for May 2002
Tracking current news on genocide and items related to past and present ethnic, national, racial and religious violence.
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Panafrican News Agency (PANA) Daily Newswire May 9, 2002 ACADEMICIAN LAUDS CREATION OF INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT Cairo, Egypt (PANA) - A law professor at the University of Botswana Daniel Ntanda Nsereko on Thursday welcomed the creation of the International Criminal Court (ICC) saying it "will act as a deterrent against human rights abuses". In an exclusive interview with PANA in Cairo, Nsereko said the ICC will also give a notice to the perpetrators of such abuses that "they can no longer commit these crimes with impunity." Nsereko talked to PANA after he had given a lecture in Cairo on "The Definition of Crimes of Aggression" within the International Criminal Court. He said that "millions of our people live outside their countries as refugees and development has been impeded as a result of human rights abuses committed with impunity by leaders." "These abuses amount to crimes against humanity and it is high time to bring perpetrators of such crimes to justice and to turn the page of impunity," he added. "We often complain that international law does not meet our aspirations. But this time, we will have only ourselves to blame if we refrain from joining the Assembly of States Parties to the International Criminal Court," the academician said. He explained that the Assembly of the States Parties will lay down the Rules of Procedures and Regulations concerning the financing of the ICC. It will also elect the judges and the prosecutor, as first steps to establishing the new international court. "We cannot elect judges unless we ratify the ICC statute," said Nsereko. He added that citizens of countries that have not ratified the statute would not be eligible for employment by this international court. He noted that the majority of African states are not opposed in principle to the establishment of the ICC. "Only internal problems seem to have kept some African countries from taking the necessary steps towards ratifying the statute," he said. Twelve African countries have ratified the ICC statutes out of 66 world-wide. These are Benin, Botswana, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Lesotho, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and South Africa. However, Jordan is the sole Arab country that has ratified the document while Cambodia and Mongolia are the only Asian states to have done so. Others have signed, but not ratified the statute. The support of African countries was critical to the completion of the negotiations at the Rome Conference in 1998. Since the adoption of the treaty, regional organisations such as the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) and local NGO's have continued to play an active role in promoting the ICC. "African states are conscious of the importance of establishing a fair and independent international court," said Nsereko. Although the United States signed the Rome Treaty establishing the ICC in 1998, it recently declared that it has "no legal obligations" to the court.. Analysts described the US decision concerning the Rome Treaty as another unilateral move by an American administration determined "not to give an inch of its sovereignty" in terms of international law. Addressing the opening of the three-day seminar on the ICC Wednesday, Mohamed Redwan Ben Khadhra, head of the Arab League's Legal Department, said the creation of the ICC on 11 April 2002 was an "historic event." He expressed the hope that "human rights abusers all over the world, particularly in the Palestinian territories would be brought to justice before this court." The seminar is organised by the Cairo-based Arab Center for the Independence of the Judiciary and the Legal Profession (ACIJLP) in cooperation with the International Human Rights Institute of DePaul University, in Chicago. Academics, lawyers and human rights defenders from the Middle East, Africa, Europe and North America as well as delegates from international human rights groups are attending the seminar, which discussing ways to promote the ICC, particularly in the Arab region.
6 May 2002 EU condemns continuing war NAIROBI, 6 May 2002 (IRIN) - The EU on Friday expressed its extreme concern over the continuing violence and worsening humanitarian situation in Burundi, particularly in Bujumbura Rural Province, a statement from the EU said. Noting that it was almost six months after the process of setting up the transitional institutions had begun, it urged all warring factions to respect the civilian population in the name of international humanitarian law, and all parties to respect human rights. "The European Union condemns once again the logic of war, still apparently being followed by the armed groups. It urges all armed factions to continue current talks with the firm intention of bringing them to a successful conclusion," it said. "At the same time, the EU calls on the Burundian government to pursue a transparent and coherent policy of reintegrating armed groups into the Burundian army. It encourages the efforts to negotiate a definitive and permanent ceasefire which are continuing under Gabonese/South African facilitation and with the support of Tanzanian mediation," it said. It said it was ready to support this process, provided that a timetable and precise objectives were announced. "The EU also encourages the government and all the transitional institutions to consolidate the reform process which has already begun by implementing the transition programme in accordance with the planned timetable, so as to construct a Burundian society which complies with the contents of the agreement and caters for all Burundians," the statement said. The EU noted the beginning of the operation for the voluntary repatriation of Burundian refugees in Tanzania under the Tripartite Agreement between the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the Burundian and Tanzanian governments. It pointed out that, in accordance with the Arusha agreement, the return of refugees must be voluntary and take place in dignity with guaranteed security, taking into account the particular vulnerability of women and children. It urged the armed groups to do everything possible to guarantee the security of refugees returning to Burundi, adding that reception mechanisms must be put in place before their return. "The EU calls on all the parties involved to deal with the question of Burundian refugees' return home in unhurried fashion and with all the desired guarantees. It also asks that equal attention should be paid to all the victims of the Burundian crisis, including the internally regrouped and displaced," the statement said. After years of negotiations, a transitional government was installed last November, following a peace agreement signed in Arusha in August 2000 by 19 political parties, but not by armed rebels, mainly the Forces pour la defense de la democratie (FDD) and Forces nationales de liberation (FNL). Despite the installation of the government, fighting has been going on in different parts of the country and has caused displacement of thousands and many deaths. Fighting intensified between rebels and government troops on 11 March this year, in Bujumbura Rural Province. Attempts to have delegations from the Burundi government and the rebels of the wing of the FDD led by Pierre Nkurunziza hold talks in Pretoria, South Africa, flopped last week, although, according to an analyst, there are good prospects that the FNL will also start holding talks with the government by the end of May.
BBC 13 May, 2002, Kenya police 'beat' Presidential elections are due later this year A dissident ruling party member of the Kenyan parliament has been detained and was allegedly beaten by police at the weekend. Police dispersed a meeting that Kipruto arap Kirwa was holding with about 400 of his supporters in Nandi district, in the Rift Valley, on Saturday. The MP, who fled into a tea plantation at the time of the police operation, was arrested on Sunday but later released without charge. Police deny the claims that he was assaulted. Twelve of his supporters have been charged with holding an illegal assembly and remained in custody on Monday. "We feel strongly that Kirwa should sue the police for illegal confinement," Kipkalia Kones, a former cabinet minister and another rebel member of President Daniel arap Moi's Kanu party, told the French news agency, AFP. "Kanu will use all kinds of tricks to intimidate our people and frustrate political-awareness meetings in the Rift Valley as the elections approach," said Mr Kones. Illegal meeting "It is true an unauthorised meeting was held. Police stopped the meeting. It is not true Kirwa was beaten," police spokesman Peter Kimanthi said. "The meeting was taking place without notifying the police. The law is very clear, it is written in simple English," said Mr Kimanthi. Presidential elections are scheduled to take place in Kenya later this year. Under the constitution, President Moi cannot run for re-election.
BBC 13 May 2002, Ethnic clashes rock Madagascar Coastal areas largely support Ratsiraka Six people have been killed in a fresh outbreak of ethnic violence in Madagascar as the political confrontation continues between the two men who claim to be president. Many others were injured during the clashes in the town of Mahajanga, in the west of the country. After a recount of last December's disputed elections, Marc Ravalomanana, was sworn in as president a week ago. However, Didier Ratsiraka, who has ruled the Indian Ocean island for all but three of the past 27 years is refusing to stand down. He accuses the judges who carried out the recount of being biased in favour of Mr Ravalomanana. Propaganda campaign The BBC's Alastair Leithead, reporting from Mahajanga, says the violence between the highland Merina people and those from the coast is being deliberately incited by supporters of Mr Ratsiraka, to fuel a split on ethnic grounds. A campaign of ethnic propaganda is being conducted on the radio, television and with posters, and our correspondent says an early solution to the dispute appears unlikely. There are fears of a descent into armed conflict Mr Ravalomanana runs the capital and Mr Ratsiraka is based in the country's main port, Tamatave. Supporters of Mr Ratsiraka have imposed an economic blockade on the capital, leading to shortages of fuel and other essential commodities. Our correspondent says that historically, there has been a certain amount of tension between the Merina people and those from the coastal areas of Madagascar, but Mahajanga is seen as one of the more cosmopolitan parts of the country. Governors loyal to Mr Ratsiraka in four of the country's six provinces have threatened to secede from the capital if Mr Ravalomanana remains in power. Mediation Diplomats from the Organisation of African Unity have suggested a referendum to decide who should rule, but neither side seems ready to compromise. Mr Ravalomanana is reported to have asked Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to act as a mediator, according to official reports from Tripoli. Ratsiraka is blamed for fomenting ethnic violence An envoy from Antananarivo delivered the request in a message to Colonel Gaddafi, the official Libyan Jana agency reported on Sunday. It warned of a possible "armed conflict", said Jana. About 40 people have been killed in political clashes this year. Libya has frequently offered to use its good offices in disputes far beyond its borders and has been keen to develop relations with other African countries. Senegal had been due to host talks on Monday, but these were called off as the two sides traded accusations.
The East African (Nairobi) 6 May 2002 EDITORIAL World Failing Antananarivo Madagascar tell-tale signs of a country is in a political crisis, yet the international community - either out of ignorance or apathy - is watching passively as the fallout from a controversial December presidential election is threatening the lives and livelihoods of 16 million islanders. At least 60 people have been killed and several installations blown up as forces loyal to incumbent President Didier Ratsiraka seek to tighten a blockade of Antananarivo, the capital that backs the challenger Marc Ravalomanana for the disputed presidency. The leadership crisis arose after the December polls whose outcome the country's electoral commission refused to announce, leading many to conclude that the challenger had beaten the incumbent of more than 20 years. This perception was confirmed by the country's Constitutional High Court last Monday when it declared Mr Ravalomanana winner after a vote recount that the two contenders had agreed upon in Dakar, Senegal last month. Poignantly, Mr Ratsiraka and his supporters in the provinces are calling for a referenderum to determine who becomes president, failing which they will secede. More discomforting, however, is the fact that an African Union (AU) team in the country appears to support a referendum which would be as expensive as the December election and one that Madagascar's ailing economy cannot afford. Such a referendum would aggravate rather than heal the wounds of an already divided population. That the AU supports the referendum even before it hears Mr Ravalomanana out is questionable. Rather than bask in the victory, Mr Ravalomana is talking national reconciliation through a "democratic conclusion" to the stalemate. Whether Mr Ravalomana can be trusted is another matter. But by taking sides and ignoring the court ruling, the AU does not appear to be an honest arbitrator in this stalemate. It appears to be casting aspersions on Madagascar's judicial system and the citizens' right to self determination through universal suffrage. The international community needs to intervene to restore trust in the continent's democratic systems. With very few exceptions, every election in Africa is followed by a call from the losers for a vote recount. Most of the time for very good reasons. Many wars have erupted in Africa after the incumbent or the challenger failed to accept a poll outcome. Madagascar should be spared this tragedy. The message being sent by the AU's posturing on the Madagascar crisis is that elections, vote recounts and court processes are of no consquence where long serving incumbents choose to ignore the electorate's wishes. Such a message today is likely to be received more with aggression than timidity. The international community needs to realise this before another Rwanda happens. Given a choice between reconciliation and secession, it is easy to see what direction a conscientious mediator's persuasion should take.
BBC 11 May, 2002, Nigeria clashes leave 15 dead The underlying causes of the unrest remain unclear By Dan Isaacs BBC correspondent in Lagos At least 15 people are reported to have been killed in unrest in south-eastern Nigeria. A political rights group representing the Ogoni people says fighting between two local communities has been ongoing for several days in a dispute that appears to be over access to land. Police have been deployed in the area, but it is not clear whether they have managed to contain the violence. Even local rights campaigners admit that they have been taken aback by the ferocity of the clashes. Grappling for land As so often in this troubled region, the underlying causes of this unrest remain unclear. The dispute began a few days ago between the two rival communities, one group attempting to force the other off the land. Houses have been destroyed and many people have fled the area. Despite intervention by the police, violence continued to erupt sporadically right up to Friday morning. Oil spoils A spokesman for the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), a political rights group which had just visited the area, told the BBC that far from calming things down, the arrival of the police had exacerbated the situation. There is poverty amid the riches of the oil fields Local leaders had been meeting in an attempt to resolve the dispute, he said. Whatever the immediate cause of this latest disagreement, the plight of the Ogoni people - living in poverty amid the vast riches of the oil fields of the Niger Delta - has long been recognised. Multinational oil companies have been accused of favouring one local community over another, provoking mutual rivalries, and successive governments have at best ignored and at worst repressed violently local rights activists.
The Economist UK 14 May 2002 Intervention that worked May 14th 2002 From Global Agenda Sierra Leone holds an election on May 14th. If it passes peacefully, it will be a triumph for the British troops who stopped the country's dreadful civil war. It will also show that altruistic military interventions can sometimes work AP Guarding democracy THE last time Sierra Leone held an election, in 1996, it ended in failure. Ahmed Tejan Kabbah won the presidency, but not control of this small West African country. The rebels of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) boycotted the poll and carried on waging a civil war that was marked by the widespread use of child soldiers and gut-wrenching atrocities. To punish people for taking part in the elections, RUF guerrillas often hacked off the hands they used to cast their ballots. This time, the omens are better. Sierra Leone holds an election on May 14th. If it passes peacefully, it will be a triumph for the British troops who stopped the country's dreadful civil war. It will also show that altruistic military interventions can sometimes work. The country has been formally at peace since January. The RUF's leader, Foday Sankoh, is on trial for multiple murders, and 47,000 rebels and pro-government miliamen have surrendered their guns. There was a small riot in the capital, Freetown, over the weekend, but by the dismal standards of the past it was not bloody: the rioters threw stones rather than shooting bullets. Sierra Leoneans are now lining up to vote for a free choice of candidates. Those who have no hands will vote by stamping a big toe-print on the ballot paper. The candidates are a motley crew. The incumbent, Mr Kabbah, is expected to win, possibly in the first round. The RUF candidate, Pallo Bangura, admits publicly that he has little chance. Mr Sankoh wanted to stand, but was barred on the pretext that he was not registered as a voter (hardly surprising since he has been in jail for two years). Another candidate, a former ally of Mr Sankoh named Johnny-Paul Koroma, has threatened to make the country ungovernable if he loses. This is worrying, but most diplomats expect Sierra Leone's fragile peace to hold, thanks largely to the presence of 17,500 United Nations blue helmets. The country was tugged back from the brink of utter chaos two years ago, when 800 British paratroopers landed in Freetown to prevent the RUF from over-running the city and toppling Mr Kabbah's government. This small, professional force succeeded where a much larger but poorly-organised UN force had failed, by hitting the rebels hard and restoring some basic functions of government. The British force secured the capital and rescued UN troops captured by the rebels. A British civil servant took charge of the police force, and British officers started training the ill-disciplined Sierra Leonean army. Since then, the rebels have been gradually subdued. The success of the peacemaking mission in Sierra Leone has given heart to all who think that the rich world's military power should be used to rescue "failed states". After September 11th, many people have argued that such interventions are in the West's own interest. Failed states can be havens for terrorists and drug-smugglers, so it makes sense to stop them from collapsing. Chaos at home causes refugees to flee in destabilising multitudes for Europe and America; only by bringing peace to their homelands can the West persuade them to stay there. And yet these were not the most compelling reasons for intervening in the case of Sierra Leone. One fifth of Sierra Leoneans did flee their homes during the civil war, but most were far too poor to pay the air fare to Europe, so they ran into neighbouring countries instead. Even at its most chaotic, Sierra Leone had not become a breeding ground for terrorists with global reach; nor was it a significant source of drugs. Left to rot, Sierra Leone might conceivably have become a hideout for the al-Qaeda terrorist network held responsible for the suicide attacks on New York and Washington last year, or a heroin entrepôt. Nevertheless, these are rather speculative grounds for dispatching an army there. What made intervention in Sierra Leone so urgent was the sheer savagery of the war there, and the sense of common humanity that can sometimes prompt other countries to act. A rabble of drugged-up teenagers with Kalashnikovs were terrorising an entire country, raping, looting and skinning their victims alive. A few professional soldiers were able to stop them in a matter of months. Sierra Leoneans now have a chance to rebuild their lives. The conventional wisdom about humanitarian interventions has shifted with circumstances. After the cold war, the American government thought that its army, with no more communists to face down, could be put to better use guarding food-aid deliveries in Somalia. When that mission ended in failure, western governments decided that it was pointless to send their troops into ungrateful third-world hellholes, so they did nothing in Rwanda in 1994. When the scale of the genocide there became apparent, shame prompted some western leaders to take a more open-minded approach to altruistic military interventions. Western armies are still more likely to be deployed where western interests are at stake. NATO became involved in the Balkans, partly because the savagery there pricked western consciences, but mainly because America and Europe could not tolerate such instability on NATO's doorstep. America did Afghans a favour by toppling the Taliban, but it is unlikely that they would have acted if the Taliban had not been sheltering al-Qaeda. Looking at the two most successful recent examples of purely humanitarian intervention, Sierra Leone and East Timor, it is striking that both are tiny countries with easy access from the sea. This has obviously made intervening easier, and not exorbitantly expensive (the UN troops in Sierra Leone cost about $1 billion a year). Pacifying, say, the Democratic Republic of Congo, which is 33 times larger, almost landlocked, and the scene of fighting between five national armies and heaven knows how many militias and rebel groups, would be much harder. Before tackling that task, the international community ought to consider another small country where intervention might have an immediate impact, save thousands of lives and stand a reasonable chance of success: Sierra Leone's neighbour, Liberia, where rebels have marched to within a few miles of the capital this week.
The East African (Nairobi) 20 May 2002 Nairobi Appoints Envoy to Kigali David Mugalura THE KENYAN government, which broke diplomatic ties with Rwanda more than seven years ago, has appointed an envoy at the level of an ambassador to represent its interests in Kigali. Mr Japheth Ratemo Getudi presented his credentials to President Paul Kagame in March at a function held at Village Urugwiro in Kigali. Kenya closed its mission immediately after the 1994 genocide that claimed the lives of more than one million ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus. Relations between the two countries soured thereafter, with Rwanda accusing Kenya of harbouring former government and military officials who were accused of masterminding the killings and those who participated in the genocide. The row between the two countries hit the headlines in 1997 after the assassination of Mr Seth Sendoshanga, a prominent Hutu exile, in Nairobi. Other sources also said that the poor relations stemmed from the fact that President Daniel arap Moi 's government had supported the former government against the Rwanda Patriotic Front (APF) in the early 1990s. The shaky relations between the two countries later led to the deportation of a Rwandan envoy in 1997. Rwanda however maintained its embassy in Nairobi despite all these negative developments. At the same time Rwanda's merchandise, both imports and exports, continued passing through Mombasa port. Resumption of diplomatic relations was however delayed until the government of Kenya agreed to co-operate and hand over suspected killers who had sought refugee in Nairobi to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). Among those handed over were former Prime Minister Jean Pierre Kambanda, who has since been sentenced to life imprisonment. However, two visits to Kenya by President Paul Kagame and reciprocal ones by his Kenyan counterpart, President Moi, have improved relations between the two countries further. During his visit last year, President Moi promised to co-operate with the government of Rwanda and ICTR by handing over all those implicated in the genocide. The restored relations have seen a number of Kenyan businesspeople flocking the Rwandan market. Kenyan firms are mainly trading in Rwandan tea.
BBC 11 May, 2002, Uganda rebels 'massacre' villagers The Ugandan army is attacking rebels' bases in Sudan Ugandan rebels from the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) have killed several hundred Sudanese civilians in the past week, Ugandan army and Sudan Catholic Church officials have said. Army spokesman, Major Shaban Bantariza said the killings occurred in several villages in the Imotong mountains of southern Sudan while the rebels were fleeing from a Ugandan army offensive which began last month. The men and boys were all brutally killed publicly whereas young girls between the ages of five and 16 were defiled before their parents Leon Buga, Catholic Priest Officials from the Roman Catholic Church in Sudan said the LRA rebels had killed more than 470 civilians and displaced hundreds from their homes. The LRA insurgents raped and abducted girls and women, and burnt down six villages, a statement from the church's diocese of Torit in southern Sudan said. Another 500 people were forced to flee the area to escape the violence. Appeal for help The bishop of Torit diocese, Akio Johnson Mutek, has appealed to the international community "to come to the aid of these destitute people who are forced to desert their villages as they had just begun cultivating their crops," the statement said. "Bishop Akio fears that if the situation continues unabated many civil populations who are currently scattered in the bushes might become vulnerable to all kind of dangers and diseases," the statement added. In a separate statement on Friday, the Church said that LRA rebels had raided a further three villages in the area on Wednesday. The rebels are reported to have killed an unknown number of men in the villages - as well as stripping girls naked and forcing them to drink their own urine before raping and abducting them. Starving force "The men and boys were all brutally killed publicly whereas young girls between the ages of five and 16 were defiled before their parents," the statement quoted a local priest, Leon Buga, as saying. The BBC's Ishbel Matheson says that the area where the violence occurred is very remote and it is difficult to get accurate information. The LRA have kidnapped hundreds of children Our correspondent says that some people believe the LRA carried out the attacks because they think that the local people support the Ugandan military offensive. But she says the 3,000 or so rebels that make up the LRA are starving and they rely on raiding and looting to survive. The rebel force is largely made up of children from Northern Uganda who have been abducted and brainwashed. They are led by Joseph Kony - a fanatic who claims to have magical powers. Fears for children Uganda and Sudan signed an agreement in March allowing Ugandan troops to carry out search-and-destroy operations against the LRA rebels, who launch cross-border raids from rear bases in southern Sudan. But human rights groups have criticised Uganda saying that Operation Iron Fist, as the campaign to crush the rebels is called, is too heavy handed. The troops have been accused of being too heavy handed It is feared that if it comes to a shootout in the remote mountains many innocent children will be killed alongside Joseph Kony. The Ugandan army says casualties are inevitable but from their point of view once a child has been abducted, been given military training, and is pointing a gun at you, it becomes a legitimate target.
www.unobserver.com 22 May 2003 Bonds Contribute to Genocide and Slavery BOSTON: Anti-Slavery Group Calls on Morgan Stanley to Stop $2 Billion Petronas Offering, Urges Market Sanctions on Oil Companies in Sudan The American Anti-Slavery Group reacted sharply to a report by Dow Jones newswire that Morgan Stanley Dean Witter and Salomon Smith Barney will be coordinating a $2 billion bond offering for Petronas, Malaysia's national oil company. Petronas is the second-largest partner in Sudan's Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company, which relies on ethnic cleansing to secure its oil fields in southern Sudan. "This bond offering is expected to raise $1 billion in US markets for Petronas," stated Anti-Slavery president Charles Jacobs. "That's $1 billion that can flow right into Sudan's oil region and help perpetuate the Sudanese army's campaign of ethnic cleansing, slavery, and genocide. "Since terrorists attacked America's financial center, the financial community should be especially sensitive to where and how American capital gets directed. Morgan Stanley is making a serious mistake, with potentially deadly repercussions. This bond offering will help support a Sudanese regime that sponsors international terrorism as well as genocide against its own black African population." .
Internews (Arusha) 15 May 2002 Newspaper Identified Tutsis As the Enemy, Witness Claims. By Jane Some Arusha An expert witness for the prosecution in the so-called "Media Trial" today told judges at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) that compared with other newspapers published in Rwanda before the genocide, only 'Kangura' published stories and cartoons depicting ethnic Tutsi as "the enemy of the country." Marcel Kabanda, a Rwandan historian based in Paris, is testifying against Hassan Ngeze, former owner and editor of Kangura, Ferdinand Nahimana and Jean Bosco Barayagwiza, both founder members of Radio Television Des Mille Collines (RTLM). All three have denied using their respective media to incite the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. The prosecution has alleged that Kangura and the RTLM incited ethnic Hutu to take up arms against ethnic Tutsi, leading to the April-June 1994 genocide that claimed more than 800,000 lives. Led by prosecutors Charity Kagwi of Kenya and Simone Monasebian of the United States, Kabanda read out selected excerpts of Kangura and gave his interpretation of several cartoons published in Kangura. "Kangura identifies the external enemy as the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) and the Tutsi living in Rwanda as the internal enemy of the country," Kabanda testified when asked about an article published in the Kangura issue No 55 in January 1994. The title of the article is 'Who Will Survive the March War?'. Kabanda explained that the newspaper was alluding to an imminent war in which the attackers would be RPF soldiers "housed at the CND building" in Kigali. Monasebian questioned Kabanda on the impact stories published in eight Rwandan newspapers, including Kangura, had on Rwandans. The witness responded that Kangura publishes articles that advocated the persecution of ethnic Tutsi and sympathizers of the RPF. Kabanda said that articles in Kangura at times endangered the lives of those mentioned, as they were characterized as sympathizers of the "Inyenzi Inkotanyi" (derogatory terms used to refer to Tutsi). At the start of today's proceedings, Ngeze sought the chamber's permission to sit next to his counsel, John Floyd of the United States, saying that he has 45 questions he has prepared regarding Kabanda's testimony and that his current sitting position denies him the opportunity to point out the questions to his lawyer. The judges said they would consider Ngeze's request in due course. Ngeze sat in his usual position behind his counsel throughout today's proceedings. Ngeze, Nahimana and Barayagwiza have denied charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. Jean Marie Biju-Duval of France and Diana Ellis of the United Kingdom represent Nahimana and Giacomo Caldarera of Italy and Alfred Pognon of Benin represent Barayagwiza. Kabanda continues to testify before Trial Chamber I of the ICTR, comprising Judges Navanethem Pillay of South Africa (presiding), Erik Mose of Norway and Asoka De Zoysa Gunawardana of Sri Lanka.
Internews (Arusha) May 13, 2002 Judge Ostrovsky Criticizes Kigali Tribunal by Sheenah Kaliisa, Arusha. Yakov Ostrovsky of Russia, one of the nine judges at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) recently gave a controversial interview to a Russian newspaper. He maintains his criticism of the tribunal's prosecutors, saying that they have brought "unprofessional" indictments before the UN court. Judge Ostrovsky first voiced his criticisms last month in an interview with 'Vremya MN' that was later translated from Russian to English by 'Moscow News.' In the interview, the judge accused the tribunal of "foot-dragging, wasting money and improper behavior in court." The judge also criticized the government of Rwanda, claiming that it has inflated the death toll of the April-June 1994 genocide. When Russian journalist Oleg Khrabry, who interviewed Ostrovsky, asked him whether the appointment of Carla del Ponte as Chief ICTR Prosecutor has affected the tribunal's performance, the judge responded that he did not think highly of Del Ponte but was quick to add: "I am not in a position to pass judgment on her qualifications. Without a doubt, she had extensive prosecutorial experience in Switzerland. But I am afraid that the [former Yugoslav leader Slobodan] Milosevic's case has damaged her authority". Del Ponte is prosecuting Milosevic before the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) for alleged atrocities committed in the Balkans. "As far as our cooperation is concerned, the problem is that she has failed to prove her professional credentials. I constantly have to deal with unprofessional indictments. Defendants are frequently charged on several dozen counts, but the subsequent trial typically finds that no crime has been committed in the first place. Moreover, the prosecution often times does not even bother to provide evidence on a number of counts. Judges find it very difficult to support such indictments," Ostrovsky said in an interview with Internews. The judge also accused ICTR officials of contributing to the slow pace of trials. "Even tribunal officers are deliberately dragging their feet: After all, the tribunal has provided well- paying jobs for nearly 1000 staffers. Apart from everything else, the tribunal is a costly undertaking. Eight years have passed, but it has produced very little result. People do not remember what happened eight years ago and give conflicting testimony. This is yet another reason why the trials should not continue indefinitely," Ostrovsky told the Russian newspaper. Reality on the Ground. Contrary to his criticisms, Judge Ostrovsky himself has hardly been seen to set an example for other judges at the tribunal, where he has served as judge for seven years. He is currently presiding over the trial for Laurent Semanza, a former mayor of Bicumbi commune in Kigali Rural Province. The Semanza trial has been in progress since 16 October 2000 and is now nearing completion. The prosecution and the defense are scheduled to make closing arguments in June. Other trials at the tribunal that have taken more than a year include the trial for Georges Rutaganda and the "Media Trial" for Jean Bosco Barayagwiza, Hassan Ngeze and Ferdinand Nahimana (which started in October 2000 and the defense is yet to call their witnesses). In the Semanza trial, defense attorneys Charles Taku of Cameroon/United States of America and Sadikou Alao of Benin often provoke endless arguments that result in long debates that end up wasting a lot of judicial time, without significant control from the bench. The prosecution alleges that Semanza organized and executed massacres of hundreds of people at the Musha and Gikoro communes between 9 and 13 April 1994. Semanza, 58, who is accused of personally taking part in the killings, has denied 11 counts of genocide and crimes against humanity, including rape and persecution. Comments When contacted for comments on the Ostrovsky interview with the Russian newspaper, Kingsley Moghalu, ICTR Spokesperson, told Internews: "We feel that it is not necessary to comment." Regarding his performance in the courtroom, Ostrovsky, who turns 75 this year, at times, has to exert himself to make his authority felt, and has twice refused to grant another judge a chance to speak. In one incident in February 2002, after prolonged debate between the defense and prosecution in the Semanza trial, Judge Lloyd George Williams of St. Kitts and Nevis sought to clarify an issue and tried several times to get Ostrovsky's permission but the presiding judge curtly told him: "As president of the court I think you should not intervene." Ostrovsky, in his interview with the Russian newspaper, did not spare the Rwandan government. He accused the Kigali authorities of overstating the figure of those killed during the genocide, to, as he puts it, "draw attention from its own internal problems." The Rwandan government's preliminary report early this year estimated that the genocide toll is 1,070,017. "These are but preliminary figures. I do not rule out that they are overstated: After all, the assessment was made by the present Rwandan authorities in order to draw attentionfrom their problems. While the report says that the Tutsi account for 97.3 per cent of the victims, it ignores the fact that the death toll among the Hutu was also fairly high," Ostrovsky explains. A representative of the Rwandan government described Ostrovsky's remarks as unfortunate, especially because they were made by one of the longest-serving judges at the ICTR. "It is immoral and offensive to the victims, survivors and the government to suggest that anyone makes his fortunes by elevating the number of the dead Our dead are not trade assets for any purpose; we don't need to raise the number of those who died in the genocide," Martin Ngoga, Rwanda's representative at the ICTR, told Internews. Ngoga stressed that the government's figure of approximately one million is a result of special investigations. "He who is challenging the number must equally bring a scientific basis for his position," he added. "I said that we do not know if those figures are true," Ostrovsky told Internews, maintaining that he, in fact, did not accuse the Rwandan government of overstating the number of genocide victims. Justice for All? Judge Ostrovsky also told the Russian newspaper that the ICTR is prosecuting only one side of the conflict. "Although the RPF [Rwanda Patriotic Front] managed to stop mass killings of [ethnic] Tutsi when it came to power, I have to admit that lawyers for the defendants have provided ample evidence to show that a large number of crimes were committed by members of the RPF whose leaders today occupy key positions in the government. The tribunal in effect prosecutes only one side - the Hutu, who constitute the ethnic majority in Rwanda," Ostrovsky said. Moreover, Ostrovsky explained, "in one of her public statements, Carla del Ponte said that the prosecution intends also to deal with Tutsi crimes against Hutu... but no such cases have yet been submitted for the court's consideration. Not surprisingly, Hutu refugees see the international tribunal as a kind of a 'trial by victors'." However, the judge told Internews: "I never said that there was ample evidence that the RPF committed atrocities," adding that the interview he gave was not translated well, and that his remarks were misrepresented. 'Diplomatie Judiciare', a French magazine specializing in international tribunals, has made an English translation of the Ostrovsky interview and found no discrepancy between the Russian and the English version translated by Moscow News. In his Interview with Internews on Thursday, Ostrovsky reiterated his criticism of the prosecution, terming indictments brought before the tribunal "improper." "All indictments have a whole background of Rwanda, which complicates the matter. It should be short and proper For example, the case of Col. [Theoneste] Bagosora is considered to be the most important case at the ICTR but when the prosecution was asked how many witnesses they intended to call, the prosecutor circulated a paper that he would call 252 witnesses. I personally believe that if while making investigations you find evidence that the suspect is guilty; it is not necessary to call all those witnesses. It takes too much time, you see? That is not an expeditious trial and it is the problem with the prosecution," Ostrovsky maintained. ICTR sources speculate that Ostrovsky made his comments on the Bagosora trial after being dropped from the trial. Bagosora and three others are jointly tried in the so-called "Military Trial." The prosecution has alleged that Bagosora was the mastermind of the 1994 genocide. But Judge Ostrovsky denies that his remarks are connected to his not being one of the judges in the Military Trial. "That is not true, that I was dropped from the case. It is just that my mandate ends in May 2003," the judge told Internews. Judge Ostrovsky, who graduated from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1950 and from the Hague Academy of International Law in 1957, did not practice as a lawyer or judge in court before joining the ICTR. He was a professor of International law at the Moscow Institute of International Relations. He was appointed Chief of Social and Legal Problems Desk in the former United Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR) permanent mission to the United Nations between 1960 and 1966. Before joining the ICTR, Ostrovsky served as legal advisor to Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs with the rank of Ambassador at Large since 1978.
Internews (Arusha) May 13, 2002 Minister Told Attackers 'You Are Doing a Good Job,' Witness Claims Sukhdev Chhatbar Arusha Former Rwandan minister Jean de Dieu Kamuhanda praised 'Interahamwe' militiamen for killing ethnic Tutsi at roadblocks in Kigali during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, a prosecution witness today claimed before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). The witness -- identified only as "DAL" -- who was a gendarme (para-military policeman) in 1994, told the court that that when Kamuhanda saw a pile of dead bodies near the Nyabugogo roadblock on 21 April 1994, he told the Interahamwe: "You are doing a good job [of killing Tutsis] Go on, don't give up." The Interahamwe was the youth wing of the Movement of the Republic for National Development (MRND), the party that led a coalition government during the genocide. DAL is testifying against Kamuhanda, 48, who was a minister for education and scientific research during the genocide. Kamuhanda has denied nine counts of genocide and crimes against humanity. The former minister allegedly committed the crimes in Gikomero commune, Kigali Rural Province. DAL testified that he heard Kamuhanda's remarks because he rode in the same car as the former minister on 21 April 1994. The witness explained that Kamuhanda, who was returning from a political meeting held by the Kigali governor, gave him a lift. There were four soldiers in Kamuhanda's vehicle, DAL added. When lead prosecution attorney Mark Moore of the United kingdom asked DAL how the militiamen at the Nyabugogo roadblock knew that Kamuhanda was speaking to them, the witness responded: "The Interahamwe asked for identification papers and Kamuhanda informed them that he was a minister and they should let him through [the roadblock]." DAL told the court that he came across 10 roadblocks while in Kamuhanda's vehicle. At several roadblocks, the witness claimed, he saw groups of ethnic Tutsi waiting for their fate to be decided by the Interahamwe. DAL is the 28th witness for the prosecution since the trial began in September 2001. The 27th prosecution witness -- identified only as "GKI" -- completed her testimony last Thursday, having testified mainly in closed session. The trial is held before Trial Chamber II of the ICTR, comprising Judges William Sekule of Tanzania (presiding), Winston Matanzima Maqutu of Lesotho and Arlette Ramarason of Madagascar.
Internews (Arusha) 13 May 2002 Expert On Print Media Testifies Mary Kimani Arusha The trial for three men accused of using their respective media to incite genocide in Rwanda resumed today before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) with the prosecution presenting a witness who is an expert in Rwanda's print media. The expert witness, Marcel Kabanda, is a Paris-based Rwandan historian. He is the second expert witness in the trial against Jean Bosco Barayagwiza, Ferdinand Nahimana and Hassan Ngeze, all of whom have denied charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. The Media Trial was adjourned in March to facilitate the hearing of an alternate trial. Nahimana is alleged to have been a director of Radio Television Libres Des Mille Collines (RTLM), which the prosecution claims broadcast hate message against ethnic Tutsi. Barayagwiza was a co-founder of the RTLM and Ngeze is a former owner and editor of an alleged Hutu extremist newspaper, 'Kangura'. Kabanda holds a doctorate degree from the University of Paris 1. His doctorate thesis was on 'The Economy of Salt between 1850 and 1920 in Rwanda.' After completing his doctorate studies, Kabanda participated in research that led to the publication 'Les Media Du Genocide (The Media of the Genocide)', co-authored by him and three others. He is currently a consultant with United Nations Education, Science and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Before Kabanda begun his testimony, his status as an expert was hotly contested counsel for the three defendants, who argued that Kabanda has no experience or training in the media and is therefore not qualified to make any assessments on the Rwandan print media. "Have you ever worked for a newspaper?" John Floyd of the United States, lead counsel for Ngeze, asked, "No," Kabanda responded. "Have you ever edited or participated in the economic aspects of publishing a newspaper?" the attorney went on. "No, I have had no experience in the media," Kabanda answered. "The man doesn't know anything about media there are times things really get ridiculous, is there a known technological area in history called Rwanda print media and is this the person to speak about it?" Floyd asked the chamber. In defense of his expertise, Kabanda maintained that he not only participated in researching the role of the media in Rwanda in 1995 as subsequently depicted in Les Media du Genocide, but that he continues to research the same topic to date. Kabanda has also written an independent report on Kangura newspaper for the purposes of the trial. Floyd pointed out that Kabanda is ethnic Tutsi and lost almost his entire family in the genocide, a situation that could encourage biased evidence, adding that the witness has not even lived in Rwanda consistently since 1973. "The reason why you have come here to testify is that you are the designated hatchet man aimed at getting at Hassan Ngeze, isn't that the truth?" Floyd demanded. "If I was brought here by the prosecution to be a hatchet man that would be an insult not only to this tribunal but to me," Kabanda told the attorney. Nahimana's lead counsel, Jean Marie Biju-Duval of France, noted that with the exception of Les Media du Genocide and the subsequent report written for purposes of the trial, Kabanda has not participated in any other media-related research. "I do not need to go any further in the demonstration of the incompetence of Mr. Kabanda as an expert as this has been amply demonstrated by Mr. Kabanda," Biju-Duval said. The Media trial began in October 2000. The prosecution is expected to complete their case after Kabanda's testimony as well as that of two more expert witnesses, Alison Des Forges and Jean-Pierre Chrétien. The trial is held before Trial Chamber I of the ICTR, comprising Judges Navanethem Pillay of South Africa (presiding), Erik Mose of Norway and Asoka De Zoysa Gunawardana of Sri Lanka.
Observer 26 May 2003 observer.guardian.co.uk Worldview Extra Report extract: the politics of hunger in Zimbabwe Online extra: extracts from the report by the Danish group Physicians for Human Rights, which documents the politicisation of Zimbabwe's growing food crisis. The full report contains detailed fieldwork examining the distribution of food in particular villages and towns, on which these findings and conclusions are based Mugabe 'starves' opponents' children Sunday May 26, 2002 Summary and Conclusion The Presidential election in Zimbabwe took place on 9th - 11th March 2002. In a process described by almost all international observers as "unfree and unfair", President Robert Mugabe was announced the winner of the poll. Gross human rights violations were documented throughout the current election process, and were an important factor in condemnation of the election outcome. Since the elections, there has been little international media attention to human rights abuses in Zimbabwe, and this could lead to the misperception that the situation has improved, or normalised in the post election period. This is not the case; politically motivated, government-endorsed violence continues against those perceived to be supporters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). President Mugabe has stated publicly in the post election phase, that the government intends to repress its political opponents. Parliament has effectively been rendered irrelevant by its adjournment until August. New laws seriously restrict freedom of expression, association and assembly, and recent developments clearly show that the government intends to exploit the repressive powers given to it by these new laws. Furthermore, a senior member of ZANU has declared that the government will not respect the rulings of the court, if in disagreement with the interests of the government. We document in this report that mutilating torture beyond any doubt is practised by government supporters against their political opponents in Zimbabwe in the post election period. The fact that perpetrators do not care whether they torture people who can identify them, or whether their acts of torture or ill treatment leave marks that can easily be recognised as caused by torture, underlines a clear assumption on their part of impunity. This assumption appears well founded: no prosecutions against perpetrators have been made in any of the cases of torture and ill treatment that we documented, and this points to a deliberate policy by the authorities. Furthermore, since the previous report published in January this year, we document a new phenomenon - the political manipulation of hunger in some areas to exclude those labelled as "MDC supporters" from all routes of gaining maize, the staple food. In rural areas, access to food is controlled by government mechanisms such as "food for work", and through regulation of all maize sales through the parastatal Grain Marketing Board. Food distributed by international donors is also in some districts proving to be subject to political manipulation by ZANU-PF. The abuse of power related to food is not limited to war veterans, youth militia and elected councillors, but includes headmasters, businessmen, chiefs and traditional leadership. Denial of access to food, particularly when children are victimised for the perceived political beliefs of their parents, should be considered a serious violation of human rights. It is apparent that there is the potential to influence government policy on distribution of food, through donor pressure and control at their own feeding points, and thereby restore some human rights in Zimbabwe. Food: a politicised commodity in Zimbabwe, 2002 The entire southern African region currently faces severe food shortages, largely as a result of a serious drought. Worst hit countries include Malawi and Zimbabwe. In Zimbabwe the food situation has been exacerbated by the farm invasions which have reduced the production of maize and other staple crops to a fraction of normal output. The disintegration of the commercial farming sector also means that the likelihood of Zimbabwe feeding itself as a nation in the foreseeable future is bleak. Estimates from the United Nations and World Food Programme of how many Zimbabweans face imminent starvation vary from 600,000 to 3 million, and the maize shortfall is estimated at between 400,000 and 1 million tonnes. Maize is the staple diet of Zimbabweans. There are three main ways of rural dwellers accessing maize at the moment. These are: 1. Government "food for work" programmes: it is a long standing policy that in times of drought, families with no harvest and no money to purchase food should perform public labour, for example repairing rural roads, in return for food. 2. Purchasing of maize through the government controlled Grain Marketing Board (GMB): by government ruling, all sales and movement of maize, including the price, is controlled by the government. GMB depots are found in all rural districts, and are the only buying points for maize at this time. 3. Donor feeding schemes for school children and under-fives, controlled to varying degrees depending on the district and the donor policy, by the donors themselves, the government, and the ruling party and its affiliates at ground level. This latter group include ZANU controlled rural district councils, traditional leadership, youth militia and war veterans. Other bodies including the official opposition have no recognised role in food distribution. At the rural level, in some places it has been documented the MDC are completely excluded from participation and control. Hunger is politically abused in Zimbabwe at this time The first two maize access mechanisms are run entirely at the discretion of government employees, and are particularly open to political selectivity: in rural areas, and also some urban areas, only known ZANU supporters are allowed to benefit. Those who do not carry a ZANU card are not allowed to purchase maize from GMB even if they have the money to do so, and known MDC supporters report having maize stolen from them if they are lucky enough to buy it. The Daily News, 18th March and 25th March, key informant interviews from 8 districts. See also section following. It is also documented, including in the cases in this report, that members of "MDC families" are not able to take part in "food for work" programmes. International donor feeding schemes are at times politically abused. Denial of access to food, particularly when children are victimised for the perceived political beliefs of their parents, should be considered a serious violation of human rights. It is apparent that an important window of opportunity to influence government policy on distribution of food, is through donor pressure and control at their own feeding points. It is precisely because donor food remains the only viable option at all, for so many thousands of children who will otherwise starve, that this report is dealing in detail with the reality of food discrimination. It is also categorically clear that donors are aware of the potential for political manipulation of food, and are pro-actively prepared to intervene when problems arise, and to correct them (see first two cases following). The purpose of this section is therefore not to suggest that all donor feeding is being manipulated but to highlight that problems currently exist in some areas, and could lead to politically-determined starvation. Donor practice can make a difference, one that at times may reach beyond access to food and positively influence access to other facilities within the vicinity of feeding points. The national scale of abuse of donor feeding schemes is not known at this time. In some districts, donor feeding is running apparently without problems, for example in most districts of Matabeleland, even though Matabeleland residents report widespread control of government-sourced maize. Discrimination has been reported in rural areas where ZANU has a strong support base and MDC is a minority party, such as parts of the Midlands and Mashonaland. In these districts, donor food is at some feeding points manipulated by ZANU to exclude MDC children. It appears that this food discrimination is most easy to manipulate in the under five feeding. The names of "MDC children" do not exist on some feeding scheme lists, as the lists are drawn up in the first instance by committees consisting entirely of ZANU supporting government structures. Such structures include: rural district councils, chiefs, headmen, headmasters and other prominent community members. Food investigation: summary and conclusion · During one short visit to one district, many first and second hand testimonies were collected about politically discriminatory practices against MDC supporters affecting all avenues of access to food, including that distributed by international NGOs, and including access to water. Interviews from other districts also indicate food discrimination elsewhere. · In all cases of problematic food distribution, those implicated in politically manipulating access to food are ZANU-PF supporters; such abuse of power is not limited to war veterans, youth militia and elected councillors, but includes headmasters, businessmen, chiefs and traditional leadership. · In the two cases of selective feeding practices brought to their attention during late March 2002, the international donor intervened and brought an end to the discriminatory practice. Information collected in May has been forwarded and assurances given that intervention will once more be made. · Donors are able to restore non selective practice of feeding schemes through a firm policy of "Food for everybody or food for nobody". · Where donor practice has changed owing to complaints, the experience has been empowering for those previously discriminated against. · However it is clear that some schemes have been discriminatory for months without the donor being aware. This points to a need for much closer monitoring on the ground. · Monitoring should include verification that all qualified villagers are on the feeding lists. This will imply contact with key informants from the local community other than the ZANU-PF dominated leadership; "ZANU leadership" clearly includes not just those structures that are normally assumed to be political, such as elected councillors and government officials, but also school staff, business people and traditional leadership. · Particular monitoring is needed for feeding points that are placed outside of large institutions, where the programme depends on the ethical behaviour of single individuals.
WP 2 May 2002 U.S. Certifies Colombian 'Progress' on Rights By Karen DeYoung, Page A20 Secretary of State Colin L. Powell certified yesterday that the Colombian armed forces have met the congressionally mandated requirements to suspend and prosecute alleged human rights violators and to sever their ties with right-wing paramilitary forces accused of civilian massacres and other rights abuses. Certification was required before the Bush administration could spend any of the $104 million approved for the Colombian military in the 2002 budget. U.S. and Colombian officials had warned in recent weeks that they were curtailing counter-narcotics activities in the southern part of the country because no money was available. A State Department statement said that "both we and the Government of Colombia recognize that the protection of human rights in Colombia needs improvement." Certification had been held up since early this year, officials said, while U.S. officials worked with civilian judicial authorities in Colombia and pressured the government to take more substantive action. The statement yesterday said that "real progress" has been made. But human rights groups -- including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the Washington Office on Latin America -- criticized the decision, saying that the Colombian government has failed "to take even minimal steps to meet" the congressional conditions. Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), who wrote the restrictions, commended the State Department for urging the Colombian government to do more. "But the proof is in the results," he said, "and the results are disappointing. . . . This certification has more to do with the fact that U.S. aid was running out than with sufficient progress on human rights." Congress required Powell to certify progress in three areas: suspension of armed forces members credibly alleged to have committed gross violations of human rights, or to have aided or abetted paramilitary groups; armed forces cooperation with civilian judicial authorities in prosecuting and punishing such members in civilian courts; effective measures taken to sever military links with paramilitary forces. Leahy and others have long been concerned that the zeal of the U.S. and Colombian military in combating the 16,000-troop-strong leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, has led them to turn a blind eye or, in the case of the Colombian military, to collaborate with the paramilitary United Self Defense Forces, or AUC. Pentagon assessments have concluded that the AUC poses a greater long-term threat to Colombian stability than does the FARC. Formed and funded in the 1980s by landowners who charged that the military was incapable of defending them against guerrilla attacks and extortion, paramilitary groups were declared illegal by the Colombian government in 1989. Since then, the AUC and the FARC have become involved in the production and export of cocaine and heroin and have been designated "foreign terrorist organizations" by the State Department. The AUC is held responsible by the State Department and by Colombian and U.S. human rights groups for the majority of the thousands of civilian killings each year in Colombia. The State Department estimates that the AUC has more than 10,000 combatants. As evidence of progress against the paramilitary forces, a senior administration official told reporters that the second highest ranking officer in the Colombian Navy, Gen. Rodrigo Quinones, has been transferred to administrative duties because of allegations of complicity in two of the largest AUC massacres in recent years. But human rights organizations noted that, despite the credibility of the allegations, Quinones has not been suspended from the military nor turned over to civilian jurisdiction. Last month, he was appointed military attaché to the Colombian Embassy in Israel.
AP 5 May 2002 Fighting Pushes Death Toll Over 100 in Colombia Village QUIBDO, Colombia, May 5 -- The death toll in an isolated village where leftist rebels and right-wing paramilitaries are fighting for control rose to 108 today while authorities continued to debate how to rescue the survivors. U.N. officials said they warned the government that a tragedy was about to occur before the fighting started. "It's lamentable that the government authorities ignored the early warning," the United Nations said in a statement. Among the dead were dozens who had taken refuge in a church in the village of Bojaya on Thursday. Authorities said members of the country's largest rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, fired homemade mortars into the church. It was unclear whether they were aiming for the church. People fleeing the violence began trickling into Quibdo, the capital of the state of Choco, 58 miles south of Bojaya. Juan Evaristo Mosquera, 70, said he fled his small farm in the village of Puerto Conto with his son, daughter-in-law and four grandchildren on Friday. The family took two days to reach Quibdo by boat, stopping periodically because of fighting. "We're good people, we've always lived in peace -- poor, but in peace," he said. "Now we're just poor." Choco is the poorest and one of the most embattled states in Colombia. The rebels and paramilitaries are fighting in the region for control of strategic drug trafficking routes. The tiny village is reachable only by air or river. President Andres Pastrana and high-ranking military commanders met with local authorities in Quibdo to plan the rescue mission. After the meeting, he said 108 people had been confirmed dead, many of them elderly people and children, including infants. "What happened here was genocide on the part of the FARC," he said.
Reuters 17 May 2002 UN Attacks Guatemala Demilitarization as Too Slow BY GREG BROSNAN GUATEMALA CITY - (Reuters) - The United Nations on Friday criticized Guatemala's government for failing to cut military spending and dismantle its counterinsurgency apparatus as promised in 1996 peace accords that ended a bloody 36-year civil war. "The process of demilitarization must speed up," said Gerd Merrem, head of the U.N. peace verification mission in Guatemala (Minugua), presenting a report focusing on the army's post-war presence in the Central American nation. The mission said in the report that Guatemala's military spending had soared in 2000 and 2001 to 0.83 percent and 0.96 percent of gross domestic product -- levels not seen since the end of the war. Guatemala signed peace accords in 1996 with leftist guerrillas, ending a conflict in which some 200,000 people died, many in countless political slayings and massacres of Mayan Indians by state security forces. A cornerstone of the deal was shrinking the size and power of the U.S.-trained and financed army that used an extensive intelligence network to hunt down perceived rebels. As stipulated under the accords, the army was reduced in 1998 by 33 percent to 31,423 members from 46,900. Yearly budgets have frozen military spending on paper at around 0.66 percent of GDP, a nation's total output of goods and services. But demilitarization had recently "stagnated and even regressed," said Julian Camamero, head of Minugua's public security and army analysis section. During the last two years, the government of President Alfonso Portillo has pumped extra money from outside its budget into the army, the report said, adding that limited access to information had prevented it from pinning down where the additional funds had gone. Guatemala was meant to have complied with all the stipulations of the peace accords by 2000, but due to delays deadlines were later stretched out between 2000 and 2004. Under the accords, in which the army was a major negotiator, Guatemala was supposed to have steered money away from the army and funneled it into crumbling, resource-starved health, education and public security sectors. WARTIME MENTALITY PERSISTS Once a left-leaning guerrilla sympathizer, Portillo has earned himself a reputation as a populist since taking office in January 2000 through fiery speeches railing against Guatemala's traditional economic elite. Paradoxically his government is dominated by a right-wing ruling party heavily influenced by retired military brass and presided over by Efrain Rios Montt, an ex-general. Montt is a former wartime dictator accused by human rights groups of ordering genocide of Maya Indians during his coup-led 1982-83 presidency at the height of the conflict. The report said Guatemala's army had maintained a structure and philosophy geared toward a counterinsurgency war rather than a peace-time role of defending international borders. It said an unnecessary number of military bases still operated around the countryside, especially in areas hardest hit by the war, in a system still based on controlling the population. The report also urged Guatemala to speed up efforts to disband the army's infamous Presidential High Command, a presidential bodyguard unit linked to numerous political assassinations during the war, and some since 1996. Military training was still geared to instilling soldiers with hostility toward the population -- something that was out of line with the peace accords, it said. Minugua singled out a jungle training school where tough commandos known as "Kaibiles" still used physical punishment, including blows to the genitals, as a way of training soldiers to lead small attack units. When Reuters journalists visited the center recently, commandos sailed down hills, swam across a pond and completed an assault course while shouting the battle cry: "If I advance follow me, if I stop reprimand me, If I retreat kill me." "This is all contrary to the peace accords and underlines the failure to come good on compromises related to the military training system," said the report, which specifically mentioned the battle cry.
Atlanta Journal-Constitution: 1 May 2002 EXHIBIT REVIEW Exhibition tells the awful truth about lynchings By CATHERINE FOX Atlanta Journal-Constitution Staff Writer When it comes to our racial history, we keep a passel of skeletons hidden in the closet. About 3,500 of them were African-Americans who lost their lives at the hands of lynch mobs. "Without Sanctuary" -- the searing exhibition of photographs and related artifacts that begins today -- opens the closet door and lets the skeletons out. Be forewarned: The experience is harrowing. Lynching perpetrators were not content with hanging their victims, as they did David Jackson in McDuffie County. You will see pictures of Jesse Washington, burned and dismembered alive in Waco, Texas, and learn about William James' heart being cut out of his body and divided up for souvenirs in Cairo, Ill. Just as shocking, you will see how the mob enjoyed this bloodlust theater. Parents took their children and hoisted them up so that they could get a better view. Folks grinned at photographers as if it were a church picnic. Someone named Joe scrawled, "This is the barbecue we had last night," on a post card of Washington's lynching and sent it to his mother. Curator Joseph Jordan, director of the Sonja Haynes Stone Black Cultural Center at the University of North Carolina, selected the material from the collection assembled by Atlantans James Allen and John Littlefield. He builds an unflinching portrait of this widespread phenomenon, which reached its height between the 1880s and the 1930s but continued as late as the 1960s. The labels, some of which describe lynchings in detail, are almost harder to look at than the 36 pictures themselves. In painting a picture of vigilante justice in this show presented by Emory University and the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site, Jordan documents the lynching of women as well as men and white victims as well as black. Among them was Atlantan Leo Frank, a Jewish factory owner who was convicted of murdering a young female employee and was posthumously pardoned. His is one of the six Georgia lynchings pictured in the show. Jordan chronicles the role the national and international press played in both condoning lynching (there's such a 1904 editorial from the Atlanta Journal) and campaigning against it. Information about the anti-lynching movement and heroes such as anti-lynching crusader Ida B. Wells Barnett is also included. Jordan has orchestrated a viewing experience that starts with a shock and ends in reflection. The first thing a visitor sees is a 12-minute introductory film that pulls no punches, with screen-size still images of the atrocities. But it also holds out hope for coming to terms with these deeds if they are recognized and its victims publicly mourned. Billie Holliday's mournful "Strange Fruit" wafts out of the first gallery, replaced by the sound of chirping crickets and black choir music, which supplies an uneasy calm. The galleries are appropriately somber -- black walls and ceiling, photos illuminated by pinpoint lighting. The display is neither sensational nor sugar-coated. Just the awful, awful facts. Visitors leaving the gallery will be grateful for the Reflect and Respond Room. It offers visitors the opportunity express their feelings online or on paper and to read those of others, as has been done in the two previous incarnations of this exhibition in New York and Pittsburgh. Certainly, "Without Sanctuary" provokes introspection. Since seeing the show, I've wrestled with many thoughts. I have tried to imagine what it is like to live in fear that one small misstep -- the wrong eye contact, for instance -- might mean a noose around my neck. I've tried to fathom what kind of mentality permits human beings to do such things to other human beings. Or even how a photographer could take these pictures and then hand-color them in delicate tints. I wonder about my own conscience. What would I have done had I been present when a mob started to gather? Here in the South -- the scene of the majority of the lynchings -- the exhibition is more difficult to confront, which explains all the foot-dragging on the part of some local institutions in getting it mounted. Some treated the show like it was a hot potato, and there were suggestions that a series of historical exhibitions needed to precede this one. "Without Sanctuary" proves such ideas were hogwash. The pictures tell us what we need to know. FOR MORE INFORMATION BOOKS: "Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography in America" (Twin Palms, 2000). The bulk of James Allen's collection, with essays by Rep. John Lewis and others. "At the Hands of Persons Unknown: The Lynching of Black America" by Philip Dray (Random House, 2002). A highly readable narrative history of lynching and the anti-lynching movement. "A Festival of Violence: An Analysis of Southern Lynchings, 1882-1930" by Stewart E. Tolnay and E.M. Beck (University of Illinois, 1995). An in-depth look at the reasons and consequences of lynching. ONLINE: Images from the Allen-Littlefield Collection, with a spirited guestbook recording two years' of reactions: www.withoutsanctuary.com Exhibit information from Emory University and the National Park Service: www.emory.edu/WithoutSanctuaryExhibit, www.nps.gov/malu
Birmingham Post-Herald May 14, 2002 Trial will refresh history for all ages Commentary by ELAINE WITT BIRMINGHAM POST-HERALD One night last week, I helped a young friend drill for a fourth-grade Alabama history test. Amelia had prepared a stack of flash cards with salient facts about Alabama governors in the last half-century. She knew most of the material by the time I showed up to help her mother in a baby-sitting crunch. "Who campaigned with a mop and bucket and promised to sweep Montgomery clean?" I read from a card. "Big ... Jim ... Folsom!" she nearly shouted. "Who said, 'Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever'? " I asked. "George Wallace," she sang while twisting her slender body, still in her gymnastics costume, into a shape I thought could get her a job as the Amazing Pretzel Girl at the fair. Having once taken fourth-grade Alabama history myself, I tried to remember what we learned, but all I could recall was the mnemonic phrase "Choctaw-Chickasaw-Cherokee-Creek"; Eli Whitney's marvelous invention; the subtly loaded term, "The War Between the States"; and the delightfully musical word "scalawag." In the mid-'60s, it seemed nothing much worth teaching had happened since Reconstruction. I lived through a good bit of the Alabama history Amelia was studying last week — the administrations of governors John Patterson and George Wallace, when the frustration of black Southerners, denied the opportunity and dignity that make American citizenship worth having, erupted in a stream of blood and hard-won progress. But I don't remember much of it. On Monday, I discussed that lapse with a couple of out-of-town reporters, both Southern-born, in the basement of Jefferson County's Mel Bailey Criminal Justice Center. They were in Circuit Judge James Garrett's courtroom, as I was, in hopes of hearing opening arguments in the trial of Bobby Frank Cherry, the last man expected to be tried in the nearly 39-year-old Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing case. The reporter from Mississippi speculated that to many people in the courtroom — lawyers, court personnel, reporters, jurors — this horror story is history only vaguely remembered. Born in the Eisenhower era and now middle-aged, we're not saddled with the positions we did or didn't take four decades ago when we were all but oblivious. Of course, once the trial begins in earnest — opening statements are expected today — the courtroom will fill with people who do remember: parents, siblings and friends of the four black girls who died in the racially motivated blast; retired investigators with their yellowed notes; former Ku Klux Klansmen offering their tenuous credibility to one side or the other. It's said that history is written by the winners. But there are exceptions. In 1960s Alabama, the losers told the story of the Civil War their way, and so, in a way, won. It's also true that we can't truly appreciate the historical events we're witnessing until they're over or at least somehow resolved. Cherry was scheduled to be tried last year at the same time his fellow Klansman, Thomas Blanton Jr., was tried and convicted of murder in the bombing. But there were questions about Cherry's mental competency, and his trial was delayed. That means the proceedings under way in downtown Birmingham will provide a sort of ending to a story that for too many years involved an "unsolved" crime. There always will be charges, on both sides, that the cause of justice was damaged when evidence was allowed to weaken and grow stale over four decades. That's true. But Bobby Frank Cherry, in his old man's spectacles and silver hair, will have his day in court on the chilling accusations that have dogged him all these years. Whatever the eventual verdict, the victims' families will know justice was fully pursued, finally, in this crime. As for the fourth-graders coming along behind Amelia, it may be hard for them to fathom that grown-ups would dynamite a crowded church because they didn't want black children and white children to sit together in school. But they will learn there was an ending to the story of the four innocents who died there. Elaine Witt's column runs Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday in the Birmingham Post-Herald.
The Bergen Record 12 May 2002 www.bergen.com Anne Frank exhibit provides a history lesson - at the mall Stacy Hersh of Fort Lee went to the mall on a Saturday afternoon for some serious shopping with her mom. She went home with a better understanding of how Hitler came to power in 1930s Germany. "I never really understood before how he became so powerful," said Hersh, standing with her mother, Mildred Starr, near the Neiman Marcus store at Garden State Plaza. She had just finished viewing an exhibit that went on display at the plaza May 4 and will be there through June 4. The exhibit consists of 54 panels describing the life of Anne Frank, and the world in which she lived and died. Frank was a German Jewish girl who lived in hiding with her family in Holland for 25 months before being taken to a concentration camp where she died at age 15. Her diary about that time has been read by millions around the world. The displays are a traveling exhibit created by the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, Netherlands. In Europe, the exhibit is usually displayed in cathedrals, museums, and community centers. In America, the organizers have decided one of the best places to display it is in a mall. Lisa Wolstromer, the Garden State Plaza's marketing director, said a representative of the Anne Frank Center in New York City contacted the mall last summer. Westfield America, the development group that owns the Plaza, signed on as a sponsor, as did the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Ramapo College and the New Jersey/Rockland Jewish Media Group. The sponsors recruited "docents" - local residents who volunteered to serve as tour guides for the exhibit and who attended a training session with Barry van Driel, international coordinator of education for the Anne Frank House. Many of the volunteers are themselves Holocaust survivors, or children of survivors. Van Driel said the Anne Frank House began displaying the exhibit in American malls about eight years ago. Before the mall exhibits began, he said, there was a certain amount of debate about whether this was appropriate for a mall. "People said 'This is a very serious exhibit about one of the worst atrocities that's ever occurred. Is the mall the right place for it?' There was some feeling that people go to malls to shop and, in a certain way to forget about their lives," he said. But that's also a perfect reason to be in the mall, he added. "This is where people now come together. It's a social place, so this is why we feel it's a very appropriate place." If you put the exhibit only in museums, churches, and synagogues "you tend to preach to the converted," van Driel said. "By bringing this to a mall you're getting a totally different audience." One audience the Anne Frank House is trying to reach is teenagers. School groups from high schools and middle schools throughout New Jersey and even surrounding states will be taking field trips to the mall to view the exhibit. Van Driel and the sponsors are hoping that the teenagers who flock to the mall in the afternoon and on Saturday will discover the exhibit and take time to study it. Shoppers got their first look at the exhibit a week ago. Debbie Josephs, a Teaneck resident who works for the Jewish Standard newspaper and was involved in the effort to bring the exhibit to the mall, was the docent on duty on opening night. "The reaction has been unbelievable," she said. Shoppers, she said, were taking the time to read every panel and ponder the messages. Some, like Rebecca Greenberg of Wayne, came to the mall specifically to see it. A second-grader at Theunis Dey Elementary School, Rebecca urged her father, Bob, and brother Jason, 11, to make a special trip to the mall to see the exhibit. Rebecca said she had done a school report on Anne Frank and wanted to learn more. Other shoppers stumbled on the exhibit while walking through the mall. Mark Brown of Cliffside Park found the exhibit while waiting for his wife outside Neiman Marcus. "I think it's very nice," he said, adding he didn't find the setting to be in any way inappropriate. Even if people are having a happy day out shopping, he said, it doesn't hurt to take time to remember "what people could do to people." He found the exhibit uplifting, not depressing, particularly in the descriptions of how office workers in Amsterdam helped the Frank family. "It's getting a very nice response," Brown said. "I've been standing here awhile and kids are reading it, people of all different backgrounds are reading it." Not all shoppers stopped to read. A group of four teenage tough guys passed and didn't break stride. "We know, Anne Frank, don't hate, don't hate," they said. A large book where visitors can write their impressions and reactions is stationed next to the exhibit. "As I was seeing the exhibits, my thoughts were running to my native India, where in the name of religion people are killing each other in Gujarati," wrote Bhamy Shenoy. "Today, more than ever we must remember the past or we will repeat it," wrote Lynne Wexler and her daughter Lauren. Josephs, as she performed her docent duties, said the Plaza deserves a mall medal of honor for hosting the exhibit. "I can't tell you how the mall pushed for this to happen, and that's a credit to them," she said.
WP 3 May 2002 Film Capsules Page WE49 Film Capsule review by Desson Howe HIGH CRIMES (PG-13, 115 minutes) -- This standard-issue thriller, courtroom variety, is made more interesting by the genuine chemistry between leads Ashley Judd and Morgan Freeman, reuniting for the first time since "Kiss the Girls." Playing a high-powered lawyer defending her mild-mannered, wood-worker husband (Jim Caviezel) after he is suddenly arrested and court-martialed for the 12-year-old massacre of civilians in El Salvador, Judd is suitably clipped and professional. Freeman, on the other hand, makes a nice foil as the loose-cannon, ex-military lawyer she hires to assist her. Despite a formulaic surprise ending, Judd and Freeman lend real spice to an overly familiar dish. Contains mild obscenity, glimpses of strippers, brief gunplay, fistfights and grainy footage of a massacre.
US State Dept. 6 May 2002 state.gov Press Statement Richard Boucher, Spokesman Washington, DC May 6, 2002 International Criminal Court: Letter to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan Following is the text of the letter to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan from Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security John R. Bolton: "Dear Mr. Secretary-General: This is to inform you, in connection with the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court adopted on July 17, 1998, that the United States does not intend to become a party to the treaty. Accordingly, the United States has no legal obligations arising from its signature on December 31, 2000. The United States requests that its intention not to become a party, as expressed in this letter, be reflected in the depositary's status lists relating to this treaty. Sincerely, S/John R. Bolton" Released on May 6, 2002 http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2002/9968.htm
US State Dept. 6 May 2002 state.gov U.S. HAS NO LEGAL OBLIGATION TO THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT Pierre-Richard Prosper, U.S. Ambassador for War Crimes Issues Foreign Press Center Briefing Washington, DC May 6, 2002 Today, at the request of the president, our mission up -- in the United Nations deposited a note with the U.N. secretary-general as the depository of the Rome treaty for the International Criminal Court stating that the United States does not intend to become a party to the ICC treaty and accordingly has no legal obligation as a result of our signature on December 31st, 2000. The president decided that this step was appropriate and an important one in order make our position clear -- our position that we will not support the ICC, believing that the document is flawed in many regards. The president has also made clear and is making clear that he is committed to combating war crimes, committed for the United States to play a leadership role in the world to address these abuses as they occur. We took this rare action but not unprecedented action today in order to give us the flexibility to protect our interests and the flexibility to pursue alternative approaches. The president has also made it clear that we respect the right of other states to be part of the ICC, but we ask them in turn to respect our right not to be part of the ICC process. In pursuing accountability, we will seek an alternative approach, one that we feel is a better approach, more tailored at getting to the core and the heart of the problem that are facing today. And that approach is primarily to put the responsibility back to where it belongs, and that is with the states. We want to create an environment where the states have the capacity to address these issues, they have the political willingness to address these issues. We believe that if we can build these democracies and the rule of law in these states, it acts as a constraint against abuse and a constraint against excesses of power. In support of this alternative mechanism, the United States will be prepared to support politically, financially, technically and logistically any state -- post-conflict state that seeks to credibly pursue accountability for violations of humanitarian law. We will support creative ad hoc approaches, such as we see in Sierra Leone, where there is a division of labor between the international community and the sovereign state. We will be asking Congress to help us in finding the necessary resources in order to combat these problems. We will seek to mobilize the private sector, to see if the private sector can play a role in this regard, either through funding or other contributions. We will seek to create a pool of experienced judges, lawyers, prosecutors, who will be willing to work on short notice, in order to help ingrain the rule of law in these societies. And we will take steps within the United States to fill any gaps that we may have in our laws, to ensure that the United States does not become a safe haven for war criminals and indicted persons. We will be looking to work with the international community. This is a multilateral approach. We will ask our allies and friends to join us here. We will ask the NGO community and the United Nations to join us in this regard because we do believe there is common ground. We believe that it cannot be disputed that the best way to combat abuses and atrocities is to rebuild and enhance the domestic willingness and capacity to deal with these issues as a front-line approach.
US Dept. of Defense 6 May 2002 SECRETARY RUMSFELD'S STATEMENT ON THE ICC TREATY No. 233-02 May 6, 2002 Earlier today, this administration announced the president's decision to formally notify the United Nations that the United States will not become a party to International Criminal Court treaty. The U.S. declaration, which was delivered to the secretary general this morning, effectively reverses the previous U.S. government decision to become a signatory. The ICC's entry into force on July 1st means that our men and women in uniform -- as well as current and future U.S. officials -- could be at risk of prosecution by the ICC. We intend to make clear, in several ways, that the United States rejects the jurisdictional claims of the ICC. The United States will regard as illegitimate any attempt by the court or state parties to the treaty to assert the ICC's jurisdiction over American citizens. The U.S. has a number of serious objections to the ICC -- among them, the lack of adequate checks and balances on powers of the ICC prosecutors and judges; the dilution of the U.N. Security Council's authority over international criminal prosecutions; and the lack of an effective mechanism to prevent politicized prosecutions of American servicemembers and officials. These flaws would be of concern at any time, but they are particularly troubling in the midst of a difficult, dangerous war on terrorism. There is the risk that the ICC could attempt to assert jurisdiction over U.S. servicemembers, as well as civilians, involved in counter-terrorist and other military operations -- something we cannot allow. Notwithstanding these objections to the treaty, the United States respects the decision of those nations that have chosen to join the ICC. But they, in turn, will need to respect our decision not to join the ICC or to place our citizens under the jurisdiction of the court. Unfortunately, the ICC will not respect the U.S. decision to stay out of the treaty. To the contrary, the ICC provisions claim the authority to detain and try American citizens -- U.S. soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines, as well as current and future officials -- even though the United States has not given its consent to be bound by the treaty. When the ICC treaty enters into force this summer, U.S. citizens will be exposed to the risk of prosecution by a court that is unaccountable to the American people, and that has no obligation to respect the Constitutional rights of our citizens. The United States understandably finds that troubling and unacceptable. Clearly the existence of an International Criminal Court, which attempts to claim jurisdiction over our men and women in uniform stationed around the world, will necessarily complicate U.S. military cooperation with countries that are parties to the ICC treaty -- because those countries may now incur a treaty obligation to hand over U.S. nationals to the court, even over U.S. objections. The United States would consider any such action to be illegitimate. We obviously intend to avoid such actions. Fortunately there maybe mechanisms within the treaty by which we can work bilaterally with friends and allies, to the extent they are willing, to prevent the jurisdiction of the treaty and thus avoid complications in our military cooperation. Obviously, countries that have not ratified the treaty would be under no such obligation to cooperate with the court. By putting U.S. men and women in uniform at risk of politicized prosecutions, the ICC could well create a powerful disincentive for U.S. military engagement in the world. If so, it could be a recipe for isolationism -- something that would be unfortunate for the world, given that our country is committed to engagement in the world and to contributing to a more peaceful and stable world. For a strong deterrent, it is critical that the U.S. be leaning forward, not back. We must be ready to defend our people, our interests, and our way of life. We have an obligation to protect our men and women in uniform from this court and to preserve America's ability to remain engaged in the world. And we intend to do so.
AP 10 May 2002 Feds Could Expel Nazi Suspect NEW YORK (AP) — Federal prosecutors asked a court to revoke the U.S. citizenship of a man who they say was a Nazi concentration camp guard during World War II. In a complaint filed in Brooklyn federal court Thursday, prosecutors identified Jakiw Palij, 78, as an armed guard at the SS Labor Camp Trawniki, a slave-labor camp in Poland. Eli M. Rosenbaum, head of a special investigation unit for the Justice Department, alleged Palij ``and his fellow 'Trawniki men' played key roles in carrying out Adolf Hitler's genocidal ambitions by rounding up, guarding and helping to murder Jews throughout Nazi-occupied Poland.'' A call to a phone number listed under Palij's name was not answered. The Justice Department said Palij falsely claimed to have worked on his father's farm in Poland during the war when he applied for a U.S. immigration visa in 1949. Since 1979, Justice Department investigations of former Nazis have caused 67 people to be stripped of U.S. citizenship. More than 160 people remain under investigation, officials said.
Reuters 12 May 2002 World gropes for "plan B" for Cambodian tribunal By Dan Eaton PHNOM PENH (Reuters) - Cambodia's ageing Khmer Rouge leaders are unlikely ever to see the inside of a U.N.-sponsored war crimes court as interest wanes in punishing those responsible for one of the 20th Century's worst cases of genocide. Frustrated by Cambodia's insistence on overall control of a planned joint tribunal, the United Nations pulled out in February, saying it could not guarantee the court's impartiality. Keen for greater international acceptance and foreign aid, but slow to reform its ill-trained and corruption-tainted judiciary, Cambodia has yet to publicly recognise the pullout, saying the door remains open. The diplomatic community too is urging the U.N to reconsider, refusing to admit that the momentum built up over five years of talks has been lost and the U.N. won't be coming back. "They aren't coming back. That chapter is history," said Craig Etcheson, an American expert who spends much of each year in Cambodia, researching the atrocities committed by the "Killing Fields" regime which ruled between 1975-1979 and is blamed for the deaths of up to 1.7 million people. "What is happening now is a delicate diplomatic minuet aiming to grope toward plan B." Without the U.N. there are three main options on the table; a multilateral or bilateral agreement to support a Khmer Rouge genocide tribunal, Cambodia going it alone, or no trial at all. All three options have their backers within the ruling Cambodian Peoples Party of Prime Minister Hun Sen. GOING IT ALONE Hun Sen has said Cambodia will go it alone if the world body doesn't return to the negotiating table soon, and his government recently held talks with India, which has offered bilateral assistance in holding a trial. Many diplomats favour the multilateral approach, saying they fear bilateral agreements could see a tribunal which does not meet international standards of justice. But privately they also say interest in a Khmer Rouge trial has waned since the U.S.-led war on terror and that the international pressure needed to rebuild the momentum for a U.N.-sponsored trial may not be there anymore. Many analysts and diplomats also doubt if Cambodia ever had any intention of holding a trial in the first place, pointing out that many among the country's current crop of leaders were once Khmer Rouge members, or have been closely associated with the brutal communist movement at various times in their careers. "I think at this stage unfortunately the momentum has been lost," said Nancy Soderberg, a former United States ambassador to the U.N. Security Council, who was involved in early efforts to push for a Khmer Rouge trial and now heads the non-government International Crisis Group's New York office. "Now that the U.N. has made that decision to disengage it is very hard to pick up and resume the momentum. It has been clear from the start that the Cambodians have never been very serious about this, but were using it as a way to deflect international pressure." Historians point out Hun Sen was himself a Khmer Rouge brigade commander in the eastern zone before fleeing to Vietnam amid dictator Pol Pot's internal purges in the late 1970s, although he has not been linked to any crime. No Khmer Rouge leader has yet stood trial for crimes committed during their rule, marked by torture, executions forced labour and mass starvation. Only two are currently behind bars awaiting trial and the remainder live in peaceful retirement in former rebel enclaves under deals done with Hun Sen's government to end decades of civil war which began when the regime was driven from power. A LONG WAIT But after 23 years of waiting for justice, many Cambodians still hold out hopes their former tormentors will be punished. "I think in Cambodia there is a hope that the U.N. will come back to the process," said Kao Kim Huon, director of the Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace. "But there is also a feeling that any sort of a trial is better than nothing at all. With former Yugoslav leader Milosevic on trial at the Hague, there is a feeling that the U.N. has double standards." Cambodia stands as an example of how difficult it remains at the start of the 21st century to bring national leaders accused of atrocities to book. "It is clear that what happened in Cambodia was one of the worst crimes of the 20th century. There are overwhelming witness testimonies, evidence of mass torture, execution," said Youk Chhang, director of the Documentation Centre of Cambodia and the country's foremost genocide researcher. "I think we haven't learned from the past. The way we form laws is not fast enough to catch up with the crimes caused by human beings."
Reuters 19 May 2002 Cambodia remembers "Day of Hate" PHNOM PENH, Cambodia -- More than 1,000 Cambodians gathered at a former Khmer Rouge execution ground on Sunday to mourn victims of the "killing fields" regime as dark clouds hang over the future of a Cambodian genocide trial. Dozens of Buddhist monks chanted prayers as mourners old and young gathered at the suburban Phnom Penh site, where the Khmer Rouge bludgeoned and shot to death some 17,000 people in the 1970s. The mourners came to lay offerings of incense sticks and flowers at a memorial glass pagoda containing the skulls of 8,000 Khmer Rouge victims exhumed from mass graves in the area. The ceremony marks what Cambodians call the "Day of Hate," against the 1975-1979 Khmer Rouge regime during which 1.7 million people are estimated to have died from disease, starvation, forced labor and execution. "I came here to pray that the souls of my dead relatives are reincarnated," said Phen Koeun, a 68-year-old civil servant who lost nine members of his family during the regime. "I pray in their next life they do not meet the same nightmare they met in this life," he told Reuters. The Khmer Rouge were toppled in 1979 but none of the leaders of the ultra-Maoist group have yet stood in court to answer for their crimes. The United Nations recently withdrew from almost five years of talks on setting up a Khmer Rouge tribunal, saying the court envisaged by Phnom Penh would not be impartial. Observers say the U.N. was unwilling to enter a trial without full world-body control for fear elements within the Cambodian government would try to restrict investigations. Thousand of Cambodians -- including several government officials -- had links to the Khmer Rouge. But Phnom Penh's refusal to meet world demand on the constitution of a tribunal is based on distrust and resentment stemming from the U.N.'s former support for the murderous Khmer Rouge, official sources say. Murky history Phnom Penh saw the U.N. withdrawal from trial talks as the world body's continued moral failing in dealing with the Cambodian genocide and the Khmer Rouge, a source close to the trial process said. The U.N. recognized a coalition government -- which included the Khmer Rouge -- as the legitimate leaders of Cambodia long after invading Vietnamese troops toppled the communists in 1979. Phnom Penh is adamantly opposed to giving full control of the trial process to the U.N., the source said. "The international community recognized and armed the Khmer Rouge. It really was an injustice." Prime Minister Hun Sen has given the U.N. until the end of May to return to talks or Cambodia will embark on its own trial with assistance from friendly countries. India has offered judges for a trial, but some normally optimistic observers now say that without the U.N. the trial may never take place. Nature may also intervene, they said. Many former Khmer Rouge chiefs now in their 70s may die before trial, if the wrangling goes on much longer.
PTI (Press Trust of India) May 2, 2002 India has not signed statutes of new world criminal court New Delhi - India has not signed the statutes of the proposed International Criminal Court, which is expected to come into existence by next year, due to certain reservations, Lok Sabha (Lower House of Indian Parliament) was informed on Thursday. "India has not signed the statutes of the Court because of certain reservations on principles," Federal Law Minister Arun Jaitley said in reply to a question. As many as 66 countries have ratified the Treaty for setting up of the new permanent Court which will have jurisdiction over crimes like those against humanity, genocide and war crimes, he said. The United States has not ratified the statutes of the Court, Jaitley said, adding Britain and Northern Ireland had ratified the Treaty on October four last year.
BBC 14 May 2002, Seven killed in Kashmir attack At least seven people are reported killed after Muslim militants fired on a bus near Jammu, in Indian-administered Kashmir, and attacked a nearby Indian army camp. The attack coincided with the visit to Delhi of US Assistant Secretary of State Christina Rocca which is aimed at cooling tensions between India and Pakistan. "Seven bodies have been brought out so far. The encounter is still on," a police official told Reuters news agency. The Press Trust of India (PTI) said a group of three or four militants had fired on a bus and then stormed the army camp at Kaluchak, about 10 kilometres (six miles) from Jammu. The report said explosions could be heard from inside the camp and police and commandos were helping to track down the militants it described as a "suicide squad". The bus had been travelling from the northern state of Himachal Pradesh to Jammu, the report said.
Jakarta Post May 5, 2002 Laskar Jihad chief arrested, facing provocation charges The National Police confirmed on Saturday the arrest of Laskar Jihad Ahlussunah wal Jamaah commander Ja'far Umar Thalib over an allegedly provocative speech he made last week. National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Saleh Saaf said Ja'far was arrested at 3:55 p.m. at Juanda Airport in Surabaya, East Java, on his way to Jakarta from Ambon, the capital of Maluku. "He (Ja'far) will be charged under Article 160 of the Criminal Code on agitation and Article 130 of the Code on slanderous remarks against the President and Vice President," Saleh told a media conference at which he was accompanied by National Police chief of general crimes Brig. Gen. Aryanto Sutadi. Article 160 of the Criminal Code carries a maximum sentence of six years in jail, while Article 130 carries an a sentence of eight-years imprisonment. Both police officers then replayed a tape recording of Ja'far's speech to the crowd on April 26, in which he condemned Maluku Governor Saleh Latuconsina and Maluku Provincial Police chief Brig. Gen. Soenarko Danu Ardianto, and expressed his intention to kill all of the relatives of former president Sukarno, including current President Megawati Soekarnoputri. The tape also revealed that Ja'far called on the crowd to "use bombs and fire them at the enemy". Earlier on Saturday, Ja'far dismissed the allegations that he had helped provoke the attack on the Christian village of Soya last week, which killed at least 14 people. "My speech before the crowd on April 26 was actually intended to calm down the local people," Ja'far told reporters at Hasanuddin Airport in Makassar, the capital of South Sulawesi, before he departed for Surabaya. He questioned the genuineness of the tape recording provided by the police. "That's the police's version of the case (the Soya incident and Ja'far's April 26 speech)," he said. Originally, Ja'far was to have been arrested earlier in the day during his 30-minute stopover at Hasanuddin Airport in the South Sulawesi capital of Makassar on Saturday at noon local time on his way back to Java from Ambon, the capital of Maluku. Due to technical considerations, however, he was allowed to proceed to Surabaya, where he was eventually arrested, South Sulawesi Police chief Insp. Gen. Firman Gani told The Jakarta Post by phone. Firman said that police investigators in Ambon and Jakarta had enough prima facie evidence to arrest Ja'far. "Ja'far's arrest is based on the prevailing law as there is evidence that he has been provoking conflict in Maluku for quite some time. The police do not have to wait for an order from the President in this regard as we run the (criminal justice) system by the book," he said. Similarly, National Police chief Gen. Da'i Bachtiar said on Saturday that there had been no instruction issued to the police for the arrest of Ja'far, claiming that the police had enough grounds of their own to arrest the Laskar Jihad chief. Tensions were on the rise in Ambon on Saturday evening after a resident, identified as Stanley Maitimu, was killed and at least two others injured in a bomb blast earlier in the afternoon, reports said. The blast went off while rival mobs were hurling stones at each other in the city's Trikora and Pohon Pule districts, the report said. It was the second deadly blast since the signing of the peace pact in February. The first blast, which rocked Ambon on April 3, killed at least four people and triggered the torching of the gubernatorial offices by a mob.
Jakarta Post 19 May 2002 Annan tells RI to proceed with human rights tribunal Annastashya Emmanuelle, Indonesia is to go ahead with the ongoing Human Rights tribunal, which is still under the watchful eyes of the international community, to ensure that justice is properly brought to bear on those responsible for the mayhem in East Timor. Although UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan stated that an international tribunal was not discussed at the meeting between him and Foreign Affairs Minister Hassan Wirayuda on Saturday, Annan sent out a clear message that the proceedings of the ad hoc trial were not a forgotten chapter now that East Timor was due to become an independent state. "We discussed to what extent we could work together to ensure that justice was done. We also discussed the cooperation that they would need with regard to witnesses and other aspects of the trial," the UN secretary-general said in a joint media conference before ending his two-day visit to the capital. "At this stage, we have not talked about establishing an international tribunal (on the East Timor mayhem). The Indonesian government should press ahead with the trial of the accused in a respectable and credible manner and we are prepared to cooperate with them," he said at the foreign affairs ministry building when asked about his opinion of the trial, and whether the UN would take the case to an international tribunal. In his visit to Indonesia in 2000, Annan insisted that then president Abdurrahman Wahid try those responsible for the bloodshed in East Timor in accordance with the law. "As I will leave for East Timor this morning, I'm also mindful of the brief period of tension between the UN and Indonesia, but that happened in the past, and we now move forward toward very strong relations between Indonesia, East Timor and the neighboring countries," Annan said on Saturday. The ad hoc human rights tribunal is ongoing in Jakarta, at which reluctant military and police officials are on trial. They were allegedly responsible for the various human rights abuses in East Timor when the tiny territory voted to break away from Indonesia after a UN-organized ballot in 1999.
Guardian UK 20 May 2002 Jerusalem dispatch Bound in by red tape Israeli bureaucracy seems designed to cow the Palestinian population into docility, but mostly has the opposite effect, writes Brian Whitaker Monday May 20, 2002 CRACK! A noise like a distant rifle shot echoed around the stone walls of Arab east Jerusalem. I had spent the evening working on a story about the latest suicide bombing in Netanya and had gone to bed wondering if the Israeli forces would strike back overnight and - if so - where. Halfway between sleep and wakefulness, I was not sure at first if I had imagined the sound. But then there was another, and another. I went downstairs to the hotel reception. The woman on night duty was hunched over her computer, reading the latest news on the internet. "Did you hear a noise outside?" I asked. "No," she said, and turned back to the internet. I decided to take a look around and soon found the source of the commotion. It was a lot closer than I had thought, but it was not gunfire. In the next street there is a grim, fortress-like building with security cameras, floodlights, iron bars on all the windows and a 7ft-high revolving cage for a door. It is what the Israelis call the "population administration" office - the place where Palestinians from east Jerusalem go to get birth certificates, renew their identity cards and collect all the other bureaucratic necessities. Needless to say, when the office opens in the morning the queues are interminably long. The noise I had heard came from a dozen or so Palestinian youths in front of the building who were smashing up wooden planks. Since they would be queuing all night and the weather was chilly, they were making a fire in the street to keep warm. The intriguing twist to this tale is that the youths were not themselves in need of new ID cards or any other paperwork. They queue for a living. Other Palestinians who want to avoid the wait and can afford the privilege, pay them to stay up all night outside the office and reserve a place at the front of the queue. By seven in the morning, other little enterprises swing into action outside the office. Three men with clunky typewriters arrive and set up tables on the opposite pavement. They already have stacks of application forms, which they fill in for people and save time by making sure the questions have been answered correctly. This sort of thing is part of the normal, daily grind for Palestinians. Foreigners may hear about it and read about it, but that is not the same as actually experiencing it. Sometimes I get a feeling that the real purpose of Israeli occupation is to turn the West Bank into a theme park where tourists will flock from around the world to discover what life was like in the old Soviet Union. In Blairite Britain we have gone to the opposite extreme. All branches of government are now required, on pain of punishment, to deliver service with a smile. Even the social security offices try to lay on a friendly ambiance and government employees spend millions of hours on performance reviews, quality control and efficiency measurement. But the whole point about Israeli bureaucracy, at least where Palestinians are concerned, is that it is designed to be inefficient, with the rules changing frequently, so that nobody can ever be quite sure where they stand. That way, the Israelis show who is boss. The theory, I suppose, is that eventually this will produce a cowed, docile population who are willing to do whatever they are told. But a lot of the time it just makes them more angry. On the short drive between Jerusalem and Ramallah - previously a 20-minute journey - there are at present two Israeli checkpoints to be crossed. The main one is at Qalandiya, a remote spot in the countryside with an array of high metal fences, floodlights and waist-high concrete blocks resembling Lego bricks. Nowadays it is a noisy place because apart from the revving of lorry engines in the queue there's often a crane adjusting the floodlights or a bulldozer rearranging the Lego bricks. The only real function that Qalandiya has, so far as I can see, is to waste people's time. The soldiers look at people's identity papers but they do not check the names against a "wanted" list. They search some bags, rather cursorily, but not most of them. I have passed through eight times in the last five days with a computer case over my shoulder and nobody has ever asked to look inside. For all they knew, I was carrying a kilogramme or two of Semtex. Possibly they let me through because I am a pale-faced blue-eyed foreigner, but it seems to be the same for the vast majority of Palestinians who make the crossing. As at the population administration office in Jerusalem, long queues create business opportunities. At busy times, Palestinians set up stalls selling snacks, drinks and cigarettes from dubious sources. There is nothing more surreal than the sight of an ice cream trolley, topped with a gaily painted sunshade plying its wares among the coils of razor wire. It is always difficult to judge to the nearest hour how long the crossing will take, so if you have an appointment in Ramallah you either take a chance on arriving an hour late or set off early, with the possibility of having to hang around in the town for an hour before the meeting. Nobody attempts to take a vehicle through the crossing unless it is absolutely essential. The quickest and surest way is to get a minibus or taxi to the checkpoint, walk through, then catch another minibus or taxi into Ramallah. Last week, when Yasser Arafat gave a major speech in Ramallah, lots of foreign TV crews drove their equipment through the checkpoint. They got into Ramallah without too much trouble, but getting their urgent film back to Jerusalem was another matter. Some were convinced that the Israelis delayed them deliberately. Crossing on foot, people are channelled into queues between the concrete Lego bricks. There is one queue for men and another for women - or "girls" as some of the Israeli soldiers address them in Arabic. At the front of the queue is a dusty patch of no man's land and, on the opposite side, piles of sandbags with two or three soldiers behind them checking documents. The men's queue is almost always several times longer than the women's queue, and sometimes there are shouts from one or other queue that it is not getting a fair turn. One morning, with extraordinarily long queues, and in a heavy shower of rain, one of the two Israeli soldiers on duty disappeared from his sandbags - apparently to go to the toilet. That left just one soldier checking the documents. There were protests from the crowd and, for several minutes, all checking of documents stopped. Often, such small incidents lead to arguments among the queuing Palestinians. Some are in a hurry and just want to get the whole tedious process over as quickly as possible, while others insist on their rights even if by doing so they add to the delays. That, in microcosm, is the nub of the Palestinians' wider dilemma. They know the intifada is not working but disagree on the reasons: too much militancy say some, too little say the others. Sooner or later at Qalandiya, you get to the front of the queue. Then, one at a time, you step into no man's land and head for the sandbags, watched by soldiers on high ground at the side. I have timed the walk and it takes, on average, 20-25 seconds. Many Palestinians try to speed this up a bit by starting their walk just before the previous person moves on from the sandbags. "Go! Go!" people from behind urge the person at the head of the queue. But the timing is an art. Set off too early and you can be sure that the person ahead of you will be kept an extra long time at the sandbags, leaving you stranded in the middle. Set off too late or walk too slowly and the people in the queue will complain that you are delaying them. Hurry towards the sandbags and the soldiers may get jumpy. Yesterday, returning from Ramallah, I was in the queue behind a Palestinian boy with a large sports bag. Halfway across no man's land, the soldiers told him to put it on the ground and open it. The boy did so and it did not explode. The soldier beckoned him to move forward again, took a quick peek inside, then sent him on his way. Usually, no words are exchanged in these encounters with the military. You hand over your papers, they flick through them and hand them back. It is much worse if they speak. One day, the soldier who greeted me from behind the sandbags was an overweight man with dark glasses - so dark that you could not look him in the eye. "Good morning," he said, affecting an American drawl. "How are you today?" That is the dreadful moment when you are tempted to say something rude, but you know that he has the power and - if he wants to - he can keep you there for hours. "I'm fine," I replied meekly, "but rather delayed". A smirk flickered behind the sunglasses and he waved me on. "Have a nice day," he said. Email email@example.com
VOA 14 May 2002 UN: Israeli Restrictions Hamper Aid Programs to Palestinians Dale Gavlak Geneva 14 May 2002 13:40 UTC Listen to Dale Gavlak's Report from Geneva (RealAudio) Gavlak Report - Download 198k (RealAudio) The United Nations agency that assists Palestinian refugees has said Israeli proposals to tighten movement in the Palestinian territories would severely hamper its humanitarian programs. The U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees said it is concerned about proposed Israeli restrictions on the freedom of movement by international donor agencies that provide aid to the Palestinian territories. The agency said the Israeli measures will require Palestinians to get a special permit if they want to travel from one city to another in the West Bank. Holders of Jerusalem identity cards will not be able to travel to the Palestinian territories as easily as before. Israel also has told the U.N. agency and other relief organizations that they must use international drivers for transporting medical and food supplies. U.N. spokesman Rene Aquarone said the agency is discussing the matter with Israeli authorities. "We are very concerned because if these announced measures are put into effect, this will cripple the activities of the agency - its relief and emergency activities and its normal activities. If we have a teacher who is working in Jenin and living in Nablus then this teacher cannot go to his or her work. And the same goes for our medical staff, etc," she said. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency employs 14,000 Palestinians for its medical, educational, and social work in the West Bank and Gaza. It has fewer than 100 international workers. The agency said employing internationals to drive its relief trucks will drastically increase its operation costs.
Gulf News (Dubai) 11 May 2002 New book on Jenin massacre Abu Dhabi The Zayed Centre for Coordination and Follow-up has published a book entitled Jenin. A Massacre Against Humanity. The book includes testimonies of non-Arab and non-Muslim intellectuals and politicians on the Jenin camp tragedy and the brutality of the Israeli forces. It provides important documents and pictures of Israel's atrocities and genocide conducted against the Palestinians.
Boston Globe 1 May 2002 THE MEDIA US, European press stand divided over Israel, Palestinians By Mark Jurkowitz, Globe Staff, 5/1/2002 The refugee camp in the West Bank town of Jenin, which was the site of furious fighting between Israelis and Palestinians, is now the focus of an equally intense battle for world opinion. It is also a classic example of the profound differences between US and European media coverage of the conflict in the Middle East. Much of the press in this country, while taking note of the physical destruction after the combat, was cautious in its treatment of Palestinian claims of a massacre. The Washington Post reported that interviews turned up ''no evidence'' of ''large-scale massacres or executions by Israeli troops.'' The New York Times said a visit to the refugee camp showed ''more destruction than death.'' And Monday, the Globe reported that allegations of a massacre appeared to be ''crumbling under the weight of eyewitness accounts.'' Across the Atlantic, the tone has been decidedly different. The Economist, a British magazine, said ''evidence of the Israeli army's absolute negligence in trying to protect civilian life is everywhere.'' London's Independent made reference to ''grisly evidence of a war crime'' and led one story by noting that ''the world finally got to see what Israel has done in the Jenin refugee camp yesterday.'' The Guardian, also based in London, produced an April 17 story asserting that ''the outcry in the European press over the killings of civilians in Jenin has not been echoed in US newspapers.'' These variations in style and substance reflect divergent views not only between the European and American press but between the two populations. A recent Pew Research Center poll indicates that by a 3-to-1 margin, Americans have more sympathy for Israel than for the Palestinians. But the Palestinians enjoy significantly more support than Israel in Italy, France, and Britain, the Pew researchers found, and marginally more in Germany, a nation still riddled with guilt over the Holocaust. It is a reality that partisans on both sides acknowledge. ''The rhetoric is much different,'' says Sharon Tzur, director of the pro-Israeli watchdog group Media Watch International. ''I think that in a way it's a reflection of the public on both continents. A majority of Americans are more sympathetic to Israel and understand where Israel is coming from. ... Even CNN [US] and CNN International are very different in the way they report the Middle East.'' ''European coverage is much more balanced and much less fixed on terrorism,'' says Jean AbiNader, managing director of the Arab-American Institute, based in Washington, D.C. ''The lack of balance in [the US media's] approach ... comes to the fore when one looks at European coverage, Jenin being a very good example. One can look at the Knesset and the Israeli press and see far more criticism of the Israeli government than there is here.'' Observers acknowledge that neither continent's media are monolithic. In the United States, they say, print coverage tends to be more neutral than television coverage, and the reporting tends to be more balanced than the columns and editorials. There is also a range of viewpoints evident, from Fox News Channel's adoption of the term ''homicide bombers'' to New York Times editorials that frequently criticize Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon. Likewise in Europe, there are differences between right- and left-leaning outlets, says Alice Chasan, editor of the New York-based World Press Review journal. But ''in most of the European press, the human interest, the human-anguish story you're going to read is about the Palestinian people,'' she says. There's much less coverage of ''the suffering of ordinary Israelis.'' When Israeli tanks moved into Hebron on Monday, a BBC report declared that ''for the Palestinians ... this feels like collective punishment and can only serve to feed the hatred and the violence. ... To them, this is a gross violation of sovereignty. ... The message from here is fear.'' Roger Mosey, head of TV news for the BBC says, ''I don't think there is a massive difference between American network coverage and BBC.'' But that kind of report, with a Palestinian focus, sets it apart from much of the US reporting, which tends to be more Tel Aviv-centric. Mosey acknowledges that ''generally, continental Europe has tended to be more pro-Palestinian,'' and he seems to suggest that the BBC's approach is more rounded than that of its counterparts here. ''What BBC World does is try to bring a range of perspectives,'' he says. ''I think we try to be genuinely international. I think BBC World is unimpeachably fair.'' Patrick Jarreau, Washington bureau chief for the French newspaper Le Monde, says he was surprised to discover that the US media are ''more anti-Sharon or pro-Palestinian than most people in Europe would think. I think most people in Europe would think the American media is thoroughly pro-Sharon.'' Asked why he thinks the coverage is more balanced than that, he says, ''To me, it's a sign of how much the action by Sharon is really unacceptable for most people in a democratic country.'' In Europe, says Chasan, ''Middle East policy ... is seen as inextricably linked to US policy. Part of the upset is that [Europeans] would like to believe they'd have a bigger role.'' The World Press Review's collection of European editorial comment on Secretary of State Colin Powell's recent visit to the region seems to reflect European frustration with Bush administration policy. Spain's El Mundo suggested the mission was a cover for an Israeli ''withdrawal delayed by mutual agreement, with a couple of bits of window dressing.'' The Guardian attacked Powell's ''leisurely peregrinations across North Africa while Israeli forces have wreaked devastation. Tzur notes that ''the Jewish community in Europe is very small,'' while AbiNader ventures that Europeans' ''colonial experience has given them a lot more insight'' into the dispute. Le Monde's Jarreau says that as the balance of military power has swung toward Israel in recent decades, the tide of European opinion and media coverage has shifted as well. ''What changed the mood,'' he says, ''is that Israel appeared to be the strong man crushing the weak man - the Palestinians.'' This story ran on page D1 of the Boston Globe on 5/1/2002.
Jenin: The Truth By Charles Krauthammer Friday, May 3, 2002; Page A27 "Jenin Camp Is a Scene of Devastation But Yields No Evidence of a Massacre." -- Headline, front page, The Washington Post, April 16. "There is simply no evidence of a massacre." -- Peter Bouckaert, senior researcher, Human Rights Watch, Jenin. Jerusalem Post, April 28. "Holley to ld Agence France-Presse that he did not see 'any evidence of a massacre. The Israeli army was fighting against some desperate [Palestinian] fighters here.' " -- Agence France-Presse, quoting Maj. David Holley, British military adviser to Amnesty International, April 28. A massacre is the deliberate mass murder of the defenseless. The "Jenin massacre" is more than a fiction. It is a hoax. "Palestinian Authority allegations," reported the Boston Globe (April 29), ". . . appear to be crumbling under the weight of eyewitness accounts from Palestinian fighters who participated in the battle and camp residents who remained in their homes until the final hours of the fighting. . . . All said they were allowed to surrender or evacuate." And yet for weeks the world has been seized with the question of the "Jenin massacre." The U.N. Security Council called emergency meetings. The secretary general appointed a special investigating committee (now disbanded). The European press published the most lurid allegations. To say nothing, of course, of al-Jazeera TV. All this for a phantom massacre. Yet this same Middle East conflict yields no shortage of real massacres: • April 27: Adora, Palestinian gunmen enter residential quarters shooting everyone, including a 5-year-old girl shot through the head in her bed. • April 12: Jerusalem, suicide bombing at a bus stop, 6 murdered. • April 10: Yagor, suicide bombing on a bus, 8 murdered. • March 31: Haifa, suicide bombing in a restaurant, 15 murdered. • March 28: Eilon Moreh, shooting attack, 4 murdered. • March 27: Netanya, suicide bombing at a Passover seder, 28 murdered. These are massacres -- actual, recent massacres. Massacres for which the evidence is hard. Massacres for which the perpetrators claimed credit. Where was the Security Council? Where was the Kofi Annan commission? Where was the world? The United Nations' excuse will be that these murders were perpetrated not by states but by groups. But this is nonsense. The Palestinian Authority is a recognized government. The links of its top leadership to these murders is precisely the kind of question that warrants investigation. Yet the very idea that the United Nations would investigate Palestinian massacres is absurd. The fact that such an undertaking is unimaginable is what has made the past several months so deeply, despairingly troubling. The despair comes from the bewilderment of living in a world of monstrous moral inversion. Take Jenin. What was the real story? That hand-to-hand, door-to-door combat, in an intensely built-up shantytown, among dozens of houses booby-trapped by Palestinian fighters, should have yielded somewhere between seven and 21 scattered civilian casualties is nothing less than astonishing. It testifies to the extraordinary scrupulousness of the Israeli army, which lost 23 soldiers in the battle, precisely because it did not want to cause the civilian casualties that come with aerial bombardment, as has happened everywhere from Grozny to Kabul. And yet Israel was investigated precisely for defending itself against massacres that warrant no investigation. Palestinian apologists wave away this double standard with the magic mantra of "occupation." More nonsense. Twenty-one months ago, Israel offered a total end to the occupation, ceding 100 percent of Gaza and 97 percent of the West Bank to the first Palestinian state ever. The Palestinians turned that down and took up the suicide bomb. By the Orwellian logic of today, the Palestinians are justified in perpetrating one massacre after another to end an occupation that Israel offered to remove almost two years ago. For the "international community," as embodied by the United Nations, such inverted moral logic is the norm. This is what it must have been like living in the false consciousness of Soviet communism, where everyone had to publicly and constantly pretend to believe the official lies, all the while knowing they were lies. This is what it must have been like living in the 1930s, as the necessities of appeasement created a gradual inversion of right and wrong -- the Czechs, for example, pilloried by official opinion in Britain and France for selfishly standing in the way of peace at Munich. Churchill's great gift to civilization was not just that he rallied good against evil but also that he pierced a suffocating fog of self-deception by speaking truth to lies. Where is the Churchill of today, the official of any government, prepared to tell the United Nations that its frantic hunt for a phantom massacre by Jews -- while ignoring massacre after massacre of Jews -- is grotesque and perverse?
The Japan Times 30 May 2002 Court overturns textbook ruling Professor denied compensation over screening of texts The Tokyo High Court on Wednesday overturned a lower court decision and denied a university professor compensation for the government's screening of textbooks, which he said violated his constitutional freedom of expression. Presiding Judge Motoaki Kitayama overturned the 1998 Yokohama District Court ruling that found two of four changes to a high school textbook demanded by education ministry officials were illegal and ordered the government to pay 200,000 yen in compensation. Kitayama said the ministry's screening system does not violate the Constitution and that the passages written by the professor were "not appropriate for high school students." He also said the government's demands for the four changes were "adequate and legal." In October 1992, the then Education Ministry found four points of contention in a modern history textbook for high school students penned by Nobuyoshi Takashima, a University of the Ryukyus professor. Takashima at the time was a teacher of social studies at Tsukuba University High School in Tokyo. Takashima, 60, had demanded that the government pay 1 million yen in compensation saying that the screening process is unconstitutional and that the procedure, in which the ministry orally notifies authors of phrases that it believes are problematic, itself is illegal. The points in contention included a quote, taken from a series of 19-century philosopher Yukichi Fukuzawa's philosophical treatises known as "Datsu-A-Ron" ("Departure from Asia"), that appeared in a passage explaining Japan's historical tendencies to discriminate against other Asian people. The quote is from a work of late Edo Period statesman Katsu Kaishu that reads, "Chosun (Korea) was in the past our teacher," a remark which ministry officials said "only used one portion of the original text and thus cannot be properly understood." A passage by Takashima read, "some Southeast Asian nations said they would have liked their opinions on the (1991) dispatch of Self-Defense Force minesweepers to the Persian Gulf to have been heard," which the ministry said was "too modest an attitude to take." The ministry also found problems with Takashima's wording regarding "media reports upon the death of Emperor Showa" and "the control of the media by the multinational forces during the Gulf War." In April 1998, the Yokohama District Court followed an earlier ruling by the Supreme Court that the textbook screening process itself is constitutional. However, the court ordered the government to pay 200,000 yen in compensation, saying that the ministry's comments on Katsu's writing "lacks sufficient understanding of Katsu's theories" and that the reaction to the minesweeper dispatch sentence was based on "ambiguous screening standards." As such, in both instances the ministry overstepped the bounds allowed by the screening system and thus violated the law, the court said. On the two other points, the court rejected the plaintiff's demands, saying that the "author has misunderstood some of the facts." Takashima said he will appeal Wednesday's ruling to the Supreme Court as the high court ruling was merely parroting the opinion of the government. He is only the second person to file a suit over the textbook screening system, and the first to challenge a revised screening system introduced by the Education Ministry over a decade ago. Saburo Ienaga, a former professor at the Tokyo University of Education, the predecessor of Tsukuba University, has been fighting a protracted legal battle since 1965 over the ministry's screening of high school textbooks he authored on Japanese history. Ienaga's drawn-out legal fight against textbook screening prompted the government to review and revise its screening system in 1989. Takashima's suit was also the first ever filed with a high court to challenge the revised textbook screening system, which took effect in 1990. In August 1997, more than three decades after Ienaga first filed suit, the Supreme Court ruled against his claim that the system used by the government to screen textbooks violates the Constitution. The ruling, however, declared illegal ministry officials' demand that a description of biological experiments on humans by the Japanese army in China during World War II be deleted. Takashima, who was one of Ienaga's pupils at the Tokyo University of Education, said the textbook screening in 1992 was illegal because it restricted freedom of expression.
IRIN 16 May 2002 Genocide Suspect Arrested in Belgium Belgian police in Brussels arrested on Wednesday a former Rwandan army colonel wanted for genocide and other crimes allegedly committed in his country in 1994, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda reported. Leonidas Rusatira, 58, was commandant of the Rwandan military school, the Ecole Superieure Militaire. He allegedly played a "major role" in the killing of thousands of Tutsis who sought refuge in a Kigali technical school, the Ecole Technique Officielle, the Tribunal reported. Reports of widespread killing in and near the capital, Kigali, on 7 April 1994 spurred thousands of Tutsis and politically moderate Hutus to seek refuge at the technical school, then under the protection of the UN Assistance Mission to Rwanda. Rusatira also gave assurances that the army would protect the school's new occupants. But after 10 Belgian UN soldiers guarding Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana were killed, the UN forces left the school. Shortly afterwards, on 11 April, soldiers allegedly commanded by Rusatira and members of the Interahamwe, the Hutu extremist militia led by George Rutaganda, moved in and killed thousands, the Tribunal said. Survivors were led to Nyanza where, under Rusatira's supervision, they were killed by army troops and the Interahamwe, the Tribunal said. He was promoted to general "some days after the massacre", the Tribunal said, citing Rusatira's indictment. He will be sent to the Tribunal's detention facility in Arusha, northern Tanzania. Rutaganda was serving a life term for genocide and crimes against humanity (murder and extermination), but had appealed against his conviction, the Tribunal said.
BBC 13 May, 2002, Palestinians land on friendly ground Palestinians receive sympathetic coverage in Cyprus By Russell Working In Larnaca In Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity, they were surrounded by Israeli troops and holed up in a compound with overflowing toilets and rotting corpses in the basement. Now, 13 Palestinian militants find themselves in Larnaca's three-star Flamingo Hotel, across from a beach where Scandinavian tourists sunbathe topless and down the street from the popular Salt Lake City fish tavern. We might feel a little closer to the Palestinian people because we had a number of Cypriot refugees expelled from their own homes by the Turkish army Dr Marios Matsakis, Cyprus MP The men have also found themselves on friendly ground. Many Greek Cypriots compare the Palestinian struggle with their own troubles as a small nation illegally dominated by a powerful neighbour. Turkey occupies 35% of the island, where most of the ethnic Turkish population now lives, and has populated its portion with settlers from Anatolia. But there are, of course, differences. Greek Cypriots have not muddied their cause by using suicide bombers and Turkey makes no pretence that its occupation has strategic value - rather, it says its soldiers are there to protect the island's ethnic Turks. Parliamentary support Nevertheless, the sympathy many Cypriots feel for Palestinians is real. The goodwill extends to parliament, which passed a resolution last month backing the Palestinian cause and condemning "genocide conducted by the Sharon government". The resolution made no condemnation of the Passover suicide attacks that prompted the incursions into the West Bank. Dr Marios Matsakis, a Cypriot member of parliament who tried unsuccessfully to meet Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat last month, said it was natural that Cypriots were drawn to Palestinians. The Cypriot people live on a divided island "We might feel a little closer to the Palestinian people because we had a number of Cypriot refugees expelled from their own homes by the Turkish army, and they are powerless to do anything," he said. The Palestinian cause has received sympathetic media coverage here, even during a string of suicide bomb attacks against Israelis. A recent editorial in The Cyprus Weekly stated that this island "is itself the victim of a situation where UN Security Council resolutions are rejected by a foreign occupying power". The Israeli Government insists that the 13 militants "had blood on their hands" but Cypriots have expressed little fear of them. Hotel workers say other guests do not mind their presence, even though the men arrived wearing Arab kaffiyeh - scarves - tied around their heads and, in one case, a Palestinian flag as a cape. Hotel manager Antonis Josephides says the militants have no contact with other guests. Devout Muslims "They are all staying on the fourth floor and there is nobody else on that floor," he said. "They take their meals alone on the mezzanine." The gunmen are apparently devout Muslims. They asked not to be served pork and have not asked the management to stock the mini-bars in their rooms. Their first meal was fish and chips with water, juice and coffee. But such comparative luxury was not an occasion for rejoicing. The men have been asked not to leave the hotel "It is hard for them that they have to leave their country," said Samir Abu Ghazaleh, the Palestinian charge d'affaires in the Cypriot capital of Nicosia. "But we believe that in a short time they will be back." Even if they were so inclined, the gunmen would not be hitting the nightclubs and strip bars of Larnaca. The Cypriot Government says the men are not prisoners but it has asked them to stay indoors for security reasons. Soldiers armed with automatic rifles are guarding the hotel. Cypriot profile raised With the arrival of the Palestinians, Cypriot officials have been excitedly noting that they can play a role in Europe's Middle Eastern diplomacy. The Greek portion of Cyprus is scheduled to enter the European Union in 2004, and the EU envoy to the Middle East praised Cyprus's role in taking in the gunmen. They are due to leave for other European countries this week, and Cyprus will not be asked to take in any of them. Nevertheless, Mr Ghazaleh says the gunmen will not forget Cypriot hospitality. "The people are very warm," he said. "There have been many Palestinians who came here when they had to leave home."
Reuters 20 May 2002 Conflict Takes Center Stage at Cannes Film Festival By Paul Majendie CANNES, France (Reuters) - Political conflict -- from the Palestinian uprising to the Armenian diaspora -- took center stage at the world's most famous film festival on Monday as the directors of two provocative films sprang to their defense. Quirky Palestinian director Elia Suleiman dazzled critics in Cannes with "Yadon Ilaheyya " (Divine Intervention), which he shot in the midst of Israeli-Palestinian violence, making filming a tense and demanding exercise. Director Atom Egoyan returned to his Armenian roots in "Ararat" to see how his people had come to terms with their tumultuous past. Armenians say that some 1.5 million Armenians were slaughtered by Ottoman Turks between 1915 and 1923. The Turkish government, which denies genocide against the Armenians, is reported to have threatened to ban the movie. It was all in sharp contrast to the Hollywood glitz that normally steals the headlines in this Riviera resort, where movie moguls take to their luxury yachts and five-star hotels to clinch multi-million dollar deals. By Monday evening, though, it was going to be razzmatazz as usual -- Hollywood stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Cameron Diaz were due to attend a trailer preview of Martin Scorsese's eagerly awaited epic "Gangs of New York." CAULDRON OF CONFLICT The Palestinian film that so wowed the critics tells the story of a man struggling to deal with his ailing father and to meet up with his beautiful lover who is forever kept at a distance by Israeli checkpoints. "I couldn't shoot in Palestine because there were other people shooting there," quipped Suleiman, a sardonic intellectual whose film is part fantasy, part comedy. It takes a wry look at what it means to live in a tense, divided cauldron of conflict. "Every time we wanted to shoot, violence seemed to end up where we were. And every time we moved to a new location, it was very uncertain how it was going to end up," he added. In stark contrast, Egoyan's "Ararat" was a study of Armenians in Canada wrestling with the ghosts of the past. "I wanted to make this film universal so that anyone can watch it," Egoyan told a post-screening news conference. "Creativity is a means of being able to transcend trauma." Egoyan's message was that the film was not intended as a political diatribe. When Armenian and Turkish journalists peppered him with questions, he refused to be drawn into discussion about the present-day situation. He told reporters: "This is not a film that is trying in any way to demonize a present-day Turk. In fact it's the opposite. What I am trying to do is ask the viewer to consider what it means to pass judgement on somebody who is alive today for things that were done for good or for evil by people who are no longer around."
World Premiere: May 20th, 2002, Cannes Film Festival (out of competition) Ararat Release Date: November 29th, 2002 (platform limited release; one of Miramax's Oscar hopefuls) Cast: David Alpay, Charles Aznavour, Eric Bogosian, Brent Carver, Bruce Greenwood (Dr. Clarence Ussher), Elias Koteas, Christopher Plummer, David Alpay, Raoul Bhaneja, Marie-Josee Croze, Arsinee Khanjian Director: Atom Egoyan (The Sweet Hereafter, Exotica, Felicia's Journey, Calendar, The Adjuster) Director Note: This is surely a deeply personal project for Atom Egoyan, an Armenian-Canadian. His 1993 movie, Calendar, was filmed and set in Armenia. Screenwriter: Atom Egoyan (The Sweet Hereafter, Exotica, Felicia's Journey, Calendar, The Adjuster) Based upon: This film addresses the true (and rarely discussed) 1915-1917 holocaust of over a million and a half Armenians by the Ottoman Empire. Indeed, the lack of attention given to the Armenian slaughter has been attributed to bolstering Hitler's confidence that Germany could "get away" with killing Jews. Ararat is a province of Armenia. Genocide Memorial Day is on April 24th, remembering the fateful 1915 date when the slaughter was officially begun. Premise: This film-within-a-film follows the production of a historical epic about the holocaust (1915-1923) of 1.5 million Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, focusing on how it changes the life of a young man (Alpay) working as a driver on the set. (Greenwood plays the actor who plays Clarence Ussher, an American doctor who ran a mission in Turkey; all of the actors who play actors will essentially be playing two roles as the film switches perspective from within and outside the historical epic Ararat is about; Aznavour plays the director) Filming: Production is scheduled to start on May 21st, 2001 with locations to include Toronto and Alberta (subbing for Turkey). Genres: Drama, Historical Official Director Site: EgoFilmArts.com Unofficial Fan Site: Ararat-The-Movie.com
NYT 17 May 2002 THE HAGUE: EX-GENERAL PLEADS NOT GUILTY A former Yugoslav Army general pleaded not guilty to charges that his troops killed more than 200 patients and hospital workers in 1991 in Vukovar after the Croatian town fell to his forces. Mile Mrksic surrendered to the United Nations war crimes tribunal on Wednesday.
NYT May 13, 2002 A Bombing in Russia: A Massacre of Children By MICHAEL WINES ASPISK, Russia, May 11 — Laura Gidayatova was at her stall in the outdoor market of this Caspian seaside town on Thursday, hawking the flowers that countless folks were laying on the graves of World War II veterans, when the distant rumble of an explosion washed over the vendors. She paid it little mind. This was Victory Day, the anniversary of Russia's defeat of Nazi Germany 57 years ago, and noisy celebration was to be expected. She learned the truth only when a neighbor arrived bearing the clothes of her own 5-year-old daughter, Zuriat. "They were soaked in blood," Ms. Gidayatova said today, two days after the event. "I said, 'Where is she?' and she said, 'She's in the hospital.' " Zuriat had wandered onto Lenin Street to watch the annual parade when a bomb packed with plastic explosive and metal bits detonated just yards away, spraying her face and chest with shrapnel. She was in Kaspisk's dilapidated city hospital today, swathed in bandages. Anwar Gasanov, 14, had been standing with about 10 teenage friends, waiting to join the procession. Today he lay just down the hall from Zuriat, his left arm and right shoulder tightly wrapped after surgery to extract shrapnel. One of his friends died on the spot. A second lost a leg and died hours later. "The person who did this," said Anwar's mother, Kistaman Gasanova, "could not have been born of a mother." The special horror of the bomb here in the Russian republic of Dagestan is not the total number of those killed but the number of children who died. Of at least 41 deaths recorded so far, 17 were children. Thirty more children were wounded. The authorities said today that the bomb appeared to be an antipersonnel mine, detonated by remote control. The question on virtually everyone's lips in this city of 70,000 was what kind of person could destroy so many young lives. For the answer, Russian government investigators look to the slow-burning guerrilla war that has consumed the next-door republic, Chechnya, since 1999. Prosecutors arrested three men in St. Petersburg on Friday, saying there were "very strong arguments" that they and others, inside and outside Russia, were linked to the blast. Nikolai Patrushev, the director of the Federal Security Service, Russia's domestic intelligence agency, said the bombers were "linked first of all to Wahhabism," the sect of Islam that has played a growing role in the war in Chechnya. But he and prosecutors declined to make public their evidence, saying the case was still being built. Three weeks ago, the security service announced with some fanfare that it had liquidated an Arab guerrilla known as Khattab, the leader of Islamic militants who are waging at least part of the Chechen war. One possibility discussed this week was that the Kaspisk blast had been set off in retaliation for Khattab's death or to demonstrate the rebels' resolve to continue the battle. In addition to the toll among the young, at least 18 servicemen, many of them in a marching band, and at least 6 civilians were killed. There were indications that a principal target may have been about 10 senior military officers who were marching behind the band and in front of a column of flower-bearing children. At least three lieutenant colonels and a major from that group were killed, officials said today. Dagestan's deputy health minister, Paizula Magomedov, said in an interview today that about 160 people had been wounded. Mr. Magomedov said Kaspisk's hospital, clean but falling apart after a decade of deferred repairs and puny budgets, had been overwhelmed by the flood of wounded. "We have enough medicine," he said. "But what we are lacking is equipment — for anesthesia, respiratory equipment, monitors for pulse and blood pressure," he said, equipment that is "very important for getting people out of critical condition." This town has been bombed before. An explosion in November 1996, still unsolved, collapsed a military apartment house, killing 68. But the tragedy of Thursday has left residents here reeling, because it struck down children from all over town. Virtually every class in every school was assigned a role for Victory Day. School No. 1 absorbed the greatest blow: seven deaths, mostly eighth-graders who were carrying wreaths to the cemetery. The city Gymnasium, a public preparatory school of 900 students, lost two students. School No. 6 lost three; the city Mechanical-Technical School lost one. The explosion threw its worst shrapnel in a low arc through the band and across the street. Anwar Gasanov, who was standing, escaped with minor wounds. A schoolmate sitting on the curb died instantly. Today, a 30-by-30-foot square of Lenin Street was roped off with red plastic tape and surrounded by hundreds of mourners. The square was filled with hundreds of flowers. "For us, after our great Soviet Union has fallen apart, this is the only day we hold dear," Murtuz Murtazliyev, the Gymnasium vice principal, said as he at the bomb scene on Friday evening. "Every class is schooled in this. And every class prepared wreaths and flowers. "Those wreaths and flowers were meant for soldiers' graves," he said. "Now they are here."
AP 16 May 2002 WORLD In Brief EUROPE Russia Ends Bomb Inquiry MOSCOW -- Closing a sensitive investigation, the Russian prosecutor general's office has announced that it found no wrongdoing in a 1999 bomb scare that members of an opposition party had said was a thwarted attempt at mass murder by the country's security service. "We carefully checked everything for more than a year; there was nothing unusual," said Leonid Troshin, spokesman for the prosecutor's office, on Tuesday. Lawmakers of the Liberal Russia party called the conclusion meaningless, saying it was made under pressure from the Federal Security Service, a successor to the Soviet-era KGB. The incident in the city of Ryazan, south of Moscow, came after apartment house bombings in three cities that killed 300 people. Those bombings were blamed on Chechen rebels. Soon afterward, Russian troops reentered Chechnya, where they have battled rebels for two and a half years. Vladimir Putin's tough handling of the war as prime minister helped catapult him to the presidency, and the allegations are seen as a threat to his image. On Sept. 22, 1999, police in Ryazan found large sacks that allegedly contained explosives in the basement of an apartment building. However, the head of the Federal Security Service, Nikolai Patrushev, later said the sacks held only sugar, and that they had been planted for a training drill. The incident led to suspicions that the security service had staged the earlier bombings to justify the Chechen war. The government has denied any connection to the bombings.
- Agence France-Presse
Institute for War & Peace Reporting
(the Balkans, Caucasus and Central Asia, with a special project on the Yugoslav
war crimes tribunal)