News Monitor for June 2001
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Vanguard (Lagos) 4 June 2001 200 African govts ousted by coup in 27 years - About 200 regimes in Africa were removed between 1963 and 2000 by coup d’etat, wars or other unconstitutional means, a report has shown. The report, compiled by the African Development Bank (ADB http://www.afdb.org/) and contained in its "African Development Report 2001," shows that 14 current leaders in Africa have been in office for between 10 years and 20 years, while nine of them have served for more than 20 years. The mean tenure for all former African leaders according to the report is 7.2 years and about twice that number for leaders who died in office or retired. It also says between 1960 and 1989, only one African head of state lost an election, while 12 lost elections between 1990 and 1999. In contrast, European leaders have each served an average of 3.2 years over the past four decades with Finland having the shortest average and Luxembourg the longest. The document also shows that three recently independent countries in Africa have had no leadership transitions since independence while 11 have had just one transition, just as Nigeria has had 11 transitions and Benin Republic 12. The report states that of the 101 past leaders in Africa who left office because of coups or similar unauthorised means, about two-thirds were killed, imprisoned or banished to foreign countries.
WP 15 June 2001 Broad-Based Revolt Gains Momentum in Algeria Sustained Protests Fed by Economic, Political Frustration of Young By Keith B. Richburg. As a sweltering Mediterranean summer takes hold, social unrest is exploding in many parts of Algeria, fueled by high unemployment, a critical housing shortage, a stalled economy and a creaky, outdated political system that people see as both repressive and opaque. In the Kabylie region east of here, security forces have shot dead as many as 80 people and wounded hundreds in a drive to quell seven weeks of anti-government protests by members of the Berber minority. Elsewhere, Algerian journalists have rallied for press freedom and women have marched for an end to repression. Family members of the thousands of people who disappeared during Algeria's decade-long civil war gather for weekly vigils. Here in the capital, demonstrations have been the largest in a decade, demanding civil liberties and an end to corruption. [Hundreds of thousands of people paraded through the city yesterday, with riot police charging the protesters as they neared the presidential palace, the Associated Press reported. Two Algerian journalists were killed in the violence when they were run over by a bus.] "It is the reaction of young people revolted at the economic situation, and they have political demands and they want more liberty," said a human rights activist in Tizi Ouzou, a major town in the Kabylie region. For the last decade, Algeria has been known for one of the world's bloodiest wars, between government forces and Muslim insurgents. But now, with the world hardly taking notice, that war has been largely isolated to remote mountain areas. And the government finds itself facing a more broad-based street revolt, led by discontented youths who have no religious agenda but worry instead about the oppressive quality of daily life. What some young people term their "intifada" -- modeled after the Palestinian uprising and adopting the Arabic word to describe it -- has become the most pressing challenge faced by President Abdelaziz Bouteflika and his backers, a shadowy clique of generals and power brokers who are collectively known as Le Pouvoir, or The Power. For now, they are hanging on. "The terrorist threat they've learned to live with," said one European diplomat. "It's been marginalized and is only affecting people mainly in the countryside. I believe the social-economic problem is their greatest threat." Bouteflika came to power two years ago with a promise of peace and amnesty for Islamic insurgents whose rebellion had claimed about 100,000 lives. He has succeeded in dampening the violence: Deaths are down to about 150 a month from a peak of 2,000, although many Algerians say the violence began waning in 1997, before Bouteflika took office. With the winding down of the war, this once-gracious seaside capital, like the other main cities, has restored some semblance of normality. .. Algeria is actually rich in resources, with one of the world's largest deposits of natural gas and a large supply of oil to sell. But as one Algerian journalist here put it, "The petrol receipts are better -- but at the same time, the misery has increased." Despite Bouteflika's lofty promise that "everything will change," an effort to reform the country's socialist-modeled economy through privatization and banking deregulation has largely stalled, either because of a lack of political will or opposition from vested interests among the ruling clique. Foreign capital is still coming to the oil and gas industries; U.S. interests have $4 billion invested in Algeria and more than 500 Americans reside here. Oil and gas now provide 85 percent of the government's revenue. But otherwise foreign investment is stagnant, no longer because of worries about terrorism but because of a sense of general economic malaise. ... The biggest problem, and the one apparently stoking the widespread unrest, is unemployment. The unemployment rate is officially estimated at about 30 percent, but among people under 25 it is thought to be closer to 80 percent, according to Algerian journalists, businessmen and diplomats. The teeming streets of Algiers and its ancient Casbah quarter are filled with idle young men, many of whom say the only hope of escape is flight to France, Canada or the United States as a refugee. It is that simmering frustration that has fueled the often violent protests in the Berber-speaking Kabylie region, east of the capital. The trigger for the unrest was the death April 18 of a teenager who was taken into custody by the gendarmes, the national police based in the region. Protests turned to violence, with near daily reports in surprisingly robust newspapers of new clashes and new deaths. The demands of the protesters at first were limited and included a withdrawal of the gendarme unit responsible for the violence and such cultural initiatives as official recognition of the Berber language and culture. But as protests and violent crackdowns became a deadly cycle, the demands soon escalated to calls for a complete removal of Le Pouvoir, and for democracy and an end to corruption -- not just in the Berber region, but in all of Algeria. The young protesters were joined in separate marches by women, journalists and lawyers. .... What has struck analysts most about the protests is that they have been sustained over many weeks and have been relatively spontaneous, without orchestration by any of the traditional opposition political parties. And perhaps most important, this time there is no Muslim religious component, unlike during the country's last period of widespread unrest, in 1989-90. The government has tried to portray the uprising as an isolated case of Berber cultural demands from a region with a long history of restiveness. But many people in Tizi Ouzou and Algiers reject that characterization. "Before, people were afraid to speak out," said one professional woman who joined a march. "But the young people understand well now. The shortages, the unemployment -- they are fed up." She added, "I didn't go out because of Berber language demands. I went because of the crisis. People are fed up." In a massive Berber rally in Algiers on May 31, which drew hundreds of thousands to the largest march in more than a decade, the crowd at one point chanted to onlookers: "Please understand, this is a national problem!" Are the demands from the street reaching Le Pouvoir? Bouteflika responded first with a call for a commission of inquiry, then a withdrawal of some of the police units from the Kabylie region. Later, he reshuffled his cabinet. But these moves have been criticized by the increasingly strident opposition as too little, too late from a man who, at 64, is widely seen as out of touch with a young and angry nation. Bouteflika was foreign minister in the 1960s and 1970s, when he helped make Algeria a leading voice for Third World causes. But he spent most of the 1980s and 1990s abroad. Since returning from self-imposed exile to win the presidency in 1999 under a cloud -- the six other candidates withdrew, claiming the vote was rigged -- he has spent much of his time traveling out of the country. He helped negotiate a cease-fire between Ethiopia and Eritrea, and has toured world capitals promoting Algeria as recovering from its civil war. But critics say he is mired in Cold War rhetoric and spends more time jet-setting than addressing his own country's difficulties. "The president goes off to America, to England, everywhere, but he doesn't sort out his problems at home," said a taxi driver, offering an unsolicited comment on Bouteflika. "The problem here is, we are a state of generals." One newspaper cartoon here showed Bouteflika leaving his presidential jet and stepping onto a red carpet, which led directly to another jet. A joke making the rounds is that Bouteflika is planning an official visit -- to Algeria. A lingering and unanswered question here is: How independent is Bouteflika? Some see him as a mere figurehead of the shadowy Pouvoir. Others assert he is a real reformer who finds himself circumscribed as he tries to pull Algeria's crusty political and economic system into the 21st century. "He has no power, because he was never really elected," said a well-connected Algerian journalist. "He does not have a free hand, because he is blocked. The majority of generals want to fire him, but the question is how. They are worried about the international reaction." "I think there's a divergence of interests," said a Western diplomat. "I think he would like to do more, but he cannot, because of Le Pouvoir. The situation is so hot for the president, he has two options: leave everything as it is, or hope these young people go on making pressure, so he will be able to change things. This might help him implement his reforms. "We are at a crossroads now."
BBC 8 June, 2001 The authorities in Algeria say that five people have been killed in the town of Bani Wanif, near the border with Morocco. Security officials gave no details of the attack, apart from blaming it on a group of 'terrorists' - the term used when describing Islamic militants. The town was the scene of a massacre in 1999 in which 19 people were killed. That attack led to a serious rift between Algeria and Morocco, with Algeria alleging that the Moroccans were harbouring militants who would cross back in to Algeria and kill innocent victims.
WP 13 June 2001 By Nora Boustany Algerian Solicits U.S. Intervention Hocine Ait-Ahmed, president of Algeria's Socialist Forces Front, came to Washington with a group of young advisers to meet with State Department officials and human rights groups and to signal his society's distress in the face ofU.S. indifference toward the bloodletting that continues in his homeland. Ait-Ahmed has been a prisoner in French and Algerian jails for his activism, but despite the secular politics of his group, his appeal has been inclusive and the group has gained support among a citizenry drained by the grotesque and unabated violence. Traditionally, his party has represented the cultural aspirations of Berbers in western Algeria. When as many as 80 rioters were killed by Algerian security forces in April, some shot in the head and back withdumdum bullets, according to Salima Ghezali, an Algerian journalist, Washington barely reacted. More than 100,000 people have been killed and 10,000 have disappeared since turbulence gripped Algeria in the early 1990s when a feared Islamist victory led to the cancellation of election results. Close to 1 million Algerians are internally displaced, Ghezali added. Ait-Ahmed claimed that sudden outbursts of brutality are not linked to an Islamic threat but to the stranglehold the Algerian army has on the country as the only alternative to chaos -- or any other political process. The theory that certain power centers in Algeria's armed forces and ruling party are perpetuating the crisis is not new. Two defecting military officers have mentioned such claims in recent books. "What we need is political pressure on issues of human rights because the government is weak," Ghezali argued. Ait-Ahmed and his advisers were due to meet with U.N. officials in New York to press for the dispatch of a U.N. human rights rapporteur to Algeria.
BBC 25 June 2001By North African correspondent David Bamford About 20,000 Berber-speaking people from the troubled region of Kabyliain north-eastern Algeria came together on Monday for a protest march to mark the third anniversary of the murder of Berber musician Lounes Matoub. The march is taking place under the political backdrop of two months of violent clashes led by the Berber speaking community, which is angry about police brutality and government suppression. In death Lounes Matoub, one of Algeria's best known Berber singers, has become even more of an icon for the Berber cultural movement than he was in life. Both sides made efforts to ensure this rally did not go the way of other recent demonstrations in Tizi Ouzou and break out into violence. Organisers appealed on loudspeakers for the march to remain peaceful, and for their part, the paramilitary gendarmes kept a low profile despite taunts by hundreds of youths wearing headbands and black Berber crosses. Some of the marchers have painted their faces with black Berber crosses, while others hold aloft large photographs of Lounes Matoub, The authorities are nervous the march to commemorate his death will spark a new wave of unrest in the Kabylia region, in which at least 80 people are reported to have been killed since April. Throughout Sunday, one day ahead of the march, loudspeakers in the main Berber town of Tizi Ouzou played Mr Matoub's songs at full volume. In them he lampooned both the military-backed government and the Islamist movement. Mr Matoub was assassinated at a mountain roadblock near Tizi Ouzou in June 1998. His killers have never been bought to justice, but his friends think it no coincidence that the murder took place a few days before the government passed a new law, making Arabic the country's only legal language. A move which Mr Matoub and other Berber speakers vehemently opposed. The authorities are alarmed at the current anti-government protests, which have now spread beyond the Berbers into the wider Arab community. But so far they are showing no sign of being able to quell the general popular resentment. Besides making vague reference to holding discussions over social grievances, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika appears to have done very little to tackle the continuing unrest but observers say it threatens the very existence of his civilian government.
Angola Peace Monitor 7 June 2001 The number of kidnappings and murders by Jonas Savimbi's UNITA movement increased sharply in May, drawing widespread condemnation both inside Angola and internationally. The recent attacks have indicated that the remnant of UNITA is shifting away from classic guerrilla tactics towards unashamedly terrorist warfare. The most publicised atrocity took place on 5 May, when two hundred UNITA soldiers attacked the city of Caxito, 60km north of Luanda. It is not clear how many civilians were murdered during the attack. Some reports put the number at 79, whilst the African Church Information Service puts the number at around 200. The Information Service quoted Carl von Seth, from the Lutheran World Federation Department for World Service as stating that the first civilians were "silently knifed to death in the dark by UNITA men dressed up in army uniforms". The murders in Caxito have led human rights campaigners to ask whether civilian casualties are only a "side-effect" of the war or whether they are a targeted genocidal act. The Angola Peace Monitor is produced every month by ACTSA - Action for Southern Africa. ACTSA, e-mail email@example.com,
Reuters 5 June 2001 By Lucy Jones The Central African Republic denied on Tuesday that troops fighting to regain full control of the capital after last week's failed coup against President Ange Felix Patasse were engaged in ethnic cleansing. Dissidents were still holding out in parts of Bangui after more than a week of bloodshed which has left streets strewn with dead and forced thousands to flee amid reports of summary executions. . .The putsch triggered the worst wave of bloodletting in the impoverished former French colony since a series of mutinies in the 1990s, with the heaviest fighting in the same southern quarters that were hotbeds of disaffection then... The government say the dissidents were joined in their attack by a 300-strong force comprising Rwandan refugees and African mercenaries and led by two Rwandan generals. But France indicated it would not intervene to back Patasse as it had done in the past and suggested others follow suit. ``We believe that the time for interference in Africa is over,'' French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine said on Monday.
WP Burundi on the Brink Wednesday, June 13, 2001; Page A28 THE GOOD news out of Central Africa these days is that Congo is at last making real progress toward ending a devastating civil war that has killed hundreds of thousands and drawn in troops from a half-dozen neighboring countries. Yet, sadly, Congo's incipient success may be contributing to the undoing of one of those neighbors, Burundi -- a country where up to 200,000 people in a population of 6 million have already been slaughtered in ethnic warfare during the past eight years. A fragile peace accord to end Burundi's conflict has been coming unraveled over the past few months, and government officials, international agencies and a special United Nations delegation are all warning that militia forces returning to the country from Congo may tip the country into a new explosion of violence. The question now is whether the United Nations and African or Western governments can summon the will to intervene before it is too late. Like its neighbor Rwanda, Burundi is plagued by tensions between the majority Hutu ethnic group and minority Tutsi who control the government and army. Fighting between the two groups broke out after the country's first Hutu president was assassinated by a Tutsi-led army coup in 1993; the next year, after a plane carrying the presidents of both Burundi and Rwanda was shot down, Hutu militias massacred hundreds of thousands of Tutsis in Rwanda. Tutsi-led forces eventually took power in both countries, and the Hutu militias were driven into Congo, where they became one of the many armed sides in that country's war. Now, as Congo moves toward a settlement, Hutu fighters are streaming back toward Burundi from both Congo and Tanzania, seriously threatening the government of Pierre Buyoya, who warned a delegation from the U.N. Security Council that "a new regional conflict, centered on Burundi," might soon begin. There already have been concerted international efforts to stabilize Burundi; last year President Clinton stopped in Arusha, Tanzania, to help former South African president Nelson Mandela broker a peace accord. The plan called for Mr. Buyoya to step down and for Tutsi and Hutu presidents to alternate during a three-year transition period while reforms of the army and other institutions were carried out. But the peace process is falling apart: The two sides have been unable to settle on the choices for interim president, Mr. Buyoya has been dragging his feet, and the two major Hutu rebel groups who never signed the accord have refused to stop fighting. The Security Council group noted in its recent report that it was struck by the "complexity and intractability" of Burundi's crisis. And yet the council and key governments such as South Africa, France and the United States still can work with Mr. Mandela to head off a large-scale outbreak of violence. They can do so by pressuring Mr. Buyoya to step down quickly in favor of a transition government in which Tutsis and Hutus share power, and by getting the governments of Congo and Tanzania to cooperate in dismantling or cracking down on the Hutu militias. A security force drawn from African nations and backed by the United Nations could ensure that mass bloodshed does not break out. After the Rwandan genocide, the United Nations, the United States and France all shared blame for failing to stop the killing before it was too late. In Burundi, they must avoid repeating that mistake.
ICRC 21 June 2001 Burundi: End of food aid operation Some 100,000 families, both local and displaced, received more than 5,300 tonnes of food aid during an emergency operation conducted by the ICRC in two provinces in northern Burundi in mid-April. The operation was intended to supplement the assistance provided by the World Food Programme (WFP) elsewhere in the north. The emergency rations – consisting of beans, maize, oil and salt – enabled vulnerable communities to survive until the harvest began in June. The distributions, carried out in Ngozi and Kayanza provinces, have now ended. Set up in record time, the emergency operation was designed to mitigate the consequences of a severe food shortage in these provinces and the areas receiving WFP assistance. Considerable manpower and logistic resources were required to carry out the operation, which was generally effective, although some distributions had to be cancelled in Kayanza province owing to poor security conditions. The successful harvest, the decrease in theft in the fields, the phasing out by several non-governmental organizations of emergency therapeutic nutrition programmes and the fact that food aid did not turn up for resale at local markets all point to an improved food situation in the two provinces. To help farmers achieve basic self-sufficiency and increase their crop yields, the ICRC is considering the launch of another programme in the near future aimed at providing food aid and agricultural assistance. The idea is currently being discussed with the Burundi authorities and the specialized international agencies concerned.
Central African Republic
BBC 12 June, 2001 The United Nations has begun its efforts to rebuild peace in the Central African Republic, two weeks after a foiled coup attempt led to heavy fighting in the capital Bangui. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's special envoy to CAR arrived in Bangui on Tuesday, and went straight from the airport to meet President Ange-Felix Patasse at his downtown residence, where he presented him with a letter from Mr Annan. "General Toure will meet with leading figures in an attempt to secure the fragile peace which has held in the capital since last week," said a UN source. But General Toure will have to contend with heightened ethnic tensions in the country. Patasse: Does not have total control of the army Following the attack on President Patasse's residence by renegade soldiers led by former military ruler General Andre Kolingba, southerners loyal to the general have been pitted against northerners loyal to the president. Mr Patasse is from the Kaba subdivision of the Sara ethnic group, located in the north. Ethnic promotion Mr Kolingba, who ruled the CAR from 1981 until 1993, is from the Yakoma group, which is part of the Ngbandi ethnic group found on the banks of the Obangui river in the south. Mr Patasse and Mr Kolingba have been long time foes. The demoted general was behind the series of army-led mutinies in 1996 and 1997. General Andre Kolingba: Backed by the Yakoma people from the south At a 40th anniversary rally of the CAR army in March, President Patasse accused General Kolingba of plotting a coup. In December, Mr Kolingba's supporters staged a rally in which they accused President Patasse of corruption and mismanagement of the country. "Is the Patasse-Kolingba duel definitively over?" asked "Le Citoyen", a private newspaper published in Bangui on Monday. Mr Patasse and Mr Kolingba head political parties. The president leads the Mouvement pour la libération du peuple centrafricain (MLPC), which is the largest party in the parliament, while the former army leader heads the prominent Rassemblement démocratique centrafricain (RDC) faction. "However, there is also a tribal dimension to the rivalry between Patasse and Kolingba," said one Bangui-based diplomat. Mr Kolingba's Yakoma people, traditionally traders, had the first contact with French colonisers. Bangui has seen a series of demonstrations in recent months As a result they were the first to gain an education, use money and have positions in government. Their language, Sango, was adopted as the national language. "This gave them a superiority complex. Even to this day few Yakoma marry outside their tribe," said an academic at Bangui University. During General Kolingba's 12-year rule, the Yakoma who number 100,000, were given government positions. They were also appointed to posts requiring technical training, which made them difficult to replace when Patasse came to power. The 72,000-strong Sara-Kaba people are predominantly farmers. Those who sowed the seeds of the division would like it to be an ethnic or tribal affair President Patasse The army is one key area still dominated by the people from the southern tribes. As a result, President Patasse's position has never been fully secure. Amid widespread reports of reprisal killings of Yakoma people by government soldiers, many Yakoma civilians fled to the forests where they slept on makeshift beds woven from palm tree leaves and lived off bananas. "The soldiers were going from house to house searching for rebels. If they found a man they killed him, whether he was from the Yakoma [Mr Kolingba's tribe] or not," said Robert Garba, a guard. Many of Bangui's displaced residents, whom the government say number 80,000, are returning home. Across the city, men can be seen repairing bullet-riddled kiosks, bars and houses. Food shortage "The soldiers took everything There's no food on sale here at the moment. People are hungry. "They're too scared to go into the centre of town to buy food. The soldiers are still stopping Yakoma people," said Mathias Kwachi, a Yakoma kiosk owner. "Just because Kolingba wanted to be president again, the Yakoma people suffered," he added. The government rejects reports of revenge attacks on members of Mr Kolingba's southern Yakoma tribe. "I affirm that what has happened is not a conflict between the northerners, the southerners, the people of the savannah, the forest people or river people. "Those who sowed the seeds of the division would like it to be an ethnic or tribal affair," said the president in a television address. Nine ethnic groups - the Mbum, Sara, Banda, Gbaya, Bantu, Pygmies, Oubanguiens, Ngbandi, Nzakara Zande - inhabit this country of 2.3 million people. The Gbaya in the east and Banda in the west control the largest land mass, although since independence in 1960 until Patasse gained power, the country been controlled by the southern Oubanguiens and Ngbandi. The capital is also divided according to ethnicity. The Ngbandi's Yakoma group live in the south of this city of 700,000, where as the Sara live in the north. Tribal identity continues to play a far more important part in the central Africans than ideas of nationhood.
Reuters 11 June 2001 Congo allied forces accuse Rwanda of Hutu genocide The commander of the international forces backing the government in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Monday accused Rwanda of stage-managing recent rebel attacks and committing genocide against Rwandan ethnic Hutus. Major-General Amoth Chingombe said Rwanda threatened to undermine the Congo's peace process by accusing the Kinshasa government of being behind recent attacks on its tiny neighbor. Chingombe, who heads the troops sent by Zimbabwe, Namibia and Angola to support the Kinshasa government against a foreign-backed rebellion, said Rwanda had used the attacks as a pretext to kill Hutu prisoners. Rwanda invaded the vast, mineral-rich country in 1998, backed by Uganda and Burundi, to counter a security threat from Hutu militia who fled there after butchering 800,000 minority Tutsis and Hutu moderates in Rwanda's 1994 genocide. Rwanda and Uganda later turned guns against each other and now support rival Congolese rebel groups. Chingombe said accusations that Hutu rebels, known as Interahamwe, had recently crossed into Rwanda to attack the Rwandan army were a "cheap ploy" to justify Kigali's continued involvement in the Congo. "I have good reason to believe that the people who are being killed...are in fact Hutu prisoners," he said. "As the situation stands it would appear that Rwanda has embarked on a fresh round of genocide under the guise of killing so-called aggressors in the Congo." Rwanda says Congolese President Joseph Kabila is arming and supplying Rwandan Hutu rebels as a proxy force to hit his opponents -- a charge the Kinshasa government denies. "The...allies view these statements with concern because of their potential to undermine peace initiatives in the Congo," the statement said. Peace prospects in Congo have looked brighter since the January's assassination of President Laurent Kabila and his replacement by his son Joseph, who has helped revive a 1999 peace agreement by allowing U.N. peacekeepers to deploy. However, recent fighting in Rwanda and Burundi has raised fears that as peace takes root in the Congo the conflict is simply shifting back to the countries where it began. The Rwandan army says it has killed more than 400 Hutu rebels since the Congo-based insurgents stepped up their raids in mid-May, with 150 rebels were killed last Wednesday alone in the worst outbreak of fighting for years. "There may be attacks by the Interahamwe into Rwanda but these particular ones are stage-managed," Ben Ncube, a spokesman for the allied forces, told reporters in Kinshasa.
AP30 June 2001Belgium Ends Two-Decade Rift With Congo By ARNAUD ZAJTMAN Congo and its old colonial ruler, Belgium, mended a more than two-decade rift in top-level relations Saturday, with Congolese feting Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt in the first visit by a Belgian leader since 1988. Verhofstadt immediately ended a moratorium on aid that had lasted as long as the rift, signing accords Saturday that are expected to bring badly needed millions of dollars to Congo. Ravaged by war and plundered by decades of corrupt dictatorships, Congo was eager to regain its old partnership with Belgium. ... Belgium had frozen aid and broken off high-level relations under Congo's Cold War dictator, Mobutu Sese Seko. The move was in rebuke for the 1990 massacre of university students at Congo's southern city of Lubumbashi. Mobutu was overthrown in 1997, after plundering what were thought to be billions of dollars in foreign aid and proceeds from Congo's many natural riches. Laurent Kabila, the rebel who ousted him, quickly embroiled Congo in a war that has left the richest 60 percent of the country in control of opposition groups backed by Uganda and Rwanda. The government defends the rest, including the capital, Kinshasa, only with the armed help of Zimbabwe, Namibia and Angola. Kabila was assassinated in January. His son Joseph succeeded him, getting wary support from international leaders who look to him to end the war..... Verhofstadt's visit was timed to the 41st anniversary of Congo's independence from Belgium. A Western Europe-sized country, Congo was one of the most prosperous and peaceful in Africa at the time that countries started wresting loose from their colonial rulers after World War II. But Belgium did little to prepare Congo for independence, blocking higher education and high-level jobs for all but a privileged few dozens among millions. In 1960, it angrily pulled out with only a few months' warning, and violence followed. Congo today is a nation with decrepit roads and railroads and almost no running water or electricity outside of the capital.
American Jewish Committee 3 June 2001 The American Jewish Committee is decrying the awarding of a prestigious honor to an Egyptian journalist who recently published two columns glorifying the Nazi extermination of Jews in the Holocaust. The columns, “Thanks to Hitler,” appeared in Al Akhbar, an Egyptian government-owned newspaper, on April 18 and 25. “Denying, trivializing or even lauding the Nazi extermination of 6 million Jews, including 1.5 million children, is very much alive today in the Middle East,” said the American Jewish Committee. “Now, the Egyptian Press Syndicate has saluted this outrageous pattern in the media across the Arab world by giving Ahmad Ragab its highest honor.” ... In previous ads, in testimony before the U.S. Senate, and in published op-ed articles, the American Jewish Committee has repeatedly pointed out the prevalence and destructive consequences of anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial in the media and in school text books in the Arab world.
Jerusalem Post 25 June 2001 By Gil Hoffman An Egyptian court is due to decide Thursday whether to indict Shas mentor Rabbi Ovadia Yosef for his comments against Arabs. The court has been deliberating for several months on a suit brought by the Egyptian Defense for Arabs organization following Rabbi Yosef's comparison of Arabs to snakes. An attorney for the organization said that Egyptian law and international human rights charters permit punishing Yosef for the statements that he made in a Jerusalem rally in January. Shas spokesman Yitzhak Sudri said in response that the rabbi made clear he was referring to terrorists and not all Arabs in his comparison.
IRIN 13 June 2001 A court in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa has acquitted 27 former officers charged with genocide, Ethiopian radio, monitored by the BBC, reported on Monday. The 27 were charged with genocide and crimes against humanity allegedly committed in Eritrea during the previous military government, the radio said. The ranks of the officers ranged from brigadier to sub-lieutenant. Fifteen of those acquitted were tried in absentia. The court ordered the central prison administration to release the officers with immediate effect, said the radio.
BBC 23 June, 2001 By Nita Bhalla The position of the Ethiopian president, Dr Negaso Gidada, is under serious threat after he was dismissed from the executive committee of his party. In a surprise announcement on Friday by the Oromo Peoples Democratic Organisation (OPDO), one of the five parties making up the ruling EPRDF coalition, Mr Gidada was accused of refusing to accept the party's reforms. Dr Gidada doesn't see the tackling of corruption within his own party... as an issue that needs to be addressed OPDO member The statement, headed, "The renewal process cannot be obstructed by the ill wishes of the opportunists", also said the president had been supporting dissidents of a breakaway faction opposed to the Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi. The president, who was participating in the EPRDF Council meeting, said that he was withdrawing himself from the council's membership, because he "had come under increasing pressure from the chair of the council". It is still unclear what pressure the president was referring to, but sources say that over the past five days, the EPRDF meetings reviewing both policy reforms and the last 10 years in power have been increasingly strained. 'No to reforms' "Dr Gidada doesn't see the tackling of corruption within his own party, which has been one of the main priorities of the government, as an issue that needs to be addressed," an OPDO member said. He has also been accused of unwillingness to accept the more capitalist economic reforms that the EPRDF wishes to advance. Associates of the prime minister say he is more in line with the Marxist-Leninist policies that brought the EPRDF to power in 1991 than with the party today. 'Supports dissidents' The ODPO's most serious point of contention with the president, however, is his apparent support for a splinter group of dissidents who were expelled in March from main party in the ruling coalition, the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF). The dissidents vehemently oppose the Prime Minister Mr Zenawi. Political analysts also say the president has been demanding more rights for the Oromo people, which make up almost 50% of the population, and is an ardent supporter of Oromo nationalism. This has not gone down well with the Mr Zenawi's Tigrean minority-led government, analysts say. They add, however, that Mr Gidada, who is mainly seen as a ceremonial figure, has been demanding more power. Speculation in Addis Ababa is rife, and political analysts predict it is only a matter of days or weeks before he is removed as president. Official sources have speculated that in the coming days, Mr Gidada is likely to lose a number of no-confidence votes within the party and parliament, which will result in his dismissal as president. He has held the post for six years and is due to end his term this September. The dismissal comes as Ethiopia undergoes major political turmoil. In the past few months, the prime minister has faced challenges not only from within his own party, but also from a rising student movement and opposition parties. Mr Zenawi's chief of security and close ally was assassinated in May and the prime minister has been re-shuffling his cabinet with senior generals from within his army, with the aim of securing his position.
Addis Tribune 29 June 2001 Negaso Accuses OPDO, EPRDF of "False and Negative Propaganda" Against Him (WIC)- President Negaso Gidada has accused the Oromo People's Democratic Organization (OPDO) and the Ethiopian People Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) of perpetrating what he called "false and negative propaganda" against him. In an open letter addressed to the OPDO, Dr. Negaso defended his decision to walk-out of the EPRDF's Council meeting recently saying that it was solely based on the Ethiopian Constitution. He said he had decided against publicizing the circumstances surrounding his wak-out from the meeting through the media in order to avoid confusion. Dr. Negaso noted he resolved to continue with his membership in the OPDO and to continue as Head of the State, even though there he had enough reasons to renounce his membership in the party and resign from his presidency. He indicated that he might reconsider his resolve if the alleged false and negative propaganda, continues targeting him, and if other factors force aim to do so. The President also noted that the Ethiopian Television has refrained from broadcasting the entire dialogue that took place prior to his decision to walk out of the EPRDF's Council meeting on the 22nd of June, and called on the station to broad cast the whole story. Dr. Negaso also demanded that the entire discussion that took place during the council's meeting between 18 to 22 June be broadcast so that the public will be able to get the complete picture. (WIC)
ICRC 7 June 2001 Over 600 members of the military receive instruction in humanitarian law The international humanitarian law office of the Ministry of Defence of Guinea, the Red Cross Society of Guinea and the ICRC jointly held four seminars on the law of war for 170 officers of the country's armed forces during the second half of May in Faranah, Kissidougou and Guékédou. The ICRC also helped the office organize four one-day workshops on the basic rules of humanitarian law for 450 soldiers and other bearers of weapons. A total of nine seminars and nine workshops on the topic are to be held throughout Guinea in 2001. In accordance with the statutes of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, the ICRC has a mandate to "work for the understanding and dissemination of knowledge of international humanitarian law applicable in armed conflicts and to prepare any development thereof". To promote humanitarian law, the ICRC not only puts its expertise at the disposal of States but also actively spreads knowledge of the basic rules of this law among all the parties to armed conflicts.
BBC 14 June 2001 Kenya's 'most important man' Professor Ghai: The country's future in his hands By East Africa correspodent Andrew Harding The most important man in Kenya ambles into a Nairobi restaurant, looking like a mildly eccentric academic hunting for a library book. A small, grey-haired, comfortable figure, in a tweed jacket and thick glasses - he seems oblivious to the stares and the nudges that follow him across the room. We are at a critical stage in our history Professor Ghai And it's no wonder they stare. Depending on who you ask, Professor Yash Ghai is either Kenya's saviour, a doomed optimist, or a dangerous figure who could help to tear this country apart. He may not be the most powerful man in town - far from it - but he may well hold this country's future in his hands. Professor Ghai's official title is "Chairperson of the Constitution of Kenya Review Commission." Bouncer A more accurate description would be "referee" or perhaps "bouncer" in a chaotic, frenzied and sometimes sinister struggle to determine the fate of the Kenyan state. President Moi dominates the political scene It was last year that the 63 year old constitutional lawyer was finally persuaded to leave a well-paid job in Hong Kong and return to his native Kenya to take charge of a floundering and deeply controversial constitutional review process. Ghai was not short of relevant experience, having been involved in drafting constitutions for Papua New Guinea, Fiji, the Solomon Islands, Cambodia and others. Ghai immediately set about trying to broker a truce between two rival constitutional reform groups - one made up of Kenyan MPs, the other of church and civic leaders. After months of bitter wrangling, and escalating violence, the two groups reluctantly merged. "We are at a critical stage in our history," says Ghai, whose grandparents migrated to East Africa from India. "We now have a joint commission, representing all elements in society. I would be heartbroken (if we fail)." But to succeed, Ghai will have to steer his commission through a minefield of traps and obstacles set by some of the most powerful forces in Kenya. Thorny issues In drafting a new constitution, he will have to tackle such thorny issues as whether to reduce the enormous power of the presidency, how much authority should be transfered to Kenya's tribes and regions, and even whether outgoing President Daniel arap Moi should be offered an amnesty from prosecution. The forces lined up against Ghai are much more powerful than him Transparency International's John Githongo "The forces lined up against Ghai are much more powerful than him," says John Githongo of the anti-corruption organisation Transparency International. "Hardliners in the cabinet and people around the president don't want constitutional reform... because it will weaken them. "The key issue is fear. These people have been behaving like kids in a cookie shop for 20 years. Ghai might end the era of impunity in Kenya. That makes him a frightening figure." The international community is watching closely. Kenya has been branded one of the world's most corrupt countries. Its economy is struggling. IMF loans have been suspended. The review is widely seen as an opportunity for Kenya to show it is serious about improving its record. "We're not so bothered about what sort of constitution Kenya chooses for itself," says one senior western diplomat. "In fact the current constitution could be made workable. What's important is the process itself - will it be a genuine public debate, or another inside job?" Another observer adds (again anonymously - this is an extremely sensitive issue): "The real problem in Kenya is not the constitution - it's the long tradition of an imperial presidency where people listen to what the president says, and not what the law says." Process Professor Ghai says he is keen to make the review process as inclusive as possible. He plans to spend three months touring the countryside, organising public debates about what Kenyans want from a new constitution. "The nature of my job requires me to meet and listen to all kinds of people, ranging from the diplomatic community, politicians and religious leaders to win the confidence of everybody," he told a local newspaper recently. "He's a very careful man," says John Githongo. "Most Kenyans shoot from the hip, but not him. You never know what he's thinking - which is perhaps his greatest strength... everybody thinks he's on their side, which makes him quite effective." But time is not on the Professor's side. Ghai wants the new constitution in place before the next presidential election in December 2002. "Between 14 to 15 months is sufficient, in my experience," he says. But he acknowledges that he has a mountain to climb before then, and that his own fellow constitutional commissioners may not always be on his side. Resigning issue "It would be unfortunate," he said pointedly, "if some parties decide to deliberately obstruct the process, especially those who feel that they are better served by the current constitition. It would also be unfortunate if... some commissioners try to seek favours from politicians by reporting to them on our deliberations." All sides have now committed themselves to using only peaceful methods. I'm going to keep on reminding everyone of that Professor Ghai There have already been some awkward moments. Only last week Ghai was fighting to prevent his commissioners from ordering a fleet of luxury cars, which would have taken a huge chunk out of the commission's budget. He later threatened to resign "rather than head a corrupt commission". The fact that the review process is taking place in the run up to what may well be the most important election in Kenya's history is another source of concern. President Moi is due to stand down next year after 24 years at the helm. Some of his supporters have publically suggested that a newly drafted constitution might enable him to stand for what, at present, would be an unconstitutional third term in office. Tribal divisions President Moi has distanced himself from such remarks, but there are other dangers looming - the most worrying being the possibility of another wave of tribal violence of the sort that has marred previous elections. Kenya is made up of perhaps five main tribes and many smaller ones. Rivalries are often fierce. A key aspect of the constitutional review will be to determine how much power should be devolved from the centre towards regional, and potentially, tribal assemblies. (A process of federalism known by the Swahili term "majimboism.") President Moi, who comes from the small Kalenjin tribe, has repeatedly urged politicians to turn their backs on tribalism. A close aide even warned privately that if the situation got out of hand, "Kenya's bloodbath would dwarf the Rwandan genocide." That seems highly unlikely; but Kenya is facing an uncertain future. It's widely hoped that the constitutional review process will help to bind Kenyan society more closely together, perhaps by reducing the power of the presidency and the frantic struggle between rival tribes for control of that office, and instead encouraging more coalition-building both in government and at a local level. But there is a danger that the review process, hijacked by hardliners, could actually deepen the country's tribal divisions. "I hope we will have a peaceful process," says Professor Ghai with a patient smile. "All sides have now committed themselves to using only peaceful methods. I'm going to keep on reminding everyone of that."
BBC 6 June, 2001 The United Nations has imposed severe travel restrictions on Liberian President Charles Taylor as part of sanctions meant to punish his government for backing rebels in neighbouring Sierra Leone. Also on a list of more than 130 people affected by the travel ban are Mr Taylor's wife, his ex-wives, his son and close aides. The move was ordered by the committee monitoring sanctions against Liberia. The travel embargo is part of a sanctions package that includes an arms ban as well as an embargo on diamonds exported from Liberia. It stipulates that all states should refuse entry to those named, unless they are going to the UN headquarters in New York, or attending meetings with regional African organisations. List The list also include government and military officials, businessmen and a number of foreigners based in Liberia. Some are known to be arms dealers and involved in the diamond and timber trades. Also on the list is a senior Sierra Leonean Revolutionary United Front rebel leader Sam Bockarie, although the Liberian Government denies he is still in the country. A long running and brutal civil war in Sierra Leone has been largely a conflict about who controls the country's diamond mines. Rebels have exported these "blood diamonds" from the east of the country, through Liberia The UN began imposing sanctions against Liberia last month after it judged that all contacts with the RUF had not stopped. President Taylor said the punishment was unjust, promised to stop backing the RUF and said he would abide by the sanctions.
P.M. News (Lagos) 14 June 14 2001, by Orinya Lafia Thousands of Tiv people are now fleeing Nassarawa State for fear of being attacked over the alleged killing of Alhaji Ibrahim Musa, Special Adviser to Governor Abdullahi Adamu, by Tiv people in Awe Local Government on Tuesday. The special adviser, who was also the paramount ruler of Azara, was killed along with six other people, including three policemen, with his head cut off by the unidentified killers. Yesterday, a group of Azara people went on a manhunt for Tiv people in Lafia, Nassarawa State capital, killing a Tiv lawyer and burning down a vehicle belonging to the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Works, Mr. Ihuman. The lawyer said to be managing the private firm of the Special Adviser on Political and Assembly Matters, Mr. Gabriel Akaka, also a Tiv man, was killed near his chambers in Lafia yesterday. Mr. Akaka is now being kept in Government House, Lafia by the state governor for fear of attack on him. When P.M. News visited the state police Headquarters in Lafia yesterday evening, thousands of Tiv people were seen taking refuge in the place while others were being evacuated in police lorries to Makurdi, the Benue State capital. A young lady told P.M. News that they had to run away for fear of attack from the Azara people who believe that their traditional ruler was killed by the Tiv people The state Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Audu Peter, confirmed the attack but said he did not know the name of the person killed. Governor, Abdulahi Adamu of Nasarawa State rushed to Makurdi yesterday to brief Governor George Akume of the mounting tension in the boundary area between the two states. Sources told P.M. News that Alhaji Adamu was apparently scared by the restive disposition of the youths in Azara who accuse him of empowering the Tiv people by giving them appointments in the state.
BBC 23 June, 2001 The governor of the Nigerian commercial capital, Lagos, has suggested using an outlawed ethnic militia group to deal with the dramatic increase in armed crime. Governor Bola Tinubu said he would call in the controversial Odua People's Congress, unless police numbers in the city were doubled. The BBC Lagos correspondent says the governor is under pressure to act and the militia group is popular in Lagos for its role in fighting crime. But our correspondent says the militia is detested by northerners because of its role in bloody ethnic clashes in Lagos over the past two years. The governor's suggestion has put him at odds with the police and federal government.
This Day (Lagos) June 21, 2001 State governments planning to engage the services of ethnic militia to contain escalating crime wave have been told to jettison the idea or face the wrath of the Federal Government. The Information and National Orientation Minister, Professor Jerry Gana, who yesterday in Abuja handed down the warning while briefing State House corespondents on the outcome of the meeting of the Federal Executive Council said Federal Government views on militia had not changed. .... On the issue of ethnic militias, particularly recent moves by governor Bola Tunibu of Lagos State to draft OPC to contain criminal upsurge in Lagos, Gana said "the federal government position is that we must do everything possible to discourage ethic militia. It is dangerous and not the right thing, what we said the last time is what the Federal Government will stand by. Gana continued "although this kind of ethnic militia may sometimes help in combating crime but because they are not under any authority or have any formal training, they go out of control and create problems for the very people who authorised them to do whatever on their behalf. So, you can become captive to such an organisation:. According to Gana, government would prefer to adequately equip the regular law enforcement agencies with intensified community cooperation, rather that becoming captives to militia group" .... Last week, Tinubu hinted his intention to invite and employ the services of the O'odua People Congress (OPC) to check the increasing spate of armed robbery in Lagos state. Anambra and Abia states have been making use of the Bakasi Boys for more than one years now to check rising crime rates. In a bid to legalise the militia Governor Chinwoke Mbadinuju, through the Anambra state House of Assembly, enacted an edict to bring the Bakassi Boys- Anambra Vigilante Service (AVS) into existence. Recently Abia state Governor Oji Uzor Kalu told journalist that the Bakassi Boys which originated in Aba in 1999 was not his reaction, but a body formed by Aba traders to protect themselves from robbery molestation. He attributed the formation to the failure of the police to live up to its duties. Tinubu in his indication to work the OPC stated at "crime rate is getting to a state that we have to hold another meeting with the president on national security and to step up various efforts. He further noted that "if OPC is one of the options I won't throw away any option away, any means necessary to step down the crime wave and control it". He explained that " as long as people will not use the OPC f or setting personal ..." it will not be a wrong solution to the problem.
IRIN 23 June 2001 Several people have been killed and hundreds displaced in a fresh outbreak of fighting in central Nigeria between members of Tivs and neighbouring Hausa speakers, AFP reported on Thursday. The French news agency said the clashes affected a number of towns and villages in Nasarawa State, to the east of the capital, Abuja. They were sparked by the killing last week of a Hausa traditional ruler, which his people blamed on Tivs. The report said hundreds of Tivs, who are a minority in Nasarawa State, have fled Nasarawa for neighbouring Benue State, where they are the majority. Local newspapers had been reporting growing tension in the area since the traditional ruler, Musa Ibrahim - also a leading landowner in Nasarawa - was ambushed and killed by unknown gunmen while driving along a highway. In April violence had broken out between the two groups over allegations by Tivs that Ibrahim was encroaching on their land.
BBC 23 June 2001 More details are emerging of the scale of continuing ethnic violence in central Nigeria. Journalists who have travelled to Nasarawa state report that gangs of young men from the Azara community armed with home-made guns and machetes are systematically hunting down people from the Tiv ethnic group. Some Tivs are fighting back, but dozens are reported killed and thousands have fled. A police spokesman described the situation as very complicated and fragile. Police reinforcements have been sent, but the Nigerian Government has so far resisted deploying the army. A long-running feud between the two groups escalated last week when the Azara accused the Tivs of killing a prominent Azara chief.
BBC 28 June 2001 Villagers in central Nigeria say more than 50 people were killed two days ago in an attack by youths from a rival ethnic group. The news comes amid worsening ethnic clashes in Nasawara state which have forced tens of thousands of people from their homes. Residents of Tudun Adabu, who belong to the Egon ethnic group, told the BBC's Barnaby Phillips they were woken in the early hours of Tuesday morning when Tiv warriors launched a surprise attack. There are many casualties in the hospitals... They were killing us everywhere Simon Maku, community leader Fighting between the Tiv ethnic group and several other groups erupted two weeks ago, reportedly triggered by the murder of a prominent chief from a rival Hausa-speaking community. Our correspondent says witnesses in Tudun Adabu reported that young children, old women and local chiefs had been killed with machetes in an orgy of violence. "There are many casualties in the hospitals... they were killing us everywhere," community leader Simon Maku speaking told the French news agency AFP. Rioting The arrival of some of the bodies from the village in the local state capital, Lafia, reportedly provoked rioting there on Tuesday. In Lafia, bands of militia men belonging to various Hausa-speaking groups are patrolling the roads, armed with bows and arrows and spears and on the lookout for Tivs. The police are nowhere to be seen. Further south, Tiv militias carrying homemade guns are protecting small towns from where all the women and children have fled. They say it is the Tivs who have come under indiscriminate attack. Our correspondent says that on both sides of this war there is fear and hatred. At least 35,000 Tiv people are reported to have fled the state, and some are now living in squalid refugee camps to the south. Reinforcements The government has pledged to send police reinforcements into the region following an emergency meeting with local officials. The governor of Nasarawa told the BBC that with a greater police presence, the situation could be brought under control. However, the conflict is as complicated as the ethnic composition of central Nigeria. Several Hausa-speaking ethnic groups in Nasarawa regard the Tivs as settlers and feel their control of land, chieftaincy titles and commerce is being threatened.
The Guardian (Lagos) June 28, 2001 200 Feared Dead in Nasarawa, As Communal Clashes Escalate, by Isa Abdusalami Jos FOLLOWING escalation of the communal clashes in Nasarawa State, which claimed the lives of scores of children on Tuesday, among whom were two sets of newly born twins, the police have sent reinforcement from Abuja and Lagos to Lafia, the state capital. The state Commissioner of Police, Umar Suleiman, told The Guardian yesterday that the move was to beef up security, adding that more ammunition were also being expected from the police headquarters. He said that he personally led his men to the bush to recover the bodies of those killed in reprisal attacks at Tudun Adabu, Daddare, and Agaza, minor settlements in the bush around Lafia. At least 40 bodies were reportedly seen at the Specialist Hospital, Lafia, on Tuesday. Sources said they were the victims of the lingering communal clashes that started on June 12, 2001 at Azara following the gruesome murder of the paramount ruler of Azara Chiefdom, Alhaji Musa Ibrahim and six others. The victims were attacked at about 4 a.m. on Tuesday by unidentified persons during which they were killed, wounded and their houses and property destroyed. Children were reportedly either smashed against the walls, matcheted or shot dead during the attack. Seventeen children who were seriously injured were seen on their sick beds, while about 20 adults with gun-shot wounds were being attended to by medical personnel at the Lafia Specialist Hospital. The gory sight of the large number of the injured people in the hospital led to immediate reprisal attacks within Lafia, the state capital, where several houses were set ablaze including the Lubuna Hotel while tyres were burnt on major highways. Governor Abdullahi Adamu's large bill board canvassary his continuation in office as governor beyond 2003 was also torched by the angry youths for the second time. The youth, who looked wild during the operation, then marched to the state Ministry of Works where they were threw stones indiscriminately even as they protested what they called the undue recognition given the Tiv people whom they said were not indigenes of the state, by the governor. They vowed that they would not support any move by the governor to 'Tazarce' (meaning to succeed himself). Meanwhile, many people were seen leaving the city in droves, heading for unknown destinations for fear of being lynched by attackers. One of the surviving victims, Mr. Eligah Thomas, said he escaped being killed throng the "special grace of God". Thomas, who said two of his relative were still missing, described the attackers as "ferocious and deadly who unleashed terrible terror on their inspecting victims." The Federal government had already sent a delegation to the state, to ascertain the extent of damage to both lives and property.
Independent (South Africa) 21 May 2001 Of the dozens of books published about the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, a comic book in French about a Hutu who kills those he loves is one of the most wrenching - and eerily beautiful. For Jean-Philippe Stassen, doing the book Deogratias was his way of explaining to fellow Europeans that what happened in the far-off country in the heart of Africa "was in no way exotic, and that what happened there does concern the reader because what happened there is about human beings". Stassen, a 35-year-old Belgian, was already a well-established author of the French and Belgian genre called "bandes dessinees" or "BDs" - hardcover comic books generally aimed at teenagers or adults - when he became aware of the slaughter of a half million minority Tutsis and politically moderate Hutus orchestrated by an extremist Hutu government in the former Belgian colony of Rwanda. He had never been there, but he knew other places in Africa and had written about them. After two long stays in Rwanda and in refugee camps in neighbouring Burundi and Tanzania in 1997, he returned to Europe with sketches and notes, and the 80-page volume began to take shape. Deogratias is sucked into the killing frenzy Deogratias, the central character, is a young Hutu who works as a driver at a Roman Catholic mission in southern Rwanda. .. "The idea was to have an 'average' person as the main character, not an extremist whose hate blinded him, nor a 'just', in the sense used to designate those who saved Jews from the Holocaust, precisely because both those categories are extremes," Stassen said in Paris, where he now lives. "To a large degree, the genocide was carried out by ordinary people who didn't feel any particular hatred towards their Tutsi neighbours and who simply obeyed orders, either through cowardice or fear." The comic book can be an effective vehicle to deal with powerful subjects, using striking images and stark dialogue to convey emotion and humanity. Stassen's style follows what is known in the trade as the "clear line," strong, precise images with a subtle use of colour to create atmosphere - in the case of Deogratias, both the evil of the genocide and the contrasting natural beauty of Rwanda. Art Speigelman used comic book cats and mice in Maus to tell his story of the Holocaust, and Joe Sacco's relentlessly bleak drawings and monotone balloonspeak bring the war in Bosnia to terrible life in Safe Area Gorazde. Evelyne Colas of Stassen's publishers, Editions Dupuis, said sales of "serious" comic books usually run between 8 000 and 10 000 copies. In five months Deogratias has sold 17 500 copies and is now in its fourth printing. It has been awarded several prizes for best story by a young author and best BD on current affairs. .. Ten Francophone African writers involved in a literary project called "Rwanda: Our Duty to Remember" have published novels and poetry on the subject. Fictional works in English dealing with the Rwandan genocide include Speak, Rwanda by Julian R Pierce and Elmore Leonard's Pagan Babies. - Sapa-AP
Internews (Arusha) 28 May 2001 Four suspects who had been detained in Gitarama prison for more than four years on genocide charges were last Thursday released by their community in a preliminary session of a justice system known as Gacaca. Under the preliminary Gacaca sessions, a genocide suspect is brought before members of the community where the crimes were allegedly committed and the charges read out. If no one in the community has evidence against the suspect, then he or she is freed. If there is testimony that the suspect participated in the genocide, the case is deferred and the suspect goes back to detention, pending the convening of a proper Gacaca session. The Gitarama four were from the first seven cases heard in a preliminary Gacaca session at Nogwe commune in Gitarama province. Some 30 more cases were heard before the day's session was concluded. The suspects whose cases were heard during preliminary Gacaca sessions are detainees without case files or those whose case files are incomplete. Similar preliminary trials have been conducted countrywide. The preliminary sessions are being used as a test of the process' viability. In time, suspects with complete case files will be brought before the communal courts. The commune court in Gitarama sat in a grass patch on a small hill next to a road. There was no formal arrangement, just a few seats for visitors who included Belgian and French embassy officials. Each detainee stood before approximately 2000 local residents while Jean Barushinana, the region's prosecutor, read out their names, age and asked the community if anyone knew of any reason why the person should be detained.
BBC 7 June 2001, The United Nations court looking into the Rwandan genocide handed down a not guilty verdict for the first time on Thursday. Ignace Bagilishema, formerly mayor of Mabanza commune in western Rwanda, was accused of being instrumental in the murder of 45,000 Tutsis. The judges said that the prosecution failed to provide enough convincing evidence. The Rwandan Government said it is shocked by the acquittal of Mr Bagilishema, who it described as one of the most "notorious" criminals from the genocide. Reading the judgement, Norwegian Judge Erik Mose spoke of the "paucity" of the evidence against Mr Bagilishema, and said that the testimonies of many of the witnesses presented against him were contradictory and unreliable. By a majority of two to one, the panel of three judges found that there was insufficient evidence to support any of the seven charges against Mr Bagilishema. 'Tutsi defender' Throughout the trial, Mr Bagilishema had always maintained that he had tried to protect Tutsis, but had not been able to prevent all the attacks. The slaughter in Rwanda shocked the world He was presented by his defence team as a good mayor dedicated to peaceful co-existence of Hutus and Tutsis. The prosecutor has already said that he intends to appeal against the acquittal, and has also requested that the tribunal keep Mr Bagilishema in custody for another 30 days, in case he flees or poses a threat to witnesses. The tribunal's normal procedure is for acquitted suspects to be released immediately. The tribunal has been sitting in Arusha, Tanzania since November 1994 to look into the genocide that left about 800,000 people dead. There is frustration in Rwanda at how slow the Arusha process has been. The tribunal has found only eight people guilty so far.
BBC 15 June 2001 By Helen Vespirini in Gisenyi Rwandan militias, who have been operating in the Democratic Republic of Congo since fleeing their home country in 1994, are continuing their attempt to infiltrate north-western Rwanda. Their movements seem to be inspired by the talk of disarming militias involved in the DR Congo conflict within the framework of the Lusaka peace agreement. The Rwandan military has been staging an operation in the north-west of the country to try to flush out infiltrators from the foothills of the Virunga volcanoes. And troops have been using anti-aircraft guns to dislodge the rebels from the area around Karisimbi volcano. Flushing out rebels They say the logic is to flush out the rebels before they can attack or come into contact with the local population. Rwandan soldiers have launched a major counter-insurgency operation The army says that since the start of the latest round of attacks in early May, it has killed more than 700 infiltrators. A further 250 have either given themselves up or been taken captive. The Rwandan military say they have suffered no casualties. But if the rebels staging the current cross-border raids are not heavily armed, the military are bracing for attacks by others who are better equipped. On the Congolese side of the border, a brigade operating under the name of Horizon is making its way northwards from the province of Katanga and is expected to cross into Rwanda. Horizon is made up of Interahamwe, the militia men who carried out the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, and more recent recruits. The commanders are members of the former Rwandan army and the commander in chief was head of the presidential guard of the former Rwandan president, Juvenal Habyarimana. Rwanda says it is ready to repulse attacks, both in the north-west and in the south-west, where it also has a border with the DR Congo.
BBC 16 June 2001 Nine people have been sentenced to death in Rwanda for their part in the 1994 genocide, in which Hutu extremists killed at least 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus. The victims were cut into pieces they were tortured to death with clubs, machetes, swords, iron bars. The sentences came at the end of a trial of 126 suspects. Thirty other accused were sentenced to life imprisonment, 25 were acquitted and the remaining suspects were given sentences of between four and 20 years. "The victims were cut into pieces," the judges are quoted by Reuters as saying, "they were tortured to death with clubs, machetes, swords, iron bars." Some of the suspects avoided the death penalty by owning up to their crimes during the trial, which lasted for seven months. It was Rwanda's biggest ever trial of suspects accused of involvement in the genocide.
Reuters 27 June 2001 Rwanda Plans Strict Media Bill to Avert Genocide By Jean Baptiste Kayigamba KIGALI (Reuters) - Rwanda, where a macabre propaganda campaign helped instigate genocide in 1994, plans to introduce the death penalty for journalists whose work incites similar mass killings, government officials said on Wednesday. A Media Bill being examined by parliament's political committee stipulates life in jail for journalists who stir ethnic hatred even if they fail to provoke killings, they said. ``These articles were purposefully inserted to counter any attempt by journalists to incite the acts of genocide we witnessed in recent years,'' said local government minister Desire Nyandwi, whose ministry also handles information matters. The ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front government has ugly memories of the power of the media to change people's beliefs. The Hutu extremists who butchered 800,000 minority Tutsis and moderate Hutus in 1994 used radio and newspapers to incite hatred of Tutsis among ordinary members of the Hutu majority. The extremists later fled into exile after Tutsi-led guerrillas advancing on the capital Kigali toppled the Hutu-led government and set up their own administration. But their victory was too late to prevent the genocide, and some in the current government blame the speed of the 100-day slaughter partly on radios and newspapers which whipped up Hutus into a frenzy of fear and prejudice using insults and cartoons. Article 88 of the Media Bill says that ``whoever, through the press, attempts to incite part of the Rwandan population to commit genocide, without any resulting effect, shall be punished by a prison sentence of 20 years to life imprisonment.'' Article 89 stipulates anyone who successfully uses the media to incite Rwandans to genocide will receive the death penalty. Article 90 says anyone ``who attempts to use the foreign press to incite the carrying out of genocide, shall be punished by a ban on entering and staying in Rwanda.'' Nyandwi said Rwanda would not allow a repetition of calls for ethnic hate such as those on Radio-Television des Milles Collines and in publications like Kangura (Wake Up) magazine in 1994. These media outlets collapsed shortly after the genocide. ``Rwanda ... does not want to restrict the freedom of press,'' Nyandwi said. Senior journalists said they understood the motivation behind the bill, which has yet to go to the full parliament. ``This media law should give journalists enough room for freedom of expression, but should serve as a barrier for extremist views that can plunge Rwanda into another tragedy,'' said Flavia Busingye, a journalist on a bi-monthly publication.
IRIN 4 June 2001 Disarmament of Sierra Leone's rival irregular forces will continue in the eastern district of Kono and in Bonthe (in the south) following the successful completion of a similar process in the northwest of the country, UNAMSIL announced on Saturday. The decision to go ahead with disbanding the pro-government Civil Defence Forces (CDF) militia and the rival Revolutionary United Front (RUF) was taken on Saturday at a meeting in Magburaka, some 145 km east of Freetown, of the Joint Committee on Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration. The committee comprises UNAMSIL (UN Mission in Sierra Leone), the government and the RUF. The CDF and RUF also agreed to disclose the number of their combatants in Bonthe and diamond-rich Kono by Monday. Between 18 and 31 May, 3,502 CDF and RUF fighters disarmed in the northwestern districts of Kambia and Port Loko
IRIN 5 June 2001 Unidentified gunmen attacked a passenger bus, killing six people and wounding 19 others, near Jowhar, 90 km north of Mogadishu, on Sunday night, humanitarian sources in Jowhar, the capital of the Middle Shabelle Region, in south-central Somalia, told IRIN. According to sources, the heavily armed gunmen fired indiscriminately at the bus in the Mahadday area, some 20 km north of Jowhar. The wounded were taken to Jowhar hospital, and the more serious cases were sent to Mogadishu, sources said. The motive for the attack is unclear. According to one of the sources, the attackers did not rob the passengers. "So it does not look like a banditry attack," he told IRIN. Although it was believed that the attack was clan-based, no-one had claimed responsibility for it so far, the source said. The bus was on its way to Hiran Region, in central Somalia, and belonged to the Hawadle sub-clan of the main Hawiye clan. The attack took place in an area occupied by the Abgal, another Hawiye sub-clan.
Washington Times EDITORIAL • June 29, 2001 Africa's 'crimes against humanity' African governments are preparing to demand reparations for slavery from Western nations, while doing little to assist the current victims of the slave trade within their very borders. The African Group, which consists of 53 members, recently submitted a proposal to a U.N. committee, referring to slavery as "a crime against humanity" and demanding compensation from former colonial powers. Advocates of reparations insist that the West acquired its prosperity in part by stealing resources from the African continent. These proponents maintain that slavery resulted in lasting damage to African nations, including their large burden of foreign debt. Supporters of reparations also believe that such debts should be forgiven to make amends for previous injustices. The proposal was submitted in U.N. preparatory meetings for the World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, which is scheduled to be held in Durban, South Africa, from Aug. 31 to Sept. 8. In light of this increasing movement for compensation, Western governments are threatening to downgrade their presence at the upcoming conference. Western nations fear that to accept the principle of reparations for a practice which ended over 135 years ago will lead to an endless stream of lawsuits. However, instead of trying to evade the issue, the West should embrace it. That is, if African states want to open a dialogue on slavery, this should be encouraged. The West can use this opportunity to cast an international spotlight on the current practice of slavery which still rears its ugly head in West and Central Africa, and in Sudan. In late March and early April, as a result of the disappearance and recovery of the Nigerian-registered ship, the Etireno, news reports abounded with information on the horrifying traffic in child slaves which still plagues Africa. Children are taken from poor nations such as Benin, Togo, Mauritania and Mali, and are used and abused as domestic servants or plantation workers in wealthier nations such as Ghana, Ivory Coast and Gabon. UNICEF estimates that approximately 200,000 children are sold into slavery every year. Furthermore, slavery and genocide are regular features of the war in Sudan. All the shocking facts regarding the current practices of slavery in Africa ought to be at the forefront of any debate on reparations. Instead of pointing an accusatory finger at the West for past crimes, African leaders must demonstrate their horror of slavery by doing all they can to stop the vicious "crimes against humanity" which are daily features of the lives of some of their citizens.
AFP 28 May 2001 Sudanese government forces have burnt down 14 villages in the Nuba mountain region destroying 5,000 homes, the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) claimed Monday in a statement faxed to AFP in Cairo. SPLA spokesman Yasser Arman said that Khartoum had resorted to a "burnt land policy" after failing to rout rebels from fortified positions in the mountainous region in central Sudan during a week of fighting. The SPLA, based in the mainly animist and Christian south, has been fighting a civil war against Khartoum governments since 1983 when Islamic law was first imposed on the whole country. The Sudanese army claimed Saturday that it had retaken nine localities from the SPLA in the Nuba Moutains after inflicting heavy casualties on the rebels. The army added it had freed civilians whom, it claimed, the rebels had used as "human shields." Arman, who accused the government of carrying out "ethnic cleansing" against the Nuba people, did not mention any SPLA casualties in his statement. The SPLA said its forces had also wiped out a government army unit in the Blue Nile region in eastern Sudan during a day-long battle on Friday, after having earlier announced that it had killed 300 government troops and downed a helicopter there. Arman did not specify how many people had been killed in the new battle, but said the government had suffered "heavy material and human losses." For its part, the government said Thursday it had inflicted heavy losses on rebel forces in the area and denied one of its helicopters had been shot down by rebel forces.
IRIN 7 June 2001 The last fortnight had seen the biggest government offensive in the Nubah Mountains since 1992, when the Islamist regime in Khartoum declared a jihad, or holy war, the British 'Guardian' newspaper reported from Kawdah (11.06N 30.31E) in the Nubah Mountains on Monday. More than 7,500 government and allied militia troops launched the offensive on 17 May, closing all the airstrips that had been used to bring food and medical supplies into the blockaded mountains, it said. Thousands of Nubah were forced to flee the army advance, as soldiers destroyed almost 2,500 homes and systematically burned food stores in an apparent effort to force the Nubah people into government "peace villages", the report stated. On 26 May, the day after Khartoum announced it was halting aerial attacks on rebel bases in the Nubah Mountains, it dropped eight bombs on the Limon Hills, west of Kawdah, it added. The Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) had halted the government attack on 27 May, but expected another offensive, the 'Guardian' reported. It quoted the NGO Justice Africa as saying that the government was trying to seal off the area by taking all the airstrips, and that dozens of Nubah civilians had been abducted during the offensive.
Al-Ahram Weekly Online 7 - 13 June 2001, Hopes are again dashed for a comprehensive peace settlement between the Sudanese government and the main armed opposition group, the SPLA. But Washington stands poised to step in, writes Gamal Nkrumah. It has been a kind of Mission Impossible. Behind the hype, wise heads have always realised that getting Sudanese President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir and the leader of the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), the country's main armed opposition group, to meet face-to-face would be extremely difficult. But at last Saturday's seven-nation Inter-governmental Authority for Development (IGAD) summit meeting in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, five African leaders felt they should try again to bring Al-Bashir and Garang together for a fruitful tête-à-tête. Their efforts achieved precious little. There is no love lost between the two Sudanese bitter ideological rivals and political opponents. Bashir insists on upholding the Islamist character of the Sudanese state. Garang has taken up arms in order to create a secular Sudanese state. Even when they were in close physical proximity within the confines of the same conference venue, Al-Bashir and Garang pointedly failed to acknowledge each other's presence. But their Kenyan hosts say something was salvaged out of this failure. The Sudanese protagonists agreed in principle to work towards a comprehensive cease-fire, even though they could not agree on an actual cease-fire to end the 18-year-old conflict which has claimed the lives of two million Sudanese and rendered five million homeless. They also pledged to form permanent respective negotiating teams in order to revive the peace talks that failed last year. Libyan leader Gaddafi brings together former foes Presidents Al-Bashir of Sudan and Museveni of Uganda, but can he reconcile Bashir and the SPLA's Garang. IN AN UNPRECEDENTED development, the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) announced on Tuesday that it has captured the entire oil-rich province of Bahr Al-Ghazzal, south Sudan. The Sudanese government vehemently denies the SPLA claim. The Sudanese ambassador to Egypt, Ahmed Abdel-Halim, told Al-Ahram Weekly that, "heavy fighting is still going on in Bahr Al-Ghazzal around the regional capital Wau and the garrison towns of Aweil and Raja." Abdel-Halim also said that the Inter-Governmental Authority for Development (IGAD) summit that convened last Saturday in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, failed to reach an agreement because the SPLA insisted that the Sudanese government cease oil production. He explained that the Sudanese government objected to the "rebel movement's" insistence that Sudan be declared a secular state or that it be divided into two separate states in a confederation. "We are for equal citizenship for all Sudanese people. We are for a fair allocation and distribution of resources, including oil. We welcome multi-party democracy, but no sovereign nation would accept the conditions set by the rebel movement, which will effectively mean the division of the country into two separate states, one secular and the other Islamic," he said. SPLA leader John Garang sees the matter differently. He describes the Sudanese government as a "terrorist state," and insists that "We are not going to accept the Shari'a as the supreme law of the land." It appears that on this contentious issue there is no point of convergence. On the question of United States intervention in Sudanese political affairs, Abdel-Halim said that the new administration of US President George W Bush "needs time to formulate its own policy." But he added that, so far, the Bush administration has sent "conflicting signals" to Sudan. "We want good relations with Washington, but not at any price," he stressed. But the host, Kenyan President Daniel Arap Moi, said a greater degree of sustained commitment was required if peace were to reign in Sudan. He stressed that only by the "separation of religion and state within an appropriate federal constitutional framework," and a "referendum on self-determination" for southern Sudan would peace be won. These are precisely the demands set by the SPLA. Moi also spoke of the "sharing of resources" between government and opposition. He meant, of course, oil -- the most contentious commodity in Sudanese politics today. Sudan, which became an oil exporter in September 1999, has proven reserves of over one billion barrels of oil and crude output is expected to double to 400,000 barrels per day by the end of the year from the current 200,000. The SPLA accuses the government of deliberately depopulating oil-producing regions. In the past six months alone, the Sudanese authorities forcibly removed 100,000 people from the oil-producing area of Bentui in Bahr Al-Ghazal Province, southern Sudan. "The government has to stop evicting the civilian population to make room for oil companies. The cease-fire is not only about stopping the fighting," Garang told Al-Ahram Weekly. More than 50 international humanitarian organisations and emergency relief agencies have launched a global campaign to freeze the activities of oil companies in Sudan. On the eve of the IGAD summit, the SPLA announced that it had captured the strategic garrison town of Raja in Bahr Al-Ghazal Province. Some 2,000 Sudanese government troops were stationed in and around the town of 35,000 inhabitants, which commands access to oil-producing areas. The SPLA makes no bones of its aim to disrupt the flow of oil by destroying pipelines and oil installations. Garang insists that the Sudanese government be denied the opportunity to replenish its war chest with oil revenues extracted from southern Sudanese fields. However, these are not the best of times for the SPLA. More to the point, the United States has tempered its traditional hostility to the Islamist Sudanese government. The SPLA's over-confidence concerning tacit US support could be tested by a variety of US policy surprises. On the one hand, oil firms are keen to explore in Sudan, and they have the full backing of a Texan president with international oil interests. However, Christian groups and African American civil rights leaders are vociferously demanding international sanctions against Sudan because of persistent reports of slavery and human rights abuses. Dramatic changes are afoot in Washington's policy towards Sudan. Everyone is agreed that Washington has put Sudan near the top of its African agenda. What is still unclear is how Washington will make its presence felt more tangibly in Sudanese affairs. The burning question is whether Washington's new Sudan policy is going to be reconciliatory and working towards a political settlement of the Sudanese crisis, or will Washington assist the SPLA and other armed opposition forces to forcibly topple the Sudanese government? There are some clues to an answer. Significantly, US Secretary of State Colin Powell declined to meet Garang during his visit to Kenya and Uganda last week. Ominously, Powell declared there was "no greater tragedy on the face of the Earth today" than the Sudanese crisis. Moreover, Powell recently asked Chester Crocker, assistant secretary of state for African affairs under former US President Ronald Reagan, and author of Reagan's "constructive engagement" policy with apartheid South Africa, to devise a new Sudan policy. Another of Reagan's hangers-on, Eliott Abrams, the former president's assistant secretary of state for human rights, is shortly to join the powerful and influential US National Security Council. Abrams is known for his vehement opposition to lifting unilateral US trade sanctions against Sudan. He wants to ban foreign oil companies with investments in Sudan from raising money in US capital markets. It is unclear which interest group, the oil men or the anti-Islamists, will carry the day in Washington. There is a good deal of confusion in both Sudanese government and opposition circles about what course Washington will ultimately take. The Sudanese Ambassador to Egypt, Ahmed Abdel-Halim, told the Weekly: "The US can't talk about peace in Sudan and support the SPLA simultaneously." Abdel-Halim stressed that Khartoum was keen on an "objective dialogue" with Washington. He also noted that a concerted campaign to impose comprehensive sanctions on Sudan was under way, but that it was having no tangible impact. "Despite these rabid attempts, especially from some lobby groups in the US, Canada and other Western countries, the flow of companies interested in oil, mining and agriculture in Sudan is continually rising," he said. Not to be outdone, former Sudanese Prime Minister Sadig Al-Mahdi, leader of the Umma Party, Sudan's largest, flew to Washington this week. Al-Mahdi pulled out of the National Democratic Alliance -- the opposition umbrella group which includes the SPLA -- a couple of years ago, but his party still has a discernible popular following in northern and western Sudan. He hopes to garner support in the US for a stronger mediating role for Washington in ending the longest-running war in Africa. Sudan lies at the heart of a human tragedy which is spreading out of control and threatens to embroil the entire East African region. The Sudanese political impasse does not sit well with other IGAD member states. But IGAD has neither the clout nor the credibility to clinch a Sudanese peace deal. Washington holds all the key cards.
Internews (Arusha) 28 May 2001 The woman looked at the screen in amazement: "So that is Jean Kambanda [former Rwandan prime minister]! I have never seen him before," she said. The woman, named Mukavukesi Savala, is one of the more than 3,000 genocide suspects held at the Kibuye prison in western Rwanda. Like many others, Savala claims she does not know why she is in jail. She knows that Rwanda was plunged into chaos in the months of April to June 1994, the 101 days that the slaughter of thousands of Rwandans occurred in one of the most important tragedies in the African continent, if not the world over. Savala was arrested after the genocide and is still awaiting trial, almost seven years after the event. Thanks to US-based Internews Network, the Kibuye prisoners got a rare opportunity on 21 May to see a documentary on the justice process at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) that is based in Arusha, Tanzania. The ICTR is charged with trying those said to have masterminded the genocide. So far, the ICTR has in its custody 46 of such suspects. Kibuye prison was the first stop in a series of visits to Rwandan prisons by Internews Network, where the organization showed the documentary film directed by award-winning filmmaker, Mandy Jacobson of South Africa. The two-hour documentary in Kinyarwanda, entitled The Arusha Tapes, features six trials that have taken place before the ICTR. All the 3,000-plus prisoners followed scene after scene on a huge screen in the prison courtyard. ... As the Kibuye prisoners watched the documentary, they often broke into excited chatter when a face they recognized appeared. Some were simply amazed at the whole process. Many of the inmates had never set eyes on some of the government leaders on trial for genocide and crimes against humanity. When Kambanda's photograph appeared on the screen, gasps and chatter followed. "So this is him eh, let me see him..." Savala said. " I have never seen him before, now I know what he looks like," she exclaimed. Moreover, many of the prisoners were shocked that Kambanda had confessed to the charges brought against him. Many had always thought their leaders believed in the cause of the genocide, but they were even more perplexed to learn that he would not face the death penalty. "Why is it that the tribunal gives them more lenient sentences than us, they are the ones who told us to kill on radio ... how come we are paying the higher price," another inmate asked. For most of the prisoners, the highlight of the documentary seems to be the part showing the living conditions in the United Nations Detention Facility (UNDF) where the suspects are held in Arusha. A collective murmur breaks out at the sight of the neat cubicles, and the tone rises when the Kibuye prisoners see the beds, towels and mosquito nets. However, it is the food that gets at them, the sight of a clean kitchen and hired professional cooks preparing dinner for the Arusha detainees is a bit too much! "These people have no problem! You call that a prison? That is not a prison, it is paradise!" one woman exclaimed.
AP 1 June 2001 By Sukhdev Chhatbar A U.N. appeals court on Friday upheld the sentences of three men convicted of genocide and crimes against humanity during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. The three judges on the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda panel unanimously rejected appeals by former Taba Commune Mayor Jean Paul Akayesu, former Kibuye provincial Governor Clement Kayishema and businessman Obed Ruzindana. .. Akayesu said that he felt Friday's ruling was unjust. "It's a political tribunal," he said.
Internews (Arusha) June 12, 2001 Genocide Was Planned Long Before 1994, Says Prosecutor By Sukhdev Chhatbar Arusha The genocide in Rwanda, which claimed more than 800,000 lives, was planned long before its implementation, Sylvia Arbia of Italy, lead prosecutor in the so-called "Butare Trial," claimed today. Butare prefecture, located in the southern region of the country, was one of the last areas to succumb to the violence in Rwanda between April and June 1994. In her opening statement during the start of the trial of six genocide suspects, all from Butare, Arbia told the International Criminal Tribunal Criminal for Rwanda (ICTR) that the large- scale killings in 1994 were motivated by ethnic hatred. Among the Butare suspects is Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, a former minister of family and women affairs. Nyiramasuhuko is the only woman indicted by the ICTR for genocide and rape. The other defendants are: Nyiramasuhuko's son Arsene Ntahobali, a store manager and former militia leader; Alphonse Nteziryayo, a former commanding officer of the military police in Butare; Sylvain Nsabimana, a former governor of Butare; Joseph Kanyabashi, a mayor of Ngoma commune and Elie Ndayambaje, a former mayor of Muganza commune. Arbia told the court that a planned massacre was "tested" in Murambi, northeast Rwanda, in November 1991. Here, she said, several members of the Tutsi community were killed, houses burnt and about 300 persons displaced. "In the Bugesera attack (south of Kigali) in March 1992, more than 300 persons [the Tutsi] were killed, thousands displaced and houses burnt," she added. Another example, Arbia said, is the August 1992 attack in Kibuye, western Rwanda, which she described as "a prepared plan and tested on the field." However, she did not say how many Tutsi were killed in this attack. Ethnic hatred, she said, was further aggravated by propaganda contained in public speeches made by extremist Hutu leaders. "The speeches were intended to cause fear and urge the Hutu to kill the Tutsi." Arbia said Theodore Sindikubwabo, who took over as interim president after the death of Juvenal Habyarimana on 6 April 1994, openly incited the Hutu to kill the Tutsi in his public speeches. The media, such as 'Kangura' newspaper and the Radio Television Libre Des Mille Collines (RTLM) broadcast messages that incited hatred and violence, Arbia told the court. "It [the media] concentrated its energy in urging the hunting down of the Tutsi wherever they might be." 'Kangura' means 'Awakening' in Kinyarwanda, the language common to both the Tutsi and the Hutu. The prosecutor said ahead of the genocide, Hutu extremists referred to the Tutsi as animals, snakes and cockroaches. This, she said, was to show that the Tutsi were bad people who deserved death. Organized plan As part of an organized plan, Arbia said, was the distribution of weapons and the intensive training of Interahamwe militiamen. The Interahamwe was the militia wing of the Movement of the Republic for National Development and Democracy (MRND). "This was a well-prepared project. The object of the plan was the extermination of the Tutsi," she said adding lists of names of the Tutsi who were to be killed were carefully drawn up. "This strategy was concretely executed. It did not remain on paper or in the minds of the extremists," she told the court. The prosecution, Arbia said, would in the course of trial prove that the six defendants were part of this scheme and actively supported Tutsi extermination by taking part in the killings. She cited Nyiramasuhuko, Kanyabashi and Nsabimana who, she alleged, were present during the swearing-in of interim president Sindikubwabo. Sindikubwabo encouraged them to do what other prefectures had already completed [extermination of the Tutsi], Arbia said. She added that immediately after the meeting, the extermination of the Tutsi began. An estimated 26,000 Tutsi were killed in Butare during the genocide, Arbia told the court. Arbia started her opening statement with a lengthy historical background of Rwanda's political development. She narrated the reasons for Belgium and Germany's colonization of Rwanda and how this development caused a major division between the Tutsi and the Hutu. She said the colonialists described the Tutsi as physically handsome, a people who look like "whites" (Europeans) and considered the Hutu farmers and subordinates. Before Arbia's address, Judge William Sekule of Tanzania (presiding) granted a motion by the prosecution to modify a list of witnesses scheduled to testify during the trial. Sekule allowed the prosecution to postpone the appearance of witnesses "FAM," who is currently detained, and "TK," who the prosecution said was unable to travel to Arusha because of family problems. The trial continues tomorrow with the appearance of first prosecution witness, Gandhi Shukri, an investigator. The trial adjourned in the early afternoon to allow the defense attorneys to view videotapes that will be used as exhibits in the trial. The Butare Trial is before Trial Chamber II of the ICTR, comprising Judges Sekule (presiding), Winston Matanzima Maqutu of Lesotho and Arlette Ramaroson of Madagascar.
Hirondelle News Agency (Lausanne) ANALYSIS June 20, 2001 Julia Crawford Arusha On June 7th, former Rwandan mayor Ignace Bagilishema became the first person to be acquitted on all charges by the UN's genocide tribunal for Rwanda. But he is also in the process of setting another precedent. Two weeks after being officially declared a free man, he still has nowhere to go. Informed sources say it is likely to take weeks, if not months, before this stateless ex-genocide suspect can start to resume a normal life in some foreign country. And the UN's International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) was obviously not prepared for what it would do with an acquitted person. Bagilishema is forcing it to decide. "The UN is obviously trying to do the right thing," says one source. But clearly, the situation is not simple. Bagilishema is technically free and has expressed a desire to go to a European country. But, because the Prosecutor wants to appeal his acquittal, the court ordered that Bagilishema must have two referees to vouch that he will turn up in court, and an address in his country of destination, before the UN will release him. Easier said than done. And which country is likely to grant him asylum? Some observers feel that Bagilishema deserved to be acquitted if only because the prosecution presented its case badly, as chief Prosecutor Carla del Ponte herself admitted. All the court said, and all it needs to say for an acquittal, is that the prosecution did not prove its case "beyond reasonable doubt". That is not enough to remove all doubt about his role in the 1994 Rwandan genocide. And one judge found that there was enough evidence to convict on crimes against humanity and complicity in genocide. "We are confident of the evidence we have," the Prosecutor's spokeswoman Florence Hartmann told the press after the judgement, "but we know it was presented badly in court. Mrs Del Ponte is aware that the evidence was not presented by the trial teams as well as it could have been. And as you know, the contract of the senior Trial Attorney (in charge of the case) was not renewed." Bagilishema's defence, on the other hand, presented their arguments with force. The team was one of the first to go to Rwanda in search of evidence. Defence lawyers Francois Roux of France and Maroufa Diabira of Mauritania argued that their client was "alone in the torment", that he tried to save Tutsi refugees from massacre but lacked the means to do so. Bagilishema himself testified along the same lines. "I regret not having had the means to save the whole population of my commune," the defendant told the court. "I never committed any crime, neither genocide nor crime against humanity, against anybody. I am not a criminal. I did what I could. I would have liked to do more, if I had had the means." Rwanda accepts verdict? The Prosecutor looks unlikely to win any appeal, and Rwanda does not look set to create a political row as it did with another ICTR genocide suspect, Jean- Bosco Barayagwiza. When the ICTR Appeals Court ordered Barayagwiza's release on technical grounds, there was a genuine outcry in Rwanda. People do not seem to feel that passionately against Bagilishema. Rwanda is not happy with his acquittal, and it is another stick to beat the ICTR Prosecutor with, but Kigali says it accepts the verdict. Bagilishema is seen as relatively small fry at a court for "big fish". So now the ICTR has to decide what to do with him. Any state that takes Bagilishema is nevertheless likely to attract Kigali's disapproval. European countries such as France and Belgium, already seen as "tainted" by their role in Rwanda, may well be unwilling. "There is no guarantee that he will end up in Europe," says one informed source. According to Bagilishema's lead defence counsel Francois Roux, the acquittal should be hailed as a good thing for the ICTR and for reconciliation in Rwanda. "I think this is a great day, obviously for Ignace Bagilishema himself, but more than that for Rwanda, for the work of reconciliation that is laid down in the Statute of this international criminal tribunal," Roux told journalists after the judgement. He pointed out that Rwandan courts have also acquitted genocide suspects. "We have always thought that the Tribunal must be able to make a distinction, to see that some people who are still being prosecuted are really innocent," he continued. "And we think that it is the interest of all the Rwandan population to understand that all Hutus are not genocidal killers." It remains to be seen where Bagilishema will go and how long it will take. What is certain is that, even if the UN is "trying to do the right thing", it has a problem on its hands. And for the moment, UN member states are not jumping at the chance to help out.
Hirondelle News Agency (Lausanne) 21 June 2001 Two former Rwandan mayors suspected of genocide were on Wednesday arrested at a refugee camp in Tanzania, at the request of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). One of them, Sylvestre Gacumbitsi, has already been transferred to the UN detention facility (UNDF) in Arusha. Gacumbitsi was mayor of Rusumo commune in the eastern Rwandan region of Kibungo at the time of the genocide. Informed sources say he was arrested in Mukugwa refugee camp in the northern Tanzanian region of Kigoma, along with former mayor of Rukara commune (also in Kibungo region) Jean Mpambara At the time of the arrest, the ICTR Prosecutor did not have an indictment for Mpambara ready, and therefore requested Tanzanian police to hold him in Kigoma pending an order for provisional detention from the ICTR. The ICTR Statute provides for provisional detention of suspects under investigation, provided a judge is satisfied that this is warranted. The period of provisional detention is 30 days, but can be extended on request to a maximum of two more thirty-day periods. Gacumbitsi and Mpambara allegedly authorized and presided over killings of Tutsis in their communes during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. Gacumbitsi is alleged to have been responsible for the killing of an estimated 20,000 Tutsis who had taken refuge in Nyarubuye Catholic church in Rusumo. The church has been turned into a genocide memorial.
Internews (Arusha) 29 June 2001 Former Investigator Pleads Not Guilty to Genocide by Sukhdev Chhatbar. Simeon Nshamihigo, former defense investigator at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), today pleaded not guilty to three counts of genocide and crimes against humanity. Nshamihigo, 42, pleaded not guilty to all the counts before Judge Erik Mose of Norway. He allegedly committed the crimes between April and July 1994 during the genocide in Rwanda. The former investigator, who for three years went under the assumed name of Sammy Bahati Weza, worked in the defense team of genocide suspect Samuel Imanishimwe, whose trial is currently in progress before the ICTR. Imanishimwe, former commander of Cyangugu barracks, is jointly tried with Andre Ntagerura, former transport minister; and Emmanuel Bagambiki, former governor of Cyangugu, in the "Cyangugu Trial." During today's proceedings, Holo Makwaia of Tanzania, prosecution representative, alleged that Nshamihigo was responsible for killing or causing serious bodily or mental harm to hundreds of ethnic Tutsi between 6 April and 17 July 1994. Nshamihigo was deputy prosecutor in Cyangugu Prefecture during the genocide. The prosecution has alleged that he organized and participated in a campaign to exterminate the Tutsi in his prefecture. "The campaign consisted of compiling lists of influential Tutsi and members of the political opposition and identifying persons to be killed on the basis of such lists," the prosecution alleged. Nshamihigo is accused of collaborating with and escorting Bagambiki and Imanishimwe to killing sites in Kamarampaka Stadium in the prefecture. He allegedly supervised the forced transfer of refugees from Cyangugu Cathedral to the stadium, where they were killed by militiamen, the prosecution claims. According to the prosecution, Nshamihigo supervised roadblocks in Cyangugu town, delivered weapons to kill the Tutsi and, at times, provided names of persons to be killed. "Sometime between 28 and 30 April 1994, Nshamihigo ordered the killing of the accountant of the prefecture [Cyangugu], a Tutsi who had managed to obtain a Hutu identification card," the indictment reads. Nshamihigo was arrested on 19 May in Arusha over immigration irregularities. Tanzanian police held him for being in the country illegally and for holding two fake Congolese passports. The passports were in the Nshamihigo's assumed name, Weza. On 25 May, the Tanzanian authorities dropped the charges against Nshamihigo and handed him over to the tribunal, following a request from Carla Del Ponte, ICTR Chief Prosecutor.
BBC 15 June 2001 The United States has criticised new restrictions announced by Zimbabwe on foreign journalists as troubling. Reporters from abroad wishing to work in Zimbabwe will now have to seek government approval one month in advance, where previously they could apply for permission on arrival. A US State Department spokesman said the new rules accused the Zimbabwean Government of attacking the independent media and trying to limit reporting of events. State Department spokesman Philip Reeker said: "We find this new development particularly troubling in view of the presidential election slated to occur in the first quarter of next year, 2002." The BBC's Joseph Winter and another foreign reporter had to leave in February after officials accusing them of biased reporting against the government. Media war Earlier this year the printing presses of the Daily News, the country's leading independent newspaper, were blown up. Information Minister Jonathan Moyo accuses opposition groups, independent and foreign journalists of working together to fuel violence. The government's new conditions came a day after it announced the price of fuel was increasing by 70%.
BBC 30 June, 2001 Mugabe targets 1,000 new farms Law now supposedly protects occupiers from eviction The government of Zimbabwe has released a new list of farms to be nationalised under its controversial resettlement programme. With about 1,000 new white-owned farms targeted, more than 4,000 of the country's roughly 5,500 farms have been marked for seizure. One has to wonder if they want any commercial farming at all Renson Gasela, opposition MDC The government says it is trying to redress inequalities in land ownership that resulted from colonialism. But the vice-president of the predominantly white Commercial Farmers' Union, Colin Cloete, said the policy "makes a mockery of the entire resettlement scheme". Last December, the Supreme Court sharply criticised the government's resettlement scheme as illegal under Zimbabwean law. It gave the government until 1 July of this year to restore law and order on the farms occupied since February 2000 by militants who support President Robert Mugabe. Redistribution President Mugabe announced last year that the government would seize about half of the country's commercial farms. Mr Mugabe has been criticised by Zimbabwe's Supreme Court He said that 4,500 white farmers own about 70% of the country's best farmland, and that the nationalised properties would be turned over to black Zimbabweans. But farmers' union official Colin Cloete said he thought the government actually intended to seize every white-owned farm. "It's all part of politics," he said. The Supreme Court has ordered the government to come up with "a workable programme of land reform". But last month the government passed a law outlawing the use of force to remove occupiers from farms. Criticism Critics, including the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, charge that the seizure policy has been a disaster for Zimbabwean agriculture. "One has to wonder if they want any commercial farming at all," shadow land minister Renson Gasela of the MDC said. At least 34 people died in the run-up to elections last year The MDC supports land reform but opposes the violence that has accompanied the Mugabe-inspired seizures - which has been directed against opposition supporters as well as white farmers. Mr Gasela said the government has done nothing to support farming on the lands seized from white farmers. Agricultural experts say the country may face shortages of critical food crops such as maize and wheat this year due to the upheaval on commercial farms. Correspondents say that having to import food would be humiliating for Zimbabwe, which has been producing enough food to feed itself for many years.
BBC 30 June, 2001 A judge in Argentina has issued an arrest warrant for the former naval officer Alfredo Astiz, one of the key figures in the military regime of the 1970s and 80s. The judge, Maria Servini de Cubria, said the warrant had been issued at the request of the Italian authorities, who want Mr Astiz extradited to stand trial in Italy in connection with the kidnapping and torture of three Italians. She said she had also issued an arrest order for another former naval officer, Jorge Vildoza, who is wanted by Italian prosecutors on the same charges. Mr Astiz, known as the "blond angel" during the 1976-83 military dictatorship, has been blamed for the torture and disappearance of thousands of people. In 1990, he was tried and convicted in absentia by a French court for the killing of two French nuns. National outrage He has publicly admitted to human rights violations but has been immune from prosecution in Argentina under the country's amnesty laws, introduced after the return of civilian rule. Three years ago, he sparked national outrage in Argentina when he boasted of his skills in murdering politicians and journalists. Relatives of the thousands of people who disappeared during the military regime still believe that former officers who played a leading role in the military regime should be punished.
Indenddent (UK) Colonel who ordered prison massacre gets 600 years By Jan McGirk and Natasha Parkway in Rio de Janeiro 01 July 2001 A Brazilian police colonel whose officers gunned down prisoners in one of Brazil's most shocking jail riots has been sentenced to 632 years' imprisonment for a total of 102 murders. Colonel Ubiratan Guimaraesis the first of 84 officials to face trial for the massacre at Carandiru prison in 1992. He left the courtroom in tears, vowing to appeal. As commander of a battalion of elite shock troops, Col Guimaraes ordered his men to quell a riot that broke out after a fight erupted between prisoners. When his officers moved in, some inmates tossed their weapons out the windows and hung banners appealing for peace. Others barricaded themselves inside their units and set corridors ablaze. Fearing that the fires might spread, Col Guimaraes ordered more officers into the prison. When they emerged a few hours later, 111 prisoners were dead. ... Guimaraes, 58, became a symbol of police brutality. Unrepentant, Colonel Guimaraes ran for office with the number 111 – the death toll at Carandiru – on his ballot and gave his horse the same number. He has refused to acknowledge that his officers overreacted that October afternoon. "I would do my duty again," he told a reporter. "It was not a massacre but a response to aggressions we suffered." The trial was stalled for years, first in military tribunals and then because the colonel's status as a São Paulo city councillor gave him parliamentary immunity from prosecution. Yesterday's conviction has been hailed as a breakthrough. Although human rights activists have fought to close Carandiru, the facility remains open and today houses over 8,000 inmates, more than twice as many as it was designed to hold. ... The country is increasingly ashamed of its appallingly overcrowded jails. A Brazilian parliamentary commission recently described them as "a reinvention of hell". Colonel Guimaraes is not obliged to begin his sixcentury sentence just yet. He will remain free while fighting his appeal.
Deutsche Presse Agentur 2 Jun 2001 -- Witnesses: 80 dead in massacre by leftist rebels Bogota (dpa) - Suspected rebels in northern Colombia may have killed at least 80 farm workers, local media reported Saturday. The allegations came from witnesses through Sigifredo Senior, mayor of the locality of Tierralta. Previous reports of the killings put the death toll at 24 at the hands of the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), but official confirmation has been unavailable because neither police nor the military are at the scene. About 450 kilometres north of the capital of Bogota, heavily armed men forced their way into the towns of La Gloria, Palestina and Sancon and rounded up all residents Thursday. Thereafter, the perpetrators allegedly beheaded some of their victims and threw the bodies into a river, refugees from the massacre alleged. The dead were suspected by the leftist insurgents of guarding coca fields for right-wing paramilitaries.
AFP20 May 2001 More than 55,000 displaced in Colombia in four months BOGOTA, May 20 (AFP) - About 55,560 terrified civilians fled their violence-torn Colombian communities in the first four months of 2001, the local Catholic church reported Sunday. The country's two main leftist rebel groups and their sworn enemies, the right-wing paramilitary United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, are each responsible, with threats and intimidation, for about a quarter of the displacements, said Sante Cervellin, the director of the church's refugee advocacy office. Cervellin said the problem has expanded far beyond displacing individuals or individual families. Insurgents are now intimidating entire communities, forcing them to flee, leaving all of their assets behind, he pointed out. Figuring among the church's concerns are the vast areas of fallow land left behind by the fleeing peasants, around 16 hectares (40 acres) per family, putting nearly 184,000 hectares (454,674 acres) in the hands of the rebels. According to the church, some two million Colombians have fled their homes and farms in the last decade because of the violence, another casualty of the 37-year civil war that has killed more than 200,000 people.
Amnesty International 6 Jun 2001 Colombia: Indigenous leader "disappeared" as communities are caught in cross fire AMR 23/058/2001 The indigenous and peasant communities of the Rivers Sinú and Verde, department of Córdoba, are finding themselves increasingly caught up in the cross fire between guerrilla groups and army-backed paramilitaries, Amnesty International said today. The organization's concern for the safety of the civilian communities in the area is growing in the light of the recent "disappearance" of Embera-Katío indigenous leader Kimy Pernia Domico, reportedly abducted by paramilitaries, and the massacre of at least nine peasant farmers reportedly at the hands of guerrilla forces in the Embera-Katío indigenous territory. ... Kimy Pernia Domico is a leader of the Embera-Katío indigenous people, who live along the rivers Sinú and Verde in the department of Córdoba. He has played a leading role in the indigenous communities' campaign against construction of the Urrá dam. In recent years, several Embera-Katío indigenous communities campaigning against the construction of the Urrá Dam, which will destroy much of their ancestral lands, have been targeted by paramilitary forces working in alliance with the security forces. Community leaders have also been killed by guerrilla forces, who have accused them of siding with the paramilitary or security forces. On 22 May, the guerrilla forces Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia, (FARC), Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, killed nine peasant farmers, who had been travelling along the Sinú River in the community of Zambudó, which is in the indigenous reserve. Nine more peasant farmers who were thought to have been killed by the FARC were today reported to have returned to their homes unharmed.
Miami Herald 7 June 2001 Colombia's civil war may become more violent Paramilitary force to get new leadership BY SIBYLLA BRODZINSKY Special to The Herald BOGOTA -- Colombia's right wing paramilitary force, responsible for some of the country's most brutal crimes, confirmed on Wednesday that its notorious leader, Carlos Castaño, had stepped down in a power shake-up that could signal a more violent turn for this nation's 37-year-old civil conflict. The United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, known as the AUC, said in a communique that the central command had accepted Castaño's resignation, made public last week in a brief Internet message that fueled speculation about infighting among the commanders of the paramilitary group. ...Under Castaño's leadership, the AUC grew from several hundred fighters a few years ago to about 8,000 members who target villagers suspected of collaborating with leftist rebels in mass killings throughout the country. Paramilitary forces were responsible for the murder of 577 civilians in 83 massacres last year, according to the Defense Ministry, and they were recently included on the State Department's list of terrorist groups. The shake-up reportedly followed clashes between Castaño and several lieutenants over whether to begin fighting government forces after a recent series of setbacks at the hands of the military and police. ....Under pressure from the international community and human rights groups, the government intensified actions against the paramilitaries in recent months, capturing 70 AUC members accused of massacring 40 villagers in Cauca province over Easter, arresting several top commanders in the northeast, and raiding the homes of suspected paramilitary supporters in the northern city of Montería. However, while Castaño was sidelined from the command structure, he apparently won the battle over attacking the government. In its statement Wednesday, the AUC ratified its ``will to respect the state and its institutions'' and reaffirmed its ``unwavering commitment to fight subversion.'' The AUC acknowledged divisions within the group, but denied it was due to a rift among commanders. ``They are the product of the rapid growth of the organization,'' the statement said. Former national security advisor Alfredo Rangel said Castaño's move to political tasks could herald the creation of a formal political arm of the AUC that would push for government recognition and inclusion in peace negotiations. President Andrés Pastrana has refused to recognize the paramilitaries as a political group and has repeatedly rejected suggestions that the government will be forced to negotiate with the AUC. The AUC accused Pastrana of ``dark pacts'' with the nation's most powerful insurgency, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, with which the government is engaged in slow-moving peace talks. ``We know that [the government] has been in complicity with the subversion and has prevented the armed forces from eradicating them. Today, the government and the guerrillas fear that we of the AUC will do it because our triumph would represent a defeat for both of them,'' the AUC statement said.
Thursday June 14 10:42 PM ET Castro Leads Pro-Palestinian Rally in Cuba HAVANA (Reuters) - President Fidel Castro led thousands of Cubans in a political rally late on Thursday to express support for Palestinians and condemn alleged Israeli ``genocide'' in the Middle East conflict. Culminating a week of official acts of solidarity with Palestinians, Castro and other senior communist leaders sat at the front of the demonstration at the ``anti-imperialist'' square opposite the U.S. diplomatic mission in Havana. ``We want to demand the end of the genocide against our brother Arab nation,'' one student orator, Dayron Roque Lazo, told the 10,000-strong crowd. ``Long live the heroic Palestinian people! Long live the Arab peoples who fight against imperialism! Socialism or Death!'' Cuba broke relations with Israel in the early 1970s and has been a staunch supporter of the Palestine Liberation Organization 's fight for an independent state. At Thursday's rally, speakers alternated with singers, poets and pantomime artists acting out scenes of violence in the Middle East. Most of the speakers also condemned Cuba's political archfoe, the United States, for its backing of Israel. The state-organized demonstration followed a week of pro- Palestinian activities in Cuba, including a two-day U.N.- organized regional forum on the Middle East question, and a round-table discussion on state television also attended by Castro.
Tico Times (Costa Rica) 1 June 2001 Massacred Guatemalan Village Seeks Justice By David Boddiger Special to The Tico Times CUARTO PUEBLO – Mario Cruz, about to be married, stood sweating before 400 people in a tiny church in this community, located in the sweltering jungle 350 kilometers north of Guatemala City. This was no ordinary wedding. Cruz, 26, and his young bride were wed on the 19th anniversary of the largest massacre in Guatemalan history. On March 14, 1982, the army entered Cuarto Pueblo and for four days tortured, raped, shot and burned 362 civilians. The counterinsurgency operation was part of a new "scorched earth" policy to eradicate guerrillas operating in the area by eliminating their support base, mainly civilians. ... Residents are attempting to rebuild the cooperative system established in the 1960s and 1970s by Maryknoll missionaries. The land given Cuarto Pueblo residents, mainly indigenous Mayas, was purchased by Father Guillermo Woods, who was killed along with four other U.S. citizens in a 1976 plane crash. Witnesses say Woods’ small plane was shot down by the army. Although the Peace Accords call for land distribution to peasants, Cruz said the government has shown little interest in implementing them. "The accords have lost momentum," he explained. "In previous years they were the most important national issue – today they have been forgotten and the army is still in our community." Each year more than 400 people make the difficult journey to Cuarto Pueblo from all corners of Guatemala to commemorate the massacre’s anniversary. This year survivors are particularly anxious, as many have already testified in a case being built against the former military high command on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. The case was filed by the Center for Human Rights Legal Action in May 2000, against former military president, Gen. Romeo Lucas García, currently in exile in Venezuela; his brother, former General Chief of Staff Benedicto Lucas García; and former Defense Minster René Mendoza Paloma. The three men are accused of 916 civilian deaths between October 1981 and March 1982, when Lucas García was ousted by a military coup. The center began collecting victims’ testimony four years ago, and its legal advisor to the case, Carlos Loarca, said that although 19 years have passed, many victims are still too scared to talk. "They’re too scared to testify because the counterinsurgency model still exists in their communities. Former members of the Civil Patrol Units (vigilante groups armed by the military) continue to threaten witnesses." If brought to trial, the case will become the first attempt to try former Guatemalan military leaders on charges of genocide in Guatemalan courts. However, according to Loarca, the case is proceeding slowly. "I expect this case to drag out five years," he said. Guatemala’s second genocide case is slated to open next week, when the center files charges against retired general and current Congressional President Efraín Ríos Montt for alleged crimes committed while he was head of a military coup regime from March 1982 to August 1983. In 1999, a similar case was filed in Spain by indigenous leader and Nobel Prize laureate Rigoberta Menchú. Last year, Judge Guillermo Ruíz said the case should first be tried in Guatemala. The center’s cases will determine the outcome of the Spanish case. "We are basing our case on the experience of war crimes tribunals in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, as well as trials against former Argentine military leaders, and of course, the Pinochet case in Chile," Loarca said. Meanwhile, in Cuarto Pueblo, painful memories are still fresh and returned refugees like Cruz are finding it hard to adjust. "Life here is harder than it was in Mexico,’’ he said. "But we have to struggle to keep the land that was owned by those who were killed. We have to continue with the case against Lucas García, so the past will not be repeated."
Los Angeles Times 6 June 2001 By T. CHRISTIAN MILLER Eleven communities nearly wiped out two decades ago today will file the first lawsuit in Central America accusing a sitting political figure of genocide. The lawsuit, by ethnic Maya in Guatemala's northern and central mountains, charges that the current head of Congress, Efrain Rios Montt, presided over a brutal policy of racial extermination as the nation's dictator in the early 1980s. The suit is the first step that community members hope will bring justice to those who orchestrated the deaths of more than 200,000 people, most of them Maya, during this country's 36-year civil war. It also marks a historic turning point in the effort to close old wounds in a country struggling to come to terms with a legacy of repression and brutality unmatched in Central America during the 1980s. For the first time, massacre survivors intend to publicly step forward en masse to identify those responsible for the killings. "It is good to know what happened, to clear up the past," said Juan Manuel Jeronimo, 56, who survived a massacre of 267 people in 1982 in this remote hamlet in the Guatemalan highlands. "That is why we lived: to testify and tell the truth." Rios Montt turned down a request for an interview with the Los Angeles Times, and his representatives did not return phone calls Tuesday. But military officials have denied accusations of massacres, frequently insisting that those killed were leftist guerrillas who died in battle. Many in the military discount the charge of genocide by rightly pointing out that the Maya fought both for guerrillas and for the army and paramilitary self-defense groups. The Guatemalan justice system allows civil parties such as the 11 communities to file a suit to force a criminal investigation. They become a party to any eventual prosecution of the accused. If convicted, Rios Montt could face up to 30 years in prison. Few political analysts, however, believe the suit will bring down Rios Montt, who controls not only the Guatemalan Congress but also the political party of current President Alfonso Portilla. The Guatemalan justice system is famously corrupt, often unable to resolve even the simplest crimes.
BBC 8 June 2001 A Guatemalan court has sentenced three army officers and a priest to between 20 and 30 years in prison for the murder of Roman Catholic Bishop Juan Gerardi in 1998. Among those sentenced was a former military intelligence chief, Colonel Disrael Lima Estrada, who prosecutors accused of masterminding the killing. They said Bishop Gerardi, head of the church's human rights office, was bludgeoned to death to keep him from testifying in possible trials over atrocities committed during Guatemala's 36-year civil war. The trial has been seen as a test of Guatemala's justice system by human rights activists, who believe the murder was carried out on the highest orders. Damaging report Catholic church lawyers believe former President Alvaro Arzu was involved in planning the killing, and requested the judges to order an investigation. Gerardi released a damaging report into wartime atrocities Mr Arzu used parliamentary immunity to avoid testifying. Gerardi was killed two days after releasing a report which blamed the military for 95% of the atrocities committed during the civil war which ended in 1996. Some 150,000 people are believed to have been killed in the conflict, and more than 50,000 disappeared, but so far most of the crimes have gone unpunished. Key testimony Colonel Lima was sentenced along with his son, Captain Byron Lima Oliva and Jose Obdulio Villanueva, both members of the presidential guard. All three were sentenced to 30 years in jail. Gerardi's assistant, Reverend Mario Orantes, found guilty of acting as an accomplice, was given a 20-year prison term. The bishop's cook, Margarita Lopez, was found innocent of the same charges. The court said it based its ruling largely on the testimony of the key prosecution witness, Ruben Chanax, a homeless man who claimed he had been hired by the army officers. Mr Chanax said he had been told to spy on Bishop Gerardi, and to alter the scene of the crime before the police arrived. He told the court he had been warned that someone would die. Death threats Human rights groups and church organisations held a vigil outside the court as the verdict was read amid tight security. Two investigating judges, three key witnesses and at least one prosecutor fled Guatemala in fear of their lives. Flor de Maria Garcia, the final investigating magistrate, said she had received death threats at every step of the process. On the eve of the trial, which began in March, a bomb exploded outside the house of one of the three judges hearing the case.
BBC 14 June 2001, Two former presidents of Guatemala are to face investigation on charges of genocide following a landmark judicial ruling. Romeo Lucas Garcia and Efrain Rios Montt - who ruled the country during its bloody 36-year civil war - are accused of ordering massacres of Mayan Indians between 1978 and 1983. Prosecutors will conduct a careful investigation that I will personally oversee Judge Marco Antonio Posada Human rights groups say the decision - the first time a Guatemalan court has agreed to investigate the allegations - reflects a welcome change of attitude among the country's judiciary. Although there is no guarantee either man will be formally charged, campaigners see the move as a major victory in their fight to bring the perpetrators of the killings to justice. Genocide policy The court passed separate rulings on Mr Lucas Garcia, who won a rigged election in 1978, and his successor Mr Rios Montt, who seized power in a coup four years later. Rios Montt: "Nothing to hide" Both men have been accused of conducting a policy of genocide against the Mayans, who were believed to be supporting left-wing rebels. Two years ago, a United Nations truth commission report found that Mr Rios Montt in particular oversaw a scorched earth policy, reducing hundreds of Indian villages to ashes. About 200,000 Guatemalans died in the civil war, in which the left-wing guerrillas fought state forces. Fighting ended following in peace accords in December 1996 'Nothing to hide' Mr Rios Montt is currently serving as the leader of Guatemala's Congress and as such he enjoys immunity from prosecution. A party spokesman said he would not comment on the ruling, but in the past he has insisted that he has nothing to hide. Mr Lucas Garcia, who lives in Venezuela, is reportedly suffering from Alzheimer's disease and has not made any public statement for several years.
AP 26 June 2001 TUXTLA GUTIERREZ, Mexico In a massive operation, at least 300 police officers charged into a Chiapas village before dawn Monday, arresting 13 members of a leftist group accused of killing peasants over a land dispute in April. The suspects, participants of a left-leaning group known as the House of the People, were arrested in a village of Venustiano Carranza, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) east of the capital, Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas Attorney General Mariano Herran said. The group members were arrested in connection with the execution-style slaying of eight peasants belonging to a group known as the Fray Bartolome Alliance in the nearby village of Canalucum on April 19. The assailants used AK-47 machine guns to kill their victims, who also received execution-style gunshots to the head. During Monday's arrests, police seized three .22-caliber guns and 522 live cartridges. The Fray Bartolome Alliance has long been accused of operating a paramilitary band that opposed the Zapatista rebels and purportedly received arms and support from the former ruling party. President Vicente Fox began dismantling the paramilitary system in Chiapas when he took office on Dec. 1, after bringing an end to the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI's 71-year grip on power. Although there has been no other violent action on the part of the Zapatistas since their brief uprising in 1994, the region has been the site of numerous land feuds and religious conflicts involving pro- and anti-rebel groups. The most dramatic of many continuing confrontations linked to the rebellion came on Dec. 22, 1997, when a pro-government, paramilitary group killed 45 rebel sympathizers in the nearby village of Acteal. The Fray Bartolome group accused the House of the People of trying to take 20,000 hectares (49,420 acres) of land from them and of having links to the guerrilla group the People's Revolutionary Army, also known as the Popular Revolutionary Army. But House of the People leader Bartolome Perez insisted on the group members' innocence in the April killings, denied a link with the guerrillas, and accused the PRI mayor of Venustiano Carranza of trying to discredit the organization. In April, the People's Revolutionary Army -- a guerrilla group that first emerged in 1996 in the Pacific coast state of Guerrero _ issued a statement actually accusing Mayor Isaias Montes of participating in the planning of the massacre. Montes denied the accusations. Perez also accused police of violating the rights of the villagers during Monday's operation. He said they fired shots in the air, awakening and terrorizing people who were asleep, then forced men, women and children to lie on the ground while they searched their houses. He said they also hit some women and children. Police denied using any force or violating the residents' rights in any way.
WP 3 June 2001 By Anthony Faiola Alejandro Toledo, a one-time shoeshine boy who rose from poverty to lead the pro-democracy movement against then-President Alberto Fujimori last year, clinched a historic victory in today's presidential election as Peru's first elected ruler of Amerindian descent. With 71 percent of ballots counted, the National Election Board gave Toledo 51.7 percent of the vote, compared with 48.5 percent for former president Alan Garcia, a left-wing politician who headed a disastrous administration in the late 1980s and has staged a political comeback since returning from exile in January. Just after 8 p.m. (9 p.m. EDT), Garcia conceded, promising Toledo his assistance in the nation's "democratic reconstruction." Tens of thousands of Toledo supporters poured into the colonial heart of Lima to celebrate this evening, chanting "Long live the president!" and "Pachacutic returns!" -- a reference to the greatest of the Inca kings, whom Toledo is said to resemble. Toledo's overwhelming support in Peru's poor, indigenous highlands -- where he captured more than 70 percent of the vote -- put him over the top. From the same downtown hotel balcony where he rallied forces against Fujimori last year, Toledo called on Peru and its politicians to heal wounds and unite, but warned the military that there would be "no immunity" for past crimes. ... Facing widespread social unrest, Fujimori held on to power only six months before his government crumbled after a corruption scandal. Fujimori fled to his parents' native Japan in November, leaving a caretaker government of his opponents to organize today's vote. But Toledo has faced a series of scandals of his own, and opinion polls indicate that many Peruvians voted for him despite serious reservations about his character. High-ranking Peruvian officials say they have seen a videotape of him using cocaine in a 1998 orgy with five prostitutes. Toledo has also been dogged by allegations he had a daughter out of wedlock and beat his wife, Eliane Karp, a French-born American citizen. He has also been repeatedly caught in lies and half-truths on the campaign trail. But Toledo, who has called himself "a stubborn Indian rebel with a cause," inspired many poor Peruvians with a campaign deeply rooted in the symbolism of the ancient Incas. He waved the rainbow flag of the ancient empire at rallies and has promised to hold a "second presidential inauguration" at Machu Picchu, the Inca city high in the Andes, 350 miles south of Lima. This approach appeared to resonate with some of the indigenous and mixed-race Peruvians, who make up 82 percent of the population but have always elected presidents from Peru's European-blooded elite or, with Fujimori, the country's small Asian minority. ... Today's vote -- a runoff between the top two vote getters in a first round vote in April -- was Peru's fourth election in 14 months. Toledo and Fujimori faced off in a first round and a runoff last year. The vote today, which observers described as comparatively clean and open, came after a negative campaign that appeared to repel many voters. "There is a general sense that no politician can be trusted," said Luis Benavente, head of research at the University of Lima. "The new government will have to work hard to reverse this in order to take the country out of the crisis of confidence in which we find ourselves." An estimated 12.5 percent of voters cast blank or void ballots -- far less than the 25 percent projected by opinion polls. Analysts said the lower protest vote signified a last minute shift toward Toledo by people frightened by Garcia's strong candidacy. But it did not erase a general sense of cynicism toward politicians that is increasingly common in Latin America and particularly strong in Peru. ... Special correspondent Lucien Chauvin contributed to this report.
BBC 25 June, 2001, 17:02 GMT 18:02 Peru's most wanted man, spy chief Vladimiro Montesinos, arrived under police arrest in Lima on Monday to face trial after eight months on the run. The 56-year-old was immediately put on board a helicopter that was expected to take him to a top security military jail at Lima's naval base. ... Mr Montesinos was arrested in the Venezuelan capital Caracas at the weekend. He faces a long list of charges arising from his 10 years as the right-hand man of the disgraced former president, Alberto Fujimori. Mr Montesinos allegedly bankrolled Peru's courts, Congress, media and military for a decade, and is accused of accumulating an illicit fortune of at least $264 million. His fall last year led to the toppling of President Fujimori. He faces charges ranging from embezzlement to ordering death squads and could face life imprisonment. Montesinos fled Peru by sea and land The BBC's Claire Marshall, in Lima, says the news of his return has raised concern among many of his former associates, fearful of what he may now reveal. Earlier, the Peruvian president-elect, Alejandro Toledo, said the arrest could improve the chances of extraditing Mr Fujimori from Japan. But the Japanese Government has already indicated it will not change its position on Mr Fujimori, who is protected from extradition because he has Japanese nationality. Few details have been released about his capture, although the Venezuelan authorities said four previous attempts had failed after people guarding Mr Montesinos appeared to receive a tip-off. Venezuela's interior minister, Luis Miquilena, said an investigation was underway to see if corrupt Venezuelan police had been protecting Mr Montesinos. Mr Miquilena said Mr Montesinos was captured alongside two Venezuelans and without documents. He had a lot of money with him, the minister said. Political crisis For his part, Mr Fujimori has said he is staying put in Japan for the foreseeable future. He claims he would not receive a fair trial in Peru. Mr Montesinos became Latin America's most wanted man after fleeing Peru last October, after triggering a political crisis that toppled Mr Fujimori. The spy chief went on the run after a video emerged of him apparently bribing opposition members of Congress. Senior Venezuelan officials had previously admitted there was evidence that Montesinos had been in Caracas for plastic surgery in December. Peru had offered a $5m reward for his capture. Chronology: 14 Sept 2000: Video of Montesinos 'bribing politicians' emerges 16 Sept: Fujimori offers to resign and disband security services. Rumours of army coup 23 Sept: Montesinos flees Peru 23 Oct: Asylum refused in Panama. Montesinos returns to Peru 25 Oct: Fujimori leads search for Montesinos 29 Oct: Montesinos escapes from Peru, ends up in hiding in Venezuela 17-20 Nov: Fujimori goes to Japan after foreign trip. Faxes resignation and Congress deposes him
Jerusalem Post 1 Juen 2001 By Melissa Radler Lined up along the Holocaust Memorial Wall across from the United Nations headquarters, Jewish, Christian, and Hindu leaders wore yellow stickers and spoke out in solidarity with Afghan Hindus, who are being forced by the nation's ruling Taliban movement to wear saffron-colored garments. "Humankind cannot acquiesce to inhumanity," said Michael Miller, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York which organized the event. "Whenever and wherever intolerance, bigotry or hate appears, the response must be immediate," he said. Since the Taliban came to power in 1996, the radical Islamic movement has banned education for girls, beaten men for trimming their beards, and destroyed ancient Buddhist statues. The country's Hindu minority, which has lived in the area for over a millennia and once numbered in the tens of thousands, is about 1,500 strong today. When the news of the Taliban's dress code for non-Muslims broke last week, Jewish and Israeli leaders condemned the ruling, declaring it reminiscent of the Nazi era and the Holocaust. "It is critical to draw attention to the decree," said Hindu Temple Society of North America president Uma Mysorekar, who added, "Any time you single out a person to be instantly recognized as a member of a minority group, you're setting that person up for persecution." She noted that her group has already received reports of attacks on Hindus who failed to comply with the Taliban ruling. A resolution condemning the Taliban and urging Pakistan - one of the few countries that has diplomatic relations with Afghanistan - to pressure the Taliban into rescinding the edict is gaining momentum in Congress, said Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), the resolution's sponsor. In addition, New York's Sen. Charles Schumer vowed to do "everything in our power" to protect Afghanistan's Hindus. "We need to learn from the past. The visible marking of people was the beginning of the Holocaust," said Germany's deputy representative to the UN Hanns Heinrich Schumacher.
BBC 4 June 2001 By Ken Thomas More than 60 years after being turned away from Florida, survivors of the "Voyage of the Damned" gathered to receive apologies and recall those who perished during the Holocaust. "To all the passengers here today, I want to say sorry. Sorry for my nation turning you away from this place so many years ago," said Doug McClure, a cellist who performed during Monday's gathering. Members of the All Americas Convocation, a Christian organization, helped organize a reunion of more than 40 survivors of the SS St. Louis, a luxury liner barred from docking on Cuban and American soil in 1939. The St. Louis, with 937 Jewish refugees aboard, left Germany before World War II, bound for freedom from Nazi rule. But entry to Cuba was denied, as were efforts to land in Florida. When the ship returned to Europe, some passengers gained refuge in England, while others were sent to Belgium, France and the Netherlands. Hundreds of Jewish passengers later were killed at Nazi death camps. "Because of their refusal, so many people got killed," said Herbert Karliner, 75, of Aventura, Fla., a ship's passenger who escaped persecution with forged papers and reached the U.S. in December 1946. About 250 people gathered outside the Holocaust Memorial, marked by a 42-foot bronze arm extending into the sky. A tattooed number from Auschwitz is imprinted on the wrist and images of anguished family members compose its base. About 15,000 Holocaust survivors live in south Florida. ... The ship's journey was chronicled in the 1974 book "The Voyage of the Damned" by Gordon Thomas and Max Morgan Witts, and in a 1976 film.
Atlanta Journal Constitiution 7 June 2001 by Jennifer Brett - Michael Fields is separated by a couple of generations from the horror of the Holocaust, and is a world away from the Taliban rulers of Afghanistan. He looks across the globe and back in time with childlike innocence, and it scares him. Michael, 12, was among the Davis Academy students who held a rally last week to protest a Taliban requirement that minority Hindus wear yellow armbands to distinguish them from Muslims. The students read poems and essays, made signs and wore yellow labels in a show of solidarity. "When I first started hearing about it, I thought, we'll hear another story in a couple of days that a bunch (of Hindus) were killed on the streets," said Michael, a rising seventh-grader. "We should urge our government to keep an eye on this and tell the Taliban that we don't agree with what they're doing." Students at Davis, a Reform Jewish school in Sandy Springs, learned of the situation in Afghanistan while studying religious tolerance. The kids came up with the idea to hold the rally. "The school seemed to really care about what was going on," Michael said. "It was good to know that people were caring and becoming more knowledgeable." Still, donning a yellow label --- even during a planned rally at school --- was a bit unsettling. "I didn't expect anybody to come bust down the doors, but it was kind of like, yikes," he said. Atlanta's Hindu community has spoken out against the identification labels, comparing the situation to the days when Jews in Germany were forced to wear yellow stars. "It's an omen of worse things to come," said Dr. Ravi Sharma, an Atlanta oncologist. "The similarities with Hitler's campaign are uncanny, and the consequences could be equally tragic." Many hope international condemnation will force the Taliban to change its mind before the proposal forces the Hindu minority in Afghanistan to flee. Most Hindu Atlantans said they didn't believe the decree was intended to shield Hindus from religious persecution, as the Taliban has claimed. "We absolutely don't buy that," said Narendar Reddy, president of the Indo-American Forum for Political Education, an advocacy group. "Hitler, too, made excuses." Davis student Tanya Mitropoulos, 12, also sees similarities between the labels Hindus are being forced to wear and the yellow stars of the Holocaust era. "Personally, since I'm Jewish, it really meant a lot to me," she said of last week's rally. "I'm going to keep reading the newspaper and the Internet to see what happens. The country should get aware. I want them to understand more about religious tolerance."
Economic Times (India) 8 June 2001 Congressmen to wear 'I am a Hindu' badge WASHINGTON SEVERAL influential US lawmakers will wear a yellow badge with the inscription “I am a Hindu” in solidarity with followers of the faith in Afghanistan on the day a recent anti-Hindu Taliban edict is enacted. During a mark-up of a resolution by the powerful House International Relations Committee condemning the Taliban’s edict, requiring Hindus to wear a yellow badge as a mark of identity, the lawmakers said the Taliban’s despicable decree was analogous to the Nazi persecution of Jews. The House resolution strongly condemns “the Taliban’s use of Nazi tactics to force Hindus in Afghanistan to wear symbols identifying them as Hindu; joins with people of all faiths around the world in standing against the religious persecution by the Taliban regime.” It demands “that the Taliban regime immediately revoke its order stigmatizing Hindus and other non-Muslims in Afghanistan and conform its laws to all basic international, civil and human rights standards; and calls on the Government of Pakistan to use its influence with the Taliban regime to demand that the Taliban revoke the reprehensible policy of forcing Afghan Hindus and other non-Muslims to wear a yellow identity symbol.” Rep Gary Ackerman, New York Democrat, during the course of his remarks castigating the Taliban edict, held up a copy of the yellow star the Nazi generals of Adolf Hitler’s regime had ordered the Jews in Denmark to wear in 1943, which said in Hebrew, “I am a Jew.” Ackerman, former co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans, said the then king of Denmark had himself worn the yellow star in solidarity with the Jews and exhorted his people to do the same which torpedoed the Nazi army’s efforts to identify Jews and haul them away. Ackerman hoped on the day the Taliban’s edict comes into force all members of the U.S. Congress would wear a yellow badge in solidarity with the Hindus in Afghanistan. “On that particular day, we will all become Hindus, so that the miniscule minority Hindus in Afghanistan will have a source of strength.” Rep. Tom Lantos, California Democrat, who is the ranking minority member on the committee, strongly endorsed Ackerman’s remarks and pledged to wear an “I am a Hindu” badge if the Taliban decree came to pass, and vowed to support a campaign to convince all US lawmakers to do the same. Lantos also said he would aggressively pursue Washington’s concern over Pakistan’s support for the Taliban when Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar visits here later this month and warn him that if such support was not ended Islamabad would have very few, if any, friends on Capitol Hill. He said he would urge Sattar to make sure the Pakistani government put pressure on the Taliban and prevail on the latter to have this edict withdrawn immediately. Rep. Eliot Engel, co-author of the resolution that has 74 co-sponsors and was approved unanimously by the committee and sent to the full House for a vote —said, this badge of identity “makes them (Afghan Hindus) even more vulnerable to police and mob violence.” He said he was particularly concerned “because this is not the first time the Taliban has singled out Afghan Hindus. (IANS)
NYT 13 June 2001 Salute to a Rights Campaigner Who Gave Genocide Its Name By BARBARA CROSSETTE NITED NATIONS, June 12 — One hundred years after his birth, a largely forgotten immigrant from Poland who coined the word genocide and pushed a convention outlawing it through the General Assembly is being honored here, thanks to a small human rights institute in New York campaigning to keep his story alive. The immigrant, Raphael Lemkin, a legal expert and linguist who died in 1959 at 58, had fought since 1933 to make genocide, which he first labeled a "crime of barbarity," a recognized and punishable international offense. The convention, adopted in December 1948, came into force in 1951. The United States did not ratify it until 1988, in the waning days of the second Reagan administration. Felice Gaer, director of the Jacob Blaustein Center for the Advancement of Human Rights, the organization honoring Mr. Lemkin, said that although 132 countries had now ratified the convention, and genocide is regarded universally as the worst of offenses, a number of countries where mass crimes against ethnic or religious groups have been committed in recent decades have not adhered to the agreement. Among them are Indonesia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Sudan. Overall, most African countries and more than half a dozen Latin American and Caribbean nations have not ratified the convention. On Wednesday at the United Nations, the Clinton administration's ambassador for war crimes, David Scheffer, and Secretary General Kofi Annan's wife, Nane Annan, are to speak at the event focusing on Mr. Lemkin's legacy. (Mr. Annan left Monday night for the Middle East.) Mr. Scheffer was the chief American negotiator in the establishment of the International Criminal Court, which will give a legal home for prosecution of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. The treaty establishing the court was signed by Mr. Scheffer on behalf of the United States on Dec. 31, but the Clinton White House did not try to fight for its adoption in a hostile Congress and against the strong objections of the Pentagon, which wants a guarantee that no American will ever be tried. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said here after a meeting with Mr. Annan earlier this year that the Bush administration would never support the court. United Nations officials say the administration has quietly asked the United Nations whether it can rescind Washington's signature. Mr. Lemkin first took up the cause of endangered minorities as a child in Poland, where he read "Quo Vadis" and became obsessed with images of early Christians being torn to death by lions in Rome as the crowds cheered, according to a new biography by William Korey, a writer on human rights topics. Dr. Korey is on the board of the Blaustein institute, part of the American Jewish Committee, which paid for Mr. Lemkin's burial in Queens, where he died after a heart attack. By 1933, before the world's attention — and Mr. Lemkin's — turned to Nazi Germany, he was known internationally for his battle as a Polish prosecutor to codify crimes against humanity and against cultural and artistic works of ethnic groups, among them the Armenians who were the victims of the Ottoman Turks. He fled Poland for Sweden in 1939 after the German invasion. His parents died in the Holocaust, though he did not know their fate for several years. By the end of World War II, and with the establishment of the United Nations, Mr. Lemkin moved to New York to begin his campaign for a genocide convention. Writing and teaching law intermittently at Duke University and Yale, he lobbied endlessly and often annoyingly, according to Dr. Korey, until the Genocide Convention won a place on the United Nations' agenda. "Genocide" first appeared in 1944, the Oxford English Dictionary says, in a book by Mr. Lemkin, "Axis Rule in Occupied Europe," which was published in the United States by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He told his contemporaries that he had stumbled on the idea while reading Plato, who used the Greek word genos to describe a clan or ethnic group.
U.N. Honors Holocaust Survivor By Edith M. Lederer Associated Press Writer Wednesday, June 13, 2001; 9:30 p.m. EDT UNITED NATIONS –– The United Nations paid posthumous tribute Wednesday to the Holocaust survivor who coined the word "genocide" and led the campaign for a treaty declaring the mass killing of humans an international crime. In the month that Raphael Lemkin would have celebrated his 100th birthday, and the year marking the 50th anniversary of the Genocide Convention he fought for, more than 200 human rights experts, lawyers, Jewish leaders and U.N. officials gathered to recognize his efforts. "His was a lifelong campaign for every human being's right to live in dignity," said U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who called Lemkin "one of the unsung heroes of the international human rights movement." There were calls to honor his legacy by getting every country to ratify the convention, ensuring that the United States becomes a pillar of the permanent international war crimes tribunal it envisioned, and arresting all those accused of crimes against humanity in former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. "Lemkin's life work offers an inspiring example of moral engagement. It falls now to us – not just governments but also the nongovernmental organizations that have been so active in this cause – to carry on in his spirit," Annan said in a speech read by his wife, Nane, the niece of Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg who rescued tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews in World War II. Born in Poland, Lemkin became a lawyer and as a young man, he petitioned the League of Nations in 1933 to outlaw the mass extermination of people, which he called "acts of barbarism." After Hitler invaded Poland in 1939, Lemkin joined other Jews as a guerrilla fighter against the Nazis. He fled to Sweden and then to the United States, but his parents and 47 other relatives perished in the Holocaust. In 1943, Lemkin invented the word "genocide" to describe the appalling extermination of millions of Jews and others, giving a new name to what Annan called "an old crime." The following year the word "genocide" appeared in print for the first time in Lemkin's book "Axis Rule in Occupied Europe." "The term quickly became the coin of the realm in international discourse and it remains so today," said William Korey, author of a just-released monograh entitled "An Epitaph for Raphael Lemkim." But far more important for Lemkin was his successful campaign in 1946 to get the fledgling United Nations to recognize genocide as an international crime, and then to get the world body to establish a legally binding treaty to ban it, which Annan said he did "almost singlehandedly." By the time Lemkin died in 1959, almost 60 countries had ratified the Genocide Convention. "In remembering this man, we believe it is incumbent that we continue his work," said Robert Rifkind, chair of the Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights, the New York-based group which published the monograph. "We have many war heroes. We are in desperate need of peace heroes." The institute published the 136-page document, Rifkind said, "in the hope that we will not only rescue the memory of a largely forgotten hero but stimulate action towards the universal ratification of the Genocide Convention." While 132 countries are parties to the convention, 60 have not ratified it including Japan, Indonesia, Nigeria, Sudan, Angola and Sierra Leone. Former U.S. ambassador David Scheffer urged those attending the commemoration to lobby for changes that will allow the United States to ratify the treaty. "Let's not create a paper tiger ... but an international court that includes the United States as one of its strongest pillars," he said. "Raphael Lemkin could then truly rest in peace."
WP 14 June 2001 By Spencer S. Hsu Federal officials yesterday defended their decision to award a construction contract for the World War II memorial to an American firm whose German parent company used slave labor during World War II. Tompkins Builders of Washington and Grunley-Walsh Construction of Rockville were awarded a $56 million contract last week to build the memorial on the Mall. Tompkins is owned by a subsidiary of J.A. Jones Inc., of Charlotte, N.C., which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Philipp Holzmann AG of Frankfurt. Holzmann, a $5.4 billion construction conglomerate, has acknowledged the use of forced laborers -- including war prisoners and concentration camp victims -- during the Nazi regime. It is one of 6,406 German companies that have agreed to contribute to a $4.4 billion national industry fund to compensate survivors of the labor camps. John Graves, co-chairman of World War II Veterans to Save the Mall, part of a coalition that opposed the location and design of the memorial, said in a statement: "We are sickened by the announcement that a contract to build the World War II Memorial has been signed with a company tied to Nazi slave labor camps. This is the latest chapter in a dishonest process that is casting a shadow over what was until now a proud legacy." The American Battlefield Monuments Commission, the group that raised $170 million for the memorial, and its contracting agent, the General Services Administration, said it was unfair and irrelevant to raise the issue of Holzmann's wartime history. "The agency reiterates that Tompkins and Grunley-Walsh are responsible firms," GSA said in a written statement. "The joint venture of these American firms submitted the highest quality proposal and the lowest price, thus providing the best overall value to the government." Mike Conley, the commission's spokesman, noted that federal agencies by law are not allowed to discriminate against U.S. firms based on the nationality of parent companies. "In today's global economy, international ownership relationships are common," he said. Tompkins was established in the District in 1911 and is the Washington region's third-largest general contractor. It was acquired by J.A. Jones Construction Co. in the mid-1960s, and Jones was bought by Holzmann in 1979. Tompkins helped renovate the U.S. Capitol and built the West Wing of the White House and the National Air and Space Museum, said John D. Bond III, president of J.A. Jones Construction. J.A. Jones built nine American military bases where U.S. troops were trained for World War II, the Navy shipyard in Panama City, Fla., and a uranium processing plant in Oak Ridge, Tenn., that helped develop the atomic bomb. "Anyone who questions the loyalty of J.A. Jones or Charles Tompkins . . . tramples upon the patriotism of our veterans and the men and women that supported the war effort," Bond said. Rabbi Andrew Baker, director of international affairs for the American Jewish Committee and a negotiator for Holocaust victims' compensation claims, said German firms participating in the reparations fund deserve credit. "Had you said the parent company here was one of perhaps a small number of German companies that refused to participate, that would be an unpleasant signal and may be cause for criticism," Baker said. "Whether the company itself is Siemens, Krupp, Daimler-Chrysler or Volkswagen that actually used slave labor, or companies that have been created since the war . . . they're all part of this single initiative." The link between Tompkins and Holzmann was first reported by Media-General News Service. Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) initially said the issue should be investigated, but a Schumer spokesman yesterday declined to comment further. Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) issued a statement disavowing a newspaper report in which he had been quoted as saying that he "did not want to reward folks who were involved with Nazi Germany." In his written statement, Allen said he could not support any delay to the World War II memorial project.
NYT 25 June 2001 Editorial U.S. Courts Become Arbiters Of Global Rights and Wrongs BYLINE: By WILLIAM GLABERSON BODY: Last year, five Chinese natives sued the former Chinese prime minister, Li Peng, in an American court for his role in the Tiananmen Square crackdown that killed hundreds of civilians in Beijing. While visiting the United Nations in September, President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe was served with a civil suit saying he ordered killings, torture and terrorism in his country and seeking $400 million in damages. In Brooklyn, a federal judge is considering legal claims of Canadians and Israelis in addition to Americans against a French railroad that transported people to Nazi death camps. Those and many other kinds of cases reflect the growing use of the American legal system to judge rights and wrongs all over the globe. The trend, which began in the mid-1980's and has been accelerating in recent years, is strongest in human rights cases. But it extends to other areas of the law, like business claims under American antitrust, securities and racketeering laws and criminal prosecutions of foreign terrorists captured abroad. "The cold war paradigm was the United States as global policeman," said Gregory J. Wallance, a lawyer at the international law firm, Kaye Scholer in New York, who has written about the trend. "The post-cold-war paradigm is the United States as global attorney." Some of the cases are essentially symbolic, ending in huge civil verdicts that may never be collected. But others have led to criminal charges here, large civil settlements, or financial recoveries drawn from foreign property held in the United States. There is some resentment over expansion of American legal power, but because many of the cases relate to human rights' claims, critics have had difficulty drawing attention to their concerns. American lawyers have cast a wide net. Among others who have been sued in this country are the former President Slobodan Milosevic of Yugoslavia, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Prince of Wales and former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher of Britain. The expansion of American legal power has been explained in recent years as the natural outgrowth of an interconnected world. But lately, some lawyers and legal scholars have begun to argue that the cases represent a sweeping change that is transforming American courts into institutions with international sway. "What we are exporting now, just as Britain did in the 19th century, is our conception of law" said Burt Neuborne, a law professor at New York University. Last week, a federal judge awarded Mr. Neuborne $4.4 million in legal fees for his work on a series of cases against German companies and the German government by people forced into slave labor by the Third Reich. A few American lawyers have made millions on the international lawsuits, while others are handling the cases largely to make human rights or political statements. Some major legal changes have involved terrorism abroad. Laws passed by Congress in recent years and international treaties signed since the 1970's have expanded the powers of American courts to try terrorism cases. A federal jury in Manhattan is hearing evidence in deciding the fate of a Tanzanian in the bombing of the American Embassy in Dar es Salaam, killing 11 people. The jury last week rejected the death penalty for a Saudi in the bombing of the American Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, killing 213 people. The United States used treaty provisions that require countries to "prosecute or extradite" terrorism suspects to bring some of the defendants in the embassy bombings to this country. The fact that American prosecutors tried the case is one sign of the changing views on international prosecution, several legal experts said. Historically, criminal prosecutions were mounted most often where the crimes occurred. In 1986, Italian courts convicted four Palestinian gunmen who had hijacked the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro off the Egyptian coast and killed an American, Leon Klinghoffer. One reason for the change is "a much more expansive notion of U.S. prerogatives to protect its interests," said Ruth G. Wedgwood, an international law specialist at Yale. One example of the new legal thinking was legislation passed by Congress in 1996, which for the first time permitted lawsuits in American courts against countries that the United States listed as sponsoring terrorism. Libya, Cuba and Iran are on the list. Before that, such suits were generally barred by American rules that protect governments from lawsuits in United States courts. In February, the Treasury Department authorized the release of $96.7 million from Cuban assets frozen in the United States. The money went to the families of three Miami-based pilots who were shot down by Cuban fighter jets in 1996. The families of the pilots, who were members of the Cuban exile group Brothers to the Rescue, had sued the Cuban government in federal court in Miami under the 1996 law. Americans have always been able to sue foreign individuals who were in this country. But before a landmark ruling of a federal appeals court in New York in 1980, American courts were reluctant to get involved in disputes between foreigners involving events in other countries. In the 1980 decision, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit said a seldom-used law dating of 1789 authorized foreigners to sue other foreigners in this country when they claimed violations of international legal norms, like rules against murder or torture. The 1980 case involved a lawsuit by a Paraguayan doctor against a former police official who, the court found, has tortured and killed the 17-year-old son of the doctor, who was a Paraguayan opposition leader. Since then there have been dozens of other suits under the 1789 law, the Alien Tort Claims Act. And in the last few years cases have sought increasingly larger damage awards, said Jennifer M. Green, a lawyer at the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York, which is handling many of the cases. Last year, a jury in federal court in Manhattan ordered Radovan Karadzic, the former Bosnian Serb leader, to pay $4.5 billion in damages to people who were raped, tortured and killed in the Balkan conflict. The scope of American judicial expansion is not limited to terrorism and human rights cases. American antitrust prosecutors have successfully argued that groupings of international companies are subject to American rules prohibiting collusive agreements to set prices even if only one member of the cartel sells products in this country. Under such rules, executives from Belgium, Britain, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands and other countries have been convicted in American courts. The Clinton administration began a push to prosecute international price fixing, and the Bush administration is expected to continue that drive. But globalism means there are two sides to such expansive notions. European regulators have started to apply their own laws to American businesses. Skepticism by European regulators has stalled several recent mergers by American companies, including General Electric's planned $45 billion acquisition of Honeywell International. Some courts refuse to get involved in foreign matters. American courts declined, for example, to hear lawsuits against the Prince of Wales and former Prime Minister Thatcher, which claimed they had violated human rights in Northern Ireland and Libya. But American courts are increasingly willing to stretch their authority. Among the cases that opened the door was a Supreme Court ruling in 1992 that said a Mexican charged with killing an American drug enforcement agent could be tried in this country even though agents had kidnapped him from Mexico. Similarly, in 1991, a federal appeals court in Washington approved the trial of a man who federal prosecutors said was a Lebanese militia official, Fawaz Yunis, who was charged with hijacking a Jordanian plane in Beirut and was arrested while on a yacht in the Mediterranean. These cases are a far cry, some lawyers say, from a New York federal court's refusal in 1987 to consider the multibillion-dollar lawsuits against the Union Carbide Corporation over the Bhopal chemical disaster in India. In addition to court rulings, American legal values are also exported informally, Mr. Wallance of Kaye Scholer argued in an article last year. As an example he cited boycotts of clothing brands manufactured in countries that do not comply with American workplace rules. So far, criticism of expanding ambitions of the American legal system has been muted. But some foreign governments have said they are offended by suits in this country, and some American legal experts warn that the United States is opening what could be a dangerous legal competition with other countries. Other countries are already trying to expand the influence of their legal rules or to fight off the influence of America's legal system. Some European countries are resisting a proposed international agreement in The Hague that would make it easier to enforce judgments of American courts abroad. If American diplomats and executives become entangled in lawsuits in other countries, the United States might start to view its legal expansionism in a different light, said Curtis A. Bradley, a law professor at the University of Virginia. In early June, a Chilean judge said he would try to get Henry A. Kissinger, the former United States secretary of state, to testify about the disappearance of an American in Chile when the dictator Augusto Pinochet seized power in the 1970's. Jack L. Goldsmith, a law professor at the University of Chicago, said Americans have not considered the consequences of applying this country's law all over the world. "The United States loves to export our values," Mr. Goldsmith said, "but not if it gives other countries the power to review what we do."
BBC 4 June 2001 Opposition forces in Afghanistan say the Taleban have launched fresh attacks against them in the north-east of the country. A spokesman for the opposition commander, Ahmad Shah Masood, told the French news agency that Taliban forces backed by heavy artillery, rockets and tanks, attacked early today in the Chal district of Takhar province. The spokesman said a number of hilltop positions had changed hands several times during the fighting which was continuing. The latest round of fighting in Chal district began on Friday with a Taleban offensive. The area is a supply route for the opposition.
Reuters 4 Jun 2001 By Jack Redden Death rates have soared in northern Afghanistan after three years of drought that has devastated agriculture, a medical survey released on Monday said. The U.S. branch of Save the Children charity said it found that from November to April deaths in Faryab province were more than five times the rate in stable developing countries, and 55 percent were children under five years old. "Both the crude and under-five mortality rates found by this survey are considered to be very high and well above the emergency threshold," the report said. The under-five death rate was 5.9 per 10,000 children per day, compared with 1.0 per 10,000 in stable developing countries. The report said malnutrition was not extreme but given three years of failed crops and the prospect of another, it warned that people in the remote northwest could face a dire immediate future. "Acute malnutrition is often a late indicator and carries a very high risk of mortality," said the report based on detailed research by four field teams. "Given indicators that suggest the exhaustion of coping mechanisms and the poor prospect of the next harvest, acute malnutrition could increase rapidly in the near future or people may become displaced before they become malnourished," said the report. SELLING BRIDES "Coping" has included a drastic reduction in the amount families charge for brides -- from the traditional equivalent of at least $1,800 to less than $300 -- and a fall in the age at which women are married. Men from the district were now unable to afford brides and they were being sold elsewhere, the report said, adding that the survey found a 13-year-old girl who had been sold out of the region for $120. "Respondents reported that some daughters were being given to their husbands before payment was completed -- it was also reported that a few families had given their daughers in marriage for free as they did not have enough to feed them," the report said. Residents of the arid area said crop yields had falled 50 percent in 1998, up to 90 percent in 1999 and 95-100 percent last year. The crop for 2001 was expected to be down 80-90 percent from normal. The report emphasised the drought, the worst in three decades, rather than the 21 years of war that have also taken a toll on Afghanistan. It said up to 10 percent of residents of some villages suffered from scurvy and parents faced choices of buying food or medicine for their children. Extended families, used to supporting each other, had little left to share. Grain stocks are exhausted and the selling of livestock, which had provided most income over the last year, was also nearing exhaustion. "At the time of the survey there were very few animals left to sell and very few other economic opportunities, such as selling labour or selling crafts, existed," it said. "It appeared that people were resorting to risky coping strategies with very low returns such as selling land, begging and taking loans with high interest or becoming displaced," the aid organisation said.
IRIN 6 June 2001 Taliban impose Islamic law on foreigners - Foreign aid workers in Afghanistan may be subjected to corporal and capital punishment, if new regulations announced by the ruling Taliban are implemented. This could mean death by stoning, if any married foreigner is found guilty of adultery. The new ruling, outlined in an announcement by Taliban Information Minister Mowlawi Qodratollah Jamal, on Tuesday, says that foreigners must sign a contract agreeing to abide by Islamic Emirate (Taliban) rules before they can be issued with a work visa. The contract bans them from eating pork, drinking alcohol, meeting Afghan women, and taking photographs without permission. It also forbids the playing of musical instruments, the wearing of "immoral" clothes, and illicit relations between opposite sexes. Foreigners found guilty of breaking the contract will be subjected to strict Shari'ah (Islamic) law. One of the more draconian of these laws dictates that married men or women caught committing adultery must be stoned to death in a public stadium, while unmarried offenders will receive 100 lashes. The decision to introduce this new-style contract is the latest in a series of retaliatory moves by the Taliban, angered by United Nations sanctions and the US government's decision to close down the Taliban office in New York. Some aid workers see the contract as further confirmation that a small faction of the Taliban are trying to engineer the complete withdrawal of foreigners from Afghanistan. In the capital, Kabul, relief workers have been increasingly harassed since UN sanctions were tightened in January. UN staff told IRIN that Arab "guests" of the Taliban had stopped western aid workers in the bazaar and ordered them to return to their own country. Females had been subjected to taunts and ordered to "cover your face". In May, tension between aid workers and the Taliban deteriorated when a new Italian-funded hospital in Kabul was raided by baton-wielding religious police after reports that male and female staff were socialising together in the canteen. Foreign doctors temporarily closed the hospital in protest against the intrusion. On 1 June, the campaign of harassment against aid workers intensified when the Taliban issued a new edict banning foreign women from driving alone, "in defiance" of Islamic custom. Aid workers were further incensed when talks between the Taliban and the World Food Programme (WFP) broke down due to the Taliban's refusal to allow the UN to recruit local women to identify the capital's "most needy" recipients of subsidised bread. The UN has given the Taliban a deadline of 15 June to reverse their decision, otherwise the five-year-old bakeries will close. The clampdown on "anti-Islamic behaviour" was extended to Afghan medical staff on 3 June, when Herat hospital in western Afghanistan was raided by religious police. Armed soldiers stormed the hospital to check the hair and beards of medical staff and patients. Under Taliban laws, beards must be kept untrimmed and hair clipped short. Erick de Mul, UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Afghanistan, has advised aid workers to "keep a low profile" until the Taliban can guarantee the security and protection of foreign workers. The latest attacks indicated a "breakdown in discipline in the movement [Taliban], which makes the whole operating environment for the UN and NGOs extremely difficult", de Mul said on Tuesday. The Taliban needed to "come to terms with reality and start accepting that the UN and NGOs were bound by certain principles set by the international community", de Mul said at a press conference in Islamabad on 30 May. Unless the Taliban were willing to agree to UN terms, the world body "will have to stop or suspend programmes". Taliban Foreign Minister Wakil Ahmad Motawakkil appears unruffled by the deadlock with the UN. The matter of women drivers was "not a big issue", he told AFP, inasmuch as the UN protocol had already agreed to abide by "all enforced regulations of the Islamic Emirate". Motawakkil also expressed confidence that the verbal harassment issue was under control. "The Islamic Emirate will never permit any of our guests to harass the others," he said. Meanwhile, the Taliban's rejection of the UN's political arm, and the closure of four out of six of the UN's political offices in Afghanistan, were reinforced by their deputy foreign minister's refusal on 4 June to participate in UN-led peace talks in Germany. The UN had "lost its neutral status by imposing sanctions against the Taliban", said Mulla Abdul Rahman Zahid. Motawakkil, however, has established a back-up plan. In a letter to the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, which currently has 56 member- and four observer-states, he personally requested that Islamic countries which wished to donate money to Afghanistan should send their aid directly to the Taliban government, rather than through the United Nations.
IRIN 6 June 2001 UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Afghanistan Erick de Mul on Tuesday compared the war-torn country to the 'Titanic', referring to the liner's perceived "invincibility", its officers' reluctance to take note of danger signals, and their total neglect of possibilities for rescue. De Mul's remarks came during the opening session of a two-day joint United Nations Development Programme [UNDP] and World Bank conference in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, to explore ways of bringing analytical work more into the mainstream of assistance programmes for Afghanistan. His comments and the timing of the international conference come amid mounting concern over the Taliban's restriction of the humanitarian operating environment in Afghanistan. Increased harassment of aid workers has been followed this week by the cancellation of UN-scheduled flights to Kabul and Mazar-i-Sharif, the cutting of electricity to the UN office in Jalalabad, and the closure of a regional school. The Taliban's Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice has increasingly engaged in indiscriminate arrests. "The latest incident was when a bunch burst into Herat hospital, taking doctors out, including one who was operating on a patient - who subsequently died," de Mul said. Surprisingly, hospital staff, medical students and civilians took to the streets in demonstration, he added. Prominent Pakistani writer and author Ahmed Rashid has predicted that the Taliban are on the verge of wanting all foreigners and NGOs out of the country. "The Taliban are trying to create a situation where you [the UN] will leave on your own. I easily foresee a situation where they will seize all assets of the UN, including vehicles, and will seize WFP food and seed. It is quite feasible we are looking at a completely new situation for the UN," Rashid said. He maintained that these were "real issues that could be faced by the UN agencies in the next few weeks". Such an ultimatum could be triggered on the battlefield or by the 15 June deadline for the Taliban to reconsider their refusal to allow the WFP to recruit women to conduct a survey of Kabul's "most needy" recipients of its long-time bakery project, Rashid said. De Mul stated there was no doubt that the Taliban's position over the past 18 months had "hardened tremendously". The war effort has been stepped up with 30,000 fighters massed in the northeastern Taloqan area who were not "regular" soldiers, but were prepared to sacrifice their lives. Moreover, fighters of the opposition Northern Alliance have been reinforced, to the extent of matters potentially culminating in what de Mul forecast as "enormous" casualties and collateral damage. If sustained fighting continued, he expected "a number of civilians killed and a number of civilians on the move". The humanitarian coordinator estimated that the number of displaced Afghans would top one million in the coming months, a cumulative effect of war and drought, with the number of refugees also likely to increase.
Asia TImes 8 June 2001 By Jim Wurst A panel of experts set up by the UN Security Council has recommended an ambitious monitoring system to enforce an arms embargo against the Taliban. The proposed system would remain in place at least until Afghanistan's de facto rulers abide by earlier Security Council demands to turn over suspected terrorist leader Oama bin Laden to the United States or any other country that has indicted him, and shut down his network of training camps. It would include a UN monitoring office and enforcement teams in the six countries bordering Afghanistan. The six-nation plan is the most ambitious one to date. Russia and the United States, at odds on other issues, both endorsed the proposal but key regional player Pakistan declared its opposition. The Security Council has commissioned several studies designed to improve the effectiveness of arms embargoes in recent years. None of their recommendations were instituted. The latest ideas were discussed for the first time on Tuesday; no date has been set to begin implementing them. "The Taliban have taken no steps to comply with the Security Council's demands, neither with respect to Oama bin Laden or with respect to the cessation of sanctuary and training for international terrorists and their organizations" since the Council first made those demands in October 1999, the panel said in its report. The Council renewed its demands and set up the panel last year. The arms embargo took effect in January. Ambassador Alfonso Valdivieso of Colombia, who chairs the Council's sanctions committee on Afghanistan, called the recommendations "novel and interesting", in particular the proposal to establish monitoring teams in all six countries. Pakistani Ambassador Shamshad Ahmad denounced the report. "We will not like either this report or the creation of a monitoring mechanism to be used to unjustly implicate Pakistan," Ahmad said, adding that Security Council resolutions "must not be allowed to serve the narrow ulterior motives of the few". In Ahmad's view, "isolation and ostracism [of the Taliban] have not helped and they will not help. The sanctions have to be lifted and replaced with a system that aims at resolving all of Afghanistan's problems by addressing the bigger picture." Pakistan is a major Taliban ally and one of the few countries to recognize the Islamist movement as Afghanistan's government. The United Nations, by contrast, recognizes the United Front government displaced by the Taliban. Ambassador Ravan Farhadi, who represents the United Front at the United Nations, urged that the panel's recommendations be implemented. He lambasted the Taliban as Pakistan's "infamous offspring and puppet" and said the Security Council had so far shown itself indifferent to what he called Pakistan's "aggressive policies". The panel report singled out religious schools in Pakistan as "an important source of recruits to the Taliban cause". It said, "Some Pakistani government officials have admitted knowledge of the paramilitary activities of these religious schools, [however] they are apparently allowed to continue unabated." Apart from Pakistan, the proposed monitoring and enforcement system would involve China, Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. The report says the six have combined forces of around 100,000 troops monitoring their borders with Afghanistan but noted a lack of coordination among them. For its proposal to work, all six countries would have to commit to the plan.
Australian Broadcasting Coporation 6 June 2001 Judge regrets describing Stolen Generations' plight as 'genocide' A former Australian judge who first used the word "genocide" to describe the forced removal of Aboriginal children from their parents revealed he now regrets using the term. Former High Court judge Ronald Wilson, who authored the controversial "Bringing Them Home" report describing the plight of the so-called Stolen Generations, said he now believes it was a mistake to use the term. Mr Wilson's 1997 report has polarised opponents and supporters of Aboriginal causes ever since. The report is based on testimony of Aborigines describing the effects of their removal from their families as a result of government policies dating from the early 20th century until the 1960s. Wilson said as many as one in three mixed race children, up to 100,000, had suffered enforced removal, and effectively interned in institutions or sent to foster homes where many were abused. He described this as "virtual genocide" after being appointed by the former Labor government led by Paul Keating in 1995 to conduct an inquiry into such forced removals. But in an interview published in the Bulletin magazine, Mr Wilson says the furore surrounding his decision to place the treatment of Aborigines on a par with the Holocaust ultimately blunted his message. "Genocide is very much a side issue. No-one challenges that dreadful consequences followed these policies," Mr Wilson said. "Once you latch onto the term 'genocide', you're arguing about the intent and we should never have used it." Prime Minister John Howard has persistently refused to formally apologise to the Stolen Generations, although some of his Ministers and most State Governments have. Mr Howard says he does not believe in inter-generational guilt, and that any such apology would leave the Government vulnerable to a compensation claim. Mr Wilson found many of the children removed from their homes under state and federal policies were sexually, emotionally or physically abused in the institutions or homes to which they were sent. Mr Wilson's report was greeted as a watershed in black-white relations in Australia, while the expression "stolen generation" has become a symbol of white repression.
AP 4 June 2001 Police detained seven suspects Monday in a bombing that killed 10 people during a crowded Mass at a Roman Catholic church in Bangladesh. The explosion came during a Sunday Mass attended by nearly 400 people at a church in Baniarchar, a village in Gopalganj district 65 miles southwest of Dhaka, the capital. The bomb went off behind a shelf of religious books in the tin-roofed church. Nine worshippers were killed instantly and one died on the way to a hospital, police officer Abdul Jalil said. Another 25 people were hospitalized, two in critical condition. Jalil said seven young men from the area were being questioned. He refused to give further details. No one claimed responsibility for the bombing. Religious attacks on minority Christians are rare in predominantly Muslim Bangladesh. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina condemned the attack, which took place in her home district, and ordered an investigation.
Daily Star (Dhaka) 4 June 2001 Bomb blast kills 10 in Gopalganj church: 3 suspects arrested Abul Kalam Azad, from Baniarchar People crowd outside the Catholic Church at Baniarchar village under Muksudpur thana in Gopalganj where a powerful blast during the Sunday Mass killed at least 10 people and left 26 injured yesterday. At least 10 people were killed and 26 injured, six of them critically, when a powerful bomb exploded during prayer at a Catholic church at Baniarchar village under Muksudpur thana in Gopalganj district yesterday morning. ... Witnesses said a powerful bomb wrapped in a black polythene bag exploded at about 7.50 am when the weekly Sunday Mass was going on. The bag was kept beside a bookshelf at the church. The explosion damaged the roof made of CI sheet, and walls of the church. "We were in weekly prayer. It was beyond my imagination that a powerful bomb was going to blow off," said Father Mimmo, an Italian priest. He said, on Saturday night, he had seen a man going into the church carrying a bag. The man left with the bag after a while. When this correspondent asked why he did not check the bag, Father Mimmo said, "Many people come and visit the church every day. None can believe that somebody is carrying a bomb." .... It exploded as the prayer was half way through, he said. Tomas, a resident of Baniarchar village, is an employees of World Vision, an NGO, Dipak said. PM's directive BSS adds: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday directed the high police officials to find out the culprits responsible for the bomb attack in Gopalganj. Hasina strongly condemned the incident and expressed her profound shock at the loss of 10 innocent lives in the blast. She also directed the concerned authorities to ensure proper treatment to the injured and move them to Dhaka if required. The Prime Minister also expressed her deep sympathy to the members of the bereaved family and prayed for the peace of the departed souls. She also wished early recovery of the injured. Attack condemned Meanwhile, Leaders of the minority communities yesterday strongly condemned the tragic incident at Baniarchar. They demanded inquiry into the incident and punishment of those responsible for it on the basis of the findings. Arch Bishop of Dhaka Michael Rozario giving his reaction to the incident demanded proper investigation into it. He said those responsible must be tried on the basis of the inquiry report. Three presidents of Bangladesh Hindu Buddha Christian Oikya Parishad-Major General (Retd) CR Dutta, Bodhipal Mahathero and Dainel Corrya in a joint statement expressed their resentment over the incident and demanded exemplary punishment to the culprits. They said the fundamentalist and communal forces were active in the country in recent days and engaged in attacks in different places in a planned way. The cultural and social organisations have to resist them together, they said. They expressed sympathy to the members of the bereaved families and demanded treatment of the injured. Dr Nim Chandra Bhowmik, General Secretary of Hindu Buddha Christian Oikya Parishad giving his reaction over telephone said, "we demand inquiry into the incident and punishment to those responsible for it." Prof Gabiel Gomes, former president of Bangladesh Christian Association while giving his reaction burst into tears. He said, "Muslims are not communal. The members of my family are elected to the local bodies at places where 90 per cent of the people are Muslims. Prof Gomes demanded judicial inquiry into the incident. He said "politicians of the country are not playing the role they are expected to play." Meanwhile, Caritas has sent a team to the place of occurrence to stand beside the affected people. Bangladesh Puja Udjapan Parishad in a statement to condemned the incident and Demanded exemplary punishment to those responsible for the incident after proper inquiry.
Daily Star Dhaka 4 June 2001 Asghar Khan on '71 genocide Individuals in Pak army can't avoid responsibilities BSS, Dhaka Former Pakistan air force chief Air Marshal Asghar Khan has said individuals in Pakistan armed forces can not avoid responsibilities for the 1971 genocide here despite the fact that "Yahia Khan and Bhutto were the main culprits" for the tragic episode in the then East Pakistan. "You can not avoid responsibilities saying that you only carried out orders" if those are unlawful ones, Air Marshal Khan, known for his pro-democracy role in Bangladesh's pre-liberation era told BSS in an interview. He added: "Anybody who follows unlawful orders is guilty... if you are asked to kill civilians you must not obey the order." The 80-year old air marshal made these comments on Friday as he arrived in Dhaka, for the second time in independent Bangladesh, to join a two-day South Asian civil society conference against fundamentalism and communalism. Air Marshal Khan, who leads Tehriq-e-Ishteqlal party in Pakistan since his retirement from service in mid-1960s, referred to the Nuremberg and Hague trials for war crimes in the World War II saying the guilty officers could not save their neck on the plea of carrying out orders to kill. Khan recalled how he declined to carry out "illegal" orders from a British general who had ordered to open fire on a convoy of Pagaro of Sindh as he revolted against the British rule. "I was put under arrest at that time but throughout my life I maintained this stand," he said. Asked on Bangladesh's demand for official apology from Pakistan, he said, "I would like to see (what I can do). But I am not so powerful" (to make Islamabad seek apology for 1971). "But I tell them very firmly... I keep on telling them what they had done here (Bangladesh)," he said. "I am proud what I have done (to support Bengali cause)... they (Pakistani junta) were so stupid and unjust." Asghar Khan said the ordinary soldiers were sent to Dhaka to fight "enemies" with an infused idea that the Bengalis were not Muslims or rather anti-Islam. "But when they came to East Pakistan they were surprised to see Bengalis offering prayers like Muslims." Asked on the fate of junta leaders at that time, the former Pakistani air chief, with regrets in his tone, said: "Do you know Yahia Khan was buried with full military honour. He was buried like a hero." Asghar Khan accused the "junta-feudal lord clique" for the 1971 episode saying "the two real culprits" general Yahia Khan and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto acted according to the will of the clique as by that time the "generals were also becoming land lords." "They were afraid of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Awami League as Awami League's manifesto was to abolish landlordism," he said. The elderly Pakistani politician, who has been waging a anti-feudal and pro-democracy campaign over the past several decades in his country, said he had declined to appear before the justice Hamudoor Rahman Commission after the war on question of principle. The air marshal was forced to appear under a warrant when he told the commission that its exercise was "sheer wastage of time" calling its terms and reference as "wrong." The commission was asked to find out why Pakistani army laid down their weapons in Dhaka. "The question should be why Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was not given the power" despite the 1970 elections result, the air marshal recalled himself as telling the commission. The report has been published after long 30 years when little could be done against the culprits, he said. Air Marshal Khan said the common Pakistanis were also given a misleading idea about 1971 but now they have realised what actually went wrong at that time. "The two countries now think how to develop relations forgetting the old wounds," he said. Asked to comment on allegations and speculations that two convicted killers of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman frequently visit Pakistan, the Pakistani politician expressed his ignorance about the issue. "I will make a public statement returning to my country. But I don't think they (Pakistani authority) would be so stupid" (to shelter the killers), he said. Responding to a question on an allegation that fanatic or fundamentalist elements were being provided armed training in Pakistan along with Afghanistan, Air Marshal Khan said he would also look into the matter. "I will not only check it, I will also speak about it," he said.
Time of India 24 June 2001 Thirty years hence, Bangladesh seeks "truth" By Aloyjyoti Dev NEW DELHI: Nothing charges up the Bangladeshi psyche more than the atrocities of the Pakistani troops before and during the war of liberation 30 years ago. As independent Bangladesh prepares itself for the next general elections by October, the collective memory is sure to be churned again, reliving the dark days of wanton killing and macabre violence. To jog the memory will be a compendium, War Crimes, Genocide and Quest for Justice. The book, to be released next week, has been compiled by the War Crimes Fact Finding Committee and the Genocide Archive and Human Studies Centre, Dhaka. It documents the inhuman brutalities of the Pakistani troops and provides documentary evidence of the killing fields that dotted the country and chronicles the trauma of hundreds of raped and molested women, who for the first time open up to share their anger and anguish. "We assume there are 5000 mass graves that could contain an estimated 8 lakh bodies. But most of the bodies are unlikely to be recovered, since almost 80 percent of them were thrown into the rivers or in marshes. In all, nearly 3 million people fell victim to Pakistani brutality," said Dr M A Hasan, author of the 800-page book. Hasan, whose brother and several other relatives were victims of the 1971 genocide, is the convenor of the War Crimes Fact Finding Committee and acts as chief coordinator of the Truth Commission. He estimates that nearly 24,000 people were killed in Dhaka alone during March 25-27, 1971 army crackdown. In the following week, he says, about 90,000 more people were butchered in the city. "We will present copies of the book to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and leaders of all the political parties. We want whoever comes to power to take up the issue with the United Nations Security Council so that an international war crime tribunal, like those in Rwanda and Yugoslavia, is set up. Vengeance is not our aim, we are only fighting for justice. For the right to truth and justice," said Hasan, the physician who took up the gun during the freedom struggle and served in the Bangladesh liberation force. Fired by a missionary zeal to bring the culprits to justice, Hasan and his 17 associates have toiled for 11 years looking for mass graves, digging them up to unearth remains of the victims and getting them identified, either by their surviving relatives or through forensic tests. "We have interviewed thousands of people to piece together the macabre story of mindless violence," Hasan said. The Truth Commission has so far identified 428 mass graves. A hundred more await confirmation. Mass graves discovered at Mirpur, Muslim Bazar, Jalladkhana (all in Dhaka), Santhiya (Pabna) and Fatenga (Chittagong) point to the extent of Pakistani brutality, he said. The book gives an account of what befell the villagers of Hindu-majority Golahat, near Syedpur. Promised a safe passage to India, the villagers were packed into a train which came to a halt barely a kilometre away from the station. What followed was an orgy of blood. Pakistani soldiers went on a killing spree with swords. Those who tried to flee, fell to gunfire. More than 400 men, women and children perished, Hasan said. It was not an isolated incident. The book presents numerous cases of massacre. "Around 4.5 lakh women were raped or molested. We can't let such brutality go unpunished. That's why we are planning a meeting in New York in October to coincide with the UN General Assembly session to draw global attention to the horrific chapter in Bangladesh's history," he said.
Radio Austrailia 4 June 2001 Cambodian genocide researchers are asking a prestigious Thai university to hand over the records of a senior Khmer Rouge leader who studied there, saying they may contain vital evidence for any UN-sponsored trial. Documentation Centre of Cambodia director Youk Chhang, has written a letter urging Thammasat University to hand over the records of Nuon Chea, the shadowy "Brother Number Two" to dictator Pol Pot. It says officials of the United Nations says the University archives will be the key source of evidence for the tribunals. Investigators are keenly interested in Nuon Chea, who was Deputy Secretary of the Communist Party of Kampuchea and Deputy Prime Minister of Democratic Kampuchea. Nuon Chea attended law school at Thammasat University on an academic scholarship in the 1940s and later worked for a time in the Thai foreign ministry, he now lives in Pailin in the northwest of the country where he has been since the Khmer Rouge resistance ended.
Boston Golbe 14 June 2001 BOOK REVIEW Survivor recounts the ordeal of Khmer Rouge reign and slaughter By Dana Sachs, Globe Correspondent, 6/14/2001 ver since the word ''genocide'' was coined during World War II, people have debated when, and under what circumstances, to use it. The term has been applied to such disparate episodes as the Holocaust, the ethnic cleansing of the former Yugoslavia, the ethnic warfare in Rwanda, and the murderous Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia. Indeed, the first three cases perfectly fit the definition of the word: They all show evidence of the deliberate and methodical killing of one ethnic or national group by another. Cambodia is different. The Khmer Rouge focused its wrath on Cambodians themselves, killing them by the hundreds of thousands. ''Genocide'' may be the appropriate term, but ''suicide'' sounds more apt. Ly Y's memoir, ''Heaven Becomes Hell,'' details the Khmer Rouge destruction from the intimate perspective of one man who lived through it. The narrative begins in April 1975, when Khmer Rouge forces took over the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh. At that time, the citizens were so exhausted by years of war and corruption that, though they recognized the new regime to be radical communists, they initially welcomed any change that promised peace. Within only a few days, however, the inhabitants of Phnom Penh realized that the regime's ''restructuring'' would be catastrophic and infinitely more terrible than anything they'd experienced during the war. At first, the changes seemed merely ridiculous. When Y, an educated journalist who had worked for international news organizations, tried to drive his car in Phnom Penh, a young soldier ordered him to go home because the new government had banned ''private traffic.'' Such silliness quickly took a more ominous turn, as Y watched a Khmer Rouge soldier shoot and kill a civilian on the street, with no obvious provocation. Before long, so many people had been killed that swollen, fly-covered corpses littered the city. Falsely claiming that American forces were about to bomb Phnom Penh, the Khmer Rouge soon ordered a complete evacuation of the city. In the course of a few hours, hundreds of thousands of people abandoned their homes, filling the streets in a slow procession toward the countryside. The refugees couldn't even make it to the edge of the city by dark and, ''in the traditional way that Khmer people did things,'' when night fell they set up their cooking pots and camped along the side of the road. The next day, they quietly moved on. In Khmer Rouge society, rural people, who formed the regime's base of support, became the elite and powerful, while the former elites - city dwellers, professionals, intellectuals, monks - became society's lowest class. Y describes a life that revolved around forced labor and hunger, his body weakened by a diet of thin rice gruel. ''The city people - all of them - had become the poorest, ugliest, dirtiest creatures in the nation,'' he writes. ''We would eat anything.'' One of the book's most poignant scenes describes the day that Y and his wife shared a rare delicacy, a single boiled egg: ''I lifted up this priceless piece of oval food without worrying whether it was hot or not. I put it on the wooden floor and cut it into two equal shares as Chantra watched. To us, it was like having a pound of beef. We ate everything, even the shell, to fill our stomachs.'' Not surprisingly, in such circumstances famine and disease became prevalent. The author's infant son, Prasat, died because the family couldn't obtain adequate medicine to treat a common case of diarrhea. The available medical care was almost worse than none at all. While the country's trained nurses were forced to work as farmers, uneducated farmers had taken jobs as nurses, and Y describes their maliciousness: ''They were all illiterate. They couldn't use a hypodermic needle properly. They claimed that because patients didn't do anything except eat and sleep, all they deserved was rice water. They kept rice for their families.'' While ''Heaven Becomes Hell'' is the sad, and often angry, story of one family's experience during what Cambodians call ''the Khmer Rouge time,'' it lacks a satisfying analytical and historical framework. Only rarely does the author step back from his own personal experiences, and when he does offer general observations, they come across less as insightful commentary than as laments: ''[the Khmer Rouge] were crueler than any written accounts have told,'' he says, and ''Nothing had ever existed as bad as this.'' Even a few well-placed statistics would have enhanced this account, most notably an estimate of the number of Cambodians who died during Khmer Rouge rule (a conservative figure, provided by Yale University's Cambodia Genocide Project, is 1.7 million, or 20 percent of the population). More important, the story of the Khmer Rouge raises fundamental questions that Y never asks, much less attempts to answer. Notably, how could such a thing have happened? The book remains a personal story of suffering, but, without deeper rumination, offers little insight into the wider tragedy of Cambodia destroying itself. Dana Sachs is the author of ''The House on Dream Street: Memoir of an American Woman in Vietnam.''
Australian Broadcasting Corporation 20 June 2000 The senior surviving leader of Cambodia's Khmer Rouge says the international community's drive to set up a tribunal for former Khmer Rouge leaders is futile and could be divisive. Nuon Chea, the Khmer Rouge's chief ideologue and second-most influential leader, told The Cambodia Daily newspaper that even if the long-awaited genocide tribunal is convened, it will not yield justice. The Khmer Rouge ruled Cambodia from 1975-to-79 and are blamed for the deaths of an estimated one-point-seven million people from disease, starvation and execution. No-one has appeared before a court to answer for what happened in Cambodia under teh Khmer Rouge, but plans for a UN-aided genocide tribunal are slowly coming together. Nuon Chea said he would appear if called to the court, but that a trial would disturb the fragile peace that Cambodia has achieved after decades of war and unrest.
AP 4 June 2001 By Elaine Kurtenbach Hong Kong's chief executive praised China's leaders Monday as the most enlightened in the country's history, even as more than 20,000 people held a candlelight vigil to recall Beijing's military crackdown on pro-democracy protesters at Tiananmen Square 12 years ago. A sea of flickering candles lit up Hong Kong's Victoria Park on Monday night as crowds sat on a grassy field and a soccer pitch around a stage bedecked with banners reading, "Educate the next generation, pass on the baton of democracy." Witnesses said more than 20,000 people were present, though organizers claimed there were more than 40,000. Police did not give a figure. ... Funeral wreaths at the park surrounded a 10-foot-tall monument that read: "Democracy martyrs shall never die," while black banners reading "End the one-party dictatorship," and "Reverse the verdict on June 4," fluttered in the air. The protesters called on Beijing to "end one-party rule" and sang patriotic songs. Six teen-agers ignited a torch on the stage, meant to symbolize that young people will continue fighting for a democratic China. The protest was organized by the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, which is branded as "subversive" by Beijing. "We want to let them (the teen-agers) understand the most vigorous event in the history of modern China, and that many lives have been sacrificed in the fight for democracy," said Szeto Wah, a lawmaker and chairman of the alliance. In Beijing, security was not noticeably increased in Tiananmen Square on Monday. Police vans usually in place to pick up protesters from the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement had withdrawn to the south of the giant plaza. Police occasionally checked bags and identification cards. Loudspeakers played patriotic songs interspersed with orders to visitors not to join in "inappropriate activities" in the square.
AFP 6 June 2001 ‘Shanghai Five’ to boost fight against Muslim militants China is to expand its cooperation with Central Asian nations in a bid to root out separatist and Islamic militant violence in the region, a Chinese official said Wednesday, reports AFP. Next week’s summit of the "Shanghai Five" group of nations — which includes regional powerbrokers China and Russia — will agree to strengthen military cooperation, said the official, asking to remain anonymous. He said Uzbekistan would also be accepted as the sixth member of the grouping at the June 15 summit, joining Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. The Shanghai group was originally set up to resolve border issues but its focus has shifted as regional leaders fear a rise in Muslim extremism could threaten their stability. All the member states have difficulties with Muslim rebels, with China implementing a crackdown on Uighur separatists in the far northwestern region of Xinjiang and Russia still embroiled in a damaging conflict in Chechnya. Chinese President Jiang Zemin is to chair the meeting that will also be attended by the presidents, defence ministers and foreign ministers of the other four members as well as Uzbekistan. Two official documents are expected to be signed, including an agreement to combat regional "terrorism, separatism and extremism," and another pact to formally establish a "regional multilateral cooperation organisation," the official said. "All five nations hold that the three forces of terrorism, separatism and extremism constitute a major threat to regional security and stability," he said. "The document will explicitly express the position of all the countries to crackdown on separatist forces," he added. In group meetings and bilateral talks, leaders and ministers are also likely to discuss the destabilising civil war in Afghanistan, as well as joint opposition to the proposed US National Missile Defence system, he said. Central Asian leaders have blamed Afghanistan, which shares a 2,000 kilometre (1,200 mile) border with Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, for the spread of religious extremism, weapons and drugs across their territories. The main issue for defence ministers would include efforts to realise joint military exercises in the region in line with proposals laid out in last year’s Shanghai Five meeting in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, he said. The defence ministers would also discuss the strengthening of previous border area agreements, disarmament and troop reductions, he said. The second agreement on multilateral cooperation would formally establish the Shanghai Five as a regional grouping, change the name of the grouping and officially declare a change in "the Shanghai Five mechanism," he said. He refused to reveal what the new name would be. "This organisation will be an open institution that hopes to establish exchanges and cooperation with other countries and international organisations," he said. Requirements for adherence by other nations will be formulated, he said, with Beijing advocating a consensus decision on new membership by existing members and the condition that any new members must "strengthen the organisation." The issue of Pakistan, which formally requested accession to the Shanghai Five last year, would be placed under consideration, he indicated.
Hindustan TImes 2 June 2001 Opening old wounds Khushwant Singh Two days that I would like to erase from my memory are October 31 and November l, l984. In those two days, terrible wounds were inflicted on my emotions. They had almost healed and only scars remained. Then they were cruelly torn open again when I was asked to appear before the Nanawati Commission looking into the anti-Sikh violence following Indira Gandhi’s assassination. There have been many commissions going over events of the two days. Many books have also been written on the subject. Non-official commissions led by eminent men like Justice Tarkunde, Dr Kothari and retired Chief Justice of the Supreme Court S.M. Sikri roundly condemned the government of the day. They even named several MPs of the Congress for having instigated violence against a hapless and vastly outnumbered minority which had never had the slightest sense of insecurity in its relationship with the Hindus. Official commissions exonerated the Congress and the government of all blame for the massacre of more than 3,500 innocent Sikhs in Delhi and nearly 10,000 in cities across northern India. It was a crime of massive dimensions for which hundreds of criminals should have been sent to the gallows. So far not one has been hanged. I was reluctant to appear before the Nanawati Commission. But I felt that what had happened on those two fateful days should go on record for the benefit of future generations. On the afternoon of October 31, I saw a huge cloud of black smoke billowing out from Connaught Circus. Sikh property in the area had been set on fire. In the evening, I saw hooligans wreck Sikh-owned taxis parked outside Ambassador Hotel and Sikh shops in Khan Market being ransacked. I saw two lines of policemen under an officer across the middle of the road. They were armed, but stood idly watching looters on the rampage. At midnight, I was woken up by slogan-shouting: “Khoon ka badla khoon say lengay”. I ran out into my back garden and through the boundary hedge I saw a truckload of men armed with lathis and cans of oil attack the Sujan Singh Park gurdwara and set fire to a few cars left for servicing in the garage run by Sikh mechanics. Although I anticipated some spontaneous outburst of anger against Sikhs because of what Bhindranwale’s goons had been doing to innocent Hindus in Punjab, what happened in Delhi was organised. The entire government machinery went into voluntary paralysis. No curfew was imposed, no order to shoot at sight was carried out. It was not a communal riot because in many areas Hindus came to the rescue of their Sikh neighbours. Also there was no retaliation by Sikhs in Punjab. The finger of suspicion clearly pointed at one party for giving the signal: “Teach the Sikhs a lesson.”
AP 4 June, 2001 Four civilians have been killed and at least 16 injured after a grenade attack in Indian-administered Kashmir. The grenade was aimed at a post of the paramilitary Border Security Force, but missed and exploded on the road near a busy bus stand in the summer capital Srinagar. Two women were among the dead and eight people have reportedly been hospitalised. No police officers were hurt. No-one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, but authorities suspect separatist guerrillas. The blast comes amid increased clashes between militants and Indian security forces. At least eight militants have been killed in border clashes In two gunbattles, Indian security forces shot dead eight militants attempting to cross the line of control from the Pakistani side. More than 70 Islamic militants have been killed in Jammu and Kashmir since the withdrawal of a unilateral ceasefire by the Indian Government 10 days ago, Indian authorities say. The two countries divide control of the territory between them. India accuses rival Pakistan of arming and training militant groups fighting for Kashmir's independence, a charge Islamabad denies. Army losses In separate incidents, the Border Security Force also lost four of its men. A commandant, RS Ahlawat, was killed in a gun battle with militants in southern Kashmir on Sunday night, after forces laid siege to a house where militants were believed to be hiding out. And in another incident, a deputy commander of a pro-India military group, the Ikhwan, is reported to have been killed by suspected Muslim militants. The Indian authorities say RS Halawal was killed when a patrol he was leading was ambushed near Pampore, south of Srinagar. India has invited Pakistani military ruler General Pervez Musharraf to Delhi for talks in a bid to seize the initiative over Kashmir.
BBC 26 June, 2001 Kashmir clash leaves 16 dead The gunbattle took place in a forest area Police in Indian-administered Kashmir say at least 10 soldiers have been killed in a clash with separatist militants. Six militants were also reported killed in the fighting that started on Monday in a forest in the Gurez sector near the Line of Control (LoC), which divides Indian and Pakistani forces. Fighting broke out after 25 militants were besieged by the Indian soldiers, according to a spokesman for the militant group, Jamiat-ul-Mujahideen. Reports say the clash is continuing. Foreign nationals The militant group's spokesman told the BBC that the militants had sneaked over from Pakistan-administered Kashmir on Saturday. He said there were two Sudanese and some Afghan nationals in the group. Radio contact had been re-established with the besieged militants after a short break on Tuesday morning, he said. In a separate incident, an Indian army officer was killed in a clash with militants from the Hizbul Mujahideen group near the southern town of Bijbehara. Fighting took place after the Indian soldiers had cordoned off Poshkiri village to search for the militants. Three militants were also reported killed in the encounter. Security stepped up Police in the winter capital, Jammu, have stepped up patrols after a blast on Monday at the railway station. The blast injured more than 40 people More than 40 people were injured in the explosion. Most of them were pilgrims visiting the famous Hindu shrine of "Vaishno Devi". "Security around the railway station has been beefed up in view of the blast and also because of the heavy rush of pilgrims to the shrine," a police officer said. He said patrolling had been intensified in vulnerable areas along the railway line where militants have planted explosives in the past.
AFP24 May 2001 At least one person was killed and four injured in a new eruption of religious violence in the city of Ambon, church officials and a report said Thursday. The victim, a housewife, died after a group of masked intruders broke into her house late Wednesday night in the predominantly Christian area of Nusaniwe in the city, the main town on the island of the same name in the Malukus chain. "The attackers broke into her house ninja-style ... she died from fatal wounds after being hacked by swords," Sammy Waileruni, secretary of Ambon's Maranatha Protestant Church, told AFP. Shortly after the attack, a man from Nusaniwe was injured after he encountered three "suspicious looking" men walking away from the victim's house, the state Antara news agency said. The agency said three other men were hospitalized after a home made bomb went off while they were chasing the attackers into the woods. Wednesday's violence came after six Christians died on Sunday in a raid in Ambon, which has been torn by religious conflict between Muslims and Christians since it first erupted in January 1999.
AFP 16 May 2001 The leader of a Muslim group blamed for the slaughter of Christians in Indonesia's Maluku islands was Wednesday summoned to appear before a court assessing whether he was wrongfully arrested. Lawyers for Jafar Umar Thalib, the leader of the "Jihad Force" (Laskar Jihad), told a pre-trial hearing that their client's May 4 arrest had been "illegal and legally flawed." But even if the South Jakarta district court upholds his arguments, Thalib's trial on charges linked to the sectarian violence in the Malukus could still go ahead. Under Indonesian law he can be immediately re-arrested and charged again. After hearing initial submissions, Judge Samsul Ali adjourned the hearing until Thursday, when he said Thalib should appear in person. Thalib was released from jail on Tuesday and placed under house arrest at a relative's house. His lawyers argue that his arrest was illegal because they did not received a copy of the warrant, as police had claimed, and as the law requires. More than 100 supporters of Thalib, many in Islamic robes and caps, packed the tightly-guarded courtroom and its immediate vincinity, punctuating proceedings with cries of "Allah is Great." Thalib has been accused of "public display of contempt and hatred towards a particular religious group" and "negligence, causing the death of another person." The second accusation refers to an execution by stoning of a Jihad member found guilty of adultery on Ambon, one of the Maluku islands, earlier this year. Each charge carries a maximum sentence of five years imprisonment. Fighting between Christians and Muslims erupted on Ambon in January 1999 and spread rapidly to other islands in the Malukus chain, which are better known as the Spice Islands. The Laskar Jihad has sent hundreds of Muslim youths with paramilitary training on what they claimed were humanitarian missions to the Malukus, where more than 4,000 people have died in the bloody communal conflict over the past two years. The violence has also created more than 500,000 refugees.
AFP 7 Jun 2001 A registration drive to determine whether thousands of East Timorese refugees languishing in West Timor camps want to return home or resettle in Indonesia was extended for an extra day Thursday, an official there said. Meanwhile the latest preliminary results showed that an overwhelming majority wanted to stay and be resettled in Indonesia, the registration committee said. "The registration process should have been completed yesterday (Wednesday). God willing it will be finished today," Zainal Haris, a spokesman for the governor of East Nusatenggara province, which includes West Timor, told AFP. The planned one-day consultation opened on Wednesday amid tight security from thousands of police and soldiers, but there were still lengthy queues after dusk in the border district of Belu, where most of the refugees are camped. "The preparation period was too short and it is difficult to make refugees understand owing to their low education," Haris said. He said no disturbances had been reported Wednesday. "There were no protests. Not at all." A preliminary result of the registration issued at 1:30 pm (0530 GMT) on Thursday by the registration committee showed that 38,193 of the 42,796 people counted so far, or 89.24 percent, wanted to remain in Indonesia. Another 4,222 refugees, or 9.87 percent wanted to return to East Timor while 356 made no choice. Twenty-five other votes were unaccounted for in the document. The document said that 92,771 people had registered so far, but that only 42,796 were eligible to vote on whether they wanted to stay or be repatriated. All the East Timorese have to register, but only adult individuals and heads of family are required to state whether they want to be repatriated to East Timor or resettled in Indonesia. A Belu district policeman said registration had resumed early Thursday morning in Haliwen and Fatubeno, the two main refugee camps in Belu. "All other registration centres have already completed the registration process," said First Sergeant Wayan Duduk, without giving further details. Belu district, of which Atambua is the capital, is sheltering at least 60,000 East Timorese refugees, police have said. The head of the registration's Executive Committee, Amin Rianom, has warned that failure to register would lead to illegal immigrant status. Foreign critics have warned that as long as former pro-Indonesian militias remain in control in the squalid West Timor camps an accurate assessment of where the refugees want to go will be difficult. They said the militias were still intimidating refugees, and spreading disinformation about conditions in East Timor, leaving them vulnerable to reprisals if they registered to go home. The refugees are the last of about 250,000 people forced across the border by the militias during an orgy of violence and destruction in the wake of East Timor's independence vote on August 30, 1999. According to official police figures some 108,359 refugees remain sheltered in camps in four districts in West Timor, with the largest number in camps in Belu district. But the United Nations, whose personnel fled the territory when three UN aid workers were murdered by the militia last year, and other foreign agencies estimate the number of refugees at around 50,000 to 100,000. The United Nations is eager to repatriate the refugees ahead of a June 20 deadline to register for elections in East Timor, which is now under a transitional UN administration ahead of full independence.
Laksamana.Net 29 June 2001 No Going Back from Pontianak - No Going Back from Pontianak Laksamana.Net – Ethnic Madurese refugees in Sambas, West Kalimantan, are defying a five-day deadline set by ethnic Malay and Dayak residents to leave the region. The deadline comes following recent communal violence in which five people were killed. Locals have said they will take the law into their own hands (again) if the provincial government fails to relocate some 40,000 Madurese refugees by the beginning of July. West Kalimantan Governor Aspar Aswin is taking the threat seriously and has established a new negotiation team to discuss the relocation of the Sambas refugees. The team is hoping to convince the Madurese to leave, but the refugees want to return to their homes in Sambas and Begkayang districts and Pontianak. The National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM), aid agencies and local government officials have been participating in the negotiations but the ethnic Madurese are determined to stay put and rebuild their lives in West Kalimantan, where many of them have lived for several generations. “The government is negotiating with the refugees and Malays. We can't just force the Madurese to evacuate the camps, it's not right," municipal official Suparman told AFP news agency. The latest trouble started on Saturday when a group of four young Madurese men from a refugee camp attempted to rob a family of four traveling on their motorbike near a badminton complex. The family refused to part with any valuables, prompting one of the youths, Rahmadian (22), to kill six-year-old Feri Firmansyah by striking him on the head with a 1.5 meter-long wooden pole. The murder sparked three-days of rioting in which the Madurese refugee camps in Pontianak were burnt to ashes. At least four people were killed during the retaliation attacks; two hacked to death with knives and machetes. An uneasy calm has since returned to Pontianak. Dayaks and Malays went on the rampage against Madurese settlers in February 2001 in Central Kalimantan, butchering some 500 people. Back in 1999, some 68,000 refugees, mostly Madurese, fled their settlements following similar clashes in Sambas that left about 3,000 people dead. The refugees moved into camps in three districts in West Kalimantan, unwilling to go back to Madura, a densely populated island off the north coast of East Java, as jobs are difficult to find there. After the weekend unrest, many of the refugees are staying in four sports complexes in Pontianak. Local officials are trying to shift them to new resettlement areas located about 50 kilometers south of the city. Dayaks and Malays resent the Madurese because they received financial assistance to start up business activities from the government’s transmigration scheme, which was designed to move people from crowded regions into sparsely populated provinces. The Jakarta Post reported that three of the four youths responsible for last Saturday’s incident have been caught and are now ruing their wrongdoing. The report said Rahmadian, Sani (19) and Fauzi (19) are safely in police custody, while Samsul (20) is still at-large. Some analysts suspect the attack may have been orchestrated to coincide with President Abdurrahman Wahid’s trip to Australia in order to further discredit his beleaguered administration. Wahid had said the Central Kalimantan unrest in February had been masterminded by his political rivals to embarrass him in front of his foreign hosts and destabilize his administration.
AP 30 Jun 2001 Fighting in Indonesia's Aceh province left at least 24 people dead as government officials and rebel negotiators met Saturday in Switzerland for peace talks. Army spokesman Lt. Col. Firdaus said 20 separatist guerillas were killed in a gun battle Friday in central Aceh. He said the soldiers had ambushed a group of rebels who tried to attack villages near the town of Takengon, about 1,060 miles northwest of Jakarta. However, rebel spokesman Wein Rimbe said only four of the victims were insurgents and the rest were villagers, including several children. He called the killings the worst massacre of civilians in Aceh since security forces shot 56 students to death in 1999. Military commander Lt. Col. Rochana Herdianto refused to comment on the rebel allegations. Earlier, Firdaus said two rebels were killed and two others arrested after a shootout in eastern Aceh on Thursday. Villagers also found the bodies of two civilians shot to death in northern Aceh, said Mahyudin, an official with the Indonesian Red Cross. The two sides entered into a truce last year but it collapsed in February amid escalating violence. Peace talks between government officials and rebel negotiators began Saturday at a secret location in Geneva. Rebels from the Free Aceh Movement have been fighting for 26 years for an independent homeland on the northern tip of Sumatra island, 1,100 miles northwest of Jakarta. The latest deaths bring the number of people killed in Aceh this year to at least 842.
Jerusalem Post 3 June 2001 Violating Palestinian rights By Yael Stein (June 3) - For the past few months, the Israeli government has been claiming that it is doing everything in its powers not to harm Palestinian civilians. In fact, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said as much in one of the first statements he made after being elected. Reading David Brock's article "A lesson on demagogy" (May 29), one may get the impression that the government has kept its promise. However, a thorough investigation of the facts reveals a totally different picture. Consider, for example, the pervasive claim that Israel employs force only against those individuals who attack it. While one may repeat this claim again and again, reality proves otherwise. B'Tselem has documented scores of incidents whereby Israel used lethal force against unarmed Palestinians who did not pose any danger to soldiers or civilians. Brock's contention that Israel's force is "qualitatively less" than the Palestinians' is patently absurd (though even Brock did not dare to claim the force to be quantitatively less). For many years, human rights organizations have criticized Israel's policy of using live ammunition and rubber coated metal bullets to disperse demonstrations and demanded that Israel adopt non-lethal means, similar to those used in other parts of the world. Israel's refusal to change its dispersal methods, despite their fatal consequences underscores its blatant disregard for Palestinian life. Yet, one might also ask, what precisely is force? Brock appears to recognize that the restrictions on movement imposed by Israel comprise a forceful act, but argues that these restrictions "result from Palestinian initiated violence." Thus, under the umbrella of "security measures," Brock justifies confining more than three million people in their towns and villages, preventing them from receiving adequate medical treatment, reaching work, limiting their access to schools and universities, and disrupting family ties. All these restrictions are imposed on the Palestinian population as a whole, not only on those individuals suspected of activity against Israel, and as such, constitute a form of collective punishment. The fact that some Palestinians attack Israeli targets cannot justify the punishment of hundreds of thousands of others. COLLECTIVE PUNISHMENT is used, in large part, due to the existence of settlements throughout the Occupied Territories, which raises the issue of the legality of the settlements. Many seem to think that the territories are not really occupied and therefore the Fourth Geneva Convention, which forbids the building of settlements, is not applicable to them. This supposition is flawed, if only because the Convention does not deal with questions such as who initiated the war or which side was justified in fighting the war; nor does it relate to the status of the territory prior to the conflict. The distinctive purpose of the Convention is to protect civilians who finds themselves "in any manner whatsoeverÉ in the hands of a party to the conflict." The international community, including the International Committee of the Red Cross and the great majority of international law experts, consider the territories to be occupied, the Fourth Geneva Convention as applicable to the territories and the settlements as illegal. Israel is almost the only country in the world that claims otherwise. Contrary to Brock's claim, international law is not the result of some anti-Semitic plot. Indeed, the Geneva Conventions, as well as the modern human rights movement, arose from an attempt to prevent the reccurrence of the genocide perpetrated against the Jewish people. Israel is legally bound by human rights norms because it has voluntarily taken these obligations upon itself. Who, then, is to blame for Israel's human rights violations? Brock suggests that Israel is the victim and blames the Palestinians for the suffering Israel inflicts on them. No doubt, some Palestinians perpetrate violence, and B'Tselem has strongly criticized those who attack Israeli civilians or those who are shooting at Israeli targets from Palestinian civilian areas. But those unlawful acts do not make the whole Palestinian population, most of whom are not involved in any violence, a "legitimate target" for Israel and does not give Israel the right to violate their rights. One important fact that is lost in Israel's rhetoric about the "armed conflict" waged against it, which ostensibly justifies Israel's "responsive measures": Israel's policies in the past eight months are not really new, but rather a continuation of its conduct during 34 years of occupation: almost all the human rights violations perpetrated by Israel since this intifada erupted have been committed before. Brock attacks those who oppose human rights violations, arguing that they are "demagogues who twist minds." Reading his article, one wonders who is the real demagogue. The writer is the research director of B'Tselem, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org http:/www.btselem.org
Moscow Times 4 June 2001 Tel Aviv Blast Stuns Ex-Soviet Teens By Mort Rosenblum The Associated Press Maya Lesnov visiting Anna Sinichkina, 16, who lies injured in a Tel Aviv hospital after a bomb blast on Saturday killed 20. TEL AVIV, Israel — Stas and Olga stopped for a hamburger on their way to the Pacha discotheque. Their friends didn't. The day after, cried-out and numb, they hugged other survivors at the Shevach school to vent nameless fears but specific loathing. "We should give it back to them a thousand times," Lena Sinelnikov said Saturday, eyes red and short blonde hair askew from tugging in grief. "I don't know if it will help but at least revenge will soften the blow." Stas Rahinov, 16, and his girlfriend, Olga Bilenko, 17, seemed less angry than stunned with disbelief. Why kids in the heart of secular Tel Aviv? Why immigrants from the former Soviet Union, nearly all with less than a decade in their promised land? "I don't understand, we're only children," he said, a strong accent from his native Tashkent marking fluent English. "If they get to Tel Aviv, in the heart of the country …" His thought trailed off into glum silence. By Sunday afternoon, the death toll was 19 young Israelis, almost all Russian-speaking immigrants, and a suicide bomber. The Palestinian bomber mingled in the crowd, then set off a charge laced with nails, screws and ball bearings. Afterward, Dr. Patrick Sorkin and his five intensive care specialists fought to save 11 critically injured teens. One died Sunday. The others might hang for weeks between life and death. Another 23 remained in the hospital, and 12 others were released. "God knows where it's going to go, but it is not finished," he said at Tel Aviv's Sourasky Medical Center, sucking hard at a cigarette after 14 hours of emergency operations. Whatever comes next, he said, Jews will demonstrate their resolve. "It's like war extends to here," he said of his beleaguered intensive care unit. "We're showing they are not going to win." Reaction in Tel Aviv ran the full gamut. Peace demonstrators at the Defense Ministry demanded an end of occupation of territory claimed by the Palestinians. But, at a mosque, hundreds pelted Moslem worshippers with stones and set cars afire. An angry and tearful Israel began burying the killed teenagers on Sunday. Those closest to the tragedy tried to puzzle out what had happened, and why. Alex Nalimov, 14, wept at home clutching a few trinkets in a bag, all he had left of his two teenage sisters, Yulia and Yelena. "They dressed nicely, they go out there every Friday," he said. "I told them not to go, and this is what is left of them." Speaking softly in Hebrew accented heavily with Russian, he told reporters, "I don't know how to get used to it. They're not home anymore. I don't have sisters anymore." At the hospital, Alexandra Louria, 17, lit one cigarette from another and took comfort in the hugs of friends in the hospital corridor. Three of her girlfriends were killed at the Pacha. A fourth hung on by a thread after a second operation. "It's all so scary," Louria said. Hundreds more assembled at their school, where 1,400 students from the former Soviet Union study to create new lives in a Jewish homeland — part of a mass immigration of about a million former Soviets who came here over the past decade. Richard Platinski, 17, with a sparse blond beard and high-fashion fatigues, comforted classmates who walked up to squeeze him and weep. Three of his close friends, all teenage girls, died at the Pacha. "We don't know what to think, where to go," he said. "My parents are looking to move me to another place. United States, Canada. I know many friends who are thinking of going." But he spoke like someone planning to stay. "People here are afraid of what the world will think of us, whatever we do," Platinski said. "I think [Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon should have done more things, but everyone is afraid of what the outside will say." Jews and Palestinians are fast reaching a point of no return, he said, which will make peace impossible. "I hope Chairman Arafat will open his eyes and start thinking what is going on. If we must fight, we will. At least this way I am killed as a Jew." Then he came back to the grief at hand. "These are people who didn't live life yet," he said. "They didn't even drink a beer before they died. That makes me very sad." Platinski's friends listened and added their private points of grief. Philip Khazaradze, 19, who fled Soviet Georgia with his family, was distraught. Religious authorities had denied three of the victims a proper Jewish burial because burial authorities were not satisfied that their Judaism had been demonstrated. Instead, the three would be buried in kibbutzim that accepted them. Khazaradze, himself a Christian who nonetheless came to Israel in hope of a better life, said his dead friends were all Jewish. "I don't understand," he said. "Why should they not be allowed to be buried as Jews?" Khazaradze, in the Israeli army, says he is trying hard to fit in but admits to being baffled. Gurgen Zarifian, a 17-year-old Armenian whose family brought him to Israel from Soviet Central Asia a decade ago, wondered aloud if he had to keep looking for a homeland. He loves Israel, he said, but it is a heavy load. "I love it here with all my heart, but I also have to protect myself and the future." Zarifian shook his head sadly and asked: "Have you ever seen a country where kids talk so much about politics?"
Jerusalem Post 12 Jun 2001 In a state of denial By Elli Wohlgelernter (June 12) - Holocaust denial is finding increasing acceptance in certain Arab circles as part of their anti-Israel propaganda. Elli Wohlgelernter reports on a troubling phenomenon It would seem, from any logical perspective, that Holocaust denial would be counter-productive in the Palestinian/Arab struggle against Israel. After all, regardless of the facts argued over land, territories, borders and ownership within this region, contending that it wasn't six million murdered in the Holocaust, but three or one, is a non-starter to all but neo-Nazis and crackpots; and claiming that Chelmno, Dachau and Auschwitz were merely disinfection sites, simply calls into question and makes a mockery of every other part of the Arabs' claims against Israel. One might think that, but according to anti-Semitism watchdog groups, Middle East experts and university professors, logic doesn't hold when it comes to the Arab campaign against anything connected with Israel. That is why a group like the Jordanian Writers' Association could convene a twice-postponed conference in Amman last month on Holocaust Revisionism. "It shows the depth of their anti-Semitism and their hatred of the Jews, and the depth to which their hatred overcomes their logic," says Deborah Lipstadt, Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish and Holocaust Studies at Emory University. Moreover, says Lipstadt - who successfully defended against a libel lawsuit brought in London last year by notorious Holocaust denier and anti-Semite David Irving - arguing against Holocaust facts "also shows their tactical stupidity. If I was an Arab PR adviser, I'd say cut this out, this makes no sense. It's a loser from their perspective. But hatred makes you do totally irrational things. What makes them do it? Either their hatred of Jews overrides everything else, or there is a disconnect - the people who are doing it are not thinking tactically." The symposium in Amman took on a life of its own even before it assembled. It started with a much-ballyhooed international conference sponsored by the Holocaust-denying Institute for Historical Review (IHR), entitled Revisionism and Zionism, that was scheduled to take place in Beirut in late February. Lebanon Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri personally intervened to have the conference cancelled, saying "Lebanon has more important things to do than holding conferences that hurt its international standing and smear its name." Coming to the IHR's defense was the Jordanian Writers' Association, which has long been active in countering normalization efforts with Israel, including punishing members who have interacted with Israelis. They organized their own forum entitled, What Happened to the Revisionist Historians Conference in Beirut, scheduled for April 8. That symposium was canceled by the Jordanian government, coming as it did two days before King Abdullah was scheduled to meet with US President George W. Bush, amid fears that it would cause the king much embarrassment. It was canceled again in early May, before finally taking place on May 13 before an audience of 200. They heard, according to The Jordan Times, from people like Lebanese journalist Hayat Atiyah, who explained that historical revisionism is not an ideology, but a position, supported by facts and meticulous analyses, on a specific historical event - the Holocaust. A JORDANIAN journalist, Arafat Hijazi, criticized 14 Arab intellectuals who signed a leaflet asking the Lebanese government to cancel the Beirut conference because revisionist research "has nothing to do with the Palestinian cause." Among the 14 intellectuals were Palestinian nationalist poet Mahmoud Darwish and Lebanese Selah Statiya, wrote The Jordan Times, in addition to the Lebanese novelist Elias Khouri, known for his writing on Palestinian refugee camps. Indeed, even a hardliner such as Columbia Professor Edward Said came out strongly against the conference and against advocating any kind of Holocaust denial. Ibrahim Alloush, a JWA member, media coordinator of the Association against Zionism and Racism and editor of an Arab web site that disseminates Holocaust denial (www.fav.net), said revisionists do not deny that Jews died in World War II. "[Revisionists] do say, however, that hundreds of thousands of Jews died along with the 45 million who perished in that war." Furthermore, he said, the "myths of the Holocaust" are extremely important for the Zionist movement, providing a justification for the rape of Palestine. "In human history, the argument of the uniqueness of Jewish deaths provides a justification for Israel and the Zionist movement to violate every ethical and legal code in the book, and to persecute opponents, like the revisionist historians and the Arabs, without any reprimand, even with sympathy, from the West." Such rhetoric has been condemned by Said and others for both historical and political reasons. Hussein Ibish, communications director of the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee, says that in the Arab world in general, "it is still an extremely small minority who are even willing to listen to the claims of Holocaust denials. It may be a growing group, but I think it's still a very small group." He points out that it was the Arab intellectuals in Lebanon and the media who pressured Hariri to cancel the event, and that even though the government may have overstepped its constitutional authority in doing so, there was no objection from the people in Lebanon. "In the end, the overwhelming majority of educated Arabs who have any kind of grasp of history, who are educated in history, I don't think they are gong to listen to this," Ibish says. "I think the overwhelming majority of Arabs, and Palestinians, understand that we have no stake whatever in humoring this ridiculous idea. The historical record is absolutely clear. And one can quibble about details, but the fact that a massive genocide took place during the last few years of the Second World War in Europe, involving an all-out attempt to exterminate Jewish Europeans, gypsies, and eventually Slavs and others, is just beyond question, and I think most Arabs know it." What prompts Holocaust deniers, he says, is a reasoning that says the Holocaust, in the United States, "has been such a powerful propaganda tool for those who would excuse all Israeli excesses - and it has been effective in the United States, I think there is no doubt about it - so therefore, the way to counter it is to embrace Holocaust denial. "I think that that is one argument that won't work. I can see the logic, but I think it's absolutely flawed in its core, as well as being morally dubious to say the least. It is surprising to me that anybody would find it necessary to go to such lengths to dispute unquestionable historical facts, for narrow political debating point advantages. It's dumb. It's bad intellectually and bad strategically." Historically, says Professor Yoram Meital of Ben-Gurion University, the issue of the Holocaust and attitudes toward Nazism have existed in Egypt's public discourse since the late 1930s. "Since that time, for the last seven decades, specific individuals and groups - not all Egyptian society - for them the Holocaust serves as a mechanism to formulate contemporary symbols and values. Over time, attitudes towards the Holocaust and Nazism has changed. "In the 1930s and 1940s, this discourse focused on the question of Nazism and Holocaust as part of an Egyptian debate about political freedom, about liberalism against fundamentalism. "But in our days, after the birth of the Israeli state, this discourse has changed. I would say, unfortunately, that certain sectors of Egyptian society identify completely and misuse completely the Holocaust, comparing Nazism with Zionism, the State of Israel and Israeli policy towards the Palestinians." Meital says care should be taken not to portray all the Egyptians or all the Arabs or all the Muslims as taking part in this simplistic misuse of the Holocaust and Nazism. But the fear of many is that even if it is being promoted by a minority, it is also seeing exposure in public arenas, such as the Egyptian government daily Al-Akhbar, where columnist Ahmad Ragab reiterates his thanks to Hitler twice in April: "[Insistently] for the second time, thanks to Hitler, of blessed memory, who, on behalf of the Palestinians, revenged in advance, against the most vile criminals on the face of the earth. Although we do have a complaint against him for his revenge on them was not enough," he wrote on April 25. On May 11, the Egyptian pharmacists' union called for a boycott of US drug company Eli Lilly and Co. for supporting survivors of the Holocaust living in Israeli communities. The union urged pharmacists across the Arab world to boycott a list of drugs including Zyprexa, which it said Lilly was providing free to survivors suffering from schizophrenia in three Israeli communities. MEITAL SAYS that there have been a number of writers and novelists who have stood up against those individuals and sectors that support Holocaust denial. "What Said tried to say is that, yes, Israel is doing very terrible things against the Palestinians, but denying the Holocaust is something totally different; that you cannot put it in one basket - that the Germans mistreated the Jews, and this is the very same as what the Jews are doing to the Palestinians," says Meital. "So we don't have a monolithic attitude to this question of denying the Holocaust, we have a very intensive discourse on this. If you examine caricatures, or cartoons, articles, books, you can see that denying of the Holocaust is a very small portion of this discourse." But that it is even part of any discourse at all has many Jewish professionals wondering why. Further is the irony that the deniers use in their argument: "The Nazis weren't terrible, and the Israelis are just as bad;" "It didn't happen, but whatever happened wasn't enough;" and "the Holocaust didn't happen, but Sharon is worse than the Nazis." Moreover, if the Arab world's embrace of Holocaust denial has no rationale tactically, the professionals do see it as part of the Arab world's basic strategic thinking: deny, deny, deny, not just the Holocaust, but anything connecting the Jewish people to Israel. So when Holocaust deniers argue vociferously, using the standard rhetoric about the "Holohoax" and "Hollowcause" that has been a staple of anti-Semites since even before the end of World War II, it inevitably gets linked to everything from Temple Mount denial to Exodus denial to Torah denial. Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says deniers of the Holocaust join their argument together with two other classic anti-Semitic forgeries. "Israel, Jews and Judaism are being delegitimized," Cooper says, "by the mainstream Arab world's embracing of three 'big lies' - the Blood Libel of the Middle Ages, which claims that Jews murder Christian children to use their blood to bake matza; The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a late 19th century hate text which alleges that there is a Jewish plot to control the world, and which is widely distributed in the Arab world; and now the denial that the Nazis systematically murdered six million European Jews during the Second World War." To delegitimize the Jewish people, says Cooper - who is personally attacked on Arab chat lists as "Rabbi Cobra" - you have to deconstruct their history, beginning with the Exodus, "all the way down through the annals of history. And one of the things you have to deconstruct is the Holocaust. So if people were not gassed at Auschwitz, and the whole thing was just part of the Protocols approach - 'they can't be trusted,' 'they have no legitimacy,' 'they're not even the real Jews' - that sets the stage for decoupling the Jewish people completely from the Holy Land." "I don't see Holocaust denial as an item in and of itself, separated from the total attack that the Palestinians are doing," says Itamar Marcus, director of Palestinian Media Watch, an independent, non-profit organization that monitors and translates the Palestinian media and issues free reports. "The Palestinians are trying to deny our roots, our legitimacy, every single bit of our heritage. When they talk about the distant past, they talk about us never having been here in Israel; when they talk about the recent past, they talk about us being a colony." Marcus says part of the campaign is to transfer sympathy and victimhood from the Jews to the Palestinians, because they see themselves as the only victims. "They want to take away anything that anybody can have empathy with, or give legitimacy to, the Jews, and that is how Holocaust denial should be seen. It's not something that they historically are going to check out, or will defend with historical facts." An example, he says, is the story being circulated last month that Israel was dropping poison candy on Palestinian children. "It's all part of the same thing - anything negative they can paste onto the Jews they will do; anything that will bring sympathy or empathy for the Jews, they must erase." Part of the attack on the veracity of the Holocaust, says Marcus, is that it is often accompanied "in the same breath with the argument that Jews control the world media. Very very often. That's the message: 'Here, this is proof that they're controlling the media. The Holocaust never happened, and yet the media keeps saying that it did.'" Ibish agrees that it is all being lumped together, which he explains as the natural outgrowth of the political situation, an excess of rhetoric on both sides. "What we have to realize is that it is a deplorable, but inevitable symptom of the real disease, being objective political conflict over land, over power, over authority, over really existing things," Ibish says. "When we understand that, we can put the rhetoric in context. And we can see what is required to stop people from indulging in it. If we can resolve the conflict, we won't hear it. "We have this hardening of hearts on both sides, and its not surprising that you find space for ethnic hatred. And I think the key to understanding this is to accept what I consider to be the obvious fact that it is the conflict which is producing these intolerable statements on both sides. It is not, as some people would like to argue, the sentiment that is driving the conflict. That is to get it all backwards, to put the cart before the horse." ABRAHAM FOXMAN, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, sees it not as a matter of cart and horse, but the overall picture - of which Holocaust denial is a relatively small part - that is the concern, and how it impacts on the Middle East today and in the future. "The historical facts of the past, you either accept or you don't accept," says Foxman. "Fine. It's our history, it's our pain. They don't have to accept our history and our pain in terms of living with peace. [Holocaust denial] is just one element of the incitement to hate, but it's not a major element of the hate. It's just another reason why you should hate Jews, 'because they lie, and they make up facts of their histories, and so on.'" Holocaust denial, he says, has a political purpose for the Arabs, "but in the sense of anti-Semitism, it only goes to reinforce the anti-Semitic canard, 'the Jews lie. And look how huge their lie is, that they can invent a story that six million of them were killed.' But that's a historical issue of the past. The venom is that Jews don't deserve to live, don't deserve to have life, are not like everybody else, that they are the infidels of all infidels." Foxman reiterated his call first made in February that Israel, the organized Diaspora Jewish community and the West hold the Arab world answerable to the higher standard of intolerance applied to Western countries. "We have to begin taking it more seriously, we have to say there are consequences. If we demand of Russia to act in a certain way, and France, and Germany, and Austria, we should demand of them to deal with it seriously." For Lipstadt serious protests against Holocaust denial must first come from the US. "What we should be hearing from our State Department, as much as it's going to be involved, is: 'you want confidence builders? OK, we're not going to talk about withdrawal, we're not talking about putting down arms. But this? This is certainly not a 'confidence builder': this is a confidence shatterer.'" Her fear for the future are Arab students walking around saying they know that there was no Holocaust, because they learned it in their textbooks. "A colleague of mine said, 'The bombs last a minute, and they can do terrible damage. But this stuff is an incendiary device that lasts generations.'"
Ha'aretz 19 June 2001 Sabra-Chatila survivors sue Sharon in Belgium for crimes against humanity Ha'aretz Correspondent and AP By Nitzan Horowitz Survivors of a 1982 massacre of Palestinians in the Sabra and Chatila refugee camps in Lebanon opened legal proceedings yesterday in Belgium against Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, arguing that he was guilty of crimes against humanity for his role in the killings. The 28 survivors presented their case against Sharon and others alleged to have been involved in the massacres to an investigating judge. Under Belgian law, war crimes committed abroad may be tried in Belgian courts. At the time of the massacres, Sharon was Israel's defense minister, and Beirut, at the outskirts of which lay the two refugee camps, was under Israel Defense Forces siege. Lebanese Christians Phalangist militiamen, who were allied with Israel, carried out the killings of hundreds of unarmed civilians following the assassination of Lebanon's president-elect, Bashir Gemayel, a pro-Israel Christian and leader of the Phalangists. Belgian lawyer Michael Verhaeghe, who is representing the survivors, said there was sufficient evidence to convict those responsible. "The facts in this case undeniably reveal crimes against humanity," he told reporters. A 1993 Belgian law that gives local courts jurisdiction over violations of the Geneva war crimes convention allows claimants to seek cases against foreigners suspected of war crimes no matter where they occurred. Four Rwandans were sentenced to between 12 and 20 years in jail this month for their role in the 1994 genocide of the country's Tutsi ethnic minority. If the Belgian judge decides to press charges, Sharon could be arrested if he enters Belgium. However, lawyers said as a serving head of state he would likely enjoy immunity. The plaintiffs said they could also press similar charges against Sharon in other countries. On Sunday, the British Broadcasting Corporation aired a report on the program Panorama, in which the massacres were investigated and Sharon was presented as "the accused." An expert on international law, Princeton University Professor Richard Falk, who served as vice chairman of an international commission that investigated Israel's invasion of Lebanon, said that Sharon would be indictable on war crimes charges. Israel's Foreign Ministry called the BBC report distorted, unfair, and intentionally hostile. "The timing of the program ... shows lack of good faith and an attempt to tarnish Israel and its leader," Foreign Ministry spokesman Yaffa Ben-Ari said in a written statement. Sharon himself refused yesterday to comment on the BBC program.See news feature and analysis, Page
Jerusalem Post 21 June 2001 Was Israel's Jerusalem policy really asinine? By Jack E. Friedman. This book, published in 1999 and just released in paperback, is an account of Israel's relations with the Arabs of eastern Jerusalem since the 1967 war. Drawing on a rich cache of documents, including "secret" memos and minutes of Jerusalem municipality deliberations and personal recollections, the authors (two of them former mayoral advisers on Arab affairs) argue that Israel's administration of the Arab sectors has been a colossal failure. They charge policy-makers on both the municipal and national levels with bureaucratic ineptitude, deliberate discrimination against the Arabs in providing housing and public services, expropriation of Arab land and missed opportunities to forge understanding with local Arab leaders. The authors grudgingly acknowledge "several small projects" implemented during the long tenure of Mayor Teddy Kollek, noting that he was "quick to point [these] out to critics who say Israel has done nothing to improve conditions for Arab residents." They credit Kollek with better intentions than most who had a hand in shaping policy, but even he is not excluded from the accusation that Israel has, by and large, been guilty of duplicity. "To the world, Israel presented itself as an enlightened ruler of a troubled city. In reality, while pursuing what for the Jewish state was the logical goal of fortifying its claims to Jerusalem, the city's non-Jewish residents suffered greatly." The book maintains that Israel's policies have been driven by "two basic principles" adopted shortly after the Six Day War. "The first was to rapidly increase the Jewish population of east Jerusalem. The second was to hinder the growth of the Arab population and to force Arab residents to make their homes elsewhere." As one example among many, it includes a table from a 1993 municipality report, "Potential Housing Construction in Jerusalem." The table, the authors insist, delimits "the maximum number of units the Israeli administration had determined could be built in each Arab neighborhood without precipitating a change in the ratio of Arabs to Jews in the city population." THE INDICTMENT of Israel, while impassioned, is seriously unbalanced. The work plays down or ignores the improvements in public services and quality of life that have taken place in Arab villages that are now part of Jerusalem. Inadequate as this progress may have been, it is in sharp contrast to the neglect these sites suffered under the previous administration of Jordan. The book also fails to spell out the unique historical and religious imperatives that link Israel to the Old City and its environs beyond the pre-1967 Green Line. Nor does it take note of the wanton destruction and seizures of Jewish property and sacred sites in the years before the city's reunification. For example, it reports that the plan to build Neveh Ya'acov in northern Jerusalem called for the expropriation of 3,200 dunams, mostly belonging to Arab residents, but does not mention the Jewish community of that name that existed there before being overrun in 1948. Running through the litany of Israel's offenses is the assertion that better ties with local Arab leaders across the 1967 boundaries and more equitable treatment of their communities would have enhanced Israel's bargaining position in the post-Oslo negotiations on the city's future. Logical as this sounds, the thesis is difficult to sustain. As the authors themselves amply demonstate, the PLO rode herd on the local leadership and injected its nationalist agenda into virtually every attempt to promote dialogue and cooperation on the local level. In other words, what mattered was how these local initiatives would contribute to the PLO's unwavering objective to reverse the results of 1967. The study ends before the election of prime minister Ehud Barak, and well before the Palestine Authority's bloody response to the Barak government's unprecedented offer of almost all of the West Bank and large chunks of eastern Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount. Perhaps this sobering outcome would have tempered the book's optimistic conclusion that doing more in earlier years might have reinforced Palestinian readiness to accept Israeli sovereignty in the city. At least one hopes so. The reviewer, professor emeritus of the City University of New York, is former national chairman of the American Professors for Peace in the Middle East.
JP 24 June 2001 MK moves to have Arafat arrested for war crimes By Gil Hoffman and Reuters JERUSALEM (June 24) - Likud MK Avraham Herschson began proceedings Friday to have Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat arrested for war crimes. Herschson instructed his lawyers to file claims in Belgium and other countries that permit war crime suits against foreigners in an attempt to have an international warrant of arrest issued against Arafat for war crimes. The Likud MK said he decided to take this step following the wave of international claims against Prime Minister Ariel Sharon that began with the broadcast of the BBC Panorama show documentary that accused Sharon of war crimes for his actions in the Lebanon War. Suad Surur, a survivor of the 1982 Sabra and Shatilla massacre, and more than 22 other plaintiffs are now moving to have Sharon indicted for war crimes, including genocide. "The true war criminal is not Sharon, it is Arafat," Herschson said. "Arafat is responsible for the Tanzim and gave orders to murder innocent women, children, and men. Arafat needs to know that he is not immune." Herschson said he believes that claims against Sharon are not incidental. "Palestinian officials are instigating the claims to raise questions against the democratically elected Prime Minister of Israel," Herschson said. "I wanted to show Arafat that we can play his game." Herschson , who serves as chairman of the Kupat Holim health fund, may include Kupat Holim spokesman, Moshe Behagon, who was wounded in a shooting incident in the West Bank as a plaintiff in the suit. Meanwhile, a leading US-based human rights group yesterday called for a criminal investigation of Sharon's role in Sabra and Shatilla. "There is abundant evidence that war crimes and crimes against humanity were committed on a wide scale in the Sabra and Shatila massacre, but to date, not a single individual has been brought to justice," said Hanny Megally, executive director of Human Rights Watch's Middle East and North Africa division. In its statement, Human Rights Watch urged US President George W. Bush to discuss the matter with Sharon during their scheduled meeting at the White House on Tuesday, and urge him to cooperate with any investigation. The group said the United States had a substantial interest in the case because the Israeli occupation of West Beirut followed written US assurances that Palestinians remaining there would be safe, as part of an arrangement regarding the evacuation of Palestine Liberation Organization forces. Megally said the Lebanese government should also examine the role of militia leaders like Elie Hobeika, who carried out the killings. "But the Israeli government also has a responsibility to conduct an investigation into the actions of its own high officials who knew ... that atrocities were likely to occur and did not act promptly to stop them once they knew the killing had started," he added.
AP 4 June 2001 By Mari Yamaguchi A history textbook that has outraged many Asians who say it whitewashes Japanese atrocities committed in the early 20th century hit bookstores Monday. The publishers said they had decided to release the textbook to the public now in an effort to ease criticism by letting people read it for themselves. "We decided it would be best to release the book and let readers decide. We feel we've been criticized unfairly," said Toshiaki Shirasawa of Fusosha, which published the "New History Textbook." Authored by a group of Japanese nationalists, the history textbook is among eight approved by the education ministry for use in junior high schools during the academic year that begins next April. South Korea, China and other Asian countries have sharply criticized the Japanese government for approving the book, which critics say distorts history and glosses over atrocities committed by the Japanese military in the years before World War II. Last month, the South Korean government demanded 25 specific revisions in the book, along with 10 changes to the other seven approved texts. Beijing also called for changes. Japan says it has no plans to alter the books unless factual errors are found. The vice minister of the ministry that oversees education, Motoyuki Ono, said it was regrettable that Fusosha went ahead with the sale despite the ministry's suggestion that it wait until schools have had a chance to examine the texts available. Only one of the eight history books mentions the Japanese Imperial army's enslavement of tens of thousands of women in soldiers' brothels. None mentions the scale of the Nanjing massacre, in which historians generally agree that the Japanese army slaughtered at least 150,000 civilians during the 1937-38 occupation of the Chinese city then known as Nanking.
BBC 7 June, 2001, Police cracked down on another militant group last year Malaysian police have arrested nine members of a group suspected of planning a holy war to create a purist Islamic society. The motive behind these activities is militant in nature Police chief National police chief Norian Mai said they were suspected of involvement in a number of killings, bank robberies and the attempted bombing of a Hindu temple and church over the last two years. Police believe that the group was behind the killing of three ethnic Indians, including politician Joe Fernandez, a member of the Malaysian Indian Congress Party, which is part of the ruling coalition. "The motive behind these activities is militant in nature and has jihad [holy war] elements," Mr Norian said, adding that guns and bomb-making equipment had been recovered from the group. There are fears of rising fundamentalism He said several of those arrested - all Malaysians - had previously fought in Afghanistan and in Indonesia's Ambon island "in the name of jihad". Police were looking for more suspects and investigating possible links to Islamic militants in other countries. Local reports said four of those involved in the bank robbery were graduates in Islamic studies from universities in Egypt, Pakistan and Turkey. Police tracked down the gang members following information provided by two members wounded by a security guard during a botched robbery. Second group The authorities have warned that militant groups are out to destabilise security in the country. In recent months, 10 members of a shadowy Muslim cult have been sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for preparing to wage war against the king. Al-Ma'unah members believe their training makes them invulnerable They were among 29 members of the Al-Ma'unah group brought to court after the theft in July 2000 of military weapons. After the haul, which sparked Malaysia's most serious security crisis for years, they allegedly vanished into the jungle, where they seized four hostages, two of whom were killed during a five-day standoff with troops. The other 19 members are on trial for treason and could face the death penalty if convicted.
Friday, 22 June, 2001, 10:05 GMT 11:05 UK UN welcomes Burma releases Aung San Suu Kyi: In talks with Burma's generals The United Nations has welcomed the decision by the Burmese military authorities to release from detention five opposition activists. Twelve others had been released last week. [Mr Annan] calls on both sides to build on this momentum UN spokesman Manoel Almeida e Silva A UN spokesman said the Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, hoped that the latest releases would prove a boost to ongoing talks between the military government and the leader of the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD), Aung San Suu Kyi. No news has been released on the progress of the talks, which started last year and have been conducted in secret. The NLD won elections in Burma in 1990, but has never been allowed to govern. The BBC's regional analyst Larry Jagan says sources in the military government have hinted that more releases are likely in the next few weeks. UN role Earlier this month the UN special envoy Razali Ismail met Burma's military leaders and Aung San Suu Kyi. The releases may be part of the military's confidence-building process His visit is thought to have broken the deadlock after fears that the talks had broken down. Before he left Rangoon, Mr Razali told Burma's military government that to resume the dialogue they must free some of the 200 political prisoners that the NLD were asking to be immediately released. However, diplomats will be more inclined to believe the talks are making real progress when the restrictions on Aung San Suu Kyi are lifted. Sources in Rangoon believe this may happen in July around the time the UN envoy is due to return to Rangoon
AP 4 June 2001 Secretary of State Colin Powell urged Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat on Monday to arrest those responsible for the Tel Aviv nightclub bombing that killed 20 Israelis. In a telephone call after a White House strategy session, Powell leaned on Arafat to go beyond his offer of a cease-fire and his order that attacks on Israel be halted, a U.S. official said. The bomber died in the suicide attack Friday night. But Powell's insistence that Arafat order arrest of those behind the attack and what the official called ``other atrocities'' indicates the administration is convinced the Palestinian leader can rein in militants. Trying to build on Monday's reduced violence, Powell also telephoned Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to urge him to refrain from retaliation.
BBC 7 June, 2001 The Philippines authorities have appealed to Muslim Abu Sayyaf rebels to contact a government negotiator after the group threatened to kill 13 hostages. The spokesman for the armed forces, Brigadier-General Edilberto Adan, said the government negotiator had not been able to get in touch with the kidnappers on the southern island of Basilan. The three Americans and 17 Filipinos were abducted from a resort off the western island of Palawan on 27 May and taken to Basilan. Nine hostages escaped, two were killed and the Abu Sayyaf seized four more captives from a hospital they occupied. On Wednesday, the rebels said one of their American captives had been wounded in a recent gunbattle with troops. A rebel spokesman said the Christian missionary Martin Burnham suffered shrapnel wounds from a grenade during clashes with the military on Monday. "He took many hits in the back... He is now in a stable condition, nothing to worry [about]," Abu Sabaya said. He said the other hostages were unharmed and were being treated well. Kidnappings The group says it wants a separate Islamic homeland in the southern Philippines, although correspondents say its main activity appears to be kidnap for ransom. Gloria Arroyo wants to resolve the crisis quickly The BBC's John McLean in Manila says Abu Sayyaf has a history of threatening to behead hostages. Sometimes the rebels were only bluffing, but sometimes they carried out their threats. On Wednesday, President Arroyo ruled out martial law or emergency powers on Basilan island as options to crush the rebels. National Police Chief Leandro Mendoza confirmed that three representatives from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, who were experts in hostage negotiation, arrived on Wednesday to assist the government.
BBC 6 June 2001 Government forces have stepped up security in a village in an eastern town after fighting there left more than 20 people dead. The military says Tamil Tiger guerrillas ambushed them while they were on patrol near Valaichchana town on Tuesday. Military spokesman Sanath Karunaratne said seven soldiers had been killed. He said intercepted rebel radio communications indicated that 12 Tamil Tigers had died. He also said seven civilians had been killed because of mortar attacks by the rebels. However, the pro-rebel Tamilnet.com website said local villagers had been hit by government fire. Government raid The fighting came just hours after the security forces said they had successfully raided a key rebel logistics centre in the east, killing at least 14 guerrillas. The military says reinforcements were rushed to the area as the rebels started firing mortars into government-controlled territory after the ambush. People as far away as Batticaloa town, 30km (18 miles) to the south, said they could hear the sound of the mortars during the morning. The intensity of the attacks, especially in the east of the island, seems to be gradually increasing as hopes for a Norwegian-sponsored peace process dim. Discussions have stalled over the issue of whether Sri Lanka will lift a ban on the Tigers before peace talks can begin.
AP 3 June 2001 Two former Chinese student activists on Sunday recalled their crushed pro-democracy protests in Beijing 12 years ago and urged Taiwan to keep pressuring China for democracy. The dissidents attended a panel discussion with Taiwanese politicians on the eve of the anniversary of the June 4, 1989 crackdown on the student-led movement, when hundreds, and perhaps thousands, were killed as tanks rolled across Beijing's Tiananmen Square. "It was at first an exciting moment, but we lost the battle to the aging leaders who lost their senses and who cherished power more than lives," said Zhang Poli, who now lives in exile in the United States. The dissidents also urged Taiwan to shun the lure of the mainland's economic prospects. "Many people have asked: Look how China's economy has developed, and why don't you forget about Tiananmen? But if we indeed forget about it, we may very well see another massacre," Zhang said. Following the crackdown, Zhang escaped an arrest warrant by hiding on a remote mountainside for two years before fleeing to the United States.
New Zealand Herald 27 June 2001 Fresh ire over 1947 massacre in Taiwan By DAN BLOCH TAICHUNG - A Taiwanese historian has criticised the new democratic Government's efforts to reconcile the nation with a massacre by the island's former Chinese nationalist rulers. It is an event of which most young Taiwanese are only dimly aware. But Professor Lin Tai Sei remembers the bloodiest episode in Taiwan's recent past and bears its scars. Lin, aged 72, is a retired Taiwanese-born historian from the University of Nagoya, Japan, where he lived for 27 years. A victim of violence in which Chinese soldiers suppressed a nationwide rebellion, he says the Government must complete the compensation process and reveal the truth about the incident known to Taiwanese as "228." We meet in a drab second-floor office on Chung Shan north road in the capital Taipei, a few metres from the building where the match that ignited a nationwide rebellion was lit. Today it is the seat of the Taiwan Parliament's upper house, the Executive Yuan. But 54 years ago, the building was a scene of carnage when Chinese soldiers guarding Governor Chen Yi's office opened fire from its rooftop on a group of Taiwanese demonstrators, sparking riots in which tens of thousands died. In 1947, Lin was a student in Kaohsiung, a port in southwestern Taiwan. The city was the scene of heavy fighting following a Taipei demonstration on February 28. But last month it hosted an exhibition of historical documents covering the 228 massacre - part of a Government initiative to release details of the incident. "In Kaohsiung train station, 160 people were killed," says Lin. "I escaped after hiding there for almost 14 hours, but I was shot." He lifts his left trouser leg, revealing a large scar. The incident came soon after Taiwan's 1945 return to Chinese control after 50 years of Japanese rule. Following the Second World War, the nationalist Kuomintang (KMT) took control, while fighting communists in China. It occurred amid mutual distrust between ethnic Taiwanese, perceived by their new masters as pro-Japanese, and the Chinese, considered by their new subjects as corrupt and autocratic. The demonstration in Taipei was against the provincial government's tobacco and wine monopoly bureau. On February 27, 1947, officials had arrested and beaten an illegal cigarette-seller on the street. When protesters marched to the office of Chen Yi the next day, they were fired upon. In the next three months, independent estimates say some 30,000 Taiwanese were killed. Lin, who has published two books on the massacre, believes the number was closer to 100,000 . The KMT Government suppressed discussion of the incident under martial law from 1949 until 1987, before reforming President Lee Teng-hui commissioned a 1992 report into the massacre. He then publicly apologised and established a memorial foundation to compensate victims in 1995. A law obliging Government offices and the Army to hand over records of the event followed in 1999. Taiwan's new President, Chen Shui-bian, of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) sought to promote human rights in the run-up to his election last March. He then set up the office of national archives to collect and release massacre documents. But Lin feels the Government should do more for the massacre victims. "We want them to compensate everybody for their lost property, uncover the truth about how the incident happened and construct a 228 museum." Many of my adult English language students in Taiwan's third city, Taichung, know little about the 228 massacre. Some believe there is no distinction between descendants of native Taiwanese and those born to post-1945 Chinese immigrants. The DPP is using the massacre to score political points against the KMT, exacerbating racial tension, they say. "This was an important event," says Lin. "Everybody who is Taiwanese must understand the truth."
BBC 8 June, 2001 Rwanda nuns guilty of genocide The two nuns handed over refugees to their killers Two Roman Catholic nuns have been found guilty of taking part in the genocide in Rwanda in 1994, after a landmark trial in Belgium. The 12 jury members reached their decision after deliberating into the early hours of Friday morning. They are the first civilians to have judged war crimes suspects from another country. The nuns, Sister Maria Kisito Mukabutera and Sister Gertrude Mukangango, could now face life in prison. The court heard how the women handed over thousands of people who had sought refuge in their convent. They even supplied cans of petrol to the Hutu militias, who set fire to a garage sheltering some 500 refugees. It is not known exactly how many people died in the genocide Two other defendants - former university professor Vincent Ntezimana and former Transport Minister Alphonse Higaniro - were also found guilty. The Belgian trial took place outside the United Nations Rwanda tribunal process in Arusha, Tanzania. It was the first time Belgium had used a law passed seven years ago, allowing its courts to hear cases of alleged human rights violations even if they were committed abroad.
BBC 8 June, 2001 A court in Belgium has sentenced two nuns to 12 and 15 years in prison for their part in the Rwanda genocide seven years ago. The Rwandan nuns were found guilty of homicide on Friday. I ask you, did the victims receive any gestures of clemency or pity? Prosecutor Sister Gertrude Mukangango received a 15-year sentence for her role in the massacre of some 7,000 people seeking refuge at her convent in southern Rwanda. Sister Maria Kisito Mukabutera received a 12-year sentence. Two men accused of helping plan and carry out the killings received 20 years and 12 years respectively. The prosecution in the war crimes trial had called for all four defendants to receive life sentences. They were being tried for their complicity in the 13-week genocide in 1994 that resulted in the death of 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus. Rwanda's Government welcomed the guilty verdict. "It is highly positive that Belgium, a foreign country, pursues and punishes crimes against humanity committed in Rwanda," Rwandan Justice Minister Jean de Dieu Mucyo told the Reuters news agency. I think the jury's verdict is balanced, even if it might seem severe on the whole for the four defendants Eric Gilet victims' lawyer "Other countries should follow this example." A lawyer for the victims of the genocide also expressed his satisfaction with the convictions. "We are obviously very satisfied. I think the jury's verdict is balanced, even if it might seem severe on the whole for the four defendants, of course. So it is balanced and it recognises, I think, everybody's guilt," said the lawyer, Eric Gilet. Landmark trial The 12 jury members reached their decision after deliberating into the early hours of Friday morning. They are the first civilians to have judged war crimes suspects from another country. The court heard how the two nuns handed over thousands of people who had sought refuge in their convent. They even supplied cans of petrol to the Hutu militias, who set fire to a garage sheltering some 500 refugees. It is not known exactly how many people died in the genocide Two other defendants - former university professor Vincent Ntezimana and former Transport Minister Alphonse Higaniro - were also found guilty. The Belgian trial took place outside the United Nations Rwanda tribunal process in Arusha, Tanzania. It was the first time Belgium had used a law passed seven years ago, allowing its courts to hear cases of alleged human rights violations even if they were committed abroad. The court heard how the two nuns enthusiastically embraced genocide when they handed over up to 7,000 Tutsis sheltering in the convent in southern Rwanda. Survivors' testimony In the two months that the trial has lasted, the jury has heard evidence from many survivors of the Rwandan genocide. The defendants, who all now live in Belgium, had maintained their innocence throughout the trial. Their lawyers claimed they were the victims of a conspiracy. Human-rights groups hope the trial will set a precedent and make it harder for war criminals to seek sanctuary abroad. Belgium is the former colonial power in Rwanda, and its willingness to stage the trial may come in part from concerns here that it did not do enough to stop the genocide.
IRIN 21 June 2001 Protais Zigiranuirazo, alias "Z" and brother of the widow of the late Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana, has been detained by Belgian police at Brussels airport, according to a report in the daily "La Libre Belgique" on Monday. Protais Z, a businessman and a former prefet (provincial official) of Ruhengeri, was considered to have been a member of the "akazu", the circle of Habyarimana's close relations. He was particularly suspected to have directed the "Reseau Zero" (Zero Network), a death squad active in Rwanda before the genocide and said to have planned the genocide, according to IRIN sources. Zigiranuirazo, who was arriving in Belgium from the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, when he was intercepted, has asked for asylum in Belgium but his request has so far not been accepted, the sources said. "Mr Z" remains in detention in the well known "Centre 127 bis" near Brussels airport, which hosts asylum-seekers whose request has not been (provisionally or definitively) accepted, they added. Zigiranuirazo is reputed to be on the Rwandan government's "Category 1" list of suspects, who are alleged to have masterminded the 1994 genocide.
IRIN 25 June 2001 Three of the "Butare Four" genocide convicts found guilty in Brussels on 8 June have filed an appeal in Belgium for a retrial. Alphonse Higaniro, 52, former director of a match factory in Butare, and two Roman Catholic nuns, Consolata Mukangango, 42, and Julienne Mukabutera, 36, known as sisters Gertrude and Maria Kisito, were found guilty of war crimes committed during the 1994 genocide and sentenced to between 12 and 15 years in jail. A lawyer for Mukangango said the appeal challenged the trial's judicial procedure on technical terms. The "Butare Four" trial was described as "historic", because it was the first time that defendants were tried in Belgium under a 1993 law which allows Belgian courts to judge war crimes and human rights violations committed by foreigners on foreign soil, including armed conflict within a country. No information was available about the fourth defendant, Vincent Ntezimana, 39, a former professor at Butare university who was found guilty of five out of the nine counts against him.
AP 4 June 2001 Nine Serbs went on trial Monday on charges of genocide during the Serb rebellion sparked in Croatia by its 1991 declaration of independence from Yugoslavia. Only two of the nine defendants, members of Serb paramilitary units, appeared in court to plead innocent. The other seven are being tried in absentia in Osijek, some 190 miles east of the capital, Zagreb, according to a statement by the court. The men are accused of killing an unspecified number of civilians while purging Croats from areas they claimed for the Serb minority. They face a maximum of 20 years in prison if convicted. Also Monday, police arrested an ethnic Serb accused of war crimes in central Croatia as he tried to enter the country at a border crossing with neighboring Bosnia. Officials did not identify him. Croatia's rebel Serbs seized a third of the country's territory during the rebellion, sending hundreds of thousands of non-Serbs fleeing. Government forces recaptured the lands in two offensives in 1995.
AP 6 June 2001 Croatia prosecutors on Wednesday charged Bosnian wartime leader Fikret Abdic with war crimes in connection with the deaths of more than 120 fellow Muslims. Bosnia had already charged Abdic with war crimes and genocide in 1997 and requested his extradition from Croatia. Abdic, who carved out a separate fiefdom in western Bosnia during the war in his fight against Muslim-led Bosnian government forces, was granted Croatian citizenship in 1995. The Croatian constitution bars extradition of its citizens for trial abroad, but they can be tried at home on similar charges. Abdic was supported by the previous government, which granted him citizenship. He lives in the northwestern city of Rijeka. A court in Rijeka was expected to order Abdic's arrest. The 2,200-page indictment accuses Abdic of killing 121 civilians and three prisoners of war, as well as wounding 400 others people, according to the state-run news agency HINA. District Prosecutor Drago Marincel did not offer details. There was no immediate reaction from Abdic, but in previous interviews, he has denied involvement in war crimes.
Friday June 8 12:25 PM ET Rights Court Dismisses Papon Appeal STRASBOURG, France (AP) - Europe's human rights court on Friday dismissed an appeal by 90-year-old wartime collaborator Maurice Papon, who said he should be released from jail because of his age. The former Vichy official was convicted in 1998 for his role in deporting at least 1,500 Jews to Nazi death camps during World War II. He is serving a 10-year sentence. The European Court of Human Rights said the fact Papon was already 88 when he was convicted of complicity in crimes against humanity was no reason to free him from La Sante prison in Paris, where he is serving his sentence. The court was set up in 1959 under the terms of the European Convention on Human Rights of 1950. Its judges are picked by the Council of Europe, the continent's highest human rights advocate. In a complaint to the court filed in January, Papon argued that his sentence violated the convention, which outlaws ``inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.'' The court noted that none of the 43 member states of the Council of Europe has an upper age limit for detention. It added that while old age may be a factor in ordering an early prison release, it found this did not apply to Papon, whose ``general state of health is deemed to be good,'' as is his state of mind. Nor have the conditions of his incarceration ``reached the level of severity required to bring it within the scope'' of the European human rights convention, the court ruled. Papon headed the Bordeaux area police during the World War II Nazi occupation of France. He was convicted in 1998 for his role in arresting and deporting Jews. After the war, he became budget minister and is the today highest-ranking Frenchman convicted in connection with crimes against humanity. European Court of Human Rights: http://www.echr.coe.int/
KATHIMERINI (Athens) 5 June 2001 Distomo relatives: Chief justice biased The survivors and relatives of a Nazi massacre at Distomo in 1944 have called on Supreme Court president Stefanos Matthias to recuse himself from a court hearing on whether Greek courts have the right to hear reparations cases against Germany, claiming that he is biased against them. They also want an earlier decision by a court under Matthias, sending the issue to the Special Supreme Court, to be rescinded. Chief Justice Matthias decided in February this year that the Special Court should hear the case after the Supreme Court ruled 16-4 that Greek courts do have the power to hear cases against Germany. That hearing is slated for September 29 while the First Section of the Supreme Court, under Matthias, is to hear the case on February 2, 2002. Under the constitution, the chief justice is also president of the Special Supreme Court. A lower court has granted the relatives of the 218 victims 9.4 billion drachmas in reparations. In a petition submitted by lawyer Yiannis Stamoulis yesterday, the relatives charged that the First Section of the Supreme Court should not have accepted Matthias's proposal to send the issue to the Special Supreme Court (decision 131/2001) after the plenum had ruled in favor of the plaintiffs. "The insult to, and the undermining of, the institutional standing of the Supreme Court plenum shakes dangerously and unacceptably the sense of security that citizens have in justice, justifiably creating suspicions of bias on the part of those who do not accept the final decisions of the supreme appellate body," they said. The petition claimed also that the chief justice's participating in the First Session hearing that took decision 131/2001 was against Article 6 of the European Convention of Human Rights because the European Court of Justice has ruled that judges who have already ruled on an issue cannot sit on another court and hear the same issue.
KATHIMERINI (Athens) 26 June 2001 Citing the government's internal political problems and international developments, the Church of Greece yesterday said it would refrain from presenting the results of its campaign to keep religious belief on state identity cards. But a Church announcement warned that it would be "imprudent" for the government to continue its "unfair" attacks. It had been due to announce tomorrow how many people have signed its petition for a referendum on whether the slot should be restored on the blue plastic cards. The Church had double-checked its figures, and was to present them to President Costis Stephanopoulos on Thursday. "By no means does the Church of Greece desire at this point to have its actions on the ID issue construed or unfairly interpreted as a direct or indirect intervention in politics," Archbishop Christodoulos said after a session of the Holy Synod. "It does not want to become part of any political problem," he added. "It will not furnish an occasion, pretext or opportunity for games, by local officials or international powers." Church sources said the announcement would be made in the fall. Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas hailed the announcement as "a positive development." "What is particularly welcome is that the Church leadership makes it clear that it is not - and will not become - part of a political game," he added. Yesterday, Church sources said over 3.1 million people have signed the referendum petition, which was launched on September 14 and ended at the end of April. Christodoulos said the results were "impressive." And he warned that "until the Church defines the new date for the presentation of the results, any continuation of the subversive and unfair attacks against it will be an imprudent act." Christodoulos said it was a shame the announcement had to be postponed. "The forces of godlessness and the enemies of our traditions, a gang of persons cut off from our people, have managed to entice those in power into trampling on the self-evident," he said. "As a result, time is being lost in confrontations, energy is being wasted and the spiritual balance of a faithful and industrious people is being disturbed."
KATHIMERINI (Athens) 29 June 2001 Court decisions come and go, Church of Greece officials said yesterday, commenting on the publication on Wednesday of a Council of State decision that effectively scotched the Church campaign to restore the religious faith slot to state identity cards. "Our only comment for the time being on the decision, which was taken despite a strong minority vote against it, is that the judges too are judged, while decisions come and go as judicial precedent shows," Efstathios, Bishop of Sparta said after a meeting of the Holy Synod, the Church ruling body. The decision, first made public six weeks ago, was formally issued yesterday. It found that it would be unconstitutional to list religious faith on ID cards, even if card bearers wanted to. The Church, which insists it should be optional, says over three million Greeks have signed its petition for a referendum on the question. "The authorities must either hold a referendum... or table a new law," Efstathios said.
BBC 9 June, 2001 Vatican 'surprise' at Rwanda verdicts The two nuns handed over refugees to their killers The Vatican says it is surprised that two Rwandan nuns convicted of war crimes should have been singled out for blame when so many people were responsible for the genocide there in 1994. In a formal statement, the Vatican referred to a letter from Pope John Paul to Rwandans in 1996, saying that the church could not be held responsible for the misdeeds of individual members. A court in Belgium on Friday sentenced the two nuns to 12 and 15 years in prison for their part in the genocide. They were found guilty of homicide. 'Grave responsibility' "The Holy See cannot but express a certain surprise at seeing the grave responsibility of so many people and groups involved in this tremendous genocide in the heart of Africa heaped on so few people," a statement by Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said. Sister Gertrude Mukangango received a 15-year sentence for her role in the massacre of some 7,000 people seeking refuge at her convent in southern Rwanda. Sister Maria Kisito Mukabutera received a 12-year sentence. Two men accused of helping plan and carry out the killings received 20 years and 12 years respectively.
On June 7, 2001 voters in Ireland cast ballots on a 23rd Amendment to their Constitution which will trade a limited amount of judicial sovereignty for participation in an International Criminal Court to try genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The referendum on the approval of the International Criminal Court has been carried by a substantial margin. Just over 64 per cent voted in favour of the introduction of the Court. All 41 constituencies declared a Yes vote in the referendum.
AP 30 June 2001 A Milan court convicted three people Saturday and sentenced each to life in prison for the 1969 bombing of a Milan bank that left 16 people dead and opened a two-decade wave of terrorism in Italy. Applause erupted in the courtroom after the sentences were read out for Delfo Zorzi, Carlo Maria Maggi and Giancarlo Rognoni, the AGI news agency said. The three members of the neo-fascist New Order group were sentenced for their involvement in the Dec. 12, 1969 bombing at a Milanese bank that killed 16 people and injured more than 80. The blast was the first in a wave of bombings, assassinations, kidnappings and massacres in Italy by left-wing and right-wing extremists that only ended when defections helped police break up many of the terror organizations in the mid-1980s. ``Thirty-two years after these deaths, justice and truth have been had,'' said Luigi Passera, president of the association of families of victims of the bombing. Zorzi, the one-time head of New Order, however, is not in custody. Since 1979, he has lived in Japan, where he married a Japanese woman and gained citizenship. Japan has so far refused to extradite him, arguing that its citizens cannot be extradited for crimes committed elsewhere. Last year, however, when the trial opened, the Japanese Justice Ministry said it may revoke Zorzi's citizenship. It wasn't clear whether Saturday's sentencing would persuade Tokyo to finally turn him over. The court sentenced another suspect to three years and decided against proceeding with the case against a fifth, AGI said.
Guardian (UK 25 June 2001 Italy's bloody secret. They were always portrayed as victims of fascism, but Mussolini's soldiers committed atrocities which for 60 years have gone unpunished. Now the conspiracy of silence is at last starting to unravel. Rory Carroll reports Monday June 25, 2001 The The footnotes of Italian history record Giovanni Ravalli waging war on criminals. He was a police prefect who kept the streets safe and pursued gangs such as the one which stole Caravaggio's The Nativity from a Palermo church in 1969. An adviser to the prime minister, a man of the establishment, he retired on a generous pension to his home at 179 Via Cristoforo Colombo, south Rome, to tend his plants and admire the view. He died on April 30 1998, aged 89. The footnotes do not record a Greek policeman called Isaac Sinanoglu who was tortured to death over several days in 1941. His teeth were extracted with pliers and he was dragged by the tail of a galloping horse. Nor do they mention the rapes, or the order to pour boiling oil over 70 prisoners. After the war Ravalli, a lieutenant in the Italian army's Pinerolo division, was caught by the Greeks and sentenced to death for these crimes. The Italian government saved him by threatening to withhold reparations unless he was released. Ravalli returned home to a meteoric career that was questioned only once: in 1992 an American historian, Michael Palumbo, exposed his atrocities in a book but Ravalli, backed by powerful friends, threatened to sue and it was never published. His secrets remained safe, just as Italy's secrets remained safe. An audacious deception has allowed the country to evade blame for massive atrocities committed before and during the second world war and to protect the individuals responsible, some almost certainly still alive. Of more than 1,200 Italians sought for war crimes in Africa and the Balkans, not one has faced justice. Webs of denial spun by the state, academe and the media have re-invented Italy as a victim, gulling the rest of the world into acclaiming the Good Italian long before Captain Corelli strummed a mandolin. In reality Benito Mussolini's invading soldiers murdered many thousands of civilians, bombed the Red Cross, dropped poison gas, starved infants in concentration camps and tried to annihilate cultures deemed inferior. "There has been little or no coming to terms with fascist crimes comparable to the French concern with Vichy or even the Japanese recognition of its wartime and prewar responsibilities," says James Walston, a historian at the American University of Rome. The cover-up lasts to this day but its genesis is now unravelling. Filippo Focardi, a historian at Rome's German Historical Institute, has found foreign ministry documents and diplomatic cables showing how the lie was constructed. In 1946 the new republic, legitimised by anti-fascists who had fought with the allies against Mussolini, pledged to extradite suspected war criminals: there was a commission of inquiry, denunciations, lists of names, arrest warrants. It was a charade. Extraditions would anger voters who still revered the military and erode efforts to portray Italy as a victim of fascism. Focardi's research shows that civil servants were told in blunt language to fake the quest for justice. A typical instruction from the prime minister, Alcide De Gasperi, on January 19 1948 reads: "Try to gain time, avoid answering requests." Yugoslavia, Greece, Albania, Ethiopia and Libya protested to no avail. "It was an elaborate going through the motions. They had no intention of handing over anybody," says Focardi. Germans suspected of murdering Italians - including those on Cephalonia, Corelli's island - were not pursued lest a "boomerang effect" threaten Italians wanted abroad: their files turned up decades later in a justice ministry cupboard in Rome. Britain and the US, fearful of bolstering communists in Italy and Yugoslavia, collaborated in the deception. "Justice requires the handing over of these people but expediency, I fear, militates against it," wrote a Foreign Office mandarin. The conspiracy succeeded in frustrating the United Nations war crimes investigation. There was no Nuremberg for Italian criminals. Given the evidence against them, it must rank as one of the great escapes. General Pietro Badoglio's planes dropped 280kg bombs of mustard gas over Ethiopian villages and strafed Red Cross camps. He died of old age in his bed, was buried with full military honours and had his home town named after him. General Rudolfo Graziani, aka the butcher of Libya, massacred entire communities; his crimes included an infamous assault on the sick and elderly of Addis Ababa. His men posed for photographs holding severed heads. General Mario Roatta, known to his men as the black beast, killed tens of thousands of Yugoslav civilians in reprisals and herded thousands more to their deaths in concentration camps lacking water, food and medicine. One of his soldiers wrote home on July 1 1942: "We have destroyed everything from top to bottom without sparing the innocent. We kill entire families every night, beating them to death or shooting them." Italy's atrocities did not match Germany's or Japan's in scale and savagery, and it is no myth that Italian soldiers saved Jews and occasionally fraternised with civilians. Glows of humanity amid the darkness; yet over time they have suffused the historic memory with blinding light. The distortion can partly be blamed on British prejudices about Italian soldiers being soft and essentially harmless, says Nic Fields, a military historian at the University of Edinburgh: "Many British historians liked to focus on the luxury items found in Italian barracks. It reinforced the image of opera buffoons. Your average Tommy tended to caricature the Italians as poor sods caught up in the war." The crimes have been chronicled in specialist journals but never became part of general knowledge. Ask an Italian about his country's role in the war and he will talk about partisans fighting the Ger mans or helping Jews. Ask about atrocities and he will talk about Tito's troops hurling Italians into ravines. Unlike France, which has deconstructed resistance mythology to explore Vichy, Italy's awareness has evolved little since two film-makers were jailed in the 1950s for straying off-message in depicting the occupation of Greece. When Japanese or Austrians try to gloss over their shame there is an outcry, but the Italians get away with it. The 1991 film Mediterraneo, about occupiers playing football, sipping ouzo and flirting with the locals on a Greek island, was critically acclaimed. Captain Corelli's sanctification of Italian martyrdom was not challenged. Ken Kirby's 1989 BBC Timewatch documentary, Fascist Legacy, detailing Italian crimes in Africa and the Balkans and the allies' involvement in the cover-up, provoked furious complaints from Italy's ambassador in London. The Italian state broadcaster, Rai, agreed to buy the two one-hour programmes, but executives got cold feet and for 11 years it has sat in a vault in Rome, too controversial to broadcast. "It's the only time I can remember a client shelving a programme after buying it," says a BBC executive. Kirby did manage to show it at a film festival in Florence. The reaction was toxic. "They put security on me. After the first reel the audience turned around and looked at me, thinking 'what a bastard'." A brief storm of publicity engulfed Michael Palumbo, the documentary's historical consultant. "I was practically assaulted by several Italian journalists. There was a sackful of death threats, some from former soldiers." The documentary gave a voice to Italian historians such as Giorgio Rochat, who have provoked disapproval from colleagues by attacking the myth. "There remains in Italian culture and public opinion the idea that basically we were colonialists with a human face." Another historian, Angelo Del Boca, says those guilty of genocide were honoured. "A process of rehabilitation is being organised for some of them by sympathetic or supportive biographers." He says that for decades his research was obstructed - an accusation echoed by Focardi. Vital documents are "mislaid" or perpetually out on loan. Just one example: 11 years ago a German researcher found documents and photographs of Italian atrocities in Yugoslavia in the central state archive, a fascist-built marble hulk south of Rome. No one has been able to gain access to them since. Such scholars are few, but thanks to their work a tentative reappraisal may be under way. While paying homage last march to the Italian troops massacred by Germans on Cephalonia, President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, noting that Italy invaded Greece, asked forgiveness. Newspapers such as La Stampa and Manifesto have reported new research, and a weekly magazine, Panorama, confronted Ravalli before he died. But Italy remains entranced by its victimhood. Television commentary for a military parade in Rome earlier this month hummed the glory and sacrifice of the armed forces. Newspapers splashed on the possibility that a 92-year-old former Nazi SS officer living in Hamburg, Friedrich Engel, may be prosecuted for crimes in Genoa. Other former Nazis accused of murdering Italians are being pursued now that the fear of a "boomerang" effect against Italian criminals has evaporated. Last month workers digging in northern Ethiopia stumbled on yet another Italian arms depot suspected of containing mustard gas. Addis Ababa asked Rome to respect an international weapons treaty by revealing the location of stockpiles and helping to clear them. Like all other requests over past decades, it was rebuffed. "All efforts on Ethiopia's side to convince Italy to live up to its responsibilities have failed," lamented the government. That week Italy's media did indeed delve into the evils of fascism: Italians forced to work in Adolf Hitler's factories were campaigning for compensation.
IRIN 21 June 2001 The Supreme Court of the interim administration of Kosovo, in southeastern Europe, on Tuesday ordered the release of a Rwandan UN official, Callixte Mbarushimana, suspected of involvement in the 1994 Rwandan genocide. It did so on the basis that the Rwandan government had not provided sufficient documentation to justify his extradition, AFP reported on Tuesday. "He will be released soon," it quoted Andrea Angeli, a spokesman for KFOR (the NATO peacekeeping force in Kosovo), as saying. Mbarushimana was arrested at the request of the Rwandan government on 11 April in the southeastern Kosovo town of Gnijlane, where he was working with the information office of the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), AFP reported. He had worked for a UN programme in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, in 1994 and was alleged to have played a role in the massacre of Tutsi colleagues by indicating to genocidal Hutu militia members where they were hiding, the report added.
BBC 31 May, 2001 The Macedonian Government is in a state of confusion over suggestions that the constitution should be changed to accommodate ethnic Albanian rebel demands. Coalition parties are holding urgent talks after Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski proposed the changes on Wednesday. Georgievski said Macedonia might have to bow to pressure He said that international pressure might force Macedonia to recognise ethnic Albanians as a constituent nationality, rather than a minority, and to adopt Albanian as the country's second official language. Correspondents say Mr Georgievski's comments mark a major shift in the government's approach to ethnic Albanian demands, which has so far been unbending. We have an obligation towards the international community to create a Macedonia that will suit the (ethnic) Albanians Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski The leader of one ruling party - Branko Crvenovski of the Social Democratic Alliance - said the prime minister had gone too far, and threatened to withdraw from the coalition. But a leading member of one of the ethnic Albanian parties in the coalition said the prime ministers remarks - coming as a grudging response to international pressure, rather than a gesture of good will - were unacceptable. "We cannot accept the way Georgievski speaks about this," said Azis Polozhani of the Party of Democratic Prosperity. "This is inflammatory talk that could push us into an even deeper crisis." Mr Georgievski himself said the moves he suggested could be seen as a capitulation to rebel demands and lead to renewed violence later. Meanwhile President Boris Trajkovski is reported to have proposed a partial amnesty to the rebels fighting the government in the north of the country. Reports of fighting near the northern village of Matejce - involving tanks and light artillery - come amid renewed concern over the fate of up to 10,000 civilians trapped in other villages nearby. Mistreatment The Red Cross has described the situation in the most overcrowded village, Lipkovo, as "desperate". Its normal population of 4,500 has swollen to 10,000 because of the influx of people fleeing from other villages involved in the fighting. ... The parties have set 15 June as a deadline for substantial progress in calming ethnic tensions. Ethnic Albanians make up between a quarter and a third of Macedonia's population of two million.
BBC 2 June, 2001 Resentment fuels Macedonia conflict Tales of mistreatment are having a corrosive effect By Colin Blane in Skopje Let me say from the beginning that I am not a Balkans veteran. The conflicts I have covered have been African wars - Sudan, Somalia and Ethiopia. I was thinking about this as I sat in a Macedonian meadow, waiting for a convoy of refugees and listening to the thud of artillery pounding a village - another beautiful place being disfigured by war. Villagers believe civil war may be on the way And in the warmth of early summer, the hills and valleys north of Skopje are beautiful. The fighting of the last few weeks has taken place over a limited area, but its effects are rippling outwards, threatening both communities in this divided country. Polarising opinions The guerrillas of the NLA are demanding equal rights for ethnic Albanians - a campaign they are backing with violence. The Macedonian government has responded with rockets and mortars. Young Albanian men go off with the rebels while young Macedonians join the army or the police. The conflict and all the talk about the conflict seem to be polarising opinions. In the farmland outside the capital, positions are hardening. Aracinovo is a large ethnic Albanian village surrounded by smaller hamlets tucked away in the folds of the valley. Idyllic spot The land is fertile and, spared the benefits of years of pesticide, the plots are speckled with poppies and other wild flowers and the trees are busy with the chatter of birds. It seems an idyllic spot but people who have lived peacefully with their neighbours for years say they are worried that attitudes are changing. Among the ethnic Albanian villages near Aracinovo is a pocket of Macedonian houses. Sitting under a pear tree, sipping thick black coffee, Zivko, a farmer with a son in the army, said the stress was so bad that he and his wife could not sleep. They can hear the shelling on the other side of the hills. Zivko knows that ethnic Albanians are asking for equality of education, language and employment but says he believes they want to rule the country. 'Ready' for war His neighbour, Slobodanka, says she and her friends are ready if war should come. She says she is not so open with the Albanians down the road as she used to be. She says hello but does not take coffee or tea with them anymore. Slobodanka thinks equal status for the Albanian language is too great a demand and objects to the Albanian call for constitutional change. Just like Zivko, she thinks civil war may be on the way. Further north, near the town of Kumanovo, another family of farmers has a story to tell. They are ethnic Albanians who were trapped in a village in rebel-held territory. Advie is a mother of six. She says Macedonian soldiers accused her of cooking food for the guerrillas, burned her house down and beat her family. They have recent bruises and bloodstained clothing to show for it. Mistrust grows The government rejects the allegations but the tales of mistreatment are having a corrosive effect. As Advie describes how she left her village behind after 40 years there, her friends listen and nod. Ethnic Albanians are demanding equality One says it used to be common for ethnic Albanians and Macedonians to go hunting together. He used to do it himself, but not any more. An older man runs through a history of injustices, remembering events of 60 and 90 years ago as if they were yesterday. The longer the fighting continues, the more damage is done to relations between the two communities. The offensive to drive out the rebels was supposed to be over within a couple of days, yet it still goes on. On the brink Dislodging the guerrillas has been a slow business. But perhaps more worrying for the government is a new threat from one of the rebel commanders to take the conflict into the towns and cities. Macedonia has had international support but it has been accompanied by a good deal of arm-twisting. The leaders of the coalition, which includes the two mainstream Albanian parties, scarcely speak to each other, but they are under pressure to discuss constitutional reform. This is a country where everybody knows the consequences of civil war. They have watched the mayhem of Kosovo and Bosnia from close. But Macedonia still runs the risk of sliding over the brink, dragged down by an undertow of rumours and resentment.
Rueter 7 June 2001 Funerals and Ethnic Riots Keep Macedonia Tense Grief-stricken Macedonian Slavs on Thursday buried soldiers killed by rebels in an attack that sparked violent retaliation against ethnic Albanians in the southern city of Bitola. A 16-gun salute rang out in pouring rain as the white coffin of Blagojce Siljanov, 32, was lowered into the ground. His wife and 5-year-old son wailed at the graveside. "He died a hero for Macedonia," a military colleague proclaimed. Siljanov's nickname, Dwarf, had been spray-painted on ethnic Albanian houses burned down by rioting Slav mobs. Two more soldiers from Slav-dominated Bitola were among the five fatalities and were also laid to rest Thursday. In Brussels, NATO defense ministers condemned Tuesday's deadly ambushes by ethnic Albanian rebels. NATO Secretary-General George Robertson urged the rebels to disarm. "I urge the men of violence to lay down their arms and take part in normal political processes," Robertson said. The deaths of the five men have brought Macedonia to a new level of crisis, with ethnic tension worsening and little progress among politicians in an uneasy all-party coalition in agreeing reforms meant to address ethnic Albanian grievances. The reforms are supposed to undercut support for the rebellion, which began in February. Up to 3,000 people bent on vengeance for the death of the soldiers rampaged through Bitola, Macedonia's second city, on Wednesday, attacking ethnic Albanian businesses and homes. "Unfortunately we have indications that the riots might continue tonight," said police spokesman Stevo Pendarovski. MOSQUE TARGETED Rioters set fire to a mosque and overturned and smashed white gravestones with Arabic script around the building. Government officials said around 50 premises had been damaged and 14 people had been hurt, three with gunshot wounds from weapons fired by business owners defending their properties. Police arrested three people for the shootings. The home of Macedonia's deputy minister of health, an ethnic Albanian, was burned to the ground and his brother's house next door was also gutted by fire. Neighbors were painting over anti-Albanian slogans that had been daubed on nearby walls. "It's a catastrophe," said Amdi Zeton, 42, as he hosed down the remains of his two-story home burned in the four-hour riot. Broken glass was scattered across the street, a burned-out van lay on its side and the smell of smoke hung in the air. "We got the situation under control around 1:30 a.m. (9:30 p.m. EDT)," Pendarovski said. "The police were in the street, but they did nothing," said Zeton's 13-year-old son Klenja. A local policeman said there were too many attackers for them to respond. It was the second time in less than six weeks that Bitola had been hit by violent ethnic riots. After four soldiers from the area were killed by rebels in late April, the city was hit by a two-day rampage of revenge. "People are very angry at the shooting of our children. It's not right to burn houses, but you can understand their feelings," said a Slav woman in a tourist agency. STATE OF WAR UNLIKELY After Tuesday's killings, Macedonia's prime minister called for a state of war to give him the powers needed to quell rebels who say they are fighting for more rights for their minority, which represents up to a third of the population. But the country's defense minister distanced himself from the call, which was also condemned by Thursday's press, and it looks to have little chance of securing the two-thirds vote in parliament it needs, should it ever be formally demanded. Macedonia's Western allies urged the government to show restraint, warning that a declaration of war risked aggravating the insurgency, which has raised fear of full-scale civil war. NATO's Robertson said the alliance "would also encourage the government in Skopje to persevere in its two-track approach of engaging in an effective political dialogue, while using necessary and proportionate military force." Since the deaths there have been no retaliatory attacks by the Macedonian army and its strategy appears now to be one of containing the guerrillas in the areas they occupy. "They don't have the troops and equipment to defeat the guerrillas," said one Western envoy. The guerrillas control mountains above the town of Tetovo in the northwest and claim to have extended their hold on a string of villages to the northeast of Skopje, retaking hamlets they had lost to the army. Civilians are also leaving the Albanian-dominated district of Aracinovo, which lies midway between Skopje and rebel-held lands, for fear the guerrillas will strike there. The European Union's foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, visits Skopje Friday in a fresh attempt to encourage Macedonia's bickering month-old coalition of Slav and Albanian politicians to work out a reform program.
ICRC 13 June 2001 News 01/23 .Some 330 civilians from the Macedonian villages of Lipkovo and Otlja were taken to safety by ICRC staff on Tuesday in the largest single evacuation carried out by the organization since the conflict between the Macedonian forces and ethnic Albanian armed groups began in March. Most had previously fled to Lipkovo from nearby villages directly affected by the fighting. However, the encroaching hostilities had apparently persuaded many in recent days that it was necessary to move again to a safer place. The evacuees – mostly women, sick men, elderly people, and children – were taken to the larger centres of Kumanovo or Skopje to join relatives. Tuesday's operation followed one the previous day when ICRC teams visited Lipkovo, Slupcane and Otlja to deliver medical and hygiene supplies and evacuate 46 wounded and other particularly vulnerable civilians. The situation remains precarious for the civilians who remain in the area around Kumanovo owing to poor hygiene conditions and limited food supplies. Thomas Jenatsch, who headed the ICRC's evacuation team, said it was impossible to assess how many people wanted to leave Lipkovo. "But we have the strong impression that many no longer feel safe and that the psychological pressure of recent weeks is taking its toll." Meanwhile, relief distributions started yesterday for some 3,000 people who have registered with the Macedonian Red Cross branches of Ilinden, Sindjelic and Momin Potok over the last few days, after fleeing their homes in and around Aracinovo.
BBC 26 June, 2001 Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski has appealed for calm nearly 24 hours after protesters stormed parliament calling for his resignation during a night of violence in the capital, Skopje. In an address to the nation, he said he needed help from the government, the security forces and ordinary people to restore peace in the state shaken by ethnic Albanian revolt. President Trajkovski: I need help "We cannot afford discord," he said. "I am offering peace and I am asking for your support." He also defended a Western-led evacuation of ethnic Albanian rebels from a village on the outskirts of Skopje, Aracinovo, which enraged Macedonian nationalists and triggered Monday night's disturbances. It was a success," he said, adding that it had fulfilled the goal of removing hundreds of heavily armed militants from the edge of the capital. "I can understand the anger in front of parliament but I can't understand the firing, which could tip us into a civil war," Mr Trajkovski warned. The European Union also said that the country could still pull back from the brink of conflict if citizens showed restraint. Internal rifts Earlier, Swedish Foreign Minister Anna Lindh said Mr Trajkovski remained in "full control" of the country's armed forces - despite the fact that soldiers and police reservists were among the demonstrators. "We have received assurances that the president and government are in full control of the military and the police," said Ms Lindh, whose country holds the EU's rotating presidency. Click here to see map of the region "Developments today show how serious the situation is, but it is still obvious there is no military solution," she added. In his speech, Mr Trajkovski indicated that those behind Monday night's troubles came from within the Macedonian Government. He also hinted he was meeting strong resistance to his peace efforts. The abandoning of the Aracinovo offensive sparked public anger "Unfortunately, some internal forces at all levels of state seemed scared by the success of the plan," he said. "They took unacceptable steps with only one goal - to prevent the realisation of the plan and to provoke internal disturbances and a wider civil conflict but we will not allow that." When the demonstrations began on Monday, Mr Trajkovski was holding talks with Macedonian and ethnic Albanian leaders inside the parliament building. But the politicians managed to leave through a back door before the protesters broke in, some shouting "Gas chambers for the Albanians!". Our correspondent says that many Macedonians are furious that the guerrillas were allowed to leave with their weapons, and they are especially angry at what they see as the change of attitude in the West. New fighting But despite the EU's appeal, fresh shelling - the first since Sunday's ceasefire - began again on Tuesday, not far from Aracinovo. One of three villages targeted by Macedonian forces was Nikustak, where the rebels were taken from Aracinovo. Fears are growing that increasing uncertainty will spark a new refugee exodus. Ethnic Albanians have been fleeing to Kosovo On Tuesday, the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR made an appeal for $17.5m to cope with the refugee crisis. The aid would help some 65,000 ethnic Albanians from Macedonia who have fled to Kosovo, 6,000 Macedonians who went to Serbia and another 32,000 displaced persons within Macedonia, said UNHCR spokesman Ron Redmond. EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg told their Macedonian counterpart, Ilinka Mitreva, on Monday that further EU aid would only be available if Macedonia stopped seeking a military victory and pursued a political dialogue.
ABC news 26 June 2001 U.S. Troops Evacuate Ethnic Albanians By ABCNEWS.com Protesters stormed the Macedonian parliament building, angry about the government's handling of an Albanian revolt. Fresh violence broke out in Macedonia in the wake of a White House-approved mission that saw U.S. forces come under fire when they helped evacuate hundreds of ethnic Albanians from a besieged village. The American personnel, 81 well-armed combat troops of the 101st Airborne Division and 20 contractors, on Monday transported some 100 rebels and about 250 other civilians — men, women and children — out of Aracinovo and to a village 11 miles away under a plan to end clashes in the village. The ethnic Albanians were escorted in a convoy of 15 buses, three trucks, three ambulances and 16 Humvees for security, officials said. The U.S. troops, part of a contingent located in the nearby capital of Skopje, were shot at during the operation, but did not shoot back. There were no reports of U.S. casualties. Officials said the evacuation was quickly, but heavily planned. More troops were on standby, as were helicpters ready to conduct an evacuation of the forces. But all did not go exactly according to plan. At one point, the U.S. forces were in visual sight of Macedonian government combat vehicles, though an agreement had required Macedonian forces pull back out of sight, so the convoy would not be in the vehicle's gunsights, NATO (news - web sites) sources say. The U.S. troops asked the Macedonians to pull back, and they did. At another point point, the convoy was held up at a Macedonian government checkpoint, allowing a large armed crowd to quickly gather around the troops, a Pentagon (news - web sites) spokesman confirmed. "The U.S. commander on scene made the call and, rather than try to continue through the checkpoint and continue the process, I'm gonna turn around and seek another way and defuse the situation," said Rear Adm. Craig R. Quigley. Quigley said the evacuation had the support of the Macedonian government. He also noted there are elements within Macedonian society that clearly opposed it. Following the operation, anti-ethnic Albanian rioting broke out in Skopje. The protesters demanded harsher government action against ethnic Albanians. NATO Secretary-General George Robertson today praised the evacuation, calling it "a major step forward in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia peace process." NATO and European Union (news - web sites) envoys had earlier brokered a deal allowing the ethnic Albanians to pull out of Aracinovo and return to guerrilla-held territory. The deal, which came just days after government forces began an offensive on the violence-torn, strategically important area, was designed to revive peace talks. Violence Persists However, violence continued today in a number of areas. There were reports of intense fighting near the northwest town of Tetovo, as rebels attacked police positions on the outskirts of the city and government forces returned fire. A policeman was killed and four others were wounded, a U.S. official confirmed. Macedonian governement forces hunted rebels in several villages today, including in Nikustak, where the rebels in Aracinovo were were taken by NATO before further relocation, according to news reports. Robertson, the NATO secretary-general, urged today that a cease-fire be extended across the country. "I stress what I have said before: There is no military solution to the current crisis. The cessation of violence must now be made permanent." Efforts to Make Peace For more than a week, U.S. and European diplomats have been attempting to broker a cease fire agreement between Macedonian government forces and ethnic Albanian guerillas, hoping to prevent an all-out civil war in the country. NATO announced last week a peace agreement would be enforced with the introduction of NATO peacekeepers into the country. The evacuation Monday signaled a surprising improvisation of U.S. policy. Reluctant to further involve U.S. forces in peacekeeping operations in the Balkans, the Bush administration has lately suggested U.S. forces would play only a supporting role in NATO peacekeeping operations in Macedonia. U.S. officials said the U.S. troops and vehicles were used because they were the most quickly available. "NATO requested the countries on an urgent basis, contribute vehicles to that effort, said State Department spokesman Richard Boucher at a press briefing today. "We had some assets that were available for that purpose. And after approval by our chain of command, we deployed them for that use." U.S. officials said today the White House approved the operation. White House spokesman Ari Fleischer told reporters President Bush was informed of the mission ahead of time. But he did not answer directly the question of who in the administration had authorized using American troops. Pentagon spokesman Quigley told reporters the evacuation did not signal a formal change in U.S. policy. "This particular event, I would not point to this … as a turning the corner and proceeding down a path where we will now continuously provide this level of support." There are currently between 500 and 700 U.S. military personnel in Skopje, introduced in 1993 to symbolize U.S. opposition to instability spreading from neighboring Kosovo and Serbia proper. They provide logistical support for NATO forces in the region, and also include a contingent of combat troops for force protection. U.S. military planning continues for supporting a peacekeeping mission, if there is a peace agreement. They are, so far, considering offering logistics, airlift, intelligence and communications support, but not direct troops for assisting in disarmament. Rioting in the Capital In Skopje Monday night, several angry Macedonian reservists stormed the parliament building, made their way to the balcony, and fired gunshots into the air, cheered on by the crowd of about 5,000 outside. Others destroyed furniture inside the building, or hung the former Macedonian flag from the building. The flag was replaced more than half a century ago by communists when the country was still part of Yugoslavia. Outside, crowds pounded on police cars and shouted: "Gas chambers for the Albanians," "Traitors, traitors," "Give us weapons" and "Death to the Albanians!" In separate incidents, a U.S. Army soldier patrolling the Kosovo side of the Kosovo-FYROM border stepped on a land mine Monday while on routine. The wound was not life-threatening, according to Quigley, but the soldier lost his foot. Also, a U.S. Army soldier in Macedonia was wounded southwest of Skopje, when the unmarked vehicle that he and some Macedonian officials were riding in received some small arms fire. The soldier was struck in the hand and possibly elsewhere and is being treated. Albanians in Macedonia are outnumbered by Slavs more than 3 to 1. Armed rebels have been demanding more autonomy. Moderate ethnic Albanian leaders have been demanding greater participation in Macedonian civil society. ABCNEWS' Barbara Starr, Terry Moran and David Ruppe contributed to this report.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 1 Jun 2001 Expanding the Scope in Prosecuting Crimes Against Humanity By Michael Ludwig WARSAW. State prosecutors for Poland's Institute for National Remembrance (IPN) filed charges in a unique case some months ago. The institute has accused a Pole of aiding and abetting the murder of Jews at the Nazi death camp Chelmno near Lodz, where at least 152,000 people were killed. The man, Henryk M., has since been taken into custody and is now awaiting trial in prison. The case has sparked a great deal of controversy and created strange alliances. In fact, two diametrically opposed newspapers are in agreement about the case: Tygodnik Solidarnosc, a right-leaning weekly affiliated with the anti-communist labor movement Solidarity, and Nie, a tabloid published by the former Polish government spokesman during the suppression of same said labor movement. Both papers have expressed their outrage that the country's Main Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation, now a part of the institute, is even working on the case. They argue that the commission's name suggests it should be limiting itself to pursuing crimes committed by non-Polish perpetrators. Under no circumstances, they say, should a Polish national, like Henryk M., who has lived his entire life in Poland, be prosecuted. As far as the law is concerned, the two papers are wrong. The law creating the IPN, passed in December 1998, states that the prosecutors of the Main Commission are obligated to pursue such cases. The media attack, however, mirrors the uneasiness nationalists from both the left and the right have toward bureaucratic "whistleblowers." Similar attacks have come from those segments of Poland's political class that hold views bordering on right-wing extremism as well. And they have directed much of their ire at IPN President Leon Kieres after he publicly stated that the Poles in the town of Jedwabne murdered their Jewish neighbors in July 1941. But Mr. Kieres has told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that "as long as I am the boss, I will make sure that unpleasant truths are not suppressed. We must accept that the Polish nation possesses its light and dark sides, even if many Poles do not like it." After the collapse of communism in 1989, Solidarity sought to break the long silence on the crimes of Poland's post-World War II communist dictatorship. They wanted to examine communist injustices and prosecute those responsible for crimes committed between 1945 and 1989. After all, the communists, eager to justify their claim to rule, had been zealous in prosecuting war crimes committed against Poles. Some 6,000 rulings were handed down under the communist regime. This policy was not without sad irony. At the same time a top Nazi administrator was being held in a top floor cell of a Danzig court jail under the watchful eye of the Allies and other foreign entities, political prisoners were wasting away in the cellar. They were Poles, who, because they were allegedly enemies of the new regime, were tortured and broken, and who could never expect to receive a fair trial. The area where the political prisoners were corralled has since been bricked up and sealed to hide any traces of wrongdoing. The crimes committed by the communists against their own people were supposed to be erased from memory. Only now is the available evidence being evaluated -- to the applause of the Polish right and the dismay of the left, in particular the successors of the Polish Communist Party. In 1991, the Polish parliament changed the name of the Main Commission for Research into Nazi Crimes against Poland, which was set up in 1945 to collect information on Nazi war crimes, to the Main Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation. The law also expanded the scope of the commission's activities. Now, the commission can investigate crimes against humanity on Polish soil within the national boundaries drawn up after World War I as well as within the borders drawn up after World War II, regardless of the national origins of the victims or the perpetrators. This greater scope has made it possible to investigate not only those crimes committed by Polish communists against Polish citizens but also those crimes committed by the Soviets. As a result, investigators can now focus on victims of other nationalities -- Germans or Ukrainians, for example. Preparations for a new trial against Czeslaw Geborski, the commandant of a detention camp where at least 1,500 Germans died after World War II, became only a matter of time. When the IPN was founded in 1998, the state prosecutors at the main commission were granted the right to file indictments with the court and represent the prosecution in any ensuing trial. Before that, the prosecutors on the commission were only allowed to pass on their investigation material to state prosecutors. Alas, it often happened that indictments were often rejected because of the court's excessive caseloads and insufficiently qualified state prosecutors, who were unable to handle statutory offenses going back that far in time. Among the new rights granted to main commission's staff members was access to previously secret documents that were then supposed to be handed over -- gradually -- to the IPN. One of the results of the new legal rules is the indictment against Henryk M. Another investigation is looking into crimes committed against Germans in Lodz after World War II. The victims are almost exclusively children, women and old men. Survivors of the camp at the Sikawa prison in Lodz, who now want to testify about their experiences, have been offering their help to the commission because they now believe their suffering will no longer be ignored. The IPN prosecutors know that they will not be able to complete every investigation with an indictment. Many of the suspects have died or their whereabouts is unknown. But since the founding of IPN, part of the job in such cases has been to reconstruct the details and circumstances surrounding a crime and to draw up as complete a list as possible of the victims involved. Listing the names of those who suffered and their experiences will help establish a collective memory. This also goes for the murder of Jews at Jedwabne. The veil of silence cannot be reimposed -- even if many Poles would like to see it happen and try to impede the investigations. Residents of Jedwabne who wanted to testify about the murders on Jews in the summer of 1941 have received threats. A state prosecutor with a somewhat Russian-sounding name has been harassed as a "Russian Jew" because, according to the coarse argument, only such a person would voluntarily work toward solving crimes against Jews and possibly indicting Poles. Provincial pigheadedness has apparently made it impossible for some people to recognize that for years Poland has been evolving into a different country where the rule of law will have far-reaching consequences. Part of this process, at least as far as the fate of Germans in Poland after World War II is concerned, has to do with the justification of the "right to revenge" that was used by many older people to parry criticism of Polish injustices. The time has come when more and more Poles -- not only IPN prosecutors -- find this unacceptable.
AP 4 June 2001 By Monika Scislowska Investigators completed their partial exhumation Monday of a mass grave of Jews massacred in 1941 by their Polish neighbors, the prosecutor supervising the operation said. The exhumation in the northeastern town of Jedwabne began last week as part of a government probe launched after a book described how Poles, not Nazi troops, killed as many as 1,600 Jews there. Ordered by the state Institute of National Remembrance, the exhumation had been halted Thursday night after a rabbi from Israel had to leave. It resumed Monday after Rabbi Morris Herschaft of London arrived to oversee the work. Witold Kulesza, head of the institute's investigators in Jedwabne, said the exhumation was finished by late afternoon, and Herschaft said prayers over the grave. The part of the grave that was uncovered "may hold about 200 victims," Kulesza said by telephone from Jedwabne. Ashes found there could correspond to the remains of 50 more victims, he said. Kulesza stressed, however, that "only a complete exhumation could have answered how many victims there were." He said that "what we were able to do helped us reveal the mechanism of the crime." Investigators plan to issue a statement on their findings later. Despite fierce opposition from the Jewish community, the institute ordered the exhumation to secure evidence in case charges are brought against any surviving perpetrators. Investigators also hoped to establish the identities of at least some of the victims. The rabbis supervising the procedure were there to minimize the desecration and ensure the remains were treated with utmost respect. Jewish religious law forbids exhumations except in rare cases – to prevent worse desecration, for example, or to protect human life. "We had to carry out this exhumation. It was important for our investigation," Kulesza said. He expressed gratitude to the rabbis for their presence. Under a compromise, workers dug only to the first layer where human remains were found. They examined and photographed small remains and then put them back in place. Large bones and fragments of skeletons were uncovered, but not touched or moved. Personal effects that could help identify victims were cataloged and removed. Kulesza said investigators will now question more witnesses. The chief prosecutor will go to Israel next week to hear testimony from a witness there. On Thursday, investigators found fragments of a statue of Soviet founder Vladimir Lenin, corroborating accounts that Jews were forced to carry it before being killed. Signs of charring indicated it was brought to a barn before it was set on fire. Witnesses of the pogrom have said many victims were burned alive in a barn on the site. Kulesza said a few dozen bullet shells and rifle magazines were found in the graves, indicating some victims were shot before being burned. Some historians and others who dispute details of the pogrom suggest bullets or bullet wounds would indicate Nazi troops did at least some of the killing. The Jedwabne massacre took place in July 1941 after invading Nazi troops supplanted the previous Soviet occupiers. Some historians have suggested the Poles acted out of revenge for what they saw as Jewish cooperation with repressive Soviet occupiers, who left the Lenin statue behind when they fled the invading Germans. On the Net: Institute of National Remembrance: http://www.ipn.gov.pl
Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty 30 May 2001 Chechens demonstrate in Grozny Some 500 people congregated in Grozny on 29 May to call for an end to the war in Chechnya and for greater international pressure on the Russian leadership to halt reprisals against Chechen civilians, AP reported. Chechen administration head Akhmed-hadji Kadyrov was scheduled to fly to the U.S. on 30 May to explain the "real situation" in Chechnya to members of the U.S. administration, according to ITAR-TASS. LF
AFP 4 Jun 2001 Russia to pour reinforcements into rebel Chechnya By Dmitry Zaks Russia's military unexpectedly announced Monday it was pouring more troops into Chechnya only weeks after President Vladimir Putin announced the start of a triumphant withdrawal from the rebel republic. Interior Minister Boris Gryzlov said an additional 1,500 soldiers would be dispatched to the ruined rebel capital Grozny in the coming days. "This formation will remain in Chechnya for a long time," Gryzlov said. The shelled-out city, devastated by guerrilla attacks and a landmine war of attrition that has characterised the 20-month conflict, has recently seen an unusual -- even by Chechnya standards -- return of gun battles to the streets. The Russian military late last week was forced to seal off all streets leading into Grozny, declaring that it would conduct so-called mopping up operations in response to rebel attacks on federal positions. Official reports say that only a few soldiers have been killed in Grozny in the past days. These reports are nearly impossible to confirm independently, although military sources have told AFP that the fighting which has recently gripped Grozny is in fact the worst seen so far this year. However Gryzlov's announcement is particularly startling as it comes just weeks after Putin declared the military operation in Chechnya as a complete success, handing command of the operation over to the internal security service -- in the name of fighting crime, and not a war. Gryzlov is a close Putin ally, appointed to the interior ministry post only this spring, and it is unlikely that he would make such an announcement without coordinating it with the president first. Putin himself refrained from making comments on Gryzlov's announcement. But earlier Monday, Moscow's political establishment was already scrambling to react to a top Russian commander's suggestion that Chechen rebels should be hanged in public after their arrest. Russia's northern Caucasus commander, Gennady Troshev, called for "the most painful death penalty" to be applied to Chechen separatist fighters in an interview published Monday in the daily Izvestiya. Kremlin spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembsky criticized the general, who said he would "bring everyone out onto a public square and string up the bandits for all to see." "Public and summary executions are out of the question," Yastrzhembsky said, stressing the Russian operations in the breakaway republic "cannot be conducted in conditions of arbitrariness and violation of Russian laws." Troshev last week offered a million-dollar reward for the capture of rebel Chechen president Aslan Maskhadov and the two main Chechen warlords, Shamil Basayev and Khattab. The death penalty is still in force in Russia, though a moratorium has been applied since 1996 following Russia's admission to the Council of Europe. Last month Justice Minister Yury Chaika called for the moratorium to be suspended in the case of terrorist actions.
AP Jun. 5, 2001. Page 3 Kalamanov: 540 Chechens Missing The Associated Press A Kremlin official said Monday that more than 540 Chechens have gone missing during the current war and called on prosecutors and the Federal Security Service to strengthen control over military detentions of civilians. President Vladimir Putin's commissioner for human rights in Chechnya, Vladimir Kalamanov, said Monday that 930 people had officially been reported missing since the start of Russia's military campaign in August 1999. Investigators have found 366 of the missing people, most of them in Russian detention, and 18 more have been found dead, Kalamanov said. The number of dead apparently did not include the many dozens of victims whose bodies were found this winter in an abandoned neighborhood near the main military base Khankala, just outside the Chechen capital, Grozny. Many of those bodies were identified by relatives as civilians detained by federal troops, but the military denied accusations of executing detainees. Troops routinely seize Chechens during sweeps for suspected insurgents. Some of the detainees have later been found dead. Human rights groups accuse federal forces of torture and summary executions of detained civilians. Kalamanov conceded that arbitrary detentions sometimes result in disappearances. "The number of reports [of missing people] increases sharply after so-called mopping-up operations and passport checks, because many checks have been carried out without the participation … of the prosecutor's office or local administration … and often without apparent reason," Kalamanov said at Monday's parliamentary hearings on disappearances in Chechnya. Kalamanov said the Federal Security Service, which has taken charge of the military campaign in Chechnya, and prosecutors should control detentions. Federal forces blocked all roads leading into and out of Grozny and other towns Monday and combed the areas for suspected rebels. More than 50 people were detained Sunday and Monday, a pro-Moscow Chechen official said on condition of anonymity. Amnesty International has urged Russian authorities to free a Chechen rights activist and former minister in the separatist government, Dik Altemirov, saying he was at risk of torture in detention.
BBC 10 June, 2001 Gypsies ask IBM for Holocaust reparation Roma remain a persecuted minority to this day A Geneva-based Gypsy - or Roma - organisation is planning to sue the technology giant IBM over its alleged role in aiding the Nazi Holocaust. Official figures put the Gypsy death toll in the German death camps - sometimes referred to as the "forgotten holocaust" - at over 600,000, but Gypsy groups say the number was over a million. For Gypsies the action is a major step forward. It is a sign of how Gypsies are starting to speak with one voice Lawyer Henri-Philippe Sambuc The Gypsy International and Compensation Action is claiming $10,000 per Gypsy orphan from the genocide, the Swissinfo web site reported. It says IBM custom-built technology to help the Nazis profile the populations of occupied countries, automating the persecution of Gypsies, Jews, homosexuals and other targeted groups. The action follows the publication of a book earlier this year which says the US company, via its German subsidiary, was more involved in the holocaust than it previously admitted. Sambuc helps Roma speak with one voice Edwin Black's book, IBM and the Holocaust, argues that state of the art punch-card machines allowed the mass killing to reach the scale it did. A collective law suit by five survivors was brought against the company in the US after the publication of the book, but was dropped after the US Government gave assurances it would negotiate the issues directly with IBM. Lawyer for the Gypsy group Henri-Philippe Sambuc, however, accused the firm of knowing its technology was being used to commit crimes against humanity. "The specificity of the machines required IBM to participate directly in meeting the needs of its clients," he said. Hundreds of thousands of Gypsies were murdered in Nazi camps "They knew exactly the purpose of their products." IBM's European headquarters were based in Geneva during the war. In 1941 the US parent company distanced itself from the German subsidiary, but Mr Sambuc says it continued to supply the punch-card technology through neutral countries, specifically Switzerland. Revolution Mr Sambuc insisted that recent Holocaust compensation funds have consistently awarded Gypsies a much smaller percentage of the money than they were entitled to. "For Gypsies the Geneva action is a major step forward," he said. "It is a sign of how Gypsies, spread across Europe and beyond, are starting to speak with one voice." "It is a revolution for Gypsies to go before a judge and demand protection and recognition of their rights."
WP 23 June 2001 by Bill Broadway, Page B09 Two dozen local Armenian Americans returned Monday from a two-week trip to Turkey, where they participated in the largest Armenian pilgrimage to a country that more than a million of their forebears were forced to leave between 1915 and 1923. Thousands of others died in what Armenians call genocide and the Turkish government calls political unrest during the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Since then, relations between Turkey and the world's 7 million Armenians have been extremely tense. But the demise of the Soviet Union, of which present-day Armenia was part, and the opening up of the Turkish interior to foreigners in recent years has created a new environment, said Christopher Zakian, spokesman for the New York-based Diocese of the Armenian Church of America, which organized the trip. Zakian said that most of the 1 million Armenian Americans -- 8,000 of whom live in the Washington-Baltimore area -- trace their lineage to parts of Turkey that were inhabited by Armenians from the 8th century B.C. until their forced departure. About 150 Armenian Americans made the pilgrimage. For nearly all, it was the first visit to towns where their parents and grandparents were born and raised and to centuries-old Armenian religious sites, said the Rev. Vertanes Kalayjian, pastor of St. Mary Armenian Apostolic Church at 42nd and Fessenden streets NW and leader of the local contingent. The journey was "colorful and rewarding" but "filled with emotion," said Kalayjian, 62, who was born in Syria of parents who had been deported. "Most of my history, my civilization, my culture was formed in those lands," the priest said. "When we were in Istanbul, I told [the group]: 'Whatever you think you are, culturally and ethnically . . . and in terms of your overall identity, it comes from this city.' " The pilgrimage was especially meaningful because it coincided with the 1,700th anniversary of the founding of the Armenian Church, a small, fiercely independent branch of Orthodox Christianity. The church traces its founding to 301, when St. Gregory the Illuminator baptized his cousin, Armenian King Drtad III, and Drtad declared Christianity the country's official religion. That makes Armenia the first Christian state, Zakian said. The pilgrims followed the footsteps of Gregory from Kayseri (Casarea) in what is now central Turkey to a place in Armenia called Khor Virab, meaning the "deep pit." Drtad had thrown his cousin into the pit for refusing to renounce Christianity and worship a pagan goddess, intending to kill him, Kalayjian said. But Gregory survived for 13 years, living on bread and water provided by an elderly woman. Drtad, tormented by demons and guilt after killing 39 nuns, brought Gregory out, repented and asked to be baptized. Last Saturday, on the date Gregory is believed to have emerged from the pit, Armenians around the world rang bells in a show of unity and pride for the Armenian dispora. Most of the Armenian churches in Turkey are in ruins, their memories alive only in people's imaginations or history books, Kalayjian said. But that didn't stop the pilgrims from praying and singing at various stops along their 600-mile bus trip. "Everybody was elated, spiritually fulfilled," the priest said. The group had no problems with the Turkish authorities and even received "the royal treatment" in the town of Kars in eastern Turkey, near the border of Armenia. The mayor and other city officials greeted and welcomed them. "Everywhere we went, we had the opportunity to exchange words of hope that we can have an open dialogue and continue our relationship and visits," Kalayjian said. It appears that the "years of mistrust and hatred will ease up and we will find a way to forgive."
BBC 29 May, 2001 Leicester was deemed by some to be the most racist city in Britain 30 years ago but BBC News Online's Katie Osborne now finds it is a role model for places like Oldham, where racially motivated violence has erupted. Manzoor Moghal, chairman of the Federation of Muslim Organisations in Leicester and a member of the Labour Party, attributes the turn-around in attitude to an atmosphere of dialogue, created in the city over a number of years. He arrived there as an asylum seeker in 1972, having fled Idi Amin's infamous regime in Uganda. He said: "Leicester was notorious as a racist city when I arrived and had been for many years, it was the most abominable place to live in the country. We created an atmosphere for dialogue Manzoor Moghal Muslim leader "It is a long story but it all began to change when we set up new structures and organisations, which were completely divorced from any party-political agenda. "We created an atmosphere for dialogue and although the political parties were desperate for us to tag along with them we steadfastly refused." The result was the creation of Britain's first-ever race relations council committee, which played a part in every aspect of council policy. The committee, which straddled a broad political spectrum, enabled Mr Moghal and hundreds of other migrants to flourish in their host community by setting up successful businesses without fear of intimidation or prejudice. The latest nationwide census is expected to show that by 2011 Leicester will become the first UK city where 50% of the population will hail from a non-white background. These statistics, which 30 years ago may have been met with horror by city leaders, are now celebrated by all strands of society - the city is proud of its multi-cultural diversity. Professor Richard Bonney, director of the Centre for the History of Religious and Political pluralism at the University of Leicester, says this turnaround in attitude is partly due to a long ,sustained effort in public education. He remembers when the local newspaper, which now strives to reflect the city's cultural diversity, was placing advertisements in its editions telling immigrants not to come to Leicester. Percentages of ethnic minorities Leicester - 28.1% Oldham - 13.25% (figures based on 1991 census) The National Front was active and racial tension was high in the 1970s, he says, but the city learned to embrace its rich cultural diversity. He said: "It would be right to say that there is no single reason why Leicester has had more harmonious relations than other cities but it is certain that Leicester is now one of Europe's most diverse cities if not the most diverse. "From the early 1970s onwards the city council took a lead in saying that racism was not acceptable and promoted Leicester as a welcoming city for everyone." He said: "For example, it was a case of trying to teach people that building a mosque next to a church was not a threat but actually an asset to the city and seeing people in their national dress brought diversity rather than adversity." Leicester is now one of Europe's most diverse cities if not the most diverse Professor Richard Bonney The city can boast two former Asian lord mayors, numerous Asian city councillors and one Asian MP, as well as a plethora of leading businessmen and woman from ethnic minorities. Paul Winstone, a policy officer at Leicester City Council, said: "What has happened in Oldham over the past few days has been terrible. "But Leicester is a city which has actually overcome the trauma of racial conflict. "We had the National Front phenomena in the 1970s so what we are saying is we have been through it and we have come out the other side." He added: "The proof is that today the Asian community in Leicester is well and truly established - economically with more than 1,500 companies, politically with 13 Asian city councillors and culturally with festivals such as Diwali which attracts more than 25,000 people to the city." Groups such as the Inter-faith council, the city council's corporate equalities team, the Indian Workers Association and the Leicestershire Asian Business Association continue to promote good relations in Leicester. The whole community has seen that diversity is a strength rather than a weakness Steve White headmaster On another level, the Bishop of Leicester, Timothy Stevens, regularly meets with other religious leaders to discuss common points of interest, such as the asylum issue or the forthcoming general election. Steve White, headmaster of Leicester's Rushey Mead School where 95% of his students are Asian, is about to take a party of schoolchildren (two white, two mixed-race and three Asian) to South Africa to participate in a world conference on tackling racism, xenophobia and religious intolerance. He said such a trip would not take place were it not for years of investment into race relations by Leicester. Mr White acknowledged that there had been problems and times where tough talking was needed. "But the problems were thrashed out and as a result the whole community has seen that diversity is a strength rather than a weakness." Bishop Stevens believes that Oldham's troubles should warn Leicester locals against complacency.
BBC 6 June, 2001 Trouble linked to 'violent arrest' The arrest of a local man allegedly sparked violence Similarities have been drawn between the violent disorder in Leeds and recent rioting in nearby Oldham, where racial tensions have been running high in recent months. But many residents in Leeds' Harehills area have insisted the violence is a protest at the treatment of an Asian man arrested by police - and has nothing to do with racial issues. One local man, who said he was a friend of the alleged victim, said: "They took this man, they arrested him, kicked him and sprayed CS gas at him in front of Asian people. It is not a racist attack, this is because of police inaction Leeds resident "And that's why it started tonight. It is not a racist attack, this is because of police inaction. "Police chiefs went to a meeting with locals today [Tuesday]. As far as I know nothing happened." Razaq Raj, a voluntary worker within the Asian community in Harehills, witnessed the arrest. He agreed that had been the cause of the violence. "It was all sparked off by what happened on Sunday," he said. "The Bangladeshi-origin man was arrested, CS gas was used and he was violently arrested. It was all sparked off from there." He said the disorder had "nothing to do" with race, and local people were "shocked and horrified". "The area where it happened, in my life I never ever came across this. People from all races live there together very happily," he said. He added that the first car had been set alight by "100 or so" Afro-Caribbean youths, after which he and his colleagues asked police to come. But Nigel Swift, of West Yorkshire Police, told BBC News Online: "I have heard those suggestions before, but there is nothing we are aware of to suggest that is the case." He added: "I think our primary concern in the days that follow will be to arrest the people who have caused the damage." BBC correspondents in Leeds say two social workers have alleged that some of those on the streets in Leeds were not locals but had travelled there from Oldham. Oldham violence The trouble in Leeds comes less than two weeks after serious outbreaks of violence and disorder in Oldham which saw up to 500 Asian youths clashing with riot police. An Asian supermarket was set on fire, the offices of a local newspaper were firebombed, and barricades of furniture and tyres were set alight. The trouble in Oldham followed two marches in the town by the National Front, held in protest at allegations that Asians had created local "no-go" zones for whites. Some members of the Asian community in Oldham said the riots had been sparked by members of the National Front who "rampaged" through Asian areas causing damage and assaulting residents. In early May Home Secretary Jack Straw banned political marches in the town, in response to fears of growing racial tension.
BBC 5 June, 2001 'Police driven to target minorities' Black and Asian officers were interviewed for the report Police officers are targeting people from ethnic minorities because of the need to meet performance indicators, according to research seen by the BBC. The report's author, Professor Ellis Cashmore, said some officers who were under pressure from superiors to meet quotas on arrests viewed ethnic minority groups as a 'soft target'. Professor Cashmore interviewed 100 black and Asian officers for his study which is due to be published in the journal Ethnic and Racial Studies later this month. He said: "One Asian officer told me 'I have colleagues who subscribe to the philosophy that if there is a car with four black men in it it's worth giving it a pull because at least a couple of them are up to no good'." One officer said to me 'If you're not a racist when you come into the police force you will be within a few months' Professor Ellis Cashmore Recent figures showed black people were up to five times more likely than white people to be stopped and searched by the police. The chairman of the National Black Police Officers' Association, Ravi Chand, said the report justified long-held worries of some minority ethnic communities. "This goes back to the issue round institutional racism, that there are certain practices in the way we police as a whole which do disadvantage certain communities," he said. 'Nature of work' But Professor Cashmore said the practice could not all be put down to racism because his research had uncovered that so-called "racial profiling" was not confined to white officers. "I think there's something in the nature of police work itself that's inclining officers to go into these areas and even if they're not consciously targeting these groups then something about the pressures of police work makes them do it," he said. The president of the Police Superintendents' Association, Kevin Morris, said if there was a problem forces would tackle it. "A lot of forces now look at not only the figures but at the people who are being stopped. "So if an officer was only stopping black people then questions would be asked."
BBC 25 June, 2001Minister condemns Burnley riots Saturday night saw two hours of clashes and vandalism Home Office minister John Denham has condemned the inter-racial violence which has hit Burnley in Lancashire at the weekend. Shops, cars and a pub were set on fire as trouble flared after an Asian taxi driver was attacked by a gang of white youths. Mr Denham told the Commons he was sure the whole House would "express disgust at the criminal violence" and the mindless acts of provocation which preceded it Nobody should have to feel afraid of walking through any street or district in their own home town. David Lidington MP He said the government was taking advice on whether there is any common link between the recent racial violence in Oldham, Leeds and Burnley. Arrests A series of unrelated incidents involving whites and Asians were thought to have sparked the trouble, he said, and police and community leaders were meeting on Monday afternoon to analyse the root causes. Mr Denham told the Commons two youths from the area had been stabbed outside a nightclub during a fight between two groups of Asians, one from Burnley and one from West Yorkshire, early on Saturday. Police were then called to a quarrel between Asians and whites following complaints that the white group had been holding a noisy party. In the disturbance that followed, white youths allegedly damaged nine vehicles belonging to Asian and white families. Fractured cheekbone At the same time, an off-duty Asian taxi driver suffered a fractured cheekbone after being attacked by a group of white men. During the evening police were called to talk to young Asian men gathering in the Stoneyholme area of Burnley. But missiles were soon thrown at them and passing vehicles as minor altercations took place between Asian and white youths. The violence reached its climax on Sunday night with more than 200 youths attacking shops, homes and vehicles. Eleven people - eight of them white - were arrested. The pub was targeted on Saturday and Sunday nights Riot police managed to prevent direct confrontation between gangs of Asian and white youths but a Lancashire police spokesman admitted they were surprised at the scale of Sunday night's violence. Responding for the Conservatives, David Lidington MP, said: "Nobody should have to feel afraid of walking through any street or district in their own home town." Burnley is about 20 miles from Oldham, scene of serious racial disturbances last month. The deputy mayor of Burnley, Rafique Malik, said the clashes could not be compared with the recent racial violence in Oldham. Generally speaking the communities in Burnley are very peaceful and non-racist. Deputy Mayor Rafique Malik He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "We have an excellent history of race relations in Burnley. "Generally speaking the communities in Burnley are very peaceful and non-racist. "As far as Burnley's various communities are concerned they can only condemn the violence and arson that has gone on." Blame for the weekend's violence was initially put on police by Asian community leaders, who said it had taken 30 minutes for them to respond to Saturday's alleged attack on the taxi driver.
Economist (london) 14 June 2001 Judging genocide Getting justice for the worst war crimes may be impossible. But two United Nations courts are trying, and a court in Belgium has just joined in “WE DON’T have a place to put our robes on. There’s no place to hang up our coats, or to lay down our briefcases! We have been mistreated by this tribunal!” The speaker is a New York defence lawyer; the scene is the courtroom at Arusha in Tanzania. The trials taking place here, before a United Nations tribunal, are for the murder of hundreds of thousands of people in neighbouring Rwanda in 1994. Much more time and energy, in this dusty town at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro, seems to be consumed with complaints about how badly the court works. On June 8th the International Crisis Group (ICG), a think-tank based in Brussels, added its voice to the chorus. The Rwanda tribunal, after seven years of life and with an annual budget of $90m, was hopelessly behind schedule, “bogged down by incompetence and bureaucratic infighting”. Five of its nine judges had spent more than 18 months without hearing a substantial case. The only case of consequence heard since July 1999, that of Ignace Bagilishema, a former mayor in western Rwanda, ended on June 7th with his acquittal. Mr Bagilishema, who had been accused of being instrumental in the deaths of 45,000 Tutsis, was let off because of insufficient evidence. Perhaps the verdict was correct; but with confidence in the court so low, many are doubtful that justice has been done. External difficulties are certainly distracting. Arusha is ill-equipped to host 800 UN staff, from over 80 countries, and swarms of defence lawyers. Power cuts are so frequent that the tribunal relies on its own generator. At first, Arusha’s small banks could not cope with the large dollar salaries of UN staff. Although it has a conference centre, and is well-off compared with the rest of Tanzania, the town has few hotels, hospitals or shops. Setting up a tribunal there was a matter of improvisation or making do. The court’s website, for example, was knocked together at a dollar-an-hour Internet café in a local shop. In 1997, an internal UN report exposed “the most troubling deficiencies” in the finance section of the tribunal. Although these have been rectified, other problems remain. In May, seven prosecution lawyers were told by the chief prosecutor that they had been sacked for “professional incompetence” and for being “absorbed in their own narrow self-interest”. Yet in 1998 the court at Arusha managed to convict the Rwandan prime minister, Jean Kambanda, the first head of government to be convicted of genocide and crimes against humanity. This, says Kingsley Moghalu, a tribunal spokesman, set a precedent for the indictments of Chile’s General Augusto Pinochet and Yugoslavia’s ex-president, Slobodan Milosevic, by other legal bodies. And suspects are still being arrested. At the end of April Kenyan police arrested a former Anglican bishop, Samuel Musabyimana, who is accused of genocide and of paying militiamen to kill Tutsis. The Arusha tribunal has broken new ground in international law Mr Moghalu also points out that the Arusha tribunal has broken new ground in international law. It has established that rape can legally be considered an aspect of genocide. The first trial of a woman charged with genocide (another minister from the old Rwandan government) is due to begin soon. The court is trying to develop a concept of restitutive justice by assisting victims of crimes, usually witnesses and their families. Yet there is no denying that Arusha is slow; painfully so. Seven years ago, at least 800,000 Tutsis and a relatively few Hutus were killed by machete-wielding countrymen in less than two months; it may have been the fastest-ever slaughter on such a scale. Just 63 people have been charged in connection with those crimes. Of those, 45 have been caught; nine are on trial, and 27 more are waiting to be tried. Only eight people have been convicted, and these have not yet heard their sentences. The speedier Belgians With everything moving so slowly, the chances of convicting large numbers of people at Arusha are slim. The ICG study concludes that “there is a serious risk that those already in custody will be released because they have been held for too long without trial.” Meanwhile, the new Rwandan government across the border views the proceedings with impatience. It keeps some 130,000 genocide suspects in its own prisons, and in 1998 executed for that crime 22 people, all of them convicted in a sub-standard court. On June 8th, however—the very day of the scathing ICG report—two Roman Catholic nuns were found guilty in a different court, thousands of miles away, of complicity in the Rwandan genocide. Their trial had lasted a mere two months. Sister Maria and Sister Gertrude had handed over to their killers up to 7,000 Tutsis who were sheltering in their convent; later, they provided petrol so that militiamen could set fire to a barn in which about 500 Tutsis had taken refuge. They were sentenced to prison terms of 12 and 15 years by a jury sitting not in Africa, but in Belgium. It was the first time that a jury of citizens from one country had judged defendants for war crimes committed in another. AP Nuns took part, too It may not, however, be the last. Belgium is a signatory to a law, passed seven years ago, that allows its courts to hear cases of alleged atrocities even if these occurred abroad. Its interest in the Rwandan case is that Belgium was the former colonial power in Rwanda, and that the nuns had fled there after the genocide. The verdict has heartened many; if more countries do as Belgium has done, perpetrators of war crimes will know they cannot hide from the long arm of justice. Should the practice be expanded? Perhaps so, if Arusha is the alternative. But the other UN war-crimes tribunal, sitting in The Hague in the Netherlands, gives a different impression. It was created in 1993, a year before Arusha, and, like that tribunal, was seen at first as an effort by western countries to soothe their own consciences about the Balkans and elsewhere, because they had not intervened to stop the atrocities. But it has grown from similarly shaky beginnings to become respected. The crimes examined there, though committed on a smaller scale than those in Rwanda, are just as brutal—genocide, crimes against humanity, contravention of the rules of war. Although the tribunal has not yet convicted anyone as highly placed as a prime minister, 100 people have been publicly indicted. (The chief prosecutor talks of doubling that number, and more may already have been indicted in secret, meaning that their names have not been revealed.) Thirty-eight people are awaiting trial and proceedings have started against 41, although just four people are actually serving sentences. So far, over $470m has been spent on this court from its allocated UN budget alone. The Hague tribunal clearly has advantages over its sister tribunal in Tanzania. It has a slightly larger budget from the UN and a few more staff (1,100 at The Hague, 800 at Arusha). But the European court gets roughly as much money again in one-off bilateral payments or gifts in kind, such as Britain’s gift, a few years ago, of a newly-furnished courtroom. And the Dutch government provides back-up, such as security, that the Tanzanian government cannot provide in Arusha. There are also more resources available to the prosecution at The Hague. Arrests are made mostly by NATO troops in the Balkans. For Arusha, suspects are picked up when police, mostly in French-speaking west African countries, happen to spot them. Arusha depends mostly on witnesses for evidence, many of them illiterate farmers who could not record their impressions at the time. The Hague enjoys intelligence intercepts from western armies, satellite photographs and other high-tech methods of collecting more durable evidence. The best lawyers and judges are more willing to work in Dutch comfort than to go to down-at-heel Tanzania Take, for example, the trial of Radislav Krstic, a one-legged Serb general who is accused of killing 8,000 Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica in July 1995. The case against him rests partly on photographs of vehicles, buildings and soldiers in and around Srebrenica which were taken from NATO planes and satellites. The prosecution has presented over 900 exhibits, including those photographs and evidence gathered by spies, as well as over 100 witnesses. Arusha has nothing like this. The best lawyers and judges are also more willing to work in Dutch comfort than to go to down-at-heel Tanzania. Carla Del Ponte, a former Swiss attorney-general with a reputation for hunting down members of the Russian mafia, is the chief prosecutor for both tribunals. She spends three weeks in every two months in Arusha, and finds it exhausting. “With Rwanda,” she admits, “it is difficult to find people who will stay down there.” Fishing for the biggest Neither tribunal, however valiant its efforts, could provide full justice for these horrific crimes. As with the Nazis who were tried at Nuremberg, it is clear that many thousands more people were responsible for all sorts of crimes than can actually be put on trial. In Rwanda, the killers were mostly ordinary peasants who joined “the work”, a communal activity for Hutus, who were all expected to take part in the killing. Decent Hutus who refused were often killed themselves. In the Balkans, neighbours turned on each other with a vengeance. Since no more than a tiny fraction of the guilty can be tried, is justice possible at all? Ms Del Ponte’s answer is simple: grab the people who are most responsible. In Arusha, trials are due this year of a pastor, several politicians and military officers. The Hague tribunal is also hunting down more senior people. Biljana Plavsic, once president of the Serb part of Bosnia, surrendered to the court in January, and will stand trial for genocide and other crimes. Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, two leading Serbs, have been indicted on similar charges. The trial of one man would crown the efforts of The Hague. Pasted to the wall of Ms Del Ponte’s office is a wild-west “Wanted” poster, offering $5m for the arrest and delivery of Mr Milosevic, the main architect of the Balkan wars. Mr Milosevic was publicly indicted during the Kosovo war in 1999, and Ms Del Ponte makes no secret of her eagerness to bring him to trial. “I am waiting for Milosevic. I will go in court then, yes!” she cries, banging the table with her fist. AP Uncovering the past in Serbia She may have to wait. Mr Milosevic was arrested in Belgrade in April; Yugoslavia’s new president, Vojislav Kostunica, would prefer to have him tried for war crimes at home first, although a new law would allow co-operation with the court in The Hague. Staff at the war-crimes tribunal are confident that outside pressure will eventually bear fruit. The news, released on June 3rd, that the Belgrade authorities were examining bodies from several mass graves in Serbia has increased speculation that Serbs are being prepared for Mr Milosevic’s journey to The Hague. “There is no question [about] the transfer of Milosevic,” says one official. “It is just a question of when they will do it.” The justice of the victors? Even if a tribunal is able to put the worst offenders on trial, some question whether justice results. On one reckoning, there is no punishment severe enough to fit crimes like genocide. UN courts cannot sentence anyone to death, and UN-approved prisons are usually tolerable places. Not much of a deterrent, therefore, for those committing crimes in the heat of a war. This is a particular problem in Arusha, where prisoners live in greater comfort than surviving victims of the genocide. The Arusha tribunal is now trying to find African prisons (in Mali, Swaziland and elsewhere) which meet international standards but are still seen as punishment. A greater problem is that war-crimes tribunals are perceived as nothing more than revenge on the victor’s part. Serbs complain that The Hague tribunal is a western plot, directed mainly at them. Those on trial in Arusha feel the same. In general, victors in war escape facing justice. The Nuremberg trials after the second world war did not consider whether British or American bombing raids against civilians were war crimes. Russia’s soldiers are most unlikely to face a war-crimes court over the murder and torture of Chechens. The Hague tribunal did investigate NATO’s bombing raids on Yugoslavia, but concluded, rightly or wrongly, that there was no reason to prosecute. Critics can argue that war-crimes courts are doubly selective Critics can therefore argue that war-crimes courts are doubly selective: not only are very few people tried, but very few wars are considered for judicial investigation. When justice is so selective and seems driven by political interests, is it justice at all? This question is being answered, in part, by the proliferation of different tribunals where war crimes can be tried. More UN war-crimes tribunals are in prospect, as is a permanent International Criminal Court. And there remains the example of Belgium: wherever war criminals seek sanctuary, that country can put them on trial. The limitations of Belgium, however, are seen in the case of Mr Milosevic. Where the fish are very big, the tribunal judging them needs international stature. Recent violence in Burundi, Congo and East Timor has led to demands for dedicated UN tribunals. Atrocities committed by the Khmers Rouges in Cambodia in the 1970s may one day also be examined by a court, perhaps with an international element, although legislation to establish one has stalled in the Cambodian parliament. Members of the military junta in Myanmar are said to worry that they may one day end up in court. Some even argue that Henry Kissinger should be tried for human-rights abuses in Chile, Cambodia and elsewhere during the cold war (so far, he has been called as a witness only). The most likely third UN tribunal will be one for Sierra Leone, in west Africa. Over ten years, rebels have committed horrific cruelties against civilians in the country. Tens of thousands of people are thought to have been killed—though the slaughter is not technically considered a genocide, since it has not been an effort to kill a whole ethnic group. Whereas the tribunals for Rwanda and Yugoslavia were set up by the UN’s Security Council and are entirely international, the new one will be based on an agreement between the UN and Sierra Leone’s government made last October. If money and support can be found ($22m is needed for the first year), Sierra Leone’s tribunal will mix local and foreign judges and an international prosecutor. If the war allows, the tribunal will sit in Freetown, the shattered capital. Cash may be the main problem. The Rwandan and Yugoslav tribunals are mostly financed through mandatory fees levied on all UN members, but the Sierra Leonean court will depend on donors. Sceptics may ask what the use of a third court would be. The brutal fighters in Sierra Leone’s war will not be deterred by the threat of prison. The court may interfere with peace efforts, and may drain away resources that would be better spent on ordinary people. But those involved in both the existing tribunals argue that courts provide something extremely valuable: an historical record that atrocities did take place and that victims suffered. Getting that fact established, they say, may help countries like Sierra Leone begin reconciliation and rebuilding. The other big development, the creation of a permanent International Criminal Court, may answer the allegation that international justice is always the victors’ sort. In July 1998, a UN meeting in Rome adopted a statute for the permanent court. So far, 139 countries have signed up to it. Once 60 countries have ratified the necessary legislation (Croatia became the 32nd country to do so, on May 21st), the court will come into existence, possibly within two years. The stumbling block remains the reluctant United States The world criminal court is likely to be based on the two existing UN tribunals, and will build from precedents and practices established there. It will try only crimes committed after its creation. The stumbling block remains the reluctant United States. President Bill Clinton signed up to the Rome statute just before leaving office, but many suspect that American involvement in the court is destructive. The United States demands, for example, a guarantee that American soldiers will never be put on trial, which even its closest allies reject as incompatible with the rule of law. But, if the new permanent court is to build on the stumbling successes of the two UN tribunals in Arusha and The Hague, it will need as much support as possible from rich countries. If America continues to oppose it, Europe, Canada, Australia and other backers will have to throw their full weight behind it. The two existing tribunals have shown how much political will, money, expertise and sweat is needed to make such courts work.
Christian Science Monitor (Boston) 26 June 2001 Concerns mount at racial unrest in northern England Burnley, hit by two nights of riots, is the fourth town to erupt in recent months. By Gillian Sandford Special to The Christian Science Monitor LONDON British police were meeting with community leaders in the northern English town of Burnley yesterday, following two nights of clashes between white and South Asian youths. The unrest makes Burnley the fourth northern town in the past three months where racially motivated violence has flared, as a far-right political party builds support in the region. Observers warn that if Britain's Labour government fails to improve race relations, such groups could move further into mainstream politics. Ten days before Britain's June 7 general election, Oldham, a mill town near Burnley, became the focus of the country's worst race-based riots in 15 years. Asian youths armed with petrol bombs burned a pub, ironically named "Live and Let Live." Fifteen police were injured in the fray and 17 people were arrested. On polling day, candidates for the British National Party (BNP) - which opposes immigration and supports racial segregation - won more than 10 percent of the vote in Oldham, posting strong gains among majority whites in the town's two constituencies. "That was a warning shot across the body politic of Oldham," says Jim Williams, editor of the Oldham Chronicle. While not enough to win a seat in Parliament, he says, a similar result in next year's local election would give the BNP five council seats - enabling it to hold the balance of power in town hall. On Easter, tensions between white and Asian youths boiled over in the town of Bradford. And on June 5, police were attacked with bricks and bottles in Leeds. The Burnley riots followed an attack on an Indian taxi driver by a gang of white men Saturday. On Sunday night, some 200 youths threw rocks and bottles and set shops and cars on fire. "It would be a shame for Burnley to be tagged as another Oldham, because it is not," Burnley's deputy mayor, Rafique Malik, told reporters. But while the incidents varied in scale, they share some common features and contributory causes, observers say. All took place in northern towns that built their industrial base on textiles, and where ethnic minorities arrived as unskilled immigrant labor for an industry that has since collapsed. Chris Myant, a spokesman for Britain's Commission for Racial Equality, says, "What we have seen are events in the north of England, where the [minority] community is Bangladeshi and Pakistani." Unemployment and social deprivation in Oldham is estimated to be about 5 percent among the general population, Mr. Myant says, but among the Pakistani and Bangladeshi community, the figure runs 25 percent to 30 percent. Within minority communities, there are a range of feelings. "Right-wing extremists and members of the National Front [a right-wing party] have been trying to stir trouble.... We had tried to avoid trouble, but when it came to our doorstep, people defended themselves and police were extremely heavy-handed in their response," says Ashid Ali, chairman of the Oldham Bangladeshi Youth Association. In Bradford, a Hindu businessman told London's Guardian newspaper that "Muslim thugs" looted his pharmacy. "I challenge any statement by police that this was not caused by interreligious problems." Martin Wainwright, northern correspondent for the Guardian, says, "These second- and third- generation Asians are not prepared to take what the two previous generations took, and that's very noticeable." Oldham, in particular, has seen an unprecedented degree of segregation, both in housing and in education, says Mr. Williams, with Bangladeshis, Pakistanis, and whites each living in separate areas and sending their children to separate schools. Failure of the communities to mix is also a feature of Bradford, where a recent report warned of increasing "ghettoization" in the city. Leeds is more of a mosaic. During the campaign, Prime Minister Tony Blair visited Oldham after the riots, but declined to comment on the city's problems. Since then, Home Secretary David Blunkett has met with community leaders. But Williams, of the Oldham Chronicle, says urgent and concrete measures are needed to arrest troublemakers, improve housing, break down segregation, and enhance opportunity. If not, he warns, far-right groups could make increasing inroads into mainstream politics.
BBC 26 June, 2001 Police to investigate 'attack' on activist Shahid Malik said a riot shield was smashed into him Police are investigating claims that a prominent Labour party member was arrested and beaten by officers during clashes in Burnley. Shahid Malik, 33, who sits on Labour's national executive and is a member of the Commission for Racial Equality, was hurt during an outbreak of violence on Monday night. We are looking at racism...criminality.... thuggery and issues of deprivation Paul Stephenson Lancashire Police A total of 22 people were arrested in skirmishes in the Lancashire town, but the incidents were not on the same scale as the weekend's violence. Police told a news conference on Tuesday that the most serious incident was the petrol bombing of an Indian restaurant in a village outside the town centre. But despite several other incidents early in the evening, the mood by the end of the night had become "friendly", said police. Plans to sue Deputy Chief Constable Paul Stephenson said he believed several different issues had contributed to the unrest. "I believe we are looking at racism. We are looking at elements of criminality. We are looking at elements of frustration. The riot shield [was] smashed in my face, causing four to five stitches above the eye, a black eye, lacerations to the arm, bruises on the back of the head, on the body and on the legs Shahid Malik "We are looking at elements of thuggery and we are looking at issues of deprivation," he said. The incident in which Mr Malik was arrested happened after 1900BST in the Daneshouse area, said Chief Superintendent John Knowles. Uniformed police came under attack when they tried to disperse gangs of Asian men and youths gathering. They had to be replaced with riot police, and it was in that operation that Mr Malik was injured. Mr Malik, who lives in Burnley and is the son of the town's deputy mayor, said he plans to sue the police. He said he had been trying to stop the violence when he was arrested by "very hyped-up" police in riot gear. The pub was targeted on Saturday and Sunday nights He said: "The riot shield [was] smashed in my face, causing four to five stitches above the eye, a black eye, lacerations to the arm, bruises on the back of the head, on the body and on the legs." Mr Malik said he had fallen unconscious before being taken to hospital in handcuffs. He was later discharged. Lancashire Police said they would investigate the incident, and all the circumstances surrounding it. A member of the Police Complaints Authority will supervise the investigation. Far-right concerns Mr Malik said he hoped his arrest would not inflame tensions further, or lead to retaliatory attacks on officers. "We don't want any trouble," he said. "The police are not the targets." My fear is we become a kind of magnet for some of the far-right groups who will come here to recruit Shahid Malik He expressed concern that members of far-right parties were visiting the town to stir up trouble. "That's the kind of attention we don't need," he said. "My fear is we become a kind of magnet for some of the far-right groups who will come here to recruit." Police have appealed for calm and warned that "large numbers" of officers would remain on the streets throughout Tuesday. The weekend's violence, which saw shops, cars and a pub set on fire, was said to be sparked by an alleged attack on an Asian taxi driver by a gang of white youths. Some have complained that the police took too long to respond to the incident.
BBC 25 June, 2001, The Pope has been focusing on reconciliation and unity Pope John Paul has visited Babi Yar on the outskirts of Kiev where more than 100,000 people - mostly Jews - were shot by Nazi forces 60 years ago. On the third day of his visit to Ukraine, the pontiff stopped and prayed briefly at the site of the massacre, which has become a place of pilgrimage for Jews the world over. My heartfelt hope is Ukraine will continue to draw strength from the ideals of personal, social and Church morality Pope John Paul Earlier, he had celebrated an open air Eastern Rite mass for Greek Catholics at Chaika airport on the western outskirts of the capital. It was the first religious ceremony celebrated by the Pope following the Eastern liturgy. As with a Latin mass held on Sunday the turnout for the mass was low - estimates put the congregation at about 50,000 people, falling far short of the 200,000 predicted. Organisers again blamed poor weather, stringent security and difficult travel arrangements. Fighting corruption Speaking fluent Ukrainian, the Pope urged his followers to relish their post-Communist freedom, but also to tackle the widespread corruption that has come with it. The visit is unpopular with the Orthodox church "My heartfelt hope is Ukraine will continue to draw strength from the ideals of personal, social and Church morality," he said. The BBC's David Willey, who is travelling with the Pope, says that John Paul has made reconciliation and unity between all religions the focus of this visit. He paid tribute on Sunday to believers of Islam, Christianity and Judaism who suffered under totalitarianism, referring in particular to the massacre at Babi Yar, a ravine where the Nazis gunned down Jews and others beginning in September 1941. "May the memory of this episode of murderous frenzy be a salutary warning to all," he said. "What atrocities is man capable of when he fools himself into thinking that he can do without God." Catholic heartland However, Jewish leaders world-wide have voiced dissatisfaction with the Vatican for failing to condemn more strongly what they see as the Roman Catholic Church's passive role during the Holocaust. Later on Monday, the pontiff will go to the western city of Lviv, the heartland of Ukrainian Catholicism. A great turnout is expected in Lviv A large turnout is expected there, for the beatification of 27 Soviet-era Catholic martyrs, putting them on the road to sainthood. On Sunday, the Pope received another snub from Orthodox leaders, who boycotted an inter-faith meeting he attended. Only hours earlier, the pontiff had appealed to Orthodox and Catholic Christians to put aside their differences. Leaders of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow have been highly critical of the Pope's visit, but the pontiff has given assurances that he is not seeking converts.
MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 241 - Syria July 13, 2001 Lord
Weidenfeld in the House of Lords: 'Syrian Education System Advocates Genocide
of the Jews' At the British Parliament, on June 28, 2001, Lord George Weidenfeld
addressed the current situation in the Middle East, focusing on Syria and its
government education system on the basis of a recent study of Syria's government
textbooks by MEMRI (Dr. Meyrav Wurmser, "The Schools of Ba'athism"
- 2000). Following is the text of his address: Lord Weidenfeld: "My Lords,
the reference to human rights in the gracious Speech and the increasingly urgent
call for Europe and Britain to play a more active part in the current Middle
East crisis prompt me to draw attention to what I believe is a grave issue and
one on which Her Majesty's Government might form a serious view and even consider
initiating action. It is the issue of certain Middle Eastern states promoting
and prescribing school books which incite racial hatred, religious intolerance
and, worse, outright genocide. I refer especially to the education system
of Syria where, from the head of state down to the most junior teacher of fourth
to eleventh grade children and young adults, the notion of peace and reconciliation
with the Jewish enemy is regarded as treason and crime, where children are exhorted
to fight and kill and to seek voluntary death with the promise of both material
reward for their families and eternal happiness in paradise. But these school
texts for different age groups now go further. They advocate ultimate extermination
of the whole Jewish people--in other words, genocide. A Washington based
Middle East academic media research institute--MEMRI--recently issued an astounding
up-to-date study of the Syrian school system. Whereas in most Arab countries
similar hostile sentiments are expressed daily in various media and in all kinds
of learning materials, the Syria of the Ba'ath party is a highly centralised
authoritarian regime, and such teachings are obligatory. It is strange, even
ghoulish, that during a week in which Slobodan Milosevic is heading towards
the war crimes tribunal and in which the Pope is praying at the scene of one
of the Second World War's most horrible massacres in the Ukraine, hundreds of
thousands, even millions, of young people should be exposed to the teachings
of such evil doctrines.But the real reason why this issue is so relevant now,
and why closer study of the evidence is so important, is that it opens our eyes
to the underlying problems of resolving the conflict between Israel and her
neighbours. When two generations of Syrian citizens are told that peace is treason
and that the enemy must be liquidated, the very idea of compromise and legitimisation
of Israel endangers and possibly entails the collapse of the ideological essence
of the Syrian state. Perhaps that is the reason why the whole peace process,
including the American brokered negotiations between Syria and Israel, seem
to be nowhere mentioned in the literature. The more you delve into this school
literature, with its numerous case studies, short stories, rhapsodic poems and
garish illustrations, the more you will find that all systematically lead young
and uninformed minds, through fanning indelible hatred, to accepting the extermination
of the Jewish enemy root and branch as the final solution. This also explains
the children's part in the Intifada, the deliberate and calculated involvement
of boys and girls in every form of violent action. Syria's Ba'ath party was
originally a nationalist pan-Arab secular movement. In fact, the late President
Assad crushed the ultra-religious Muslim brotherhood and killed around 20,000
people in the city of Hamma in his most notorious raid. But since the mid-80s,
Syrian ideologues have adopted the slogans of fundamentalist Islam--mind you,
not of the main line orthodoxy, for Islam as a faith has no truck with inhumanity.
Today, Damascus is still the headquarters for a dozen extremist organisations
and the turnstile for terrorists with links in Iran, Afghanistan and the Sudan.
Recent redeployments of Syrian troops in Lebanon have not yet furnished convincing
proof that Syria's hold on that country is being loosened. When the issues of
incitement and hate in the media of the region and other transgressions against
human rights were discussed previously in this House, I am afraid that the tendency
of noble Lords answering for the Government was to deplore them as unfortunate
excesses or flowery rhetoric, staple propaganda de-fanged by numbing repetition.
They are more serious than that, much more 'action orientated. It is true that
a great deal of the hostility and bitterness in the Arab camp is due to Israeli
transgressions against the Palestinians or its Arab citizens within the Green
Line. The Jewish settlements near Gaza and the West Bank are thorns in the eye
of every Arab. But when it comes to criticising and castigating Israel's omissions
and transgressions, there are no better sources than the Israeli media; for
Israel is a democracy, vibrant, strident, soul-searching, ruthlessly self-critical.
There have been unpardonable outbursts from bigoted Jewish clerics against Islam,
crimes perpetuated by individuals in and out of uniform. Yet they have all been
condemned by a large section of Israeli public opinion. But no Israeli leader
has sunk so low as to utter aggressive obscenities in the presence of the Pope,
on a mission of charity and peace, against another religion, a whole people
and a whole world community of linked destiny. The Secretary-General of the
United Nations, Mr. Kofi Annan, was recently asked if he would take up the case
of the Syrian schoolbooks, which I hope he may now do. I cannot believe that
a member state of the United Nations, a candidate for a seat in the Security
Council, should be left unchallenged if it advocates genocide. I said that
this is a timely issue: for if we have any hope of resuming talks between Israel
and the Palestinians, Syria or Syria-controlled Lebanon, we must face the fact
that we are here dealing with a rigid state of mind and that the failure of
the Oslo peace process has not been so much the result of this or that negotiator's
tactics or timing, or of the wrong chemistry between Mr. Clinton and Assad or
between Barak and Arafat; nor has it been a question of a near miss and a trifling
difference of 300 metres of the shoreline of Lake Galilee. It goes much deeper.
The genocidal strain in this kind of fundamentalist rejectionism is older than
the settlements, older than the state of Israel. It reflects the spirit of the
Grand Mufti of Jerusalem who, in the middle of the war, fled to Berlin, blessing
the arms of the Muslim SS and begging Himmler to let him handle his own version
of the final solution in Palestine against the Jewish settlers in Haifa, Jaffa
and Tel-Aviv. What lessons should we now draw from all this? To defer or desist
from a resumption of peace talks? Not at all. We should try to bring the parties
together, once again. Chairman Arafat says that he wants to negotiate. General
Sharon is also bent on resuming talks. President Bush and Prime Minister Blair
have acknowledged his policy of restraint. But it is understandable that Sharon
feels that if there is a lesson to be drawn from the Intifada, the inflammatory
media and class-room jihad, it is that only iron-clad safeguards for security
can be accepted by a responsible government of Israel. The first and last watchword
for future negotiations must be security on the ground and barriers to terrorist
attack. These can only be lightened or lifted when all states in the neighbourhood
agree to recognise each other's legitimate right to exist and to live. The most
confidence-building proof would be an instant and thorough reform of school
books and the spreading of new messages of real tolerance and compassion."
Reuters 4 June 2001 Serbian police have started exhuming bodies from what is though to be a mass grave of Kosovo Albanians, and their discoveries could link ousted leader Slobodan Milosevic to war crimes, the government said today. Interior Minister Dusan Mihajlovic told Belgrade Radio that the bodies, recovered two years ago from a refrigerated truck dumped in the Danube, had been buried in the grave, though he did not say where it was. He suggested there might be more such graves. "It is now apparent that these mass graves contain more bodies than those found in the truck lifted from the bottom of the Danube," he said. Mihajlovic referred to 86 bodies; divers reportedly recovered 50 corpses from the truck. Mihajlovic said, without giving details, that there had been attempts to destroy evidence. News of the truck's recovery was hushed up by authorities under Milosevic, and the story emerged only in April when it was printed in a local newspaper. Last month, Serbia's new government accused Milosevic and close aides of covering up evidence of possible war crimes against civilians in the province of Kosovo in 1998 and '99, saying they had arrived at their conclusions during investigations into the case of the bodies in the river. It was the first time the new authorities in Serbia, the main republic of Yugoslavia, had linked Milosevic to war crimes in Kosovo for which he and four top aides have been indicted by the U.N. tribunal in The Hague. The bodies were pulled out of the truck on April 6, 1999, about two weeks into NATO's air war against Yugoslavia to halt Belgrade's repression of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo. Divers were reported to have said the bodies included those of women, children and elderly men. B92 radio, quoting sources close to police, said the bodies had been found in the Belgrade area and that exhumation started Saturday. Yugoslavia's new leadership has not ruled out handing Milosevic to The Hague tribunal, but wants to try him first at home for alleged corruption and abuse of power.
Reuters 4 June 2001 By Fredrik Dahl - Yugoslav leaders were Monday hunting for a compromise formula after failing to agree a draft law that would enable the extradition of ousted leader Slobodan Milosevic to the U.N. war crimes tribunal. The two partners in the federal coalition government -- Serbia's reformist DOS alliance and Montenegro's Socialist People's Party (SNP) -- held their second meeting in a week on Sunday without agreement, although compromise ideas were aired. Their disagreement threatens to undermine efforts to attract badly needed foreign funds for an economy impoverished after a decade of wars and international sanctions under Milosevic, ousted in a popular uprising last October. Officials said talks would continue early this week, and Yugoslav Prime Minister and SNP deputy head Zoran Zizic said he still believed a compromise would be found. ``The government is not in crisis,'' he said after Sunday's meeting. Adoption of legislation on cooperation with the tribunal in The Hague is seen as necessary if Yugoslavia is to win U.S. backing at an international donor conference in Brussels on June 29 at which Belgrade hopes to raise more than $1 billion. ``...Milosevic is behind bars but the Serbian people are in jail too as the country's international isolation will go on until he is extradited to The Hague,'' said the daily Danas. The Belgrade-based VIP newsletter carried the headline ''Yugoslav government crisis looming.'' Yugoslavia has so far rebuffed the U.N. court's demand for a swift handover of Milosevic, arrested on April 1, saying it wants to try him first at home on corruption charges. SNP BLOCKING CHANGES Media said the SNP -- former allies of Milosevic elected in a Yugoslav federal poll boycotted by Montenegro's reformist government -- was blocking legal changes that would allow extradition of Yugoslav citizens. Montenegro is Serbia's much smaller partner in the Yugoslav federation. Zizic said his party had instead proposed a model under which federal law would establish general provisions for cooperation with the tribunal, but extradition of suspects would be regulated by each of the two republics in the federation. Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica (news - web sites) said his DOS alliance would discuss this idea. ``I personally think that proposal deserves attention,'' he told reporters. Ljubica Markovic, director of the independent Beta news agency, said failure to agree could create the impression that Belgrade was protecting Milosevic. ``This is very bad for the image of the country, very bad for the new rulers,'' she said. Police accused Milosevic and his closest aides last month of covering up evidence of possible war crimes in Kosovo. It was the first time the new authorities in Belgrade had linked him to crimes in Kosovo for which The Hague has indicted him -- suggesting that Yugoslavia plans to widen its own home-based charges against him. Serbian Interior Minister Dusan Mihajlovic said Sunday police had started exhuming bodies recovered two years ago from a refrigerator truck dumped in the River Danube and thought to be Kosovo Albanians.
BBC 14 June, 2001, by Nick Thorpe In Yugoslavia, the interior ministry has named a hidden location near Belgrade where dozens of bodies, believed to be those of ethnic Albanians killed by Yugoslav security forces in Kosovo, are buried in a mass grave. Exhumations have already begun at the site, in the grounds of a police training school at Batajnica, only 10km (six miles) from the centre of the capital. Officials had earlier accused former President Slobodan Milosevic of ordering the destruction of evidence of crimes. A bitter row has broken out between the police and army over who was responsible for the atrocities. Film Exhumations of the mass grave began two weeks ago but have only just been made public. The interior ministry released a ten-minute film showing human bones and skulls being removed from the ground. No final figure has yet been released of the number of bodies found but they are believed to include those of 86 Kosovo Albanians originally put in a freezer compartment of a lorry and dumped in the River Danube. Police sources say more such mass graves exist. At least 4,000 Kosovo Albanians are still missing and their relatives had hoped to find them still alive in prisons in Serbia. Evidence The Serbian public has been shocked by the first real evidence of mass killings of Kosovo Albanians.
BBC 17 June 2001 The Russian and Yugoslav presidents have declared Kosovo to be the main source of instability in the Balkans and called on the international community to work to disarm ethnic Albanian rebels. President Vladimir Putin, the first Russian leader to visit Yugoslavia for a decade, was in Belgrade for talks with the country's leaders after his meeting with US President George W Bush in Slovenia on Saturday. Stability in the region is seriously threatened, above all from national religious extremism and intolerance, the main source of which today is in Kosovo President Putin Mr Putin said Yugoslavia needed help from the international community and that Moscow was ready to play its part. Mr Putin later flew on to the capital of Kosovo, Pristina, to meet Russian peacekeepers, K-for commanders and UN administrators. Mr Putin was also meeting the Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic and members of his government in Belgrade. Refugees Mr Putin said the main source of terrorism in the region was Kosovo and added that the international community should honour the terms of its involvement there as they were defined by UN mandate. Mr Putin said the international community, which set up a protectorate in Kosovo at the end of the civil war in 1999, must act to implement a UN Security Council resolution guaranteeing the rights of minority Serbs in the province of Kosovo and the integrity of Yugoslavia. Russia has peacekeeping troops in Kosovo "Stability in the region is seriously threatened, above all from national religious extremism and intolerance, the main source of which today is in Kosovo," Mr Putin told reporters after his talks with President Kostunica. Mr Kostunica said mistakes by the bodies administering Kosovo had destabilised the whole region. The Yugoslav president was referring to the Serb community, tens of thousands of whom have left Kosovo in the face of continuing intimidation from the Albanian majority. Russia has been pushing for the NATO-led peacekeepers to do more to disarm ethnic Albanian extremists in Kosovo. Mr Putin also called on the international community to take action in Macedonia, but he did not say precisely what he had in mind. Trade talks Mr Putin's visit to Belgrade is seen as a sign of Moscow's desire to counterbalance an overriding western influence in the Balkans at a time of renewed conflict and instability. Mr Kostunica has previously stressed the importance of Russia's military and political presence in the Balkans, saying it is crucial for the stability of the region. Mr Putin also discussed trade and economic cooperation with Yugoslav leaders during his visit, including the supply of gas and other fuels to Yugoslavia to ensure social and economic stability in the republic. Serbia owes several hundred millions of dollars to the Russian gas concern, Gazprom.
BBC 25 June 2001 Belgrade has opened the doors for the extradition of 16 of its citizens indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague. Five Serbian leaders, including former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, were indicted for war crimes allegedly committed during the Kosovo conflict. The others are the former Serbian President, Milan Milutinovic, former Yugoslav deputy Prime Minister Nikola Sainovic, the Yugoslav army's former chief-of-staff, General Dragoljub Ojdanic, and former Serbian Minister of the Interior Vlajko Stojiljkovic. Three former Yugoslav army officers - Mile Mrksic, Miroslav Radic and Veselin Sljivancanin - were indicted for the 1991 massacre of at least 200 ethnic Croats in the eastern Bosnian city of Vukovar. Two Bosnian Serb leaders indicted for atrocities during the 1992-95 Bosnian war - Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic - also face extradition if they are still in Yugoslavia, but their whereabouts are unknown. Kosovo charges All five Serbian leaders are charged with direct personal responsibility for ordering, planning, executing or aiding and abetting mass deportations and murders. And apart from Mr Sainovic, they are also charged with what's called command responsibility - in other words, of failing either to prevent alleged atrocities by subordinates or of not punishing them for their criminal conduct. The four officials who have been charged along with Mr Milosevic were among the President's closest associates. They were important figures in the Serbian political and security hierarchy - high up in the pyramid that had Mr Milosevic and his wife, Mirjana Markovic, at its top. Milan Milutinovic: Milan Milutinovic barely scraped through the presidential elections Milan Milutinovic inherited the post of President of Serbia from Mr Milosevic in 1997. On that occasion Mr Milutinovic had barely managed to scrape through the elections when, according to official figures, the turnout was just 0.9% above the required 50 % of the electorate. Mr Milutinovic was earlier Yugoslavia's Foreign Minister and as such he accompanied President Milosevic at the Dayton peace talks on Bosnia. Before that he was Yugoslavia's ambassador in Athens - a posting that gave rise to widespread rumours that he was involved in administering the official and personal bank accounts of Serbian leaders in Greece and Cyprus. Nikola Sainovic: Sainovic carried out a number of sensitive diplomatic errands for Milosevic Former Yugoslav deputy Prime Minister Nikola Sainovic was one of the senior members of the Belgrade delegation at the Kosovo peace talks in France in February 1999. He is an experienced political operator, who has done a number of sensitive errands for Mr Milosevic. A former economics minister, he had maintained close links with the Bosnian Serb off-shoot of President Milosevic's Socialist Party. He was also in charge of co-ordinating policy on Kosovo. At the time of the killing of over 40 Kosovo Albanians in the village of Racak, US officials claimed to have intercepted a phone call in which Mr Sainovic allegedly ordered Serbian security forces to move in hard on the locals. Vlajko Stojiljkovic: Vlajko Stojiljkovic is a member of the "Pozarevac clan" Former Serbian Minister of the Interior Vlajko Stojiljkovic used to be a manager in Pozarevac - the Milosevic couple's home town - and is described as a member of the "Pozarevac clan". He was once head of Serbia's chamber of economy - a post in which he opposed economic reform. Mr Stojiljkovic later took control of the police following the gangland-type killing of his predecessor. General Dragoljub Ojdanic: General Ojdanic was in charge of the military during the Kosovo crisis General Dragoljub Ojdanic, the Yugoslav army's chief-of-staff, was a latecomer to Mr Milosevic's inner circle. He was appointed to his post in November after his predecessor had disagreed on different occasions with Mr Milosevic's plans to use the army in Kosovo, Montenegro and against the opposition in Serbia. Although under Mr Milosevic the army was forced to play second fiddle to the police, the military's importance greatly increased with the escalation of the Kosovo conflict and Nato's air strikes, bringing General Ojdanic centre stage. The court's progress The Yugoslav tribunal has publicly indicted 100 people. Of those, 38 are in custody in The Hague, four are serving prison sentences in other countries and 26 are still at large. Charges were dropped against 18 suspects, two were acquitted, three have been previously released and nine died before they could be tried.
BBC 29 June 2001 The former Yugoslav President, Slobodan Milosevic, is in custody in the Hague where he will become the first former head of state to appear before the International War Crimes Tribunal. He arrived by helicopter at the United Nations detention centre in the Dutch city on Thursday night. Mr Milosevic - who was handed over to the tribunal by the Serbian authorities - stands accused of planning and ordering a campaign of terror, persecution and violence against the Kosovo Albanians at the end of the 1990s. Correspondents say Mr Milosevic will not be brought before the judges until Monday. Mr Milosevic's wife will be able to speak to him every day He will be given a medical check-up and made aware of the charges being brought against him. It will be several months before his trial begins, to give his defence lawyers time to prepare his case. Prosecutors say they also plan to broaden the charges to cover alleged war crimes in Bosnia and Croatia. A BBC correspondent in the Hague says that for now, he is being kept in a single cell in comfortable conditions, where he will able to speak to his wife by telephone every day, watch satellite television and take exercise. Extradition path Mr Milosevic, who had been held in a Belgrade jail since 1 April on charges of corruption and abuse of power, was secretly handed over to tribunal investigators in the city on Thursday following a crisis meeting of the reformist Serbian Government. The extradition could not be considered legal or constitutional Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica He was then flown to a Nato base in northern Bosnia, and from there to the Hague. In allowing this to happen, Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic ignored objections from Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica, who has denounced the extradition as illegal and unconstitutional, and the Yugoslav constitutional court, which had sought put a hold on the extradition process. . "This could be interpreted as a serious jeopardising of the state's constitutional order," Mr Kostunica said. The handover of Mr Milosevic came less than 24 hours before the opening of an international donor conference in Brussels that is crucial to Yugoslavia's economic recovery. And thousands of Milosevic supporters have taken to the streets It was also exactly 12 years after he launched his rise to power with his speech in Kosovo on the site of the battlefield where, 600 years previously, the Serbs had been crushed by the Ottoman Turks. "No-one will dare to beat you," he told Serbs who complained they were being attacked by ethnic Albanians in the province. Public anger The extradition of the man who once embodied the hopes of Serbian nationalism has sparked turmoil in Yugoslavia. Chronology Rise and fall of Milosevic 1989: Becomes Serbian president 1991-95: Launches wars in Croatia and Bosnia 1998: Starts campaign against Kosovo Albanians 1999: Withdraws following Nato bombing 1999: Indicted by UN tribunal 2000: Rigs elections, ousted by popular uprising 2001: Imprisoned after stand-off with police; extradited to the Hague three months later The junior partner in the federal government - once allied to Mr Milosevic - says it is pulling out of the coalition in protest. And thousands of Milosevic supporters have taken to the streets of Belgrade, venting their anger and attacking journalists. Meanwhile, three other Serbs indicted on war crimes charges in Croatia and Bosnia have been to the Hague for trial by the War Crimes Tribunal. One is Milan Martic, the former President of the breakaway Serb republic of Krajina, which was recaptured by Croatia in 1995. The others are Mile Mrksic, the former commander of the Krajina Serb forces, and Dusan Knezevic, a Serb from Prijedor in Bosnia-Hercegovina.
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