in the countryside; others were attained through their allies, the Congolese tribal militia known as Mai-Mai, at airstrips in South Kivu province. However, although Alir 1 now seems to all intents and purposes harmless, Alir 2 has been making its way northwards to attack Rwanda. 'Let them come' "Let them come," said a senior Rwandan commander. The Rwandan army says it is ready for Interahamwe "We are ready for them ... the closer they come, the less time we spend looking for them and the easier it will be to kill them because they'll have walked a long way." Alir 2 is expected to attack either around the southern Rwandan town of Cyangugu or into southern Rwanda via neighbouring Burundi. The men of Alir 2 are those who fled the advance of Rwandan and Congolese troops in 1996. The bulk of them headed westwards, covering thousands of kilometres on foot or by boat to take shelter in Congo-Brazzaville or in Central African Republic. Many were then active in Katanga before heading northwards. Given the geography of Eastern Congo, it is also easy to imagine that even if Rwanda defeats Alir 2, some militia will just stay in the forests. In the words of Lieutenant Dauda Hakizimana, a member of the former Rwandan army captured a few days ago in Rwanda after several years living rough in the bush: "Congo is a big country with very many forests."
BBC 26 July, 2001 Widows Of Rwanda Unite Seven years ago the world’s worst genocide took place in Rwanda. In a space of just 100 days an estimated 800,000 Rwandans were killed. Rebuilding lives after such atrocities seemed impossible but, as Omnibus reports, many widows have found collective strength in a self-help organisation. Even for a country with a turbulent history, the scale and speed of the killing in Rwanda in 1994 left its people reeling. Families lived in fear. Wives had lost their husbands, children had been tortured and mothers raped. Most of the victims were from the minority Tutsi population, but many moderate Hutus lost their lives. Thousands upon thousands of women were widowed in just a few months and children witnessed a kind of horror that no one could dream was possible. Genocide Between April and June 1994, nearly one million people were killed in an attempt by Rwanda’s Hutu dominated government and its militia, the Interamhamwe (meaning those who attack together), to exterminate an entire population of Tutsis. Tension between the Hutu and Tutsi group had been building for years with sporadic violence and even massacres. The catalyst for the 1994 genocide was the death of the Rwandan president Juvenal Habyarimana, a Hutu, when his plane was shot down on 6 April 1994. Exactly who was responsible for the death of the president – and with him the president of Burundi – was unclear, but the effect was instantaneous. Violence When the news of president Habyarimana’s death broke the Tutsi population knew that they would be blamed. Within hours a campaign of violence spread throughout the country and during the next three months thousands of Rwandans were tortured and murdered. Hilarie Mukamazimpaka, a Tutsi, recalls how she heard the news on the radio, and how she immediately tried to escape with her husband. She describes a violence that was to become commonplace throughout the country: ‘They made us get out of the car and lie on the ground for the whole day. At about five o clock they started to shoot people and cut them with machetes. I was lying there among the bodies – 200 of us. They shot my husband and cut his neck.’ Others also recall the monumental level of carnage and the impact that the slaughter had on the nation. Esther Muyowayo recalls the scenes in the country’s capital, Kigali: ‘The streets were full of bodies, the houses were destroyed, things were looted and all around in the street. In the middle of that people were half mad.’ ‘Those who have survived, hiding for three months and those who were wounded but had no treatment. [They] were not yet able to believe that they were alive. Rwanda was in complete hell.’ Help The scale of the destruction was awe-inspiring. After the killing, Rwanda was a nation comprised of thousands of traumatised women – many having lost their homes, cattle, crops as well as their families and their dignity. It was also a nation of orphans, many of whom now had to head their households. But from the ashes of this terrible destruction an extraordinary phoenix rose. Esther Muyowayo had lost her husband, children and most of her family in the genocide. Through talking to friends she realised that she was not alone in her feelings of fear and loss and so decided to set up a self-help group for the widows of the genocide. After many long days Muyowayo founded the Avega Agahoza organisation, which from humble origins soon gained support from the newly formed government of Tutsis, and is now on its way to becoming a major organisation. ‘For many women this is the first time in years that they have been able to talk about what has happened to them.’ Trauma counselling has unearthed horrific accounts of rape, of systematic plans to infect children with the HIV virus and of the pain and torture that many women experienced at the hands of men armed with machetes. Dealing with such large-scale devastation has meant that the organisation has to prioritise. Its primary concerns include much needed mutual support, health care and counselling. Avega was also at the forefront of the government-sponsored efforts to build new villages – made up entirely of widows. Rights As well as helping individuals, Avega has also had a political profile. Until recently widows had no rights of inheritance. But the organisation lobbied parliament, judges, journalists and anyone who could help until they achieved a historic victory. In November 1999 a law was passed allowing widows the rights to inherit land and their husband’s property. The moral support found amongst the widows at Avega is immeasurable and although the mental scars of the genocide are deep rooted, as Muyowayo explains such action serves to demonstrate how the widows are slowing regaining their self-esteem: ‘There is a big empowerment of women since the genocide. It is unfortunate that they had to pass through such tragic events to get there but at least they got there. In Rwanda it is now a fact that a woman can manage herself.’
AFP 30 July 2001 Inside the mastermind of genocide Kigali - Protais Zigiranyirazo stands accused by a UN court of having been one of the key planners of the orchestrated killing in Rwanda in 1994 of more than a half a million Tutsis and "moderate" Hutus. Widely known as Zed, Zigiranyirazo was arrested in Brussels on Thursday on the request of Carla del Ponte, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). The suspect had been seeking refugee status in Belgium and had been kept in an asylum-seekers' detention facility at the capital's airport. His sister is the widow of late president Juvenal Habyarimana, whose death on April 6, 1994, set in motion a killing campaign that had been carefully planned for years. According to the ICTR indictment, Zed is charged with "extermination as a crime against humanity ... or alternatively, murder as a crime against humanity." The charge sheet explains he was a member of a powerful elite of Hutu politicians, businessmen and military officers, "a tight circle of extended family members and persons bound by inter-marriage ... popularly characterised as the 'Akazu', the small hut or court that surrounding the central power." It notes that between April 6, 1994 and July 17, 1994, "soldiers, Interahamwe militias and armed civilians targeted and attacked Rwanda's Tutsi population and persons perceived to be politically opposed" to Habyarimana's ruling party. "Protais Zigiranyirazo, among others, planned, prepared, or facilitated such killings by ordering, authorising or participating in various meetings or of regional and local administrative officials ... or by collaborating with such persons, to organise and arm the local population ... to exterminate the Tutsi," the indictment said. Also known as "Prince of the North", Zigiranyirazo was for a decade prefect of Ruhengeri province. He quit this post in 1989 to study in Canada, where he allegedly had investments, and from where he was expelled a few months later. During the genocide, Zigiranyirazo, according to the indictment, ordered soldiers manning some of the numerous roadblocks to kill Tutsis who were trying to flee to neighbouring Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo). He is also on a list of 2 989 people listed as "category one" genocide suspects - planners and organisers - released in April by the Rwandan government. "The Prince of the North had whoever he wanted killed or promoted," said Monday's edition of the government daily Imvaho newspaper. He has also been implicated in the murder of gorilla conservationist Dian Fossey, who was killed in northern Rwanda in 1985. In his book Murders in the Mist, British journalist Nicholas Gordon suggested Zed may have had a hand in the killing, which took place near Ruhengeri, because he controlled the trade in Rwanda's valuable mountain gorillas as well as in gold. A Belgian court on Monday gave the ICTR three months to confirm the charges against Zigiranyirazo and send an international arrest warrant. - AFP
The Progress (Freetown) EDITORIAL July 26, 2001 Is This the Right Time for War Crimes Prosecution? The Nuremberg trial of the German war criminals started few years after the Second World War itself ended. In our own case it is different. The UN and our local leaders wanted a swift and immediate trial. Why? We are forced to ask. For sure all those who bore the greatest atrocities in our crisis should face trial. But our fear is the timing of such trial. Since the approval of the SC by the UN the RUF have started their usually ranting as if they intended to pull out of the peace process. This press in not afraid of the RUF and their threat-although they succeeded in destroying more than 90% of country. But the fact is that the different warring factions still carry guns and are well armed and are capable of heaping some of the worst human right abuses one could imagine. In deed the recent report by the highly renowned American-based human rights watchdog group Human Rights Watch in which it was stated gross human rights abuses still continue under the direct supervision of the pro-government militia and the RUF must not be taken lightly. Can an immediate trial bring the war to an end this time round? Don't we face risking the expansion of the life span of the disarmament process merely by pronouncing a war crime tribunal at this stage? We just hope the UN alongside all its bureaucracies have done their home work properly this time round for we will not like to see a situation wherein the country slide by to an orgy of violence. Some say there is no time for the introduction of a war tribunal but will feel there is a time for the introduction of it. After all it means nothing when after trying a group of criminals then after sometime we are to find out that similar atrocities are being carried out either remnants of the same group or of an off shot or a different group. Thin about tit UN. Sierra Leonean needs peace though hastily but a perfect one.
BBC 31 July, 2001, UN condemns 'callous' attack - UN will deploy in diamond areas in spite of 'blood chilling ' attack by Mark Doyle in Freetown The Commander of the UN peacekeeping force in Sierra Leone has described as callous an attack on civilians which took place recently in the diamond mining region in the east of the country. Lieutenant General Daniel Opande movingly told reporters on Tuesday that the massacre of at least nine civilians and possibly many more was one of the worst things he had seen in a long military career. Attacks on children have been an hallmark of rebels They were slaughtered like chickens, the general said, by a man he described as a renegade rebel commander, one Demba Marah. He is from an apparent splinter group from the main rebel Revolutionary United Front, which has signed a ceasefire which the UN says the main force is largely respecting. Six-month-old baby The Kenyan UN commander said the scenes in the village of Henekuma had chilled his blood when he saw the remains of a murdered six-month-old baby, other small children and old people. The UN saw nine bodies in the village, although some reports say the number of dead was much higher. The war in Sierra Leone has been brutal The assault on Henekuma appears to have been in revenge for earlier attacks on rebel positions by armed militia men opposed to the rebels. Reliable reports said militia men known as Kamajors or Donsos had attacked several villages, killing at least 45 civilians. Serious challenge The outbreak of fighting between the rebels and the militia men in the diamond mining areas is a serious challenge for the UN, which has its largest peacekeeping force in the world in Sierra Leone. The UN commander said it was apparent some splinter groups of rebels and militia men were not obeying the orders of their high commands, which were in favour of the ceasefire and UN-sponsored disarmament. General Opande said nevertheless the UN deployment would continue in the diamond areas. A force of several thousand Pakistanis is due to be in place there in the next few weeks.
BBC 2 July, 2001 Crackdown signaled in Mogadishu Mogadishu is scarred by 10 years of fighting By Hassan Barise in Mogadishu A rare day of celebration took place in the capital, Mogadishu, on Sunday to mark the 41st anniversary of Somalia's independence. We will crush all the banditry in Mogadishu Prime Minister Ali Khalif Gallaydh It marks the first time that independence festivities have been held under the auspices of the transitional national government. A flag-raising ceremony was held in Mogadishu's main stadium and the city was lit up with colored lights, a sight not seen in the capital for the past 10 years. But the lights were mainly concentrated around the government houses and the streets leading to them, with most of the roads remaining as dark as before. At the ceremony, Prime Minister Ali Khalif Gallaydh spoke about the history of the day, but also the current issue of security. Operations Mr Gallaydh vowed that his government would soon be able to control the capital. The Somali president is struggling to impose his authority on the country "Major operations will start immediately after today," he said, sending his condolences to the families of two police officers killed three days ago. "I promise the noble cause in which these two men were killed will continue and we will crush all the banditry in Mogadishu," he said. The major part of the celebrations started at the former 21 October parade ground, which has been rehabilitated by the interim government in the past few days. Tens of thousands of people from all corners in the capital gathered to witness the parade attended by several thousand uniformed policemen and military. Several thousand students in their school uniforms marched before the ground and all 16 districts of Mogadishu sent their particular traditional dancers to perform. Ethiopia President Abdulkassim Salat Hassan spoke about foreign relations. He concentrated on Ethiopia with whom, until recently, the TNG has had a strained relationship. "We very much welcome the recent understanding between us and Ethiopia," he said. "Our differences should be over and the two neighboring peoples should respect each other and maintain a real collaboration," he said.
BBC, 14 July, 2001 Somalia clan fighting kills 20 War-ravaged Mogadishu is plagued by clan rivalry Heavily armed rival militia factions have clashed in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, killing at least 20 people, mainly civilians. Witnesses said fighters loyal to the warlord Musa Sudi Yalahow battled gunmen loyal to the interim government in the Sana area of the city. The fighting later subsided. A market in the district suffered heavy damage and stray rounds also hit a Koranic school, homes and restaurants, the witnesses said. Hundreds of people fled Sana as the fighting raged. The Somali president is struggling to impose his authority Five of the deaths occurred when an anti-tank round hit a bar in the city's Bakara market, Reuters news agency reported. The latest clashes followed the deployment of government troops in the area on Friday. A BBC correspondent in Somalia says Mr Yalahow was angered by the presence of the authorities' forces on what he regarded as Abgal clan territory, despite their having been invited by other clan elders. He denied shelling other areas of the city. He is one of a number of warlords opposed to the interim government, which was set up last year at a conference in Djibouti. Previous heavy intra-clan fighting has left at least 15 people dead and more than 40 injured. In an effort to maintain order, President Abdulkassim Salat Hassan's fledgling government set up a 2,000-strong police force in June - the first since former President Mohamed Siad Barre was toppled in 1991. But parts of Mogadishu remain in the hands of warlords opposed to the government.
Bay Centre for Conflict Prevention (Kismayo City) PRESS RELEASE 27 July 2001 Civilian Populations Suffer Atrocities, Ethnic Cleansing Kismayo City Conflict Monitoring Officials of "Bay Centre for Conflict Prevention" have reported to the Centre's security team today that the forces of the Transitional Government and militiamen of warlords have launched attack against the forces of previous leader of Kismayo City. The militiamen in Kismayo City have caused untold hardships and atrocities among civilian populations in southern port town of Kismayo, Somalia. Since yesterday, the civilian people in Kismayo City are increasingly experiencing atrocities, brutal campaign of repression and ethnic cleansing by the forces of transitional government and of warlords in the city. According to reports, the Transitional Government has today delivered financial and military support to warlords and militiamen in the port City of Kismayo. Kismayo City of southern Somalia is occupied by the president of Transitional Government's sub-clan, Ayr clan, and alliances of Somali warlord Hussein Aideed which dispersed the previous administration of the city on 11th of June 1999. Somali transitional government is increasingly being diverted from its main core of establishment, namely reconciliation among people, peace and stability promotion, and creation of fair society in Somalia. The Transitional Government's supports to warlords in Kismayo City are mainly aimed at getting an access to Kismayo Port City, with a view to importing military equipment and fostering lucrative business of President's Ayr clan in charcoal and fishing trade in Kismayo City and its surrounding areas. The Port City of Kismayo is strategically important for the Transitional Government in order to get capture Bay and Bakol Regions which are now in the hand of RRA. The Transitional Government deliberately remained silence on feudal activities and human rights violation in Kismayo City. Systematically, Mogadishu business groups have deeply benefited from the establishment of Transitional government by printing money, carrying out business lobbying during official tours of government delegations outside the country, expelling, moving and financing the killing of original inhabitants of Kismayo City and ordering to take possession of every single thing in confiscated areas. The leadership of Transitional Government deliberately uses the overseas financial aid to only exacerbate and perpetuate atrocities in Kismayo City, with a view to extending its control in southern area, particularly capturing the Bay and Bakol Regions. Such approach will, in effect, allow warlords continue to exploit the nation's scarce resource together with their foreign business groups. So far, the Transitional Government did not take any measure against confiscated private properties in Mogadishu city. Certainly, the current ill- devised policies of the Transitional Government towards Somali people will not break the vicious circle of conflicts in the country but will encourage human rights violations. The Centre sends clear message to militiamen in Kismayo City and to the leadership of Transitional Government who are collectively committing crimes against humanity in Kismayo City of southern Somalia. Each of them is not immune from prosecution now or in the future. In the light of current situation, the BCCP urges the leadership of transitional government to desist from financing and morally supporting warlords and their militiamen in Kismayo City of Somalia, and to withdraw its militiamen from Kismayo City. The BCCP also urges the militiamen of President's sub-clan and warlord Aideed's alliance to respect the rights of civilian and desist from wilful targeting of civilian populations in Kismayo City. We call the leadership of Transitional Government to take prompt actions against Somali public and private properties confiscated in Mogadishu and its surroundings, which are persistently used for personal interests. The Centre has raised its concern and is closely continuing to monitor the situation in southern Somalia. Contact: Bay Centre for Conflict Prevention (BCCP) secretariat: email@example.com
BBC 27 July, 2001, Fighting has continued for a second day in south Somalia between forces loyal to the faction leader General Mohammed Morgan and the Juba Valley Alliance, which supports the transitional government in Mogadishu. At least 15 people are reported to have been killed in the battle for the port town of Kismaio. Friday's clashes were centred around the districts of Dinsor and Bu'aleh. It is not known who controls them. The battle is the latest in a series of clashes between supporters and opponents of the year-old transitional administration of President Abdulkassim Salat, which is trying to secure control over the whole country.
BBC 23 July, 2001 New US warning on Sudan A senior American official has warned that parts of Sudan could soon face a crop failure comparable to the catastrophic drought of the 1980s, when 250,000 people died. The official, Andrew Natsios - speaking at the end of the first US visit of its kind to Sudan for 12 years - said that failed rains threatened famine in parts of the north, while government attacks on villages were creating hunger in the south. Mr Natsios told reporters in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, that if the crops failed this year, then there was the possibility of a catastrophe next year. He has been assessing the humanitarian situation in Sudan, which has been ravaged by 18 years of civil war between the government in the Islamic north, and rebels from the Christian and animist south.
BBC 28 July, 2001 Sudanese march for peace -Leading actors and comedians are taking part Thousands of people including large numbers of children are marching to Sudanese capital, Khartoum, in an effort to bring an end to the protracted civil war. We are appealing to all sides to stop the war in our country and achieve peace here, in the continent and in the whole world 12-year-old participant The peace march began at Wad Medani, about 150km (94 miles) from Khartoum with an estimated 1,000 participants, but within hours the numbers are reported to have swelled to about 25,000. "We are appealing to all sides to stop the war in our country and achieve peace here, in the continent and in the whole world," said Omar Awad el-Basha, a 12-year-old on the march. The two-day demonstration has been organised jointly by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the Sudanese Movement for Children. Both organisations are particularly concerned about the humanitarian effects of the conflict on children. Co-ordination UNICEF spokesman Thomas Ekvall said one aim was to highlight that past efforts to co-ordinate aid programmes there had not been entirely successful. Many of the marchers are children "If we all work together in a coherent, co-ordinated, realistic fashion, we can all ensure that we can achieve these goals for the children," he told The Associated Press. The Sudanese President, Omar el-Bashir, is reported to be planning to address the marchers when they arrive in Khartoum later on Saturday. Rebels in the mostly Christian and animist southern Sudan have been fighting the central government in the Arab Muslim north for greater autonomy for the last 18 years. The conflict has claimed the lives of more than two million people, mostly through war-related famine.
Internews (Arusha) 26 June 2001 Witness Breaks Down During Testimony in 'Media Trial' Mary Kimani, Arusha A prosecution witness in the so-called "Media Trial" today broke down as she narrated to judges of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) how Interahamwe militiamen almost killed her during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. The Interahamwe were allied to the then ruling party, the Movement for the Republic for National Development (MRND). The witness -- identified only as "AEU" -- broke down as she described how she was forced to watch people being killed and dumped in a hole at a place called Kaburini in a commune nicknamed 'Rouge.' She said Hassan Ngeze, one of the defendants in the Media Trial, together with another man named Hassan Gatoki and several militiamen, extorted money from her to ensure her safety and that of her children. AEU is testifying against Ngeze, owner and former editor of an alleged extremist Rwandan newspaper, 'Kangura.' Ngeze is jointly tried with Ferdinand Nahimana and Jean Bosco Barayagwiza, both founding members of the Radio Television Libre Des Mille Collines (RTLM). All three have denied using their respective media to incite ethnic Hutu to kill ethnic Tutsi. Ngeze is additionally charged with personal involvement in the militia's massacre activities, including the murder of at least one person. AEU said prior to the genocide, Ngeze established a system through which people could be identified as Hutu or Tutsi, regardless of the ethnic community stated in their identity cards. Ngeze's system, AEU said involved militiamen inserting two fingers into the nose of someone suspected to be Tutsi. If the fingers fitted the nose, the militiamen declared the person Hutu. If the fingers did not fit, the person was declared Tutsi. This is based on the stereotype that the Hutu are stocky and have wide noses while the Tutsi are tall and have pointed noses. AEU told the court although her ID stated was Hutu; she failed the test as she had a narrow nose. She claimed that Ngeze and Gatoki knew she was Tutsi and extorted 300 US Dollars per child with a 'Hutu nose' and 700 US Dollars for herself. She said Ngeze and Gatoki promised her safe passage across the border to former Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) on condition that she pays them 1000 US Dollars. However, when Gatoki tried to escort her to the border, AEU claims she was arrested by militiamen at a roadblock and taken back "to be killed." She said the militiamen beat her up so badly, they left her for the dead, with blood all over her body. Defense attorneys will cross-examine AEU tomorrow. Meanwhile, John Floyd of the US, counsel for Ngeze, asked the court to direct the prosecution to reveal the contents of their discussion with a witness -- identified only as AAW-- who declined to testify yesterday. Stephen Rapp of the United States, prosecution representative, told the court yesterday that AAW refused to testify, claiming that after deep prayer he realized that some information on his witness statement "were lies." Floyd asked the court to direct Rapp to reveal the false information in AAW's statement saying that such information was "exculpatory material" and the prosecution was "under obligation to reveal it." In response, Rapp said that the discussion did not touch on the contents of the whole testimony and that AAW told the prosecutors that the allegation of the murder of a certain Tabaro and his children "was a lie." After AAW refused to testify, Rapp said, he realized that the witness' new position differed significantly from the statement. Rapp said he is now unwilling to call AAW to take the stand. Judge Navanethem Pillay of South Africa (presiding) directed Floyd to make further enquiries out of court and only seek the court's assistance if he encounters any difficulty. The matter is before Trial Chamber I of the ICTR, comprising Judges Pillay, Erik Mose of Norway and Asoka De Zoysa Gunawardana of Sri Lanka.
AFP 28 July 2001 A radical Islamic group has distributed leaflets in Tanzania's offshore island of Zanzibar, asking women to stop wearing mini skirts and other "indecent attire." Police say the group calling itself "Simba wa Mungu" or The Lion of God, has given Zanzibari women up to July 31st to heed the warning. The group warns that offenders would be punished in accordance with the Islamic law. Assistant Police Commissioner Juma Mtumwa however said police patrols had been stepped up to ensure security for women on the island. He said it was the first time that religious-based threats had been issued on the island in recent times. -- Kundi moja sugu la Kiislamu limesembaza vijikaratasi katika kisiwa cha Zanzibar likiwataka wanawake wakome kuvaa marinda mafupi. Polisi wamesema kwamba kundi hilo linalojiita Simba wa Mungu limetoa muda wa hadi tarehe 31 mwezi huu kwa wanawake wakome kuvaa marinda hayo. Kundi hilo limeonya kwamba wale watakaokiuka agizo hilo wataadhibiwa kulingana na sheria za Kiislamu. Hata hivyo, naibu wa mkuu wa polisi Juma Mtumwa amesema kwamba polisi wameimarisha usalama ili kuwalinda wanawake katika kisiwa hicho. Alisema hii ni mara ya kwanza kwa kundi lolote la kidini kutoa vitisho katika kisiwa hicho. Kenya Broadcasting Corporation ( KBC) http://www.kbc.co.ke/
Zimbabwe Standard (Harare) July 2, 2001 Ex- Army Officer Adopts Genocide Orphans Thabo Kunene, Harare A former army officer who served in the notorious North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade, which was involved in the mass slaughter of thousands of Zapu supporters in the 1980s, has adopted two Tsholotsho orphans whose parents were killed during the genocide. The actions of the former Gukurahundi man took the small community in the Phumula area of Tsholotsho completely by surprise. The 43 year-old former officer, who wished to remain anonymous and who claims to be a born-again Christian, adopted the orphans at a meeting with the villagers two weeks ago. He had gone to the village in the company of his church pastor. On arrival, the two men went straight to the homestead of the village head and told him that they had come to apologise to the families of people who lost their loved ones during the massacres. At first, the village head thought the two men were drunk but on realising they were serious, he called other villagers to an urgent meeting with the two. According to eyewitnesses, the former soldier made an emotional appeal before the villagers and confessed that he had been among hundreds of Fifth Brigade troops who had rampaged through the villages of Matabeleland and the Midlands slaughtering innocent people. "I know I am guilty because I also took part in the killings of your loved ones. Some people lost bread winners because of what the Fifth Brigade did here," the former officer is said to have told the shocked villagers. "God spoke to me one day and I decided to ask my pastor to accompany me to Matabeleland to apologise for causing suffering and pain to many people," said the former soldier, who now lives in Zvishavane with his wife and three children. He told the villagers that many Fifth Brigade soldiers now regretted the part they had played in the genocide which occurred soon after independence. However, some youths, irked the presence of the ex-officer, tried to beat him up as he apologised for the massacres. They were restrained by the villagers. The eyewitnesses said most of the villagers who attended the meeting had accepted the former Gukurahundi officer's apology. After apologising to the villagers, the ex-army officer then asked the locals to identify two orphans who lost their parents during the massacres. After the villagers identified two orphans, the former officer adopted them as his own children. He told the villagers that he would take care of all their educational needs, including the paying of school fees and the buying of uniforms and books. Their education would be covered by his insurance policy, he told them. The two orphans he adopted are doing 'O' and 'A' level, in Bulawayo and Tsholotsho, respectively. The relatives of the orphans confirmed their adoption by the former Gukurahundi soldier, but said the children would continue staying with their relatives. "I can confirm the adoption. The former soldier also gave them $2 000 before he left," said one of the relatives who declined to be identified. The former officer later told The Standard that God had changed his life after his conversion to Christianity. "I am now a new person. I want to serve the Lord," he said. His pastor described the Tsholotsho meeting with the villagers as fruitful but said the visit had been risky as some people had threatened to kill the former soldier. The Fifth Brigade, which comprised mainly former Zanla guerrillas, was unleashed on the opposition Zapu supporters in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces in 1983 on the pretext that the soldiers were tracking down dissidents. Local and foreign human rights activists estimate that at least 20 000 civilians perished during the campaign to crush Zapu, which was then led by the late Joshua Nkomo. Perence Shiri, the founder commander of the Fifth Brigade, was later promoted by President Mugabe to the rank of airforce commander amid protests by local human rights activists who included former Prime Minister of Southern Rhodesia, Sir Garfield Todd.
Colombia (see Spain)
Tico Times (Costa Rica) 27 July 2001 Ticos Defend 'The Wall' By Tim Rogers Tico Times Staff It has been likened to the Berlin Wall, blasted by Nicaraguan authorities as "deplorable" and promoted in downtown Managua as a tourist destination for those who want to witness a Costa Rican symbol of intolerance. Yet the international controversy surrounding the 900-meter-long wall that will be constructed along the Costa Rican side of the border with Nicaragua may be little more than an anti-Tico publicity stunt by the government of Nicaraguan President Arnoldo Alemán. "I am not sure who specifically is behind this campaign, but it appears to be linked to the Alemán government," Nicaraguan political analyst Oscar Vargas told The Tico Times Tuesday. "This is an election-year attempt to divert people’s attention away from the larger national problems of government corruption and famine in the north of the country (see Top Story on drought). "This anti-wall campaign is most likely the work Alemán supporters who are attempting to play the nationalist card," agreed Alberto Alemán, a reporter for the Nicaraguan daily La Prensa. "But after it is built, it will be funny to say the wall will keep people from crossing the border." Costa Rica’s blueprint, designed to modernize the aging Peñas Blancas border crossing, includes the construction of a wall around the staging area where trucks loaded with south-bound merchandise are stored for the night. The wall is designed to prevent nighttime theft of the trucks’ valuable cargo. Costa Rican President Miguel Angel Rodríguez has repeatedly defended his country’s right to build anything it deems necessary within national territory. He emphatically denies that the wall’s intention is to keep anyone out. People who have seen the plan agree that it will do little to deter Nicaraguans from illegally crossing the border. "The wall is no grounds for any kind of scandal," said Luis Guillermo Solís, a political science professor at the University of Costa Rica. "At two-meters high, it will not prevent anyone from coming into the country because that is not what it is designed to do." "If The Tico Times pays for it, I will go to the border and jump over the wall," joked 67-year-old presidential candidate Abel Pacheco. The Tico Times this week visited the heavily-wooded swampland of Peñas Blancas, 360 kilometers northwest of San José, to check out the hype surrounding the wall that was recently denounced by several Salvadoran and Honduran ex-presidents as a "Central American travesty." A one-meter-tall barbed-wire fence currently runs the 20-kilometer border limit from Peñas Blancas to the Pacific Ocean. None of the wall’s concrete blocks have yet been laid. According to foreman José Briseño, construction of the barrier, which parallels the border one meter in on the Costa Rican side, will begin next week. It will line less than one kilometer of the nations’ 300-kilometer-long shared border. "The amount of two-way illegal traffic crossing the border each day makes this place look like San José’s Central Avenue," commented one Northern Command border guard, referring to the area where the wall will be constructed. "We try to minimize the number of Nicaraguans sneaking across the border, but for every 10 we catch, 100 more get past us. This situation will never end. All the police in Costa Rica could not guard this one small area of the border." While there is no way to know how many undocumented Nicaraguans live in Costa Rica, more than 38,000 illegal immigrants have been returned this year. Some analysts estimate that as many as 500,000 Nicaraguans live here. Still, hundreds of others sneak south across the border each day to look for work, or to buy household appliances, rice and beans – all of which are cheaper here. From the Costa Rican side, "coyotes" – people paid to sneak Nicaraguans across the border – can often be seen leading small caravans of three or four people along the Nicaraguan side, waiting for an opportunity to cross. Costa Rica’s border officials, some on motorcycles and many dressed in U.S. Airforce-issued combat fatigues, make rounds watching the coyotes. In a 30-minute period in which The Tico Times stood at the site of the future wall, some 20 Nicaraguans were seen crossing the border in both directions. Only two were stopped by the border patrol. If detained on the Costa Rican side, the illegal immigrants are taken to the Northern Command’s Peñas Blancas office, according to one officer. While detained, he added, their names are taken down and they are given coffee and something to eat before being returned to Nicaragua. Pregnant women and small children are taken to the hospital in La Cruz for a medical exam before being returned. "Many times we catch and deport someone and several hours later they are caught again trying to cross at another point along the border," the patrol officer said. While the controversy surrounding the Costa Rican wall may be little more than a political power play by Alemán’s spin doctors, the only barrier that currently exists at the border is Nicaragua’s own – a three-meter tall concrete and barbed-wire barrier that protects merchandise in trucks parked in the northern nation’s own customs area. Costa Rican presidential candidate Pacheco, would have a harder time hurdling that obstacle.
Miami Herald 19 July 2001 Blood flows on Massacre River-- Over past year and a half, 16 Haitians died BY NANCY SAN MARTIN firstname.lastname@example.org DAJABON, Dominican Republic -- At the edge of this border town, a river separating one island into two nations goes by a name that captures the troubled and unresolved history of this Caribbean region. The Río Masacre (Massacre River) is the site where blood flowed between French and Spaniard colonizers who fought for possession of Hispaniola, the land that is home to both the Dominican Republic and Haiti. It is where 17,000 to 30,000 Haitians were slaughtered in 1937 by the Dominican army under orders by former dictator Rafaél Trujillo. Today, blood continues to flow in a river that both connects and divides both nations. At least 16 Haitians have died over the past year and a half in incidents involving the Dominican military. TENSIONS ``The pressure against Haitians is most felt here,'' said the Rev. Regino Martínez, director of Solidaridad Fronteriza, a 4-year-old social service and cultural center in Dajabón. Government officials refer to the incidents as isolated cases. ``They are incidents that the government laments, but they are border incidents between individuals,'' said Luis González Fabra, a spokesman for President Hipólito Mejía. Tensions rise every week when hundreds of Haitians make their way across the border with goods to sell at the marketplace in Dajabón. Many prefer to wade across the river and bribe border guards for passage rather than wait for the border crossing to open. Streams of people with bundles on their heads, arms or backs maneuver the river banks with cash in hand for the rifle-toting Dominican guards. The chaotic scene often becomes heated as tempers flare. That is how Elie Jean Batiste met his death. The 20-year-old woke up at dawn on March 13 to cross the Río Masacre from his home across the border in Juana Mendez. He wanted to secure a good spot at the weekly marketplace in Dajabón to sell tennis shoes. ``When he got to the river, there were a lot of other Haitians there who wanted to cross to go to the market,'' said his sister, Marisul Jean Batiste. ``The guard said that everybody had to pay. The guard asked for 15 gourdes [Haitian dollars]. Elie said he only had 10. ``The guard said it had to be 15. Elie turned around to return to Haiti. Then they shot him in the back. The bullet came out in the front,'' she said holding a picture of the corpse that shows the exit wound from the bullet just under the left arm. OFFICIAL VISIT The death caused a public outcry. A Dominican government representative visited the Jean Batiste family, apologized for the incident and gave them enough money to pay for the burial. A month following his death, a group of Haitians and Dominicans met at the river and placed a wooden cross on the spot where Jean Batiste fell to his death. The cross was swept away by the currents. Marisul and the rest of the family walk past it every week as they traverse the river to sell products at the marketplace. ``This is how we survive,'' she said.
Miami Herald 18 July 2001 GUATEMALA CITY -- A mob killed eight people in a remote town in northern Guatemala after accusing the victims of local highway robberies, police said Tuesday. The killings took place Sunday in Secoyala, 250 miles north of the capital, Guatemala City, said police spokesman Faustino Sánchez. Local residents first captured a 17-year-old boy, interrogating him and beating him until he named other suspects. The residents then searched for the others and captured eight people, torturing them and burning them alive, Rivera said. When the police arrived, they discovered the bodies.
Tico Times (Costa Rica) 27 July 2001 Honduran Protesters Halt Dam Project By Daniel Graham and Agence France Presse TEGUCIGALPA – Following a July 18 clash between police and hundreds of protesters, the Honduran government this week suspended construction of a controversial hydroelectric dam in the rural municipality of Gualaco, 250 km east of the capital. Residents of communities neighboring the project site charge that construction of a dam in the Babilonia River would destroy their livelihood as well as their natural and cultural heritage. Their protests were met with violence June 30 when armed members of a security firm hired to protect Energisa, the private Honduran company contracted to build the dam, assassinated community leader Carlos Flores. After the murder, some 200 residents from Gualaco traveled to the Legislative Assembly in Tegucigalpa to demand justice for Flores’ death and to protest the continuation of the project. Police responded violently last week after some 500 indigenous people from the eastern part of the country joined the protesters assembled in front of Congress. Ten police officers and at least 17 demonstrators were injured in the clashes. Opposition to the hydroelectric project began shortly after lawmakers approved construction of a dam in the Sierra de Agalta National Park, a protected area noted for its exceptional biodiversity. Residents of the area, which has already been partially deforested by logging operations, perceived the project as the continuation of state-sanctioned depredation of natural resources. Representatives of Energisa maintain that the dam is a socially and environmentally responsible project, which will help provide energy to the rural eastern part of the country as well as create hundreds of temporary construction jobs. However, Gualaco Mayor Rafael Ulloa disputes the company’s claims, citing Energisa’s failure to attain municipal approval for the project or to submit an independent environmental impact report. According to Ulloa, more than 80 percent of community members are opposed to the project because the dam’s reservoir will inundate 128 families’ coffee plantations and destroy a 1,700-foot, several-tiered series of cascades that residents value as part of their cultural heritage and potential source of eco-tourism revenue. Ulloa's outspoken opposition to the hydroelectric project has resulted in several death threats over the course of the year. In an apparently related incident, Gualaco Priest Fredy Cornelio Benltez was knifed in the back Mar. 4. Residents believe the attempt on his life was a result of his leadership role in a local forum in protest of the dam. The hydroelectric project has been suspended indefinitely while the government looks into the opposition’s complaints. * Daniel Graham is a graduate student at the University of California-Berkeley.
Reuters 12 July 2001 Peru's Truth Commission Faces Shaky Start Amid Row By Jude Webber LIMA, Peru (Reuters) - Peru's much vaunted Truth Commission is due to take office on Friday but its task of national reconciliation was overshadowed before it had even begun by a bitter row over one of its seven members. The inclusion of Beatriz Alva, a former ally of ex-President Alberto Fujimori , has offended some lawmakers, rights groups and relatives of 30,000 people who died and 4,000 who disappeared in the state-sponsored and rebel violence from 1980-2000 that the commission will put under the microscope. Alva, a lawyer who now works as a television news anchor, was elected to Congress last year and represented Fujimori's hard-line government in talks with the then-opposition brokered by the Organization of American States. ``We're not against the Truth Commission. ... We're against the nomination of Beatriz Alva because she was part of the Fujimori government. ... We want her to resign,'' Gisela Ortiz, a representative for a leading victims group, told Reuters. ``We're concerned that the commission takes office tomorrow without her having resigned. She should,'' echoed Miguel Huerta, a senior figure in the national Human Rights Coordinator. With such a delicate task ahead, rights groups say the commission will only have full legitimacy if all members are trusted. But the commission, whose other members have been applauded, has hinted that if Alva goes, they could all go. The Truth Commission -- following similar bodies in such countries as South Africa and Argentina -- will have up to 23 months to comb alleged human rights abuses by the military and rebels under the 1980-85 government of Fernando Belaunde, Alan Garcia's 1985-90 administration and Fujimori's 1990-2000 term. Peru was wracked from the 1980s to the mid-1990s by violence by the Shining Path and Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA), which sought to overthrow the state. Emotions are still raw. Fujimori was removed from office last year amid a corruption scandal centered on his spy chief and the attorney general has called for him to be charged with responsibility for a ``horrendous'' 1991 massacre by an army death squad. INCOMING, OUTGOING GOVERNMENTS FACE OFF The escalating Truth Commission row has pitted the respected interim government of Valentin Paniagua against President-elect Alejandro Toledo, who takes office on July 28 and who says he will be bound by the commission's findings. Paniagua has defended the line-up, incensing senior figures in Toledo's party. ``We listened to everyone we had to and took a democratic decision in which the Cabinet elected the members by secret ballot,'' the president told reporters on Thursday. Ministers closely related to what has been a pet project for the Paniagua government sprang to its defense. ``The government made a responsible decision,'' said Susanna Villaran, minister for women and human development. But Luis Solari, secretary general of Toledo's Peru Possible party, said he considered it ``absurd'' for ministers to defend the line-up. If there is controversy in society, it is obvious that insufficient consultations took place,'' he said. ``This is the responsibility of the current government and it is up to them to make sure this controversy does not exist,'' he told CPN radio, adding that if Toledo's government made mistakes ``I guarantee we'll correct them.'' Alva has offered to tender her resignation to Toledo.
AP 2 July 2001 Document Sheds Light on Holocaust By PAULINE JELINEK, WASHINGTON - A declassified U.S. intelligence document sheds new light on the longstanding question of how much the West knew about Hitler's plans for the Holocaust and when they knew it. The translated copy of a November 1941 dispatch filed by a Chilean diplomat serving in Prague, tells of German plans to eradicate the Jews, the National Archives and Records Administration said Monday. ``It has been decided to eradicate all the Jews and send some to Poland and others to the town of Terezin, whilst looking for a more remote place,'' Chilean consul Gonzalo Montt Rivas wrote to his government. By late March 20, 1942, ``a surreptitiously obtained'' copy of the document appeared in the files of the United States Coordinator of Information, a predecessor to the Office of Strategic Services and CIA , archives officials. The report was delivered to David Bruce, head of the Secret Intelligence Branch of the Coordinator of Information, and forwarded to an administrative assistant to William J. Donovan, who served as Coordinator of Information. There is no indication on the document whether other Americans may have seen it. The document was part of a release of 400,000 pages of OSS records by the Interagency Working Group, a group that coordinates the government-wide effort to declassify federal records related to Nazi and Axis war crimes. ``Warnings from the allies to the Jews of Europe of a planned genocide never came,'' IWG public member Thomas H. Baer said. ``The Nazi murders depended on secrecy and subterfuge. Warnings would not have stopped the Holocaust, but they could have saved lives.'' During German occupation, Prague was no longer a capital of a country and most foreign diplomats had departed. But the Chilean consul was able to resume his post because of friendly relations between Nazi Germany and neutral Chile, archives officials said. ``His location and good connections provided a unique vantage point for discerning the Nazi agenda and actions in Nazi-occupied territories, a perspective not afforded to most Western diplomats,'' the archive's statement said. Officials said the dispatch was prompted by a decree to be issued by Nazi Germany on November 25, 1941, announcing that Jews who had left Germany and were living abroad could not be German subjects and that all remaining assets of these Jews automatically were forfeited to the Reich.
AP 23 July 2001 Scholars Issue Jurisdiction Principles By Bill Newill TRENTON, N.J. –– No matter where the offense was committed, fugitives accused of war crimes, torture or genocide should be liable for trial in the courts of the country where they are found, according to new principles devised by a panel of international legal scholars. The Princeton Principles on Universal Jurisdiction, a result of 18 months of work, aim to clarify an increasingly important area of international law, that of universal jurisdiction. "Universal jurisdiction is a potent weapon," said Princeton University professor Stephen Macedo, chairman of the project that developed the guidelines. "It would cast all the world's courts as a net to catch alleged perpetrators of serious crimes under international law." But at the same time, the principles also recognize the need for reasonable limits on prosecutions by one country against citizens of another, said panel member M. Cherif Bassiouni, president of the International Human Rights Law Institute at DePaul College of Law. For instance, the panel agreed that it's best to prosecute criminals in the country where the offences occurred. But they also recognized that "oftentimes there will be an unwillingness or incapacity to prosecute," Macedo said. Crimes covered by the 14 principles include piracy, war crimes, torture, genocide, slavery, crimes against peace and crimes against humanity. There are now no adequate means to ensure that people responsible for atrocities will be held accountable, Macedo said. International tribunals such as those convened by the United Nations on Rwandan genocide and Bosnia's ethnic cleansing have limited mandates. The new International Criminal Court, established by a 1998 treaty as the world's first permanent war crimes tribunal and expected to begin operating as early as next year, will help fill a need, proponents say. But it will have limited resources. "National courts will always have an important role to play," Macedo said. He cited the recent case of four Rwandans convicted in a Belgian court for their role in the 1994 ethnic massacres in their African homeland. The trial was held under a 1993 Belgian law that gives local courts jurisdiction over violations of the Geneva Convention on war crimes, no matter where they occurred. The drafters of the Princeton Principles hope to encourage other nations to adopt similar laws. The principles "are the most serious attempt ever made to guide national courts in meeting the challenge of crimes of state," said Richard Falk, a Princeton emeritus professor and project participant. The idea of universal jurisdiction is not without pitfalls. The key issue is the one President Bush has raised in opposing ratification of the international criminal court treaty – concern that it would make U.S. soldiers and government officials vulnerable to politically motivated prosecutions. Even President Clinton, who signed the treaty, said it should not be submitted to the Senate for ratification until there were more assurances that U.S. citizens would not be subject to frivolous prosecutions. Such abuses are "a very real possibility," Bassiouni conceded. "That is why we felt it was better to have guidelines to establish limitations on the use of universal jurisdiction." "We don't want to see a situation where there is a race between Saddam Hussein and George W. Bush to see who can indict the other first," Bassiouni said.
Reuters 26 July 2001 In Vietnam, Powell Denies Role in My Lai Coverup By David Brunnstrom HANOI - Secretary of State Colin Powell , wrapping up his first trip back to Vietnam since his wartime service, denied Thursday he had any part in covering up the most notorious U.S. massacre of the conflict. Speaking at a news conference in Hanoi, Powell defended his handling of a letter from soldier Tom Glen in 1968 complaining of routine mistreatment of civilians, including murder and torture. Powell was asked whether he felt the My Lai massacre would have become known earlier if he had investigated the letter more thoroughly at the time. ``The...letter has been used over the years to suggest I was responsible in some way for covering up this incident,'' he said. ``I was not there. I came months later. And the letter that I received and acted on made no reference to any particular place or any time or any date or any particular unit and that's the way I handled it...'' At the village of My Lai on Vietnam's central coast on March 16, 1968, marauding soldiers of the 11th brigade of the Americal Division, in which Powell served, killed as many as 504 civilians, most of them women and children. 'HE WASN'T TALKING ABOUT MY LAI' Powell was not in Vietnam during the massacre, arriving for his second tour 10 weeks later. He said he had heard from Glen in recent years, ``frankly to put the letter in perspective, and he wasn't talking about My Lai.'' Powell said it was not until ``months later'' that he realized something might be amiss, when he was visited by an investigator from the military's Inspector General's office. ``That's the first time I ever had some inkling that something had happened and that turned out to be My Lai and that was another year before I discovered that's what it was he was looking at.'' ``My Lai was not known to any of us,'' Powell said. ``We just didn't know that anything like that had happened.'' In his autobiography ``My American Journey,'' Powell says he did not learn of the massacre until the autumn of 1969 when news of it broke, but he has been accused of failing to investigate properly the December 1968 letter from Glen. According to the 1992 book ``Four Hours in My Lai'' by British journalists Michael Bilton and Kevin Sim, Powell concluded in a memo in response to Glen's letter: ``Although there may be isolated cases of mistreatment of civilians and POWs, this by no means reflects the general attitude throughout the division. ``In direct refutation of this portrayal (by Glen) is the fact that relations between Americal soldiers and Vietnamese people are excellent.'' 'PRETTY GOOD RELATIONS' Explaining his response, Powell told the news conference he had written to the commander of the unit concerned and received an answer saying, ``We have pretty good relations.'' Survivors of the massacre interviewed in My Lai by Reuters this month said they were outraged by Powell's depiction of the relationship. They said he should apologize on behalf of the United States, or at least keep My Lai in mind during his visit. Larry Colburn, a former U.S. helicopter gunner now living in Atlanta decorated as a hero by both the United States and Vietnam for helping rescue victims from marauding soldiers during the massacre, told Reuters he wished Powell would address the My Lai issue, ``just for respect.'' The United States lifted a punishing trade embargo on Vietnam in 1994 and normalized diplomatic ties a year later. But it has never apologized for any of its actions in a war that killed three million Vietnamese and 58,000 U.S. troops. When former President Bill Clinton last November became the first U.S. president to visit Vietnam since the war, he spoke of the shared pain of the past but offered no apology. Powell said the consistent message he had had from Vietnamese leaders, including Communist Party Secretary-General Nong Duc Manh, during his visit was that they were pleased with progress in relations since normalization. ``I heard it expressed in many different ways, that the past is the past and let it be, the war is over.''
Denver Post 29 July 2001 Tribes race against time to teach dying languages By Gwen Florio BURGESS JUNCTION, Wyo. - Elmer Main is a member of one of the most exclusive groups in the world. The 80-year-old is one of maybe 10 people alive who are fluent in Gros Ventre, the language of his ancestors. He is afraid that when he and the others die, the tribe's soul will die with them. That breaks his heart. "If we lose our language, we lose our culture," said Main, speaking here last week at a gathering of the Learning Lodge Institute, a group founded to save the languages of Montana's 11 tribes. Every last one of those languages is endangered. Consider: Of the nearly 2,000 Assiniboine people, who share the Fort Belknap reservation in northern Montana with about 3,000 members of the Gros Ventre tribe, fewer than 150 are fluent in their language. Only about 850 of the 17,000 Blackfeet, whose reservation is west of Fort Belknap, Mont., speak their language, and most of them are over age 65. And, while 82 percent of the Crow tribe's 10,000 members were fluent in Crow 30 years ago, almost none of the tribe's youngest members - those in kindergarten through fourth grade - spoke it by 1995, according to Dale Old Horn, a linguist and head of general studies at Little Big Horn College on the Crow reservation. On the reservations, there are a number of people who speak the languages among themselves. The situation can be more difficult for Indians in cities such as Denver, where there may be people from several tribes, none of which share a common language. "These urban people, they don't speak so fluently. Only a few elders and some purebloods here" speak their own language, said Bill Center, a Lakota elder living in Denver who teaches his language to both Indians and Anglos. "It's really hard for the younger people. ... At least on the reservations, they sing the songs, the sundance songs, the ceremonial songs - that keeps it alive." Linguist Doug Whalen, who heads the Endangered Language Fund at Yale University, said, "It's easy to tell when a language is in grave danger. If the youngest speaker is 50 years old, then a language is pretty well on the way out." By that standard, nearly all of the 185 Indian languages still spoken among the more than 550 federally recognized tribes in the United States are endangered, said Darrell Kipp, who co-founded the Piegan Institute in Browning, Mont., in 1987 to preserve native languages. As Lanny Real Bird, a professor at Little Big Horn College who organized last week's four-day gathering of language instructors for the Montana tribes, said: "We're in a tragic state." Genocide to "ethnocide' Elmer Main's personal tragedy started when he began attending a mission school at age 6. He was still on the reservation, but, culturally, he'd stepped into another - white - universe. "They cut off my braids," he said. "They took away my moccasins." And the Jesuits who ran the school spanked the little boy for speaking the only language he knew. The whole idea was part of a decades-old policy by the government and various religions to "civilize" the Indians. They were forbidden to wear traditional dress, practice tribal ceremonies and rituals, or speak their own languages. "First, the U.S. government practiced genocide," said Old Horn, referring to the turn-of-the-century Indian wars and disease epidemics that decimated the tribes. "When that didn't work, they practiced ethnocide." It very nearly worked. A generation after Elmer Main was ordered to forget his own language, Clarena Brockie never really got a chance to learn it at all. Brockie's parents spoke fluent Gros Ventre, but forced themselves to speak English around their daughter for fear she would get in trouble if anyone overheard her speaking Gros Ventre. Brockie said she felt the loss of language keenly. "It connects you to everything," said Brockie, 51, who attended last week's Learning Lodge meeting. She pointed out that Gros Ventre is the language of prayer, of ceremony, of song. She inclined her head toward a nearby tepee, where four men sang Crow and Cree songs in a high falsetto, to the insistent beat of a rattle and water-filled drum. "That's who you are," she said. By the time the next generation came along, in the form of Terry Brockie - now 32, a relative of Clarena Brockie's - the language was almost gone. Terry Brockie grew up speaking English exclusively. His grandmother spoke the old language, but she died when he was young. It wasn't until he was a grown man and living away from home that his interest was awakened, after he found himself dreaming repeatedly of his grandmother. "She was telling me, "That's not you. You should be following your Indian ways.'" That's where, for Terry Brockie, Learning Lodge came in. "Now it's up to us' Johnny Arlee, 60, of the Salish-Kootenai reservation on Flathead Lake in western Montana, said he sometimes wishes children were forced to learn Salishian, the same way he was forced to learn English at St. Ignatius Mission School. These days, Arlee - who emphasizes his respect for traditional ways by wearing shell earrings, an elk-tooth necklace and waist-length braids wrapped in red yarn - teaches an eight-week language course for adults at Salish-Kootenai College. "I tell them, "This is it. If you don't learn, this is the end of the trail.'" While Arlee laments the fact that he works with his students for only 15 days out of the year, he says the language program has come a long way from the days of paper and pencil and incomplete vocabulary lists when the tribe initiated it in 1975. About that time, tribes around the country started scrambling to save their languages, compiling dictionaries, composing grammars, and instituting rudimentary bilingual programs. In Browning, Mont., the Piegan Institute served as a clearinghouse. The institute runs an elementary school for 50 children in kindergarten through eighth grade in which the children, already fluent in English, are taught totally in Blackfeet. Four years ago, the 11 tribes that populate Montana's seven Indian reservations banded together to apply for a grant from the Kellogg Foundation. The money funded a number of Learning Lodge programs - everything from one-on-one tutoring to total immersion camps - and also a yearly gathering where language instructors can compare notes. But the money runs out in September. This year's final Learning Lodge gathering was held last week in the Bighorn Mountains of Wyoming, just south of the Montana border, on what historically was Crow territory. The 50 people who attended listened as an impassioned Terry Brockie described his efforts to learn his grandmother's language via a "speaker-learner" program in which tribal elders such as Main, and Fred Gone, 71, tutored him. "They are treasures in our tribe," Brockie said after apologizing for being so bold as to speak before his elders. Brockie urged people to keep teaching, and learning, their languages, even when the money for such programs is gone. "Our grandfathers fought for our culture and our ways," he said. "Now it's up to us. "Someday, I'm going to be the elder," he said. "And I don't want my grandchild to come to me and say, "What is this?' and not be able to tell him."
Times of London JULY 30 2001 US role in Indonesian massacres revealed in error FROM MICHAEL EVANS IN WASHINGTON THE American Government is trying to claw back copies of a book that reveals US links to Sixties anti-communist death squads in Indonesia. Copies of the declassified history were prematurely distributed to libraries around the world. It contains details of how the US Embassy in Indonesia supplied names of members of the Communist PKI party which backed President Sukarno, the founding father of the republic, to the Indonesian security forces. Those forces massacred more than 100,000 people. As a result of the revolt backed by the United States, which funded a secret armyinspired anti-communist group called Kap-Gestapu, President Sukarno was overthrown in 1967 and replaced by the dictator President Suharto. The late President Sukarno's daughter, Megawati Sukarnoputri, became Indonesia's new leader last week after President Abdurrahman Wahid was voted out of office. Aware of the embarrassment that publication of the history of America's covert support for the late President Sukarno's enemies could now prove to be, the State Department, the CIA and other agencies decided to delay releasing the book. However, the Government Printing Office (GPO) had begun distributing copies before the State Department had reached the decision. Not only were libraries around the world stocking up with microfiche copies, but the National Security Archive, a private Washington-based group specialising in publishing declassified documents, put a copy on its website. A spokesman at the National Security Archive said that the CIA, as well as officials at the State Department, were now trying to suppress publication, even though documents included in the book had been officially declassified in 1998. A spokesman for the CIA told The Washington Post: "The notion that the CIA has unilaterally blocked the release is simply not the case. We work closely with the State Department on these matters. All of us are intent on complying with the law, while at the same time protecting classified information that, if disclosed, could be damaging to us." A GPO spokesman said that it was trying to get back the books on orders from the State Department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security. A State Department official said that preparations had begun earlier in the year for release of the history and the printing office had mistakenly begun distributing it before an "internal process" of review was completed. Among the revelations in the history is a cable in August 1966 from Marshall Green, the American Ambassador in Indonesia. In the cable he reported that a list of top Communist leaders prepared by the embassy "is apparently being used by Indonesian security authorities who seem to lack even the simplest overt information on PKI leadership at the time".National Security Archive http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB52/
Nazi Hunters Seek Venezuelan Help By Alexandra Olson Associated Press Writer Wednesday, July 18, 2001; 7:40 p.m. EDT CARACAS, Venezuela –– A Nazi-hunting organization has appealed to Venezuela's president for help in finding 18 alleged war criminals, complaining that his government has not responded to requests. The Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center sent a letter this week to Hugo Chavez, asking him to intervene, according to a statement sent Wednesday to The Associated Press. The Center said it asked Venezuela in February to help track down 14 Lithuanians, three Latvians and one Estonian possibly residing in Venezuela. The suspects are believed to have served with local Nazi-backed security forces during the 1941-44 Nazi occupation of the Baltic states and assisted in the persecution of civilians, mainly Jews, the center alleged. "Given the serious nature of the crimes which these individuals are suspected of having committed, we find it difficult to understand why the Venezuelan government has hereto refrained from responding to our request for assistance," Efraim Zuroff, director of the Israeli chapter of the Wiesenthal Center, said Wednesday. The Wiesenthal Center has not released the names of the 18 suspects, saying it wants to wait until Venezuela confirms their whereabouts. Venezuela government officials were not immediately available for comment. Foreign Minister Luis Alfonso Davila has said Venezuela will look for the suspects. ––– On The Net: Simon Wiesenthal Center: http://www.wiesenthal.com
ICRC 26 July 2001. Afghanistan: On the air! On the evening of 22 July, just after the local news and before a popular youth programme, the Taleban-controlled Radio Shari'at Kabul broadcast the first part of "In the fold of humanity", a weekly radio programme produced by ICRC Afghanistan. The programme consists of updates on the organization's activities throughout the country and includes interviews with the beneficiaries and ICRC staff. Each week, the focus is on a special theme such as health, relief, visits to detainees or restoration of family links. International humanitarian law and mine-awareness spots are also given air time. The highlight is an episode of the drama called "Help", which tells the story of the people of two villages torn by war, and of the ICRC's efforts to assist those in need. Each episode is narrated by Afghan professional actors and is followed by a conversation between a father and his son commenting on what they have just heard. The entire programme lasts 15 minutes. It is produced in the two national languages and is repeated the following day. "As in all of our dissemination programmes, the aim is to present ICRC principles and working procedures, and the basic rules of combat", said Mario Musa, ICRC communications coordinator for Afghanistan. "Combatants are therefore our priority audience." The radio programme began as a pilot project in Mazar-i-Sharif three months ago and will soon be broadcast in Jalalabad and Kandahar. According to Mr Musa, "In countries like Afghanistan, where the conflict and the political and geographical situation make it difficult to reach combatants and the general population, radio is a particularly effective means of communication".
BBC 19 July, 2001 Fighting in northern Afghanistan intensifies Fighting in north-eastern Afghanistan has intensified, with reports of tanks and heavy artillery being used on several fronts in the east of Takhar province. A spokesman for the opposition commander, Ahmad Shah Masoud, said there had been fierce fighting around Kalafgan, east of the regional capital, Taloqan, and exchanges of artillery were continuing further south in the districts of Chal and Eshkamesh for a third day. The Pakistan-based news agency Afghan Islamic Press quoted a Taleban spokesman as saying that Taleban forces had advanced eight kilometres, after launching an attack on opposition positions in Lataband district - 25 km south-east of Taloqan. There has been no independent confirmation. Takhar province has been the focus of heavy fighting in recent months, as the Taleban have tried to push north and east.
BBC 31 July, 2001, UN to tighten Afghan sanctions The UN wants to stop weapons reaching the Taleban The United Nations Security Council has unanimously adopted a new resolution designed to tighten the monitoring and enforcement of sanctions against the Taleban authorities in Afghanistan. The resolution calls for monitoring teams to be based in the region and help stop weapons and other supplies being smuggled into Afghanistan, especially across the border from Pakistan. Under the resolution, a small team of up to 15 people will be based mainly in Islamabad, with five in New York. UN sources said the team would expect to be given access to intelligence and other facilities. 'Watching eye' While it will offer expertise, the sources said the team will mostly act as a watching eye, reporting back to UN headquarters on whether sanctions were being complied with. The resolution urges all countries to take immediate steps to prevent sanctions violations and to punish individual violators. The panel also proposed to send international teams to the six countries bordering Afghanistan - China, Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan - to help local officials enforce the embargo. Pakistan, which has always claimed it upholds the weapons embargo, has broadly welcomed the proposals, a sign, correspondents say, that the Pakistani authorities realise their assertions are no longer enough. Sanctions over bin Laden Sanctions were stepped up two years ago after the Taleban refused to hand over the fugitive Islamic militant, Osama bin Laden. The Taleban closed some UN missions, blew up ancient Buddhist statues and, according to reports, allowed training camps for Islamic militants to flourish. UN humanitarian workers say sanctions have made their work more difficult. But a UN survey found that war and a devastating drought had by far the greater impact on ordinary people. The Taleban is trying to push out opposition forces, who control less than 10% of Afghan territory and are said to be getting supplies from Russia and Iran. The UN hopes an international squeeze on military supplies will force the Taleban back into talks with the international community. Afghan Taliban threaten UN monitors ABUL: Afghanistan's Taliban militia on Tuesday renewed its threat to treat UN sanctions monitors as "enemies on the frontline" after the Security Council adopted a resolution aimed at enforcing an arms embargo. A foreign ministry official said that if the United Nations sent monitors to Afghanistan they would be dealt with as foreign invaders in line with a "decree" from Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar. "In case someone is appointed as controller on the Afghan borders, the Islamic Emirate (Taliban) would look at it as an aggression and treat them like enemies on the frontline," Omar said in a statement in June. The resolution also drew fire from neighbouring Pakistan, where a foreign ministry official described it as an "intrusion" on Islamabad's sovereignty. The United Nations security council on Monday unanimously passed a resolution calling for monitoring teams to check that the countries bordering Afghanistan were honouring the sanctions regime. It was not immediately clear if the monitors, comprising small groups of experts, would need to go into Afghanistan or whether they would stay in neighbouring countries including Iran, Pakistan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan. The Taliban foreign ministry official also warned that sympathetic tribal groups in northwestern Pakistan might not tolerate UN monitors in their midst. Mullah Omar in June described the US-led sanctions as "tyrannical" and an attempt to "suppress Muslims and Islam". ( AFP
SMH 28 July 2001 Past black policies 'now genocide' By Debra Jopson The government ministers of the 1930s who advocated "breeding out the colour" of Aborigines and oversaw the removal of children from families would be likely to be found guilty of the international crime of genocide if tried today, according to the historian Professor Henry Reynolds. However, after 18 months' research into whether Australia has ever historically breached the United Nations Genocide Convention in its treatment of Aborigines for his new book, An Indelible Stain?, Professor Reynolds does not agree with the Human Rights Commission's view that later child removal policies were also genocidal. "Where I think the HREOC Bringing Them Home report erred was not making the distinction between those policies and the policies that were being pursued in the late 1940s and 1950s," said Professor Reynolds. He is a research professor at the University of Tasmania, whose past claim that 20,000 Aborigines were killed in frontier wars has led to fierce controversy . But Professor Reynolds said the term "stolen generations" was "a slogan which carries more truth than falsehood in it". advertisement advertisement "There is no doubt large numbers of children were taken away ... They took children away forever and they did the best to break the link with their parents and community." Saying he has taken a "sceptical" approach to genocide, Professor Reynolds has put Australia on trial in the book, to be released on Monday using the 1946 UN genocide convention as a guide. A key to judging guilt is intent, he said. "I think the intent was there in the 1930s. I'm not sure it was there in the 1950s, but in the 1950s there was still this idea that assimilation would lead slowly and benignly to the disappearance of the Aboriginal people." The second case where he believes genocide condoned by the authorities could possibly be proved was in 19th century Queensland, where Native Police and frontier colonists killed "vast numbers of Aborigines" in sporadic outbursts which Professor Reynolds calls "genocidal moments". "There is no doubt premiers and ministers knew exactly what was happening and they said so. They made no secret of the fact that they knew what was happening," he said. "Basically, the Queensland Government let it happen with no restraint for 25 to 30 years." In the earlier frontier wars in NSW, when British authorities watched helplessly and had no power to stop the killings, Professor Reynolds said the case for genocide would be harder to prosecute retrospectively. Provocatively, Professor Reynolds has said in his book that assimilation is a thread which has run through the reconciliation movement. "The central question seems to be whether indigenous people are going to remain as distinct people within Australia and are going to have an autonomous existence as a people and have their culture, including languages," he told the Herald. "Part of the reconciliation movement is that we are going to be one ... it probably means the main, European culture is going to absorb the Aboriginal one. "So to say we all have to be one is assimilationist."
Sydney Morning Herald 4 July 2001 Saved, not stolen: laying the genocide myth to rest Many 'stolen' indigenous children were removed because of horrific domestic abuse. And they're still being removed today, says Paul Sheehan. You've been defamed. To see why, go back to the very first non-fiction account of Australia ever published. It appeared in 1789, just a year after the First Fleet arrived at Sydney, written by Watkin Tench. He recorded in lucid detail the opening contact between the British and indigenous civilisations. Tench was impressed by the Aborigines. "I do not hesitate to declare that the natives of New South Wales possess a considerable portion of that acumen, or sharpness of intellect, which bespeaks genius." He did make a conspicuous exception: "But indeed the women are in all respects treated with savage barbarity. Condemned not only to carry the children but all other burdens, they meet in return for submission only with blows, kicks and every other mark of brutality." It is reasonable to observe, without trivialising the horrors visited during the dispossession of the Aborigines, that a chronic level of domestic violence is not merely a byproduct of this dispossession. Last week saw the publication of photos of six Aboriginal women from north Queensland who had lost their eyes to domestic violence. In recent weeks a culture of rape and denial has been exposed. Which leads us to the really hard moral terrain. Every year, the Federal Government publishes statistics on child abuse or neglect. These figures indicate that indigenous children are suffering neglect at exponentially higher rates than non-indigenous children. In 1999-2000, according to Child Protection Australia, 3,861 Aboriginal children were under care or protection orders. This was 20 per cent of the 19,262 total, even though the indigenous population is only 2 per cent of the population of Australia - a tenfold disparity. The 1998-99 report has similar figures, and so do those before that. So even in this age of sensitivity to indigenous rights, Aboriginal children are still being removed from their families by the State in disproportionate numbers. This is profoundly important because it raises the big question so conspicuously ducked by the Human Rights Commission during the conduct of the Bringing Them Home inquiry: why were many part-Aboriginal children removed from their families? The report made the incendiary accusation that the removals pointed to a policy of de facto cultural genocide. This accusation is proving to have been a tactical and moral blunder that has failed under scrutiny in the courts and damaged the fundamental and legitimate point of the inquiry. It has never been contested that thousands of Aboriginal families were cruelly disrupted by misguided State paternalism. Yet any criticism of the report has been greeted with personal insult underpinned by a doctrine of Innocence. But it appears certain that some, probably many, Aboriginal children (we'll never know how many) were removed for much the same reasons that they are still being removed today - neglect and abuse. Even the man used by the genocide proponents as their primary exhibit, A.O. Neville, the former chief protector of Aborigines in Western Australia, was unabashed about his principal reason for removing many mixed-race children: they were, he said, living in "revolting conditions" and many were "illegitimate". Illegitimate. It used to be powerful word. It is seldom mentioned that during the decades when many part-Aboriginal children were being removed from their families, many white children were also being given up by their mothers. As the former minister for Aboriginal affairs, and later governor-general, Sir Paul Hasluck wrote in his 1988 memoir, Shades of Darkness: "There was a tendency to regard any child born out of wedlock as likely to become a neglected child ... The social pressures on the unmarried mother were all in the direction of parting her from her child, placing it with foster parents, or committing it to the care of the State to be reared in an orphanage. It was thought to be in the interests of the child that it was seen as an orphan rather than a bastard." At least the former chairman of the Human Rights Commission and co-author of the Bringing Them Home report, Sir Ronald Wilson, has had the grace to recently regret the claim of genocide. We can expect no similar regrets from his co-author, Mick Dodson, the real architect of this cultural defamation. email@example.com
AP 16 July 2001 Scholars Publish Khmer Rouge Evidence By Chris Decherd PHNOM PENH, Cambodia –– Western scholars published evidence Monday they say proves the direct involvement of seven surviving Khmer Rouge leaders in the mass murder of Cambodians during their genocidal 1975-79 rule. The findings will increase pressure on the Cambodian government to quickly form a U.N.-assisted tribunal to try leaders of a regime blamed for the deaths of 1.7 million people from disease, starvation and execution. The report establishes sufficient cases for prosecuting the seven "for their roles in the killing fields," said a statement by the Coalition for International Justice, which is issuing the report with the War Crimes Research Office of American University's Washington College of Law. The report uses new archival evidence, including telegrams and minutes of party meetings, implicating individuals in the inner circle of late Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot. No one has been brought before a court to answer for the Khmer Rouge genocide. Pol Pot died in 1998 but most of his top lieutenants live freely in Cambodia. Cambodian officials said they were not surprised by the findings of the scholars, but added that only a proposed tribunal can determine guilt or innocence for atrocities committed between 1975 and 1979. "We realize the facts," said Om Yentieng, a close personal adviser to Prime Minister Hun Sen. "We are against the Khmer Rouge. We brought about the collapse and destroyed their movement. "But we all should let the proposed tribunal do its work and make important decisions. That is better than letting people speak and replace the tribunal." Long-awaited legislation to create a tribunal in Cambodia is expected to be passed by the end of August, and the Cambodian government would then negotiate with the United Nations on the details of setting up the court, Om Yentieng said. The new report is co-authored by Cambodia scholar Steve Heder and international humanitarian law expert Brian Tittemore. "This report makes it clear that if there is a failure to prosecute those responsible for the crimes of the Khmer Rouge, it is not for lack of evidence or suspects," said Floyd Abrams, a leading U.S. constitutional lawyer who contributed to the report. Critics doubt the sincerity of the government of Prime Minister Hun Sen – a former Khmer Rouge cadre who defected in 1977 – in prosecuting the ringleaders of the regime. Others caution that a tribunal could upset Cambodia's new peace since the demise of the Khmer Rouge rebel movement less than three years ago. Youk Chhang, director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia in Phnom Penh, which houses most of the documents cited in the report, applauded the scholars for making public information about a period that remains hazy for most Cambodians. "The report is significant because it presents supportable fact about who committed the crimes, for prosecutors, defense lawyers, and for the Cambodian people," he said. The report said the three most prominent leaders who devised execution policy or encouraged killings were Nuon Chea, the regime's No. 2 and chief ideologue, Ieng Sary, foreign minister, and Khieu Samphan, the movement's nominal leader. All three men live freely in Cambodia after striking deals with Hun Sen's government. The report also outlines cases against Ta Mok, the Khmer Rouge's top military commander who is one of only two suspects in custody; senior military commander Ke Pauk; and Sou Met and Meas Muth, both military officials. The other suspect in custody is Kaing Khek Iev, better known as Duch, the director of the Khmer Rouge torture center in Phnom Penh. The report says the mass killings targeted three particular groups: individuals associated with the government ousted in 1975; Khmer Rouge members suspected of being traitors; and noncommunist members of the population.
Reuters 23 July 2001 Cambodian Senate Passes Khmer Rouge Trial Law By Chhay Sophal - Cambodia's upper house of parliament on Monday passed long-awaited legislation to set up a tribunal to prosecute former leaders of the notorious 1975-1979 Khmer Rouge regime. Chea Sim, president of the Senate, said a draft law to set up a Khmer Rouge tribunal was passed unanimously by 51 Senate members who took part in a 90-minute debate on Monday morning. ``Today we passed the Khmer Rouge draft law unanimously,'' Chea Sim said. An estimated 1.7 million people died of starvation, forced labor and execution during the regime's three years in power, but no one has yet been brought to justice. The Khmer Rouge draft law, which paves the way for a special tribunal to try former leaders of the ``killing fields'' regime, was passed earlier this month by the lower house of parliament, the National Assembly. Now with Senate approval, the law goes to the Constitutional Council, and then to King Norodom Sihanouk for final approval. If the United Nations approves the law, a memorandum of understanding will be signed with the Cambodian government on the setting up of a tribunal. Senior cabinet minister Sok An, the government's top negotiator on the trial, told reporters at the Senate he was confidant the law would get U.N. approval. The United Nations has said Cambodia's judicial system is too weak to organize a trial for former Khmer Rouge leaders and only the participation of international legal experts can ensure proper standards of justice. But the United Nations has warned it will only take part in a tribunal if international standards of justice are met. OPTIMISTIC Sok An said he was optimistic Cambodia and the United Nations would reach agreement. ``I am optimistic we will come to a resolution,'' he said. ``The date of the trial now depends on these negotiations.'' Sok An downplayed recent comments by Prime Minister Hun Sen and Foreign Minister Hor Namhong that Cambodia would not negotiate with the United Nations once the law was ratified by the King. ``These comments show that one side in the negotiations (the United Nations) cannot impose their ideas 100 percent on the another side (Cambodia),'' Sok An said. The Khmer Rouge trial is a divisive issue in Cambodia. While some of Cambodia's aid donors, Western human rights groups and the United Nations have been pressing for a trial there have been doubts about the government's real commitment to the process. Hun Sen, a former Khmer Rouge member as are many members of his government, has warned new-found peace could be threatened if attempts are made to prosecute old Khmer Rouge leaders, most of whom live as free men after surrendering to the government. Some of Hun Sen's critics have accused him of dragging his feet in bringing the elderly former leaders to trial. Cambodia and the United Nations agreed in April last year on a special formula that would allow for a Khmer Rouge tribunal in Cambodia but with U.N.-appointed prosecutors and judges. The formula is a compromise between Cambodian officials who wanted to run the tribunal and the U.N. which pressed for foreign control. The mixed tribunal formula will see foreign judges in the minority, but they will hold veto power over decisions. Cambodia's leading genocide researcher said on Monday the Khmer Rouge leaders were profiting from disagreement between the government and the United Nations over the tribunal. ``The government and the U.N. should do everything in their power to cooperate,'' Youk Chhang, director of the Documentation Center -- which compiles evidence on the Khmer Rouge regime -- wrote in a letter to the Cambodia Daily newspaper. ``Those who helped devise and implement the policies that resulted in the murder and deaths of millions of Cambodians must be held accountable,'' he wrote. ``Thus far, the only ones who have 'paid' for the crimes committed by the architects of the Khmer Rouge genocide have been the victims.''
AP 29 July 2001 Rapper Revives Memories of Khmer Rouge By Chris Decherd, PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — Cambodians tend to treat the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime as a period to be forgotten: School textbooks barely mention it, popular literature glosses over it, parents are often reluctant to delve into their private horrors. Now, a brash new rap album is breaking the taboos by telling young Cambodians about the darkest chapter of their country's history. At parties, in bars and in homes around Phnom Penh, the album has teen-agers buzzing about songs on death, forced labor and broken families. "The End'n is Jus The Beginnin" — written by a Cambodian-American — reflects on the years in the 1970s when 1.7 million people died in the communist Khmer Rouge's attempt to turn Cambodia into a large agrarian commune. The 17-song album was recorded in a garage in Long Beach, Calif., by Prach Ly, a 21-year-old who has never returned to Cambodia since emigrating to the United States in 1983, at the age of 4. He said he never envisioned the music having an impact in Cambodia. "I was very surprised at how big this got. When I did it, it was just a demo, to pass around to a few friends," Prach Ly said in a telephone interview from Long Beach. "The lyrics, the message had been inside me a long time and I wanted to release it," he said, adding that he is hoping a record company will help him record the songs in a studio. Three of the songs are in the Khmer language and the rest are in English interspersed with Khmer (pronounced Kh-maai). "When I first heard this it was, 'Wow! This is exciting,"' said Nguon Phan Sophea, 24, who owns the Galaxy CD shop in Phnom Penh. He said he heard the CD last year at the home of a friend who had bought it in Long Beach, where many Cambodian immigrants live. He borrowed the CD, made 50 copies, designed a yellow-and-green CD cover, called it "Cambodian Rap" and put the discs up for sale for $2 in his shop. There are no laws protecting intellectual property rights in Cambodia and virtually all of the music sold here is pirated. Nguon said he has sold nearly 300 copies of the CD and let Cambodia's largest music store, CD World, burn copies from his. CD World has sold more than 400 copies, store manager Chy Sila said. The album has caught on among the trendy urban youth of the capital, who often have access to MTV and English-language lessons. One verse in the Khmer language song "Born" says: "Power, property, girls, money. What's the use of them, if relatives, children, spouses, families are split up..." The English-language track "In 1975" goes: "Families separated by sex and ages; We worked for food, and got kinda hazy; Put us in camp that we called the cages." "I remember they shot him, shot point blank in front of his children ... I can't maintain. I'm going insane. Hell on earth, it can't get any worse." The Khmer Rouge was ousted in 1979 after a four-year rule. Sociologists attribute many Cambodians' reluctance to dwell on those years to the Cambodian Buddhist philosophy of forgetting and forgiving. During its rule, the Khmer Rouge banned all art, literature and music that did not praise the communist party and its leader, Pol Pot. Most performing artists, painters, doctors, lawyers and teachers were killed. People who wore glasses were identified as intellectuals and executed. "They said intellectual people were not needed in the field ... books burned, schools turned into barns," say the lyrics of "In 1975." Creativity was so systematically crushed that even 25 years later, little new work is produced. Recording companies recycle old love songs. Literature and filmmaking are nonexistent. Art consists mainly of generic, commercial paintings of Angkor temples and "apsaras," or celestial dancers. Sophoann Sope Hul, 37, one of Cambodia's best-known disc jockeys, said a "deep fear" inhibits self-expression. "Everyone wants to express themselves like these guys (Prach Ly and his band), but they're afraid," he said. "In Cambodia, no one would dare say what those guys say. It's inspirational." "These songs are a step forward," he said. Some people hope that Prach Ly's music will kick-start the creativity of a numb nation. A 23-year-old disc jockey known as NCK said he and his friends want to produce similar rap. "We want to bring it to the new generation, and talk about reality, talk about society," he said.
People's Daily 20 July 2001 China Exhibition to Show Japan's War Crimes Two Chinese collectors are to stage an exhibition on Japan's invasion of China in Oakland, California, in September. The exhibition is scheduled to last for one month before going on tour in major US cities such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington DC and New York. Co-organized by Tien-Wel Wu, an 81-year old historian on Japan's aggression in China at the Southern Illinois University, the exhibition is to be held in the Chinese Holocaust Museum of the United States. A total of 918 pieces of evidence will be presented to let visitors review the 1894-1945 history: from the beginning of the Japanese invasion of China to the island's defeat in World War II. The two collectors -- Zhan Hongge and Yang Guang from Shenyang, capital of Northeast China's Liaoning Province -- have contributed all 918 items to be displayed. The figure 918 is used to commemorate the historical ``9.18 Incident,'' an incident took place in September 18, 1931, which resulted in Japanese militarists' massive invasion in Northeastern China and later the whole of the country in 1937. ``We hope the exhibition can help visitors recognize history and avoid repeating mistakes,'' said Zhan. Formerly a successful businessman, Zhan became a full time collector of Japanese war crimes during the invasion years. ``This exhibition will also mark the 70th anniversary of the `9.18' Incident,'' added Zhan. The 918 items, including munitions, photos, maps, currencies, bonds and newspapers, are chosen from roughly 10,000 items that Zhan and Yang own. The 918 pieces of collections, originally created by the Japanese to commend its power of conquest, have become proof of Japan's war crimes. Among the 918 items are some 400 photos taken by Japanese photographers recording in detail how the government sent 1.1 million soldiers to Northeast China during the 1904-05 period when Japan was declaring war on the Russians in China's territory. The pictures reveal how the Japanese army kept watch, carried ammunitions, camped, attacked the Chinese army and occupied cities such as Yingkou, Liaoyang and Haicheng. Some 100 different bonds, stamps and stocks issued by the Japanese Government will also be shown to the public for the first time. On the securities, it marks in Chinese characters of China Accident Bonds of the Japanese Government. A map also published by the Japanese government shows the three provinces in Northeastern China were divided into 19 provinces with Changchun chosen as overall capital. The Chinese Holocaust Museum of the United States is temporarily located in Oakland and was first opened to the public last year. It is supported by Anna Chennault, widow of aviator and air force general Claire Lee Chennualt. General Chennualt made his name for the American Volunteer Group, also known as Flying Tigers when it fought shoulder-to-shoulder with the Chinese against Japan's invasion. The museum exhibits on Japanese war atrocities has drawn wide attention from local people. San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown commented after his visit the museum that all citizens should come to see the history. According to Zhan, a large-scale museum commemorating the Chinese holocaust is expected to be founded in Washington DC within a few years with backing from overseas Chinese as well as American businessmen.
Reuters 13 July 2001 NEW DELHI The Dalai Lama's Tibetan government-in-exile slammed the choice of Beijing as the venue for the 2008 Olympics on Friday and said it would encourage repression in China. ``We deeply regret that Beijing is awarded the 2008 Olympic Games ,'' spokesman for the India-based Central Tibetan Administration Kalon T.C. Tethong said in a statement. ``This will put the stamp of international approval for Beijing's human rights abuses and will encourage China to escalate its repression.'' Earlier the International Olympic Committee (IOC) voted to take the Games to the world's most populous country for the first time. Paris, Toronto, Istanbul and Osaka were the other contenders for the award. As Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama runs a government-in-exile from the Indian Himalayan foothills town of Dharamsala. He and thousands of followers fled Tibet nine years after Chinese troops marched into their homeland in 1950. The Dalai Lama, the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize winner, has long sought a dialogue with Beijing over the future of Tibet, but Beijing says he should first accept the region is part of China. Tethong said the members of the IOC who voted for Beijing would have to shoulder the responsibility for ``the suffering that will certainly be unleashed on the ordinary people by a totalitarian one-party state which will assume that it has received international permission for its horrendous repression.'' He said the vote had erased the memory of over 40 million Chinese who died in the Great Leap Forward in the 1950s, the Cultural Revolution and the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989 and 1.2 million Tibetans who died due to Chinese occupation of their land.
BusinessWeek 16 July 2001 -- Asia's Big Blind Spots about History By Bruce Einhorn The second week of July provided a vivid reminder of how the ghosts of World War II still haunt much of East Asia. On July 13, the International Olympic Committee voted to award the 2008 Summer Games to Beijing, despite critics of China's human-rights record who likened the Beijing Games to the Nazi regime's 1936 Games in Berlin. Meanwhile, South Korea was breaking off cultural and military ties with Japan to protest the distribution of schoolbooks that allegedly whitewash Japan's record of atrocities in Korea and China. And in Taiwan, President Chen Shui-bian's ruling party was caught in an international controversy surrounding a controversial TV commercial, which seeks to get young people more involved in the party by spotlighting four leaders -- including Adolf Hitler. ADVERTISEMENT The ad was produced for Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party [DPP], which has long prided itself on its enlightened attitude toward human rights. Strange, but true. According to the Taipei Times, an English-language newspaper in Taiwan, a party spokesman at first defended the use of Hitler alongside former Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui, Cuban leader Fidel Castro, and slain U.S. President John F. Kennedy. ``We chose them for their bold characteristics,'' Juan Chao-hsiung, DPP youth department director, told the paper. According to the Associated Press, Juan added that Hitler ``dared to speak his own mind.'' DAMAGE CONTROL. That was too much for the Anti-Defamation League, the Washington [D.C.]-based organization devoted to combating anti-Semitism. Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the ADL, faxed a letter to DPP Chairman Frank Hsieh expressing ``shock and outrage'' and calling for the party to use its influence to promote more understanding about the Holocaust. [A copy can be found at the ADL Web site]. The DPP moved quickly to contain the damage. The day after the news broke, I spoke to Wilson Tien, the party's director of international affairs. The commercial was supposed to be ``sarcastic,'' he said, with some of the political figures chosen because they ``represent wrong values.'' The DPP was planning to add subtitles to the ad to explain that the President's party does not approve of Hitler. ``The message,'' says Tien, ``has to be clarified.'' Unfortunately, this ``misunderstanding'' is not an isolated incident. Taiwan once had a restaurant that had a concentration-camp theme. South Korea had one, too. It's not unusual for Hitler's visage to turn up in print ads in Asia -- one recent ad from a major newspaper in Hong Kong comes to mind. In fact, as I sat in my office this morning writing this story, a young Hong Konger walked past in the hallway wearing a shirt adorned with Nazi patches on the sleeve and breast pocket. OFF THE RADAR. What's going on? I doubt it's full-fledged anti-Semitism, which seems to be blessedly absent in most of the region. Yes, cranks in Japan have railed against the Jews, but for the most part the Buddhist and Confucian cultures of Asia have fairly benign attitudes toward Jewish people. Indeed, for groups like the ADL that focus on combating anti-Semitism, East Asia usually doesn't even make the radar screen. Of course, countries with sizeable Muslim populations, like Malaysia, are another story, due in part to their antipathy toward Israel. According to the ADL, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has a ``long record of anti-Semitism and belief in a Jewish conspiracy to bring about the downfall of Malaysia.'' Far from hating Jews, most Chinese I've met seem to admire them as having almost Chinese-like characteristics. Jews, I'm often told by Chinese, are clever and good at business -- attributes they feel they share as people. The speakers seem to be unaware they're repeating what in Europe and the U.S. is viewed as an intolerant caricature. CHINESE POGROM. Many Chinese I've talked to also identify with Jews as successful but vulnerable people often targeted by resentful and racist neighbors. During the Asian financial crisis, thousands of ethnic Chinese had to flee Indonesia following vicious anti-Chinese rioting in which their houses and businesses went up in flames. A pogrom with Chinese instead of Jews, but a pogrom nonetheless. Given the lack of Jew hatred in much of East Asia, it's reasonable for someone like the ADL's Foxman to be puzzled. As he wrote in his letter to the DPP chairman, ``it should be obvious that Hitler is not a role model -- political or otherwise -- for Taiwan's youth.'' It should be obvious, but why isn't it? Here's one interpretation: Maybe it's simply a case of people trying to shock others by taking a taboo symbol and flaunting it, akin to what punk rockers like Johnny Rotten and the Sex Pistols did in the 1970s. Or maybe they're trying to attack Nazism by subverting and mocking its symbols. Think Mel Brooks and his Broadway smash, The Producers, with all of its sieg-heiling chorus girls dancing on Hitler's grave. THE SWASTIKA PUZZLE. I'm not trying to defend what goes on, but perhaps some people in Asia don't even see the Nazi symbol as offensive. How could that be? The swastika is an ancient symbol still used today among Buddhists -- as well as the Falun Gong movement, which inspires so much fear among China's leaders. Still, there's no confusing the Nazi swastika with the Buddhist version. The sort of swastikas one finds in Buddhist temples or vegetarian restaurants aren't tilted, Nazi-like, and they aren't done up in Nazi colors. Instead, I think the problem may simply be ignorance. Some people don't really know or care what the symbol represents. After all, the Holocaust and Christian Europe's 2000-year history of Jew hatred are things that seem very distant to many people in this part of the world. According to Tien of the DPP, the problem is exacerbated by Taiwan's lack of diplomatic recognition. ``Because we are isolated, that discourages our people from thinking about what happens in the international community,'' he says. ``This contributes to some ignorance.'' It's not just Western catastrophes that escape scrutiny. Japan still hasn't come to grips with what it did to the region during World War II, as writer Ian Buruma has described in his book The Wages of Guilt. Hence the controversy in Korea over the Japanese textbooks. Or the decision by Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to visit the Tokyo shrine that memorializes fallen Japanese soldiers -- including war criminals. Or suggestions by some Japanese that the Rape of Nanjing wasn't so serious. TIME FOR CHANGE. The Japanese are not the only ones unwilling to address their recent past. In China, it's difficult for people to talk about the Great Leap Forward or the Cultural Revolution, Communist-made disasters in which millions died in the 1960s, not to mention the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. Given that many Asians have such a hard time dealing with their own past, it's not surprising that some also have difficulty understanding the history of others. But as the region becomes increasingly important in the global economy that needs to change. When they want to stop pesky Americans from criticizing their human-rights records, some apologists for Asian regimes say the problem is really with Westerners who don't do enough to understand Asian history and culture. Who knows? Maybe we Americans don't. But it would be awfully nice if more Asians recognized that they, too, have some work to do. They could start with Hitler and World War II.
Reuters 22 July 2001 By Jonah Greenberg BEIJING On the second anniversary of a crackdown on the Falun Gong , Chinese police on Sunday dragged at least four members of the spiritual movement off Tiananmen Square after they unfurled a yellow protest banner, witnesses said. Two women held up the banner protesting the treatment of Falun Gong members. Police grabbed them by their hair and threw them into a van after they tried to flee, the witness said. Plainclothes officers also arrested a man and a woman protesting nearby and bundled them into two separate vans that sped away from the vast square filled with camera-toting tourists. The protests demonstrated the stubborn resistance of the Falun Gong in the face of a massive government propaganda campaign and the biggest security operation since the aftermath of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre of pro-democracy protests. Two years after banning the group as an ``evil cult,'' Beijing's propaganda effort in recent days has focused on a new museum exhibition in Beijing. State-owned newspapers on Sunday showed pictures of a group of more than 100 former Falun Gong followers who visited the exhibit on Saturday and praised the government for ``saving'' them. ``Li Hongzhi is too evil,'' one was quoted as saying in the Beijing Daily, referring to the group's U.S.-based founder. ''The idea that the so-called Falun Gong can cure illness is a psychological trick,'' he said. The exhibit shows blown-up photos of charred bodies, bludgeoned faces and illegal rituals, and emotional footage of women ``saved'' at government re-education camps. HUMAN RIGHTS CONCERNS Chinese authorities say Falun Gong is responsible for the deaths of 1,800 people by suicide or refusing medical treatment. The movement is based on elements of Taoism, Buddhism and traditional Chinese meditation and exercises. Photos Reuters Photo In the run-up to Sunday's anniversary, police set up roadblocks on roads leading to Beijing to try to catch Falun Gong adherents sneaking in to the capital and demonstrating on Tiananmen. Trucks were searched and drivers questioned as part of the nationwide security operation that has bred public resentment and anger because it has distracted police from fighting crime. China last week put on trial five Falun Gong followers for their alleged role in a fiery group suicide attempt at Tiananmen Square in January, state media reported. Those who went on trial for ``using an evil cult to organize a homicide'' included a survivor of the Chinese New Year's Eve self-immolations that resulted in two deaths. The Beijing First Intermediate People's Court heard the case of survivor Wang Jindong, as well as four others who were accused of plotting the January 23 suicide attempt by five alleged Falun Gong adherents, the Beijing Daily said. One woman died shortly after the self-immolations and her 12-year old daughter died seven weeks later. The badly burned girl was the centerpiece of a government campaign to discredit Falun Gong and its leader, Li. Falun Gong has denied that the five self-immolators belonged to the movement. China's battle with the spiritual group has sparked international concern about abuse of religious freedom and civil liberties. Since 1999, tens of thousands of Falun Gong followers have been detained for protesting on Tiananmen Square. Human rights groups say thousands of members are in labor camps and at least 200 have died of abuse in police custody.
The Times of India 11 July 2001 KOLKATA: West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee on Tuesday rejected the Centre's suggestion of handing over the investigation of the alleged massacre of Trinamul Congress supporters at Choto Angria in Midnapore last week to an impartial agency. "If the CBI is impartial, then the CID is also impartial," Bhattacharjee said. The Trinamul Congress, as well as the NDA fact finding team which visited the spot, had demanded a CBI inquiry, along with the imposition of President's Rule in the state. The state home department received a letter from the union home ministry recently, wanting to know the steps taken by the state government in the wake of several complaints of violence in Garbeta and its surrounding areas. "We have told them that several senior officials were at the spot to discover what had actually happened. Now the CID will conduct an inquiry," Bhattacharjee said. Refuting the Trinamul Congress' demand for promulgation of President's Rule in the state, Bhattacharjee said that it was an admission of that party's defeat against the Left Front. "It is an expression of political frustration," he said. Stating that the demand was nothing new, he said, "Let them impose President's Rule. The people will give them a fitting reply." Mangala Prasad Roy adds from Midnapore: A 12-member team from the West Bengal Criminal Investigation Department reached Choto Angria village in Midnapore to investigate the alleged carnage of Trinamul Congress supporters last week. Sniffer dog Samrat, who was taken from the city to help in the investigations, moved up to the nearby pond which is 700 m away from the spot. Then it moved to the nearby Jaipur jungle, located in the neighbouring Bankura district. Further investigation will be done on Wednesday, said additional director general K.K. Mondal. A forensic team headed by director A.K. Nag also reached the spot during the day and collected samples for investigations. Sources said that blood-stained clothes, burnt bones, cartridge shells have been recovered. The investigation will continue.
BBC 23 July 2001 Police in the eastern Indian state of Tripura say one tribal person was killed and 15 others wounded when a bomb exploded in the state capital, Agartala. Police say they suspect it was the work of a Bengali militant organisation, the United Bengal Liberation Front, which is involved in a conflict with tribal rebel groups active in the area. A BBC correspondent in Agartala says this was the first bombing incident in the city, where Bengali settlers outnumber indigenous tribal people.
BBC 23 July 2001 A general strike is underway in the Jammu region of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir to protest at the killing of 15 Hindu villagers by suspected Islamic militants on Sunday. Markets and businesses in the old city of Jammu are closed and public transport has been kept off the roads after the strike was called by hard-line Hindu groups. Indian security forces were protecting pilgrims Heavy security has been imposed in the Doda district where the killings took place, and the authorities have imposed a curfew in the town where those killed are to be cremated. In further violence on Monday, five soldiers and four civilians were seriously wounded in a landmine explosion in Srinagar, capital of Indian-administered Kashmir. Growing violence The massacre on Sunday came a day after at least 13 people were killed when militants attacked Hindu pilgrims in Kashmir. Talks broke down because Pakistan was stressing the point that there should be no reference to cross border terrorism Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee The pilgrimage - which sees up to 100,000 Hindus trekking to the Amarnath shrine 14,000 feet (4,270m) up in the Himalayan mountains - was immediately suspended, but has since been allowed to resume. Details of Sunday's attack in Doda are still sketchy as the area can only be reached after a 15-hour trek through the mountains. According to the French news agency AFP, the victims were dragged out of their homes and shot dead at point blank range on Sunday. A team of senior police officials has gone to Doda to investigate the attack. July has seen an upsurge in violence in Kashmir with almost 200 people killed since the Agra summit between the leaders of Pakistan and India a week ago. Talks breakdown On Sunday, Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee blamed Pakistan for the breakdown of the Agra summit. In his first public comments since the collapse of the Agra summit, Mr Vajpayee said the Pakistani leader, General Pervez Musharraf, refused to allow a joint statement to refer to alleged Pakistani support for Kashmiri militants. "On some points there was agreement, but talks broke down because Pakistan was stressing the point that there should be no reference to cross border terrorism," he said. India accuses Pakistan of sponsoring the Islamic militants in Kashmir, but Pakistan says it provides only moral support to the guerrillas. Indian-administered Kashmir's Chief Minister, Farooq Abdullah, has reacted to the increased violence by calling on India to stop all negotiations with Pakistan. "Militants enjoying Pakistani support have gone berserk...India should not pursue the peace process with Pakistan if this kind of killings continue," he said. But Mr Vajpayee agreed at the Agra summit to make a return visit to Pakistan for another round of talks with Mr Musharraf. On Sunday, the Indian Prime Minister confirmed that he would still be going to Pakistan but did not give a date.
BBC 31 July, 2001 Thousands mourn Kashmiri militants Mustafa Khan's corpse was carried in a huge procession More than 20,000 Muslim villagers have attended the funeral of three militants shot dead by the security forces in Indian-administered Kashmir. The three were killed on Monday after soldiers laid siege to the shrine in which they were hiding at Goigam in Baramullah district, 40 km north of the state capital Srinagar. Khan's death is a setback to our group. We will avenge his death soon Hizbul Mujahideen militant One of the dead militants, Mustafa Khan, was a commander of the Hizbul Mujahideen group and high on a police wanted list. Shouting "Allah-o-Akbar" (God is great) and "We want freedom" the villagers carried the three corpses in a funeral procession, as women showered flower petals. Many of the mourners are reported to have poured in from neighbouring villages. Wanted man Some militants are also said to have attended the funeral, and vowed to continue fighting against the security forces. "He was our hero," the AFP news agency quoted one militant as saying in reference to Mustafa Khan. "Khan's death is a setback to our group. We will avenge his death soon," another is quoted saying. But Indian security forces were congratulating themselves for getting rid of one the most wanted Kashmiri militants. "It is a massive achievement," RP Singh, a senior official of the Border Security Force, said. Eyewitnesses said the militants had taken up positions within the complex but not inside the shrine itself, which was damaged in the firing. Local residents allege that they were used as human shields by the troops during the operation, but a official said the residents were only sent in to the shrine persuade the militants to surrender. Monday's exchange with the militants was the first since a recent warning by the authorities of using force if militants sought refuge in religious places. The warning followed three such incidents this year. The BBC's Altaf Hussain in Srinagar says such moves by the militants pose a serious challenge to the authorities since any direct assault by them on religious sites could inflame local passions. Srinagar bomb In a separate development, one civilian has been killed and at least seven others injured in a bomb blast on the outskirts of Srinagar. The bomb, which was hidden in a hand-cart, damaged a security vehicle and wounded three Indian border guards. The area has been sealed off and a search is on for militants suspected of carrying out the attack.
AP 24 July 2001 Megawati Seen as Indonesian Reformer By Slobodan Lekic JAKARTA, Indonesia –– Indonesia's first leader, President Sukarno, was ousted from office 35 years ago by right-wing army generals. Now Sukarno's daughter has risen to the presidency on a wave of support from the military brass – still this nation's kingmakers. Several other groups that were part of the corruption-ridden, 32-year dictatorship of former President Suharto – the five-star general who brought down Sukarno in 1966 – also backed Megawati on Monday. These include Indonesia's powerful business elite, the state bureaucracy and the judiciary. "This is very bad news for Indonesia's democratic reforms and for the concept of civilian supremacy over the military," said John Roosa, a historian specializing in Southeast Asia. The army's support for Megawati in the political struggle to replace Wahid – strikingly demonstrated when they deployed nearly 100 tanks around the presidential palace on Sunday – may enable them to regain the pre-eminent position they held during the dictatorship. This is not the hopeful vision of a new Indonesia that emerged when Suharto fell. In the heady days of June 1999, after huge pro-democracy protests and riots forced Suharto from office, "Reformasi," – Reforms – became the rallying cry for Indonesians ecstatic with their new democratic experiment. The military, seen as Indonesia's most corrupt institution and accused of bloody human rights abuses in East Timor and elsewhere, appeared on the verge of losing legitimacy. Megawati was in the forefront of the reform movement. Her family pedigree and the fact that Suharto's thugs attacked her party's headquarters in 1996 to remove her as its leader made her a hero and natural candidate for president. Her Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle won the largest share of votes – mainly from poor and working class voters – in democratic elections in 1999, but failed to achieve a clear majority. Inexplicably, Megawati demonstrated no interest in the electoral college which picks Indonesia's presidents. Her passivity allowed a coalition of other groups, many of them holdovers from the Suharto regime, to sideline her and elect Wahid in October 1999. The moderate Muslim cleric was not expected to deliver significant reforms. But once he became head of state, Wahid angered his backers by moving tentatively to eliminate the corruption that marked Suharto's regime. The government prosecuted several of Suharto's wealthiest cronies and even attempted to bring charges against the aging dictator himself. Wahid also tried – but eventually backed off – to replace the military brass with reformist generals advocating civilian control over the armed forces. In April last year, the only human rights trial of soldiers in Indonesian history ended in 24 convictions for the massacre of dozens of students at a religious school in Aceh. Although most of Wahid's initiatives fizzled, they earned him the loathing of the military and business oligarchies, which gradually switched their support to Megawati. In the meantime, the vice president had done little to formulate a cohesive political platform. Her rare public speeches were full of nationalist exhortations and nursery rhymes but short on substance. She had nothing to do with the running of the government and quietly evaded Wahid's request to mediate in peace talks between warring Christians and Muslims in the Maluku islands. "This is somebody who would normally be considered completely incompetent to be a politician," said Roosa, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California at Berkley. Megawati is widely seen as lacking intellectual ability and being heavily influenced by her millionaire husband, Taufik Kiemas, and a coterie of advisers. Kiemas has established an armed party militia commanded by Eurico Guterres, a notorious army-backed paramilitary leader from East Timor wanted by the United Nations on charges of war crimes. Kiemas also indicated that attempts to prosecute three of Suharto's children on charges of stealing hundreds of millions of dollars will soon be dropped. He recently told Jakarta's Tempo magazine that "this kind of suffering" should not be inflicted on the former dictator's family. It was not immediately clear whether this would involve a pardon for his youngest son, Tommy Suharto, who fled in November when he was sentenced to 18 months in prison for corruption. Megawati's advisers include Arifin Panigoro, an oil baron and former Suharto crony, who as her party's parliamentary chief has worked hard to forge a coalition with the generals and tycoons. "She thinks it is her birthright to be president and will enjoy the glory associated with it, but others will be running things for her," predicted George Aditjondro, a University of Newcastle professor and a leading expert on corruption in Indonesia. Aditjondro said Megawati will be a mere figurehead for the military and the oligarchies that benefitted from association with Suharto. "I foresee a pessimistic future. We'll probably see a rotation of short-term presidents, while the military make sure that there are no serious trials for corruption or human rights abuses."
JAKARTA, Jul 28: Three people, including an army officer, were killed in violence between separatist rebels and Government forces in Indonesia's Aceh province, police said on Friday. Two suspected guerillas riding a motorcycle shot and killed an army lieutenant on Thursday in the provincial Capital Banda Aceh, said police Maj Sudarsono. Meanwhile, two unidentified bodies were found in a village close to the Capital, said Sudarsono, who like many Indonesians use only one name. Guerrillas of the Free Aceh Movement have been fighting for independence for their gas- and oil-rich homeland since 1975, leaving more than 6,000 people dead in the past decade. About 1,000 have been killed this year as violence escalated following the collapse of a seven-month truce.
Kurdish Media 18 July 2001 Saddam Calls On Kurds To Kick Out Spies By Hannah Rumsby, London - In a television statement Saddam Hussein called for Kurds in autonomous Northern Iraq to kick out "foreigners and spies". Hussein said his government has left the northern region alone to allow the Kurds to solve their own problems, and that when they are ready they should engage in dialogue with the Iraqi government to prevent 'foreigners and spies' dividing the country.
Gulf News (United Arab Emirates) 27 July 2001 Iraq body meets in north for first time in 10 years Baghdad. Iraq's semi-official federation of chambers of commerce has held a meeting in northern Iraq, the first such one since Baghdad lost control of the region in the wake of the 1991 Gulf War. Al Iraq newspaper reported yesterday that the federation met in the northern province of Suleimaniya to discuss the role of the private sector in boosting economic activity in the country. The meeting took place more than one week after Iraqi President Saddam Hussein invited Kurdish rebel foes to open dialogue with Baghdad. The remote mountainous enclave of northern Iraq, controlled by two rival Iraqi Kurdish groups, has been outside Baghdad's control since the Gulf War ended Iraq's occupation of Kuwait. U.S. and British jets patrol a no-fly zone set up to protect Kurdish dissidents in the north from attack by Baghdad forces. Saddam said on July 15 that Baghdad had left the northern area alone until now to allow the Kurds to deal with their own problems and that fear of intervention by Baghdad had kept the two rival Kurdish factions from harming the Kurdish people. Baghdad has severed all ties with Kurds in the north, who have aligned themselves with other Iraqi opposition groups and have publicly vowed to topple the government in Baghdad. The two sides held inconclusive talks in 1991. In 1992 the Kurds held elections for a parliament and established a regional government in which the two rival groups share power.
Kurdish Media 29 July 2001 KDP And PUK Joint Response To Iraqi Dictator's Call For Dialogue By R. M. Ahmad, Salahadin-Kurdistan - The politburos of Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), led by Barzany, and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), led by Talebany met jointly today to respond to the call of Saddam Hussein, Iraqi Dictator, on 15th of this month, for dialogue to solve Kurdish question. Both sides stressed on the peaceful means as the root of the Kurdistan National Freedom Movements which always responds to any peaceful initiatives to solve Kurdish question. The history is the witness that this Movement has never missed an opportunity for peaceful discussion and dialogue according to the welfare and interest of people of Kurdistan and Iraq as a whole. Both sides stressed that the strength of Iraqi National Unity depends on the level of the achievement of democracy, pluralism, respecting human rights and solving Kurdish question peacefully within Iraqi unity to guarantee peace, stability and progress in Iraq and in the region. Both sides stressed on the necessity of the preparation of the suitable climates and conditions of democratic open dialogue, and building the means of trust by stopping forced deportation of people from their homes in Kirkuk, Khaneqin, Mendaly, Makhmoor, Shekhan, Sinjar, Zimar and others and to reveal what happened to those arrested and kidnapped by Iraqi government. The sacrifices and ambitions of people of Kurdistan must be accepted according to the decision of Kurdistan Parliament on 4th October 1992, with the legal definition of the relationships between Kurdistan Region and Central Government on federal basis and respecting the rights of all nationalities and religions.
AP 2 July 2001 JERUSALEM — Israel's tourism minister on Monday referred to Palestinians working and living illegally in Israel as ``lice'' and a ``cancer.'' The minister, Rehavam Zeevi, heads the far-right National Union party that advocates the expulsion of Arabs living under Israeli rule. He has often made derogatory remarks about Palestinians, and his inclusion in Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's center-right coalition sparked protests earlier this year. Speaking on Israel army radio Monday, Zeevi said about 180,000 Palestinians were living in Israel illegally. ``They arrived here and are trying to become citizens because they want social security and welfare payments,'' Zeevi told the radio. ``We should get rid of the ones who are not Israeli citizens the same way you get rid of lice. We have to stop this cancer from spreading within us.'' Zeevi on Sunday stormed out of a Cabinet meeting after Sharon refused to discuss Foreign Affairs Minister Shimon Peres' meeting with Palestinian leader Chairman Yasser Arafat over the weekend in Lisbon, Portugal. Zeevi strongly opposed the talks with the Palestinian leader. Of Israel's 6 million citizens, more than 1 million are Arabs. In addition, many Palestinians from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip come to Israel in search of jobs. Copyright 2001 Associated Press. All rights reserved.
Jerusalem Post 3 July 2001 Rancor over Ze'evi likening Palestinians to lice, cancer By Gil Hoffman and Herb Keinon JERUSALEM - Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze'evi (National Union) elicited sharp responses yesterday after he referred to Palestinians working and living illegally in Israel as "lice" and a "cancer." Speaking on Army Radio, Ze'evi said about 180,000 Palestinians are in Israel illegally. "They arrived here and are trying to become citizens because they want social security and welfare payments," Ze'evi said. "We should get rid of the ones who are not Israeli citizens the same way you get rid of lice. We have to stop this cancer from spreading within us." Ze'evi on Sunday stormed out of a cabinet meeting after Prime Minister Ariel Sharon refused to discuss Foreign Minister Shimon Peres's meeting with Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat over the weekend in Lisbon. Reacting to Ze'evi's comments, Peres said that just as Israel demands that the Palestinians stop incitement against Israel, so Israeli officials must refrain from incitement against Palestinians. Shinui MK Yossi Paritzky said that it takes one to know one. "Though [Ze'evi] understands lice more than anyone, he is wrong in his diagnosis," Paritzky said. MK Taleb A-Sanna (United Arab List) called upon Sharon to fire Ze'evi for the comment and said he is working on legislation to ban Ze'evi's Moledet Party from running in the next election. "The mosquito called Gandhi [Ze'evi's nickname] grows in a fascist swamp with roots in the occupation," A-Sanna said. "His racism and fascism bring shame to the State of Israel that permits him to serve as a minister." "Haider and LePen are angels compared to him," added A-Sanna, referring to the Austrian and French ultra-nationalists.
WP 2 July 2001 For Israelis, Lost Dreams of a Peaceful Future Palestinian Uprising Is a Rude Awakening for Many Who Thought Conflict Was Past By Lee Hockstader, Page A01 JERUSALEM -- Lisa Shimoni flipped through the sales brochures, scanned the landscape and liked what she saw: The cranes rising over the gentle hills of Modiin were erecting "Israel's City of the Future," and Shimoni wanted a piece of it. It was 1995, and to Shimoni, an American-born Web site designer, the Israel of the future seemed an excellent place to be. Israeli and Palestinian leaders had recently collected their Nobel Peace Prizes. Cash-happy Israelis were delighting in a high-tech boom. If Israel had a grim past, saddled with a war every decade, that was then. Modiin, a planned city of peace, harmony and trim green lawns, was now. So what if Palestinian territory started a half-mile away, so close that an Arab beekeeper's honeybees buzzed around the swimming pool where Shimoni's kids would splash? In the past nine months, Shimoni has undergone a rude awakening, as has much of Israel. The Palestinian armed revolt that began last September punctured the rosy Israeli future for which Modiin was a happy emblem. Instead of the cherished Israeli dream -- of a normal and, above all, placid future -- the uprising has left a tableau of fear, fury and denial. "If you had to use one word to describe the Israel of the 21st century, it was 'normalized,' and this has been lost," said Nahum Barnea, a veteran columnist for Israel's biggest newspaper, Yedioth Aharonoth. "Now there is pressure and confusion. And there is no solution in sight." The violence has revived the specter of a jumpy, hand-wringing existence that many Israelis thought was past. Born at mid-century, Israel for years imagined itself as a fortress -- surrounded by enemies, friendless in the world and living in fear of annihilation, an atmosphere captured in a 1970s pop anthem, "The Whole World Is Against Us." A glimpse of normality came in the 1990s. The end of the Cold War and the Israeli-Palestinian peace deal at Oslo in 1993, followed by a formal peace with Jordan, contributed to a new outlook. Many Israelis were optimistic about the future and relatively unburdened by the past. A million new Russian-speaking immigrants, and even more Israeli-born youths -- perhaps half the country in all -- had no palpable memory of an Israeli war. Now the assumptions of just a few years ago have been turned on their heads. Today, the national bus company, Egged, is armor-plating buses in Jerusalem, and the police are scrambling to obtain more robots programmed to dismantle bombs. Immigration has dipped sharply, tourists are scarce, and sales of sedatives have soared. The country feels, if not under siege, then perhaps like a pressure cooker. In most measurable ways, however, the Israelis' predicament is much less dire than that of the Palestinians. Nearly five times more Palestinians than Israelis have died violently since last fall, and many times more have been injured. Israel's boom economy has slowed, but the Palestinians' far more fragile economy has buckled. Israelis worry about which roads are safe, but many Palestinians are confined by Israeli army blockades of their towns and villages, barred from using major roads at all. On both sides, hopes for peace have been dashed. In late 1995, half of all Israelis believed peace with the Palestinians was on the way; today an equal percentage doesn't feel safe going to the mall, according to a survey of Israeli attitudes conducted by Tel Aviv University. In a Gallup poll published this month in the newspaper Maariv, 17 percent acknowledged they were thinking of leaving the country, an astonishing admission in a nation of immigrants where emigration is widely stigmatized. Lisa Shimoni says she is not leaving, but she has retooled her expectations. So has Roy Cohen, a teenager heading for the army who once counted Palestinians among his closest friends and now is struggling to keep them. And so has Galina Nussbaum, an immigrant from Ukraine, who continues to defiantly visit the mall recently rocked by a suicide bomber. Like many Israelis, their lives reflect a country deeply torn by a conflict for which there appears to be no peace, no victory and no end. Two Worlds For years, Shimoni felt sure the strife with the Palestinians could be massaged -- "they're people; we're people" -- given time and wise leadership. Her attentions were focused not on Israel's Arab neighbors but on the future. Israelis were getting rich by hooking up to the global economy, outstripping even European countries in Internet connectivity, personal computer ownership and use of cellular phones. Ownership of private cars, considered a luxury by Israelis as late as the 1980s, nearly doubled in the 1990s; overseas trips quadrupled. The ultimate affirmation of newly found normality arrived a few months after the Oslo peace accord: McDonald's opened its first restaurant here. It has since opened 84 more. And so Shimoni, 37, and her husband moved to Modiin, with its tidy streets and whirring sprinklers. But instead of an oasis of calm halfway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, Modiin now feels like what Israelis call a "confrontation-line community." Pale, open and earnest, Shimoni is even-keeled and disinclined to hysteria, and she chooses her words with care. Still, she makes no effort to hide her dejection and disillusionment. To cope, she lives in parallel mental worlds, she says: the "insular world of work and family and . . . the outside world of terrorists and funerals." She shuttles uneasily between the two, but even her insular world is not entirely insular. From the swimming pool where she takes her children, she can glance across the perimeter fence into the Arab village of Beit Sirah, just beyond the Green Line in Palestinian territory. Israeli newspapers have reported that the religious leader at Beit Sirah's mosque has publicly endorsed the killing of Jews. "It's a reminder that we're really near to an enemy, though we didn't used to think of them as an enemy," Shimoni said the other day, seated in her comfortable living room, whose bright windows provide a clear view of Beit Sirah. "It comes down to frame of mind. The question is whether you're going to focus on what's over the fence, or whether you're going to focus on the kids splashing in the pool." She worries about shielding her four children, not only from physical harm but also from the pervasive talk of violence and death. Four-year-old Gilad's preschool teacher was shaken for days when a bomb exploded outside a restaurant near Tel Aviv where she was eating not long ago. Ten-year-old Maytal's drama instructor canceled class after she narrowly avoided being injured by a bombing in Jerusalem last month. And she worries about her husband, Giora, who commutes to work on Route 443, which cuts through Palestinian territory to Jerusalem. When the violence erupted, the thoroughfare became a shooting gallery for Palestinian gunmen firing on Israeli cars. Work has not provided much respite. Shimoni runs an Internet forum on Israel and Judaism. It was raided a few months ago by Arabs from the West Bank and Jordan. They attacked Israel as a racist state and accused it of atrocities in its occupation of Palestinian land. The tone of the forum, which had once been a repository for bland tips for traveling in Israel, kosher cooking and Jewish customs, suddenly turned violent. Shimoni once believed in peace and a deal with the Palestinians. She doesn't anymore. The bombs and gunfire, the vehemence of Arab rhetoric and a rash of anti-Semitic incidents worldwide have all moved her toward Israel's nationalist camp. Like many Israelis, and like the hard-line government of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Shimoni is in no mood to negotiate under fire. "There were always incidents here, but it was like random crimes in the United States, like some guy walking into McDonald's or the post office with a rifle," she said. "Now, though, it's different. It's more like a guerrilla war." 'Reality Has Failed' He might be any Israeli teenager on the verge of his army service, a tall, skinny, shambling kid with dusky eyes and a quick smile and a patter so disarmingly flirtatious that the waitress in the mall, his high school classmate, is reduced to a paroxysm of giggles. But Roy Cohen has a secret -- not a secret exactly, but knowledge and experience very few Israelis share. Some of Roy's closest friends are Palestinians. And for a 17-year-old Israeli who has known all his life that he would be drafted at age 18, and who happens to think Israel faces a dire threat from its neighbors, having Palestinian friends means having a serious problem. For instance: How do you react when one of your best Palestinian friends is shot to death by Israeli police? And how do you respond when your best Israeli friend says the only way to deal with the Palestinians is to wage all-out war on them? The son of immigrants from Spain and Algeria, Roy is too easygoing and levelheaded to crumble under the weight of those questions. Still, the nine months of armed Palestinian revolt have touched him more personally than they have his friends and neighbors in the Israeli port city of Ashdod. And the strain is evident. "At school, my [Israeli] friends would say, 'Hey, look at your [Palestinian] friends, you see what they're doing on TV?' " Roy says. "It was a common thing -- you know, they'd say it with a wink, they said it kind of kidding. But they weren't kidding in a way." Roy met his Palestinian friends through Seeds of Peace, a U.S. program designed to bring Israeli and Arab teenagers together in the most neutral and stress-free environment imaginable: a woodsy summer camp in Maine. For three summers, until 1999, he bunked and played with Palestinian kids and endlessly hashed over the Arab-Jewish conflict with them. Roy's summer friendships were cemented during the school year at the Seeds center in Jerusalem. One of his closest friends was Asel Asleh, a Palestinian from northern Israel with a knack for computers. Another was a girl named Rasha from the West Bank town of Ramallah, whom Roy admired for her determination to insulate her friendships from politics. In the first days of the Palestinian revolt, Asel was killed by Israeli police during a demonstration. Arab witnesses told an Israeli commission of inquiry that he was shot in the neck at close range as he lay wounded on the ground. The police offered no contradictory testimony. Shortly afterward, Rasha broke off contact with Roy. She had told him about Israeli attacks on Palestinian towns, and about her young cousin who was killed at a demonstration. Even by talking to him on the phone, she said, she felt she was betraying her people. At first it seemed to Roy that everything Seeds represented had failed -- that his idea of what could or should be normal friendship between Arabs and Jews had become impossible. Then he reassessed. "I don't feel Seeds has failed," he said. "I think reality has failed." The violence remains abstract for most of Roy's friends in Ashdod, which has been unscathed so far by bombs and bloodshed. With dozens of radio and television channels to choose from and money to spend, many Israelis no longer live from one news bulletin to the next. These days, Israeli channel-surfers are flocking to a new soap opera called "A Touch of Happiness." And when a crowd of 400,000 people swarmed into Tel Aviv's main square last month, they were demanding neither war nor peace but celebrating an Israeli team's victory in the European basketball championships. Meanwhile, Roy is preparing for the army. He knows that the moment he pulls on his olive-drab uniform, his closest Palestinian friends will see him as the enemy. But he also knows that for him, it's the right thing to do. "It's not patriotism, it's realism," he said. "We're under attack." Abiding such contradictions -- even when it means keeping internal turmoil to yourself -- has become part of growing up. "You can't come up to someone who's in pain or has heard of a bombing or has seen something awful on TV, or who's living in fear, and tell them it's not okay to say this or that because not all Palestinians are like that. It doesn't help," Roy said. "But I can't say it doesn't bother me. Because I do know Palestinians who, if they got killed, it would be the end of the world for me." 'I'm No Hero' Disappointment clouded Galina Nussbaum's face as she glanced around the mall in Netanya, a sweltering Mediterranean coastal resort north of Tel Aviv. At mid-afternoon, her favorite coffee shop was practically empty. "It used to be full here," said Nussbaum, the dismay evident in her Russian-accented Hebrew. "Usually I'd be sitting here waving hello to everyone." The crowds at the coffee shop have thinned since a teenage Palestinian suicide bomber detonated his explosives at the mall's entrance, killing five Israelis and wounding dozens. Still, Nussbaum insists on meeting visitors at the mall. She wants to make a point. She is 48 years old, an immigrant from Ukraine, single, independent and proud to have made it in her adoptive country. Like many who arrived on the last decade's tidal wave of post-Soviet immigration, Nussbaum had given little thought to the Arab-Jewish conflict. She came to Israel to escape the anti-Semitism in the former Soviet Union, not to become entangled in a new country's thorny disputes. Understated and polite, she has little of the brash intensity of native Israelis, and is uncomfortable discussing politics. She renders her political opinions curtly, her arms folded across her chest. But Israel's anxieties are all around her, infecting conversations and playing on nerves. Although she is loath to admit it, the past months' violence has dented Nussbaum's conviction that her new country is as comfortable a place to be as "your own skin." "Yesterday we were sitting in a coffee shop and this guy walked by with a big bag, and I saw my friend start to stare," she said. "So I said, 'What, is he so good-looking?' She said, 'No, it's because of the bag.' " In Netanya, where Nussbaum has lived since arriving in Israel, fate has favored her more than once. Ten miles from the border separating the Jewish state from Palestinian-ruled territory, Netanya is a favorite target of Palestinian militants. Six bombs have blown up there this year alone, leaving eight Israelis dead and nearly 200 wounded. A few months ago, Nussbaum walked past the city's outdoor produce market 10 minutes before a bomb went off. This spring, a car bomb exploded outside a school where she had attended a meeting an hour earlier. "These days it seems like I pass by just before or after an explosion," she said. On the night of a suicide attack that killed 20 Israelis at a Tel Aviv disco a month ago, Nussbaum surfed from one news channel to another, transfixed by the jumpy hand-held camera footage of severed limbs and sobbing teens. The coverage was gruesome and repetitive, but she couldn't turn it off. Nearly all the casualties were Russian-speaking teenagers, the same age and ethnicity as the high school students she counsels for a living. Watching the news most of the night "was one way I could participate in this terrible pain, take part in it," she said. "If there are bombs, you're afraid, but it doesn't mean you pack up and leave. One of my students said to me, 'We've just arrived here, we're the first generation of immigrants, no one will kick us out of here by force.' "And I agree: If this is going to be a test of strength, then we're the ones who are stronger." Nussbaum knows little of the Palestinians' grievances, and cannot conceive of why they regard Israel as a brutal occupying power. She sees Israel as a blameless victim; Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian leader, whom she calls a "criminal and a bastard," is, for her, the exclusive villain. Nussbaum spent years learning Hebrew, restarting her life and establishing a career as a social worker in the schools. It was a struggle to find a groove in Israel. Now that she has found one, she is determined not to let suicide bombers spoil it. "For me, it's harder to get on a plane than to go to the mall," she said. "If I have to do something in the mall, I do it. I don't think it's such a big deal to go to the mall. I'm no hero for going to the mall."
Ha'aretz 18 July 2001 'Israeli Arab demos prompted Intifada' Ha'aretz Correspondent By Gideon Alon Israeli Arab demonstrations after then-opposition leader Ariel Sharon went to the Temple Mount last September prompted the Palestinian Intifada, Shin Bet Chief Avi Dichter told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee yesterday. In his semi-annual briefing to the MKs, the head of Israel's secret service said that the deaths of Israeli Arab demonstrators and subsequent incitement by the leadership of Israeli Arabs brought about the outbreak of the hostilities in the territories. He said that there is a "worrisome" separatist movement growing in the Israeli Arab community, for both religious and nationalist reasons. According to Dichter, MK Azmi Bishara is one of the key leaders of the nationalist movement. He said that most Israeli Arabs regard the events of last September and October as a mistake, but there is a growing emotional identification - within legal means - with the Palestinian Authority among Israeli Arabs. Dichter gave the MKs a tour d'horizon of the state of the Palestinian organizations involved in hostilities against Israel. He said that Tawfik Tirawi's General Intelligence force "co-opted" the Tanzim and Force 17, which were responsible for dozens of terror attacks against targets in the West Bank and inside Israel proper. But since last month's cease-fire arrangements brokered by CIA chief George Tenet, Tirawi's groups have ceased their terror activities, Dichter said. Tirawi's people have begun taking preventive action, except that they don't put suspects in jail but rather in "hotel-like" conditions. Furthermore, he said, the Palestinians are not conducting interrogations or investigations, which means there's a limited intelligence picture about planned terror attacks. By April 2000, there were indications that trouble was already brewing, he said, when some rank and file members of Palestinian security organizations, such as Mohammed Dahlan's Preventive Security force in Gaza, began conducting terrorist activity. Eventually, Dahlan began commanding those operations. But since the Tenet agreement, he said, Dahlan's organizations has ceased involvement, except for a few individuals. A similar phenomenon took place with regard to the Tanzim, Fatah-related youth movement, which Dichter said was under the complete command of Yasser Arafat. Two organizations that have not taken part in any of the terror activity against Israel have been Jibril Rajoub's Preventive Security force in the West Bank and the National Security force. Dichter surprised the committee by saying that he favored a fence between Israel and the West Bank, similar to the one between Israel and Gaza. A Jewish terror cell, not an underground A Jewish terror cell is already operating in the territories, Dichter told the MKs, but he refrained from referring to it as a Jewish underground similar to the 27-member conspiracy that existed in the early 1980s and was eventually arrested by the Shin Bet. He said that the cell has committed three shooting attacks on Palestinians in the Ramallah and Halhoul areas. One Palestinian was killed and four others wounded, he said. Up until a few months ago there was a large measure of self-restraint on the part of Jews in the territories, but there has been an upsurge of anti-Palestinian activity, mostly in the form of vandalism, he said. The violent line in the settlement movement is led by members of Kach and Kahane Hai, as well as others in the radical right. Dichter said that he handed over to the police the investigation into the explosion in Kach activist Noam Federman's car, after reaching the conclusion that there were no "strategic" arms involved. The weapons found in the car on Monday were mostly "the type of equipment reservists who don't respect the law take home from the army," including smoke grenades, stun grenades and flares. He said the explosion was probably the result of poor handling of the material. Grim numbers Dichter summed up the Intifada's statistics for the MKs, telling them that since the outbreak of the Intifada 136 Jews have been killed and 1,308 wounded by attacks, while 531 Palestinians have died, with 68 of them under the age of 16.
Jerusalem Post 20 July 2001 Jews claim killing of three Palestinians By Margot Dudkevitch JERUSALEM (July 20) - A manhunt is under way for the perpetrators of a shooting attack last night near Hebron which left three Palestinians dead - one a baby - and four others wounded, all from the same family. The Committee for Road Safety, an organization with operations dating back at least as far as 1989 and with links to the banned Jewish terrorist group Kach, claimed responsibility for the attack. Judea and Samaria police spokesman Rafi Yafe said it is too early to ascertain that the perpetrators were indeed settlers. The three dead were identified as Mohammed Salameh Etnizi, 22, Mohammed Hilmy Etnizi, 20, and six-month-old Wael Etnizi, from Idna. According to reports, a white vehicle parked at the Idna junction overtook the Palestinians' car as it passed and its occupants opened fire. The attackers' car then turned around and fled in the direction of Kiryat Gat. Akram Etnizi, a relative of the victims, said he was in a nearby car and watched as "one settler stepped up to the car and started shooting, and then drove away." Judea and Samaria police chief Cmdr. Shahar Ayalon said the attack was likely an act of revenge by Jews. Police set up roadblocks in the vicinity and a helicopter was scouring the open areas nearby, he said, noting that police had received most of their information from the Palestinian liaison office and were still at the site investigating. Soldiers at nearby Tarkumiya told police they saw a white car that fled the area in the direction of Kiryat Gat. The Prime Minister's Office immediately issued a statement condemning the attack, saying that "the prime minister and the Israeli government condemn all forms of terror and violence, regardless of who committed them. We regret the loss of innocent lives." The statement said that "at present an investigation is under way, and we are unable to determine the identity of the perpetrators of the attack and the conditions surrounding it. We will spare no effort to bring the perpetrators to justice." President Moshe Katsav strongly condemned the attack, and called on responsible leaders to take steps to prevent such despicable acts. "No one has the right to take the law into their own hands," he said. The Council of Jewish Communities in Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip issued a statement last night saying that if it is proven that Jews were responsible for the attack, it will condemn them and demand that the police carry out a swift investigation and find the perpetrators. "Such an act is forbidden morally and legally, and such acts can only damage the entire settlement effort," it said. West Bank Preventive Security Service chief Jibril Rajoub said the Israeli government is responsible for the attack and that it proves the necessity of deploying international observers. Late last night, gunmen in Beit Jala fired at the Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo and nearby army posts. No one was hurt and no damage was reported. Meanwhile, yesterday and last night Hebron was a flashpoint of Palestinian gunfire. One soldier was lightly hurt from bullet fragments after Palestinians shot at soldiers near Beit Hadassah and later an Israeli woman was lightly hurt from a bullet ricochet as she worked with a group of young women to restore the ancient Jewish cemetery near Tel Rumeida. As soldiers accompanying the group returned fire, a bulletproof army jeep evacuated the woman to the Jewish enclave below, where she was transferred to an ambulance and taken to Hadassah-University Hospital in Jerusalem's Ein Kerem. David Wilder, spokesman for the Hebron Jewish Community, said the woman was accompanying a group of seven young women from New York affiliated with Chabad who for the last two weeks had volunteered in the community, assisting with the children in the day and then renovating the cemetery in the afternoon. Last night the community issued a statement calling on Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to retake the surrounding hilltops used by the Palestinians to perpetrate their attacks from. The woman's wounding occurred two hours after the army had lifted the curfew imposed on Hebron due to the constant shooting in recent days. Following the incident the curfew was reimposed. In Gaza last night, a Palestinian mortar shell landed inside Israel near the Karni crossing, shortly after Palestinians shot at a convoy of Israeli vehicles travelling between Karni and Netzarim. Shots were also fired at soldiers near the Sufa crossing at the entrance to the Gaza Strip. Meanwhile, in the West Bank last night shots were fired at an Egged bus 100 meters south of Halhoul and at an Israeli vehicle at Jatt intersection in Samaria. No one was hurt, but several bullets penetrated the vehicle. The army yesterday imposed a blockade on the Samarian villages of Dir Isstiya, Kifel Hares, and Hares following the shooting at an Israeli bus near Ariel on Wednesday night. Residents are also forbidden to leave the village on foot. Meanwhile there are reports that 11 Palestinians, some of them Christians, have been arrested by Palestinian security forces in Bethlehem on suspicion of collaborating with Israel and passing information that led to the targeting of the four Hamas terrorists on Tuesday afternoon. According to Israel Radio, those arrested are from Bethlehem, Beit Sahur, and Beit Jalla. (Herb Keinon contributed to this report.)
Fasl Al-Maqal (Nazareth) Is There A New Plan to Evacuate Arabs? Fasl Al-Maqal revealed this week a new study conducted by Prof. Arnon Sufir from Haifa University. The study investigates the demographic developments in the region. This study has been discussed by the Foreign and Security Committee at the Knesset. Sufir thinks that: “Jews will become a minority next year because of the natural propagation amongst the Arab citizens. He also thinks that the population number in Israel will rise to 15.2 million in 2020, and Jews will account for only 42% of that number.“ (Fasl Al-Maqal, July 20). The study concluded: “separating Israel from the occupied territories in order to maintain Israel as a Jewish state, in a case of war, the [Israeli] Arabs should be evacuated to other countries.” Sufir makes some suggestions for a gradual evacuation such as “moving some parts of Jerusalem and the Triangle to the Palestinian Authority, the enhancement of the presence of police in Arab cities to enforce law, and work on the issue of birth control.” (Fasl Al-Maqal, July 20). Weekly Review of the Arab Press in Israel No. 39 / 17 - 23 July, 2001 translated and distributed by HRA - The Arab Association for Human Rights ( http://www.arabhra.org/)
Jerusalem Post 26 July 2001 Israeli, PA activists issue manifesto By Etgar Lefkovits JERUSALEM - A group of nearly 60 Israeli and Palestinian intellectuals, political activists, and academics yesterday signed a joint declaration calling for an end to violence and a return to negotiations. The declaration, which was initiated by former justice minister Yossi Beilin and Palestinian Authority Minister of Culture and Information Yasser Abed Rabbo and which will be published in the Israeli and Arabic press tomorrow, is the first document to have been drawn up between Israelis and Palestinians since the start of the violence. "We know that our effort will not be enough to put an end to the violence tomorrow, but we each want to tell our camps not to give up on hope," Beilin told a press conference sponsored by Peace Now at the offices of Palestinian and Arab League spokeswoman Hanan Ashrawi just outside Jerusalem. Beilin insisted that though this paper could be "easily dismissed," it could also "change trends" and get the sides back to to the negotiations, which he predicted will inevitably be based on former US president Bill Clinton's proposals that the PA ultimately rejected at Camp David last summer. "Our goal is to show that there is an alternative to war and that there is a peace camp on both sides," Bar-Ilan University professor Menahem Klein, one of the signatories. While acknowledging that the signatories are not representative of either the Israeli or PA governments, Klein said that the group feels the declaration is their "intellectual and civic duty as citizens." "We refuse to accept the ongoing deterioration in our situation, the growing list of victims, the suffering, and the real possibility that we may all be drowned in a sea of mutual hostility... in spite of everything, we still believe in the humanity of the other side, that we have a partner for peace, and that a negotiated solution to the conflict between our people is possible," reads the one page declaration which appears in English, Hebrew, and Arabic. It goes on to endorse a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders, "with their respective capitals in Jerusalem." Among the 27 Israeli signatories were writers Amos Oz, A.B. Yehoshua, and David Grossman, as well as a coterie of Meretz and Peace Now members, while the list of 24 Palestinian signatories includes Abed Rabbo, Ashrawi, PA Minister Nabil Amr, the Al-Kuds University President Sari Nusseibeh, and Hafez Barghouti, editor-in-chief of Al-Hayat al-Jadida. "The document is not an agreement," conceded Haim Oron (Meretz), "but it exhibits a strong will to understand the other side." The document calls for the full implementation of the Mitchell recommendations, a total freeze on settlement activity, the implementation of existing agreements, and a return to negotiations - all of which should be monitored by an an objective third party. In a direct appeal to the "Israeli peace camp," Abed Rabbo said: "We know that you are not our enemies and are our main allies in struggle against occupation and for a just peace." But though Beilin and the other Israeli speakers spoke of "mistakes made on both sides," there were few specifics from either side. Asked if he was not trying to distance himself from former prime minister Ehud Barak's statements that he had unmasked the true intentions of PA Chairman Yasser, Beilin replied: "We all have many masks and faces, and unmasking the other side is totally irrelevant to diplomacy and negotiations."
Jerusalem Post 26 July 2001 Foxman: Where are Arab voices against anti-Semitism? By Herb Keinon JERUSALEM - ADL national director Abraham Foxman challenged the Egyptian and Jordanian charges d'affaires to "show me a minister or leader in your country" standing up to anti-Semitism, at a meeting yesterday with the diplomatic corps stationed here. "We are reading things in the Egyptian press we have not seen in 50 years," Foxman said at the Jerusalem meeting, organized by Deputy Foreign Minister Michael Melchior. It was part of a lobbying effort to get the ambassadors to pressure their countries to work against virulent anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist proposals likely to be on the agenda at the UN anti-racism conference next month in Durban. The final preparatory conference to draw up the resolutions that will be discussed in Durban is slated for Monday in Geneva. Among the proposals being considered are those equating Zionism with racism, racial superiority, and ethnic cleansing. After Foxman gave an impassioned speech against anti-Semitism, during which he drew on his own experiences as a Holocaust survivor, Jordanian representative Mazen Tal and Egyptian charge d'affaires Ehab al-Sharif asked questions about Palestinian rights, the current conflict, and the peace process. "We are not talking about a peace process," Foxman replied. "King Hussein and Anwar Sadat spoke a certain language - where is it now?" Foxman asked the Egyptian representative, telling him that "hate permeates your country, now you are the leaders of anti-Semitism in the Arab world." When asked about the advertisement in Makor Rishon Friday calling for the assassination of Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat, Foxman replied that the difference is that in Israel this led to numerous protests and condemnations. "Where do we read something like that in your newspapers?" Foxman asked. "Where is one person in Jordan, Egypt, and the Palestinian Authority saying stop this, stop this anti-Semitism?" Melchior gave an equally impassioned speech to the 70 diplomats on the dangers of adopting these virulent anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist resolutions at Durban. Melchior said that to criticize Israel is legitimate, just as it is legitimate to criticize Norway and Sweden. But, he said, "there is a red line, and this red line has been crossed very dramatically over the years, especially over the past year" in the Arab world. "There has been a tornado of hatred and incitement, of anti-Semitic propaganda that has used all the classical motifs of anti-Semitism," Melchior said. "Everything we have known, including some new elements, has been used in this campaign - strengthened by modern technology, very good television. You see a classical form of anti-Semitism that has been foreign to the Arab world, but which they have adopted from Europe and other places." These motifs range from a modernized version of the claim that Jews poison wells, to the canard about Jewish world domination. "We have to know that all hatred started with worlds and continued with actions," Melchior said. "Auschwitz did not start at Auschwitz, Auschwitz had the legitimization a background of so much hatred and incitement. We know from our experience how dangerous this is." Amnesty International said yesterday that the UN conference against racism is in danger of being derailed by arguments over the term Holocaust and disputes over reparations for slavery and colonialism. In meetings preparing for the World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance to be held in Durban, member states have argued over whether Holocaust should refer specifically to Nazi atrocities against the Jews, or genocide in general, Amnesty's international program director Claudio Cordone said yesterday. US officials also said yesterday that the drive to brand Zionism as a form of racism and a crime against humanity could derail the Durban conference. The officials said Washington could boycott the meeting unless this language is expunged and are working at a high level with European and Middle East allies, including Egypt and Jordan, to have it removed. So far the Arab states have been unreceptive. "The Egyptians and others have said they can't turn a blind eye to the current situation in the occupied territories. Our position is that this conference is not the place to deal with the Palestinian uprising and the Middle East conflict," said one US official working on the issue. "This is supposed to be a consensus document and we have made it clear that this revolting language is totally unacceptable to us," he said.
Los Angelas Times 28 July 2001 Israeli Justifies Target Killings of Palestinians By TRACY WILKINSON, TIMES STAFF WRITER JERUSALEM -- One of Israel's top religious leaders has found backing in Jewish law for the government's policy of hunting and killing suspected Palestinian militants, a practice that has garnered U.S. and international condemnation. Chief Rabbi Israel Meir Lau says Jewish law authorizes the government to engage in "active prevention" to stop Palestinians from carrying out terrorist attacks. Citing 12th century Jewish philosopher Maimonides, other sages and Talmudic texts, Lau says Israel is fighting a "war of mitzvah" (a war of commandment or war of necessity) that requires "acts of self-defense, initiative and daring." In its fight against a 10-month-old Palestinian uprising, Israel has targeted and killed a number of Palestinian militants it suspects of having planned or carried out acts of terrorism. Most of these suspects have been slain by missiles from helicopter gunships, booby-trapped cellular telephones or gunfire. Palestinians say about 30 people have been killed this way, including several bystanders. Lau laid out his position in a series of lectures around the country this week. His comments were summarized by his office and made available to reporters. In the most recent attack, a prominent activist in the military wing of the radical Islamic movement Hamas was killed Wednesday by Israeli tanks that fired on the man's red Volkswagen near the West Bank city of Nablus. While defending the government's policy, Lau has been careful to say that the war of mitzvah must be fought by official parties and not by individuals. And the actions can only target killers and those who send them, not innocent civilians, he says. "There is . . . a complete justification for the implementation of the principle 'He who tries to kill you, kill him first,' " said Lau, who is chief Ashkenazi rabbi--that is, for Israel's Jews of European ancestry. "We denounce wholeheartedly the despicable shooting of civilians, by those who take the law into their own hands," he said. Lau's comments are sure to feed an ongoing debate here on whether the "assassinations," as the Palestinians call them, do more harm than good. A debate--but not much of one: Public support for such tactics runs high in Israel. Senior leftist politicians, like opposition leader Yossi Sarid, argue that the killings are counterproductive because they only further inflame Palestinian anger. But a Gallup Poll published Friday found 46% of those surveyed favoring an "all-out" military offensive against Palestinian infrastructure and leaders. (Thirty percent favored the current policy of limited retaliation.) And while 80% opposed terrorism against Palestinians, pollsters said 15% approved, and three-quarters of the respondents said they "understood" the motives of Jewish terrorists. Those results came after an ambush by suspected Jewish extremists on a Palestinian family last week, in which a baby and two adults were killed. Hemi Shalev, a commentator for the Maariv newspaper, which co-sponsored the poll, said a sense of impotence and humiliation is pushing Israelis further and further to the right. "Many people in Israel are living with the not entirely objective feeling that Israel is doing nothing while the Palestinians are hitting it with blow after blow," Shalev wrote in his analysis of the survey. "The 'handful of bad seeds,' as we call terrorist Jews, now have a fertile and wide ground on which to thrive." All of this cranks up the pressure on Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to launch a full-scale military assault on the Palestinians, a move he has resisted thus far. Adding to the pressure: On Friday, friends and relatives buried Ronen Landau, a 17-year-old Jew shot to death in an ambush Thursday night as he and his father drove to their home in a settlement just north of Jerusalem. Landau was the second Jewish teenager killed this week. The other, 18, disappeared from his home in a community also on Jerusalem's disputed northern outskirts, and his stabbed, bullet-riddled body was discovered in Palestinian territory hours later. In response to Landau's death, Israeli tanks rolled into a suburb of the Palestinian city of Ramallah early Friday and bombarded several Palestinian police posts. There were no injuries from the strike, but damage was extensive. A coalition of settler leaders decried the latest killing and said it was high time to formally end the "imaginary and bleeding" cease-fire brokered last month by CIA Director George J. Tenet. The truce was never respected fully, but its formal existence has been one factor in restraining the two sides. Early today, Israeli helicopter gunships attacked what the army described as a Palestinian weapons factory in the Gaza Strip town of Khan Yunis after mortars were fired on a Jewish settlement in the area. Palestinians have lobbed dozens of mortar shells toward Israeli targets this year, although there have been no serious casualties. On Friday, Israeli radio reported that police discovered a watermelon rigged with explosives on a bus near Jerusalem's main shopping mall. Police sappers were able to deactivate the bomb, the radio reported. Israeli authorities have been on high alert for days in anticipation of another bombing attack. "There were specific warnings about the possibility of placing an explosive device in Jerusalem," regional Police Chief Miki Levy told Israeli television Friday night. The escalating violence came as behind-the-scenes efforts to establish an international monitoring force continued. Israel has said it is willing to accept only a U.S. team of "observers"--not the international protection force demanded by the Palestinians. Israeli officials said Friday that they expected the U.S. government to present its proposed configuration--how many CIA agents, how many State Department officers and so forth--next week. Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, the member of the government most associated with attempting to find a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, was quoted Friday as saying that two or three more suicide bombings are all that it would take to unleash the full force of the Israeli military on the Palestinians.
AP 28 July 2001 Israelis wary of war crimes prosecutions Moshe Weizman Israel has compiled a list of countries where its political and military leaders --- including Prime Minister Ariel Sharon --- could face legal challenges under war crimes laws. Israel's Foreign Ministry decided to ''map'' countries in light of requests from several current and retired security officials who wanted to know whether they might be arrested or prosecuted while abroad, ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nachshon said. He did not mention which countries would be considered problematic. But the ministry said Israel wanted to prevent ''the politicization'' of the international judicial system. Two recent incidents have given the issue prominence. In Belgium, a Palestinian filed a complaint against Sharon, accusing him of responsibility in 1982 in the killing of hundreds of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. Sharon was defense minister at the time the killings were carried out by a Lebanese Christian militia allied with Israel. Belgium has a law that allows prosecution of war crimes, wherever they occurred. In Denmark, lawmakers have threatened to file a complaint against Israel's designated ambassador to Denmark, Carmi Gilon. Recently, Gilon said that when he headed Israel's security service, he authorized torture of Arab suspects to prevent imminent attacks. The Israeli Supreme Court has since outlawed the practice. Israel ''acknowledges the need to compile a list of countries whose wide-ranging authority enables them to act against foreign citizens for acts committed in foreign countries,'' the statement by the Foreign Ministry said.
AFP 31 July 2001 'Swarming Arabs should go to hell' JERUSALEM: The spiritual leader of Israel's ultra-orthodox Shas party, renowned for his racist denunciations of Arabs, on Friday said that they were reproducing like insects and were destined to end up in hell. "In the old city of Jerusalem they're swarming like ants. They should go to hell - and the Messiah will speed them on their way," Rabbi Ovadia Yossef said in a weekly sermon broadcast on Army radio. The ageing founder of Shas, which now holds 17 out of the Israeli Parliament's 120 seats and belongs to the coalition government of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, earlier this year called Arabs "snakes" and "vipers." Yossef also denounced Sharon's self-declared "restrain" policy in dealing with the Palestinians saying the Prime Minister should not let fear of international criticism prevent him from striking back hard. "Who are these nations of the world? The Messiah will come and scorn them, will condemn them and with a single breath will scatter them," he said. Shas was for a long time considered one of the more moderated parties concerning the peace process, and had favoured making territorial concessions to the Palestinians in exchange for peace. But the party has drifted rightward and many of its to officials in the government have aligned themselves with hardliners calling for a heavy crackdown on the Palestinians to quell their 10-month uprising.
AP 16 July 2001 Japan-SKorea Textbook Hassle Goes On TOKYO One of the authors of a Japanese middle-school textbook accused South Korea of ``narrow-minded nationalism'' for complaining that the book glosses over Japan's wartime aggression. Akinori Takamori said the authors of the ``New History Textbook'' do not plan to give in to escalating protests by the South Korean government, which last week canceled plans to open its market to Japanese music tapes, cartoons and home video games. ``South Koreans are obsessed with selfish, narrow-minded nationalism,'' Takamori said in a television interview. ``I was hoping to see more respect for diverse interpretations of history.'' The Japanese government has angered South Korea and other Asian countries by rejecting their demands that it order substantial revisions of eight officially approved middle-school history textbooks that critics say whitewash atrocities committed by the Japanese military during World War II. South Korea is particularly upset by the textbooks' failure to mention tens of thousands of Korean and other Asian women who were forced to work in front-line brothels for Japanese soldiers. The books also refer to Japan's invasion of Asian countries euphemistically as an ``advance'' and downplay the scale of the Nanjing massacre in China, critics say. Historians generally agree that the Japanese army slaughtered at least 150,000 civilians during the 1937-38 occupation of the Chinese city. But Takamori insisted that he and his fellow authors stand by what they wrote, adding that Japan has not criticized South Korea or China for what they write in their textbooks. ``The reaction is more than I had expected,'' he said. ``It's very unfortunate.'' Earlier this month, the book's publisher Fusosha voluntarily made several revisions to passages involving South Korea. Takamori reiterated, however, that the authors did not plan to make further changes to disputed passages or include examples of Japanese wartime atrocities that Seoul and Beijing are demanding. ``Those events lack factual evidence,'' he said. Takamori is a member of the Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform, which became nationally prominent in Japan in the 1990s and has hundreds of members including historians, writers and celebrities. The group's book, along with seven others, passed a government screening two months ago. Samples are now available for teachers mulling which texts to use at their schools in the next academic year, which begins in April in Japan. On Monday, a local board of education in Tochigi, northeast of Tokyo, voted against adopting the book in view of the international dispute.
Reuters 18 July 2001 New book about WWII atrocities offered to Japan By Philip Barbara WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Japan has an opportunity to dispel recent complaints that it has whitewashed accounts of atrocities committed by its troops during World War Two, this time by supporting the publication of a best-selling book about the savage treatment of U.S. prisoners. ``Ghost Soldiers,'' by author Hampton Sides, tells of a spectacular rescue by U.S. Army rangers of 513 sickly prisoners from a camp in the Philippines before they could be killed by a back-pedaling, enraged Japanese army. It is a well-documented account of three years of the POWs' will to survive torture, jungle disease, starvation, squalor and feelings of abandonment. As the plot unfolds, Sides builds narrative tension by shifting between scenes of the unknowing prisoners to the rangers creeping through tall grass toward a synchronized, explosive break-in. The lightning raid succeeded brilliantly, with the loss of only two of the 151 rangers and no prisoners. Within three weeks of publication the book shot to No. 2 on The New York Times bestseller list and remains near the top. It also quickly received publishing rights in Germany, Italy, Korea and the United Kingdom. But in Japan, where it is being reviewed by several publishers, it has been rejected by one that said -- in an elliptical way, according to Sides -- that it sensed an uncertain market for the book. Sides is confident another firm will print it. ``I think it's important for the book to be published in Japan, and I think it will, though it may not be widely read,'' he said in an interview. ``It's a cruel and gruesome book and the Japanese don't look particularly good ... so as popular entertainment I don't think it will sell in huge numbers. But maybe I'm wrong.'' There is a very public tug-of-war in Japan today between intellectuals and internationalists who want Japan to own up to savage incidents by its army, and nationalists and bureaucrats who seek to protect the national psyche, and especially schoolchildren, from bruising revelations. SANITIZED VERSION OF HISTORY In early July, Japan refused to revise a history textbook that the South Korean and Chinese governments said whitewashed Tokyo's wartime atrocities. And in the Japanese version of the Walt Disney Co. film ``Pearl Harbor,'' racial epithets and quotes by U.S. soldiers deemed too cocky for the war's losers were deleted. In 1997, Iris Chang's acclaimed book ``The Rape of Nanking,'' a scathing account of the Imperial Japanese Army's invasion of China in 1937, did not appear in Japan. A prospective publisher there requested several changes but Chang declined to make them. Chang, who praises ``Ghost Soldiers'' on the dust jacket, told Reuters that Japanese publishers are intimidated from releasing critical books. ``I think the right-wing assaults on the Japanese publishing houses have sent a chill across the entire industry,'' she said in an e-mail exchange, noting a May 1999 incident in which a fanatic wielding a baseball bat trashed the offices of a publisher who had printed the diary of a Japanese veteran of the Nanking massacre. As 'Ghost Soldiers' shows, massacres occurred in the Philippines, too. The book graphically details how in December 1944, the Japanese ordered 150 Americans at a small POW camp into cramped air raid pits, sloshed aviation fuel into the pits and set the huddled men ablaze. Those who staggered out were bayoneted, beheaded or shot. Still, several escaped, and when details of the atrocity reached U.S Army intelligence, a secret raid was mounted to rescue prisoners at Cabanatuan, the largest camp ever established for U.S. POWs on foreign soil. The 513 prisoners at Cabanatuan were the last of the 22,000 Americans who had surrendered -- along with 70,000 Filipino troops -- three years earlier after the fall of Bataan and Corregidor. Many of the 513 had been on the infamous Bataan death march in 1942, when 750 Americans died from starvation, disease or outright murder while tramping 75 miles to captivity. THE JAPANESE WAR MACHINE Of those 22,000 Americans POWs, 10,650 were dead three years later. At Cabanatuan were the dregs of the prison population, too sick and weak to be shipped to Japan or elsewhere in the empire to work as stevedores or coal miners. In addition to telling of the inhumane treatment, Sides fair-mindedly explores the Japanese mentality that led to such cruelty. In Japan, he explains, a soldier who surrendered lost all honor and shamed his family, and this belief underpinned the brutal treatment of Allied prisoners, who too were seen to be without honor. And in the Japanese Army, beatings were a method of discipline, and when the lowliest enlisted man suddenly found himself a superior among helpless prisoners, the temptation to brutalize them proved irresistible. These atrocities occurred despite instructions from Lt. Gen. Masaharu Homma, the Japanese officer in charge of The Philippines, to handle the Americans and Filipino captives ''with a friendly spirit'' in accordance with the Geneva Convention. Yet Homma was convicted and executed as ``The Beast of Bataan'' after the war for his army's butchery. Sides spent several days as the guest in Japan of Masahiko Homma, the general's son, reading the general's war correspondence and journal. He feels ambivalent, he said, about the general's guilt. ``I'm fascinated by his character and the tragic quality to his life,'' Sides said. ``He was the most liberal of generals in command, spoke fluent English, traveled the world, attended Oxford. He thought the Japanese course was madness. But he was a proud soldier, well trained, and wasn't going to shirk his duty. ``In a strict sense he had responsibility for his men. If he didn't know what was happening, he should have known,'' Sides continued. ``He was surrounded by aides who could have told him how the march had degenerated into chaos and the conditions at the camps. Villains don't come in tidy packages.'' It was another Japanese officer, Col. Masanobu Tsuji, who urged his men to deal with the POWs severely, even fanatically, Sides learned. A dark figure historians say seemed to appear wherever atrocities occurred in Asia, Tsuji eluded the war crimes trial, he said. Sides' two years of research included diaries, memoirs and repeated interviews. He spent nearly four months in Japan and a month in the Philippines. ``I ran into three opinions in Japan: There is a left wing that flails itself over how much wrong they did and how much compensation they owe,'' he said. ``There is the right wing -- perhaps more aggressive -- that claims there was no rape of Nanking and denies the so-called Death march and that Asia is rightfully theirs. ... In between are those of the postwar generation who are genuinely curious about what happened.'' The heroes of ``Ghost Soldiers'' are the Army rangers who pulled off the rescue. So swiftly were the Japanese guards cut down that several prisoners, after three years of subservient, wasting captivity, thought the raid was a murderous Japanese ploy. Sides spoke with numerous survivors of Cabanatuan. ``They told me of hardships I can't even fathom. They saw defeat in combat. They saw the worst of human nature embodied in the Japanese brutality and the dog-eat-dog prison camp mentality perpetrated in the name of survival. Despite living with this knowledge all these years they spoke with dignity.''
WP 28 July 2001 At Japan's War Shrine, Wounds Unhealed Koizumi Plans Visit Despite Condemnation From Asian Neighbors By Kathryn Tolbert and Doug Struck, Page A13 TOKYO -- Noboru Shimura, 80, sat at a shaded table on the vast grounds of the Shinto shrine honoring Japan's war dead, waiting for the others in his World War II regiment to straggle in. In his black bag was a rolled-up battlefield map of the Philippines that the old men would pore over, refreshing dimmed memories. They would bow to the spirits of their dead comrades before eating boxed lunches and drinking the beer they had stored in one of the shrine's refrigerators. A pilgrimage to Yasukuni Shrine, where the names of 2.5 million who died fighting for Japan are enshrined, is one many Japanese have made and most find unremarkable. So Shimura is having a hard time understanding the denunciations from China and South Korea over Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's plan to make such a visit on Aug. 15 to mark the anniversary of Japan's surrender in World War II. "Why do we have to be so nervous?" Shimura said. "To worship at the memorial for those who sacrificed their lives takes place in any country, even the United States." But Koizumi's pilgrimage to the shrine, a potent symbol of Japan's military past that enshrines the country's war dead as well as convicted war criminals, will break years of self-imposed restraint by Japanese leaders. Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan told Japan's foreign minister on Wednesday that the plan must be canceled, Kyodo news agency reported. "If Prime Minister Koizumi visits Yasukuni Shrine, it will undoubtedly spark strong anger among the people of China," Tang was quoted as saying. His views were echoed Thursday by South Korea's ambassador to Japan, Choi Sang Yong, who said, "I can only presume the prime minister does not understand what kind of impact his visit has on countries in Asia," according to Agence France-Presse. Koizumi has refused to back down. "I will make the visit to mourn those who died in the war, from a feeling that we should never repeat war," he told Japanese reporters. Koizumi's visit to Yasukuni Shrine is entwined with a larger question being raised ahead of Sunday's parliamentary elections as to whether the Japanese prime minister is a rightward-leaning nationalist in the guise of a reformer, a leader who would take Japan away from a half-century of pacifism. The question is an incendiary one in northeast Asia, where the wounds of World War II still are not healed, and the past weighs heavily on the present. The countries invaded during Japan's wartime aggression watch keenly for any signs of nationalist stridency in Japan. They see Japanese nationalism as a sign the country is wavering in the pacifist vow it took after the war or -- at the least -- is insufficiently repentant about the past. South Korea has severed dozens of ties with Japan over a controversial history textbook that it says whitewashes Japan's wartime atrocities. Koizumi has fed the suspicions of Japan's neighbors by his insistence on going to Yasukuni, and by talking of revising the postwar constitution in which the "Japanese people forever renounce war . . . or use of force." The constitution has been zealously guarded from change since it went into effect in 1947. But Koizumi has called for the direct election of the prime minister, a popular idea that would require constitutional revision. He followed that proposal with calls that strike closer to the issue of rearming the country. He said Japan should end the formal fiction that its Self-Defense Forces are not a military and said the country should be able to send armed forces to take part in international peacekeeping operations. He also hinted that Japan should end its ban on "collective defense," which bars military cooperation that aids other countries, including its chief ally, the United States. Beijing lashed out at Koizumi's "right-wing tendencies." North Korea piled on with predictable criticism. And even South Korea, which had warmed ties with Japan until the textbook row brought a chill, is wary of Koizumi. "Koreans have ample reasons to feel uneasy about the debate" over constitutional revision, the Korea Herald newspaper said. "As victims of Japan's atrocious militarism, we are concerned that the ongoing moves could be a sign that our neighbor is returning to its disastrous past." Some analysts understand those fears. Herbert P. Bix, author of a Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of Emperor Hirohito, said Koizumi, "like other right-wing nationalists," is intent on making Japan a military power, restoring the emperor as the head of state and abolishing the constitutional provision guaranteeing pacifism. Others say Bix is wrong, and argue that Koizumi is only advocating that Japan be a "normal nation." Koizumi has been vague about his intentions, suggesting that a "reinterpretation" of the constitution, possibly through a parliamentary resolution, might be enough. "He doesn't want to dictate the outcome," said Koizumi's spokesman, Tsutomo Himeno. But on Yasukuni, Koizumi has been more strident, despite the diplomatic storm, and has so far refused to declare his visit "private," which might defuse some of the controversy. "Even if I visit Yasukuni Shrine, the principles of Japan as a country of peace do not change at all," Koizumi said in a campaign debate Thursday night. "These include a nonnuclear policy and not using the military to solve international conflict. The most important thing is to demonstrate these principles by action." Prime ministers have long paid homage at Yasukuni, but generally on other, less portentous dates, and most have declared their visits to be private. In 1975, Takeo Miki became the first to worship there on the anniversary of the war's end, but he said it was a private act. Critics say an official visit could be interpreted as a violation of the constitution, which requires separation of religion and government. That prohibition was intended to ensure the end of state-sponsored Shintoism, which played a big role in emperor worship and the war. In 1985, Yasuhiro Nakasone became the first, and so far only, prime minister to make an official visit on Aug. 15. But with a twist elaborately contrived to maintain the separation of church and state, he said he did not perform the ceremonial gestures of clapping or bowing twice before the shrine. Still, his visit set off such a firestorm among Japan's Asian neighbors that he did not repeat the act the following year. Yasukuni is a 24-acre compound on one of Tokyo's highest hills, near the emperor's palace, and has become the focus of Japanese nationalists who are unrepentant about the war. Founded in 1869, it is entirely symbolic: No ashes or bodies are kept at the shrine. The souls of soldiers who died in Japan's wars from around the time of the Meiji Restoration in 1868 through World War II are said to rest here, with 2.5 million names recorded by brush on notebook-size paper kept in more than 2,000 folders. During World War II, kamikaze pilots were said to toast one another before taking off and pledge to meet again as cherry blossoms at Yasukuni shrine. Feelings about the place became more complicated in 1979, when a newspaper discovered that the shrine's priests the previous year had secretly enshrined the names of 14 men judged by the Allied tribunal to be "Class A" war criminals. To China and South Korea especially, their inclusion made the shrine, already a symbol of militarism, a symbol of defiance by elevating these men to the status of a god. Among them are the wartime prime minister, Gen. Hideki Tojo, and six others who were hanged in 1948. "The war criminals received strict punishment," Koizumi said in defense. "But for the larger number of people, who outnumber Class A criminals, should we give up paying tribute because of a handful of war criminals? Should we separate the tributes? Most Japanese do not accept that difference." But Koizumi's own foreign minister, Makiko Tanaka, said Thursday that she hopes he will not make the visit. "Why does the prime minister, the one person holding this post in Japan, dare to go to Yasukuni Shrine?" she said. The Buddhist-backed New Komeito party, which Koizumi's Liberal Democratic Party needs as a political partner to stay in power, is also opposed, saying that an official visit might violate the constitution. Special correspondent Shigehiko Togo contributed to this report.
ICRC 19 July 2001 Marshall Islands: Move towards ratification of Geneva Conventions A one-day information seminar on the scope and content of the 1949 Geneva Conventions and their 1977 Additional Protocols was held in Majuro, capital of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, on 5 July 2001. The seminar was organized jointly by the ICRC's regional delegation for the Pacific and the Office of the Marshall Islands' Chief Secretary. Participants came from all government departments concerned with the Conventions, including Members of Parliament, the Attorney-General, representatives of the judiciary, including the Chief Justice, and members of the Marshall Islands Red Cross Society, which is in the process of being formed. Opening the seminar, the Chief Secretary, the Hon. Phillip K. Kabua, stated that current efforts "are expected to lead to ratification by the Republic of the Marshall Islands of these important humanitarian treaties in the near future". The Marshall Islands is one of only two States members of the United Nations or party to the Statute of the International Court of Justice which have yet to accede to the four 1949 Geneva Conventions. Accession to the treaties is also an important step towards recognition of the country's National Society by the ICRC and its admission to the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.
FEER 19 July 2001 The Burmese Military's Last Chance - By Zaw Oo Issue cover-dated July 19, 2001 The writer is coordinator of the Technical Advisory Network of Burma and a doctoral candidate at the School of International Service of the American University in Washington After 12 years of rule, the Burmese military, known as the Tatmadaw, has lost its capacity to govern, particularly in managing the complex task of economic reform. The military opened talks with Aung San Suu Kyi eight months ago. The talks, presumably still at the "confidence-building" stage, prompt this question: Will the military soon extricate itself from power and facilitate wider democratization in Burma? But in truth, the question is not whether the military has to extricate itself. Rather, it is how and when. Meanwhile, the military has reached a stage where its role as a government is now seriously undermining its other role as an army institution. Ten years ago, the military government decided to expand the army to 500,000 servicemen. This ambitious plan in effect broke the back of the economy, aided the emergence of powerful regional commanders (and with it the rise of warlordism) and retarded military professionalism as thousands were drafted without proper training. Not surprisingly, desertion is rising, while most units are pushed into living off the land. As a result, extortion, the drug trade and forced labour have become widespread. The military needs to address these internal problems. There is the inequality of power and influence between military and political positions, where political appointments determine which officers get rich. This inequality fuels dangerous rifts within the military. Also, the military intelligence apparatus is getting so powerful that it is making crucial political decisions. But their power lacks proper institutional grounding. Finally, the military's own constitutional proposal makes it very difficult to "civilianize" the regime. It proposed five years ago that a strong president--which it expected would be its own man--would head Burma. But the military's constitutional experts also slipped in a clause that states that the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, rather than the president, possesses the authority to declare state emergencies and dissolve government. It is understood that the clause was inserted as a strategy to maintain the military's dominance. In the process, this has made increasing civilian control more difficult by confusing two sources of authority. Given such an unstable foundation, the military does not have the luxury of sticking blindly to a deadly status quo. It must move on. Searching for a sensible way to extricate itself from its current position as an illegitimate and hated government is a much worthier goal for the military than trying to resuscitate a failing regime at all costs. And if the military is serious about this, the country would be willing to help restore the military's original role as a patriotic army of the people. Here, there are three options to consider. First, the military can consider transferring power to the country's legitimate leaders, those elected in the 1990 elections. The current talks could be the venue where the terms of power transfer are discussed or negotiated. Secondly, if the immediate transfer of power is too dangerous for the military to contemplate, it could consider forming a government of national unity with elected representatives and others, particularly from national groups. This interim government could then establish a transition period, within which attempts to resolve serious national problems would be jointly undertaken, and organize new elections to renew the people's mandate. Lastly, the military could begin serious political liberalization and put civilians in charge of the administration. However, this gradual strategy has the least chance of success, particularly in a situation where there is an absence of institutions and procedures to mobilize public acceptance. For the democratic opposition, all three options can be considered in order of preference, but with genuine political liberalization as the bottom line. For Burma to survive with its integrity intact, the military must agree to democratization, but at a pace negotiated with civil-society forces and other elements. However, such a pace has serious time constraints. Economic factors mostly underlie the urgency of the solution, but more seriously, the Aids epidemic poses a great time pressure on all sides. A peaceful, orderly but timely transition through dialogue is the military's last chance to become the true saviour of the nation. Of course, it is also the last chance for all Burmese to unite again to save the country.
AP 18 July 2001 200 Karens flee to Thailand after clash on Myanmar border BANGKOK Nearly 200 ethnic Karen villagers, mostly women and children, fled to Thailand after a clash between rival Karen factions on the Myanmar side of the border, a Thai official said Wednesday, reports AP. About 50 soldiers of the pro-Yangon Democratic Karen Buddhist Army, or DKBA, launched a surprise attack on a mobile border camp of the rebel Karen National Union, or KNU, late Tuesday. It was bombarded for about 20 minutes and then overrun. Anuchit Trongkao, the local Thai chief of civilian defence, told The Associated Press that 194 Karen civilians fled the camp and sought refuge in Tha Song Yang district, in Tak province, 370 kilometres north of Bangkok. About 200 other guerrillas and their families abandoned the camp, which lies on the bank of Moei River border, and fled inside Myanmar, he said. Two 60 mm mortars shells landed on Thai soil but didn't hurt anyone, leading Thailand to believe the DKBA forces had received supporting mortar fire from Myanmar military, he said. The DKBA attackers burned down four houses and a makeshift hospital before retreating to their own camp deeper inside Myanmar, Anuchit said. He had no details of casualties but expected they were minimal as the KNU had fled the scene before the attack. The KNU, which has been fighting for greater autonomy from Yangon for more than 50 years, wasn't immediately available for comment. Myanmar, also known as Burma, has been ruled by its military since 1962. The KNU is one of the few rebel groups in Myanmar yet to reach a cease-fire with the regime. At its peak in the early 1980s, the largely Christian rebel movement had nearly 30,000 soldiers and controlled large enclaves of territory along the border. But the KNU was badly split by a defection in the early 1990s of a Buddhist faction, which then set up the pro-Yangon DKBA. The KNU now has only a few thousand guerrillas under arms and has no fixed territory.
Reuters 7 July 2001 Maoist Rebels Kill 39 Police in Nepal By Gopal Sharma KATHMANDU () - Maoist rebels shot dead 39 policemen and a civilian in attacks across Nepal on the eve of the new king's birthday, officials said on Saturday. The killings were the worst violence in the troubled Himalayan kingdom since last month's massacre of virtually the entire royal family by the crown prince, who then shot himself. The toll was the highest number of police killed in a day since the Maoists began their rebellion over five years ago to try to topple the Himalayan kingdom's constitutional monarchy. Officials said the police died in three attacks late on Friday night or early on Saturday by suspected members of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist). Party chief Prachanda claimed responsibility for the attacks and congratulated the rebels. He accused the government of not trying to find a political solution to the problem. ``Our party urges all forces of the country who are on the side of the people to unite against'' the government for the resolution of the problem, Prachanda said in a statement. District official Harihar Sharma told Reuters 21 police were killed and two critically wounded at Bichour in Lamjung, 95 miles west of Kathmandu. ``There were 24 policemen at the time of attack at the security post and one was safe,'' Sharma said. He said the rebels suffered casualties since three unidentified bodies were found at the site of the three-hour clash. Ten policemen were killed and three injured at Taruka in Nuwakot district, 60 miles northeast of the national capital, district official Mod Raj Dotel said. Dotel said the rebels first ordered the police to surrender. POLICE POST BLOWN UP ``Most of the policemen were killed when the rebels blew (up) the police post by a bomb after security personnel refused,'' Dotel said. He said two bodies, apparently rebels, were found at the site. Eight more police and a civilian cook were gunned down at Wami Taxar in Gulmi in western Nepal, another official said. The Maoists have in the past demanded an all party conference and an interim government to prepare a new constitution to end the violence. Government officials were not immediately available for comment on the killings. Police also suspect the rebels of being behind a bomb explosion on Wednesday near the homes of Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala and Supreme Court Justice Keshav Prasad Updhyaya, who headed last month's investigation into the palace killings. No one was injured in the explosion. CONFUSION AFTER ROYAL MASSACRE The Maoist rebels have stepped up their violent campaign in the wake of the last month's royal family massacre. Saturday is new King Gyanendra's 55th birthday. ``The rebels have been able to capitalize on the confusion after the massacre and in the government,'' said Sridhar Khatri, a political scientist at Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu. Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala was under pressure from the opposition to resign for failing to contain the violence and for delays in informing the country about the royal massacre. Authorities say deployment of the army to end the rebellion has been hampered by the absence of political consensus. The Maoist rebels, who model themselves on the Shining Path guerrillas of Peru, specialize in night-time hit-and-run attacks on police posts. They have called for a general strike on July 12 in protest against the findings of the massacre of King Birendra, who they say was a liberal monarch, and other royal family members. About 1,700 people have been killed across Nepal since the guerrillas began their rebellion in early 1996. Email this story - View
Dawn 19 July 2001 Thursday 26 Rabi-us-Saani 1422 Genocidal killings If there is a country in the twenty-first century that follows genocide as a matter of state policy and gets away with it, it is Israel. One obvious reason for this obsession with ethnic cleansing could be that Israel's very founding was based on the denial of the existence of another nation in Palestine. What is unfortunate is that, even after the creation of the state of Israel, this genocidal policy has continued: the Sabra-Chatilla slaughter (1982) and the massacre at Cana (1996) are two obvious examples. The latest crime in this "final solution" strategy is the Israeli missile attack on a Bethlehem house packed with civilians. The attack was undertaken because the Israeli authorities said some Palestinians were "planning" an attack. On the basis of this fear, the Israelis fired five missiles at the house where forty civilians, including women and children, were present. It was a peaceful gathering, and they were having tea when the Israeli attack came. To the Israeli authorities it was a Hamas cell. The missile attack killed four people outright, injured fourteen, and one child lost her arm. This was not the day's only violence. The Israelis also pounded the Palestinian village of Beit Jala after a mortar shell hit a house under construction in occupied Al Quds. While violence has continued since Ariel Sharon's visit to the Islamic holy sites last September, of late there has been a menacing rise in the scope of Israeli military activity: the Israelis no more believe in firing back; they now move into areas under full Palestinian Authority control. The demolition of houses in Rafah and the entry of tanks into Hebron to support settlers who have entered the Palestinian part of the divided town testify to Sharon's new decision to find a military solution to the problem. Peace talks, it seems, he is determined to avoid at any cost, for he is still at the first stage of the US-brokered cease-fire, insisting that the period of "absolute peace" has not begun. Without this absolute peace, he says, the two sides cannot move to the seven-week cooling off period. He also rejects the Mitchell Commission's recommendation that a halt to settlements activity was crucial to a revival of the peace process. Meanwhile, the world has noted with horror the reports that Israel intends to "eliminate" Arafat and smash the Palestinian Authority. As reported by an Israeli newspaper, Maariv, Israeli generals visualize destroying 40,000 PA soldiers in the hope that the leadership replacing Arafat's will be more pragmatic. Maariv said the question is not whether but when Israel will implement its decision. In the words of Hosni Mobarak, Israelis will not be allowed to behave "like thugs," because in case the Palestinian leader is murdered in cold blood "thirty or forty Arafats would appear and thirty or forty other organizations would appear and they (the Israelis) would not know whom to negotiate with." But then Mobarak seems to forget that this is exactly what Sharon wants - no negotiations. Basically, he believes in a "final solution," but history tells us that those who believe in it end up destroying themselves and their country.
BBC 30 July, 2001 Pakistani Shia Muslims shot dead Recent killings have outraged Karachi's Shia community A senior Pakistani defence official of the Shia Muslim faith has been shot dead outside his home in the southern port city of Karachi. Syed Zafar Hussain, director of the Defence Ministry's research department, was shot five times as he was getting into his car in the Karachi district of Nazimabad. It looks like a sectarian-related killing but we will also investigate some other options Provincial Home Secretary Brigadier Mukhtar Sheikh The killing follows a growing number of attacks in recent days in which a number of prominent Shia Muslims have been killed. In a second attack, unidentified gunmen shot dead a Shia religious leader, Rizwan-ul Hasan Shah, on his way to a mosque in the eastern city of Lahore. An unidentified gunman is also reported to have fled from the scene of the killing in Karachi with two accomplices. An extremist Sunni group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi has said it carried out the attack against Mr Hussain and against the managing director of Pakistan's state-run oil company Shaukat Mirza who was shot dead last week. Provincial Home Secretary Brigadier Mukhtar Sheikh told French news agency AFP: "It looks like a sectarian-related killing but we will also investigate some other options." Mr Hussain was a Shia Muslim and similar killings in the past has been blamed on Sunni Muslim hardliners. Sectarian attacks Over the past several years, Karachi has been the scene of sectarian violence between extreme Shia and Sunni groups. The latest incident comes days after the managing director of Pakistan State Oil, Shaukat Mirza, was shot dead by gunmen in what police suspect was a religiously-motivated killing. Two high-profile politicians - former Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammad Siddique Kanju and a former provincial assembly member - were also killed by masked gunmen over the weekend. "[The] recent killings are a serious challenge and we will do everything possible to arrest their killers," Brigadier Sheikh said.
Reuters 17 July 2001By GREG MYRE, Associated Press Writer BETHLEHEM, West Bank (AP) - Israeli attack helicopters killed four suspected Palestinian militants Tuesday in a missile assault, obliterating a cinderblock chicken coop in Bethlehem where they were gathered. As Palestinians shouted for revenge, a Mideast cease-fire appeared all but dead. Israel sent extra soldiers and tanks into the West Bank late Tuesday, Israeli military sources said on condition of anonymity. The beefed up presence followed a Palestinian mortar attack from the West Bank, the first such assault from there since the two sides began fighting in late September. Israel said two of the four killed in the air attack were senior members of the militant Hamas movement, and the others were lower-ranking activists. The helicopter assault on the structure about a half-mile from the Church of the Nativity, the traditional birthplace of Christ, capped a bitter day marked by confrontations in the streets and nonstop recriminations among political leaders. A string of high-profile attacks in recent days has again ratcheted up tensions in the Mideast conflict, now almost 10 months old. The Israelis said they acted Tuesday to pre-empt a Palestinian attack. Israeli military sources said the Hamas men were planning a massive attack for the closing ceremony of the eight-day Maccabiah Games, often called the Jewish Olympics, which began Monday and brought more than 3,000 Jewish athletes to Israel. But West Bank Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti denounced the Israeli helicopter strike as a ``massacre against Palestinian civilians.'' The two Israeli Apache helicopters, tracking a pair of senior figures in the militant movement Hamas, fired four rockets at the shed, which was filled with baby chicks, turning it into a pile of shattered cinderblocks and mangled wire cages. Two Hamas men wanted by Israel, Taha Aruj and Omar Saadeh, were killed along with Saadeh's cousin Mohammed Saadeh and a fourth man whose name was not immediately available. Ten Palestinians were hurt, including several who suffered from shock. Israel said the cousin and the fourth man were suspected Hamas militants. Hundreds of Palestinian men encircled the rubble afterward, while boys dug through the cinderblocks to scoop up the chicks, only a few of whom survived. The hut was part of a small patch of farmland set in a valley and surrounded by homes. ``We promise our people revenge very soon,'' Hamas said in a statement afterward. ``We call upon our people to continue the uprising until we achieve our rights.'' Tuesday's attack was in keeping with a much-criticized Israeli policy of targeting suspected militants. Israeli officials have said they turned lists of dozens of militants over to the Palestinians and demanded their arrest. Palestinian security chiefs said they did not receive the lists, and have balked at arresting Palestinians at Israel's behest amid the ongoing conflict. As a month-old cease-fire unraveled, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon spoke to President Bush by phone and said it was up to Arafat to stop the attacks against Israeli targets. Arafat warned against militant attacks inside Israel late Monday in a meeting with Palestinian faction leaders, including members of Islamic Jihad and Hamas, a Palestinian security official said on condition of anonymity. Arafat acted after a suicide bombing Monday, claimed by Islamic Jihad, killed two Israeli soldiers at a train station in the village of Binyamina in Israel's north. The U.S. State Department called on the Palestinian Authority on Tuesday to go beyond condemnation of a fatal suicide bombing in Israel and arrest those responsible for the attack. But Islamic Jihad, like Hamas, dismissed Arafat's edict on Tuesday and pledged more attacks. The U.S. State Department called on the Palestinian Authority on Tuesday to go beyond condemnation of a fatal suicide bombing in Israel and arrest those responsible for the attack. In other confrontations Tuesday: - Palestinians fired a mortar shell from Beit Jalla at nearby Gilo, a Jewish neighborhood in a disputed part of southern Jerusalem, but no one was hurt. The Israeli military said it was the first mortar attack from the West Bank, though they are frequent in Gaza. Heavy exchanges of fired followed. - Scuffles erupted between Palestinians and Israeli police wielding clubs outside Orient House, the main Palestinian offices in east Jerusalem, where about 30 people tried to hold a memorial procession to the grave of Faisal Husseini. Husseini, the top Palestinian official in Jerusalem, died May 31 of a heart attack. Shortly before the procession was to begin, Israeli authorities delivered an order barring any gatherings for a Husseini memorial. - A 10-year-old Palestinian girl was critically wounded by a stray bullet early Tuesday while sleeping in the West Bank village of Dura.
WP 18 July 2001 Israeli Missiles Hit Bethlehem Palestinians Strike Back in Jerusalem By Lee Hockstader Page A18 BETHLEHEM, West Bank, July 17 -- An Israeli helicopter on an assassination mission fired guided missiles at a hut in Bethlehem today, killing four Palestinians, and a few hours later Palestinians fired mortars for the first time into a Jewish neighborhood on the edge of Jerusalem. Israel said the Palestinians -- killed in a sun-soaked orchard where they raised pigeons, canaries and chickens -- included operatives of the Islamic Resistance Movement, or Hamas, who were planning a terrorist attack at the closing ceremonies next week of the Maccabiah Games. The Games, which began this week amid extraordinarily tight security, are held quadrennially in Israel and are known informally as the Jewish Olympics. Palestinian officials condemned the killings as an example of Israeli state terrorism that undercuts efforts to restore calm. It was at least the fourth such operation in the last month. The United States and its European allies have criticized the assassinations carried out by Israel against a number of Palestinian militants involved in the nine-month-old uprising against Israel's military occupation in Gaza and the West Bank. Without specifically condemning today's killings, the State Department called on Israel to exercise restraint, saying "there is no military solution to this conflict." But the Israeli army said it will continue to target "terrorists who are planning attacks." "We are talking about a clear-cut preventive operation," an Israeli military official said of today's strike. In recent days, Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority and his security chief on the West Bank, Jibril Rajoub, have issued statements urging Palestinians to stop the attacks, especially inside Israel proper. But Hamas officials suggested they will seek revenge for today's missile strike. "Hamas will never forget the blood of its martyrs, and when our civilians are brutally killed, the military wing of Hamas will never keep silent and will respond in the time and the place it determines," Abdel Aziz Rantissi, a senior Hamas official, told the Reuters news agency. . . The Palestinian militants in Bethlehem were hit by at least three wire-guided missiles fired by a pair of Israeli helicopter gunships. At least two of the men were inside a cinder block hut situated among grapevines and a lush grove of olive, pear, lemon and pomegranate trees when the first two missiles struck. They obliterated the place. A few minutes later, after other men had apparently approached the smoking rubble, at least one more missile slammed into the site, killing two of them. At least a dozen people were injured, the Palestinians said. The Israeli army said in a statement that one of the dead, identified by Hamas as Omar Saada, 45, commanded the group's military wing in the Bethlehem area. At least one of the other dead men was identified by neighbors and relatives as a Hamas operative, and two others were Saada's relatives. Shortly after the missile strikes, all that was left of the hut was a pile of cinder blocks strewn amid the fruit trees, as well as a half-dozen dead birds, the odd patch of blood and entrails, and a shattered television. "It's a big loss," said a victim's relative at the scene, who declined to give his name. "We have many orphan children now, and women to care for." He estimated the four men had more than 20 children among them, the youngest an infant of 6 months.
BBC 28 July 2001 Mid-East violence kills man of peace Israel has hit Palestinian areas with rocket fire Israel has targeted and killed about 30 Palestinians since the current uprising began 10 months ago. But Palestinian and Israeli human rights workers say 10 innocent bystanders have been killed in these attacks. From Jerusalem Orla Guerin tells the story of one of them.They sit facing one another on cheap plastic chairs - forming a small circle of grief. There are men from several generations, sipping the small cups of bitter coffee that Palestinians serve in mourning. They are the friends and relatives of Ishac and Omar Saada - two brothers killed recently in an Israeli missile strike in the town of Bethlehem last week. To them one dead Palestinian is just the same as another Palestinian man Two men whose lives were dramatically different, but who suffered the same death. Omar was the militant one - he was a long-time member of the Islamic extremist group Hamas, a veteran of Israeli and Palestinian jails. A bomber, said Israel, who was planning another attack at the time of his death. Maybe so - but there was no arrest or trial or proof. Ran to help Omar was killed with another Hamas activist when the first two missiles struck. They were the intended targets of the attack - the Israeli army had done what it came to do. In his house across the road Ishac heard the noise. He raced out, barefoot, shouting that he was going to help his brother. A friend joined him. Palestinians say it was three minutes later - when Ishac and his friend were at the site - that the army fired again. Another missile landed. They were blown to pieces. Israel says the assassinations are an act of self defence The Israel army said afterwards it had killed a number of Hamas activists. In death, Ishac was branded a terrorist by association. In fact he was a school teacher who had spent years working for peace. Inside Ishac's simple poor house there is the sound of small feet in sandals clattering on bare tiles. He left 10 children behind, including 11-year-old Sukaina. She drags herself across the tiles on her elbows to be nearer to her Mother, Adla. Sukaina has been paralysed from birth. "Ishac was a great father," Adla told me. "He treated his children well. He wanted very much to buy Sukaina a wheelchair, but we are a big family and he didn't have the money." Political differences Adla spoke with her head bent and her hands clasped tightly in her lap. Last month she and Ishac celebrated 24 years of marriage. On the wall beside her - a poster announcing her husband's death. Ishac is smiling and wearing a suit and tie. He had a round face and a moustache. Ishac tried to teach peace to Palestinian children Alongside this a picture of his brother Omar - younger by six years - with full beard, brandishing a rifle. The two brothers did not argue about politics, Adla says, each went his own way. For Ishac that meant becoming a peace activist. For 28 years he taught at the Terra Santa school in Bethlehem. But he wanted to reach out to Israeli children too, so he helped devise a new curriculum for Israeli and Palestinian pupils in the 11th grade. At the very hour he was buried he was due to attend a workshop with Israeli teachers. Preaching peace In recent months Ishac told Israeli colleagues how difficult it was to preach peace to his children - after all the terrible things they had seen. I don't know what to do or what to believe. Everything seems hopeless Nafiz, friend of Ishac Saada But there was no choice, he said, because the alternative was to let their hearts be filled by hate. Alone now and unprotected, Adla does not want to talk about her husband's contacts with Israelis. She looks nervous when I ask about his involvement with teachers on the other side. Peace has become a dirty word in Bethlehem - to many Palestinians any dealings with Israelis are an act of betrayal. Memory soiled For the moment, at least, Adla would rather forget what her husband was struggling for. But Ishac's friends in a leading Israeli-Palestinian peace organisation, IPCRI [Israel-Palestinian Center for Research and Information http://www.ipcri.org ] , want his contribution to be remembered. Families on both sides are mourning innocent victims For them there are two tragedies - his death, and the soiling of his memory by Israeli statements about the missile attack. I asked the Israeli army to explain how it was that they killed a man like Ishac. "Ask the Palestinians why they are still carrying out attacks" was their only response. The army has yet to admit that one of the four men it killed in Bethlehem was not a bomber or a gunmen, but a man of peace. There has been no apology. The men mourning outside Ishac's house said they did not expect the Israelis to make one. "To them one dead Palestinian is just the same as another," an old man said. Faith in peace The mourners praised both brothers and spoke of how they loved their children and worked hard all their lives. There was no comment about Ishac's peace work, or Omar's bloody past. Anger against is Israel is running high But among the group was someone who had shared Ishac's faith in peace. Nafiz was a friend and neighbour. Like Ishac he was originally a teacher and later he got involved in politics. "I participated in the Madrid peace conference in 1991," he told me. "I was one of the people who went out on the streets demonstrating against suicide bombers. But that was then," he said, his voice trailing off. When he spoke again it was a small weary voice, "I don't know what to do or what to believe," he said. "Everything seems hopeless."
Al-Ahram Weekly Online 19 - 25 July 2001 Issue No.543 War by instalments Whether Israel engages a massive military strike, or continues its war of attrition, the consequences for the Palestinians are appalling, writes Graham Usher from Jerusalem In the absence of an internationally monitored cease-fire, or any other international intervention, the Israeli government and Palestinian Authority are slouching inexorably toward a zero-sum conflict: for one to exist, the other has to disappear. The drift to that denouement accelerated on Monday when Nidal Sharouf, a 20-year old Palestinian from Burqin near Jenin, blew himself up next to a railway station in the Israeli town of Binyamina. The blast left two Israeli soldiers dead and 14 others wounded. Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility, saying the hit was in revenge for Israel's attacks on their cadre, most recently the abduction of Mahmoud Hamdan by an Israeli undercover squad in Bethlehem on Sunday. Israel, predictably, struck back, shelling PA security and intelligence positions in Jenin, Tulkarm, Hebron and Khan Yunis. But the real revenge was to be exacted the next day. At around 3pm Tuesday two US-built Apache helicopters swooped to kill four Palestinians and wound 14 others in a pigeon coop in an orchard in Bethlehem. Two of the men were members of Hamas, including Omar Saada, reportedly the head of Hamas's military arm in the Bethlehem area. The army said it had "unequivocal" intelligence the four were about to launch "a major terror strike" in Jerusalem, possibly to coincide with closing ceremonies of the Jewish Olympic games now taking place in the city. Hamas political leader in Gaza, Abdel-Aziz Al- Rantisi, said the four were in the orchard to greet another Palestinian recently freed from an Israeli jail. He also vowed Hamas "will respond in the time and place it determines." The time and place were not slow in coming. Ninety minutes later, and for first time in the West Bank since the Intifada started in September, a mortar shell was fired on Gilo settlement in occupied East Jerusalem. It landed without inflicting injury but all were aware that another red line in the conflict had been crossed. The army responded with a ferocious barrage of fire on the neighbouring Palestinian village of Beit Jala. This was met with fire from Palestinian guerrillas and, six hours later, another mortar shell. The National and Islamic Forces in Bethlehem, a cross-factional body that guides the uprising and includes Hamas and Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement, claimed responsibility for the two strikes. It also declared dead the cease- fire brokered by CIA chief George Tenet on 13 June. The PA went on supreme alert and the Israeli army, in the largest military mobilisation since the Intifada erupted, brought in infantry, tanks and armoured personnel carriers near and above the Palestinian cities of Bethlehem and Jenin. This is where they remain, poised, if Ariel Sharon so orders, to deliver a "crushing military blow" to floor the PA once and for all and open the way to a full Israeli re-occupation, at least of Bethlehem, Jenin and perhaps Hebron. But it is not yet clear whether the Israeli leader is ready to embark on this road. In the last week he has reaffirmed Israel's policy of "active defence" to quell the uprising and assured Arafat (via his son Omri) there are no plans to destroy his authority. He has also called on Europe and the US to exert "maximum pressure" on the Palestinian leader to bring about an "absolute cessation of terror", preferring for now, it would seem, a diplomatic solution. But Palestinians are aware a "restrained" Sharon is no less lethal than an "active" one. For in bowing to an international consensus on refraining from a massive strike against the PA, and garnering political kudos for doing so, he can proceed apace with the same policy and the same end. At least this is the view of Palestinian lawmaker and the Arab League's new Commissioner for Information, Hanan Ashrawi. "When people ask me if there is going to be a war, I say there is a war now. It is a unilateral war by an occupying power, with a strong army, against a civilian population living in prisons and under siege. But does that mean Sharon is about to pull out the F16s and commit genocide? No, it means attrition, demolishing our infrastructure, our institutions, shooting to kill our activists and civilians, sating Sharon's appetite for annexation by taking our lands and destroying our economy. "This is not necessarily a huge army crushing a defenceless people. It can be done away from the media. It need not be dramatic. But it remains a slow death and a war by instalments."
Jerusalem Post 5 Av 5761 14:56Wednesday July 25, 2001 Send this article Printer friendly PA to present Israel with its own wanted list today By Margot Dudkevitch and Lamia Lahoud JERUSALEM (July 25) - Palestinian security officials plan to present Israel today with a list of the names of 50 Jewish extremists and demand their immediate arrest, claiming they have perpetrated attacks against Palestinian civilians. West Bank intelligence chief Tawfiq Tirawi said the list will be presented to the Israelis and the Americans at a meeting between security officials tonight. Tirawi confirmed the existence of the list of 50 names to The Jerusalem Post yesterday but refused to divulge details. "We will not let settlers in the West Bank and Gaza Strip kill and terrorize our people," Tirawi told Al Ayyam yesterday. "The Authority has proof of their participation in barbarian crimes against Palestinians, and if they [Israelis] don't take measures to stop them, they will be held responsible." Palestinian intelligence chief Amin al-Hindi said on Sunday that the PA had some of the names of the Israelis who shot at a car in the West Bank last Thursday, killing three Palestinians, including a three-month-old boy. A source close to Tiwari said: "We expect Israel to take the same measures as those it requests from the Palestinians. The list contains names of individuals, groups and organization who are responsible for planning attacks against Palestinian civilians, and includes the names of those who perpetrated the attack last Thursday near Idna in which three members of a Palestinian family were killed." Meanwhile, Israeli security officials have warned some of the Jewish residents living in Judea and Samaria, and the Gaza Strip whose names appear on the Palestinian list, and have suggested they take certain precautions, such as changing their daily routine and traveling in armored vehicles. Judea and Samaria police spokesman Rafi Yafe said that while it is the responsibility of the army and General Security Service to deal with the issue if a request is received, the police will do its utmost to protect the residents of Jewish communities. The Council of Jewish Communities in Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip refused to treat the list of names seriously and declared that "the entire nation is on that list and not just the names of residents living in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza." Among those appearing on the list are Infrastructure Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Tourism Minister of Tourism Rehavam Ze'evi and Deputy Chief of General Staff Maj.-Gen. Moshe Ya'alon, the source close to Tirawi said. The internet site Y-net published other names, including Noam Arnon, head of the Hebron Jewish community, Kach activists Noam Federman and Baruch Marzel, journalist Hagai Sela, and Noam Livnat, one of the founders of the yeshiva at Joseph's Tomb and brother of Education Minister Limor Livnat.
Sydney Mornng Herald 28 July 2001 Palestinians bury one martyr, but others are ready By Ross Dunn, Herald Correspondent in Nablus, West Bank Nablus prides itself on being the banking and industrial heart of the West Bank, but it is not only its financial strength that is on show. In the commercial centre of this Palestinian-controlled city, no-one tries to conceal their anger or their firepower. In the city centre, known as Martyrs' Square, young boys joined in firing live rounds of automatic rifles this week as locals raged against Israel's assassination of a Hamas military commander. Many in the crowd sat on top of cars, holding up pictures of a man they regard as their hero, Iraq's President Saddam Hussein. One of the demonstrators, Ahmed Bazari, said the residents of Nablus had been radicalised by Israel's military blockade of the city and the assassinations of their people, including Hamas "brigadier" Salah Darwaza, who died when four Israeli missiles hit his car. "I am angry," said Mr Bazari. "I am angry like any Palestinian, you know. I would like to smash them from the Earth. Because they are trying to smash us, you know. They are making a genocide for the Palestinian people. It is a question of genocide. They are killing the children, they are killing the women, they are killing the sick men, they are killing the freedom fighters, they are killing everybody." advertisement advertisement Another resident, English lecturer Abdul Fattah Jabar, said he was against such shooting during a funeral but supported the right of citizens to bear arms. Palestinians needed to defend themselves against attacks by the Israeli Army and by Jewish settlers in the area, who were heavily armed, he said. "We are not violent by nature. We only react to violence, and this is our right - the right of even, you know, animals in the forests to defend themselves against aggressors, and the Israelis are the aggressors." The Governor of Nablus, Mahmmoud Aloul, said he was concerned at the large number of arms in citizens' hands but said Israel was to blame for the siege of the West Bank and for inspiring the people to carry weapons. "If this aggression continues the only option left to us is to fight this aggression, is to resist this aggression, so only the resistance option is left for us." But "resistance" takes different forms in Palestinian society. Some take up arms, and others become human bombs. At the funeral of Mr Darwaza, 10 faceless would-be Palestinian bombers in white robes and masks stood silent as his remains were lowered into the earth. "Revenge, revenge," the crowd chanted. Hamas, the Islamic Resistance Movement, had bestowed the "honour" on the 10 candidates to become the next martyrs in the struggle against Israel.
Al-Ahram Weekly Online 29 July 2001 Once again, Israel is operating according to a `concept' Dr. Salah Abdel Jawad, a political science professor from Bir Zeit says that Ehud Barak hoped to push the Palestinians into all-out conflict. By Amira Hass Prof. Salah Abdel Jawad A family in Rafiah, whose home was razed by Israeli bulldozers. "Our daily life is worse than that of the French non-Jews under the Nazis." (Photo: Reuters) For many Palestinians it is not the Palestinian news services, but the Israeli and foreign ones that provide their main source of news. Israeli society, says Dr. Salah Abdel Jawad, a political science professor from Bir Zeit University, is a lot more exposed to the Palestinian public than Israelis are exposed to Palestinian society. Palestinians watch Israeli TV and listen to Israel radio. They read the half dozen Israeli newspaper articles books about current events that are translated into Arabic and passed around. But over the past few months Jawad, like many Palestinians, has been shocked by what he's seen up close in the Israeli media. The media, he says, which was long considered professional and pluralistic, have suddenly started singing one tune. They give the Israeli public false information about Palestinian society in general and more specifically about the conflict and the crisis. Brainwashing, in short. "But the Palestinians are also responsible and to blame," he says. "We've never known how to get out message across in the proper way. Our media is very mediocre, both as a means to transmit information and as a propaganda tool. They open the Palestinian TV news in Hebrew with photos of a boy pulling down an Israeli flag. It may be at the IDF outpost in Netzarim but nonetheless, if you want to reach the Israeli public, that's not the image with which to open the Hebrew-language broadcasts." He wrote a similar critique back in October 2000 in El Ayam and by now it's become an acceptable self-criticism heard in many Palestinian circles. Jawad zaps through the various channels provided by a particularly generous satellite dish. Besieged townships, cut off roads, dirt blockades, and uncrossable trenches have isolated Palestinians, making satellite TV popular throughout Palestinian society, which is locked up at home. The conversation with him goes back and forth between critiques of Palestinian society and Israeli society, so that sometimes it's difficult to tell them apart. That two-barreled criticism is the daily bread of those who believe that at the end of the process, the Palestinian struggle will inevitably lead the parties back to the negotiating table and turn the occupier into a neighbor - "in two states, or in a binational state or with full annexation of the territories with full civil rights." It's a view voiced not just by intellectuals. It's heard in vegetable stores, at demonstrations, and in everyday conversation - it's a view held not by the few but by the many. The connection between information, knowledge, frankness, understanding and change is the thread that weaves together the conversation about the current Intifada with Jawad. Within Palestinian society he's known for dealing with the issues of the struggle's tactics and how to improve them. At a public debate in Ramallah in front of hundreds of people in November 2000 he said "people gather knowledge through experience, and internalize that knowledge without the need for more experiences. But unfortunately, that isn't always the case with the Palestinian national movement. We all know about the difficult behavior of the PLO in Jordan and Lebanon ... in both cases, the Jordanian and Lebanese governments used PLO behavior as an excuse to eliminate the `annoying' presence of the Palestinians. Nonetheless, despite that accumulated Palestinian experience, we see the same mistakes repeating themselves in the current Intifada." Hamas repeats the PLO's mistakes His critique appeared in a pioneering article he wrote in the second week of the current Intifada. Referring to the militarization of the struggle, he warned that Palestinian shooting, in any case was ineffective, but it would give Israel the excuse to hit back at the Palestinians with excessive force. Then - and many times since - he has said "We must not give the Israelis the opportunity to create a national consensus against us." Sticking to the morality of the struggle, which means the duty not to strike at civilians - on both sides - is not only a human value unto itself, he says, but is true for its efficacy. The internal debate among Israelis about the nature of relations with the Palestinians is important for the struggle against the occupation. In general, he adds, militarism has negative influences on an entire society that becomes addicted to it. "We Palestinians," he said at the Ramallah debate, "don't document our accumulated knowledge." Thus, in the struggle for independence, new groups repeat the mistakes of the past the way the Hamas repeated the mistakes of the PLO (in the armed struggle at the beginning of the first Intifada). A second problem, he added, is that nothing is done with the accumulated knowledge. The appearance of masked men at demonstrations in the first Intifada, gave the Israelis the opportunity to send soldiers camouflaged as masked men into Palestinian society and to make arrests or kill wanted men. Nonetheless, "we repeat the same mistake at funerals and demonstrations today, when armed masked men fire into the air. There's no use to that shooting, and the masks - particularly ugly ones - only increase the possibility that camouflaged soldiers will show up, and it distracts the world's attention from the main issue to a marginal, non-representative one, strengthening their view of the Palestinians as a `terrorist nation.'" "Then there's also the problem of knowledge and frankness," he said at the debate. "When Mahmoud al Amousi (a Fatah man killed in Bitouniya) and two other Palestinians were martyred, we were told the Israelis shot them at a checkpoint. But that wasn't the truth. The truth is that two days earlier those three had shot at an Israeli bus from an ambush. And then two days later they wanted to do it again,. But this time, the Israelis were lying in ambush for them and they got killed. It's very important that information reach the people because that's the only way to prevent other youngsters from making the same mistake." Israel's own self-obstructions to knowledge take place in a different way, at other, deep and strategic levels. Jawad is convinced that Israeli intelligence has precise knowledge about the Palestinians - "otherwise how can we explain their ability to assassinate various activists." But when he hears Israeli intelligence's versions about what's going on he says "it is like 1973, when Israeli intelligence had a formulated concept and despite all the information it refused to change that concept. He continued: "In 1973 the concept was that the Arabs were afraid - and it fell apart. It wasn't a failure of lack of information. Like now, when they are trapped with wrong concepts about the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian people. There were dozens of years of demonization of the Palestinians, and it didn't change much after Oslo. They haven't given up the perspective of the conqueror over the conquered, they still have the perspective of the colonizer. That's why they are wrong all the time at the strategic level." Israeli intelligence is not only wrong - it's misleading, he says. "The Israeli public is the victim of the media, which eagerly responded to the call and practically without any argument at all reported the government's version, hiding from the public those activities and intentions of the Barak government that harmed the chance for peace." Therefore, a majority of Israelis believed the claims of Barak's generosity at Camp David. "The Palestinian side hasn't published its version of what happened there because, I believe, it couldn't admit at that stage and in public just how much we were ready to concede." "Barak's policies didn't exactly coincide with those of the Labor Party," he adds. "That's one of the problems in Israeli politics. There's not always a unity of intentions. It's known, after all, that Barak opposed the Oslo agreements. He was the first prime minister who managed to avoid implementing any of the agreements Israel signed. I believe that Barak wanted the Palestinians to be recalcitrant at Camp David, so he could torpedo the process. When he raised the Israeli demands about Haram el Shareef (the Temple Mount) he knew Arafat couldn't accept it, and certainly not within the context of a package of other Palestinian concessions." The target - destroy the PA Barak, he believes, hoped to push the Palestinians into an overall conflict, "but the Palestinians didn't help him. They weren't totally trapped by all out war that would have allowed Israel to make unlimited use of its military power. Palestinian tactics are low profile tactics, which makes it difficult for the Israelis to achieve their goal." That goal, especially for the Sharon government, he believes, "is the destruction of the Palestinian Authority and the entire Oslo process ... since they don't want to pay the price of peace, which is evacuation of the settlements." Israeli ignorance about Palestinian life before the Intifada also characterizes the problem. For years, he says, Israel ignored the small details of the occupation, which add up to a suffocating, insufferable life. "Most Israelis - Zionists or not - are humane," he says. "If they knew and understood the reality, they wouldn't accept what's going on. No Israeli has seen the entire picture, not even the soldier at the checkpoint. The land that was expropriated, the water we don't have and the settlements do have, the passes we need to travel, the passes we don't get, the ban on travel to Jerusalem. And that's what it's like day in and day out, year in and year out. The Israelis aren't aware of the utter totality of the occupation. Our daily life is worse than that of the French - not the Jews, of course - under the Nazis. It's difficult to accept, but it's true. And it goes on forever. "The Israelis have a tendency to believe they are always the ones who are being hurt. Despite their power, the long years of occupation, they feel that every chapter in their lives is another chapter in the history of the persecution of the Jews. When they say this they are perfectly serious. It's not manipulation. And I believe that if they knew more, at least they would understand why we do what we do. Maybe they won't accept it," he quickly adds, "but at least they'll understand." More detailed knowledge will change something among the Israelis, he says, and maybe influence others. "After all, most Israelis aren't in daily contact with the occupation. They live their lives separately and know that they do from the media." And that media, he says, on a day when 10 Palestinian civilians were killed by IDF gunfire, barely mentioned it. "It's a media that gives the wrong impression of Israeli restraint. "And the Israeli public has no idea what's happening on the ground. They don't understand how much the population is suffering, or the IDF's system of repression. At the end of the day, it's a sword of Damocles over the government, since a majority of Israelis aren't satisfied, feeling that the army isn't doing enough, the government isn't decisive or aggressive, isn't operating according to the mandate the public gave it." That ignorance, says the political scientist, leads to a breakdown in confidence in the government and that shows up afterward in the elections. He believes that Israeli intelligence and the Israeli public, fed incorrect information, is scornful of Palestinian ability to withstand the suffering, and its ability to stand up to the current system of oppression. The Israeli occupation authorities, he says, may have learned from the mistakes of other colonialist regimes, but, he adds, "it's only technical. They've adopted more sophisticated methods for control, which have a cumulative destructive influence on the fabric of Palestinian society, but is less felt in the world because it's all done `drop by drop' while at the same time the Palestinians have developed an amazing ability to remain steadfast." When the F-16s bombed Ramallah, Jawad stopped being afraid. "I felt as if in any case there was nothing we could do against the planes. And then I understood for the first time how an entire nation reaches the point where death stops being a threat and becomes easier, acceptable. It's amazing how until the Intifada the Israelis managed to create among us a feeling of impotence and total surrender - until they pushed us to a point saturated with fear, an explosion. "And then, in only a few weeks, we managed to unite the entire society around the Intifada and to reach the strategic decision to continue it: In any case we've lost so much, so let's continue the struggle and be patient, bear the burden."
23 July 2001 Vietnam Survivors Want Powell to Spare a Thought By David Brunnstrom MY LAI, Vietnam (Reuters) - When Secretary of State Colin Powell comes to Hanoi this week, survivors of the Vietnam War's most notorious massacre would like him to spare them at least a thought. It will be Powell's first trip to Vietnam since serving in that war in the 1960s and he will be the most senior U.S. official to have fought the country ever to return. During his visit to attend a regional security forum, U.S. officials say the former general plans to take time out to pay tribute to seven Americans killed in Vietnam in April searching for remains of U.S. servicemen still listed as missing from the conflict. But he has no plans to visit My Lai, a village near the coast of central Vietnam, where soldiers of the same 11th brigade of the American Division Powell served with killed, according to Vietnam, 504 civilians, mostly women and children, March 16, 1968. The U.S. army later put the toll at more than 300. The massacre at My Lai, the worst committed by U.S. forces in Vietnam, occurred 10 weeks before Powell returned to Vietnam to start his second tour during which, as a major, he served as the American's operations officer. COVER-UP ACCUSATIONS In his autobiography ``My American Journey'' Powell says he did not learn of the massacre until the autumn of 1969. However, he has been accused of failing to properly investigate a December 1968 letter from an 11th Brigade soldier, Tom Glen, describing murder and torture of civilians by U.S. troops, which Powell was ordered to check out. According to the 1992 book ``Four Hours in My Lai'' by British journalists Michael Bilton and Kevin Sim, Powell concluded in a memo in response to Glen's letter: ``Although there may be isolated cases of mistreatment of civilians and POWs, this by no means reflects the general attitude throughout the division. ``In direct refutation of this portrayal (by Glen) is the fact that relations between American soldiers and Vietnamese people are excellent.'' Survivors of the massacre interviewed in My Lai recently said they were outraged by that statement, which Powell makes no mention of in his memoirs. ``It's rubbish for him to say relations between local people here and American soldiers were good,'' said 63-year-old Pham Thi Thuan, who lost six members of her family, including her father, sisters and nephews. Photos Reuters Photo ``I was very angry to hear that. They killed people here -- we are the survivors. Many people were killed, they even killed cattle, and destroyed trees. How can he say relations were good?'' Another survivor, 76-year-old Ha Thuy Quy, whose mother and children were killed, said she did not blame all Americans, but thought Powell should take the opportunity to apologize on behalf of his country and make amends. ``HE SHOULD APOLOGIZE'' ``He should apologize, they killed innocent people, they were guilty ... they sent troops here to kill innocent people, they were very guilty. ``Bombs and bullets destroyed our place, we have no schools ... the Americans could give us some assistance. People are still poor and hungry, the Americans need to help them,'' she said. Pham Thanh Cong, who survived the massacre as an 11-year-old after being shielded from a grenade blast by relatives who were killed, now looks after a museum at the massacre site. He said did not think Powell needed to make an apology. ``But he should think about what happened here ... and perhaps he could do something to help with the upkeep of this site and to help some of the victims and their families, especially the ones living alone and who are disabled. Briefing reporters in Washington Friday, Powell said he expected a flood of emotions to hit him on his return to Vietnam. But he also said: ``There are are no ghosts within me that need exorcism.'' He made no mention of My Lai, but in his memoir, he described it as ``one of the darker chapters of American military history'' and ``an appalling example of much that had gone wrong in Vietnam.'' Diplomats say Powell is highly unlikely to make any reference to My Lai in Vietnam, far less offer an apology, something not in line with U.S. policy. When former President Bill Clinton became the first U.S. president to visit Vietnam since the war last November he spoke of the shared pain of the past but offered no apology. The Vietnamese government has skirted the issue, saying only that Powell would be welcome as a dialogue partner, just like any of the other foreign ministers attending the regional forum. However, Larry Colburn, a former U.S. helicopter gunner now living in Atlanta who was decorated as a hero by both the United States and Vietnam for helping to rescue victims from marauding soldiers during the massacre, told Reuters he wished Powell would address the My Lai issue. Asked why, he said: ``Just for respect.''
Reuters 24 July 2001 By Andrew Marshall HANOI (Reuters) - Southeast Asian foreign ministers met their most powerful neighbors on Tuesday to discuss boosting political and economic cooperation, but the talks were fraught with regional tensions and haunted by ghosts of conflicts past. The 10-member Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) wrapped up two days of talks in Hanoi and widened the gathering to include the foreign ministers of China, Japan and South Korea . On Wednesday discussions will be broadened to include partners from the 23-member ASEAN Regional Forum, Asia's key security grouping, which includes the United States and the Europe Union. Indonesia's political turmoil has joined a list of contemporary security worries ranging from the last Cold War frontier in Korea, to territorial disputes in the South China Sea, to President Bush 's proposed missile defense system. But ghosts of the past have proven remarkably resilient. Secretary of State Colin Powell arrived on Tuesday for his first return visit to Vietnam since his wartime service in the 1960s. Powell told a briefing last week he expected a flood of emotions to hit him on his return, 32 years after he left, but said there were ``no ghosts within him that needed exorcism.'' Arriving at his hotel after being greeted with a bouquet of flowers at Hanoi airport, Powell told reporters: ``I was very emotional flying in on an airplane. I am very pleased to be back.'' MY LAI MASSACRE But questions remain over Powell's Vietnam record stemming from his service -- albeit after the fact -- in the same brigade that carried out the worst U.S. massacre of the war. The killing of as many as 504 people -- mostly women and children -- at the small central Vietnamese hamlet of My Lai on March 16, 1968, took place 10 weeks before Powell came to Vietnam to begin his second tour of duty. He says in his autobiography that he did not learn of it until more than a year later, but he has been accused of failing to properly investigate a report prompted by the incident describing routine acts of murder and torture of civilians by U.S. soldiers. Vietnam, anxious to build on a growing economic relationship with its former enemy, including a historic trade agreement now awaiting ratification, is avoiding references to the bloody past. ``For the past years, since the two countries normalized relations, we have moved forward,'' Vietnamese Foreign Minister Nguyen Dy Nien told a news conference on Tuesday. ``We look forward to welcome Mr. Colin Powell in Hanoi.'' Photos Reuters Photo GHOSTS OF A DISTANT WAR Relations between the foreign ministers of China and South Korea and Japan's first female Foreign Minister, Makiko Tanaka, are haunted by the ghosts of an even more distant war. Beijing and Seoul are incensed by a new Japanese school text book they say glosses over Japan's wartime and colonial brutality. Both countries are also angered by a plan by Japan's Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to visit a Shinto shrine in Tokyo honoring war dead, including leaders convicted of war crimes, on August 15, the anniversary of Japan's surrender in World War Two. In a bilateral meeting on Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan told Tanaka Tokyo must ``take concrete steps to sincerely and properly settle outstanding problems'' over the textbooks and the planned shrine visit, or risk damaging ties. Tang and South Korean counterpart Han Seung-soo also discussed the issues in bilateral talks. The Tang-Tanaka meeting also touched on a smoldering bilateral trade dispute in which Japan's imposition of steep tariffs on Chinese farm imports were matched with punitive Chinese duties on Japanese high technology products. Hopes for a resumption of a high-level dialogue on North Korea at the ASEAN meetings were dashed last week when Pyongyang said its foreign minister would not attend because he was ``too busy'' and would be replaced by an ambassador, Ho Jong. A senior U.S. official said on Tuesday the Americans may briefly meet their North Korean counterparts, but did not expect to hold talks. ``It's possible that the South Koreans may bring whoever it is over for a handshake...but we're not planning any particular dialogue,'' the official said, adding that the U.S. delegation was not certain who would represent Pyongyang at the Hanoi gathering. The narrow ASEAN meeting, which ended on Tuesday, was dominated by events in Indonesia, where the country's supreme legislative body voted on Monday to sack President Abdurrahman Wahid and replace him with his deputy, Megawati Sukarnoputri. In an official communique, ASEAN welcomed the election of Megawati and said it hoped her presidency would herald improved political stability and faster economic recovery. Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer told a news conference in Hanoi Megawati faced numerous challenges unifying Indonesia and in addressing economic problems and deserved the support of the international community.
Gulf News (United Arab Emirates) 21 June 2001 Twenty three survivors of the massacres in the Palestinian camps of Sabra and Chatila have filed a case accusing the present Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of genocide, since he was Israeli defence minister in charge of the army at the time, and was active in promoting the massacres. The case has not gone to the World Court, but to the Belgian courts, under a Belgian law which allows the prosecution of officials for the violations of human rights. The Belgians are alarmed that their law will now be used to adjudicate on many of the world's human tragedies, and their concern is valid. The right place for this kind of case is the World Court, not the national courts of Belgium. Nonetheless, the case is good and it should be heard. The World Court has a series of cases on genocide in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. All perpetrators of crimes against humanity should be brought to justice, be they Serb, Hutu, Tutsi, or Israeli. The many years since the massacres should not stop the case going to court. Even in the context of the continual brutality and oppression by the Israelis, these killing stand out as particularly savage. Sharon was behind them, and he should be brought to book by the international community.
Reuters 2 July 2001 Belgian Judge Opens Probe Against Israel's Sharon BRUSSELS - A Belgian judge has opened an investigation of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for alleged crimes against humanity in a 1982 massacre of hundreds of Palestinians, a judicial spokesman said on Monday. Examining Judge Patrick Collignon opened the investigation after finding merit in two complaints filed against Sharon for his alleged role in the killing of Palestinians at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Lebanon, said Josef Colpin, spokesman for the public prosecutor's office in Brussels. The investigation was to determine whether there is enough evidence to press charges against Sharon, Colpin said. The complaints, filed earlier this month by Lebanese and Palestinian survivors of the massacre, accuse Sharon of war crimes and genocide under a relatively new Belgian law allowing its courts to prosecute foreigners for human rights abuses committed outside the country. The maximum punishment for the crimes is life imprisonment. Chibli Mallat, a Lebanese lawyer who filed one of the complaints on behalf of 23 survivors, hailed the decision. ``It is an important day for the victims of Sabra and Shatila,'' he told Reuters in Beirut on Saturday after initial reports of the decision. Mehdi Abbes, a Brussels lawyer who filed the second complaint on behalf of at least five survivors, said the opening of the investigation was the first step in a long process. ``We have a long road ahead of us,'' he told Reuters on Monday, referring to the amount of time that Collignon would need to do the investigation. ``It isn't going to done in 30 days.'' A landmark Belgian trial earlier this year of four Rwandans for involvement in their country's 1994 genocide occurred six years after an examining judge opened his investigation into complaints brought against them. The trial, which led to the conviction of all four, was the first to apply the law and has since led to the filing of a slew of complaints in Brussels against figures ranging from Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo. The complaints against Sharon, dismissed by a Sharon lawyer as a political stunt, have increased pressure on the Israeli leader as he prepares an official trip to Europe this week. In 1983, an Israeli state inquiry found Sharon, then defense minister, indirectly responsible for the killing of hundreds of men, women and children at Sabra and Shatila camps during Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon. Israeli soldiers allowed allied Lebanese Christian militiamen to enter the camps, ostensibly to search for Palestinian gunmen. The massacre continued for two days while Israeli troops surrounded the camps.
AP 12 July 2001 Ex-Rwanda Official Nabbed in Belgium BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) - Belgian police arrested a former Rwandan finance minister on Thursday on an international arrest warrant issued by a U.N. war crimes tribunal in Arusha, Tanzania. The prosecutor's office in the eastern Belgian town of Verviers said Emmanuel Ndindabahizi, 51, was wanted on charges of genocide, inciting genocide, crimes against humanity and murder. Ndindabahizi was minister from April to July 1994 during the mass slaughter of the country's Tutsi minority and moderates from among the Hutu majority. Up to one million people were killed, the prosecutors office said. Police arrested Ndindabahizi in a morning raid on his home in Verviers. He was taken to the town jail and should be transferred to the tribunal in Arusha within three months. An official at the prosecutors office said Ndindabahizi had applied for refugee status in Belgium.
BBC 27 July, 2001, Police in Belgium have arrested a Rwandan man who is wanted on charges of taking part in the Rwandan genocide seven years ago. The man, Protais Zigiranyirazo, is accused of being a key member of a death squad called the Zero Network which according to Belgian reports began operating in about 1992 and is thought to have helped plan the genocide. The 63-year-old whose reported nickname was "Monsieur Z", was arrested at the request of the United Nations criminal tribunal on Rwanda and is expected to be extradited to Tanzania, where the tribunal sits, to face trial. He was the brother-in-law of the former Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana, whose death in a plane crash in 1994 triggered months of frenzied killings which claimed the lives of up to 800,000 Rwandans. Justice Mr Zigiranyirazo came to Belgium nearly two months ago seeking asylum and had been held in a detention centre until his arrest. The killing of President Habyarimana ignited the genocide Last month a Belgian court found four Rwandans guilty of war crimes, including two nuns, under a new law which allows courts in Belgium to try war crimes suspects, no matter where the alleged crimes occurred. Since starting proceedings in 1994 the ICTR has found eight people guilty of genocide and last month reached its first not guilty verdict. The tribunal has been dogged by criticism since it was set up to investigate and try those responsible for the genocide. Earlier this month four defence investigators working for the United Nations tribunal for Rwanda were revealed to be under suspicion themselves of involvement in the 1994 genocide and were suspended or had their contracts not renewed.
Reuters 28 July 2001 Judge lacks jurisdiction over Sharon case: lawyer 'Breach of sovereignty' Bart Crols BRUSSELS - A Belgian investigation into Ariel Sharon, the Israeli Prime Minister, for alleged crimes against humanity breaches Israel's "judicial sovereignty," a Belgian lawyer acting on behalf of Israel said yesterday. Lawyer Michele Hirsch, appointed to represent the Israeli state and not Mr. Sharon personally, said the matter was settled when an Israeli state inquiry in 1983 found Mr. Sharon, then defence minister, indirectly responsible for the massacre of hundreds of Palestinians a year earlier. "There is a breach of the sovereignty, even the judiciary, of the state of Israel," Ms. Hirsch said. Examining magistrate Patrick Collignon opened the investigation this month after two complaints were filed against Mr. Sharon for his alleged role in the 1982 massacre at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Lebanon. The complaints accuse Mr. Sharon of war crimes and genocide under a 1993 Belgian law allowing its courts to prosecute foreigners for rights abuses committed abroad. Ms. Hirsch said Mr. Collignon lacks jurisdiction in the case due to the ruling by the Israeli inquiry, which "presents all the guarantees of a judicial institution." She said such a scenario was considered by the International Criminal Court, which was agreed upon in 1998 and the statutes of which were ratified by Belgium. The court, due to be established in the Netherlands next year, "foresees that penal prosecution is not admissible when the state concerned had decided not to continue. That's the case here," Ms. Hirsch said. "The question is, can Belgium be exempt [from this rule]? I don't know." Ms. Hirsch was one the lawyers acting for victims in a landmark Belgian trial that in June convicted four Rwandans of involvement in their country's 1994 genocide. The trial was based on the same law used against Mr. Sharon. "It's a good law. One has to discipline it but without emptying it of its contents," Ms. Hirsch said. Similar investigations have been launched into Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi President; and Laurent Gbagbo and Moise Lida Kouassi, the President and Defence Minister, respectively, of Ivory Coast.
BBC 11 July, 2001Bosnians mark Srebrenica massacre Remembering the dead of Srebrenica There have been emotional scenes as thousands of Bosnian Muslims returned to the town of Srebrenica to commemorate their loved ones killed in one of the worst massacres in modern history. In the blazing sun, women stood in tears as prayers were spoken for their husbands, their fathers and their sons. "We pray for sorrow to become hope, for revenge to become justice, and for a mother's tears to become a reminder so that Srebrenica will never happen again to anyone, anywhere" said Mustafa Efendi Ceric Head of Bosnia's Islamic community The survivors had gathered to dedicate the foundation stone for a memorial to the estimated 8,000 victims, killed when Serb forces overran the United Nations safe area in July 1995. For many it was their first return to the town since it fell to the Bosnian Serb army six years ago. About 1,300 local police and hundreds of Nato-led peacekeepers lined the road as a convoy of buses brought the Muslims back to Srebrenica. Security had been stepped up to prevent a repeat of violent incidents in Banja Luka in May, when Serb protesters attacked Muslims attending a ceremony to begin the rebuilding of a mosque. Memorial The focus of the day was the unveiling of a cornerstone for a memorial centre that will be built alongside a graveyard for the victims' remains. Police guard relatives as they return to the scene The three-ton marble stone bears simply the inscription "Srebrenica, July 1995." "If we know nothing about our dearest, at least we can see their tombstones and imagine they are lying there," said Nura Mustafic, 53, who lost her husband and three sons. The mourners walked across a field opposite the factory where six years ago lightly-armed Dutch peacekeepers watched helplessly as Muslim men and boys were separated from their families and led away. "I just remember the gate shutting as they took them away," said Mihreta Husic, who saw her father for the last time near the factory. Grief and anger Mustafa Efendi Ceric, the head of Bosnia's Islamic community, said: "We pray for sorrow to become hope, for revenge to become justice, and for a mother's tears to become a reminder so that Srebrenica will never happen again to anyone, anywhere." Ratko Mladic is held directly responsible for the massacre As well as grief, there was anger among the survivors. Hana Adamovic, 48, now a refugee in northern Bosnia, said the ceremony was "the hardest day in my entire life." "They are giving us a stone here instead of helping us back to our homes and helping us find our dearest," she said. Zineta Mujic, 50, who lost 14 family members, said: "Slobodan Milosevic is the biggest butcher in the world and is responsible for what happened to us." "His string puppets, Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, are also responsible and must pay for what they did here," she said. Srebrenica massacre 1993 Srebrenica declared UN safe area 11 July 1995 Serbs overrun Srebrenica 23,000 women and children deported in 30 hours Men aged 12-77 are separated for 'interrogation for suspected war crimes' 16 July 1995 first reports of massacres The former political and military leaders of the Bosnian Serbs, who are considered directly responsible for the Srebrenica massacre, are still at large. Hostility In the end, the ceremony in Srebrenica passed off peacefully. But some of the Serbs now resident in the town watched with impassive hostility as the buses brought back the Muslims who once used to live there. The mood in the region has been volatile since the anti-Muslim riots in Banja Luka, and the extradition of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, on war crimes charges. The ceremony also coincided with renewed pressure on the Bosnian Serb authorities to arrest Mr Karadzic and General Mladic.
BBC 12 July, 2001 A Bosnian Muslim teenager has been shot dead in north-eastern Bosnia, on the anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre. Sixteen-year-old Meliha Duric was killed by an unknown gunman, who opened fire late on Wednesday at her family home in the Vlasenica area, not far from Srebrenica. She was hit in the chest and died on her way to hospital. Police are investigating the shooting but there are no suspects so far. Duric was a refugee who had recently returned to the village. United Nation spokeswoman Kate Frieson said: "At this moment we still don't know if this is a returnee-related incident. It's premature, but we will look at it." Thousands of Muslims gathered for Wednesday's ceremony Refugees began returning to the area on 1 May this year, and one was wounded in mid-May in front of the same house where Duric died. Returnees are regularly subjected to stone throwing, shootings and arson attacks. Security concerns have meant that the process of returning refugees to their home towns has been very slow. Commemoration On Wednesday, some 3,500 Bosnian Muslims gathered at Srebrenica to commemorate the anniversary of the July 1995 massacre, in which between 7,000 and 8,000 Muslims were killed when Bosnian Serb forces over-ran the UN protected enclave. Bosnian Serbs chose the nearby village of Kravice to hold their own ceremony on Thursday for the 3,500 Bosnian Serbs who died during the 1992-95 war. Two thousand people attended the ceremony to lay a cornerstone. Dragan Kalinic, the Bosnian Serb parliamentary speaker, told the crowd: "In this symbolic manner we pay tribute to the victims of the four-year tragic conflict in Bosnia, that affected all three peoples." There were concerns that Serb nationalists would disrupt Wednesday's ceremony but the event passed off peacefully.
AP 21 July 21, 2001 Serb Officials Ready to Cooperate SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) - The leaders of the Serbian section of Bosnia say they will cooperate with a U.N. war crimes tribunal, although the area's president said no suspects accused of such crimes are hiding in his territory, according to reports. Mirko Sarovic, president of Republika Srpska - which makes up Bosnia along with a Muslim-Croat federation - was quoted on Bosnian state radio Saturday as saying his state is free of war crimes suspects, and denied authorities were helping fugitives. ``No one accused for war crimes committed in Bosnia is under protection of the Bosnian Serb authorities,'' Sarovic said. The report did not elaborate on Sarovic's remarks, which contradict widespread accounts that Republika Srpska continues to harbor Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic, and possibly his top general, Ratko Mladic. The two are the most wanted suspects sought by The Hague -based tribunal after the extradition last month of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic , who was indicted for alleged complicity in Kosovo atrocities. Many other suspects are still at large, and Sarovic was quoted as saying that Republika Srpska was ``ready to bring to justice all those who committed war crimes, no matter who they are.'' The Bosnian Serb parliament next week plans to discuss a draft law that would further cooperation between the Serb Republic and the Hague Tribunal. ``Parliament must adopt such a law,'' Sarovic said. Separate comments made by Bosnian Serb Prime Minister Mladen Ivanic seemed to contradict Sarovic's statement that Karadzic was no longer on Bosnian Serb territory. ``Those who refuse to arrest Karadzic will be dismissed,'' he was quoted as saying by the state-run Onasa news agency. Ivanic pledged cooperation with the U.N. tribunal and announced he would resign unless the parliament passed the law on cooperation with The Hague. ``Once the law is adopted, the Karadzic issue will become an obligation,'' he said. Both Karadzic and Mladic have been indicted on charges of genocide over allegations their forces committed atrocities during Bosnia's 1992-95 war, including the massacre of up to 8,000 Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica. Some 200,000 people died in the conflict and some 20,000 remain missing and are presumably dead.
AP 26 July 2001 Bosnia Moves to Work With Tribunal By Irena Gajic BANJA LUKA, Bosnia-Herzegovina –– Legislators from the party founded by Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic have agreed to a draft law on cooperating with the U.N. war crimes tribunal. The Bosnian Serb parliament was the last local authority in former Yugoslavia to resist turning suspects over to the U.N. tribunal. However, just before midnight Wednesday, the government voted 45 to 5, with 25 abstentions, in favor of a draft law on working with the court. "This is the first step down a road that will end with the adoption of the law," Dragan Kalinic, head of Karadzic's Serb Democratic party, or SDS, said early Thursday. All 31 SDS lawmakers voted in favor of the legislation. Karadzic, the most-wanted wartime suspect still at large, has since been indicted by the Netherlands-based tribunal, along with his senior military officer Ratko Mladic. They are believe to be hiding in Republika Srpska, the Serb half of Bosnia. After a Sept. 15 vote to adopt the law, "Republika Srpska will no longer be an enclave which does not cooperate with the tribunal in The Hague," Justice Minister Biljana Maric said. Under the 1995 Dayton peace accord, cooperation with the tribunal is mandatory. But the SDS, which until last year controlled both parliament and the government and still has majority control of Parliament, had argued that the Bosnian Serb constitution does not allow extradition of its citizens. The resistance has not deterred NATO-led peacekeepers from arresting suspects in the Serb-controlled half of the country anyway. However, the law has "symbolic significance, and represents a public acknowledgment by (Bosnian Serb) authorities that they must cooperate," said Kevin Sullivan, spokesman for Wolfgang Petritsch, the top international official responsible for implementing the peace agreement. Pressure on Bosnian Serbs to hand over war crimes suspects has increased since their closest ally, Serbia, sent former President Slobodan Milosevic to The Hague last month. International officials claim that at least 15 publicly indicted suspects are hiding in Bosnian Serb-controlled areas of the country. Bosnian Serb authorities claim they don't know where the suspects are.
War Crimes Suspect's Backers Rally By Alen Mlatisuma Associated Press Writer Friday, July 27, 2001; 6:50 p.m. EDT PETNJICA, Yugoslavia –– Several hundred backers of Bosnia's most-wanted war crimes suspect, Radovan Karadzic, gathered Friday in his native Montenegro to voice support for their hero-in-hiding. The crowd converged on the remote mountain village of Petnjica, Karadzic's ancestral home, 40 miles northwest of the Montenegrin capital, Pogdorica. Demonstrators denounced the U.N. war crimes tribunal that is seeking to try Karadzic on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity during the 1992-95 Bosnian war. Ever since Belgrade delivered former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic to the international court in the Netherlands last month, NATO has stepped up efforts to apprehend Karadzic, now the tribunal's most-wanted suspect. The court and NATO say his days as a free man are numbered, though he has not been seen in public since 1996. Montenegro's pro-Western government has denied rumors that Karadzic is hiding somewhere in the Yugoslav republic, and has pledged to arrest him if he enters Montenegro. Waving nationalist Serb banners, some Karadzic supporters raised the traditional Serb three-fingers sign in the air Friday. Others carried posters emblazoned with Karadzic's picture and the warning, "Don't touch him!" "All the evil powers of the world have united against Radovan but he will have the last say," said Simeon Karadzic, the former Bosnian leader's cousin, welcoming protesters as they passed the Orthodox chapel of St. George, where Karadzics have been buried for generations. "Today he is our leader; tomorrow he will be our saint," he said. Karadzic's two brothers, Luka and Raco, also joined the rally, as did a score of Serb poets from Montenegro. Before the Bosnian war, Radovan Karadzic was both a psychiatrist and a poet. Many expressed confidence that he would never be captured or extradited. "No roads will lead them to Radovan; every Serb house shall be his hiding place and every true Serb his ally," poet Dragoljub Scekic said. Another poet and friend, Ranko Jovovic, said the "sword of Satan has been raised against Karadzic and the entire Serb nation." "We are each a Radovan Karadzic, so don't you touch him," Jovovic warned NATO. Protests were also held later Friday in the northern towns of Pljevlja and Berane, Karadzic supporters said.
With Pain and Hope, Bulgaria Curbs Weapons Trade E-Mail This Article Printer-Friendly Version Subscribe to The Post By Peter Finn Washington Post Foreign Service Sunday, July 8, 2001; Page A19 KAZANLUK, Bulgaria -- Through the 1990s, the weapons factories of this decaying industrial town and others like it in Bulgaria churned out a broad selection of reliable, low-cost "small arms" -- AK-47s, mortars, mines -- for sale to outlaw governments and rebel armies around the world. In 1997 and 1998, for instance, 37 flights operated by a transport airline called Air Cess left the Black Sea city of Burgas carrying Bulgarian-made military equipment, ostensibly for a legal sale to the West African nation of Togo. The weapons never got there; United Nations investigators say they ended up in Angola in the hands of the UNITA insurgent army. Cash from such deals provided desperately needed income for a shrinking weapons industry that sought new markets, however suspect, following the collapse of communism and a variety of Soviet-bloc customers. But today, the Bulgarian government has cracked down on arms trafficking in a major way, officials in that government and Western diplomats here say. The stinging revelations of a U.N. investigation, together with Bulgaria's desire to join NATO and the European Union, helped push it toward that economically painful step. In the past 18 months, foreign arms sales have dropped to about $100 million a year -- a 90 percent decline from the country's peak years under communism, according to Western officials who have spoken to executives at the Bulgarian arms-trading company Kintex. Defense workers grumble -- 1,000 here in Kazanluk have lost jobs in the last nine months alone -- and the country's struggling post-communist economy is being pinched further by the loss of income. But political leaders say they are determined to create a new image for the country and a respectable place in the world economy. As delegates from close to 180 countries gather at the U.N. headquarters in New York this week to try to negotiate a worldwide treaty regulating trade in small arms, a key goal will be to create more cases like Bulgaria, a major producer that has weaned itself away from the illegal arms trade, according to Western diplomats. Under communism, Bulgaria became an important maker of small arms in the Soviet bloc, supplying Warsaw Pact countries, Soviet client states in the Third World and Soviet-sponsored rebel groups. At its peak in the 1980s, the Bulgarian defense industry produced $1 billion worth of arms annually, and only 5 percent of them were for the domestic market. Arms accounted for 10 percent of Bulgaria's total exports. The industry employed 115,000 people with another 400,000 workers dependent on it through subcontracting and supplies. With the fall of communism, traditional arms markets collapsed too and contracts were not honored. In 1992, the country had an estimated $800 million worth of surplus arms on hand and production lines that continued to pump out light weapons. As the industry contracted, losing 85,000 jobs over 10 years, it tried to diversify into civilian products. For instance, Arsenal, the major factory in Kazanluk, which is famous for its Kalashnikov assault rifle, began making machine tools as well. But industry executives also looked for new places to sell the products they made best: weapons. And in a world where legitimate buyers were increasingly demanding NATO-standard equipment, that often meant selling into underground markets. In the 1990s, Bulgarian small arms reached countries under international sanctions, such as Iraq and Libya, warring factions in the former Yugoslavia, genocidal forces in Rwanda and separatist guerrillas in West Bengal, Yemen, Angola and Sri Lanka, to name just a few illicit destinations, according to Western diplomats, U.N. investigations and human rights groups. In another completed deal, 70 tons of Bulgarian-manufactured Kalashnikovs were parachuted to religious militants in India, according to Human Rights Watch and other international monitors. There was even an attempt to sell surface-to-air missiles to a Colombian drug cartel. "Bulgaria has earned a reputation as an anything-goes weapons bazaar where Kalashnikov assault rifles, mortars, antitank mines, ammunition, explosives and other items are available for a price -- no matter who the buyers are or how they might use the deadly wares," wrote Human Rights Watch in a report on the trade in the 1990s. When called to account, Bulgaria claimed it was duped by forged end-user certificates, the basic documents that validate legitimate sales. Repeatedly, Bulgarian officials argued that if weapons were diverted to a third party once they were beyond Bulgaria's borders, Bulgaria was not responsible. "You can control the first buyer, but then you lose track," said Ivan Ivanov, the former director of Arsenal, where Kalashnikovs sell for about $120 each wholesale. The putative Togo deal was typical of the sales in those days. The equipment never reached Togo but Bulgarian authorities later turned over to U.N. investigators a list of what was put on board the Air Cess planes. The list included: 20,000 mortar bombs, 6,300 antitank rockets, 1,000 rocket launchers, 790 assault rifles, 500 antitank launchers, 100 antiaircraft missiles and nearly 15 million rounds of ammunition. Bulgaria had received 18 end-user certificates for the arms signed by Col. Assani Tidjani, formerly army chief of staff and later defense minister of Togo. Many were sent by express mail from Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, by a man named Victor Bout, the Russian owner of Air Cess, according to the U.N. investigation. Forensic examinations later showed that the Togo end-user certificates supplied by Bout were all forgeries based on a genuine document that Togo, a supporter of the UNITA rebels in Angola, had handed over to one of UNITA's senior arms procurers, Marcelo Moises Dachala, in 1997. Investigators concluded that UNITA was almost certainly the ultimate recipient of the guns. "The U.N. report scared . . . Bulgaria and they've cleaned up their act," said a senior Western diplomat in Sofia, the capital. "It was always a matter of political will and word going down the line that it had to stop. . . . And we have no intelligence of illegal shipments in the last 18 months." In April, the Bulgarian government listed 20 countries under U.N. or EU embargoes to which it would not sell arms. But it has still failed to pass promised legislation tightening the processes governing arms exports. Officials here said the country is already using the proposals in the planned law, including lengthy risk assessments of arms delivery to certain countries, stringent review of end-user certificates and verification of delivery. "We've taken these measures as a result of this unpleasant case," said Bojidar Penchev, head of the defense industry department at the Ministry of Economy in Sofia, referring to the Togo incident. Christo Antansov, another official at the ministry, said that in the last year the new administrative checks have led the country to reject 20 arms deals valued at several million dollars in total. But "it's not over for Bulgaria," cautioned Lisa Misol, author of the Human Rights Watch report, whose organization is also examining arms sales by the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Romania. "All the changes are administrative changes that are not formalized in law, and can be reversed. It still depends on the goodwill of the authorities." In depressed Bulgarian cities that depend on the defense industry, there is still intense economic pressure to keep the factories open and the weapons flowing. And there is widespread suspicion that foreign economic interests, not any concern for peace in the Third World, are driving the local defense industry into the ground. Kazanluk, a city of 60,000, was once a boomtown famous for guns and roses, the latter grown in the surrounding agricultural land and sold to international fragrance manufacturers. Today the central Bulgarian city has a 30 percent unemployment rate, its decaying smokestacks testament to fading industrial glory. The criticism "was a U.S. plot to eliminate Bulgaria from the arms market," said Matei Karastoyanov, 58, who worked at Arsenal for 31 years making springs for Kalashnikovs. "Now the Americans have taken over what used to be the Bulgarian market niche. The whole policy of the U.S. was to finish off the Bulgarian defense industry in exchange for promises of NATO membership." U.S. officials deny such charges. Kazanluk Mayor Stephan Dervishev noted bitterly, however, that the United States is the world's leading arms merchant and in the 1980s sent weapons to rebels in Nicaragua and Afghanistan. "Our Kalashnikovs are the best in the world," he said, "but now we can only sell where we are allowed to sell." [http://www.smallarmssurvey.org/index.html]
BBC 9 July, 2001 A week of mass demonstrations and tense negotiations is expected in Croatia after a government decision to hand over two war crimes suspects to the international tribunal in The Hague. I believe the public will understand if these threats are met with the force of law Prime Minister Ivica Racan Four ministers resigned from the government in protest, and war veterans' groups have said they will use all available means to prevent the extraditions including blocking roads and border crossings. Prime Minister Ivica Racan is faced with the task of dealing with the protests at the same time as trying to reshape his fragile government in order to win a confidence vote in parliament next week. On Monday, he rejected the resignation of one of the four protesting ministers - Deputy Prime Minister Goran Granic - and told a news conference that a general believed to have been indicted by The Hague was willing to hand himself in. Sealed indictments Mr Racan said the government would be ready to help General Rahim Ademi with his defence. A lawfully-elected government cannot and must not even think of avoiding its international obligations Croatian President Stipe Mesic The other Croatian believed to have been indicted is a retired general, Ante Gotovina. "What I can say is that if General Ademi should really be indicted, he is prepared to appear before the Hague tribunal voluntarily," Mr Racan told a news conference. Croatian President Stipe Mesic met General Ahemi in a surprise move, late on Sunday. The president had earlier supported the government's decision, on Saturday, to extradite the wanted men, stressing that Croats, as well as other nationalities, had committed crimes during the Balkan wars of the 1990s. Early elections The international tribunal has been investigating atrocities and killings allegedly carried out by Croatian forces, whose offensive in 1995 led to a mass exodus of ethnic Serbs from the country. There is also speculation that General Ademi may be accused of responsibility for the killings of dozens of Croatian Serbs during a separate offensive in central Croatia in 1993. Resigned Deputy Prime Minister Goran Granic Defence Minister Jozo Rados Economy Minister Goranko Fizulic Technology Minister Hrvoje Kraljevic Veterans and members of the right-wing HDZ Party organised massive demonstrations last year after a Croatian court issued a warrant for the arrest of a retired general, Mirko Norac, on war crimes charges. The main road from the capital, Zagreb, to Croatia's second city, Split, was blocked for five days. Mr Racan has warned that police will take measures to prevent disruption of traffic during the vital summer tourist season. Sanctions The Croatian Government's decision to co-operate with the tribunal comes days after the authorities in Serbia handed over the former Yugoslav leader, Slobodan Milosevic. Mr Racan said on Sunday that rejecting the tribunal's request would have led to conflict with Europe and the international community, and the risk of sanctions. "This government simply could not have risked that," he said. Responding to the veterans' threats of civil disobedience, he added: "I believe the public will understand if these threats are met with the force of law." Analysts say his government may not survive next week's no-confidence vote, and that early elections might result.
AP 25 July 2001 Croatian Army General in Netherlands By Anthony Deutsch THE HAGUE, Netherlands –– A Croatian army general surrendered to the war crimes tribunal Wednesday to face charges that his troops killed dozens of Serb civilians, including elderly disabled women, during the Serb-Croat war. Gen. Rahim Ademi faces charges that he oversaw a wartime campaign that left 70 Serb civilians dead and hundreds of homes in ashes. One of the more gruesome atrocities involved 10 Croatian soldiers who sprayed a 74-year-old blind woman with gunfire as she sat on the porch of her home, according to the indictment, which was unsealed and published Wednesday. The indictment also said Ademi's troops killed a 31-year-old mentally and physically disabled man and castrated a 62-year-old man. It said an 86-year-old woman was burned alive in her home. Ademi, who told The Associated Press he is proud of his actions to rescue parts of Croatia from a rebel Serb insurgency, plans to plead innocent at his arraignment Thursday, his lawyer said. While several Serbs have been prosecuted by the tribunal for atrocities during the war in Croatia, Ademi is the first to be brought to trial from the Croatian side. Although his ethnic roots are Kosovar Albanian, Croats consider him a war hero. The tribunal, which had kept the indictment secret until Wednesday, published charges that included five counts of crimes against humanity and of violating the laws and customs of war. It specifically charged him with murder, persecution and the plunder of property. Ademi could face life imprisonment if found guilty of any of five charges of crimes against humanity and violations of the laws or customs of war. Ademi, 47, arrived on a Croatian jetliner wearing his uniform with four rows of medals of honor. He was shuttled off to the U.N. detention unit in an unmarked Dutch security van with tinted windows. Cedo Prodanovic, Ademi's lawyer, said his client had decided to surrender because he believes "there is no reason to be frightened" by the court's charges. He said he expects a fair trial. Ademi was seen off in Zagreb by his two daughters before he flew to the Netherlands with his wife and Prodanovic. "I will prove my innocence. I believe in justice," he said at the airport in Croatia. At the detention center, Ademi joined former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, who was handed over to the tribunal by the government of Serbia last month, and 38 other war crimes suspects. Milosevic is being kept separate from other detainees for the first month. "I am proud of my role in the war," Ademi told the AP before he left Zagreb. "I am not afraid of The Hague court's accusations – I have done nothing wrong in the war and I will prove it there. My conscience is completely clear. The Croatian war for independence began in June 1991 and the first phase lasted six months, with rebel Serbs capturing more than one-third of the territory. In 1993, the Croatian army retook some territory and in 1995 it won back the bulk of lost land, ending the fighting. The tribunal indicted Ademi along with another high-ranking Croatian officer and demanded that both suspects be handed over for trial. Court officials said a second sealed indictment would be made public Thursday. The second suspect is widely believed to be retired Gen. Ante Gotovina. He has refused to surrender, and his loyalists have threatened unrest if he is arrested. Croatia's pro-Western government has agreed to work with the court, but its decision triggered fierce protests by nationalist supporters of the late President Franjo Tudjman.
AP 26 July 2001 Second Croat General Indicted By Marcel Van De Hoef THE HAGUE, Netherlands –– The U.N. war crimes tribunal announced Thursday that it has indicted a Croat general, the second one in as many days. Both men are considered heroes in Croatia for defending the country during the Serbo-Croat war of the early 1990s. As the arrest warrant for retired Gen. Ante Gotovina was being unsealed, Gen. Rahim Ademi pleaded innocent to charges of crimes against humanity. Ademi, whose indictment was made public Wednesday, was the first Croat to come before the court for crimes against Serbs. The arrest warrant for Gotovina charged him with eight counts of war crimes linked to alleged atrocities in 1995. Gotovina is still at large and has refused to surrender, but he has appointed an American attorney to defend him. Ademi, an ethnic Kosovar Albanian, surrendered to the court Wednesday to face accusations in the murder of dozens of Serb civilians, including disabled elderly women, during an eight-day rampage in a Serb community in Croatia in September 1993. Changing into a civilian suit from the military uniform he wore for his surrender, Ademi stood before presiding U.N. Judge Almiro Simoes Rodrigues of Portugal and entered a plea "not guilty" to each of five counts of crimes against humanity and violating the rules of war as they were read aloud by a court clerk. "Your honor, I feel completely innocent. I am not guilty," Ademi told the court. Beginning in June 1991, the Croats fought a six-month war for independence from Yugoslavia, with rebel Serbs capturing more than one-third of the territory. In 1993, the Croatian army retook some territory and in 1995 it won back the bulk of lost land, ending the fighting. The tribunal's allegations against the two officers sparked public outrage in Croatia where they are considered heroes for defending the country from a Serb insurgency. Several Serbs have been prosecuted by the tribunal for atrocities during the conflict. Chief Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte said she was "aware that the indictments against Ante Gotovina and Rahim Ademi have generated heated debate within Croatia as to the role of the tribunal in relation to the 'Homeland War,' as the armed conflicts are known in Croatia." But she added that "even within a lawful armed conflict, an individual may nevertheless commit serious violations of international humanitarian law." Gotovina's attorney, Luka Misetic, told The Associated Press the general's wartime activities led to the defeat of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic and "established peace in the region." But the unsealed indictment against him painted a less heroic picture. On August 4, 1995, the Croatian forces launched "Operation Storm," intending to retake the Krajina district of Croatia and western Bosnia from Serb rebels. The attack resulted in the displacement of up to 200,000 Krajina Serbs, who fled or were forced to flee, the indictment says. Croatian soldiers under the general's authority killed "at least 150" Serbs and torched thousands of houses and farm buildings, prosecutors allege. Misetic claimed that the operation was conducted under U.S. military command and that the indictment theref on, yet she has deliberately chosen to label it a pre-planned campaign of ethnic cleansing, instead of what it truly was: A successful U.S.-Croatian military operation that defeated Milosevic and established peace in the region," the lawyer said. Both suspects could face life imprisonment if found guilty of any single charge of crimes against humanity and violations of the laws or customs of war.
AP 26 July 2001 Ex-French PMs Urge Pardon for Cop By Pierre-Antoine Souchard PARIS –– Two former prime ministers have pressed the French president to pardon Maurice Papon, an aging former police chief imprisoned for his role in deporting Jews during the Holocaust. Pierre Messmer and Raymond Barre were among 17 people, including Resistance figures and intellectuals, who signed a petition addressed to French President Jacques Chirac, Papon's lawyers said Thursday. Papon, 90, was convicted in 1998 of complicity in crimes against humanity and is serving a 10-year term at Paris' La Sante prison. His case has sparked an impassioned debate in France about jailing the elderly. The petition cited Papon's age and poor health, saying he could die suddenly in prison. "We are making this low-ranking civil servant bear the weight of responsibility for the civil service, which was under pressure from the German occupation," said the petition. A conservative lawmaker sharply criticized the measure. "There were 90-year-olds who were deported to Auschwitz, but nobody signed a pardon for them," Patrick Devedjian, a member of Chirac's conservative party, told Europe-1 radio. A French Jewish group called the petition "distressing." The former Vichy official, who led the Bordeaux area police during the World War II Nazi occupation of France and went on to become budget minister, was convicted in 1998 of complicity in crimes against humanity for his role in the arrest and deportation of 1,500 Jews. He is the highest-ranking Frenchman to be convicted of crimes against humanity.
Times of London 13 July 2001 Court win for Nazi massacre families FROM JOHN CARR IN ATHENS THE small Greek town of Distomo yesterday claimed a breakthrough in its seven-year legal battle for £20 million from the German Government for a 1944 Nazi massacre of more than 200 inhabitants. An Athens court ordered that German government property in the Greek capital should be auctioned to raise the amount. The ruling dismissed Berlin’s claim that war reparations had been settled in a treaty 40 years ago and challenged Greek Justice Ministry and Supreme Court efforts to thwart Distomo’s claims for compensation for one of the worst massacres of the Second World War. The ruling opens the way for other Greek claims for Nazi atrocities, which would strain relations with Berlin. Germany’s two chief cultural organisations in Athens, the German Archaeological Institute and the Goethe Institute, would be among the first to be sold if the court order goes ahead. However Germany is likely to challenge this week’s ruling and the Greek Supreme Court, presently divided on the issue, will consider the case later this year. The Greek Government yesterday refused to comment.Costas Simitis, the Germaneducated Prime Minister, is reluctant to damage relations with Berlin as Athens relies on German support to maintain its flow of EU funding. “We are enthusiastic here,” said Loukas Papachristou, the Mayor of Distomo. “Justice has risen to its true height at last. I’m sure now that we are on the right road.” As a boy of six on June 10, 1944, Mr Papachristou watched as troops of the German Army’s 4th SSPanzergrenadier Division roared into the town in the foothills of Mount Parnassus and took 218 local people from their homes. In retaliation for a partisan attack on the German occupation forces, the troops marched their victims up nearby Kanales Hill and shot them. The names of the dead etched on a plaque on the hill include an infant of two months and women in their eighties. Since 1994 Yannis Stamoulis, a lawyer encouraged by the successful actions of Jewish groups in making Germany compensate relatives of Holocaust victims, has been pressing for a £20 million payment. In this week’s ruling Judge Aikaterini Setta threw out a German Government claim that national court decisions cannot bind foreign governments. She also ruled that Greece’s Justice Ministry, which has vetoed all attempts to get Germany to pay for its Nazi misdeeds, has no power to halt the process. Mr Stamoulissaid yesterday that he would take the Distomo families’ case to the European Court of Human Rights if necessary. Meanwhile there was consternation in the German Archaeological Institute. “I can see the logic of the court’s decision,” admitted Hermann Kienast, the acting director. But he added: “None of us, either here or in the Goethe Institute, is happy with this.” Two years ago officials were sent into the institute at Mr Stamoulis’s request to draw up an official document of confiscation. The process was halted when both institutes were declared public-interest agencies and immune from seizure. Judge Setta yesterday overruled the public-interest claim. According to diplomatic sources, lawyers for Germany will seek an injunction on the grounds that in 1961 West Germany paid Greece £40 million in final compensation for victims of the occupation. Non-Jewish Greeks, mostly survivors of the Third Reich’s slave labour camps, received just one-eighth that sum. After the war German contributions helped to build the Kanales Hill monument, including the plaque with the victims’ names and a fallen crucifix. Germans join Greeks each year in a commemoration. League of savagery THE Distomo massacre was not the worst German atrocity in Greece during the Second World War occupation (John Carr writes). That infamy was visited on the northern Peloponnese town of Kalavryta where on December 13, 1943, more than 1,000 males, many as young as 13, were massacred because the town was seen as aiding the increasingly successful partisan effort. There were systematic massacres in at least eight other locations. To the Nazi theorisers of Aryan superiority, the modern Greeks were degenerate replacements of the glorious ancients. Most of the massacres were in 1943 and 1944 as it became apparent that the British-organised resistance campaign was becoming more effective. By way of justification, German sources claim that their troops were so terrified of mountain operations, in which sudden death could strike from anywhere at any moment, that their nervousness came out as savagery. This was especially true in the mountains of Crete, where few German patrols dared to penetrate in the closing months of the occupation.
BBC 16 July, 2001,Church 'hides' Rwandan priest in Italy Switzerland arrested a Rwandan priest last week A Rwandan priest wanted by a UN war crimes tribunal to face charges of genocide is in hiding in Italy. The Roman Catholic church authorities in Florence have denied obstructing his arrest. They say the priest has simply gone to an unspecified address in the city to escape the attention of reporters. Father Athanase Seromba has been accused of the murder of more than 2,000 people during the three-month massacre of Tutsis and moderate Hutus in Rwanda in 1994. About 800,000 people died in the 1994 genocide Father Seromba had promised to explain in a sermon why the UN's International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda had sought last week to extradite him from Italy to face charges of genocide. But he vanished hours before he was due to celebrate mass in a church outside Florence. The Italian Government has so far refused the ICTR's request to hand Father Seromba over to be tried at the UN court in Arusha, Tanzania. Parishioners, who had packed the San Mauro a Signa church to hear Father Seromba's defence, learned he had gone into hiding at a secret location. Accused According to the London-based human rights organisation African Rights, Father Seromba - who is a Hutu - is responsible for a notorious massacre at his church in Nyange. Carla del Ponte: Unhappy with Italy Survivors claim that the priest helped to herd people into his church before ordering the building to be bulldozed to the ground. Father Seromba was moved to Italy soon afterwards to study, and he began serving in San Mauro 18 months ago. Last week, three Rwandans were arrested in Switzerland, Belgium and Holland in connection with the genocide and were to be transferred to the UN war crimes tribunal in Arusha, Tanzania. However, chief UN war crimes chief-prosecutor, Carla del Ponte, said there should have been a fourth arrest in Italy, but that the Italian authorities had decided to postpone the arrest saying there was no legal basis. Rwandan Justice Minister Jean de Dieu Mucyo expressed thanks for the countries who did co-operate and called on other countries harbouring Rwandan genocide suspects "to do as much".
IRIN 20 July 2001 Italy Refuses to Hand Over Genocide Suspect E Posted to the web July 20, 2001 Italy has refused to hand over a Roman Catholic priest to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), wanted on genocide charges, Britain's 'Sunday Times' newspaper reported. Italian judicial authorities claim that an ad hoc decree is required for them to cooperate with the Tribunal. Carla Del Ponte, the tribunal's chief prosecutor, says that, as a UN member state, Italy is in breach of its international obligations. "It's a scandal. Belgrade has handed over [former Serbian President Slobodan] Milosevic, but Rome won't grant me this arrest," the newspaper quoted her as saying. Del Ponte did not identify her target in Italy, who was the subject of a secret indictment, it added.
The Guardian July 21, 2001 Catholics and collusion in genocide-- The Vatican is still thwarting trials of Rwandan clerics. It's inexcusable Rupert Shortt Saturday Last month a Belgian court convicted two nuns of abetting one of the foulest atrocities of the Rwandan genocide. The prosecution claimed that Srs Gertrude Mukangango and Maria Kisito had provided the petrol used to incinerate many hundreds of Tutsis sheltering in a barn at the Sovu monastery on April 22 1994. Having encouraged Hutu militiamen to carry out the slaughter, witnesses said, Mukangango and Kisito then moved to Belgium to escape justice. At their trial, a lawyer remarked that "the monastery, which should have been a sanctuary, instead became a deadly trap". Most coverage of the case focused on how women sworn to lives of charity could have promoted a massacre. But in the process an even deeper scandal has been overlooked, namely why the Catholic church defended the nuns for so long, and on what grounds it is still thwarting efforts to investigate other genocide suspects who served its mission. Any hopes that the church might have learnt some humility from the case were quickly dashed by a Vatican statement expressing "surprise" at the verdict, and implying that Belgium's geographical distance from Rwanda might have made a fair trial impossible. Worse was to come, however. A few days ago three further genocide suspects - including a priest, Emmanuel Rukundo - were arrested in Belgium, Holland and Switzerland at the behest of the UN's International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). But the man whom UN officials sought above all evaded their grasp, thanks in large part to pressure exerted by the Vatican on the Italian government. He is Athanase Seromba, a 38-year-old cleric who has ministered with impunity in the Florence area for seven years. Before this he was a parish priest near the Rwandan town of Nyange until a massacre took place inside his church in mid-April 1994. All the Tutsis sheltering there died, many under falling masonry when the building was bulldozed. At least 11 witnesses have given statements saying that the slaughter was orchestrated by Seromba himself. African Rights, the London based campaign group, published a lengthy dossier on Seromba's case 18 months ago. It alleges that when the genocide started, he used his authority as a priest to disarm local Tutsis and lure them on to church premises. The document adds that on April 15 1994, "a large number of militiamen surrounded the parish and used guns, grenades and machetes to kill the refugees. Seromba gave orders to the killers and shot those who tried to escape. The killers were unable to get into the church, where some of the survivors were hiding, so on April 16, Seromba ordered the demolition of the church with the people inside." About 2,000 perished in all. By late 1994 Seromba had fetched up in Italy with a new name, "Anastasio Sumba Bura", and a character reference from his bishop which secured him a job. Until last week he was working as a curate in San Mauro a Signa, a village outside Florence. On learning of the bid to arrest him, Seromba, who has always protested his innocence, announced that he would give an account of his actions from the pulpit last Sunday. In the event he was taken away by his superiors beforehand, and is now in hiding at a church-owned address somewhere in Tuscany. Meanwhile the church's official stance on the issue is unravelling. While Vatican spokesmen continue to maintain that Seromba is a victim of malicious slander, the Florence diocese announced this week that it had an open mind as to his culpability. But whatever the position, campaigners say, the church is obstructing the legal process. Despite a strong plea by the Pope five years ago for all Catholics involved in the genocide to confess their crimes, no one has yet done so voluntarily. The Vatican also argued that the Rwandan government's condemnation of individual clerics is prompted by a broader anti-Catholic agenda, and cites the action against Augustin Misago - a bishop tried and acquitted of mass murder last year - as a case in point. Critics reply that the church's resistance to litigation involving clergy reflects the secretive and unaccountable form of its procedures generally, and draw a parallel with the numerous delays seen in attempts to root out paedophile priests. Seromba himself is already on a list of genocide suspects circulated internationally by the Rwandan ministry of justice, but the political authorities in Rome would refuse to send alleged murderers back to countries which retain the death penalty. The ICTR operates from Arusha in Tanzania, however. If Seromba were tried and convicted there, the stiffest sentence he could receive would be life imprisonment. Despite its catastrophic opposition to contraception and the role this has played in spreading Aids, the Catholic church remains a large force for good in Africa. It is one of the largest sources of development aid, and the biggest single provider of education. But the country in which its resources were concentrated as nowhere else in Africa also witnessed the slaughter of almost a million people in under a month. The case of the Sovu nuns reveals that Catholic pastors not only failed to stop the genocide, but at times colluded in it. The church's self-appointed role as a champion of human rights will appear bogus for as long as it refuses to come to terms with this collusion. Rupert Shortt is religion editor of the Times Literary Supplement
Reuters 20 July 2001UN: Kosovo Serb Mass Grave Report Is False PRISTINA, Yugoslavia (Reuters) - United Nations officials in Kosovo said on Friday there was no truth in a Serbian media report that they had discovered a grave containing up to 900 bodies, suspected of being those of Kosovo Serbs. Belgrade's B-92 radio, citing a U.N. official in Kosovo, said the site had been discovered near the southern town of Suva Reka. It said those buried there were suspected of having been killed after Kosovo came under international rule in 1999. The report provoked a flurry of interest in Belgrade, where the issue of Serbs who went missing after the Kosovo war is a major and sensitive political issue. Justice Minister Vladan Batic sent a request to the head of the U.N. mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) for the grave site to be exhumed without delay, his office said. But UNMIK said no new mass grave site had been discovered. It said that while 800 to 900 bodies were buried in the Suva Reka area, they were corpses which had previously been exhumed from other mass graves over the past two years. "Such distortions in the media have increased the anxiety and grief of all families of the missing in Kosovo," UNMIK said, stressing it had no way of no way of knowing the ethnicity of the unidentified bodies. UNMIK sources said the U.N. official cited in the radio report may have contributed to confusion by suggesting the bodies were buried at one site rather than several locations. A total of 1,256 bodies exhumed by war crimes investigators in 1999 and 2000 remain unidentified, UNMIK said. Investigators exhumed some 4,000 bodies in those two years in an effort to gather evidence against former Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic, who was transferred to the U.N. war crimes tribunal at The Hague last month, and other war crimes suspects. The vast majority of those identified from mass graves in Kosovo are ethnic Albanians believed to have been killed by Serb forces before or during NATO's 1999 bombing of Yugoslavia. Bodies of many more victims may never be found due to attempts to conceal or destroy them, investigators say. But Serbs say 1,300 members of their community have gone missing since the end of the air war in June 1999, when the province was transferred from Serbian to international rule, and have demanded the U.N. and NATO do more to help find them.
WP 29 Kuly 2001 Rule of Law, Citizen Safety Prove Elusive In Kosovo By R. Jeffrey Smith Page A01 PRISTINA, Yugoslavia -- The aisles and seats on the five bright red buses leaving the Serbian city of Nis overflowed with 250 nervously excited Serbs – students, parents, pensioners and children. Escorted by seven NATO armored vehicles, the travelers were making a rare journey across the border into Kosovo to visit friends and relatives on a religious holiday, the Serbian Orthodox Church's annual Day of the Dead. Ahead, a small group of ethnic Albanians lay in wait. In a drainpipe buried under the main highway about half a mile inside Kosovo, they had deposited 200 pounds of TNT. They then strung a detonation wire across nearby farmland to a hilltop where, sitting on a tree stump, they smoked cigarettes and waited for the convoy. At a signal, one of the Albanians touched the wire's strands to a car battery, setting off the bomb just as the first bus drove over the pipe. Eleven people died, including four women and a 2-year-old boy; 18 other people were injured, some critically. The vehicle was blown high in the air, landing 45 feet away. Flames buffeted the seats; some passengers were rocketed through the roof. Investigators for the United Nations provide this account of the Feb. 16 bus bombing, calling it perhaps the worst atrocity committed by ethnic Albanians against ethnic Serbs in Kosovo since NATO peacekeepers entered the province after the 1999 bombing campaign. But efforts by U.N. police and courts to bring the perpetrators to justice have languished. One reason is that NATO intelligence has key information it has refused to share with police investigators, a frequent occurence in Kosovo's struggling judicial system, police say. NATO and the United Nations are often unwilling to disclose what they know, some officials contend, because they want to protect intelligence sources. But sometimes, according to current and former U.N. officials, they also fear provoking ethnic Albanians, who might turn on the 36,200 troops in the NATO-led peacekeeping force. The bus incident has become a signal example of a failure by NATO and the United Nations to impose the rule of law in Kosovo and make all its citizens safe. Bombings, grenade attacks, house-burnings and other forms of intimidation remain daily events in Kosovo, most of them aimed at driving out the estimated 60,000 remaining members of the minority Serb population, a reversal of the Serb repression of Albanians that preceded NATO's arrival. Kosovo today is technically a province of the Yugoslav republic of Serbia but in fact is an international protectorate. U.N. officials administer the province; the peacekeeping force provides military muscle. Law enforcement is complicated by the sometimes conflicting and overlapping jurisdiction of the 4,386 U.N. police and the peacekeeping troops. The police mandate is to solve crimes without fear or favor; top U.N. administrators and NATO officers, on the other hand, openly worry first about keeping their troops safe. British Squadron Leader Roy Brown, chief spokesman for the NATO-led peacekeeping force known as KFOR, said in response to questions about the bus case that the peacekeeping force is willing to "act against high-profile individuals" and frequently shares information with police. But it also must follow "constraints imposed by the national security considerations of the 39 nations that contribute to KFOR." He did not detail those constraints. The challenge to police in the bus case is not determining who likely did it. NATO intelligence units, privy to vast eavesdropping systems and information from hundreds of paid informers, concluded months ago that a "Kosovar Albanian terrorist cell, approximately nine in number, had been responsible for the attack," according to an official U.N. case summary. The bombing was carried out by three people to create "personal insecurity in the Serb population," the report said. Intelligence reports state that the group's leader and some of its members are affiliated with the Kosovo Protection Corps, successor to the Kosovo Liberation Army, the ethnic Albanian rebel group that fought for Kosovo's independence from Serb-run Yugoslavia before the arrival of NATO troops. NATO shared this general information with U.N. police, leading them to arrest four suspects in March with the help of several hundred NATO special forces troops in well-coordinated raids. U.N. police here also complain that NATO and top U.N. officers do not obtain critical support from abroad: They want the suspects' cell phone calling records but are still waiting for the information to arrive from Monaco, which maintains a clearinghouse for cellular calls in Kosovo. Similarly, complete results of DNA lab tests on bomb fragments and other evidence recovered at the scene have not yet been returned by German forensic experts. What was once a highly publicized international task force of 18 investigators on the case has dwindled to just two or three overworked people who give it part-time attention. Today a conviction looks increasingly unlikely, according to six people involved in the case who spoke in recent interviews. The man against whom police had developed the best case, Florim Ejupi, escaped in May from a U.S. military prison in Kosovo, using a wire cutter allegedly passed to him in a spinach pie baked by his family. And charges against the three other suspects will be dropped if new evidence is not produced within the next month, U.N. officials say. A three-judge international panel has already called for their release on grounds of insufficient evidence. Suspected Criminal Ties Officials say the bus case underlines one of the fundamental problems of building a stable, law-abiding society in Kosovo: frequent criminal activity by members of the Kosovo Protection Corps (KPC). The group, made up of former fighters in the Kosovo Liberation Army, is officially a civil emergency service, but is widely seen among people here as the nucleus for the future army of an independent Kosovo. According to NATO intelligence reports, KPC members not only attack Serbs but take part in illegal trade in prostitutes, cigarettes, fuel, weapons and appliances. "Many KPC members, in some cases high-ranking KPC officials, have ties with criminal organizations," said a classified NATO report prepared late last year. NATO informers have alleged that commanders in the 5,000-member KPC have profited personally, for example, by forcibly seizing vacant apartments and reselling them or by extorting money from private companies, according to Western intelligence officials. Muharem Mahmutaj, a spokesman for the KPC, said the group was unaware of wrongdoing but welcomed investigation. He noted, moreover, that the KPC itself "is not being accused." The United States has become the protection corps' most important foreign patron, providing $13 million of State Department and Pentagon aid in the past two years, more than a third of the group's total expenses. In May, when three officials of the KPC were arrested on charges of killing another KPC official – who was allegedly cooperating with NATO to fight corruption – the U.S. mission in Kosovo released a statement saying that "these arrests do not in any way reflect badly on the KPC and its important role in Kosovo." President Bush, who visited Kosovo on Tuesday, took the first step in June toward distancing Washington from the group. He signed an order banning five of its leaders from entering the United States on grounds that they had "undermined peace and stability." How they allegedly did so was not disclosed to U.N. police or prosecutors when the president made the announcement. Since then, NATO officials have searched some of the men's homes and turned over "a large quantity of documents," according to Brown, the spokesman for KFOR. But Christer Karphammar, a Swedish jurist who served as Kosovo's first Western judge, said he has personal knowledge of several cases in which former Kosovo Liberation Army officials "were suspected of crimes, but U.N. and KFOR [senior officials] were not in favor of prosecution. That means that some of the former [KLA] had an immunity. The investigations were stopped on a high level." Karphammar, who left the United Nations in April, said that throughout his 18-month tenure there, "the judiciary was not allowed to work independently." The reason, he said, was that NATO and U.N. officials feared they "would put their lives at risk" by acting against former members of the rebel group. Several officials cited the example of an assault allegedly committed last fall by Sami Lushtaku, a former KLA commander who became a regional commander of the KPC. According to police reports, Lushtaku pistol-whipped an ethnic Albanian doctor sitting near him at a soccer game, fracturing the man's skull. NATO forces, including helicopters, were mobilized to arrest Lushtaku after a witness came forward, but at the last moment the arrest was halted at the insistence of high-ranking U.N. and NATO officials, according to three sources with knowledge of the incident. Jock Covey, a U.S. diplomat serving as deputy head of the U.N. mission in Kosovo, was instrumental in blocking Lushtaku's arrest on three occasions, the sources said. He told colleagues that if Lushtaku, who is popular in Kosovo, were jailed, it could destabilize the province on the eve of municipal elections and bolster hard-liners in Serbian parliamentary elections in December. Covey, who has left the United Nations for private industry, declined a request for on-the-record comment. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe cited the example in a report last month – without naming Lushtaku – alleging "unequal treatment" of those accused of criminal activity. Karphammar, the former U.N. judge, said NATO and U.N. officials also intervened in February last year to force the release of more than a dozen former members of the rebel army, including a man who was wanted by Interpol. The ethnic Albanians had been detained by French forces for organizing a riot in the northern city of Mitrovica. But French intelligence officers refused to give a local court information they collected in interviews and all the suspects were released "before the real court investigation started, because of a threat by rebel leaders that if they were not released, KFOR soldiers would come under threat," Karphammar said. Tensions between police and NATO intelligence routinely surface in criminal investigations, sources say. Several police officers have reported being shooed away from crime scenes by armed NATO intelligence officers who insist they conduct the first interviews with key witnesses and then classify the reports. After the bus bombing, NATO paved over the crater on the Nis highway within hours, an act that several police officers said destroyed potential evidence. 'Smoke and Blood Everywhere' Sometime before the blast, NATO officials received intelligence of a threat to movements of Serbs, two sources said. The day the buses set out, soldiers were assigned to check the road for explosives, but they were distracted by the presence of two men on a nearby hilltop and did not complete the task; their radio malfunctioned when they tried to ask the convoy to wait. Gorica Scepanovic, a passenger that day, still finds it difficult to talk about what followed. "It all happened within a few seconds – panic, shock, and when we opened our eyes, smoke and blood everywhere. It was dripping from all over the bus, and at that moment, you were not sure if it is yours or someone else's. . . . The first thing I saw on my way to the door was someone's leg hanging from the ceiling." Two of the four men who were later arrested worked at the Pristina headquarters of the KPC. Family members of one of them, Jusuv Veliu, a KPC captain, deny the charges but add that he was traumatized by Serb atrocities against Albanians during the war. "He saw bad things during the war, including dead kids," a relative said. Likewise, the family of suspect Avdi Behluli says he is innocent. They say he was arrested and beaten by Serbs before the war, and display pictures showing he is now friendly with top KPC officials and Pristina's Albanian police chief. The three men still in custody have all denied knowing Ejupi, the 23-year-old who escaped from the U.S. military prison. Ejupi previously had been arrested twice in Germany, once for stealing gasoline and once for beating another ethnic Albanian. But police say that Ejupi's cell phone, seized during his arrest, indicates he spoke to one of the other men around the time of the bombing. When he was arrested, Ejupi told police, "I don't want to say anything and I don't know what to say," according to documents provided by his lawyer. But even without his testimony, police found interesting evidence. On a cigarette butt discarded at the tree stump, they found DNA that matched sample DNA in his German arrest file. U.S. Army officials say his escape on May 14 from Camp Bondsteel involved about 10 minutes' work cutting through two wire fences. The breakout was hardly a novel event in Kosovo. More than 30 defendants, including many indicted for ethnic crimes, freed themselves from other prisons last year. Since then, the Bondsteel prison has added guard towers and lights; no one has been disciplined in connection with the escape. Baton Haxhiu, editor of the ethnic Albanian newspaper Koha Ditore, called the bombing "the worst crime of postwar Kosovo" and said it has aroused widespread disgust. Albanians and Serbs alike want rule of law, he said. In an editorial, he said the police had been "castrated" and blamed ethnic Albanian political leaders for imposing a "code of silence" about the crime. But there is no sign that violence is waning. A month after the bombing, NATO troops found a similar device along a road south of Pristina, near an area inhabited by ethnic Ashkalis, another group that Albanian nationalists would like to expel. That the bomb was not aimed at Serbs gave little comfort to that community. Bishop Artemije, head of the Serb National Council in Kosovo, said recently that his people still have "neither the right to life, nor to work, and freedom of movement."
the times london TUESDAY JUNE 26 2001 Chilling note revives fear of ethnic cleansing FROM RICHARD BEESTON IN SKOPJE ON A dusty side road in a grim commercial district of Skopje, the Balkan curse of ethnic cleansing finally came to Macedonia yesterday. Faradin, a frightened middle-aged shopkeeper, was hurriedly packing up his goods and preparing to close his shop, one of the last Albanian premises still in business. "Have some peach juice," he said, handing me a carton from a stack on his shop floor. "I can't possibly move it before the deadline tonight. Who knows what will be left of this place by the morning?" The reason for his fear became clear when he took out his wallet and unfolded a brief type-written notice. The message, photocopied and pasted on shopfronts throughout the area, was from a shadowy group calling itself Macedonian Paramilitary 2000. It ordered all Albanian businesses to close or face being firebombed. The group set midnight last night as the deadline, promising that it would be "the longest night" for anyone who stayed behind for "the start of the cleaning". "It is ordered that all shiptars (a derogatory word for Albanians) who have businesses in and around Kvantashki Market relocate within three days and those shiptars who are from Aracinovo within 24 hours. After this deadline all stores will be set on fire and if anyone puts up a defence they will be shot without warning," the notice said. "We put shiptars in the Republic of Macedonia on notice that for every policeman or soldier killed, 100 shiptars, who are not Macedonian citizens since 1994, will be killed. "For every (policeman or soldier) disabled (by the fighting) we will kill 50 shiptars and for every wounded member of the police or army ten shiptars will be killed, regardless of gender or age." Such is the mistrust between the two communities that many ethnic Albanian traders did not wait to find out if the threat was real. Faradin complained to the police. "They told me all their officers were busy fighting (the Albanian rebels) and they could do nothing," he said. Like many ethnic Albanians, he believes that the police secretly sympathise with the paramilitary group, which he suspects may be connected with nationalist political parties. The stamp at the bottom of the sheet shows a lion below a shining sun, two symbols of Macedonian nationalism. Although most of the traders deal across ethnic lines, Macedonian shopkeepers complied with the paramilitary demand to display the order in their shopfronts or face having the premises attacked. "I decided to put the pamphlet in my window for the same reason that the Albanians are packing up and closing their shops," a Slavic Macedonian wine dealer said. "Everyone is afraid and nobody is sure how far this conflict is going to go." Across many of the capital's districts stories are emerging of how Skopje's delicate ethnic coexistence is unravelling under the strains of the four- month conflict that has spread to the capital's outskirts. Residents in the city's Butel district were shocked to see a newspaper photograph of two young Albanian men, who normally run a fruit and vegetable stall in the market, wearing the uniforms of the rebel National Liberation Army and posing with machine guns and knives. "We have known them since they were children," one resident said. "We could not believe that those boys would join the terrorists." On the edge of Aracinovo, the scene of heavy fighting over the weekend but where a shaky ceasefire was still in place yesterday, the mistrust between the communities was even more palpable. A group of 20 Macedonian men looted the property of an elderly Albanian who made a living out of buying and selling used car tyres. He had fled his home to the safety of some relatives. The mob was about to walk off with his stock when Atanas, his Macedonian neighbour, intervened and made the mob put back their booty. "I can see why people do this, some of them have had their property destroyed by the Albanians," he said. "But the old man is my neighbour and I promised I would look after his property. If we can't at least do that, then there is really no hope for this country."
AP 25 July 2001 Embassies Attacked in Macedonia By Aleksandar Vasovic SKOPJE, Macedonia –– Mobs in Macedonia's capital attacked foreign embassies into Wednesday morning, accusing NATO of siding with guerrillas who clashed again with government forces in the north of this Balkan nation. The rampage started late Tuesday through Skopje, with Macedonians throwing stones at the U.S. Embassy, smashing entrances of the British and German embassies, and burning several cars belonging to the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Hours earlier, government spokesman Antonio Milososki called NATO "a big friend of our enemies," and accused Western mediators of coordinating their efforts with the rebels. NATO officials denied providing any backing to the rebels. The United States and other countries in the Western alliance repeatedly have pledged their support to the Macedonian government and have supported its refusal to negotiate directly with the insurgents. In Tetovo, Macedonia's second-largest city, lightly armed Macedonian police abandoned several checkpoints and were replaced by rebels, Macedonian media reported. Earlier in the day, the Defense Ministry said rebels were advancing, and that four Tetovo area villages were surrounded by "terrorist forces." Army sources said fighting in and around Tetovo continued into the night. The resumption in heavy fighting, which breaks a more than two-week-old cease-fire arranged by NATO, followed the collapse last week of high-level talks between majority Macedonian and ethnic Albanian political leaders aimed at averting full-scale civil war. The ethnic Albanian political leaders bolted from the negotiations after Macedonian representatives rejected a Western-backed plan for boosting ethnic Albanian rights, including giving official status to the Albanian language. The militants launched their insurgency in February, saying they were fighting for greater rights for ethnic Albanians, who account for up to a third of Macedonia's 2 million people. The government alleges the rebels are linked to militants in neighboring Kosovo and accuses them of trying to carve out territory from Macedonia. Milososki said the government was convinced that the rebels were in cahoots with Western mediators and with the Kosovo Liberation Army, the now-defunct group of militant ethnic Albanians who fought against Yugoslav forces in neighboring Kosovo. "All our fears have proven true that the international representatives are in close coordination with the KLA," Milososki said. "This is open, public cooperation between international mediators and the rebels." Milososki also accused the rebels in Macedonia of "cleansing" villages around Tetovo. Before Milososki spoke, NATO Secretary-General Lord Robertson rejected similar Macedonian allegations lodged over the weekend, that NATO-led forces in Kosovo had been resupplying ethnic Albanian armed groups. "NATO has not given, and would not give, material or moral support to these groups," Robertson said. Amid the growing hostilities, Macedonian authorities closed the border with Kosovo and hundreds of residents fled Tetovo and surrounding villages. In the capital, about 3,000 majority Macedonians protested in front of the parliament building, unfurling a banner that read, "Who is protecting the terrorists ? – NATO." Late Tuesday, a car belonging to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe went up in flames, and a group of several hundred people took aim at the German and British embassies, as well as smashing the doors of a McDonald's restaurant. Later, protesters pelted the U.S. Embassy, smashing windows. A heavy force of riot police ringing the complex did not intervene. U.S. envoy James Pardew and his European Union counterpart, Francois Leotard, worked to revive the peace talks that collapsed late last week. In a joint statement, Leotard and Pardew said they were "shocked" by allegations that they support the rebels. During a brief visit to Camp Bondsteel, the U.S. military base in neighboring Kosovo, President Bush issued a statement Tuesday backing efforts by Western diplomats to broker a peace settlement, and called on rebels and the Macedonian government to respect the cease-fire. "Those here in Kosovo who support the insurgency in Macedonia are hurting the interests of ethnic Albanians throughout the region," Bush said. "The people of Kosovo should focus on Kosovo."
ICRC 26 July 2001 Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: ICRC aid for civilians fleeing renewed clashes On 25 July the ICRC distributed food and other emergency aid to civilians who had fled their homes in the Tetovo area following the recent upsurge in fighting between Macedonian forces and ethnic Albanian armed groups. In Skopje, the ICRC made two relief deliveries during the day to about 450 displaced people from the villages of Tearce, Lesok and Neprosteno who are housed in a temporary shelter in the city. In a separate mission an ICRC team, together with workers of the Macedonian Red Cross, travelled to Zilce to take food, hygiene and baby parcels to some 500 people from the same villages near Tetovo. This follows an assessment mission carried out the previous day, when delegates who arrived in Zilce within hours of the new influx found the displaced families in a state of distress, many of them having left all their belongings behind. Around 1,800 people from the Tetovo area were registered by the Macedonian Red Cross in the first 48 hours following the outbreak of fighting and all of them will soon receive relief supplies donated by the ICRC and distributed by the National Society. The ICRC office in Tetovo continues to receive urgent requests from civilians wishing to be evacuated from villages affected by the clashes. Several attempts were made to reach the area on Tuesday 24 July, but the team had to turn back for security reasons. Later in the day delegates were able to evacuate five people from Tearce, including one who was seriously injured. The ICRC will continue to try, as a matter of urgency, to reach trapped civilians as soon as the security situation allows.
BBC 5 July, 2001 The UN war crimes tribunal has upheld the acquittal of a Bosnian Serb camp commander Goran Jelisic on genocide charges. Jelisic, 33, who called himself the Serb Adolf, in a reference to Adolf Hitler, was sentenced by the international tribunal in December to 40 years in prison for crimes against humanity and war crimes A former inmate was one of the prosecution's key witnesses But he was cleared on the charge of genocide for lack of sufficient evidence. The court dismissed the prosecution appeal to reopen the genocide case, and a defence appeal for a reduced sentence. A BBC correspondent in The Hague, Geraldine Coughlan, said prosecutors had hoped to reveal a trail of evidence linking Jelisic to a campaign by senior Serb officials aimed at wiping out the entire Muslim population. Disturbed The court said he had committed arbitrary killings as a result of a disturbed personality. Jelisic: Threw bodies in river The former farmer was only 23 when he took charge of 100 guards in the Luka detention camp in the Bosnian town of Brcko, where hundreds of Muslim and Croat men and several women were held prisoner in May 1992. At his trial, witnesses said Jelisic had boasted to them that he generally killed 20 to 30 people "before morning coffee". According to the new indictment, Jelisic said "he had come to Brcko to kill Muslims and often informed the Muslim detainees and others of the number of Muslims he had killed". Non-Serb prisoners in the camp were "systematically killed" and detainees were held in inhumane conditions, the indictment said. Confession Jelisic confessed to killing 12 people in May 1992, but denies the prosecution's claim that he slaughtered more than 100. The bodies of Jelisic's victims were thrown into the nearby Sava river. He was declared fit to stand trial, after psychiatric reports showed only that he had "personality problems". Jelisic was arrested in January 1998 by members of the Nato-led S-For peacekeeping force in the town of Bijeljina, part of Bosnian Serb territory in northeast Bosnia. He was the second Bosnian Serb to stand trial for genocide before the Hague tribunal.
Reuters 17 July 200 Netherlands Ratifies International Criminal Court UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The Netherlands, the future home of the International Criminal Court, became on Tuesday the 37th nation to ratify the treaty creating the tribunal designed to try the world's most heinous crimes against humanity. Sixty countries must deposit papers of ratification with the United Nations certifying their national legislatures had ratified the pact before the court can be established, and supporters predicted the required ratifications could be reached within the next 10 to 15 months. The International Criminal Court, based on the principles of Nazi war crime trials at the end of World War Two, is to be set up in The Hague , Netherlands, to judge those accused of mass murders, war crimes and other atrocities. The Dutch parliament ratified the treaty last week, enabling Ambassador Dirk Jan van den Berg to deposit the ratification papers on the third anniversary of the treaty's adoption by a U.N. conference in Rome on July 17, 1998. The U.N. Security Council has set up two temporary courts, one for war crimes in the former Yugoslavia and the other to try perpetrators of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. But the new court would be the first permanent international tribunal. A total of 139 countries have signed the treaty, including the United States, which did so in the final days of Bill Clinton's presidency. But the administration of President Bush , which took office in January, has served notice it would not ratify the pact. The Pentagon fears it could be used to try U.S. military personnel. Some administration officials want the United States to rescind its signature from the treaty. Others want Washington to mount a campaign to prevent the court, supported strongly by Europeans, from getting established. France, Italy, Luxembourg, Austria, Germany, Spain, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Iceland are among the European countries who have previously ratified the treaty. Britain is expected to do so in September.
BBC 19 July, 2001, The International War Crimes Tribunal in the Hague has made public its indictment against one of the war-time leaders of Bosnian Serbs. The man, Stojan Zupljanin, has been indicted for genocide and crimes against humanity during his time as Interior Minister of the autonomous Serb region of Krajina in northwestern Bosnia in the early 1990s. He is accused of taking part in planning the detention, torture and killing of Bosnian Muslims and Croats at the Omarska, Trnopolje and Keraterm prison camps. Correspondents say there has been increasing pressure for the Bosnian Serb authorities to cooperate with the tribunal since the handover of the former Yugoslav president, Slobodan Milosevic. The indictment for Mr Zupljanin and a warrant for his arrest have been handed over to the authorities.
AP 16 July 2001 Serb Prison Camp Trial Wrapping Up By Anthony Deutsch THE HAGUE, Netherlands –– War crimes prosecutors wrapped up their case against five Serbs charged with running the notorious Omarska prison camp during the Bosnian war, demanding prison terms ranging from 25 years to life. Their closing statements Monday came as Serbian authorities announced they were exhuming bodies Monday from yet another mass grave in Yugoslavia, this one believed to be part of an alleged cover-up of crimes during the later Kosovo war. During court proceedings in The Hague, Netherlands, prosecutors compared the Omarska camp to Nazi death camps during World War II. It was set up in 1992 at an abandoned mine in the northwestern Bosnian municipality of Prijedor. Defendants Miroslav Kvocka, Milojica Kos, Mlado Radic, Dragoljub Prcac and Zoran Zigic are charged in the deaths of hundreds of Muslim and Croat prisoners at the camp. All five have pleaded innocent. Prosecutor Susan Somers told the panel of three U.N. tribunal judges the suspects' disregard for human life must be answered with the harshest sentence possible. They "had not shown one shred of mercy to the victims," Somers said. Omarska was one of three camps in the Prijedor region, along with Keraterm and Trnopolje. Thousands of inmates were tortured, raped and murdered in a campaign to "cleanse" the region of non-Serbs. Television images of Omarska shocked the world and prompted calls from the international community for intervention to stop the Balkan atrocities. "They are all individually callable, responsible for the acts at Omarska," prosecutor Somers said. "There was a common criminal plan." Prosecutors demanded 35-year terms for Kvocka, the former commander of Omarska, and for the deputy commander, Prcac. They said the two should be held accountable for crimes committed by subordinates. But they asked for life sentences for Radic and Zigic, whom prosecutors described as ruthless sadists. Radic, a shift commander, roamed the three Prijedor camps killing at will, prosecutors alleged. Somers said he "savored the power and savored the sadism" of forcing Muslim inmates to lap water from the ground like dogs. One witness said Radic shot a Muslim through the head at close range and then forced another prisoner to clean the bloody remains and hair from his pistol. The prosecution asked for a 25-year sentence for Kos, a reserve policeman who also commanded shifts at the camp during the 1992-1995 war. All five pleaded innocent to charges of personal involvement and superior authority over subordinates who committed war crimes. Somers showed the court video footage of the exhumation of Muslim bodies from a cave, horrors she said had resulted in "sleepless nights" for the entire prosecution team. Also Monday, a statement by Belgrade's chief magistrate, Vida Petrovic-Skero, announced "an ongoing exhumation of a large number of unidentified bodies" at another grave site near Batajnica, Serbia. The statement gave no further details. Earlier this year, Serbian police said they were investigating the case of a freezer truck containing some 80 bodies that was dumped into the Danube River in April 1999. It was later discovered that the bodies were buried at a police training camp near Batajnica. In a separate development over the weekend, the government's Internet site quoted Police Capt. Dragan Karleusa as saying that some 50 bodies – apparently those of Kosovo Albanians – were found in April 1999 at a lake at Perucac, about 90 miles southwest of Belgrade, and were later buried in Serbia. Police have accused former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic of ordering police and the military in March 1999 to remove evidence of civilian casualties from the crackdown on ethnic Albanians in Kosovo. Mass graves, believed to contain some 800 bodies, have been discovered recently in Serbian areas far from Kosovo.
BBC 31 July, 2001 A Bosnian Serb ex-police chief who pleaded guilty to crimes against humanity has been sentenced by the UN war crimes tribunal to 10 years in prison. Stevan Todorovic, 43, admits murdering, torturing and sexually assaulting Muslims and Croats in 1992-93 while chief of police in the Bosnian town of Bosanski Samac. Presiding Judge Patrick Robinson said Todorovic's crimes were "very grave" and the sentence would have been much longer if he had not co-operated with prosecutors. He originally pleaded not guilty in 1998, but reversed the plea last December in a deal with prosecutors. At the same time he agreed to supply information in other cases before the tribunal, and withdrew claims that his arrest had occurred as an illegal operation involving Nato-led troops. Kidnap claim "By pleading guilty to this charge, Stevan Todorovic also admitted that he had committed one murder, acts of torture, a large number of beatings, and had forced several men to commit sexual acts with each other," prosecutors wrote in a sentencing recommendation filed in April. "Many of Todorovic's victims endured great physical and mental suffering at his hands, and several continue to suffer the consequences of those actions nine years later." Todorovic originally alleged that he was kidnapped from his central Serbia holiday home by mercenaries who drove him to the Bosnian border, where he was handed over to troops of the Nato-led Stabilisation Force (SFOR). He said the operation was unlawful, and that he should be released. Prosecutors asked for a 12-year term, but the sentence could in theory have been life imprisonment. The court, which cannot impose the death penalty, has no maximum sentence for crimes against humanity. Todorovic was initially indicted together with five other men accused of orchestrating a campaign to ethnically purge Bosanski Samac during the 1992-5 Bosnian war. His case was spun off after he changed his plea.
AP 7 July 2001 WARSAW A Polish regional court on Friday convicted a 78-year-old Polish man of helping Nazis kill Jews in a World War II death camp and sentenced him to eight years in prison. It was the first such case brought by the government's Institute of National Remembrance, which in June of last year began investigating archives and documents relating to Communist- and Nazi-era crimes. The defendant, Henryk Mania of Szczecin, in northwestern Poland, had been charged with participating in acts of genocide at the Chelmno camp from Dec. 8, 1941 to April 7, 1943. In his trial in the city of Konin, he testified that he had been forced to work in the camp and threatened with death if he tried to escape. But the Polish news agency PAP quoted Judge Marian Pogorzelski as saying that Mr. Mania could have escaped. He said the defendant and other Poles who worked at the camp had "lived on friendly terms with German commanders."
WP 12 July 2001 Troops in Chechnya Rebuked Russian General Acknowledges Abuses Against Civilians By Susan B. Glasser Page A24 MOSCOW, July 11 -- Russia's chief commander for the war in Chechnya today issued an unusual public rebuke of his own troops, criticizing "numerous crimes" committed during recent roundups of hundreds of civilians and vowing to prosecute guilty soldiers. In a rare acknowledgement of abuses against civilians in the breakaway region, Gen. Vladimir Moltenskoi said that last week's "mopping-up" operation in several Chechen villages resulted in "lawless" conduct, according to the Russian Tass news agency. His criticism came as a high-ranking Kremlin official suggested that such raids, a routine part of Russia's conduct of the war in Chechnya, may end. "The practice of mopping-up raids should be revised," presidential spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembsky said in an interview broadcast on Russian television, "and maybe become a thing of the past." His comment marked a significant shift from the Russian government's initial response to allegations that troops beat and robbed civilians in several villages along the Chechen border last week. Interior Minister Boris Gryzlov on Friday called the roundups "tough but necessary special operations." Late Monday, prosecutors opened an official investigation into the incidents, after Chechen officials, appointed by Moscow, threatened to quit in protest. Today, Moltenskoi pledged the investigation would be finished by Friday and said he would launch another "special operation" to try to win Chechens' trust. By tonight, however, Moltenskoi was already backpedaling. In a televised interview, he said, "I cannot talk about crimes as such, I am talking about violations committed by individual soldiers or policemen." He said Moscow's policy on roundups would not be reconsidered: "Our tactic was and will remain unchanged." According to Russian news agencies, prosecutors have received more than 200 complaints alleging abuses during the roundups in Kurchaloi, Sernovodsk and Assinovskaya. There has yet to be a definitive account of what occurred there, but numerous witnesses have told journalists and human rights workers about abuses by Russian troops over the course of several days in early July. According to most accounts, the roundups targeted men between ages 15 and 60, possibly more than 1,000 of whom were ordered to report for document checks and held in a field for hours. Many claimed to have been beaten or tortured, and numerous witnesses have come forward to say that the soldiers demanded bribes to release some of those held. An uncertain number of men disappeared after the roundups. In addition, witnesses have reported that Russian soldiers looted homes and schools in the villages, threw hand grenades into basements, and stole money meant to pay teachers. The raids were in apparent retaliation for an attack by Chechen rebels that left five Russian policemen dead. The raids caused 26,000 refugees who had been living near the villages to flee across the border to the neighboring region of Ingushetia. In recent weeks, Chechen officials loyal to Moscow have tried to encourage refugees to return to Chechnya; more than 400,000 are estimated to have fled to Ingushetia overall.
AP 19 July 2001 Six Russian Servicemen Detained By David McHugh MOSCOW –– After weeks of criticism over alleged abuses, officials said Thursday that six Russian servicemen had been arrested for crimes against civilians during house-to-house searches for rebels in Chechnya. The arrests stem from a military operation this month when Chechen human rights groups and civilians charge Russian soldiers descended on three villages and went on a rampage while searching for rebels. All males between 15 and 50 in the villages of Assinovskaya, Sernovodsk and Kurchaloi were rounded up and forced to kneel for hours, witnesses said. Some accused the troops of torturing and humiliating them. The servicemen will be investigated for kidnapping, robbery and abuse of authority, among other crimes, said an official in the office of Sergei Yastrzhembsky, the chief government spokesman on Chechnya. Accusations against troops have been plentiful, but prosecutions and punishment rare. Asked about the accusations at a Wednesday news conference, President Vladimir Putin said that some soldiers had "fallen for the fighters' provocations" and retaliated by committing crimes. But he suggested that the rebels' crimes were more serious. "Did you know that the fighters have killed 40 district heads and imams – old people? Why don't you ask me about that?" Putin said. "Why don't you ask me how we are fighting those criminals?" Russian troops withdrew from Chechnya in 1996 after a humiliating defeat in a two-year war against separatists. They rolled back into the republic in fall 1999 after rebels raided a neighboring Russian region and after a series of apartment bombings in three Russian cities that authorities blamed on the rebels. Aslan Maskhadov, elected president of the region's separatist administration in 1997, bitterly criticized European leaders in a statement Thursday, saying the leaders of the seven leading industrialized democracies were ignoring Russian violence. "If you continue to stand by idly while my people vanish in a blood bath, if you fail to act with conviction and resolve as you did in Rwanda, Chechen ghosts will stain your honor as surely as they do Russia's," Aslan Maskhadov said in an open letter. The letter was delivered to The Associated Press by e-mail on the eve of the Friday's summit of the leaders of the world's industrialized nations and Russia – who together form the Group of Eight. The United States and Western European countries have expressed concern about abuses in Chechnya, but the criticisms have not been accompanied by sanctions or other measures. In the letter, Maskhadov accused the powerful nations of letting pragmatism override moral concerns "For fear of damaging an uncertain relationship with a fragile and volatile new Russia, you are willing to overlook the annihilation of my people," the letter said. "How is it that you celebrate (former Yugoslav leader) Slobodan Milosevic at last facing judgment in The Hague, but embrace Putin as a credible partner?" Maskhadov wrote.
Reuters 18 July 2001 BOGOTA - Colombia's former ambassador to the European Union has been arrested in Spain for allegedly forming far-right militias that killed 20 peasants on his Colombian estate in 1996. US-born Carlos Arturo Marulanda was apprehended in Madrid carrying an American passport on Monday afternoon, ending a two-year hunt by Colombian and Interpol police. Col. Gustavo Jaramillo, head of Colombia's secret police, said police tracked down Marulanda by monitoring frequent phone calls he made to family in Europe and the United States. Jaramillo said Colombia would request Marulanda's extradition, but added the process could take six months. Marulanda, also a former development minister, was Colombia's ambassador to the European Union for five years. He quit in November 1996, when the European Parliament raised questions about his links to an outlawed paramilitary gang operating on his family's sprawling estate in Colombia's northern Cesar province. The gang was accused of killing 20 peasant squatters and forcing another 200 families to flee Marulanda's 14,400-acre Bellacruz estate in February, 1996. His alleged ties to the paramilitaries date to the early 1990s. The paramilitaries, organised under the 8,000-member United Self-Defence Forces of Colombia, have been blamed for some of Colombia's most gruesome massacres. Funded by wealthy landowners, the outlawed fighters target Marxist guerrillas fighting in Colombia's 37-year-old war and rebel sympathisers. The conflict has claimed 40,000 lives in the past decade. About 2 million people have been displaced, giving Colombia the world's highest number of refugees outside Africa.
AP 31 July 2001 MADRID, Spain A Spanish judge jailed a former Argentine military officer indicted in Madrid over Argentina's "dirty war" against dissidents, citing fears the suspect might flee Spain. Judge Baltasar Garzon said Adolfo Scilingo posed a flight risk because the Constitutional Court threw out his own ruling barring Scilingo from leaving Spain and ordering him to surrender his passport. In October 1998, Scilingo voluntarily traveled from Argentina to Spain and told Garzon he participated in flights in which dissidents were thrown out of planes. But two years later, Scilingo recanted after Garzon indicted him and 97 other Argentines on charges of genocide, terrorism and torture allegedly carried out during Argentina's 1976-83 military dictatorship. At least 9,000 people were arrested, tortured and never seen again during the dictatorship. Some human rights groups put the number at 30,000. No trial date for Scilingo has been set. None of the others indicted are in Spain. Garzon indicted them under a Spanish law that says genocide can be prosecuted in Spain even if it is alleged to have been committed in another country. Garzon used that same law in an unsuccessful bid to put former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet on trial in Spain.
BBC 20 July, 2001 Turkish Islamists fight back Saadet promises to protect religious rights By Chris Morris in Ankara A new pro-Islamist political party has been set up in Turkey by members of the Virtue Party, which was shut down a month ago. Half of the Virtue Party's 102 deputies in parliament will become members of Saadet - roughly translated as "happiness" or "prosperity". Recai Kutan appeals to victims of the economic crisis The Virtue Party was banned by the Constitutional Court for anti-secular activities. The former leader of Virtue, Recai Kutan, said Saadet would protect religious rights, but would not challenge the principles of the secular state. However, the new party is likely to continue campaigning on issues such as trying to lift the ban on women wearing Islamic-style headscarves in schools and public offices. Unacceptable provocation One of the main reasons the Virtue Party was closed down was that one of its deputies tried to take the oath of office in parliament wearing a headscarf. To the secular establishment, that was an unacceptable act of provocation. The new party will be closely monitored by secularists in the military and the judiciary for any signs of similar behaviour. New centre-right party Meanwhile, another party is about to emerge from the ashes of the Virtue Party. The group is made up of self-styled reformers, under the leadership of the former mayor of Istanbul, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Mr Erdogan is one of the most charismatic and popular politicians in the country. He was banned from politics and jailed in 1998 after he gave a speech in which he recited a poem that was deemed to be provocative. But a ruling in the Constitutional Court this week appears to set a precedent that will allow Mr Erdogan to return to active politics. He wants to set up a party that will appeal to a broad spectrum of voters on the centre right.
BBC 19 July, 2001, Rwandan priest fights extradition Emmanuel Rukundo is accused of crimes against humanity By Emma Jane Kirby in Geneva A Rwandan priest who was arrested in Geneva on genocide charges last week has appealed to a federal court in Switzerland to block his extradition to a United Nations war crimes tribunal. Emmanuel Rukundo, a former Rwandan army chaplain, is due to be extradited to Arusha, Tanzania, at the request of the UN war crimes prosecutor, Carla Del Ponte. Carla del Ponte demanded Mr Rukundo's extradition Mr Rukundo was working as a priest in a Geneva parish when he was arrested last week on suspicion of being involved in Rwanda's 1994 genocide, in which extremist Hutus massacred an estimated 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus. According to the charges, the 42-year-old priest compiled lists of Tutsis for killing and called for their extermination while he was working as an army preacher. Mr Rukundo faces formal charges of genocide, complicity in genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide and crimes against humanity - but he denies all four charges. Fair trial demanded His lawyer, Nicolas Jeandin, said on Wednesday that he had appealed to the Swiss Federal Court against Mr Rukundo's extradition, on the grounds that Mr Rukundo would not be guaranteed a fair trial in Tanzania. He added that Mr Rukundo had witnesses to prove that he was not involved with the massacres. The Swiss military justice system first began investigating Rukundo's links with the Rwandan genocide in 1999. But his transfer to the UN tribunal is almost certain to be delayed, as the Swiss court is expected to take several months to issue its ruling in the case.
KurdishMedia.com 23 July 2001 By Tina Bird 15 Years Of Military Rule In North Kurdistan KurdishMedia.com By Tina Bird Posted Monday July 23, 2001 - 10:13:07 AM EDT London - Emergency rule in North Kurdistan is now into its 15th year. Emergency rule, known as OHAL, superseded martial law on July 19 1987. Martial law has been enforced in Turkey intermittently from 1920 and was first proclaimed in the eastern provinces in 1925,where it was repeatedly extended and proclaimed until 1987. The military coup of September 1980 abolished the Turkish parliament and martial law was decreed for the entire country by the National Security council (MGK). In 1982 the MGK, comprised of the five generals who orchestrated the 1980 coup, introduced the Constitution that binds Turkey today. Between 1980 and 1986 MGK martial law was extended 11 times covering most of the provinces with a majority Kurdish population. The military authorities took over civil and judicial apparatus, and civil and political liberties were suspended. In 1984 several illegal organizations, in particular the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), began armed campaigns against Turkish military and officials in Southeast Turkey. This provoked equally ferocious repression by Turkish state security forces. Mass arrests, arbitrary detention and interrogation with torture became standard law enforcement practice. Trials in martial law courts fell well below international standards of justice. In October1983 the National Security Council passed Law 2932, which outlawed all communication in Kurdish.The law was repealed by Turgut Ozal's Government in 1991. It was also President Turgut Ozal who had, four years earlier in 1987, declared the Application of a State of Emergency in the Eastern Provinces (OHAL). The first provinces to be covered were Bingol, Diyarbakir, Elazig, Hakkari, Mardin, Siirt, Dersim (Tunceli) and Van. A State of Emergency Regional Governor, known as the Super Vali or Super Governor, was implemented to oversee the enforcement of the regime. Since 1987 there have been six Super Governors, who have 'special powers' over and above the government appointed provincial governors (Vali). At its height OHAL covered 13 provinces, now reduced to four; Diyarbakir, Sirnak, Hakkari and Tunceli (Dersim). The current OHAL Super Governor is Gokhan Aydiner. In OHAL provinces the military continues to have jurisdiction over civilian life. Civilians accused of terrorism or 'crimes against the state' are prosecuted in State Security courts that include a military judge. Non-violent criticism of government policy or expression of pro-minority sentiment has led to the conviction of individuals as 'a threat to national security' in MGK courts. Publications printed and distributed elsewhere in Turkey, such as Pine, a Kurdish comic and former pro-Kurdish newspaper are banned from OHAL provinces.
BBC 10 July, 2001 Further trouble in Bradford Sporadic violence broke out on Monday night Bradford has been hit by a third night of violence, although on a smaller scale than the rioting seen at the weekend. Fifteen white men were arrested after sporadic outbreaks of violence across the city. Earlier, it emerged that an official report due out this week will attack racial "polarisation" in the city, saying that schools and neighbourhoods are virtually segregated. The report by Lord Herman Ouseley, a former head of the Commission for Racial Equality, and written several weeks ago, criticised racial intolerance, an inability to address problems and a lack of racial integration. 'Grip of fear' There was a tense stand-off between riot police and an estimated 60 white youths in the Ravenscliffe area, late on Monday night. The youths pelted stones and rocks at officers, and a car was set on fire and a wall demolished in the disturbances, which lasted about an hour and a half. Elsewhere, an Asian gang confronted police after an Asian pizza place in the predominantly white Holme Wood area had its windows smashed. The largely Asian area of Manningham, scene of the worst violence over the weekend, remained quiet. BBC correspondent Barnie Choudhury said the violent incidents were not "classic" race riots such as those in Oldham and Burnley - more socially deprived youths wanting a "bit of fun". "It seems police are being stretched and tested to see what resources are available to them," he said. "Some residents are suggesting the youths are just simply trying it on". There is a fear of confronting all-white and all-Muslims schools about... social and racial integration and segregation in schools Lord Ouseley Lord Ouseley's report, due for publication on Thursday, was written well before the current wave of violence in the city - said to be some of the worst in the UK for 20 years. In the report, seen by the BBC, he warns that Bradford's leaders have been too scared to properly address the city's race problems. The report warns: "The city finds itself in a grip of fear. There is a fear of people talking openly and honestly because of possible repercussions, recriminations and victimisation. "There is the fear of confronting the gangs culture, the illegal drugs trade and the growing racial intolerance, harassment and abuse that exists. "There is a fear of confronting all-white and all-Muslims schools about their contribution or rather the lack of contribution to social and racial integration and segregation in schools." But the city council's David Ward told the BBC that only a small number of criminals were "damaging the image of Bradford" with their yobbish behaviour. He cited the example of Bradford's annual cultural festival the Mela, held earlier this months, as an example of the kind of racial harmony that is "the real side" of the city. Chairman of the West Yorkshire Police Authority, Neil Taggart, also denied that things were "going backwards" in the city or that the police "favoured" certain areas. He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "As far as the police are concerned, there are no no-go areas in Bradford. "I don't believe the police are too soft or even too hard. The ethos of West Yorkshire police is to give a fair service to all communities." 'Thuggery' The report calls for better leadership and improved partnerships as the way forward. Lord Ouseley: Wants better-integrated schools The report was commissioned by the city council and other large organisations within Bradford. More than 120 officers were injured after up to 1,000 Asian and white gangs clashed with officers over the weekend. Prime Minister Tony Blair has attacked the "thuggery", saying rioters had ended up "destroying their own community". Home Secretary David Blunkett said it was up to the people of Bradford to find solutions to the root of the violence, following urgent talks with the city's three MPs.
BBC 22 July, 2001, Loyalists blamed for pipe bomb attacks Army dealt with device found on Coleraine doorstep Loyalists have been blamed for pipe bomb attacks on the home of a Catholic family in Coleraine and a Catholic church in County Tyrone. In the attack in Coleraine, the army defused the device after it was found by a Kylemore Road householder on her doorstep at about 0930 BST on Sunday. The elderly woman picked it up, not realising what it was. The police said they believe it was thrown at the house some time during Saturday night. The woman, another adult and five children in the house at the time of the attack escaped injury. More than 20 houses were evacuated in the street as army bomb experts made the device safe and checked the area for other devices during a three-hour operation. The police said the fuse on the device had been lit, but had burnt itself out and did not explode. In January a pipe bomb was left at the house next door. It did not explode. At that time there were a spate of similar sectarian pipe bomb attacks on houses in the town, and the RUC increased their surveillance and 'stop-and-search' operations in the town to try to deal with the rise in sectarian incidents. Pipe bomb explodes at church Meanwhile, the police have said a pipe bomb attack on a Catholic church in Newtownstewart in County Tyrone was also sectarian. The device exploded outside Glennock church on the Plumbridge Road at 1100 BST on Sunday. No-one was injured in the attack, but a window in the church was damaged. RUC Inspector Andy Lemon said was fortunate that no-one was injured. "We would condemn any attack on any religious buildings. We are treating this as a sectarian attack," he added. Spate of attacks Tensions throughout Northern Ireland raised by the loyalist marching season and disputes at loyalist/nationalist community interfaces in Belfast have spilled over into violence in recent weeks. As calm returned to north and east Belfast after sporadic rioting last week, a spate of pipe bomb and petrol bomb attacks have continued around the province. Pipe bombs have traditionally been used by loyalist paramilitaries, but people from both communities living in the areas affected by the recent trouble feel their homes are being targeted. On Friday night loyalists threw a pipe bomb into the house of a Catholic family living off the Cavehill Road in for the second time this week. Earlier on Friday, loyalist gunmen fired shots at two men standing outside the Ashton community centre in north Belfast before continuing to fire into a room containing young children. No-one was injured in the attack at Churchill Street, but five people were treated for shock. In another incident, a home-made bomb in a coffee jar in the garden of a house on Serpentine Gardens near the peaceline security barrier.
BBC 27 July, 2001, Gecas arrest warrant issued Mr Gecas has denied the allegations against him A warrant has been issued for the arrest of a suspected war criminal living in Edinburgh. Scottish Justice Minister Jim Wallace has sanctioned the start of proceedings against Antonas Gecas which could see him extradited to Lithuania. The 85-year-old, who recently suffered a stroke, is alleged to have killed civilians, mostly Jews, while working in a Second World War police battalion in Lithuania. But the Lithuanian denies the charges and has previously indicated he would fight any move by the country's authorities to extradite him. The arrest warrant signed by Mr Wallace has now been passed to Lothian and Borders Police so that proceedings can begin. The process will involve: After Mr Gecas has been arrested there will be a hearing before a sheriff inline with the Extradition Act 1989. At that hearing the extradition request will be considered and the identity of the suspect verified. The sheriff can hear representations in support of the extradition or on behalf of the accused. The sheriff, if he or she is satisfied with the proceedings, will then be required to commit the suspect to custody or release him on bail. A decision will then be made by Scottish ministers on whether to order the accused's return. Both the sheriff's and the ministers' decision can be appealed by the accused and by the requesting state. A district court in Vilnius, Lithuania, granted a warrant for the arrest of Mr Gecas in February this year. Mr Gecas, who moved to Scotland in 1947, served as a platoon commander in a police battalion which fought with the Germans after they invaded Lithuania. Mr Gecas was a police platoon commander In 1992 he lost a defamation case against Scottish Television, which claimed he led atrocities against Jews in his native country and Belarus as the head of a special police battalion during the war. Mr Gecas, a former National Coal Board engineer who now runs a guest house in Edinburgh, has protested his innocence. In May he suffered a stroke and a spokesman confirmed he is being treated at the Liberton Hospital in the south of Edinburgh. Staff would not give details of his condition, at the request of his family. And Nigel Duncan, Mr Gecas' lawyer, said: "No further action will be taken until Mr Gecas' condition is assessed. "The medical authorities have yet to comment on his current medical condition. "He is in hospital at the moment, so obviously the case cannot be heard in court within the next week or so. Nigel Duncan is waiting for medical reports "We are unsure as yet what the time scales involved will be." Officials at the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, a Jewish human rights organisation which has continually campaigned for the extradition, welcomed news the proceedings had begun. The organisation's Israel director, Dr Efraim Zuroff, said: "This is the best day in my life for over 16 years, that's how long myself and others have been fighting for this news. "This is a very important day for Scottish justice and the victims of the holocaust. "The most important thing now is that proceedings are pursued as quickly as possible."
Reuters 25 July 2001 Amnesty International Says Racism Rife in Britain By Mike Collett-White LONDON (Reuters) - The spate of race riots in northern England earlier this year served as a stark reminder that prejudice and discrimination dog Britain and many of its institutions, Amnesty International said on Wednesday. At the launch of a major report on global racism, the human rights group singled out a number of Western countries, including Britain and the United States, for failing to guarantee equality in policing and judicial process. ``For sure evidence we need look no further than the scenes and the consequences of Britain's worst race riots since 1985, which cast a pall even over this simple launch,'' said Amnesty interim Secretary General Kate Gilmore. ``The recent race riots remind everybody of how close to home the challenges of equality are.'' Since May there have been sporadic riots mainly between the children of Indian sub-continent immigrants and white youths in impoverished northern industrial cities like Oldham and Burnley. In fighting in Bradford a fortnight ago, over 200 police were hurt when rioters turned on them and 80 arrests were made. Observers have linked the trouble to poverty and social segregation, but Amnesty said discrimination and institutional racism also played their part. ``Amnesty highlights the tough reality that these key members of local society here are disproportionately representing those imprisoned and disproportionately under-representing those administering justice,'' Gilmore said. The report said black people made up 0.8 percent of circuit judges, but ethnic minorities account for eight to nine percent of the country's population. POLICE CRITICIZED It blamed police for using harsher measures and handing out more serious charges to black community members than to whites. Amnesty referred to the 1999 inquiry by Sir William Macpherson into the handling of the case of black teenager Stephen Lawrence, stabbed to death in April 1993 in an unprovoked attack by a gang of white youths. In his report, Macpherson found that police had failed to investigate the crime properly due to ``institutional racism.'' Prisons are accused of being breeding grounds for racist violence. Amnesty cited the case of Zahid Mubarek, an Asian youth who died after being beaten by his cellmate Robert Stewart in a young offenders' institution last year. A prison service report found officers used overt racist abuse against ethnic minority staff and inmates. Martin Narey, director-general of the prison service, said: ``It goes beyond institutional racism to blatant malicious pockets of racism.'' Amnesty's Gilmore defended the group's decision to include Britain and other Western states alongside countries like Turkey and Iraq, where it said suppression of Kurds was widespread. ``If you are subjected to torture, ill-treatment and ultimately death in custody in a prison its address provides little comfort to either you or your family.''
BBC 30 July, 2001,Man killed in drive-by shooting Forensic scientists examine the scene An 18-year-old man has been shot dead in County Antrim following a weekend of violent tension in Belfast. The victim, a Protestant, was standing with a group of friends on the side of the Hightown Road in Glengormley at about 2320 BST on Sunday, when a car approached them. An occupant opened fire into the crowd, killing one man and hitting his 18-year-old best friend, a Catholic, in the leg. The Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary, Sir Ronnie Flanagan, said he was sickened by the murder. "I have very little doubt this was a loyalist attack on defenceless youngsters whom they would have assumed to be Catholic". Sir Ronnie said it was too soon to "precisely suggest this was the work of the UDA". "What heroes who could chose to attack such defenceless people... it would make you sick," he told BBC Radio Ulster. Attacked The wounded man is recovering in hospital, where his condition is described as stable. The shooting happened near the entrance to a Gaelic Athletic Association club, which has been attacked in the past. Sinn Fein's Martin Meehan has blamed loyalist paramilitaries for the shooting and has described the killers as "sectarian bigots". "Without a shadow of a doubt, this is UDA/UFF orchestrated," he said. Billy Hutchinson of the Progressive Unionist Party, which is linked to the loyalist paramilitary Ulster Volunteer Force, said the motive appeared to be sectarian. "We all believed we had put these times behind us. That if we had teenagers running about the streets they would be safe," he said. Gun battles The shooting was the culmination of a weekend of violence. A couple escaped injury in a pipe bomb attack in Whiteabbey, County Antrim, on Sunday night. The incident happened at about 2320 BST in Abbeyville Park. There were no reports of any injuries. Meanwhile, in north Belfast shots were fired at Alliance Avenue and Halliday's Road in north Belfast. Shortly before midnight on Sunday petrol bombs and stones were thrown at two houses in Wheatfield Gardens. A Catholic man treated for gunshot wounds Army bombs experts were called to deal with a suspected blast bomb at Manor Court off Clifton Park Avenue. Rival sectarian groups clashed in north Belfast over the weekend. A man was treated for stab wounds to the chest following a series of disturbances on Saturday night. Three police officers were also hurt, including one who suffered an eye injury while tending to a colleague who had been knocked unconscious by a brick. Trouble flared following a planned police operation earlier on Saturday night, during which 30 primed petrol bombs and almost 200 bottles were seized in planned raids on both loyalist and nationalist areas of north Belfast.
Reuters 2 July 2001 Former U.S. attorney-general Ramsey Clark said on Monday he was willing to help defend former Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic , who faces trial in a United Nations court on war crimes charges. But Clark, now a human rights activist and supporter of unfashionable causes, said he felt it more proper for a fellow Yugoslav to act on Milosevic's behalf. ``I would do anything that I can and I would join the team if it became desirable or meaningful,'' Clark told a news conference in the Yugoslav capital. ``If he (Milosevic) followed my sense of it he would have proud and effective Yugoslav lawyers stand up before that court and say to the world 'we are capable of defending ourselves'.'' Clark said he had not been in touch with Milosevic but felt he had some experience to offer having acted for Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic, who is on the run on war crimes charges, in a U.S. suit brought by Bosnian war victims. Two Serb lawyers have arrived in The Hague to prepare for Milosevic's initial appearance at the United Nations war crimes tribunal on Tuesday on charges of crimes against humanity. It is not clear who will represent him at his trial at a later date. Clark has defended a Saudi bomber of a U.S. embassy and an elderly Rwandan clergyman fighting extradition from the U.S. to face genocide charges. He has also been a vocal critic of U.N. sanctions against Iraq and frequently visited Baghdad.
BBC 12 July, 2001 Serbs outraged by Srebrenica film By Paul Anderson in Belgrade There has been a furious row in the Serbian parliament after Serbian state television broadcast a British documentary about the massacre of Muslims at Srebrenica in 1995 by Bosnian Serb forces. The film was broadcast on Wednesday on the sixth anniversary of the massacre. Radovan Karadzic and his general, Ratko Mladic, are still at last Deputies lined up after each other to denounce the broadcast of the documentary made by the BBC. One said it was the start of a witch-hunt against the Serbian people. Another, from the ultra-nationalist Radical Party, called it a shame and a disgrace and demanded an end to the persecution of Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic. Both former Bosnian Serb military leaders have been indicted by the International War Crimes Tribunal for the genocide of Muslims at Srebrenica six years ago. More than 7,000 men and boys were separated from their families, ordered out of a United Nations safe haven and slaughtered in cold blood. It was the worst act of barbarism in Europe since the Second World War. The two men are still at large. Viewers furious The film has been broadcast in Serbia before, several times on independent television, but the fact that it was picked up by state television - for so long the slavish propaganda tool of Slobodan Milosevic - has outraged hardline nationalists and Socialists. The Democratic Alliance, DOS, which controls the Serbian parliament, said Serbia was obliged to acknowledge the guilt of the country's deposed rulers, but it too wanted to see more reports about what happened to Serbs killed by Muslims during the war. The broadcast also caused an uproar among some members of the viewing public. They bombarded the station, RTS, with complaints.
Reuters 14 July 2001 Minister: Belgrade to Start War-Crimes Trials Soon BELGRADE Serbia will start war crimes trials of its own citizens next week, Justice Minister Vladan Batic was quoted on Saturday as saying. Batic, speaking at a meeting of his Serbian Christian Democrats, refused to give any details as to who would go on trial or for what alleged crimes. ``Trials of our citizens for war crimes will start before our courts next week,'' he said, according to Belgrade independent radio station B-92. Beta news agency carried a similar report. The minister, part of a reformist administration which came to power after authoritarian leader Slobodan Milosevic was ousted in October, was not immediately available for further comment. Last month the government handed Milosevic over to the U.N. war crimes tribunal for former Yugoslavia in the Hague, which had indicted him over his conduct of the 1998-9 conflict in Kosovo. Four of his senior aides were indicted with him. Some members of the administration had opposed the handover, saying the court was biased against Serbs and that Milosevic and all other people suspected of war crimes should be tried at home. B-92 quoted Batic as saying he would ask the tribunal to allow Yugoslavia to try cases related to Milosevic. But Beta said Batic declined to specify whether next week's trials would involve those indicted by the Hague. Batic also said tribunal investigators would question 58 Serbs next month about alleged crimes committed by ethnic Albanian Kosovo Liberation Army guerrillas, and he expected indictments would follow. Hague prosecutors have said they are investigating alleged war crimes by the guerrillas both during and after the Kosovo conflict, which ended when Milosevic agreed to let NATO -led troops replace his own security forces in the province. Asked about the fate of Bosnian Serb war crimes indictee Biljana Plavsic, Batic said she was likely to be granted bail by the tribunal, and would arrive in Belgrade by the end of July. Plavsic asked to be released pending trial on charges of genocide during Bosnia's 1992-5 war, during which she was part of the Bosnian Serb leadership which carved an ``ethnically pure'' Serb land out of the former Yugoslav republic. The tribunal has said its judges are likely to consider her request before a court recess begins in early August. Plavsic, 71, gave herself up in January, saying she was ready to prove her innocence before the court. She is the only women currently held in the U.N. detention center for indictees from across former Yugoslavia.
AP 16 July 2001 Mass Grave Found by Serb Officials By Dusan Stojanovic BELGRADE, Yugoslavia –– Serbian authorities have begun to exhume bodies from yet another mass grave believed to be part of an alleged cover-up of Kosovo war crimes linked to former President Slobodan Milosevic. Belgrade's chief magistrate, Vida Petrovic-Skero, issued a statement Monday announcing "an ongoing exhumation of a large number of unidentified bodies" at a grave site near another recently investigated mass grave in Batajnica, near Belgrade. The statement did not provide any other details. Earlier this year, Serbian police revealed they were investigating a case involving a freezer truck containing some 80 bodies that was dumped into the Danube River near the Romanian border in April 1999, hundreds of miles outside Kosovo. The truck and its cargo were removed and authorities say the bodies were later buried in a police training camp near Batajnica. After weeks of investigation, authorities exhumed 38 bodies presumably of ethnic Albanians from Kosovo, the victims of a brutal 1998-99 crackdown by Milosevic's regime. But on Monday, Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica, warned against assumptions regarding the ethnicity of the victims. He urged the Serbian Justice Ministry and Belgrade district court not to hand over bodies being exhumed to U.N. authorities in Kosovo "because they could be victims of Serbian nationality." Relaying grievances of relatives of Serb victims in Kosovo, Kostunica warned in a statement against "premature and irresponsible statements about" the victims' being ethnic Albanian before an official inquiry is carried out, according to the state Tanjug news agency. In a separate development over the weekend, the government's Internet site quoted a police official, Capt. Dragan Karleusa, as saying about 50 bodies – apparently of Kosovo Albanians – surfaced in April 1999 from a hydropower lake at Perucac, about 90 miles southwest of Belgrade, and were later buried in a nearby mass grave in Serbia proper. Police, now controlled by the pro-democracy authorities who unseated Milosevic in October, have accused the former Yugoslav president of ordering top police and military commanders in March 1999 to remove all evidence of civilian casualties from the Kosovo crackdown. Several mass graves believed to contain some 800 bodies recently have been discovered in Serbia proper, far from Kosovo, a Serbian province where Milosevic's security troops are believed to have killed up to 8,000 ethnic Albanians. The crackdown ended after 78 days of NATO bombing against Yugoslavia. Milosevic was extradited to the U.N. tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands, last month to face charges of crimes against humanity in Kosovo. He was indicted for alleged command responsibility in the murders of more than 600 people and the displacement of 740,000 ethnic Albanians. There are other high-ranking indicted suspects who remain at large and live freely in the Yugoslav capital, Belgrade. These include Serbian President Milan Milutinovic, former army chief of staff Col. Gen. Dragoljub Ojdanic, former Serbian Interior Minister Vlajko Stojiljkovic and former Yugoslav Deputy Prime Minister Nikola Sainovic. All were close aides of Milosevic and were indicted by the tribunal.
AP 17 July 2001 Yugoslavs Probe 3 Americans' Deaths By Dusan Stojanovic BELGRADE, Yugoslavia –– Faced with mounting U.S. pressure, police said Tuesday they were stepping up their investigation into the deaths of three ethnic-Albanian Americans found in a mass grave in Serbia. Serbian Interior Minister Dusan Mihajlovic confirmed that the bodies of the three men – "bound with wire and blindfolded with shotgun wounds to the head" – were found on a heap containing the remains of 13 other ethnic Albanians. "There is no doubt that this was an exceptionally serious crime," Mihajlovic said. He also confirmed earlier statements by police officials that a court paper found on one of the victims indicated the three were brothers – Agron, Mehmet and Yli Bytyqi – born in Chicago in 1978, 1976 and 1974. The brothers lived in New York City and worked in the pizza business before they left to join the Atlantic Brigade, a unit of about 400 Albanian-Americans who fought Serbian forces in Kosovo during Yugoslavia's 1998-1999 crackdown on the province's ethnic Albanian majority. The grave, discovered in June, was in a ditch on the fringes of a police compound in Petrovo Selo, far from Kosovo and about 120 miles east of Belgrade. Mihajlovic said that on June 26, 1999, a court in Prokuplje, a town in southern Serbia just north of Kosovo, sentenced the three to 15 days in prison for illegally crossing into Yugoslavia from Albania. Unaccountably, they were released four days before their sentence expired, he said. He did not comment on reports that the men were met by plainclothes police as they were leaving the prison and apparently killed and buried in the mass grave. "It remains to be investigated how these people lost their lives and who did it," Mihajlovic said. He said the American ambassador to Yugoslavia, William Montgomery, visited him Monday to relay the State Department's demand for a "thorough investigation" of the case. Mihajlovic said the deaths were remarkable because the men apparently were shot several days after the end of the U.S.-led 78-day NATO bombing campaign against Yugoslavia, which prompted President Slobodan Milosevic to withdraw his forces from Kosovo. "This occurred after the war ended, at an entirely peaceful time," Mihajlovic said. At least five mass graves, reportedly containing the bodies of about 800 ethnic Albanians, have recently been discovered in Serbia. They have been linked to Milosevic's campaign to cover up Kosovo atrocities by burying victims far from the province. Milosevic was indicted by the U.N. war crimes tribunal for atrocities carried out in Kosovo, and Serbian authorities extradited the former president to the court in the Netherlands last month. U.N. police in Kosovo said Tuesday that human remains and clothing had been found near the central Kosovo town of Klina, but that it was too soon to say whether the discovery pointed to another mass grave. Villagers found the bodies in a forested area next to a former Yugoslav army barracks and told the police, said Derek Chappell, spokesman for the U.N. police. Police went to the scene to investigate, but an unexploded bomb prevented them from making a detailed examination. In another part of the former Yugoslavia that was wracked by ethnic fighting during the country's breakup, the Muslim Commission for Missing Persons said it found two mass graves Tuesday containing bodies of Muslim civilians killed early in the 1992-95 Bosnian war. Eyewitnesses said the graves contain some 30 bodies. They were discovered near the town of Sanski Most, 110 miles northwest of the Bosnia's capital, Sarajevo, said Jasmin Odobasic, the deputy head of the commission. He said the victims were Muslims from three villages "executed" by Bosnian Serb soldiers in 1992. An estimated 200,000 people were killed during the Bosnian war, and more than 20,000 people are still missing. More than 6,000 bodies have been exhumed in Bosnia since the war's end.
AFP 29 July 2001 Intellectuals to probe war crimes INTELLECTUALS from all the republics of the former Yugoslavia, with the exception of Slovenia, said today they had set up a committee to investigate war crimes committed across the region over the past 10 years. The committee is comprised of 25 intellectuals from Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia, Bosnia and Macedonia, five of the six republics which formed the old Yugoslavia until its break up during bloody independence wars in the early 1990s. There are also representatives from the mainly ethnic-Albanian Serbian province of Kosovo, which is under international administration and which saw its own conflict in 1998-99. Slovenia, which formed the northern Alpine tip of the old Yugoslavia, gained independence during a short, relatively bloodless war in 1991, and was not wracked by the war crimes which were rampant in its then Balkan partners in the country. All the members of the committee, which met for the first time last week in Montenegro, were vocal opponents of the wars which dogged the region between 1991-1999. Yugoslavia is now only made up of Serbia and Montenegro. Natasa Kandic, the leader of the group of thinkers said it was not trying to do the work of a Truth Commission, set up in April by reformist Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica. Kostunica took power last October after the ouster of hardline president Slobodan Milosevic. Milosevic himself is now in court at the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague on war crimes charges. However, Kandic, who also leads a Belgrade-based humanitarian non-governmental organisation, said the Kostunica committee had been low-key - it had met only once and two of its members had left. She told AFP that the group would "start by establishing the facts and responsibilities" and would try, unlike national bodies investigating war crimes, to look at the issue regionally. The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), based in The Hague, has published the names of 68 people indicted for war crimes, of whom over a third are still at large, as pressure mounts for the former Yugoslav states to hand them over.
AP 28 July 2001 Officials Detail Milosevic Attempt By Dusan Stojanovic Associated Press Writer Saturday, July 28, 2001; 12:01 p.m. EDT PETROVO SELO, Yugoslavia –– On a grassy hill nestled in the shade of thick locust trees, 76 fresh graves contain grisly evidence that Yugoslav and outside investigators say could be used to convict Slobodan Milosevic of crimes against humanity. Fearing NATO would take Kosovo in 1999 and discover mass graves, Milosevic dispatched teams to dig up the bodies of ethnic Albanians killed by Yugoslav security forces in the rebellious territory and rebury them where they wouldn't be found, a Serbian government minister, a police captain and other investigative sources have told The Associated Press. Milosevic was surrounded by men who formed a tight circle of silence around him. But authorities in today's Yugoslavia feel no obligation to protect the former president, now behind bars and awaiting trial before the U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands. On the contrary, they seem anxious to distance themselves from his regime. In recent weeks, they have revealed the existence of at least four mass graves in different parts of Serbia – graves that contain the tangled remains of at least 800 victims of Milosevic's brutal 1998-99 crackdown on ethnic Albanians in Kosovo. Now, in startling detail, Serbia's new interior minister, Dusan Mihajlovic, and police Capt. Dragan Karleusa, in charge of mass grave investigations, say evidence is mounting that Milosevic ordered a cover-up in an effort to erase evidence of atrocities. The operation, they say, even had a code name: Depth 2. ––– Several hundred miles from Kosovo, near the border with Romania, Zivadin Djordjevic picked up the phone. It was April 6, 1999, and the local police were calling the area's best diver with a routine request for help. Fishermen had reported "a large white box" drifting in the Danube river. Djordjevic, a barrel-chested 56-year-old, donned his wetsuit, plunged into the swirling waters and swam out to the box. It was a large, white Mercedes freezer truck with Kosovo license plates. "When I opened the truck, I saw a horrible scene: Tangled bodies started sliding out," he told the AP. "I first saw a half-naked, beautiful, black-haired women with great white teeth. Then two boys no older than 8 years old. There were at least 50 bodies in the truck." He said that when he told the police about the bodies, the Interior Ministry in Belgrade ordered the case to be kept a secret. He said he was ordered to keep quiet or his life would be in danger. "We were told to spread a rumor that some Kurds were trying to get into the country illegally, but that their truck plunged into the Danube," Djordjevic said. "It was almost unbearable to live with that awful secret for two years." Something about the truck especially haunted Djordjevic: One of the two doors on the back was damaged from the inside. "Someone, or more people, were obviously still alive and were trying to get out," he said. ––– Toma Fila, Milosevic's lawyer, dismisses talk of a cover-up as "complete nonsense." But Mihajlovic, who heads the police, says: "It's clear this was a case of removing evidence of criminal acts." Other high-ranking police officials, interviewed by the AP on condition of anonymity, say Operation Depth 2 existed and was three-pronged – exhume corpses from mass graves in Kosovo and rebury them deep in Serbia proper or dump them in the Danube; destroy other bodies in Kosovo by incineration or other means; and move some remains within Kosovo from mass graves to smaller, ordinary graves. Karleusa says Depth 2 began within days of March 24, 1999, when NATO started its 78-day air war to punish Milosevic for his crackdown on independence-minded ethnic Albanians in Kosovo, a campaign that killed at least 8,000 people. Karleusa says Milosevic summoned top police and military officers to his White Palace in Belgrade's plush Dedinje district to convey his concerns about his regime's crimes in Kosovo. Karleusa did not attend the meeting, but since Milosevic's ouster, he and the other police officials say they have reconstructed what happened there. The officials say that Lt. Gen. Vlastimir Djordjevic, the then deputy interior minister and no relation to the Danube diver, expressed alarm that "the NATO aggressors" would discover what Serb forces had done to ethnic Albanian civilians. Milosevic, the officials said, was brisk and to the point: The terrain would have to be cleaned up, and quickly. The top security brass needed no further explanation. They knew what Milosevic meant: Mass graves in Kosovo containing the remains of ethnic Albanians – and the bodies of those yet to be killed by Serb forces during the coming NATO airstrikes – had to be dug up and taken as far as possible from Kosovo. That or be destroyed beyond recognition. ––– According to Karleusa, the job of cleaning up Milosevic's mess fell to his former interior minister, Vlajko Stojiljkovic, a faithful ally who would later also be charged by the war crimes tribunal. Milosevic ordered that "civilian victims who could be the subject of the tribunal's investigation must be removed" from Kosovo, Karleusa said. But Stojiljkovic was known more for his loyalty to Milosevic than for his organizational skills. He immediately issued the order to begin Depth 2. All available freezer trucks in Kosovo, and some in Serbia proper, were "recruited" for action, high-ranking police officials said. Thousands of people, mostly Kosovo Gypsies, were ordered to dig up the mass graves, they said. Trucks loaded with decomposing corpses rumbled into Serbia proper. Others headed to Kosovska Mitrovica in Kosovo, or to the Bor smelters in Serbia, where some of the remains were burned in white-hot furnaces. Sources close to the probe into the mass graves say Milosevic wanted any reburied remains to be placed in isolated areas restricted to civilians. That apparently made the remote special police compound in Petrovo Selo, which is far from main roads and located in a thick forest, the perfect spot for a new mass grave. The anti-terrorist troops stationed there were certain to keep the secret: They were at the forefront of the Kosovo killings. ––– But like so many things Milosevic did during his 13-year reign, Operation Depth 2 went wrong. One example that figures strongly in the investigation now under way is the story of the white freezer truck in the Danube. As the truck swayed through the darkness along a narrow road, the young army reservist at the wheel felt uneasy. He would later tell the local police called to the scene that he had heard odd thumping sounds coming from the sealed storage space. The police, speaking to the AP on condition of anonymity, said the driver had made several such nighttime trips in the past, traveling the 300 miles from the Kosovo town of Prizren to Petrovo Selo. Police said he pulled over to investigate the sounds, then drove on to a steep ravine. There, police said, he jumped out, placed a heavy stone on the accelerator and watched as the truck plunged 40 feet over a rocky cliff and into the Danube. The truck sank beneath the muddy waters. But a few days later, it surfaced. Suddenly, what was supposed to be a crypt had become a giant evidence locker, and it was drifting along the pristine river canyon toward the huge Djerdap electric power dam. After its discovery by local police and the diver, Belgrade authorities had it hauled to the Petrovo Selo mass grave site and destroyed with plastic explosives, Djordjevic, the diver, told the AP. Tiny bits of it still litter the forest floor. The driver has not been named and his whereabouts are unknown, but the story of the truck has become a focus of the investigation, and of the Yugoslav public's efforts to come to grips with its recent past. ––– Forensic experts who clawed their way through garbage and mud to unearth the 76 graves at Petrovo Selo have managed to identify only three bodies – those of brothers Agron, Mehmet and Yli Bytyqi. A document found on one of them identified the three as American citizens of ethnic Albanian origin. They were found lying on top of a pile of bodies, blindfolded, their hands tied with wire, their heads bloodied by shotgun wounds. They came from New York City in 1998 to join the Kosovo Liberation Army in its fight for independence. Most of the other bodies unearthed and reburied in Petrovo Selo are believed to be civilians from the Kosovo towns of Prizren and Suva Reka. Graham Blewitt, the tribunal's deputy prosecutor, has said the evidence "would be very valuable to us" if it proves that Milosevic ordered a cover-up. More than 4,000 bodies of ethnic Albanians already have been exhumed in Kosovo. More than 3,000 others remain missing, and Mihajlovic, the interior minister, is convinced that Operation Depth 2 explains what happened to them. "This was a part of Milosevic's heritage, which was considered a state secret," he said. "Now it's coming out in the open, and we'll have to face it fully."
AP 18 July 2001 Arms Makers to Adopt Regulations By EDITH M. LEDERER, Key arms makers in the United States and Europe are willing to accept a voluntary program to mark and trace small arms to help curb illegal trafficking, according to documents seen by The Associated Press and confirmed by industry officials. Diplomats involved in the initiative say it would help authorities stem the flow of legally purchased light weapons to black markets supplying conflicts around the world. The agreement would come into effect regardless of the outcome of a U.N. conference that is debating a draft plan to control illegal small arms trafficking. Included in the draft is a provision calling for ``negotiation of a legally binding instrument to identify and trace the lines of supply of small arms and light weapons.'' The United States already requires a marking and tracing system, but it opposes this provision because it doesn't want to make a commitment before knowing all the details of an agreement, U.S. Undersecretary of State John Bolton told AP on Wednesday. ``After further negotiation, I wouldn't exclude the possibility of a treaty-like commitment dealing with the flow of illegal weapons into conflict-prone areas,'' he said. The industry plan represents an effort by manufacturers to create a marking and tracing identification system with a degree of self-regulation. Putting a unique identification on every small weapon manufactured would enable authorities that seize illegal arms to find their origin and determine where they were first sold. Then, the authorities could start tracing how the arms became part of the illegal weapons trade and plug leakage points. According to documents seen by AP, leading arms manufacturers from the United States, Italy, Austria and France met in Paris on June 26 and outlined their agreement to representatives from Canada, France, Nigeria, the United States, Britain and Colombia. The four-page agreement was signed by C. Edward Rowe, a senior executive at U.S. arms producer Sturm, Ruger and Co. - representing the arms manufacturers - and former French Prime Minister Michel Rocard, co-chair of the Eminent Persons Group, a 23-member independent commission that seeks to control the spread of small arms. Paul Jannuzzo, a vice president of Austria's Glock GmbH, confirmed the details of the agreement. ``It's something we're willing to abide by,'' he told AP. ``If you want to cut off illicit trade you have to find its source.'' The agreement calls for manufacturers to institute standards for the marking and tracing of small arms, and to support and assist other efforts to prevent the transfer of small arms that would be used to violate human rights, international treaties, U.N. embargoes, genocide and other illegal acts, according to the documents. ``Voluntary industry self-regulation will, in greatly enhancing transparency and accountability, help curtail the potential for leakage (and) diversion from licit to illicit trafficking,'' Rowe wrote to Rocard after key manufacturers met in Kansas City in May to work out the agreement. Under the agreement, each country can decide on the exact system, but it must be an indelible marking at the point of manufacture, revealing the year of manufacture, the manufacturer and serial number. The records will be kept by the producers and be available to authorities through Interpol, according to the documents. The regulations now in place in the United States require all firearms to include the name of the company, the place of manufacture, and have a serial number not easily susceptible to eradication, Jannuzzo said. Any licensed gun manufacturer or dealer must also keep a record of all firearms transactions, he said. Details were completed at the Paris meeting attended by senior executives from Sturm, Ruger; Glock, whose pistol is the best seller with U.S. police forces; Berretta Armaments Italy, which makes the second U.S. police favorite; and French armsmaker Verney-Carron. Rocard, a member of the European Parliament, told U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan (news - web sites) about the agreement July 5, and they are expected to meet at U.N. headquarters later this month, according to a source close to the negotiation, speaking on condition of anonymity. The source and the documents seen by AP did not say exactly how many arms manufacturers - American or otherwise - were participating in the initiative. Rowe, who chairs the manufacturers advisory group of the World Forum on the Future of Sports Shooting Activities, an international gun lobbying group, wrote to Rocard that if the manufacturers' initiative ``were to take place under the auspices of the secretary-general, this would greatly enhance its effectiveness,'' according to the documents. Diplomats said the Paris accord is expected to be circulated to delegates at the U.N. conference on the illegal trade in small arms, which began Monday and ends July 20. ``Marking and tracing is one way of stemming the illicit trade in small arms,'' said Peter Batchelor, project director for a Small Arms Survey published Tuesday. ``But it won't be possible to do this without enhanced police, law enforcement and customs efforts and information sharing by governments,'' he added. Britain's U.N. ambassador, Jeremy Greenstock, said his government favors a universal requirement to mark guns, as called for in the draft under debate at the conference. He said he is aware of the manufacturers' initiative. ``We want actually a system of international legal instruments to do this, but that's not popular with ... a minority of members of the U.N.,'' he said. ``We would be very willing, if that doesn't go forward, to move to a voluntary position, but we haven't reached that point yet.'' With the consensus of all 189 U.N. member states needed to adopt the plan of action, it appeared unlikely that the language in the draft would survive. But diplomats said they are hopeful of finding wording that will lead to further negotiations sooner rather than later.
AP 25 Jyly 2001 U.N. Racism Conference May Be Derailed By Ed Johnson, LONDON –– A U.N. conference against racism is in danger of being derailed by arguments over the term Holocaust and disputes over reparations for slavery and colonialism, Amnesty International said Wednesday. In a report released Wednesday, the human rights group detailed U.S. federal and state justice systems, which it said are "riddled with racial discrimination," and called on the Bush administration to resolve disputes that have marred preparations for the racism conference. In meetings ahead of the conference, member states have argued over whether Holocaust should refer specifically to Nazi atrocities against the Jews, or genocide in general, Amnesty's international program director Claudio Cordone said Wednesday. Preparations for the Aug. 31 opening of the World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance have also been bogged down by disputes over how to deal with the legacy of the slave trade and colonialism, he said. Cordone said the disputes could push countries to downgrade their participation at the conference in Durban, South Africa, and make it harder to reach a common platform. "If at all that happens the world will have missed a unique opportunity to make a difference in the fight against racism, letting down the victims of discrimination in a spectacular way," he said. According to Amnesty, time has been wasted debating the meaning of Holocaust – an issue raised by several Arab countries. "The controversy over this issue is insensitive to the feelings of survivors of the Holocaust and is of no use to the fight against racism. They are creating a climate of division that risks undermining all aspects of the conference," Cordone said. Also Wednesday, Israel complained of what it said were efforts by Arab countries to demonize it at the conference over its treatment of the Palestinians. "According to proposals now on the table, Israel is the only country in the world which is breaching world principles of justice and is practicing racism, practicing genocide, practicing ethnic cleansing, practicing neo-apartheid," said Israel's Deputy Foreign Minister Michael Melchior. "I think there are a couple of other countries which also have some problems," he told foreign ambassadors in Jerusalem. There have also been disputes on the issue of slavery's legacy. Last month, a two-week meeting in Geneva ended in deadlock over whether countries that prospered from slavery and colonialism should formally apologize for the suffering they caused – and pay compensation. Africans want both, but Western nations led by the United States, Britain and Canada are resisting. Such arguments should be resolved in a different forum, Cordone argued. "The Bush administration must participate in efforts to eradicate racism at home and abroad and must seize the opportunity to move beyond the empty rhetoric on race of previous administrations by vigorously joining the debate at the World Conference against Racism," said Gerald Lemelle, of Amnesty International USA. Amnesty's report on U.S. justice systems included cases of racial profiling and evidence of disproportionate rates of minority incarceration. The U.N. acknowledged Wednesday there was a danger that the conference could be derailed, but said there was enough common ground for it to be a success. "There has to be a leap of political will. Countries are going to have to seize this opportunity to tackle these very important issues," said Jose Luis Diaz, spokesman for the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights – which is acting as the preparatory committee for the world conference. "I think people around the world won't forgive countries for missing such an opportunity." ––– On the Net: Amnesty International: http://www.amnesty.org/ U.N. Conference against Racism: http://www.un.org/WCAR/
Prevent Genocide International