Prevent Genocide International 

News Monitor for September 2001

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Tracking current news on genocide and items related to past and present ethnic, national, racial and religious violence.
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IRIN 28 Sept 2001 African press warns of 'religious war' In the wake of the attacks on New York and Washington, many African newspapers caution against responding to the crisis along religious lines.

AFP 25 Aug 2001 Angola, Congo and DRCongo to create conflict prevention organ The governments of Angola, Congo-Brazzaville and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), already tied by a security pact, have agreed to set up an organ aimed at conflict prevention, a statement said. The organ will be an expansion of an existing commission set up in 1999, which has primarily been deployed to resolve security problems arising on the common border of the three African neighbours, the statement said. It was issued late Friday at the end of talks here between the three countries' interior ministers. It said the new organ will group either the interior or the security ministers of Angola, Congo-Brazzaville and DRC, and will comprise a revolving presidency and a secretariat-general. The statement did not specify when the revolving presidency would come into effect nor where the secretariat-general will be sited. Under their existing security pact, the three countries are obliged to support each others' loyalist forces in the face of armed rebellions. The Angolan army is already committed in the DRC, backing Kinshasa -- along with troops from Zimbabwe and Namibia -- in its three-year-old battle with rebels supported by Rwanda and Uganda. Despite the military alliance, relations between Brazzaville and Kinshasa are marked by mistrust, fuelled by repeated rumours that the DRC is supporting Brazzaville rebels, and that Brazzaville is backing DRC rebels. Both sides have continually denied the claims.

Business Day (Johannesburg) EDITORIAL September 17, 2001 African Union Needs New Approach to Deal With 'Third-Termers' Johannesburg YOWERI Kaguta Museveni, Uganda's president, once famously described the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) as a trade union of dictators. The OAU's dictators may just be on the way out or transforming themselves. But as the OAU mutates into the African Union (AU), it is finding that its membership is gaining more leaders who want to cling onto power at all costs. Related to this is modern day Africa's other challenge: that of dealing with human rights violations and/or leaders who abuse their citizens to hang in there. After the independence struggles, ordinary Africans have had to endure years of unconstitutional changes of governments in their countries. West Africa elevated the practice of toppling governments into an art form. In fact, practically all the continent's regions have had an experience with a coup or an attempted one. After years of watching, helplessly, their unalterable rights to vote in (and out) a government of their choice being perverted, Africans can now look to bodies like the AU and the Commonwealth for solace. Commendably, both these bodies, without much clout, have banned from their ranks dictators who shoot their way to power. This no-nonsense stance has forced dictators to rehabilitate themselves into civilian leaders. Still, there are few or no instruments at all to deal with how sometimes democratically elected leaders abuse their citizens to stay in power. The AU's "third-termers" are growing in numbers. After Namibia's ageing Sam Nujoma changed his constitution to give himself a third term, he was joined by Zambia's Frederick Chiluba, the AU's inaugural chair. Popular resistance forced Chiluba to back down on the idea. Malawi's Bakili Muluzi, the chair of the Southern African Development Community , has not given up hope of a third term. Few believed Angola's Eduardo Jose dos Santos when he announced plans recently not to avail himself as a candidate in the next election due only in a year. Apart from the trappings of power, what makes an honourable exit such a difficult proposition? Rule out hard times. Most tend to use their time in State House to prepare for a comfortable retirement. A growing body of evidence, albeit the bulk of which remains anecdotal, is emerging, suggesting that the reluctance to leave office stems from fear of prosecution for mainly gross human rights abuses while in office. As a result, new ways are found to prolong their stay in power. Elections are unnecessarily delayed or the constitution is changed to allow another term. There are several ways of dealing with this problem. One would be to use multilateral instruments say an AU-wide twoterm presidential limit to deal with the third-termers. This would be a useful forward-looking approach. But it would do nothing to help address the current problem of human rights excesses. Africa's apparent answer to this has been disappointing and inadequate. Emerging from the past of its twin evils colonialism and recently apartheid SA's new leaders formed the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) to look into human rights abuses committed during apartheid. The amnesty-for-full-disclosure approach, coupled with largely symbolic compensation for victims, was to have formed the basis for reconciliation and nation-building. It is early days to say for certain that Archbishop Desmond Tutu's commission was a complete waste of time. But its proponents appear to exaggerate its contribution to reconciliation. Still, this has not stopped other African countries from following this route. Nigeria, under Olusegun Obasanjo, was the first to probe excesses under successive military regimes. Last Wednesday, he testified to the Oputa commission on his role in the Kalakuta invasion, an army raid which he allegedly ordered that led to the death of many, including Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, Fela Kuti's mother. For the record, he has denied ordering the raid. Even before this experiment has played itself out, Ghana's John Kufour has tabled a bill that would probe violations under Jerry Rawlings, his coup-makerturned-civilian predecessor. The Movement for Democratic Change has promised a TRCtype structure if Zimbabwean voters install its leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, in office next March. Naturally, this would have to reopen Matabeleland atrocities files as well as look into the violence of the past 18 months. The Oasis Forum, a network of civic organisations at the forefront of Zambia's anti-third-term movement, yesterday proposed such an inquiry into Chiluba's human rights performance during his two terms. As happened with SA's National Party and Nigeria's ex-military rulers, Generals Ibrahim "IBB" Babangida and Abdulasalami Abubakar, ex-presidents find such inquiries embarrassing and rattling. They can be equally uncomfortable for sitting ones too. Crucially, though, there is no demonstrable evidence that they aid reconciliation. Neither do they act as a sufficient deterrent against similar rights abuses in future. It is time the AU begins the search for more effective means of dealing with third termers in its transformation to what Museveni, himself a one-time coup maker, might one day call a trade union of democrats and human rights champions. Otherwise it risks inheriting the OAU's reputation as a toothless bulldog.


AP 27 Sept 2001 Shooting Spree Kills 22 in Algeria By ABDELLAH CHEBALLAH, ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) - Suspected Islamic militants killed 22 people - including 12 as they celebrated a wedding - in a shooting spree in a small town near the capital, security forces said. The assailants carried out the attack on Wednesday in Larbaa, about 18 miles south of Algiers, the officials said on condition of anonymity. Seven others were injured. Four assailants in military uniforms stormed into a home where wedding festivities were under way, turned out the lights and sprayed the victims with automatic fire, several people in the region said. The attackers had talked their way into the home by asking for water, the people said in telephone interviews. They also spoke on condition of anonymity. Security forces said the assailants shot and killed 10 other people in the area near the home. The attack was first reported in the Liberte daily Thursday. The motive for the attack was not immediately clear. Algeria has been wracked by an Islamic insurgency that has left more than 100,000 people dead since 1992. The agricultural region where the massacre took place is a center of activity for Islamic militants, but had been largely spared from recent insurgency-related violence. The uprising began when the government canceled legislative elections that the Islamic Salvation Front had been expected to win.

18 Sept 2001 Algeria tackles Islamic militants - Recent massacres are blamed on Islamic extremists By BBC North Africa correspondent David Bamford Security officials in Algeria have claimed a military success against an Islamist militant group that has been waging a war of insurgency for the past nine years. They said the army had killed at least 28 rebels belonging to the second biggest Islamist faction, the Salafist Group or GSPC, to the south of the capital, Algiers. The victory claim follows growing criticism of the authorities over their failure to put an end to endemic terrorism in Algeria in which an estimate 150,000 people have been killed. Reports are rare in Algeria of military successes against Islamist rebels and this claim of victory is fortuitous for the government which is facing a wave of criticism. Forceful The contrast is being made between, on the hand, the Algerian authorities inability to have any impact on the country's endemic terrorism, and, on the other hand, the forceful approach being taken by President Bush following the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. But now Algerian security forces say that, as a result of a sustained bombardment, they have managed to kill twenty-eight Islamist rebels belonging to the GSPC. The rebels were located 300km south of Algiers in mountains between the desert towns of Laghouat and Djelfa. The group is said to have been active for some time and were responsible for transporting weapons from African countries to the south to their GSPC allies in the north of Algeria where many attacks have taken place in the last few weeks. Earlier on Monday, news came through from Mascara in northwestern Algeria of the latest attack by the main Islamist group, the Armed Islamic Group (GIA) in which eight civilians were killed, six of them from the same family.

BBC 9 Sept 2001 Gunmen kill 10 in Algeria Islamists are blamed for a spate of recent massacres By North Africa correspondent David Bamford There are reports of a new armed attack by suspected Islamists in Algeria, near the country's second city Oran. At least 10 people are reported to have been killed and nine injured when they were attacked after attending a funeral ceremony. The victims of these latest killings in Algeria had just taken part in an evening funeral ceremony in the town of Arzew, east of Oran. Security forces say the attackers sprayed the procession of mourners with automatic weapons fire. Ten people were killed and another nine wounded, four of them seriously. Militant tactics This is the first Islamist attack in the Oran region of this magnitude in several years. Till now, this area has been spared the worst of the unrest. But the attack seems to be part of a change in tactics by the militants, who in the past three weeks have targeted beach resorts and for the first time in two years, the city centre of Algiers, where a bomb injured more than 30 people. More particularly, the attack was close to the sea terminal of some of Algeria's main gas pipelines, a strategically vital area for the country's economy. Political message So far, there has been no attempt by the Islamists to sabotage the pipelines themselves. But this latest attack may well be intended as a political message for President Abdelaziz Bouteflika as he wrestles with a series of problems, including whether to offer concessions to the ethnic Berber community. The Islamists and the Berbers are political enemies, and any concessions given to one is regarded by the other as a cause for protest.

BBC 1 Sept 2001, Algerian Berbers lukewarm on talks Thousands of Berber activists in Algeria have given a lukewarm response to a government offer of direct talks after four months of Berber unrest. In a statement the activists - who are meeting in the northeastern Kabylia region - said any government initiative needed to be accompanied by concrete action to earn their confidence. They questioned the government's failure to sack police officers blamed for the killings of some 60 civilians in Kabylia, and said they would go ahead with a new protest march in the capital, Algiers, in October. Trouble in the Berber-speaking region began in April when a teenager was shot and killed in police custody. Since then, Berbers have held huge demonstrations demanding increased cultural rights and justice.


Rueters 2 Sept 2001 Attack on Angola Buses Kills 38 -State Radio LUANDA - Suspected UNITA rebels attacked two buses in Angola on Saturday, killing at least 38 people and injuring dozens more, state radio reported on Sunday. ``More bodies are being found in bushes,'' Radio Nacional de Angola said. The radio had earlier said gunmen from the rebel National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) were responsible for the attack at Gabela in Cuanza Sul province, around 95 miles southwest of the capital Luanda. ``We were going to Luanda when our bus was attacked by gunmen,'' it quoted survivor Isaquiel Tomas as saying. Both buses were carrying civilians, it said. Local authorities were not available to confirm the attack. Analysts say UNITA has stepped up its activity lately, especially near the capital, in a bid to force the government back to the negotiating table. Angola has known little but civil war since independence from Portugal in 1975. A shaky peace deal between the government and UNITA, reached in 1994, crumbled in 1998. At least 250 people died last month when UNITA rebels attacked a train southeast of Luanda, shooting down passengers who tried to flee after the train hit a land mine and exploded in a ball of flame.

AFP 12 Sept 2001 Angolan rebels kill 25 in village attack, ambush - Angolan rebels killed 25 people and injured 27 others in two attacks in the southern Huambo province this week, Roman Catholic radio Ecclesia reported on Wednesday. The radio said rebels from the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) on Tuesday attacked the village of Longonjo in Huambo province, killing 24 villagers and wounding 27 others. Meanwhile, in an ambush Tuesday in Caala in the same province, UNITA forces killed an army commander in charge of anti-rebel operations in the area. The province has been hard hit by a civil war that has ravaged Angola since independence in 1975. The conflict, which resumed in 1998 after the collapse of a 1994 peace accord, has so far claimed at least 500,000 lives and displaced some four million people out of a total population of 12 million.

AFP 20 Sept 2001 Five dead in ambush by suspected rebels in Angola - Five people were killed and six others injured this week when a truck was ambushed, apparently by Angola's main rebel group, in the southern province of Bie, the Catholic radio network Ecclesia reported Thursday. A survivor of the attack, Inacio Sorte, told the radio that the truck was attacked Wednesday near the village of Belchoir, where gunmen opened fire before pillaging the vehicle, which carried both people and goods. The injured were hospitalized for treatment in Kuito, the provincial seat of Bie. On September 11, 24 people were killed and 27 others injured in an attack on an isolated village in the southern province of Huambo. That attack was also blamed on the rebel National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA). Bie and Huambo are among the provinces hardest-hit by the civil war, which has raged almost non-stop since Angola's independence from Portugal in 1975, following a 14-year armed liberation struggle. The war has claimed at least 500,000 lives and displaced some four million people out of a total population of 12 million.


Mail & Guardian (Johannesburg) COLUMN 14 Sept 2001 Stunning Victory Or Slap in the Face? Stephen Corry- The Mail & Guardian's article on the Bushmen of Botswana ("Going back to their roots", August 31) accurately reports that more than 1†000 of them were removed from the Central Kalahari Game Reserve and put in bleak resettlement camps where social and economic problems are rife - in contrast to false claims by the Botswana government that the people wanted to go and that they like the camps. But the article goes on to call the current negotiations about land use - for those remaining in the reserve - a "stunning victory". We believe this goes much too far. It is not a success "for indigenous people worldwide" as the article claims: on the contrary, mere "land usage" completely ignores natural justice and falls far short of rights long recognised internationally and taken for granted by indigenous peoples elsewhere. Under international law, indigenous and tribal peoples have full ownership rights over the lands they live on and use. This important principle was spelled out in United Nations conventions in 1957 and 1989 - yet Botswana fails to recognise or apply it. The Central Kalahari Game Reserve was initially set up as a safe haven for the Bushmen who have lived there for thousands of years. In recent years, the Botswana government has gone to great lengths to evict them, flouting international law. In 1997 officials tore down Bushman houses and trucked them to the camps, which the Bushmen call "places of death". Those accused of hunting in the reserve are still tortured, and high-handed threats to cut off services there are made every so often (most recently, just last month). Wildlife officials are now talking of "allowing" the Bushmen to stay, to gather veld food and so forth. Far from being a cause to celebrate, this is colonialist arrogance. The Bushmen already have the internationally recognised legal right to stay where they are, to gather, to hunt and, what is more, to own their ancestral lands. South Africa has already shown its recognition of at least some of this. It is surely time for Botswana to catch up. The British and other European invasion of North America wiped out some 95% of the native population: this is rightly seen as colonial genocide. Yet the destruction of most of the Bushmen in southern Africa in recent centuries is a comparable tragedy, and a crime, perpetrated by both white and black, which is still largely unrecognised. By refusing Bushmen land ownership, the Botswana government continues the injustice - and shows itself to be decades behind many other governments with tribal minorities. The government responds that the "backward" Bushmen must be "integrated" - whether they want it or not. It is time for the Botswana government to cast off this backward mentality, which wants everyone to become the same, and to embrace a modern multiculturalism which takes pride in diversity. Survival International's campaign has nothing to do with "keeping people as they are". Rather, it is about letting people decide their own future and supporting those whose very existence is threatened by denying their land ownership. Bushman society, like all societies, has always changed, and we are not trying to prevent this; that would be absurd. In supporting what the Bushmen themselves want, Survival is not a group of Europeans dictating to Africans. Survival's supporters come from over 80 nationalities and our campaign has already been welcomed by many citizens of Botswana, Bushmen and non-Bushmen, black and white. We have worked on many dozens of similar cases, all over the world, for more than 30 years. Governments cannot "give" people human rights, they can only recognise and uphold those rights which are accepted by the international community and enshrined in international laws - or, like Botswana, they can fail to do so. Defending the victimised is not meddling in other countries' affairs, it is the business of all of us - and is it not the point of human rights? Stephen Corry is director general of Survival International


BBC 21 September, 2001 Fighting flares near Burundi capital The army is engaged on the outskirts of Bujumbura Reports from Burundi say there is heavy fighting between ethnic Hutu rebels and the mainly Tutsi army north of the capital, Bujumbura. Local officials say that at least two government soldiers have been killed and several wounded. These are regular military operations against rebels that have come massively from the [DR] Congo, but we have all the means to hit them hard Colonel Augustin Nzabampema The main road from the capital to the north of the country has been closed as a result of the fighting. The rebel Forces for the Defence of Democracy has refused to sign up to a peace agreement that calls for a power-sharing government with the mainly Tutsi-government and other political parties. Well equipped A transitional government is expected to be installed in November under the peace agreement brokered by the former South African President Nelson Mandela. The war has caused massive civilians suffering Military sources have told the French news agency, AFP, that the FDD seemed well equipped, "with 82mm mortars". A local official told AFP that the fighting began at dawn on Thursday when the rebels attacked a military post in Mageyo district, 15 kilometres (nine miles) from central Bujumbura. The army responded by launching a heavy counter-offensive. Air bombardment Army spokesman Colonel Augustin Nzabampema, told Associated Press news agency: "These are regular military operations against rebels that have come massively from the [DR] Congo, but we have all the means to hit them hard." He also said that the army was bombarding rebel positions from the air. President Buyoya will remain in power until 2003 The BBC's Prime Ndikumagenge said this was certainly using newly-purchased war planes. Witnesses told AFP that Burundi's main north-south highway, Route Nationale 1, which goes from Bujumbura north to Rwanda has been closed since Thursday.RN1 passes through Mageyo. Power-sharing Under the power-sharing plan, President Pierre Buyoya will remain in power for 18 months from November, with a Hutu vice-president. Mandela is determined to bring peace to Burundi In April 2003, their roles will be reversed, with Mr Buyoya becoming vice-president. While most of Burundi's political parties have accepted this proposal, some are unhappy that Mr Buyoya will remain as head of state for the first part of the transition period. The murder in 1993 of Burundi's first ethnic Hutu president triggered a civil war which correspondents say has killed at least 200,000 people.

Côte d'Ivoire

ICRC 20 September 2001 Côte d'Ivoire: Assistance for 1,400 displaced people The ICRC has provided emergency assistance consisting of cleaning materials, soap and blankets to 1,400 displaced people of Malian origin who fled the area around Lake Kossou, in the centre of Côte d'Ivoire, as a result of ethnic violence. The displaced people are now in five camps in the city of Bouaké. The distribution of relief supplies followed an evaluation of their needs carried out from 12 to 15 September by the ICRC in cooperation with the Red Cross Society of Côte d'Ivoire. The ethnic violence flared up in August between native inhabitants and people of Malian origin. Thousands of the latter — who have lived as fishermen on the shores of Lake Kossou for over a generation — were forced to seek refuge in several nearby cities. Most of the displaced could be accommodated by relatives or friends, but those living in the camps in Bouaké "are particularly vulnerable and they are living in very bad sanitary conditions", according to ICRC delegate Claude Champagne. A certain number of displaced people have chosen to return to Mali, while others are still hoping to be able to resume their activities in Côte d'Ivoire.

DR Congo

AP 14 Sept 2001 Congo Disarms Alleged Rwandan Militias By ARNAUD ZAJTMAN, KAMINA, Congo - Congo's government rounded up 3,000 Rwandan Hutu fighters it said it had disarmed and paraded them before journalists and diplomats in a gesture to move a peace deal along. Rwandan Hutu fighters, who carried out the 1994 genocide in Rwanda against the Tutsis, fled into Congo after the slaughter to fight alongside Congo's government in its civil war. In response, Rwanda poured thousands of troops into Congo in August 1998 to try to oust late Congo President Laurent Kabila and to hunt down the former Rwandan Hutu militiamen. Rwanda has insisted it will not withdraw from the country until the Hutu militia threat is dealt with. Wednesday's presentation of the Hutu fighters at a military base in Kamina in eastern Congo appeared to be a gesture by Congo in response to the Rwanda government's demand. Security Minister Mwenze Kongolo said during the ceremony he now expects the Rwandan army to withdraw its troops from Congolese territory. According to a 1999 peace accord, the United Nations should assist in the disarmament of militia groups and in the withdrawal of foreign forces from Congo, both key issues for peace in central Africa. The five foreign armies in Congo - Zimbabwe, Angola, Namibia, Rwanda and Uganda - have withdrawn from key flashpoints this year under U.N. monitoring, but remain in Congo. Zimbabwe, Angola and Namibia backing the government of Joseph Kabila, while Rwanda and Uganda are backing separate Congolese rebel groups. Kongolo said it was up to the United Nations to screen the disarmed soldiers in Kamina and decide what to do with them. It was not clear if the Hutus would be handed over to the United Nations or the Rwandan government. Even with U.N. and other diplomats present, the leader of the Rwandan Hutu group didn't hesitate to threaten Rwanda's current, Tutsi-controlled government. ``Our men will not go back to Rwanda until a dialogue is launched there,'' the movement's president, Ignace Murwanashyaka said during the disarmament ceremony. ``If (Rwandan President) Paul Kagame does not respond to our demands, we will restart hostilities.'' Murwanashyaka, who was not among those quartered at the military base, said the 3,000 troops at Kamina represented only a ``tiny'' proportion of all Rwandan militia fighters opposed to Rwanda's government. He said the rest were in rebel-held areas in the east and within Rwanda itself.


BBC 5 September, 2001, Film pushes Ethiopia to confront past Waiting to be executed: A dramatic thriller set during Mengistu's rule By Nita Bhalla in Addis Ababa The Ethiopian film The Father has been winning awards across Africa for portraying the horrors of the "Red Terror" campaign unleashed by deposed dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam more than 20 years ago. And the 28-minute film, which is now on a satellite television channel in Ethiopia, has finally got people talking about the dark days in the late 1970s when tens of thousands of people were killed, tortured or disappeared. First time director Ermias Woldeamlack, who is 37 years old, is firm in his belief that the story has to be told. There is little literature, film, theatre or music re-telling the "Red Terror" period, he says. And the absence of such materials indicates that Ethiopians are hiding from the goings on of that period rather than come to terms with them, Ermias believes. "We didn't deal with them as it is not in our culture to have done so. But the only way we could move on, is to address them head on," he said. Its good to talk The young director explains: "The Rwandans are talking about the genocide, the South Africans about the apartheid era and so, Ethiopia has to talk about the 'Red Terror'. The Father is the first step." And it would seem Ethiopians have taken that tentative step. A number of them have seen the short, tense political thriller and have been giving some feedback. "People said that they enjoyed it and that we reflected accurately what had happened during 'Red Terror'." "But also, many have been critical. They say we were unfair to the Mengistu regime. All this is good. At least it's got people talking about it," he adds. Personal grievances There is no official figure on how many lost their lives during Mengistu's campaign to root out opponents, but it is believed that tens of thousands died. Ermias has his own personal grievances. "My older brothers were arrested and killed. They were targets because all students were suspected of revolt and coup plotting". "Although I was a young boy at the time, I remember how Mengistu's soldiers would come and ransack our home looking for evidence against my brothers, but they found nothing," says Ermias. Ermias attributes the film's international success to the fact that little is known about the previous military regime's atrocities. 'Shocked' "It seems no one outside the country knew about them. People were shocked that this happened in Ethiopia and that is why there has been so much interest in the film," he says. The director thinks the "dark macabre nature of the movie adds a real atmosphere of suspense and unpredictability which many found fascinating". The Father was first screened in November 2000 at South Africa's Sithengi film and television market. Last month, it won best debut movie at the Ghanaian Aniwa film festival as well as the Silver award for best short feature at the Zanzibar film festival. Industry But Ethiopia's film industry is underdeveloped. Struggling filmmakers complain about the lack of training and equipment. The government film institute that existed, ironically during the days of Mengistu, was disbanded when the new government took power in 1991. It said film making should be privately funded. Still Ethiopians have produced some outstanding film makers, including the highly acclaimed director Haile Girima, who is a professor at Howard University. He has a string of successful films such as Harvest 3000, Adwa and Imperfect Journey to his name. Another success story is the film maker Solomon Bekele, with his award winning Aster - a story about love crossing the barriers of class and wealth. However, these directors are few and far between, and although The Father is a real boost to the industry, critics believe if Ethiopia is really serious about reviving the industry, proper funding and training are needed.


BBC 19 September, 2001 Kenya ethnic clashes 'leave 30 dead' The bodies of at least 30 people killed in ethnic clashes in Kenya are reported to have been dumped in the River Tana in the east of the country. Kenyan television quoting local officials said armed gangs from the pastoral Wardey community attacked members of the Pokomo community in the area. The report said the Pokomo people were on their way from a funeral when the attack took place on Tuesday afternoon. The BBC's Noel Mwakugu monitoring events in the region says police have disputed the number of dead saying that only one person was injured. This is the latest in a series of clashes between the two communities over land. Since the start of this year some 100 people are estimated to have lost their lives, despite government's attempts to mediate between both sides. Our correspondent says the peace initiatives have not succeed because of petty jealousies and mutual suspicions. New police The Pokomo people are now calling for new members of the local police to be brought in, claiming that the present force gives preferential treatment to the rival Wardey community. They also say most of the rural guards have been disarmed, leaving them exposed to attacks. The Wardey for their part complain of harsh treatment on the hands of the local administration. No arrests have been made in connection with Tuesday's attack.

The Nation (Nairobi) 6 Sept 2001 Three Killed, Cattle Burnt in Tana Feud Three people were killed and more than 60 animals burnt when a group of angry farmers attacked herders in Tana River District. The victims were identified as Rolly Hassan, 28, Mohamed Said and Hassan Salat, 13. A fourth person is still missing. Some 89 dairy cows belonging to the Wardei community were seriously wounded in the suspected revenge attack by villagers from Kinakomba, Galole Division, on Tuesday night. The villagers hijacked the four herders as they grazed their animals near a farm on the banks of the Tana. They were killed and their bodies thrown into the crocodile-infested river. Police, led by the Hola police station boss Boniface Chai, yesterday morning retrieved the bodies after an extensive search. The district security team was at the scene yesterday, including District Commissioner Soita Wasike. The bodies were taken to Hola District Hospital and were to be buried in the town last evening. The district has witnessed several clashes between farmers and pastoralists. In May, two Pokomo men were killed following a dispute over grazing land. Mr Wasike expressed dismay at the incident, saying it was the worst since the outbreak of ethnic clashes early this year. According to the DC , the attack was purely a revenge. He promised that thorough investigations would be carried out to arrest the assailants who had crossed the river and fled. The incident later exploded into full scale resulting in the death of more than 37 people. President Moi recently criticized the three area MPs and administration for failing to stop the fights and warned that the government may be forced to send in the GSU if the clashes did not subside.


IRIN 21 Sept 2001 Hereros Claim Against Berlin Lawyers representing the Chief Hosea Kutako Foundation have temporarily withdrawn a legal claim for reparations against a German company but added another against the German government, 'The Namibian' said on Thursday. Lawyer Philip Musolino was quoted as saying the case against Terex Corporation had been temporarily dropped after the company claimed in court papers submitted recently that it was under different management at the time of the atrocities. "We have dismissed them from the case provided they open their books for inspection," Musolino said. Musolino and Dessel act on behalf of the Chief Hosea Kutako Foundation which claims a combined US $2 billion in reparations from Deutsche Bank and Woermann Line (now known as SAFmarine). They have also filed another lawsuit for US $2 billion against the German government on Tuesday. The foundation, headed by Herero Paramount Chief Kuaima Riruako, has accused the German companies and the government of forming a "brutal alliance" to exterminate over 65,000 Hereros between 1904 and 1907. Musolino said the companies were expected to file their responses in 60 to 90 days where after the Hereros would have 30 days to reply. In the court papers, Riruako and others state that the companies helped imperial Germany to relentlessly pursue the enslavement and genocide of the Hereros. The Hereros handed over a formal request to the then President of Germany, Roman Herzog when he visited Namibia in March 1998, in an effort to be compensated. During his visit, Herzog said the Hereros could not claim any compensation from Germany as international rules on the protection of rebels and the civilian population were not in existence at the time of the conflict.

Mail & Guardian (Johannesburg) 17 Aug 2001 A Forgotten History - Casper W Erichsen Concentration camps were used by the Germans in South West Africa. In a recent M-Net documentary, Scorched Earth, an array of historians described how the deplorable and inhumane conditions in concentration camps accounted for the deaths of 27 297 Boers, as well as an estimated 20 000 black casualties. The programme marked the centenary of the use of concentration camps in South Africa. The ripples of the outcry that followed Emily Hobhouse's exposure of these British war atrocities are still felt today, as illustrated by the very emotional tone of the M-Net programme. These emotions stand in stark contrast to the largely forgotten history of Namibia's equally sinister history of concentration camps. There were five concentration camps in all in Namibia, then German South West Africa, between 1904 and 1908. They were called Konzentrationslagern in reports and succeeded South African camps by two years. The anti-colonial struggles of 1904 to 1908 were characterised by two major uprisings: the Herero uprising in northern and central Namibia and the Nama uprising in the south. In January 1904 war broke out between the Herero nation and the German colonial administration in Namibia. The colonists were caught by surprise and suffered many defeats in the early stages of the sporadic and uncoordinated war. After about six months the picture changed. The battle at the Waterberg, in the north-east, on August 11 1904, marked the beginning of the end for the Herero, who fled in their thousands into the Omaheke sandveld, perishing in high numbers. The Herero nation was literally uprooted as an entire people spread across the Kalahari, trying to flee German punitive patrols. Those who did not reach Bechuanaland, now Bots-wana, either succumbed to the desert or were picked up by German patrols and put in concentration camps. In 1904 camps had been set up in Windhoek, Okahandja and at the coastal town of Swakopmund. In 1905 two new camps were opened in Karibib and Lüderitz. In terms of mortality statistics, the Namibian camps were horrific. An official report on the camps in 1908 described the mortality rate as 45,2% of all prisoners held in the five camps. The prisoners were typically fenced in, either by thorn-bush fences or by barbed wire. As the word concentration implies, thousands of people were crammed into small areas. The Windhoek camp held about 5 000 prisoners of war in 1906. Rations were minimal, consisting of a daily allowance of a handful of uncooked rice, some salt and water. Rice was an unfamiliar foodstuff to most, and the uncommon diet was the cause of many deaths. Disease was uncontrolled. An almost total lack of medical attention, unhygienic living quarters, insufficient clothing and a high concentration of people meant that diseases such as typhoid spread rapidly. Beatings and maltreatment were also part of life in the camps ñ the sjambok was often swung over the backs of prisoners who were forced to work. The concentration camp on Shark Island, in the coastal town of Lüderitz, was the worst of the five Namibian camps. Lüderitz lies in southern Namibia, flanked by desert and ocean. In the harbour lies Shark Island, which then was connected to the mainland only by a small causeway. The island is now, as it was then, barren and characterised by solid rock carved into surreal formations by the hard ocean winds. The camp was placed on the far tip of the relatively small island, where the prisoners would have suffered complete exposure to the gale-force winds that sweep Lüderitz for most of the year. The first prisoners to arrive were, according to a missionary called Kuhlman, 487 Herero ordered to work on the railway between Lüderitz and Kubub. The island soon took its toll: in October 1905 Kuhlman reported the appalling conditions and high death rate among the Herero on the island. Throughout 1906 the island had a steady inflow of prisoners, with 1 790 Nama prisoners arriving on September 9 alone. In the annual report for Lüderitz in 1906, an unknown clerk remarked that "the Angel of Death" had come to Shark Island. German Commander Von Estorff wrote in a report that approximately 1 700 prisoners had died by April 1907, 1 203 of them Nama. In December 1906, four months after their arrival, 291 Nama died (a rate of more than nine people a day). Missionary reports put the death rate at between 12 and 18 a day. As much as 80% of the prisoners sent to the Shark Island concentration camp never left the island. Fred Cornell, a British aspirant diamond prospector, was in Lüderitz when the Shark Island camp was being used. Cornell wrote of the camp: "Cold ñ for the nights are often bitterly cold there ñ hunger, thirst, exposure, disease and madness claimed scores of victims every day, and cartloads of their bodies were every day carted over to the back beach, buried in a few inches of sand at low tide, and as the tide came in the bodies went out, food for the sharks." During the war a number of people from the Cape, strapped for money, sought employment as transport riders for German troops in Namibia. Upon their return to the Cape some of these people recounted their stories, causing debate in the local media. On September 28 1905 an article appeared in the Cape Argus, with the heading: "In German S. W. Africa: Further Startling Allegations: Horrible Cruelty". In the article, Percival Griffith, "an accountant of profession, who owing to hard times, took up on transport work at Angra Pequena [Lüderitz]", related his experiences. "There are hundreds of them, mostly women and children and a few old men ... when they fall they are sjamboked by the soldiers in charge of the gang, with full force, until they get up ... On one occasion I saw a woman carrying a child of under a year old slung at her back, and with a heavy sack of grain on her head ... she fell. "The corporal sjamboked her for certainly more than four minutes and sjamboked the baby as well ... the woman struggled slowly to her feet, and went on with her load. She did not utter a sound the whole time, but the baby cried very hard." These atrocities did not go unnoticed by the Germans, who wrote reports, articles and letters about the camps. Shark Island came up in a German Parliament debate in 1906, when the Social Democrats demanded to know what was going on there. It seems, however, that generations since then have tried hard to forget this history. The South African camps have memorials and written histories, the Namibian camps do not. On the site where Shark Island once lay now lies a caravan park. Even worse, at the entrance of the park is a monument to the German soldiers who died between 1905 and 1908 a monument to the victor and not the victim. The centenary of the 1904 war is just around the corner; perhaps Namibians will take the opportunity to reflect, not so much on what is remembered but rather on what is not.


ICRC 20 Sept 2001 Nigeria: Red Cross aids victims of fresh intercommunal fighting Some 50,000 people fled their homes after fighting erupted between Christians and Muslims in Jos, in central Nigeria, on 7 September. Most sought refuge in military bases, police stations, churches, schools and even the city's airport. Clashes, which intensified following reports of the attacks carried out last week in the United States, continued until 12 September despite intervention by the armed forces and a strict curfew (4p.m. to 7 a.m.). The fighting left many injured or dead, with some sources close to the government reporting 500 dead. The Red Cross counted 928 people injured. Hundreds of vehicles were set alight and some neighbourhoods were completely destroyed. Aided by a regional coordinator and volunteers from Benue, Kaduna and Bauchi, the local branch of the Nigerian Red Cross Society swung into action when the fighting continued into a second day, taking the injured to hospital and giving basic medical care to displaced people from both communities. The city's authorities have supported the Red Cross in its work by making a 20-fold increase in their annual contribution to the branch and placing at its disposal a vehicle, fuel and food for distribution to the neediest victims. The ICRC initially responded by sending enough emergency medical supplies to treat some 2,000 injured people. A delegate went to the scene to provide logistical support for the work in progress, assess security conditions and, above all, draw up a plan to meet any needs that had not been covered by action already taken by the authorities or other humanitarian organizations. By the end of last week, several thousand people had returned to their homes while those whose homes had been destroyed stayed wherever they could. Many others left for other parts of the country. On 18 September, the ICRC began distributing relief in conjunction with the Nigerian Red Cross. Some 15,000 people who are now in safety but lost everything in the fighting received blankets, sleeping mats, plastic sheeting, buckets, soap and cooking utensils.

BBC 10 September, 2001 Death toll mounts in Nigerian city -Vigilantes killed and burned their victims A report from the central Nigerian city of Jos says more than 160 people have been killed in three days of violence between Muslims and Christians An official of the International Red Cross, Phillip Macham, told the French News agency : "Our records, at this afternoon, show that 165 bodies have been deposited at various hospitals in Jos" He said that, in addition, more than 900 had been injured as rival gangs rampaged through the city of four million people. But these may not be the final figures. According to Mr Macham there are "still so many bodies on the streets." Played down Earlier on Monday, the authorities gave far lower casualty figures, but also acknowledged they were not " final". An official spokesman put the number of dead at 51 with more than 500 injured since the outbreak of fighting on Friday. Correspondents say the figure could have been played down for fear of igniting fresh clashes. Churches, mosques, cars and houses were burned down, as the authorities extended a curfew to try to calm the situation. Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo ordered the military into the city at the weekend, and they appear to have gradually restored order, although small-scale skirmishes have continued. Sporadic gunfire Thousands of people fled their homes in Jos and sought refuge in military and police compounds when the fighting erupted. A journalist in Jos, Shehu Sawlawa, told the BBC's Network Africa programme that, although the presence of the security forces had given some people the confidence to begin returning to their homes, others have been leaving on buses and open top lorries. President Obasanjo has condemned the violence. "I wonder what sort of Muslims and Christians start burning churches and mosques - places where God is worshipped?" he asked. "True believers in God cannot start killing other human beings." Talks Religious leaders from both sides are calling for talks and a former Nigerian military ruler, General Yakubu Gowon - himself a Christian from the north - is trying to organise a meeting between Muslim and Christian elders. The population of Jos is overwhelmingly Christian, but there is a sizeable Muslim community. The unrest was sparked on Friday by an argument outside a mosque, after which vigilante groups went on the rampage following a false rumour that a Christian church had been burnt down. Relations between the two communities were already tense after the appointment of a Muslim to head a state poverty-reduction programme. Sharia There is also an ethnic dimension to the conflict, as many of the fighters on the Christian side are members of the Berom tribe, a group native to Jos. Fulanis and Hausas - two of Nigeria's largest ethnic groups - make up a large proportion of the Muslims. Relations between Christians and Muslims in northern Nigeria have been tense since the introduction of the Sharia Islamic law in 12 states. In February 2000, more than 2,000 people were killed in religious unrest in Kaduna, and some 450 more Nigerians died in reprisals in the south- east of the country.

BBC 16 Sept 2001, Obasanjo demands end to strife Mr Obasanjo made a tour of the battered city The Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo has visited the central city of Jos following religious violence believed to have left as many as 500 people dead. Clashes broke out between the city's Muslim and Christian groups on 7 September, and intensified earlier this week in the wake of the devastating attacks on the United States. Mr Obasanjo described the violence that has occurred in Jos as an "an act of extreme barbarity". A BBC correspondent who was in the city when the clashes broke out said she saw two people killed with machetes. Their attackers praised God as they carried out the murders. Hundreds dead Thousands of inhabitants have reportedly fled their homes, and have been sheltering in army camps outside the city. An army contingent has been sent into the city to enforce a curfew in the hope of preventing further outbreaks of violence. In addition to the dead, more than 1,000 people have reportedly been injured in the course of the clashes. According to the French news agency AFP, some 300 people have been arrested, although it is as yet unclear how many have been charged. Mr Obasanjo has said the violence was a disgrace for the country. "It is a gory site," he said after touring the city. "I have gone around to see things for myself." Spreading tensions The population of Jos, the capital of the Plateau State, is overwhelmingly Christian, but there is a sizeable Muslim community. Fulanis and Hausas - two of Nigeria's largest ethnic groups - make up a large proportion of the Muslims in the city. Relations between Christians and Muslims in northern Nigeria have been tense since the introduction of the Sharia Islamic law in 12 states. In February last year, more than 2,000 people were killed in religious unrest in Kaduna, and some 450 more Nigerians died in reprisals in the south-east of the country. Reuters reports that Mr Obasanjo has sent ministerial delegations to other potential trouble spots to appeal for calm and to stop the bloodshed spreading across the country.

IRIN 25 Sept 2001 Focus On Underlying Religious Tensions Lagos - Life is returning to normal in the central Nigerian city of Jos after bloody clashes earlier this month between Muslims and Christians, but there are fears that the underlying tensions may have wider national and international ramifications. The violence, which started on 7 September, caused businesses and offices to remain closed for the better part of two weeks. Although the estimated 500 people killed have been buried, grim reminders of the carnage that occurred remain. Charred buildings dot the city. Burnt-out cars litter the streets. And over 15,000 displaced people sheltering in military barracks, police compounds and other public places are awaiting relocation. "That such a thing happened at all in Jos means that the ethnic and religious crisis rocking Nigeria in the past two years has crossed a critical threshold," Cheche Okpaga, a graduate of the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies in Kuru, near Jos, told IRIN. "Right now it could happen anywhere in Nigeria and could easily envelop the whole nation." For many people, Jos was an unlikely place for sectarian violence. Populated predominantly by Christians from the many ethnic groups found in Nigeria's north-central plateau region, the capital of Plateau State had been renowned for its liberal, cosmopolitan disposition. With a mild climate ranging between 15 and 25 degrees centigrade all year round, it had always been a favourite destination of European tourists and settlers since the then British colonisers opened the tin mines that led to the building of the city about a century ago. Jos also attracted large numbers of Hausa-Fulani Muslims from further north, who came as traders, and similar numbers of Christians from Nigeria's southern states. A cocktail of ethnic, religious and political grievances Many people now trace the recent religious violence to the strong feelings aroused among local people by the introduction of strict Islamic or Sharia law in several predominantly Muslim northern states in the past two years. Jos was particularly affected by the violence that last year rocked the northern city of Kaduna, which has a large non-Muslim population, following proposals to introduce Sharia there. "A large number of the southern Christians who felt compelled to leave Kaduna because of the tension and insecurity there chose Jos as their next destination," Phil Nwachukwu, a resident of the city told IRIN. "Many came with their grievances against Muslims as well, and this has not helped inter-religious relations at all." However, there was also a mix of other political grievances among the local people against the Hausa-Fulanis that ultimately made the city highly combustible. For one, the Islamic conquests that entrenched both the Muslim religion and Hausa-Fulani rule in large parts of northern Nigeria in the early 19th century did not penetrate the plateau area and most of the central region. However, following British colonial conquest, they were to become part of Northern Nigeria, where the British practised indirect rule using the Islamic emirs as proxy rulers. Hausa-Fulani political domination continued after Nigeria's independence in 1960, with long-bottled resentment erupting periodically into violence, such as the Tiv riots in the 1960s, periodic communal clashes in the Tafawa Balewa area of Bauchi State since the 1940s, and a crisis between the Hausa and Kataf communities in Kaduna State in 1992. But because Ahmadu Bello, the leading Hausa-Fulani political figure of the 1950s and 1960s, watered down the application of Sharia, keeping it out of criminal matters and restricting it to personal matters, he was successful in dispelling the fears of ethnic minorities in the region, giving credibility to the political notion of a united northern Nigeria. Things fall apart with introduction of strict Sharia Things have been unravelling rapidly with the return of strict Sharia in several northern states, which has awakened previously dormant fears of domination among non-Muslim ethnic minorities. Therefore, when President Olusegun Obasanjo's government some months ago appointed a Hausa-Fulani Muslim to head a poverty alleviation programme for the Plateau State capital, it raised the hackles of the indigenes. Thus began the build-up of the tension that exploded in violence a few weeks later, ignited by a quarrel outside a mosque between Muslims at prayer and a Christian woman. And as Jos burned, the ripples were felt in far-flung parts of Africa's most populous country. In the mainly Muslim city of Kano to the north, militant youths burned a major church in reprisal for the attacks on Muslims in Jos. In the predominantly Christian city of Onitsha in the southeast, Hausa-speaking Muslims were killed in reprisal for attacks on southerners. The disturbances also coincided with the attack launched on major landmarks in New York and Washington by suspected Islamic extremists. In Nigeria there were signs that religious sympathies coloured some of the responses to the tragic events. Newspaper reports said some youths in the northern state of Zamfara, the first to introduce strict Sharia law, rejoiced at the sad fate that befell the United States. A Lagos university teacher, Nna Odo, expressed his strong pro-Christian, anti-Muslim bias, when he told 'Vanguard', a Lagos daily, that the United States should invade Arab countries in retaliation. Some analysts feel that such reactions contain a warning for Nigeria's authorities even if the mainstream reaction has been sympathy with the US people, irrespective of religious beliefs. "If the developments related to the U.S. attacks in the international arena are allowed to fall along the Christian-Muslim divide, it is not unlikely that Nigeria could easily become one of the major flashpoints of worldwide religious conflict that might emerge," political analyst Johnson Okonjo told IRIN. The government does not appear unmindful of the risks either. Since the Jos riots, it has made efforts to get the Nigerian Inter-religious Council, which comprises Christian and Muslim leaders and has been largely dormant since it was set up by Obasanjo in the first year of his term, to work seriously towards dousing religious tension. Security agencies on the look-out for agitators Security agencies, following a new government directive in the aftermath of the U.S. terror attacks, are also now watching out for international infiltrators who might want to take advantage of increasing hostility between Muslims and Christians in the country to foment more sectarian trouble. A report in the 'Punch' daily said the move was informed by the fact that Mohammed Suleiman al-Nalfi, who was wanted in connection with the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Centre in New York, was arrested last year at Lagos airport and handed over to US law enforcement agents. Several Afghans and Pakistanis had also been arrested in recent months in Nigeria and deported because, according to the authorities, they could not give satisfactory explanations of their mission in the country. Haz Iwendi, spokesman of the Nigeria Police confirmed the new security directive last week. "We have beefed up security around the various embassies," he said. "We are also working on theories that terrorists may have links in Nigeria. We are working with Interpol ... All our men are on full alert."

This Day (Lagos) 4 Sept 2001 Why We Fought Civil War - Gowon Ademola Adeyemo Ibadan. Former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, breaking his silence yesterday on reasons for the Nigeria civil war, said that the war broke out due to the inability of Eastern Region leaders to employ dialogue in conflict resolution. Gowon spoke in Ibadan while presenting the keynote address at a conference on the "Nigerian civil war and its aftermath" organised by the Programme on Ethnic and Federal Studies (PEFS), University of Ibadan. The former Head of State, who said yesterday was the first time he would comment formally at any public gathering on the 30-month war, also spoke on why he did not hand over power to civilians in 1975 as he promised. Speaking on the causes of the Nigerian-Biafran conflict, Gowon identified the euphoria of Nigeria's independence in 1960, and the post independence struggles for social and political space by the regional leaders as one of the contributing factors of the war. Said he: "It was the first time since the amalgamation of 1914 that our indigenous leadership was in full control of political power." Also, the former Head of state explained that before the eruption of conflict, innocent citizens were harassed by the Biafrans "along the fringes of what the leadership of the Eastern Region regarded as the territory of Biafra." "Others are the confiscation of federal revenues, from all sources in the Eastern Region. The other signs included the attempted time bombing of the National Assembly, the venue for the scheduled constitutional conference of 12th September, 1966. "The failure of the Aburi meeting and accord, which had initial hopes of success, and the outbreak of ethnic hostilities and the indiscriminate killings in the north and east, further complicated and aggravated the situation," he stated. Gowon also said that the growing inter-ethnic rivalry and suspicion between the three major ethnic groups equally contributed to the war. Said he, "There was also a growing inter-ethnic rivalry and suspicion especially between the three major ethnic groups - Hausa/Fulani, Igbo and Yoruba. This was usually expressed as fear of domination. "This domination could be political, economic, educational, social etc. The west and east feared Northern political domination because of its size both in surface area as well as population," he said. On the other hand, he said, the north feared the east and west's domination in education. "The January 1966 coup with its selective killings and the subsequent reactions, all these and other factors exacerbated the tension and distrust amongst especially the three major ethnic groups in the country that contributed in no small way to the collapse of the First Republic. Indeed the so-called "young Turks", Nzeogwu and co used this as their rational for staging the January 1966 coup," he said. Gowon, however, blamed the outbreak of the war on the non-employment of dialogue by the Eastern Region leaders in resolving their complaints. "History has shown that dialogue is the supreme therapy even in the worst circumstances of violent conflict. Those who shun dialogue often return to it with their tail between their legs," he said. On why he did not hand over to civilians in 1975, as promised, Gowon stated that he was busy reconstructing the nation's economy "because as at that time, the economy was in a bad state, and I believe no democracy can survive in a hostile economy situation," he said. Gowon became Head of State after the July 1966 coup. During his administration, Nigeria fought a 30-month civil war. After the Biafran opposition collapsed in 1970, Gowon declared there was 'no victor, no vanquished.' He quickly implemented a policy of reconstruction, rehabilitation and reconciliation. Having reneged on his promise to handover to an elected civilian government in 1975, his administration was sacked the same year. Gowon went back to school in England after his removal but was dismissed from the army for having a hand in the coup that led to the assassination of his successor, Gen. Murtala Mohammed on February 13, 1976. He was pardoned by the Shehu Shagari administration and his rank restored.

Tempo (Lagos) OPINION 20 Sept 2001 Obasanjo's Obsession With Biafra Gbenga Aroyehun. Professor Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe once described President Obasanjo's many pronouncements on Biafra war as obsessive. For some time, Ndigbo issues have dominated political discourse, a situation created by Ohanaeze Ndigbo's statements and activities. We all have our obsession, it is part of human nature , therefore both Ohanaeze and other commentators including our learned Professor suffer from the same 'sickness.' One thing we cannot take from President Obasanjo is his frank sometime brutal, some time tactless, but truthful comments on national issues. The other time, he referred to Lagos as jungle city and most people took umbrase for it. But we all know that that description of Lagos is apt, in fact it is flattery, if there is something worst than that, it should have been used. The Biafra war will continue to loom large in the consciousness of Mr. President because the war made him what he is today. He is a soldier, a writer, a politician, a statesman and an international figure, all because of the Biafra war. He distinguished himself in that war, when he headed the 3rd Marine Commando, he had the singular honour of receiving the instrument of surrender from General Effiong. His account of that war in his 'My Command' has made him a writer. He became the Head of State and now Mr. President, both, he owes to the war and his unflinching belief in the unity of Nigeria. Other former Heads of State and war veterans may not be inclined to comment on Biafra for some reason but may share the sentiments of Mr. President. It may be personal style. Therefore, there is no issue in being obsessed with certain issue but it becomes one if Mr. President's comments are laced with falsification of true event or invention tinged with malice; it is doubtful if Professor Ekwe can accuse President Obasanjo of deliberate falsification of history. What are the grievances of the learned Professor against a soldier- politician? It is quite in order if Mr. President described the civil war as one fought for resource control. The President has only broadened our understanding of resource control especially in Nigerian parlance. I cannot see why Professor Ekwe should make it an issue because I am in agreement with Mr. President. Biafra sought to control their own affairs therefore resource control goes beyond oil, it involves controlling one's own institutions, directing one's affairs and managing one's human and material endowments. I would like to ask why Igbo declared secession? Therefore, the war was declared, waged, lost and won over resource control. There are two levels of interpreting Mr. President's comment on Biafra as a war of resource control vindicates his position in two ways. The first is that Biafra sought to control its affairs, this is true, a plain fact as borne by history of circumstances leading to the war and its aftermath. The second is resource control in terms of the oil in the minorities' land. By declaring Biafra Republic, by fiat the Igbo took over the oil fields and oil installations in non-Igbo areas of Rivers. The unfortunate thing is that those who have the oil did not declare secession but their Igbo neighbours, who wanted to control and manage those resources on behalf of Easterners or Biafrans. After all, Ojukwu collected oil royalty from Shell and other oil companies operating in his short-lived Biafra. But our Professor went on to say that the war did not end with the capture of oil fields and installations and the federal troops embarked on deliberate ethnic cleansing by pushing the war into the heartland of Igbo. This to him, shows that the war was to exterminate the Igbo race and not for resource control. It is obvious from reading available materials on the war, that Biafra even after the capture of their economic backbone, did not sue for truce or showed any sign of discontinuing the war. Biafra only gave up when it had no means to continue the war. If the rebels had surrendered with the fall of Rivers State, perhaps, the nation would have been saved the agony of prolonged war. The question put to Mr. President, should have been put to the leadership of Biafra. However, to forestall possible repeat of 'bloodbath,'Professor Ekwe has recommended those responsible for the war or bloodbath or both to account. I quite agree with him on that score but the snag is, who are to account? Those who started the war or those who responded to the aggression. Ndigbo declared secession and war on Nigeria and till date the Igbos have not brought those responsible to account for their action. It would be interesting if Igbo tries their leaders for forcing them into ill-prepared, unnecessary and costly misadventure that was Biafra. Professor Ekwe condemned other constituent nations and nationalities of the federation for their 'scant opposition to wanton destruction of Igbo lives 30 years ago." This is rather unfortunate coming from a man who claims to be an authority on Biafra. The opposition from other nationalities was more than that. Papa Awo led a delegation to Ojukwu to warn him to desist from secession and the former Governor of Mid-Western region was part of it. Soyinka was very vocal in his condemnation of war and the Federal Government, he was incarcerated for his anti-war activities. Late Tai Solarin mobilized support for war refugees and so on. It is not only on record that the learned professor opposed Biafra. I am not aware of Igbo intellectuals or politicians who opposed the war and publicly declared so. With due respect, Igbo intellectuals were too carried away by possible prospects in the nascent republic. I would like to be educated on who the anti-war activists (of Igbo Origin) in Biafra are. Late Ken-Saro Wiwa in his 'On a Darkling Plain' narrates how University of Nsukka became the hotbed of secession. He had to leave when Nsukka campus and town became unsafe for him because of his anti-Biafra war pronouncement. Even the nascent Biafra could not accommodate non-Igbo soldiers who gave them initial successes. Victor Banjo and co were labelled saboteurs and killed. The researcher on Biafra cannot claim ignorance of these facts. Professor Ekwe tried to explain our backwardness due to the failure of Biafran misadventure. According to him, we are backward in all areas of human development in Nigeria and by extension Africa, because we did not allow Biafra to secede. In public office, Igbo have not fared better than their counterparts. They have contributed their quota to the sorry present that is Nigeria. All the shout of marginalisation is bunkum because every part of the country is so marginalised when you look at human development. In addition, there is no position of authority in social, economic and political sphere that has not been occupied by an Igbo. There are minorities who have not occupied any significant political office in Nigeria. This is a fact of history. Igbo was the first Governor-General and first President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria - Late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe. The first military Head of State was late Gen. Aguiyi Ironsi, an Igbo. The first army chief of staff was Igbo. The first Vice-President was Dr. Alex Ekwueme, an Igbo. Not to mention many positions of authority they now hold in the present democracy. Can we say the same of many minorities in the country? Enough of this shouting match in the village square. If we delve into history of the defunct Eastern region, the minorities there did not have a fair deal from the Igbo, who marginalised them. It was so brazen that it aroused their resentment. If they had been fair to them, perhaps their Biafra might not have been short-lived. Curiously, Professor Ekwe reversed his reason for Mr. President's obsession and substituted it with 2003 election. However, he conceded that Mr. President has not signified his intention to run. Although he is convinced that President Obasanjo is whipping up anti-Igbo sentiment for that purpose. I cannot say much on that. But Ohanaeze lacks political fact, talks too much and is insensitive to the political atmosphere of the time. Here is a president who has just spent half his term and a socio-cultural group challenged, him, vowed to unseat him. Do you expect him to fold his arms? He is not so politically naive as people take him. If Ohanaeze wants to play marginalisation politics, he is ready, if it wants to whip up war sentiments, he is a veteran of same war. However, he does not need anti-Igbo sentiment to win the presidential project because such is a misnormer. We do not want an Igbo president, we want a Nigerian president coming from one of the many nationalities that make up the country. An Igbo president invokes a president that will rule solely in favour of Ndigbo. In any case, what can such a person do? He cannot control the juggernaut that is bureaucratic, neither can he populate the National Assembly with Ndigbo alone. It is as if Ohanaeze is bent on forcing an Igbo on the nation as president. This feeling should not be allowed to sink into our consciousness because it can be counter-productive. Someone should please tell Ohanaeze that no section, no ethnic group, can win a presidential election without active and massive support of other nationalities. To think it can ride on marginalisation to presidency is simplistic. They should drop the toga of Igbo president, it will alienate most Nigerians. Ohanaeze should heed the wise counsel of Dr. Maduekwe. Yet the obsession of Igbo on Biafra should begin to wane. They are too sensitive to it. All the writers that lambasted Mr. President are Igbo as mentioned by Professor Ekwe in his article. You cannot accuse the President of the crime you are also guilty of.


IRIN 29 Sept 2001 The chairman of National Unity and Reconciliation Commission, Jean Nayinzira, said on Thursday his work was being hampered by people lying to the body and by misperceptions about the situation in the country, the Rwanda News Agency reported. However, he told reporters that the commission was now evaluating the results of its work over the past two so it can better chart a course for national reconciliation. To do this, he said, assemblies will begin deliberations on 20 October in all the country's 11 prefectures. The results will form the basis for the drafting of a new programme to promote national reconciliation and unity. "All Rwandans must take part in providing ideas that will promote the process," Nayinzira said. The commission was provided for under the 1993 Arusha peace accord to reconcile Rwanda's fractious politicians. However, the commission's task broadened to reconcile the badly divided society following the 1994 genocide in which at least 800,000 Tutsi and politically moderate Hutus were killed by government soldiers and their allies. Nayinzira said that survivors of the genocide can now sit and share with those who killed their relatives. He said many have shared land.

IRIN 25 Sept 2001 Government to Set Up 11,000 Traditional Courts Rwanda is to set up 11,000 traditional courts, known as Gacaca, to ease pressure on an overburdened prison system now holding 115,000 inmates awaiting trial for the 1994 genocide, the state-owned Rwandan News Agency reported on Monday, quoting the advisor to the Supreme Court, Augustin Nkusi. "By the end of this year, the files for all genocide suspects in prison will be ready so that they can be taken to their respective sectors for justice," he said. The trials, expected to last three years, are being brought before the Gacaca Courts because the modern judicial system is unable to handle the workload. Nkusi, who is the secretary-general of the Gacaca Court system, said trials would be nationwide and save the country scare resources that could be channeled into development projects. Government spends at least US $1 million on the prison system each year, he added, equal to the budget for the national University of Butare. Rwanda had 785 judges before the 1994 genocide in which some 800,000 Tutsi and politically moderate Hutus were killed, he said. Less than 20 judges and 70 lawyers survived he said.

IRIN 20 Sept 2001 Heated Debate of Media Bill Soon The Rwandan Transitional National Assembly this week began debate on the draft law regulating the practice of journalism, which currently includes three controversial articles that would impose long-term jail sentences and even death for those found guilty of inciting genocide. However, the president of the Rwandan Association of Journalists President, James Vuningoma, said while journalists and politicians generally agreed that anti-genocide legislation pertaining to use of the media was necessary, it should not be a part of a body of law pertaining specifically to journalists. "There is no country in the world that has experienced genocide that has not instituted such laws," he told IRIN on Thursday, "but a consensus has been reached among those in our profession that such legislation should be incorporated in a body of genocide law, and not in a law pertaining solely to journalists." He added that Rwanda did not have laws pertaining to genocide occurring after December 1994, leaving "a vacuum as to where to put such laws," and fueling a sense of urgency among legislators to get at least something on the books. However, Vuningoma said, journalism was being unfairly singled out and such legislation should be "put in a separate body of legislation pertaining to genocide where it will be clearly applicable to all". The three articles in question are Article 88, which provides for a sentence of 20 years to life for anyone found guilty of intending to use the media to incite people to violence; Article 89, which provides for a sentence of death for anyone found guilty of using the media to incite genocide; and Article 90, which would prohibit return to Rwanda for anyone found guilty of using the media to incite genocide from outside Rwanda. However, Vuningoma said, Article 90 would not be permissible under international law since it would effectively render an individual stateless. Between April and June 1994, an estimated 800,000 Tutsis and politically moderate Hutus were killed by extremist Hutu elements of the public and government, including the Hutu militias (Interahamwe) and the armed forces (ex-FAR).


AFP 3 Sept 2001 Residents in southern Somalia flee homes in fear of violence MOGADISHU, Sept 3 (AFP) - Dozens of families were Monday fleeing Somalia's southern Middle Juba region in fear of renewed interclan fighting following the deployment of rival militia forces, residents said. "We are afraid of fresh clashes that would pit militia forces loyal to Somali warlord General Mohamed Said Hirsi "Morgan" and those of Juba Valley Alliance (JVA) headed by General Ahmed Warsame in Middle Juba's Jilib and Buale towns," Jilib resident Ahmed Abdi Hassanown told AFP by telephone. Hassanown said that Morgan deployed more fighters in the area at the weekend, but JVA forces were waiting to crash his offensive. "The situation is compelling the poor civilians to take their scanty valuables and run. It is a matter of saving lives from the savage war," Hassanow said. The JVA and Morgan have clashed in the nearby Lower Juba since July 27, leaving some 200 people dead and displaced hundreds of families, militia and medical sources said. "Already dozens of families left and more others who can afford to get food during the voyage would go to Mogadishu and the port town of Merka," said another Jilib resident, Asha Ibrahim. People in the area complain of landmines planted by warring sides, which have injured civilians, animals and damaged vehicles. Morgan is a member of the Somali Reconciliation and Restoration Council (SRRC), which is opposed to Somalia's transitional government set up last year. JVA is allied with the transitional government, which the SRRC has vowed to topple.

AFP 14 Sept 2001 Three killed in factional fighting in southern Somalia MOGADISHU, Sept 14 (AFP) - At least three people were killed and eight wounded when factional fighting erupted in the southern Somali town of Qoryoley on Friday, residents contacted by field radio said. The fighting was between militiamen of the Digil clan and those allied to the Islamic courts that control much of the Lower Shabelle region. Digil fighters briefly took control of Qoryoley, but their rivals later recaptured the town. Four of the wounded were taken to hospital in the coastal town of Merka, 100 kilometres (60 miles) south of Mogadishu, medical sources said.

AP 6 Sept 2001 Somali war crimes to be probed Nairobi - A UN-appointed human rights expert on Thursday said he will urge the Security Council to set up a committee to investigate war crimes in Somalia - including the action of UN troops deployed in the country between 1992 and 1995. Ghanim Alnajar, who was appointed human rights expert for Somalia by UNSecretary-General Kofi Annan in June, said he would write to the Security Council and Annan immediately to recommend the setting up of the panel of experts. "This is the first step (in which) the international community will have a say about something of the grievances that went on in Somalia," Alnajar said after 10-day trip throughout Somalia. "I have in my mind all atrocities that have been committed in Somalia, including the alleged practices of the United Nations during their presence in Somalia. I don't discount that," he said. Before President Abdiqasim Salad Hassan and 245 legislators were chosen a year ago at a peace conference in neighbouring Djibouti, Somalia had been without a central government for a decade. The Horn of Africa nation descended into chaos after opposition leaders who ousted dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991 turned on each other. Clan-based factional fighting reduced the country of 7 million into battling fiefdoms ruled by heavily armed militias. From late 1992 to early 1995, a US-led United Nations' mission - which numbered more than 30 000 troops at its peak - was deployed in Somalia to protect convoys of relief food for victims of a famine. But the mission descended into disaster when 18 American soldiers were killed in a botched attempt to capture key aides of the late faction leader Mohamed Farah Aidid in October 1993. Hundreds of Somalis, including women and children, also died in the operation in Mogadishu, the Somali capital. Towards the end of Siad Barre's rule from 1969 to 1991, civil conflict broke out in Somalia. In the late 1980s, an estimated 40 000 civilians were killed when government forces bombed Hargeisa, the capital of the northern region of Somaliland. Alnajar, a Kuwaiti, said Somalis were demanding an investigation into past atrocities and said it could help promote reconciliation in the fractured nation. "The most important point is that this will depoliticise the issue. It will not be north against north or clan against clan, but there are certain individuals responsible for committing war crimes and genocide in Somalia, and this has to be addressed," he said. Nevertheless, it is difficult to conceive how such a panel could work in Somalia at this time. Abdiqasim's government has little influence outside Mogadishu, and much of the country remains divided among factions opposed to his three-year transitional administration. And many senior figures in the administration, including Abdiqasim himself, were members of Siad Barre's government. Alnajar, who is the first UN-appointed human rights expert to visit Mogadishu since 1993 because of the insecurity there, said he talked to all leaders in the country, including many of the factions leaders, and said they supported such a war crimes investigation. But even if the Security Council does accept his recommendations, it will take a long time to set up the committee, Alnajar said. "I'm not sure the Security Council will accept this recommendation, this has a lot to do with the political climate of the Security Council and the balance of power," he said. "I'm not recommending any model, this issue has to be addressed in a proper manner with a panel of experts." - Sapa-AP

South Africa

Argus (Cape Town) 28 Sept 2001 Fake 'Protocols' Aims to Stir Hatred for Jews Trevor Oosterwyk, Cape Town An Islamic scholar and academic at the University of Cape Town says the justice of the Palestinian cause is ill-served by quotations from Nazi ideology against the Jews. Abdulkader Tayob, lecturer in Islamic Studies at the University of Cape Town, described the tendency by some Muslims to do this as "desperate, shortsighted and immoral". "We must condemn the tendency within a sector of the Muslim community to celebrate Hitler. "A recent rally in Cape Town upheld a poster declaring 'Viva Hitler' which cannot be acceptable under any circumstances. The holocaust against Jews in Nazi Germany was not in principle only directed at Jews. "Unfortunately, many Jews have popularised this notion, and ignore the white supremacist motivation of Nazi ideologyŠ "The tendency to elevate Nazis and to quote from their research against Jewish people, is the most desperate, shortsighted, and immoral strategy to speak for the justice of Palestine and Palestinians." While Tayob was not specifically referring to the document known as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, his condemnation certainly extends to using this document to back up an argument on the current crisis in the Middle East. This is what Sheikh Faaik Gamieldien did in a recent letter to the Cape Argus when he quoted from the Protocols to accentuate his point about the conflict in the Middle East. It is claimed in certain areas that the Protocols was drawn up at an international conference on Judaism in 1897. The document purports to document an international Jewish conspiracy to achieve Jewish world domination, and to impose a new world order by seizing power of the Western world's social, political and economic institutions. The document has over time become the pretext under which some of the most vicious anti-Jewish acts have been committed. The first time the Protocols was used to "prove" the Jewish conspiracy theory was in Russia in 1903 when a Russian, Sergei Nilus, presented the document to the czar as a way of providing the political context to explain the political turmoil in his country. The czar, however, declared it an outrageous fabrication, ordered that all copies be destroyed and banished Nilus. In the same year the document was serialised in a Russian newspaper but it attracted no interest at all. During 1905 it was published again and this time it attracted wide interest. Hitler apparently used it extensively in his writing of Mein Kampf and it thus formed an important part of the Nazi's justification of genocide of the Jews in World War 2. The document gained credence in England when in 1921 the Communist daily the Morning Star published it. It was published in the London Times that same year, but the Times later admitted that the newspaper had committed a grave error in publishing it. Motor manufacturer Henry Ford sponsored the Protocols reproduction in a book but in 1927 an American judge ordered him to destroy a large printing of the book. So what is it - fact or fiction? The earliest copies were apparently written in French. It is generally believed that a copy of the Protocols was in circulation as early as 1884, a full 13 years before the Basle congress. The most damning evidence against the document being authentic is that modern scholars have proved that the Protocols was based in part on a satirical attack on the French Emperor Napoleon III by Maurice Joly, written and printed in Geneva in 1864. The pamphlet was titled Dialogues from Hell between Machiavelli and Montesquieu. In 1868 the German Hermann Goedsche, writing under the pseudonym Sir John Radcliffe, adapted Joly's pamphlet and turned it into a mythical tale of a Jewish conspiracy as part of a series of novels entitled Biarritz. In it he writes of a secret centennial rabbinical conference which meets at midnight and whose purpose is to review the past 100 years and to plan the next century. These two documents - the pamphlet and the novel - were later reworked into a document titled the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which was taken to Russia in 1895 and printed privately in 1897. Throughout its history it has been used in the cause of anti-semitism and forms an integral part of a long history of the demonisation of Judaism and Jews. On November 28, 1993 the Los Angeles Times wrote: "In what observers called a historic ruling, a Russian court has pronounced the infamous Protocols of the Elders of Zion an anti-semitic forgery - the first such verdict in the land where the fraud originated 90 years ago." In a letter to the Cape Argus earlier this month, Sheikh Gamieldien discussed the Arab-Jewish conflict, using the Protocols as proof that what was happening in the Middle East was essentially a continuation of the "plans" contained in the Protocols. Milton Shain, a lecturer at UCT and a author of a book on anti-semitism, responded and said: "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is one of the most notorious racist tracts of modern times, specifically compiled to inspire hatred towards Jewish people. "No one should underestimate the dangers of such lies. Just as the Protocols was exploited by Hitler and the Soviet Union, so it is now being exploited by those seeking to delegitimise Israel." Sheikh Gamieldien does not agree that everyone regards the Protocols as a forgery. As proof he refers to two newspaper articles published during the 1920s. The first is from the Dearborn Independent, July 10, 1920: "Whosoever was the mind that conceived them possessed a knowledge of human nature, of history, and of statecraft which is dazzling in its brilliant completeness, and terrible in the objects to which it turns its powers. "It is terribly real for fiction, too well sustained for speculation, too deep in its knowledge of the secret springs of life for forgery." The other, The Times, London, May 8, 1920: "Whence comes this uncanny note of prophecy in part fulfiled, in part far gone in the way of fulfilment? "Have we been struggling these tragic years to Š extirpate the secret organisation of German world domination only to find beneath it, another, more dangerous because more secret? "Have we Š escaped a Pax Germanica to fall into Pax Judaeica?" Tayob's warning thus assumes importance and whatever view one takes on the Arab-Jewish conflict in Palestine, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion does not take the debate forward.

IRIN 11 Sept 2001 Anti-Racism Declaration Finally Adopted UN Integrated Regional Information Network September 11, 2001 Posted to the web September 10, 2001 The World Conference Against Racism ended in Durban this weekend with delegates finally adopting a declaration and action plan to combat racism and xenophobia. The conference had to be extended until Saturday as disagreements over two of the most contentious issues, the Middle East and slavery, kept delegates in Durban a day longer than scheduled. Canada, Australia, Syria and Iran were among those countries which were unhappy over the final text relating to the Middle East conflict. http://www.unhchr.ch/html/racism/

NYT 4 Sept 2001 U.S. and Israel Quit Racism Talks Over Denunciation By RACHEL L. SWARNS The United States and Israel withdrew after lamenting that a meeting intended to celebrate tolerance and diversity had degenerated into a gathering riven by hate. DURBAN, South Africa, Sept. 3 The United States and Israel walked out of the United Nations meeting on racism here tonight, denouncing a condemnation of Israel in a proposed conference declaration and lamenting that a meeting intended to celebrate tolerance and diversity had degenerated into a gathering riven by hate. South Africa rushed tonight to convene emergency meetings to redraft the declaration and program of action in the hope of averting other walkouts, and a spokesman for the European Union delegation, which also raised concerns, said its diplomats would take part in the efforts to rewrite the draft documents. In announcing his decision in Washington, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said, "I have taken this decision with regret because of the importance of the international fight against racism and the contribution that the conference could have made to it." "But following discussions today by our team in Durban and others who are working for a successful conference, I am convinced that will not be possible," he said. Secretary Powell said negotiators here had failed to persuade Arab delegates to remove criticism of Israel from proposed conference documents that assail "the racist practices of Zionism" and describe Israel's treatment of Palestinians as a "new kind of apartheid." Questions about whether Israel should be condemned for its treatment of Palestinians and whether the West should pay reparations for slavery and colonialism have roiled conference preparations for months. Washington has said repeatedly that it would not consider language that criticized Israel or legitimized reparations for descendants of slaves. The fact that the United States did not send Secretary Powell to the conference, which opened on Friday, was a sore point with many of the countries represented here. The United States and Israel both sent mid-level delegations. The decision to withdraw even those delegations dashed the hopes of thousands who have brought their fight against intolerance to a country chosen by conference organizers for its remarkable story of racial reconciliation. Olivier Alsteens, spokesman for the European Union delegation, said it had no immediate plans to withdraw, "But if at one moment, we feel there is no other opportunity, then we will leave all together." The American and Israeli pullout was warmly applauded by Jewish groups but greeted with great regret by South Africa and other developing countries and with anger by black Americans and their supporters. It seemed likely only to heighten the frustration and divisions between the increasingly polarized groups. Tonight, black Americans and their allies took to the streets here, chanting "Shame, shame U.S.A." The protesters said they were deeply disappointed that the United States could not find a way to compromise and sign an international declaration that is expected to condemn slavery and racial discrimination. The Rev. Jesse Jackson, who has been urging the Arab League to back away from the charged language, and members of the Black Congressional Caucus also criticized the Bush administration's decision. Representative Donna M. C. Christensen, a Democrat who is the delegate to Congress from the Virgin Islands, said, "It leaves African- Americans with no recognition of all the suffering we have had and all of the suffering we continue to have." Representative Tom Lantos, Democrat of California and a delegation member, said he was sorry that the United States was pulling out. But he said the team, headed by E. Michael Southwick, a deputy assistant secretary of state, had no choice because the Palestinians and their supporters refused to compromise. The American and Israeli decision came after officials from the United States and Norway had huddled for hours in closed-door meetings with Palestinian and other Arab officials, trying to broker a deal. Norwegian diplomats proposed new language that mentioned the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, but was fair to both sides, according to American officials. But the effort failed, and some meetings were so heated that participants ended up shouting. "It was an ugly meeting," Mr. Lantos said in an interview. "This was not a question of persuading people. This was a question of an iron wall we were up against, and there was no give." Arab officials blamed the Bush administration for the failure of the talks. Farouk Kaddoumi, a senior member of the Palestine Liberation Organization, accused the United States of using the dispute as a pretext to avoid serious discussion of slavery and reparations for the descendants of African slaves. The Egyptian foreign minister, Ahmed Maher, said the Norwegian compromise document trivialized Palestinian suffering. "The only mention of Israel is that the Palestinians and Israelis should go back to the peace process," Mr. Maher said in an interview. "That is not enough. "We are talking about a war waged using the most sophisticated weapons on a civilian population," Mr. Maher said. "This is a government that has taken an official decision to assassinate people. You want this conference, which deals with discrimination, not to mention these things? That is precisely what must be raised." Polarization has also been evident in the interactions of delegates from civic groups meeting here in the hope of influencing the final declaration on racism, which is to be completed on Friday. Last week, some Arab groups here distributed offensive literature that included posters of Jews with big noses and bloody fangs. Members of Palestinian and Jewish groups shouted at each other during competing rallies. And on Saturday, about 25 Jews walked out of a meeting of civic groups when someone suggested removing references to anti-Semitism. After the Jewish groups walked out, the coalition of civic groups approved a report that accused Israel of "racist crimes against humanity, including ethnic cleansing and acts of genocide" in its treatment of Palestinians. The report is not binding, and it is unlikely the language would be adopted. "The U.S. did not reject a discussion about racism, they rejected a conference that was tainted by racism," said Stacy Burdett, an assistant director at the Anti-Defamation League, who is attending the conference. "This wasn't a discussion about legitimate issues. It was a hijacking that vilified and demonized Jews." Mordechai Yedid, the head of the Israeli delegation, said in an interview, "Our position has always been to agree to generic language, to the suffering of people, to war, to occupations." "This time because the conference was so important to us and to our history as a people who suffered from anti-Semitism and the Holocaust, we have gone beyond, to specific language," he said. Several human rights groups argued tonight that the United States should have stayed to improve the language about Israel and to show solidarity with the many suffering people in the world. "We're very troubled by the whole Zionism as racism formulation as well, but we think our responsibility is to stay and have the conversation," said Karen K. Narasaki, president of the National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium. "You certainly don't build your moral standing in the world by running away." And the South African government warned that by leaving, the United States might give the impression that it was ducking tough issues, like race relations within its own borders. "It will be unfortunate if a perception were to develop that the U.S.A.'s withdrawal from the conference is merely a red herring demonstrating an unwillingness to confront the real issues posed by racism in the U.S.A. and globally," the South African government said in a statement.

Boston Globe 3 Sept 2001 OPINION : Durban, racism, and Islamism By Jeff Jacoby, SECRETARY OF STATE Colin Powell shunned the UN World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance in Durban, South Africa, for fear of lending unwarranted dignity to an ugly anti-Israel, anti-Jewish slanderfest. Just how ugly became clear yesterday, when delegates to the conference's forum of non-governmental organizations voted to brand Israel a ''racist apartheid state'' guilty of ''systematic ... war crimes, acts of genocide, and ethnic cleansing'' and urged the UN to reinstate its notorious resolution equating Zionism with racism. It had been obvious from the outset that anti-Semitic Israel-bashing would be high on the Durban agenda. Delegates arriving last week were greeted by the sight of posters featuring a large Star of David and the word ''apartheid'' in big letters. A press conference called by 20 Jewish organizations was broken up when Arab rowdies began shouting and blocking the speakers. The Associated Press reported that the Arab Lawyers Group distributed ''pamphlets depicting Jews with fangs dripping blood and wearing helmets inscribed with Nazi swastikas.'' Josef Goebbels died in 1945, but his intellectual descendants are alive and well. ''There's anti-Semitism and hate literature at the world racism conference,'' Columbia University law professor and human rights scholar Anne Bayefsky told reporters last week. ''It couldn't get much worse.'' Well, serious people know better than to take the UN seriously. It is clear that Durban is not meant to focus soberly on ''racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance.'' It is clear less from the topics drawing so much attention - like Israel - as from the topic about which nothing is being said: militant Islamic fundamentalism. Of all the forms of intolerance and xenophobia abroad in the world today, none is as violent, oppressive, and widespread as radical Islamism. Islamist persecution is in the news almost daily. Consider some of the stories that were reported as the Durban conference was gearing up: Afghanistan's Islamist dictators, the Taliban, announced that six international aid workers who have been jailed on charges of preaching Christianity will be put on trial. As for the 16 Afghans arrested with them, they will face the death penalty if they are found to have converted from Islam. Iran's ''moderate'' president, Mohammed Khatami, pledged to continue providing financial support to Hezbollah, one of the world's most murderous organizations. Iranian support for Hezbollah - the Islamist terrorists who blew up the US embassy and Marine barracks in Beirut - has been estimated at $100 million a year. The humanitarian group Middle East Concern said that 10 Christians, all foreign guest workers, were arrested in Saudi Arabia after hosting a party that included a talk by an evangelist. Under Saudi law, it is illegal for non-Muslims to hold religious services - even in private. A Pakistani criminal court sentenced Dr. Younus Shaikh to death for blasphemy. His crime? Telling his students that before becoming a prophet at the age of 40, Mohammed and his family had not been practicing Muslims. It is important to emphasize: Islamism is not Islam. On the contrary, it is a perversion of Islam. The traditional religion practiced by most Muslims is tolerant and moderate, an ancient faith with a rich tradition of scholarship. Islam places great emphasis on virtue, charity, and living according to God's will; it is not at all incompatible with political democracy or religious pluralism. Islamism, by contrast, is a power-obsessed ideology. Like other 20th century ''isms'' - Communism, fascism, totalitarianism - it is radical, repressive, cruel, contemptuous of human rights, and deeply hostile to outsiders. Countries ruled by Islamists, such as Iran, Afghanistan, and Sudan, are among the most unfree places on earth. They strangle basic freedoms, oppress women, incubate terrorism, and persecute religious minorities. Islamist xenophobia and violence has many faces. In Sudan, the regime uses chattel slavery, forcible conversion, and mass murder as weapons in its ''jihad'' - holy war - against black Africans in the south. Islamist gangs in Egypt carry out deadly pogroms against Coptic Christians. This summer, Afghanistan's Taliban demolished ancient Buddhist works of art, then ordered every Hindu in the country to wear yellow identification badges. Terrorist networks like Osama bin Laden's and Islamic Jihad place a premium on killing and wounding Americans. Death sentences are pronounced against authors - like Salman Rushdie or, more recently, the American Khalid Duran - who write books the Islamists don't approve of. The litany is grim, the victims are many, and the threat is global. An international conference genuinely committed to the fight against racism, xenophobia, and intolerance would place Islamist violence and bigotry squarely in its spotlight. But Durban is not such a conference. Which is why the subject of Islamism won't even come up. A scheduling note: Beginning Sept. 9, my columns will appear on Sundays and Thursdays. Jeff Jacoby's e-mail address is jacoby@globe.com.


Internews (Arusha) 10 Sept 2001 Self-Confessed Killer and Cannibal Testifies in Trial Internews By Jane Some, Arusha A self-confessed killer and cannibal testifying for the prosecution in the "Cyangugu Trial" today told judges of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) that they made brochettes of human hearts and liver during the genocide in Cyangugu Prefecture, Rwanda. The witness -- identified only as "LAP" for his protection -- is a 32-year-old Hutu currently detained in Rwanda for genocide- related crimes. He is testifying against three former senior government officials who are jointly tried before the ICTR. The three genocide suspects are Emmanuel Bagambiki, former governor of Cyangugu Prefecture, Andre Ntagerura, former minister for transport and Samuel Imanishimwe, former commander of the Cyangugu military barracks. All three have denied the charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. They allegedly committed the crimes in Cyangugu Prefecture during the April-June 1994 genocide. The trial resumed today after adjourning on 17 June. However, it adjourned again in the morning because counsel for Bagambiki was not in court. Vincent Lurquin of Belgium, lead counsel for Bagambiki, arrived from Brussels in the morning and was in court at 3:00 pm when LAP took the stand. LAP's testimony dwells mainly on the activities of Bagambiki and Imanishimwe during the genocide. Led by Holo Makwaia of Tanzania, LAP testified on events that took place in Cyangugu on 13, 14 and 22 April 1994. He said he was part of a group that manned a roadblock at a place known as Gatandara and admitted having killed "many" people at the roadblock while armed with a gun, machete and club. "We were killing people at the roadblock. The persons in question were brought there by the authorities, the prefect and the commander of Karambo camp," LAP said in response to questions by Makwaia. Asked to name the "authorities," LAP said they included Bagambiki and Imanishimwe (commander of Karambo camp). "On 13 April 1994, Bagambiki and Imanishimwe brought 15 people to the roadblock to be killed. The 15 were mainly civilian men," LAP claimed. LAP added that Imanishimwe and Bagambiki brought 10 people on 14 April and another 10 on 22 April to the roadblock to be killed. The witness explained that the reasons given by Bagambiki and Imanishimwe as to why the people had to be killed was that they were ethnic Tutsi. "In general, it was Bagambiki who said the words," LAP clarified. LAP explained how people were killed at the roadblock: "We hacked them. We attacked them with sharp weapons because we were prohibited from using bullets uselessly." He stated that Imanishimwe forbade them from using bullets to kill. Imanishimwe and Bagambiki would wait until the killings were completed, LAP told the court. "They didn't leave until we killed all the people they brought." LAP said Imanishimwe "personally committed atrocities" whenever he went to the Gatandara roadblock. "On 14 April, he wanted to rape a woman who was among the 10 people they had brought but the woman refused. When she left the house near the roadblock, Imanishimwe followed her out and shot her once in her genitals using his pistol," LAP claimed. On the same day, LAP alleged, Imanishimwe "started a ritual of eating human flesh and gave us an example. He ate the heart and liver of one of the victims. The heart and liver were eaten after being roasted on brochettes," LAP explained. The witness said some of the bodies were transported in a vehicle belonging to the prefecture while some were buried near the roadblock. Makwaia later showed the witness two pictures of Cyangugu. LAP identified one of the pictures as being that of the Gatandara roadblock and the other one as Kamarampaka Stadium, another massacre site in Cyangugu. LAP confirmed that he was among the attackers during massacres at Kamarampaka Stadium. LAP will continue to testify tomorrow. The trial is held before Trial Chamber III of the ICTR, comprising Judges Lloyd George Williams of St Kitts and Nevis (presiding), Yakov Ostrovsky of Russia and Pavel Dolenc of Slovenia.

Reuters 18 Sept 2001 Rwanda pastor genocide trial starts By Mary Kimani ARUSHA, Tanzania. A Rwandan pastor, extradited from the U.S. last year, went on trial with his son at a U.N. tribunal on Tuesday facing charges of involvement in their country's 1994 genocide. Seventh Day Adventist Pastor Elizaphan Ntakirutimana is the first church leader to come to trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and is represented by former U.S. Attorney-General Ramsey Clark. He and his son Gerard, a medical doctor, have pleaded not guilty to charges of genocide and crimes against humanity alleged to have been carried out in 1994 when Hutu extremists massacred 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus. Father and son, dressed in sombre suits and subdued ties, sat impassively as the prosecution set out its case, launching a scathing attack on the 77-year-old church leader. British prosecutor Charles Adeogun Phillips said the pastor encouraged a large group of Tutsi men, women and children to seek refuge in a church and hospital in the Kibuye region of western Rwanda and then called Hutus to come and kill them. "Dressed in his customary suit and tie, Pastor Ntakirutimana watched as people were shot and beaten to death, encouraging the killers to ensure no one survived," Phillips said. "TOMORROW WE WILL BE KILLED WITH OUR FAMILIES" The prosecutor read from a letter allegedly sent to Ntakirutimana by seven Adventist pastors who were subsequently killed, an incident featured heavily in U.S. writer Philip Gourevitch's book on the genocide. "We wish to inform you that we have heard that tomorrow we will be killed with our families," Phillips said, quoting a line of the letter which Gourevitch's uses as the title of his book. "We therefore request you to intervene on our behalf and talk to the mayor," Phillips read from the letter. Ntakirutimana's response was contained "in a brief, heartless letter," Phillips said. "It stated 'there's nothing I can do for you. All you can do is to prepare to die, for your time has come."' Prosecutors said both men should also face war crimes charges, and accused them of actively participating in the massacres in Kibuye and elsewhere, and later hunting down and killing Tutsi survivors. Many Tutsis took refuge in churches during the genocide, only to find their place of refuge became a massacre site. "Anyone who visited churches in Rwanda...and saw the corpses of men, women and children, twisted in pain and lying in the hundreds beside the altar of the churches in Rwanda will never forget," Phillips said. Human rights groups say some church leaders from various denominations played a leading role in the genocide, using their authority to encourage the massacres and join in the killing. An Anglican bishop is also awaiting trial at the ICTR on genocide charges after being arrested in Kenya this year. Four Rwandans, including two Catholic nuns, were sentenced to between 12 and 20 years in prison by a Belgian court in June for helping Hutu extremists kill more than 5,000 Tutsis. Ntakirutimana fled to Texas after the genocide, but was arrested by U.S. authorities in 1996. After losing several appeals against his extradition, he was finally transferred to the ICTR in the Tanzanian town of Arusha on March 24 last year.


IRIN 5 Sept 2001 Six Killed in Rebel Attack On NGO Vehicle Six people were killed and two seriously injured on Saturday when a group of suspected Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels ambushed an aid vehicle in northern Uganda. Gunmen attacked a Catholic Relief Services (CRS) vehicle five kilometres from the Sudanese border on the Bibia-Adjumani road, killing one Sudanese CRS employee and five fellow nationals, Ugandan army spokesman Lt-Col Phineas Katirima said on Monday. CRS Uganda Country Director Paul Townsend told IRIN that the vehicle was traveling to Adjumani to pick up a CRS staff member at 8.30 am on Saturday when it was attacked by a group of armed men. The attackers then burned the vehicle and fled, he said. Townsend confirmed that five people had died in the attack, and said six others were taken to hospital in Gulu town, where one victim subsequently died of his injuries. Katirima said he strongly suspected that the attackers were from the LRA. "They always target helpless people and never attack army units. It is consistent with their character," he said. Although the UPDF was deploying forces to guard against rebel attacks in the north, it did not have the resources to "defend every inch of ground", he added. The LRA, led by self-styled mystic Joseph Kony, has been fighting a guerilla-style war against Ugandan government forces - and the people of northern Uganda - in the north of the country since the late 1980s. The militia frequently attacks the government's "protected villages" for internally displaced people (IDPs), looting goods and abducting people to serve as fighters. Humanitarian sources told IRIN that the LRA usually did not bother to steal vehicles as they would be unable to travel past Uganda People's Defence Forces (Ugandan army) security checks on the road. The rebels tended to attack vehicles, loot them and abduct or kill the passengers, before fleeing into the bush, sources said. Saturday's ambush was the second serious attack in northern Uganda which has attributed to the LRA in under a week. On 27 August, gunmen attacked a bus on the Gulu to Atiak road, killing five people and injuring 12 others. Jesuit Refugee Services (JRS), a Catholic NGO, stated in a situation report on Friday that the attack was the first serious incident of suspected LRA activity in several months. "Most of us have been lulled into a sense of calm assuming the situation in the north has been coming under control," said JRS director Brother Mike Foley. Recent reconciliation efforts between the governments of Sudan and Uganda, following from the Nairobi peace agreement signed in 1999, have removed much of Kony's support in Sudan and weakened the LRA. Sudanese President Hasan al-Bashir said last month that Khartoum had provided the LRA with ammunition and logistical assistance in the past, but that the rebel group was now outside government-controlled territory and outside its influence in the south of the country. Sudanese Foreign Minister Mustafa Uthman Isma'il said on 27 August - following reported clashes between the Sudanese army and the LRA, which was seeking to recapture escaped abductees - that Sudanese government forces would challenge any LRA military operations on Sudanese territory. "Sudan will not tolerate any casualties in the ranks of the Sudanese army or among the civilian population," he added. LRA units have also carried out a number of attacks on villages in Eastern Equatoria State, south Sudan, according to media reports. The 'Khartoum Monitor' reported on Sunday that LRA members had overrun communities in Imatong Province because they were in desperate need of food and clothing. Some analysts have suggested that the withdrawal of support by the rebels' traditional sponsor, Sudan, was forcing the rebels to increase their raiding and looting in order to secure arms, food and other resources. Katirima told IRIN that the LRA ambushes were "futile" and that the rebels would soon be defeated. "They won't gain any support by committing atrocities like this one," he added. As part of recent efforts to bring an end to the LRA's insurgency, the Ugandan government has offered an amnesty to all present and former rebels. However, Katirima said that rebel soldiers would only be eligible for the amnesty if they peacefully surrendered. "If we capture them while fighting they will pay. One of these days we will catch up with them and we will kill them," he added. The recent increase in suspected LRA activity in northern Uganda has raised fears for humanitarian agencies working in the area. Senior humanitarian affairs adviser for UNOCHA (Uganda), Michael Jones, told IRIN that an upsurge in rebel activities could have serious implications for aid agencies working in the area - perhaps even leading some to pull out - and on the local population. "If insecurity continues like this, one of the very few agencies willing to work in that area, CRS, may leave," he warned. Paul Townsend said that CRS would be re-evaluating the security situation in the area as a result of the attack. "This is an area where there have not really been any major attacks in the past, so we will have to review our security assessment," he added.

The Monitor (Kampala) 17 Sept 2001 By Kefa Atibuni.The Member of Parliament for Bokora county in Moroto district, Apuun Patrick Longoli, has said that there is a plan by Katakwi district authorities to propagate war in Moroto and Katakwi districts. "To my understanding, there is a hatched plan for a full-scale war. I think they are advocating for a genocide," he said. Apuun made the accusations when he called at The Monitor bureau in Mbale to react to the media reports on the killings between the Karimojong and the people of Katakwi. He said that there is clear manifestation that Katakwi district authorities are fanning war, telling from the "provocative statements they have made overtime, in their quest for war". "I would not like to see Katakwi authorities leading a crusade to eliminate the people of Karamoja. I would not want them to continue making provocative statements that are not geared towards solving the problems. We in Moroto stand for peace, dialogue and conflict resolution," he said. Apuun said he was disappointed by the Friday incident in which Katakwi residents killed 10 Karimojong (see, Katakwi Residents Revenge, Kill 10 Karimojong Warriors, The Monitor Sept. 15). Rioting residents reportedly set up roadblocks along Soroti-Moroto highway and beat 10 Karimojong to death in an act of mob justice. The residents reportedly became rowdy after over 200 Karimojong warriors armed with guns and spears attacked a camp for internally displaced people at Ngariam on Thursday, killing 17 people and injuring several others. But Apuun gave a fairly different account of the incident. He said that on Thursday, Karimojong from Pian county raided an unspecified number of animals, killed three local defence personnel and 15 civilians, and headed towards Nabilatuk in Nakapiripirit district. "A helicopter yesterday followed and hit them. It was not disclosed how many Karimojong were killed," he said. Apuun said that in the Friday incident, Karimojong from Irir, Lorenge, Chora, Matanyi and Kangole had gone to Ochir in Angimong to buy merchandise. "It was a surprise that as they came out of their vehicles, LDUs and locals had already set a plan to lynch them in revenge of the earlier raids. The MP said he condemns the mob justice unleashed on his constituents. "I seek an explanation from Katakwi authorities as to why my people were killed in cold blood and the culprits went away with their cows," he said. Apuun appealed to the government to help recover the raided cattle and to crack down on mob justice in the area.


IRIN 5 Sept 2001 SA Spies Also to Blame for Matabeleland Massacres Three South African spies jailed in Zimbabwe have revealed that the former apartheid government sponsored a small dissident group which sparked the civil strife in Matabeleland province in the 1980s, which left thousands of civilians dead. President Robert Mugabe's government sent soldiers from the North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade to crush the uprising in Matabeleland. In an exclusive interview with the government-owned 'Sunday Mail', the former South African intelligence agents said the blame for the massacres should not lie squarely on the Zimbabwe government but also on South Africa. Kevin Woods, Phillip Conjwayo and Michael Smith, now in their 13th year of life terms, were imprisoned for a fatal raid on a house belonging to South Africa's then outlawed African National Congress (ANC) in Zimbabwe's second city of Bulawayo. The three alleged that South Africa helped create a dissident group out of the then Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU) party led by the late nationalist and vice president Joshua Nkomo. They alleged that a small number of the Super ZAPU guerrillas became active in Nkomo's home province of Matabeleland where thousands of people were brutally killed in the conflict which began around the same time that Mugabe sacked Nkomo from his coalition government. "(Zimbabwe) government was blamed for atrocities that they did not commit," Conjwayo told the paper. "In fact Super ZAPU elements did more murders than the Fifth Brigade and the whole episode is blamed sorely on the government when South Africa should also be blamed," he said. "South Africa recruited, trained and funded Super ZAPU elements to carry out murders while camouflaged as members of the Fifth Brigade and the blame was laid on government," claimed Woods.

Vanguard (Lagos) 20 Sept 2001 EDITORIAL Mugabe And His War Veterans Those unleashing terror on whites in Zimbabwe are not war veterans, but youthful brigands with the backing of Robert Mugabe, writes Oladipo Omole .LAGOS on the eve of Zimbabwe's independence, Mugabe had declared "if yesterday I fought with you as an enemy, today you have become a friend and ally with the same national interest". He was addressing whites in Zimbabwe who are now the objects of his mood swings; his whims The population of Zimbabwe was expected to reach 9.4 million in the mid_ 1990s, with a population density of over 20 people per square kilometre and growing at a rate of 3.1 per cent per annum. Fairly recent reports show that the proportion of the population living on the land as peasant farmers was an estimated 70 per cent. Agriculture is the second largest contributor to Zimbabwe's GDP and accounts for almost 50 per cent of foreign exchange earnings. As at 1991, there were approximately 6,000 commercial farmers in Zimbabwe who are white. These white farmers largely employ workers in the agricultural sector of Zimbabwe's economy. Records show that the contribution of over 750,000 communal and small-scale peasant farmers was becoming increasingly important both in numbers and level of output. There are conflicting reports on how the foreigners including the whites acquired land in Zimbabwe. Records show that for instance in 1573 the Portuguese and Mawanamutapa Nogomo signed a treaty which gave the Portuguese possession of a number of gold mines and other minerals. Ngomo also gave the Portuguese the permanent ownership of a strip of territory along the south bank of the Zambezi from Tete to the sea. The same report had it that, at the close of the 1940s the African Voice Association were embroiled in a struggle with the white government over a scheme which included the forcible removal of masses of peasants from their homes and land and de-stocking their cattle. In addition there was the Lancaster House Agreement which protected ownership of property and allowed for transfer only on a "willing seller/willing buyer basis in local currency. This agreement could not by any means be interpreted to subsist only between whites. Blacks who had the means are also affected. Then the minority regime did not prohibit ownership of land in Zimbabwe by blacks, hence no peasants will be engaged in farming as they are now. Mugabe had a laudable and noble objective: The resettlement and rehabilitation of war veterans, but his motives and strategy are suspect. To put it bluntly they are sinister. Who are the real beneficiaries of Zimbabwe's new land policy and what criteria will be used for distributing seized land? When were these war veterans disengaged? What has been happening to them since disengagement? Are there blacks engaged in agriculture in Zimbabwe. These questions raise a lot of suspicion on Mugabe's real motive. It is on record that the approximately 6,000 commercial white farmers provide employment for Zimbabweans so their settlement in Zimbabwe is functional. Mugabe's present disposition to white farmers and his war veterans is not commendable and neither is it justified by any stretch of the immagination. The truth is Mugabe has been in power for 21 years and he is not willing to let go. He has denied this allegation but it remains his latent motive. The man really has nothing else to offer Zimbabwe. He has an option he has refused to take because of his obsession for power. Instead of propagating brigandage, Mugabe could actually rehabilitate his army of war veterans with little or no skill or experience in commercial farming by giving them jobs that suit their skills, knowledge and abilities.He has enlisted the support of Nigeria in his mission of justifying voodoo economics but apart from the failed indigenisation policy of Gowon's regime Nigeria allows foreigners to own property including farmlands. It is not exactly clear what role he expects Nigeria to play and how Nigeria will reconcile his motives with her foreign policy objectives. If he expects an army of occupation or any form of moral or political support it is futile and he is not on firm ground. Zimbabwe has agreed to act against self-styled independence war veterans who have been occupying white owned farms during a meeting of Commonwealth foreign ministers in Nigeria. So the Commonwealth of Nations does not share Mugabe's idea of land reform nor does Foreign Minister Stan Mudenge who led Zimbabwe's team at the Commonwealth Ministerial Meeting in Nigeria as he declared that government would move swiftly to evict illegal land invaders. Within the framework of the Abuja accord, Zimbabwe has agreed to stop landless blacks from invading white-owned farms and to acquire farms for black resettlement on a fair and legal basis As a matter of fact Britain has agreed to co- finance compensation for farmers, whose land was acquired, under the Abuja accord as well. It is not only the Commonwealth of nations that does not share Mugabe's idea of a land reform. South African President Thabo Mbeki has urged Zimbabwe to uphold the rule of law and has called on the international community to honor pledges of financial assistance for Zimbabswe's land reform programme. Mbeki recognises that Mugabe and his war veterans are operating above the law. Robert Mugabe and his war veterans are also undermining the economy of Zimbabwe and surrounding states. This is evident in the statement credited to a senior South African official, Mboweni who told an investment conference that Zimbabwe's crisis was one of several factors affecting the rapidly depreciating Rand adding the situation has became untenable when it is seen that the highest office in that land seems to support illegal mean of land reform, land invasions, the occupation of land and violence. Mbowenu went a step further as he added the land problem in Zimbabwe must be solved, but this must be done within the law anybody who acts outside the law must be locked up and brought before the courts." Southern Africa is indeed apprehensive of a possible spill over of violence from Zimbabwe to the whole of Southern African region as groups of brigades within the area might act ie Mugabe and his war veteran. This is not good for peace, security and business. The 14-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC) has called for a meeting to drive home the conservanes of Zimbabwe refusal to honor the agreement reached in Abuja. Bakili Muluzi, the president of Malawi and chairman of SADC said regional stability was the prime concern "of great concern to all of us is that, if the land issue is not urgently resolved amicably and peacefully, the economic and political problems of Zimbabwe could easily snowball across the entire South African regions." Muluzi also expressed fear, on critical direct foreign investment in the region which may not be forthcoming any longer due to increasing political instability. White farmers are not the only targets of Mugabe's war veterans black farm workers had their homes burned in the village of Beatrice, leaving more than 200 farm lands homeless. In the past 18 months black farm workers have been assaulted and thousands forced from their homes by violence which political analysts link to Mugabe's campaign to retain power. In essence Mugabe and his war veterans are not in the business of land reform. No authority in the South African region recognises or sympathises with their agenda. As a matter of fact Museigbe and his cohorts have become something of an embarrassent to the whole South African region and the commonwealth. Mugabe's objective is not the rehabilitation of war veterans which he could have done much earlier by absorbing the war veterans into the national army where their skills are needed; he wants to sit tight but he has played dangerously and foolishly into the hands of the opposition who do not see any sense in his wasteful venture.

IRIN 10 Sept 2001 Amnesty International said in a statement at the weekend that it was "appealing" to the Commonwealth and the broader international community to send observers as a matter of urgency to monitor the human rights situation in Zimbabwe. "Amnesty International is concerned that the months preceding the presidential election due in 2002 will likely be marked by an upsurge in human rights violations. Thus the process of sending monitors should start as soon as possible," the rights group said. In reference to an interim agreement reached on Thursday at a Commonwealth ministers' meeting in Abuja, Nigeria, Amnesty said: "For the Abuja agreement to be successful, the Zimbabwe government should provide an atmosphere in which all people, including opposition candidates and supporters, are free to express their political beliefs, peacefully assemble and campaign without the fear of violence". The Abuja deal on land reform was aimed at ending Zimbabwe's political and economic crisis. According to Amnesty, the human rights climate in the next by-election, on 22 and 23 September in the Chikomba constituency in the Mashonaland East Province of Zimbabwe will be the first true test of the willingness of the government to abide by Thursday's agreement to end political violence. "Members of the Commonwealth delegation to Abuja, including representatives of Kenya, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom, should closely monitor the run-up to the Chikomba balloting to ensure that human rights are respected," the statement urged. It said that the agreement had come too late to prevent human rights violations in the Makoni West constituency. The rights group said that the run-up to this weekend's polling had been "marked by beatings, burning of houses and forcible displacement". News reports on Monday quoted the country's main opposition - the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) - as accusing the ruling ZANU-PF party of "massive rigging" and of harassing MDC members during the Makoni West by-election and a mayoral poll in the country's second city, Bulawayo, at the weekend. The 'Daily News' reported that a group of ZANU-PF youths in Makoni West allegedly stormed a church service on Sunday morning and forced scores of worshippers to go and vote. Wilcot Mushore, a presiding officer at Gurure Primary School, was quoted as saying that a headman aligned to ZANU-PF was seen by polling agents recording the names of people from his area who turned up to vote. "The headman was reprimanded. We told him to stop what he was doing because it was against the provisions of the Electoral Act," Mushore said. Remus Makuwaza of the MDC and ZANU-PF's Gibson Munyoro are battling for the parliamentary seat left vacant after the death of Moven Mahachi, the minister of defence, in a car accident in May. Vote counting was expected to begin on Monday morning, with the results expected on Tuesday. Meanwhile, the 'Daily News' quoted the MDC as alleging that "thousands" of ZANU-PF supporters were bussed in from outside Bulawayo to cast their votes in the mayoral election. It added that the poll was marred by incidents of violence and voter apathy. In one incident, police reportedly raided the Bulawayo offices of the MDC on Saturday and arrested three members. "We were surrounded by riot police. They took away one of our vans and arrested the bodyguards of one of our MPs," MDC mayoral candidate, Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube, was quoted as saying. Ndabeni-Ncube said five Land Rovers and "a truckload of riot police" descended on the MDC offices in Bulawayo shortly after 6.00 pm. They arrested the bodyguards working for Bulawayo South MDC MP David Coltart, Ndabeni-Ncube said.



AFP 23 Aug 2001 21 dead, 25 wounded in attacks around Colombia Twenty-one people died throughout Colombia in the last 24 hours in a day of violence, while army troops continued to circle more than 2,000 leftist rebels outside their own territory in a no-holds-barred offensive against insurgents to force their surrender. A car bomb attack outside a police station in Marinilla, Antioquia province Thursday killed a woman and injured 25 people, including 10 children, damaging a nearby school, funeral parlor and houses, according to authorities. The attack was attributed to the National Liberation Army (ELN), Colombia's second biggest leftist rebel group which has stepped up attacks since last week when the government of Colombian President Andres Pastrana announced it was breaking off talks with the ELN. A second car bomb exploded late Thursday behind the offices of Radio Caracol in Medellin, leaving 10 people injured. Army officials announced Thursday that at least 20 rebel members both from the ELN and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) died in northeast Colombia following the explosion of a truck carrying gas cylinders used by rebels in bomb-making. General Martin Carreno, the Army commander in the region, told reporters that the leftist rebels had been traveling on Wednesday between the towns of Malaga and San Andres in the northeastern department of Santander, supposedly with the intention of exploding a car bomb and several gas canisters on a bridge. "Apparently, the canisters exploded, causing between 15 and 20 deaths, according to initial reports," Carreno said. Troops have stepped up an intensive against FARC rebels, launching a full-scale attack on the illegal drug industry just days before a visit here by top US officials. Members of the armed forces surrounded rebels after they left the 42,000 square kilometer (16,000 square-mile) demilitarized region ceded to the FARC in November 1998 to coax them to the negotiating table for talks that have made virtually no progress since then. A counter-insurgent operation in the jungle coca-growing departments of Guaviare, Guainia, Meta and Vichada has already produced the deaths of dozens of rebels in the offensive so far. Some 6,000 troops are involved in the operation to secure the surrender -- or the destruction -- of more than 2,000 FARC rebels, in an ongoing siege. Army general in charge of the operation, Carlos Fracica, said: "This will end with a massive surrender of guerrillas, unless we bring them out in body bags before then; we will only leave this region when the (FARC) block has been annihilated." Fracica said it was "very unlikely" that rebels can escape from the military circling them and make their way back to the demilitarized zone. And he said that although 19 bodies rebels killed so far have been recovered, the figure for rebels killed is "far greater." In additional attacks Thursday, the ELN detonated nine low-intensity bombs earlier in the day, in a wave of attacks around the Colombian city of Medellin, 400 kilometers (270 miles) northwest of the capital. The attacks come also as a high level US delegation prepares to travel to Colombia next Wednesday. A delegation led by Marc Grossman, undersecretary of state for political affairs, will visit here next Wednesday. US ambassador to Bogota Anne Patterson announced that 14 new aircraft to assist in the fumigation of coca plantations were expected to arrive within six months. The planes will be primarily used in the southern departments of Putumayo, Guaviare and Caqueta, planted with 50 percent of the country's coca leaf, the raw ingredient in cocaine. An estimated 150,000 hectares (370,658 acres) of arable land are planted with the potent crops, which are manufactured into more than 580 tonnes of the highly-addictive narcotic annually. Colombia, the world's number one producer of cocaine, has put together a 7.5 billion dollar anti-narcotics initiative known as Plan Colombia, aimed at eradicating coca production and at kick-starting the flagging economy, and backed financially by the United States, and in the form of military equipment.

BBC 6 September, 2001, Senior peacemaker killed in Colombia Troops and rebels have been fighting a long war A senior Colombian congressman involved in peace talks with left-wing rebels has been shot dead in the capital, Bogota. Jairo Rojas, vice president of a congressional peace committee, was gunned down by two attackers in front of his home around midnight local time (0500 GMT). Mr Rojas was the second member of the House of Representatives peace committee to be killed in the past nine months. Investigators say they have not yet established a motive for the killing. "We don't know if the lawmaker had received death threats or if what has happened has anything to do with his work in the peace commission of the lower house," an unnamed police source told French news agency AFP. Followed home The congressman left a party at a hotel on Wednesday night without his usual escort and was followed home by his attackers in another vehicle, police say. Mr Rojas knew he was being trailed and crashed his car through the gates of his parking lot but was shot as he got out of his car, say investigators. Colleagues paid tribute to Mr Rojas' work in trying to bring an end to the country's 37-year guerrilla war. "He was a good man who had been working in the peace process," said Guillermo Gaviria, President of the House of Representatives. Leftist militants belonging to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) group were blamed for the killing in December of committee president Diego Turbay. FARC never acknowledged involvement in Mr Turbay's murder. Peace talks between the Government and Colombia's largest rebel faction, the left-wing National Liberation Army (ELN) were called off earlier this month after the government objected to new demands raised by the guerrillas.

AP 11 Sept 2001 Colombia Militias Seek Legitimacy BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Colombia's outlawed right-wing paramilitary militias, responsible for some of the worst atrocities in this country's decades-old civil war, say they hope one day to be considered a legitimate political force. Their quest for respectability took a blow Monday when the State Department labeled the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, or AUC, a terrorist group — making financial support for the group illegal and requiring U.S. financial institutions to block its assets. The AUC joins 30 other groups on the U.S. list, including the two leftist Colombian guerrilla armies the paramilitaries are dedicated to destroying. The announcement from Washington, ahead of Secretary of State Colin Powell's visit to Colombia on Tuesday and Wednesday, reflects growing U.S. concern about the 8,000-strong militias, which have grown into a major force and a thorn in Colombian government-rebel peace negotiations. While few Colombians say they support the AUC, the group's rise is coinciding with growing anti-guerrilla sentiment across the country. Leading candidates in next May's presidential elections are echoing the AUC's call for a harder government line in peace talks with the rebels. In some rural areas, landowners and businessmen fed up with rebel kidnappings and extortion see the AUC as the lesser of two evils. The paramilitaries arose in the 1980s as a vigilante force formed by drug traffickers and ranchers trying to defend themselves against rebel kidnappers. The AUC has pushed the rebels out of several of their traditional strongholds. But its methods are often brutal. Paramilitary fighters have repeatedly dragged unarmed villagers from their homes, accused them of supporting the guerrillas, and publicly executed them. In one massacre this year, officials said the AUC used chain saws on its victims. Furthermore, some AUC members retain clandestine ties to members of Colombia's U.S.-backed military. Powell is expected to stress in his meetings with President Andres Pastrana and other officials that those links must be severed if they want to be assured of continued U.S. military aid. The Pastrana government notes it has arrested dozens of AUC members, killed some in combat, and dismissed several generals with alleged paramilitary connections. However, Human Rights Watch said Monday it is still finding ``abundant, detailed and compelling evidence'' of army-paramilitary collaboration. Rogue military units are providing the AUC with equipment, men and intelligence and often standing idly during paramilitary massacres of suspected guerrilla sympathizers, the U.S.-based monitoring group said. Two leading Democrats in the U.S. Senate, Paul Wellstone of Minnesota and Barbara Boxer of California, wrote to Powell last week to say they ``remain deeply troubled by the ... close links between members of the Colombian military and illegal paramilitary groups.'' Underscoring Washington's concern, one senior U.S. official said recently that the paramilitaries pose an even greater threat to the stability of Colombia than either of the two leftist rebel armies. The AUC, which last week announced it was forming a political movement to accompany its military struggle, remains unrepentant about its tactics. In an interview published this week in Cambio news magazine, Salvatore Mancuso, the group's newly appointed leader, said the AUC does not kill innocent people. ``Our policy has always been to identify and separate out guerrillas disguised as civilians from the honest and hardworking people,'' he said. Mancuso said his fighters were poised, if necessary, to attack a large guerrilla safe haven ceded by Pastrana to the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC. Mancuso said his decision would depend on whether peace talks with the 16,000-strong guerrilla faction continue to stumble and more evidence emerges that the group is using the sanctuary for drug operations.

AP 16 Sept 2001 Gunmen Raid Colombian Village - Members of a right-wing paramilitary group raided a Colombian village early Sunday and killed at least 11 people, authorities said. National Police spokeswoman Jenny Alvarado said up to 15 people may have been executed in the early morning massacre near the township of Falan, some 74 miles west of the capital, Bogota. Fighters from the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, or AUC, killed the villagers after accusing them of working with leftist guerrillas, said Tolima Police Col. Ciro Chitiva. Authorities from the attorney general's office and the government's human rights office were heading to the region in Tolima state to investigate. Police said four people were badly injured in the massacre. The U.S. State Department last week placed the 8,000-strong AUC on its list of worldwide terrorist organizations. Two leftist rebel armies in Colombia are also included in the list of 31 terrorist groups. The AUC is waging a brutal massacre and assassination campaign against the guerrillas and those suspected of sympathizing with them. Sunday's massacre is one the largest slayings committed by the AUC since the emergence of its new leader, Salvatore Mancuso. Even though the AUC is blamed for most of the human rights abuses committed in Colombia, Mancuso said in a recent interview that his fighters don't kill innocent people. At least 3,000 civilians die every year in the South American country's 37-year-old conflict.


Sunday, 2 September, 2001, 03:53 GMT 04:53 UK Israel lambasted at racism conference Australian native campaigners make a colourful point in Durban Non-governmental organisations gathered at the world conference on racism in the South African city of Durban have accused Israel of racist crimes, including genocide. In a declaration presented to the main meeting, the NGOs say that Israel is an apartheid state which practises ethnic cleansing. A BBC correspondent at the conference points out that the NGO declaration was bound to be stronger in its language than anything the 130 countries represented in the main conference would produce. Earlier, African leaders at the conference proper agreed that the West must apologise for slavery and colonialism, but were divided over the issue of reparations. Reparations UN Secretary General Kofi Annan reiterated that the equation of Zionism - support for the existence of a Jewish state - with racism "is dead". He warned that this issue and demands for slavery reparations threatened the conference's outcome. A number of European delegations have said they are ready to see strong language adopted on the slavery front, but none that would open them up to major claims from countries that suffered in the past. One of the speakers at the conference, Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, has come out against reparations. Mr Obasanjo told the delegates an apology would recognise the wrong that was committed against Africans and constitute a promise that such an atrocity would never happen again. With an apology, "the issue of reparations ceases to be a rational option", he said during his formal address to the conference on Saturday. Compensation 'necessary' But President Gnassingbe Eyadema of Togo said reparations were necessary to compensate for the horrors of the slave trade and colonialism. Africans and people of African descent have noted that compensation is now being paid to Jewish survivors of the Holocaust and their descendants. They are demanding the same kind of reparations for the descendants of those who were enslaved because they were black. Reparations could come in the form of a cancellation of African debt and greater development aid, some African delegates hope. Cuban President Fidel Castro has supported the call for reparations, saying that countries that made money through human trafficking could afford to pay. Moral duty "This is an unavoidable moral duty," Mr Castro said. The Cuban leader criticised the US for lowering the level of its delegation at the conference because of the discussion of what he called Israeli genocide against Palestinians. "[Nobody] has the right to set preconditions to the conference or urge it to avoid the discussion... [of] the way we decide to rate the dreadful genocide perpetrated, at this very moment, against our Palestinian brothers," Mr Castro said. The delegates have a week in which to reach a consensus that will satisfy both the governments involved and the many interest groups who fear their grievances will not receive proper attention because of the inevitable political horse-trading. Some 6,000 delegates from more than 130 countries have gathered at the conference. But the summit opened with just low-level representation from the US, Canada and Israel in protest at efforts by Arab and Islamic states to condemn Israel for its treatment of the Palestinians.

Granma (Havana) September 1, 2001 FIDEL AT THE ANTI-RACISM SUMMIT Nobody has the right to sabotage this conference or to demand that there is no discussion of just reparations DURBAN.— In an implicit observation on the conduct of the United States in relation to the world summit on racism, the Cuban president emphasized that "nobody has the right to sabotage this conference," which seeks to alleviate terrible suffering and huge injustices. "And even less," he continued, "does anybody have to right to impose conditions or demand that historical responsibility and just reparations should not even be mentioned, or on the way in which we decide to qualify the horrific genocide currently being committed against our sister nation of Palestine. This Saturday, speaking to representations from some 160 countries, Fidel Castro gave a vibrant speech in the plenary session of a conference that responded with repeated applause and a final ovation of close to one minute. "Put an immediate end to the genocide of the Palestinian people. Protect the elemental right to life of its citizens, of its children. Respect its right to independence and peace, and there will be no fear of UN documents," he affirmed. The Cuban leader pointed out that the war against Palestine is managed by extreme-right leaders who, allied to a hegemonic superpower, are currently acting in the name of another people that throughout close to 2000 years was in its turn the victim of the greatest discrimination, injustice and persecution committed in history. When Cuba talks of compensation, with the important precedent of reparations received by Jewish descendents, it is not aspiring to the impossible search for direct family descendents or the specific countries of origin of the victims of deeds over the centuries, he clarified. THE RICH WORLD POSSESSES THE RESOURCES TO SETTLE THE DEBT WITH HUMANITY Fidel added that it is a true and irrefutable fact that tens of millions of human beings were captured, sold as merchandise or forced to work as slaves. Today the rich and wasteful world possesses the technical and financial resources to settle that debt with humanity, he affirmed. Fidel Castro’s dissertation covered the majority of the objectives outlined in the anti-racist assembly agenda, from reparations to the African continent for its enslavement, the problems of indigenous communities and the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Finally, the Cuban president offered concrete solutions for these Controversial dilemmas, inextricably linked, he reiterated, to the historical economic exploitation of the so-called Third World. Racism and xenophobia constitute a social, cultural and political phenomenon, not a natural human instinct. "They are the direct offspring of wars, military conquests, enslavement and the exploitation of the weakest by the strongest throughout the length of history," he emphasized. "From my point of view," he added, "we are facing a great economic, social and political crisis of a global nature. Let us become aware of these realities and alternatives will arise," he affirmed to an auditorium of 10,000 conference delegates and a plenary session of 12 heads of state. He noted that history has shown that great solutions only emerge from great crises. The right of peoples to life and justice will inevitably impose itself in the most varied forms, he highlighted. "I believe in the mobilization and in the struggle of the peoples! I believe in just ideas! I believe in the truth! I believe in humanity!" proclaimed the leader of the Cuban Revolution (PL).


AP 14 Sept 2001 Peru Expects Fujimori Legal Battle LIMA, Peru (AP) - The Peruvian government is preparing for a legal battle to extradite disgraced ex-President Alberto Fujimori from Japan to face homicide charges connected to two state-sponsored massacres in the early 1990s, the foreign minister said Friday. ``The battle will take place in the legal and political fields so that the principles of international law that seek to prevent impunity for crimes against humanity are adequately interpreted and applied,'' Diego Garcia Sayan told reporters. Fujimori has been exiled in his parents' native Japan since November, when his 10-year authoritarian rule ended amid corruption scandals. He was granted Japanese citizenship shortly after his arrival. A Peruvian judge issued an international arrest warrant Thursday for Fujimori over his alleged ``co-authoring'' of the two massacres by a paramilitary death squad. Attorney General Nelly Calderon filed homicide and forced disappearance charges against Fujimori on Sept. 5, alleging that, while serving as president, he ``knew in detail'' the death squad's operations. Japanese officials reiterated again on Friday that Japan will not force Fujimori to return to Peru. No extradition treaty exists between the two countries, and Japanese law prohibits the extradition of its citizens to stand trial for crimes committed in other countries. Fujimori denies any wrongdoing and calls the charges political persecution. Garcia Sayan said Peru will argue for Fujimori's extradition based on ``specific norms'' in Japanese law that stipulate ``when double nationality exists, the Japanese nationality can be lifted from those who have occupied high-level posts in other states.'' It was unclear Friday whether Interpol in Tokyo would act on the Peruvian judge's order to arrest Fujimori.

United States


AP 13 Sept 2001 President Bush urges people not to take vengeance against Arab-Americans, Muslims By Melanie Coffee. Arab Americans and Muslims have been attacked, threatened and harassed in a backlash over the terrorist bloodbath, prompting President Bush to urge people not to take vengeance. "Our nation must be mindful that there are thousands of Arab-Americans that live in New York City who love the flag just as much" as other Americans, Bush said in a nationally televised telephone call Thursday to New York City's mayor and New York's governor. Wednesday night, police in Bridgeview, Ill., turned back 300 marchers - some waving American flags and shouting "USA! USA!" - as they tried to march on a mosque in the Chicago suburb. Three demonstrators were arrested. There were no injuries and demonstrators were kept blocks from the closed Muslim house of worship. "I_m proud to be American and I hate Arabs and I always have," said 19-year-old Colin Zaremba who marched with the group from Oak Lawn. Federal authorities said they had identified more than a dozen hijackers of Middle Eastern descent in Tuesday's terror attacks in New York and Washington and have gathered evidence linking them to Saudi-born terror mastermind Osama bin Laden and other extremist networks. Ziad Asali, president of the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee, expressed concern about both the bias incidents and Tuesday's terror attacks. "Arab Americans, in addition to feeling the intense depths of pain and anger at this attack we share with all our fellow citizens, are feeling deep anxiety about becoming the targets of anger from other Americans," he said. "We appeal to all Americans to bear in mind that crimes are the responsibility of the individuals who committed them, not ethnic or religious groups." In a show of patriotism, 45 people from the Islamic community in Tampa, Fla., registered with blood services to donate Wednesday, and 30 members of the Muslim Students Association at the University of South Florida signed up. "You feel the pain twice: once because of what has happened and once because of the looks you get," said Sami Al-Arian, an engineering teacher at the University of South Florida. In Dearborn, Mich., Issam Koussan said he bought large U.S. flags to fly in front of his home and outside his supermarket after men pulled into his parking lot and yelled threats and racial slurs at his customers. "I just feel I needed to show my loyalty to this country," Koussan told The Detroit News. Early Thursday, a Molotov cocktail was thrown against the side of the Islamic Society of Denton, Texas, causing an estimated $2,500 in damage, said Kiersten Dieterle, a spokeswoman for the Dallas suburb. The building was empty and there were no injuries. In Chicago, a firebomb was tossed Wednesday at an Arab-American community center. No injuries were reported. In nearby Palos Heights, a man who used the blunt end of a machete to attack a Moroccan gas station attendant was charged with a hate crime, police said. The attendant did not seek treatment. "The terrorists who committed these horrible acts would like nothing better than to see us tear at the fiber of our democracy and to trample on the rights of other Americans," Illinois Gov. George Ryan said. In Huntington, N.Y., a 75-year-old man who was drunk tried to run over a Pakistani woman in the parking lot of a shopping mall, police said. The man then followed the woman into a store and threatened to kill her for "destroying my country," authorities said. A man in a ski mask in Gary, Ind., fired an assault rifle at a gas station where a Yemen-born U.S. citizen born was working Wednesday, the Post Tribune of Merrillville, Ind., reported. Police were investigating it as a hate crime. In Tulsa, Okla., police said a Pakistani native was beaten by three men late Tuesday in a hate crime. The victim was in a fair condition at a hospital Thursday. Tamara Alfson, an American working at the Kuwait Embassy in Washington, spent Wednesday counseling frightened Kuwaiti students attending schools across the United States. "Some of them have already been harassed. People have been quite awful to them," said Alfson, an academic adviser to about 150 students. [see also Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee http://www.adc.org/

White House - Office of the Press Secretary 16 Sept 2001 Remarks by the President Upon Arrival
The South Lawn - 3:23 P.M. EDT
Q Mr. President, the Attorney General is going to ask for enhanced law enforcement authority to surveil and - things to disrupt terrorism that might be planned here in the United States. What will that mean for the rights of Americans? What will that mean -THE PRESIDENT: Terry, I ask you to talk to the Attorney General about that subject. He'll be prepared to talk about it publicly at some point in time. But what he is doing is, he's reflecting what I said earlier in my statement, that we're facing a new kind of enemy, somebody so barbaric that they would fly airplanes into buildings full of innocent people. And, therefore, we have to be on alert in America. We're a nation of law, a nation of civil rights. We're also a nation under attack. And the Attorney General will address that in a way that I think the American people will understand.We need to go back to work tomorrow and we will. But we need to be alert to the fact that these evil-doers still exist. We haven't seen this kind of barbarism in a long period of time. No one could have conceivably imagined suicide bombers burrowing into our society and then emerging all in the same day to fly their aircraft - fly U.S. aircraft into buildings full of innocent people - and show no remorse. This is a new kind of -- a new kind of evil. And we understand. And the American people are beginning to understand. This crusade, this war on terrorism is going to take a while. And the American people must be patient. I'm going to be patient.

White House - Office of the Press Secretary 18 Sept 2001 Press Briefing by Ari Fleischer Q The other question was, the President used the word crusade last Sunday, which has caused some consternation in a lot of Muslim countries. Can you explain his usage of that word, given the connotation to Muslims? MR. FLEISCHER: I think what the President was saying was -- had no intended consequences for anybody, Muslim or otherwise, other than to say that this is a broad cause that he is calling on America and the nations around the world to join. That was the point -- purpose of what he said. Q Does he regret having used that word, Ari, and will he not use it again in the context of talking about this effort? MR. FLEISCHER: I think to the degree that that word has any connotations that would upset any of our partners, or anybody else in the world, the President would regret if anything like that was conveyed. But the purpose of his conveying it is in the traditional English sense of the word. It's a broad cause.

AP 17 Sept 2001 Indian Immigrant Killed in Ariz. Man Charged in Slaying and 2 Other Attacks; Racism Suspected MESA, Ariz., Sept. 16 -- A man was charged with murder and attempted murder today after he allegedly fired at two gas stations and a house, killing an Indian immigrant inside one gas station. No one was injured at the second station, where a clerk of Lebanese descent was working, or the house, where a family of Afghan descent lived. Police are investigating the possibility that the crimes were motivated by Tuesday's terror attacks in New York and Washington. Around the country, several apparent backlash attacks and threats have been reported against people of Middle Eastern and South Asian descent. Police charged Frank Roque, 42, with one count of first-degree murder, two counts of attempted murder and three counts of drive-by shooting. Bond was set at $1 million. The East Valley Tribune reported that Roque shouted, "I stand for America all the way," as he was handcuffed Saturday night. Police had yet to determine whether to add hate crime charges. "Certainly, the bias crime is paramount in our investigators' minds," Sgt. Mike Goulet said. "That is something we are looking at." The first shooting killed Balbir Singh Sodhi, 49, who was Sikh. His relatives pointed to the fact that the gas station was not robbed as evidence that Sodhi was targeted because of how he looked. Sodhi had a beard and wore a turban. "He wouldn't have any enemies," said his cousin, Harjit Singh Sodhi. The owners of the second gas station, Ali Saad and Saad Saad, said they are certain the clerk, a U.S. citizen of Lebanese descent, was targeted because of his race. The brothers did not give the clerk's name. "In Mesa, Arizona, today, it's time for calm and rational thought," Mayor Keno Hawker said. "These people are innocent. Because they wear a turban on their head is no indication they are terrorists." Among alleged retribution attacks nationwide: an attack on a Moroccan gas station attendant in Palos Heights, Ill.; an attempt to run over a Pakistani woman in a parking lot in Huntington, N.Y.; and the arrest of an armed man who allegedly tried to set fire to a Seattle mosque. "All measures must be taken to prevent such occurrences," said Navtej Sarna, press consular at the Indian Embassy.

White House - For Immediate Release Office of the Press Secretary September 17, 2001 "Islam is Peace" Says President Remarks by the President at Islamic Center of Washington, D.C. Washington, D.C. 3:12 P.M. EDT THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all very much for your hospitality. We've just had a -- wide-ranging discussions on the matter at hand. Like the good folks standing with me, the American people were appalled and outraged at last Tuesday's attacks. And so were Muslims all across the world. Both Americans and Muslim friends and citizens, tax-paying citizens, and Muslims in nations were just appalled and could not believe what we saw on our TV screens. These acts of violence against innocents violate the fundamental tenets of the Islamic faith. And it's important for my fellow Americans to understand that. The English translation is not as eloquent as the original Arabic, but let me quote from the Koran, itself: In the long run, evil in the extreme will be the end of those who do evil. For that they rejected the signs of Allah and held them up to ridicule. The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam. That's not what Islam is all about. Islam is peace. These terrorists don't represent peace. They represent evil and war. When we think of Islam we think of a faith that brings comfort to a billion people around the world. Billions of people find comfort and solace and peace. And that's made brothers and sisters out of every race -- out of every race. America counts millions of Muslims amongst our citizens, and Muslims make an incredibly valuable contribution to our country. Muslims are doctors, lawyers, law professors, members of the military, entrepreneurs, shopkeepers, moms and dads. And they need to be treated with respect. In our anger and emotion, our fellow Americans must treat each other with respect. Women who cover their heads in this country must feel comfortable going outside their homes. Moms who wear cover must be not intimidated in America. That's not the America I know. That's not the America I value. I've been told that some fear to leave; some don't want to go shopping for their families; some don't want to go about their ordinary daily routines because, by wearing cover, they're afraid they'll be intimidated. That should not and that will not stand in America. Those who feel like they can intimidate our fellow citizens to take out their anger don't represent the best of America, they represent the worst of humankind, and they should be ashamed of that kind of behavior. This is a great country. It's a great country because we share the same values of respect and dignity and human worth. And it is my honor to be meeting with leaders who feel just the same way I do. They're outraged, they're sad. They love America just as much as I do. I want to thank you all for giving me a chance to come by. And may God bless us all. END 3:19 P.M. EDT

WP 18 Sept 2001 Bush Visits Mosque to Forestall Hate Crimes -- President Condemns an Increase in Violence Aimed at Arab Americans By Dana Milbank and Emily Wax, Page A01 President Bush, briefly setting aside his war planning efforts, visited the mosque at the Islamic Center of Washington yesterday to admonish the nation not to avenge last week's terrorist attacks on innocent American Arabs and Muslims. In a gesture that surprised and gratified Islamic leaders, Bush stepped up an already intense effort by his administration to prevent hate crimes and discrimination against nearly 10 million American Arabs and Muslims in retaliation for the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks by Middle Eastern terrorists. "The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam," said the president, escorted by Islamic clerics into the ornate mosque full of Turkish tile, Persian rugs and Egyptian paintings. "Islam is peace." Quoting from the Koran's prohibitions against evil, Bush said women who cover their heads should not fear leaving their homes. "That's not the America I know," he said. "That should not and that will not stand in America." Bush's appearance at the mosque -- rare for an American president -- comes at a time when Muslims and Arab Americans are alarmed by threats of violence. Attorney General John D. Ashcroft said the FBI had initiated 40 hate crimes investigations involving reported attacks on Arab American citizens and institutions. Among them is the case of a Pakistani Muslim store owner who was shot and killed in Dallas Saturday evening. The Council on American-Islamic Relations said it has received reports of more than 350 attacks against Arab Americans around the country, ranging from verbal harassment to physical assaults. It also received reports of dozens of mosques firebombed or vandalized. In Palos Hills, Ill., two Muslim girls were beaten at Moraine Valley College. In Evansville, Ind., a man driving 80 mph rammed his car into a mosque. In both cases, police arrested suspects. Fairfax County police are investigating two weekend bias crimes they say may be linked to the terror attacks. There have also been many reported assaults against people who look Middle Eastern but are not. A Sikh gas station owner in Mesa, Ariz., was shot and killed this weekend. Another Sikh was arrested by Providence, R.I., police on a train because he was carrying a dagger, a Sikh religious icon. Sikhs are neither Arab nor Muslim; they are adherents of a separate religion, generally from India, and wear turbans and beards. The worries were evident locally at the Washington Islamic Academy in Springfield yesterday, where security guards patrolled the parking lot and jittery students hugged their parents twice before strapping on their backpacks. The school's principal, Saleh Nusairat, issued memos to its teachers, asking them to explain that Islam and Muslims do not tolerate such acts and that, "We condemn this evil action regardless of who committed it." In Eloise Shim's English class, students wrote essays about the World Trade Center attacks. "They think that Muslims did it and I feel terrible," wrote Kamran Adil, 10. "My dad says that if someone comes into my school I should lie down on the floor and pretend I am dead so I don't get hurt." Some of the students said they felt nervous and even embarrassed about being Muslims. Teachers tried to send a clear message: "Be proud you are a Muslim American," said Yasmeen Asfar, an art teacher at the Al-Qalam All Girls School, which is housed above the Washington Islamic Academy and has about 80 students in fifth to 10th grade. "It's very, very sad news. It's very terrible," Asfar told students at a special assembly yesterday. "And it's also not good to think bad things about Muslims. If it is Muslims who did it, then it's not fair to blame all Muslims." For the president, the quickly arranged visit (planning began at 6 p.m. Sunday) in defense of American Muslims contributed to two goals aside from the benefit of discouraging intolerance. It was part of an effort, urged by deputy national security adviser Stephen Hadley, to convince would-be partners overseas that the U.S. effort is not anti-Arab or anti-Islam but anti-terrorist. At the same time, it buttressed Bush's image as a "compassionate conservative" and earned him praise from leaders of the nation's Muslim and Arab population. A White House official involved in the effort said the two goals are intertwined. "The president wanted to send a strong signal" to American Muslims, the official said, predicting it "certainly will reverberate around the world." Yesterday's appearance by Bush follows a vigorous effort by his administration over the last week to discourage anti-Muslim and anti-Arab sentiment. Bush aides arranged for an Islamic imam, Muzammil H. Siddiqi, to speak at last Friday's memorial at the National Cathedral. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and Assistant Attorney General Ralph F. Boyd Jr. have met with Arab American leaders, and Ashcroft is scheduled to do so today. Bush, Ashcroft and Powell have made it a point to defend Muslims and Arab Americans, and all have been careful not to use words such as "Islamic" or "Muslim" when describing the terrorists. The government's Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Civil Rights Commission issued statements calling for tolerance. Islamic leaders say the administration's efforts, combined with a resolution in Congress calling for protection of the civil rights of Arab Americans and Muslims, have helped to limit violence and discrimination. "Americans have shown great maturity," said Sayyid M. Syeed, secretary general of the Islamic Society of North America. "The number of support calls and visits to Islamic centers to show solidarity by far outnumber the nasty phone calls and attacks. This is what makes us proud to be Americans." White House officials and Arab groups say there are about 6.5 million Muslims in the United States, fewer than a million of whom are Arabs. Of the roughly 3.5 million Arab Americans, 80 percent are Christian. While Arab Americans are influential in critical electoral states such as Michigan, James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute, said Bush had little to gain politically. "They have a noble, moral reason, and also a reason with foreign policy consequences," he said. President Dwight D. Eisenhower opened the mosque at the Islamic Center of Washington half a century ago. One of the country's oldest, the mosque is a familiar part of Washington's skyline, with its 160-foot minaret towering over Rock Creek where Massachusetts Avenue crosses it. After a private meeting with Islamic leaders, Bush removed his shoes and entered the elaborately decorated sanctuary, with colorful Turkish tiles, an Egyptian chandelier and bookshelves full of copies of the Koran. A schedule of prayer times on the wall included a notation on September 11: "HAVE MERCY!" Visiting between the noon and afternoon prayers, Bush spoke from a lectern in front of the qibla, the altar worshipers face when praying in the direction of Mecca. Over his left shoulder, written in Arabic, was the phrase: "In the name of Allah, the All Forgiving, the Most Compassionate." Describing Muslims as doctors, lawyers, soldiers and parents, Bush demanded that they be treated respectfully. "Those who feel like they can intimidate our fellow citizens to take out their anger don't represent the best of America, they represent the worst of humankind, and they should be ashamed of that kind of behavior," he said. Bush had been scheduled to meet with prominent Islamic leaders in the White House last Tuesday, but the meeting was called off because of the terrorist strikes. One of the Islamic leaders who was to have attended that meeting was Siddiqi, who came from Orange County, Calif. Stranded in Washington, Siddiqi was asked by Bush aides to speak at last Friday's memorial. Siddiqi, who has returned to California, said he gives "great credit" to Bush for easing anti-Muslim emotions -- and said he is spreading that message through the Middle East in radio and television interviews in Arabic. "I'm telling them, yes, there's a concern," Siddiqi said. "But by and large this country is showing great maturity in a time of trial and pain." Staff writer Hanna Rosin contributed to this report.

WP 21 Sept 2001 Some Foreign Students Departing U.S. in Fear By Amy Argetsinger, Page B01 A small but growing number of Middle Eastern students are withdrawing from U.S. colleges and returning home -- some to comfort worried parents on the far side of the globe, others to flee an environment they fear is turning hostile to young foreigners. At American University in Northwest Washington, 32 students -- mostly from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates -- withdrew this week. About 25 left the University of Missouri, and about 24 from North Africa or Arab states have left the University of Colorado at Denver. Many other universities report a few foreign students leaving, or none at all. But the departures have raised concerns for college officials who take pride in nurturing safe and diverse campuses. Many foreign students, meanwhile, are debating whether to go, weighing the pleadings of their parents against a desire to keep their studies on track, ever mindful of reports of harassment and violence against Muslim and Arab students across the United States. Ibrahim Alhammadi, 19, a freshman chemical engineering student at Missouri, said he will fly home Sunday to the United Arab Emirates. He made friends with many of his American classmates and had always felt safe. But now he is frightened by the stories about attacks on Muslims elsewhere, he said, and his grades are starting to suffer. Last weekend, he joined other Muslims on a vigil at a local mosque and was upset to hear passersby yell "terrorists!" "It's not like in the past, where I can do what I want, go where I want," Alhammadi said. "I am not in a good mood to study here." In the days since the terrorist attacks on New York and the Pentagon, universities have rushed to respond to students' fears by holding vigils and public forums, while also offering support and protection. The number of students withdrawing represents a fraction of the nearly 40,000 students from the Middle East and other Arab states studying in the United States. Some universities with significant foreign populations -- including the University of Maryland and Georgetown University -- have had no withdrawals. Those who have lost students may be suffering from a domino effect, said Jeanne Hind, director of the Spring International Language Center in Denver, which has lost almost all of its dozen or so Middle Eastern students. "I think panic sets in," Hind said. "One family calls their children home, and another one thinks, 'Maybe they know something.' " Officials at colleges where Middle Eastern students have left are quick to say that few of those students have experienced threats or harassment on campus. At American University, many of the departing are graduate students, who lived off-campus with spouses and children and feared for their safety, said Fanta Aw, director of international student services. "Many were very sad to leave," Aw said. "I cannot tell you the number who said, 'I don't want to leave; the only future I have is if I have my degree.' " At most campuses, undergraduates are leaving. Most of the six or seven students departing George Mason University in Fairfax are first-semester freshmen from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait. The motivation, said international programs director Julia Findlay, is parental fears. Julia Rose, director of international student affairs at Western Illinois University, has received phone calls from concerned parents in Korea, Brazil and Japan, in addition those in Arab states. "Mothers are worried, and they want their children with them," she said. Students and university officials have been barraged by conflicting advice. According to a Reuters report, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwaiti governments are taking steps to fly their students home. Students sponsored by oil companies, though, are being told to stay. Some embassies are urging their students to go to class but keep a low profile. Most withdrawing students have registered for classes in the spring. But university officials are concerned that heightened security or possible new visa restrictions could make that difficult. A Saudi Arabian graduate student at a Washington area school who spoke on condition he not be identified, said he was torn over whether to leave. "I don't look like an Arab, so I blend in," he said. "The thing I'm afraid of is the U.S. government, though. Now every Arab is a suspect." He said he also was dismayed when he heard that while the Saudi government is flying members of its royal family home, the Saudi Embassy has made no flight arrangements for its students.

BBC 20 Sept 2001 Victim of 'hate crime' buried Mr Karas came to the US to escape persecution at home An Egyptian-born shopkeeper has been buried in Los Angeles, another victim in a spate of suspected hate crimes against people of Arab appearance following last week's terror attacks. Adel Karas was a 48-year-old father of three who had run a shop in a Los Angeles suburb for the past two decades. He was shot dead there on Saturday. Community leaders believe the wave of recent anti-Arab incidents are related to the identification of Islamic militant Osama bin Laden as the key suspect in the attacks on New York and the Pentagon. Mr Karas was in fact a Coptic, or Egyptian Christian, who reportedly fled religious persecution 22 years ago to build a new life for himself in the United States. More victims Federal investigators are looking into some 50 suspected hate crimes that have occurred in the wake of the attacks, which left more than 5,600 people dead or missing. Mr Karas' death was not the first. A 49-year-old Sikh petrol station owner was shot dead in Arizona "for no other apparent reason than that he was dark-skinned and wore a turban", said the county attorney. In Dallas, a Pakistani Muslim was also killed in an attack that was apparently racially motivated. US Islamic leaders warn people to be on their guard Washington's Council on American-Islamic Relations has recorded more than 350 incidents of anti-Muslim harassment, while the United Sikhs in Service of America lists nearly 200 examples. Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee raised concerns about violence against US Sikhs in a telephone conversation with President George Bush last Sunday. Mr Bush, who wants the backing of as many countries as possible, has recently sought to impress on his people that his proposed war is not against Islam, but terrorists. "Those who feel they can intimidate our fellow citizens to take out their anger don't represent the best of America," he said at the Islamic Center in Washington earlier this week. "They represent the worst of humankind, and they should be ashamed." Trials delayed US judges have also have postponed several trials of Muslims amid fears that they are unlikely to receive a fair hearing in the current climate of racial tension. Judges are concerned that jurors at trials of Muslims may hold views of the defendants strongly influenced by recent events. In California, the case against an Egyptian immigrant accused of killing a child has been put on hold. The judge in Santa Ana said he was dismissing 163 prospective jurors because it appeared John Ghobrial would not get a fair hearing. He delayed the trial until 28 September to allow time for emotions to cool down. In Atlanta, Georgia, a judge cited the same reasons for delaying the murder trial of a Muslim cleric. Jamil Abdullah al-Amin is accused of killing a police officer and could get the death penalty if found guilty. The judge postponed the trial until January.

The East African (Nairobi) OPINION September 17, 2001 Shocking End of US Exceptionalism Kevin J. Kelley IN WASHINGTON The sound and fury convulsing the United States in the aftermath of the September 11 terror attacks is as much a response to the end of American exceptionalism as to the slaughter itself. Throughout the 20th century, over the course of two world wars, two major regional conflicts (Korea and Vietnam) and numerous smaller-scale military actions, the US mainland remained unscathed. Many thousands of Americans did sacrifice their lives in those hostilities, but the country's citizens, unlike those of almost all other nations, could still cling to the belief that wars were always fought elsewhere, never at home. At the dawn of the 21st century, that illusion has been incinerated in the firestorms that engulfed the foremost symbols of American military and economic might. The literal disbelief with which so many people, not only Americans, reacted to the horrific images of September 11, highlights the depth and breadth of the assumption of US invulnerability. What's excruciatingly obvious now is that the United States isn't exceptional and isn't divinely protected, after all. But a long time will pass before that realisation alters the thinking of ordinary Americans as well as their leaders. In the period ahead, the rest of the world will experience full-force the toxic by-products of US exceptionalism: crusades born of a Manichean arrogance; xenophobia rooted in the political ignorance of even many highly-educated Americans. Simplistic, ugly reactions to the breaching of the country's physical and psychological fortress would be inevitable no matter which party held power in Washington. But under a naive and dogmatically conservative president, one who had already displayed his disdain for negotiation in international forums, the coming retaliation may be especially indiscriminate and, hence, both disastrous and futile. It's already begun. Beatings and arson attacks have been carried out against Muslims and Sikhs in Texas, Ohio, Illinois, New York and other states. Bellicose flag-waving and baying for blood are becoming widespread as hyperventilating media outlets proclaim the start of World War III. Extreme patriots of any state would no doubt respond the same way to the murder of thousands of their compatriots. But such a backlash is uniquely dangerous when it erupts within the world's sole superpower. The war talk by members of the Bush team carries threats to millions of non-combatants beyond US borders. This president probably takes literally his rhetoric about a showdown between good and evil. American exceptionalism includes the corollary that the United States and its allies stand on the side of righteousness while everyone else deserves damnation. In its current fury, Washington recognises no middle ground, no ambiguity. The highest officials decee that the nations of the world must align either with the United States or against it. A well-aimed military response is nevertheless warranted. Nothing can excuse the killing of 200 wananchi in Kenya and Tanzania and 5,000 work-a-day souls in the World Trade Centre. Nor can the Taliban justify their refusal to hand over Osama bin Laden. For now, several countries in Africa and the Middle East must brace for what could be a protracted pummeling that will almost certainly kill many more civilians than died last week in New York. Bill Clinton's retaliatory bombing of Afghanistan and Sudan following the 1998 East Africa embassy bombings will seem a mere pinprick compared with what is coming. This time, the United States may not be as constrained by the aim of avoiding American casualties. Will ground forces be ordered to storm villages, towns, even cities once the arms-length missile strikes have softened up targets? Large numbers of Americans are so incensed that they may tolerate degrees of bloodshed, on all sides, that would previously have been unacceptable. Secretary of State Colin Powell has outlined US intentions towards whomever it blames for the World Trade Centre and Pentagon atrocities: "We will go after that group, that network, and those who have harboured, supported and aided that network, to rip the network up. When we're through with that network," General Powell continued, "we will continue with a global assault against terrorism in general." On the potential US hit list are Sudan, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Algeria, Palestine, and, if bloodlust runs rampant, Cuba. What many of these countries have in common is desperate, maddening poverty. And that explains, but only loosely, why most of them do indeed harbour terrorist groups that commit heinous crimes. We orchestrate a global economic system that dictates what others shall produce, what they shall be paid, and whether or not they will find work, Ronald Steel, a University of California professor of international relations, aptly observed in the September 14 issue of the New York Times. It is the egregious global imbalance of wealth whereby a few countries have a lot and most countries have little or nothing that triggers warped acts of violence. Proportion is lost; cause-and-effect forgotten. The United States did nothing as 800,000 Rwandans were annihilated in three months in 1994. Granted, those were not Americans dead, but they were no less human than the 5,000 killed in one hour last Tuesday. And which country supplied much of the weaponry that has made killing commonplace in so much of Africa? It wasn't Afghanistan. Which nation's counterinsurgency specialists trained the mujahideen who went on to destroy US embassies and, quite likely, the World Trade Centre? Not Yemenis. Those who attacked New York and Washington feed on the resentments of the marginalised. Bin Laden and his cohorts assume that the United States will not address the grievances that give rise to terrorism, which can accurately be defined as aggression on the part of the weak. The most profound hope of the suicidal hijackers and their puppeteers is that the US will lash back wildly. As a US citizen, I take pride in the freedoms and hard-won social progress that make the United States a beacon for much of the world. But as a human being with broader allegiances, I fear the wrath of an over-armed nation that is capable, especially now, of further brutalising the wretched of the earth. Thank you for your comments and suggestions to The EastAfrican. Please include your full name, town and country from which you are responding/writing.

BBC 12 Sept 2001 Thousands feared dead - People across the world are in mourning The final death toll from the bombing of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon may not be known for weeks, but initial indications are that thousands could have died. Death toll indications All 266 on board the four planes are feared dead Between 100 and 800 are believed to have died at the Pentagon 41 people are known to have died so far in the WTC 10,000 to 20,000 were estimated to be inside when the first plane crashed At least 202 firefighters and 259 uniformed service members are missing in the WTC vicinity, feared dead The four hijacked planes which crashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and near Pittsburgh had 266 people on board. All are feared dead. Fire fighting authorities said between 100 and 800 people were believed to have died at the Pentagon, and stressed that it could be days before a precise figure was known. The highest toll was likely to come from the World Trade Center in Manhattan, where tens of thousands of people work. World Trade Center casualties New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said 41 people are known to have died so far at the centre, although officials estimate that 10,000 to 20,000 people were in the buildings when the first plane crashed. How many managed to escape before the towers collapsed is unknown. About 1,100 people were being treated at local hospitals and about 2,000 "walking wounded" were ferried across the Hudson River to New Jersey. Hundreds of volunteers rushed to help Mayor Giuliani said at least 202 firefighters are still missing - feared crushed by the building as it collapsed while they struggled to rescue people from the blaze. He said 259 uniformed service members are also unaccounted for. US television reports also said that seven people were known to be dead at New York hospitals late on Tuesday, although the fact that fewer came than expected was interpreted as an ominous sign by hospital officials. Ominous sign "I think so many people are dead. It's a bad sign that there are no mass casualties," said Dr James Dillard at St Vincent's Hospital in lower Manhattan. A firefighter in New York, Rudy Weindler, said that during a 12-hour search he had only found four survivors. "I lost count of all the dead people I saw," Weindler said. "It is absolutely worse than you could ever imagine." Some people trapped in the blazing buildings jumped from the upper floors of the World Trade Center. Eyewitnesses reported seeing a man and a woman who held hands as they plunged to their deaths.


Launch.com Entertainment 26 Sept 2001 Disturbed Offers Disturbing Scenes Of Genocide In Concert (9/26/01, 1 p.m. ET) -- Disturbed opened its tour in Denver on Saturday (September 22) with a disturbing video production that depicts the darker side of humanity. Before the band hit the stage, a montage of clips ran past the crowd showing Sadaam Hussein gassing his own people, the Armenian genocide, race riots of the '60s, the Salem witch trials, the massacre at Wounded Knee, and other clips demonstrating humanity's senseless oppression. The mini-movie ends with scenes from Nazi Germany, including Adolph Hitler's Nuremberg speech and scenes of prisoners' bodies and crematoriums. Singer David Draiman then enters the stage and is escorted into a plexi-glass chamber by uniformed soldiers. He's forced into the structure, and gas fills the chamber from a showerhead until Draiman falls motionless to the floor. The singer told LAUNCH that the band's name and what it stands for are closely tied to its production. "The way that the world views us and views individuals--people that are different than everyone else, people that are black sheep of sorts--is as if they're sick or twisted or disturbed," he said. "Our philosophy is one of individuality, development of self, and finding those things in life that you can be passionate about." Draiman, who is Jewish, said in a statement, "Both of my grandparents on my mother's side were in the concentration camps, but what we're talking about here isn't a Jewish thing, it's a people thing. It's everyone, whether it's in the U.S. massacring Native Americans for the sake of conquest, or the Spanish Inquisition or any other movement that tried to force a way of life, torture or exterminate other people for being different from being the way that they are." Disturbed is off tonight (September 26) due to Yom Kippur, but will be back in action Thursday night (September 27) in Corpus Christi, Texas at the Concrete Center. -- Darren Davis, New York

Miami Herald 9 Sept 2001 Florida site reveals history of Black Seminoles - Ex-slaves joined with Indians BY SCOTT MCCABE The Palm Beach Post BUSHNELL, Fla. -- Forty-five minutes west of Walt Disney's make-believe history, archaeologists dig for real artifacts. Hunched over a shallow, square excavation, they search for Peliklakaha, the largest Black Seminole village known to historians, a place where different cultures joined in a fight for freedom more than 200 years ago. Until now, say University of Florida archaeologists, Peliklakaha existed only in the writings of military leaders and a painting commissioned by the U.S. general who had burned it down. Archaeologists hope to unearth clues that documents can't provide, secrets about the life of a hidden people. They hope Peliklakaha will reveal whether the inhabitants developed a unique lifestyle with their new status as free people in Florida. ``The story of the Black Seminoles is a tremendous story about a successful effort by slaves gaining their freedom before the Civil War,'' said Delray Beach archaeologist Bill Steele, who discovered the site in 1993. ``That's why Peliklakaha is so significant.'' The dig could establish a new focus in archaeology on cultures that combine African and Native American influences, said Terry Weik, the UF graduate student heading the excavation. It could also bolster the Black Seminoles' lawsuit that seeks a share of the $56 million the United States government paid the Seminoles for reparations. To win their suit against the U.S. government, the Black Seminoles must prove they owned land in Florida. The story of the Black Seminoles is complex and controversial. Often it's misunderstood. The Seminoles themselves were a distillation of as many as 36 tribes. Osceola, the bold and dashing leader for whom the Florida State University mascot was named, was half Scottish and half Creek Indian, and married a Black Seminole. Historian Kenneth W. Porter, the grandfather of the study of these people, designates as Black Seminoles those people of African origin who joined the tribe voluntarily or were bought as slaves. Today, there are two black bands and 2,500 registered black members in the Great Seminole Nation of Oklahoma. Seventy-five percent of the tribe, of both races, were moved there after the Second Seminole War in 1838. The black bands, known as Freedmen or Estulusti, have been part of the 14-band tribe since its formation. They are federally recognized as members of the Oklahoma tribe. LAWSUIT The 19-year-old son of a Black Seminole leader is suing the United States for denying him federal benefits afforded all Indians and a part of the $56 million that the government finally agreed in 1991 to pay the tribe for taking Florida. A federal appeals court has ruled the Black Seminoles can sue the federal government, which maintains they were slaves and did not own land. A new trial date has not been set in the case, which was filed in 1996. In Florida, the tribe has ignored its black brothers and sisters from Oklahoma until recently. Now, for $24.99, the tribe's website will help trace Black Seminole roots. At the same time, historians are examining the Second Seminole War more closely. Although not as known as the Indian campaigns out West, the Second Seminole War has always been considered the bloodiest and most brutal of all U.S.-Indian wars. Now, some historians are also calling the seven-year struggle the largest slave rebellion in United States history. ``You cannot understand the history of Florida without understanding Black Seminole and Red Seminole history. They are the core,'' said historian William Loren Katz, author of Black Indians: A Hidden Heritage. PRECEDED SEMINOLES Blacks were in Florida before the Seminoles. In the late 1600s, African slaves who escaped Carolina plantations and dodged slave hunters through dangerous Indian country gained freedom by crossing the St. Mary's River, an international border that divided Spanish and British colonial territory. This was the first underground railroad. So many fled here that, in 1693, the Spanish settlement at St. Augustine began freeing the runaway slaves if they agreed to convert to Catholicism and protect the northern border from the British, according to Jane Landers, author of Black Society in Spanish Florida. By 1738, these former slaves formed the first free black community in North America -- Gracia Real de Santo Teresa de Mose -- better known as Fort Mose. Soon, the Indians followed. They were the remnants of the most resistant tribes, the Creek, Hitichi, Yamasee and Miccosukee, Indians who had been fighting the Europeans for centuries. Together they became known as the Seminoles. The term first appears in the mid-1700s and is believed to come from the Spanish word meaning ``runaway'' or ``secede.'' Like the Spanish, the Seminoles harbored runaway slaves. Although most blacks were technically governed by Seminole chiefs, they were free in every other way. They were armed. Most lived in their own villages and, as a kind of tax, gave corn to the tribe. They taught the Indians to build homes, tend livestock and speak English and Spanish. ``I don't think some modern U.S. audiences can get that neither the Spaniards nor the Seminoles nor the blacks themselves considered them slaves -- only the Americans did,'' Landers said. They became farmers, ranchers, cowboys, interpreters, hunters, traders and warriors. Some lived short lives as outlaws, raiding plantations, recruiting black people, and trading in contraband. Others farmed and traded, building peaceful relations with Indians, slaves and former masters. Intermarriages were common. Up the Apalachicola River, 25 miles north of the Gulf of Mexico, more than 300 black people and Indians manned a fort that the British built for them in the War of 1812. It was called Negro Fort. When the war ended, the black and Indian militia stayed. From bastions 15 feet high and 18 feet thick, they'd fire at what few ships came down the river. That all ended right before the Seminole War in 1816. A single shot from an American ship hit the fort's ammunition dump, killing 270 of the 320 inside. Later, the United States bought Florida from Spain. President Andrew Jackson ordered all American Indians to move west of the Mississippi River. Although the North-South debate over slavery was in full swing at the outset of the Second Seminole War, the public at first was oblivious to the connection between the slavery of blacks and the removal of Indians from Florida. The military were well aware of the connection. WAR BEGINS The Seminoles struck first on Dec. 28, 1835. Less than 10 miles due east of Peliklakaha, 180 warriors surprised a troop of 108 U.S. soldiers in what is known as The Dade Massacre. The soldiers hastily built a triangular barricade and held off the aggressors for nearly six hours until they were startled by the sound of pounding hooves. Fifty black warriors on horseback swarmed the barricade, stabbing and axing the wounded, taunting them with cries of ``What do you got to sell?'' -- a question soldiers often asked of black people when they visited military posts. Only three white people survived. At first the Seminoles were appalled by their black allies and their European, to-the-death style of battle, said Steele, the archaeologist. For years, he wondered where these black warriors came from. It was only after discovering Peliklakaha, and its proximity to the battle, that Steele came up with this theory: The black horsemen must have heard the battle in the distance and came riding in. ``Black history is covered in layers,'' he said. ``You have to think your way through.'' Peliklakaha, sometimes called Abraham's Old Town, is named for a full-black former slave, once owned by a Pensacola doctor. British soldiers recruited him to the Negro Fort, where he survived the explosion. In the first Seminole War, Abraham fought against then-Gen. Andrew Jackson's troops. Afterward he recruited black people into the tribe, became an interpreter and attained the status of ``sense bearer,'' or lawyer, for Chief Micanopy on his trip to Washington in 1826. Abraham stood tall and slender. He had a courtly manner and a clear, fluent, genteel speech. His face was distinguished by a badly crossed right eye. He governed Peliklakaha and married the widow of Chief Bowlegs. Three months after the Dade Massacre, with U.S. forces moving in, Abraham abandoned Peliklakaha. Brig. General Abraham Eustis torched the town and commissioned a drawing of the burning homes. It shows dense smoke billowing above sturdy structures. In the distance, cattle graze near yellow crops. As a sense bearer for the Seminole nation, Abraham influenced both sides of the war. He always kept his people's freedom in mind. Black people had more to lose. A U.S. victory would move the Indians to Oklahoma, but probably send black people into slavery no matter how much Indian blood they had. As the war intensified, black warriors rapidly rose through the ranks, wielding political clout within the tribe. Their military prowess impressed both white opponents and Seminole leaders. Many warriors had come from the fiercest tribes of Africa: the Ibo, Egba, Senegal and Ashanti. ``Throughout my operations, I found the Negroes the most active and determined warriors; and during my conference with Indian chiefs I ascertained that they exercised an almost controlling influence over them,'' wrote Maj. Gen. Thomas Sidney Jesup, who assumed command in Florida in 1836. ``This, you may be assured, is a Negro and not an Indian War.'' His statement that this was a Negro war was an exaggeration; it was both, according to Katz. But Jesup's point was that the Seminoles would not move west unless the black people were allowed to go with them. ``Although the U.S. government tried to disrupt this interracial alliance, Indian loyalty to black Seminoles remained unshaken as Seminole warriors, including chiefs, continued to marry black women and rely on black advisors,'' Richard Procyk wrote in Guns Across the Loxahatchee. ``This steadfastness may well have contributed to the ultimate downfall of the Seminole nation.'' Historians often compare the Second Seminole War to the Vietnam War. Many Americans called the Seminole war unwinnable and immoral. Newspapers of the day questioned why American boys were dying in a worthless piece of Florida swamp. The Seminole struggle grew into the longest and costliest of all American Indian wars. It was also the deadliest, with more than 1,500 regular soldiers and sailors lost. The beginning of the end came at the Battle of Okeechobee, which President Lincoln noted as ``one of the most desperate struggles known to the annals of Indian Warfare,'' and the Battle of Loxahatchee on the Loxahatchee River in northern Palm Beach County. With the assurance that his people would not be sold back into slavery, Abraham helped negotiate peace, ending his 20-year fight. From 1838 to 1843, the U.S. moved more than 500 Black Seminoles west. More were stolen by slave runners. Today, 30 minutes off the northern end of Florida's Turnpike, about five miles west of Bushnell, Peliklakaha rests quietly. It's difficult to stand there and not imagine what it used to be. Giant live oaks hang with gray Spanish moss like strands of an old woman's hair. From the shade, sunny, green savannas roll away into blue pools. Brown and white cattle still graze, just as they did 170 years ago. LOTS OF ARTIFACTS Weik, the UF grad student, has been making the 1 1/2-hour trek from Gainesville for three years now. A cursory search has turned up 1,000 artifacts, but most are in pieces: green, clear and blue glass beads, iron stone China pottery, spirits bottles and rusted nail fragments. Seminole influence shows in the Chattahoochee-brushed pottery, white metal earbobs, and the primitive pink fire-stoned tools that might have been used to scrape hides, Weik said. One pottery rim has a triangular print that could be unique to Peliklakaha. Glass shards were used for things like removing splinters. The most promising find was discovered last month. When Weik squirted the earth with mists of water, three gray, chalky spots appeared. Weik believes they could be the posts that held a corner of one of the homes that burned down. ``These people weren't simply runaway, plantation slaves or Native Americans,'' Weik said. ``They were distinct groups that created new cultures under stressful conditions.''

Reuters 4 Sept 2001 US Puzzles Allies, Joins Muslims on Child Rights By Evelyn Leopold UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Even the Girl Scouts are baffled by the Bush administration's conservative positions in the run-up to a major summit on children this month. A near-universal treaty on children rights is to be set aside, adolescent sex education is proscribed in favor of abstinence and references to entitlement for children's health care are opposed by American negotiators. The U.S. delegation also opposes special mention of abuse and rehabilitation of girls in war zones, saying this would discriminate against boys and apparently fearing counseling on birth control and abortion, diplomats said. That was too much for the Girl Scouts, observing negotiations on drafting a final summit declaration. ``Children of both sexes can be abducted and forced to be child soldiers, but only girls face the sexual torture and degradation that comes from repeated rape, pregnancy and childbirth in risky and unsafe conditions,'' said Leslie Wright of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts. ``It is a pretense that singling out girls discriminates against boys,'' she said, distributing a document signed by other mainstream U.S. groups. The conference, organized by UNICEF , the U.N. Children's Fund, is scheduled for Sept. 19-21, a follow-up to a landmark summit in 1990, which aimed at setting guidelines for governments, special interest groups and U.N. agencies. That meeting, basking in the euphoria of the end of the Cold War, set goals to accelerate education, particularly for girls, health and living conditions for children in impoverished nations. The targets have not been met, with hoped for funds falling short. Since then, issues of protection of children have moved to the forefront-- children used as soldiers, as prostitutes and as victims of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Negotiations are expected until the last minute before the summit opens, with some 75 presidents and prime ministers attending, mostly from Africa, Asia and Latin America. The wealthy West is sparsely represented at this level with French President Jacques Chirac and Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien among the exceptions. ``The Europeans probably don't want to be held up for money,'' said Marjorie Newman-Williams, UNICEF's communications director. The United States may send Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson and Education Secretary Rod Paige. President Bush makes his maiden speech at the United Nations a few days later, when the General Assembly opens. In an unusual alliance at the conference, the United States finds itself siding on several issues with conservative Muslim nations -- Sudan, Libya, Iran, Pakistan and Egypt, to the dismay of the European Union. Since the start of the negotiations in February, the U.S. delegation has sought to delete references to the 1989 Convention of the Rights of the Child, the backbone of UNICEF's work for a decade. The treaty, signed by former President Bill Clinton in 1995, has been ratified by all countries except the United States and Somalia, which did not have a government. Conservatives in Congress argue it encroaches on parental rights and object to provisions against capital punishment or life imprisonment without parole for minors. ``As a nonparty to the convention, the United States does not accept obligations based on it, nor do we accept that it is the best or only framework for developing programs and policies to benefit children,'' Michael Southwick, a deputy assistant secretary of state, told delegates. ``We believe the text goes too far when it asserts entitlements based on economic, social and cultural rights contained in the convention and other instruments,'' he said. The Bush administration, for example, is arguing in favor of ``reproductive health care'' rather than reproductive health services,'' a vague enough term in previous documents to allow each country to give its own interpretation. But in June, after a Canadian delegate said this would allow abortion counseling, the State Department asked every U.S. Embassy to Latin America to lobby governments to substitute ``care'' for ``services.'' Although abortion is illegal in many Latin American nations, diplomats said resentment flared over the U.S. lobbying, which now includes a Sudan proposal promoting abstinence as the main form of preventing pregnancy. The arguments, according to Dr. Joyce Braak, president of the nonprofit Institute for Research on Women's Health, have drowned out too many other issues. She, for one, had hoped that psychological trauma would be a new category to explore. ``We are saddened and disappointed there is not strong support for what is clear to people on the ground,'' she said.



Australian Broadcasting Corp 18 Sept 2001 Kalejs resumes legal battle against extradition order Alleged Nazi war criminal, Konrad Kalejs, has resumed his legal battle against his extradition to Latvia. Kalejs, aged 88, has been ordered to return to Latvia to face trial on war crimes and genocide charges. An extradition notice was issued against him last May. He is appealing against that order and against the extradition notices originally put out by the Minister Amanda Vanstone last December. The grounds for the appeal in the Federal Court include the legality of the extradition process that has been followed and the health of Kalejs. His lawyer Gerard Leftbridge argued the fragile state of the old man's health was not made clear to the Minister when she first issued the orders.


AP 11 Sept 2001 Cambodian foreign minister sues 3 journalists over genocide By KER MUNTHIT, PHNOM PENH, Cambodia. The trial began Tuesday of one Cambodian and two American journalists accused of defamation for allegedly writing news stories implicating the country's current foreign minister in the deaths of civilians during the barbaric late 1970's rule of the Khmer Rouge. The three journalists are being sued over two articles published in The Cambodia Daily in January in which Foreign Minister Hor Namhong was said to have played an active part in administering a prison camp in Phnom Penh. Innocent people were taken from the camp and tortured and executed, according to the articles. The camp was set up by the communist Khmer Rouge for intellectuals and overseas Cambodians who had returned to their homeland in the mistaken belief that they would be lending a hand in helping rebuild their country after a bitter civil war. The articles said Hor Namhong was put in charge of other prisoners, but he has said he had no special privileges or duties. The radical policies of the Khmer Rouge caused the deaths of an estimated 1.7 million Cambodians through overwork, starvation and execution when the group held power in 1975-79. Plans are underway for an internationally assisted trial of the group's surviving leaders for crimes against humanity. Tuesday's court proceedings adjourned after nearly three hours and Judge Bunning Bunary said she would announce a verdict Friday. Kay Kimsong, a 30-year-old reporter for The Cambodia Daily, was the only defendant in the courtroom. Brian Mockenhaupt, 26, the former editor-in-chief of the newspaper, and Gina Chon, 25, a reporter, both left Cambodia two months ago to work in South Korea. The Cambodia Daily, whose publisher is a Tokyo-based American, Bernie Krisher, is the only English-language daily in Cambodia. The newspaper, with a circulation of some 3,500, was founded in 1993. The two American defendants submitted a statement, read by the court, defending the articles as factually accurate and said it was based on accounts collected by witnesses, survivors and documents. Fellow defendant Kay Kimsong noted that a senator, Keo Bun Thouk, was quoted in the article saying that Hor Namhong was responsible for prisoners being sent from the camp, known as Boeung Trabek, to S-21, a torture center now known as Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. In a written statement to the court, the senator denied making the comments to the newspaper. Hor Namhong, who did not appear at the court, said he was put in charge of a committee at the prison camp but that he was merely a prisoner. I was made to do forced labor, live under one discipline, eat the same rations as everyone else, he said in the statement. His lawyer, Ka Savuth, said the allegations were a serious insult to Hor Namhong's dignity. He asked the court to order the journalists to pay dlrs 1 million in compensation to the minister and pay the state a 10 million riel (dlrs 2,560) fine. In case the journalists cannot pay the million, the newspaper should be compensated as property of the state and the journalists should be thrown in jail, he said. If found guilty, the defendants could be sentenced to from six months to three years in jail, he said. In his closing remarks, reporter Kay Kimsong asked the court to drop all charges, saying he had only quoted a senator.

East Timor

AP 27 Sept 2001 U.N. Indicts 11 for E. Timor Crimes DILI, East Timor - U.N. prosecutors in East Timor filed the first indictments for extermination Thursday against 11 men suspected of committing crimes after the territory seceded from Indonesia in 1999. The suspects - nine anti-independence militiamen and two Indonesian soldiers - are accused of targeting 65 people in the isolated East Timorese enclave of Oecussi. The victims are believed to have been killed in two massacres in September 1999, said Mohamed Othman, the U.N. prosecutor general in East Timor. ``This indictment is significant as it is the first indictment for extermination,'' Othman said. ``They segregated young males between 16 and 30 who were educated, tied them up and shot or macheted them to death.'' Othman said the suspects are believed to be in Indonesia. More than 1,000 people were killed and much of East Timor's infrastructure was destroyed by pro-Jakarta militias and their Indonesian military backers after the territory voted for independence in the U.N.-sponsored ballot. The violence ended with the arrival of international peacekeepers. The world body is administering East Timor during its transition to independence next year. Before Thursday's indictments, U.N. prosecutors had filled charges against several Indonesian military suspects. However, Jakarta has refused to extradite them.

AFP 12 Sept 2001 Gusmao thanks 'sister Mega' for acknowledging East Timor JAKARTA, Sept 12 (AFP) - Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri met East Timorese leaders for the first time Wednesday, breaking her two-year coolness towards the territory since it broke away from Indonesian rule. At Jakarta's state palace, Megawati met the man who led the struggle against Indonesia's 24-year occupation, Xanana Gusmao, foreign minister Jose Ramos Horta, the UN's chief administrator in the territory Sergio Vieira de Mello, and Fretilin party leader Mari Alkatiri. "It was a very cordial, fruitful meeting," Gusmao told reporters afterwards. De Mello said the "broad-ranging" talks touched on the 50,000-80,000 East Timorese refugees in camps in Indonesian-ruled West Timor. They also raised the case of 124 East Timorese children held in orphanages in Java, the payment of pensions for East Timorese who worked for the Indonesian civil service and a bilateral free trade proposal. Leaders of the half-island territory, some six months away from full independence, thanked Megawati for acknowledging East Timor's sovereignty in her inaugural state of the nation address last month. "We congratulated Megawati on her appointment and her words on East Timor in her recent statement," de Mello said, calling her statement a "courageous initiative." In her speech Megawati, a fervent nationalist, said East Timor was never meant to be part of Indonesia since her father, founding president Sukarno, had decreed that its territory was defined by the former Dutch East Indies. East Timor was ruled formerly by Portugal, not the Netherlands. "We congratulate sister Mega for the great responsibility to lead Indonesia to better times," Gusmao said. "Of course we... expressed our gratitude for her statement and for all the work she's putting into solving the many problems between the two countries." The East Timorese proposed a free trade zone between their territory and the neighbouring Indonesian province of East Nusa Tenggara (NTT). "For the establishment of a good relationship between Indonesia and East Timor we need to establish first of all good relations between NTT and East Timor," Alkatiri said. Alkatiri is secretary general of the veteran resistance party Fretilin, which has just won East Timor's first free elections. He is widely expected to become prime minister in a proposed semi-presidential system, with Gusmao unanimously expected to become president. The East Timorese leaders also congratulated Megawati for widening the scope of a human rights tribunal which is being established to try crimes committed during the territory's 1999 vote for independence. An existing agreement which allows for the extradition of people charged with crimes in either country will also be discussed with officials from the Indonesian Attorney General's Office. Jakarta has flouted the pact several times by refusing to hand over people wanted in East Timor. "We'd like to reenergise that memorandum of understanding," de Mello said. The delegation also discussed plans for anticipated mass returns of refugees following East Timor's peaceful elections on August 30. "There are indications that thousands of refugees from NTT will start returning to East Timor," de Mello said. Some 180,000 refugees have already returned home. An estimated quarter-million fled or were forced over the border following the 1999 independence vote, which triggered a deadly militia rampage. Alkatiri said most remaining refugees now want to go home.


BBC 10 September, 2001, New crisis threatens Fiji Qarase (L) was sworn in by President Josefa Iloilo (R) A new political crisis is threatening to engulf Fiji just hours after the swearing in of the country's new Prime Minister, nationalist hardliner, Laisenia Qarase. Opposition leader and former Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry on Monday demanded representation in Fiji's cabinet as guaranteed by the constitution. Mr Chaudhry, who says his Labour Party would work as an opposition within government, has insisted the move would not destabilise the country but Mr Qarase says the arrangement is unworkable. Mr Qarase was appointed prime minister following Fiji's first elections since Mr Chaudhry, an ethnic Indian, was ousted in a coup led by a failed businessman turned nationalist figurehead, George Speight, 15 months ago. But although his Fijian People's Party (SDL) won the most seats, the prime minister says it now faces having a minority voice in his own cabinet. Fiji's constitution states any party with more than 10% of the seats in the new parliament must be offered a cabinet position - Mr Chaudhry's Labour Party is entitled to 46% of ministerial positions. Mr Qarase on Monday duly invited his rival to join the government but at the same time appealed to Mr Chaudhry not to accept any posts. He said: "It means he [Mr Chaudhry] will have to get about eight seats. I get 12 and I have an obligation to give some to the smaller parties. Say I give five, I end up with seven. "The numbers don't stack up and it will never work." Mr Chaudhry says he will take up Mr Qarase's offer but as an opposition group within the government. Commenting on his decision to join the cabinet, Mr Chaudhry said: "If you could be in government, what fool in politics would want to be in the opposition?" The BBC's Phil Mercer in the Fijian capital, Suva, says such an arrangement would mean the new administration would be divided like no other in Fiji's political history. Mr Chaudhry's party won 27 out of 71 parliamentary seats, while Mr Qarase's nationalist Fijian People's Party (SDL) won 31, failing to secure an outright majority. Mr Chaudhry says he will challenge the election results in court, accusing indigenous Fijians of ballot-rigging. Seeking coalition It is still unclear who Mr Qarase's other coalition partners will be. The balance of power in parliament is held by a small group of moderates and ultra-nationalists. Mr Qarase faces a tough challenge - Fiji's economy is in depression and the racial divide that led to the coup is as deep as ever. Mr Qarase's swearing-in was held at the old colonial Government House in the capital Suva and was conducted by President Josefa Iloilo. Speaking after the ceremony, Mr Qarase said that in the next 48 hours he would be making recommendations as to who the other members of his cabinet would be. "It will be a very strong cabinet with a lot of talent and a lot of experience and we will be ready to move Fiji forward," he said. In May 2000, gunmen led by George Speight deposed Mr Chaudhry and laid siege to the nation's parliament, demanding a decisive governmental role for ethnic Fijians. Mr Speight is now in prison awaiting trial for treason. His Conservative Alliance Matanitu Vanua (MV) nationalist group won six seats in the election.


ICRC 20 Sept 2001 India: Yearbook on International Humanitarian Law and Refugee Law On 14 September, in cooperation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the Indian Society of International Law (ISIL), the ICRC brought out the first volume of the Yearbook on International Humanitarian Law and Refugee Law. At a ceremony attended by various dignitaries and members of the ISIL, the head of the ICRC regional delegation in New Delhi gave a talk on civil strife, internal violence and the mandate of the ICRC. The Yearbook contains various articles on international humanitarian law and refugee law with specific reference to South Asia. Further information please contact Aseem Tiwari, ICRC New Delhi, tel.: ++ 911 1 435 23 38

Daily Star (Bangladesh) 7 Sept 2001 India Hindutva, nationalism and violence By Asghar Ali Engineer. Much has already been written on Hindutva and attempt has been made to define it on the basis of writings of Veer Savarkar as he was the first who coined this term. Hindutva is different from Hinduism. Hinduism is a religion and Hindutva is a political doctrine representing majoritarian ethos of the Hindu majority vis-à -vis other minorities. It has nothing to do with Hinduism. Hinduism is a religion whereas Hindutva is a political doctrine. There may be some similarities but there is greater contrast between the two. While Hinduism is tolerant Hindutva is most intolerant. While Hinduism is universal Hindutva is confined to narrow nationalism. While Hinduism is humanitarian, Hindutva represents interests of a section of Hindu political elite. These are important differences, which must be kept in mind. There is absolutely no clash between Islam, Christianity and Hinduism while there is clash between not only Islam, Christianity and Hindutva but also between Hinduism and Hindutva. Therefore, it is not necessary that followers of Hinduism will embrace doctrines of Hindutva. Similarly there is difference between any religion and political doctrines evolved on the basis of narrow interests of political elite of the followers of that religion. This contrast between religion which is politically neutral and caters to spiritual needs of its followers and political outfit based on the narrow interests is all the more if this outfit is avowedly right-wing as in the case of Hindutva. Hindu religion, compared to religions like Buddhism, Christianity and Islam, is territorial-based in as much as it remained confined to South Asia. It could venture out only up to a part of South East Asia like Indonesia, Combodia etc. It could not spread out basically because it was caste-based religion and had well defined caste hierarchy. Thus Hinduism is basically characterised, unlike other religions, by two distinct characteristics territory and caste hierarchy and hence its ability to spread out was limited. Thus Hinduism, compared to other religions, which spread far and wide from its point of origin, found much more emphasis on attachment to territory. In other words it has territorial ethos in abundance. Naturally it judges other faith traditions from this perspective. The RSS ideology, another expression of Hindutva, therefore, characterises Islam and Christianity as 'foreign' religions and finds no space for them within Indian territory. Thus nationalism found natural expression in the RSS or Hindutva ideology. Nationalism, as far as the nineteenth century India is concerned, was outgrowth of western political ideology. The Indian National Congress adopted it to suit Indian political panorama. In other words it was not mere mechanical imitation but had local hue. It was applied to multi-religious and multi-lingual political scenario of India. In Europe nationalism was a territorial ideology within mono-religious, mono-lingual and mono-cultural backdrop. India, on the other hand, was an agglomeration of religious, languages and cultures. To create nation out of it was no easy political task. The national ethos thus did not naturally grow from below, but was imposed from above as a political ideology. Thus nationalism acquired religious hue as well. While it tended to be religion and territory-based in the majority community and an extreme form of territorial loyalty it acquired separatist ethos as far as Muslims were concerned. Here I would like to point out that it is wrong to bracket Islam and separatism together. As Hindutva cannot be equated with Hinduism as pointed above, Islam cannot be equated with separatism. Thus the prominent Ulama never participated in the Pakistan movement and categorically rejected the two-nation theory as Un-Islamic and product of separatist politics, not of Islam. Though the British divide and rule policy did play its own part the growth of religious nationalism was an indigenous phenomenon. The two communities i.e. Hindu and Muslim were manipulated by their respective power elite throughout freedom struggle which, ultimately resulted in partition of the country. The main blame goes of course to manipulations by power elite but generally it was seen as a religious phenomenon. Partition, needless to say strengthened the Hindutva phenomenon and the RSS ideology. The Jan Sangh, which came into existence in early fifties, was a political expression of the RSS philosophy. It emphasised Hindu religious and Indian territorial attachment to the extreme to legitimise its own political interests. Thus territorial nationalism became Jan Sangh's hall-mark. It is not that territorial nationalism is objectionable per se. Territorial nationalism, even n fast changing scenario in the times of globalisation when national barriers are being weakened, retains much of its relevance. But its extreme form as expounded by the Hindutva forces tends to be revanchanist. In a multi-religious and multi-ethnic society like India such nationalism becomes extremely divisive and creates tensions between various religious and ethnic communities. Hindutvawadi forces are represented in its extreme form today by extremists in the Sangh Parivar like the RSS Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad, apart from the hard core elements in the BJP. The behaviour of the Sangh Parivar, since it has come to power, has been much more aggressive and minorities feel quite insecure. Apart from the Muslims attacks on Christians have also increased. The RSS ideologues continue to describe Islam and Christianity as alien religions, alien to Indian social ethos, separatist in nature and violent. It is also maintained that the followers of these religions are loyal to their holy lands, instead of India. Such statements cannot stand a moment's scrutiny but continued to be believed by a large sections of upper caste Hindus. Even a writer like V.S.Naipaul who has lived all his life in England entertains such chauvinistic ethos. He believes that the Muslim conquest of India resulted in genocide and destruction of flower of Hindu civilisation. He believes that to maintain that Hindus and Muslims have coexisted in India for centuries is a 'lie and a hoax'. Needless to say, it is not understanding history but to surrender uncritically to ones chauvinistic emotions. It assumes highly simplistically that there was no violence, much less genocide in Indian society before the Muslim conquest. In other words pre-Muslim society was quite ideal. All violence, including the Kalinga and other wars are pushed under the carpet. But this is what is happening on the part of intellectuals. Such tendencies in all religious traditions are, unfortunately, on the increase. We become quite uncritical when it comes to our own religious tradition and bash up the 'other'. Today most of us have no religious or ethnic identity per se. Our identity owes its existence to the 'other', not to ourselves. It is borne out more due to hostility to the 'other' rather than to our own genuine feelings about our own faith, language or culture. And due to such hostile attitudes we easily surrender to political propaganda. There is another tendency, which has been doing great deal of damage to our national unity and integrity. The Hindutvawadis not only ignore violence in pre-Muslim Indian society but also quote Shastras to prove the non-violence and tolerance in Hindu religious tradition. Ironically they themselves, while quoting the Shastras display extreme form of intolerance and perpetuate acts of violence against religious minorities. It has been observed that more they talk of tolerance of Hindu tradition, more intolerance they display towards minorities and more they talk of non-violence, more violence they commit against Muslims and Christians. While glorifying no-violence in Hindu tradition these Hindutvawadis killed the apostle of no-violence Mahatma Gandhi. The Mahatma represented the genuine ethos of Indian society. Mahatma Gandhi was never so relevant as in today's increasingly intolerant Indian society. Both as political as well as moral leader he towers over all others in modern India. But he succeeds in extracting from us no more than verbal tributes. I must say to build a modern tolerant and non-violent India no one more than Mahatma Gandhi deserves our real leadership. He was as relevant in his life as in his death. However, our interests are more relevant than Gandhian ideals. In the context of the Hindutva ideology it is important to note that a homogenous notion of 'Muslims' and 'Christians' is highly doubtful. All Muslims are not wedded to the doctrine of jihad even in Pakistan, let alone in India. And all Christians are not supportive of conversions even in Christian majority countries, let alone in India. There are Muslims and Muslims and Christians and Christians as there are Hindus and Hindus. In other words each community is quite diverse in its religious, social and political proclivities. Perhaps the slogan 'unity in diversity' is as much applicable for every religious or ethnic community as for India as a whole. Diversity is the law of life as that of nature. The Hindutvawadis should note that more they emphasise their extreme form of territorial chauvinism more they weaken the political and cultural unity of India. This unity can best be strengthened by developing genuine respect for religious and cultural autonomy of different and diverse communities in India. More we respect this diversity more we strengthen Indian unity. But then the Hindutvawadis have stood more for interests of Hindu power elite rather than the unity of India. The author runs the Centre for Study of Society and Secularism in Mumbai, India [ http://www.mnet.fr/aiindex/i_csss/main.html ]

Telegraph (UK) 10 Sept 2001 Women in Kashmir cover up after rebel acid threat By Rahul Bedi in New Delhi. A DEADLINE set by Islamic rebels in Kashmir for Muslim women to start wearing veils or face acid attacks passed last night, and non-Muslim women were ordered to dress distinctively or face a similar fate. The little-known Lashkar-e-Jabbar group has decreed that Muslim women must wear yashmaks or the head-to-toe cloaks called burqas. It said Hindu women should wear the bindi dot on their foreheads, and Sikhs should cover their heads with saffron-coloured wraps. It also specified that Muslim men must have beards and wear the baggy salwar trousers and long shirts, in keeping with tradition. The group told newspapers in Srinagar, summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir state: "For the implementation of the order on Muslim women, it is necessary to differentiate between Muslims and non-Muslims." About 50,000 Hindus and 80,000 Sikhs live in the Kashmir Valley. More than 300,000 Hindus have fled since the civil war for a Muslim homeland erupted in 1989, claiming more than 35,000 lives. The dress code is similar to that in an order issued by Afghanistan's Taliban rulers three months ago making it mandatory for non-Muslim minorities to wear identification badges when they go outdoors. Tailors in Srinagar have been stockpiling veils and cloaks since rebels sprayed two women with sulphuric acid last month for not covering their faces. Earlier this year two teenagers were shot dead in Srinagar for wearing trousers, and beauty salons were attacked for being "un-Islamic". Ghulam Ahmed, a tailor, said: "Since the inception of Kashmir's insurgency 12 years ago I have never seen such a demand for veils and cloaks."

Hindustan Times 9 Sept 2001 'Jammu & Kasmir atrocities up by 800 persent' PTI (New Delhi) Statistics apparently indicate a 800 per cent jump in human rights violations in J&K by security forces during 2000-01 compared to the previous year. According to data available, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has received as many as 452 cases of human rights violation by armed and paramilitary forces during 2000-01 as against 61 cases during 1999-2000, sources said. While the cases of human rights violation against armed forces numbered 240 during 2000-01 as against 36 cases in the previous year, 212 such complaints were received against paramiliary forces as compared to 25 cases during 1999-2000. The Home Minister had recently said suitable changes in the law were required to protect security personnel, acting without malafide against terrorist elements from being hounded out for extraneous reasons. There were safeguards for securitymen during an open war in laws like the emergency provisions or the Disturbed Areas Act, Advani said adding that in an abnormal situation of proxy war, there are no legal provisions to protect a policeman who has done something in a bonafide manner to provide security to the common people. The Home Ministry was in discussion with the Law Ministry to amend the laws for this purpose, Advani had said. Interestingly, trouble-torn Jammu and Kashmir has reported maximum number of human rights violation incidents with 109 cases during 2000-01 as against 16 in 1999-2000 showing nearly 700 per cent increase, the NHRC data said. Jammu and Kashmir was followed by National Capital Delhi with 84 cases of human rights violation. No case of human rights violation against armed and para-military forces was reported from places like Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Nagaland, Andaman and Nicobar, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, Lakshadweep, Pondicherry and newly-created Chattisgarh, the sources said.


AFP 3 Sept 2001 Indonesian police arrest 47 pro-independence activists in Maluku Indonesian police in the eastern province of Maluku have arrested 47 suspected supporters of a pro-independence movement, a report said Monday. The deputy district police chief of Central Maluku, Commissioner Muhammad Rivai, was quoted by the Republika daily as saying they were detained during a "secret meeting" at Kairatu on Seram island on Thursday. "We are currently detaining them at the district police headquarters," Rivai said. The deputy police chief said the meeting was organised by the pro-independence Front for Maluku Sovereignty but its leaders including chairman Alex Manuputty escaped the raid. The front was established in December last year in Ambon to press for the establishment of a "Free South Maluku Republic." It held a separatist flag-raising ceremony in Ambon in June and Manuputty was detained but released after a few days. Later that month Maluku Governor Saleh Latuconsina banned all reporting and coverage of the group's activities. Officials in Seram island could not be reached for comment on the report. The Maluku independence movement became active shortly after Indonesia's own independence from the Dutch in the second half of the 1940s. In the early 1950s President Sukarno allowed selected people from the region -- especially former employees of the Dutch colonial administration -- to resettle in the Netherlands. Many pro-independence activists were among those who chose to move to the Netherlands, where the movement has continued. Sukarno's daughter, Preident Megawati Sukarnoputri, has said she will not tolerate any attempts at secession.


BBC 5 Sept 2001 Kurds alarm over 'smart sanctions' UN aid being distributed in the Kurdish region In the third of four features on Iraq's Kurdish region, BBC journalist Hiwa Osman examines the implementation of the UN oil-for-food programme and the Kurds' views on so-called smart sanctions. Iraqi Kurds were anxiously glued to their TV screens when the UN Security Council began discussing the lifting of the embargo on Iraq and replacing it with "smart sanctions". Baghdad argues that sanctions are the sole reason for the misery of the Iraqi people. But the Iraqi Kurds have a different experience. In 1996, the humanitarian situation was deteriorating rapidly as the sanctions imposed in 1991 began to bite hard. Child mortality rate among the Kurds is lower than before the sanctions The UN introduced the oil-for-food programme as a temporary measure. Iraq would sell some of its oil with the revenue to be used by the UN to provide the Iraqi people with food and medicine and to restore the infrastructure. Food basket Despite all the complaints about the programme, the Kurdish region is undergoing steady development. The region receives 13% from the proceeds of the oil sale. A monthly food basket of 10 items and free healthcare are given to the people. Previously, a whole family's salary was spent on food and medicine. Shafiq Qazzaz, a minister in the Arbil Government, said: "I would like the oil for food programme to continue forever, but all good things come to an end." According to a UN report published last year, the child-mortality rate in the Kurdish region is lower than before the sanctions. But the figures have almost doubled in the rest of Iraq. The reason for this discrepancy between the Kurdish north and the rest of Iraq is that the UN directly implements the programme in the north with the co-operation of the Kurdish authorities. In addition to providing security, the Kurdish authorities have mobilised their civil service to help the various UN agencies in their work. "We can truly claim that we have contributed to the relative success of the programme," added Mr Qazzaz. Tackling electricity shortage is a major part of the UN's programme Infrastructure in the Kurdish region was largely destroyed by Baghdad's 30-year war with the Kurds and the whole rural population was removed into collective towns near the big cities. After the Gulf War, the Kurds returned to their villages. But rebuilding 4,000 villages and removing approximately 10 million mines was not an easy task. The UN should implement income-generating projects so that our people can rely on themselves Nechirvan Barzani A portion of the programme's funds is allocated to rebuilding the region's civil infrastructure. Various UN agencies and non-governmental organisations implement projects for electricity, water supply, sanitation, agriculture, health, education and mine clearance. Kurdish grievances Despite its success in the field of rehabilitation, the Kurds have many complaints about the programme. The Kurds were not consulted or recognised as an authority in the area when the programme was first introduced after an agreement between Baghdad and the UN. Projects implemented in the Kurdish region have to go through Baghdad. But the Iraqi Government has been blocking many projects and preventing international experts from entering Iraq. The 13% share generated about $5bn for the Kurdish region. Baghdad's obstruction and UN bureaucracy have held back approximately $2bn. Prior to the programme, farmers cultivated their land and sold the crops. But now, since food is being bought from outside, local produce has lost its value and farmers have lost motivation to cultivate their land. Agriculture sector affected by UN purchase of food from abroad "The UN should decrease the money spent on food and medicine", said the Prime Minister in Arbil, Nechirvan Barzani. "They should implement income-generating projects so that our people can rely on themselves." Kurdish economy Trucks hauling goods and fuel to and from the region generate large sums of revenue and create many business opportunities. The region's mini economic boom is clearly evident in the stable exchange rate of the local currency. The Kurds in the north use the pre-1991 Iraqi dinar ($1=17 dinars); whereas in Baghdad, new dinars are printed to pay salaries. A 'Kurdish dinar' now equals 100 new Iraqi dinars. Businesses depending on the trade route will suffer if smart sanctions are implemented The recent talks of so-callede smart sanctions are creating anxiety amongst the Iraqi Kurds. The proposed system aims to clamp down on unofficial oil trade and this will have a direct impact on the Kurds' economy. The Kurds have asked to be compensated for the loss they will sustain, should smart sanctions be implemented. But it will not restore their situation to its current one. Nechirvan Barzani said: "They might compensate for our inability as a government to pay our employees' salaries but what about all the small businesses that rely on this trade route?"


B'Tselem (The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories) 24 Sept 2001 - One Year of the al-Aqsa Intifada One Year of the al-Aqsa Intifada Summary of figures on persons killed 29 September 2000 - 22 September 2001 In the Occupied Territories 431 Palestinian civilians and 90 Palestinian security personnel were killed by Israeli security forces. Eleven Palestinian civilians were killed by Israeli civilians. Among the Palestinians killed, 127 were minors under the age of 18. Two Palestinian civilians were executed by the Palestinian authority on suspicion of collaboration with Israel. At least 17 other Palestinians were killed for a similar reason by Palestinian civilians. 65 Israeli civilians and 34 Israeli security forces were killed by Palestinians. Among the Israelis killed, six were minors under the age of 18. Seven foreign nationals were killed, four by Israeli security forces and three by Palestinians. In Israel Three Palestinian residents of the Occupied Territories were killed by Israeli security forces. 52 Israeli civilians and 12 Israeli security forces were killed by Palestinian residents of the Occupied Territories, 22 of whom were minors under the age of 18. Four foreign nationals were killed by Palestinians in Israel, one of whom was a minor. Human rights violations in the Occupied Territories in the past year were of unprecedented proportion. Israeli security forces use excessive force, both against unarmed demonstrators and in firing into densely populated areas; Israel executes without trial Palestinians suspected of actions against Israel, killing and injuring bystanders in the process; Israeli restrictions on the freedom of movement of Palestinians make living intolerable and normal life impossible; Israeli civilians attack Palestinians, while Israeli security forces turn a blind eye; the water shortage in the Occupied Territories, which was severe in previous years, worsened; Israeli security forces abuse, beat, and degrade Palestinian civilians; Palestinians attack and kill Israeli civilians; Palestinians suspected of collaboration with Israel are executed, and more. None of these phenomena are new, but all of them increased in severity in the past twelve months. B'Tselem continues to monitor the human rights situation in the Occupied Territories and will soon publish a new report. http://btselem.org/

Monday September 3, 2001 Send this article Printer friendly Netanyahu accuses Palestinians of ethnic cleansing By Gil Hoffman JERUSALEM (September 3) - Former prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu issued a scathing attack yesterday on the government's decision to send a low-level delegation to the UN conference on racism in Durban, South Africa, and charged the Palestinians with "ethnic cleansing." Netanyahu, who spoke about the conference to many foreign news outlets yesterday, told Channels 1 and 2 that a strong team of public speakers is needed to fight the resolutions against Israel and that he could have headed the delegation himself. He said he would have brought families of victims of terrorism to explain Israel's position, singling out the family of murdered Hebron baby Shalhevet Pass. "[The Palestinians] are calling us Nazis, the same people who are engaging in ethnic cleansing," Netanyahu said. "When two Israelis are lynched in Ramallah for being Jews, that is ethnic cleansing. When an Israeli is shot for sipping coffee in a restaurant in Na'alin, that is ethnic cleansing." Netanyahu also criticized Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for allowing Foreign Minister Shimon Peres to meet with Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat. He said there is a big gap between the government's policies and the will of the majority of the nation, which wants a stronger response to Palestinian violence. "[Sharon's] policy is to send Peres to Arafat - on what will they speak?" Netanyahu said. "Arafat is guilty of the murders of countless Jews. He must be told that he is not a partner." The Foreign Ministry issued a response, saying that "Netanyahu's remarks are strange in light of the fact that he ran to hug Arafat after he was responsible for the killings of Jews in the riots after the opening of the Old City tunnel entrance." Responding for the first time to Sharon's inclusion of former Likud Party members Dan Meridor and Roni Milo in the cabinet, Netanyahu said, "Milo and Meridor are free to join the Likud. We will see if they are wanted." Netanyahu said he has no preference in the Labor Party race, denying a report that he favors Knesset Speaker Avraham Burg. "My opinion is not relevant because I am not Likud leader," Netanyahu said.

Jerusalem Post 4 Sept 2001 October riots were 'apocalyptic dream' By Etgar Lefkovits JERUSALEM (September 4) - There was an intelligence failure on the part of the security services in advance of the Israeli Arab rioting last fall, former Northern District police chief Cmdr. Alik Ron said yesterday. He said the clashes erupted "out of the blue." Testifying for seven hours before the Or Commission of Inquiry into last October's rioting, in which 13 Israeli Arabs were killed and dozens others wounded, Ron said that neither the police nor the General Security Service received any intelligence regarding the rioting. "We could not know either their timing or their severity. I am not sure anybody knew what was to come - not even those who incited the violence. We never expected such rioting. It was like an apocalyptic dream." he said. Later in his testimony, however, Ron said that while the timing of the riots was unexpected, "they could have been anticipated for years." The most senior police officer to testify before the seven-month-old commission, Ron made no secret of whom he felt the inciters were, consistently laying the blame on Arab MKs and Muslim religious leaders. "The threat comes from those who preach to the masses to break the hands and legs of police officers, that are fomenting violence," he said, referring to remarks by MK Abdul Malik Dahamshe. Reviled by the Arab community and viewed as responsible for the deadly outcome of the riots, Ron was on the defensive for much of the day, as he took the witness stand before Supreme Court Justice Theodore Or, former ambassador to Jordan and Egypt Shimon Shamir, and Nazareth District Court Judge Hashem Khatib. Under heavy protection, he testified in a hearing room in the Supreme Court divided into two, with a glass panel separating journalists and bereaved families from the witness stand and commission. At one point, Or took out a classified document that apparently warned of rioting, contradicting Ron's assertion that there was no such intelligence. But Ron stood his ground. "If we knew what was ahead of us, we would have needed 7,000 police reinforcements," he said, noting that some of the Northern District's officers had been transferred to Jerusalem and the territories in anticipation of continued violence there. Ron revealed that he had only authorized police to open fire on two occasions, at Umm el-Fahm and Lotem, and was only informed later that live ammunition had been used in other areas. He acknowledged that field commanders gave orders he did not know about and without his permission - such as to enter a house on the outskirts of Umm el-Fahm, where two Arabs were killed - though he emphasized that this was the right of the commander on the scene. He said police opened fire when they felt threatened, even though some of them did not have any practice shooting their weapons due to budgetary constraints. He said he "could not remember" when asked about certain areas where severe clashes took place, nor could he produce a list of precise police deployments. He conceded that he did not always get information in real time, moving from incident to incident as his understaffed men did. Throughout his testimony, Ron repeatedly stressed that the police had neither sufficient means nor non-lethal equipment at its disposal. He called this "pitiful" and attributed it to a lack of budget . He noted for example, that the flak jackets his men wore were from the 1960s. "How do you expect me to react to a lethal attack," he replied, declaring that he was sure that the violence would not spread beyond Jerusalem and the territories. "I had no reason to think otherwise." He acknowledged that police had a "fallback plan" but said it was not for this "scope of disturbances." At one point, he was asked how to repair the damage in the Arab community. "There is not one unequivocal answer," he said. "But there are ways and means to do so, including additional funding for schools and the cessation of house demolitions." The police, he said, should not just come in times of crisis, but adopt an open-door policy and listen to Arab citizens. Outside the heavily guarded courtroom, police separated two groups of about a hundred protesters, both for and against Ron. "You are not alone, we are with you," read the placards of his supporters and army friends. Across the street, a group held pictures of some of the dead and wounded, with placards that read "Ron to the Hague" and "Enough of racism."

WP 5 Sept 2001 At Arab, Israeli Schools, Hatred Is Common Bond Conflict Hardens 8th-Graders' Stereotypes By Lee Hockstader , Page A01 QALQILYA, West Bank -- At Peace Junior High School in Qalqilya, the windows are pocked by bullet holes, the classrooms are mostly low-tech and almost every one of the Palestinian students can name a relative or acquaintance injured or killed during the last year. If the children went anywhere for summer vacation, it was across the river to Jordan. At Ben Zvi Junior High School, in Kfar Saba a couple of miles away and across an invisible border separating the West Bank from Israel proper, the perimeter gate is patrolled by guards, 70 computers are hooked up to the Internet and practically every student has a cell phone. Many students took summer trips to Europe, the United States or Turkey. The two schools, separated by years of hostility, seem bound by precisely nothing. But spend a few hours talking to eighth-graders in both schools, located 15 miles northeast of Tel Aviv, and what connects them becomes clear: hatred, stereotypes and ignorance. As schools reopened for Palestinians on Saturday and for Israelis on Sunday, children returned to class saturated by media images of violence and the prejudices rife in each society. At Peace and Ben Zvi alike, eighth-graders saw themselves as victims of the other side's hatred and aggression. Each seemed to imagine the other as violent and greedy by nature, and wondered why "they" couldn't just "leave us alone." Each understood the territorial claims underlying the conflict, but neither had a grasp of the other side's historical narrative. Much as the Palestinian children were ignorant of the Holocaust and other chapters of Jewish history, the Jewish children knew little about the Palestinians' loss of homes and villages in Israel's 1948 War of Independence. Reverence for Militants A poster is taped to the wall of the all-boys Peace School in Qalqilya, right by the front door. It lionizes a man many Palestinians here consider a local boy made good: Sayeed Hotari, a suicide bomber who killed himself and 21 others at a Tel Aviv disco in June. Ask three eighth-graders at the Peace School to name their heroes, and none mentions Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian leader whose portrait adorns all public buildings here. After some nervous glances and fluttering smiles, Hotari is the name they produce. In fact, Hotari and other militants are so revered that some of the students have petitioned to change the name of the school, which was dubbed the Peace School a generation ago after the Egyptian-Israeli peace deal. The boys proposed the School of Martyrs. "We're happy [about suicide bombings] because the Israelis are occupying our land and the al-Aqsa mosque" in Jerusalem, said Sami Bassem Saber, 13, a compact boy whose father owns a shoe store. "I say it's okay whether it's Israeli kids or soldiers or old people who are killed, even in Tel Aviv, because they're occupying land that doesn't belong to them." Like other boys at the 772-student Peace School, Saber is not too clear on whom Hotari killed at the disco. He thinks the victims were Israeli soldiers and Jewish settlers. In fact they were mostly teenage girls, a fact the Palestinian media tended to obscure. But if Saber and his friends are fuzzy on how the Palestinian uprising is sometimes fought, they are clear on why it is worth fighting: to expel Israeli forces from the West Bank, where they still control 80 percent of the land. "It's worth fighting for an independent state," said Khaled Bassem Hindi, 13, polite and soft-spoken, a lawyer's son. "I live on the fourth floor of a building near the Israeli army checkpoint at the south entrance of town, and my family smells tear gas [fired at stone-throwers] and sees the tanks there all the time." The boys who traveled on summer holidays with their parents, generally to see relatives in Jordan, got a taste of the stakes. All described long waits at Israeli army checkpoints at the exits from Qalqilya and trips that took twice as long as their families expected. One student said an Israeli soldier cursed his mother and older sister. Another said his family was turned back by soldiers on the first day and had to try again the next. To the students at Peace School, the Palestinian uprising that began last September is something heard, seen and felt, not only glimpsed on a television screen. The school lies 300 yards from the Israeli army checkpoint on the northern edge of Qalqilya, and in the walls and windows upstairs, unrepaired bullet holes are evidence of sniping between Israeli and Palestinian gunmen. Not that the boys need reminders: Nearly all have watched what they call "red bullets" -- tracer fire -- flying overhead in nocturnal exchanges. Their parents have warned them against going to the town's swimming pool because it is within rifle range of an Israeli checkpoint. And at school they are presented with special classes tailored for the conflict -- how to rush a wounded man to safety, how to evacuate classrooms in case of bombardment. "One of my relatives was chased and shot and killed by the Israelis," said Wael Mohammed Nafeh, 13, a slight, solemn accountant's son, referring to a man Israel described as a terrorist bomber. "He was killed defending his homeland against the occupation." Few of the boys have ever spoken to an Israeli, even though Israel sits practically on their doorstep, and they know little about Jews. What they do know is informed by a mixture of envy, resentment, fear and hatred, even when they imagine the lives of Israeli boys their own age. "They spent their summer breaks in peace and security, but we didn't," said Wael, the accountant's son. "Everything is open to them -- they can go to the beach, but we can't anymore. We have good hearts, but they have hard hearts. They're merciless. One of their soldiers shoved my father. They're not kind." The perceptions of Israelis are reinforced by teachers and textbooks. Newly published Palestinian textbooks say little of Jews and Israelis, and what they do say focuses mostly on Palestinian grievances. According to a new text for the seventh grade -- the latest to be published -- the goal of Israel's 1948 War of Independence was to "seize Palestinian lands and displace the original inhabitants after expelling or exterminating them." The text goes on to detail the destruction of Palestinian villages and the replacement of Arabic place names with Hebrew ones. In a lesson on the architecture of the Holy Land, the text describes prominent mosques and churches but makes no mention of Jewish holy places. In interviews, several teachers at Peace School said the Holocaust has been enormously exaggerated and hardly rates a mention in Palestinian schools. When they were asked what Palestinian children should know about Jews, their answers were uniformly negative. "That they're terrorists, murderers and thieves, and to the nth degree," said Omar Abu Salah, 37, an English teacher. "That they're murderers of prophets. That they're greedy in every respect." He added, "How can we create the conditions for peace with a kid whose father who was murdered, or with a refugee who's been kicked off his land?" Separately, the eighth-graders were asked if they could imagine the existence of a good Jew. "Maybe," said Khaled, the lawyer's son. "Maybe, but not many," said Wael, the accountant's son. "I don't think so," said Sami, the shoe salesman's son. 'Death to the Arabs' When a suicide bomber blew himself up on a bus in Kfar Saba in April, the explosion not only rattled windows at Ben Zvi Junior High, it rattled everyone. Students pulled out cell phones to find out if relatives had been hurt. Some of the younger pupils dissolved in tears. Classes shifted gears into impromptu counseling sessions. "They were hysterical, and they were very angry," said Carmela Goldglass, 43, an English teacher and administrator at Ben Zvi. "They really didn't see the connection between bombing people on a bus or at a restaurant or in a disco and starting an independent [Palestinian] country." In the following days, as students digested the bombing's impact and casualties -- one dead, a local doctor, and dozens injured -- Goldglass noticed what had become familiar graffiti scrawled around the school: "Death to the Arabs." Just across the so-called Green Line from Qalqilya and other West Bank Palestinian towns, Kfar Saba has been a frequent target for bombs -- near city hall, at a gas station, on the bus. The bombings have reinforced the conviction in Israel that the country is in the grip of an existential struggle, and that conviction has taken hold even among Ben Zvi's eighth-graders. "I don't believe they want their own state next to ours -- they want the whole country for themselves," said Ben Mymon, 13, a building contractor's son who wears three earrings and the shadow of a first mustache. Such suspicions are now run-of-the-mill at Ben Zvi, a 750-student school named for Israel's second president, Yitzhak Ben Zvi. But it was not always so. For 13 years, hundreds of the school's students have participated in an annual program designed to break down barriers with Arabs inside Israel, at a school in the nearby town of Tira. Although the students had no contact with Palestinians across the Green Line, the hope was that tolerance and coexistence would take root through contact with the Palestinians within Israel proper. After the Palestinian revolt erupted, however, half the school's parents yanked their children out of the program, preferring they not come into contact with Arabs. The program survived, but judging from interviews with eighth-graders, the last year's violence has taken a toll on notions of coexistence and tolerance. "They have kids one after another, so they don't care if they lose some," said Ben, the contractor's son. "They have so many cousins marrying cousins -- maybe that's why they fight. They have kids like fish." "They're taught violence," said Lior Yadin, 13, the slight, quick-witted son of a high-tech executive, who dreams of becoming the Israeli army's chief of staff. "To the Arabs, honor is more important than their lives. But we'll win in the end. We'll hit them with helicopters. Even if they kill all of us, then the last living Jew will drop a bomb on them." The eighth-graders at Ben Zvi may look like their counterparts in America -- scruffy around the edges, with T-shirts and droopy backpacks -- but when it comes to danger and death they are a lot savvier. Even while roughhousing on the bus, they know to keep one eye out for abandoned packages. And all know that even a watermelon can contain an explosive device -- as one did on an Israeli bus this summer. They also know to watch out for anyone who looks suspicious, and for students here that means anyone who is Arab. "Especially an Arab with a mustache or wearing a long coat or a baggy jacket," Lior said. "Also, we have to be careful at the mall. Our parents told us not to go, or to avoid big groups of people there." They are less savvy about Palestinian history or Palestinian grievances. For instance, they seem scarcely aware that hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled or were evicted from their villages in 1948. And while some teachers and textbooks might mention that, students at Ben Zvi are in no mood to feel sorry for people who are blowing themselves up on local buses. Faced with nightly newscasts about Palestinian bombs, ambushes and sniping, and with concurrent international criticism of Israel, some of the Israeli youths are convinced that the world is ganging up on Jews. "They do everything to us and no one says a thing, and then we fire just one missile at them and the whole world gets mad at us," said Shlomi Moalem, 13, a chunky, shy boy whose father is a soft drink distributor. "It's because they hate the Jewish people." None of the children could imagine ever having a Palestinian friend, and none could foresee a peaceful resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. "They're succeeding only at getting us angry," Ben said. "And it'll go on until we hit them back with everything we've got. Then that'll be the end of it." Glumly, Shlomi nodded and stared at his hands. "It'll end by war," he said. "Either we'll die or they'll die."

AP 10 Sept 2001 Police: Suicide Bomber Was Israeli ABU SNAN, Israel (AP) — Many Israeli Arabs are deeply sympathetic to the Palestinian cause, but Muhammad Saker Habashi is the first suspected of taking the most extreme step. Police believe Habashi, 48, is the man who set off an explosive charge on his back Sunday near a crowded train station in the northern town of Nahariya. Habashi's blue Israeli identity card was found next to the shattered body. Sunday's attack, which killed three Israeli Jews and wounded many others, raised fears of violence on a new front — from the within the Jewish state. The violence of the past year, in which more than 600 Palestinians and 170 Israelis have been killed, has embittered Israel's Arab citizens and radicalized some of them. Yet nearly all the suicide bombings have been carried out by Palestinians from the West Bank. Habashi, however, came from Abu Snan, a village just 8 miles from Nahariya in the foothills of Israel's Galilee region. A statement from the Israeli Prime Minister's Office said Habashi apparently had linked up with Islamic extremist Hamas bombmakers in the West Bank. Habashi was born and raised in Israel, where Arabs make up about 20 percent of the population. Secular in his youth, he became religious in the early 1980s. He joined the Islamic Movement, organizing marches and rallies. In 1996, he became the Imam, or preacher, in the village mosque. Habashi's neighbors and relatives were hesitant to talk about him on Sunday, except to express disbelief he was the bomber. ``We never thought any sane person could do a thing like that,'' said Rafik Nasrah, a neighbor. Fowzi Mishlav, head of the Abu Snan local council, called the board into an emergency session. ``We decided unanimously to condemn this criminal act,'' Mishlav said after the meeting. ``I'm sure it's an act of a single man who represents only himself.'' But last November, seven residents of the village were arrested and charged with spying for the Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas. Police said they planned to plant bombs in Israel and kidnap a soldier. Their names were not released. Habashi was not just another resident of Abu Snan. He ran against Mishlav in an election in September 2000, representing the Islamic Movement. In a race marked by repeated acts of violence, Habashi lost. Last week Israeli police announced the arrest of four Israeli Arab teen-agers suspected of planning to plant bombs in Israel, the latest evidence of the increasing alienation of the community. While some Jewish lawmakers called for reprisals against Israeli Arabs, Culture Minister Matan Vilnai said Israel must face the core issue of how to coexist. ``They're not going to evaporate and we're not going to evaporate,'' he said.


NPR Morning Edition 4 Sept 2001 COMMENTARY Life as an 'Outside Person' An NPR Correspondent Describes How Foreigners Fare in Japan Eric Weiner -- Because Japan was virtually isolated from the outside world for centuries, its population remained ethnically homogenous. Now, though, the number of foreigners living in Japan is growing -- and so are complaints of discrimination. On Morning Edition, NPR's Tokyo Correspondent Eric Weiner reports that "Foreigners living in Japan face a number of daily indignities, from the merely annoying to the infuriating" -- everything from having to carry an ID card at all times, to being denied entry to some bars, shops and resorts. During 10 years as an NPR correspondent, Weiner has lived in Jerusalem and New Delhi, and has traveled extensively through the Middle East and Asia. In all that time, he says, he never experienced racism -- but in Japan, he is "constantly reminded of my foreign-ness." Exclusively for NPR.org, Weiner writes about his experiences as a foreigner in Japan today. By Eric Weiner You may have heard that the Japanese are blatantly racist. That they clearly don't like foreigners. Having lived here for more than two years, I can assure you this is definitely not true. There is nothing blatant or clear about Japanese attitudes towards foreigners. Their feelings are complex -- murkier than a bowl of miso soup. That leaves us gaijin -- literally "outside persons" -- playing a constant guessing game. A cab passes me by, picking up a Japanese passenger instead. Was it a racist slight? Or did he simply not see me? I'm riding the subway; the train is crowded, as it almost always is, yet the seat next to me is empty. Xenophobia or mere coincidence? In Japan, you are never sure. To be honest, I've never experienced racism before. During my previous postings for NPR -- in India and the Middle East -- I was treated with reverence bordering on the sycophantic. It's different in Japan. Foreigners are treated alternatively with admiration and suspicion -- and, occasionally, both simultaneously. Just as we have a stereotype of the typical Japanese, the Japanese, I've learned, have their own two-dimensional image of us gaijin. We're big and hairy. We're messy. We're prone to unpredictable, occasionally violent outbursts. Of course, not all gaijin are created equal. There is a definite pecking order. We Westerners are at the top of the heap. At the bottom are the Nigerians, Taiwanese and other less prestigious foreigners. I can only imagine what life for them is like here. As a foreigner living in Japan, I am constantly reminded of my foreign-ness. I am required -- by law -- to carry an "alien registration card" at all times. Although it is uncommon, I still might be barred from a restaurant or hotel that has a policy of "Japanese only." Even a Tokyo nightclub called Club International -- and, as columnist Dave Barry says, I am not making this up -- has a sign outside that reads "No Foreigners Allowed." That more or less sums up Japan's attitudes towards all things foreign. Yes, they crave the cosmopolitan flavor that foreigners bestow; but no, they don't want to get too close to them. Japanese consumers can't get enough foreign products. This is the single largest market for Louis Vuitton and other European designer goods. The latest trend here is to wear T-shirts embossed with English words, apparently chosen at random. The English words carry no meaning; they are merely decoration. On the one hand, the Japanese welcome foreign influences. You can get a reasonably good fajita in Tokyo these days, and you are never far from a latte. Yet they manage to keep these foreign "contagions" at a safe distance. They even use a separate alphabet just to write foreign words. So I've come to the conclusion that there is simply no way for a foreigner like myself to gain acceptance, let alone to assimilate. I know foreigners who have mastered the Japanese language. The Japanese refer to them as the "gaijin who speak good Japanese." One American even went so far as to become a naturalized Japanese citizen -- a long, tortuous process. He is now known as the "gaijin who has a Japanese passport" (and, incidentally, he is still barred from establishments that say "Japanese only"). In many ways, the United States and Japan couldn't be more different when it comes to attitudes towards foreigners. The United States is a diverse nation of immigrants. Japan is an ethnically homogenous nation (or views itself as one) where you are either born Japanese or you are not. You do not become Japanese. If it's possible for a nation to have a superiority complex and an inferiority complex at the same time, than that nation is Japan. On the one hand, the Japanese believe they are better than us foreigners. (Japanese rice is better. Japanese cars are better.) Yet they exert tons of energy trying to look like us. Many young Japanese women dye their hair blond, wear platform shoes and have plastic surgery to make their eyes more rounded. There are countless rules to follow in Japan, and no matter how careful you are, no matter how fastidious you are, you, as a foreigner, will break several rules every day. Some of the rules are simple, such as taking your shoes off before entering a home (I now find it unseemly to wear shoes indoors). But other rules aren't automatically self-evident. Don't eat while walking. Never, never blow your nose in public. Always apologize when brushing against someone, even if it wasn't your fault. Recently, I was in a sento, a Japanese public bath (and one of the truly luxurious experiences of living in Japan). The rules say you must scrub yourself thoroughly before entering the hot tub. Knowing that gaijin like myself are held to a higher standard of cleanliness than your average Japanese, I scrubbed and scrubbed. And scrubbed. Suddenly, I felt a tap on my shoulder. "Excuse me," said the Japanese man next to me. I braced myself for an anti-foreigner tirade or, at the very least, a critique of my bathing technique. "Excuse me," he repeated, "but you are washing yourself with shampoo. The soap is over there." I mumbled a thank you, privately ashamed for anticipating the worst from my fellow bather. I now break the rules here on a regular basis. I figure I'll never be fully accepted, so I've decided to enjoy the slack that we foreigners are afforded. Being a gaijin, it turns out, does have its advantages.

BBC 9 September, 2001 Japan apologises to WWII victims Tanaka and Powell signed a joint declaration Japan has repeated its apology to victims of its military aggression during World War II. The Japanese Foreign Minister, Makiko Tanaka, said Japanese action had left "incurable scars on many people". But she ruled out compensation for the victims. She was speaking at a ceremony in San Francisco attended by US Secretary of State Colin Powell to mark the 50th anniversary of the US-Japan treaty that ended the war. There were demonstrations in San Francisco demanding compensation for Japanese treatment of American soldiers taken prisoner during the war. Six years ago the former Japanese Prime Minister, Tomiichi Murayama, apologised for Japan's military aggression against its Asian neighbours. Incurable scars Ms Tanaka said Japan had wrought "tremendous damage and suffering" during the war. "Facing these facts of history in a spirit of humility, I reaffirm today our feelings of deep remorse and heartfelt apology expressed in Prime Minister Murayama's statement of 1995," she said. Mr Murayama headed a coalition government from June 1994 and January 1996. He offered an unprecedented apology to Asian countries invaded by Japan during World War II, issuing the so-called Murayama statement in August 1995, the 50th anniversary of the end of the war. Compensation claims Ms Tanaka insisted, however, that Japan would not accept compensation claims. "This treaty resolved all the post-war settlement issues among the parties, including Japan and the United States," she said, according to a translation of her speech provided by the Japanese embassy in Washington. "Japan has faithfully implemented its obligations under the treaty." Hecklers Mr Powell, whose speech was disrupted three times by hecklers, also ruled out compensation, saying the issue was resolved in the text of the treaty signed 50 years ago. Protesters are incensed about an article in the peace treaty in which the allies waived all claims of reparations by their governments or citizens. Mr Powell praised the peace treaty for creating a US-Japan partnership that accounts for 40% of world economy activity, and a strong Japan that "can pull most of the boats of Asia in its wake."

Palestinian Authority

Reuters 28 Sept 2001 Arabs Pray, Mourn to Mark Year of Intifada By Samia Nakhoul BEIRUT - Arabs across the Middle East marked the anniversary of the Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation with prayers, protests and silent respect for the 595 Palestinians who have died in the conflict. Across the West Bank, birthplace of the uprising or Intifada, sirens wailed, church bells rang and Muslim clerics called on mosque loudspeakers for three minutes of silence at 12:30 p.m. "Allahu Akbar (God is Greatest)," rang out from mosque loudspeakers, kicking off marches marking the anniversary, two days after Israelis and Palestinians agreed to a cease-fire. Israeli troops killed three Palestinians and wounded dozens in clashes that broke out on the anniversary. Outside the West Bank and Gaza, Palestinians commemorated the event by taking to the streets, burning effigies and promising their fight would continue. In Lebanon, about 3,000 people, some carrying rifles, marched through the Ain El-Hilweh refugee camp in south Lebanon. The demonstrators burned effigies of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and a mockup of an Israeli tank bearing the flag of the Jewish state's main backer, the United States. INTIFADA IS ONLY HOPE Many refugees, languishing in squalid camps for a half century, said the Intifada offered their sole, faint hope of regaining their land and escaping the misery of the camps. "It is the one thing that could win our homes back," said 58-year-old Khalid Sobhi from his home in a tangle of narrow streets in Beirut's Mar Elias refugee camp. Sheikh Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah, former spiritual leader of Lebanon's Hizbollah guerrilla group and an authority for Shi'ite Muslims, urged Palestinians to push on with the uprising and shame the world into acknowledging their demands. Hizbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah told Palestinians armed struggle had shaken the Jewish state to its roots and brought its demise closer. "In one year, the Intifada has rocked the dogma of the 'Promised Land'," he told a stadium full of people waving Palestinian flags and Hizbollah's banner. "Your accomplishments are worth the sacrifices, and they bring you closer than ever to real, decisive victory." Syria, still formally at war with Israel over the occupied Golan Heights, collected donations for the Intifada during street marches. "All children of the world are born happy except the children of Palestine. They are born to become martyrs," one banner said. IRAQ, VICTIM OF SAME ENEMY Iraq, reeling under U.N. sanctions for its 1991 invasion of Kuwait, vowed to back the Palestinians, who officials said were victims of the same injustice as Baghdad, and protesters burned effigies of Sharon and denounced Washington. In non-Arab Iran, thousands of mostly hardline demonstrators chanting "Death to Israel" and "Death to America" marched in the capital Tehran after Friday prayers. "Israel commits crimes, and America gives it support," they shouted. In Yemen, around 6,000 Yemenis surged out of mosques and into the center of the capital Sanaa after Friday prayers, marching in support of the Intifada. "There is no God but Allah, and no enemy but the Jews," the crowd chanted. "Oh Islamic rulers, no negotiation and no surrender." Some marchers bore signs in English reading "Stop genocide against the Palestinian people." At least 595 Palestinians and 169 Israelis have been killed in the uprising, which erupted a year ago after Sharon, then in opposition, made a controversial visit to al-Haram al-Sharif, a site revered by Muslims and Jews.

AFP 9 Sept 2001 Top Arab diplomats today renewed appeals for international observers to be sent to the Palestinian territories and for Israeli officials to be tried for war crimes. Foreign Ministers and diplomats from the 22-member Arab League approved the calls during a closed-door meeting today, according to a copy of the resolutions obtained by AFP. They repeated their "appeal to the international community to fulfill its responsibilities to protect Palestinians by sending international observers or providing any other mechanism guaranteeing the protection of civilians against assassination, injury and arrest." The foreign ministers, at their biannual Arab League meeting, also reiterated their calls to the UN Security Council to "create an international committee to investigate massacres committed by Israel." The ministers once more asked the international community to "form an international criminal court to try Israeli war criminals," like the international court for the former Yugoslavia. These demands have already been presented by the Arab League and by Arab countries in several international forums. The appeals were to be formally announced when the meeting ends tomorrow.

South Asia

Daily Star (Bangladesh) 7 Sept 2001 Refugee:The South Asian saga By Sharif Atiqur Rahman Although all the countries of South Asia have witnessed forced population movements, a general distinction can be made between countries, which generate refugees and those that receive refugees. Though as the empirical experience of the region shows countries can be both refugee generating and refugee hosting, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Nepal are countries that receive refugees, while Bhutan and Sri Lanka have generated refugees. South Asia has witnessed four-way traffic in the flight of refugees i.e. movement within the region; movement from the region; movement into the region; and movement within the country of domicile. In order to comprehend the prevailing refugee trends within the region, it is necessary to illustrate the broad contours of the history of statelessness and refugee generation of South Asian states almost immediately after achieving political independence. The Partition of Indian Subcontinent: The 1947 partition of the Indian subcontinent into India and Pakistan was followed by a communal holocaust in which approximately 1.3 million were killed and nearly 15 million were forcibly displaced. 8 millions Hindus and Sikhs from Pakistan and 7 millions Muslims from India were uprooted from their ancestral homes. These persons were rehabilitated by India and Pakistan respectively. Burmanisation: Under the programme of Burmanisation in 1948, Burma (present Myanmar) expelled approximately 5,00,000 persons of Indian origin who had been living in Burma for generations. In the fifties and the sixties, most of them returned to India in a penniless condition. Record reveals that in the seventies and eighties Burma had similarly expelled several thousand persons of Nepali origin. The Nepalese government had allowed these stateless persons to settle down in the south-eastern parts of Nepal who have now been completely assimilated in the local community thereby loosing their distinct identity. Sri Lankan Independence: In 1949-50, the newly independent Sri Lanka refused to grant citizenship to approximately 9,00,000 Tamil plantation workers who were taken to the island by the British in the early 19th century. After several rounds of bilateral negotiations between 1964 and 1987, India agreed to accept approximately 3,40,000 Tamil plantation workers from Sri Lanka. Independence of Bangladesh: Pakistan's military crack down in the erstwhile East Pakistan (present Bangladesh) in 1971 had sent more than 10 million Bengali Muslims and Hindus across to India in search of safety. Most of them went back to Bangladesh after its liberation. However, the Bihari Muslims who migrated to the erstwhile East Pakistan in 1947 from India continued to remain stranded in Bangladesh. Currently about 300,000 "stranded Pakistanis" are living in an inhuman condition, as Bangladesh has not granted citizenship to them and Pakistan continues to refuse taking them back despite repeated requests from Bangladesh. Besides, continuing migration from East Pakistan or Bangladesh remains to be a hot political issue in India. The data demystifies that during the period between 1948 and 1961, according to the reports of the Indian Home Ministry, approximately 3.1 million persons, mainly Hindus, migrated from erstwhile East Pakistan, present day Bangladesh, to India. In the mid-sixties, the Kaptai dam built in the Chittagong Hill Tracts of the then East Pakistan displaced more than 100,000 tribal people. Nearly 64,000 displaced people belonging to the minority tribes crossed over to India. A 1997 accord between the government and the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) People's Solidarity Association ended a 24-year insurgency in the CHT and brought back all the refugees to Bangladesh. At present, radical Hindu nationalists parties of India are claiming that approximately 20 million Muslim Bangladeshis have illegally entered India after 1971. Thus, Muslim immigrants from Bangladesh have become the target of an expulsion campaign launched by them. In short, the post colonial states in South Asia were born expelling large number of people and the state system, as it stands today in the region, is perched precariously on the creation of minorities, stateless populations and the continuing exodus of victims of various kind of violence. The following data from the US Committee for Refugees represents the refugee population in South Asia as of 31 December 2000. Though, reliable and comprehensive data in this area are often not available due to lack of collection and restrictions, the data presented below are approximate but verifiable, cross-checkable and factual. Rohingyas from Myanmar: About 250,000 Rohingya refugees fleeing forced labour, discrimination, and other abuses in the Northern Rakhine State of Myanmar entered Bangladesh during 1991-1992. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) repatriation program, which since 1992 had succeeded in returning approximately 238,000 refugees to Myanmar and originally had been scheduled to end by August 1997, halted prematurely when the Rohingyas as a group rejected repatriation and demanded resettlement in Bangladesh. As of December 2000, according to UNHCR, there are still about 21,000 Rohingya Muslims remaining in refugee camps in Bangladesh. Besides this, some more 100,000 Rohingyas flee to Bangladesh since 1993 who are not documented. The Rohingyas are refusing to return on the grounds of possible human rights abuses, including religious persecution and other government restrictions. Tibetan Refugees: Tibetan refugees, led by their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, first fled to India in 1959, after China annexed Tibet. Since then, human rights abuse by Chinese authorities to suppress Tibet's struggle for self-determination has generated 110,000 Tibetan refugees in India. In the northern Indian city of Dharamsala, Tibetans maintain their government in exile. Another 20,000 Tibetan refugees live in a settlement in Kathmandu's Bouddhanath district in Nepal. Sri Lankan Tamils: The 17-year conflict between Sri Lanka's Sinhalese, Buddhist majority and Tamil, Hindu minority has led more than 110,000 Tamil refugees in India. They live mainly in 131 state-run camps in Tiruchirapali, Madurai, Mandapar, Chennai of Tamilnadu; and scattered over different other states of India. Chin and Nagas from Myanmar: Being suffered by the discrimination against minorities and religious persecution by the Burmese military regime, more than 40,000 ethnic Chin and 1,000 ethnic Nagas (mostly Christians) have taken refuge in north-east India. India considers them as illegal immigrants. Bhutanese Lhosthapas: Bhutanese of Nepali ethnic origin (Lhosthapas) basically from southern Bhutan and few hundreds from other parts of Bhutan were stripped of their citizenship and pushed out of Bhutan by its Royal Government following the implementation of the programme of 'Bhutanisation' through the ethnic cleansing coupled with cultural cleansing. Blatant denial of the right to nationality forced more than 109,000 Lhosthapas to take refuge in Nepal since mid-1991. Majority of them are sheltered in the UNHCR managed 7 camps in eastern Nepal. Series of unsuccessful negotiations are underway between the governments of Bhutan and Nepal to identify genuine refugees through categorization and repatriation. Another 15,000 Lhosthapas have taken refuge in West Bengal and Assam states of India. Afghan Refugees: Afghanistan has been suffering from civil strife since the end of the 70s. Lengthy civil war as a by-product of the cold war and later the rise of Islamic fundamentalist Talibans in power have generated more than 2,000,000 Afghan refugees in Pakistan and about 13,000 in India at present. Kashmiri Refugees: From the disputed territories of Jammu and Kashmir, some 17,000 refugees have taken asylum in 17 camps of Azad Kashmir in Pakistan. This above mentioned data includes two categorise of uprooted people (a) refugees who are unwilling or unable to return to their home countries because they fear prosecution or armed conflict there and who lack a durable solution; and (b) asylum seekers who are awaiting a refugee status determination. However, social scientists and human rights activists are not satisfied with this type of uni-dimensional refugee statistics. The process of decolonisation and readjustment of old colonial boundaries rekindled old rivalries, unleashed ethnic and religious conflicts causing large-scale movements of populations across the borders of South Asian states. Masses of people were also displaced by man-made environmental disasters, natural calamities and by the short-sighted development policies of the governments, which destroyed traditional sources of livelihood of the people of certain regions. In all countries of the region, political violence and developmental policies have created huge numbers of IDPs - Tamils in Sri Lanka, ethnic minorities of north-east India, Hindu pandits of Kashmir, Kashmiris in Pakistan, Chakmas in Bangladesh and many more. As these persons do not cross any international border, they remained displaced within their own country and were never regarded as refugees though their plight were no less than those who are accepted as refugees according to the international law. Due to the existing narrow definition of refugees, displaced persons and migrants they remain always excluded from the total South Asian refugee population. Besides, a majority of displaced persons who have crossed international borders in this region are not regarded as "refugees" by the host governments. They are usually treated as "undesirable aliens" or "illegal immigrants". There are no national laws, which define or distinguish "refugees" from others who cross the borders. The governments in this region have also not signed or ratified the 1951 UN Convention Concerning the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol, the only available UN mechanism for the protection and rehabilitation of refugees. Clearly there is an urgent need to reconceptualise the definition of refugees. It also has to be considered if the received distinctions between the forced/willed and the political/economic regarding the refugee/migration definition hold true today. These need to be reviewed and reformulated in order to accommodate the existing reality. New and effective international instruments and national laws need to be created to protect the rights of these hapless millions who have no legal existence in most countries of the world today. The author is a researcher. Views expressed here are author's own.



Reuters 20 Sept 2001 Pope Heads for Central Asia as Winds of War Blow By Philip Pullella VATICAN CITY With winds of war blowing and security concerns high, Pope John Paul II begins a trip to Kazakhstan and Armenia Saturday where his calls for religious tolerance will be more poignant after the attacks on the United States. In the Kazakh capital of Astana, some 2,400 security forces will be on hand to protect the pope, who is making his 95th trip outside Italy despite security risks and failing health. Interior Minister Bolat Iskakov told reporters this week that the government decided on ``unprecedented security measures'' to protect the pope after the U.S. suicide hijackings, which Washington says were masterminded by Afghanistan -based militant Osama bin Laden . Kazakhstan, a sprawling country stretching across central Asia, neighbors some of the countries that may be caught up in events if Washington retaliates against Afghanistan. Majority-Muslim Kazakhstan has long been concerned about Islamic radicals coming in from neighboring countries and there have been reports of alleged plots by such radicals to kill the Pope on some of his past trips abroad. This year, President Nursultan Nazarbayev ordered that a special military district be set up in the south to thwart possible incursions by militants who want to set up a purist Muslim state in central Asia. In the last two years, neighboring Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan fought off attacks by militants who officials said came from bases in Tajikistan and Afghanistan. After last week's U.S. attacks, Italian media speculated that the Vatican would call off the trip for security reasons. ``The trip to these two countries was planned a long time ago. The Pope wants to do it and there is now even more reason to do so,'' said chief Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls. ``It can now better promote peaceful coexistence between people of different religions and ethnic groups,'' he said. All of Kazakhstan's 180,000 Roman Catholics, about 1.2 percent of the population of 15 million, could squeeze into St. Peter's Square and its immediate environs. The country's more than 100 different ethnic groups include eight million Muslims and six million Russian Orthodox. The Pope plans to speak out about the need for inter-ethnic and inter-religious tolerance around the world. GRIM GULAG ARCHIPELAGO Despite the late hour and a long flight from Rome, the first thing the pope will do Saturday night is visit a monument in Astana to the victims of totalitarianism. There was no lack of them in Kazakhstan, home to 16 of the many camps that made up the Gulag Archipelago, immortalized by Russian author Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn in his 1973 book. More than 2 million people, including more than 900,000 ethnic Germans, were forced to migrate to Kazakhstan during Stalin's forced collectivization campaign, his crackdown on Catholics and banishing of people seen as ``unreliable.'' Historians say another 2.14 million were sent to prison camps in the Karaganda area, where many perished from illness, hunger and cold. Outside Astana there once stood the ALZHIR camp, one of the archipelago's most notorious, which was reserved for the wives of men considered ``enemies of the people'' by Stalin. Modest obelisks and wooden crosses dot the endless, wind-swept steppe, where crumbling barracks and watchtowers stand as eerie reminders of past atrocities, some known only to God. WILL HE SAY THE G-WORD? Tuesday, September 25, the Pope starts a two-day visit to Armenia, the first organized nation to adopt Christianity as an official religion when King Trdat III proclaimed it a Christian country in 301, 36 years before the Roman Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity. The Armenian Apostolic Church is one of the so-called Ancient Churches of the East that split from Byzantine Christianity before the Great Schism of 1054 which divided the Eastern and Western Churches. The pope has spoken in the past of Armenia's history of martyrdom but has stopped short of saying the word ``genocide.'' Armenia says 1.5 million of its people were killed at the beginning of the 20th century as part of an organized genocide by Ottoman Turkish armies. Turkey denies the genocide charge and says thousands of Armenians may have been victims of the Russo-Turkish war raging at the time. Armenians around the world have asked Turkey for an official apology.


BBC 7 September, 2001 Belgian judge halts Sharon case Sharon 'should have anticipated the massacres' A Belgian judge has suspended an investigation into alleged war crimes by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in connection with the massacre of Palestinians nearly 20 years ago. Magistrate Patrick Collignon said he was referring the case to an appeal court to decide whether the matter fell within his jurisdiction. The case involves two civil suits brought by survivors and relatives of victims of the attack on the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps following Israel's invasion of Lebanon in 1982. Under a Belgian law passed in 1993, suspects can be tried for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide regardless of where the alleged offence took place or the nationality of the victims or accused. 'Indirectly responsible' The judge called a temporary halt to the proceedings after Belgian lawyer Michele Hirsch, hired by Mr Sharon's office, argued the investigations "violate the judicial sovereignty of the State of Israel". Ms Hirsch said the case had already been decided by a 1983 commission of inquiry in Israel, which found Mr Sharon indirectly but "personally" responsible for the massacres. "The court is considering whether or not this case is relevant," Ms Hirsch told Associated Press news agency. Between 800 and 1,500 Palestinians were killed by Christian Phalangist troops whom Israel had allowed into the camps, which at the time were in an area controlled by the Israeli army. The commission said Mr Sharon, who was defence minister at the time, should have anticipated the violence. Mr Collignon began his investigation in July after deciding there was enough merit in the complaints. The first, brought by a group of Palestinian, Lebanese, Moroccan and Belgian nationals, claims Mr Sharon was responsible for the deaths. The second suit, filed by 23 survivors of the massacres and five eyewitnesses, charges the Israeli leader with crimes against humanity, genocide and war crimes.


ICRC 27 Sept 2001 Bosnia-Herzegovina: Promoting respect for humanitarian law On 20 September a book launch was held in Sarajevo to mark the publication in Bosnia-Herzegovina's three national languages of "Respect for International Humanitarian Law", a handbook for parliamentarians produced jointly by the ICRC and the Swiss-based Inter-Parliamentary Union. The book, which was issued in 1999 for the 50th anniversary of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, looks at the ways in which parliaments and parliamentarians can ensure that humanitarian law treaties are incorporated into national legislation and that the rules of war are respected in times of internal and international unrest. Mr Sead Avdic, deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, which hosted the event together with the ICRC, emphasized the important role of parliamentarians regarding the application and promotion of humanitarian law. The book launch took place in a Sarajevo gallery famous as a meeting place for Bosnia's academics and intellectuals. It was attended by representatives of the State and Entity authorities, members of the Standing Committee on Military Matters, the legal adviser to the Bosnia-Herzegovina Presidency, a number of well-known intellectuals, officials from the national Red Cross Society and members of the international community. "Parliamentarians play a key role in the process through which States enact national legislation", said Balthasar Staehelin, ICRC head of delegation in Bosnia-Herzegovina, in his welcoming address. "I trust that this handbook will prove a useful tool." The Council of Ministers has just adopted the draft laws regulating the status of the fledgling Red Cross Society of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the use of the red cross emblem, clearing the way for their passage through parliament.

AP 15 Sept 2001 Call to charge Bosnian Muslims, Croats with war crimes BANJA LUKA, Bosnia-Herzegovina: Police in the Serb-controlled half of Bosnia revealed Friday that they had collected evidence to build war crimes cases against 3,000 Muslims and Croats. The evidence, which will be handed over to both local prosecutors and the U.N. war crimes tribunal, is intended to prove that Muslims and Croats had committed atrocities during the 1992-95 war. Most of the people tried so far by the U.N. tribunal have been Serbs. The most prominent suspects still at large are Radovan Karadzic, the former Bosnian Serb wartime leader, and Ratko Mladic, his wartime general. There was no immediate comment from U.N. officials in Bosnia. The war in Bosnia split the country into a Muslim-Croat federation and a Bosnian Serb republic. Some 200,00 people, mostly Muslims, died and at least 20,000 are missing as a result of the war.

AFP 17 Sept 2001 Chechen rebels launch offensive, kill two Russian generals by Eric Helque. Chechen rebels went on the offensive against Russian forces Monday, killing two generals and 21 other soldiers in a helicopter attack and an assault on Chechnya's second city Gudermes. A Chechen rebel force numbering some 300 men mounted the overnight attack on Gudermes and fighting continued to rage throughout the day Monday, Interior Minister Boris Gryzlov was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying. At least ten Russian soldiers were killed and eight police officers wounded in the assault, news agencies reported quoting federal officials. Top Kremlin spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembsky told ORT television that some 15 Chechens had been killed in the battles. Gryzlov said Russian artillery was preparing to bomb Chechen guerrillas. "The interior ministry and defense ministry troops have begun to hunt down the rebels," he added. Monday's offensive was the largest in a series of Chechen rebel attacks since the Kremlin announced it was scaling down its forces in the breakaway republic earlier this year. Moves were taken to withdraw some of the more than 80,000 Russian troops stationed in Chechnya, but the pull-out has since come to a halt. The rebels seized several positions in the city, pro-Russian police officials admitted, although the situation was unclear as Russian and rebel sources issued contradictory claims and counter-claims. Two generals, eight officers and three crew members died when rebel fire brought their helicopter down near Khankala, the federal military headquarters not far from Grozny, Interfax reported. The generals were Anatoly Pozdnyakov, a senior commander with the Russian forces headquarters in the region, and Pavel Barfolomeyev, a senior defense ministry official, said the commander of Russian forces in the North Caucasus, Valery Baranov. Movladi Udugov, a spokesman for a radical Chechen separatist group, claimed responsibility for downing the Mi-8 helicopter in a telephone call to AFP. A spokesman for separatist Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov told AFP earlier Monday that the rebels had taken control of Gudermes. An aide to Yastrzhembsky, who initially denied a rebel attack had been launched, said the fighting was continuing. An official with the office of the Russian president's envoy in southern Russia, Viktor Kazantsev, said that the situation was now "under control." The Chechen pro-Russian administration head, Akhmad Kadyrov, quoted by the Interfax news agency, said the Chechen guerrillas were "totally blocked (inside Gudermes) and Russian forces are currently taking steps to neutralize them." Maskhadov's spokesman also said that the rebels had seized control of another town, Nozhai-Yurt, in the southwest of the breakaway republic, but there were no Russian reports to confirm this. Udugov added that around 10 Russian troops had died in a Chechen suicide attack carried out on a military installation at Argun, some 10 kilometres (six miles) east of the Chechen capital, Grozny, where he said fighting had flared, but local authorities denied the report. There was also fighting in several districts of Grozny, Udugov said, without elaborating. A senior Russian administration official in Chechnya, Suleyman Bagapov, denied there was fighting in Argun or Grozny. But military officials said Russian forces in Grozny had been placed on maximum alert, and a session of the Chechen pro-Russian government was canceled following the rebel attacks, pro-Russian Chechen Prime Minister Stanislav Ilyasov said, as quoted by RIA Novosti. Russia sent its troops into Chechnya on October 1, 1999, to put down a separatist insurgency.

AFP 17 Sept 2001 - Fighting erupts in Chechnya's second city MOSCOW, Sept 17 (AFP) - Russian security forces came under Chechen rebel attack Monday in Gudermes, Chechnya's second city, with both rebel president Aslan Maskhadov and Russian officials claiming to control the city. An official with the office of the Russian president's envoy in southern Russia Viktor Kazantsev confirmed that Chechen separatists had launched an overnight attack on Gudermes, 30 kilometres (20 miles) east of the capital Grozny, but that the situation was now "under control." The rebels had seized a number of positions in the city, the official, quoted by the ITAR-TASS news agency, admitted. The deputy commander of Russian forces in the Northern Caucasus, Alexei Kuznetsov, said Russian forces had encircled a group of rebel Chechen fighters whom he numbered at 15. However a spokesman for Maskhadov told AFP by telephone that the rebels had seized total control of Gudermes and of another town, Nozhai-Yurt, in the southwest of the breakaway republic. He did not elaborate. The office of the Kremlin's top official on Chechnya, Sergei Yastrzhembsky, initially said a report by the RIA Novosti news agency that 400 rebels had attacked Gudermes was "totally unfounded." The report, quoting local pro-Russian security officials, said the fighting was still in progress and that a state of emergency had been declared in Gudermes. Another report by the ITAR-TASS news agency, also attributed to security officials, said 100 rebels were currently fighting Russian forces in Gudermes. It said a pro-Russian policeman had been killed and several others wounded. The head of Russian forces in the Northern Caucasus, General Valery Baranov, initially denied the report, saying he had spoken to the military commander in Gudermes who was "amazed" to hear that rebels were attacking the city. However another official in the Northern Caucasus command quoted by RIA Novosti said he had been in contact with interior ministry forces and that that they were currently engaged in fighting with rebel forces in Gudermes. The Interfax news agency, quoting a judicial official in Gudermes, said shots had been heard in the city early Monday and that the situation was tense. The Chechen pro-Russian administration head, Akhmad Kadyrov, told Interfax that the number of separatists who had attacked Gudermes did not exceed 15. "They are totally blocked (inside Gudermes) and Russian forces are currently taking steps to neutralize them," he said. If the number of 400 were confirmed, the offensive would be the largest Chechen rebel attack since the Kremlin announced it was scaling down its forces in the breakaway republic earlier this year. Moves were taken to withdraw some of the more than 80,000 Russian troops stationed in Chechnya, but the pull-out has since come to a halt. Russia sent its troops into Chechnya on October 1, 1999, to put down a separatist insurgency.


AP 10 Sept 2001 In Berlin, new Jewish museum is dedicated By Colleen Barry, BERLIN - Germany celebrated the gala opening yesterday of a national Jewish Museum, a dramatic zinc-clad building that even empty has drawn hundreds of thousands of visitors, unveiling for the first time exhibits spanning two millennia of Jewish history. The museum, which opened to some 850 invited guests, including Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, President Johannes Rau, and Henry Kissinger, emphasizes Jewish contributions to German culture. By doing so, it serves as a reminder that German Jewish history encompasses far more than the Holocaust, Rau said in his opening speech. ''Today many young people only know one thing about the history of Jews in Germany and Europe: that the Nazis planned and executed the mass murder of the European Jews,'' he said. ''We must keep the memory of this catastrophe alive. But it must not lead to the false conclusion that this is the sum of German Jewish history.'' Berlin has struggled with the concept of a Jewish museum for more than a quarter-century. Germany's first Jewish museum opened in 1933. Organizers intended to link German-Jewish culture with exhibitions of well-known Jewish artists, but the Nazis transformed it into a place where Jewish art was segregated, using it as another tool against the nation's Jewish population. The museum was destroyed in 1938. In the 1960s, the late Jewish leader Heinz Galinski called for a new Jewish museum in Berlin. Officials struggled with how to represent the painful history of a people whose extermination was plotted from Berlin when it was the Nazi capital, and it was not until the late '80s that the idea was approved. Two key roles for the new national museum were filled by non-Germans whose personal histories were upended by the Holocaust: Daniel Libeskind, the Polish-born American architect who designed the museum building, and Michael Blumenthal, who in 1997 was appointed to put together the exhibition. Under the direction of Blumenthal, a German-born Jew who fled to Shanghai with his parents, exhibit organizers made the conscious decision not to focus solely on the Holocaust, but rather on the totality of Jewish history in Germany.


BBC 17 Sept 2001 Germany wins Greek appeal on assets The Greek court of appeal has ruled that German Government assets in Greece cannot be auctioned to compensate relatives of victims of a German wartime atrocity. The court decided that the Greek Justice Minister Mihalis Stathopoulos must approve the seizure and sale of any German property, and the minister has already said that he would not give such approval. The victims' relatives had been planning to sell off German state-owned cultural and educational establishments in Athens to raise about $25m they were awarded in damages two years ago. Germany says it considers the question of war damages closed after it paid Greece about $60m in compensation in the 1960s. The case arose from the massacre of more than 200 civilians by SS troops in the village of Sistomo in central Greece in 1944.

BBC 10 Sept 2001 Greeks to auction German assets Greek survivors of a German massacre in the Second World War say they are determined to go ahead with the auction of German assets in Greece to recoup damages. Last year, the Greek supreme court ordered Germany to pay about $25m to the survivors of the June 1944 massacre in the central village of Distomo, where SS forces killed 218 men, women and children. When Germany refused to pay, the survivors won a court ruling allowing them to auction off German state property in Greece starting on 19 September. Germany appealed against the ruling but correspondents say a court decision is unlikely to come before the deadline. The survivors say they will start by auctioning the Goethe cultural institute, followed by the German archaeological school and the German high school. Germany, which paid Greece about $67m in war reparations in the 1960s, says it considers the question of damages closed.


BBC 7 September, 2001 Kosovo assault 'was not genocide' The court ruled there was no attempt to destroy the Albanian ethnic group A United Nations court has ruled that Serbian troops did not carry out genocide against ethnic Albanians during Slobodan Milosevic's campaign of aggression in Kosovo from 1998 to 1999. The controversial ruling by the UN-supervised Supreme Court in the Kosovan capital, Pristina, has angered Albanians, and some UN officials are reported to be preparing to challenge it. The decision comes as authorities in Serbia begin the excavation of another mass grave believed to contain the bodies of around 50 Kosovar Albanians. Four graves have already been investigated, revealing the remains of 340 victims. UN 'unhappy' The court, Kosovo's highest legal body, said there had been a "systematic campaign of terror, including murders, rapes, arsons and severe maltreatments". Crimes against humanity and war crimes did take place, it said, but "the exactions committed by Milosevic's regime cannot be qualified as criminal acts of genocide, since their purpose was not the destruction of the Albanian ethnic group... but its forceful departure from Kosovo". However the BBC's Paul Wood in Belgrade says that some UN legal officials are deeply unhappy and have begun a campaign to have the ruling overturned. The decision was based on the 1948 Geneva convention which defines genocide as the intent "to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group as such". Milosevic debate The court, which is comprised of two international judges and one Albanian, was ruling on the case of a Serb, Miroslav Vuckovic, convicted of genocide by a district court in Mitrovica. International officials have raised concerns about the treatment of Serbs by Kosovo's Albanian dominated judiciary. Mr Vuckovic's conviction has now been overturned and he will face a retrial in Mitrovica. The decision is likely to reopen the debate on whether Slobodan Milosevic should face genocide charges at The Hague, where he already stands accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The tribunal is currently preparing indictments of genocide against Mr Milosevic in connection with atrocities carried out in Bosnia and Croatia. Mass grave Serbian authorities in the western Serbian town of Bajina Basta began on Thursday to excavate a mass grave thought to contain the bodies of Kosovo Albanians. They are believed to have been transported out of the province in an attempt by Mr Milosevic to cover up atrocities and possible war crimes carried out during his campaign of terror. Serbian police believe around 800 victims of the conflict in Kosovo have been buried around Serbian territory. The gruesome revelations of the bodies are credited with changing public opinion in Serbia and increasing acceptance that war crimes were carried out under the Milosevic regime.

AFP 19 Sept 2001 Two years on, Kosovo Serbs return home by Alexandre Peyrille OSOJANE, Yugoslavia - Sreten Djuric and 80 other Serbs have begun to rebuild their homes here in the Osojane valley, north-western Kosovo, after more than two years in exile in Serbia. "We returned because it is our land," said Djuric, who came back as part of a scheme organised and financed by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The main village in the valley, Zvecan, is just a building site. Piles of bricks and roofing timbers have been dumped along the side of the main road. Across the road, a dozen men are working on a house they have just begun to rebuild. The Osojane valley counted about 1,000 inhabitants before June, 1999, when Serbian forces withdrew from Kosovo, leaving the way open to revenge-hungry Albanians, who looted and vandalised the Serbian villages under the eyes of NATO forces. Having just moved back into Kosovo, the Serbs say they are happy, but have difficulty in understanding who is in charge in the province, now administered by the United Nations. "We feel lost, we don't know what the UNMIK (UN Mission in Kosovo) is, nor the UNHCR, nor the European Union," said Vlastimir Vukovic, 62. However, some 40 people have already been registered to vote in legislative elections scheduled next November 17. Over the past month, some 15 houses have been re-roofed, but the village was devastated. UCK (Kosovo Liberation Front) slogans are still visible on the walls of houses. About 50 of the Serbs have learned how to lay bricks and build roofs. As soon as the houses have become habitable, the valley's population will be 330. In the meantime the Serbs are sleeping in tents, without electricity or running water, with only three makeshift bathrooms between them. Village chief and former postman Gojko Djuric said that a labour shortage was putting a brake on the urgent need for reconstruction, ahead of the freezing winter. He said he did not rule out that some Albanians would lend a hand. "We welcome any help from wherever it comes," he appealed in front of a group of disbelieving international officials. Sitting on a plastic bottle box, in the shade of a stack of dozens of wooden palettes, an 82-year-old is reading a booklet on the causes of the Kosovo conflict. "I swear never to return to Serbia," the old man said. "He was not meant to come here. He's too old and he can't work. But he insisted so much..." said Dobrila, from the Pec monastery. The old man is waiting for his two sons, who will return when the houses are habitable. Relations with local Albanians have yet to be tested. "I hope we shall be able to live together again as soon as possible," said a Russian teacher. But Sreten Djuric said he feared the gap would be too wide. Two thousand Albanians, unhappy that Serbs were coming back to live, staged a demonstration at Istok, 10 kilometres (six miles) from here last week. On the security front, the village has been placed under the guard of Spanish legionnaires from NATO who are manning roadblocks and mounting regular patrols. But no Serb dares to venture outside the perimeter of the village without a KFOR (Kosovo Force) escort. "Unfortunately, we are just enother enclave," Gojko Djuric lamented, referring to the other Serb enclaves around Kosovo.

AFP 20 Sept 2001 A Serb woman killed in Kosovo: UNMIK PRISTINA, Yugoslavia - A Serb woman was killed late Wednesday near the town of Urosevac in southern Kosovo and her suspected killer arrested, a spokesman for the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) said Thursday. "Sladjana Bungul, 37, married to an (ethnic) Albanian, was found dead hit on the head with axe," Andrea Angeli told AFP. He added that a 38-year old Kosovo Albanian had been arrested immediately afterwards by UNMIK police on suspicion of having committed the crime. Bungul was killed in Dranjak, a village 12 kilometres (seven miles) away from Urosevac. The Serb minority in Kosovo has been regularly targetted by ethnic Albanian extremists since the province came under international protection in June 1999.


Reuters 21 Sept 20001 Lithuanian Jews Remember Holocaust 60 Yrs On By Peter Mladineo VILNIUS Fania Brancovksaja remembers how the Holocaust started in Lithuania, when German soldiers and local police rounded up scores of young, mostly male, Jews. They were told they were to take part in "work" brigades and to bring a bar of soap and a towel. Most were never seen again. "Later, when they were burning the corpses they found these towels and soap," Brancovksaja said. On September 23, Lithuania marks the 60th anniversary of the Holocaust in the Baltic state, a date that also coincides with the 1943 liquidation of the Vilnius ghetto, in which thousands were forced from their homes and sent to eventual death. Lithuania lost more than 90 percent of its 220,000 Jews during the war, the highest percentage of any country. It is still struggling to come to grips with the fact that some locals were responsible. Lithuania is not only haunted by painful memories about the Holocaust. A host of problems including the fight to prosecute Nazi collaborators, returning property that once belonged to Jews and contemporary examples of anti-Semitism, trouble the small Baltic state which was occupied by the Soviet Union from 1939 to 1991. FACTORY OF DEATH Lithuania will commemorate the Holocaust at the killing fields of Paneriai, a suburb about 10 km (six miles) southwest of the capital Vilnius, where some 100,000 Jews were shot. "There was a saying 'there are roads to Paneriai but no roads back,"' said Brancovksaja, who survived much of the Nazi terror hiding out in the woods with Jewish partisans. She is now the deputy chairman of the Jewish Community of Lithuania. The Nazis picked Paneriai for the site of the massacres because Soviet forces -- who were temporarily driven out of Lithuania in 1941 by the German army -- had dug huge pits meant to house oil tanks that they never had time to install. Most of the Jews whose lives ended in the Paneriai pits came from Vilnius, but about 30,000 were from outside the city, some from as far away as Prague, said Brancovksaja. A 79-year-old pensioner and great-grandmother, Brancovksaja will deliver a speech at Paneriai in her native Yiddish. "I think it's my duty to those who were shot in Paneriai to tell the truth," she said. "Paneriai was a factory of death." A PIT IN ALMOST EVERY TOWN Many Lithuanians have difficulty imagining that their countrymen had anything to do with the killings at Paneriai and elsewhere. Tens of thousands of their own family members, neighbors and friends were killed or deported by the communists during the Soviet occupation that started in 1939, and resumed again in 1944-5 after the German army was driven out. Historians, academics and prosecutors say Lithuanians need to come to terms with what went on in their country during the Holocaust. "There's a big pit in almost every town in Lithuania," said Brooklyn-born Professor Dovid Katz, who runs the Vilnius Yiddish Institute. "The Nazis got the locals to organize the ghettos and the shootings...It was Lithuania that proved to the Nazis how easy it is to get locals to co-operate and murder," he added. Jewish groups now say that as many as 10 local police battalions took part in the killings. Two of the Lithuania's most high-profile wartime Nazi suspects, Aleksandras Liliekis and Anton Gecas, died before Lithuanian prosecutors were able to conclude cases against them. Lithuanian prosecutors brought the first and only Holocaust conviction in the ex-Soviet Union in February when a court found former U.S. citizen Kazys Gimzauskas guilty of collaborating with the Nazis in World War Two genocide. He was not sentenced because he suffers from Alzheimer's disease. Nazi hunters blame Lithuania for being slow to seek war crimes suspects after it regained independence from Moscow in 1991. "There is no question that the government has, over the years, done far too little and done it far too late in each of the cases dealt with," said Efraim Zuroff, director of the Nazi-hunting Simon Wiesenthal Centre's Jerusalem office. Lithuania is far from intransigent, though. Zuroff recently presented Lithuanian prosecutors with a list of 97 people of Lithuanian origin suspected by the Wiesenthal Centre of Nazi war crimes, many of whom fled to other countries or died. Lithuanian prosecutors have asked authorities in Britain, North America and Latin America to help identify and find them. Following Gecas's death in Scotland on September 12, Lithuanian prosecutors vowed to continue the hunt for Nazi era criminals, saying they would "take active efforts to pursue and bring persons suspected of crimes against humanity to trial in Lithuania." Some prominent Lithuanians have spoken out about the past. In 1995, current Prime Minister Algirdas Brazauskas publicly apologized for crimes committed by Lithuanians. "I ask you for forgiveness for those Lithuanians who ruthlessly killed, shot, deported and robbed Jews," Brazauskas, who was Lithuania's president in 1995, appealed before Israel's parliament. RESTITUTION, ANTI-SEMITISM Other critics say Lithuania has been too slow and inflexible in dealing with the sensitive issue of pre-war Jewish property -- much of which was seized by the Nazis and later nationalized by the Soviet authorities. However, Brazauskas received a strong ovation from a recent conference of Jews of Lithuanian origin when he said property restitution was firmly on the government's agenda. Lithuania's Jewish population is now less than 5,000 -- a shadow of the community that once made Vilnius the "Jerusalem of the North." Jewish groups have complained that public monuments have been desecrated with swastikas and anti-Semitic slogans and worry that the staunchly Catholic country's church is not sympathetic. "The Lithuania press publishes articles that condemn anti-Semitism, however we think that Lithuanian intellectuals are not very active in this field," said a statement from the Jewish Community of Lithuania's Web site. "We especially lack the weighty word of the church." However, some say Lithuania's slow pace in dealing with its past has to do with the 50 years of silence over the Holocaust during the Soviet occupation. "For Lithuania, independence means that, finally after the communist evil they are trying to understand the evil that came before, the Nazi evil," said Emanuelis Zingeris, a former member of parliament and president of Lithuania's Jewish Cultural Commission. "It's a very difficult target but they are trying to do it."


HRW 5 Sept 2001 Macedonian Troops Commit Grave Abuses Role of Interior Minister in Ljuboten Abuses Must be Investigated (New York, September 5, 2001) Macedonian government troops committed grave abuses during an August offensive that claimed ten civilian lives in the ethnic Albanian village of Ljuboten, Human Rights Watch charged in a new report released today. The report, titled Crimes Against Civilians: Abuses by Macedonian Forces in Ljuboten, August 10-12, 2001, charges that Macedonian police troops shot dead six civilians and burned at least twenty-two homes, sheds, and stores in the course of their August 12 house-to-house attack on the village. The rights group pressed for an immediate investigation, including an inquiry into the role of Macedonian Minister of Interior Ljube Boskovski, who was present in the village on August 12, the day the worst violations occurred. "The Macedonian government must answer to the people of Ljuboten," said Elizabeth Andersen, Executive Director of Human Rights Watch's Europe and Central Asia division. "It is deeply disturbing that the Minister of Interior appears to have been so intimately involved in one of the worst abuses of the war. We demand an immediate and impartial investigation." Human Rights Watch called on the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to make public the results of its investigation into the events in Ljuboten. Human Rights Watch pressed for a separate investigation by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, which has jurisdiction over war crimes committed in the Macedonia conflict. Based on a two-week in-depth investigation, including a visit to Ljuboten, interviews with victims and witnesses, and examination of photographic evidence, the report also documented indiscriminate shelling that claimed another three lives in Ljuboten. Contrary to the government's account of the offensive, researchers found no evidence that the ethnic Albanian rebel National Liberation Army was present in the village. Hundreds of ethnic Albanian civilians who tried to flee Ljuboten faced further abuse. Ethnic Macedonian vigilantes beat three men unconscious in full view of the Macedonian police on August 12. One of the men was shot in the head by the Macedonian police as he attempted to flee the beating. Police separated over one hundred men and boys from their wives and children and took them to police stations in Skopje, where they were subjected to severe beatings. Atulah Qaini, aged thirty-five, was taken away alive from the village by police officers, and his badly beaten and mutilated corpse was later recovered by family members from the city morgue. According to their relatives, at least twenty-four men from Ljuboten, including a thirteen-year-old boy, remain in police custody after suffering serious beatings from the police. The police abuse suffered by ethnic Albanians fleeing Ljuboten is consistent with patterns of systematic abuse Human Rights Watch has documented in Macedonia over the past six months. Human Rights Watch urged international monitors to make a priority of monitoring and reporting on the conduct of Macedonian police. "Endemic police abuse is a potential spark that could re-ignite the conflict in Macedonia," Andersen said. "We can't wait for a gradual restructuring of the police over the next three years. Immediate steps-including monitoring and accountability-are needed to curb abuse."


AFP 2 Sept 2001 Nagorno-Karabakh marks 10 years of "independence" Azerbaijan's predominantly Armenian enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh marked its 10-year anniversary of "independence" on Sunday, with its leaders calling on the people to take up arms and fight. "Azerbaijan's military is aimed against our young republic, proving that the only way Nagorno-Karabakh can remain free is by forming a strong and well-prepared army," the enclave's self-declared president Arkady Gukasyan said in a speech broadcast on Armenian television. Armenian President Robert Kocharyan attended the formal gathering in the enclave's self-declared parliament, saying in a prepared statement that he was seeking a peaceful solution to the conflict, but also calling for a just end to the dispute. "After being forced into a war and then winning it, the people of Armenia continue to follow a difficult but just path," Kocharyan said. Azerbaijan, a former Soviet republic at the southern end of the Caucasus mountains, was routed in the war with Armenia over Karabakh, which lasted from 1989 until a ceasefire was agreed in 1994. Some 30,000 people died in the fighting. Karabakh's parliament declared full independence in September 1991, although its sovereignty has not been recognized by any foreign state. International negotiations to find a permanent settlement over Nagorno-Karabakh have been stalled since April this year, and Azeri officials have been making increasingly war-like statements. Azerbaijan's President Heydar Aliyev last month told the country's armed forces to be ready at any moment to go to war with neighboring Armenia to win back the disputed territory. Meanwhile Western states are at odds over whether to recognize Karabakh's local elections which are scheduled next Wednesday. The US State Department last week said it did not object to the elections, putting it at odds with the Council of Europe, which has denounced the polls as illegitimate.


Reuters 10 Sept 2001 Hague Warcrimes Court Hears of Babies Burned Alive By Abigail Levene THE HAGUE (Reuters) - Tales of murder, torture and babies burned alive echoed through the courtrooms of the Hague tribunal Monday as seven men went on trial in three separate cases for atrocities in the 1992-5 Bosnian war. Prosecutors opened cases against five Bosnian Serbs and two Croats as the arrival of extra judges sharply increased the tribunal's capacity, allowing it to start three trials on the same day for the first time. All the defendants plead not guilty to charges including crimes against humanity. Judges heard how Bosnian Serb Mitar Vasiljevic, a waiter, became a paramilitary who systematically murdered Muslims in and around the eastern Bosnian town of Visegrad in 1992-94. Vasiljevic, 47, denies killing scores of Muslim civilians. In a June 1992 incident, prosecutors said he and others of the ''White Eagles'' paramilitary unit locked 65 women, children and old men into a room in a Visegrad house and set it alight. ``There was a small baby among them. She had yet to see her third day on this earth,'' said prosecutor Dermot Groome. Some tried to jump out of the windows, but another paramilitary stood outside shooting at them while Vasiljevic shone a light on the victims, prosecutors said. Screams were heard for two hours after the fire began. All but six of those locked in were killed. Among the victims were young children and babies, and 46 members of one family. ``Mitar Vasiljevic is not the most infamous among the tribunal's indictees. He is no powerful politician accused of the grand plans behind the carnage in Bosnia. He is a simple waiter,'' Groome told Courtroom II. ``But he is one who by his own hands committed an act that is perhaps one of the single most horrific and egregious affronts to humanity in the war -- to the most innocent of victims.'' ``CUTTING EDGE'' OF ETHNIC CLEANSING Bosnian Croats Mladen Naletilic and Vinko Martinovic, nicknamed ``Tuta'' and ``Stela,'' sat stony-faced as prosecutors in Court I accused them of being leading perpetrators of the brutal ethnic cleansing of Bosnian Muslims in 1993, in the Mostar area of southern Herzegovina coveted by Croatian nationalists. ``Convicts' Battalion'' founder and commander Naletilic, 54, and his subordinate Martinovic, who headed a sub-unit, allegedly expelled Bosnian Muslims from their homes, arrested and tortured Muslim men and used them as human shields. ``Both led by example -- by committing atrocities by their own hand,'' prosecutor Kenneth Scott said. ``Mladen Naletilic, 'Tuta', was at the cutting edge of ethnic cleansing. ``He presided over the expulsion of Bosnian Muslims from their homes and villages. He presided over the burning of their homes and the destruction of their mosques. He commanded and set the example of the beating of Muslim men taken prisoner.'' ``Tuta'' threatened prisoners by putting pistols in their mouths, Scott said. ``He told them: 'Lie down and kiss the Croatian ground.''' The two used Muslim prisoners for forced labor and took them as human shields to deter their enemies from attacking them -- resulting in many deaths -- and encouraged subordinates to do the same, the court heard. SURVIVORS On one occasion, Martinovic, 37, ordered the selection of four Muslim detainees as human shields. One fainted from fear and another was chosen in his place. They were told that if they survived they would be released. ``Miraculously they did survive and escaped...Some will be witnesses here,'' said Scott, adding that another 15 were used as human shields on the same day and 10 of them were killed. Scott said Muslim prisoners were even forced to loot fellow Muslims' homes on behalf of Bosnian Croat forces. Naletilic -- who like Martinovic was born in Bosnia but later took Croatian nationality -- had close links with officials in Croatia, Scott said. He visited the defense minister in Croatia and the minister went to Naletilic's headquarters. Bosnian Serbs Blagoje Simic, Milan Simic, Miroslav Tadic and Simo Zaric were in Courtroom III, accused of planning and waging a campaign against Bosnian Croats, Muslims and other non-Serbs in the Bosanski Samac area of northern Bosnia, in spring 1992.

AP 6 Sept 2001 War Crimes Suspect Free on Bail AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) — A former Bosnian Serb political leader awaiting trial on war crimes charges including genocide was released on her own recognizance Thursday. Biljana Plavsic, one of the tribunal's best known suspects and the only woman among its 46 detainees, left her jail cell and drove herself to the airport and flew home to Yugoslavia. Plavsic was a close associate of wartime Bosnian Serb President Radovan Karadzic — who heads the U.N. tribunal's list of most-wanted fugitives. Yugoslav authorities assured the tribunal that she would return when she was supposed to. The 71-year-old had been in custody at the Hague since January, when she voluntarily surrendered to the U.N. court and arrived at the tribunal in her own BMW sedan. She pleaded innocent to war crimes charges. Plavsic is accused of being part of the Bosnian Serb leadership that allegedly ordered the executions of thousands of Muslims and Croats at the outset of the 1992-95 Bosnian war. She succeeded Karadzic as president of the Bosnian Serb republic after the 1995 Dayton peace accord that ended the war. She is the fourth defendant to be released on her own recognizance since the tribunal was created in 1993 to prosecute suspected war criminals from the Balkan conflicts that began with the breakup of Yugoslavia two years earlier. The other three suspects, who were provisionally released last year, returned voluntarily when they were supposed to. At a hearing Wednesday, the tribunal set a target date of next February for the trial to begin for Plavsic and co-defendant Momcilo Krajisnik, but that date could be set back by several weeks at the request of the defense. Chief Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte was in Bosnia this week to press authorities to arrest Karadzic and his top general, Ratko Mladic, and surrender them to The Hague for trial. The two men are believed to travel between Yugoslavia and the Serbian-governed part of Bosnia, making it difficult for NATO-led international peacekeepers in Bosnia to find and arrest them. In Sarajevo Wednesday, Del Ponte complained that Bosnian Serbs and Croats have failed so far to surrender indicted suspects.

AP 19 Sept 2001Plea Bargain Absolves Bosnian Serb By ARTHUR MAX, Associated Press Writer THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) - War crimes prosecutors dropped charges of genocide Wednesday against the Bosnian Serb commander of one of the most notorious prison camps of the Bosnian war in exchange for a guilty plea for persecuting Muslims and Croats. Dusko Sikirica, 37, and co-defendant Damir Dosen, 34, pleaded guilty to one count each of persecution while running the Keraterm camp, where hundreds of detainees were beaten, starved or shot to death. The deal spared prosecutors the task of trying to prove genocide, which requires showing an intent to wipe out an ethnic or religious community. Tribunal prosecutors won their first genocide conviction in August against a Bosnian Serb general after several other defendants were acquitted. Sikirica was the only commander at the former ceramics factory accused of genocide, the most serious crime in the international statute book. He would have faced life in prison if convicted. Dosen, one of three shift commanders of prison guards and interrogators, faced lesser charges of crimes against humanity. As part of the deal, prosecutors recommended 10 to 17 years in prison for Sikirica and five to seven years for Dosen. Sentencing was scheduled for next month. Another shift commander, Dragan Kolundzija, agreed to a plea bargain two weeks ago. Sikirica was captured by British peacekeepers at his home in Prijedor 15 months ago. Dosen was arrested by NATO forces in October 1999 at his home near the town of Tuzla. More than 7,000 Muslim and Croat men were rounded up during the summer of 1992 and held in brutal conditions in Keraterm and two other detention centers in the Prijedor district in northwest Bosnia, a strategic corridor linking Serbian-dominated areas of Croatia and Serbia. In one of the worst incidents at Keraterm, more than 200 people were locked in a warehouse in July 1992. Serb guards rattled off machine-gun fire through the metal doors throughout the night, killing more than 150. After daylight broke, Sikirica selected 20 survivors and accused them of helping others escape. ``They were then brought outside the room and summarily executed,'' according to one count that was dropped in the plea bargain. The U.N. tribunal was created in 1993 to prosecute war crimes committed in the Balkans during the tumultuous breakup of the former Yugoslavia.


AP 15 Sept 2001. Putin compares U.S. attacks to Nazi atrocities Russian leader calls for new worldwide system of security, but gives no details YEREVAN, Armenia (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin compared the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon to atrocities committed by the Nazis, but cautioned Saturday against hasty retaliation. Tuesday's attacks in the United States could "be compared in scale and cruelty to what the Nazis were perpetrating," Putin said in a speech at Yerevan University during a visit to Armenia. It was a strong statement for a Russian leader, given the massive destruction and millions of lives the Soviet Union lost fighting the Nazis. "The main lesson that (we) should draw from this tragedy is the need to strengthen our own and international security," Putin said. Putin urged a new worldwide outlook on security that focuses on the threats of large-scale terrorism, and on cooperation among governments to fight it. He did not elaborate on what this "new system of security" should look like. In the past, he said, "we talked a lot about the threat of terrorism, but apparently we didn't find the words that would have persuaded the world community to create an effective defence against international terrorism.'' The chief spokesperson for Russia's Federal Security Service said Saturday that Russian officials had warned American counterparts of a threat of terrorist attacks on the United States. Spokesperson Nikolai Patrushev, in remarks carried by Russian news agencies and television, claimed "due attention" was not paid to the warnings. Patrushev gave no details about the threat or warnings. Patrushev also insisted that Moscow is battling international terrorists in breakaway Chechnya. The Chechen fighters say they are separatists seeking independence from Russia, and the United States and other Western governments have criticized the Russian military campaign. "I hope that now people will understand that it's not our internal problem but a problem of the whole world community,'' Patrushev said. Earlier Saturday, Putin said at a news conference with Armenian President Robert Kocharian that the evil behind the American attacks "should be punished, but in so doing we should not become like bandits that act from behind a corner; we should proceed from true facts.'' Russia's Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, who is accompanying Putin on his trip to Armenia, said the use of force in combating terrorism cannot be ruled out, but the consequences must be taken into consideration. "Military action alone cannot solve the problems, this is obvious," he said. Top Russian officials said earlier this week their country was unlikely to participate in eventual U.S. retaliatory strikes against those responsible for the attacks. Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexy II also spoke Saturday against retaliation for the American attacks that would threaten civilian lives.

BBC 18 Sept 2001, Mass arrests after Chechnya attacks Russian forces claim they have regained control Russian authorities say they have detained more than 400 people following new rebel attacks in Chechnya, including a bold assault on the second largest city, Gudermes. Ten senior officers died when their helicopter was shot down by rebels over the capital Grozny. At least 10 Russian army troops were also killed during the rebel attack on Gudermes, the administrative base for many pro-Moscow officials. In the town of Argun, an apparent suicide driver crashed his lorry into some administrative offices, killing one person and injuring another. Russian General Valery Baranov told Russian TV that his forces had now regained control of the areas of Gudermes which had fallen into rebel hands on Monday. He said suspected rebel strongholds had been bombed across Chechnya, and that more than 400 people had been detained. Brazen ambush Gudermes was one of the first cities to be recaptured from rebels when Russia began its second war in the separatist republic two years ago and was temporarily the seat of the pro-Moscow administration. The assault is among the worst outbreaks of violence since the start of the year. Correspondents say that the string of assaults are a blow to Moscow's attempts to portray life in the republic as returning to normal, and also display that the rebels are well equipped and well organised. A portable missile was used to bring down the Mi-8 helicopter after it took off from Grozny. It was shot down near government headquaters. The fuel tank exploded on impact, according to the authorities. Interior Minister Boris Gryzlov said about 300 rebels were involved in the attack on Gudermes, which started early on Monday with attacks on Russian outposts and administrative buildings. General Baranov said Russian troops killed at least 15 rebels during the day. In Argun, officials said that a local security guard was killed and a soldier wounded when the truck, which was carrying explosives, crashed into a building. "They exploded the vehicle. This was a failure of ours. But we will work, work in the long term, together and collectively," said commandant Nikolai Sidorenko.

ABCnews 18 Sept 2001 Soviet Veterans Warn United States (ABCNEWS.com) By SARAH KARUSH, Associated Press Writer MOSCOW (AP) - The prospect of a U.S. attack on Afghanistan brings an ominous message from veterans of the Soviet Union's decade-long war with Afghan guerrillas: You'll never win. ``You can occupy it, you can put troops there and keep bombing, but you cannot win,'' said Lt. Gen. Ruslan Aushev, who was decorated for bravery during the 1979-89 war. The Soviet Union's brutal conflict in the mountainous land helped bring about the superpower's collapse. The Soviet Union said it lost 15,000 troops in Afghanistan, and unofficial estimates are much higher. Moscow sent troops to Afghanistan to back a fledgling leftist government against Islamic rebels supported by the United States. The Taliban militia who now rule most of the country have sheltered Osama bin Laden , whom the United States suspects of masterminding last week's terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon . Any nation sheltering bin Laden faces ``the full wrath'' of the United States, Vice President Dick Cheney said Sunday. But even if U.S. officials are certain bin Laden is in Afghanistan, it may be impossible to find him there, Aushev said in a telephone interview Tuesday from the Russian region of Ingushetia, of which he is president. ``It's as easy to lose yourself in the mountains as in the jungle,'' he said. ``They'll find him only if they're ready to go over 500,000 square kilometers (200,000 square miles) rock by rock.'' Renowned warriors, the people of Afghanistan have staved off many a foreign enemy. Like the Soviet Union and Britain, which attempted to conquer the country in the 19th century, the United States is destined to fail, Aushev said. ``America doesn't want to kill 20 million Afghans,'' he said, implying that nothing short of genocide could win a war in Afghanistan. ``No matter how they prepare for a ground operation, it is hopeless,'' said Yevgeny Zelenov, a member of the Russian parliament and a veteran of the Soviet war. U.S. troops would be facing a people who have learned to ``sleep and live with their weapons,'' he said. After the Soviet occupation, violence among rival factions killed more than 50,000 people. And fighting between the Taliban, who preach the idea of holy war, and the northern-based opposition alliance has continued since the Islamic fundamentalist militia took power in 1996. But Alexei Arbatov, deputy chairman of the Russian parliament's defense committee, said U.S. officials have the advantage of Soviet experience as they plan their campaign. Moscow has amassed in-depth knowledge of Afghanistan's terrain and may still have valuable intelligence contacts that it could share with Washington. But the United States may be able to learn the most from Soviet mistakes, Arbatov said. ``At a minimum, the experience of Russia in Afghanistan is already influencing the U.S. in the sense that the United States is not planning - and I am convinced will never plan - to bring in a big contingent of ground troops with the goal of occupying Afghanistan,'' he said at a news conference. But because of the abundance of hiding places, missile strikes without a ground operation are destined to be nothing but ``noise, aimed at showing the government is doing something,'' Zelenov said. Khulkar Yusupov, who covered the Soviet war for the newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda, said he doubted the United States could pinpoint military targets and avoid heavy civilian casualties. During the Soviet war, Yusupov was most disturbed by the suffering among the already impoverished civilian population. ``You can't just pinpoint one gorge there. If you hit one gorge, you hit all the nearby villages,'' he said.


BBC 4 September, 2001 Armenia 'genocide' row in Swiss court Armenians say up to 1.5 million were killed A Swiss court is hearing a test case on whether the 1915-1920 killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turks should be termed genocide. Seventeen people - all members of Turkish associations - face trial on charges of racial discrimination on a complaint brought by the Armenia-Switzerland Association (ASA). It is the latest attempt by the ASA to get Switzerland to accept that the deaths of 500,000 to 1.5 million Armenians towards the end of the Ottoman Empire amounted to genocide. The 17 are accused of having "denied, minimised or sought to justify" the killings in statements. The charges have previously only been used in cases relating to the massacre of European Jews in World War II. Turkey rejects the term "genocide." It says about 300,000 Armenians died in what it calls a revolt against the authorities. The Turkish Government says it wants to leave the issue to historians. 'Freedom of speech' The Turkish embassy in Switzerland has said it will monitor the court proceedings in Bern and that it considered the statements to be covered under Swiss laws on freedom of speech. Six months ago, the Swiss parliament narrowly rejected a motion to recognise the killings as genocide. Instead, it has spoken of "the tragic events leading to the death of a very high number of Armenians." A verdict is expected on 14 September. In January, the French parliament passed a bill recognising the killings as genocide, causing Turkey to recall its ambassador and cancel contracts with French companies. The European Parliament has also called on Turkey to recognise publicly that the killings were genocide. Last year, the American House of Representatives withdrew a draft resolution which labelled the killings as genocide, at the request of President Bill Clinton. Turkey is a key Nato ally of the United States.

AP 14 September 2001 Turks Who Disputed Genocide Cleared By GORDANA MIJUK, BERN, Switzerland - After an unprecedented trial, a Swiss court on Friday cleared prominent Turkish organizations of charges that they violated racial discrimination laws by disputing the World War I era genocide of Armenians. The case was based on Switzerland's 1995 anti-racism law, which makes it a criminal offense to ``deny, grossly minimize or seek to justify genocide or other crimes against humanity.'' Until now it was used only against those denying the Nazi Holocaust. A Swiss-Armenian association filed a criminal complaint in 1997, objecting to a letter by Turkish associations that said the ``analogy between the (Nazi) Holocaust and the displacement of the Armenian population has no basis.'' ``It is not possible to talk about 'genocide' when the Ottoman government never intended to 'exterminate' the Armenians,'' said the letter, drafted by a coordinating body of Swiss-based Turkish organizations. The Turkish letter, to members of the Swiss parliament, was in response to a petition by the Armenian community urging Switzerland to recognize as genocide the killing of more than a million Armenians during and after World War I. Court president Lienhard Ochsner dismissed the case for lack of subjective evidence and said there was no sign the Turks knowingly breached the anti-racism law. The letter was merely an attempt to voice the opinion of the Turkish community in Switzerland, he ruled. ``They wanted to preserve the untarnished image of their homeland,'' Ochsner said. It was the first case of its kind worldwide. The Swiss-Armenian association said it would appeal. Armenians say some 1.5 million of their people were killed as the Ottoman Empire forced them from eastern Turkey between 1915 and 1923 - and that this was a deliberate campaign of genocide by Turkey's rulers. Turkey admits hundreds of thousands died, but says that Armenians were killed or displaced as the Ottoman Empire tried to secure its border with Russia and stop attacks by Armenian militants. The killings have been recognized as genocide by a U.N. human rights panel and several governments - including France, Argentina and Russia.


AP 30 Sept 2001 Ukraine Marks Holocaust Anniversary By MARINA SYSOEVA, KIEV, Ukraine (AP) - President Leonid Kuchma, marking the 60th anniversary of the Babi Yar Holocaust massacre on Sunday, urged all nations to contribute to the development of humanity and to live in peace. ``Every nation can bring its contribution into mankind's development,'' Kuchma said after unveiling a monument to children killed at Babi Yar. ``There cannot be anybody superior or anybody inferior.'' The bronze monument includes figures of abandoned and broken dolls, symbolizing the fate of the estimated 40,000 Jewish children killed at Babi Yar. ``We have no right to forget anything and will do all possible not to repeat the tragedy anywhere on the planet,'' said Kiev Mayor Oleksandr Omelchenko. The Babi Yar massacre began in late September 1941 when Nazi forces occupying Kiev ordered its Jews to gather, bringing their warm clothes and valuables - as if they were to be taken elsewhere. The Jews were then marched to the steep Babi Yar ravine and systematically shot. More than 33,000 Jews were killed over just a few days. Altogether, between 100,000 and 200,000 people - including non-Jews - are believed to have been killed at Babi Yar. Dozens of people, including elderly Babi Yar survivors and representatives of Jewish associations from abroad, attended the ceremony. ``It's unbelievable,'' said Arlene Hershgold, who came from Seattle, looking upset and fighting back tears. Kuchma and other officials, including foreign diplomats, laid wreaths at the memorial and unveiled a cornerstone for a Jewish Heritage community center that will include history museums of Jewish people and the Babi Yar massacre. ``This museum will show that we are alive and that we will live,'' said Ilia Levitas, head of the Ukrainian Jewish Council. Babi Yar came to symbolize Soviet attempts to suppress Jewish identity. When a memorial to victims was finally erected there in 1966, it mentioned only ``citizens of Kiev and prisoners of war,'' but not Jews. In 1991, Jewish groups erected their own memorial, a 10-foot menorah less than a mile away from the Soviet monument. ``Jewish life is thriving anew in Ukraine, despite the brutality of the Nazi excesses, and despite the repression of Communism,'' said Gene Ribakoff, president of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee that helps the Jewish community in Ukraine.

United Kingdom

BBC 4 September, 2001, No extradition for war crimes suspect Mr Gecas has suffered two strokes An 85-year-old man living in Edinburgh will not be extradited to Lithuania to face war crimes charges, the Scottish Executive has confirmed. An independent medical examination of Antonas Gecas, who has lived in Edinburgh since the late 40s, has concluded he is unfit medically to stand trial. Mr Gecas is diabetic and three months ago suffered two strokes. But Nazi-hunters said they were "intensely disappointed" that a suspected mass murderer should have the privilege of eluding justice for medical reasons. And the Scottish National Party accused successive Scottish governments of "foot-dragging" over the extradition. Mr Gecas served with a Nazi police battalion in Lithuania during the Second World War and is alleged to have committed war crimes including the genocide of Jews. Mr Gecas, who has previously worked for the coal board and helped run a guest house, has repeatedly denied committing war crimes. In 1992, Scottish judge Lord Milligan, dismissing a defamation action brought by Mr Gecas said there was clear evidence he had taken part in the killing of innocent civilians. Nazi-hunters An arrest warrant for Mr Gecas' arrest was served by a district court in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, in February. The Scottish Executive has been criticised by Nazi-hunters for delays in dealing with the extradition request and its failure to serve a warrant on Mr Gecas. Because of his ill-health he has spent much of the year in hospital and police have been unable to serve the extradition warrant. Scotland's Justice Minister Jim Wallace said that an independent medical report confirmed the assessments from doctors responsible for Mr Gecas's care in hospital. But he said that if Mr Gecas's condition improves, then the warrant could still be executed at a future date. Mr Wallace said: "I have written to the Lithuanian government to inform them of the current position and provide them with copies of the medical reports." He said the case had raised complex legal questions and given the gravity of the alleged offences, it would not have served the interests of justice to have dealt with Lithuania's request more quickly. Dr Efraim Zuroff, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre's chief Nazi hunter, said he did not think a suspected mass murderer deserved the privilege of eluding justice for medical reasons. Foot-dragging He called on the Scottish Justice Minister Jim Wallace to order periodic examinations of Mr Gecas and said that the Lithuanian authorities should put him on trial in absentia. He said: "Why did it take the Scottish Executive so long to sign the extradition papers. "He should have been extradited to Lithuania long ago." Scottish National Party justice spokesperson Roseanna Cunningham said she was "extremely disappointed with the manner in which the Scots government has handled this issue". She said: "If it hadn't been for the enormous degree of foot dragging by Westminster governments and the Scots government, this case could and should have been brought to court years ago when the accused would have been fit to face trial. Humanitarian grounds She added that the Lithuanian government should be offered the opportunity to send its own medical team to Scotland to evaluate the condition of the accused. Scottish Tory justice spokesman James Douglas Hamilton MSP said: "This decision appears to have been taken on humanitarian and medical grounds. "It is a great shame that the same compassion was never shown by the forces of the Third Reich which were guilty of appalling atrocities, barbarism and degradation in countries such as Lithuania during the nightmare of their hideous terror."

BBC 12 Sept 2001, War crimes suspect Gecas dies Mr Gecas was suspected of war crimes Suspected Nazi war criminal Antonas Gecas, who has been living in Scotland since the late 1940s, has died in hospital in Edinburgh. Earlier this year, Mr Gecas suffered two strokes and has spent a number of months in the city's Liberton hospital. Last week, the 85-year-old was judged too ill to be extradited to Lithuania to stand trial for war crime. During the Second World War, Mr Gecas served with a Nazi police battalion in Lithuania and is alleged to have committed war crimes including the genocide of Jews. He served as a platoon commander in a battalion which fought with the Germans after they invaded Lithuania. He moved to Scotland in 1947, living in Edinburgh. A former National Coal Board engineer and guest house owner, he has repeatedly denied committing war crimes. However in 1992, Scottish judge Lord Milligan, dismissing a defamation action brought by Mr Gecas, said there was clear evidence he had taken part in the killing of innocent civilians. A warrant for Mr Gecas' arrest was served by a district court in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, in February. But only last week a decision not to extradite Mr Gecas was made after an independent medical examination. The Scottish Executive was criticised by Nazi-hunters for delays in dealing with the extradition request and its failure to serve a warrant on Mr Gecas. Dr Efraim Zuroff from the Simon Wiesenthal Centre said: "The last thing that someone like Gecas deserved is to die in his bed in a hospital in Edinburgh." "He deserved to die in prison where he should have been for the past 50 years. "He has eluded justice for the past 50 years. It is a sad day for us and everyone who knew who Antonas Gecas was. "It is a badge of shame for the people in Scotland and England who allowed him to live the rest of his life in luxury in the West." Lord Janner of Braunstone, secretary of Westminster's all party parliamentary war crimes group, said: "I regret that Gecas did not live to stand trial for personal involvement in mass murder. "He would have received the justice that neither the Nazis or their accomplices never afforded to their victims."

Guardian 17 Sept 2001 [abridged] 'I hate doing things just to please people' Screechy diva Diamanda Galas grants an audience to Rupert Smith. The Centosette Cafe on Manhattan's Third Avenue is only a block or so from Diamanda Galas's East Village apartment, yet she manages to be 45 minutes late for our 11am appointment. This is usually a bad way to start an interview, but in Galas's case it turns out to be the best, giving rise to a perfect display of her very modern brand of divadom.... We're here to discuss Galas's show at London's Royal Festival Hall this week. La Serpenta Canta is a selection from her growing repertoire of blues, hexes, dirges and fractured pop. Advance publicity describes it as "a greatest hits show" - a hilarious concept considering her doggedly anti-commercial career path..... A child prodigy, she was raised by Greek Orthodox parents in California and hothoused in classical piano. She played in her father's band from the age of 13 at military bases and bars.... In the 1980s, Galas's artistic mission crystallised with the advent of the Aids crisis - just as Nina Simone, two decades earlier, focused her work on the civil rights movement. Galas nursed her beloved brother Philip until his death in 1986, and much of her subsequent work has been "about" Aids, addressing the fear and denial surrounding the disease in confrontational terms. The Plague Mass, the culmination of this work, was performed at New York's Cathedral of St John the Divine, with Galas at full throttle, screaming and whispering biblical texts, spirituals and her own furious lyrics. She has the words We Are All HIV+ tattooed on the knuckles of her left hand. Galas's Aids work is not done - she continues to perform the Plague Mass around the world. But now she has other concerns too. Her last London show, Defixiones (1999), introduced a selection of songs based on poems by exiled writers from Peru, Syria and Turkey. She is currently addressing the genocides of Armenians and Anatolians by the Turks in 1915 and 1922, war crimes that are now denied by many Turkish historians and politicians. "They're trying to prevent any discussion of it. The Turkish government has paid for chairs at US universities to prevent "unofficial" teaching. I'll speak out against it, I'll address it in my work, I'll talk to the press about it, because as an artist I'm not affiliated to any institution and there's nothing they can do to shut me up. The only thing they can do is kill me, and why would they waste their time doing that?" Galas's days are divided between rehearsing shows and campaigning for the recognition of the Armenian genocides. She is clearly a woman who needs a cause - a fact to which she made witty refer ence by allowing Annie Leibovitz to photograph her as a naked martyr nailed to a cross. But this isn't politics as an accessory; she does not dip into causes for credibility. Her chief concerns - Aids and genocide - have touched her family deeply. Her brother had the disease, and her parents are of Armenian extraction. Not for nothing has she chosen Mahalia Jackson's I'm Going to Live the Life I Sing About in My Song as a centrepiece for La Serpenta Canta. "I'm performing Defixiones at UCLA in November. There are about 500,000 Armenians in Los Angeles, and a lot of Greeks and Syrians, so it's the American capital of this unrecognised genocide. And they'll understand what I'm singing about, even if nobody else in America does."...

Guardian 14 Sept 2001 Geoffrey Robertson If there is any silver lining to the grotesque black cloud over New York City, it can only come from a new commitment to global criminal justice. It is this system (and the Pentagon, ironically, tried to strangle it at birth) which alone offers a principled means for punishing evil on a scale that amounts to a crime against humanity. We expect a hot blooded "retaliation" rubber-stamped by Nato and legally justified by reference to the primitive "right"of a state unilaterally to use force in self defence. There will be no burden on the US to prove more than a suspicion of guilt, and no questioning of the presidential proposition that a state is as "guilty" as the terrorists it happens to harbour. This is incorrect in law (unless those who run the harbouring state know of their plans) and affords no moral mandate for killing its innocent and oppressed citizens. Two wrongs, in law as in logic, cannot make a right. There is a better way, although thanks in part to US opposition the machinery is not yet in place. It involves the international community identifying a class of crime which is "against humanity" precisely because the fact that fellow humans can conceive and commit it diminishes us all. As defined by the Rome treaty for an international criminal court, it includes a systematic attack deliberately directed against a civilian population involving acts of multiple murder - an accurate description of Tuesday's kamikaze atrocities. The treaty lays down detailed mechanisms for bringing perpetrators to justice, if not in their own country then at an international criminal court. The most formidable opponent of international criminal justice has been the Pentagon, allied with the Jesse Helms faction of the Republican party, obsessed with the notion that American sovereignty would be degraded if an American were ever indicted as a war criminal. Their latest wheeze has been to promote in Congress the misnamed American Service Members Protection Act, designed to sabotage the court by withdrawing US cooperation and permitting the president to use force to free any American ever "captured" by the Hague prosecutors. The message of Tuesday's carnage - that we need much more, not less, international cooperation to ensure that perpetrators have no place to hide - argues for the abandonment of this irresponsible initiative, and may help rally US support to get the court up and running next year. In the meantime, America and its allies must abide by existing international law. On the precedent set by Nato's action in Kosovo, this permits the use of force against a sovereign state in order to stop or to punish commission of crimes against humanity. The definition of a "crime against humanity" is wide enough to cover atrocities by a terrorist group organised on the scale of that led by Osama bin Laden. But many countries, including Britain, still insist that it applies only to the acts of states and not of terrorists, however well organised and politically motivated. This is a sentimental hangover from the days when one person's terrorist was another's freedom-fighter and can no longer be justified: all belligerent groups, whether or not attached to a state, should be subject to the laws of war. When parliament meets today the prime minister should declare a new UK legal position: namely that terrorism on Tuesday's scale will henceforth be treated as a crime against humanity. Given that this permits the use of force against any sovereign state bearing responsibility for such a crime, what preconditions and limitations does international law impose on the US and its allies? After the Nato bombing of Kosovo, there was general agreement that any lawful use of force against a sovereign state to stop crimes against humanity or to punish their perpetrators must be constrained by a number of safeguards. These include a) the prior support of the security council, or failing this of a majority of its permanent members; b) the guilt of the targeted state or its agents must be established by clear and objective proof; c) the armed response must comply with international law, be proportionate to the legitimate objectives of the mission and have a reasonable prospect of securing them. These are the minimum requirements for any American response to Tuesday's attack, which should be characterised and prosecuted as an international crime, not as a war. That means America should first persuade the security council, not Nato, of the justice of counter attacking any "guilty" state. If it accuses Bin Laden, it must obey the legal requirement of proportionality by demanding his extradition to face trial before seeking to kill him (and many others) by air strikes. In the next few days, America will be tempted to take the law into its own hands. In the long term, however, the safety of that great nation will depend upon its joining the common cause of deterring crimes against humanity through establishing an effective system of international criminal justice. • Geoffrey Robertson QC is author of Crimes Against Humanity - the Struggle for Global Justice, Penguin.

Times of London 18 Sept 2001 America could settle this score without spilling blood across Afghanistan GEOFFREY ROBERTSON What spectacle awaits the world: an Afghanistan carpet-bombed with a consequent refugee crisis and jihads galore, or Osama bin Laden sharing a cell in The Hague with Slobodan Milosevic? The choice between revenge and justice has never been more stark or difficult. While media attention focuses on commanders in green lumber jackets planning a campaign of retaliation, the less telegenic logistics of international criminal justice have been overlooked. Yet this preferable alternative is partly in place and requires only an imaginative leap by the US Government to attach its military might to a movement it once unthinkingly opposed. The Security Council is empowered under Chapter VII of the UN Charter to declare last Tuesday's atrocity to be a threat to world peace and to bring its perpetrators within the jurisdiction of The Hague tribunal, which at present punishes international crimes committed only in former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. Last Tuesday’s atrocity should be declared not an act of war but a “crime against humanity” since it precisely satisfies that definition — a systematic attack deliberately directed against a civilian population involving acts of multiple murder. Treating this terrorism as an international crime would give much needed legitimacy to the proportionate use of US force to bring the prime suspect to justice. A special prosecutor can be appointed to head an international team of investigators to present evidence collected by the United States and its allies to an existing panel of international judges (some from Muslim countries) at The Hague, under protocols which already guarantee a fair trial. US military and economic power can legitimately be used against Taleban to oblige the extradition of bin Laden and his lieutenants, and to access (if need be, by armed incursions) the camps and hideouts reasonably believed to yield evidence of his guilt. Support for America is at its zenith in the UN Security Council: even China, the most obsessive defender of state sovereignty, could hardly veto a resolution approving the use of force, if extradition demands fail, to arrest a suspect for trial by a court at which it is represented. The Taleban initially agreed to surrender bin Laden for trial by an “Islamic court” — it invites armed response if it objects to a UN tribunal which includes judges from Islamic countries. This would involve an American compromise as well — but one that would recognise that bin Laden could not be fairly tried by a New York jury, too emotionally involved in the crime. (In Britain, IRA defendants were not put on trial in the cities they were accused of bombing.) reasoned judgment from international jurists is perceptually preferable to a monosyllabic jury verdict in these circumstances. There could be no objection to an American special prosecutor — a post-mayoral Rudolph Giuliani, once the courtroom scourge of the Mafia, would be an appropriate choice, or even Kenneth Starr. The problem, which must not be underestimated in light of American political promises of a quick fix, is that the wheels of Hague tribunal justice grind slowly. That is partly a result of the shortages of money and manpower, which US commitment can remedy. Advocates of an international justice solution must also confront the irony that its greatest opposition has come from the Pentagon and the Jesse Helms faction of the Republican Party, which have demonised the UN treaty to establish an international criminal court (ICC). Hopefully their opposition to a development which offers some long-term deterrent to terrorism will be muted once the ICC remit includes crimes against humanity committed by organised terrorist groups. But the ICC will not be running for another year — in the meantime, the option of having the Security Council refer the case of Tuesday’s crime to The Hague tribunal is available and capable of speedy implementation. In the three years since the arrest in London of General Pinochet, advocates of an international criminal justice system for human rights abuses have learnt to think the unthinkable. Economic and military sanctions have delivered up Milosevic, some Srebrenica commanders, the authors of genocide in Rwanda, and the Lockerbie suspects. Trials are promised for Khmer Rouge commanders and for some of the killers of East Timor. Once last week’s outrage is recognised as a crime against humanity, the nature of the American response becomes clear. Its purpose must be to put the prime suspect in the dock, not in a mass grave.

BBC 12 Sept 2001, War crimes suspect Gecas dies Mr Gecas was suspected of war crimes Suspected Nazi war criminal Antonas Gecas, who has been living in Scotland since the late 1940s, has died in hospital in Edinburgh. Earlier this year, Mr Gecas suffered two strokes and has spent a number of months in the city's Liberton hospital. Last week, the 85-year-old was judged too ill to be extradited to Lithuania to stand trial for war crime. During the Second World War, Mr Gecas served with a Nazi police battalion in Lithuania and is alleged to have committed war crimes including the genocide of Jews. He served as a platoon commander in a battalion which fought with the Germans after they invaded Lithuania. He moved to Scotland in 1947, living in Edinburgh. A former National Coal Board engineer and guest house owner, he has repeatedly denied committing war crimes. However in 1992, Scottish judge Lord Milligan, dismissing a defamation action brought by Mr Gecas, said there was clear evidence he had taken part in the killing of innocent civilians. A warrant for Mr Gecas' arrest was served by a district court in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, in February. But only last week a decision not to extradite Mr Gecas was made after an independent medical examination. The Scottish Executive was criticised by Nazi-hunters for delays in dealing with the extradition request and its failure to serve a warrant on Mr Gecas. Dr Efraim Zuroff from the Simon Wiesenthal Centre said: "The last thing that someone like Gecas deserved is to die in his bed in a hospital in Edinburgh." "He deserved to die in prison where he should have been for the past 50 years. "He has eluded justice for the past 50 years. It is a sad day for us and everyone who knew who Antonas Gecas was. "It is a badge of shame for the people in Scotland and England who allowed him to live the rest of his life in luxury in the West." Lord Janner of Braunstone, secretary of Westminster's all party parliamentary war crimes group, said: "I regret that Gecas did not live to stand trial for personal involvement in mass murder. "He would have received the justice that neither the Nazis or their accomplices never afforded to their victims."

BBC 5 Sept 2001 Eyewitness: Bomb blast at school Panic and confusion: Parents run from the blast By BBC News Online's Dominic Casciani in Belfast This should be like any other school run in the world, children walking with their mothers to the gates, kissing them good bye as they excitedly go to class. But what began as a desperately complicated row over access to Ardoyne's Catholic Holy Cross School in June, took a step over the edge today when loyalist paramilitaries terrorised little girls as young as four with a bomb attack. Nobody knew this would happen, other than those who had planned at some point in the last 24 hours to carry out the attack. In fact, despite the fear, more parents turned out for the walk to school this morning - at least 100 of them - because they believed that the situation may finally be becoming less threatening. The security presence this morning was just as heavy as previous days and during the night loyalist youths had rioted after spending the day hemmed in by scores of police officers and soldier. Just before 9am they began the walk with their chair of school governors, Father Aidan Troy, at their head. Loyalists waiting Half way up the road, a crowd of loyalist youths numbering at least 30 stood in Glenbryn Parade, a side road leading up to the security corridor, penned in by the RUC. John White of the loyalist Ulster Democratic Party, which has close connections to the paramilitary group the UDA, was watching from a house to the side of the crowd. As the school party approached the burnt out wrecks of cars stolen the night before, jeers came from the crowd of men, followed by stones and small pieces of paving. Most hit the Land Rovers and bounced back. But at least two flew over into the parents and children. Within seconds, the RUC officers charged the men. Whether the device was thrown at the parents or dropped at the RUC's feet is academic. But suddenly there was a puff of smoke and a loud deep crack of an explosion in the side road. One RUC officer fell to the ground as screams and cries went up among the parents. Three other officers suffered injuries and a police dog went down too. Within the security corridor, most of the parents had not seen the blastbomb - but they had certainly heard it. The scene was total chaos. Children ran in all directions. One fell over and appeared to be trying to get underneath a Land Rover. Father Troy, confused and bewildered, vainly held up his arms, attempting to calm everyone down, urging the parents not to run, not to panic. But the first group of parents became separated from the rest and ran to the school gates. The rest were kept back by the RUC but suddenly burst forward, children in their arms. Nobody knew what was happening, nobody knew if they were still in danger. Nobody knew if a child had been injured. Unbeknown to those witnessing the scene, the loyalist Red Hand Defenders, a cover name used by the UDA, was already claiming responsibility in calls to newsrooms. At the school itself there was absolute incredulity at what had happened. Children were weeping uncontrollably; one mother suffered a panic attack and sat shaking and murmuring to herself. Ann Tanney, the school principal, just appeared utterly downcast. Her 30 years of working in a desperately divided community, trying with her staff and colleagues from the neighbouring Protestant school to build bridges, had disintegrated before the eyes of the world in just three days. 'Ashamed to be a loyalist' All the way through this dispute, loyalist community leaders in Protestant north Belfast insist that nobody is listening to the fact that their people are being attacked and intimidated by Ardoyne republicans. John White said that it was disgraceful that any situation should come to this and that missiles should be thrown - but he criticised the RUC for charging the protesters. North Belfast Democratic Unionist MP Nigel Dodds witnessed the chaos and condemned what he called sinister elements who had entered the community. But more significantly, Billy Hutchinson, the loyalist Progressive Unionist assembly member said that he was "totally ashamed to call myself a loyalist". "We have got people coming into this community who describe themselves as loyalists and claim to represent this community. "It is a disgrace. You [the media] should be finding out who these people are and shaming them." Mr Hutchinson declined to name names, saying: "You all know that my hands are tied." With the loyalists responsible scattered into the estate's backstreets, the RUC escorted the parents from the school and they were welcomed back to their own area by a large crowd of their own community. There, many of the mothers broke down on the shoulders of fathers who were inconsolable at the fact that they had not joined them this morning. Philomena Flood, one of the mothers who had been closest to the explosion, found the words hard to find. "We're just in the middle of something here that we can't understand. "They're just children, that's all. These people up there were calling us a disgrace yesterday. The world should see who really is the disgrace." Cardinal Cahal Daly once said: "Whataboutery is the commonest form of moral evasion in Ireland today", referring to how both communities use the terrible burden of past events to lay obstacles in the way of peace. Today, another incomprehensible event was added to that long list of whataboutery - an event that 100 small children will never, ever forget.

BBC 4 September, 2001, No extradition for war crimes suspect Mr Gecas has suffered two strokes An 85-year-old man living in Edinburgh will not be extradited to Lithuania to face war crimes charges, the Scottish Executive has confirmed. An independent medical examination of Antonas Gecas, who has lived in Edinburgh since the late 40s, has concluded he is unfit medically to stand trial. Mr Gecas is diabetic and three months ago suffered two strokes. But Nazi-hunters said they were "intensely disappointed" that a suspected mass murderer should have the privilege of eluding justice for medical reasons. And the Scottish National Party accused successive Scottish governments of "foot-dragging" over the extradition. Mr Gecas served with a Nazi police battalion in Lithuania during the Second World War and is alleged to have committed war crimes including the genocide of Jews. Mr Gecas, who has previously worked for the coal board and helped run a guest house, has repeatedly denied committing war crimes. In 1992, Scottish judge Lord Milligan, dismissing a defamation action brought by Mr Gecas said there was clear evidence he had taken part in the killing of innocent civilians. Nazi-hunters An arrest warrant for Mr Gecas' arrest was served by a district court in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, in February. The Scottish Executive has been criticised by Nazi-hunters for delays in dealing with the extradition request and its failure to serve a warrant on Mr Gecas. Because of his ill-health he has spent much of the year in hospital and police have been unable to serve the extradition warrant. Scotland's Justice Minister Jim Wallace said that an independent medical report confirmed the assessments from doctors responsible for Mr Gecas's care in hospital. But he said that if Mr Gecas's condition improves, then the warrant could still be executed at a future date. Mr Wallace said: "I have written to the Lithuanian government to inform them of the current position and provide them with copies of the medical reports." He said the case had raised complex legal questions and given the gravity of the alleged offences, it would not have served the interests of justice to have dealt with Lithuania's request more quickly. Dr Efraim Zuroff, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre's chief Nazi hunter, said he did not think a suspected mass murderer deserved the privilege of eluding justice for medical reasons. Foot-dragging He called on the Scottish Justice Minister Jim Wallace to order periodic examinations of Mr Gecas and said that the Lithuanian authorities should put him on trial in absentia. He said: "Why did it take the Scottish Executive so long to sign the extradition papers. "He should have been extradited to Lithuania long ago." Scottish National Party justice spokesperson Roseanna Cunningham said she was "extremely disappointed with the manner in which the Scots government has handled this issue". She said: "If it hadn't been for the enormous degree of foot dragging by Westminster governments and the Scots government, this case could and should have been brought to court years ago when the accused would have been fit to face trial. Humanitarian grounds She added that the Lithuanian government should be offered the opportunity to send its own medical team to Scotland to evaluate the condition of the accused. Scottish Tory justice spokesman James Douglas Hamilton MSP said: "This decision appears to have been taken on humanitarian and medical grounds. "It is a great shame that the same compassion was never shown by the forces of the Third Reich which were guilty of appalling atrocities, barbarism and degradation in countries such as Lithuania during the nightmare of their hideous terror."


Guardian 4 Sept 2001 Serbia refuses to hand president to war crimes court Gordana Kukic in Belgrade. The Serbian prime minister, Zoran Djindjic, has ruled out handing over President Milan Milutinovic to the UN court in the Hague to face war crimes charges related to the conflict in Kosovo, it was reported in Belgrade yesterday. Mr Djindjic, the driving force behind the transfer of the ousted Yugoslav leader, Slobodan Milosevic, to the war crimes tribunal in June, told the official Tanjug news agency: "We refuse to extradite Serbian President Milan Milutinovic to the tribunal in the Hague because, according to our laws, he has immunity." He was speaking shortly before the UN court's chief prosecutor, Carla del Ponte, arrived in Belgrade last night for her first visit since Mr Milosevic was handed over. Her spokeswoman, Florence Hartmann, said immunity did not protect those indicted by the UN tribunal. "The obligation of the state of Yugoslavia is for Mr Milutinovic and all the indictees living on the territory of Yugoslavia to be transferred to the Hague," Ms Hartmann told reporters. "There is no immunity before the international tribunal and it does not protect him." As she spoke, about 3,000 supporters of Mr Milosevic's Socialist party took to the streets of central Belgrade to protest against Ms Del Ponte's visit. "It is our aim to show her that she's unwelcome here - that she has nothing to seek here," a senior party official, Zivorad Igic, said. Mr Djindjic was quoted last week as saying Serbia "will have to extradite some of the 15 accused known to us". But he made clear yesterday that this did not include Mr Milutinovic, the only Milosevic-era top official publicly accused by the UN tribunal of war crimes who has remained in his post. His five-year term expires next year. Mr Djindjic said it was Serbia's duty to cooperate with the Hague tribunal but that this was not possible in the case of Mr Milutinovic. The UN court indicted Mr Milosevic and four of his top aides, including Mr Milutinovic, in 1999 for war crimes committed by forces under their command in Albanian-dominated Kosovo. Serbia's justice minister, Vladan Batic, said yesterday he would insist the tribunal also indicted ethnic Albanian leaders of the formally disbanded Kosovo Liberation Army. Yugoslav officials have repeatedly accused the KLA's former leaders of crimes against minority Serbs in the province during the conflict from 1998 to 1999. Ms Hartmann said the prosecutor's office started investigations two years ago into perpetrators of crimes against Kosovo Serbs but that these had been blocked because of lack of access to witnesses and evidence in Serbia. "Things have changed in the last couple of months," she said. "Now we could go further into this investigation. But it is too early to say if we have enough evidence to bring some indictment against some individuals."

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news source abbreviations

AFP - Agence France-Presse
All-Africa - All-Africa Global Media
AI - Amnesty International
Al Jezeera - Arabic Satellite TV news from Qatar (since Nov. 1996, on web since 2001, English coming soon)
Anadolu - Anadolu Agency, Turkey
ANSA - Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata - Italy
Antara Antara National New Agency, Indonesia
AP - Associated Press
BBC - British Broadcasting Network
DPA - Deutsche Presse-Agentur
EFE - Agencia EFE (Spanish), www.EFEnews.com (English)
HRW - Human Rights Watch
ICG - International Crisis Group
ICRC - International Committee of the Red Cross
Interfax - Interfax News Agency, Russia
IPS - Inter Press Service (an int'l, nonprofit assoc. of prof. journalists since 1964)
IRIN - Integrated Regional Information Networks (UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Africa and Central Asia)
IRNA -Islamic Republic News Agency

IWPR Institute for War & Peace Reporting (the Balkans, Caucasus and Central Asia, with a special project on the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal)
JTA - Global News Service of the Jewish People
Kyodo - Kyodo News Agency, Japan
LUSA - Agência de Notícias de Portugal
NYT - New York Times
UN-OCHA - UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (ReliefWeb)
OANA - Organisation of Asia-Pacific News Agencies
Pacific Islands Report - University of Hawai‘i at Manoa
PANA - Panafrican News Agency
PTI - Press Trust of India
RFE/RL - Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty ( private news service to Central and Eastern Europe, the former USSR and the Middle East funded by the United States Congress)
Reuters - Reuters Group PLC
SAPA - South African Press Association
UPI - United Press International
WPR - World Press Review,
a program of the Stanley Foundation.
WP - Washington Post
Xinhua - Xinhua News Agency, China

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