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News Monitor for November 2002

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Tracking current news on genocide and items related to past and present ethnic, national, racial and religious violence.
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Reuters 6 Nov 2002 03:52 World must prevent clash of civilisations-Robinson By Michael Christie SYDNEY, Nov 6 (Reuters) - The world must be vigilant not to allow the U.S.-led war on terrorism to slide into a clash of civilisations that pits Islam against the West, former U.N. human rights commissioner, Mary Robinson, said on Wednesday. Robinson, speaking to Reuters, said it was important to acknowledge the place of moderate Islam while justifiably hunting down the extremists responsible for the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, or the October 12 Bali bombings. It was essential to remember that there have also been Christian fanatics willing to kill or maim the innocent for their cause, as occurred during Northern Ireland's long and bloody struggle between Catholics and Protestants, she said. "That is the world we live in now and we mustn't slide through lack of attention into some kind of clash between civilisations," Robinson said in Sydney, where she was due to receive the 2002 Sydney Peace Prize. "Therefore we need to work harder in addressing xenophobia and racism," she said. "I think it's extremely important to remember that there are moderate voices in the Islamic world, that the religion of Islam is essentially a religion of peace, that there are fanatics who abuse that religion, as there have been Christian voices that have bred hatred and fanaticism." Robinson ended her stint as U.N. human rights envoy in September, firing off a parting shot at Washington for running roughshod over human rights in its quest to battle Islamic militancy and defend its shores from more attacks. She was replaced by Brazilian diplomat Sergio Vieira de Mello. CONCERN ABOUT LEGITIMATE DISSENT Robinson reiterated her concerns that by calling the post-September 11 campaign against militancy a "war", Washington had sown an expectation that the normal standards of human and civil rights no longer applied. But she said civil society in the United States was strong and capable of highlighting abuses. Of more concern were developing countries with less well established democratic traditions, cracking down on "legitimate dissent" and getting away with it because they are part of the "coalition against terror". She did not identify any countries she was concerned about. Robinson, a former Irish president, said she understood the anger of Americans after September 11, when more than 3,000 people were killed, and the anger and anxiety of Australians, about 90 of whom were among the more than 180 killed by the bombs in Bali. She acknowledged it was difficult not to stereotype Muslims. Friends of hers at the United Nations no longer turned up at work in traditional clothes because of harassment, she said. But it was important for Western political leaders to continue to make clear that they are not at war with Islam, and for Muslim leaders to distance themselves from extremists. Robinson said she was also concerned about a startling rise in anti-Semitism, particularly in Europe and Egypt. "At the end of the Second World War...we grew up under the principle 'never again' and now we're seeing unfortunately a rise in anti-Semitism," she said. "It's a deeply evil sentiment to, in any way, give any oxygen to and it's important to separate it from what is happening in the context of Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory. It's extremely important to have leadership against a rise in anti-Semitism."

Africa

Burundi

IRIN 31 Oct 2002 UN humanitarian office launches new website NAIROBI The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Burundi launched a new bilingual website on Thursday, thereby facilitating a daily exchange of information on the humanitarian situation in the country. "This new website bridges the information gap between humanitarian partners in Burundi and external parties worldwide," Nicholas McGowan, the OCHA-Burundi information officer, told IRIN on Thursday. "Our objective is to provide a user-friendly (French and English) interface where accurate information can be accessed with ease. It is a vital tool for anyone who is interested [in] or observes Burundi and the Great Lakes Region," he added. The site features daily news briefs; weekly situation reports; monthly humanitarian situation updates; minutes of the weekly Contact Group Meeting; the 2002 Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for Burundi; and the latest news on Burundi published by OCHA's Reliefweb and the Integrated Regional Information Networks, known as IRIN. The site is a Reliefweb and OCHA-Burundi initiative, building upon the earlier success of the Occupied Palestinian Territories website launched early this year. The site can be accessed at: www.ochaburundi.org

AFP 4 Nov 2002 - Grenade blasts in Burundi capital, opposition youths blamed BUJUMBURA, Nov 4 (AFP) - Young supporters of a Tutsi opposition party in Burundi let off grenades and tried to erect barricades in several areas of the capital Monday morning, the city's mayor told AFP. "They were youths, supporters of PARENA (National Recovery Party) who let off the grenades. They also tried to erect barricades but security forces intervened to restore order," said Mayor Potien Niyongabo. "They wanted to organise a dead-city protest. The party has been using these people since PARENA's chairman was summoned (before the chief prosecutor) and since four of its leaders who wanted to change the government by force were arrested," added Niyongabo. Five grenades went off in three different areas of the capital on Monday, the first exploding at about 6:20 am (0420 GMT), according to an AFP journalist in the city. Hundreds of police, some in riot gear, were deployed around Bujumbura and along its main roads. "We have been following them since Saturday. They wanted to close the shops, the banks and schools, but the security forces were vigilant. "We knew what was planned for Monday morning and so we were prepared," said Niyongabo. The head of PARENA, former president Jean-Baptiste Bagaza, who is accused of threatening the security of the state, was forced to appear Saturday before the state prosescutor. He was taken home after being questioned for three hours. Bagaza, a former army colonel, came to power in a 1976 coup. We was ousted in 1987 by Major Pierre Buyoya, who lost the country's first democratic election in 1993 but forced his way back to power in a 1996 bloodless coup.

IRIN 4 Nov 2002 Rebels step up war despite progress at ceasefire talks BUJUMBURA, 4 November (IRIN) - Burundian rebels have launched several fresh attacks against government forces despite progress at ceasefire talks between the two sides, being held in the Tanzanian city of Dar es Salaam. Units of Burundi's main rebel group, the Conseil national pour la defense de la democratie-Force pour la defense de la democratie (CNDD-FDD), lobbed 13 mortar bombs into Burundi's second-largest city, Gitega, on Sunday. "One shell fell near the school for the blind at Mushasha, another fell near the girls' secondary school, ENF, but it seemed many were directed at the Bragita brewery," a Gitega resident told IRIN on Sunday. "Thank God, no one was killed or wounded." Burundi's Net Press reported that the town's electricity supply was interrupted during the attack after a high-voltage line was hit. Elsewhere on Sunday, government troops killed 51 rebels heading for Zina, in the northwestern province of Bubanza, the army spokesman, Col Augustine Mzabampema, said. He made no mention of government losses or of the identity of the rebels. But the administrator of Buganda Commune, Emmanuel Bigirimana, said, "[There] were more than a thousand rebels, mostly Rwandan [Hutu] Interahamwe [militias]." He said thousands of people fled their homes. On Saturday, in the nation's capital, Bujumbura, the hardline rebel Parti de liberation du peuple hutu-Forces nationales de liberation attacked the western suburb of Buterere, killing two people and wounding 10 others, Mayor Pontien Niyongabo said. "They took all the medicines in the Buterere health centre," he added. Meanwhile, Radio Burundi reported that at the talks in Tanzania, "the technical teams [of the CNDD-FDD and the government] are working in perfect cooperation on the ceasefire preamble".

AFP 5 Nov 2002 Over 70,000 Burundians flee fighting between government and rebels BUJUMBURA, Nov 5 (AFP) - More than 70,000 people have fled their homes in central Burundi to escape fighting between the army and forces from one of two main rebel groups, local officials said on Tuesday. Fighting broke out last Friday between the Tutsi-dominated army and fighters from the Forces for the Defence of Democracy (FDD), on the same day that the government began talks with Hutu rebels on a possible peace accord. Nearly all of the estimated 45,000 inhabitants of Bugendana have fled and regrouped outside the town, according to Tharcisse Ntibarirarana, governor of the surrounding Gitega province. "Since this morning it's been fairly calm, whereas yesterday there were clashes between the army and rebels all afternoon," the governor said on Tuesday. No civilians had been killed, the governor said. "People got the message and fled as soon as the rebels arrived in the area." Sylvain Nzigamiye, the governor of neighbouring Muranvya province, said the 26,000 residents of Rutegama left the town on Tuesday morning as rebels arrived to find "large numbers" of government troops waiting for them. Army spokesman Augustin Nzabampema confirmed that the clashes had taken place but gave no information on their outcome or casualties. The rebels are understood to be on the retreat, heading for the FDD's Kibira forest stronghold in the country's centre west. Fifty-one rebels and 10 civilians were reported killed in the northern province of Cibitoke in clashes with the army last Saturday. Peace talks between the government and FDD in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, have made no progress after three days, a member of the Burundi delegation said on Tuesday. "We're still on the introduction to the ceasefire plan," the government delegate said on condition of anonymity. "We have not been able to agree on the first two articles." Burundi's second largest rebel group, the National Liberation Forces (FNL), has so far refused to join the talks. Inter-ethnic clashes descended into a full civil war following the 1993 assassination of Burundi's elected Hutu president, Melchior Ndadaye. The war has claimed the lives of more than 250,000 people, most of them civilians.

AFP 7 Nov 2002 Official killed by rebels in Burundi capital: witnesses BUJUMBURA, Nov 7 (AFP) - A local government official has been killed by Hutu rebels in the Burundian capital, witnesses to the slaying said Thursday. Emmanuel Ndereyimana, an administrator in the mainly Hutu neighbourhood of Ruziba, in the south of Bujumbura, was killed Wednesday by three rebels from the National Liberation Forces (FNL), according to the witnesses. Ndereyimana was riding a bicycle in Ruziba at around 6:00 pm (1600 GMT) when the rebels, who have accused him of collaborating with the predominantly Tutsi army and to have killed civilians who back the FNL, shot him. "The neighbourhood leader was killed by rebels, but he never had civilians killed," Ndereyimana's immediate boss, Jacques Bigirimana, said. Ndereyimana is the fourth official to have been killed by suspected FNL rebels since October in Bujumbura's outlying neighbourhoods.

AFP 12 Nov 2002 Burundi rebels threaten to attack the capital BUJUMBURA, Nov 12 (AFP) - Rebels of Burundi's main armed Hutu movement, the Forces for the Defence of Democracy (FDD), said the army had attacked them on Tuesday morning and threatened reprisal raids on the capital Bujumbura. "We call on the population living near the military camps in the Bujumbura area to leave them as fast as possible, because we are going to attack these camps," FDD spokesman Lieutenant Gelase Daniel Ndabirabe told AFP. Ndabirabe charged that troops of the Tutsi-dominated army had launched an assault against the FDD on two fronts, in the central Muramvya province and in Kayanza province in the north. "Military planes are taking off from Bujumbura and dropping bombs on Bukeye and Teza (in the centre) and Muruta and Matongo (in the north), in support of several infantry battalions," Ndabirabe said by telephone. No confirmation of the rebel claim could be had from military or administrative sources. Burundi's President Pierre Buyoya on November 8 blamed FDD leader Pierre Nkurunziza for deadlock at a latest round of peace talks which had just ended in Tanzania, across the border from the central African country. But Nkurunziza accused Buyoya of delaying the discussions, mediated by South African Deputy President Jacob Zuma in a bid to reach a negotiated settlement in a conflict which has claimed at least 250,000 lives. The rebel military spokesman said that because government aircraft were coming from "Bujumbura, it is our duty to defend ourselves by attacking the departure point of the offensive -- Bujumbura." "We can strike at any moment, this isn't for the fun of it. If Buyoya doesn't halt this offensive, we'll react," Ndabirabe said. "Last time, we stopped shelling for humanitarian reasons, but this time, it'll be a major attack," he added. Late in July, five civilians were killed and 10 injured by rebel mortar fire on the capital.

AFP 18 Nov 2002 Grenade blasts wound 15 pupils in Burundi school BUJUMBURA, Nov 18 (AFP) - Fifteen schoolchildren were injured overnight when two grenades exploded close to a dormitory in southern Burundi, a local official said Monday. The first grenade at the Bururi Lycee went off at 1:00 am (1100 GMT Sunday) followed by another explosion fifteen minutes later, Bururi Provincial governor Anicet Niyongabo told AFP by phone. "Pupils ran out of their rooms prompting a stampede. Some preferred to jump from the first floor windows," he said. "About 15 pupils, including three who are seriously wounded are in hospital. Two were wounded by the grenade blasts while the others were hurt when they jumped out the windows or were trampled on in the crush," said Niyongabo. "There was tension of an ethnic nature among the students. Some even fled the school before the explosions," he said. He added that these students were both Tutis and Hutus. The two ethnic groups are on opposite sides of a long-running civil war between Hutu rebels and the Tutsi dominated army.

AFP 14 Nov 2002 - Fighting in Burundi undermines refugees repatriation: UNHCR DAR ES SALAAM, Nov 14 (AFP) - The number of Burundian refugees returning home from camps in northwest Tanzania has dropped dramatically following a recent upsurge in fighting in the central African country, the UN refugee agency said Thursday. "We have the capacity of helping up to 1,500 refugees return home every week by sending two convoys, but in the last eight weeks, the exercise slowed down to as low as 70 a week," UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) spokeswoman Ivana Unluova told AFP. Unluova said, however, that the numbers of those repatriated started picking up again last week, when up to 691 refugees returned to Muyinga in Burundi. The UNHCR official said some 27,000 refugees out of about 100,000 who have volunteered to return to Burundi have been given assistance to go home since April. Tanzania hosts about 400,000 Burundi refugees in camps located in the northwestern regions of Kigoma and Kagera. Unluova also said more refugees were still arriving in western Tanzanian regions to escape continued fighting in Burundi, pointing out that an influx of 17,000 refugees from Burundi had entered Tanzania in October. "That was the biggest influx into Tanzania, but we understand there are many more people who are internally displaced due to the current situation in Burundi ... some of these people cannot get over the border," she said. "It is possible that armed rebel groups and the Burundi army have blocked them from fleeing into Tanzania," Unluova added. The war in Burundi has claimed more than 250,000 mostly civilian lives since 1993.

IRIN 20 Nov 2002 Main rebel group fails to show for ceasefire talks BUJUMBURA, 20 Nov 2002 (IRIN) - A new round of ceasefire talks to end Burundi’s nine-year old civil war failed to get underway on Tuesday, as rebels of the Conseil national pour la defense de la democratie-Forces pour la defense de la democratie (CNDD-FDD) said they did not get the invitation to attend. "We have not received the invitation. And even if we would receive it today, it would take days for us to report to Dar es Salaam," Gelase Ndabirabe, spokesman of the CNDD-FDD, told IRIN. He said the CNDD-FDD had asked the South Africans facilitating the talks to send the invitation "at least two weeks before" the start of the meeting. "The invitation must also clearly state whether we are going to discuss or to negotiate because if it was to discuss we would not go," Gelase said. However, the Burundi government’s chief negotiator at the talks, Ambroise Niyonsaba, told IRIN that a member of the South African facilitation present in Dar es Salaam - the Tanzanian venue of the talks - told him that they had sent the invitation to the CNDD-FDD. "We are waiting for clarification, and if there is no chance to meet the other side, we will return to Bujumbura," Niyonsaba added. Before leaving for Dar es Salaam on Sunday, he had told IRIN that his team hoped that a ceasefire agreement would be reached before 25 November, when regional heads of state are due to meet again on the Burundi situation. On 12 November, the chairman of the regional initiative for peace in Burundi, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, gave the warring sides in Burundi another two weeks to reach a ceasefire agreement with the transitional government in Bujumbura. A previous deadline of 30 days expired on 7 November.

IRIN 20 Nov 2002 Rebels shelling densely populated areas of Bujumbura NAIROBI, 22 Nov 2002 (IRIN) - Burundi rebels started shelling a densely populated suburbs of the Burundi capital, Bujumbura, on Friday, putting panic-stricken residents to flight, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported. "There is widespread confusion," Antoine Gerard, head of OCHA-Burundi, told IRIN. He said the neighbourhoods of Kiriri, Kamenge, and Mutanga were being hit the hardest, with shells falling in the vicinity of King Khaled Hospital in Kamenge. "OCHA is very concerned for the victims of these attacks, and given the level of insecurity, neither UN agencies nor NGOs can reach these populations," he said. He said that the city centre had, so far, remained untouched. OCHA also reported that heavy fighting between rebels and government forces was ongoing near Kibira Forest, in Mpanda Commune of Bubanza Province, causing an estimated 10,000 civilians to flee. Meanwhile, Radio Publique Africaine reported that shells landed near the Munarira centre in Rutegama commune, Muramvya Province, where those wounded by earlier fighting had sought shelter. The total number of people dead or wounded remains unknown. Efforts at reaching a ceasefire in Burundi were ongoing in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

AFP 21 Nov 2002 Alarm as 40,000 flee Burundi fighting MUSENYI, Burundi, Nov 21 (AFP) - Fighting in an area near Burundi's capital has prompted almost 40,000 civilians, mostly women and children, to flee their homes, a local government official told AFP on Thursday, warning they were in dire need of food and shelter. Earlier reports put the number of those displaced at around 10,000. "Nearly 40,000 people have fled very heavy fighting that has raged in Butakuna since Saturday, Fidele Niyonkuru, and advisor to the mayor told AFP. Butakuna is in Mpanda commune, some 24 kilometres (12 miles) north of Bumumbura. The fighting pits Hutu rebels against the Tutsi-dominated army. "They are now holed up in Musenyi (the main town in Mpanda) and in Nyambare," Niyonkuru said. An AFP reporter in Musenyi saw thousands of people camped outdoors. Most had fled their homes on Saturday, when fighting broke out. On Thursday clashes were still going on in the village of Masha, a stronghold of the Forces for the Defence of Democracy rebels. Witnesses said they had seen dozens of trucks carrying soldiers and heavy weapons to the front every day since the weekend. "If this goes on for two or three more days, there could be a catastrophe because people have nothing to eat and we have nothing to give them," said Niyonkuru, who called for urgent help from aid agencies. Efforts to reach a negotiated settlement to Burundi's civil war, which has killed more than 300,000 since 1993, have not yet been successful.

Boston Globe 24 Nov 2002 Violence grows, hope fades in Burundi Ethnic conflict now seen as fight for power, wealth By Declan Walsh, BUJUMBURA, Burundi - On a hillside above this capital city, neat rows of red roses thrive in the warm African air. The buds remain closed until shipment to Europe, where romantics will give them as tokens of affection. But in Burundi, similar flowers of love grow in an environment of hate. Thierry Nzohabonayo's rose farm is caught in the crossfire of his country's civil war. In the green hills that rise above his property are the ethnic Hutu rebels, who sparked the war nine years ago. They press their advantage by attacking the city below, where the Tutsi-led government's army holds sway. The conflict is low intensity but relentless. At night, the city air is filled with the crackle of gunfire or the thump of mortar fire. ''I never know if the farm will still be there when I get to work in the morning,'' said the 29-year-old entrepreneur. In recent weeks, as political talks have stalled, the tempo of violence has increased. A two-hour blitz of rebel mortar fire Friday resulted in four civilian deaths and forced 20,000 people from their homes. Workers at Nzohabonayo's rose farm dropped their tools and ran. It was a prudent move. In previous attacks, stray bullets whizzed through the compound and a stray bomb destroyed a plastic shed. ''My friends tell me I'm crazy to continue. But what can I do?'' Nzohabonayo said. But when he started the business a year ago, he said, it didn't seem like such a bad idea. Under the guiding hand of former South African president Nelson Mandela, Hutu and Tutsi politicians hammered out a deal to end the conflict, which has claimed at least 200,000 lives, mostly civilians. The enemies agreed to a three-year transitional government to be led for the first half by a Tutsi, followed by a Hutu. South Africa cemented the power-sharing pact by sending 700 troops to protect about 30 Hutu politicians returning from exile. Since then, however, progress has been dismal. Beset by political strains, the transitional government looks increasingly brittle. Human-rights abuses by soldiers from both sides continue unabated, and the fighting has increased. The problem lies within the peace deal itself. It failed to include the National Liberation Front and the Force for the Defense of Democracy, the two main Hutu rebel groups doing the fighting. Last week, Lieutenant Gelase Ndabirabe, spokesman for the Force for the Defense of Democracy, told the Associated Press his group would continue attacking government troops ''right up to their barracks.'' Frustrated regional leaders, led by Vice President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, are trying to remedy the situation through cease-fire talks in neighboring Tanzania. But progress is slow, and in the war-weary nation, hopes for peace are waning. ''Everyone, Hutu and Tutsi alike, is sick of this war,'' Nzohabonayo said, ''but it doesn't look like it will end anytime soon.'' Ethnic divisions are at the roots of the conflict. Minority Tutsis have clung to power almost continuously since independence in 1962, and both sides have carried out mass killings - the Tutsis in 1972, the Hutus in 1993. In September, army troops massacred 173 mainly Hutu civilians in central Itaba Province. Two officers are being disciplined. But now, many Burundians contend that power and money have overtaken ethnicity as the driving force behind the conflict. They blame their leaders for leading comfortable lives while the rest of the country is miserable. The statistics are appalling: 1 in 6 Burundians have been forced to live away from home, 1 in 5 die before age 5, and the average life expectancy has plummeted to 41. The United Nations ranks the country as the world's third most undeveloped. Human-rights abuses often are perpetrated with no apparent ethnic linkages. Two weeks ago, a poor Tutsi family took shelter from the seasonal rains to mourn their daughter, Jeanine Ndayishimiye, who had been shot the night before. ''A soldier demanded to see her ID card,'' explained a cousin, who was standing by a puddle stained with the girl's blood. ''She handed him the Bible and said that was her identity. He got angry and started shooting.'' An overhaul to the army is a major sticking point in the current talks. The war started in 1993, when Tutsi paratroopers assassinated Melchior Ndadaye, a Hutu and the only democratically elected president. The rebels say they will continue until democracy is restored. ''Tutsis killed our president. And those same soldiers are still in charge of the army,'' Yusuf, a wounded fighter for the National Liberation Front who would give only his first name, said at a clinic on the edge of Bujumbura. The three men beside him, one missing half his foot, nodded in agreement. The army does not serve any ethnic group, and the Hutu rebels are ethnic extremists ''fighting to obtain power through genocide,'' said Colonel Augustin Nzabampema, a government army spokesman. However, there was agreement on the need for more Hutu soldiers, he said, but the dispute centers on how to bring about those changes. Analysts say the transitional government will be lucky to last until May, when President Pierre Buyoya is due to hand over power to his Hutu vice president, Domitien Ndayizeye. A collapse could fan the flames of extremism. Last year, Buyoya survived two coup attempts led by Tutsi hard-liners. In recent weeks there have been rumors of a third. This story ran on page A4 of the Boston Globe on 11/24/2002.

IRIN 29 Nov 2002 Rights body says risk of civilian deaths rising NAIROBI, 29 Nov 2002 (IRIN) - Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Friday there was a growing risk of more civilian deaths in Burundi, judging from recent army actions and rebel bombardments of the capital, Bujumbura. The New York-based rights body called on international donors and regional leaders, to "apply maximum pressure" on the Burundi government to protect civilians and to reach a ceasefire with rebels in the nine-year war. A weekend regional summit on Burundi's peace process is due to convene in Tanzania, hard on the heels of a donors' conference on Burundi that ended on Thursday in Geneva, Switzerland. HRW's warning was contained in a new report entitled "Escalating Violence Demands Action", released on Friday. Produced in the form of a briefing paper, the rights body documents army killings of civilians since July, the worst of which, it said, accounted for 174 deaths in Itaba Commune, Gitega Province. "Although the largest slaughter since July, it was only one of a number of deliberate killings of civilians carried out by government troops in the last four months," it reported. It also recalled the rebel bombardment - most likely by the Forces nationales de liberation - of heavily populated suburbs of Bujumbura on 22-23 November, in which five people died and others were wounded or put to flight. "Both government army officers and rebel commanders must hold their troops accountable for these deliberate attacks on ordinary people who have no place to run," HRW said.

Pan African News Agency (PANA) 29 Nov 2002 Britain sues recalcitrant Burundi faction leader Bujumbura, Burundi (PANA) - The British government has an international arrest warrant underway for Agathon Rwasa, the recalcitrant leader of Burundi's second main rebel movement -- the National Liberation Front (FNL) -- a local radio reported here. Rwasa is accused of masterminding the December 2000 attack against a passenger bus that killed about 20 persons, including a British citizen. The bus, named Titanic express, was ambushed north-east of Kigali near the stronghold of the FNL while travelling on 28 December 2000 to central Rwanda. Ms. Charlotte Wilson, a British volunteer, who taught Biology at Gitarama secondary school in Central Rwanda, was killed in the ambush. The assailants sprayed the bus with machine gunfire that also killed Charlotte's Burundian boyfriend Ndereyimana Richard. Meanwhile, the rebel leader said he was ready to answer any international court injunction once he is provided with irrefutable evidence of his guilt, Bonesha FM quoted Rwasa as saying. He has denied being involved either overtly or covertly in the ambush of "Titanic express," arguing that the whole affair is only "framed to discredit his movement." The affair came as a twist amid strong international pressure meant to bring FNL and its leaders to the negotiation table to discuss permanent cease-fire in Burundi's nine-year-old civil war that has left over 250,000 persons dead and displaced about one million others. FNL demands encampment of the loyalist army before accepting any cease-fire talks.

Central African Republic

IRIN 31 Oct 2002 UNHCR Warns of Possible Ethnic Tension Among Refugees From Bangui Kinshasa Officials of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees warned on Wednesday that ethnic tensions in the troubled Central African Republic could spill into the neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo with the arrival of refugees fleeing a failed coup in the CAR capital, Bangui. Armed forces loyal to Gen Francois Bozize, former chief of staff of the CAR army, launched an offensive against government forces on 25 October. Many Central Africans have been gathering at the shore of the Oubangui River in an effort to cross to neighbouring DRC. "We fear that the inter-ethnic fighting between the Kaba, the ethnic group of present Central African President, Ange-Felix Patasse; and the Yakoma, the group of former President Andre Kolingba, could carry over to Central African refugee camps in the DRC," Fatoumata Kaba, the UNHCR spokeswoman in Kinshasa, told IRIN. At least 3,400 Yakoma refugees from CAR, who fled during previous uprisings, are still living in the Mole refugee camp near Zongo, DRC, along the Oubangui. Former soldiers of the CAR military belonging to the Yakoma, who have been disarmed, are located in a camp some 135 km farther south in the DRC. "These people are exiled because they have been persecuted by the present regime. If groups of Kabas cross over together, there may be problems," Kaba warned. However, although many Kabas have gathered at the river's edge, few have made the crossing so far. The UNHCR said most find themselves lost in a mass of other ethnic groups, unable to cross due to harassment from the CAR army. Only 42 people have been able to cross since fighting erupted in Bangui on Friday. "A couple arrived late in the evening on Wednesday, complaining of having to pay 7,000 CFA [about US $10] for the crossing," Kaba said. The sum would be beyond the means of most Central Africans. "Many people would be prevented from crossing by the Central African presidential guard, who insist on payment of 1,000 CFA for the crossing," she added. The Ugandan-backed Mouvement de liberation du Congo (MLC) rebel movement of Jean-Pierre Bemba, which controls much of the northern regions of the DRC, has been sending its troops to Bangui to fight alongside the CAR government forces. As at Thursday, the MLC-army alliance, which also includes some 200 soldiers from Libya, had succeeded in pushing the rebels out of Bangui. UNHCR representatives have been dispatched along the banks of the Oubangui to monitor the arrival of refugees and to negotiate with CAR government forces to allow asylum seekers to cross to the DRC.

VOA News 01 Nov 2002 CAR Denies Massacre Of Chadian Civilians A top Central African Republic official has dismissed allegations that as many as 120 Chadian civilians were massacred by government troops. Prime Minister Martin Ziguele was responding to a statement released by the government of Chad on Thursday. In it, Chad said that between 80 and 120 of its citizens were killed on the outskirts of the capital, Bangui, after government troops drove rebels out of the city. The CAR government has accused Chad of backing the rebels' attempt to overthrow President Ange-Felix Patasse. Chad has denied the accusation. The movement's leader, former army chief Francois Bozize, fled to Chad last year after being dismissed from the military. On Thursday, the State Department ordered all U.S. government personnel to leave CAR. The United States also said it was suspending operations at its embassy in Bangui and warned U.S. citizens not to travel to the country. A small U.S. military team arrived in the capital on Wednesday to help with a possible evacuation of several hundred American residents. The rebels began their uprising last Friday. Although there has been no word from President Patasse since the conflict began, government spokesman Gabriel Koyambounou says the president has remained in the capital throughout the conflict. He has survived repeated coup attempts since coming to power in 1993.

IRIN 1 Nov 2002 Thousands of civilians caught between retreating and advancing forces - The human toll of the failed coup attempt remained difficult to ascertain on Friday. BANGUI, 1 Nov 2002 (IRIN) - Humanitarian organisations in the Central African Republic on Friday expressed concern for the safety of thousands of civilians caught between retreating rebel forces of former CAR army chief of staff, Gen Francois Bozize, and Congolese rebels pursuing them in the direction of the northern border with Chad. Although relative calm had returned to the capital, Bangui, by Friday, the situation near the town of Damara, located some 80 km north of Bangui, was called "very worrying" by one aid worker, as no humanitarian access was available to thousands of civilians fleeing a possible military confrontation between Bozize loyalists and forces of the Mouvement de liberation du Congo (MLC), a rebel group from neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) that came to the aid of besieged CAR President Ange-Felix Patasse. CAR military forces, however, were not reported to be part of the pursuit because of concerns that they would not want to fight or perhaps even defect to the side of Bozize, who remains a very popular figure among many Central Africans, local sources told IRIN. Many soldiers of the CAR army have not been paid for the past 18 months. Central Africans displaced from northern neighbourhoods of Bangui told IRIN that while they had no fear of Bozize's forces, who were widely reported to have behaved in a civil manner toward residents during their six-day siege of the capital, they were afraid of the Congolese forces, who were reported to have pillaged "everything in sight" and raped many women. In response, government forces set up checkpoints around northern neighbourhoods of Bangui to stop Congolese fighters from fleeing with looted goods. "We invited them in, but we won't let them leave with stolen goods," one CAR soldier told IRIN. "Government troops should do their best to take back the stolen goods and return them to their owners," one displaced elderly woman told IRIN. Even though a general coordination meeting among relief organisations had been held on Friday under the auspices of the Ministry of Social Affairs, the human toll of the failed coup attempt still remained difficult to ascertain, with many of the wounded afraid to seek medical assistance for fear of being accused to be rebels, one humanitarian worker told IRIN. Residents of the Gobongo neighbourhood of Bangui told IRIN that at around noon local time on Friday they witnessed a CAR soldier gun down a man in the street suspected of belonging to Bozize's forces. Raquel Ayora, country director for the international humanitarian relief organisation, Medicos Sin Fronteras (MSF-Spain), told IRIN that its main priority at present was canvassing neighbourhoods in an effort to identify those afraid to seek medical assistance. She said they were also calling for an end to looting by foreign troops, and for access to displaced people along the northern road to Damara and the southwestern road to Mbaiki. Ayora noted that in contrast to Damara, the situation in Mbaiki was not presently a major source of concern because most displaced people had found food and shelter with family and friends there, and it was far from the current field of battle. She added that in addition to supplies already on hand, MSF had ordered a wide variety of medicines and medical equipment that had already reached Yaounde, in neighbouring Cameroon, and was due to arrive in Bangui next week in order to provide medical assistance to civilians. Although life in the capital was said to be returning to normal - electricity and telephone service had been largely restored, and two-thirds of vendors had returned to hawk their goods at the city's largest market, located in the Kilometre Five section of Bangui - the threat of a resumption of hostilities remained. Speaking to Radio France Internationale on Friday, a man claiming to be a Bozize spokesman said "we are at the gates of Bangui and we will return". "We control many sites up-country," he added. Bozize's forces withdrew along the same road by which they had approached Bangui on 25 October, leading northwards to Chad. According to military sources, they had maintained control of that route throughout their six-day assault on Bangui. Meanwhile, a pair of fighter jets on loan from Libya, which has had a contingent of some 200 soldiers in Bangui since a previous coup attempt in May 2001, continued their flight patterns at a low altitude over the city. On Thursday, Africa No 1 Radio reported that 100 Gabonese troops were being trained at a French military base in Libreville, and were expected to arrive in Bangui within a week. It added that France would be providing logistical and materiel support. As for the whereabouts and well-being of Patasse, who had not yet appeared in public or spoken on the radio, government officials assured reporters that he and his family were safe at home. The fate of Patasse's spokesman, Prosper Ndouba, however, remained unclear, as he had not yet been released by Bozize's rebels, who abducted him from his vehicle at the beginning of the coup last Friday. Bozize and an unknown number of his supporters fled to neighbouring Chad in November 2001 after leading an armed resistance against Bozize's arrest for questioning in relation to the failed May 2001 putsch. As for Bozize, who has claimed responsibility for the latest attempted coup, Chadian and French sources confirmed on Tuesday that he had returned from the Chadian capital, Ndjamena, to Paris. Since the election of Patasse in 1993, the CAR has suffered repeated internal armed crises. Additionally, repeated clashes attributed to Bozize's supporters based in Chad and to the alleged Chadian rebel leader, Abdoulaye Miskine, based in CAR, have taken place along the two nations' common border since Bozize and soldiers loyal to him fled to Chad.

IRIN 2 Nov 2002 Preliminary Civilian Toll: 22 Dead, 98 Wounded, Says CAR Government Bangui The government of the Central African Republic announced on Friday a preliminary toll of 22 dead and 98 wounded among civilians, although sources in Bangui told IRIN that this figure was expected to increase significantly as additional assessments were conducted in the coming days. A humanitarian assessment mission was conducted on Saturday morning to some of the worst-affected northern neighbourhoods of Bangui, which had served as the stronghold of rebel forces of former CAR army chief of staff, Gen Francois Bozize, during their six-day siege of the capital. The mission was comprised of representatives from United Nations organisations such as the UN Office in the CAR (BONUCA), UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and the World Food Programme, as well as international humanitarian relief NGOs such as Medicos Sin Fronteras (MSF-Spain) and Cooperazione Internazionale (Coopi) of Italy. Massimiliano Pedretti, head of Coopi, told IRIN that the overall situation "was not as serious as we expected", but said that the assessment mission was concerned about a lack of access to areas still deemed to be insecure by CAR military authorities. In response, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's Representative to the CAR, Lamine Cisse, met with government authorities on Saturday afternoon in an effort to negotiate for increased access to all areas. Pedretti said that the mission had decided to make its first priorities the identification and burial of bodies, in order to avoid the outbreak of disease, and the assessment of the needs of the population in order to appeal to donors with precise figures. Meanwhile, church parishes and local health centres were serving as the primary conduits of humanitarian aid. During their tour, the mission found two corpses on the street, said to be Congolese soldiers killed during battle. The local population said they were refusing to bury the corpses because of widespread looting and rape committed by the Congolese forces during the joint CAR-Congolese counter-offensive that drove Bozize's forces out of the capital, retreating northward along the road to Chad. Hundreds of Congolese forces of Jean-Pierre Bemba's Mouvement de liberation du Congo (MLC) came to the aid of CAR government forces, reportedly at the request of the CAR government. Bangui residents expressed concern that the results of government investigations into crimes allegedly committed by Congolese forces would not be fully revealed out of embarrassment for having called for their assistance. In related news, the Observatoire Centrafricain des Droits de l'Homme (OCDH), a local human rights NGO, announced that it would be organising assessment missions of its own in order to investigate reports of pillaging, summary executions, and rape. Speaking to government-owned Radio Centrafrique on Friday, CAR Prime Minister Martin Ziguele announced that CAR forces had recovered many documents from vehicles abandoned by Bozize's forces, including an itinerary for the assault and lists of names and to which battalions they were assigned. According to Ziguele, the documents, which were made available to foreign diplomats, provided proof that six-day battle was, in fact, an attempted coup backed by an "exterior" agent. Responding to Chadian allegations of a massacre of 120 Chadians by CAR government forces, Ziguele led a group of foreign diplomats to the northern neighbourhood of PK 13, where the incident was said to have occurred, in an effort to prove the allegations false. Ziguele also announced that the Bangui-M'Poko Airport was scheduled to reopen on Saturday afternoon, and that schools and government offices would reopen on Monday. Meanwhile, as at Saturday, CAR President Ange-Felix Patasse had still not appeared in public or spoken on the radio, although government officials assured reporters that he and his family were safe at home. The fate of Patasse's spokesman, Prosper Ndouba, remained unclear, as he had not yet been released by Bozize's rebels, who abducted him from his vehicle at the beginning of the coup on 25 October. Bozize and an unknown number of his supporters fled to neighbouring Chad in November 2001 after leading an armed resistance against Bozize's arrest for questioning in relation to the failed May 2001 putsch. As for Bozize, who has claimed responsibility for the latest attempted coup, Chadian and French sources confirmed on Tuesday that he had returned from the Chadian capital, Ndjamena, to Paris. Since the election of Patasse in 1993, the CAR has suffered repeated internal armed crises. Additionally, repeated clashes attributed to Bozize's supporters based in Chad and to the alleged Chadian rebel leader, Abdoulaye Miskine, based in CAR, have taken place along the two nations' common border since Bozize and soldiers loyal to him fled to Chad.

IRIN 4 Nov 2002 Regional Peacekeeping Force to Arrive "Early This Week" Bangui The first soldiers of a 350-man regional peacekeeping force are due to arrive "early this week" in Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic (CAR), Gen Lamine Cisse, the Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General in the CAR, told IRIN on Sunday. "A dozen Gabonese military officers will be in Bangui early this week, and will be followed by 177 Gabonese soldiers, whose training concluded yesterday [Saturday 2 November]," Cisse said. He added that contingents from the Republic of Congo and Equatorial Guinea would be sent in as soon as they finished their specialised training. Mali has also promised troops. However, Cameroon said it could not commit forces but that it would be willing to train CAR troops. Cisse noted that in the wake of the 26-31 October incursion into Bangui by supporters of Gen Francois Bozize, the former chief of staff of the CAR army, the UN was appealing for donor funds to support the regional force, whose deployment was scheduled to begin on Monday under an accord signed in the Gabonese capital, Libreville, on 2 October aimed at ending tensions between CAR and Chad. "We are still within the time limit, and the UN has launched an appeal for funds to the donors," Cisse said. The regional force is to replace a Libyan contingent of some 200 men that has been stationed in CAR since the failed 28 May 2001 coup by former President Andre Kolingba. It will be responsible for protecting President Ange-Felix Patasse, restructuring the CAR's armed forces, and monitoring the CAR-Chad border zones. Bozize's forces were driven out of Bangui late last week by CAR forces supported by the Libyan contingent and forces of Jean-Pierre Bemba's rebel Mouvement de liberation du Congo (MLC) from neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo. CAR Defence Minister Pierre Angoua told IRIN on Monday that Bozize's forces had now retreated about 300 km north of Bangui, toward the Chadian border. The situation in Bangui was continuing to return to normal on Monday, with Prime Minister Martin Ziguele calling on Central Africans to return to work. However, the casualties of the six-day battle remain unclear and MLC soldiers were reported to be continuing their pillage of Bangui's northern suburbs. RFI reported on Saturday that Bemba was in Bangui on Saturday, and promised to punish any MLC soldiers involved in criminal activity. His forces have been widely accused of rape and theft.

IRN 14 Nov 2002 Ruling party accuses opposition of complicity in rebel attack BANGUI, 14 Nov 2002 (IRIN) - The ruling party in the Central African Republic (CAR) has accused an opposition alliance of 13 political parties of complicity with former soldiers who invaded the capital, Bangui, in October, in an unsuccessful attempt to oust President Ange-Felix Patasse. In a statement read over state radio on Sunday, the administrative secretary-general of the ruling Mouvement pour la libération du peuple centrafricain, Jean Joseph Tchendo, condemned the alliance - the Groupe des partis d'opposition (GPO) - for issuing a communiqué on 7 November criticising Patasse. The communiqué accused him of "violating his constitutional oath by allowing foreign air and land forces - namely Libya - to bombard the northern suburbs of Bangui". Some 200 Libyan troops were sent to CAR, in the wake of a failed coup bid launched in May 2001 by former President Andre Kolingba, and are still in Bangui. The ruling party's executive board said the alliance's statement was proof of its sympathy for and complicity with the attackers, whose leader was the CAR's former army chief of staff, Gen Francois Bozize. "The parties gathered under the GPO have finally unmasked themselves. They are accomplices and intellectual authors of all the coup attempts that the country has suffered since 1996, and particularly the one planned by Chad and executed by Bozize," Tchendo said. He added that his party was particularly indignant over the opposition's claim that Chad had had nothing to do with what was essentially an internal crisis in the CAR. Through its spokesman, Paul Bellet, the opposition alliance denied involvement in the coup. However, he told IRIN on Thursday, "Patasse's refusal to hold political talks could only lead to what is happening." Apparently in no way intimidated by Patasse's expressed intention to prosecute some opposition leaders, Bellet said: "We are an opposition and we are not here to applaud the regime." He said Patasse had used the Chad ruse to divert the attention of the international community from the country's social and economic problems. Meanwhile, the government remains suspicious that Chad is keen to annex the CAR's oil deposits in the north of the country. In an attempt to head off a widening and deepening crisis between the two countries, the Economic and Monetary Community of Central African States (known by its French acronym CEMAC) has decided to send a monitoring force of between 300 and 350 soldiers to the CAR. They are expected to be deployed this week.

Cote d'Ivore - Ivory Coast

IRIN 19 Oct 2002 Peace advocates join together to avert civil war ABIDJAN, 29 Oct 2002 (IRIN) - Civil society groups in Cote d'Ivoire have come together to avert civil war with the support of the international community. The Collectif de la Societe Civile pour la Paix (Civil Society Collective for Peace), inaugurated on Tuesday, plans to "conduct a vaste campaign of sensitization, throughout the national territory, to prevent and curb ethnic or religious conflicts", the group said in a peace declaration. Hundreds of people have died, material damage has been considerable and the economy has slowed significantly as a result of the worst socio-political crisis in Cote d'Ivoire's history, the Collectif noted. It warned, however, things could get much worse "if nothing decisive is done now to stop the beginnings of ethnic or religious clashes observed in certain areas of the country". Lessons could be learnt, in this regard, "from the unfortunate example" of other African countries such as Burundi, Rwanda and Somalia, the group said. A rebel war in Cote d'Ivoire broke out on 19 September, when a force including former members of the Ivorian military failed in bid to overthrow President Laurent Gbagbo but took over the towns of Bouake and Korhogo in the centre and north of the country respectively. A ceasefire agreement signed by the insurgents and mediators from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) entered into effect on 17 October, paving the way for talks last week in Abidjan between Ivorian and ECOWAS officials followed by negotiations this week in Lome, Togo, between the rebels and representatives of the state. The rebels' representives at the talks, which were scheduled to start on Wednesday, included the secretary-general of their political arm, former student leader Soro Guillaume, along with Tuo Fozie and Cherif Ousmane, two of the rebels’ most visible commanders. A senior military official, Col Michel Gueu, was also reported to be on the rebel delegation. The state will be represented by a team led by the chairman of the government’s Economic and Social Council, Laurent Dona Fologo. The delegation also includes officials of all parties represented in Gbagbo's coalition government, along with the National Assembly armed forces, gendarmerie, police, and civil society. Addressing the team on Monday before its departure for the Togolese capital, Gbagbo explained the state's preconditions for negotiations. "You represent the entire people of Cote d'Ivoire," he said "tell them what Cote d'Ivoire is saying ... The assailants must lay down their weapons. We want the integrity of our territory to be respected. We want our sovereignty to be respected. Then, and only then, everything can be discussed, everything can be negotiated." Pending the cessation of fighting between the two sides, civil society aims to prevent an even deeper rift from developing in the society. War between armies, whatever the atrocities committed, can eventually be controlled, but a civil war between ethnic and religious groups is uncontrollable and its sequels remain engrained in people's psyches, said the spokesman of the Collectif, Honore Guie. The Collectif includes the local chapters of two international organisations that promote democracy - the Groupe d'etude et de recherche sur la Democratie et le Developpement social en Afrique (GERDDES-CI) and Association internationale pour la democratie (AID-CI). Its other members are religious leaders representing Christians, Muslims and Buddhists, and the country's two main human rights organisations, the Ligue ivoirienne des droits de l'homme (LIDHO) and Movement ivoirien des droits de l'homme (MIDH). According to its spokesman, Honore Guie, it will send delegations comprising six persons - one Christian and one Muslim priest along with a representative each from LIDHO, MIDH, GERDDES-CI and AID-CI to various parts of Cote d'Ivoire, starting with areas under government control. Each team will hold separate sensitisation meetings with the administrative authorities of the area, chiefs of ethnic and religious communities followed by general meetings in which elected local representatives will also take part. A follow-up committee made up of community representatives would then pursue the sensitisation with a view to avoiding any ethnic or religious conflicts. The committee is being supported by the UN Development Programme (UNDP), European Commission, Canada and Belgium. Speaking on their behalf, UNDP Resident Representative Mostafa Benlamlih said they were happy to back the initiative since "above and beyond the political solutions, real peace will be built within communities and individuals". "While contacts are being pursued for a peaceful solution of the crisis, your effort will create the conditions for lasting peace," he said.

AFP 31 Oct 2002 26 Malians killed in Ivory Coast cocoa town: consulate BOUAKE, Ivory Coast, Oct 31 (AFP) - Men dressed in fatigues killed 26 Malians in mid-October in Ivory Coast, after loyalist forces recaptured the cocoa town of Daloa, a source at the Malian consulate in the rebel stronghold of Bouake said Thursday. "One of our diplomats returned Wednesday from Daloa, and that's the latest count that he made," the source said. "Our compatriots there are still in shock. Before our diplomat arrived, they were hiding at home," he said. He described Daloa as being in a state of "psychosis." During a parliamentary debate Tuesday in Bamako, Foreign Minister Lassana Traore said that 16 Malians have been confirmed dead in Ivory Coast -- 10 in Daloa, three in Bouake, and three in the main city Abidjan -- since the military uprising began on September 19. Rights watchdog Amnesty International said in a report Monday that 22 Malians were among dozens of victims in Daloa. "These people were Ivorians with Muslim names or expatriates from countries in the sub-region -- especially from Mali and Burkina Faso -- suspected of supporting the forces of the Ivory Coast Patriotic Movement (MPCI)," the rebels' political wing, the report said.

Reuters 1 Nov 2002 West African rivalries threaten Ivory Coast force By Silvia Aloisi ABIDJAN, Nov 1 (Reuters) - Regional rivalries and funding concerns have raised questions about a West African peacekeeping force in Ivory Coast even before troops have been deployed. West African countries have agreed to send a 2,000-strong force to replace troops from former colonial power France monitoring a two-week-old truce in the world's top cocoa producer. Hundreds of people died in a month of fighting that followed a failed September 19 coup against President Laurent Gbagbo. The truce has split the rebel-held Muslim north from the mostly Christian south. The so-called Ecomog force is meant to be on the ground in the next 10 days or so. But behind-the-scenes negotiations on the composition and command of the force do not appear to be moving any faster than peace talks in Togo, where little has come from three days of wrangling between rebels and government negotiators. Senegal, whose soldiers have a good reputation, effectively ruled itself out as leader of the force this week by refusing to increase its commitment of 250 troops and contribute the biggest contingent. Senegalese officials say Togo's criticism of Senegal's high-profile role in securing the truce is behind the snub -- a clear setback given that Senegal chairs the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which is behind the force. "We will just stick to our original pledge and let Togo or Guinea Bissau take the leadership," Foreign Minister Cheikh Tidiane Gadio told Reuters. Regional giant Nigeria, which led interventions in the civil wars of Liberia and Sierra Leone, says it might not contribute because of possible confusion arising from its English-speaking soldiers being deployed in a French-speaking country. Privately, Nigerian officials are fuming that Gbagbo spurned an earlier offer for help in the war and made West African mediators look silly by rejecting their first truce proposal. UNCERTAIN COMMAND Given that Guinea Bissau's offer of 380 troops is the biggest so far, command of the force should on paper go to the tiny state. But Guinea Bissau is suffering from years of instability and Togo now seems a more likely candidate. There are also big questions about how the force will be funded. ECOWAS has asked nine contributing countries to advance money for the first month's operations until Western donors can kick in with support. Despite Western pledges of help, the only countries to come up with cash so far are Britain and France, which one West African official said was "itching to leave". But French Lieutenant Colonel Ange-Antoine Leccia said: "We will not leave until the West African force is fully deployed." Whatever its composition and leadership, the force will struggle to shake off a far from distinguished reputation acquired during missions to end messy wars in neighbouring Liberia and nearby Sierra Leone. In both countries, large Ecomog contingents ended up staying for years, got sucked into heavy fighting and were accused of summary executions, looting, illegal diamond mining, drug dealing and various other forms of criminal activity. Particularly on the government side, Ivorians are distinctly reluctant to see a West African force deployed and even Gbagbo was at first opposed to the idea. Anti-Ecomog placards are a feature of every pro-government march. "Experience has shown that ECOWAS forces have not always been successful in resolving crises and that is something we are aware of," said one Ivorian official.

BBC 4 Nov 2002 Ivorian rebels warn of talks pull-out The two sides have agreed an amnesty Rebels in Ivory Coast have warned that they may withdraw from the latest round of peace talks, due to resume in neighbouring Togo on Tuesday. Rebel leader Guillaume Soro told a news conference in the stronghold of Bouake that they would not travel unless their political demands were met. The government last week agreed to a deal which would grant an amnesty to the rebels, and reintegrate mutineers into the army. But this ignored the key demands of both sides - fresh elections for the rebels and the government's insistence on disarming those behind the uprising. Ivory Coast has been divided into the rebel-held north and the government controlled south for the past six weeks. Opposition death Hundreds have been killed and tens of thousands displaced in the fighting. French troops are currently deployed in a buffer zone between the two forces and they are due to be replaced by a West African force within the next two weeks. "We will not set foot in Lome unless it's accepted that we can discuss all problems without any taboos," Mr Soro said. "It is not ruled out that we could be in Lome tomorrow, as long as we are allowed to discuss all of our demands," said the secretary-general of the Patriotic Movement of Ivory Coast (MPCI). The talks were initially scheduled to restart on Monday but were postponed at the rebels' request. Meanwhile, an opposition leader has been found shot dead in the main city, Abidjan, according to officials from the Ivorian Popular Movement. Emile Tehe was arrested by paramilitary gendarmes on Friday and found on Saturday with five bullet holes in his body. Retaliate On Sunday, Mr Soro told thousands of supporters in Bouake that they would not lay down their weapons. "We took up arms to demand the departure of [President Laurent] Gbagbo. If not for that, we would not have started fighting," he said. President Gbagbo has refused to step down "If our political demands are not met at the negotiations, we are ready to resume the war," Mr Soro said. "If Gbagbo breaks the ceasefire, we have the means to retaliate... We will go all the way to Abidjan," he said. "If it weren't for the French presence, we would already be there." For the Ivorian Government, Mr Soro's remarks were "further proof the rebels are against peace". "You can't promise one thing in Lome, and another thing in Bouake, in front of a crowd that has been forced to demonstrate," presidential spokesman Toussaint Alain told AP news agency. Surprised The negotiations in Togo have been organised by the West African regional body, Ecowas, and follow a truce in the fighting, which has held for two weeks. The mediators in the crisis said they were surprised by Mr Soro's earlier comments. The rebels want President Gbagbo to step down "That's not what he was saying during the negotiations last week," said Ecowas executive secretary Mohamed Ibn Chambas. The conflict has intensified ethnic tension between the country's mostly Muslim north - now controlled by rebels - and largely Christian south. Both sides agreed last week to allow humanitarian aid to reach rebel-held regions and to grant "the immediate release of all civilian and military prisoners of war".

IRIN 20 Nov 2002 Man arrested in Belgium with gold worth $500,000 from South Kivu BRUSSELS, 20 Nov 2002 (IRIN) - Belgian police have arrested in Brussels a Canadian carrying gold bullion from South Kivu worth US $500,000 and charged him with money laundering, the city's police force announced on Wednesday. Zulfa Karim Panju, 60, was carrying five gold bullion bars each weighing 10 kg. Police displayed the bullion at a news conference on Wednesday. The Brussels prosecutor's office said the gold originated from Bukavu, a town in the South Kivu Province of eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The metal was transported in plastic boxes bearing the seal of the [Rwandan-backed Rassemblement congolais pour la democratie rebel movement] RCD-Goma", Glenn Audenaert, a director of the police, said. The boxes were concealed in a backpack. Police said that Panju had for four years, every two weeks, carried fake corporate invoices, along with 50 kg of gold, destined notably for Belgium, UK, USA and Switzerland. The gold was then sold and laundered through non-resident bank accounts, such as at the BBL bank in Belgium. The gold was smelted in Antwerp before appearing on the international market. The profits of the transactions were then sent to Rwanda, where they were used to buy arms, clothes and vehicles for the RCD rebellion, the prosecutor's office in Brussels said. The arrest occurs in the wake of an investigation into the business affairs of Aziza Kulsum, alias Mrs Gulamali, 50, who headed the Societe Miniere des Grands Lacs (Somigl); a company that from November 2000 to April 2001 organised a coltan monopoly for the benefit of RCD-Goma. On 4 November, police in Brussels arrested Belgian businessman Jacques Van den Abeele for forgery and money laundering. He is accused of involvement in a major operation to smuggle coltan. However, Belgian judicial authorities said Van den Abeele was only an intermediary for a highly complex network headed by Gulamali, who is being sought by Belgian authorities. In both the Van den Abeele and Panju cases, Belgian judicial authorities froze the accounts used for transactions, "representing several millions of US dollars", they said. Accounts in other European countries, notably Switzerland, have also been frozen. Since the Van den Abeele case, the DRC government, through a Congolese lawyer established in Belgium, has elected to associate itself as a plaintiff in court action by the Belgian public prosecutor against money laundering of proceeds from the plundering of minerals originating from DRC.

IRIN 21 Nov 2002 - Côte d'Ivoire: Rebels dismiss referendum proposal ABIDJAN, 21 November (IRIN) - Cote d'Ivoire's insurgents on Wednesday dismissed a promise by President Laurent Gbagbo to hold a constitutional referendum next year, news organisations reported. "Our demands are a whole. There must be complete and far-reaching solutions," Reuters quoted rebel leader Guillaume Soro as saying. "They speak of a referendum, but that is only one step." Gbagbo had said on Tuesday in a televised speech that he was ready to hold a referendum "to ask the people, 'do you want to change the constitution, yes or not?'" "It is just a first step. Our requests regard an overall revision of the administration of power, for which complete solutions are necessary," the Missionary News Agency (MISNA) quoted Soro as saying. According to BBC, Gbagbo's promise came after the rebels dropped their original demands for his resignation and fresh elections at ongoing talks in Lome. The demands do not figure in their latest proposals to the mediator of the talks, Togolese President Gnassingbe Eyadema. The mediator and his team are currently going through the proposals presented by the two sides.

PANA 29 Nov 2002 - Monitors say Ivorian govt forces crossed cease-fire line Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire (PANA) - Côte d'Ivoire National armed forces (FANCI) on Thursday launched an offensive against the city of Vavoua which has been under rebel control since 19 September, French military sources revealed in Abidjan. Commander Frédéric Thomazo, of the information and communication service of the French Forces monitoring the cease-fire in Côte d'Ivoire, told PANA in a telephone interview on Thursday that government forces crossed the cease-fire line held by French troops, and headed for Vavoua, 439 km north-west of Abidjan. He said the troops comprised two columns of about 300 men, including "several English-speaking black and white mercenaries," who took the direction of the locality controlled by Sergeant Koné Zacharia's men, a warlord most hated by the FANCI. Asked about why French forces allowed the loyalist troops to cross the ceasefire line, Thomazo explained that French troops were not "an intervention force." "We are here simply to monitor the cease-fire agreement. If one of the warring sides decides to resume hostilities by crossing the cease-fire line, we can only note the act," he added. The government repeatedly broadcast a communiqué for 13 hours on national television on Wednesday, citing an attack against its "positions on the Man-Séguéla road," and vowing "to take action." Some 620 French troops coming from the 43rd BIMA (Maritime Infantry Battalion) based in Abidjan have been monitoring the cease-fire line since 17 October between loyalist forces and Ivorian military rebels who control more than 40 percent of the country. The cease-fire agreement was signed in Bouaké (379 km north of Abidjan), between the revel movement and Senegalese mediators, sent by President Abdoulaye Wade, current chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

Human Rights Watch 31 Oct 2002 - UN must prevent "ethnic cleansing" in Ituri (New York, October 31, 2002) The U.N. Security Council must increase its peacekeeping force in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to protect civilians against slaughter, Human Rights Watch said in a backgrounder released today. U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has asked that the United Nations Organization Mission in Congo (MONUC) be expanded to 8,700 troops, and the U.N. Security Council is considering the matter today. As Congolese rebel groups as well as Ugandan and Rwandan government forces continue to fight over control of eastern DRC, hundreds of civilians have died in the provinces of South Kivu, Ituri and Orientale during the last few weeks. Some victims have been targeted for their political loyalties and others have been killed because of their ethnic affiliation. According to U.N. estimates, some two million people are now displaced in the region, most of them without access to humanitarian assistance. In mid-October, a coalition of local Mai-Mai and Banyamulenge combatants drove the Congolese Rally for Democracy-Goma (RCD-Goma) from the town of Uvira and surrounding areas of South Kivu province. RCD-Goma, a rebel movement opposed to the DRC government, is strongly supported by Rwanda and Burundi. It was defeated after Rwandan government troops withdrew from eastern DRC under the terms of a July 30 treaty between Rwanda and the DRC. On October 19, RCD-Goma retook Uvira and much of the region with the assistance of Rwandan and Burundian government troops. Their forces have killed, raped and arbitrarily arrested civilians. In early September, another branch of the RCD, the RCD- Liberation Movement (RCD-ML) and militias of the Ngiti ethnic group attacked the town of Nyankunde, about 20 kilometers west of Bunia in Ituri province. A survivor of the attack said, "Thousands of Ngiti came down in groups to loot: men, women and children, all armed with machetes, axes, knives, arrows and bows, spears and fire arms." The attackers killed members of the Hema ethnic group and others said to have collaborated with them. They killed patients in their hospital beds, medical personnel of the Nyankunde hospital, and a local official. Some 200 people are estimated to have died in this attack and one several weeks earlier carried out by the largely Hema Union des Patriotes Congolais (UPC) against RCD-ML supporters and the Ngiti. Until recently, Ugandan army troops occupied much of this part of northeastern DRC. Most have now left, but hundreds of Ugandan troops continue to occupy Bunia under a September 6 agreement between Uganda and DRC. When the UPC attacked the RCD-ML, some Ugandan soldiers stood by and watched as civilians were killed. "The slaughter of civilians in the last few weeks shows that neither the Ugandans in the north nor the RCD-Goma in the south can effectively protect civilian lives", said Alison Des Forges, senior advisor to the Africa Division of Human Rights Watch. "The Security Council gave MONUC the mandate to protect civilians at risk. Now it must give the peacekeepers the numbers needed to carry out the mandate." The conflict in eastern Congo stems in large part from competition to control the area's rich natural resources, such as coltan (columbite-tantalite, used in the manufacture of cell phones) gold, diamonds and timber. A special investigative panel of the U.N. Security Council last week issued a report condemning high-ranking Rwandan and Ugandan army officers for enriching themselves through illegal exploitation of Congolese resources. The panel concluded that various foreign actors encouraged local conflicts as a way to maintain their own control and ease their extraction of local wealth.

IRIN 5 Nov 2002 Ethnic violence ceases, refugees "trickling back" NAIROBI, 5 Nov 2002 (IRIN) - The 17,000 Sudanese refugees who fled ethnic violence two weeks ago in a refugee settlement, about 80 km west of the town of Aru on the border between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda, are "trickling back" to their settlements, Kitty McKinsey, regional public information officer with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, told IRIN on Tuesday. Since 31 October, fighting between the Congolese Patriotic Union/Popular Rally (UPC-RP) rebels and the Lendu community around the refugee settlement in Biringi and Kandoi, 45 km west of Biringi, had ceased, she said. The refugees were returning, but remained cautious, she added. The UPC force commander in the area was encouraging them to return to their settlements, and had encouraged local authorities to reassure both them and the local Congolese to resume their daily activities, she added. Local authorities had also been instructed to mount an information campaign next week to encourage their return. The UN agency remained concerned, however, about the overall security situation in the region, and said there was need to assure the refugees' safety.

IRIN 6 Nov 2002 Access "impossible" to 900,000 IDPs in the east NAIROBI, 6 Nov 2002 (IRIN) - Access to at least 900,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) remains "impossible", according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). Of this total, some 500,000 IDPs are in the Ituri District, fleeing ongoing fighting between the Lendu and Hema communities. The number of IDPs was expected to rise as instability was continuing in the region, the international relief NGO, World Vision, reported on Wednesday. The group reported that many of these IDPs were leading "wretched lives" in camps, churches, warehouses and with relatives in a string of towns along a 200-km stretch between Bunia and Beni. Most of the IDPs are living in Eringeti, 50 km north of Beni, with others in Mayi-Moya, Mbau, Mavivi, Ngadi, Mutwanga and Beni, according to World Vision. They need food, clean water, shelter, medicine, clothing, blankets, kitchenware and utensils. Meanwhile, another 400,000 IDPs are scattered throughout South Kivu Province, many as a result of recent fighting between Congolese Mayi-Mayi militias and the Rwandan-backed Rassemblement congolais pour la democratie rebel movement, in the wake of a large-scale withdrawal of Rwandan forces as agreed under the 30 July peace accord signed in the South African administrative capital, Pretoria. Negotiations are said to be "ongoing" by humanitarian organisations with authorities of Mayi-Mayi factions and RCD-Goma, for access to the patchwork of areas under their respective control.

Reuters 21 Nov 2002 Congo Govt. Troops Kill 100 Civilians -Witnesses KINSHASA (Reuters) - At least 100 civilians were killed by government troops in a town in the southern Democratic Republic of Congo , witnesses and a human rights group said on Thursday. The killings took place after an argument broke out between soldiers and militiamen known as the Mai Mai on November 10. Tens of thousands of residents have since fled Ankoro, in Katanga province near the frontline with rebel-held territory. "The army accused the population of supporting the Mai Mai. They burned down their houses and started to massacre them," a resident of Ankoro who has fled to the regional capital Lubumbashi, and asked not to be named, said. Congo's Minister of Defense Irung-A-Wan said he was not aware of the killings in Kitanga, which is split in two by a frontline dividing government and rebel-controlled territories. The Ankoro resident added that people have also fled their homes in nearby Kabongo and Malemba N'Kulu. "The people are caught between two fires -- the army and the Mai Mai," he said. "The situation is still tense and we are waiting for the authorities to do something about it." A human rights organization in Lubumbashi asked the Kinshasa government to open an enquiry into the reports of the massacre. The Congo-based Human Rights and Development Commission (CVDHO) said that more than 1,200 houses in Ankoro were burned down, 39 bodies were found in the ashes and others are still being pulled out of the Congo river, where the corpses were thrown. The rights organization said more than 75,000 people have fled toward the town of Manono in rebel-held territory. "The military and civilian authorities knew about this drama, but instead of trying to calm it down, airplanes flew in reinforcements from Kamina and Lubumbashi," CVDHO said in a statement. The spokesman for the United Nations peacekeeping operation in Congo, Hamadoun Toure, said the mission received reports of clashes between government soldiers and militiamen, but could not confirm reports of casualty figures. The Mai Mai militias are traditional warriors, armed by Kinshasa to fight in its war against Rwandan and Ugandan-backed rebels controlling the eastern third of Congo. But throughout eastern Congo they have been accused of grave human rights violations and the resident of Ankoro said one group enjoyed cannibalism. "There is one group who kills people and then eats their flesh," the resident said. The killings come as the main Congo rebel group, the Congolese Rally for Democracy (RCD) holds talks in Pretoria, South Africa, to come up with a power-sharing deal with the government of President Joseph Kabila to end years of war. An estimated two million people in the central African nation have died during the war, mainly from war-induced hunger and disease. War broke out in Congo in August 1998 when Rwanda and Uganda backed Congolese rebels sought to oust then-President Laurent Kabila. Angola, Zimbabwe and Namibia sent troops to support the government.

ICRC 21 Nov 2002 ICRC News 02/47 Democratic Republic of the Congo: Aid for displaced people in northern Katanga The ICRC has launched a fresh relief operation for people who have fled their homes owing to the fighting in northern Katanga. In late October and early November, delegates distributed blankets, soap and tarpaulins to 3,100displaced families (some 16,000people) in Kaboto, 45kilometers north of Kabongo. These items will offer protection during the rainy season. Some 800families who have always resided in Kaboto and have extended their hospitality to the displaced people, also benefited from the distribution. ICRC staff regularly visit the upper Lomami area and the organization is planning to open an office in Malemba-Nkulu in order to maintain its presence among the victims of violence in a region about which there is great humanitarian concern. Commission says fewer than 45 died in Ankoro clash © IRIN KINSHASA, 29 Nov 2002 (IRIN) - About 45 people died earlier in November during clashes between the pro-government Mayi-Mayi militia, regular soldiers and residents of Ankoro, a village in the northern Katanga Province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Human Rights Minister Ntumba Luaba told reporters. This assessment contrasts with the 104 dead and 1,200 homes burnt a local human rights body, the Commission de vulgarisation des droits de l'homme et de developpement, had reported. "The number of homes burnt was about 100 and not thousands," Ntumba told reporters on Thursday. He was speaking in the southeastern city of Lubumbashi, four days after leading a government commission of inquiry into the clashes. The government also said 14,000 had been displaced, compared to the 75,000 the rights body had reported. The rights body had also said on 10 November that the fighting erupted when government forces began burning and pillaging homes and shops in the area. Ankoro is the birthplace of the late President Laurent-Desire Kabila, assassinated on 16 January 2001 by a bodyguard.

AFP 24 Nov 2002 16 civilians killed in eastern DR Congo KIGALI: At least 16 civilians were killed overnight near the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) city of Bukavu, several sources said Sunday. A local development association and witnesses said Hutu extremists from Rwanda and local inhabitants attacked and looted the town of Chazi, 15 kilometers (nine miles) northwest of Bukavu, capital of South Kivu Province, bordering Rwanda. Eight people were burned alive in a house torched by the assailants, and another eight including women and children were shot dead as they tried to hide from the attackers outside the village, the sources said.cked Congolese Rally for Democracy (RCD), a rebel movement controlling the area, for failing to intervene. A variety of people live in the Bukuvu area including Rwandan Hutu extremists, refugees, pro-government militiamen, and other armed groups. The Rwandan Hutus extremists have been in the DRC since the 1994 genocide for which many are held responsible. The Rwandan army backed the RCD's insurgency, which began in August 1998. It withdrew under a July 30 peace deal signed by the Kigali and Kinshasa governments, whereby Rwanda agreed to pull out its forces while the DRC pledged to disarm and repatriate Rwandan fighters and refugees.

IRIN 28 Nov 2002 Rival militias to meet, says UN NAIROBI, 28 Nov 2002 (IRIN) - Rival militias in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have confirmed, in writing, their willingness to take part in a planned meeting to solve their differences peacefully, Namanga Ngongi, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General, said on Wednesday. He told reporters at a briefing in the capital, Kinshasa, that the venue of the meeting had not yet been decided. The meeting would involve the leaders of the Rassemblement congolais pour la democratie-Kisangani-Mouvement de liberation (RCD-K-ML), the RCD-National, and the Mouvement pour la liberation du Congo. Bunia, a town in Ituri District, is controlled by the Union des patriotes congolais of Thomas Lubanga - a breakaway faction from the RCD-K-ML of Mbusa Nyamwisi. Ngongi deplored the persisting insecurity in Ituri, northeastern DRC, where some of these groups are fighting each other, saying that the situation was being driven by "belligerents' thirst for power and winning a few more square kilometres or gaining control of one more village". Efforts to improve the climate for peace in the troubled area received a boost recently when the presidents of the DRC and Uganda, Joseph Kabila and Yoweri Museveni, said they were ready to launch a pacification committee for Ituri, after consultations with their stakeholders. Referring to the recent fighting between Mayi-Mayi militia and government troops in Ankoro, Katanga Province, Ngongi said: "These minor conflicts among Congolese should stop a at time when foreign troops have pulled out of the DRC. Congolese should work together, hand-in-hand, to guarantee peace and security to their populations." Peace talks in the South African administrative capital, Pretoria, aimed at setting up a transitional power-sharing government are to be reconvened there on 9 December. However, the leader of RCD-National, Roger Lumbala, has said his movement had withdrawn from the talks.

IRIN 29 Nov 2002 Commission says fewer than 45 died in Ankoro clash KINSHASA, 29 Nov 2002 (IRIN) - About 45 people died earlier in November during clashes between the pro-government Mayi-Mayi militia, regular soldiers and residents of Ankoro, a village in the northern Katanga Province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Human Rights Minister Ntumba Luaba told reporters. This assessment contrasts with the 104 dead and 1,200 homes burnt a local human rights body, the Commission de vulgarisation des droits de l'homme et de developpement, had reported. "The number of homes burnt was about 100 and not thousands," Ntumba told reporters on Thursday. He was speaking in the southeastern city of Lubumbashi, four days after leading a government commission of inquiry into the clashes. The government also said 14,000 had been displaced, compared to the 75,000 the rights body had reported. The rights body had also said on 10 November that the fighting erupted when government forces began burning and pillaging homes and shops in the area. Ankoro is the birthplace of the late President Laurent-Desire Kabila, assassinated on 16 January 2001 by a bodyguard.

Ethiopia

IRIN 8 Nov 2002 Local NGO closed down by authorities ADDIS ABABA, 8 Nov 2002 (IRIN) - A local NGO has been closed and its director jailed after being accused of corruption, sources told IRIN on Friday. Mahmud Abdi Ahmad, the head of the Ogaden Welfare Society (OWS), was arrested and being held in the federal jail in Jijiga, sources close to the case said. The charity, along with another local NGO, Guardian, had been at the centre of a row with the Ethiopian government after being accused of "threatening national security". Their offices in the Somali Regional State were raided by police in May and closed down after being banned from operating by the justice ministry. After initially winning the right to continue operating, pending a court case, the OWS was eventually banned from operating in August. Mahmud was arrested a month later. An appeal by the OWS has now been lodged with the High Court, but no date has been set for the hearing. The OWS was contending that it was the victim of a recent power struggle within the regional state’s ruling political party, saying its lawyers would fight the case all the way, the sources said. "We do not hold out much hope. I don’t think the government wants to reverse this decision. The court has approved the decision from the ministry of justice," one of them told IRIN. The OWS, which receives funding from international organisations like Christian Aid, employs more than 300 people, who are feeding up to 1,000 children a week. The charity cares for some 500,000 people in the Somali State, which suffers from one of the harshest environments in Ethiopia. It also looks after 12,000 internally displaced persons in Gunagadao, southeastern Ethiopia. Staff at the OWS regional office were told not to remove anything when the premises were raided. All the charity's property was subsequently confiscated. A petition signed by 200 elders and chiefs was delivered to the prime minister, appealing to him to reverse the justice ministry's decision. The Christian Relief and Development Association, which lobbies on behalf of NGOs in Ethiopia, has expressed concern over the case. Guardian has been providing 6,000 people with food in Gode, an area hard hit by the 2000 famine. Its chairman, Dr Korfa Garane, who is a member of the country's Council of People's of Representatives, has lobbied on Guardian's behalf. The charity was unavailable to confirm whether or not it was still closed down.

IRIN 8 Nov 2002 Drought Stimulates Outbreaks of Violence At least 20 women have been shot dead in northeastern Ethiopia, humanitarian sources told IRIN on Friday. The women, all ethnic Afars, were killed as they were on their way home from a market, the sources confirmed. The shooting, which took place in late October, is believed to be part of increasing tensions in the Afar Regional State sparked by a severe drought affecting many parts of the country. In a separate incident, at least 11 ethnic Ittus were killed in a shoot-out on Tuesday in Fentale, Oromiya Regional State, also hit by the drought. Fierce clashes have occurred in Afar, particularly in Zone Five, between ethnic Afars and Issas competing for scare water resources. The zone is currently off-limits to UN staff. Skirmishes between Afars and Issas have been gradually escalating over the years with the Afars accusing the Issas of persistently encroaching on their territory from the southeast. "If the [current] conditions continue, tensions will only increase," one source told IRIN. "Depending on the drought and the rains, if you can't move freely it's going to heat up. There is a drought and there is a lot of fighting." The recent clashes, which took place near the Somali Regional State, are believed to be revenge attacks by Issas after Afars raided them for cattle earlier this year. "The rains started, the Issas left, rearmed and came back to reclaim their cattle," the source said. Regional government officials have been in talks with the Issas in an effort to resolve the tensions and calm the situation. A humanitarian source said the situation had been exacerbated by the nomadic Afar having been squeezed into a tiny area with little or no water. The sources said they did not know who was responsible for the massacre of the Afar women near the town of Shewa Robit, about 280 km north of the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. But they said violence among rival clan groups had been increasing and that rival ethnic groups had been blamed. The area has also seen an increase in weapons, with AK-47 assault rifles allegedly being smuggled in from Djibouti. According to one humanitarian source operating in the area, the guns had been arriving in the town of Gewane before being distributed.

Ghana

IRIN 4 Nov 2002 At least nine killed in communal clashes TAMALE, 4 Nov 2002 (IRIN) - At least nine people died and several others were injured in communal clashes last week in Ghana's eastern Volta Region and northeastern Upper East Region. Eight of the victims were killed in fighting sparked by a disagreement over a hoe between two people belonging to the Nawuri and Konkomba ethnic groups. The clashes took place at Kotaki-Zongo in the Volta region. The town was later deserted by both communities. News organisations quoted Volta Region's police commander, Kofi Atta, as saying the regional security committee had dispatched 66 armed police and 13 soldiers to restore law and order in the area. Five bodies had been discovered by 30 October, he added. Atta appealed to elders of the two groups to ensure that the conflict did not spread to other areas. He also said a number of arrests had been made and the suspects were assisting with investigations. Later in the week, one person was killed and several others wounded in a clash between Kusasis and Busangas in Bawku East District. Military personnel brought the situation under control. The conflict broke out when Kusasis accused Busangas of stealing their goats, which the Busangas denied. A policeman told IRIN the denial did not convince the Kusasis and the clashes ensued. He said guns were used in the fight and that people had fled the affected village, Dega, for fear of reprisal attacks.

IRIN 6 Nov 2002 Over three hundred displaced TAMALE, 6 Nov 2002 (IRIN) - At least 336 people were displaced by last week's communal clashes between the Konkomba and Nawuri ethnic groups at Kitare in Nkwanta district in the eastern Volta region of Ghana, the district coordinator of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), Bernard Mensah said. Briefing the Volta regional security committee who were assessing the situation on Saturday, Mensah said 226 of the displaced persons had been registered at Nkwanta and 110 at Nyambong. Five people were killed and several others wounded. He said the incident was characterised by shooting, looting and destruction of property including foodstuff worth several millions of cedis. A number of arrests had been made and the Volta regional minister, Kwasi Owusu Yeboah, who is also the chairman regional security committee, directed that the suspects be transferred to Ho, the regional capital, to be prosecuted in courts for conspiracy to murder, murder and causing damage. A dispute between two members of the opposing ethnic groups escalated into communal clashes early last week in Kitari area. News organisations reported that eight people had been killed. Police said only five bodies had been recovered so far. In a similar event, one person was killed and several others wounded in a clash between Kusasis and Busangas in Bawku East District in the Upper East region, northern Ghana.

Liberia

The NEWS (Monrovia) 19 Nov 2002 Human Rights Center Wants Massacres Investigated - Equate Allegations to "Breach of Peace" Moses M. Zangar, Jr. Monrovia In the face of growing controversy over the cause of the death of five Catholic nuns in 1992, a consortium of nine human rights organizations, the National Human Rights Centre of Liberia, is calling for the setting up of an "independent commission of inquiry" to determine the perpetrators of all massacres that were meted out against unarmed and innocent people during the nearly eight years of civil war in Liberia. The Centre's call for the setting up of an independent inquiry commission to investigate all massacres during the war was contained in a release circulated in Monrovia at the week-end. On the criminal allegations by Representative Sando Johnson that Catholic Archbishop Michael Francis masterminded the murder of the five Catholic nuns, the National Human Rights Centre of Liberia said the statement by the lawmaker against the Archbishop and others is tantamount to what it termed, "breach of the peace." Additionally, the consortium of human rights groups said such statement warrants Representative Sando Johnson being "stripped" of his legislative immunities to face justice as provided for under Article 42 of the Liberian Constitution. Article 42 of the Constitution stipulates that "no member of the Senate or House of Representative shall be arrested, detained, prosecuted or tried as a result of opinion expressed or votes cast in the exercise of the functions of his office. Members shall be privileged from arrest while attending, going to or returning from sessions of the Legislature, except for treason, felony or breach of the peace. All official acts done or performed and all statements made in the chambers of the legislature shall be privileged and no legislator shall be held accountable or punished therefor." But the human rights groups in the release contended that the lawmaker's statement was made outside of his official functions and thus cannot be protected by Article 42 of the Liberian Constitution. The Centre further intimated that the effects of such an "inflammatory" statement coming from a lawmaker does not only render the Catholic Bishop vulnerable to "heartless, ill-guided and anti-democratic forces" in society, but also has the propensity to derail the current efforts by peace loving citizens to reconcile "our" war-ravaged society. Moreover, the release furthered that Representative Sando Johnson's utterances remind the groups of a previous accusation he once made against Clls. Tiawon Gongloe and Benedict Sannoh, which led to what they termed the "eventful and infamous arrest and torture of Cllr. Gongloe early this year." As a result of the lawmaker's allegations against the Catholic Archbishop, the Catholic Church last Friday suspended all of it's activities and operations, except for its media and emergency medical relief, nationwide. Further, the allegations have drawn the Bomi County Representative at the center of a controversy.

Kenya

WP 3 Nov 2002 Scarcity Makes Rivals of Neighbors Farmers and Herders in Kenya Wage Age-Old Battle Over Water and Land By Emily Wax, Page A18 NGAO, Kenya -- First there is the endless mooing, then the parade of hundreds and hundreds of cattle swimming across the Tana River, their heads bobbing above the brown water. The bulls and cows keep coming in wave after wave for about an hour. Draped in red cloth and carrying long sticks, herdsmen lead the cattle up the riverbank and into this drowsy farming village, where women are shucking corn and men are surveying their crops. The herders try to be mindful of the crops and houses as they lead their livestock both around the village and along a path that winds among the farmers' homes. The farmers just shake their heads. "Why are they here again?" asks Emma Gwinyo, 27, as she watches the cattle stomp over the muddy earth. "Their animals are going to eat all of our crops. They never go away. We don't want to share with them." Here along the Tana River, and in countless other places across Africa, farmers and herders are in conflict. Their ways of life, as old and familiar as any on Earth, differ in almost every way imaginable, yet they have one thing in common: They depend on water and land for their livelihood. Often these natural rivals live side by side, competing for the same resources. Sometimes the rivalry turns violent, as it did here on March 7, 2001, when a fight over one patch of land near the Tana River ended with 100 people being slaughtered. "This is our wealth and nothing else," Kolde Abashora, 58, said while herding his cattle out of the river. "We know there are tensions. But we can't graze in the air." All over the developing world, the struggle for scarce resources causes disputes that sometimes lead to well-documented wars and sometimes to skirmishes that never make headlines. Last month, for example, fighting broke out in northeastern Congo between the traditionally pastoral Hemas and the Lendus, who are mostly farmers. Violence between the two groups has cost hundreds of lives over the past four years. The same week as the Congo violence, eight people were killed in Nigeria when a group of gunmen identified by locals as Muslim Fulani herdsmen attacked the Christian farming village of Maza. Not quite a decade ago, one of modern Africa's bloodiest episodes erupted from similar causes. Hatred between Rwanda's Tutsi and Hutu tribes, stemming from colonial rulers' preferential treatment of the pastoralist Tutsis over the agriculturalist Hutus and from their competition for land and water in the tiny country, erupted into genocide in 1994. A state-sponsored campaign of killing by Hutu extremists led to the slaughter of more than a half-million Tutsis in 100 days. Here in Ngao, the people are thankful that violence has been absent for more than a year. But "the tensions are here and will be here," said Abraham Daniel Mabombe, the chief of the area, who toured the village one recent day, supervising the reconstruction of houses burned in the clash last year. "The farmers want land and water to grow crops," Mabombe said. "The herders want land and water to raise their cattle. Does that make conflict hard to solve? Well, yes. Very. But we try anyway. We are aware of the problem." Some of the tensions stem from the fact that the herders and the farmers have completely different economies. Many of the farmers grow food only to feed their families. They usually settle on plots of land for generations. They have strong communal responsibility, rarely selling what they grow to the outside world. In contrast, cattle herders are nomadic. They are driven to different regions by where they can best feed and water their animals. They operate as capitalists, selling their cattle for around $300 each when they need cash. They are unattached to the land, ready to move around the country to earn a living. Culturally and physically the groups are also stunningly different. Most cattle herders are from Nilotic tribes, descended from the tall, slender, narrow-featured peoples of the Nile Valley. Farmers typically are shorter and stockier because their roots extend from the Bantu tribes that migrated from western Africa to almost every part of the continent below the Sahara. In a village called Sare B, herders of the Wardei tribe are regally draped in colorful gold and red locally made cloth. They are Muslims, and the women cover their hair with shimmering scarves that flow over their long bodies. The children wear bright silver hoops in their ears, and the women wear beaded bracelets. The men wear used wingtip shoes with no laces and walk with perfect posture as they herd their animals. The women collect water in gallon jugs from a murky stream, about a 20-minute walk from the village. In neighboring Sare A, the short, muscular farmers of the Pokomo tribe are dressed in ripped, secondhand T-shirts and pants from the United States. Some are barefoot. Although many herders are aloof, the farmers are talkative, even effusive. Unlike the herders, who speak only their native language, the farmers speak English. They are Christian, and missionaries built a school for their boys and girls, and a health center for the farmers; the herders, who are building a mosque in their village, have no health center or schools for girls. The farmers say the herders are unclean because they deal with animals. The herders say the farmers are too aggressive and loud, and the women are too chatty with men. But with all their differences, "both groups want the same things: water and land," said the Rev. Sampson Maliwa, who has worked on a reconciliation project in the area. Maliwa said that the weather played a part in exacerbating tensions here. A lack of rain has dried up smaller streams and forced herders to rely on the river more than ever. At the same time, the government started deeding land to the farmers, who had never held land titles. The herders complained that they were losing access to good grazing land. On March 7, 2001, a 56-year-old schoolteacher named Ephriam Kiokomo went to farm his government-issued parcel of land along the Tana. A herder also showed up to graze his cattle. The two men argued, according to local officials, and Kiokomo was found dead, killed with a spear. "That very day the violence spread all over the Tana River," said Mabombe, the chief. "The farmers came with machetes. The herders had bullets." Now the herders say the fighting is over. They don't want to talk about it. "The only thing that bothers us is they got more help from the government rebuilding their huts then we did here," said Dende Wachu, a herdsman and village elder. Hostility simmers on the farmers' side as well. "We will not buy their milk," said Peter San Umur, a farmer in Sare A. "We can't share anything with them." Aid workers and a local government chief say they are hopeful that community talks and several projects will ease tensions. The Kenya Red Cross and the Swedish Red Cross are working on a project to build 35 wells to lessen both tribes' dependence on the river. In the villages, the wells are welcome, because the resource that everyone is fighting over is in fact a murky brew of brown water that causes diarrhea and other waterborne illnesses. "Clean water means health here," said Erik Pleijel, a well project manager with the Swedish Red Cross. "We are hoping the wells will really ease some of the tensions." Aid workers said the two groups would not have to share any of the new wells.

East African Standard (Nairobi) 6 Nov 2002 OPINION Muslims Deserve the Recognition Ahmad Khatif Muhammad - Nairobi Constitution of Kenya Review Commission has done a great job in laying down the foundation for good governance in Kenya, but it should be pointed out from the outset that the mere drafting of a new constitution is not going to solve all our problems. The notion that the new constitutional order will eliminate all the problems facing Kenya at the moment is simply not true. In the new draft constitution, there are many grey areas, contradictions and anomalies that still need clarification, definition, explanation and redrafting. One example of an area in the draft constitution that requires clarification is clause 32 (1) of the Bill of Rights (Chapter Five), pertaining to the right to life. In that particular clause, the word "life" is not clearly defined. This could give rise to various interpretations of the meaning of the clause, including the liberal and licentious permutation that would allow abortion. "Life" should be defined as starting from the time of conception. The definition of is "life" of great importance since an unborn child developing in the womb of the mother already constitutes a life. The new constitution should not give licence to those who wish to terminate the life of the unborn child. Part (2) of the same Clause 12 seeks to abolish the death penalty. This is again a big mistake since it would give free reign to habitual criminals and serial killers to do whatever they want. It has been proved time and time again over the history of mankind that the death penalty acts as a deterrent to those who would commit serious crimes such as homicide. If a person commits a serious crime such as murder or genocide, society has a collective duty to mete out appropriate punishment. The liberal notion that the death penalty militates against the right to life, simply does not take the interests of the victim(s) into account. There is simply no justice in a system in which a serial killer or a genocidal maniac receives a non-penal prison sentence just like a petty thief. I also have a major quarrel with Clause 38 (3) (a) of the Bill of Rights under the title "The Family," which states that, "Every person who is at least 18 years of age has the right to marry, based upon the free consent of the parties." Once again, this clause does not define "marriage" as being between two adult persons of opposite sexes. If this clause is left as it is, it would give rise to various unnatural unions under the guise of marriages, for instance between homosexual men or lesbian women. Such unions go against the tenets and teachings of almost every major religion. Marriage should remain a sacred union between two adults of opposite sexes as was intended by God. Even nature does not support or sustain unions of living beings of the same sex. In extreme cases, the Clause could also lead to "marriages" between human beings and animals or inanimate entities such as robots and computers, provided that both parties are above the age of eighteen years, Where "consent" would be the only contentious issue open to different interpretations. In order that the draft constitution wins wide acceptance, especially from politicians (Members of Parliament) who have to pass it into law, I feel strongly that Clause 112 pertaining to the Recall of a Member of Parliament in the Chapter on the Legislature, should be deleted. Not only will this clause prove unpalatable to most MPs, but it will also prevent them from performing their duties and fulfilling the mandate given to them. In any given parliamentary constituency, there will be at least 30 per cent of the voters who do not like MP. If a political opponent manages to gather the signatures of at least 30 per cent of the registered voters in a particular constituency, then he can wreak havoc on the life and tenure of the MP. This is a sure recipe for making our MPs extremely insecure and solely intent on self-preservation rather than legislation. Once a person has been elected MP , he or she should be left to fulfil that mandate for the given five years. If the majority of voters no longer support their MP, then they have the chance to remove him or her at the expiry of the given tenure and not before. While the draft constitution by the CKRC presents the people of Kenya with the first solid foundation for building a well-governed, prosperous and just society, it is of vital importance that every clause be thoroughly scrutinised for any anomalies that might create problems in the future. It is in our national interest that we must guard against the insertion of inappropriate foreign values in our new constitution. The new constitution for our country must be based on values and principles that are clearly recognisable as our own while importing those ideas that enhance our collective well-being. Of particular interest and great importance to those of us who are Muslims, is the issue of the Kadhis Court system, which has been included in the new draft constitution (Clauses 200 to 202). In Kenya, the Kadhis Court System has been in existence for the more than 1,000 years that Islam has been in this country. Even the current Constitution gives recognition to the Kadhis Court system, but does not give it the kind of independent structure it requires to serve the Muslim community. It has been argued in some quarters that the Kadhis Court system is irrelevant and that it gives special recognition and treatment to Muslims, against the essence of the new draft constitution on equality, and especially provisions of the Bill of Rights. According to critics of the Kadhi Court system, the new draft constitution contradicts itself by providing for the existence of a Kadhis Court hierarchy and that from the jurisprudence point of view, such special Islamic judicial system would be inimical to the proper operation of the new constitution. As mentioned earlier, there is nothing new in the operation of the Kadhis Court system alongside the secular judicial system. The Kadhis Court system has been in existence in Kenya for more than 1,000 years and received unqualified recognition from the British colonial administration and the post independence government of Kenya in dealing with Islamic personal law on matters such as marriage, divorce, inheritance and succession. While Kenya is, and shall remain a secular state, even under the new constitutional order, the Kadhis Courts system is a matter on which the Muslim community cannot compromise because it deals with matters of great importance to them. There is nothing new about the operation of the Kadhis Courts in Kenya except that the new draft constitution gives it more autonomy. Contrary to the views of some critics, there is absolutely no disagreement among the different Muslim denominations regarding the existence and jurisdiction of the Kadhis Court system over matters of personal law. The Kadhis Court system is a matter that binds the entire Islamic faith. It touches on the core of Islamic beliefs and practice as contained in the Holy Quran. Anyone who believes in and practises Islam has the obligation to submit to the Kadhis Court system for the interpretation of personal law in accordance with the Holy Quran. Whoever opts for any other legal or judicial system, cannot claim to be a Muslim. Given that the whole essence of a constitution is to provide a firm foundation for good governance and to bind together all the diverse peoples, interests and groupings that form a nation it is important that such document be all-inclusive and cater for all citizens. The constitution must recognise and respect the diversity of a nation in its cultural, ethnic, political, religious, and other spheres even as it engenders the unity of purpose, goals and aspirations of its people. Any constitutional order that fails to recognise and respect the diversity of the people in a nation inevitably fails in its most fundamental role of providing a platform for unity. While Muslims constitute only around a third of the total population of Kenya, it should be remembered that they occupy more than half the country's land mass. Muslims cannot feel that they are an integral part of this nation unless they are allowed to practise their religious faith freely under the constitution, especially on matters of personal law The writer is secretary general of the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims, and former MP for Wajir West.

BBC 7 Nov 2002, Attempt to bridge Kenyan rift - Forty schools have now been built in the area A former BBC News Online journalist now working for the International Committee of the Red Cross, visits a project seeking to heal a long running Kenyan dispute. By Mark Snelling Valley of Hope From a distance, the Kerio Valley looks, quite simply, like paradise. The road from Eldoret, the nearest city, winds through the fertile highland farms of the Cherangani Hills before plunging 3,000 metres down the vast Elgeyo escarpment to the wooded valley floor below. But up close, it is a fractured and traumatised region. By keeping everybody busy, it had an incredibly quick effect on the level of conflict Vincent Nicod, ICRC For decades now, farmers of the Marakwet farming community and their semi-nomadic cattle-herding neighbours, the Pokot, have effectively been at war over the valley's scarce resources, particularly water. A generation ago, such clashes were fought with bows and arrows. But the proliferation of small arms since the mid-1990s has made a whole new terror widely available - the AK-47 assault rifle. It is the type of brutal forgotten conflict that is repeated across sub-Saharan Africa. In the Kerio Valley, however, a series of ambitious projects have given the two communities hope that they may be able to share their future together. Intervention Backed by its mandate under the Geneva Conventions to assist the victims of armed conflict, the ICRC first began work here in 1998 with an emergency distribution of basic aid to some 14,000 people. It may not have been a full-scale civil war, but the level of violence was such that locals nicknamed the road running between Pokot and Marakwet areas "Kosovo". The issue of water has fuelled the conflict "This was one of the most violent areas in Kenya," says Vincent Nicod, head of the ICRC's regional delegation in Nairobi. He explains that following the initial emergency response, an agreement was struck in 1999 with the American Red Cross to collaborate on a series of longer-term projects. With the active participation of both communities, some 65km of roads have been built, more than 70 wells have been dug, some 40 schools have been rebuilt and a health centre has been set up. And while conflict resolution was not an official aim, the projects have had a dramatic effect. "By keeping everybody busy, it had an incredibly quick effect on the level of conflict," Mr Nicod says. The total number of deaths in the fighting is unknown, but the number of clashes has dropped radically - the last fatality was in August - and a new optimism pervades the area. Access to health "You know, these people are very happy," says Rev William Lopeta, the Lutheran pastor in Annet, a Pokot village perched on the escarpment, where the primary school has been rebuilt and there is now access to clean water. Families became closely involved in the school reconstruction, providing one rock per pupil for the reconstruction of the buildings, as well as sand, gravel and labour. Hundreds of villagers also took part in the construction of a remarkable road, which was carved 1,000 metres past Annet up the escarpment. In the absence of heavy digging equipment, workers laid fires overnight around the bigger boulders, which were then cracked open by pouring cold water over them. A similar road was built in the nearby Marakwet area. Both roads then allowed Ministry of Health officials to access the areas to conduct vaccinations, the Ministry of Agriculture launched training programmes, trucks were able to take produce to market, and materials for the school reconstructions could be brought in. Joyous ceremony It appears the thirst for learning was almost too much to bear for the children. "As soon as there was a roof, even before the last coat of paint was put on, the classrooms were full," said Jean Vergain, the head of the ICRC's Nairobi-based Regional Water and Habitat department. Workers had to chase pupils out so the buildings could be finished, he said, as a ceremony to inaugurate eight schools in the area got under way. The ICRC has worked in the area for four years Hundreds of Pokot villagers, as well as local chiefs, elders and administrators, had converged on Annet for the ceremony, which included songs from the school choirs and traditional dancing. As the coloured ribbon was cut outside the main school office, what had started as a slow rhythmic clapping from the crowd erupted into a joyous cacophony of singing, whistling and bursting of balloons. There were moments of sadness as villagers remembered the American Red Cross engineer, Alfred Petters, who was killed in a car crash in February. Alfred, who had devoted his life to the Kerio Valley since the project was launched, was widely loved by both communities, and will be sorely missed. Families were closely involved in the school reconstruction Amid the celebrations, tensions can still run high in the Kerio Valley. Marakwet farmers still flee their lowland farms each evening for the relative safety of hide-outs further up the escarpment. But they too have received extensive support and are said by local officials to welcome the Pokot projects. Both sides agree that education is by far the most powerful weapon against tribal hatred. Whatever uncertainties the future may hold, the message from the Annet primary school choir was clear: "The time to be happy is now, the place to be happy is here, and the way to be happy is to make a friend," they sang.

BBC 9 Nov 2002,Mau Mau rebels threaten court action Fifty years on, and Kenyan anger is boiling over By Mike Thompson BBC, London Kenyans who fought in the Mau Mau rebellion against colonial rule in the 1950s say they are preparing to take the British Government to court for alleged human rights abuses. More than 13,000 Africans were killed in the fighting - including Mau Mau guerrillas, troops and civilians - and about 100 Europeans. Now a welfare group with more than half-a-million members, the Mau Mau Trust, claims many veterans were tortured and illegally detained by the British. It is hoping to win compensation. Slave labour The Mau Mau Trust claims that many of its fighters were regularly beaten and tortured by British forces throughout their fight for independence. Some were alleged to have been battered with rifle butts, stabbed with broken bottles and forced to do slave labour. This treatment is said to have left many mentally scarred and unable to walk again. Last year, the Mau Mau Trust tried to take legal action in Kenya, but failed to win the Kenyan Government's backing. Now, they have hired English lawyer Martin Day, who recently won compensation for British prisoners of war detained by the Japanese, as well as for some Jews who were forced to work for the Nazis. Mr Day predicts that victory in the British courts could win many thousands of Mau Mau veterans six-figure sums in compensation. Should they fail, the trust's chairman is threatening to campaign for a boycott of all British products in Kenya.

East African Standard (Kenya) 10 Nov 2002 Church threatens to expose parties buying cards By Biketi Kikechi and Clare Barasa The Catholic Church yesterday threatened to expose political parties engaged in the buying of voters and identity cards. The church cautioned Kenyans against selling their cards to political parties that are scared of losing the elections. Archbishop John Njenga of the Diocese of Mombasa spoke on behalf of his colleagues who attended prayers for the General Election at the Holy Family Basilica. “To political parties and your agents who are buying voters cards, we know you. We also know that you are taking advantage of people’s poverty. Kindly stop it,” Njenga cautioned. He said those buying the cards want to win the elections, to perpetrate poverty and appealed to the people of goodwill to vote them out. The Bishops, who included Archbishop Ndingi Mwana a’Nzeki of the Diocese of Nairobi, said they can not separate the Church and politics, because people have political, economic and social needs. They cautioned politicians against use of abusive language during their political campaigns. Njenga urged Kenyans who have sold their voter cards to collect replacements from the Electoral Commission of Kenya. The Bishops asked Kenyans not to accept bribes or be influenced to vote in favour of particular candidates. They also cautioned Kenyans against voting along ethnic lines, but instead look for qualities which the church outlined on Friday. “As your shepherds in Christ, we also ask you to shun violence, which will only deny Kenyans their God-given rights,” said Njenga. Njenga said the country needs Kenyans who will stand up and say no to violence so that citizens can exercise their voting rights.

The Nation (Nairobi) OPINION 20 Nov 2002 Investigate the Maasai Rapes John Kamau Nairobi Weeks since the story about the rape of Maasai women by British troops first appeared in a British daily, there has been a deafening silence. Though some of the alleged rapes happened some 24 years ago, the lack of any follow-up to The Observer story is worrying. There has been no word from the Kenya Government, civil society or the British Government on the allegation. Yet some of the Maasai women interviewed gave birth after the ordeal. Where do we go from here? Women can survive rape ordeals if they are believed, if others are outraged on their behalf, and if others denounce the atrocity. But it is quite upsetting if the "good" people fail to act. So why the silence? Or is the story too embarrassing to be told? The story was filed this month from Dol Dol, the same area where British soldiers were accused of leaving hundreds of unexploded ordnance that injured many Maasai herdsmen, women and children. The bomb case led to a legal tussle that was finally settled out of court and the injured Maasai compensated. Sexual assault is a crime of violence and power and in order to get over the trauma, if at all, the survivors need to assert control over their lives once more. It is still not too late for the Dol Dol survivors to do that. Most of the rapes occurred in the 1970s and 1980s when British troops were training in Kenya. One of the victims - their names were published by The Observer - says the soldiers, "smelling of booze", forced their way into her house some 24 years ago, when she was 24. "There were six of them [and] it was about 7pm - they had been drinking in a nearby pub. They were big men and, once in, they offered me and my friend money for sex. When we refused, three raped my friend. The other three raped me." Another survivor says the soldiers were in uniform. "I was injured, but I never went to hospital or told anyone. It was a terrible shame to be raped and, back then, who would have believed our story?' The good thing is that many years later, the story is at last being told, and this must lead to a new investigation into this horrific chapter. It is not too difficult to trace who committed the rapes since some of the victims bore children. One of the victims even alleges she was raped when the soldiers were building Dol Dol Primary School. Of course, some people will dismiss as nonsensical these allegations since they come shortly after locals at Dol Dol who were injured by explosives left behind by the same troops won the £4.5 million compensation. But that episode should not stop Impact, the local non-governmental organisation which has been investigating the rape allegations against filing a case against the British Ministry of Defence. This must be supported by all people of goodwill who want to get to the bottom of the story. The co-ordinator of Impact, Mr Simon ole Kaparo, "believes the women's allegations are just the tip of the iceberg". But some quarters say the case may be complicated: "Most of the victims do not know their exact age. No one possesses a calendar or clock. The women time the rapes in reference to "eclipse of the moon", the "time of the great rains" or "after the birth of my fifth child", said the British daily in a sceptical tone. But the paper agrees that it found some Maasai children traumatised and discriminated against because they have a "light skin and tight blond hair . . . a permanent reminder of [their] biological fathers". In one case, a survivor says his son was borne out of a June 1979 rape. They too have undergone traumatising experience. "In primary school, no one wanted to sit with me- . Teachers would tell the others that I was a human being like them and that I would not eat them, but they taunted me. I didn't have a friend until I was 15. My mother did not tell me she had been raped, but the community said the British man who built my school was my father", the now 23-year-old man told the paper. Rape is one of the gravest abuses, with consequences that can last a lifetime. The survivors remain broken, intimidated, withdrawn, crying, and afflicted with nightmares, insomnia, depression, panic disorders and inner agitation. These survivors need to be recognised and compensated. Another survivor tells about her traumatic experience: "To be raped at all is shameful- yo be raped by an outsider is worse and to be raped by a Mzungu is worst of all." Many survivors of rape, torture, or even genocide say that the most lasting and haunting harm resides not only in the atrocity itself, but in how others, afterwards, have dealt with it. They are traumatised by those who minimise, or exaggerate, or merely misunderstand what rape is about. Mr Martin Day, the lawyer who handled the ordnance claim against the British ministry, is willing to examine the rape allegations, though he warns that "the lapse of time and lack of evidence could present difficulties". The lawyers also say that the Ministry of Defence's responsibility for rape by a soldier may be harder to establish than responsibility for unexploded bombs. So what do we do? Whine and forget? The sexual violence on the Maasai women should not be pushed under the rug and full investigations should be opened. Any silence could end up trivialising the alleged rapes and hurting the victims more. Furthermore, Kenyans do have a right to know what happened. Only then can reason, sanity, and justice prevail. E-mail: rightsfeatures@alphanet.co.ke Mr Kamau is editor of Rights Features Service

IRN 28 Nov 2002 Twin attacks target Israeli tourists NAIROBI, 28 Nov 2002 (IRIN) - Twelve people died on Thursday morning in a bomb attack on a Kenyan hotel, just as two missiles narrowly missed a civilian aircraft as it took off from Mombasa airport, news agencies reported. Israeli tourists were widely thought to be targeted in the attacks, which took place at around 08:00 local time (05:00 GMT) on Thursday morning. The Paradise Hotel, located on the Kenya's Indian Ocean coast at Kikambala, some 16 km north of the port city of Mombasa, is frequented mainly by Israeli tourists, and the blast coincided with the arrival at the hotel of a group of Israeli holidaymakers. Three men reportedly drove a four-wheel-drive vehicle into the lobby of the hotel before detonating the bomb, causing extensive damage to the building. At Mombasa airport, an aircraft operated by the Arkia charter company and bound for the Israeli city of Tel Aviv, was fired on shortly after takeoff by two surface-to-air missiles, both of which were reported to have narrowly missed their target. The BBC quoted airline officials as saying the pilots saw two streaks of light on the left side of the aircraft. The plane, carrying about 260 passengers, was able to continue to its destination, and touched down safely at Tel Aviv airport on Thursday afternoon. Those killed in the hotel bomb attack were thought to include six Kenyan hotel employees, three Israeli tourists, and the three suicide bombers, news agencies reported. The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem reported that some 17 Israelis were among 80 people wounded in the blast. Israel Radio quoted Kenyan police as saying that two men had been arrested in connection with the attacks, and that they were currently undergoing interrogation. No one has yet claimed responsibility for the attacks. However, Islamic radical Usama bin Laden, or "another extremist Islamic group" were suspected of being behind the attacks, the ministry reported. In 1998, the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were attacked in coordinated car bombings that killed 219 and 12 people respectively. The US sentenced four men, whom it accused of having links to Bin Laden's Al-Qaeda network, to life in prison for their role on the attacks. At least one of the men was a resident of Mombasa, local sources told IRIN.

IRIN 28 Nov 2002 Government pledges to curb electoral violence NAIROBI, 28 Nov 2002 (IRIN) - Authorities in Kenya are preparing to deal firmly with the recent upsurge of political violence that has rocked many parts of the country ahead of presidential, parliamentary and civic elections slated for 27 December. Several people have reportedly been killed and scores injured, especially in the past week, during which a number of political parties had been conducting nominations of candidates expected to contest parliamentary seats. Much of the violence has been attributed to unfair voting practices, ranging from alleged bribing of voters to outright rigging. At a joint press conference on Wednesday, Police Commissioner Philemon Abong'o, Attorney-General Amos Wako and Electoral Commissioner Samuel Kivuitu regretted that so far efforts by the Kenyan police to curb the tide had failed to bring the situation under control. They said the violence was undermining democracy, and warned that it could easily drive the country into anarchy. "From the time it became evident that general elections will be held on time, the country witnessed a slow upsurge of political violence. Indeed, the situation is getting worse," they said in a joint statement. "Political violence in all its forms and manifestations is offensive. It is destructive and degrading. It stirs up more violence. In many countries it has led to a complete collapse of law and order, civil wars and anarchy," the statement added. The police commissioner said his force was now preparing to prevent further violence, especially during the crucial electioneering period in the coming month. He said more police officers would be deployed, particularly in the most politically volatile regions. Much of the violence has been reported in western Kenya, Rift Valley Province and parts the capital, Nairobi. "There are laws in this country which can be put into use in dealing with political violence. We will to hesitate to do so. Indeed a number of people have already been charged in law courts with committing such acts," Abong'o told Journalists.

Liberia

The Perspective (Smyrna, Georgia) 4 Nov 2002 "Warlords Must Face War Crimes Tribunal" By a correspondent "Liberia's warlords must all be tried and persecuted for war crimes," Co-founder and President of Freedom and International Justice Foundation, Charles Kwalonu Sunwabe told participants of a youth empowerment workshop in Philadelphia over the weekend. "The warlords, Charles Taylor, Alhaji Kromah, Prince Y. Johnson and all the others, abused and destroyed the youth of Liberia," Sunwabe said, adding "Taylor used the youth of the Mano and Gio tribes as foot soldiers, Alhaji Kromah used our Mandingo brothers and sisters as fighters. The warlords exploited and ruined our country and must therefore be persecuted." Sunwabe served as a panelist alongside Dr. E. Lama Wonkeryor and Human Rights Lawyer Tiawan S. Gongloe on the Politic and Good Governance panel. The Workshop organized by the Association of Liberian Youth in Pennsylvania brought together panelists and participants with diverse backgrounds. Sunwabe in his presentation said Liberians should not be persuaded to believe that the Abuja Accord and or Cotonou Agreement granted Liberia's warring factions amnesty for crimes committed during the war. "Not only does ECOWAS not have legal jurisdiction over Genocide but the clause in the [Cotonou Accord] was intended to persuade the warring factions to cease the hostilities. That clause was not a blanket amnesty, moreover, the warlords failed to adhere to the Abuja Accords and Cotonou Agreements," Sunwabe said. He said the view that a clause in the Cotonou Agreement granted amnesty to all combatants and warring factions for acts committed during the war or in combat is a propaganda intended to create disunity among Liberians and ease off any attempt to hold warlords and combatants accountable for crimes committed during the 1989- 1997 civil war. Sunwabe said the present government of Liberia under Charles Taylor is a direct continuation of the rebel National Patriotic Front (NPFL) of Liberia in its destruction of the youth and violations of tenets of good governance. "Democracy is about institutions," Sunwabe said adding, "The Leadership in Africa and particularly Liberia use these institutions to strengthen their positions and empower themselves." He suggested that in order for democracy to take root in Liberia, the Judiciary must be funded through International aid so as to be removed from government's influence and the local media be privatized. Sunwabe also recommended that military and para-military institutions be reformed to reflect ethnic diversity and trained by international groups. He was quick to point out that his proposal for international trainers did not include Nigeria or ECOWAS member states, adding, that Nigeria and ECOWAS were not symbols of democracy. He urged Liberian youth in the United States to build a coalition with youth in Liberia in order to maintain an awareness of the trends of national and global issues. "The old political players should leave the political scene," Sunwabe said. He said the present politicians have not lived to the confidence and aspiration of Liberians and have not contributed to the development of the country. "They have failed miserably and should leave the stage to allow the younger generations steer the affairs of the nation." Human Rights Lawyer, Tiawan S. Gongloe said the lack of respect for human rights, greed for power and the unfriendly political environments created by leaders in various African countries gave rise to conflicts and civil wars. Gongloe, presently in the United States for medical treatment as a result of torture by police officers, said the greed for power by African leaders and warlords are exhibited by their displayed of wealth in the presence of extreme poverty and human sufferings. He said though Liberia's history is replete with the violations of the rights of the indigenous Liberians by freed American slaves (Americo-Liberians), the prevailing situation in that country cannot be exclusively attributed to Americo-Liberians or the natives. Gongloe suggested that Liberians must not engage in guilt by association but examine individual on the basis of their track record. "The personal evaluation approach is a catalyst for promoting proper behavior in national life," he said. "If Liberians had been more careful and used the personal evaluation approach, they would not have elected a government that has no respect for the separation of powers as defined by the Constitution of Liberia. If Liberians had been more careful, they would not have elected a government that could be linked to the destabilization of other countries and has no respect for internationally accepted standards for governance," Gongloe said. He said the lack of critical evaluation by Liberians resulted in the election of a government that has institutionalized the "politics of opportunism, mediocrity, nepotism, bigotry, dishonesty and disregard for human rights and the rule of law". Gongloe said he believed that the youth of Liberia particularly those in the United States should adopt the American culture of governance; especially the culture of tolerance of opposing views in the process of governance and establish such practice in Liberia. Dr. E. Lama Wonkeryor supported the statements made by Sunwabe and Gongloe that the contribution of the Liberian youth was crucial to the development of the Liberian society. Dr. Wonkeryor, Coordinator for the New Jersey Railroad Project said in order for Liberian youth to reclaim their position, they must actively engage in politics. He urged youths to desist from doing things that bring the wrath of the laws upon them wherever they reside. The workshop ended with participants and panelist still eager to continue discussion on issues raised. Some participants were still signaling to make comments or ask question when the organizers announced that the time allocated to use the hall was long over. While panelists and participants were leaving the hall, Bai Gbala took the microphone and announced that it was "not fair" that they were not given the opportunity to comment on some of the views expressed. Bai Gbala worked in the late President Samuel K. Doe's government, the Interim Government of National Unity headed by Dr. Amos Sawyer, and also served as Advisor to President Charles Taylor. Attendants of the conference left the hall but formed small groups outside of the building where heated exchanges on presentations and views expressed during the workshop were held. Among those present at the workshop were, Geologist and Politician, Cletus Wotorson, Accountant, Garrison Togba, Jr., New Jersey Railroad Project Coordinator, Dr. E. Lama Wonkeryor, Dr. James Guseh, Dr. Al-Hassan Conteh, formerly of the University of Liberia and presently with the University of Pennsylvania served as Keynote Speaker.

Madagascar

IRIN 4 Nov 2002 Close to 200,000 in need of food aid JOHANNESBURG, 4 Nov 2002 (IRIN) - The World Food Programme (WFP) on Monday said close to 200,000 people in southern Madagascar were facing serious food shortages due to a severe drought and the aftershocks of the recent political crisis. WFP's Country Director for Madagascar, Bodo Henze, said: "We have identified 13 communities in the southernmost province of Toliary in need of urgent food assistance. "The areas most affected in the province are traditionally drought prone but it is particularly bad this year because many of them have not recovered from previous droughts." Also, the recent political dispute, which ended in July, had pushed up the price of basic foodstuffs. "The already weak coping mechanisms of the poor were eroded during the political crisis leaving them extremely vulnerable. The prices of basic commodities had increased and as yet they have not come down, making it difficult for the poor," Henze told IRIN. At the height of the crisis, the cost of rice rose by 375 percent, pushing it beyond the reach of many families. The food agency said it was hoping to provide 3,250 mt of maize and 538 mt of pulses to beneficiaries under a food-for-work programme. "We have already made some interventions into the situation through our existing development projects in that part of the country. An emergency operation is in the pipeline and we hope to get aid to these people as soon as possible," Henze said. WFP said the operation is expected to cost the agency US $1.7 million. Earlier this year, a power struggle for the presidency destroyed the economy resulting in thousands of job losses.

Malawi

IRIN 1 Nov 2002 Protests against third term turn violent BLANTYRE, 1 Nov 2002 (IRIN) - What started out as a peaceful demonstration against a proposed third term for President Bakili Muluzi turned violent on Friday when police clashed with protestors in Blantyre, the country's commercial centre. Shops remained closed as armed paramilitary police fought running street battles with demonstrators, barring them from continuing with a protest against a proposed third term for Muluzi. Demonstrators also accused the police of firing live ammunition at them. While Muluzi has maintained an official silence on the third term issue, Justice Minister Duncan Phoya has said government plans to table a bill soon to amend the constitution in order to allow president Muluzi to run for another term. A similar bill was defeated in parliament in early July. The president of the opposition Malawi Democratic Party (MDP) Kamulepo Kalua told IRIN: "We were marching peacefully. They [police] started blocking [our way]. They started throwing teargas at us. We told the people to be peaceful and calm. Not to be responsive to whatever they [police] were doing. But they kept on shooting at us. At one time they were using live ammunition in order to assassinate some of us. But this is not what we fought for. We fought for multiparty democracy and peaceful transition and even the freedom to march." He said police had earlier assured the demonstrators that they would be protected. Church organisations, human rights groups and some opposition political parties had planned a peaceful demonstration against the proposed third term. The activists alleged that police had allowed ruling United Democratic Front (UDF) supporters to disrupt the peaceful demonstration. "The UDF people are hooligans, people who have been bribed to disrupt this peaceful demonstration," alleged Robson Chitengo of the Church and Society NGO. The High Court in Blantyre last week reversed a presidential decree banning all demonstrations against or in favour of a third term for Muluzi. He had also instructed the police and army to "deal" with anyone who defied his order. Judge Edward Twea said in his ruling that "the president has no powers to make laws" and that Muluzi's ban and his directive to the security forces encroached on citizens' rights. At Mzuzu, in northern Malawi, a similar demonstration was stopped by police before it began. One of the organisers, Daire Kumwenda, told IRIN that police had said they did not want a repeat of the chaos in Blantyre. "They're fearing the same can happen here ... but the people want to exercise their right [to demonstrate]," he complained. The third term issue has divided the ruling party. Last month, Muluzi fired Jan-Jaap Sonke from his cabinet. "I begged him to withdraw [his bid for a third term] before a lot of damage was done," Sonke told IRIN. Sonke feared the UDF could lose the 2004 election if Muluzi stood again and that donors would halt aid to the country. According to Sonke, at least 10 other UDF MPs would not support the bill if introduced in the national assembly, but were too scared to declare this publicly.

Mauritania

IRIN 8 Nov 2002 Government asked to take steps to end slavery ABIDJAN, 8 Nov 2002 (IRIN) - Amnesty International has asked the Mauritanian government to take "practical steps" to end slavery, saying that it still existed despite its legal abolition 20 years ago. In a report titled 'Mauritania: A future free from slavery', Amnesty said Mauritania's government "must stop violating its own laws and urgently end slavery, which is an abominable attack on human dignity and freedom." The report was published on the eve of the 21st anniversary of the decree which officially abolished slavery. "Mauritanian laws and international human rights obligations prohibit slavery, but anyone escaping slavery has no legal protection. There is considerable discrimination against former slaves," the organisation said. No government official was willing to take the necessary remedial action to fully eradicate slavery and put an end to impunity for the perpetrators, it added. "Not only has the government denied the existence of slavery and slavery-like practices and failed to respond to cases brought to its attention, it has hampered the activities of organizations which are working on the issue, including by refusing to grant such organizations official recognition." Anti-slavery activists and other human rights defenders work under constant threat of arrest and imprisonment, it said. In 1998, five human rights defenders, including Boubacar Messaoud, President of SOS Esclaves and Fatimata M'baye, Vice President of the Association Mauritanienne des droits de l'homme (AMDH), were sentenced to 13 months' imprisonment for running unauthorized human rights organizations campaigning against slavery. "Action against slavery and continuing human rights abuses based on slavery is long overdue. It is time for the government to approach the problem proactively, rather than denying its importance and hoping that a focus in education, literacy and agrarian reforms will be enough to eradicate the vestiges of slavery and address its consequences," the organisation urged. The report contains a series of detailed recommendations for the abolition of slavery directed to the Mauritanian government and the international community. It said the government must acknowledge that slavery remains a problem in Mauritania and establish an independent and impartial enquiry to investigate practices over the past 20 years. It should also take steps towards complete eradication of slavery and related discrimination. Special emphasis must be given to awareness raising, support of NGOs and civil society working on the issue, legal change and development of means of redress, it added. The organisation urged the international community to encourage the Mauritanian government to confront the issue openly and support the work of human rights organisations working on slavery and slavery-like practices in Mauritania.

Nigeria

IRIN 5 Nov 2002 Tension mounts in Delta over troop deployment ABIDJAN, 5 Nov 2002 (IRIN) - Tension is mounting in Nigeria’s oil region Delta state over recent deployment of troops amid allegations by residents that they were subjecting several ethnic Ijaw communities to harassment. Residents of villages including Diebiri, Batan, Ajuju, Ewerigbene and Kumusi said scores of heavily armed naval personnel have been deployed in their riverine communities since an oil spill last month, which affected their farmlands and fishing areas. They accused oil giant Royal/Dutch Shell, which admitted rupture on a major pipeline at its Batan facility at the time, of inviting the troops following a dispute over compensation and the procedure for cleaning up the spill. "The soldiers have been arresting people indiscriminately and intimidating the communities to accept an unfavourable settlement for damages caused by the oil spill," Dickson Orubebe, a resident of Batan, told IRIN. However, Captain Titus Awoyemi, the commanding officer of the Nigerian Navy base in the oil town of Warri, on Monday denied the allegations. He told reporters that the navy had launched an operation to recover weapons seized from some naval men and dislodge pirates he said were active in the delta waterways. He said armed militants operating in speedboats had on two occasions in recent weeks disarmed naval personnel and policemen guarding oil operations, taking away their weapons. In the latest incident he said, a band of armed youths using two speedboats attacked a boat belonging to Chevron-Texaco and seized weapons from three soldiers aboard on escort duty last week. "The navy, in collaboration with soldiers, policemen and the State Security Service launched an operation to recover the arms seized by the youths," Awoyemi said. He said some of the weapons were recovered with a number of arrests made. The rest and those who took them were still at large, he added. In the past decade militant youths in Nigeria’s impoverished oil region have established a record of frequently disrupting oil operations to protest perceived neglect by government and oil transnational. The government has responded in the past three years by deploying troops to oil facilities, leading to increasing cases of confrontation between them and the militants.

IRIN 6 Nov 2002 Lobby groups urge Obasanjo to forgo re-election LAGOS, 6 Nov 2002 (IRIN) - Two main lobby groups in northern and southeastern Nigeria said on Tuesday President Olusegun Obasanjo should give up his bid for re-election in 2003 in the interest of national unity. The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), which represents northern interests, and Ohaneze Ndigbo, which groups the political and business elite of the southeastern Igbo, in a joint statement said Obasanjo’s ambition for re-election was unpopular and raising political tension to dangerous levels. "What Nigeria needs now is a leader who is dedicated to reviving the economy, one who respects the rule of law...one who is caring and sensitive to the yearnings of the downtrodden...a man who is a true democrat, amenable to advice and able to accommodate dissenting voices," the statement said. "We are sad to conclude that President Obasanjo is not such a leader," it added. The groups claimed Obasanjo manipulated votes in the national assembly and electoral processes in the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP), saying these were signs that he "cannot and will not organise or conduct a credible presidential election". They therefore asked him "as a solemn duty" to give up his second term bid to avoid pushing "the country into calamity". Tension has been mounting in Africa’s most populous country of 120 million people ahead of general elections the electoral commission said would be held in March and April 2003. There has been widespread political violence with cases of political assasinations on the rise. Both the ACF and Ohaneze Ndigbo were instrumental in the massive victory Obasanjo scored in northern and southeastern Nigeria in 1999 elections that ended more than 15 years of military rule. Obasanjo swept to the presidency despite winning scant votes in his southwest ethnic Yoruba homeland, where he was perceived as a stooge of northern political interests. Late last month a group of prominent Nigerians known as The Patriots - including Abraham Adesanya, leader of the pro-Yoruba lobby, Afenifere - had issued a statement calling on Obasanjo not to run for the presidency again. They recommended a constitutional amendment for a single five-year presidency as a way out of the "second-term syndrome" which they said was heating up the polity. Last week the Nigerian Bar Association, the umbrella lawyers’ body, supported the move by writing to the federal legislature requesting the start of a process of a constitutional amendment for a five-year, single term presidency. Neither Obasanjo nor his aides have responded directly to these demands. But in picking up the PDP presidential nomination forms last week, the president has indicated his intention to forge ahead with his political ambition.

IRIN 11 Nov 2002 No deaths by stoning, government official says LAGOS, 11 Nov 2002 (IRIN) - Nigeria's government has said it will not allow people to be stoned to death on the order of Shari’a courts. Junior Minister of Foreign Affairs Dubem Onyia said in a statement on Friday that the government was aware of widespread international concern over recent death sentences imposed by Islamic courts and would "use its constitutional powers to thwart any negative ruling which is deemed injurious to its people". "We restate that no person shall be condemned to death by stoning in Nigeria," he said. Nigeria has come under severe international pressure for the sentences, especially after a 31-year-old mother, Amina Lawal, was condemned to be stoned to death for adultery. This year’s Miss World beauty pageant, scheduled to be held in Nigeria in December, has faced boycotts by many would-be contestants in protest against the sentence. A total of 12 states in Nigeria’s mainly Muslim north have adopted Islamic law in the past three years. Two other people have appealed against death sentences for adultery and one for rape. Nigeria’s federal government has repeatedly condemned the sentences as unconstitutional but had declined to intervene in deference to the country’s federal system. The latest statement is the strongest indication yet that it is ready to stop the sentences from being carried out.

Reuters 13 Nov 2002 Nigeria Leader Cancels Meeting with Beauty Queens By John Chiahemen ABUJA (Reuters) - Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo has canceled plans to receive contestants for this year's Miss World pageant in Abuja in an effort to avoid offending Muslims, organizers said on Wednesday. The event has already been overshadowed by fears of a mass boycott over stoning death sentences passed by Islamic courts on Nigerian women convicted of adultery. Muslim groups in Nigeria have called the pageant "a parade of nudity" and threatened to disrupt the contest. "The girls were initially due to worship with the president in the presidential chapel yesterday, but this was put off to today," a pageant official who asked not to be named said. "Today's meeting has also been canceled. We understand the president's chief of staff, who is a Muslim, categorically ruled out any chance of the girls coming to the state house," the official added. "He said that as a Muslim he was opposed to the whole idea of the pageant," said the official, recounting a meeting between pageant organizers and presidential officials. A presidency spokesman could not comment on the account of the pageant organizers. More than 80 contestants who have been in Abuja since Monday were flown on Wednesday to the southeastern city of Calabar for a program of pre-pageant video shoots. The main contest will be held in Abuja on December 7. All engagements ahead of the main event have been set in the predominantly Christian southeast and the oil-producing Niger Delta. Abuja, the inland capital, is close to Nigeria's Muslim heartland in the north. The main event was shifted from November to December after Muslims complained it would fall during their holy Ramadan fast. NO REVEALING DRESS The cabinet minister responsible for the Federal Capital Territory of Abuja took the trouble of assuring Muslim groups that the contestants would not wear revealing clothes while in Abuja. The girls remained in their Abuja hotel until they flew to southeastern Calabar on Wednesday. Obasanjo's presidency has been dogged by clashes between Muslims and Christians, mainly over the adoption of Islamic sharia law by about a dozen northern states. Non-Muslims oppose sharia because of its tough sanctions, including amputation of hands for theft and the stoning of convicted adulterers to death. No one has been stoned to death, but stoning sentences hanging over two men and two women nearly wrecked this year's pageant. Scores of beauty queens threatened to stay away, citing in particular the death sentence passed on 31-year-old mother, Amina Lawal Kurami, for bearing a child out of marriage. Many later withdrew their boycott threat, saying they were satisfied with assurances by the Nigerian government that it would not allow anyone to be stoned to death. The government sees the staging of the Miss World pageant in Nigeria as a potential boost to tourism in Nigeria, which is trying to diversify its foreign earnings from crude oil exports.

IRIN 14 Nov 202 Seven shot in clash with security forces ABIDJAN, 14 Nov 2002 (IRIN) - Seven people were shot dead this week in a clash with security forces in Nigeria's central Plateau State, news organisations reported. According to the BBC, they were the first victims of a shoot-on-sight policy introduced two weeks ago by the state governor in an attempt to curb ethnic and religious violence that has lasted in the state for a year. BBC quoted a police official in the state capital, Jos, as saying that the deaths occurred after persons yet to be identified fired on a patrolling police officers, who then retaliated. Jos State’s longstanding reputation for peace was shattered in September 2001 by a major eruption of violence between Christian indigenes and Muslim settlers. More than 1,000 people died in a week of violence. Since then the state has been the scene of a low-intensity conflict, in which more than 200 people are estimated to have died.

IRIN 14 Nov 2002 Obasanjo pardons former secessionist soldiers LAGOS, 14 Nov 2002 (IRIN) - Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo has pardoned 80 ex-soldiers who fought against the federal government during the 1967-70 Biafra War. The decision was announced on Tuesday at the end of a meeting of the National Council of State, which comprises the president and governors of the country 36 states. The main beneficiaries were soldiers who had left the Nigerian armed forces to join the army of the shortlived republic of Biafra. "This pardon wipes out the stigma of dismissal," said Ogun State Governor Segun Osoba, who briefed reporters at the end of the meeting. The soldiers were also restored to their former ranks, making them eligible for retirement benefits 32 years after the end of the civil war. Southeastern Nigeria, then governed by Col Emeka Ojukwu, declared itself an independent state called Biafra following massacres in northern Nigeria in which tens of thousands of people, mainly Igbos from the southeast, lost their lives. Thirty-six months of fighting followed and more than one million people, mostly Igbos, died in what was then described as Africa’s worst modern war. Ojukwu himself was pardoned in 1981. That enabled him to return to Nigeria after a 10-year exile in Cote d’Ivoire.

Daily News, 14 Nov 2002 Government vows to arrest banned citizens if they return By Luke Tamborinyoka, Political Editor The government warned yesterday that expatriate Zimbabwean citizens working for private radio stations who were last week included on a list of people banned from visiting the country, would be arrested once they set foot in Zimbabwe. In the same vein, the government said it was closely monitoring the activities of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), which it said were supporting the opposition MDC and the independent Press in trying to unseat the government. Speaking in Parliament yesterday, Patrick Chinamasa, the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, said Zimbabweans who were included on a list would be allowed back, but they would be arrested. Asked what the government would do to banned Zimbabweans who held only Zimbabwean passports, Chinamasa said: "They are free to come back, but they will be welcome in our prisons. Those citizens with other foreign passports are not Zimbabwean citizens because we cannot have these people demonising the government every day on the radio. Every Zimbabwean has a right to be in Zimbabwe and has a right to come back to this country. It is a right guaranteed by the Constitution, but we cannot allow dual citizenship - our people travelling with British and Dutch passports but who engage in acts of broadcasting information that denigrates the country." Chinamasa was responding to a question by Harare North MP, Trudy Stevenson, on whether it was government policy to ban Zimbabwean citizens from visiting the country. Last week, in a retaliatory move following the decision by the European Union to slap travel bans on the Zanu PF elite, and another decision by Britain to introduce visas for Zimbabweans, the government published its own list of banned visitors. The list included British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his government ministers, as well as Zimbabweans working for the independent SW Radio Africa (SWRA), which broadcasts from London, and the Voice of the People (VoP), which broadcasts from the Netherlands. The SWRA workers were named as John Matinde, Gerry Jackson, Georgina Godwin, Simon Parkinson, Mandisa Mundawarara, Violet Gonda, Tererai Karimakwenda and Graeme Counsel, while Lodewijk Bouwens was named as being employed by VoP. In another crack-down on NGOs, July Moyo, the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, told Parliament that Amani Trust was not properly registered and its leadership risked being arrested. He said the organisation had only registered its constitution with the Deeds Registry Office, but had not regularised its registration in accordance with the Private Voluntary Organisations Act. In another response to a question read on his behalf, the Minister of State Security, Nicholas Goche, said the government was monitoring the activities of NGOs. He said NGOs were used by foreign powers to unseat governments in small countries and to force a regime change. Goche said most NGOs were disguising their nefarious activities with semantics such as support for democracy and human rights. He again cited Amani Trust and the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) which he said was involved in supporting several projects for the opposition MDC and helping plan its election strategy. Goche said in 2000, the WFD provided the MDC with money, which he said was still flowing into the party’s coffers. He also cited the Zimbabwe Democracy Trust and the Southern Africa Media Development Fund (SAMDEF). Goche said when The Daily News was facing financial problems, it received US$526 000 (Z$28,93 million) from SAMDEF.

IRIN 18 Nov 2002 Human Rights Watch testifies on Benue killings LAGOS, 19 Nov 2002 (IRIN) - Human Rights Watch, the US-based international human rights group on Monday began testifying in Nigeria on the massacre of hundreds of civilians by the military during ethnic clashes last year in the country’s central region. The group’s Nigeria researcher, Carina Tertsakian, appeared before a government commission in the capital, Abuja, to defend its report holding the military culpable for reprisal attacks against unarmed civilians after 19 soldiers were killed by a local militia. The commission, headed by Okwuchukwu Opene, a judge of Nigeria’s federal high court, was appointed by President Olusegun Obasanjo to probe the causes of the ethnic conflicts which have wracked Benue, Taraba, Nasarawa and Plateau states in the last two years. Tertsakian defended the rights group against suggestions by the counsel to the security forces, Bello Fadile, that its report blaming soldiers for killing over 200 civilians of the Tiv community was full of "fabrications" and "half-truths". "The operations in Benue State were well planned," she said. "All the witnesses we interviewed confirmed that the military operatives came in large numbers and the command structure of those who executed the killings was perfect, showing that the authorities gave their blessings." Despite overwhelming evidence that soldiers carried out the killings, the military authorities in Nigeria have yet to officially accept responsibility for the massacre. Obasanjo initially defended the deployment of the soldiers to the region where Tivs and their Jukun neighbours were locked in conflict over land disputes. But last month he apologised to a delegation from Benue State on a courtesy visit to the presidential residence for the killings. The Benue killings and a similar attack also ordred by the government in Odi town, in the southern oil region in 1999, were among reasons given by federal legislators for their move to begin impeachment proceedings against the president. The testimony of Human Rights Watch is expected to last two days.

Vanguard (Lagos) 20 Nov 2002 Ohaneze's Push to Actualise Igbo Presidency Princewill Ewujuru OHA-NA-EZE NDIGBO Lagos forum has re-echoed the issue of addressing the Igbo relevance in the Nigerian polity and its resolve to produce the next President of the country [....]. Mr. Oke Okeke, secretary of the forum at a press briefing to commemorate the First National conference billed to hold in November for All Igbo Political Aspirants in Nigeria (AIPAN) as well as the N2.5 billion Ndigbo political empowerment foundation, weekend in Lagos said that the Igbo agenda was borne out of the long years of marginalisation as a recurrent tune on the lips of Ndigbo. Marginalisation of Ndigbo in National life according to him rose because at a point in history Ndigbo and Eastern Nigeria lost faith in the polity called Nigeria and opted for a new Nation which led a war during which the Biafran dream was quashed and the popular slogan by the Nigeria government to keep the country one was achieved. Despite the promise of the then government of 'No Victor, No Vanquished' and the 3R's of Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Reconciliation Eastern Nigeria and especially the Igbo Nation by successive Governments have criminally, deliberately and maliciously neglected and hindered Ndigbo from attaining the highest positions in decision making process of th Nation. In addition, Okeke pointed out that careless and unmindful statements were credited to some highly respected leaders siting example he said that President Obasanjo insinuated that Igbo as a conquered people should pay for over 300 years before expecting full integration into the affairs of the Nation. He stated however in Igbo adage, Onye ajuru ana ha aju onwe ya meaning that some rejected by the society do not reject himself . Despite the genocidal annihilation of its people during the war, in spite of barriers Ndigbo's spirit have refused to be enslaved. In furtherance to his speech, Okeke noted that aside the setbacks encountered by the Igbo extraction "the Onyigbo embraces the Nigerian project deeper and more seriously than his Nigerian Brothers" drawing that the Igbo man fully adopts his new environment by living, working and investing anywhere he finds himself maintaining that Ndigbo have invested far more in other parts of the nation than in Igboland. Continuing, he pointed out that the "world Igbo summit in 2001 was a step to a higher level form that of a cacophony of complaining voices to a level of setting the Igbo agenda and positively addressing the issues that affect Ndigbo as a nation within a nation.Today we want to bring to your knowledge that through our programme initiative, we want to set into action the next level of addressing the issue of Igbo relevance in the Nigerian polity. This is the level of well defined and well articulated strategy, plans of action and programme of events to assist us in realising the Igbo agenda within the Nigerian context" This level Okeke explained is a departure from mere rhetorics and expressions of wishful thinking to the arena of marshalling out positive, purposeful and well envisioned plans of action to fulfill the yearnings of the people as this level demands that Igbos get their acts together and right too. He went on to say that the level needs defining, redefining the Igbo agenda, promoting and encouraging teamwork and team spirit in pursuit of Igbo agenda among Igbo political actors and activists, setting up structures and strengthening the existing ones by a programme of periodic interactions he stressed. At this juncture, he reminded Ndigbo that to make any impact in Nigerian politics there should be a balance of the three variants of personal, Igbo and the Nigerian agenda. Advising further, Okeke said that in pursuit of their personal agenda or national agenda shoud not negate the importance and the realisation of the Igbo agenda in the Nigerian political system. Warning, He noted that the current judgement by the Supreme court of Nigeria voiding INEC's conditions and guidelines for registration of political parties further justifies Ndigbo's idea, Stating that Ndigbo should not permit political affiliations to becloud their pursuit for Igbo agenda in Nations political arena.

Vanguard (Lagos) 20 Nov 2002 2,483 Lives Lost to Odi Armed Invasion AN Environmental rights group, Environmental Rights Action Friends of the Earth (ERA) has alleged that the military invasion of Odi in Bayelsa State claimed 2,483 casualties comprising of 1,023 females and 1,460 males. In an extract from a report entitled "Blanket of Silence: Images of the Odi Genocide. ERA in a statement signed by Doifie Ola wondered that despite President Olusegun Obasanjo's acknowledgment, while on a visit to Odi, that the soldiers went beyond their brief, the president as commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces has failed to offer apology or even order compensation to the community. The NGO faulted official claims that the invading soldiers were in Odi to arrest a band of lawless elements accused of killing law enforcement officers. "The world now knows that the killing of the policemen was never the reason for the onslaught on Odi. "The idea was to contain the agitation of the peoples of the Niger Delta for resource and environmental control, political autonomy and a democratic federal Nigeria. Obasanjo and the social forces he represents perceive this agitation as a major threat to the status quo. They therefore want to conquer the Niger Delta by force of arms, the easier way to sustain the rape on the people and their resources". ERA quoted Nigeria's Minister of Defence General Theophilus Danjuma as telling the Economic Committee of West African States (ECOWAS) ministerial conference on November 25, 1999 that: "This Operation HAKURI II, was initiated with the mandate of protecting lives and property-particularly oil platforms, flow stations, operating rig terminals and pipelines, refineries and power installations in the Niger Delta". Odi is an oil community with three capped oil wells controlled by Shell Petroleum Development Company Ltd. A blanket of Silence contains ERA reports from Odi, testaments from the local people and the sick graffiti which Nigerians soldiers left on Odi, the statement said. The group gave five reasons for the human rights record of the Obasanjo regime in the Niger Delta; lto draw attention to the human rights record of the Obasanjo regime in the Niger Delta; lto highlight the sorry fact that oil, not human security, motivated the attack on the oil-bearing community of Odi; lto support the legitimate demands of the Odi people for reparations; lto campaign for an independent inquiry into the Odi massacre and the punishment of all those responsible for the genocide attack lto contribute to our active history. The group recommended that the Federal Government set up: lAn independent judicial commission of inquiry to look into the immediate and remote causes that led to the invasion, destruction, killings and maiming in Odi. l Identify persons, groups, concerns or entities who took part, encouraged, instigated, approved or perfected the invasion of Odi and have them prosecuted. l Provide relief, succour, rehabilitate and rebuild Odi town. lCompensate all those who have suffered one way or the other in the Odi invasion. l Apologise to the Odi people for this unwarranted assault on their communal sanctity. * Cause to be published a detail report of the independent judicial commission of inquiry. It also recommended that the international community should set up international war crime tribunal to try and punish all those who in one way of the other perpetrated the atrocity in Odi.

This Day (Lagos) 23 Nov 2002 Group Set to Sue Government Over Odi Bombing Lagos Human rights group, Environmental Rights Action (ERA), affiliated to the friends of the Earth, has said it had documented enough evidence to lodge a case against the Federal Government at the International Court of Justice over the November 20, 1999 bombing of Odi in Bayelsa State. Speaking at the third anniversary of Odi bombing, the group said President Olusegun Obasanjo, who ordered the attack, General Victor Malu - who was army chief at the time - and soldiers who participated in the attack on Odi were guilty of crimes against humanity. Odi was destroyed in the attack, ordered in response to the killing of 12 policemen by local militants. According to the ERA report titled 'A Blanket of Silence: Images of Odi Genocide', 2,483 people from 109 families were killed in the raid, after which only a bank and a church were left standing. The report was presented by the group's at a commemorative rally in the town. The statement said, "we have come to the conclusion that what happened in Odi was a crime against humanity," Douglas said. "The Geneva Convention and other such international instruments do not condone crimes against humanity. We have documented and compiled a justification to bring those who visited the atrocities on Odi before the International Criminal Court." Nigeria's Minister of Defence, Lt. Gen. Theophilus Danjuma, had defended the Odi invasion as aimed at protecting oil operations in the southern Niger Delta region. Over the past decade militants have routinely attacked the operations of international oil companies to back demands for access to more oil wealth and amenities for their impoverished communities. A year after the attack on Odi, Obasanjo visited the town and acknowledged that the soldiers had gone "beyond their brief". But, ERA said, he offered neither an apology nor compensation to the community. The group said it would start a case against Malu, who was retired last year, and the soldiers who participated in the mission. It said it would await the end of Obasanjo's tenure in office to sue him. Obasanjo has also been blamed for ordering a similar attack in central state of Benue last year after a local militia killed 19 soldiers sent to halt ethnic clashes there. Hundreds of people were killed and scores of houses destroyed, including that of Malu.

Daily Trust (Abuja) 18 Nov 2002 Miss World Pageant: Sharia Council Calls for Media Blackout The Supreme Council for Sharia Implementation in Nigeria has urged the 12 Northern states that introduced the Sharia Legal System to ensure a total media blackout on the current Miss World pageant holding in Nigeria. Speaking through its National President, Dr. Ibrahim Datti Ahmed, the body described the event as an abomination. It also called on other states in Nigeria where Muslims are in the greater majority to bar their radio and television stations from carrying stories on the event as a mark of respect to both Islam and Christianity which abhor nudity and promiscuity. "All Muslims should boycott it, we will not urge violence, but we Muslims will use our vote next year to oust all those who supported this immorality which goes against the teachings of the major religions," Dr. Datti Ahmad told Daily Trust in Kano. The president of the SCSN also lamented the insensitivity of the present administration to the majority, saying Muslims North and South constitute over 70 per cent of the Nigerian population and the government was turning a deaf ear to their wishes on the hosting of the event. "Now Nigerians can see the type of people they elected to be their leaders, fortunately we are in a democracy, fortunately we are going into election next year, so Muslims and those who support our stand against this immorality like the decent Christians and even those who follow African traditional religion, we should all unite and vote this irresponsible government out from Obasanjo right down to anyone who supported the event," he urged.

IRIN 21 Nov 2002 Muslims protest against news report LAGOS, 21 Nov 2002 (IRIN) - Groups of Muslim demonstrators in Nigeria’s northern Kaduna State staged violent protests on Wednesday and Thursday over what they deemed an offensive reference to the Prophet Mohammed by a national daily, residents said. Residents said more than 500 angry people invaded the office of "Thisday" daily on Wednesday morning and set it ablaze. No one was reported injured. The violence continued on Thursday with the burning of some churches and damaging of cars by the protesters. "Yesterday the Kaduna office was burned down. Today several churches have been set alight in the mainly Muslim areas of the city," Jonah Bako, a resident, told IRIN. The protesters were apparently angered by a report in Thisday's Saturday edition on the Miss World Beauty contest being hosted by Nigeria. The report contained a comment dismissing Muslim opposition to the contest by suggesting Prophet Mohammed would have probably chosen one of the beauty queens as a wife. Thisday subsequently ran front-page apologies to Muslims saying the comments were published in error after they had been removed by the supervising editor. But the anger appeared to have deepened after clerics condemned the newspaper at mosques and urged prayers for its downfall. Residents of Kaduna said vendors have since stopped displaying Thisday for sale. Tension has since mounted in the city, populated by roughly equal numbers of Muslims and non-Muslims. Policemen deployed to the streets in large numbers to stop the violence from further escalating fought with angry mobs throwing stones and bottles. Unconfirmed reports said a number of people had been killed. More than 2,000 people died in the city in 2000 in clashes between Muslims and Christians over an attempt by the state government to introduce strict Islamic law. A dozen states in Nigeria’s predominantly Muslim north have introduced the strict Islamic or Shar’iah legal code in the past three years. The Miss World contest has been steeped in controversy as a result of across the world for a boycott in protest against the sentencing to death of a woman, Amina Lawal, for having a baby out of wedlock. More than 90 contestants arrived in Nigeria last week to start the contest after the Nigerian federal government gave assurances it would not allow the stoning sentences to be carried out. Many Muslims have expressed anger that the contest, describing it as "a parade of nudity" and offensive to their religious sensibilities. The contestants are currently on a tour of the mainly Christian south, while the contest itself is scheduled for 7 December in the capital, Abuja. There were fears that the violence in kaduna might spread to the volatile city of Kano and other mainly Muslim towns farther north.

WP 25 Nov 2002 Death Toll in Nigeria Climbs Past 200 as Violence Spreads By Dulue Mbachu Page A11 LAGOS, Nigeria, Nov. 24 -- The death toll from riots sparked by Muslim opposition to hosting of the Miss World pageant rose to more than 200, officials said today, as violence continued to spread across the country. Despite the decision of the Miss World organizers to move the pageant to London, rioting continued in the northern city of Kaduna, where Muslim anger erupted last Wednesday when a local newspaper columnist suggested that the prophet Muhammad might have taken one of the contestants as a wife. Muslim militants burned the northern regional office of the newspaper, ThisDay, and then attacked Christians and churches. Kaduna's Christian population has launched reprisal attacks against Muslim targets, pushing up the death toll, according to hospital officials and the local Red Cross. "We have received reports from field operatives involved in retrieving corpses from the streets indicating more than 200 people have so far died," said Johnson Michika, an official at the city's main hospital. The president of the Nigerian Red Cross, Emmanuel Ijewere, said his organization had counted 215 dead by Saturday night. The violence has since reached Nigeria's capital, Abuja. There were no immediate reports of casualties there, the Associated Press reported. Religious violence has rocked this country of 130 million, Africa's most populous, in the past three years. The fighting has claimed more than 10,000 lives and threatened the fragile unity of a country that is divided almost equally between Muslims and non-Muslims.

AP 26 Nov 2002 Nigerian Calls for Death of Miss World Article Writer By Glenn McKenzie LAGOS, Nigeria –– The deputy governor of a largely Islamic state in northern Nigeria has called on Muslims to kill the Nigerian writer of a newspaper article about the Miss World beauty pageant that sparked deadly religious riots. "Just like the blasphemous Indian writer Salman Rushdie, the blood of Isioma Daniel can be shed," Zamfara Deputy Governor Mahamoud Shinkafi told a gathering of Muslim groups in the state capital, Gusau, on Monday. Rushdie, an Indian-born Briton, went into hiding after Iran's late revolutionary leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, issued a 1989 fatwa – or religious edict – against him for allegedly insulting Islam his best-selling novel, "The Satanic Verses." In 1998, the Iranian government declared it would not support the fatwa, but said it could not rescind the edict since, under Islamic law, that could be done only by the person who issued it. Khomeini had died in 1989. While state officials cannot issue fatwas, the deputy governor, "like all Muslims," considers the death sentence against Daniel as "a reality based on the teachings of the Quran," Zamfara state Information Commissioner Tukur Umar Dangaladima said Tuesday. Islam's holy book "states that whoever accuses or insults any prophet of Allah ... should be killed," Dangaladima told The Associated Press. "If she (Daniel) is Muslim, she has no option except to die. But if she is a non-Muslim, the only way out for her is to convert to Islam." Daniel, a Lagos-based fashion writer with ThisDay, reportedly went into hiding after being interrogated by police last week in connection with the article, which suggested Islam's founding prophet Muhammed would have approved of Miss World and might have wanted to marry one of the contestants. Her religion is unknown. The newspaper has issued repeated apologies for the article, saying the offending portions were published by mistake after earlier being deleted by a supervising editor. ThisDay officials were not immediately available for comment Tuesday. But one of the paper's columnists, Amanze Obi, suggested Daniel "may have been a victim of excitement." "I imagine that she may have written that line without knowing it," Obi wrote in Tuesday's edition. "The line was innocuous." Dangaladima said other ThisDay employees had been spared from the fatwa, which "applies only to the offending pen." Zamfara was the first of 12 states to adopt Islamic law, or Shariah, after Nigerian military rule gave way to elected government in 1999. Religious clashes since then have killed thousands across the country. The latest rioting began last Wednesday when Muslims burned down a ThisDay office in the northern city of Kaduna. More than 200 people were killed in the city and rioting also briefly spread to the capital, Abuja. The violence caused Miss World organizers to abandon plans to hold the pageant in Nigeria and evacuate more than 80 participants to London, where the show will go ahead Dec. 7.

IRIN 29 Nov 2002 slamic council overrules fatwa on journalist LAGOS, 29 Nov 2002 (IRIN) - Nigeria’s leading Islamic council, Jama'atu Nasril Islam, on Thursday overruled the death sentence or fatwa passed on a local newspaper reporter for an article considered blasphemous by Muslims. The northern state of Zamfara had urged Muslims on Monday to kill Isioma Daniel of Thisday daily as a religious obligation for her article dismissing Muslim opposition to the hosting of the Miss World contest in Nigeria. In the article, Daniel, who has since fled Nigeria, suggested prophet Mohammed may have chosen one of the contestants for a wife. "The Zamfara state government has no authority to issue fatwas and the fatwa issued by it should be ignored," a statement signed by Lateef Adegbite, the council’s secretary general, said. The statement said the leader of Nigerian Muslims, the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Macido, had asked the fatwa committee to meet and discuss Daniel’s article, having noted the apology made by the newspaper. Muslim protests against the Thisday article had degenerated into four days of sectarian violence in the northern city of Kaduna last week in which more than 200 people died. The Miss World organisers cancelled the contest, which was to have held in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, and moved it to London. President Olusegun Obasanjo travelled on Thursday to Kaduna, where he visited some of the wounded in hospital. He told a meeting of religious and traditional rulers he had directed the security agencies to apprehend those responsible for the violence. Christian leaders remained critical of the government’s handling of the crisis, saying most of the casualties were non-Muslims. "If the government fails to protect us, our people will be left with no option but to defend and protect themselves by whatever means available to them," Methodist Archbishop Ola Makinde, told reporters. He blamed the increasing cases of sectarian violence in Nigeria on the introduction of strict Islamic or Shari’ah law by 12 states in the predominantly Muslim north. More than 2,000 people died in Kaduna in 2000 in violence that erupted over an attempt by the government to introduce the Islamic legal code.

Rwanda

Internews (Arusha) 4 Nov 2002 Rwanda Supports ICTR Proposal to Compensate Genocide Survivors By Sukhdev Chhatbar Arusha The government of Rwanda hopes the UN will promptly act on a recent proposal by Navanethem Pillay, President of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), on compensation for victims of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. Supporting Pillay's proposal, made to a United Nations Security Council meeting in New York on 29 October, Martin Ngoga, special representative of the Rwanda government to the ICTR, said: "Wisdom must prevail the UN has the ability [to compensate the victims] if it decides so." He added that his government would like to see the proposal transformed into reality. "The suggestion is commendable, and we expect the United Nations to act," Ngoga told Internews today. In her proposal, Pillay told the UN Security Council that compensation would help Rwanda to recover from the genocidal experience. "Many Rwandans have questioned the tribunal's value and its role in promoting reconciliation when claims for compensation were not addressed I strongly urge the United Nations to provide compensation for the Rwanda victims." More than 800,000 people died in the April-July 1994 violence in Rwanda, which was triggered by the death of President Juvenal Habyarimana on 6 April 1994. Regarding Pillay's remarks that the tribunal has experienced difficulties in bringing witnesses from Rwanda following new immigration regulations, Ngoga said: "Let the bygones be bygones." He said Pillay's proposal for a joint meeting with senior Rwandan officials "should be the focus of the discussion." The ICTR president told the Security Council that two trials were affected in May and June due of lack of witnesses, which, according to her, "disrupted the careful planning of the judicial calendar and was a severe setback to the judicial work." The trials were the so-called "Butare Trial" for six defendants, and the trial for Eliezer Niyitegeka, former Rwandan minister for information. Pillay's proposed meeting between tribunal and Rwanda government officials is scheduled for Arusha later this month. Rwanda's Justice Minister Jean de dieu Mucyo and other senior government officials are expected to attend.

Christian Science Monitor 7 Nov 2002 Rwandan community courts slow to bring justice Twenty-six pilot courts, called gacacas, have been begun hearing testimony about Rwanda's 1994 genocide By Nicole Itano | Special to The GASHARU, RWANDA - Once a week, the inhabitants of this tiny, mountaintop village meet in a small clearing next to a carefully cultivated potato and bean field. Women comfort babies under the shelter of brightly colored umbrellas. Old men holding the smoothly carved sticks of a village elder huddle under a nearby tree. When 100 people have arrived, trickling in from their fields in the nearby hills, a lanky man with a soft voice rises from his wooden bench and opens a small box containing a list of names. He solemnly begins a prayer for those who were killed during Rwanda's 1994 genocide. "God has brought rain to remind us of those who died in the genocide," he says, looking at the threatening skies. "We are here in their memory." Court is in session. The people of Gasharu have been meeting in this unsheltered field once a week for more than three months, attempting to compile a record of what happened during those terrible 100 days when an estimated 800,000 to 1 million Rwandan Tutsis and their Hutu supporters were slaughtered. It is the first step in a process expected to last three years, during which time those accused of genocide will be tried by newly revived village courts, called gacacas for the grass clearings in which they are held. But questions remain whether these trials, whose success is based on people's willingness to speak openly about what happened, can bring justice. Earlier this year, gacaca (pronounced ga-CHA-cha) courts were initiated to relieve Rwanda's overburdened justice system. Twenty-six pilot courts out of an expected 11,000 have begun hearing testimony. In this first phase, the courts are collecting evidence and compiling lists of the victims and the accused. With strong incentives for prisoners to confess (their sentences are halved), government officials are hoping that the vast majority of the accused, including the more than 100,000 languishing in Rwanda's overcrowded prisons, will voluntarily tell their stories. This crucial information about what happened in 1994 can be used to try the still unrepentant. But Rwandans are wary of digging up the past. As yet, the outflow of information has not been as abundant as the government had hoped. Terezia Uwimana, a Hutu grandmother with snow-white hair and small whiskers poking from her chin, says that everyone knows what happened in 1994. But like many here, she has left the difficult accusations to others, testifying only about the theft of some cattle by Tutsis. Many of the courts have struggled with low participation. And Tutsis have been reluctant to testify for fear they will be victimized again. Questions about the judges So far, the courts have operated with a town-hall meeting format. A panel of 15 judges listens to testimony by community members or prisoners who have chosen to confess. The judges, many of whom are only semiliterate, often ask the speaker to stop or speak more slowly. Worrying to some human rights groups is the training and independence of judges. Some have been accused of complicity in the genocide. And with minimal preparation time, they often lack uniformity in interpreting the law. "The question really is why are people so reticent ... and how will the government respond to that," says Alison des Forges, a senior adviser at Human Rights Watch who has followed the trials closely and testified at the United Nations trials that deal with the genocide planners. "Is it going to react by reconsidering the system or will it simply go ahead as planned?" Ms. Des Forges says that one reason for the low participation from Hutus may be that the government has refused to allow the gacaca courts to deal with crimes allegedly committed by the Rwandan Patriotic Front, the Tutsi-led rebel army that ultimately toppled the Hutu government and ended the genocide. As a result, many Hutus say they feel the trials are not addressing the whole story of what happened. One day recently, Didas Rutashungirwa was among those who waited for hours for the proceedings in Gasharu to begin. But for Mr. Rutashungirwa, an aging cattle herder who lost six children and his wife of 20 years, this day was special. He had come to hear the confession of the man who killed his wife. Confronting his former neighbor brought the memories of those terrible days rushing back. Rutashungirwa is anxious to hear this man, one of three prisoners in pink prison jumpsuits returning to testify. But he is also afraid. "The men who killed children and babies, we especially fear them," says Rutashungirwa, who has the haunted look of many survivors. "Maybe," he says, "they will come back to kill the survivors, to finish the job." Though the charge for murder carries a maximum sentence of 15 years, many who have confessed have already served eight years and will be coming home soon. A model for reconciliation Despite a wave of new confessions, it is difficult to find anyone here who admits to actually killing anyone. Augustin Ruhigisa's story is common here. This bulky former bar owner confessed to handing over an old woman to be tortured, but only because a soldier with a gun ordered him to. Under the gacaca legislation, however, giving someone up to be killed is the same as killing. (It is still unclear whether individual courts will convict on that basis.) Even with the challenges, Rwanda's chief prosecutor says Rwanda is making the community courts an example for post-conflict resolution. "By and large, we've been able to make so much progress compared to other countries emerging from conflict," says Gerald Gahina, a slim, well-spoken former refugee who heads Rwanda's 300 prosecutors who are working with the gacaca courts to provide evidence on the prisoners. "Is it a model? In my view, God forbid that any country ever goes through this again, but for us this is working."

AP 7 Nov 2002 Rwanda Turns to Islam After Genocide By RODRIQUE NGOWI Associated Press Writer November 7, 2002, 2:40 PM EST KIGALI, Rwanda -- After the sliver of the new moon had been sighted, Saleh Habimana joined the growing ranks of Muslims in this central African nation and began the daylight fasting that marks the holy month of Ramadan. Later, Rwanda's leading Muslim cleric joined men in embroidered caps and boys in school uniforms to pray at the overflowing Al-Fatah mosque -- more testimony to the swelling numbers of Muslims in this predominantly Christian country. Though Muslims remain a small percentage of Rwanda's 8 million people, Islam is on the rise eight years after the 1994 genocide brought 100 days of murder, terror and mayhem. More than 500,000 minority Tutsis and political moderates from the Hutu majority were killed by Hutu militiamen, soldiers and ordinary citizens in a slaughter orchestrated by the extremist Hutu government then in power. "For Hutus, conversion to Islam was like purification, a way of getting rid of a stigma," Habimana said. "After the genocide, Hutus felt that the society perceives them as having blood on their hands." Arab merchants trading in ivory and slaves introduced Islam to Rwanda in the 18th century. The faith grew after 1908 when waves of Muslims flowed in from Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Sudan at the beginning of European colonial rule. For nearly a century, Muslims remained on the fringes of Rwandan society. The faithful in Kigali were restricted to Biryogo, a dusty neighborhood where the Al-Fatah mosque now stands. They needed permits to leave. During the genocide, Muslims were among the few Rwandans who protected both neighbors and strangers. Elsewhere, many Hutus hunted down or betrayed their Tutsi neighbors and strangers suspected of belonging to the minority. But the militiamen and soldiers didn't dare go after Tutsis in Muslim neighborhoods like Biryogo, said Yvette Sarambuye, a 29-year-old convert. "If a Hutu Muslim tried to kill someone hidden in our neighborhoods, he would first be asked to take the holy Quran and tear it apart to renounce his faith," said Sarambuye, a Tutsi widowed mother of three who survived the slaughter by hiding with Muslims. "No Muslim dared to violate the holy book, and that saved a lot of us." For many Hutu extremists, Muslims were regarded as a group apart, not to be targeted in the genocide. Although the Christian clergy in many communities struggled to protect Tutsis and often died with them, more than 20 Roman Catholic and Protestant priests, nuns and pastors are facing charges related to the killings. Rwandan courts already have convicted two Catholic priests and sentenced them to death. As Sarambuye hid in Muslim homes during the slaughter, she watched them pray, learned about a faith that previously was alien to her and grew to admire it. "For these people, Islam was not a label, it was a way of life, and I felt an urge to join them," she said. Tutsis also converted to Islam for practical reasons -- seeking protection from renewed killings by Hutus who continued to attack Rwanda from refugee camps in Congo after Tutsi-led rebels ended the genocide and overthrew the Hutu government, Habimana said. Conversions tapered off after 1997 when the government was able to guarantee security, and Islam was no longer regarded as a vital safe haven, Habimana said. But the religion still attracts converts. There are no official figures on how many Rwandans are Muslim; estimates vary from 5 to 14 percent. Most Muslims in Rwanda belong to the majority Sunni branch of Islam, said Jean-Pierre Sagahutu, a 35-year-old Tutsi who converted to the faith. "After the genocide, a small group of Islamic fundamentalists, funded by Pakistanis who flew to Rwanda frequently, took control of a mosque and started to organize themselves," he said. "But they were kicked out by the official Muslim organization concerned about the spread of radical Islam." As Rwandan Christian Tutsis and Hutus try to reconcile, their Muslim countrymen believe they could learn something about tolerance and solidarity from Islam. "Reconciliation is not necessary for Muslims in Rwanda, because we do not view the world through a racial or ethnic lens," Sagahutu said.

IRIN 18 Nov 2002 UN, Donors to Assist Government in 2003 Elections Nairobi Foreign donors and aid agencies are to assist the Rwandan government to prepare for democratic elections due in July 2003, the United Nations reported on Friday. The UN Development Programme, British, Swedish and other aid agencies are to help Rwanda's electoral commission to draw up a plan for the July 2003 elections, train electoral monitors, provide ballot boxes and computerise voter rolls. UNDP had already helped Rwanda's Constitutional Commission produce a draft constitution, and supported the judiciary and police forces, the UN added. The constitution is due to be submitted to a national referendum in March 2003. In a meeting on 14 November, Rwandan President Paul Kagame asked UNDP Administrator Mark Malloch Brown for help to ensure "efficiency" and "transparency" during the elections. Brown said that Rwanda's future depended on its efforts to deepen democracy, and that "the challenge is to ensure that the government is the government of the people - of all the people". The July elections will mark the end of the transition period that has followed the 1994 genocide.

Christian Science Monitor csmonitor.com 27 Nov 2002 How Rwanda's genocide lingers on for women A handful of programs are assisting women who were raped and infected with AIDS, but thousands more go without help By Nicole Itano The KIGALI, RWANDA - Chantal Uwamaliya wraps her rail-thin body in a blue knit shawl. She waits with a dozen other women to see a nurse at a small house in a ramshackle Kigali neighborhood. The women who come here, more than 500 in all, are young mothers in their 20s and aging grandmothers who walk with canes. Yet they all share a similar story. Each was raped during Rwanda's 1994 genocide. And each of them has been diagnosed with AIDS. In the summer of 1994, an estimated 800,000 to 1 million people were killed over a three-month period, when Rwanda's Hutu government set out to eliminate the country's ethnic Tutsi minority. Most were killed with guns and machetes. But for many Tutsi women - accused by the Hutus of being too prideful - the Hutus used AIDS as part of their arsenal, raping them to infect them. Human rights and survivors organizations say that rape was orchestrated by organizers of the genocide. "It was one of their weapons," says Consolée Mukanyirigira, coordinator of AVEGA, an organization of 25,000 genocide widows, which runs the small center. "They had two weapons. One was to use the guns and machetes; the other was to infect us with AIDS." Rwanda's HIV-positive genocide widows are largely overlooked in a country trying hard to rebuild and recover eight years after the horror. Only a handful of these women, mostly in the capital Kigali, receive medical care and counseling from a small number of organizations. Every morning, 15 to 20 women arrive at the center, called Agahozo - "the place where tears are dried." Two nurses dispense drugs and advice inside the small house, while others wait quietly on wooden benches outside. No one knows exactly how many women were raped during the genocide, or how many now have AIDS. A recent study of 1,200 AVEGA members who were sexually assaulted in 1994 found that two-thirds were HIV-positive, and three-quarters were emotionally traumatized. AVEGA (www.avega.org.rw), funded by several international aid organizations, has only enough money to help a small number of women whom they know are infected. World Vision (www.wvi.org), a Christian relief organization, also runs a center for HIV-positive widows, but there are thousands, particularly in rural areas, who receive no help at all. Mrs. Uwamaliya doesn't know how many men raped her during the 100 days of murder and chaos that engulfed Kigali. After the death of her husband and eldest daughter, who were hauled away from a roadblock during the first days of the genocide, Uwamaliya fled with her four remaining children, the youngest just a baby strapped to her back. She and her children moved from place to place, staying with sympathetic neighbors or in buildings that had been taken over by fleeing Tutsis. Often, members of the military or Hutu militia, called the Interahamwe, would discover her. But instead of killing her, they raped her. Eventually, Uwamaliya and her children made their way to a place they heard had become a safehouse for Tutsis. But even there, Hutu soldiers would come each night to take their pick of the women. The half-dozen men that remained with them were killed, and the safehouse became a brothel for the militia. Today, Uwamaliya comes every week or so to Agahozo. The women here sit silently, shoulder to shoulder on the center's wooden benches. They do not speak to one another about the trauma they endured. But they say they take comfort that they are not alone. The hardest part for most of them is knowing that their children will soon be without them. The center helps children who have already lost their parents by paying their school fees and helping them find a place to live. But the genocide left many orphans, and the burden of caring for them is too great for this fragile society to bear. "When [the women] start getting sick, they start worrying about what will happen to their children," says Rose Moukamusana, director of the Agahozo center. "Most of them have no relatives, and their friends and neighbors have been killed or scattered. They also fear that if this happened to them, and that it happened to them because they were Tutsi, that it could happen to their children. They believe they are leaving their children in an uncertain world." Uwamaliya, too, is worried for her children, the youngest who is now 9. She tries to be strong. "I am sick, my friends are sick," says Uwamaliya, her voice cracking. "What will happen to them when I die? I must keep living as long as I can for them."

Sierra Leone

IRIN 1 Nov 2002 UN troops start leaving UNAMSIL patrol in Sierra Leone ABIDJAN, 1 Nov 2002 (IRIN) - Several hundred soldiers serving in the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) have concluded their tour of duty and were expected to leave the West African country this weekend. UNAMSIL officials told IRIN that the departing troops were among 600 who would leave by the end of the year under a downsizing arrangement agreed by the Security Council in September. Up to 4,500 of the 17,000 UNAMSIL troops in Sierra Leone are expected to leave by 31 May, 2003. The UNAMSIL force commander, Lt. Gen. Daniel Opande, on Wednesday visited several battalions in the western district of Port Loko to bid farewell to the troops, UNAMSIL reported on Thursday. The troops he visited included a Bangladeshi artillery battalion and a Kenyan battalion. UNAMSIL had also reported last week that a Nigerian battalion in the capital, Freetown, was leaving. On 23 October, the departing Nigerians visited the Aberdeen Amputee camp in Freetown and donated food and other items as a farewell gesture, the mission said. In September UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan proposed that the mandate of UNAMSIL, which was due to expire on 30 September, be extended by six months and the force gradually downsized before an eventual handover of security and other responsibilities to the Sierra Leone government. "The beginning of the drawdown of UNAMSIL will take the mission into the final phase of the United Nations peacekeeping operation in Sierra Leone," Annan had said. He recommended that the force be reduced to about 5,000 troops by late 2004, and later to 2,000 "depending on need at that time". The Security Council adopted his proposals.

Somalia

IRIN 21 Nov 2002 Mixed reactions to clan-based proposal Hussein Aideed ELDORET, 21 Nov 2002 (IRIN) - Somalia's Transitional National Government (TNG) and the opposition Somali Reconciliation and Restoration Council (SRRC) have both expressed dissatisfaction with a proposal to allocate delegates' seats at the Eldoret peace talks on the basis of clan. The regional body, Inter-Governmental Authority on Drought (IGAD), which is organising the conference, on Tuesday proposed that 400 plenary seats be allocated along clan lines, to ensure equal representation for Somalia's four biggest clans, and for minorities. TNG Prime Minister Hassan Abshir Farah told a news conference that Somalis had decided more than two years ago to "leave clans", and set up the TNG, which was the legitimate government. However, he said the TNG would accept clan distribution of seats to a new transitional government once this had been negotiated by the conference. Hussein Mohamed Aideed, co-chairman of the opposition SRRC, told IRIN he did not reject the proposal outright but was nevertheless unhappy with it. "Instead of just saying no, we want to study this and show them how this is impractical," he said, noting that the SRRC was already composed of different clans. "We are mixed, and we already solved our internal problems before coming to this conference," he said. "To divide us now on a clan basis will create divisions in the SRRC, this will create divisions inside the TNG as a group, and it will take a long time, maybe two months I think, to regroup again into a tribal system." However, both sides said they believed a compromise could be found to break the deadlock. Some faction leaders have welcomed the proposal. "These are at least criteria that can be understood," Mogadishu-based faction leader Muhammad Qanyare Afrah told IRIN on Thursday. Qanyare, who leads the so-called group of eight (G8), said the G8 members were in favour of the new proposal. Justice Minister in the self-declared autonomous region of Puntland, Awad Ahmed Ashareh, told IRIN his administration had no problem with the proposal. "If this new proposal brings a solution and if it is in the interest of Somali people, then it's fine with us," he said. The IGAD proposal came after the G8 complained that seats had been distributed unfairly.

South Africa

Business Day (Johannesburg) 4 Nov 2002 Move to Find Skeletons in Kwazulu-Natal Closet Johannesburg ONCE again, serious consideration is being given by the African National Congress (ANC) in KwaZulu-Natal to a special amnesty deal for perpetrators of political violence in the province. Provincial leader Sbu Ndebele, ahead of the ANC national conference in Stellenbosch next month, is championing a miniversion of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission process exclusively for KwaZulu-Natal. If the proposal is endorsed by the ANC's highest decision-making body, it is envisaged that since KwaZulu-Natal has a unique history of political conflict, primarily between the ANC and the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), an exception should be made for those who, for one reason or another, missed out when the Archbishop Desmond Tutu show was in town. An examination of why these perpetrators missed out in the first place points to why the very suggestion of a special amnesty is fraught with danger. Most of the acts of political violence, which would be covered by this new deal, would have been committed after 1994. In other words, those who would benefit would be people who elected to use force to achieve political goals, despite the liberties which democracy bestowed on every citizen of this country. Coming to mind would be those who assassinated KwaZuluNatal midlands United Democratic Movement leader Sifiso Nkabinde. A former ANC strongman who fell out of favour amid allegations he was an apartheid government spy, Nkabinde was no angel. His removal from the political scene, albeit by criminal and unacceptable means, no doubt helped stabilise the region. Last week the Durban High Court dismissed the killers' appeal against their sentences, but theirs would be an obvious case for consideration. The danger, of course, is that once a precedent has been set, where does the country stop? Whoever planted the bombs that exploded in Gauteng last week might still have plans for KwaZulu-Natal, and the terrorist acts certainly have a political motive. Would these perpetrators also be able to make a case for a special amnesty? Besides, constitutionally, it would be almost impossible to turn down amnesty appeals by people outside KwaZulu-Natal. The drafters of the amnesty proposal argue there would be very strict conditions and time frames. Amnesty would only be granted where full disclosure was made. Applicants would need to tell who supplied them with arms, what the motive was, and who stood to benefit politically. All arms caches would need to be pointed out. Security forces would then launch a massive "search and seizure" operation to rid the province of the weapons. Why such an operation cannot be launched now, without an amnesty process, is beyond me. Criminals who maim or murder for whatever motive, should be caught and given long prison terms. There is absolutely no need for a special deal for thuggery which purports to have political legitimacy. Also, it does seem naïve to expect "full disclosures" from prospective beneficiaries of a proposed amnesty deal. The "whole" truth behind political violence in KwaZulu-Natal, past and present, will probably remain unknown forever to the general public. The reasons are mainly political, and it is perhaps in SA's best interests that we should never have "full disclosures" about who did what. The issue of the identities of those who "sold out" and worked with the apartheid regime would need to be revisited if we are talking about "full disclosures". These are chapters of our history which many, including current top political leaders in KwaZulu-Natal and elsewhere, would prefer to see closed. The cost of reopening them needs to be weighed very, very carefully by whoever has the final say. However, political intrigue is what defines the province's politics. Only recently government settled, out of court, a huge claim by KwaMakhutha township family members who survived a massacre for which former defence minister Magnus Malan and other top generals stood trial. The accused were found not guilty in a court of law, but the new government has paid the damages. It would be helpful if the proposed amnesty could manage to extract proper full disclosure, so that we might have a better understanding of the origins of the past woes of the province. I am afraid I do not have much hope noble though the intention may be. Madlala is editor and publisher of UmAfrika. If proposed amnesty could extract full disclosure we might have a better (grasp) of the origins of the past woes of the province

SAPA 9 Nov 2002 South African Press Association (Johannesburg) Marchers Call On UN to Intervene in Palestine Bloemfontein Marchers in Bloemfontein called on the United Nations on Saturday to intervene in the Middle East "in order to end the genocide committed against the Palestinian people". The marchers waved banners calling US President George W. Bush, British Premier Tony Blair and Israeli Premier Ariel Sharon terrorists. The protest, organised by the provincial branches of the African National Congress, Congress of SA Trade Unions, SA Communist Party and SA National Civics Organisation, was held to show solidarity with Palestinians, Cubans and Iraqis, and to demonstrate against Israel and the United States. Among the marchers were several Muslims from Bloemfontein and neighbouring Thaba Nchu and Botshabelo. Palestinian ambassador Salman Herfi also attended, as well as national Public Enterprises Minister Jeff Radebe. A memorandum calling for world peace was handed to an official of the Department of Foreign Affairs. According to the memorandum the marchers gathered "to show our outrage at the terrorist acts perpetrated by the State of Israel against the people of Palestine". "The continued illegal occupation of Palestinian territory and the merciless annihilation of Palestinian people, including children, constitute a threat to international peace and security. "We demand the effective implementation of the UN resolutions for the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and the establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital," the memorandum read. The document also called on Bush and America "to stop testing its military precision equipment and might on Iraq" and to stop "its blatant aggressive tendencies, war mongering and greed". It criticised sanctions on Cuba and called for the immediate release by the US of five Cuban nationals incarcerated "under the guise that they have been found guilty of murder and spying". Around 2000 demonstrators, mainly from Bloemfontein, participated in the march.

Independent UK 7 Nov 2002 Is this the end of the rainbow for South Africa? Bombings, arms caches, arrests... A far-right plot to overthrow the state is sending shock waves through the 'new' South Africa. Are reports of apartheid's death exaggerated? John Carlin investigates The headlines from South Africa have been sneaking their way, ever more alarmingly, into our consciousness. The most recent – "White extremists set off bombs in Soweto" – came only last week, but the trend had been developing for months – "Ten charged with plot against Pretoria", "Afrikaner arms cache seized", and so on. In isolation, each might be shrugged off as part of the background noise of global strife. Together, they raise a question that the world never imagined would have to be asked again: is the ghost of apartheid stirring? Will a resurgent white right attempt bloodily to turn back the clock and destroy the dreams of Nelson Mandela's "rainbow nation"? The answer is amazing, somewhat disturbing, and more than faintly farcical. There has indeed been a white plot afoot which, while limited to the borders of South Africa, was ambitious to an extent worthy of a bin Laden. The ideal for which the plotters have been striving is so plainly evil that it makes the old apartheid dream of total racial separation seem modest by comparison. According to information obtained by the police, they drew their inspiration from the Ku Klux Klan and September 11. While the danger is not yet over – the Soweto bombers are presumed still to be at large – the plot appears to have been foiled. On Monday the police caught one of the alleged ringleaders, a former army officer called Tom Vorster, who had been on the run for six months and is believed by police to have been in contact in recent years with white supremacist groups in the United States. Having made two other arrests late last week, the police believe they have caught all the conspiracy's main leaders. A farmer, an ex-policeman and a former university lecturer, Dr Johan "Lets" Pretorius, all of them right-wing Afrikaners, were the first to be arrested, back in April. The alleged plotters seem to have struck back within a month when a man believed to have been a traitor in their midst, a suspected police informer, was found dead at a shooting range with nine bullets in his body. But the counter-terrorist unit in charge of the investigation, named Operation Zealot, has since notched up success after success, unearthing a cache of bombs on a farm, seizing a truck loaded with thousands of automatic rifles and launching a manhunt that has led so far to the arrest of 18 suspects, three of them serving members of the South African National Defence Force. Vorster appeared in court on Tuesday on charges of terrorism, high treason and sabotage. All 18 are due to face trial in Pretoria in May, and police say that they are expecting to make more arrests shortly. The prosecution has indicated that much of its case will rest on more than 200 pages of documents found among the suspects, all members of an outfit calling itself Boeremag, or "boer force". The documents are reported to reveal that the plotters had been inspired by the attacks in the United States on September 11 to identify heavily-populated targets, so achieving what in the old apartheid security establishment they used to call "high terror value". The objectives of the plot were to overthrow the government of South Africa, set up a white junta and drive the black population into the sea. The means to an end that had eluded successive apartheid governments were the following: recruit a rebel army; assassinate white "traitors" and black cabinet ministers; free jailed Boer heroes; cut off power supplies; and seize control of – among other things – airports, radio stations, gold mines and abattoirs. But the success or failure of the Boer counter-revolution rested above all on a radical new concept in the history of coups d'état, a strategy codenamed "Push and Suck". It may all be academic now. Thanks to Operation Zealot, 10 of the alleged plotters have been charged – exactly as Nelson Mandela was nearly half a century ago – with high treason. But examination of the fantasies that appear to have driven the Boeremag reveals at least three interesting things: how mad the dregs of the apartheid far right are; how stable South Africa has become since the historic elections of 1994; and how right Marx was when he made that crack about history repeating itself, the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce. Push and Suck was the guts of the conspiracy. It was the means by which a rebel army whose numbers would swell to 4,500 (about 0.01 per cent of South Africa's total population) would set about the task of ethnically cleansing 40 million black people (90 per cent of the population). The final solution contemplated was not, however, genocide. It never was in South Africa; while some have described apartheid as moral genocide, as the deliberate attempt to exterminate the spirit of an entire people, not even the worst of the "volk" ever seriously contemplated mass murder. What was on the agenda was mass incarceration. And mass forced removals. Which is what Push and Suck was all about. The master stroke of a plot "planned down to the finest detail", in the words of the prosecutor in last month's trial (a man with the proud Boer name of Louis Wiese), would have been to expel black South Africans not out of "white areas", as in the old days, but out of South Africa altogether. First, all black people would be forced out of what used to be called the Northern Cape, the Free State and the Transvaal (an inland area about twice the size of Great Britain) towards the coastal provinces of KwaZulu Natal, the Eastern Cape and the Western Cape. This would be done by a combination of force and inducement. They would be pushed out by straight military means, but also sucked out – and here is where the "Boeremag Ten" appeared to have believed the genius of the strategy to lie – by placing large amounts of food along the roads leading out of the centre of the country. The key, of course, lay in letting it be known to the black masses that if they would only be so kind as to abandon their ancestral homes and join the great exodus to the sea, their reward would be unlimited quantities of free grub. Which helps to explain the plotters' resolve to seize abattoirs as well as radio stations, but serves also to reveal that the group belonged to a species of white South African (a happily endangered species, as it turns out) so unevolved as to persist in the belief that black people are not fully qualified members of the human race, but animals to be hunted down exactly as one would wild game. The millions upon millions of black refugees from the three big central regions having been duly displaced to the coast, part two of the operation would involve closing off the new borders, except for whites fleeing inland, and forcing the economic collapse of the coastal provinces. At which point the new military junta would launch a series of punishing military attacks. The upshot of the inevitable victory would be the unconditional demand that every last black man, woman and child go north with their belongings into Africa. Once South Africa was entirely lily-white, once the Boeremag had pulled off the miracle that had eluded the old National Party during the 40 years of apartheid, plans would be set in motion to disband the junta and recreate a new, whites-only political dispensation – presumably based, as the apartheid system used to be, on the Westminster model. Before getting there, however, before putting Push and Suck into practice, the coup plot required the implementation of three preliminary phases, as revealed in the document captured by the police. Phase one involved recruiting and intelligence-gathering. The plotters, at least three of whom are army officers, initially sought to enlist members and obtain secrets from the South African National Defence Force. It was also considered vital to obtain information on how to take over the workings of the South African Broadcasting Corporation and close down parliament. Phase two was unleashing "chaos" on South Africa. This would involve carrying out misleading decoy actions of the type favoured by the South African security forces during the apartheid era to create mayhem in the black communities. One plan was to stage a spectacular attack on a white target – an unspecified action codenamed Lima One – which would be blamed on Muslims or Jews. Another was for a death squad unit composed of 50 individuals to carry out assassinations and blame them on black people. (Among the apparent targets were the former premier FW de Klerk, the perceived father of all Boer sell-outs, and right-wing leaders such as General Constand Viljoen, who participated in the 1994 elections.) There were also plans afoot to stage jailbreaks for Eugene de Kock, a former security-police assassin described by his own colleagues as "prime evil", and for Clive Derby-Lewis and Janusz Walus, the two men responsible for the assassination of the African National Congress (ANC) leader Chris Hani, whose death in April 1993 caused such rage that the country came the closest it ever did to racial war. The third phase would have been the coup d'état itself, the essential part of which would be "taking out" the entire cabinet and selected MPs. The airports and the abattoirs having been seized, power stations would be blown up and a 10-day blackout would be imposed. Military installations would be seized, the government in Pretoria (those among them who remained alive) would be left with no choice but to surrender and a revolutionary army, bounteously provisioned, would set forth boldly to push, suck and conquer. And one final thing. Once the country had been, as they used to say, successfully "unblackened", the fledgling Boer democracy would seek strong ties, as the captured Boeremag document confidently anticipates, with the the government of the United States. Which is perhaps not the most ludicrously outlandish of the objectives the Boeremag plotters set themselves, though, as a number of the former ANC revolutionaries who now run the government of South Africa have pointed out, it would be a mistake to underestimate the capacity these people had to inflict cruel suffering. As South Africa's top policeman, Commissioner Jackie Selebi, said upon the discovery last month of a clandestine home-made munitions dump on a farm in the northern Limpopo province, the intention of the plotters had been to carry out massive terrorist actions against civilians. Selebi, himself branded a terrorist in the apartheid era, revealed that the captured arsenal included 16 metal cylinders, each weighing about 40lbs, that would have provided casings for bombs that could have killed scores of people if detonated in a busy shopping centre. Along with the cylinders, police found 22 buckets of ammonium nitrate powder (the raw materials for the bombs), as well as alarm clocks converted into bomb timers, hand-grenades, and eight boxes containing a variety of ammunition. What drives these people? Why would a group of well-fed farmers, well-paid army officers and, in at least one case, a doctor go to the hare-brained extreme of wishing to slaughter innocent people in the furtherance of a manifestly impossible cause? What do they have inside their heads? The answer is this: a combustible mix of ancient myths and terrors and present fears – fears that are understandable because they are based on tangible day-to-day dangers. The best-known incident in Afrikaner history, and one which has coloured the thinking of whites on relations with their black compatriots ever since, concerns the fate that befell the leader of the Great Trek of 1836, Piet Retief. Lured by the Zulu king, Dingaan, into the royal kraal for peace talks, Retief and 70 of his trekkers were foully betrayed. Dingaan's "impis" – Zulu regiments – slaughtered Retief's party and then fell on nearby trekker encampments, massacring men, women and children. The lesson has been taught to Afrikaner schoolchildren of succeeding generations ever since, entrenching the cliché in the Boer mind: "Never trust a black man." Add to that a heavy component of unacknowledged guilt, and it is not hard to see why the prevailing nightmare of white South Africans for a very long time, at least since the Great Trek, has been of a black hand reaching up from under the bed in the middle of the night with savage intent. An Afrikaner farmer's wife deep in the Karoo offered me a more complex variation on that theme one day eight years ago, just before the elections that would bring Nelson Mandela to power, when she described a dream she had when she was nine years old. "I was up a tree," the woman said, "and I looked down and saw a black man. He was wearing a green military uniform and he had a rifle. I was frightened. I knew he was looking for me. But he couldn't see me because I was hiding behind leaves. Then suddenly his face was right up against mine. But God saved me. He made me invisible to the black man. And then in the dream God told me that one day the black people would want to kill all the whites in South Africa – but we would be saved because he would make them all blind." Blind to the injustices, presumably, that white had perpetrated on black ever since the appalling retribution exacted on Dingaan after the death of Retief: the killing of 3,000 Zulu warriors on the banks of Blood River at a cost, thanks to the technological superiority of the rifle over the spear, of three trekkers lightly wounded. That guilt, combined with a dread sense that black South Africans must be seeking revenge, explains why, in 1990, three months after Mandela's release from prison, the rumour spread around the white neighbourhoods of Pretoria that 10 April 1990 had been declared by the ANC to be "Kill a White Day". That the rumour, so utterly implausible to anyone with any serious understanding of Mandela or the ANC, was widely believed reveals how deep the ancient terrors ran then. They still do. The Boeremag might perhaps have restrained their revolutionary urges, might have quietly snuffed out their ancient terrors, had it not been for the fact that, in the wide open spaces inhabited by the more conservative, less worldly, less politically sophisticated members of the Afrikaner tribe, it has been "kill a white day" every three or four days since the world celebrated the triumph of democracy and the ascent to power of Mandela in May 1994. This has nothing to do with Mandela, but everything to do with the raw, primitive form of apartheid that prevailed for decades in dry, dusty places like Limpopo province, previously known as the Northern Transvaal. The shocking statistic is this: since 1994 more than 600 white farmers have been murdered in South Africa, compared to 25 in Zimbabwe. And they have been murdered by their black neighbours. One of the 10 alleged plotters who has been charged with high treason, Lieutenant-Colonel Jacques Olivier, has revealed in court that he was at a meeting on rural safety last year where an angry man cried out: "For each attack in which a farmer or his family is murdered, a taxi should be attacked." A taxi, in this case, is a van with about 10 seats (but often carrying more people); it is black people's favoured means of transport. It is easy to condemn such vengeful, racist sentiments but, as a liberal-minded journalist who lives in a fortified "gated community" in Johannesburg said to me the other day, it is not fun to live out there on the farms if you are white. Not fun at all. With apologies to the victims of New York and Bali, the threat al-Qa'ida poses to the citizens of the western world is metaphysically remote compared to the clear and present menace South Africa's white farmers live under every day. Which is why they are all heavily armed, and have created paramilitary vigilante groups that keep in permanent radio contact. Who can blame them? These far-flung regions of South Africa have not succumbed to the Mandela magic. The ancient grievances remain. A sharp edge remains in relations between black and white. The accumulated fears and hatreds have not gone; and, from the point of view of the black people of the countryside, few of whom have seen any change in the appalling material circumstances of their lives, it is not difficult to see why. The underlying absurdity of the Boeremag conspiracy to drive all the blacks into the sea derives from their incapacity to see that their sad little world is an anachronism; that things have changed in the big cities; that while you may perhaps be able to lure one or two of your impoverished black Limpopo neighbours down a road with the promise of free corn on the cob, in Johannesburg there are black men in large offices with white secretaries, and black women driving Mercedes-Benzes and spending large amounts of cash in garish shopping centres that rival Las Vegas. And these and other black men and women, even those who do not have white secretaries and Mercs, have nice houses now, with gardens and maids, and they are just as afraid of being robbed and killed in the middle of the night by a poor black person as the white people who, quite possibly, live in the same gated villages. This point will have been brought home to three of the plotters charged with treason when, in Pretoria last month, a judge turned down their request for bail. The judge's name was Dikgang Moseneke. Ten years ago Moseneke, then a talented lawyer, was the number two of the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC), an organisation – substantially more radical than Mandela's ANC – whose slogan was "one settler, one bullet", and whose declared intention was to "drive the whites into the sea". The PAC is also an anachronism these days. Their abysmal performance in the 1994 elections brought derisory cries from ANC supporters of "one settler, one per cent!" The PAC's white counterparts, the Afrikaner Freedom Front, did better in the 1994 poll, but after five years of Mandela their vote was halved in the second democratic elections of 1999. Just a shade over 1 per cent of voters still entertained the notion of dividing up South Africa along racial lines. Meanwhile, the likes of Eugene de Kock had been jailed, as had Eugene Terreblanche, former leader of the neo-Nazi Afrikaner Resistance Movement (AWB), who used to threaten with such bluster that he would "level the gravel" with the ANC. All of which helps to explain why, outside the more sensationalist recesses of the Afrikaner press, most South Africans seem relatively relaxed about the arrest of the Boeremag plotters. This is in contrast to the time, 40 years ago, when another 10 "terrorists" – Mandela and nine others – were brought before a judge in Pretoria, in what became known as the Rivonia Trial. Then, even though Mandela's plans were neither as ambitious nor as life-threatening as those of the Boeremag, the story attracted massive attention, in South Africa and around the world. That was because everybody knew that Mandela's revolution had justice and history on its side. The failure of the ANC's armed wing to effect change then, in the early Sixties, was a tragedy. The failure of the Boer plotters today is farce. Most South Africans see them as malevolent clowns. Albert Venter, a politics professor from Johannesburg's Rand Afrikaans University, said last week: "I think most people in South Africa, be they white or black, realise this is a lunatic fringe." This also helps to reveal the extraordinary political success – unmatched by any other society in transition anywhere on the globe – of what turned out in the end to be Mandela's peaceful, negotiated revolution. A string of right-wing bomb attacks that killed 30 black people just before the 1994 elections failed to stop the newly enfranchised from turning up massively to vote. The explosions in Soweto last week were the twitchings of an amputated limb. While certainly a concern as a police matter, in terms of the potential they hold for further loss of life they will barely register as a pin-prick on the body politic. Because South Africa has demonstrated once again that, for all the challenges that lie ahead in overcoming poverty, crime and Aids, the nation's one great, indisputable triumph has been the cementing of its political foundations. In the eight years since the most celebrated political prisoner in history became president of all South Africa, black and white, the country has enjoyed – and continues to enjoy – a measure of stability not seen since the arrival of the first white settlers in 1652.

IRIN 11 Nov 2002 Rightwing threatens Xmas terror campaign - South Africa has struggled to shed its divisive past JOHANNESBURG, 11 Nov 2002 (IRIN) - South African police have launched a manhunt for rightwing militants allegedly planning a terror campaign over the Christmas season. Police spokeswoman Sally de Beer told IRIN on Monday that a task-team had been established and was working around the clock on possible leads. This followed a series of recent bombings that rocked Soweto, South Africa's largest black township. Soweto was initially created by the former apartheid regime in its pursuit of so-called separate development of race groups. The bomb blasts killed a woman, wounded her husband and caused millions of rands worth of damage to a Muslim mosque and rail infrastructure around Soweto. A Buddhist temple outside the capital Pretoria was also damaged by a bomb. On Monday it was reported that the extreme rightwing group known as the Boeremag (Boer Army/Force) had claimed responsibility for the attacks. They also threatened to conduct a campaign of terror over the festive season. In a letter sent to news media on Monday, the group demanded that the government release 35 of its so-called compatriots from prison. Among the 35 would be the 18 members of the Boeremag who were arrested in recent weeks in connection with a plot to overthrow South Africa's democratically elected government. The 18 were arrested during a series of raids by security services which also resulted in the confiscation of large amounts of arms and ammunition, including explosives. "We are investigating, we have to take it [the letter] seriously, obviously we're trying to establish its origins, [as] it was sent in e-mail form to news organisations," De Beer said. The group signed the e-mail as "Warriors of the Boer Nation". Police at the weekend released the names and photographs of six rightwingers wanted in connection with the treason case, and warned those harbouring them that they too would be prosecuted. "Both cases are a top priority for us, the task-team is working non-stop ... and we have made a lot of progress, there have been many breakthroughs. We will hunt them down," De Beer said.

AP 12 Nov 2002 Companies Sued Over Apartheid JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) - A South African support group for victims of apartheid has sued several top international banks and businesses for supporting the racist regime. The lawsuit was filed late Monday by the Khulamani group in federal court in New York City on behalf of the group' 33,000 members and 85 individuals. The plaintiffs allege Citigroup, the largest financial institution in the United States, and Swiss banking giants UBS and Credit Suisse aided the ``in the commission of crimes of apartheid, forced labor, genocide, extrajudical killing, torture, sexual assault, unlawful detention and cruel, unusual and degrading treatment.'' Credit Suisse has said it saw no grounds for the class-action lawsuit and said the company should not be held responsible for apartheid's crimes. UBS President Peter Wuffli on Tuesday rejected accusations that the bank should carry any blame for apartheid policies. He said that UBS regretted the events in South Africa during the apartheid years. ``But there is no connection between the suffering of victims and the activities of the bank.'' Wuffli, speaking in a teleconference, said that the bank should not be held responsible for the actions of others. Both UBS and Credit Suisse have always maintained that their South Africa dealings were in conformity with Swiss law. The apartheid class-action lawsuit seeks billions of dollars in damages from as many as 100 corporations, mostly unidentified. The three major banks are also being sued in a similar lawsuit filed in June in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan on behalf of Holocaust victims. South Africa's apartheid regime, which began in 1948, was held together by an oppressive web of racist laws that classified all citizens by race and stripped even the most basic rights from those who were not white. As efforts to overthrow the white regime grew, authorities began jailing some opponents, killing others without trial and chasing still others from their homes. The regime ended in 1994 with the election of Nelson Mandela as president in the nation's first all-race elections. The lawyers in the Khulumani lawsuit said the companies named in the case helped prop up the white government - struggling as foreign capital fled the country - with loans and other business deals worth billions of dollars. The help came even after the United Nations asked all member states to break off diplomatic, trade and transport relations with South Africa in 1962. The companies and banks named in the Khulumani lawsuit are: Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase, Exxon Mobil, Caltex Petroleum, Fluor Corporation, Ford, General Motors and IBM in the United States; German-based Commerzbank, Deutsche Bank, Dresdner Bank, DaimlerChrysler, and Rheinmetall; Credit Suisse and UBS in Switzerland; Barclays Bank, British Petroleum and Fujitsu ICL in Britain; Total-Fina-Elf from France and Royal Dutch Shell from the Netherlands.

IRIN 22 Nov 2002 Think-tank urges international community to withhold finance for elections NAIROBI, - A leading think-tank, the International Crisis Group, has said the international community should refuse to finance the Rwandan elections planned for July 2003, unless the government liberalises political activities and displays "a marked improvement" in respect for basic freedoms of association and expression. "The international community cannot remain silent accomplices to the authoritarian actions of the Rwandan government," the ICG said in a new report titled 'Rwanda at the End of the Transition: A Necessary Political Liberalisation'. It added, "It cannot finance elections that offer no political guarantees for a minimum of equity among the forces present," the report continues. The think-tank said that multiple restrictions on political and civil liberties in Rwanda, such as the forcing of opposition groups into exile and the silencing of the independent press, were working against the government's stated objective of leading the country towards reconciliation in the aftermath of the 1994 genocide. The government's repression of critical voices, it said, created a vicious circle by radicalising the opposition both inside and outside of Rwanda. It added that following the Rwandan withdrawal from the Kivus in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the government must now display the same good will for the end of the transition period. "The Rwandan Patriotic Front must allow public criticism and stop being judge and jury, as well as participant, in the process of political competition," the ICG said. Furthermore, it added, it must not destroy the institutions of common ground where Hutus and Tutsis can meet, talk, argue and ultimately decide on the country's future.

Business Day 28 Nov 2002 Dan Roodt Old split over Afrikaner identity fuels new terror SA's social rifts peculiarly its own, rather than mirroring those of rest of continent ON THE face of it, SA is a peaceful country enjoying a healthy, if modest, rate of economic growth. Under the surface, however, a major rift may be brewing over language and identity issues that have plunged other countries into civil wars. Recently there has been much speculation about a potential right wing threat, linked to the Soweto bomb blasts of October 30. When the Groep van 63, a group of academics and authors campaigning for Afrikaner cultural rights, handed a letter to President Thabo Mbeki, suggesting the bombings might be a symptom of "Afrikaner alienation" within the new SA, it caused a huge reaction. One newspaper with a mainly black readership called it "a threat from the right", while two notably left-wing weeklies published viciously anti-Afrikaans cartoons likening Boers to dinosaurs and suggesting the Groep was a front for the underground Boeremag, some of whose members languish in jail, awaiting trial on charges of treason. The fact that the group of academics explicitly condemned the violence and loss of life in Soweto was held to be of no consequence. Afrikaans newspapers in the Naspers group have been almost hysterical in condemnation of the Groep van 63. Many people agreeing with the contents of the letter fell silent, out of fear that they too might be tainted as potential terrorist sympathisers. Is there a danger that SA might disintegrate into ethnic strife like so many other countries? Its location in sub-Saharan Africa where most countries have experienced at least one civil war, genocide or coup, certainly does not help. Despite glib assumptions about SA being an African country, however, it needs to be understood in terms of its own history, rather than that of its troubled continent. As Koos Malan, a prominent Groep van 63 member, once told me: "Hertzog avenged himself on Lord Milner upon coming to power in 1924, but currently Milner is having his revenge from the grave." In fact, since 1994, SA has again embraced the Milnerist ideal of one undivided state, with one nation speaking one language, English. Over the past two years, Afrikanerdom has been in a state of effervescence. The Afrikaans media have been host to a vehement exchange of views over the future of Afrikaners in SA, including whether they have a future at all. Liberal historian Hermann Giliomee has described the performance of FW de Klerk and Roelf Meyer in the early 1990s as an "onoorwonne oorgawe" a surrender without defeat. Koos Malan's point about the Milner-Hertzog axis in SA history holds even under African National Congress (ANC) rule. Milner wanted to integrate Boer and Briton into a British SA, with a strongly English identity under the Union Jack in 1902. In 1924 Hertzog scuppered all of this, ended ambiguity on the official status of Afrikaans, and introduced a new flag and national anthem in 1928, familiar as Die Stem. Hertzog's slogan was "SA first", which was considered radically nationalist, causing an uproar at the time. Natal wanted to secede, and until the late 1950s SA had two national flags, the Union Jack as well as the orange, white and blue. For most of the 20th century, SA was ruled by Afrikaners who imposed Hertzog's vision, that of "sovereignty", one of his favourite words, denoting a strongly independent country, anticolonial and committed to indigenous symbols and culture, centred around the Afrikaans language. Hertzog wanted English-speakers to become Afrikaners too, but only succeeded halfway in that he cut the umbilical cord with Britain and gave them a local identity modelled on the Afrikaner one, but had no real effect on their attachment to their powerful language, the medium of business and global communication. Then the ANC won the lotto of history, jettisoned Marxism-Leninism, but under the influence of the English intellectual left who had remained implacably opposed to Hertzogism all along, decided to reimpose Milnerism, fortified by Samora Machel's slogan, "for the nation to be born, the tribe must die". What nation-building really means in SA, is the complete destruction of Afrikaans culture and the Afrikaner identity. Further echoing old imperial ideas, Mbeki has embraced Rhodes's Cape to Cairo philosophy, in which the national identity created under Hertzog will be dissolved into the greater empire of the African Union. To the dismay of Afrikanerdom, an intellectual from Natal, himself a member of an ethnic minority, but thoroughly anglicised and inculcated with the universalist spirit of Milnerism, Education Minister Kader Asmal has been given power of life and death over Afrikaans culture. No one is more hated today by Afrikaners than Asmal, who has patiently set about undermining the ultimate repository of Afrikaner identity their education system. In the past weeks, Stellenbosch University has been at the centre of an acrimonious clash over language policy, but so has every other Afrikaans university. Once at the centre of South African identity, Afrikaners now find themselves on the scrapheap, and prone to the same old identity crisis that used to haunt them throughout the 19th century under British rule, and which was only resolved by the suffering of the Anglo-Boer war. It is hard to tell what right-wing terrorist groups think, if they think at all. But the current sense of crisis among Afrikaners, compounded by crime, farm murders, affirmative action and Asmal's anglicisation policies, provides an ideal environment for recruitment to extremist groups, whether left or right. When Asmal threatened to impose English on the remaining Afrikaans universities, especially in medicine and engineering, 27 Afrikaner organisations protested en bloc, ranging from the politically correct Afrikanerbond (formerBroederbond) which supports Milnerist "nation-building" to the ProAfrikaanse Aksiegroep, which would like to see cultural autonomy for Afrikaans-speakers. In the past few years, apart from a few kaftans and African proper names, SA has evolved into a state about as indigenous as Coke, without the brandy. As the country finds itself forcemarched towards a neo-Milnerist, "inclusive" identity, held together by the weak glue of English, which is understood by less than half of her population, tensions will arise that may ultimately prove more divisive than apartheid. After all, unlike the Isrealis and the Palestinians, we've never really hated each other. In the overreaction to the Groep van 63's letter to Mbeki, I thought I saw real hatred for the first time. It hardly augurs well for the future. Roodt, a former Head of Derivatives at Citibank, is the author of a book on the Truth Commission, Om die Waarheidskommissie te Vergeet and leader of the Pro-Afrikaanse Aksiegroep (Praag).

IRIN 28 Nov 2002 Bridge damaged by blast - The blast was in a remote area several hundred kilometers south of the port city of Durban, but caused jitters countrywide JOHANNESBURG, 28 Nov 2002 (IRIN) - Another bomb exploded in South Africa, this time on a bridge on the picturesque "Wild Coast" south of the port capital Durban early on Thursday morning. Nobody was injured in the blast on the Umtamvuma bridge, but it has been closed for engineers to assess the damage to two supporting pillars. The bridge linked the provinces of KwaZulu Natal and the Eastern Cape, and was about 1-km away from a casino resort and a popular tourist area. In October one person was killed when nine explosions rocked Soweto, outside Johannesburg, and another two people were injured in a blast in a temple in the town of Bronkorstspruit, east of Johannesburg, on the same day. Earlier this month a bomb exploded in police offices in the Western Cape, and a few days later there was another blast, this time in a building housing the police airwing in an airport between Johannesburg and the capital Pretoria. Although right wing extremists were blamed for the Soweto blasts, police spokeswoman Director Sally De Beer told IRIN that police would not speculate on who was behind the Umtamvuma bridge bomb. Forensics experts were still sifting through the debris searching for clues, she said.

Sudan

Washington Times 4 Nov 2002 Nat Hentoff (columnist) Sudan guilty of genocide On Oct. 21, President George W. Bush signed into law the Sudan Peace Act, which the Senate had unanimously passed, and the House approved 359-8. More than 2 million black, non-Muslim civilians in the South have died from an ongoing civil war since 1983 in that country. The United States now declares in a law that "the acts of the government of Sudan . . . constitute genocide as defined by the (1948 United Nations) Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide." The northern National Islamic Front government in Khartoum has enslaved women and children in the south of Sudan; engaged in ethnic cleansing; bombed churches and schools; and prevented food from humanitarian agencies from reaching the black Christians and animists trying to withstand the armed "jihad" forces of the north. It has taken years of organized pressure to move the Congress and White House. The extraordinary coalition of the New Abolitionists includes black churches around America, white evangelicals, Chuck Colson's Prison Fellowship, the Hudson Institute, Freedom House, the Institute on Religion and Democracy, the Congressional Black Caucus, the Boston-based American Anti-Slavery Group and determined civil rights leaders Joe Madison and the Rev. Walter Fauntroy. Among other crucial people involved is Barbara Vogel, a fifth-grade teacher in Denver, who told her class that slavery still exists. The children raised money to redeem Sudanese slaves through the Swiss-based Christian Solidarity International. Also pivotal were Republican Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas and U.S. Reps. Donald Payne, Frank Wolf and Tom Tancredo. Eric Reeves, who teaches Shakespeare and Milton at Smith College, took a two-year leave to focus entirely on valuable research and advocacy to illuminate the atrocities in Sudan. The Sudan Peace Act authorizes $300 million to aid the blacks in the south over the next three years for humanitarian purposes and "to prepare the population for peace and democratic governance." Under the law, the president is to certify every six months that the Khartoum government and the Sudan People's Liberation Army are negotiating in good faith. If he finds that they are not, sanctions go into effect. As described, for example, by the Freedom House, if there is evidence of "continued bombing of civilians, slave raids, and bans on relief flights," the United States will oppose "international loans and credits to Khartoum," and among other punitive actions, seek "a U.N. Security Council Resolution to impose an arms embargo on Khartoum." The Sudan People's Liberation Army in the south must also not unilaterally subvert peace negotiations. What gives the Sudan Peace Act particular force is the finding by the United States that the government in Khartoum is guilty of actual genocide. The International Convention on Genocide states unequivocally that the countries signing the convention "confirm that genocide, whether committed in time of peace or in time of war, is a crime under international law which they undertake to prevent and punish." If evidence were to mount that slave raids from the north, accompanied by gang rapes of captured women, have not stopped, and that shipments of food continue to be blocked by Khartoum, Lt. Gen. Omar Hassan Bashir and his chief subordinates in the northern National Islamic Front could be brought before the International War Crimes Tribunal. I have talked to a number of the principals in the New Abolitionist coalition, and they intend to keep the pressure on the president and Congress to ensure that the provisions of the Sudan Peace Act are carefully and continually monitored. Also, the Africa desk of the State Department must be held accountable for documenting and reporting all violations of the Sudan Peace Act. According to a report by Christian Solidarity International, quoting the news service Al-Anbara, "the Sudanese charge d'affaires in Washington, Dr. Harun Khidir, blamed 'members of the extremist Christian rights groups, and a group of the black masses' for pushing the Sudan Peace Act through Congress." And, on Oct. 16, Agence France Presse reported that after passage of the Sudan Peace Act, "Islamist officials organized a mass demonstration in Khartoum in support of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, during which an effigy of President Bush, wrapped in American and Israeli flags and labeled 'the corpse of imperialism,' was torn to shreds and burned." The Khartoum government will certainly require close watching, and by the press, too. The story of the signing of the Sudan Peace Act was only minimally reported in the New York Times and The Washington Post the next day. A longer piece was published in The Washington Times. None of the pieces mentioned the formal declaration of genocide, the core of the new law. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch did include that news.

Reuters 11 Nov 2002 Sudan to share power, wealth with rebels for peace CAIRO (Reuters) - Sudanese Foreign Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail said on Monday his country was willing to share its power and wealth with rebels in the hopes of ending a 19-year war and preserving the unity of Africa's largest country. "(We want) to give the south confidence and a high participation in power. This is not a problem for us and we will reach a solution regarding this (power-sharing)," Ismail told reporters in Cairo. "We need...to stop the war and for a fair distribution of wealth, power and to reconstruct the south. This will strengthen unity's chances," he said. Khartoum and the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) are holding peace talks in Machakos, Kenya, which follow a framework deal in July that allows southerners to opt for independence after a six-year period of administrative autonomy. SPLA spokesman Samson Kwaje said he hoped some kind of preliminary agreement on sharing power and wealth would be reached before the talks break off temporarily. "We are still negotiating, but we are confident that we may reach a kind of agreement by the end of the week," he said. The two sides agreed a ceasefire in October but both have accused the other of violating it. The truce is supposed to last for the duration of the peace talks. Earlier this month, Sudan said it was ironing out the final details with the SPLA on dividing political power and had started to discuss the issue of wealth-sharing. Ismail described the peace talks in Kenya, which are expected to break off in the next few weeks as a "limited success". Negotiations are due to resume in January. "The peace talks are progressing normally. We can't say that they have reached a blocked road or that they are moving with the required speed to say a peace deal will be signed in the coming few weeks but there is limited success," Ismail said. The SPLA is fighting for greater autonomy for the mostly animist or Christian south from the largely Muslim Arab north. The fighting has cost nearly two million lives and is complicated by issues of ideology, ethnicity and oil

ICG 14 Nov 2002 Ending Starvation As A Weapon Of War In Sudan Humanitarian assistance has been manipulated cynically and devastatingly as a war strategy by both sides in Sudan, though overwhelmingly by the government, throughout the nineteen-year conflict. There is now an historic opportunity to end these aid restrictions permanently, but it will require immediate, determined and coordinated action by the international community. Failure would mean more deaths, and putting Sudan's fragile peace process at risk. A crucial mid-December meeting of UN, SPLA and Sudanese government representatives provides an opportunity to solve these problems permanently. For the full report, please see CrisisWeb - http://www.crisisweb.org

AFP 20 Nov 2002 - Sudan committee tracks down 2,000 abductees KHARTOUM, Nov 20 (AFP) - An internationally-backed government committee has recovered 2,000 abductees in Sudan from Arab tribal captivity and aims to complete its mission by end 2003, the committee chief announced Wednesday. The Committee for Eradication of Abduction of Women and Children (CEAWAC), set up less than two years ago, has traced and recovered 2,000 women and children, mainly members of the southern Dinka tribe of Bahr el-Ghazal, said Ahmed al-Mufti. He said they were abducted by Missairiyah, Rizaiqat and Maalya tribes living in Southern Darfur and Western Kordofan, both neighbouring Bahr el-Ghazal. Six hundred of them have been reunited with their families and the remaining 1,400 either placed in camps or with Dinka host families until their own families are located, Mufti said. He was addressing a press conference in Khartoum after a tour by a CEAWAC delegation of Southern Darfur and Western Kordofan states. Both the government and southern rebels have been accused of kidnapping villagers during the course of Sudan's two-decade-old civil war either to conscript the abductees or sell them into slavery. Mufti said that while a committee of the Dinka put at 14,000 the persons abducted from their tribe, CEAWAC estimated the number at between 5,000 and 6,000. "The task of the committee can be fulfilled in a few months' time, that is, ahead of the set date (end of 2003), provided the required funds are made available," said Mufti. He appealed to international donors and Sudan's finance ministry to raise their contributions. Mufti complained that international donors had granted only three percent of funds needed by the committee, while the finance ministry had met only 20 percent of its pledge. Led by Mufti, the delegation on tour comprised CEAWAC officials, tribal chieftains, representatives of the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), and the Swedish Save the Children charities of Britain and Sweden. They met with governors, provincial commissioners, native administration officials and leaders of the Missairiyah, Rizaiqat, Maalya and Dinka tribes.

Reuters 27 Nov 2002 - Sudan group says returns 29 abductees home-agency KHARTOUM, Nov 27 (Reuters) - A Sudanese government committee trying to stop tribal abductions in Sudan said it had reunited 29 abductees with their families, the official Sudan News Agency (SUNA) reported on Wednesday. Abductions between tribes, particularly in the south, have been a common practice for generations, but human rights groups and officials say the problem has been exacerbated by a 19-year-old civil war. The government acknowledges that abductions take place, but has denied allegations that the kidnappings and ensuing forced labour amount to slavery. SUNA did not say when the Committee for the Eradication of Abduction of Women and Children (CEAWC) had returned the 29 to their families but it added that the committee was in the process of returning 26 other abductees to their homes. According to earlier figures published by CEAWC, 600 abductees have so far been reunited with their families out of a total estimated figure of 2,000 kidnappings. The U.N. children's fund UNICEF has said tribal leaders estimate some 14,000 people were abducted between 1986 and 1998, although many would have been freed by now. A U.S.-sponsored commission said in May slavery did exist in Sudan, but it was hard to establish the scale of the practice.

Uganda

AFP 15 Nov 2002 Rebels hack to death nine people in north Uganda: military KAMPALA, Nov 15 (AFP) - Rebels of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) have hacked to death nine civilians during a raid in Lira district of northern Uganda, a military spokesman said Friday. Major Shaban Bantariza said the attack was carried out in Ogur sub-county in Lira on Friday and that 20 other people were taken away by the rebels. A gang of LRA raiders used machetes, axes and sticks to kill their victims, he added. "People were abducted by the LRA rebels from their houses and killed quietly," said Bantariza. "They did the massacre and disappeared. Two units of our forces are closing in on them," he added. The latest killings bring to 40 the number of people murdered by rebels in northern Uganda during the past in eight days. The LRA has engaged in violent activities since 1988 ostensibly fighting to overthrow President Yoweri Museveni's secular government and replace it with one based on the biblical Ten Commandments. The group is however earned notoriety for its brutality against civilians.

AFP 29 Nov 2002 140 killed in northern Uganda fighting in a month: army KAMPALA, Nov 29 (AFP) - Over 140 people, mostly rebels from the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), were killed in northern Uganda in the last four weeks, army spokesman Major Shaban Bantariza said Friday. One hundred and six rebels, 25 civilians and 11 government soldiers had died between November 1 and 27 in fighting in the central African state, Bantariza told AFP. "We captured 30 rebels during combat, while 22 others surrendered to the army," he said. "Sixteen of our soldiers sustained serious injuries while 12 civilians were also injured." Items recovered from battles including 80 sub-machine guns, an anti-aircraft gun, over 6,800 bullets, grenades, land mines, mortar bombs, and communication equipment, Bantariza said. He said that during the same period, up to 240 people were rescued from rebel captivity. The unrest has displaced some 800,000 people in the northern Ugandan region. Many of those released have been handed over to humanitarian organisations for rehabilitation, he said. The army figures could not be confirmed independently, but sources in the region say the army has gained the upper hand in the war against the rebels. The LRA have battling since 1988 to overthrow President Yoweri Museveni's secular regime and replace it with one based on the biblical Ten Commandments.

Zimbabwe

BBC 7 Nov 2002 Zimbabwe 'diverts food aid' People must show Zanu-PF, as well as identity cards, to get food The European Union has condemned the government of President Robert Mugabe for diverting food aid to its own supporters and ignoring opposition activists. A Danish minister told Reuters news agency "that is not acceptable." The Zimbabwe Government is using our aid and our food to put political and economic pressure on its own people Bertel Haarder, Danish Minister for Europe Last weekend, a United States official warned that the US may have to take "intrusive" measures to ensure that food aid was properly distributed. Up to six million people - half the population - are estimated to need food aid after poor rains, combined with the government seizure of almost all white-owned farms. Bertel Haarder, European Affairs Minister of Denmark, which holds the EU presidency, was sparking at a meeting of EU and Southern African officials in the Mozambique capital, Maputo. The meeting was due to be held in Denmark but was switched to Mozambique because Zimbabwe's leaders are banned from entering Europe under EU sanctions. "We would like to strongly react against the fact that the Zimbabwe government is using our aid and our food to put political and economic pressure on its own people," Mr Haarder said. Maize bags The BBC's Christian Fraser, who recently went to Zimbabwe, says that bags of maize were stacked outside polling stations during the by-election in Insiza - reportedly put there to reward people who voted for Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party. Zanu-PF won the election in what was considered an opposition stronghold. Just a few hundred white farmers remain on their land Following the US warning, Zimbabwe accused it of planning to invade the country under the pretext of guaranteeing the distribution of food aid. Mr Mugabe denies that the food crisis is a result of his land reform programme and blames it on a drought, which has affected much of the region. But white farmers who are prevented from working their land say that their dams are full of water. Just a few hundred white farmers remain on their land, out of some 4,000 two years ago. Our correspondent says that the land has gone to Zanu-PF officials, who often have no farming background, instead of the landless black people who were supposed to benefit. In Maputo, Zimbabwean Foreign Minister Stan Mudenge repeated his government's argument that former colonial power Britain should compensate the white farmers who have lost their land. As a result of British colonial rule, whites owned much of Zimbabwe's best farmland. Britain has refused to pay unless there is transparency in the redistribution of land.

Dawn (Pakistan) 11 Nov 2002 Mugabe uses famine as a weapon By Peter Beaumont LONDON: The rains have come to the undulating pastures of northern Matabeleland. In the bread basket of Zimbabwe, the seed should be in the ground by now. But instead the rural poor are bracing themselves for a catastrophe on a scale not seen since the Matabeleland massacres a generation ago. Death is stalking the people of Matabeleland again. Only this time it is a slow death by starvation - orchestrated in large part by Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party as a weapon against his opponents in the Movement for Democratic Change. Amid warnings that more than 6.7 million Zimbabweans are facing starvation, the Matabele have found themselves attacked by Mugabe's thugs, who are refusing food to anyone suspected of supporting the MDC. They have been abandoned by donor countries in the international aid community, who have judged Zimbabwe a bad bet; and threatened by forecasts of a strong El Nino effect on the country's weather set to bring a season of heavy rains followed by drought. The combination is bad enough for Zimbabwe's hungry rural communities - where one in three adults is infected with HIV - but there is more bad news. Thanks to drought and the government's 'fast-track' land reform policy, cereal production is down 57 per cent from last year and maize output by 67 per cent. The international community has raised barely half the money needed to bridge that gap. With inflation rampant and foreign exchange rates in dramatic decline, shortages of bread, maize, milk and sugar are worsening. To complicate the picture further, Western officials accuse senior Zanu officials of profiteering from a black market in food that most cannot afford. "Countries that usually give in crises like this don't want to know because of Mugabe's reputation. At present funding for food aid is running at only 40 per cent of what is needed. If we can't persuade people to give more, then we are looking at a disaster. "Mugabe is playing politics with aid, but the international community must not be drawn into doing the same, no matter how repellent Mugabe's behaviour. It is the people of Zimbabwe themselves that matter, and we have got to help the," said a British diplomat. Britain's International Development Secretary, Clare Short, has called on fellow members of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development to pledge more. Despite deteriorating relations between Britain and the Mugabe regime, Britain remains the second largest donor behind the United States - providing $57 million since September 2001. The most recent assessments suggest that the 'coping strategies' of those most badly affected will run out early in the new year. And then people will start to die. But it is a message likely to be unpopular with governments from Scandinavia to Japan - usually big donors - which sources say have been reticent about giving aid to Mugabe's Zimbabwe. It is a position that was outlined last week by Denmark's European Affairs Minister, Bertel Haarder, speaking at a meeting of European and southern African Ministers meeting in Maputo. His comments are unlikely to encourage already cautious governments to rush to Zimbabwe's aid while Mugabe is still in power. "We would like to strongly react against the fact that the Zimbabwe government is using our aid and our food to put political and economic pressure on its own people," said Haarder last week. "They use our aid as a tool in the domestic fight against the opposition to survive, and that is not acceptable." Haarder's remarks followed comments by a senior US official earlier in the week who also accused Mugabe of politicizing famine relief and said Washington was considering 'interventionist' measures that could challenge Zimbabwe's sovereignty. The elections may be over but, according to one human rights observer returned from Zimbabwe, the use of starvation as a political weapon is continuing in some of the most hard-hit areas. The human rights worker described widespread use of starvation against oppositioncommunities.-Dawn/The Guardian News Service.

Zimbabwe Standard (Harare) 27 Nov 2002 'Government Promoting Genocide' Harare Kelvin Jakachira, the national executive member of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ), says government is sowing the seeds of genocide in the country by continuing, through the national broadcaster, to fill the minds of the nation with anti-white, anti opposition propaganda. Presenting a paper on ZUJ's position on the Broadcasting Services Act (BSA) at a Misa-Mutare Advocacy workshop held in Nyanga at the weekend, Jakachira said ZBC radio and television had become effective in delivering the message of hate directly and simultaneously to a wider audience. "We do not want what happened in Rwanda to be repeated here," he said. Rwanda, which became a centre of ethnic cleansing in the 90s under its late leader, Juvenal Habyarimana, effectively used the medium of radio to fan the ethnic hatred which culminated into genocide. Millions of people died as the Hutus massacred the Tutsis and turned the Great Lakes area into a bloody zone. Jakachira's warning comes at a time when the state media has stepped up its campaign to discredit the opposition MDC and the whites by labelling them as the source of Zimbabwe's misery. "Referring to MDC members as terrorists can actually give other people the excuse to attack them. Genocide starts on a small scale," he warned. Hondo yeMinda adverts flighted on television and radio these days portray whites as evil people responsible for the shortages in the country. The BSA which was passed about a year ago opened the airwaves to private players but up to now no application has being approved. He said the delay by the government in offering licences to private players in the broadcasting sector was a deliberate ploy to continue enjoying the monopoly and thus be in a position to attack the voiceless opposition parties.

IRIN 28 Nov 2002 Famine "very close", WFP warns Food supplies are running out JOHANNESBURG, 28 Nov 2002 (IRIN) - The World Food Programme (WFP) warned on Thursday that the humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe has deteriorated to the point where "we are very close to famine" among already weakened households, WFP Deputy Country Director Gawaher Atif told IRIN. WFP had aimed to feed three million vulnerable people in November, but does not have the food available to reach that target. It will now have to prioritise who can be fed. "In November we'll focus on the most vulnerable of the most vulnerable, it's a target population that already doesn't have any other source of food except WFP ... We are very, very close to famine here," Atif said. The signs of extreme need are already evident. Wild foods, some poisonous without careful preparation, are being consumed. In food distribution queues, people are scooping up spilled maize kernels. School children are dropping out of class to find casual labour, levels of malnutrition are worsening, and hunger-related diseases are becoming more frequent, WFP said in a statement. Overall, the agency faces a shortfall of 200,000 mt between now and March 2003. Although WFP's emergency operation has been 60 percent funded, it takes two to three months for those pledges to be translated into food on lorries bound for hungry communities. Another reason for the shortfall, Atif said, was that the Zimbabwean government has not been able to honour an agreement to swap 17,500 mt of locally stored maize for genetically modified grain held by WFP that was to have been milled by the state-owned Grain Marketing Board (GMB). The GMB, which outside WFP's operation has a monopoly on food distribution, has also struggled to import enough cereals to meet needs, due in particular to a lack of foreign exchange. A total of 6.7 million Zimbabweans will require food aid in the coming months leading up to next year's harvest. By January, WFP had planned to increase its distributions to 5.8 million people in 57 districts, subject to the availability of relief supplies. "We need more food," Atif said. "The situation is looking very bleak and that's the bottom line." In the coming months, despite other potential hurdles like fuel shortages, WFP needs to increase its cereal deliveries to around 65,000 mt a month, "while the government must also rapidly increase its imports, since the economic situation has put more and more people at risk", the WFP statement said. It added the nationwide shortages of maize, bread, milk and sugar has seriously affected members of Zimbabwe's working class, who do not meet WFP's selection criteria. The combination of commercial shortages, high parallel market prices and an accelerating rate of inflation, expected to reach 200 percent by the end of the year, was drastically reducing the capacity of those earning fixed incomes to feed themselves. "The number of those in need keeps soaring and WFP cannot cope on its own. The gap needs to be filled both by the government, as well as by WFP and NGOs. Only a collective effort can hope to combat this crisis," the statement quoted WFP Country Director Kevin Farrell as saying.

Americas

AP 30 Nov 2002 Adapting to modernity, Latin America's Indians make striking gains, still face racism and poverty EDITOR'S NOTE -- Niko Price, an Associated Press correspondent based in Mexico City, traveled along the Panamerican Highway from Texas to the south of Latin America. This report, on the continent's Indians, is one in an occasional series. By NIKO PRICE Associated Press Writer SAN RAFAEL, Ecuador (AP) -- Dressed in bowler hats, masks and furry leggings, the men dance through the streets, brandishing bottles of liquor and branches draped with live, squealing guinea pigs -- offerings for Intiraymi, the Festival of the Sun. Suddenly the two bands stop playing and a smallish man holds up a panicked, fluttering rooster. "I am proud to be continuing this tradition and celebrating our culture," announces Ruben Cholo, 38, sounding loud and boozy. "Gentlemen, this tradition is ours. This culture is ours. Let us never lose it." The Otovaleno are an Indian group that has made it economically without losing its traditions. That makes them a rarity in Latin America, where Indians by and large still live in extreme poverty without running water and electricity, with little political power, often bearing the brunt of idiotic TV satires. There were at least 40 million Indians in the two continents of the New World when Christopher Columbus arrived. That population was reduced by 80 percent to 90 percent by European diseases, war, oppression and genocide, but today has taken off again and some estimates place it above the original level. Who, though, is an Indian today? In Mexico, for instance, most people have some Indian in them, yet the Indian population is officially just 10 percent, because only those who speak an Indian language qualify. Indian numbers range from more than 70 percent of the population in Bolivia to less than 1 percent in Argentina. Cuba's population counts don't even mention Indians. Westernization has been both a blessing and a curse. It has brought services like health clinics and running water and trade routes, but also deforestation and influxes of non-Indian populations that seriously threaten Indian identity and lifestyle. It has brought education that is producing Indian lawyers and lawmakers. Improved health care has stamped out some of the diseases brought by the early settlers. But with the consumer society has come drug addiction and crime. Urbanization has created a slum-dwelling Indian underclass. Television has beamed violence, pornography and crass commercialism into Indian homes. To see the effects, cut 600 miles north from Otavaleno country in the mountains of Ecuador to Panama and the town of Ipeti Kuna. Here runs a graveled segment of the Panamerican Highway, the 8,909-mile river of highway and dirt track that represents an old dream of linking North America to Patagonia by a single road. Big trucks rumble through town, picking pick up bananas and lumber to sell in Panama City. "In the beginning, there were no settlers. Just trees, birds, different kinds of animals," said town official Orlando Hernandez, 40. "Since 1970, when they started to open La Panamericana -- that's when our problems started." Ipeti now is three separate towns. Ipeti Kuna for the Kuna Indians, Ipeti Colono for mestizo loggers, and Ipeti Embera for another Indian tribe displaced from its traditional lands. The three groups have had occasional clashes, sometimes deadly. Women in Ipeti Kuna still wear dresses adorned with colorful fabrics called molas, only now they buy them machine-made from Panama City. "Before, economically, people didn't worry so much. But now if you don't have money it's like you don't have anything," said Ovitilio Perez, 27, wearing a Reebok baseball cap. The mountain provided farmland and animals to hunt for meat. "Now it all comes from Panama City." Scattered reaction to such conflicts of development have exploded throughout the region. While most Indians continue to petition their governments for roads, electricity and Western comforts, others, often encouraged by leftist Europeans and Americans, have begun to resist modernization. In southern Mexico, many Mayan Indians rallied around the Zapatista rebels, who rose up in 1994 in 12 days of fighting with the army that killed 145 people. While there has been no sustained fighting since, conflicts between Indians on either side persist. The Zapatistas, who wear traditional tribal dress and ski masks, are led by Subcomandante Marcos, whom authorities have identified as a Spanish-descended philosophy professor from Mexico's Gulf coast. The other leaders are Indian. When the Zapatistas went to Mexico's Congress in 2001, it was a Tzotzil Indian, Comandante Esther -- "I, a poor Indian woman and a Zapatista" -- who addressed the lawmakers on their behalf. The Zapatistas want autonomy so Indians can make laws, hold elections and control resources -- rankling business interests looking for oil and minerals in the mountains of Chiapas. Elsewhere, Indians have had more success in influencing government. In Peru, part-Indian Alejandro Toledo is the president, the first ever to be elected on an Indian-rights platform. Calling himself "a stubborn Indian with a cause," he likened himself to a 16th century Inca emperor, pledging to rectify 500 years of injustice and bring prosperity to Peru's 45 percent Indian population. Seventy percent of Indians voted for him last year. "It's a source of pride that for the first time an Indian will govern," Mariano de la Cruz, a Quechua Indian, said in halting Spanish as he voted in a Lima slum. "Discrimination has gotten worse, and he will be a symbol for all of Peru." But 16 months into his presidency, Toledo is having trouble making good on his pledges. His popularity has plunged, and he has faced violent protests. In Ecuador, Indians are 40 percent of the population and have had more success in influencing government. Elections to the Confederation of Indigenous Nations, an advocacy group, are now treated with the same importance as presidential elections. In 2000, Indian leaders joined army officers to depose President Jamil Mahuad, and won a seat on the triumvirate that replaced him. Ecuador now has an elected non-Indian president, but the coup was a striking example of Indian power. "The military came in on the heels of the Indians, not the other way around," said Simon Pachano, a sociologist at the Latin American Institute of Social Sciences in Quito. "The Indians in Ecuador are better organized than in any other Latin American country." Ecuador's 21,000 Otovalenos have embraced globalism with a passion. They sell their handicrafts in New York and Paris and have produced an astounding assortment of lawyers, doctors and engineers. And although much of the tribe remains in poverty, a large middle class has fueled the boom of the town of Otovalo, where car dealerships and real estate brokers do a brisk business. "Society has created a very negative stereotype of Indians, and many times the Indians themselves assume that stereotype," said Mario Conejo, Otovalo's first Indian mayor, wearing sandals and bowler hat over a long ponytail. "We broke that cycle in Otovalo." It hasn't been easy. Conejo recalled the 1996 Miss Otovalo pageant and its first Indian contestant. Amid national outrage, the city council barred Indians from the pageant. That, Conejo said, exposed the racism of the mixed-race people who make up half the town's population. It got Conejo elected mayor in a contest marred by racial strife. "It's difficult for many people who think of Indians as dirty, lazy and ignorant to accept that an Indian has a big house or drives a late-model car," he said. "A mestizo can't accept that an Indian is better than him." Back at the Festival of the Sun, Marco Calapaqui breaks out of a dancing circle to offer a bottle of lemon liqueur to a stranger. The 28-year-old Indian lives in San Rafael, but has been to Houston and Toronto to study law and dreams of working at the International War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands. "I like defending drug smugglers, murderers, the hard cases," he says. "I dream of going to The Hague. And I will. It's a promise I've made to myself." Calapaqui has cut his traditional ponytail in a concession to Western ways, but he still gets drunk and dances at festival time. "It's essential," he says. "It's our patrimony, our way of life."

Canada

National Post 30 Oct 2002 The portraits of one man's struggle Chris Wattie Gertrude Kearns Toronto A NEW EXHIBITION OF PAINTINGS DEPICTS THE PLIGHT OF ROMEO DALLAIRE: Dallaire #4 is one of a series of paintings on the genocide in Rwanda by artist Gertrude Kearns. She uses camouflage as her canvas. The subject of Gertrude Kearns' latest show will almost certainly not be at its opening today in Propeller gallery, on Toronto's Queen Street West, although the artist admits wistfully she still holds out a faint hope. The trouble is, even after producing her remarkable and ambitious series of 10 paintings on the difficult subject of the genocide in Rwanda, she finds that Canadian General Roméo Dallaire eludes her, at least in person. "I have attempted to contact him several times, but he hasn't responded," Kearns says. "I know he's aware of what I'm doing -- I sent him an invitation to the opening ... but no, I wouldn't count on him." Dallaire, the commander of the ill-fated 1994 peacekeeping mission to the troubled African nation, was unable to halt the rising tide of slaughter around him and suffered -- often publicly -- terrible psychological consequences. Kearns says it was Dallaire's plight that attracted her to the subject of the moral and physical landscape of the Rwandan genocide. "I've been collecting photos of Gen. Dallaire from way back," she says, perched on a stool in her cluttered downtown studio. "I thought, here's someone in a very complex dilemma." She sent the general, who became famously guarded of his privacy after publicly admitting he suffered post-traumatic stress as a result of his time in Rwanda, letters, copies of her previous work and an explanation of what she wanted to do. There was no reply. She tried contacting Dallaire through friends and was met with the same silence. So Kearns decided to go ahead anyway. "I thought if he'd really wanted to tell me to leave him alone or not to do it, then he would have," Kearns says, frowning. "I was very sensitive to that ... and I do have the sense that he doesn't object to this project." Working from a series of portrait-style photographs of Dallaire taken by freelance photographer Rick Madonik, Kearns began to paint a series of larger-than-life portraits of the general on sheets of thick camouflage cloth. Her oil paintings are simple, almost like pastel or chalk sketches dashed out on a sidewalk, showing Dallaire's progressively deteriorating mental state. "They're in a series," she says. "From him being in control at the start of the mission to his breakdown. "They're about conscience and challenge." The show is titled UNDONE, a play on both the effect Rwanda had on Dallaire and the United Nations' role in failing to stop the genocide, and its most impressive image is that of Dallaire holding his head in his hands. The use of camouflage as a canvas -- Kearns calls it "quasi-camouflage" and says she found it in a Toronto fabric store -- lends both an eerie quality to the paintings and a visual vagueness. You have to look closely to make out details against the mottled daubs of brown and black that make up the backdrop. "I hope that gives a sense of the complexity of what happened in Rwanda," Kearns says. "How it was hidden for so long ... and the impotence of the UN troops thrown into that." The larger, landscape pieces are less impressive despite their size. The images of armoured cars, stretchers, machetes and bodies seem staged, especially when compared with the simple lines and shadings with which Kearns outlines Dallaire. She hopes the show, which will run at the artist co-operative gallery for three weeks, will help make at least a little sense out of "the incredible pathos and stupidity" of Rwanda. "I looked at so much material researching this [that] I started to have nightmares, too," Kearns says. "So I can understand how traumatized Gen. Dallaire must have been ... His troops were walking through knee-deep bodies and, as he said himself, he was shaking hands with the devil every day." And while she still harbours ambitions of doing a portrait of the general from life, Kearns says UNDONE is as close as she's likely to get for the time being. "It sounds very presumptuous, but I wanted to do something with him," she says. "This is my way of trying to live the experience: to get as close to it as possible." "I really wanted to say something with this series." cwattie@nationalpost.com

AFP 4 Nov 2002 Canada refuses to sign pact to exempt US soldiers from international court, OTTAWA, Nov 4 Canada will not sign a bilateral deal with the United States to exempt US personnel from prosecution for alleged war crimes or other atrocities before the new UN-sponsored International Criminal Court (ICC), Foreign Minister Bill Graham said Monday. Graham, who had just attended a meeting of international parliamentarians who plan to establish a global parliamentary network to monitor the ICC, said Canada and the United States already had an agreement covering the conduct of US military personnel on Canadian soil. Under that agreement, any US soldiers accused of crimes are sent back to the United States for court-martial there. "There is no need to have another specific bilateral agreement," said Graham. "We don't have any intention of signing such an agreement." The United States, which opposes the formation of the ICC, has been seeking bilateral agreements with a number of countries to exempt US personnel on their territory from the court's jurisdiction. So far, according to a coalition of non-governmental organizations, 13 countries have signed such agreements with the United States: Afghanistan, the Dominican Republic, East Timor, Gambia, Honduras, Israel, the Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Micronesia, Palau, Romania, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. None of those countries have ratified the convention setting up the ICC. According to the coalition of non-governmental organizations, 61 countries have so far ratified the establishment of the court, which will now go ahead with the election of 18 judges next February.

Edmonton Journal Sunday, November 10, 2002 Agony of Ukraine famine hard for survivors to describe 'More bones, more tragedy' come to light every day: UKRAINIANS REMEMBER Bryant Avery, Journal Staff Writer Survivors of imposed starvation in Ukraine during 1932 and 1933 are dwindling in number now, but evidence is still growing about the genocidal Soviet policy and its catastrophic effect on millions of people. "In life, many things happen and usually you can forget them," Ukrainian Canadian Congress president Mykola Vorotylenko said at the 69th annual memorial service on Saturday. "But every day there are more bones, more evidence, more tragedy." In the mid-'30s, Soviet Union dictator Josef Stalin sent troops into Ukraine to collect 1.7 million tons of grain for lucrative Western markets, causing a massive famine. Vorotylenko's mother survived. "The breadbasket of Europe became one massive graveyard," Congress vice-president Luba Boyko-Bell told the crowd of about 300 at a sombre service in City Hall and in front of the Ukrainian famine memorial sculpture. The number of people who died is not known, but estimates range from eight million to 10 million. There are now fewer than 100 survivors in the Edmonton area's large Ukrainian community, Vorotylenko said. Teens Krysta Czar and Laryssa Szmihelsky have heard the story many times, in school, home and Saturday language classes. They also attend the remembrance event every year. "It's the same thing over and over," Czar said with a 14-year-old's smile, "but it's also good to be reminded. It's hard to put yourself in their places." Vorotylenko agreed. "For most people, it is difficult to understand how people could eat other people," he said. "But if people don't have any food, their minds go crazy." Vorotylenko emigrated to Canada four years ago and is a safety worker for a petroleum company. Now 46, he recalled how his mother was tight-lipped on the atrocity for years in Ukraine. "She didn't tell me much because it was dangerous to tell," he said. "Somebody did these things, and some of them are still in power. We need to remember that." bavery@thejournal.southam.ca

National Post 23 Nov 2002 ; Pg. A16, U.S. challenges Ottawa over war immunity: World criminal court: Washington hints future military co-operation in jeopardy, Steven Edwards, UNITED NATIONS UNITED NATIONS - The Bush administration said yesterday it will challenge Canada's refusal to offer immunity to Americans sought by the new international war crimes tribunal. Bill Graham, the Foreign Affairs Minister, said this month Canada's signature on the Rome Treaty, which created the International Criminal Court, meant Canada could never offer blanket immunity. Washington fears the court, which began operations on July 1 in The Hague, may indulge in politically motivated prosecutions of its nationals. It seeks immunity pledges from countries worldwide and has so far collected 15. "The fact that [Canada has] taken this position does not mean that the matter is over," a senior administration official said yesterday. "It is not a closed issue. We will have to have this conversation again in the future." The statement comes amid claims this week the Bush administration has become overly pushy in trying to align Canadian government policy with that of Washington. In Prague for this week's NATO summit, John McCallum, the Defence Minister, said "Canadians were a little bit ticked off" by Washington's repeated requests for Ottawa to increase defence spending. "It's a made-in-Canada decision," he said, though he admitted he, too, wished Ottawa would increase defence spending. Canada is one of 84 countries that have adopted the Rome Treaty. This obliges signatories to surrender people to the ICC who have been indicted for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide if national courts fail to prosecute them. In July, the United States asked Canada to promise never to hand over U.S. nationals to the court, claiming Article 98 of the treaty allowed such pledges. Foreign Affairs officials have said for months they were "studying" the U.S. request. ICC supporters argue the article was written to recognize only "Status of Forces" agreements, which hold soldiers accountable by their home state if caught violating laws while serving overseas. Ottawa has concluded that, for Canada, the article refers primarily to the 1951 Status of Forces Agreement among NATO countries and cannot be extended to a new agreement on immunity with Washington. "This Status of Forces Agreement, in our view, provides their forces here with sufficient protection, and there's no need to enter into another specific bilateral agreement," Mr. Graham said on Nov. 4 in Ottawa. Though he added Ottawa was prepared to consider "some adjustments" to the agreement, he insisted, "We must not take any action which would undermine the integrity of the court." Washington is hinting that future military operations with Canada may be jeopardized by Ottawa's hard line. "While our status of forces agreements are relevant, they may not provide the full coverage that we seek," said the administration official. "We want to reach a clear understanding with the government of Canada that will provide a clear separation from the court. We are seeking to have that separation so that we can continue to do the important business together." Washington may demand Ottawa sign ad hoc pledges of immunity before joint operations are approved. "We do not want our people to be under the jurisdiction of a treaty-based court to which we are not a party," the official said. "The Article 98s are necessary." The European Union, whose 15 members have also embraced the court, recently issued guidelines that allow EU states to negotiate limited immunity deals for U.S. soldiers and diplomats. Though Richard Boucher, the U.S. State Department spokes-man, described the guidelines as a "positive and constructive way forward," he said Washington would continue to seek comprehensive agreements. Most of the states signing immunity agreement are considered susceptible to U.S. pressure. The most recent are Sri Lanka, Gambia and El Salvador, with several other African and Asian countries in the pipeline, U.S. officials say. Gambia and five other countries -- Romania, East Timor, Tajikistan, Honduras and Marshall Islands -- have signed Article 98 agreements even though they have also signed and ratified the Rome Treaty. This suggests they do not see a conflict between the two. Still, ICC supporters say the U.S. campaign is foundering. "It doesn't look like much of a success," said Bill Pace, convenor for the Coalition for the ICC. "Legal experts tell us that a Pinochet-proof bilateral agreement is outside international law," referring to the former Chilean dictator.

Chile

Miami Herald 6 Nov 2002 Chile dam plan: Death of a culture? BY JIMMY LANGMAN Special to The Herald RALCO-LEPOY, Chile -- To the indigenous Pehuenches, the Bio Bio River is sacred. If the river is not respected, then Mother Earth (nuke mapu, in their native language) will become angry, nearby volcanoes will erupt and the land will tremble with earthquakes. But to the Chilean government and Endesa, the energy company owned by the Spanish-controlled Enersis Group, the river is a profitable means toward meeting Chile's energy needs and aiding regional economic growth. And now, despite the opposition of many Pehuenches, Endesa wants to dam the waterway to build a giant hydroelectric generating facility -- flooding much of the indigenous group's ancestral lands in the process. It is a conflict that has been roiling for more than six years. The company has persuaded 84 Pehuenche families to accept land elsewhere in exchange for their property, but seven other families refuse to leave. In May, the Chilean Supreme Court refused to hear a case concerning government plans to expropriate those families' lands. This month, a so-called Hombres Buenos commission appointed by the Economy Ministry is to visit those properties to determine how much Endesa must pay the families to move. Before the end of the year, the families will likely be forced off their ancestral land by police. 'When they come, I will say, `Why are you here?' '' said Nicolasa Quintreman, 63, dressed in traditional Pehuenche clothing. ``I am filled with anger when I think what our children and grandchildren will lose. ``If we don't have this land, we are nothing.'' Within a year, Endesa plans to finish construction of the 570-megawatt Ralco dam. The second of six dams originally planned for the river, the Ralco, Endesa says, could supply up to 18 percent of the energy for central Chile, including the capital, Santiago. LAWSUIT FILED But the $600 million project will also flood about 9,000 acres of temperate rain forest along 42 miles of the river valley, once one of the world's best white-water rafting spots and home to numerous rare plant and animal species. Moreover, some warn, the dam will cause the disintegration of the unique Pehuenche culture because of the Pehuenches' deep economic and historical ties to the river. ''This is a form of genocide,'' said Roberto Celedon, a lawyer for Quintreman and other Pehuenche families who, last month, filed an emergency complaint with the Washington, D.C.-based Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. ''The courts and government have decided not to respect indigenous rights,'' Celedon said. ``The only way to justice is at the international level.'' According to Chile's 1993 Indigenous Law, indigenous lands may not be sold, only traded for land of equal value and only with the consent of all owners. But the government and Endesa (whose executives refused to be interviewed by The Herald) insist that the nation's 1982 Electricity Law allows the expropriation of private property -- even indigenous land -- to provide energy for the public good. ''The indigenous question is for the courts to resolve,'' said Enrique Sepulveda, director of the Economy Ministry's legal department. Celedon filed a lawsuit on behalf of indigenous families. In it, he argues that expropriation contradicts a 1997 ruling by Conama, Chile's environment agency, which gave the project an environmental permit on condition that the indigenous families be relocated under the terms of the indigenous law. The high court sidestepped the issue on administrative grounds, stating that the suit should have been filed immediately after Endesa was awarded the electricity concession in March 2000. Diverse critics say that environmental, indigenous, water-rights and other laws have been repeatedly violated because of drug trafficking, a common form of corruption in Chile, and that an independent, high-level, international or national investigation is needed. ''There are signs of corruption everywhere. Even the World Bank pulled out financing because of environmental and indigenous problems,'' said Hernan Echaurren, a Santiago businessman whose family once owned much of the land surrounding the river. Echaurren and others point to the probable influence of Endesa's campaign contributions to numerous Chilean politicians. Eduardo Frei, the Chilean president from 1994 to 2000, has been accused of a conflict of interest since he was previously a partner with Sigdo Koppers, a consulting firm that helped build the first Endesa dam on the river. POLITICAL PRESSURE Fact is, President Frei often intervened to get Ralco approved. Twice, for instance, Frei fired the heads of Conadi, Chile's indigenous-development agency, after they had determined Ralco to be a threat to the sustainability of Pehuenche culture and had refused to sanction the relocation of Pehuenche families. Jorge Rosenblut, a former senior official in the Frei government, is also accused of favoritism toward the project. In 1996, he ordered Conama to pave the way for Ralco even after the 20 governmental agencies on the environment agency's technical committee had roundly recommended rejection of the project. Four years later, Rosenblut was named president of Chilectra, power distributor and subsidiary of Enersis, Endesa's parent company. ''The influence of this company in the politics of Spain is well known,'' said Jose Aylwin, son of former Chilean President Patricio Aylwin and an expert on indigenous law at Chile's Frontera University. ``The pressure that they have placed, through the use of political, economic and media influence, both on the President Frei and President Lagos administrations for the completion of Ralco, has been enormous.'' Maria Isabel Gonzalez, director of the government's energy commission under Frei, said Ralco was originally intended for the commission's 2005 work plan, as it had been determined that natural-gas pipelines from Argentina would be more cost effective. ''Chile doesn't need Ralco till 2020 with all the other energy sources available,'' she said, but Endesa sped up plans for Ralco so it could control the nation's energy market. ''After Ralco was approved, 16 investors disappeared,'' Gonzalez said. Today, because construction is two years late, consumers are actually paying 8 percent more on their bills and thus giving Endesa an extra $100 million a year to subsidize Ralco.'' Rosario Huenteau, 59, a Pehuenche woman who lives with her young son alongside the Bio Bio, recalled being hopeful, after Chilean President Ricardo Lagos visited them in August 2000, that Chile was ``going to respect the indigenous law.'' Now, her faith is shattered. ''We don't know who to turn to for help,'' she said.

Colombia

ICRC 21 Nov 2002 ICRC News 02/47 Colombia: Training in humanitarian law for the armed forces On the initiative of the General Command of the Colombian Armed Forces and with the support of the ICRC delegation in Bogotá and the Colombian Red Cross, a technical seminar was held in the Colombian capital from 12 to 14 November in order to lay the foundations of a permanent plan to incorporate international humanitarian law into the training and operational guidelines of the Colombian armed forces. The seminar was part of a strategy aimed at ensuring that humanitarian rules are taken into account in decision-making processes and in the planning, conduct, supervision and evaluation of military operations through the gradual inclusion of those rules in military manuals and regulations and in military training programmes and exercises. The participants included two generals in the Colombian armed forces and various high-ranking officers from the General Inspectorate of the Colombian army, navy and airforce and the Directorates of military education, policy, instruction and training. Members of the country's main military academies also took part. At the close of the seminar, General Román, Inspector General of the Colombian Armed Forces, said: "Over the past few years, the ICRC has promoted the dissemination of international humanitarian law and helped raise awareness of its rules among the Colombian armed forces in a very effective way. It is now our turn to take the process a step further by including the rules of that law in our instruction manuals and operational guidelines so as to ensure that our decisions never fall short of humanitarian norms."

Guatemala

UNWire 12 Nov 2002 GUATEMALA: UNDP Supports Plan For Reparations To War Victims - UN Wire's Scott Hartmann traveled to Guatemala last week to observe the U.N. Development Program's post-conflict activities in the country. GUATEMALA CITY -- Exactly one week ago, the high-level multi-institutional body charged with drafting a National Reparations Program to address the needs of hundreds of thousands of Guatemalans affected by the country's 36-year civil war presented their proposal to President Alfonso Portillo in hopes that he will soon push through Congress legislation creating a commission responsible for translating the plan's goals into action. The body, the Instancia Multiinstitucional por la Paz y la Concordia, which is a U.N. Development Program-supported project, was established in 1999 on the recommendation of Guatemala's Commission for Historical Clarification, which called for the country to "urgently" set up a program to provide reparations to the victims of human rights violations and the violence associated with the country's armed conflict and their family members. The proposed $396 million, 11-year program foresees a variety of forms of reparations to the populations most affected by the conflict, including economic compensation, support for the nearly 1 million Guatemalans who were displaced by the conflict and support for efforts to locate and exhume the bodies of those killed in massacres. It also includes support for community development and the establishment of medical and mental health facilities, land restitution and the formalization of land titles, support for efforts to promote tolerance and mutual respect, the creation of an alternative to military service, the dedication of Feb. 25 as a national day to remember the victims of the conflict and other measures to honor and remember the victims. The proposal also suggests the creation of a commission to oversee the reparations program, comprised of representatives of the Congress, the Supreme Court, the Human Rights Ombudsman's office and victims' organizations, as well as representatives of human rights, women's and ethnic Mayan organizations. The Commission for Historical Clarification suggested the program's funds come from reductions in military spending and aid from countries that supported the Guatemalan government economically and militarily during the country's conflict, such as the United States. According to the proposal, those eligible for reparations include those who were affected either "directly or indirectly, individually or collectively, by human rights violations" such as forced disappearance, extrajudicial executions, physical and psychological torture, forced displacement, forced recruitment as a minor, sexual violence, child rights violations and massacres. Human Rights Activists Skeptical Despite the cooperation the current government has been giving to the work of the body responsible for the proposal, some human rights activists UN Wire interviewed expressed skepticism that Portillo's deeply unpopular government will push the plan through Congress, even though the party Portillo represents, the Guatemalan Republican Front (FRG), dominates the legislative body. Instead, the activists said, the FRG-dominated Congress may respond to pressure from the ex-paramilitary Civil Defense Patrols (PAC) and approve measures to "compensate" the hundreds of thousands of former members of the PAC for their services rendered during the armed conflict. The right-wing FRG is led by populist Efrain Rios Montt, an ex-military leader who is charged by human rights organizations with overseeing the most brutal period in Guatemala's modern history but is revered by a large segment of the country's population. The FRG is reportedly closely linked to the military and ex-PAC members, whom human rights groups have accused of being the perpetrators of the vast majority of human rights violations during the government's conflict with left-wing rebels. Despite the political maneuvering ahead of next year's November presidential and legislative election, Orlando Blanco, the head of the National Coordinator for Human Rights, an umbrella group for Guatemalan human rights organizations, said he hoped that some kind of compromise could be reached. According to Blanco, the definition of "victim" under the plan is broad enough to allow for the inclusion of many of ex-PAC members, whom he said in many cases were victims of the conflict as well. Their inclusion would provide an opportunity to reunite the country and heal the wounds the prolonged conflict left, he said. Many Guatemalans who UN Wire spoke to across the country in areas affected by the conflict, including ex-PAC members and commanders, gave their full backing to a plan that would provide reparations to a wide variety of persons affected by the conflict, including the family members of those killed in massacres, provided that they themselves, as populations heavily affected by the conflict, receive reparations as well. Despite such sentiments, many ex-PAC members refuse to see themselves as "victims" of the conflict, insisting that they provided the state and their communities with a valuable service that helped turn the tide of the conflict in the 1980s in favor of the military. In this light, some human rights activists charge, large groups of ex-PAC members, which were composed of some of the most marginalized segments of Guatemala's population, are being politically manipulated by the FRG to retain its grip on power. "In reality ... two Guatemalas still exist, two [different] visions," said Blanco, noting that the process of reconciliation will be very difficult if the deeply divided country cannot recognize and reconcile with its past. One major obstacle is ignorance, Blanco added. "There are people who have never left their community, they don't know what is beyond the river nearby," he said, which leaves them open to being used politically. During Guatemala's prolonged conflict, one of the longest and most violent in Latin America, nearly 280,000 people died or disappeared. According to the landmark 1998 report by Guatemala's Commission for Historical Clarification, the armed forces and other agents of the state were responsible for 93 percent of such acts of violence and human rights violations, which overwhelmingly targeted the ethnic Mayan community. http://unfoundation.org/

AI 27 Nov 2002 Guatemala Justice Without Fear AI Index: AMR 34/076/2002 Publish date: 27 November 2002 Seeking justice for human rights abuses can be a life-threatening pursuit in Guatemala, Amnesty International said today, as the organization's International Legal Network, made up of approximately 5000 lawyers and other legal professionals from over 40 countries began a long term action in support of members of Guatemala's legal community. More on this Web site: Guatemala "It is all too common for Guatemalan judges, lawyers and prosecutors to face threats, intimidation and attacks," the organization added. "Those engaged in investigating and prosecuting cases of human rights violations or supporting those who are pressing for implementation of the Peace Accords are at particular risk." In recent years, numerous legal professionals working on human rights cases have been killed, while others have been forced to flee the country in fear for their lives. For example, efforts to bring to justice those responsible for the 1998 killing of Bishop Juan José Gerardi have resulted in a number of those associated with the case, including a judge and three state prosecutors being forced to seek refuge abroad with their families. Dozens of others involved in the case reported serious intimidation and another dozen also fled the country. Several witnesses who stayed paid with their lives. Harassment can also take the form of legal action and short-term imprisonment, as experienced by Luz Margoth Tuy, from the Auxiliary Human Rights Procurator's Office in Sololá, who had legal proceedings initiated against her in an apparent reprisal for her role in the investigation of the October 2000 killing of a land rights demonstrator and her involvement in efforts to mediate in local land disputes. "It is unacceptable that members of the Guatemalan legal community should have to work in fear. Such a situation is not only a threat to those professionals but to the whole rule of law in Guatemala," a representative of the International Legal Network said. "We hope that by showing support for our fellow professionals in Guatemala and by exerting international pressure we can contribute to ensuring greater protection and respect for them, so that they can work effectively and safely, including to promote human rights." The International Legal Network will be contacting members of the legal community in all regions of Guatemala to develop contacts and to determine their needs and concerns. The Network will gather information about the existing system for the protection of members of the legal community at risk -- including the work of the new Special Prosecutor for crimes against justice operators and the Supreme Court Committee for threats against the judiciary -- and will make recommendations for a more effective system, including ensuring that adequate resources are provided to protection and investigation mechanisms. Improving the protection provided to judges, prosecutors and lawyers -- including by ensuring that personnel allocated to the task are adequately trained and paid -- is an immediate necessity. However, this is not enough in itself. "Ensuring that all incidents are investigated thoroughly and that those responsible are brought to justice is the one critical measure that will put an end to this climate of intimidation," Amnesty International said. "For too long the gross human rights violations committed in Guatemala -- including genocide, mass unlawful killings and 'disappearances'-- have been shrouded in impunity. This has sent a message to those responsible that they are effectively untouchable and can get away with silencing anyone trying to shed light on past abuses," the organization added, stressing that the widespread impunity for past abuses has been a major factor in the wave of new abuses currently sweeping Guatemala. "Truth, justice and accountability are the cornerstones on which Guatemalan society can be rebuilt after the horrors of the conflict, and those working to achieve these goals must be allowed to do so without fear," Amnesty International concluded.

Neue Zürcher Zeitung (Switzerland) www.nzz.ch 28 Nov 2002 First published in German, November 23, 2002 Guatemala's Bloody Past "The Victims Cry Out from Beneath the Earth" Richard Bauer Despite the peace concluded in 1996, the scars of Guatemala's 36-year civil war are far from healed. The truth about the army's genocide against the Mayan populace is only slowly coming to light. Now, the victims are to receive some measure of justice through the erection of memorials, the excavation of mass graves and court trials of some of the perpetrators. Everything in the Guatemalan provincial town of Rabinal seems at least one size too big. The paved main square, built in Spanish colonial style, is larger than a football field. At its head shines the monumental, whitewashed façade of a Baroque cathedral. Far behind it is a military camp, much too big for peacetime. And just in front of that are two neighborhood-size cemeteries, one for the poor, another for the rich. Stronghold of the Army and Guerrillas The single-story houses along the checkerboard grid of streets are shabby, some of them untenanted. If it were not for the popular weekly market which draws crowds of peasants from the area down into the valley, this town would sink into insignificance. But twenty years ago, at the height of the country's protracted civil war, things were different. Bands of left-wing guerrillas used Rabinal and the surrounding parts of Baja Verapaz Province as their most important transit route from the capital to the highlands. On military charts, this charming mountain landscape dotted with farmlands and woods was marked as devilishly dangerous, and the military indiscriminately labeled all the area's inhabitants as guerrilla collaborators (unjustly, as a rule). In the days of the military presidents, General Lucas García (1978-82) and General Ríos Montt (1982-83), a series of terrible massacres and extralegal executions took place in and around Rabinal. Guatemala's National Truth Commission has registered 28 mass executions in Baja Verapaz Province, and the total for the entire country was at least 669. Recent excavations raise the suspicion that the actual number was probably far greater. The crimes are ascribed mostly to the army and the so-called Self-Defense Patrols (PAC) which were encouraged and equipped with primitive weapons by the military. Members of these militias were not only employed guarding the security of their own villages. Often they were ordered to engage in punitive expeditions to neighboring villages. In those cases, they functioned as death squads which descended in the early morning hours to sow fear and destruction among the civilian populace. From September 1981 to August 1983 alone, between 4,000 and 5,000 people - including many women, children and old men - were murdered within the Rabinal municipal district, which at that time had a population of something over 22,000 inhabitants. In its 1999 report, the Truth Commission estimated that as many as 200,000 people were killed in the course of the civil war between the various guerrilla groups and the army, which received massive U.S. support as part of the cold war. The report openly refers to the essentially ethnic murders as "genocide," since it was mainly the innocent indigenous Indians who were slaughtered, rather than members of the warring parties. A Museum as Memorial Bert Janssens, a young Belgian philologist who has been working as a volunteer in Rabinal for the past few years, guides me through the local museum of which he is curator. Three nuns sit in front of a TV screen, viewing a documentary film about army atrocities during the civil war. The tape is drawn from the museum's video archives. The museum, which doubles as a documentation center, has become a major attraction for the region's inhabitants. Dedicated just a year ago, it now registers about a thousand visitors each month, including many school classes. Their interest is not focused primarily on the exhibitions of fine regional handicrafts. It is the "Sala de historia" that is the sad main attraction, a room devoted to the village's history, which was blanketed in silence until recently. Entering the room's relatively dim light from the bright sunshine outside, one is almost overwhelmed. All available wall space is plastered with enlarged passport photos of victims. Extra partitions had to be set up to accommodate the 350 black and white images from the archives of the municipality's civil register. Candles burn here and there beneath the photographs: on All Saints' Day, family members came here to memorialize their dead, though in many cases they do not even know where they are buried. The photo captions indicate that most of the men and women were killed in 1982 during the massacres in the hamlets of Chichupac, Río Negro and Plan de Sánchez. The idea for the museum was a direct result of the peace agreements which ended the civil war. The pacts explicitly state that a lasting peace among the various ethnic groups, and the development of a democratic society, are possibly only if the victims are publicly acknowledged, if a culture of mutual respect is engendered, if the past is worked through, the perpetrators of crimes against humanity punished, survivors compensated, and human rights respected in the future. Mass Murderers Prosecuted Largely with financial and technical assistance from abroad, a series of projects has been launched in recent years designed to contribute to the reconciliation of Guatemala's deeply divided, multi-ethnic society. The difficult task of confronting and overcoming the past is met with suspicion or unabashed obstruction on the part of the tone-setting oligarchy, segments of the hardline military caste and prominent conservative politicians. That fact has been increasingly criticized lately by the members of the UN peace mission operating in Guatemala. But despite all the obstacles, there has been some initial progress, as the case of Rabinal shows. The village now not only has its museum as a warning to future generations; a few memorials to the victims of state terror under the military dictatorship have begun to spring up in the cemetery for the poor. And in the neighboring village of Xococ, family members of murdered victims have banded together into a working group to seek dialogue and reconciliation with the perpetrators, and also to push for prosecution and compensation. Unprecedented things are also happening in Guatemala's courtrooms. In February 1982 there was a grisly massacre in the little village of Río Negro, in which 107 children and 70 women were slaughtered. Despite considerable resistance, a trial was finally held, and although the military men behind the operation were not brought to justice, in 1999 three former members of a civil patrol were convicted as material perpetrators - a landmark result. One of the massacre's survivors, Jesús Tecu, who was only 11 years old when the incident occurred, now expresses regret that another 27 members of the same PAC are still at large. He has been fighting for years to have other cases from the years of civil war brought before the nation's courts. The main obstacle, he says, is getting witnesses to testify before a judge; many of them are afraid to break their silence, because the perpetrators live in the same community or a neighboring one and threaten vengeance if the witnesses talk. At the insistence of victims' families, excavations have been started at two dozen secret burial sites in the area around Rabinal, and 216 skeletons have already been exhumed. Heading this operation is the Guatemalan Foundation for Forensic Medicine (FAFG), which is financed by the UN Development Program and contributions from Holland and the U.S. The foundation is headed by Fredy Peccerelli, a young Guatemalan anthropologist trained in the USA. He points out that it is a matter of major importance to the local Mayan populace that the families of victims have the remains returned to them so that they can be ceremonially buried. The Mayans live in close relationship with their dead, maintaining ongoing ties to them, and having family members anonymously buried in mass graves constitutes a serious and abrupt disruption of the communication process, both for individuals and the community as a whole. On the basis of his experience with the FAFG, Peccerelli has been repeatedly called upon by the War Crimes Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia to undertake missions to Bosnia. Lack of Forensic Experts Excavations of burial sites are accompanied by a team of psychologists who tend to the needs of family members. "The victims cry out from beneath the earth," says one woman whose parents were murdered near Rabinal. A Spanish employee of the FAFG, which now has a staff of about 60, explains that once remains have been dug up, it is not always easy to explain to people why the bones must first be examined in a laboratory before being turned over to the victim's family. Family members, she says, are afraid that the bones will be sold in the U.S. or cooked to make soup, and eventually be replaced by animal bones. To counteract this legend, relatives are given an opportunity to visit the foundation's laboratories in the Guatemalan capital. One time, when an anthropologist was trying to explain his work to the members of a Mayan community, he remarked somewhat poetically that the bones began to speak when they were examined in the lab, at which former members of a civil patrol suddenly became very interested. They wanted to know just what the dead had said, doubtless to find out if they themselves had been branded as perpetrators. In the early 1990s, when the first secret cemeteries were discovered in Guatemala, the situation was very similar to that in Argentina, Chile or Bosnia: nowhere in the country were there specialists qualified to conduct scientific exhumations and forensic examinations. The American forensics expert Clyde Snow, who had acquired a worldwide reputation through his excavation work in Argentina, trained the first Guatemalan specialists. Working with an annual budget of $1 million, some 60 excavations are now undertaken each year. Recent years have seen about 300 exhumations throughout Guatemala, most of them handled by the FAFG. More than 2,000 sets of bones have been found, X-rayed and examined for signs of violent death. Naturally enough, the work of the forensic specialists is not appreciated everywhere, witness the death threats which some Foundation staff have recently received. Clearly, there are guilty parties in the ranks of the military and the PACs who fear being brought to justice. These days, excavation reports and the statements of interrogated relatives are accepted as valid proof by the country's courts. November 28, 2002 / First published in German, November 23, 2002

Guyana

AP 22 Nov 2002 Villagers Recall Jonestown Massacre JONESTOWN, Guyana (AP) — Razor grass, vines and a few wild daisies cover the area where American cult leader Jim Jones urged more than 900 followers to commit mass suicide. Few care to remember the horrors of Nov. 18, 1978. But painful memories are reawakening with a new influx of foreigners — U.S. missionaries and wildcat Brazilian gold miners — to the remote jungle outpost. ``I see strange faces and I feel scared again,'' said Caroline George, 37, whose three siblings died at Jonestown. ``Everything is different in Guyana but it somehow feels the same.'' Residents of Port Kaituma, the nearest town about six miles away, asked themselves the other day what the business might be of a Nigerian who stopped in at a diner for some fried chicken; and of a Colombian who landed on the airstrip in a private plane. This newfound multiculturalism, reminiscent of Jones' dream of a Utopian multiracial society, is not welcomed by villagers whose collective psyche was scarred by the mass suicide. ``All of the activity here has brought better business but some of the people who come in here, I just don't like,'' said Denise Duke, 37, owner of the Big ``D'' Food Mall, a wooden restaurant specializing in chicken foot soup. ``A lot of us are still suspicious of outsiders. Sure they bring us things, but what do they take in return?'' The town has more than quadrupled in size and population since the Jonestown massacre. Most of the 7,000 residents are native Amerindians and descendants of African slaves and East Indian indentured laborers imported centuries ago to Britain's only colony in South America. An interior covered by impenetrable jungle and dissected by snake-infested rivers prevented the Guyanese government from monitoring Jones' activities, and accounts for a different kind of lawlessness today. Port residents complain that President Bharrat Jagdeo's government, preoccupied with growing anarchy in the capital, Georgetown, is not doing enough to prevent foreigners from stealing Guyana's wealth. Meanwhile, locals say, Brazilians and Venezuelans who have joined a gold rush often mine without permits and smuggle their gains across unpoliced borders. Others complain the government is too trusting of foreign churches and missionaries. Baptist pastor Dean Runyon, from Cleveland, Ohio, has gathered more than 400 followers in four years for his church, which offers services and helps with small community projects. ``Why I came to Guyana? That's a long story,'' says Runyon, hurrying to a sermon and referring other questions to his parishioners. ``I have nothing to hide, though.'' ``Pastor Runyon is no Jim Jones,'' said parishioner Raymond Wong, 32. ``He preaches the word of God, but that's it.'' Few of these churchgoers are old enough to remember Jonestown. ``A lot of us who were around when Jonestown happened stopped going to church,'' said Paul Adams, 49, who helped Jones clear land for the agricultural commune where he and his followers grew bananas and cassava and raised pigs. Hundreds of men, women and children, followed Jones. They built cottages, workshops, dormitories and cultivated crops on 300 acres carved from dense tropical rain forest, some 140 miles from a capital reachable only by air or boat. Then a congressman from San Francisco flew to the jungle compound one day to investigate allegations of abuse. As U.S. Rep. Leo Ryan was preparing to return to the United States with 18 temple members who had wanted to leave, he was ambushed on the airstrip. Ryan, three newsmen and a cult defector were killed. Eleven others were injured. Then Jones exhorted his followers to drink cyanide-laced grape punch. Babies were killed by squirting it into their mouths with syringes. Most adults were poisoned, some forcibly. Some were shot by cult security guards. Hours later, 912 of Jones' followers were dead. So was Jones, found with bullet wound in his head, whether it was suicide or murder is unknown. ``Something like that would never happen again here,'' said Tourism Minister Manzoor Nadir. ``I think the country learned its lesson the hard way.''

Peru (see also Japan)

ICRC 14 Nov 2002 Peru: Incorporating humanitarian law into further education Since the beginning of the second university term, nine professors from the humanitarian law interest group set up by the ICRC delegation in May 2002 have been reserving time in their courses for international humanitarian law. The professors are teaching this aspect of law in five courses at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, two at the University of Lima and one at the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos. Following changes to the university curriculum, they will now be teaching subjects including the development of international humanitarian law, its scope and basic principles, the relationship between humanitarian law and human rights, war crimes and international criminal jurisdiction under humanitarian law. Students will also be learning about the ICRC's international activities and the new challenges facing this branch of law. The ICRC is currently discussing the possibility of including humanitarian law in curricula with the law faculties of the Inca Garcilaso de la Vega and San Martín de Porres universities. The professors of the interest group have been working with increasing dedication in this area. Members of the group have given presentations on topics related to international humanitarian law at events organized by Congress, the ministry of justice, the police, the national committee for the study and application of international humanitarian law, plus human rights organizations. Participation at these events confirms the position of these professors as points of reference in the field of international humanitarian law.

AP 16 Nov 2002 Peru commission exhumes remains of rebel massacre 2002-11-16 / Associated Press / LIMA, Peru Forensic experts have exhumed the remains of 62 adults and children massacred by guerrillas two decades ago in remote hamlets more than three kilometers high in the Andes Mountains, officials said Thursday. The villagers were murdered by Shining Path rebels in April 1983 near the town of Lucanamarca, 350 kilometers southeast of Lima. The Lucanamarca massacre shocked Peruvians and was the forerunner of mass killings by rebels and army troops as Peru sank into savage conflict. Two teams from Peru's Truth and Reconciliation Commission began digging Saturday near the hamlets of Muylacruz, Llacchua, Ataccara and Yanaccollpa. The remains will be sent to Lima on Friday for identification, the commission said in a press release. Peruvian, Argentine and Guatemalan forensic anthropologists conducted the exhumations with the help of villagers, who led investigators to grave sites and identified deteriorated clothing worn by the victims. The Shining Path, a Maoist-inspired rebel movement that tolerated no opposition, used terror to force peasants to support its drive to overthrow Peru's elected governments. Rebel ideologues first entered the Lucanamarca region in the late 1970s from the Huamanga University in Ayacucho, where Shining Path founder Abimael Guzman had been a professor. After guerrillas killed a handful of peasants in 1982, community self-defense groups known as "ronderos" began to fight back armed only with clubs and slingshots. In March 1983, a rondero patrol rounded up 10 guerrillas, marched them into Lucanamarca's central plaza and killed them, burning one man alive. Shining Path guerrillas retaliated the following month, shooting or hacking villagers to death with machetes. Guzman took credit for the massacre in 1988. "Faced with reactionary military action we responded with action: Lucanamarca," he told the guerrilla's clandestine newspaper El Diario. Shining Path violence dropped off significantly with Guzman's capture in 1992. The truth commission began working in July of last year to shed light on atrocities that occurred from May 1980 to November 2000 in fighting between government security forces, insurgents and civilians. At least 30,000 people died in the fighting and another 6,000 people disappeared. The commission plans to publish a final report based on exhumations, open hearings and individual testimonies in July of next year. In addition to the Lucanamarca digs, investigators have exhumed the remains of peasants massacred by army troops. Commission president Salomon Lerner told newsmagazine Caretas this week that the military has not responded to truth commission inquiries and that of the 13,000 people that have testified so far, none have included army personnel. Lerner also said the commission, which almost shut down earlier this year for a lack of money, has funding lined up through February.

Reuters 19 Nov 2002 The Americas Head of Death Squad Arrested in Peru LIMA, Peru -- In a dramatic arrest that could shed light on former president Alberto Fujimori's possible involvement in human rights crimes, Peru captured the head of an army death squad that killed 25 people in two of Peru's most notorious massacres in the early 1990s. Maj. Santiago Martin Rivas was leader of the Grupo Colina death squad. The unit was convicted of killing 15 people at a party in the Barrios Altos district of Lima in 1991 and nine students and their professor at La Cantuta university in 1992. He was arrested at his Lima home. Fujimori, who ruled Peru from 1990 to 2000, is charged with responsibility for the murders. The former president, who is now in exile in Japan, has denied the charge. Martin Rivas was one of 10 officers sentenced to up to 20 years in prison for the La Cantuta killing, which happened when Peru was in the grip of leftist rebel violence. He was released after Fujimori decreed an amnesty in 1995. But he became a fugitive after Peru's top military tribunal ruled last year that the sentences should be upheld, and a warrant was issued for his arrest. His detention brings to seven the number of Grupo Colina members behind bars; 14 are still at large, Interior Minister Gino Costa said. Costa said at a news conference that Martin Rivas had been under surveillance for a week.

The Japan Times (Kyodo) 21 Nov2002 Fujimori renews vow to run in '06 Peru election RIO DE JANEIRO Former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori marked his second anniversary of self-imposed exile in Japan on Tuesday with a vow to return to Peru, where he is wanted as a fugitive. Alberto Fujimori "I'm ready to fight a new battle," Fujimori said in a statement issued through a spokesman, renewing his pledge to run in the 2006 presidential election in Peru. Fujimori, 64, arrived in Japan on Nov. 17, 2000, while still in office, on an unscheduled visit after briefly attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum summit in Brunei. He announced his resignation three days later, but the Congress refused to accept it and dismissed him as president. Peru has since repeatedly sought his extradition from Japan on charges of dereliction of duty and abandonment of office. Fujimori is also charged with corruption, and two charges of murder and kidnapping in connection with his alleged sanctioning of two massacres by a paramilitary death squad in the early 1990s. He has maintained his innocence and accused his political enemies in Peru of making false accusations against him. He has repeatedly said he wants to return to Peru and run in the 2006 presidential election. Fujimori is still a target of widespread criticism in the South American nation, and the Peruvian legislature has barred him from taking any public office in the nation for 10 years. Japan has rejected repeated requests from the Peruvian government to hand over Fujimori on the grounds that the former president has Japanese citizenship and thus can stay in the country indefinitely. Fujimori was born in Peru to Japanese immigrants from Kumamoto Prefecture.

United States (see Canada)

Baltimore Sun 3 Nov 2002 Goldhagen on Pius XII - demands for accountability By John Rivera Sun Staff Originally published November 3, 2002 A Moral Reckoning: The Role of the Catholic Church in the Holocaust and its Unfulfilled Duty of Repair, by Daniel Jonah Goldhagen. Alfred A. Knopf. 352 pages. $25. Over the last several years, there has been a run of books examining the conduct of the Roman Catholic Church during the Holocaust, much of it focusing on the apparent silence of Pope Pius XII in the face of genocide. Many of these works have added valuable insight and historical documentation to what critics hold is a sad chapter in the church's history. Unfortunately, A Moral Reckoning does neither. Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, a professor of European Studies at Harvard University, writes this volume as a follow-up to his 1996 work, Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust, in which he argued that contrary to previous portrayals of a German populace that cooperated with the Nazi genocide only under coercion, the average German actively supported and often gleefully carried out the killing. In this latest volume, Goldhagen turns to the role of the Catholic Church in laying the groundwork for the Holocaust through centuries of preaching anti-Semitism, and then once the killing started, its failure to act or speak out against the genocide. He sets out in three sections of the book to dispassionately analyze what the church did and did not do during the Holocaust, to what extent it is culpable and what it needs to do to redeem itself. The first section, in which he lays out his historical case, is the weakest. There is nothing new here. Goldhagen relies instead on the work of others, most notably the more recent work that has been published, including John Cornwell's controversial Hitler's Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII, Susan Zuccotti's Under His Very Windows: The Vatican and the Holocaust in Italy, and James Carroll's Constantine's Sword: The Church and the Jews. He appears not to have consulted the 12-volume official publication of a selection of documents related to the church's activities during World War II, which is in French, and relied instead on Pierre Blet's one-volume summary in English, Pius XII and the Second World War. Goldhagen too easily states as fact that Pius XII was an anti-Semite, with most of his evidence based on Cornwell's citation from a letter when the pontiff was a papal diplomat in Germany before the war and referred to a Communist insurrectionist as a Jew who was "Pale, dirty, with drugged eyes, hoarse voice, vulgar, repulsive, with a face that is both intelligent and sly." Goldhagen's argument also suffers from overstatement. His contention that the church has much to answer has merit, and his critique of the Vatican's contention - that it historically harbored a religious "anti-Judaism," but is innocent of anti-Semitism, which it holds is pagan in origin - is on target. But his efforts are marred by statements like the Catholic Church "harbored antisemitism at its core, as an integral part of its doctrine, its theology and its liturgy." If anti-Semitism is at the core of the Catholic Church, it is beyond redemption. Goldhagen does hold, however, that the Catholic Church can and must be redeemed, and he lays out several steps to accomplish this. First, it must renounce papal infallibility, a major obstacle to seeking the truth and admitting error. It must repudiate its supercessionism that in any way assumes Christianity has supplanted Judaism. It must embrace true religious pluralism, acknowledging that salvation is not limited to the Catholic Church. And it must purge its Scripture of its numerous anti-Semitic references. Goldhagen's demands are so radical that they are unlikely to foster much serious discussion within the church. But his voice adds to a chorus demanding greater accountability. John Rivera has been the religion reporter for The Sun since April 1997. He covered Pope John Paul II during his visit to Baltimore in 1995 and on his trip to Cuba. He earned a master's degree in theology at Washington Theological Union.

Morris County, NJ Daily Record 4 Nov 2002 A puppet police officer speaks about hate crimes to students at Rockaway Valley School in Boonton Township. John Bell / Daily Record Puppets put new face on hatred By Chris Gosier, Daily Record Nine years ago, in a Montana town, someone was terrorizing Jewish families by throwing rocks through the windows where menorahs were displayed. But rather than hide the Hanukkah symbols, the town did the opposite. In a show of unity, they put a picture of a menorah in every window. The acts of hate soon stopped. The story came to a Boonton Township school on a recent day, acted out with dancing puppets, talking buildings and a skulking skinhead who gleefully "threw" an imaginary rock, to the sound of a window crashing. The show by the Catskill Puppet Theater, based in Laurens, N.Y., was both funny and foreboding as it showed students at the Rockaway Valley School one town's response to the bigotry that had moved in. The show had some creepy moments, students said afterward. But it also made them laugh by putting a comical face on hate. "He looked like a mouse," 9-year-old Connor Kirwan said of the preening skinhead, an actor wearing a mask stretched into a squinty, toothy grimace. "He looked like a monkey," said 10-year-old Jaclene Troisi, one of about 180 third- through sixth-graders who saw the play. Like other students, she also got the larger point that "just because somebody's different, you shouldn't be mean to them." The show was brought to the students by the school's cultural arts committee, part of the district's Home and School Association. Committee members saw the play showcased in Bergen County last year by Young Audiences of New Jersey, a nonprofit arts group. It appealed to them because it fit with the anti-bullying lessons the school is trying to promote. "We're trying to teach them tolerance (and) peace," said Michaeline Fernandez, one of the members. "We just wanted them to get the overall message that there's differences in the world … and we need to accept that and get along with others." The story is detailed in a children's book, "The Christmas Menorahs: How a Town Fought Hate." The citizens of Billings, Mont., were inspired by a story from Denmark during World War II, when the country had been conquered by the Nazis. When the Nazis ordered all Jews to identify themselves by sewing stars on their clothing, King Christian decided to wear one himself, the story goes. Soon the stars were worn by Danes everywhere, Jews and non-Jews alike. The king was represented by a puppet who "galloped" in front of the stage on horseback, a gold star on his left shoulder. He told a scowling Nazi officer that "my people have spoken. If you take one of us, you'll have to take us all." The cast demonstrated the large, full-body puppet afterward, as the children peppered them with questions about the rotating stage and other mechanical aspects. Few children questioned the moral of the story, however, which apparently was obvious: "that you shouldn't boss around people, and treat them with respect," in the words of 9-year-old Kevin Marhefka. Chris Gosier can be reached at cgosier@gannett.com

Rochester (NY) Democrat and Chronicle 6 Nov 2002 ( —Events to mark Native heritage Native American Heritage events By Diana Louise Carter From dance performances to somber reflections on tragic aspects of American history, November will be filled with local events related to the history and culture of Native Americans. Some of the events are tied to Native American Heritage Month, while others are connected to historic events that coincidentally fall in November, such as the signing of a treaty in Canandaigua 208 years ago. The events begin with a talk tonight by nationally recognized author and activist Ward Churchill, who is Creek and Cherokee. Churchill’s talk, about the genocide of Native Americans, is sponsored by Monroe Community College’s Holocaust Genocide Studies Project. The talk is the project’s annual Kristallnacht program, commemorating the Nazi pogrom Nov. 9-10, 1938, against Jews that is considered the starting point of the Holocaust. Speakers for this annual talk represent contemporary issues. “We think he’s a very good speaker for this program,” said MCC professor Sharon Dobkin, because Churchill’s controversial talks and books have focused on “state-sponsored violence and attempts to culturally ruin a people.” On Monday, local Native Americans and others will hold the annual commemoration of the signing of the Pickering Treaty in Canandaigua. The historic treaty between the United States and the Iroquois Confederacy was agreed upon in Canandaigua on Nov. 11, 1794, and remains in effect today. The event includes a ceremony at the spot on the lawn of the Ontario County Courthouse where the treaty was signed, a potluck dinner, and a traditional Iroquois social with dancers and singers from around upstate New York. Meanwhile, the University of Rochester is holding three Native American Heritage Month events. Performances will include a nationally known Zuni dancer who lives in Henrietta and a musician and healer of Kiowa, Comanche and Tuscarora descent who lives in Tempe, Ariz. E-mail address: dcarter@DemocratandChronicle.com Here are some of the upcoming local Native American events. All are free. Tonight -- University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill delivers a talk, “Holocaust & Denial in America, Genocide by Any Other Name: 1492 to the Present,” at 7 in the Monroe Community College Theater.

Yale Daily News 18 Oct 2002 MATTHEW D. HOUK AND JOHN HARABEDIAN Sharing the story of the Native Americans Indigenous Peoples' Day is not intended to be simply a desecration of Christopher Columbus. Rather, it is an attempt to acknowledge what followed from his landing in the New World, the effects of which continue to affect the native populations of the Americas to this day. One only need examine the policies of this country's government, under which Native Americans have suffered for the past 510 years, or the policies of governments such as Brazil, where as late as 1980, permits allowing the extermination of a given number of indios were distributed to anyone willing to pay the price. The fact that these practices are, for the most part, overlooked by our own representatives in this purportedly representative democracy is the impetus behind the celebration of Indigenous Peoples' Day. Granted, Columbus himself was not entirely responsible for the suffering of all indigenous peoples over the past 510 years; however, this does not acquit him from the gruesome actions perpetrated by those under his command -- actions which have been well documented. Had Columbus simply been the "intrepid Italian explorer" that Meghan Clyne so proudly holds him up to be ("Columbus: no saint, but no Satan," 10/16) and had he been "seeking wealth, adventure and a safe haven from political persecution" and nothing else, there may be good reason to celebrate this man and his accomplishments, while confining our condemnations to those who actually took part in the extermination of indigenous people. This, however, is certainly not the case. Columbus did not depart from Spain with the altruist intentions you purport; rather, as his own diaries indicate (see Samuel Eliot Morrison's "Journal and Other Documents on the Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus"), he came with the expectation of encountering wealth belonging to others and it was his unambiguous intention to obtain this wealth by whatever means necessary. Although his initial intent was not to obtain wealth from the people of the Americas, this in no way justifies the horrific consequences that resulted from these actions against our people. What is at issue here, however, is not Columbus' voyage of discovery; rather, it is his return to the New World with a force of 17 ships given to him at his request by the Spanish crown. Upon this return to the New World and subsequent appointment as "viceroy and governor of the Caribbean Islands and the mainland of America," Columbus instituted policies of encomiendas on the island of Espanola (present-day Hati and the Dominican Republic) and oversaw the systematic extermination of almost 99 percent of the native Taino population. According to Ward Churchill in "A Little Matter of Genocide," by the time of Columbus' departure in 1500, the native population had been reduced from as many as 8 million to about 100,000, and by 1514, with his policies still a part of the institution of government he created, the native population had dropped to a low of 22,000. Granted, many of the deaths were the result of disease, but does this in any way absolve them from any guilt? It is widely known that many of the deaths during the Holocaust resulted from disease and the terrible working conditions the prisoners were subjected to, but these deaths are still seen as part of the total loss resulting from Nazi policies and are not justified by saying that the Nazis "may have erred in their ways" and "cannot be blamed for inadvertently spreading germs" within the prison population. And, not all germs were spread "inadvertently" as Clyne would like to believe. It is well known among the educated community that Lord Jeffery Amherst instructed his men to use smallpox-contaminated blankets to "extirpate" the Ottawas. Given these widely known facts, we fail to see how our comparison of the suffering of indigenous peoples in the Americas with the suffering of the Europeans at the hands of the Nazis in any way "lacks historical integrity and disrespects the victims of the Nazi genocide." If anything, we believe that these facts could only serve to bring those groups who have survived these similar struggles closer together. Our goal in holding this celebration every year is not only to dispel the myths surrounding the colonization of the New World, but to bring attention to the present-day struggle of indigenous peoples not only in the Americas, but around the world. Columbus Day, while seen by many as the great beginning of "democracy, liberty, human rights, the belief in a transcendent god, and liberal education" in what was to become known as the United States, is seen by us as the great beginning of the Native American Holocaust. While the experience of the Europeans at the hands of the Nazis embodies the true meaning of the word (to be consumed by the flame), our holocaust was one in which our people, culture, land and ideas (one of which was the idea of democracy, shared by us with the Founding Fathers) were consumed by the metaphorical fire that raged across this continent and continues to rage to this very day. John Harabedian and Matthew D. Houk are juniors in Saybrook College and Jonathan Edwards College, respectively. They are co-presidents of the Association of Native Americans at Yale.

Brown (University) Daily Herald 6 Nov 2002 New exhibit examines smallpox disease in historical context By Marion Billings: Herald Contributing Writer First reported in ancient Egyptian texts, smallpox ravaged human civilization, often playing an important role in history. U.S. history has certainly been touched by the variola virus, which was first brought to the island of Hispanola, now the Dominican Republic and Haiti, in 1507 by the invading Spanish army of Hernando Cortez. A current exhibit at the John Carter Brown Library titled “Smallpox in the Americas, 1492 to 1815: Contagion and Controversy” documents the history of the disease with various books, pamphlets and primary sources pulled from the library’s collection. The exhibit was coordinated with the publication of an essay entitled, “God Have Mercy on This House,” by Professors Emeritus of Medicine Stanley Aronson and Lucile Newman. The idea for the exhibit originated when Norman Fiering, director and librarian of the John Carter Brown Library, approached Aronson to write an essay, with Newman’s help, chronicling smallpox in the American colonies. The library then enlisted the help of its curators to prepare the exhibition from its collections. Aronson’s interest in smallpox has been a long time in the making. “I’m probably the only physician in the community who has ever seen smallpox,” he said. During the 1947 smallpox epidemic in New York City, Aronson was working as a young doctor and became involved in the crisis. Since then, he has been interested in smallpox as both “a social phenomenon and a social tragedy,” he said. Brought from the Old World by invading and settling Europeans, smallpox wreaked havoc on native populations in North and South America, which had no prior immunity to the virus. Individuals who survive an infection of smallpox will be immune for the rest of their lives. Having never been exposed to the foreign virus, an estimated 2 million Native Americans died of smallpox after a member of Cortez’s army brought the disease there in 1520. A 17th-century book in the exhibit documents the surprise of many English settlers in North Carolina when “within a few dayes after our departure from every such towne, the people began to die very fast and many in short space.” Smallpox further sped the rapid extermination of Native American populations in North America, a phenomenon recognized by many British settlers. John Archdale, governor of the Carolina colony, observed in a 1707 book featured in the exhibit how “it at other times pleased the Almighty to send unusual sickness amongst them, such as the smallpox … to lessen their numbers, so that the English, in comparison to the Spaniard, have but little Indian blood to answer for.” The exhibit also documents early ideas about using smallpox as a weapon. A 1777 Revolutionary War document proposes shooting the contents of smallpox pustules at colonial soldiers in order to debilitate them. The exhibit also addresses early techniques used to control the disease. A practice known as variolation that had been used for centuries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, came to the colonies by way of England in the early 18th century. Variolation was met with considerable controversy. The process involved intentionally inoculating healthy people (usually children) in the skin with fluid taken from the pustules of a smallpox victim. The procedure caused the patient to suffer from a milder version of smallpox, with a much lower mortality rate. After recovering, the individual would then be immune for life. Many people argued that the process had not been properly investigated, while others called it a heathen practice that attempted to interfere with God’s will. But in 1799, a doctor named Benjamin Waterhouse, who was on the faculty of Brown and Harvard College, brought a totally new technique of vaccination to the United States. The procedure, which involved intentional infection with cowpox (a milder cousin of smallpox) to confer immunity to smallpox, had been developed by Edward Jenner in England several years before. The vaccination procedure, the first in history, was much more successful. Vaccination initiatives were conducted all over the world until the disease was eradicated in 1977. The exhibit’s examination of smallpox in historical context is what makes it particularly exceptional. Bill Jesdale GS, a student of community health who visited the exhibit, said, “It was interesting to draw parallels not just thinking about smallpox as a potent biological weapon, but also in terms of thinking about who in society is responsible for interpreting and creating meaning for the biological threats of our day.” The exhibit will remain on display until Jan. 15.

WP 6 Nov 2002 Site, Dig, Save, Report Archaeologists Find Place in Agencies By Guy Gugliotta; Page A19 On a November morning in 1864, U.S. Army Col. John Chivington and 700 half-drunk volunteers attacked and massacred nearly 200 Cheyenne and Arapahoe Indians -- most of them women and children -- encamped along a dry wash in southeastern Colorado, just north of Lamar. This debacle, known as the Sand Creek Massacre, served as a catalyst for two decades of bloodshed that decimated the Cheyenne and Arapahoe and left a legacy of bitterness among Native Americans that endures. In 1999, in a bill sponsored by Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-Colo.), a Northern Cheyenne, Congress directed the National Park Service to find the exact location of the massacre and survey it with a view toward making it a National Historic Site. The job fell to staff archaeologist Doug Scott, of the Park Service's Midwest Regional Center in Omaha. Volunteers had searched before, but had not found the encampment. "Either the stream had buried it in silt and soil, or it had washed away, or we were looking in the wrong place," Scott said. Scott, the Park Service's Great Plains team leader, is one of at least 600 and as many as 900 archaeologists working for the federal government. Nobody knows exactly how many there are, because many are seasonal and contract hires. While archaeologists may not seem to fit into the button-down federal bureaucracy, the agencies need them. The Park Service alone has 60,000 sites -- that it knows about. There are storied tourist attractions such as the Gettysburg battlefield and the Indian ruins at Mesa Verde, but the portfolio also includes tiny spots like the Native American campsite at Gates of the Arctic on Alaska's North Slope. And these known points of interest cared for by the Park Service say nothing about the chance encounters that occur whenever a government agency bulldozes a right-of-way, paves a runway, lays a foundation, makes a repair or digs a tunnel. "At one point 10 years ago, there was a problem with moisture below the foundation of the house where Lincoln died, across the street from Ford's Theater," said the Interior Department's Frank McManamon. "We pulled up the boards and found a bunch of artifacts." McManamon is the Park Service's chief archaeologist, but he also serves as consulting archaeologist for the parent Interior Department, point of contact for archaeologists throughout the federal government who may need anything from legal advice to a fresh set of eyes. The Army Corps of Engineers, with a formidable archaeological staff of its own, called on Interior in the late 1990s to organize investigations to determine whether Kennewick Man, the remains of a middle-aged man who died 9,200 years ago, qualified as Native American. The Interior Department said he did, giving tribes an early victory in a bitter, still-unresolved battle with researchers seeking the right to examine the remains. More recently, McManamon's office has been informally reviewing the research on more than 600 sets of human remains and other material from an 18th-century African American burial ground unearthed by the General Services Administration during construction of a federal office building in Lower Manhattan. In all, the federal government produces about 20,000 archaeological reports a year, and McManamon is trying to log them in to the National Archaeological Database. Right now the database has 240,000 citations, but the work moves in fits and starts on an $800,000 annual budget. McManamon said most of the logged items are surveys rather than actual excavations, "in part because we're not trying to destroy sites, as in the past." McManamon is a leading exponent of the modern creed that reminds archaeologists to be careful what they excavate, because "once you dig it up, it's gone." For Scott in Colorado, the task was to find a site that existed but which had been covered over and forgotten for more than 130 years. The team knew it was close, but even an error of a few hundred yards in an area of pristine pastureland can condemn an archaeologist to months of futility. Scott said his researchers started from the premise that earlier expeditions were looking for the site of the massacre in the wrong place. Then historians in the group huddled with aerial photographers and came up with a plausible alternative to the traditional site, about a mile to the north. "In the spring of 1999, we started to check with metal detectors," Scott said. "About seven-tenths of a mile north of the traditional area, we started to run into cannonball fragments, bullets, kettles and cast-iron skillets, tools, scrapers and arrowheads." With evidence of both an Indian encampment and military hardware, the team members felt they had found the right spot. "We didn't dig it all up," Scott said, "but we collected over 400 artifacts and worked about 3 1/2 miles of stream several hundred meters on either side." The site squared with historical accounts: "There is nearly no evidence of resistance by the Arapahoe and Cheyenne," Scott said. "The overwhelming amount of material is from the Colorado Volunteers." The team found pieces from a half-dozen 12-pound fragmentation shells fired from four mountain howitzers brought along on mules by Chivington's men to rip the encampment apart. On Oct. 31, 2000, President Bill Clinton signed a bill authorizing creation of a National Historic Site at Sand Creek, 50 miles north of Lamar and 150 miles southeast of Denver.

Reuters 7 Nov 2002 U.S. Loses New Bid to Block U.N. Anti-Torture Pact By Irwin Arieff UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - A U.N. committee dealt the United States a heavy defeat on Thursday in its bid to block or cripple a draft anti-torture treaty that has been a decade in the making, paving the way for the pact's final approval next month. Overriding opposition from Washington, the U.N. General Assembly's Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee approved the draft treaty by a vote of 104 to eight, with 37 abstentions. Joining Washington were China, Cuba, Israel, Japan, Nigeria, Syria and Vietnam. The pact next goes to the full 191-nation U.N. General Assembly, where routine approval is expected next month, as the assembly and the committee have identical memberships. To come into force, the pact must be signed and ratified by at least 20 governments, a number set by the treaty itself. The treaty, which the United States has opposed since the drafting process began 10 years ago, would set up an international system of inspections for all sites where prisoners are held to insure that torture was not taking place. Washington argued the pact would divert limited U.N. resources from other, more effective, anti-torture mechanisms and enjoyed only limited support from the U.N. membership. It has also argued that opening state prisons to international inspection would violate states' rights under the U.S. Constitution. But it has also been stung by widespread criticism of its embrace of the death penalty and its treatment of alleged al Qaeda and Taliban detainees at a base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. GO-IT-ALONE TREND The campaign against the anti-torture pact was the latest in a wave of go-it-alone actions that have infuriated many of Washington's closest allies at the United Nations, including rejection of the Kyoto pact on global warming and the new International Criminal Court aimed at combating genocide and war crimes. Debra Long of the Association for the Prevention of Torture said the lopsided result showed Washington was in the minority on what many countries saw as a key human rights vote despite its claims the treaty had only limited support. "They don't want this type of mechanism to be in place because they will not accept visits to their own prisons. But it is scandalous that they would try to block visits to prisons in other countries," Long told Reuters. Before approving the draft treaty, the committee defeated, 98 to 11 with 37 abstentions, a U.S. amendment that would have shifted the burden of paying for the prison visits and the treaty's administrative costs to those countries that ratify the pact rather than the U.N. general budget. U.S. envoy Frank Gaffney drew hoots of laughter from delegates when he said many U.N. member-nations had difficulty paying their dues. Washington has a long history of piling up arrears and granting itself unilateral U.N. dues cuts. Treaty backers argued the U.S. amendment would have crippled the treaty by discouraging poor countries from ratifying it. "No country should hesitate to join these efforts because of financial concerns," said Danish envoy Henrik Hahn, speaking on behalf of the European Union. The anti-torture pact would supplement an existing Convention Against Torture which went into force in 1987 and has been ratified by 130 countries including the United States in 1994.

AP 7 Nov 2002 NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. — Since the Sept. 11 anniversary, more than 14,000 foreign visitors have been fingerprinted at U.S. border crossings and 179 have been arrested, Attorney General John Ashcroft said Thursday. Standing a few feet away from the roaring American Falls, Ashcroft called the entry-exit program now in place at ports of entry around the country “a vital national security shield” to winnow out potential terrorists. “We are confronted now with a new adversary, one who enters our country quietly,” Ashcroft said. “They enter disguised in the form of businesspersons or tourists or students. “The challenge we face is to somehow identify such individuals who would threaten the United States while we maintain the facility of our borders ... to provide the basis for the community we share with our good neighbors.” Some of those arrested were either wanted felons who fled authorities during previous visits to the United States, foreigners with serious criminal records or others attempting to enter the country with fraudulent documents or under false pretenses, Ashcroft said. “If today or tomorrow a suspected terrorist is identified” through the program, “it would not be the first time that such an apprehension has been made,” he said. The Justice Department chose Sept. 11 as the starting date for the program developed by the Immigration and Naturalization Service. It will correct some of the problems that led to the terror attacks a year earlier, Ashcroft said. Congress required the government to develop a stricter border system in sweeping anti-terrorism legislation signed by President Bush late last year. Under the program, the fingerprints of many visitors are matched against databases of known criminals and known terrorists. It targets all nationals of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan and Syria, all designated by the U.S. government as state sponsors of terrorism. Thousands of men from those countries who arrived in the United States before Sept. 11 this year also will have to be fingerprinted and photographed if they plan to stay beyond Dec. 16, the Justice Department said. They include about 3,000 nonresident aliens, such as students and visitors on long-term travel visas. The requirements do not apply to permanent residents -- those with INS “green cards” -- or to naturalized citizens from those countries. Some immigration advocates maintain the program is discriminatory, taking the United States down a dangerous path of formalized profiling of foreign visitors. “It is not racial profiling. ... It is based on intelligence data” rather than ethnic or religious criteria, Ashcroft insisted. During a pilot project using the same technology to identify criminals trying to enter the country, immigration authorities averaged about 70 fingerprint “hits” a week. The fingerprinting led to the arrest of more than 2,000 wanted felons between January and July.

Canadian Press 7 Nov 2002 Canadians not exempt from tough new U.S. border rules: U.S. Attorney General 10:40 PM EST Nov 07 NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (CP) - Canadians are not exempt from tough new American screening rules at the border, U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft said Thursday. But Ashcroft repeated promises that Canadians crossing into the United States won't automatically be fingerprinted, photographed and interviewed based on their place of birth. And he insisted the new U.S. exit and entry system, known as NSEERS, does not amount to ethnic profiling. "No nation is exempt from (NSEERS)," Ashcroft said at a news conference near the U.S. side of Niagara Falls. "If a person comes and in the judgment of the person at the border they qualify for, or meet criteria that is intelligence-based that relates to preventing terrorism, they can be referred," for registration. New security measures were instituted this September in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The National Security Entry-Exit Registration System has drawn criticism from some Canadians who say they have been interrogated and fingerprinted simply because of their place of birth. The federal Foreign Affairs Department issued an unusual travel advisory on Sept. 13 advising Canadian citizens born in Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan and Syria to reconsider U.S. travel. Canadians of Pakistani, Saudi or Yemeni origin "could also attract special attention" at the border, warned the department. Last week, Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham said he'd been assured by Washington that "all Canadians will be treated as Canadians when travelling on Canadian passports." His department, however, has been at a loss to explain what if anything has changed and border harassment continues to be reported by Canadian travellers. Nonetheless, Graham ordered the embarrassing travel advisory to be lifted on Wednesday, on the eve of Ashcroft's border visit. Ashcroft gave a more nuanced version of the U.S. promise Thursday. "Place of birth is not an automatic referral into this system," he said. "If an individual announces a citizenship in a country that is on the list of state sponsors of terrorism, obviously that becomes a referral." That means Canadians with dual citizenship who were born in any of the five listed Arab countries will indeed be registered. Other Canadians may be registered, but not necessarily. Ashcroft said the system is not based on race or ethnicity, but on intelligence. "It is not racial profiling. It is not based on ethnic criterion or religious criterion. It is based on intelligence data and the list of nations provided from the state sponsors of terrorism." Under NSEERS, any traveller designated by a U.S. border official is fingerprinted and matched against a database of known criminals and known terrorists. Those considered to pose a higher risk are also required to periodically confirm where they are living and what they are doing in the United States and confirm their exit from the country. Ashcroft said that since the measures were introduced on Sept. 11, 2002, more than 14,000 foreign visitors had been fingerprinted at U.S. border crossings and 179 arrests made. Some of those arrested were either wanted felons who fled authorities during previous visits, foreigners with serious criminal records or others attempting to enter the country with fraudulent documents or under false pretenses, he said. Thousands of individuals from the five targeted countries who arrived prior to the introduction of the new measures will also have to be fingerprinted and photographed if they plan to stay beyond Dec. 16, the Justice Department said. This group includes students and visitors on long-term travel visas. .

Arab News 8 Nov 2002 Racial profiling under scrutiny By Fatima Ageel, Special to Arab News Following the attacks of Sept. 11, many persons of color in general — and Muslims in particular — became targets of discrimination, violence, and racial profiling. Many were detained by law enforcement agencies, even though most of them had nothing whatever to do with the attacks. Racial profiling occurs when officials target a certain group of people of color, ethnicity, nationality, name or religion. While racial profiling existed prior to 9/11, the recent attacks have sparked a controversy over its effectiveness in preventing future terrorist attacks. Jennifer Di Maglia, 20, an American of Syrian and European descent believes that racial profiling still exists and is primarily directed at people of Middle Eastern, North African, Southeast Asian descent — or for that matter, anybody who is Muslim. "However, racial profiling went on for decades before Sept. 11. Persons of color, presumably other than white, were targets of police discrimination, harassment, and other civil liberty violations," she said. Erica Lopez, 19, an American of Puerto Rican descent and a Christian, added, "It worsened after the attacks. Now they’re focusing on everybody. However, they will never forget the black man." Joseph Daswani, 19, an American of Indian and Trinidadian ancestry and a Christian, said, "There are a lot of ignorant people out there who categorize you because of where you come from." May Awkal, 20, a Lebanese-American Muslim, believes that racial profiling is happening more than ever. "All people who ‘look’ Middle Eastern or Muslim are subject to harassment," she said. Amna Hussein, 20, a Pakistani-American Muslim, found a note on the door of her room in the dorm that said: "Go back to where you belong." She was shocked and couldn’t believe how ignorant some people were. Erica Lopez recalled walking home soon after 9/11 and being confronted by a man who appeared drunk. "He was saying, ‘I’ll be dammed if you think y’all can come into this country and destroy it.’" Even though Lopez is Puerto Rican-American, the man seemed to think she looked like a Middle Easterner. Zahra Swaleh, 20, a Muslim student from Tanzania, described an experience at Boston’s Logan Airport as "uncomfortable and extremely degrading." The incident occurred last October. Swaleh was forced to take her shoes off and her laptop was searched as well. "I stood out from the crowd which was predominately white; I was the only one who was randomly selected from the whole crowd." There has always been controversy over racial profiling in law enforcement, but in the aftermath of 9/11, the debate whether the US government should constitutionally protect racial profiling has increased. Guilerma Arce, 20, a Haitian American Christian, said, "With the US government making racial profiling law, it will continue to heighten racial tension which is already at levels that are intolerable." On the other hand, Arce said, "Racial profiling can occur as long as it is regulated." She believes that it should be conducted in a respectable manner, without yelling, physical violence, or any use of derogatory terms. "Unfortunately, that’s not always the case," she added. Di Maglia strongly disagreed. "It’s immoral and unreliable," she said. "Terrorists come in all shapes, sizes, colors, nationalities, and religions." Lopez added that even if racial profiling were constitutionally protected, "They will not target white Americans. They’re going to look for minorities. Look at those who run for Congress; it’s obvious who is most likely to be harassed for just about anything."

Cornell Daily Sun (NY) 12 Nov 2002 Abortion does not parallel Holocaust To the Editor: Last week, the Cornell Coalition For Life and the Genocide Awareness Project displayed anti-choice posters on Ho Plaza which use disturbing images to argue that abortion is genocide (News, "Pro-Life Advocates Face Pro-Choicers," November 8, 2002). One of these posters equated Planned Parenthood with the Nazis by juxtaposing a picture of an aborted fetus with historical photographs of emaciated corpses in a mass grave. Other posters drew comparisons to the Ku Klux Klan and Al-Qaeda. While these groups have every right to present emotionally disturbing pictures to spark debate or persuade students to reconsider their views on abortion, these posters go too far. To evoke images of the Holocaust and other historical tragedies is an appalling act of disrespect for those who have died and the beliefs for which they were killed. Furthermore, these images provide an irrelevant comparison. Victims of the Holocaust, the K.K.K. and of Al-Qaeda were murdered because they were different from their assailants. Fetuses are aborted in this country because people hold different theological and medical views on when life begins. To use historical tragedies as a metaphor for abortion is inaccurate and misleading. This weekend marked the anniversary of Kristallnacht, the violent rampage against German Jews in 1938 that is considered the beginning of the Holocaust. As we remember this dark period of our history, let the 11 million people who perished in the Holocaust rest in peace. Don't desecrate their memory for political gain. -- Amy Goodman '03 Vice President of the Jewish Student Union, written on behalf of the Cornell Hillel Jewish Student Union

pacificnews.org 4 Nov 2002 Residents March Against Racial Violence Bridges to the New California Compiled and Edited by Pueng Vongs, New California Media, Nov 04, 2002 "Bridges to the New California," produced by Pacific News Service, is a weekly report on the news and views of in-language and English-language ethnic press based in or circulated in California's ethnic majority communities. Sikhs Target 'Hitman' Video Game Ashfaque Swapan, India-West Sixty-five Sikh organizations in the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom have mounted a protest against "Hitman 2: Silent Assassin," a new video game that the groups charge is racist and "shows a deliberate lack of decency and sensitivity to Sikhs," reports India-West. A petition demands an apology from U.K.-based video game maker Eidos, which makes many popular video games, including the best-selling "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider." Hitman 2 features India as one of the locations for the violence. The Sikh groups say one scene is obviously based on the Golden Temple (Harmander Sahib) in Amritsar, a sacred site for Sikhs. "Such a graphical portrayal of violence within the sacred grounds of any religious place -- whether a temple, a church or a mosque, is completely unacceptable," the petition says. The petition also takes issue with the mention of Dalits as "untouchables," which it calls an offensive term. One of the villains in the game is Zip Master, man with a shaven head and wearing a long saffron tunic. He has his hands clasped in the traditional Indian greeting, "namaste." http://news.pacificnews.org/

gamesindustry.biz 13 Nov 2002 Eidos settles Hitman Sikh dispute Eidos has released an official statement about the controversy over Hitman 2: Silent Assassin, which came under fire from Sikh groups for allegedly depicting the religions adherents as members of an evil cult. The UK games publisher claims that it has now come to an "amicable position" with the Sikh Coalition, and will respond by removing all relevant content from the Hitman 2 website, making changes to the forthcoming GameCube version of the title and taking steps to adapt the current editions of the game to edit out the offending content where possible. "In recognition of the concerns and sensitivities which have been raised, Eidos and the developers, IO Interactive, have responded in both a socially and commercially responsible manner," the statement reads. "Eidos and IO Interactive would like to stress that no offence was intended but would like to apologise to the Sikh community and other persons for any offence taken." The red-faced company goes on to state that it has learned its lesson from the debacle, and will "observe and respect cultural, religious and ethical sensitivities in its future products".

NYT 13 Nov 2002 Veterans Never Forget - Letter to the Editor: As usual, there was a light turnout for the Veterans Day Parade up Fifth Avenue (news article, Nov. 12). However, it was obvious that the vets who marched appreciated the people who came out in the rain to cheer them on. Sadly, many of my fellow Vietnam vets look older than the Korean War vets. Vietnam certainly took its toll on everyone who participated in that horrible war. When we Vietnam vets hear politicians and military leaders say we have to put Vietnam behind us, it hurts. Many of us came home from Vietnam and went to Washington in 1971 to protest with the Vietnam Veterans Against the War. We never want America to forget about Vietnam. This political war that wasted 58,000 American and 3 million Vietnamese lives, plus millions more who were disabled physically and psychologically, should serve to remind us that our great nation is capable of atrocities against our own people as well as others. "Never again" means we can't afford to forget. MICHAEL J. GORMAN Whitestone, Queens, Nov. 12, 2002

San Francisco Chronicle 16 Nov 2002 Exhibit details Nazi torment of gays It opens at Holocaust museum in Washington, then will travel Edward Epstein, Chronicle Washington Bureau Saturday, November 16, 2002 ©2002 San Francisco Chronicle. URL: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/chronicle/a/2002/11/16/MN92411.DTL Washington -- Labeled as "socially aberrant," "enemies of the state," and "degenerates," homosexuals in Nazi Germany were persecuted nearly as vigorously as Jews by the genocidal regime. The Nazi horrors against homosexuals, mainly gay men, are much less well- known than the story of the 6 million Jews who perished in the Holocaust. But the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, a popular and somber 9-year-old attraction, opened an exhibit Friday showing in brutal detail how the Nazis tried to "cure" gays, sometimes through castration, or work them to death in concentration camps. The exhibit remains in Washington until March 16, then hits the road for as- yet-unspecified cities. "This is designed as a traveling exhibition. We hope to keep it on the road for as many years as it can physically stand it," said Edward Phillips, the exhibit's curator. Homosexuality between men had been illegal in Germany under Paragraph 175 of the country's criminal code since the German empire under the kaisers was created in 1871. But the law, which specified jail time for the crime of sex between men, was only sporadically enforced until the Nazis came to power in January 1933. The law never addressed the issue of lesbianism, Phillips said, and these women "ended up becoming pretty much invisible under the Nazis." In fact, in post-World War I Germany -- the Weimar Republic years of "Cabaret" -- a gay lifestyle emerged openly in Berlin and Hamburg. Hundreds of nightclubs and bars catering to gay crowds flourished, as did newspapers and magazines. All that abruptly changed when Adolf Hitler became chancellor. The crackdown began almost immediately, with the closure of the bars, shutdown of the press and silencing of anyone advocating decriminalizing homosexuality. At first, the Nazis thought they could cure homosexuals. "The Nazis looked to create a master Aryan race," said Phillips. "So for Aryan men, the Nazis wanted to get rid of homosexuality as a behavior, and not get rid of homosexual men." But in 1934, Hitler purged his rival Ernst Rohm, leader of the Nazi storm troopers, and linked Rohm's homosexuality to subversion and treason. Heinrich Himmler, the SS leader, was put in charge of persecuting gays. During the Nazi era, about 100,000 men were arrested for violating Paragraph 175. Eighty percent of those arrests came during 1936-39, as Himmler's campaign reached its peak. The outbreak of war in September 1939 meant that the regime needed soldiers and workers by the millions, even gays. The result was that some gays went into the military, others stayed in prison, and 5,000 to 15,000 were sent to concentration camps, where they were forced to wear pink triangles sewn on their clothing. The gays were near the bottom of the camps' hierarchy, just above the Jews marked for extermination. Among the museum's artifacts is the secret camp diary of inmate Harry Naujoks from the Sachsenhausen camp near Berlin. He recalled that in June 1942, all the men imprisoned under Paragraph 175 were forced to register with the commandant and were sent off to the back-breaking brick works. "In the first 18 days, 53 men were 'finished off,' " his handwritten words say. "They had to race the dump wagons and were beaten until they'd collapse. Or they had to run the gamut of the sentries, and were shot." After the war, the occupying Allies allowed Paragraph 175 to stay on the books. Some men were kept in jail to finish out their terms. In 1956, the West German government refused to grant compensation to men who had been imprisoned under the Nazis solely for their homosexuality. In 1990, the anti-gay law was abolished, and only last May did the German parliament apologize to the men and offer the remaining handful the chance to apply for compensation. "This exhibit is an extension of our mission to educate about persecution and about the impact of persecution," Phillips said. "People need to think about it," he added.

San Francisco Chronicle 18 Nov 2002 Assyrians -- not just part of ancient ROB MORSE "I didn't think there were so many Assyrians in the world," said a non- Assyrian guest to Narsai David at the Ritz-Carlton on Friday night. David, the Berkeley food expert, had drawn 430 Assyrian Americans from all over the West to a banquet to raise money to build school buildings in their homeland in Northern Iraq. "We don't get together often," said Dr. John Aivaz of Palos Verdes, president of the American Assyrian Chamber of Commerce. It was an interesting time for an Assyrian get-together. Their brethren in Northern Iraq soon may be in the middle of an American invasion and, if all goes well, finally get a voice in Iraqi affairs. The Assyrian Americans at the Ritz-Carlton were still joyful that a month ago, for the first time, the president had recognized their role in a future Iraq. "The oppression of Kurds, Assyrians, Turkomans, Shi'a and Sunni must be lifted," said President Bush in a speech on Iraq. Immediately afterward, I got a call from David. Despite his not being a big Bush fan, he was bubbling over, saying, "Did you hear the president mention us?" I have to confess that before August, when I wrote a column about David's visit to Northern Iraq on behalf of the Assyrian Aid Society of America, I thought Assyrians were something from ancient history. It turns out they're a part of whatever history is to come in the next year. - We mentally isolationist Americans somehow missed the fact that the 20th century -- the world's most criminal century -- has been tough on this great civilization that became the first Christian nation. Assyrians were slaughtered by the Turks, a mass murder more forgotten than the Turkish genocide of the Assyrians' fellow Christians, the Armenians. Surviving Assyrians trekked to Baghdad, where they were massacred again and forced to Northern Iraq, along with Assyrians from Iran. There, along with the Sunni Muslim Kurds, they have suffered Saddam Hussein's depredations. At Friday's dinner, Youel A. Baaba, a literary scholar and patriarch of the Assyrian Aid Society, spoke in the Assyrian language about how few people knew of the 200 Assyrian villages destroyed by Hussein and people forcibly relocated to undesirable places. "Sadly, not too many people are aware of the atrocities committed against Assyrians or their deplorable living conditions in Iraq," he said. Baaba spoke of the need to support their countrymen in the homeland to secure their language and culture. Or else, he said, "We, like millions of other people before us, will melt away in this beautiful pot called the United States of America." The handsome, well-dressed people in the audience applauded Baaba, most without having to look at the English translation. They hadn't entirely melted in this beautiful pot. A children's dance troupe ended its spirited interpretations of Assyrian folk dances by appearing with American flags and singing "God Bless America." They were greeted with the applause of immigrants and children of immigrants for whom the flag means what it's supposed to mean. - This was one of the few large gatherings in the Bay Area where you could find mass support for a U.S. invasion of Iraq. These are people who know a thing or two about Hussein's branch of the axis of evil. "Assyrians and other groups should have their right of survival, property and democracy," said Aivaz. "They are just surviving. In the 21st century, that is not acceptable. They are looking for the greatest democracy in the world to do something." "Whatever happens, it will happen for the best," said Los Angeles developer Pierre Toulakany. "It couldn't be worse that what we've had, with chemical weapons used against our people." This is America, though, and you could find healthy dissent. Dorothy Clark and Julia Roberts of Modesto, both Assyrian Americans, said they feared a Bush invasion of Iraq. "That man will do what he wants," said Roberts. There are many things I fear, among them America's power to fire and forget, to use a missile metaphor. The world doesn't need more peoples used for our strategic purposes, then consigned to ancient history. Rob Morse's column appears Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. His e-mail address is rmorse@sfchronicle.com. ©2002 San Francisco Chronicle. Page A - 2

BBC 19 Nov 2002, US Muslims suffer backlash - Many Muslims in the US are living in fear of attack By Kevin Anderson BBC News Online in Washington Hate crimes against Arabs and Muslims in the United States increased by 1,700% in 2001, according to crime statistics compiled by the FBI. Human Rights Watch has criticised US authorities for not doing enough to stem the backlash following the 11 September attacks. Muslims and Arabs have faced a backlash after other events linked to the Middle East in the last two decades, the group said, calling on the authorities to take steps to head off such violence in the future. Rise in hate crimes In 2000, the FBI received reports of 28 hate crimes against Muslims and Arabs in the US. In 2001, that number increased to 481. Local statistics demonstrate even further the dramatic rise in hate crimes against Arabs and Muslims. In Chicago, the police department reported only four anti-Muslim or anti-Arab hate crimes during the year 2000, but in just three months - September-November 2001 - there were 51 such crimes reported. Muslims even suffered a backlash after the Oklahoma bombing A US Justice Department study found that an estimated 75% of hate crimes go unreported, said Amardeep Singh of Human Rights Watch. The hate crimes included the murder of at least three people. Balbir Singh Sodhi, a 49-year-old Sikh and father of three, was killed as he planted flowers at his gas station four days after the 11 September attacks. Police said that the alleged killer bragged at a local bar that he was going to "kill the ragheads responsible for 11 September". Abusive chants Assaults and attacks on places of worship were widespread. On 12 September 2001, 100 police officers stopped an angry mob as they marched on a mosque in Bridgeview Illinois. The mob shouted slogans such as "Arabs go home" and hurled abuse at passers-by who looked Muslim or Arab. Human Rights Watch says that authorities should have seen the backlash coming and done more to prevent crimes against Muslims and Arabs. Constant targets This is not the first time that hate crimes against Muslims has increased. Middle Easterners experienced a backlash after the Iran Hostage Crisis, the Gulf War and after the 1995 bombing in Oklahoma City. Although Timothy McVeigh was eventually arrested for the 1995 attack, early reports linked the attack to Middle Eastern men. Conspiracy theorists are still trying to link the bombing with Arab terrorists. "Government officials didn't sit on their hands while Muslims and Arabs were attacked after September 11, but law enforcement and other government agencies should have been better prepared for this kind of onslaught," Mr Singh said. He also accused the US Government of sending mixed messages in trying to head off a violent backlash. "The concern is that while the government is pounding the pulpit of tolerance with the right hand, that with the left hand it is pushing aside very American traditions of equality," Mr Singh said. While members of the government including President Bush made very public statements of support for Muslim-Americans, the government focussed its anti-terrorism efforts on Arabs and Muslims. Those anti-terrorism measures included secret detentions and deportations. Quick to act But the report also had what appeared to be welcome exceptions. Some 30% of the population of Dearborn Michigan are immigrants from the Middle East. Police and city officials have worked to reach out to the Middle Eastern population there after a racially charged incident at the high school in 1995 that led to a Justice Department investigation, said Police Chief Greg Guibord. Just because people are from a certain race doesn't make them guilty Police Chief Greg Guibord Relations improved as a result, and the city hosts an annual festival celebrating Arabic culture. Immediately in the wake of the 11 September attacks, city officials met with representatives from the Arab community. They were concerned about their safety. Extra patrols were added near mosques and Arab neighbourhoods. Chief Guibord went on record saying that members of the Arab-American community were not the people responsible for the attacks. "Just because people are from a certain race doesn't make them guilty," he said. And he added: "There was a statement made by this community that we are not going to tolerate any type of violence in any form." The community did not experience a rise in hate crimes. But he says that this was the result of years of dialogue between city leaders and the Arab community. And he added it might be difficult in areas where Muslims formed a much smaller part of the community.

Salt Lake Tribune 20 Nov 2002 Massacre Is Still News In response to B. Kent Harrison's letter admonishing The Salt Lake Tribune for printing articles on the Mountain Meadows massacre (Forum, Nov. 12), I find it amazing that he would think a historical event where a group of Mormon men massacre men, women and children traveling to California in a wagon train, and then try and blame it on local Indians, would not warrant ongoing press investigation. The press routinely prints articles relating to the Custer "massacre," Holocaust accounts and reports of governments killing their citizens. Why does he think the events at Mountain Meadows are less newsworthy? I read Will Bagley's excellent book Blood of the Prophets and find his conclusions compelling as well as convincing. The recent (1999) and unprecedented intervention by the current Utah governor in circumventing state laws relating to the forensic investigation of bones unearthed at the Mountain Meadows Monument clearly adds fuel to the argument of a cover-up. JIM DEFA Salt Lake City

Daily Nebraskan (Univ of Nebraska) 25 Nov 2002 Speaker to offer views on genocide By MELANIE FEYERHERM November 25, 2002 Israel Charny is hoping to share his understanding with Lincolnites. The professor of psychology and family therapy and the executive director of the Institute of the Holocaust and Genocide at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, tonight will discuss the Holocaust and other genocides He said he felt the topic of genocide was a worldwide issue, and discussion and understanding of it was necessary. "This whole readiness of humans to solve problems by destroying other humans is all over," he said. And he wants more people to become aware of why this happens. Five years after receiving his doctorate in psychology, he took an exam to become a specialist in human behavior. "I woke up from a dream and asked myself 'Did I understand how people treated each other in the Holocaust?,'" he said. "I realized I knew nothing, I hadn't ever been trained to understand (it)." It was then, he realized he needed to spend his life researching and understanding why humans treated each other like they did in situations like the Holocaust, he said. "The more we are aware, the more we can prevent human life," he said. Charny said he considered genocide as the killing of unarmed citizens by trans-national terrorists. Around the world, he said he felt many countries have denied any acts of genocide they have done, and that denial allows more cases of genocide to exist. "(Denial) makes people less aware and less resolved to fight new signals of genocide," he said. He said he thought Americans were starting to go through a denial of what happened Sept. 11. "One form of denial is a kind of a dulling experience - a retreat to the way of life, an illusion that what happened didn't really happen," he said. "I'm quite sure that if we go back to the families of the people that died (from the Sept. 11 attacks) you won't get any of that dulling." For the past few years, Charny has been taking trips to the United States. He visits about five colleges or communities each time. He said the visits started after the publication of the "Encyclopdia of Genocide," which he helped edit. A book signing of the encyclopedia will be held after tonight's discussion. Robert Hitchcock, professor of anthropology and geology, said he was looking forward to the discussion because of Charny's experience on the subject. "He brings 30 years of experience as a psychologist dealing with the effects of genocide," he said. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln department of anthropology and geography, the Harris Center for Judaic Studies, Nebraskans for Peace and the UNL Chapter of Amnesty International will sponsor the discussion.

Branford Review (CT) 29 Nov 2002 The Pequotoog Massacre of 1637 By: Iron Thunderhorse Quinnipiac Tribal Council Speaks On December 5, 2001 the Branford Review published a guest column I wrote entitled, "Thanksgiving: the complete history; and the story of Squanto." In that piece I explained, generally, that the worn-out Thanksgiving Day "story" told to schoolchildren is a sanitized version of the truth...disinformation. Now, on behalf of the Quinnipiac Sachemdoms and the ancestral Algonquian Confederacy known as the Wampanoo and Lenape/Renambe Restoration Movement I will officially recall some additional facts. The following information was compiled by Cathy Ross, Mary Robertson, Chuck Larsen and Roger Fernandes of Highline School District's "Indian Education" program at the Tacoma School district in September of 1986. The year was 1637, the month of April or Ponatom to the bands east of the Connecticut River, the moon when birds lay their eggs. Over 700 men, women and children of the Pequotoog were gathered for a nicommo (Indian feast) at a place near what is called Groton, Connecticut today. It was their time for celebrating the annual green corn dance. They were at a large ceremonial arbor erected for such purposes. While they were gathered to celebrate they were surrounded and confronted by a group of mercenaries of Dutch and English colonies. The Pequotoog men were ordered to come out of the arbor and only the warriors responded thinking it was some kind of contest or negotiations. When they were all assembled every one was murdered, shot dead on the spot, unarmed. Then, the women, children and elders were burned alive in the arbor. For the next 100 years, every Thanksgiving Day ordained by a governor or president "was to honor that victory, thanking God." The newcomers called it a battle. Our ancestors recall it as a massacre. Thanksgiving Day "was first officially proclaimed by the Governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1637 to commemorate the massacre of 700 Indian men, women and children" wrote the educators listed above. This was confirmed by William B. Newell, an Algonquian man of 84 winters and former chairman of the University of Connecticut Anthropology Department. His sources included: The Documents of Holland, Thirteen Volume Colonial Documentary History, letters and reports from the colonial officials to their superiors and the King of England, as well as the private papers of Sir William Johnson, British Indian Agent of thirty years for the colony of New York. The remaining Pequotoog who were not at the nickommo celebrating were also subjected to similar atrocities at a second massacre in May. Of the survivors that remained, one-third were shipped to the Caribbean as slaves, one-third were sent to the Narragansett territory in exile, and one-third were banished to Mahican territory. During this period Indian agents were given orders to keep the Indians divided. Agents were essentially white Anglo "overseers" whose primary purpose "was to encourage Indian communities to accept assimilation tactics and religious conversion, learning English and being redefined from vibrant independent nations to Indian townships" according to the educators. (I have scheduled separate columns to discuss the aspects of religious conversions.) Not only were 700 of the Pequotoog massacred, and later more numbers added to the count - and even after the remaining Pequotoog were exiled or forced into slavery - even the name "Peqout" was banned throughout the territory. All this for their resistance to conform to the Puritan Reformation. Ruth Duncan/Little Owl, ACQTC Thunder Clan Headwoman (who traces her own ancestry to 1625 in Connecticut) has written several beautiful poems and legends about these Pequotoog massacres, as she understands how "it would be difficult to imagine the horror that was felt by other indigenous people...who lived on the other side of the river." The Dutch/English militias raided dozens of Indian villages in Connecticut and killed 500 more in just a single massacre. These massacres were conducted usually in the dark of night when the men were unarmed and women and children were asleep. This was no war, it was an act of death squads more inhuman than those experienced in the Balkans in the 20th century. The leaders today who are guilty of war crimes of ethnic cleansing are being punished, but the people of the genocide against the Algonquians lived on and their policies still exist to some degree. I have scheduled a separate column for 2003 that deals with the subject of racial disparity to descendants of Indian slaves as opposed to the descendants of Black slaves. In loving memory of all those men, women, elders and children who were needlessly slaughtered and their deaths disguised as an act of war, I write these words to remind the Anglos of Connecticut and every other minority of Connecticut of these historical facts. Thanksgiving Day is not celebrated by Indian people of New England. It is a Day of Mourning for the Confederacies of the Dawnland. As America feasts, we fast and give offerings to those who were killed. Namitch neetompaog.

Asia-Pacific

Afghanistan

AFP 14 Nov 2002 UN probes intimidation of witnesses to Afghan mass killing KABUL, Nov 14 (AFP) - The United Nations said Thursday it is investigating claims that witnesses to an alleged mass killing of Taliban prisoners in northern Afghanistan are being harassed, tortured and even murdered. UN spokesman Manoel e Almeida da Silva said a joint mission with Afghan human rights officials had headed to northern Afghanistan this week to probe "credible" reports that during the past eight weeks several witnesses had come under attack. Some 1,000 Taliban are said to have suffocated in container trucks while been transported to the town of Shebargan by US-backed troops belonging to the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance resistance movement. A long-awaited UN investigation into a site at nearby Dasht-i-Leili, alleged to be a mass grave containing their bodies, has yet to commence. Almeida da Silva said local warlord Abdul Rashid Dostam, who denies his troops deliberately let Taliban prisoners die, had been contacted in connection with the intimidation claims. "The UN has received reports of very serious incidents relating to the prospect of an investigation of harassment, torture and extra judicial execution of Afghans in possession of information. "The mission has raised its grave concerns with government authorities and with General Dostam. It has stressed the need for an immediate investigation with which General Dostam has pledged to cooperate." The spokesman said a preliminary UN investigation into the alleged mass graves earlier this year had recommended the establishment of a witness protection scheme, but this was not carried out. "What we are talking about here is the people who are believed to have information about the circumstances surrounding Dasht-i-Leili, in other words potential witnesses, who have been pressured in different ways, in violent terms. "We felt they were credible enough or serious enough and needed to be looked into."

Australia

The Age (Melbourne) 22 Nov 2002 Pg. 6 US Blamed For Lack Of ICC Candidate, Annabel Crabb With only a week to go, Australia has yet to nominate a candidate to sit on the bench of the International Criminal Court, raising allegations yesterday that the government had "gone cold" on the court after pressure from the United States. Justice John Dowd, the Australian president of the International Commission of Jurists, said yesterday that Australia, as a strong supporter of the new war crimes court, should run a candidate for its 18-member bench. "I think there is an overlay in this that because of the appalling pressures which the US has had on Australia not to promote the court, Australia is taking a fairly low position," the New South Wales judge said. Labor's foreign affairs spokesman, Kevin Rudd, frustrated after several advances to Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer, had a blunter approach last night. "Get your bloody act together, and get someone up!" was his advice, as told to The Age. The government is now being urged to field a candidate - preferably a woman, as few have been nominated - before nominations close on November 30. Mr Downer - who, with Attorney-General Daryl Williams, fought a fierce battle against Coalition colleagues this year to secure ratification of the ICC - flatly denied Justice Dowd's claims yesterday. "In a democracy, particularly a liberal Western democracy like Australia, you always get these sort of anti-American conspiracists, but nine times out of 10 they waffle on and are wrong, and in this particular case America has nothing to do with our approach to the International Criminal Court," he told ABC Radio. Mr Downer won support from Tim McCormack of the Australian Red Cross, who has been at the centre of the ICC campaign in Australia. Professor McCormack said Australia routinely talked to like-minded nations in such circumstances, and in this case the Canadian candidate, Philippe Kirsch, was so impressive that Australia would do better to support him and seek Canada's backing for a candidate in future. "I understand why the government decided not to run a candidate, and I think it's the right thing to do," he said. The ICC has so far received 30 nominations for the bench, from countries including Canada, Mali, Samoa, Uganda, Britain and Finland. Only seven women have so far been nominated, prompting Mr Rudd to suggest directly to Mr Downer that an Australian woman would be an ideal candidate. The ICC has a gender balance requirement built into the selection process, as well as measures ensuring different styles of legal systems are fairly represented. Mr Downer said yesterday that the government had instead been concentrating on finding an Australian candidate for the position of prosecutor on the ICC - a single position that he described as "the most important position in the court". But he conceded that finding a candidate - again by November 30 - would be complicated: "We've got to find someone who's prepared to do it, who has the appropriate skills and, secondly, start promoting that person through the international community. I can't be sure we'll get that, but we're still working on that."

Sidney Morning Herald AU 22 Nov 2002 The 170-year-old war Academics are accused of lying in a new account of colonial Tasmania, reports Andrew Stevenson. The Black War finished in Tasmania in 1832 but white historians can't put down their weapons. Today sees the publication of the first volume of Keith Windschuttle's alternative history of the frontier, in which he accuses four contemporary historians - including Henry Reynolds - of deception and mistruths. Windschuttle claims Professor Reynolds misreported the words of Lieutenant-Governor Arthur and misrepresented his views. Professor Reynolds had also misrepresented the views of settlers such as Edward Curr in building a case that white Tasmanians had argued for the extermination of Aborigines, Windschuttle claims. The most authoritative scholar of the Tasmanian frontier, Lyndall Ryan, fares worse. Yesterday, after reading sections of the book, The Fabrication of Aboriginal History, Professor Ryan said she had been accused of lying. advertisement advertisement Windschuttle claims in the book that references cited by Professor Ryan do not support claims of massacres or killings of Aborigines. "I conducted the research for these events 30 years ago, " Professor Ryan said. "I had no reason to fabricate them then and I am in no position to check them now. I can't believe I would have made it up. He's accusing me of lying ... "The truth or otherwise of these events do not destroy the overall argument of my book - that the Tasmanian Aborigines were violently dispossessed of their country as a result of the British colonisation of Tasmania but they were not exterminated." Two other leading historians, Rhys Jones and Lloyd Robson, both now dead, are sharply criticised in the book. Robson, who wrote A History of Tasmania, included claims by a settler of having witnessed Aborigines killing 300 sheep at Oyster Bay in 1815, an action which led to soldiers killing 22 Aborigines. But, argues Windschuttle, this would have been difficult. The settler, James Hobbs, was living in India at the time and there were no sheep at Oyster Bay for anyone to kill. Lieutenant-Governor Arthur feared Aboriginal hostilities in the 1820s would lead to the "eventual extirpation of the colony". These are the words Windschuttle claims are used by Professor Reynolds to support a policy of "ethnic cleansing". Arthur never made the statement, wrote Windschuttle. Professor Reynolds attacked the claim yesterday. "I've never said that. That's quite, quite misleading. How could they [Aborigines destroy the colony]? I mean there were people who said that but Arthur never did and I've never, as far as I'm aware, suggested that he did," he said. "Nowhere did I suggest that Arthur thought they could wipe out the colony. That would be a silly thing to say."

Globe and Mail 29 Nov 2002 Print Edition, Page R14 Wild dingoes couldn't drag me away A rabbit-proof fence longer than the Great Wall of China snakes through the largely empty Australian Outback -- a place deeply ingrained on the nation's psyche By CHRIS KOENTGES Special to The Globe and Mail Friday, November 29, 2002 – Print Edition, Page R14 THE OUTBACK, AUSTRALIA -- The Australian muse is concealed like a bottled genie in the land out back, guarded with a laconic grin and shrug. "Past the square, past the bridge, past the mills, past the stack," goes Nick Cave's invocation of the secret. "In the border fires and humming wires," he tells us of "a gathering storm and a tall handsome man. In a dusty black coat. With a red right hand." The man -- the outback's vague-secret-come-to-life -- is George Miller's Mad Max. He's Peter Carey's bushranger Ned Kelly, the silent father who attempts to murder his children in Nicholas Roeg's Walkabout,the invisible stalker at Peter Weir's Hanging Rock. He's Crocodile Dundee. He's that dingo that ate Meryl Streep's baby. And most recently, he is Kenneth Branagh inhabiting the ghastly A.O. Neville -- Mr. Devil to the Jigalong mob in Phillip Noyce's Rabbit-Proof Fence -- the most literal incantation of the secret-cum-muse yet. Robert Hughes, the island/continent's thoroughly loathed expat historian/critic, likes to chide an Australian population almost entirely based in coastal cities. "Australians fantasize about the Outback. It is a great national icon but they would never dream of living there. It is too weird, too lonely, too silent." Before it was Peter Weir's Picnic at Hanging Rock,it was Joan Lindsay's Picnic at Hanging Rock -- Lindsay wrote the novel on which the film was based. "On St. Valentine's Day in 1900 a party of schoolgirls went on a picnic to Hanging Rock," the classic opens. "Some were never to return." Like the confused first wave that watched The Blair Witch Project before its release, most Australians, to this day, don't realize the story is fiction. The mistake is understandable, though, because everything about the rock's disturbing form would have you believe its reality. The boulders and ravines and gnarled spires shield a picnicker -- or stalker or, for that matter, reader or filmgoer -- from the harsh wind of the surrounding plain. You'll hear the warble of a dozen varieties of bird, from white crested cockatoo to kookaburra, but will never actually see a bird. The rock angles up and into itself so that at any given moment you can accidentally disappear from the person behind you with one or two steps. Before it was Weir or Lindsay's Hanging Rock, it was a sacred site of the Edibolidgitoorong, a sub-clan of the Wurundjeri. It still is, in fact. "I remember going up to Cooktown back in the early seventies," said George Miller, who I would eventually meet up with in Sydney. (He'd once gone scouring the land for narratives about the secret, and had the uncanny knack of telling me how to go look for it -- but would never explicitly let the bloody thing slip.) "Any Australian town you'd have to spend a week in the pubs before anyone would speak to you. You knew you were accepted when they would introduce you to their dog. There is a kind of laconic quality to the Australian bush character. They're not used to anyone but themselves. The truth is they're probably a bit mad." Pressing into the vast, desolate Mundi Mundi Plains a week earlier, I had arrived at the postapocalyptic stretch where the tanker flipped in Mad Max II. The centre of the country, Australia's famous dead heart, is known as terra naulis. No man's land. One of those places you visit and can legitimately feel like the last human being left on Earth. Where the tanker overturned, the earth begins to turn ochre, and for two straight days and nights I would speed into an increasingly vivid redness, past mangled eucalyptuses and rotting kangaroo carcasses, always with a sense of being gently pressed by an invisible pursuer. By the next afternoon, I entered Tibooburra where the average summer temperature is 43 degrees and outsiders get punched in the face for starting conversations with, "Hot enough for you?" Before setting up camp a few hours outside the town, I asked a trucker if it was okay to have a fire at night. "What are you going to do?" he chortled meanly. "Burn the dirt!" The next morning -- after I couldn't find fire wood -- I arrived at the fence. The writer Jan Morris once wrote that the the famous Harbour Bridge in famous Sydney is "by far the most striking thing ever built in Australia." But I must disagree, for the most striking thing ever built in Australia is its rabbit-proof fences. They were constructed by regional governments during the 1880s to stop the spread of a rabbit plague across state borders. (Rabbits lived on both sides of the fence before construction.) The separate fences were eventually linked up. Today the structure's called the Dingo Fence and maintained by the Wild Dog Destruction Board. It evokes something that existed eons before plagues of rabbit and dingo. "The one great untold story in this country is the destruction of indigenous culture," Miller would eventually confide. "We've seen that story many times in American culture. Dances With Wolves and stuff, but in the Australian culture, not many films have told that story about not only the actual genocide of the Aboriginals, but the culture of the genocide." It's the almost-total genocide of the oldest continuous culture left on Earth. In 30 Days in Sydney,Peter Carey writes that "we are obsessed, have always been obsessed, with the original inhabitants, even while we anticipated their passing, while we labelled them 'doomed,' stole their land and children too. . ." "Yet even the most racist amongst us must grant the Aboriginals intimate knowledge of this hostile land, and that is where they gain their authority in our imagination. They know how to live off the land and we did not, and still do not." The first time the Australian essayist Robert Dessaix ventured deep into terra naulis,he felt a shadowy fear of punishment for breaking laws he didn't understand. He wrote, "where men, owls, wallabies, snakes, rocks, trees and rain were all part of some kind of mindfulness we had no name for in the city, the terror lay in not knowing to whom or what this offence might be given." The Aboriginals once broke up the land out back into lines of song. They navigated each line by invoking endless tunes about specific features that the new culture would never learn to recognize without a fence. In their visual tradition of pounding plant material into pulpy paint, they continue to depict their landscape using a kind of cheek-by-jowl style of "pointillist dot" -- always as perceived as looking down from above. Specific colours and sizes of dot represent specific eucalyptus or dry river bed or or enormous rock or tufts of grass surrounding furtive hunting grounds or, in some paintings, refitted posts, wrapped in barbed wire.

Cambodia

AP 21 Nov 2002 Cambodia Genocide Charges Revived By EDITH M. LEDERER UNITED NATIONS -- A key-U.N. committee revived efforts to establish a genocide tribunal for surviving leaders of Cambodia's Khmer Rouge regime, charged with the deaths of more than one million people during the 1970s. Secretary-General Kofi Annan "will make his best efforts to implement the mandate" and conclude an agreement with the Cambodian government if the draft resolution is adopted by the 191-member world body, U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq said Thursday. The General Assembly committee that deals with human rights issues voted 123-0 with 37 abstentions late Wednesday in favor of the draft resolution sponsored by Japan and France. The full General Assembly OK the move. That approve is expected but no date has been set for a vote. The draft resolution calls on the secretary-general "to resume negotiations without delay, to conclude an agreement with the government of Cambodia, based on previous negotiations, to establish Extraordinary Chambers" to prosecute senior Khmer Rouge leaders. The U.N. legal team abruptly ended talks with Cambodia in February over the makeup and procedures of the proposed mixed court, saying the government lacked the political will needed to conduct free and fair trials. The negotiations had been underway for five years. At the time, U.N. legal counsel Hans Corell said the Cambodian government's decision that its law setting up the tribunal would take precedence over any agreement with the United Nations on the conduct of the trials meant there was no guarantee the tribunal would be independent and impartial. Many countries were upset at the U.N. decision, including the United States and France. The communist Khmer Rouge have been blamed for the deaths of at least 1.7 million Cambodians between 1975-79, when the group held power. None of the surviving leaders has appeared before a court to face accusations over the atrocities.

AP 23 Nov 2002 Hun Sen welcomes idea of new genocide tribunal BANGKOK Cambodia's prime minister said yesterday his government will cooperate with the United Nations in the world body's renewed efforts to establish a genocide tribunal for former Khmer Rouge leaders. A U.N General Assembly committee dealing with human rights issues voted 123-0 with 37 abstentions late Wednesday in favor of a draft resolution seeking to revive efforts to set up the tribunal. Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen, in Bangkok for a conference, told The Associated Press that he was happy with the U.N. decision. "I welcome (it). We are preparing already" to cooperate with the United Nations, Hun Sen said without elaborating. The United Nations and the Cambodian government have been negotiating for the last five years to set up a tribunal for the leaders of the Khmer Rouge regime, which was blamed for the deaths of about 1.7 million people during its 1975-79 rule. The proposed tribunal suffered a setback in February when a U.N. team abruptly ended negotiations with Cambodia about the court, saying the government lacked the political will needed to conduct free and fair trials. At the time, U.N. legal counsel Hans Corell said the Cambodian government's decision that its own law setting up the tribunal would take precedence over any agreement with the United Nations meant there was no guarantee the tribunal would be independent and impartial. Many countries, including the United States and France, were upset at the U.N. decision to end the talks. The latest U.N. resolution, sponsored by France and Japan, still needs to be approved by the full General Assembly. No date has been set for a vote, but approval is believed to be virtually certain. The draft calls on the U.N. secretary-general "to resume negotiations without delay, to conclude an agreement with the government of Cambodia based on previous negotiations and to establish Extraordinary Chambers" to prosecute senior Khmer Rouge leaders. U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq said Thursday that U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan "will make his best efforts to implement the mandate" and conclude an agreement with the Cambodian government. London-based human rights group Amnesty International said the text of the draft resolution was "fatally flawed" and wouldn't meet international standards because there would be a majority of Cambodian judges and no international prosecutor.

Asia Times 30 Nov 2002 Will Cambodians ever get justice? By Tom Fawthrop PHNOM PENH - Cambodians have been waiting 23 years for the much-debated Khmer Rouge tribunal to get off the ground. Now a fresh resolution from member states mandates a reluctant United Nations Secretariat to revive negotiations to set up a special tribunal in Phnom Penh, rekindling hopes that former leaders of the Pol Pot regime may put on trial and held accountable. Japan and France co-sponsored the motion, which was passed by 123 nations in the third committee in New York, and which is expected to sail through the UN General Assembly in December. Survivors of other genocide campaigns in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda have the satisfaction of seeing their former tormentors being held accountable. A Sierra Leone tribunal is also in the wings. But for the survivors of the Cambodian holocaust that annihilated an estimated 2 million people, there has been no justice. After the 1979 toppling of the Pol Pot regime, many survivors called for an international tribunal. However, the genocide issue became a hostage of Cold War machinations, including Washington's support for a UN seat for the Khmer Rouge. From 1979-97 there was a deafening silence from the UN on an issue that has long soured relations with Cambodian authorities. The new draft resolution calls on the UN secretary general "to resume negotiations without delay, to conclude an agreement with the government of Cambodia, based on previous negotiations, to establish Extraordinary Chambers" to prosecute senior Khmer Rouge leaders. Only two Khmer Rouge leaders have been arrested and are awaiting trial. Another five of six major suspects are living quietly in Cambodia and have not yet been indicted. Nine months ago the prospect of an internationally credible UN-backed genocide tribunal appeared to have been killed stone dead by the UN's walkout. The refusal of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and the Office of Legal Affairs (OLA) to resume negotiations over setting up the long-delayed Khmer Rouge Tribunal now appears to have been convincingly overruled by member states, a clear slap in the face for UN lawyers. In the UN third committee in November, 123 countries vote for it, with zero votes against and 37 abstentions. Swedish lawyer Hans Corell, the head of OLA, had argued that the Khmer Rouge Tribunal Law passed by the Cambodian National Assembly in August 2001 did not provide sufficient guarantees for an "independent tribunal and international legal standards". The core issue, according to Corell, was who had ultimate control over the judicial process - the UN or Cambodia? A Phnom Penh-based diplomat commented: "The UN does not like to enter things that it can't control." Phnom Penh rejected Corell's demand that the UN agreement should be accorded supreme status over the Khmer Rouge Tribunal Law. The UN declined Phnom Penh's invitation to finish off the negotiations and abruptly walked out in February this year. The UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva urged the UN's lawyers to get back to the negotiations. Member states led by Japan, Australia, the United Kingdom and Canada made repeated attempts to lobby the UN in New York. Annan stubbornly stood his ground, saying only a new mandate from the General Assembly or the Security Council could persuade him. A Phnom Penh-based Association of Southeast Asian Nations ambassador commented: "Kofi Annan is now obliged to resume negotiations [on the tribunal] even though it may not be exactly the mandate that he wanted." The Khmer Rouge Tribunal Law provides for a special court to be set up in which international and local lawyers and judges will comprise a "mixed tribunal" - aspiring to meet international standards, but within a Cambodian legal framework and jurisdiction. Three Cambodian judges will preside together with two international judges over the court, but majority verdicts must include the vote of at least one of the two international jurists. The Cambodian tribunal has always sparked intense controversy. The government of Prime Minister Hun Sen has been blamed for dragging their feet and displaying ambivalent commitment to the tribunal. The UN has been criticized for its past support for the Khmer Rouge and for its cultural insensitivity in negotiations with the Cambodian legal team. The result has been three years of legal wrangling and mutual distrust. Amnesty International in London has led the way in condemning the tribunal law passed by the Cambodian National Assembly as "deeply flawed" and urges the UN to "renegotiate everything" from square one. Many local and international human-rights groups have come up with similar criticisms based on the perception that the Cambodia justice system is hopelessly inadequate. Most observers are agreed that the legal system is riddled with corruption, lacking in competence and training, and is highly vulnerable to political interference. The argument of this school of thought is "better no trial at all than a flawed trial" - ironically a line that is more than welcome to surviving Khmer Rouge leaders hoping that no tribunal will ever take place. Some conservative members of Hun Sen's ruling Cambodian People's Party also oppose the Khmer Rouge tribunal for different reasons, fearing that many rank and file Khmer Rouge defectors might take up arms again and destabilize the hard-won peace. Dr Craig Etcheson, a Khmer Rouge researcher formerly manager of the Cambodian Genocide Program, told Asia Times Online: "Many voices in the international human-rights community support the idea of completely calling off the tribunal, on the grounds that 'real' justice is not possible under the current Cambodian government. This would have the result that the Khmer Rouge leadership would die quiet, peaceful deaths in their beds, having successfully defended their impunity for their entire lives. It is strange to see this tacit alliance between international human-rights activists and the most retrograde elements of Cambodia's ruling party, but then as they say, politics makes for strange bedfellows." However, other human-rights experts are alarmed at this prospect. A clear polarization has developed. These human-rights experts want to press for the best tribunal that can be achieved by taking into account the tortured Cambodian history, resulting realities, and the complexity of this particular tribunal. Peter Leuprecht, a former law professor, concluded: "I am a lawyer and I am sure: rather this tribunal than no tribunal." Leuprecht, as the UN's human-rights rapporteur for Cambodia, knows better than anyone the weaknesses of the country's legal system and its decimation during the Pol Pot regime. But the supporters of the Cambodian tribunal law argue that a tribunal is of the greatest importance to Cambodian society and in the promotion of human rights, and stress that the UN could bring this about if it had the political will. During his most recent visit to Cambodia, Leuprecht declared that this is almost certainly the last chance for a UN-backed tribunal. History may well judge both the UN and the Cambodian legal team harshly if this time they fail to set up the tribunal to judge the Pol Pot regime, a tribunal that has already the suffered from a record of over 20 years of obstruction, procrastination and delay.

China (see also Japan)

Financial Times UK 5 Nov 2002 Beijing looks to bring neighbours under its wing By Amy Kazmin China has wooed south-east Asia ever since the 1997 Asian economic crisis, when several countries began nursing grievances that their old cold war ally, the US, had let them down in their hour of need. That courtship deepened yesterday in Phnom Penh, where leaders of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations agreed to hitch their wagons to a rising China - in the tentative hope that they can share their giant neighbour's growing prosperity. The centrepiece of the raft of agreements signed at the China-Asean summit yesterday was the framework deal for establishing a China-Asean free trade zone by 2010, a proposal seen as largely symbolic when it was endorsed last year but that China since pushed aggressively. Nicholas Thomas, a researcher at the China-Asean Project of the University of Hong Kong, says the framework deal "sets the scene for a 10 year period where we are going to see China and Asean growing a lot closer together - for better or worse". Despite continued doubts in some countries, Asean has agreed to embark on a process of economic integration with China as its best chance for continued economic survival relevance in the face of a powerful trade competitor. While Beijing too touts its desires for regional economic prosperity, analysts see China as driven more by a intense desire to bring the countries in its backyard firmly within its sphere of influence. It is a desire that has been heightened by Washington's increased projection of its military power in far-flung corners of the globe, including central Asia, where, before September 11, Beijing had been seeking to build up its influence. "China is now building a safety cushion around itself to relieve its security worries," Sheng Lijun, a senior fellow at Singapore's Institute for Southeast Asian Studies, told a recent conference in Bangkok. While a free trade deal with south-east Asia will not explicitly address security issues, he said, closer economic relations would tend to act as a constraint on the region if China were engaged in any conflict with the US in the future. In its quest for regional leadership, China isn't restricting its overtures to economic and development matters, either. Along with agreeing yesterday to refrain from provocative activities in the disputed South China Sea, China and Asean issued an unexpected declaration on joint efforts to combat non-traditional security problems, like the smuggling of arms, drugs and people, money laundering, cyber-crime and terrorism. While China has already been working closely with the countries that share the Mekong River on some of these issues, the declaration provides for the beginning of broader security co-operation between China and the wider region. South-east Asia's strengthening ties to China with have not escaped the attention of the Bush administration, which - before September 11 - had prickly relations with China, epitomised by the crisis over the downed US spy plane on Hainan Island. At the recent Apec summit, President George W. Bush offered to enhance US economic co-operation with Asean by entering into bilateral free trade agreements with the more developed members, a largely symbolic move to reassure Asean it is not forgotten. Washington has also offered more aid for efforts to bridge the development gap between different member states. Mr Thomas said the designation of south-east Asia as a second front in the war on terrorism also provides the rationale for an enhanced US engagement. Within Asean, many have qualms about China's rising influence. In Cambodia, many activists blame China for scuttling a proposed war crimes tribunal for surviving leaders of the Khmer Rouge, a proceeding that would highlight Beijing's support for the genocidal regime. In Thailand, critics accused Beijing of bullying after Bangkok cancelled the signing of a deal with Taiwan aimed at improving conditions for 250,000 Thai labourers working there. The smaller countries along the Mekong river are deeply worried about the consequences to them of China's ambitious dam building schemes along the branches of the river, even as China pledges greater involvement in the region's development. Yet Asean, which has always operated on a consensus basis, still lacks the ability to speak with a unified voice on sensitive political issues, which leaves it in a weak position in dealing with China. So, even as it commits to a tighter embrace of Beijing, Asean is courting other regional powers such as India.

NYT 13 Nov 2002 China's Ghost of '89: Chief Ousted by Hard-Liners By ERIK ECKHOLM EIJING, Nov. 12 — In a maze of crumbling alleyways just off Beijing's premier shopping avenue, the former chief of the Communist Party spends his days and years of enforced silence in a spacious, gray-walled courtyard home. As the party prepares for a major transfer of power this Friday, no one dares utter the name of Zhao Ziyang, who was the general secretary before the current leader, Jiang Zemin. Today's leaders surely must wish that Mr. Zhao would just disappear. They do not speak of him in public, but the officials gathered this week in the Great Hall of the People, hardly a mile from the house where Mr. Zhao has been kept in near-isolation for 13 years, can hardly forget about their former boss and comrade. Mr. Zhao was purged in 1989 for being soft on the student democracy advocates who occupied Tiananmen Square. In party sanctums he was declared guilty of abetting the disastrous schism over liberal values that led his harder-nosed colleagues to mount a bloody, soul-scarring crackdown. But Mr. Zhao was never tried in court or convicted of a crime, and his unending detention has no legal basis. So simply by existing, Mr. Zhao — now 83, white-haired and suffering heart problems — is an embarrassment to a government trying to reinvent itself as open and advanced. More than that, as the armed police patrolling in front of his house testify, he is feared as a potential magnet for dissent. This week's transfer of power is gleefully described in official circles as the most orderly and rule-based in party history, a giant step toward political maturity and the rule of law. But Mr. Zhao's undeclared purgatory as well as the total secrecy and back-room dealing involved in choosing China's next leaders have only underscored, some restive party loyalists say, just how far the country's top-tier politics remain from law and democracy. "We have a country of 1.3 billion people, with 66 million party members, over 2,000 delegates to this congress and more than 300 central committee members," said the chief editor of a party-owned newspaper. "Yet all the important decisions about who will run this country are made by seven or eight men." "It's amazing," he added with a sigh. In his opening report to the 16th Communist Party Congress on Friday, Mr. Jiang spoke of fine-tuning procedures within the party but flatly rejected anything resembling Western democracy, which he says would plunge China into chaos. Perhaps the most central debate as China continues astonishing social and economic changes is whether greater political freedom would be catastrophic, as Mr. Jiang suggests, or whether it is instead a painful but necessary key to stability. It is a question that consumes many foreign experts and diplomats but one that the Chinese themselves are hardly allowed to discuss. "The party can govern, but it does not inspire support," said Joseph Fewsmith, a China specialist at Boston University, who warns that waning legitimacy could, in a social crisis, lead to political impasse or collapse. "To rebuild public faith, the party would have to be very different," he said. "It needs to articulate a vision that includes social equity and a vision of where China wants to go — what is it that we are proud about?" "And political reform, broadly defined, has to be part of the answer," he said. Optimistic loyalists see hope in Mr. Jiang's proposal to bring new social groups, including entrepreneurs, inside the ruling councils rather than watching them rise as independent forces. His theory of the "three represents," which aims to do that, is being formally written into the party constitution this week. That strategy will be a political experiment without any real precedent in Chinese Communism, but there is no guarantee that the end result will be closer to democratic freedom. Bruce Dickson of George Washington University, author of the forthcoming book "Red Capitalists in China" (Cambridge University Press), found that most of the successful entrepreneurs, the kind being courted by the party, feel that they do well in the cronyish system as it is and see no need to push for major reforms. "Trying to tinker with the system at the margins may not work," he added. "Liberalizing changes can quickly escalate out of control, as in 1989. But if you don't open up, the outside pressures for change will build up." Today's China is not Stalin's Russia, and even Mr. Zhao's status reveals a softer side of dictatorship: he lives quietly with his wife and grown daughter, is allowed to read books and magazines and is occasionally escorted to a golf course or on trips to the south. He is also, it seems safe to assume, receiving excellent medical care. Mr. Zhao had heart bypass surgery last year, a family friend said, and now has an implanted pacemaker. His heart condition is worrisome but not currently life-threatening, the friend said. If China's leaders consider Mr. Zhao, alive, to pose an unacceptable threat to stability, they must surely fear the day he dies. It was the death of another deposed, modestly liberal party secretary, Hu Yaobang, that triggered the fatal outpouring of student protests in 1989.

NYT 23 Nov 2002 Shouting the Pain From Japan's Germ Attacks By JOSEPH KAHN YIWU, China — Life's longest journeys can begin with a sudden epiphany, and for Wang Xuan that discovery came on a bright August morning seven years ago, as she lounged on a tatami mat in her home in Himeji, Japan. Browsing The Japan Times, she saw a brief item about elderly Chinese peasants planning to sue Japan for using bubonic plague as a weapon during World War II. The story mentioned that they lived in a rural village called Yiwu on China's east coast. Yiwu happened to be Ms. Wang's ancestral home, a place she had left behind years before for the promise of a new life in Japan. "History fell into place when I saw that article," Ms. Wang said. "I knew why I had really come to Japan, and what I had to do as a Chinese." What she vowed to do was to shake Japan, China and the United States out of the great Pacific amnesia about biological warfare. Ms. Wang assembled 180 Chinese victims and sued Japan, charging that its forces had spread bubonic plague and other diseases in China during World War II. The group claimed that 300,000 people were killed by germ warfare, though there are no official tallies. After five years in court, the plaintiffs scored a partial victory in late August when Judge Kohi Iwata of Tokyo District Court ruled that Japan's infamous Unit 731 "used bacteriological weapons under the order of the imperial Japanese Army's headquarters." The judge rejected compensation, however, saying the plaintiffs had no right to demand money from Japan under international law. That has forced Ms. Wang and her group to embark on a costly appeal against steep odds. The Japanese government still denies that its army ever used biological agents. China, suspicious of most social movements, has prevented plaintiffs from organizing formally or accepting donations. The United States, wary of alienating its staunchest ally in the region, remains more focused on the potential threat of biological weapons today than on the destruction they wrought 60 years ago. Even her plaintiffs' group, mostly elderly peasants in eastern and central China, threatens to collapse as its members despair of ever seeing justice in their lifetimes. "We are fighting Japan, China and the United States all at once," Ms. Wang said while riding through rural China to rally plaintiffs. "We need endless amounts of time to do this, and time is running out." Yet her cause, painful as it is, has already repaired the jagged ends of her fractured life. Ms. Wang was born in 1952 and grew up in relative comfort. Her father served as a judge on Shanghai's criminal court. He initially embraced China's new Communist leaders, but family members were persecuted as "rightists" in the late 1950's. During the Cultural Revolution in the late 1960's, Ms. Wang was "sent down," in the terminology of the day: she was ordered to leave the city and work as a peasant. She spent her college-age years plucking rice stalks in a tiny village called Chongshan, just outside Yiwu, where she lived with members of her father's ancestral family. As a city girl working the rice paddies, Ms. Wang said, "I nearly broke my back." But it crushed her spirit even more. Her education was on hold, and her family and friends seemed hopelessly distant. "There was not a single book in the whole village," Ms. Wang recalled. Yet she developed deep local ties. Those came from hearing peasant tales of grisly atrocities committed by "Japanese devils" during the war. An uncle she never knew, Wang Haibao, was one young victim of what the peasants then called rat disease. She learned later that it was the plague, which first infected rats, then people. She also developed a nagging sense of social justice. As hard as her life had become, she said, she realized that she was infinitely better off than the peasants around her. Her brief internment was their daily drudgery. "These were my relatives," Ms. Wang said. "They shared my name. But they had no rights. For the simple reason of being born in the city, I had a totally different life." After Mao's death in 1976, Ms. Wang dreamed of moving far away. The United States was her choice. But she was married by then, to a volleyball star. It was he who got the coveted visa — but to Japan. Ms. Wang, though wary at first, accepted Japan. She became fluent in the language, looking to prosper in what was then the center of the Asian economic miracle. But she soon found it oppressive. Japanese women stared at her if she did not wear stockings. The man who gave her driver's test tried luring her to a hotel. She discovered that European instructors at the language school where she taught were paid more. She asked for a raise, but her boss answered, "You are already too expensive for a Chinese." Then, in 1995, she stumbled on the article in The Japan Times. It seemed to confirm what she felt instinctively: Japan had changed only superficially since the war. It was a humble country on the surface, but still treated Chinese people as inferiors. "If Japanese society had been more accepting and open to Chinese women, I might never have gotten involved," she said. "But this place that had been devoid of meaning for me suddenly made sense." Ms. Wang still lives in Tokyo. But she divides her time between courtrooms there and dusty highways in China, raising money, doing research and recruiting witnesses. She is again the city girl in the country. She wears black leather and silk blouses on trips. It is as if she is reminding herself, and perhaps others, that she belongs elsewhere. Yet she knows Yiwu well enough to act as a guide. She shows visitors the Tragedy Pavilion, which lists 1,500 plague victims, most of them with the surname Wang. She describes how Unit 731 dropped plague-infected fleas from aircraft and how the disease worked its way through the village for months. It killed 20 villagers a day at one point in 1942, she says. She leads visitors through the gray-brick Buddhist temple with bare concrete floors where, she says, the Japanese performed autopsies to gauge the impact of their tests. And she fights, sometimes alone, to keep the case going. At a community meeting one evening, plaintiffs needled Ms. Wang about the lack of tangible results. Ms. Wang, one person said, carries too much on her own shoulders. Ultimately, some said, the government in Beijing must press Tokyo on their behalf. Mr. Wang slowly rubbed the bridge of her nose as they spoke. She explained that the court appeal was still their best hope. Beijing, with its trade priorities, is unlikely to start cooperating, she said: there is no quick fix. "If we wait for governments to settle this matter," Ms. Wang said afterward, "we will die and the truth will never come out."

India (see also Japan)

PTI 29 Oct 2002 BJP trying to incite communal hatred: Sonia PTI VARANASI: Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday said that the BJP, worried over by "rising" popularity of her party, was trying to incite communal hatred in the country in the pattern of what was witnessed in Gujarat. Addressing party workers as part of her campaign to revive the party in Uttar Pradesh, Gandhi said that developmental activities across the country had taken a back seat and unemployment risen during the reign of BJP-led NDA government at the Centre. Launching a scathing attack on BJP, she said that it was "perturbed" over the "rising popularity" of Congress and "is now trying to incite communal hatred in the country as was witnessed in Gujarat recently." Admitting that there was groupism in Congress, especially in its Uttar Pradesh unit, the AICC president said that this had not only damaged the party but also provided a chance to fundamentalist forces to raise their head. She appealed to party workers to shun differences and work for enhancing the support base of Congress. Commending the performance of Congress governments in several states, Gandhi said "the people's faith in the party has grown over the years." Senior Congress leaders, including AICC treasurer Motilal Vora, former chief minister Ram Naresh Yadav and UPCC president Arun Kumar Singh Munna were present on the occasion.

PTI 31 Oct 2002 BJP urges action on 1984 genocide perpetrators New Delhi, Oct 31. (PTI): Terming the 1984 anti-Sikh riots as a "state-sponsored genocide", the Delhi unit of the BJP Sikh cell today organised a protest day and urged the government to bring to book the perpetrators of the massacre. "It was not a riot, it was a genocide sponsored by the state, in which more than 3000 innocent people lost their lives," Delhi BJP President Madan Lal Khurana alleged while addressing a gathering. He said a delegation of the BJP Sikh cell would soon meet the Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani and would urge them to honour the suggestions of the Nanavati Commission which is likely to submit its report. The meeting was attended among others by S S Ahluwalia, MP, State BJP Vice President Harsharan Singh Balli and City Sikh Cell president, Harbans Singh Chawla.

PTI 31 Oct 2002 Indira's assassin honoured LUDHIANA, OCT 31 (PTI) Akal Takht jathedar Joginder Singh Vedanti today honoured family members of Beant Singh, the assassin of late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi at a function here. The Dal Khalsa organised a panthic convention in Beant Singh's memory who was shot dead by security forces minutes after he assassinated Gandhi on October 31, 1984. Bestowing the status of great martyr on Beant Singh, the jathedar said his act was in accordance with sikh traditions. Akali Dal leader Simranjit Singh Mann was among others who addressed the gathering.

PTI 31 Oct ,2002 BJP kickstarts poll campaign in Gujurat The BJP today took the campaign for the crucial December 12 assembly elections on a higher gear launching a broadside against Congress President Sonia Gandhi's foreign origin and playing the "nationalist" card to the hilt. Kickstarting the eighth leg of the Gaurav Yatra from the birth place of Sardar Patel on his 127th Birth Anniversary, Chief Minister Narendra Modi claimed a "divine will" behind the Election Commission's announcement of poll date, sought to appropriate the legacy of the iron man and charged Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf with attempts to defeat him. In a veiled message to his rivals within the party, including former Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel, who were conspicuous by their absence, Modi recalled that despite enjoying popular support, Sardar Patel agreed to Mahatma Gandhi's choice of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru as the country's first Prime Minister. Keshubhai Patel today organised a parallel function at Lodhika in Saurashtra where he was weighed in blood - a programme described by Modi as "coincidental". Senior Minister Haren Pandya, who had given his resignation following differences with Modi and later withdrawn it, was also absent. Union Minister Kanshiram Rana was also missing from the function. Without naming Sonia Gandhi, BJP General Secretary in charge of Gujarat Arun Jaitley, in his address, said had Sardar Patel been alive, he would have been in the opposite camp of those favouring persons of foreign origin for the posts of President, Vice-President, Prime Minister and Army Chief. Criticising the Common Minimum Programme of the PDP-Cong coalition in Jammu and Kashmir which supports disbanding of Special Operations Group, non-impelementation of POTA and review of cases of detained terrorists, he said "the Sardar would not have condoned this". Attacking Congress for the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, Modi said Congress had no moral right to criticise BJP for Gujarat violence and added "Gujarat should show the political direction to the rest of the country". Alleging that Pakistan was attempting to foist a Government in Gujarat which suited it, he warned Musharraf of a befitting reply to the "merchants of death". Modi also sarcastically thanked Chief Election Commissioner M Lyngdoh for announcing the date which enabled him to turn the planned Gaurav Yatra into poll campaign launch and attributed the same to "divine will". Assailing Congress for ignoring the contribution of Sardar Patel, Modi, in a symbolic gesture, touched the feet and sought blessings of Patel's grand daughter-in-law Shantaben Patel. During the youth rally, the Chief Minister also promised "modernisation without westernisation", setting up of a global education employment board to enable Gujarati students admissions in the best educational institutions in the world. He also announced increase in the number of seats in technical institutes in the state to 25,000 in the next two years.

UNI 31 Oct 2002 '1984 riots political meat for leaders' New Delhi, Oct 31 Eighteen years on and each year leaders of different parties condemn the bloodshed of Sikhs in the wake of the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, shooting memoranda to Government and squatting on the streets as a mark of ''protest''. The saga of commissions and committees set up to determine the causes, consequences, deaths, prosecutions, compensation and disciplinary action relating to the 1984 carnage began that year itself and continues to this day. According to official figures, 2,733 Sikhs were brutally killed, burnt or slaughtered in the capital within 72 hours. Countless others were injured, women raped and hundreds of homes and shops looted and destroyed. The massacre sparked widespread protests for years -- and ironically many small-time politicians swept to public prominence by holding annual sit-ins for ''speedy justice to the survivors''. Today also, the BJP held a Protest Day, coinciding with the death anniversary of the slain Prime Minister, to ''highlight the Sikh community's sufferings during the 1984 riots''. Delhi BJP chief Madan Lal Khurana met Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani to demand that the report of the Justice Nanavati Commission -- the latest in the series of enquiries into the anti-Sikh carnage -- be submitted at the earliest. ''I do not believe in protests... they have become a racket in India,'' remarked columnist and author Patwant Singh. He disapproved of such acts as ''ridiculous'' and alien to ''civilised conduct''. At the same time, Patwant Singh blamed what he called ''absence of integrity of intention'' in delivering justice to the survivors of the pogrom. ''Not a single man has been hanged 18 years after Sikhs were burnt alive on streets of Delhi. Howsoever critical of the United States we may be, we should appreciate its justice-delivery system, an example of which is the death sentence to a man who killed a Sikh Arizona gas station owner, Balbir Singh Sodhi, in reprisal to 9/11,'' said Patwant Singh while speaking to UNI. The author, however, expressed optimism that the Nanavati Commission would provide valuable insights into the anatomy of the 1984 tragedy. ''I was the first witness to depose before the Nanavati Commission which has since examined a number of witnesses, including former Prime Ministers, politicians, police and administrative officials.'' UNI

PTI 31 Oct 2002 Riot victims postpone agitation KANPUR OCT 31 (PTI) The victims of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots have decided to postpone their agitation in Lucknow as the Allahabad High Court summoned the U P chief secretary and demanded a report over the distribution of compensation. The riot victims association has decided to cancel its dharna and procession at Lucknow tomorrow following legal advice as the chief secretary was asked to submit a report, the association president Manjeet Singh said in a release here today. Expressing concern over the delay in disbursement of claims even after 18 years, the association said "strong actions" would be taken if the claims were not settled by November 14.

UNI 4 Nov 2002 Paswan for probe into Dalit massacre Patna, Nov 4 Lok Janshakti Party supremo Ram Vilas Paswan has demanded a high-level probe into the killing of six Dalits at Budhganjoyee and Dighi Tola villages in Gaya district on Friday. Paswan visited Anugrah Narain Medical College and Hospital in Gaya on Sunday and consoled the bereaved. Criminals had kidnapped LJP block president of Tankuppa Deven Paswan's father, mother, wife and sister-in-law and subsequently killed them. The LJP president paid an ex gratia of Rs 25,000 to dependents of the bereaved family. He also paid an ex gratia of Rs 5,000 each to the dependents of two victims, Karu Paswan and Munna Kahar who were killed by criminals at Dighi Tola under Konch police station area in Gaya district on Sunday. The bodies were brought to Anugrah Narain Medical College and Hospital for post mortem. Later, talking to newsmen, Paswan demanded the dismissal of the Rabri Devi government for its 'failure' to protect the Dalits. He said he would also apprise President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam of the rising attacks on the weaker sections. UNI

Mumbai Newsline 5 Nov 2002 Page One NEWS Zakaria book delves into communalism Mohammed Wajihuddin Mumbai, October 30: RAFIQ Zakaria’s writes his books with a mission. His books are aimed at provoking intelligent debates to close the growing chasm between Hindus and Muslims. His latest book Communal Rage in Secular India, to be released by the Attorney-General of India, Soli Sorabjee, at Taj Mahal Hotel on Friday, is a sort of a requiem of his idea of India. Anguished at the diabolical dance of death that was witnessed in Gandhi’s land (Gujarat), Zakaria has devoted the opening chapters of this book to Godhra and its aftermath. ‘‘I couldn’t help it. The genocide raised doubts in my mind about the survival of India as a secular country. Is this the India our freedom fighters fought for?,’’ he asks. ‘‘ Through this book I wanted to register my protest and express my feelings (on this issue). What worries me more is the communal hatred that a large number of Hindus harbour for the Muslims of this country today.’’ Communalism is ademon eating into the very vitals of our society. However, it is the distortion of history by the divisive forces that is the grater cause for distress for me. As Nobel laureate Amartya Sen in the foreword for this book says: ‘‘The process has been fed by communal Hindu politics, fostering divisiveness (‘‘indirectly aping Jinnah,’’ as Zakaria sees it), combined with plentiful use of religious misinterpretations and historical distortions to alienate Hindus from their Muslim fellow citizens...” The Sanghparivar sees Chhatrapati Shivaji, Swami Vivekananda and Sardar Patel (Narendra Modi styles himself as Chhote Sardar) as its ideals. Referring to authentic documents, Zakaria shows how the three rose above communal politics and worked for peaceful co-existence.

Reuters 7 Nov 2002 Seven injured in Gujarat violence AHMEDABAD: After a relative calm for the past few weeks here, violence broke out in the communally sensitive area of Jamalpur following Diwali revelry on Wednesday night in which seven persons were injured, some shops and houses gutted and vehicles damaged in arson. Police had to open fire and lob teargas shells to bring the situation under control after two groups clashed and indulged in stone throwing and arson after midnight, police said. The injured included a woman. Tension prevailed in the area, which had borne the maximum brunt of post-Godhra violence, but the situation was under control, a top police official said here on Thursday. "The situation is under control but still under tense," DCP Vikas Sahay said here. Trouble broke out when a group of Diwali revellers arrived near Gaekwad haveli and burst crackers provoking protest from another groups. There were reports of some shops being set on fire. Initial reports said that three shops and a few houses were damaged. Gujarat has been relatively quiet for some weeks after the state was under the grip of communal violence for a few months since the Godhra train carnage on February 28.

Times of India 12 Nov 2002 Gujarat may have more 'nasty' surprises AHMEDABAD: It was said that Gujarat just needs a road accident involving persons of different communities to spark off a riot. Well, its turning worse now. It could even be a small-time cricket match in the alleys of a village or a rabid dog scurrying through a crowded place which could do the trick. With the assembly elections exactly a month away, and the Chief Election Commissioner J M Lyngdoh describing the situation as 'nasty', bottled-up emotions are exploding at the slightest provocation across Gujarat's countryside. Obviously, the communal riots earlier this year haven't released all the steam from a divided society having pent-up prejudices which do not augur well for the safe conduct of elections. Says a police official "if you see the pattern of violence since February, it is that of a series of over-reactions. The Ram Sevaks did not deserve the deadly end for whatever they did at the railway station. And 1,000 people did not have to die for whatever happened at Godhra. Unfortunately, the same trend of over-reaction is continuing till today." As Monday's riots in Mahudha town of Kheda district and Dasaj village of Mehsana district have shown, these two places which are located nearly 200 km apart, have one thing in common. People are on a short fuse and provocateurs on both sides are waiting to pounce on any opportunity to re-ignite the flames. Two persons, one from each community, were killed and several 22 injured in Dasaj. The incident followed some panic after a rabid dog ran around Gogha Maharaj temple where revellers were attending the concluding session of a three-day festival. A police official said "while a group of boys from the minority community started chasing the dog away, the rumour went around that the group was coming to attack the devotees." Earlier in the day, two persons who had a scuffle with a rival cricket team at Mahudha, were stabbed to death sparking off violence. Even as the funeral procession of the two victims, both brothers from a Patel family, was taken out under tight security, there were elements in the procession who were baying for blood. Those returning after the last rites lynched a bus passenger after dragging him out of the vehicle. There have been a string of communal incidents over the last three weeks, seemingly without adequate provocation, reflecting the undercurrent of tension prevailing in the same areas of central and north Gujarat which were up in flames earlier this year. Police officials are in fact asking the question whether these stray cases were spontaneous or engineered from within. "Both sides have elements with vested interests in stoking the communal fires till the elections," says a senior official. On November 8, eight persons were injured in clashes in Gomtipur area after two scooter riders crashed into each other. On November 7, group clashes took place late in the night in Raikhad and Jamalpur after a road accident involving a drunkard and an argument at a roadside tea-stall. On November 5, clashes took place in Gomtipur over rental of a bicycle. On October 26, violence broke out in Juhapura area of Ahmedabad as mobs started attacking each other with stones and crude bombs after a road accident in Vasna. Early on October 22, violence erupted at Dindhrol village of Patan district after a noisy procession, while passing a mosque, was asked to stop beating drums. Recovery of the body of a 22-year-old youth a day later only worsened matters. On the same day, tension gripped the Nadiad town when stone- throwing erupted after a youth travelling on a scooter was hit by a stone in a minority-dominated area. On October 14, in Jhalod town, two persons had fought over purchase of mutton which had snowballed into a communal conflict.

Milli Gazette 13 Nov 2002 Hate speech against Indian Muslims goes unpunished New Delhi: President of Congress Party Intellectuals Cell Syed Shamim Hashmi demanded “immediate arrest” of International President of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) Ashok Singhal on September 5, for inciting “genocidal violence” against Muslims. In a statement issued in the wake of Singhal’s anti-Muslim hate speech former Member of Parliament and Congress leader Hashmi said that by now Singhal should have been in jail for saying publicly “we will repeat the Gujarat experiment against Muslims all over India.” Singhal, whose VHP is part of the “Sangh family” of myriad organisations, including the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which rules Gujarat and heads the ruling coalition at Centre, had also said in his speech earlier this week in Punjab state that Muslims deserved the genocidal attack in Gujarat. “People say I praise Gujarat. Yes I do.” He gloated over how "whole villages had been emptied of Islam" within days and how refugee camps swelled with Muslims. Singhal has gone scot free despite repeated hate speech as do most of his colleagues of VHP, BJP and allied organisations. Of late their impunity has grown because their people have been in power at Centre and in some states, which is detrimental to secular democracy and security of Muslims and Christians. The Congress Party has launched a campaign to halt hate speech against fellow citizens. Congress spokesman Anand Sharma has demanded Singhal’s arrest along with that of other leaders. Senior Congress leader Balram Jhakar said this fascist maniac must be put behind bars for his speech which could potentially create nationwide strife. Jhakar said VHP leaders must be put in jail for their anti-national acts. The influential Hindustan Times in one of its edits Saturday, September 5, wondered how come men like Singhal roam free while others are jailed under harsh anti-terrorist laws for far lighter offences, “Ashok Singhal has ceased to be a mere nuisance factor. He is a threat to any democratic, secular, modern society". The leader writer wondered” …what stops the NDA government from booking this man who is openly inciting mob violence against Indian citizens?” Though the Hindustan Times has "wondered" over the ruling coalition at Centre, National Democratic Alliance (NDA), allowing Hindu nationalists like Singhal to do as they please, there is nothing much to wonder about here. These people are allowed free-play because the ruling BJP shares its ideology with them and is a self-proclaimed part of Sangh family of VHP-RSS-BJP-Bajrang Dal etc. A prominent Urdu daily published from Delhi and Lucknow, Qaumi Awaz, in its editorial on September 5, said that Singhal was a self-proclaimed follower of Hitler. (The entire Sangh family, including BJP lionises Hitler.) “This man must be crushed like Hitler to prevent the rise of Nazism,” the strongly-worded editorial said. By now Singhal should have been jailed, but we know the present government would not do that. “Now is the time for civil society to rise against this menace”, the Qaumi Awaz wrote. Supported by its Parivar (family) organisation BJP, which holds power at Centre and in some states, VHP remains unrepentant, despite widespread condemnation. Central Secretary of VHP Mohan Joshi said at a press conference in Delhi on September 4, that the special protection provided in the Indian Constitution to minorities should be done away with. This is an idea which the BJP too believes in, although it is a bit hesitant in saying it publicly. Last month India’s Solicitor General Harish Salve, on BJP leaders’ orders told the Supreme Court of India that the minorities constitutional rights to establish their own educational institutions should be subjected to curbs. This move of the Centre was very much in line with the anti-minority ideas of VHP. Hindu nationalist organisations like VHP and BJP are against India’s secular Constitution also. They want a new Constitution, shorn of all guarantees to minorities, but cannot muster enough support in Parliament for this venture. Failing that, they formed a Constitution Review Commission 2000, which has not supported their ideas. The secular ethos of the country and independence of press, judiciary and other constitutional entities thwarts Hindu fascist plans for the country. Despite a thriving democracy, the justice dispensing system, however, has not always been successful in stopping fascist thuggery. There is no proper law against genocide or genocide-like crimes. Hence it is very difficult to book criminals against humanity, though there are certain other laws under which such people can be prosecuted. Fascists like Singhal are able to hoodwink the Indian state taking advantage of its weaknesses. The fact that like-minded people are in power at Centre also makes things easier for them.

American Muslim Council (AMC) 13 Nov 2002 Gujarat Genocide Awareness Week Starts Today WASHINGTON, DC, Nov 13, 2002: Major American Muslim organizations--AMC, CAIR, ICNA and ISNA--have endorsed Indian Muslim Council's call asking people to observe the second week of the Islamic month of Ramadan as the Gujarat Genocide Remembrance Week and the Friday, November 15 as the Gujarat Genocide Rembrance Day. The second week of Ramadan starts today. In a media release, the Indian Muslim Council (IMC) said: In the wake of recent brutal attacks, and serious threats raised against Indian Muslims by the Hindutva-fascists in India, it is incumbant upon all the peace-loving people of the world to understand the threat and educate themselves about one of the most racist idealogies whose followers have killed thousands of people in India. Actions Requested: Hold special prayer services, especially, after the nightly taraweeh prayers for the thousands of innocent victims who were brutally killed, maimed, and gang-raped, and also for hundreds of thousands who were displaced from their homes in the state of Gujrat, India. * Arrange Jumah khutba (Friday sermon) on the Gujarat genocide, and the impending threat of more ethnic-cleansing attacks on Indian Muslims by the Hindutva-fascist groups. Helpful educational material can be obtained from www.imc-usa.org or www.imannet.com * Distribute IMC brochures on the threat to Indian minorities by the Hindutva-fascists * Get petitions signed demanding that the Hindutva-terrorist organizations be banned (send a copy to IMC.) Petitions can be downloaded from www.imc-usa.org or www.imannet.com * Write to the media, your senator, and congressperson asking to send a fact-finding mission to Gujarat, India. The contact addresses of your representatives can be obtained from Congress.org or from www.imacweb.org or by calling 202-224-3121 * Collect donations to help the educational and advocacy work of IMC-USA to prevent future genocides of Indian Muslims. Send donations to IMC-USA, 265 Sunrise Highway, Suite1-355, Rockville Centre, NY 11570 American Muslim Council 1212 New York Ave, NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20005 Phone: 202-789-2262 - Fax: 202-789-2550 Email: media@amconline.org,

BBC 17 Nov 2002 Hindu march halted in Gujarat Authorities want to prevent a resurgence of violence Seventy-five Hindu activists have been arrested for defying a ban on a march in the Indian state of Gujarat. Two senior leaders of the World Hindu Council (VHP), Pravin Togadia and Acharya Dharmenda, were among those detained outside a temple in the city of Ahmedabad. Hundreds of their supporters had gathered there for a procession to the town of Godhra, where 58 Hindu activists were burnt to death on a train last February. The VHP hopes to mobilise Hindu support The attack was blamed on a Muslim mob and sparked a wave of religious clashes in Gujarat in which more than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed. Ahead of the planned march, the VHP leaders had called for the establishment of a Hindu state. Gujarat goes to the polls next month and the Election Commission said it had decided to ban the VHP procession for fear it could increase religious tensions. Crucial polls The commission said the VHP march should not be allowed to go ahead because there was a likelihood of "provocative and intemperate" speeches being made during the procession. But the VHP called the ruling "an infringement of our fundamental right" and rejected an appeal by the prime minister to abide by the ruling. The state polls are crucial for the Congress Party too The proposed march was expected to feature replicas of the burnt train coach. Gujarat's elections are being seen as a crucial test for the main party in India's governing coalition, the Bharatiya Janata Party, which is also in power in Gujarat. The BJP lost a humiliating string of state elections earlier this year and faces another round next spring, ahead of general elections due by 2004. The party has dismissed allegations that it is trying to cash in on religious sentiment in Gujarat, which has a long history of religious violence. But opposition parties accuse it of using political gimmicks to mobilise Hindu voters. Correspondents say the main opposition Congress party is hoping to capitalise on voters who want an end to the violence and the economic disruption it has caused.

NYT 18 Nov 2002 India Blocks Hindu Rally by Arresting Militant Chief By KEITH BRADSHER, GODHRA, India, Nov. 17 — India took a small step forward today toward taming violence between Hindus and Muslims, as the Hindu nationalist government arrested the leader of a militant Hindu group, preventing a provocative rally here that could have led to bloodshed. Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee led his Bharatiya Janata Party to national power by extolling and catering to the country's Hindu majority. But today, the state government of Gujarat, also controlled by Mr. Vajpayee's party, sent thousands of constables and paramilitary riot policemen to crack down on militant Hindus. Advertisement A large force of constables in olive-green uniforms and riot policemen in bright blue arrested Pravin Togadia, the international general secretary of the militant World Hindu Council, shortly before noon today. The police bundled Mr. Togadia and his top aides into a police wagon when he left a Hindu temple to Shiva in the city of Ahmedabad, 100 miles west of here, as a throng of people in the streets and on rooftops jeered and chanted prayers to Hindu deities. More than 1,100 additional police officers sealed off this town, where Mr. Togadia had planned to hold a mid-afternoon rally. The government acted after businesses demanded a crackdown. Fifty-eight Hindus died here in February when a train carrying members of a Hindu group caught fire during an attack by a Muslim mob. That set off widespread rioting that killed 1,000 people in western India, most of them Muslims. Defying a government ban on religious rallies here in Gujarat ahead of statewide elections on Dec. 12 and a personal appeal on Friday by Mr. Vajpayee, Mr. Togadia urged his supporters on Saturday to converge here for a demonstration today. But few people were able to evade the police checkpoints and to reach a dusty field, where they unfurled saffron flags and marched a short distance. Battalions of police officers arrested and briefly detained 52 people. Mr. Togadia and the 44 aides and supporters who were arrested in Ahmedabad this morning were released by sunset on nominal bail, a sign that the authorities probably will not press charges. Mr. Togadia's arrest is nonetheless a potential watershed for the Bharatiya Janata Party, which has benefited politically from his appeals to Hindu pride even while trying to distance itself from his more extreme positions. Mr. Togadia was arrested many years ago, when the secular Congress Party ran India. Before his arrest today, Mr. Togadia and priests wearing garlands of yellow and orange marigolds had finished a religious ceremony on an outdoor dais on the temple grounds. They prayed before a pair of wooden sandals said to have belonged to a 17th-century holy man who advised the Majarajah Shivaji, a ruler legendary for killing Muslim invaders. In a speech to worshipers on the temple grounds and crowding nearby rooftops, Mr. Togadia, shaking his fist, contended that the Indian government too often sided with the Muslim minority, and should be replaced by a Hindu state. "Hindus have become second-class citizens in India itself," he shouted. During his speech, he told his supporters that he was about to be arrested. He urged his followers to stay calm and not attack the police. Then he and his top aides climbed into a bright orange jeep adorned on the back with a pair of eight-foot-tall plywood images of Maharajah Shivaji on horseback with a drawn sword. When the jeep edged out of the temple gate, the police surrounded it and detained Mr. Togadia. Half an hour later in a heavily Muslim slum in Ahmedabad, several dozen people gathered along a dirt alley that was the scene of Gujarat's worst violence last spring. Men and women in the crowd were unanimous in their view that the government had done the right thing in detaining Mr. Togadia, but worried that Hindus might retaliate against them. Aju Mohammed, a 47-year-old tailor whose business burned and whose wife and two children were injured in the rioting last spring, had loaded a motorized cart with his belongings and was preparing to drive with his family to a better-defended Muslim neighborhood elsewhere in the city. Nisarahmed Shaikh, 38, who worked as a painter until bones in his lower back were broken in the rioting last spring, said he had no money and no friends elsewhere to visit. "Now where do we go?" he said. "We're afraid." Throughout the night, the city remained surprisingly quiet, except for a stone-throwing incident in Ahmedabad's old walled city, to which the police responded with tear gas. K. Nityanandam, the home secretary for the state of Gujarat, said in an interview tonight that the demonstrators' defiance of a government ban had forced the authorities to act. "Whether there would have been a blood bath or not," he said, "we were enforcing the rule of law."

AP 25 Nov 2002 Siege at Indian Temples Ends; 12 Dead JAMMU, India -- Security forces used rocket launchers today to end the siege of two Hindu temples by Islamic militants in Indian-controlled Kashmir, police said. Twelve people, including two rebels, were killed. At least 50 others, mostly Hindu devotees visiting this city of temples, were injured, a police official said. Police and paramilitary troops killed two militants, one at each temple in Jammu, after a six-hour offensive. Five civilians and two policemen were also killed, authorities said. The identities of the other three dead were not immediately known.

Indonesia

AFP 31 Oct 2002 Aceh violence has left 1,228 dead, 330 missing this year: activist BANDA ACEH, Indonesia, Oct 31 (AFP) - Violence pitting government forces against separatist rebels in Indonesia's Aceh province has killed more than 1,200 civilians and left hundreds missing this year, a rights activist said Thursday. "In the first ten months of this year, at least 1,228 civilians were killed in the violence while 330 others have remained missing," said Rufriadi, chairman of the Indonesian Legal Aid Institute (YLBHI) Aceh chapter. He said the records, gathered by the institute's volunteers across Aceh, also showed 1,854 civilians were tortured and 973 others were arrested without clear reasons during the same period. Rights activists have said more than 10,000 people died since 1976 when separatist rebels from the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) began fighting for an independent state. Representatives of the government and GAM are scheduled to hold another round of peace talks in Geneva, Switzerland, this week. Indonesian officials and the Henry Dunant Center, which has facilitated the talks over the past two years, have both expressed optimism the latest negotiations will yield peace. No firm date has been set for the new round but Aceh governor Abdullah Puteh said last week talks would resume on Thursday or Friday. A delegation of Acehnese leaders is already in Geneva for the talks.

Reuters 11 Nov 2002 No end to Aceh siege unless pact signed-Jakarta BANDA ACEH, Indonesia, Nov 11 (Reuters) - Indonesia's military chief said on Monday his troops would continue a siege around a group of rebels in the northern Aceh province until a fresh peace pact with the separatists was signed. Around 40 rebels from the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) have been encircled for more than a week in swampy terrain by 500-1,000 troops, who have fired mortars at them to make them surrender. "The military will keep them encircled until there is a peace agreement," General Endriartono Sutarto told reporters in Jakarta after a cabinet meeting. Indonesia had wanted to sign a fresh peace deal with GAM late last month or before the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which began last week. GAM, however, only agreed to halt military operations during Ramadan and sign a deal in December. The military, which has confirmed it used mortars during the siege at Paya Cot Trieng village in North Aceh, previously said it would give the rebels several more days to surrender. "GAM is hiding behind civilians. This attack was necessary in order to separate the rebels and the civilians," Aceh military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Firdaus Komarno told Reuters. It was unclear how many civilians were holed up with the rebels. Witnesses said six civilians as well as two members of Indonesia's Kopassus special forces were killed in the attack. Chief security minister Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said he hoped the stand off would end and a deal signed as soon as possible. "For Indonesia, the sooner the better, so that the siege won't turn into a human tragedy," Yudhoyono told reporters. Clashes are common between the military and the Aceh rebels but most do not involve large numbers from either side. Some two decades of separatist fighting in the staunchly Muslim province on the northern tip of Sumatra island has claimed thousands of lives and more than two years of peace talks in Switzerland have done little to halt the bloodshed. A spokesman for the rebels said the group was prepared for the assault and had not suffered any casualties. "We are ready for the military attack, the mortars missed the targets and many didn't explode," said spokesman Soyfan Daud adding 22 mortars had been fired from helicopters since Saturday. GAM rebels are believed to number in the thousands while the security forces have some 30,000 personnel in the province, some 1,700 km (1,060 miles) northwest of Jakarta. Jakarta has repeatedly rejected GAM's demands for independence and said a special autonomy package which gives Aceh more powers over its affairs was the best it could offer.

AFP 12 Nov 2002 Foreign security monitors arrive in Indonesia's Aceh BANDA ACEH, Indonesia, Nov 12 (AFP) - Members of a foreign team have arrived in Indonesia's Aceh province to monitor a proposed ceasefire between security forces and separatist rebels, a mediation centre said Tuesday. "Some of the foreign monitoring teams have been in Aceh to learn about the situation here," William Dowell, spokesman for the Henry Dunant Centre, told reporters. Dowell said the team would only begin its work when a 12-point ceasefire agreement reached between the rebels and government forces is actually signed. This is the first time foreign security monitors have been allowed into Aceh. Previous peace talks and agreements reached with mediation from the Geneva-based Henry Dunant Center since 2000 have always broken down. The monitors are arriving as Indonesian armed forces continue their siege of a rebel base southwest of the industrial centre of Lhokseumawe. It appears to be the largest government operation in months, involving tank and mortar fire. The armed forces said Monday they had fired rockets from helicopters -- the first time in recent memory they have admitted using such weapons in Aceh. At the same time, Dowell unveiled to reporters the proposed ceasefire agreement which he said both the rebels and government have already agreed to. The proposal calls for an immediate end to hostilities. It says both sides, along with a third party, will form a joint security committee which will monitor security, investigate violations and take appropriate action including pre-arranged sanctions to restore security when violations occur. It is unclear how many of the monitors are already in Aceh but an AFP reporter spoke briefly with one, a retired British major who had served in Sierra Leone and elsewhere. Peace talks between Jakarta and GAM, originally scheduled for the end of October, have been postponed indefinitely. But last month the rebel group said it believed an agreement with the government could be signed in early December provided final sticking points were ironed out. Indonesia's armed forces commander, General Endriartono Sutarto recently said the military did not object to a proposed foreign team to monitor any future ceasefire "as long as it does not do us any harm." Some 10,000 people are estimated to have been killed in the separatist war since 1976. Rights activists say more than 1,200 civilians have been killed this year alone in the energy-rich province on Sumatra island.

AFP 13 Nov 2002 Indonesia hopes to sign agreement with Aceh rebels November 23 JAKARTA, Nov 13 (AFP) - The Indonesian government hopes to sign a "cessation of hostilities" agreement with separatist rebels in Aceh on November 23, a government negotiator said Wednesday. "It's ready for signing," Wiryono Sastrohandoyo said during an interview with SCTV television. "We want to sign it on the 17th day of Ramadan, which falls on the 23rd of November," Sastrohandoyo said. His comments followed a report in the Koran Tempo daily that a two-week long government siege of a Free Aceh Movement (GAM) base has led the rebels to rethink their position in support of a peace deal. The newspaper quoted GAM's exiled "foreign minister" Zaini Abdullah in Stockholm, Sweden, as saying the rebels had initially planned to sign a peace agreement after Eid al-Fitr, the festival which will end the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in early December. The government's siege of dozens of rebels in a mountainous, swampy area southwest of Lhokseumawe city is an attempt to force them to accept certain points of the agreement, Abdullah said. Government forces besieging the Nisam area in their largest operation for months have used tanks, mortars and -- for the first time in recent memory -- rockets fired from helicopters. Sastrohandoyo said the siege could be seen as a parallel process to negotiations and not a negative development. "It may be seen that way because the Indonesian government's policy is to sign as quickly as possible the cessation of hostilities agreement," he said. "In principle now the government is trying extremely hard so that the problem can be resolved peacefully," Vice President Hamzah Haz told reporters Wednesday. Foreign monitors who will observe a proposed ceasefire have begun arriving in Aceh this week. The proposal calls for an immediate end to hostilities. It says both sides, along with a third party, will form a joint committee to monitor security, investigate violations and take appropriate action including pre-arranged sanctions to restore calm when violations occur. Some 10,000 people are estimated to have been killed since GAM began its independence struggle in 1976. Rights activists say more than 1,200 civilians have been killed this year alone in the energy-rich province on Sumatra island.

AFP 20 Nov 2002 Aceh rebel leaders deny date set for signing peace deal BANDA ACEH, Indonesia, Nov 20 (AFP) - Exiled leaders of the Aceh separatist rebel movement are denying they have set a date to sign an agreement with the Indonesian government on ending their 26-year-old conflict. The Swedish-based leadership of the Free Aceh Movement (GAM), apparently contradicting statements from its own fighters on the ground, said in a press release received Wednesday that it had not agreed to a signing on December 9. The statement emphasised that no deal has yet been agreed to end one of Southeast Asia's longest civil wars, which has killed an estimated 10,000 people -- many of them civilians -- since 1976. It came from the Aceh-Sumatra National Liberation Front (ASNLF), the official name for GAM, and was signed by chief peace negotiator Zaini Abdullah. Indonesian leaders said in Jakarta they would keep up military pressure while seeking the peace deal. Foreign Minister Hassan Wirayuda told parliament the government is pursuing "a combination of both military solution and dialogue." Vice President Hamzah Haz told reporters an army siege of a rebel group in North Aceh "goes on until the signing." International mediators from the Henry Dunant Centre (HDC) had said Tuesday that "a few issues need to be resolved", but that a signing was planned for December 9. "The leadership of ASNLF takes this opportunity to stress that there has never been any decision made by ASNLF or by HDC on the date of signature of the so-called 'peace agreement'..." Abdullah's statement said. But GAM's military spokesman Sofyan Dawod said Wednesday that its leaders throughout Aceh had on Tuesday received the announcement about the proposed December 9 signing from their commander, Muzakkir Manaf. He had been informed by GAM's "prime minister" Malik Mahmud, whom the government says is based in Singapore. Dawod said all members of GAM in Aceh "will definitely obey" a decision to sign an agreement. A political scientist has said that GAM, as well as the Indonesian government, is divided and this has complicated efforts to reach a deal. In his statement from Sweden, Abdullah said no peace agreement has been realised yet "and at no occasion did the ASNLF state its acceptance of the autonomy package offered by Indonesia." Abdullah described a meeting on Monday in Stockholm between his group and HDC leaders as "very fruitful." But he said they agreed only to meet again on December 9 to see if differences had been resolved and to set a date for signing a peace pact. Indonesia's top security minister Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said Tuesday the implication of a signing would be that GAM has abandoned its independence fight in favour of accepting the autonomy already granted to the oil- and gas-rich province. HDC spokesman Bill Dowell could not be reached for comment on Abdullah's statement. Earlier Wednesday he said mediators continued to facilitate talks between the two sides before the expected signing. But he said not every outstanding issue must be settled before then and "certain issues can be resolved over a period of time." The Geneva-based HDC has been mediating the conflict since 2000. Yudhoyono says disagreements remain over the mechanism for disarmament and the role of the police and army under a ceasefire. The army siege in North Aceh swampland was continuing despite the talk of peace. Troops had advanced closer to rebel positions since Sunday, officers said. Rebel spokesman Dawod said they would not obey surrender calls. "We will remain here to defend this headquarters because for us there is no surrender," he said.

AFP 21 Nov 2002 Japan, US to sponsor meeting on Aceh post-war reconstruction in December JAKARTA, Nov 21 (AFP) - Japan, the United States and the World Bank are to co-sponsor a meeting on rebuilding Indonesia's rebellious Aceh province, the US embassy here said Thursday. The conference on December 3 in Tokyo will come six days before an agreement to end the 26-year-old war between security forces and separatist rebels is expected to be signed. The meeting will discuss ways in which countries and international organizations might contribute to the social and physical reconstruction of Aceh once separatist-related violence is over, the embassy said in a statement. It will be attended by the Indonesian government, representatives from Aceh civil society and countries supporting a peaceful settlement of the conflict. Indonesian foreign ministry spokesman Marty Natalegawa said details of the meeting were still being drafted, but it would focus on post-war financial assistance rather than the peace process. International mediators from the Henry Dunant Centre announced Tuesday that the signing of a peace agreement is planned for December 9 even though "a few issues need to be resolved." The Free Aceh Movement began its fight for independence in 1976 in the oil- and gas-rich province on Sumatra island. Hundreds of schools and thousands of homes have been burnt down with GAM and security forces blaming each other for the arson attacks. More than 10,000 people have been driven from their homes and taken shelter in mosques or with relatives after recent violence throughout the province, according to the local People Crisis Center.

AFP 21 Nov 2002 Indonesian military says it has halted attacks on Aceh rebels JAKARTA, Nov 21 (AFP) - Indonesia's military said Thursday it has halted attacks on Aceh separatist rebels as new hopes were raised of an early agreement to end one of Southeast Asia's longest wars. "What is happening is a shift from offensive (moves) into defensive ... a shift from search, find and destroy to providing a defensive corridor," military spokesman Major General Syafrie Syamsuddin told a press conference. "Should skirmishes occur, it is only for defensive purposes." International mediators from the Henry Dunant Centre announced Tuesday that the signing of a peace agreement is planned for December 9 even though "a few issues need to be resolved" between the government and separatist rebels. The Free Aceh Movement began its fight for independence in 1976.

AFP 27 Nov 2002 Feared ex-militia boss jailed for 10 years over Timor atrocities by Bhimanto Suwastoyo JAKARTA, Nov 27 (AFP) - Indonesia's human rights court on Wednesday jailed former pro-Jakarta militia leader Eurico Guterres for 10 years for crimes against humanity over a massacre of East Timorese independence supporters in 1999. The judges said a speech by Guterres to a militia rally "raised a feeling of vengeance and a desire to kill" independence supporters. The subsequent attack on the house of Manuel Carrascalao in Dili on April 17, 1999, killed at least 12 people including Carrascalao's 16-year-old son. Guterres was "guilty of gross human rights violations in the form of crimes against humanity," said chief judge Herman Hutapea. The sentence was the heaviest so far passed by the court, which was created following international pressure for justice over the 1999 mayhem. But Carrascalao said Guterres should have been handed the death sentence. "The person that ordered that should be killed or hanged," he told AFP from East Timor. In widely criticised verdicts, the rights court previously acquitted six officers including the former East Timor police chief and sentenced the former provincial governor to just three years in jail. "I am certain and I believe that what I did in East Timor was to defend the Indonesian nation," an emotional but unrepentant Guterres, who remains free pending an appeal, told reporters. "I believe that this (sentence) is because of international pressure on Indonesia and Indonesia's struggle to restore its image in the international community." The US government says it cannot resume full military ties until those guilty of Timor abuses have been punished. Guterres said that he felt "really betrayed" because the responsibility for what had happened in East Timor in 1999 appeared to have been dumped on him. Guterres, charged with failure to stop his subordinates attacking Carrascalao's home, could have been sentenced to death. He had denied inciting his militiamen and said he was not present during the attack. He had headed the Aitarak (Thorn) militia which terrorised Dili and surrounding areas before and after an August 1999 vote in which 80 percent of East Timorese opted for independence from Indonesia. Militias armed and organised by the Indonesian military waged a campaign of intimidation before the vote and revenge afterwards. An estimated 1,000 people were killed and thousands of buildings were destroyed. Guterres said earlier Wednesday that the then-president B.J. Habibie, who authorized the UN-held referendum, should be on trial instead of him. He has said he was not officially in command of the militiamen but judges cited evidence that he was "respected and obeyed by his subordinates." Guterres, 28, is one of 18 police, military or other officials who have appeared before the rights court. Senior officers including two generals and a colonel are among those still awaiting judgement. Anicetto Guterres, an East Timorese lawyer and human rights worker, said responsibility for the crimes should not end with Guterres. "That the army formed the militias cannot be denied. Responsibility doesn't end with the militia, and it must be military," Guterres said from East Timor. "Where did he get his orders from?" After more than four centuries of Portuguese colonial rule, East Timor was invaded by Indonesia in 1975. An international peacekeeping force moved in September 1999 to end the bloodshed and the United Nations took over control of the territory the following month. East Timor finally achieved independence in May this year.

AFP 28 Nov 2002 -Six more killed in Indonesia's restive Aceh despite peace hopes BANDA ACEH, Indonesia, Nov 28 (AFP) - At least six more people have been killed in Indonesia's Aceh province despite hopes of an imminent peace deal in the separatist war, the military and paramedics said Thursday. Two suspected members of the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) were shot dead during a firefight at Kampung Baro in Pidie district on Wednesday evening, said district military commander Lieutenant Colonel Supartodi. Soldiers shot dead another suspected rebel the same day at Meureudu, also in Pidie district, said provincial military spokesman Major Eddi Fernandi. The body of a man with signs of severe torture was brought to a hospital in Lhokseumawe late on Wednesday, a paramedic said. It had been discovered by residents. Two other bodies with gunshot wounds were found by residents at Simpang Mulieng in North Aceh on Tuesday, a resident said. The North Aceh GAM spokesman, Teungku Jamaica, accused the military of murdering the three civilians because they had failed to find any guerrillas while combing the area. Fernandi denied the charge. GAM has been fighting for an independent state in Aceh since 1976. More than 10,000 people have died in the conflict, the vast majority of them civilians. International mediators say they hope the government and GAM will sign a peace deal on December.

AFP 29 Nov 2002 Policeman and three others killed in Aceh despite peace moves BANDA ACEH, Indonesia, Nov 29 (AFP) - Hopes of a peace deal to end a longstanding separatist war remained in Indonesia's restive Aceh province Friday despite reports of four killings, including that of a police officer who was stabbed to death. Tension has risen in the province ahead of Wednesday's anniversary of the founding of the rebel Free Aceh Movement (GAM). A peace deal is due to be signed just five days after that. Police officer Idris died from blood loss after he was attacked by six suspected rebels while on duty at a bank in Bireuen Friday morning. As the rebels grabbed his assault rifle and revolver, one among them stabbed him with a small machete, police spokesman Taufik Sutiyono said. Humanitarian workers in Bireuen's Juli district later found the bodies of two shooting victims dumped at different places. A body bearing a head wound was found Thursday afternoon in the same village, one of the volunteers said. GAM's central operations commander, Amri ben Abdul Wahab, spoke of plans to fly Aceh flags on Wednesday to mark the anniversary, despite warnings from Jakarta. Foreign Minister Hassan Wirayuda said the anniversary commemoration was no longer relevant because of the pending peace agreement. "If they do it in the open on a grand scale, the government will take the necessary strong measures. However, if they do it quietly, why should the government bother?" Wirayuda said, as quoted by the state Antara news agency. Armed forces commander General Endriartono Sutarto said if GAM proceeds with its celebration December 4, "they do not have any good intention to solve the conflict by peaceful means." A spokesman for the Swiss-based Henry Dunant Centre, which has been mediating the conflict, said there were still plans to sign a peace December 9 in Geneva. He said HDC officials would travel to Stockholm to discuss issues that needed to be resolved with the GAM leadership but declined to elaborate. Rights activists have said that since the conflict began in 1976, more than 10,000 people have been killed, some 1,200 of them in 2002 alone.

Iraq (see Denmark)

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 6 Nov 2002 Exiled Iraqi Writer on the History and Future of Iraqi Shiites Iraqi Shiites’ Role in a Post-Saddam Hussein Iraq Hussain Al-Mozany For months now, the Americans have been making no secret of their determination to remove Saddam Hussein from power. This project conceals a major uncertainty for the future of Iraq: Who will take Hussein’s place, if in fact he is “removed?” In this discussion the central issue, the role of Iraq’s Shiites is much too infrequently considered. It is true that people complain, rightly, of the Shiite clergy’s aversion to secular democratic ideals, but even so, the beginnings of a move toward democratization within Iraq’s religious parties deserves support. Many Iraqi intellectuals of Shiite origin are striving for a peaceful transition from religiously motivated organizations to a democratic collective of modern Islamic parties, similar to the Christian Democratic parties of Europe. These are people with a Shiite background, but who do not feel committed to any sect. Their hope is to see a visible shift in the opinions of the current clerical leadership, in view of their interest in political power after thousands of years of political abstinence. Originally, the term Shiite, which now has theological and political connotations, described a group within Islamic society. They were people who clung fervently to a belief that Ali, the cousin and son-in-law of Muhammad, was the only legitimate successor to the Prophet. Their loyalty was exclusively to those descended from Ali and his wife Fatima, the Prophet’s daughter. Before this group acquired dogmatic and ideological traits, it was known simply as “Ali’s party.” It not until a hundred years after Ali was killed in 661 that they got the nickname “the Imamites,” used to distinguish them from other newly formed groups which also were centered around Ali as a spiritual leader. All of these groups were united by the idea that the three successors to Muhammad—called caliphs by the Sunni community—were usurpers who had seized power unilaterally for themselves, thus robbing the legitimate successor, Muhammad’s son-in-law, of his rights. An important historical event for Shiites is the violent death of Ali’s son, Hussein, in the battle of Karbala. His Islamic opponents virtually wiped out the descendants of the Prophet in this battle. The Shiites’ political consciousness was enormously energized by this event: It provided them with the strength they needed to resist injustice. This absolute will to resist makes the Shiite ready to sacrifice everything, including his life. The search for the ideas and theological justifications needed as the foundation for this new and dynamic belief led Shiites to the writings of the Imamites. The so-called “Four Books,” composed of roughly 400 tractates, are the theoretical basis for Shiite belief [in addition to the Quran and the Hadith, or the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad]. They are, however, familiar only to people within limited religious circles. Shia, as it is widely practiced, has always been a popular faith, and it continues to be so today—a tradition full of martyrs and heroic deeds. Despite this, the members of this almost mystical tradition, with its chiliastic teachings of the return of the hidden Imam, have been on the enemies lists of the Umayyads in Damascus, the Abbasids of Baghdad, and the Ottomans of the Sublime Porte [the building housing the main administrative branches of the Ottoman Empire]. What saved them from extermination was their ability to lay a veil of silence over their beliefs and their real goals. The Shiites first began to recover some lost ground when Ismail I, the shah of Persia, established Shia as the state religion in 1501. He did so to provide religious legitimacy for his struggle with the Sunni Ottoman empire. For centuries after this, Iraq became the setting for bitter fighting between the Shiite Safavid Empire and the Ottomans. For a long time the quietist strain within Shia was dominant, for reasons of power politics. Even so, Shiites did involve themselves in government affairs now and again, and occasionally exhibited a flair for missionary work. This interest, and the emotional depiction of the tragedy of Karbala, as told by nomadic preachers and reciters, helped them to gain considerable influence in Iraq. The residence of the highest Shiite religious authority, the Margi, or final court of appeal theologically, providing the faithful with guidance, has been, with few exceptions, in Iraq. One of the measures taken by this body has been the historically and symbolically important fatwa, a judicial ban from the top of Shia. In 1890 Hasan as-Shirazi issued a fatwa when a British company was granted an monopoly on the sale of tobacco. As-Shirazi forbade the smoking of tobacco. He thereby forced the shah at the time to rescind the tobacco agreement. And the Shiite clergy’s active role in the fight against British occupation during the Iraqi revolution of 1920 also gave them a patriotic aura. This revolution marked a turning point for modern Shiite history in Iraq. The population of southern Iraq and Shiite spiritual leaders were definitely active in the revolution and the naming of an Arab king, but they were then expressly shut out of political power. The British looked upon them with mistrust from the beginning. From the time the Iraqi state came into existence in 1921 until the end of the monarchy in 1958, there were 30 prime ministers; 25 of them were Sunni. Shiites were allowed to lead the government only when it needed to carry out some unpleasant and unpopular task—the notorious 1948 Treaty of Portsmouth, for example [an Anglo-Iraqi pact that proved so unpopular in the streets of Baghdad that the Iraqi authorities were forced to abrogate the agreement only seven days after its signing—WPR]. At the same time, every census and population estimate showed that the Shiites made up between 55 and 65 percent of the Iraqi population as a whole—and as much as 98 percent of the population in the South. A constant campaign of defamation has been waged against the Shiites from the time of the Iraqi Revolution in 1920, right up to the present day, based on the principle of “divide and conquer.” During the time Britain was the colonial power, it helped with this campaign, which has always sought to divide the Shiites from the Arab world and label them as part of the Persian “national project.” The general line of Baathist ideology [That is, the ideology of Iraq’s ruling socialist Baath Party] has always been that “the Shiites are all Persians,” which represents a popular prejudice. This is a completely nationalistic ploy, and does not refer to the “real Persians” at all, since they may be Sunnis or even Christians. Iraqi Kurds, if they are Shiites, often look to Iran. For decades, the propaganda machinery of the Iraqi state has worked at top volume and ignored any objectivity. For a long time, it has used the term Shiite to tar all those who ran afoul of the regime. In reality, being a Shiite has become more a matter of cultural identity over time. Of course this distorted picture of Iraqi reality has been employed as an effective political weapon to not just harass the majority of the Iraqi population, to persecute, and starve them, but also to destroy their culture, their environment, and their holy places. General silence about this fact has made it possible for Saddam’s regime to carry out a genocidal campaign against the majority of the Iraqi population. In the Western media one reads again and again that Iraq would fall to pieces if Saddam’s regime were to fall. But the reality is otherwise. Iraq has already fallen apart. When new borders are drawn, concessions will be made, voluntarily or not, to its neighbors. It is true that Shiite religious issued many decrees that expressly forbid Shiites from taking any government positions, because they would then be serving a foreign occupying power. But this position has changed since the dissolution of the monarchy in 1958. The military-dictatorial power apparatus in Iraq has always moved to prevent any such voices being raised as part of a social-cultural movement. When necessary, it has also brutally attacked the Shiite leadership. Saddam Hussein, for instance, had 17 relatives of the late Muhsin al-Hakim, the Margi of the Shiite community, killed. All of those who continue to provide leadership to the faithful are subject to reprisals. One of the most recent victims was Mohammed Sadiq as-Sadr, who was named by Saddam’s own government as the head of the community. But when he gained influence, he was murdered. His successor, Ali as-Sistani, who is tolerated by the regime, was recently called in by the security forces in the city of Najaf and interrogated for an entire day—because he had used his own financial resources to buy power generators to illuminate the Shrine of Ali. The armed branch of the Shiite opposition, which has support from Iran’s spiritual leader Khamenei and his associates, has about 30,000 guerrillas. They are more or less well armed, and tested in battle—and, above all, highly motivated. They have been given the same promises repeatedly: Saddam’s regime will soon fall, and you will be there in its place. Both the United States and Great Britain and their allies in the Arab world have taken this into account and have consulted the Shiite leadership about the future of the country. A first step, from the civil and secular point of view, was the last meeting of the “Islamic Council,” held some time back in Tehran. Its final communiqué announced that the task of political changes could be carried out only in agreement with the other forces in the Iraqi population—without exception. The principle of “equality of opportunities” was mentioned in relation to a takeover of political power, which, the council decided, should be carried out through free elections. All sides involved in Iraq’s international treaties must be respected, and all existing borders recognized. Hussein Al-Mozany was born in 1954 in Amarah, in southern Iraq, and grew up in Baghdad. He is now a journalist and translator in Cologne, Germany.

KurdishMedia.com 20 Nov 2002 Genocide and the International Crimes in Southern Iraq KurdishMedia.com - By Munther Al-Fadhal 20 November 2002 Talk given on ‘Genocide Campaigns in Iraq’ at SOAS Symposium on 26/7/2002 in London Genocide is an International Crime. It is killing or aiming to kill people by different means and is considered as an act that threatens security and safety of society because it results in extermination and persecution of people for the nature of their nationality, race or religion. Genocide is not a political, but a deliberate crime even if it is committed for political motivation. Genocide committed by the Iraqi regime was always comprehensive and against all factions of Iraqi people regardless of ethnic, religious or cultural backgrounds. For instance, the Assyrians who are the indigenous people of Iraq and a tiny and peaceful Christian minority have been subjected to ethnic and religious cleansing although they are not forming any threat or danger to the Iraqi regime. Denominational repression policy is another kind of genocide that the Iraqi regime has committed in central and southern Iraq. Discrimination and humiliation of Shia through a series of articles that were published in the government newspapers following the uprising in March 1991 was a part of this crime, especially when it was declared that the Marshland residents are not Arabs or Iraqis and therefore the regime had the right to bomb their cities and destroy their homeland. These people live in an area where the oldest human civilizations began and where the old laws of Sumerians and Babylon were written. In Iraq, violations of human rights have been committed since 1968, when the Baath regime came to power, especially against the Shias, Kurds and Turkmens. The situation became worse when the war between Iraq and Iran broke out. Tens of thousands of Shias were rounded and mass executed. Chemical weapons were used in 1988 against the Kurds. Draining of the Marshlands, destructing the environment, poisoning the waters and burning complete villages in the South are clear violations of international laws and agreements. This paper comprises three sections: 1. Concept of genocide crime 2. International crimes against humanity in southern Iraq 3. Recommendations 1. Concept of genocide crime The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide of 1948 was concerned with the extermination of human beings for their race or religion. The word ‘genocide’ became associated with Nazism because of massacring people for their race and religion and that was considered as a crime against humanity even though it was not considered as a crime under national law 1.1. Forms of Genocide a) Killing members of the groups; b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in parts; d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group. 1.2. Forms of killing the groups: a) Bodily genocide and ethnic cleansing: it is about killing people by poison gas, executing and burying them alive. This happened in 1991 in Iraq and later on against the Shia inhabitants in southern Iraq. The Iraqi regime killed in one day 2000 Shias through a process called “cleaning of prisons”. The crime against southern Iraq including the destruction of Marshlands by constructing dams and draining the Marshlands has been so horrendous that was filmed and shown to people all over the world through media. This caused forcible migration of tens of thousands of local population. In 2002, the Europeans Parliament and the Human Rights Committee condemned these crimes as they were international crimes as declared by the ambassador David Shiver in USA. b) Biological genocide: it is about sterilising men and aborting women in order to wipe out the race of that group. c) Cultural genocide: it is about forbidding a nation to converse in their own native language which happened to the Kurds in Iraq. Although this crime has resulted in assimilation and destruction of the group’s existence, the international community has not given adequate attention to this crime. This crime has been committed for the following reasons: - Religious reason: the worst crime in our time has been the crime of the Iraqi regime against the religious figures, who have been arrested and executed. - Political and social reasons: it is bout assimilation and Arabisation of non-Arab people in Iraq. This has been carried out by a series of resolutions against the Kurds, particularly the Faily Kurds, for their nationality and their Shia belief. 2. International crimes against humanity in Southern Iraq Before reporting the international crimes in southern Iraq, it is crucial to clarify the following: 2.1. Crime against humanity The crimes against humanity have been considered by Vatican as they are crimes not only against humanity, but against God. These crimes were specified by Nuremberg Court as International crimes and must be punishable. Such major crimes have been committed by Saddam regime by killing and wiping out the civilians in Kurdistan, destroying 4500 villages, and forcing hundreds of thousands of southern Iraqi Shias to leave Iraq for Iran because of their belief, torturing and killing their religious leadership in the holy cities of Najaf and Karbala in Iraq. a) Legal basis: The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 1948 condemned all forms of genocide such as what the Iraqi regime has committed against Shia in southern Iraq and the Kurds in the north, where thousands of people were buried alive and thousands of people were killed in Halabja as well as during the campaign of Anfal and the uprising in 1991. b) Material basis: it is about acts that constitute an International crime like destructing environment, disappearing people and using people for biological and chemical experiments. More than 300.000 people were forced to abandon their places and now more than 100,000 of them are living in Iran as refugees due to the destruction of their habitat by poisoning water. This has also caused the extinction of some species of birds and fishes in that area. 2.2. War crimes Although war results in a serious violation of human rights, the international conventions which refer to the rules of war must be taken into consideration. These are: 1. Den-Hague convention in 1899 – 1907 2. The Geneva Protocol of 1925, which forbids using poison gas and biological weapons. The international Security Council condemned the Iraqi regime for using chemical weapons in 1988 against the Kurds as stated in the resolution on 26 August 1988. Using chemical weapons, drying and poisoning the marshlands committed against the inhabitants in southern Iraq as well as storing chemical weapons in the venicity of Najaf and Karbala by the Iraqi regime are all considered as war crimes. Examples of the international war crimes in Iraq 1. The crime of genocide committed against the Kurds in Kurdistan as well as other parts of the country. Also the forcible deportation of the Faily Kurds, who have become victims for their Shia belief. 2. Genocide against humanity such as using chemical weapons against the Kurds in 1988 and Shias in 1991. 3. Bombing the civil Kurdish villages, inhabitants of Najaf, Karbala, Basra, Simawah and Diwaniya as well as the villages in Iran. 4. Burying people alive. Hundreds of thousands of the Kurds in Iraqi Kurdistan and Shias in the south were buried alive. This is a war crime and does not fall by time. Moreover, the international criminal can not claim any political excuse for committing that crime and must not be granted any sort of asylum. 5. Executing prisoners of war and burying them alive is an international crime and the accuser must be prosecuted as a war criminal. 6. Torturing the prisoners of war and interrogating them by force is a war crime. 7. The crime of violation against women which was committed in Kurdistan and in Kuwait during the occupation. 8. 10 Millions of mines, which the Iraqi regime has implanted against people in Kurdistan. 2.3. Crimes against peace People at time of peace have many rights that should not get violated such as civil, political, economical, social and cultural rights. These rights during peace must be taken into consideration, otherwise the International crime would be in force such as an offensive against other countries as in the case of Kuwait in 1990. 3. Recommendations Due to the brutality of repression of human rights in Iraq, it is necessary to carry out the following recommendations: 1. Activating and revising resolution 688 in order to be introduced according to chapter seven of the UN Convention to set up teams to investigate the situation of human rights in Iraq. 2. Establishing a special court for International crimes to try those responsible for committing the International crimes against the Shias and Kurds in Iraq. 3. Paying compensation to victims whose lives got ruined because of the International crimes in Iraq. 4. Nullifying the death penalty imposed by the Iraqi regime. 5. Establishing a high constitutional court to oversee the implementation of the constitution. 6. Activating the UN´s role to assist the Iraqi people. 7. Freezing all assets stolen by the Iraq regime. 8. The UN has to pay a part of the oil for food programme as compensation to Iraqi people, who have become refugees before and after the Gulf war. 9. Establishing a high committee of Iraqi experts in law in order to investigate the crimes that have been committed against Iraqi people and decide on the compensation for those people. 10. Acquainting the world public opinion through media with all crimes against Iraqi people and focusing on the role of International Community to stop the continuous ethnic cleansing of Iraqi people. 11. Rehabilitation of the environment in the marshlands of southern Iraq and working for renovating all damages in the Marshlands by removing all dams and helping the refugees to return to their place of origin. Munther al Fadhal, PhD - 2001-Until now -Visiting professor of Middle Eastern laws at the International College of Law - London. - 1997-Until now- Counsellor -at-law and human rights author / Stockholm-Sweden. - Currently he is also serving as a member of the U.S. State Department working group on the future of Iraq for which he has drafted an Iraqi constitution. - He has taught civil law at numerous universities including: - 1979-1982 and 1987-1991Associate professor of private law at the University of Baghdad-College of law. - 1979-1981 – Expert of Iraqi laws at the Ministry of justice and lecturer of law at judicial institute - Iraq. - 1982-1985- Associate professor of private law - College of law-University of Annaba in Algeria. - 1992-1993- Associate professor of Civil law The University of Amman – Jordan (Vice dean of the college of law). - 1993-1997-University of Al-Zaytoonah in Amman- Jordan and (Head of public and private law Departments). - He is the author of many law books and articles about the democracy, federalism, civil society and the future of Iraq, published in Arabic, Swedish, and English. - He previously and currently supervisor of many PhD’s and master theses in Middle Eastern laws. Web site: http://home.bip.net/alfadhal/

KurdishMedia.com 27 Nov 2002 Kurds submit application for UN membership A delegation from the UK Kurdish community submitted yesterday on behalf of the Kurdish nation an application for the observer membership of the UN to Mr Kofi Annan, the Secretary-General of the UN. The application was submitted by the members of the the Kurdistan National Congress, Dr Jawad Mala, the President of the KNC, Mr Ghiyath ahmed, Mohammad Sheida, Dr Tariq Pasha Amedi, the former president of the University of Sulemani, Homa Mala and Dr Rebwar Fatah, the Director of KurdishMedia.com. A special dossier was submitted for the purpose of accepting the Kurds as an observer member to the UN. As part of the dossier, a special letter was addressed to Kofi Annan, outlining the necessity of the membership of the Kurdish nation in the UN. Tens of thousands of signatures, from prominent international figures and Kurds were submitted to the UN for this purpose. The delegation met Berty Nayna in the United Nations headquarters in London to submit the application. Mr Annan will receive the application on 3rd December 2002. This may be just a step for a delegation, but a giant leap for a nation. Below is the text of the letter, which was submitted as part of the Kurdish dossier for the membership of the UN. Date: 26/11/2002 The Honourable Kofi Annan The Secretary General of the United Nations Dear Mr. Annan Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you, You are well aware about the history of the Kurds and their forty million strong nation, especially after their subjection to a cruel division in the aftermath of World War One, furthermore, how the occupiers of Kurdistan committed dozens of crimes of genocide, such as Dersim, the Anfal and Halabja operations, and mass displacement. Based on the fact that laws and principles of the UN state the right of all nations without exception and attempt to protect all nationalities, religion, minorities and ethnicities threatened by extermination on the hands of their occupiers, we would like to draw your attention once again to the complicated and difficult circumstances of the Kurdish nation. It is clear to us and to all freedom loving people, as well as to all occupied and oppressed peoples in the world that you are doing your best for elimination of all kinds of despotism, persecution and inequality throughout the world. This fact is subject of our admiration and gives us ever-increasing hope, more than ever to fulfil our aspiration in liberty and humanly accepted life. In the light of the above, we representatives of national institutions, political parties, non-political, religious and cultural organisations, and political, cultural and social personalities from all over Kurdistan and the Kurdish people friends from all around the world, in the name of forty million Kurds deprived of their own state and rights; We are asking your Excellency to allow the Kurds to have a monitoring representative in the General Assembly of the UN. Please find enclose some of the lists of people who signed our petition, now we have collected tens of thousands from Kurdistan among of them Doctors, Professors and leaders of the Kurdish community as the Kurdish thinker Dr. Jemal Nebez and Mr. Ali Ghazi, son of Ghazi Mohamad the last president of Kurdistan Republic 1946 and many other thousands of signatures been collected from around the world among of them Lord Hylton, Baronnes Cox, Lord Nazir Ahmed are members of the House of Lords, Mrs Ann Clwyd MP and Minister-UK and Mr. Neil Kinnock Vice-President of the European Commission and the Senator Arrigo Boldrini member of the House of Senators-Italy and The Congressman Bob Filner -USA. Lord Hylton, member of House of Lords in the United Kingdom wrote with his signature that, This is the barest minimum that the United Nation should do for the Kurdish people. We are optimistic from your Excellency that this demand of the Kurdish people would not be neglected, and we are sure that your Excellency would give this matter the attention and importance. We are waiting for your quick and positive response, and we are ready to meet with your Excellency at any time and any place you decided to discuss the case. With best thanks and regards of the Kurdish people Yours truly, Jawad Mella President Kurdistan National Congress Attached: A copy of our letter to Mr. George W. Bush the President of the USA for your information. KNC Statement and Open Letter. A copy of the lists of the names and signatures of our supporters. A copy of the lists of the names of our supporters from our files. A copy of UN invitation to Mr. Jawad Mella 2 May 1988. A copy of some dignities supporting our activities during in the last few years (11 letters), as Mr. Nelson Mandela, Mr. Tony Blair the Prime Minister of the UK, Mr. Ehud Barak, the former Prime Minister of Israel. Kurdistan National Congress-KNC PO Box 607, London NW8 0DT Tel: 0208 563 2881, Fax: 0208 563 8406, Mobile: 07768266005 www.knc.org.uk e-mail: wka@theseed.net

Israel (see Belgium and Kenya)

OneWorld 30 Oct 2002 War Crimes Debate in Israel Heats Up Again Jim Lobe,OneWorld US A three-month-old controversy in Israel over a peace group's efforts to collect evidence of alleged war crimes committed by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) against Palestinians intensified Tuesday when a senior member of the ruling Likud Party submitted a bill in Israel's parliament that would make it a crime for any Israeli citizen to provide assistance, documents or information to the new International Criminal Court (ICC) at the Hague. The bill, which was presented by Zeev Boim, chairman of the governing coalition, attaches a 10-year prison sentence to the proposed crime, and would ban any group found to be engaged in the activities it covers. The coalition government, which may collapse before the bill can be voted on by all members of Israel's parliament, or Knesset, has not yet decided whether it will support it, although its provisions appear consistent with recent demands by the Minister of Justice, Me'ir Sheetrit, that a new law proscribing such activities be enacted, according to Israeli analysts. But submission of the bill itself raises the controversy, which has become a major topic of talk shows and newspaper columns in Israel, to a new level. "This bill betrays the memory of six million Holocaust victims," declared former Knesset member and peace activist Uri Avnery. "After the Holocaust, the Jewish people fought with all its strength for the creation of an International War Crimes Court, and now the Sharon Government tries to destroy it. This is tantamount to an admission that they have something to hide." Israel is a signatory to the Rome Protocol that establishes the ICC--the world's first permanent international court to try war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide--but has not yet ratified it. The Protocol took effect after its ratification by 60 nations last spring, and the ICC is expected to begin its work early next year. The United States, which signed it in the last days of Bill Clinton's presidency, renounced its signature last May and has sought a blanket exemption from the ICC's scope. In addition, Washington is now actively seeking bilateral commitments from countries around the world not to turn over U.S. troops or officials to the ICC. Israel was among the first of a dozen nations that have signed such an agreement with Washington which pledged in return not to turn over any Israeli soldiers to the new court. The proposed law is believed to be directed mainly against Gush Shalom, the Israeli Peace Bloc, which last summer warned 15 senior IDF officers in writing that certain operations they conducted against Palestinians as reported by the Israeli media could be considered war crimes and that Gush Shalom was gathering information about those incidents. The reported incidents included summary executions, dropping bombs on residential areas, indiscriminate destruction of houses, and punishing families for the acts of one of their members. They also included incidents--many of which were detailed in a major new report released by the Israeli chapter of Physicians for Human Rights in Jerusalem Tuesday--when the IDF prevented medical help from reaching those injured or shot at. "The primary purpose of the letters was to make clear to the commanders the severity of such actions, in terms of Israeli and international laws, and to persuade them to desist from these actions," according to Gush Shalom whose letters also warned that the Israeli government's failure to prosecute such cases in the future left open the possibility that they might be referred to the ICC. The letters set off a furious debate, with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon demanding that criminal action be pursued against Gush Shalom members engaged in the project. An investigation by Attorney General Elyakim Rubinstein, however, concluded that the group's actions did not violate any existing law. Sheetrit then called for a new law. Gush Shalom has also been widely denounced as Israel's equivalent of Kapos, the special Jewish police who helped the Nazis keep order in concentration camps, and traitors guilty of "stabbing the army in the back." The Boim bill was denounced Tuesday by Gush Shalom as "despicable" and dangerous. If passed in its current form, the group said, it could be used to prosecute human rights organizations for collecting evidence of abuses on the pretext that their reports might be taken up by the ICC. "It would turn Israel into an international outcast - a country which first signed the Rome Treaty and would now forbid its own citizens on pain of dire punishment from helping the same court," said spokesman Adam Keller, who appealed to the Labour Party, which is considering leaving the governing coalition, to oppose the bill.

Jerusalem Post 30 Oct 2002 New Palestinian textbooks still incite hatred By LAUREN GELFOND Despite revisions in Palestinian teaching materials since the Oslo Accords, new textbooks continue to deny the existence of the State of Israel, ignore Jewish history, and malign Judaism, according to a study released this week by the Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace. The not-for-profit monitor of Palestinian and Israeli textbooks has come under fire for such findings that run contrary to those of the European Union and United Nations organizations that helped finance the new material. CMIP researchers have consistently found that new Palestinian textbooks do not foster an environment of tolerance, while the majority of Israeli teaching materials make greater efforts to encourage pluralism. The most recent report, based on analyses of 14 new Palestinian textbooks and 26 high school exams, says teaching materials have not improved much since the days when the Jordanian curriculum used in the West Bank and the Egyptian curriculum in Gaza, from 1967-1994. A Palestinian Authority-authorized textbook used to study for this year's exams explained persecution of Jews in Europe as being the fault of, and a benefit to, Jews, the report said. "The Torah is full of passages that inspire malice towards other nations. The Jews of Europe were anti-Christian, self-centered, and had sway over the economy," the text says, according to the report. It also quoted the textbook as saying that "persecution became desired by the Jews [because] it could be exploited for the realization of material and moral gains; [and because] it encouraged the Jews to emigrate to Palestine." The report also charges that new PA materials incite hatred. One high school exam asked students to write a composition about a visit to a "refugee camp after a brutal Israeli attack." The instructions suggest using such words as demolished, homeless, martyrs, and assassinations. Another exam asks students to analyze the idea of the verse, "Jerusalem's heart has been cut to pieces." On a positive note, the report finds that new Palestinian materials are not urging or glorifying violence. One second-grade arts and crafts teaching manual suggests students illustrate "the importance of Jerusalem to the three religions." "This small change is encouraging, but since there is no mention of Jewish links to Jerusalem in any materials, there is no basis for the students to form an opinion," says CMIP deputy-chairman Yohanan Manor. According to the Cairo Agreement of 1994, Israel and the PA agreed to ensure that their educational systems contribute to peace. UNESCO joined the PA at that time to launch the Palestinian Curriculum Development Center, to create the first Palestinian teaching materials. Many European nations have helped finance the printing and continue to debate the CMIP's findings. The CMIP has also found that haredi teaching materials, which are not under the supervision of the Ministry of Education, also ignore the presence of the Palestinians, except for an occasional pejorative reference.

Jerusalem Post 31 Oct 2002 Needed: Grown-up thinking By EETTA PRINCE GIBSON Advertisement Are legal and moral ideals about protecting children during times of conflict applicable to the war between the Palestinians and Israel? Since October, 2000, 75 Israeli children and 282 Palestinian children have been killed. In the violence raging in our region, children are players, targets, and victims. Do children have to continue to die in this war? This question was posed by a conference last week in Israel sponsored by Defence for Children International (DCI) - Israel Section, and other human rights and academic groups. The issues are broad and troubling: where does the guarantee of the child's right to freedom of expression, association, and assembly end, and the prohibition against child participation in hostilities begin? How is the duty to protect children from the consequences of armed conflict to be reconciled with the traditional principle of distinction, according to which civilians - even if they are children - taking part in hostilities are legitimate military targets? What to do when children are part of crowds throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails or even shooting - are they legitimate military targets? How should security forces be trained to protect children? How can they be trained to protect themselves? The conference, says Dr. Philip Veerman, director of DCI-Israel Section, was organized out of concern for the many children being killed by IDF gunfire. At the same time, the organizers wanted to draw attention to Israeli children dying in terrorist attacks as well as to other issues involving children and conflict - such as demonstrations within Israel (by Arabs and by Haredim, for example); public rallies and vigils, and, most recently, the children involved in the construction and evacuation of the illegal outposts. Not surprisingly, though, most of the attention was given to Palestinian children killed by the IDF and to a discussion of non-lethal and less than lethal weapons. Non-lethal weapons, says Dr. Yair Sharan, of the Interdisciplinary Center for Technological Analysis and Forecasting (ICTAF) at Tel Aviv University, are the "hoped for 'magic solution', the fantastic 'politically correct' instrument that would prevent casualties to children, women, the elderly, and innocent bystanders, the technology that would create the conditions for riot control and human rights - something that won't do anything bad and will stop the problem." Sharan says technology has progressed and that on the drawing board are numerous gadgets and gizmos that could solve the problem. There are slick oils and sticky superglue pellets that would make it impossible for people or vehicles to move forward; thermoplastic foams and web-like nets to entrap people; obnoxious sounds and smells that make people run away or vomit. There are even "laser dazzlers" with blinding effects, civitation lasers that send heat shocks through the body; and instruments that emit ultra-low sounds that cause disorientation and nausea. To the uninitiated, they read like fantastic concoctions of Spider Man crossed with Star Wars and vintage Keystone Cops. Sharan, however, notes each of these so-called "non-lethal" means has serious drawbacks. Some of them have only been developed at the prototype level. "Many of these weapons have never been tested; some have been tested on adults, but how could they be tested on children? Or on vulnerable adults, such as pregnant women and the elderly? We will never know if these are non-lethal against children until we use them - and that might be too late." Paradoxically, some of these non-lethal inventions may also violate international prohibitions on chemical warfare. Other weapons require sophisticated, coordinated launching systems and are difficult to manage. Used correctly, they are effective, used incorrectly, they are deadly. But it is often unreasonable to expect that officers and soldiers in the field, faced with crowds that shoot live ammunition, can take all circumstances into account. And even the most effective means have to be used at a range of only dozens of meters - which might be fine if the demonstrators aren't shooting, but puts security forces squarely in the effective range of live fire. Security forces, not surprisingly, prefer to stay remote and shoot. "THERE ARE no truly non-lethal measures available," Sharan concluded. "It would be best to prevent the riots through political agreements, psychology, education, and deterrence. Because if the violence begins, then someone is going to get hurt." Tobias Feakin, research associate at the Non-Lethal Weapons Research Project at the University of Bradford in the United Kingdom, calls a "non-lethal weapon" an oxymoron. "A weapon is meant to cause bodily harm, but 'non-lethal' conjures up images of zero fatalities. It is better to use terms such as 'pre-lethal' or 'weapons that are not meant to cross the death barrier,'" he says. But no weapons, Feakin warns, are a panacea and are only "a tiny piece in what is an extremely large jigsaw puzzle." Agreeing with Sharan, he concluded, "Non-lethal weapons must be part of a broad non-lethal strategy, intended to minimize casualties. And if you've got soldiers firing in the streets, then that policy has failed." So what does protect children in times of conflict? "When the adults in their worlds can agree that children should not be harmed in any way," says Sharan tersely. But as the backdrop to this conference proved, such agreements are hard to come by in the Middle East. As with so many other issues in the current conflict, institutions and authorities seem to attach more importance to the public relations war than to the real war - the one in which the children are dying. Throughout the world, DCI operates on a regional basis, but in the Middle East, it is divided into an Israeli and a Palestinian section. The Palestinian section boycotted this conference and, in a concerted mail, email, and fax campaign, tried (unsuccessfully except for two international human rights groups) to deter the foreign participants from attending. According to George abu al-Zulof, director of DCI-Palestinian Section, the Palestinians had numerous objections to the conference. They objected to the participation of some of the people invited, especially among the Israelis, and complained that they had not been involved in the planning of the panels. In particular, they were angry that the conference did not address other issues pertaining to the rights of children, such as curfews, standard of living, the right to an education, etc. "We were particularly offended that the world 'occupation' did not appear anywhere in the program," says al-Zulof. "And because the conference was held in Tel Aviv, most Palestinians could not attend, anyway." But what about Palestinian responsibility for Palestinian children? As Amnesty, International's August 2002 report demonstrates, the Palestinian Authority does not make a real effort to prevent children from participating in demonstrations, and even actively encourages them, despite the great danger entailed in taking part. By allowing firing from within or near homes of civilians, the report contends, the PA exposes its civilian population, including children, to danger. That, too, was discussed at the conference. "Fifty-eight percent of the Palestinian population, 1.5 million children, are under the age of 18," answers al-Zulof. "Obviously, they are not all participating in the violent activities. The Israelis focus on this in order to avoid their responsibility for the child casualties. Eight-year-old children are dying in their homes because the Israelis are shooting from tanks in populated areas, not because they are demonstrating or throwing rocks. "As the occupying power, Israel has the responsibility to protect Palestinian children." AND WHAT about Palestinian terrorism against Israeli children, such as the murder of two teenage girls in the settlement of Hermesh this week, or the bombing at the Karkur junction last week? And the fact that many of these terrorists, recruited by Palestinian organizations are themselves children? Shouldn't DCI-Palestinian Section be part of such a discussion? "As a human rights group, we oppose and abhor the killing of any children, anywhere, by anyone, whether they are Jewish, Palestinian, or anything else. All children should be living in safe, protected environments, simply because they are children. But you must remember that we are living under occupation." Professor Charles W. Greenbaum, deputy chair for DCI-Israel Section and professor of psychology at Hebrew University, says that the Palestinian section was invited to be part of the planning, but declined. A session had even been planned to take place in Ramallah, but, less than 24 hours before it was to have taken place, DCI-Palestine cancelled this session as well. "It's too bad," says Greenbaum, "that even two human rights organizations for children cannot cooperate, and divide themselves up along the lines of their societies." Since prominent members of the security forces from other countries attended the conference, and since the ICTAF works closely with the IDF, the police, and the other security forces, Sharan and the other organizers had hoped that members of the Israeli security establishment and forces would attend and participate, but they did not, at least not officially.Speaking on condition of anonymity, an IDF source said that several officers from different departments had attended the conference, dressed in civilian clothes and deliberately keeping a low-profile. But the conference was intended to discuss experiences from around the world, including protecting security forces. Doesn't the IDF have an interest in discussing ways to minimize child casualties? "It's a very unpleasant situation," said the source, "Of course the IDF doesn't want children to die. But we also know that we could be doing more to protect them. And so we couldn't show up at a public conference like this." Officially, the IDF Spokeswoman's office faxed the IDF's response to the same August 2002 Amnesty Report, which had severely faulted Israel for "excessive and disproportionate use of lethal force against demonstrators and stone throwers, reckless shooting, and shelling and aerial bombardments of residential areas," and for a "pattern of killings of children that has become so "entrenched and widespread in the past two years" and "developed against a background of impunity for the perpetrators of such crimes over many years prior to the current Intifada." The IDF responded to the report by stating that "The IDF conducts its fighting according to international and humanitarian law, while upholding strict moral and legal norms." The responsibility for the child casualties rests, the response states, squarely and solely on the shoulders of the Palestinian terrorist forces, who, throughout the past two years, have cynically taken advantage of children, by sending them as suicide bombers into the heart of civilian populations, placing them at the front of demonstrations in order to shoot from behind them, using children to lay mines, using children to carry weapons and explosives, and turning civilian-populated areas into armed terrorist camps. JUSTUS Reid Weiner, an international human rights lawyer with the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs lists a number of international conventions that outlaw the practices currently being employed by the PA. Among them are the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 28 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and the recently adopted UN Security Council Resolution 1261. Weiner concludes: "The Palestinian leadership, in a classic case of bad faith, accuses Israel of committing human rights violations for the fatalities while evading its own responsibility for the orchestrated appearance of children at the front lines of the conflict." But even if the Palestinians are abusing their children, this hardly absolves the IDF and Israeli society of all responsibility. The issues of child participation and child casualties is legally and morally complex - but neither side is officially willing to acknowledge that complexity, as shown by both the DCI-Palestinian Section and the Israeli security forces refusal to participate in the conference or discuss the issues for this report. Actual participation of children in armed conflict is a subject of international humanitarian law. The Additional Protocols and the CRC prohibit recruiting children under the age of 15 into armed forces, and call for measures to prevent children under 15 from taking part in hostilities . The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, 1998, proscribes as a war crime "conscripting or enlisting children under the age of fifteen years into the national armed forces or using them to participate actively in hostilities." Most recently, the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, 2000, prohibits compulsory conscription into regular armed forces of children under the age of 18. This Optional Protocol also prohibits the "use in hostilities" of children under 18 by non-state "armed groups." By specifying non-state "armed groups," the Optional Protocol is placing the responsibility squarely on the shoulders of the Palestinian Authority and Palestinian society, as did the Amnesty Report. Yet, at the same time, according to international law, Israel, as the "occupying authority" over the Palestinians, is required to uphold these dual, conflicting rights of Palestinian children. The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), 1989, imposes a general duty to take "all feasible measures to ensure protection and care of children who are affected by an armed conflict." And, of course, at the same time, Israel has the responsibility and duty to protect and uphold the rights of expression of Israeli children and civilians, including by preemptive security measures. PART of the problem, says Yael Stein, director of research for B'tselem, is the current definition of the "rules of engagement" in violent situations. Until the fall of 2002, the rules of engagement of the IDF in the Gaza Strip and West Bank were police rules of engagement. Firing is always allowed in life-threatening situations, but since fall 2002, Israel has redefined the situation as "armed hostilities short of war." This means, said Colonel Daniel Reisner, head of the International Law Department in the Military Advocate General said at a press conference for the foreign media at the beginning of the war, that the rules of engagement and "life-threatening" situations are interpreted a bit more widely that it used to be. Stein objects. "When they're dealing with people throwing stones, they are acting as a police force, and it means they have to adopt the rules of law enforcement. "That means you use lethal force only when your life is in danger, and the new definitions should not apply," she says. But that would entail seeing the Palestinians not only as armed enemies, but as a civilian population with rights - and it would entail being able to tell the difference, at any given time, in any given place. Says Veerman: "It is clear from the government's replies [to various international reports] why there is so little invested in buying riot gear for soldiers. The government is not willing to differentiate between different situations. For them, it is all armed conflict. I believe that it is the duty of the government to differentiate between situations - and many do not require a response as if it were a battlefield." Israelis have long objected to the moral equivalence, such as the Amnesty Report, in which deliberate, ruthless attacks against Israeli civilians are compared to Israel's strikes on terrorist leaders that sometimes kill other Palestinians in the area. But there is one way in which both sides do act the same: using child casualties as a PR tool. In a conflict such as this one, casualties - particularly child casualties - are an integral part of the PR strategy. Which raises the question of whether the IDF isn't actually playing into the hands of the Palestinians, since, whether cynically and deliberately calculated or not, casualties serve the Palestinian strategic goal of eroding Israel's standing in the international community. Instead, says Greenbaum, the IDF and the Palestinians are engaged in a perverse form of a win-win situation. "The Palestinians provoke the soldiers by throwing stones, and the soldiers shoot. And the demonstration ends with a massive show of force and injured and dead Palestinians. The soldiers feel strong, and the kids feel that they've stood up to the soldiers. So each side 'wins' its pride, and each side loses." Of course, says Greenbaum, if the forces are at risk, they should shoot, even if it means that children may be hurt. And of course, in some military operations, children are going to be hurt or killed, especially if the Palestinians continue to use residential areas as base camps. "But we don't always have to engage," he says. "There are times when pulling back would be much wiser. The IDF should withdraw jeeps and other army vehicles from areas around schools and they shouldn't be around when the children are going to and from school." But for children to be safe, says Sharan, "the adults have to agree to take the kids out of the conflict."

NYT 1 Nov 2002 Rights Group Blames Arafat for Not Halting Suicide Attacks By JOEL GREENBERG ERUSALEM, Oct. 31 — A report by Human Rights Watch on Palestinian suicide bombings calls the attacks crimes against humanity and criticizes the Palestinian Authority for failing to act effectively to stop them. The 170-page report, to be issued Friday, says Yasir Arafat and the Palestinian Authority bear a "high degree of responsibility" for the attacks and have "contributed to an atmosphere of impunity" that has allowed the bombings to continue. But the report said no evidence was found indicating that Mr. Arafat or other senior Palestinian officials were themselves behind the bombings. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of Israel and other Israeli officials have repeatedly accused Mr. Arafat and the Palestinian Authority of active involvement in the violence, a charge the Palestinians have denied. An adviser to Mr. Arafat said in response to the report that the Palestinian Authority had done everything in its power to stop suicide bombings, but that continuing Israeli occupation had undermined these efforts and encouraged more attacks. "We exerted every effort and tried to do what we can, but it is beyond our capacity," said the adviser, Nabil Abu Rudeineh. "The occupation is there." In Gaza today, three members of the armed wing of the militant group Hamas were killed and six other people were injured in an explosion in a house, apparently when the militants were rigging a bomb, Palestinians reported. Human Rights Watch said that since January 2001, 52 suicide bombings aimed at Israelis have killed some 250 civilians and injured 2,000 others. Bombings have been claimed by Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Aksa Martyrs Brigades, an offshoot of Mr. Arafat's Fatah faction. "The scale and systematic nature of these attacks in 2001 and 2002 meet the definition of a crime against humanity," the report says. "When these suicide bombings take place in the context of violence that amounts to armed conflict, they are also war crimes." Examining the role of the Palestinian Authority in the bombings, the report said Mr. Arafat and his government had not taken effective steps to stop them. "The greatest failure of President Arafat and the Palestinian Authority leadership — a failure for which they must bear a heavy responsibility — is their unwillingness to deploy the criminal justice system decisively to stop the suicide bombings," the report says. The Palestinian Authority has "failed to investigate, arrest and prosecute persons believed to responsible for these attacks," contributing to "a climate of impunity" surrounding the violence, the report says. "This failure reflects a high degree of political responsibility on the part of President Arafat and the P.A. leadership for the many civilian deaths that have resulted." Citing Palestinian documents seized by Israeli forces during military incursions in the West Bank, the report says that some members of the Palestinian security forces had taken in attacks on Israeli civilians, and that Mr. Arafat had authorized payments to people whom he knew, or should have known, had been involved in such attacks. "However there is no publicly available evidence that Arafat or other senior P.A. officials ordered, planned or carried out such attacks," the report adds. Joe Stork, the author of the report, said he and other Human Rights Watch staff members had discussed their findings with officials from the Palestinian Authority and the militant groups named in the study. Abdullah Shami, a leader of Islamic Jihad in Gaza, said the report was biased because it failed to explain the causes of Palestinian violence, which he described as a response to the Israeli Army's persistent killings of Palestinian civilians during more than two years of conflict. "Zionist terrorism is organized," Mr. Shami said. "Palestinian military attacks are individual acts, revenge against the occupation. How can you compare state terrorism to a people's right to resist?"

AFP 4 Nov 2002 -Palestinian mothers seek help to protect children during Israeli raids by Hazel Ward RAFAH, Gaza Strip, Nov 4 (AFP) - The small whitewashed room is alive with debate as 50 veiled Palestinian women fire questions at the only man in the room -- a grey-suited psychologist advising them on how to protect their children during Israeli raids on this war-battered town. "What do you do when there is shooting or shelling near your house?" calls out one of the crowd filling the small women's centre in Rafah, an impoverished shantytown on the Gaza Strip's border with Egypt where the Israeli army and armed Palestinians clash almost daily. "The first thing to do is get the children away from danger," says psychologist Mohamed Abu Khair, who works with the Palestinian Centre for Helping Resolve Community Disputes. "Tell them a story or put some cartoons on television. After that, you have to talk to them -- let them express what's inside them, try to reduce the trauma," he says. "But I become really scared and it's hard to help," says a broad-faced woman wearing a faded green headscarf. "You have to make them strong -- if we show that we are scared, it makes them more scared," Khair says. "We have to be stronger than the situation we're living in." According to the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS), of the 1,744 Palestinians killed during the 25-month intifada, or Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation, 24 percent were under 18. The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), which provides technical and financial support to parents' workshops, says repeated exposure to the sounds of shelling and shooting is the major cause of psychological problems among children. Indirect exposure to violence on television is the second-worst cause of psychological distress, UNICEF says, citing a Palestinian Authority report. During the half-hour session, Khair touches on other subjects -- how to identify when children are in shock and how to educate children to take care of themselves. The most important aspect of the workshop is that the women learn how to deal with the problems themselves, he says. Several miles (kilometres) further south, Nahla al-Behdari, 30, sits on the corner of a dirty mattress on the floor, her four young children crouched shyly around her in Rafah's Al-Shabura refugee camp. With eyes downcast, her angular black face fights against tears as she talks about the death of her husband nine months ago and its impact on her young family. "Every day one of the children asks where their father is. They are always afraid now and they're not sleeping properly," she says, twisting a crumpled tissue between her fingers. With tiny gold hoops in her ears, Lamis, five, looks on impassively as her mother talks, nine-month-old Hesham crawls around on a dirty plastic mat on the concrete floor. The other two boys, Ahed, seven, and Mohammed, three, sit silently. Since her husband's death, the children talk about fighting against the Israelis, she admits. "They talk about their father, so maybe in the future they might take up guns and fight against the Jews. "But their dreams must be how to laugh, play and learn, not how to take up guns and fight. I would prefer the children to have a normal life but in these circumstances what can I do?" she says. But there is a glimmer of hope for the children in the shape of a recreational workshop on the outskirts of the camp run by the Canaan Institute, a UNICEF-backed Palestinian group which promotes education for individual development. In the high-ceilinged room, its walls lined with children's drawings of fishing boats and tanks, sit at least 50 children, clapping and chanting rhythmically. "We come here to learn, to play and to laugh. Computers are the best -- we play car games on them and learn to type," explains Bilal Faisal Barber, 12. Just two weeks ago, his friend, Yusuf Shahim, 14, who likes painting and reading stories, was hit by Israeli gunfire. Pulling up his trouser leg, the boy shows two ugly scabs just above his knee. "I was going to see one of my friends and suddenly some shooting started and two bullets hit me in the leg," says Yusuf, whose ambition is to be a policeman when he grows up. "I was really afraid and since then, I don't really go out any more -- I stay in the house." But coming to the centre gives him a break from the monotony of refugee camp life. "When I stay at home I feel like I'm in prison but when I get here I feel much better," he says.

Jerusalem Post 11 Nov 2002 Terrorist kills 5 including mother, two young sons By DAVID RUDGE Revital Ohayon, 34, was reading her sons Matan, five, and Noam, four, a bedtime story on Sunday night, when a Fatah terrorist burst into their home on Kibbutz Metzer. She jumped in front of the children to protect them, but he shot all three dead. He then went outside and came across Tirza Damari, 42, of Moshav Elyachin. He shot and killed her as well. He also killed kibbutz secretary Yitzhak Dori, 44. Fatah's Aksa Martyrs Brigades claimed responsibility at the kibbutz, just over the Green Line from Jenin and renowned for peaceful coexistence with its Arab neighbors, in a statement broadcast on Hizbullah's Manar television. The attack occurred as Hamas and Fatah officials met in Cairo for talks on unity and a cessation of suicide bombings inside Israel. The terrorist, who had apparently observed the kibbutz before infiltrating, managed to escape. "We don't have an electronic fence, just a regular one,and he apparently got through that," kibbutz coordinator Doron Libber said Monday. "The guard, who was doing his rounds of the fence did not notice a break. "The terrorist reached the center of the kibbutz and went to a house which was lit, opened the door and went inside, killing a woman and her two children. "He went outside and encountered a member of the kibbutz who was walking with his girlfriend, who is not a member of the kibbutz and shot her. Her boyfriend manage to get away. "Then the car of another our members arrived and he was the fifth victim. He had come from his home and managed to fire several shots at the terrorist [apparently without hitting him]. "He fled toward our fields which are relatively dark and disappeared. Police and special forces as well as our stand-by unit conducted searches throughout the night." The searches continued at daybreak when residents who had been ordered to stay indoors throughout the night were allowed outside. There were no signs of the terrorist still being inside the kibbutz and tracks were found leading from the community. The attack came just a few hours after and not far from where border police had thwarted an attempt by two terrorists to carry out a double bombing in the center of the country. The car carrying the two, believed to be members of Islamic Jihad, had crossed the Green Line when it was stopped at a checkpoint on a dirt track. The occupants were ordered out of the car and told to open their shirts. One had an explosive belt strapped to his body, the other was carrying a larger bomb in a bag. One of them is believed to have detonated the bomb, destroying the car , but causing no casualties among the border policemen. Police are still investigating a possible connection between the two incidents, given their proximity. Police Insp.-Gen. Shlomo Aharonishky said many communities near the Green Line do not have electronic fences with surveillance systems. "There is a fence which is insufficient. A more massive, electronic fence has been approved for this kibbutz. I have asked for the construction of the fence here and at other communities to be speeded up. "There is no doubt that we are facing a complicated situation and prevention depends on many components. We will continue to do everything necessary to prevent the possibility of terror attacks. "An attack of this nature, in this place, with this outcome is certainly bad and everything has to be done to minimize the dangers." Aharonishky praised members of the kibbutz for the way they reacted. "From the outset, they acted in the manner demanded of them, including activating the standby security unit as practiced in exercises," he said. "They assisted the security forces, and we will continue to assist the kibbutz and other communities," he said.

Jerusalem Post 11 Nov 2002 'We will not cease to believe in coexistence, in compromise, in giving' By DANIEL BEN-TAL Thousands accompanied Yitzhak Dori, 44, on his final journey to the graveyard of Kibbutz Metzer on Monday. Dori, gunned down in his car as he tried to intercept the lone gunman who killed five kibbutz residents Sunday night, was mourned by Jew and Arab alike. As secretary of this 50-year-old Hashomer Hatzair kibbutz, Dori was active in the community's struggle to coexist with local Arab villages on both sides of the Green Line despite ongoing tensions. Prominent among the mourners were several dozen Arabs from neighboring villages. "Cry, beloved country, for the coexistence that has been harmed so deeply," eulogized kibbutz coordinator Doron Leiber. "For the pain and hatred that has disturbed the security and peace of our kibbutz, and prohibits us from living in cooperation with our Arab neighbors. For a life of belief. We will not cease to believe in coexistence, in compromise, in giving." "I knew Itzik for 18 years from Hashomer Hatzair youth movement activities," said Gavri Bar-Gil, secretary-general of the United Kibbutz Movement. "He was a well-mannered, quiet, determined man. His message is that we will not let terror, pain, or fear win. We will not give up on coexistence. The way of peace is the only solution," he said. "You always insisted that we are a strong kibbutz, and will emerge from this difficult period," said Eli Raz, a close friend. "The Arabs here at this funeral - especially our neighbors from Kafr Misr - are the answer to those murderers." "My brother was a human encyclopedia of Eretz Yisrael," said Dori's sister, Bruria, in her funeral oration. "He knew and loved every part of this land. He arrived on the kibbutz from Jerusalem in 1976 as a young, motivated, idealistic lad and lived according to his beliefs." "You expected peace and believed that it was close," she said to the open grave, "but you will never know peace in your lifetime. When I heard you talk politics, you were always so optimistic, innocent, and determined. You believed that everything would be OK in the end. I can not believe that you are not here - that you won't see the dream realized." "As soon as you arrived at the kibbutz gate and heard of the shooting, you galloped as fast as you could to the event - and to your death," added Benzi, a fellow kibbutznik. "We will continue the work you did in your lifetime - the hatred and fear will never stop us from believing in coexistence." "You helped to take the kibbutz in the right direction," said Dori's predecessor as kibbutz secretary, Shlomit. "You died trying to save the place that you loved." Dori's reserve battalion commander told how he narrowly avoided injury several times during ten years as a company commander in a front-line unit. "The bullets that missed you in Hebron ultimately killed you in your home." "Itzik was a tour guide all his life," recalled Shia Glazer, 37. "I remember him taking us around the country when we were teenagers. He was the sleeping bag type, who loved to sleep under the stars." Dori is survived by his wife Tamar and daughter Yael. A hundred meters from the graveyard, work commenced yesterday on a new electronic fence designed to protect the kibbutz from future infiltrators. Tirza Damari, 43 - who was gunned down close to the kibbutz dining room while strolling with her boyfriend Uri, a kibbutz member - was laid to rest at her home in Moshav Elyakim yesterday. She is survived by a son Ofir, a student, and daughter Ma'ayan, who was recently discharged from the army. Revital Ohayon, 34, and her two sons Matan, 5, and Noam, 4, are to be buried today. The childrens' father Avi is an audio technician with Channel 2 television.

Jerusalem Post 12 Nov 2002 Survey predicts low Arab vote By DAVID RUDGE Less than 55 percent of the 580,000 Arabs eligible to vote in the upcoming Knesset election have actually decided to go to do so, according to the findings of a survey conducted for the Jewish-Arab Center for Peace at Givat Haviva. Some 30% have already declared that they will not vote, while the remaining 15% have yet to make up their minds. This compares to some 72% who voted in 1999. The survey, among 750 interviewees representing a cross-section of the Arab community, was conducted last month by the Nazareth-based Yafa Research Institute. The margin of error was 4%. According to the findings, which supplement a survey conducted in September among residents of the Triangle, Arab parties will receive 60% of the vote. Peace center spokesman Muhammad Darawshe said this would mean that some of the existing parties and lists would be in danger of failing to pass the threshold. Those in immediate danger are MK Ahmed Tibi's Arab Movement for Change, MK Azmi Bishara's Balad, and the National Arab Party of MKs Muhammad Kana'an and Tawfik Hatib. The threshold is still set at 1.5% of the overall vote which in 1999 was about 41,000 votes. This is expected to rise to about 45,000, in line with the increase in the number of eligible voters. The survey found that Tibi and Bishara, if they ran separately, would each win about 35,000 votes, with only a handful voting for the National Arab Party. It found that support for the United Arab List, composed of the southern branch of the Islamic Movement and fragments of the Democratic Arab Party, would drop from 30% in 1999 to 17%. Hadash would also drop from 21% to 16.2%. Jewish parties, however, appear set to make considerable gains, with Labor getting 12.6% (almost double that in 1999), Meretz up from 5% to 8.3%, and the Likud from 3.8% to 6.8%. Arab politicians have predicted that the community will come out to vote because it would be voting for their parties, without any separate ballot for prime minister. The findings of the survey, however, indicate that such forecasts are wishful thinking. "There is a great deal of disappointment from the results of Arab political representation in the Knesset, with only 24% of those interviewed saying they were satisfied that Arab MKs actually represented their interests," Darawshe said. "This is a severe evaluation of the performance of Arab MKs, partly due to their marginalization by right-wing elements in the government and Israeli society, and the concentration of the MKs on regional issues instead of those effecting the daily lives of Arabs. "On the other hand, more than 80% said they would vote for a single united Arab list or party. This indicates the disappointment and frustration over the fragmentation on the Arab political scene. "Some 65% said they also wanted to participate in activities which would improve Jewish-Arab relations, which is higher than the percentage of those who have decided to vote, compared to 13.5% who said they were not interested in Jewish-Arab relations. "A resounding 78% felt that the policies of the present government toward the Arab community ranged from bad to very bad. "The findings indicate that Arabs want to be a real part of the democratic process by which they would have an influence on decision-making and gain socio-economic benefits and not merely be a decoration in the democratic game," he added.

AFP 12 Nov 2002 Toddler dies after being shot by Israeli troops GAZA CITY: A two-year-old Palestinian, who was among four children wounded by Israeli fire on a house in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on Monday, has died of his injuries, Palestinian medics said. Naser Mechal was shot in his home along with three other young family members by automatic weapons fire from an Israeli tank, the medics said. Hard by the Israeli-controlled border with Egypt, Rafah is a scene of frequent clashes and Israeli operations to destroy houses used by Palestinian militants for attacking their positions and smuggling weapons. The death brings to 2,664 the number of people killed as a direct result of the Palestinian uprising, which broke out in September 2000, including 1,968 Palestinians and 647 Israelis.

Sydney Morning Herald 13 Nov 2002 Israelis fear foreign war-crime prosecutions The Israeli Government has ordered an urgent assessment of the possibility of its politicians and soldiers facing arrest and trial for war crimes while travelling abroad. The move follows a report by the justice ministry that singled out Britain, Spain and Belgium as the most likely to prosecute Israeli officials who breach international law. But the government fears there is a growing trend towards global justice that could see Israelis effectively barred from visiting a host of states. "We are building a map of all those countries that might give us a headache," said Ra'anan Gissin, spokesman for the Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon. "They want to arrest Israelis who are enforcing the law while the real war criminals, like Saddam Hussein and Yasser Arafat, get away scot free." The report was ordered after lawyers presented the cabinet with a report commissioned following a failed legal action in the Belgian courts last year accusing Mr Sharon of war crimes over the massacres of Palestinians in refugee camps 20 years ago. Last month the British police launched an investigation into Israel's new defence minister, Lieutenant-General Shaul Mofaz, during a short visit to Britain. Amnesty International has called on signatories to the Geneva conventions to put on trial Israeli soldiers "responsible for war crimes" as defined in the conventions. These include unlawful killings, torture and the use of Palestinians as human shields in Jenin and Nablus this year.

Jerusalem Post, 14 Nov 2002, Pg. 4, Conference against international criminal court moving nowhere fast, Herb Keinon Nothing is being done practically to further Foreign Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's idea of a conference in Israel of international jurists with reservations about the International Criminal Court (ICC), a government official involved in the issue said Wednesday. Netanyahu raised the issue at a meeting in the Prime Minister's Office Sunday that dealt with Israel's concerns regarding the ICC. Netanyahu's idea is to convene a conference in January with jurists from states who have expressed reservations about the court, such as the US, Russia, and China. Netanyahu reportedly said at that meeting it is necessary to act vigorously to limit the authority of the court. He warned of a possible scenario in which IDF officers and soldiers will be hauled in front of the tribunal and accused of war crimes. One government official, however, said Netanyahu's suggestion of a conference on the matter was more the venting of frustration about the problems the court is posing Israel, than an actual blueprint for action. "No one has received any memo to start preparing for the conference," the official said. Israel, along with the US, notified the United Nations recently it has no intention of ratifying the Rome Statute establishing the court. The government official said although Israel is fearful of politicization of the court, it does not want to be seen spearheading efforts against a body that - if employed properly - could bring to justice people guilty of crimes against humanity. This is especially true, he said, given the Jewish people's interest in the Nuremberg trials after the Holocaust and in bringing Adolf Eichmann to justice in Jerusalem. Although the court was officially established in July when 60 countries ratified the Rome Statute, it has not yet been set up, and its prosecutors and 18 judges have not yet been selected. Israel, the official said, is monitoring developments very carefully. Some in Israel's legal establishment believe it is unlikely a case involving Israel would be among the first dealt with by the court, since this would open it to charges of blatant politicization. Others, however, fear that once the court - which will cost hundreds of millions of dollars to run and operate - is set up, it will need cases to justify its existence, and is likely to come under intense pressure to prosecute a high-profile Israeli figure.

Ha'aretz 13 Nov 2002 Effi Eitam backs down from united right By Nadav Shragai BACKINGDOWN: Effi Eitam announced last night that his NRP factionwould not be joining a united right-wing bloc for the forthcoming elections. Against the backdrop of a possible split in his National Religious Party, and a rebellion by nearly all members of the faction against him, party chairman Effi Eitam backed down yesterday from his plan to form a joint right-wing list for the forthcoming elections. After a nervous day of political contacts, Eitam admitted late last night that he had failed "to accurately gauge the depth of opposition that the move stirred up." Many in the NRP are now saying that Eitam has laid bare his political naivete - he is fighting his war on several different fronts, and looks destined to lose on more than one. The chairman's next battle is due to start today, with the list of NRP candidates for the Knesset on the line. See related story below. Earlier yesterday, the NRP had been involved in intense negotiations with the National Union / Yisrael Beiteinu amalgam, as well as Tekuma, reach an agreement to establish a united list for the January 28 elections, a decision party leaders had been expected to announce today. The main stumbling block for many NRP members was the issue of "transfer" of Palestinians from the West Bank, an idea promoted by slain far-right politician Rehavam Ze'evi. Moledet members insist that the transfer will be voluntary, but have never laid out exactly how this might take place. Yisrael Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Lieberman met yesterday morning with Eitam in an attempt to unite the entire right-wing bloc. The factions had been awaiting the results of a specially-commissioned survey designed to test the potential popularity of the united bloc in the upcoming elections, but the lack of support inside the NRP eventually nixed the entire move.

Arutz Sheva 13 Nov 2002 Leftist Radicals Taunt and Abuse Moledet Chief (IsraelNN.com) Leftist radicals from the far-left Meretz party taunted and vilified MK Rabbi Benny Elon (Moledet) as he was prepared to speak at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Dozens of crazed radicals waited to insult and abuse Elon in the auditorium where he was invited to address interested students. One radical said to Elon, “We don’t want to argue with you, just show you what voluntary transfer is about.”

Palestine Chronicle 10 Nov 2002 The Plight of Arab Citizens in Israel By Hassan Tahsin Israel agreed to retain 148,000 Palestinians in the new state at the time of its founding in 1948. Israel consented to the idea not out of any noble sentiments but to avoid the stigma of a racist regime. The presence of Arabs in Israel, who were reduced to a minority as a result of frequent terrorist attacks by the Jewish immigrants, was a matter of continuous dispute among the early Jewish terrorists. Goldamier said she could not go to sleep if she heard a baby was born to an Israeli Arab. The Jews called the Israeli Arabs the Arabs of 48. The population of the Israeli Arabs has crossed the half a million mark. The recent developments in the region have put the existence of the Arab minority in Israel in an extremely precarious state. Ariel Sharon is reviewing the official attitude toward the Israeli Arabs with the aim of launching an ethnic-cleansing operation. Increasing arrests and interrogation of Arab Israeli youths point to the diabolical designs of the Israeli authorities. These Arabs have been charged with colluding with the Palestinians in the occupied territories to carry out blasts inside Israel. The authorities have been striving to establish that the very presence of the Arabs of 48 is a threat to the racist state. A careful reading of the Israeli political files since the state’s founding reveals a deep-seated hatred by the Israeli leadership toward its Arab citizens. In 1967, Gen. Aharon Yari chalked out a plan to expel all the Arab citizens from Israel under the cover of the Arab-Israeli war. Under the shadow of mounting confrontation between the Palestinians and the occupiers, the demand for the eviction of Arab citizens is gathering momentum in Israel. They are depicted as the fifth column working for the Palestinian freedom fighters. Israeli leaders contend that the intifada continues unabated only because of the support of Israeli Arabs. Muhammad Hobaish, who carried out a highly destructive martyr operation in Natania, was an Israeli Arab. Jews also charge the Israeli Arabs with providing logistical support to the resistant groups in the West Bank and Gaza. The Israelis also object to the Arab citizens organizing campaigns for blood donation and other relief works for the Palestinians. The authorities also watch the activities of the Arab deputies in the Knesset with concern. Apart from charging the Israeli Arabs with disloyalty and subversion, the Israeli leaders believe that no bridge of understanding can be built between the Arabs and Jews, and therefore the Arabs should be evicted. Avigdor Lieberman, leader of the extremist Israel Beitenu party, which supports Ariel Sharon and demands much more repressive measures against Palestinians, wrote recently in a leading Jewish daily that a wall could not solve the terrorist menace because of the simple reason that the Arab Israelis, who remained inside Israel, collaborated with every Palestinian operation against Israel. Anyone who wished to end the attacks should realize that the Arab Israelis were at the center of the problem and they should be eliminated first, Lieberman argued in his article. As the Israeli authorities are seemingly bent on solving the Palestinian problem through inhuman methods, the Palestinian minorities inside the Green Wall are heading for a great tragedy. -Arab News (arabnews.com). Redistributed via Press International News Agency (PINA).

Al-Ahram 14 - 20 November 2002 Issue No. 612 Opinion polls show that more than 40 per cent of Israeli Jews support schemes to encourage or force Arabs to leave the occupied territories and Israel. Is transfer inevitable, asks Jonathan Cook - What caused Benny Morris's recent conversion to the racist ideology of transfer? The "new historian" who began unravelling Israel's narrative of the war of 1948 -- that the Palestinians fled rather than that most were expelled or terrorised from their homes -- says he now believes David Ben Gurion, the country's first prime minister, made a grievous mistake in not finishing the job of clearing the land of Arabs between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. In an article in The Guardian (October 3, 2002) Morris concludes that peace in the Middle East might have been possible had the entire Arab population been removed from historic Palestine to make way for a Greater Israel. Not only does Morris believe that the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza are a permanent obstacle to peace but so too are Israel's one million Palestinian citizens -- the descendants of those who remained on their land in 1948. All the Palestinians, he argues, should have been transferred east to what is now Jordan. Morris is one of a growing number of Israelis espousing this hard-line policy of expulsion, or "transfer" as it is more usually, and coyly, referred to. Some opinion polls show that more than 40 per cent of Israeli Jews support schemes to encourage or force Arabs to leave the occupied territories and Israel. It is worth pausing to reflect on what might have brought a man of Morris's stature to the point where he becomes a high-profile recruit to the cause of transfer. Why are so many Israelis convinced that there is only one way to ease the "existential fear" they are experiencing, and that is by committing a war crime? To explain this phenomenon, one needs to understand the overarching but unspoken role of Zionism in shaping Israelis' worldview. It is a frame of ideological reference that prefaces every argument, every thought, every action. It completely dictates public opinion and state policy. Zionism is fed to Israelism in their mother's milk. Not that there are not many strands to Zionism: from the national-religious settlers in the occupied territories, some of whom would happily transfer every Arab they meet, to secular, left-wing Zionists who demand withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza and agonise over Israel's treatment of its own Palestinian citizens. But these variations are a reflection of fundamental disagreements about survival strategies for the Jewish state, not about the basic tenets of Zionism or the morality of its worldview. So what do we mean by Zionism? For an ideology that has caused such misery, both to Israelis and Arabs in the Middle East, it is surprising that its goals are so rarely articulated beyond simplistic slogans. Few who examine the history and development of the ideology look beyond the intentions of its 19th century prophet, Theodor Herzl, and its pre-state ideologues, men like Ben Gurion, Vladimir Jabotinsky and Martin Buber. The practical expression of Zionism in statehood, a project of some 44 years- duration, is barely mentioned. All Zionists take as their starting point the idea that the Jews deserve, as a moral imperative, a homeland. From this thesis flows another, less spoken, assumption: that no other people's claim to this land is equivalent to the Jewish claim. Others must therefore be required to make sacrifices to ensure the continuing survival of the Jewish state. Zionism is, in essence, a reinvention for the secular modern era of the idea that the Jews are a chosen people. But the practice as well as the preaching must be analysed. How did Zionism as a nation-building ideology evolve from its earliest days to the establishment of Israel and beyond? Zionism's original goal was noble enough: the creation of a sanctuary for the much-persecuted Jewish people. Herzl and other early thinkers were not overly concerned about where this sanctuary should be: in fact, there was a time when it might have been established in Argentina or Uganda. But over time the Zionists' focus shifted to the Holy Land. Early immigrants, mainly East Europeans fleeing the pogroms, were helped by Zionist organisations to buy land from the indigenous population, the Palestinians. This slow migration only took off with the rise of Hitler and the exodus of Jews from most of Europe. With the horror of the Holocaust, Zionist arguments about the need for a sanctuary for the Jews grew more urgent. The truth about the war of 1948, in which some 800,000 Palestinians were forced to flee to neighbouring Arab countries, has emerged only over the past 15 years, after academics like Benny Morris trawled the Israeli archives. They showed that the traditional Israeli account of the War of Independence, which presented the fighting as the Jews' battle for survival, were far from convincing. In fact, Morris and others showed, the Jewish militias often met little or no resistance from the local population, mainly rural, peasant farmers. Nevertheless, the indigenous communities were driven from their homes and land. The sanctuary that was left the Israelis after 1948, however, was far from satisfactory from a Zionist point of view. The project of creating a safe Jewish homeland in the Holy Land was incomplete because some 150,000 Palestinians remained in pockets across the country. During the military government imposed until 1966, there was much dark plotting about how to expel the "Israeli Arabs", as recounted by Nur Masalha in his book A Land Without a People. None of the schemes, however, could be fully implemented without risking the wrath of the international community. The Zionists hoped another strategy, bringing waves of Jewish immigrants to Israel, might eventually swamp the rump indigenous population. However, the Arab minority had a far higher birth rate and over decades it held steady at 20 per cent of the population. The state's failure to dilute the Palestinian presence in Israel provoked ever greater concern that one day the Jewish state would be destroyed from within by this "demographic timebomb". So the sanctuary idea remained an unrealised dream. Instead, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians remained within the borders of the Jewish state with ties to millions more in the region. Zionism, however, had a chance to reinvent itself after the Six-Day War of 1967, when the movement split into two camps with very different conceptions of the role of the Jewish state. Some, including Ben Gurion, clung to the idea of sanctuary and urged an immediate withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza. But others, elated by the seemingly miraculous nature of Israel's speedy victory, posited another objective, one never imagined by the secular founders of Zionism. They argued that Israel had been presented with an opportunity to reclaim a Biblical birthright: the return of the Jewish people to all of its homeland. It was a strange argument for a supposedly secular state but it had three advantages over the discredited sanctuary idea. First, whereas the goal of sanctuary highlighted the internal flaws in the idea of a Jewish state, the goal of a Biblical return was a unifying project: it reinforced the Jews' sense of themselves as an ethnic and religious nation. For this reason, one of the driving forces -- at least publicly -- for territorial expansion in Palestinian areas was the reclaiming of Jewish holy sites, from Joseph's Tomb near Nablus to the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron. This project continues to this day: the Israeli government has recently annexed a densely populated Palestinian area around Bethlehem so that Jews can access yet another religious site, Rachel's Tomb. Second, unlike the goal of sanctuary which could only be realised by overtly immoral means (ethnic cleansing), the goal of return could be implemented through silent but aggressive settlement beyond Israel's borders. At first small groups of zealots set up encampments on hilltops overlooking Palestinian towns and villages. They looked to the world like mavericks, people who were happy to live in caravans without water or services. But soon, as the 1948 Zionists lost the argument in government, the mavericks were joined by construction companies that bulldozed vast tracts of land and laid foundation stones for high-rise blocks of flats. Within two decades Palestinian east Jerusalem was surrounded by great housing estates, all illegally built on occupied land. The Jordan Valley too became dotted with small Israeli settlements along a main highway that made Jerusalem and Israel a quick drive away. All this happened in a way designed not to disturb the West until the "facts on the ground" made reversing the settlement programme all but impossible. And third, and most importantly, the new territorial acquisitiveness became a successful ploy for demanding ever greater subsidies from Israel's ally America. As Norman Finkelstein documents in his book The Holocaust Industry, links between American Jewry and Israel were tenuous before the 1967 War. But after Israel proved its credentials on the battlefield, the United States began rethinking Israel's role, seeing it as a powerful client state in the region and a useful destabilising influence on its Arab neighbours that might prevent the emergence of Arab unity. Equally American Jewry began to see Israel -- and Palestinian and Arab attacks on the Jewish state -- as the perfect way to advance its own causes and influence. Thus the awesome Zionist lobby, compulsively seeking out anti- Semitism, was born in the States, with offshoots in Europe. The benefit to Jewry in America, as Finkelstein notes, was the Holocaust industry itself: huge sums to be claimed from European states ostensibly to compensate Holocaust victims but in practice to pay the inflated salaries of Jewish lawyers and promote the projects of Jewish businessmen in America and Israel. For Israel, however, there were additional benefits. The regional instability caused by its army's continuing occupation of Palestinian and Syrian land, its invasion of south Lebanon and the unresolved status of millions of refugees provided the perfect setting for Israel to cry "security" and "existential threat" every time an Arab leader sneezed. The US Congress approved ever larger disbursements of military aid to Israel. By the end of the first Gulf War, Israel was receiving $5bn of aid annually from the American taxpayer -- nearly $1,000 for every man, woman and child. The Israeli economy, and its military might, was effectively propped up by America. Shortly after the 1967 War, arguments about the goals of Zionism raged. Those preaching the 1948 idea of sanctuary wanted a small but defensible homeland in the Middle East for the Jewish people. A vociferous new group, however, demanded Israel become a muscular, regional superpower wired into the financial and military heart of the West. Thus was born the unholy alliance between the religious extremist settlers and nationalist business leaders. The image of Israel that predominates in the international community is refracted solely through this first prism: Israel as a weak state fighting for its life. But in Israel the hold of the second vision quickly became stronger. Most Israelis, including left-wingers, wanted the huge benefits of Western support. The alternative was Middle Eastern anonymity, Israel struggling against its Arab neighbours for international attention without the bonus of Iraqi and Saudi Arabian oil fields. It was not an appealing prospect. Not that success went only in one direction. The sanctuary Zionists scored victories in their peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan, curbing the excesses of the expansionists. But although the colonial settlement project was made more manageable, it continued apace in the West Bank and Gaza. The invasion of south Lebanon, the expansionists' most ambitious and aggressive project, spawned the peace movement in the early 1980s. But it was the first Intifada, between 1987 and 1993, that really polarised Israeli society. For the first time in a generation the peaceniks clearly articulated the sanctuary idea of the Jewish state and argued for withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza. Oslo happened for many reasons, one of them being that Israel realised Yasser Arafat's PLO was both financially and intellectually bankrupt after choosing the side of Saddam Hussein in the Gulf War. Arafat was in no position for hard bargaining. But more than that the Israeli leadership needed to damp down the combustible tensions within Israeli society between the two oppositional Zionisms. The Oslo peace process was a way to do it. The Oslo agreements encapsulated everything that was misjudged in the international debates about Israel. It was assumed that Israel was at the signing ceremony on the White House lawn because it wanted to carve out a peaceful space for itself in a hostile Arab environment. But in practice Oslo was a sophisticated attempt to legitimise the main thrust of the expansion programme. Israel continued to control ever more Palestinian territory through its settlement projects while at the same time handing over the poisoned chalice of the West Bank cities and large refugee camps to the new Palestinian Authority. Now Arafat could do the messy job of guaranteeing Israelis' security and he could take the blame when an Islamic extremist slipped into Israel to turn human bomb. Meanwhile Israel quietly continued confiscating land and subsidising more and more settlers to move to the West Bank and Gaza. Israelis, from the peace movement to Yitzhak Rabin's assassin Yigal Amir, entirely failed to grasp the extent of the sham of Oslo, or its connection to the growing popularity among Palestinians of the Islamic militants, Hamas and Jihad, and the wave of suicide attacks on Israeli towns that followed. Palestinian disillusionment culminated in the Intifada, as both the leadership and masses finally gave up hope that the Oslo agreements would ever bring them statehood. The uprising drove the Jewish public to a conclusion: that peace would never come from negotiations or dialogue, the "There is no one to talk to" mantra of current Israeli politics. The fudging, many Israelis decided, had to end; a permanent, and imposed, solution was required. What form this imposed solution should take, of course, depended on your view of Zionism, whether you wanted a Jewish nation "like other nations" or a voracious, settler state. The current debates raging among Israelis about how to respond to the Intifada posit only two options: to withdraw or to invade, to build a fence or to build a Greater Israel. These alternatives reflect the differences between the 1948 idea of a Jewish sanctuary with fixed and defensible borders, and the 1967 idea of an expansionist state that refuses to define its territorial limits or the preconditions for a peace agreement. A common error in the West is to interpret these two political positions in simple moral terms. We create a facile dichotomy: the Oslo peace process vs Operation Defensive Shield; Israeli refuseniks vs West Bank settlers; Shimon Peres vs Ariel Sharon. But these are not polar opposites, they are two sides of the same coin. They represent differing visions -- the first deriving from 1948, the second from 1967 -- but Zionism is the constant. For all Israelis, bar a minuscule number of non-Zionists, the arguments assume as their starting point that Israel's primary political objective is the maintenance of exclusive ethnic privileges for Jews. It is certainly not about correcting historic injustices, helping the Palestinians create a viable state, or contributing to a Middle Eastern peace. The divide between Peres and Sharon is not a moral one but over differing conceptions of how to protect the long-term interests of Israel as an ethnic state. The important point to understand here is that both strands of Zionism have accepted an aggressive, colonialist image of the nation. The only difference is in their views on the limits of Israel's sphere of action. For the sanctuary Zionists Jewish privilege over non-Jews essentially extends only to the 1948 borders of the state. For the expansionist Zionists the Arabs must submit to Jewish authority within Israel proper, in the occupied territories and potentially anywhere else needed for Israel's "security". The implied threat in both, however, is that if the Palestinian or Arab populations refuse to accept their fate to live as subjugated peoples, they will face retribution or worse. These are large criticisms of Israel and Zionism. What is the evidence? The case against 1967 Zionism is not difficult to make. It has been Israeli orthodoxy since the late 1970s. All governments, Labour and Likud, have promoted settlement on Palestinian land to the point where 42 per cent of the West Bank is now illegally controlled by settlers, according to human rights group Btselem's latest figures. Even now new settlements like Har Homa are being opened and families offered huge incentives to move in. A report earlier this year by the Adva Centre, a Tel Aviv think-tank dedicated to examining issues of inequality in Israeli society, showed huge discrimination in favour of settlers throughout the 1990s. House building rates through the Oslo period were 63 per cent higher than in Israel proper, and families received double the subsidy on buying property. Spending on municipal services was also 50 per cent higher for settlers, even after security expenditure was excluded. The Palestinian areas in the West Bank are now such a patchwork that even the PLO's negotiating department under Abu Mazen recently admitted that disentangling them from Jewish controlled areas would be nigh impossible. A two- state solution is starting to look fanciful. For a country obsessed with demographic and existential threats, Israel's effective integration of Jewish and Palestinian populations in the West Bank seems more than illogical, it looks suicidal. Within a few years the Palestinians inside the West Bank, Gaza and Israel will outnumber Jews. But it is not suicidal if the real intention is to replicate the apartheid model of South Africa, to make Bantustans of the Palestinian cities in a sea of Israeli- dominated territory, leaving settlers to control the arable land and vital water resources. The besieging of West Bank cities since June looks suspiciously like a final thrust in this direction. The apartheid model is unlikely to be the end of the story, however. Palestinians, obstinately refusing to submit, will continue the terror attacks. Further, the longer the West Bank is cut into a series of Bantustans the harder it will be to persuade the world that this is not what in practice has been done. The grey will start to look more like sharply differentiated black and white. Another solution, transfer, will be needed. The Israeli public is already being softened up, with government ministers openly subscribing to it. Palestinians will have to be encouraged, or made, to leave their homes and land. The destruction of the West Bank's physical and economic infrastructure in the Israeli army's May and June invasions may be the beginning of this process. But increasingly the Sharon view of Zionism is under attack, if only from the ragged remains of the Labour Party and Peace Now. Can Israel be steered off the depraved course being taken by 1967 Zionists? Can a Zionism that seeks only a sanctuary for the Jewish people be made more morally clear-sighted than its later upstart? Can Peres and his ilk not save us from the moral quagmire into which Sharon and his settler friends wish to drag us? The answer, if it is not already clear, is a resounding no. Israel's Eden was always a mirage. In fact, the Zionism of expansion emerged precisely out of the failures of the Zionism of sanctuary. The strategies facing 1948 Zionists are essentially the same as those facing 1967 Zionists: the difference is the arena. If Sharon will have to consolidate apartheid in the West Bank, a left-wing successor who withdraws from the occupied territories will have to do the same inside Israel with the country's Palestinian minority. Since the ending of the military government for Arab citizens in 1966, Israel has maintained a largely benevolent apartheid system. Israeli Arabs are barred from Jewish communities, Arab municipalities are starved of funds, the separate education system is a pale mirror of the Jewish one, Arabs cannot work in many sectors of the economy. Although Arabs have the vote, their parties are never allowed to take part in government. And strict enforcement of religious marriage ceremonies, combined with even stricter rules for conversion, makes intermarriage between Arabs and Jews all but impossible. But that said Israel's Arab citizens can sit on buses next to Jews and eat with them in restaurants. They can study at university, even if language and other barriers make it harder for them to gain entry. Till now they have been able to speak out relatively freely. A few have even succeeded in business. But even these partial equalities are being rapidly eroded as the one million Palestinian citizens become as assertive of their rights as their ethnic kin in the occupied territories. The first case of Israeli Arab citizenship being revoked signals a dangerous precedent, and newly passed laws strip Arab politicians of the right to criticise either the ethnic character of the state or government policies towards the Palestinians. Several if not all of the Arab parties are at risk of being banned before the next election. This new climate is producing a much harsher apartheid system, one much less benevolent. If Israelis turn their back on expansionist 1967 Zionism and choose the sanctuary model of 1948 Zionism, if the fence being built actually becomes a border, this process of delegitimisation and segregation inside Israel will gather pace. But it too cannot be the end of the story. As Benny Morris reminds us, the sanctuary will be as meaningless as it was in 1948 unless it is cleared of its Arabs, of those who threaten to subvert the Jewish state from within. Belatedly, the job of 1948 will have to be finished. Today a military government will not be enough to keep the indigenous population in line. Priority will have to be given to redeeming the land by cleansing it of its non-Jewish inhabitants. What Morris and other Israelis now understand is that whether Israel expands or contracts, invades or withdraws, it will face the same choice: it will have to transfer Palestinians, either those in the West Bank and Gaza or those in Israel itself. It must choose between the big war crime and the smaller one. Either way Israel jumps is sure to send it -- as a Jewish state -- plummeting into the depths of the abyss. Either way lies the crime of transfer.

BBC 17 Nov 2002, Israel to extend control over Hebron Ariel Sharon is under pressure to act Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has proposed placing more of the West Bank city of Hebron under Israeli control, following an ambush which claimed 12 Israeli lives and left three Palestinian attackers dead on Friday. During a visit to Hebron on Sunday, Mr Sharon said there should be "territorial continuity" between Jewish areas of Hebron and a nearby Jewish settlement. The city has long been a flashpoint - some 450 Jewish settlers live there, among a population of 130,000 Palestinians. In another development, an Israeli armoured column backed by helicopter gunships advanced into Gaza City late on Sunday, and surrounded a training base of the Palestinian security forces. The attack occurred in the Tel al Awar neighbourhood. There was no immediate report of casualties. Mr Sharon visited Hebron with Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz. The number of Israeli troops in Hebron has already been substantially increased. Mr Sharon was quoted by Israeli radio as saying there should be continuity between Jewish enclaves in central Hebron and the Jewish settlement of Kiryat Arba, which was the target of Friday night's attack. Click here for more detailed map of where attack took place Jewish settlers are reported to have already set up a tented settlement at the scene of the ambush, and have called on the army to let them stay after a seven-day mourning period. The BBC's James Rodgers in Jerusalem says the aim of Mr Sharon's plan is to protect the settlers - but, he adds, there is a risk of further enraging the Palestinians. Troops have taken control of strategic buildings, and destroyed several other homes and an olive grove in which the gunmen are said to have hidden. Bloody ambush The heavy casualties on Friday have triggered questions in Israel about the army's handling of the situation. Hebron About 450 Jewish settlers live alongside 130,000 Palestinians Divided into Israeli and Palestinian-controlled sectors under an interim peace deal in 1997 Frequent scene of violent clashes An army colonel was among the 12 dead, the highest-ranking officer to die since the Palestinian uprising against Israeli rule began in September 2000. The attack began when shots were fired at a column of settlers and their border police guards as they walked from Hebron's Tomb of the Patriarchs to Kiryat Arba after prayers to mark the start of Sabbath. Troops and armed settlers returned fire and gave chase into a narrow alley, where they were cut down in an ambush. Under pressure Earlier on Sunday, Israeli helicopters carried out a raid on Khan Younis in the Gaza Strip, destroying a metal workshop which the army said had been used to manufacture weapons. The attack in Hebron was one of the bloodiest for months Mr Sharon is under pressure to step up military action in the Palestinian territories, with security at the top of the agenda in the run-up to snap elections in January 2003. Foreign Minister Binyamin Netanyahu - who is vying for the leadership of the Likud party with Mr Sharon - told Israel Radio that he believed the peace deals with the Palestinians were now dead. Changes in the administrative status of Hebron would mean re-writing a US-brokered deal signed by Mr Netanyahu himself when he was prime minister. The 1997 Hebron Protocol split the city between Palestinian rule in one part of it and Israeli rule in the remaining 20%, to guarantee the security of settlers living in Jewish enclaves. Mr Netanyahu said on Sunday: "All the accords agreed by Israel have been annulled by [Palestinian leader Yasser] Arafat. I have always believed that the application of the accords required reciprocity." Israel blames Mr Arafat for failing to prevent Palestinian militant attacks.

Arutz Sheva 16 Nov 2002 Demonstrations Over Hevron Massacre (IsraelNN.com)- Arutz-7's Kobi Sela reports that a demonstration at the 'Bilu' intersection began a short while ago. Organized by the 'Cities of Israel' Movement, the demonstration protests government policies which led up to last night's Hevron massacre, especially the retreat of the IDF from Arab neighborhoods. In a related story, members of the Nahariya chapter of the "Moledet" Party are demonstrating at this hour at the entrance to the city to protest last night's slaughter in Hevron. The protesters say the solution is "transfer with consent." Demonstrators are carrying signs saying "Only Transfer Will Bring Peace." www.israelnationalnews.

Ha'aretz 17 Nov 2002 Analysis: The attack in Hebron was not a 'massacre' By Amos Harel. The Foreign Ministry's successful "spin" on the Islamic Jihad attack in Hebron on Friday night in which 12 Israelis were killed, matched by statements made by official spokespeople such as Minister Danny Naveh and director of the prime minister's office Dov Weissglas, lasted only a few hours. What happened in Hebron on Friday night was not a "massacre," as claimed by the spokespeople, nor was it an attack on "peaceful Jewish worshippers" returning from prayers at the Tomb of the Patriarchs. The attack actually began several minutes after all of the worshippers had already returned safely to Kiryat Arba. The twelve Israeli casualties in Hebron were not murdered in the same fashion that residents of Kibbutz Metzer were, nor did they die in the same manner in which young settlers were murdered in Hermesh. Those killed Friday were killed in combat. All of the victims were armed fighters, who were more or less trained. They fell victim to a well-planned ambush that included both machine-gun fire and grenades, which trapped them in a compromising situation they found hard to overcome. There is a vast difference between what happened on Friday night and the horrific massacres carried out by Palestinian terrorists in civilian settlements. Various individuals interviewed Saturday on television and radio programs, most of the from the right, blamed former defense minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer for Friday's tragedy. If he would not have insisted on withdrawing from parts of Hebron at the end of October, within the framework of the "Judea First" plan, they claimed, none of this would have happened. But the ambush actually took place in the "Israeli" section of Hebron, dozens of meters from the Kiryat Arba security fence, in an area occupied by the IDF before the withdrawal, and where soldiers have continued to operate since the withdrawal. Even the Haret a-Sheikh and Abu Sneineh neighborhoods - troop withdrawals in these areas led to the greatest amount of disagreements because they are perched above the city's Jewish enclave - have been patrolled regularly by the IDF since the withdrawal. If there is any logic to the claims made Saturday, it is that Islamic Jihad activists, whose headquarters are located in the section of Hebron under Palestinian Authority control, could operate more freely since the IDF retreat. Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz held consultations Saturday night with senior IDF officers and Shin Bet officials. The IDF cancelled the "Judea First" understandings, and restored its control over the entire city of Hebron. According to a senior officer, the IDF will now engage in a wide-scale search in the city for terrorists and Islamic Jihad members, whose two leaders have in the past eluded Israeli forces. The Nahal brigade operating in Hebron will join the ongoing effort in Nablus and Jenin. With regard to Ramallah, IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Ya'alon expressed doubts over the readiness of the United States to let Israel deviate from the rules of the game established ahead of action in Iraq, which determine that Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat must not be touched. But the most important factor right now in the West Bank is a Jewish one, not a Palestinian one. Settlers in Hebron made clear on Saturday that they intend to avenge what happened on Friday night, in the immediate future. Before the Sabbath ended, settlers threatened the Palestinians, and afterwards they shifted to acts of violence. Shin Bet Chief Avi Dichter spoke recently of fears of a Jewish terror cell. Now it is clear that the cell will operate soon. The weekend events in Hebron plunged matters in the territories into another whirlpool, which threatens to drag the sides down to a point lower and more painful than the one they were at before.

ArabicNews.com 20 Nov 2002 ADC cautions media on Israel's deceptions Palestine-USA, Politics, 11/20/2002 The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) on Monday warned the American media against accepting Israeli government claims without independent confirmation. ADC's note of caution comes in the wake of a false Israeli government account of the death of 12 Israeli combatants on Friday. Numerous American news organizations repeated Israel's claims that a "massacre of worshippers" had taken place in Hebron. ADC pointed out that a clear pattern has been established of the Israeli government deliberately misleading the media, and urged American news organizations to treat all Israeli claims in future with due scepticism. On Friday, Nov. 15, the Israeli Foreign Ministry announced that, "At least 12 persons were killed Friday night in Hebron when Palestinian terrorists opened fire and threw grenades at a group of Jewish worshipers and their guards as they were walking home from Sabbath prayers at the Machpela Cave. The dead included civilian worshipers and soldiers, some of whom were caught in an ambush as they pursued the attackers." Media across the United States reported that worshipers had been attacked and that an appalling massacre had taken place. Officials including Secretary of State Colin Powell, UN General Secretary Kofi Annan and EU foreign policy director Javier Solana all issued stern condemnations of the "terrorist attack" based on this account. Reports the next day in the Israeli press, however, exposed the absolute fiction of this official account. Leading Israeli newspapers including Ha'aretz, reported that the attack was directed entirely against Israeli occupation forces, that worshipers had all return to safety before the attack began and that no one was killed or injured except for armed combatants. The dead were 9 soldiers and 3 paramilitary settlers whose families have demanded full military burials. It has also become clear that this deliberate deception was orchestrated by the new Israeli Foreign Minister Benyamin Netanyahu, who set the tone by declaring, "The murder in cold blood of civilians and children in Kibbutz Metzer and of Jews in Hebron whose sole sin was praying is a despicable crime." The Jerusalem Post reports that "Netanyahu convened a meeting of the ministry's upper echelon and its spokesmen to hone the messages Israel should be sending to the world following the attack it has termed the 'Shabbat evening massacre.' Among the key messages is that every time Israel withdraws from the Palestinian cities, it gets more terrorism in return." In other words, the Israeli government sought to use its false account of a "massacre" to justify its intransigent and belligerent policies. Acting on these instructions, foreign ministry spokesman Gilad Millo said, "This sabbath massacre is the second time in a week that innocent civilians have been senselessly murdered either in their beds or on their way to prayers. No political process can take root while these atrocities continue to be carried out by terrorists." By accepting and uncritically repeating the false accounts offered by Netanyahu and the Israeli Foreign Ministry, many American news organizations allowed the Israeli government to mislead their audience for cynical purposes of propaganda. ADC points out that this is only the latest in a long pattern of politically motivated deceit by the Israeli government. ADC urges all journalists and editors to treat Israeli government claims with scepticism and not to simply report them as fact without independent confirmation or verification.

AFP 18 Nov 2002 - UN race to stop advancing malnutrition among Palestinians GENEVA, Nov 18 (AFP) - More than a fifth of Palestinian children in Gaza and the West Bank are suffering from acute or chronic malnutrition, the head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, warned here on Monday. Launching a 35-million-dollar appeal to fund what he said was the region's biggest food aid programme, Peter Hansen said the plan was to distribute food parcels to 1.3 million people over the first six months of 2003. "They are suffering for purely man-made reasons. No drought has hit Gaza and the West Bank, no crops have failed and the shops are often full of food," the UNRWA commissioner-general said. "But the failure of the peace process and the destruction of the Palestinian economy by Israel's closures policy have had the effect of a terrible natural disaster," he added. The food aid figure is included in UNRWA's 2003 appeal to donors for about 200 million dollars, which will officially be launched on Tuesday in Bern as part of the UN's overall appeal for next year's humanitarian activities. The figure compares to this year's appeal of 172 million dollars which has only received 60 percent funding. The 1.3 million Palestinians targeted in the food aid programme translates into 222,000 families, Hansen told reporters. Before the start of the current intifada in September 2000, UNRWA fed just 11,000 families in the occupied territories. Hansen also said that although it was unsurprising that Israel should take "harsh" measures to protect its people amid their high feeling of insecurity and fear, he did not believe many of the steps would prove effective in promoting security. "We are not there to advise the Israeli government on its security policies ... but if we were to be asked about advice, I think we would find that many of the measures that are taken do not, in the medium and long term, increase the security, which the Israeli people have the right to expect in their lives," he told reporters. "But it does create a number of people who have seen their lives ruined, who have seen their families killed or maimed, and who have experienced a humiliation that one really must see and experience to grasp it," he added. The UNRWA chief said the overall effect would lead to "more hatred, less tolerance on both sides, and a worsening of the dynamics of the conflict". He cited examples of Israeli measures such as the holding up for "extended waiting periods" of pregnant women on their way to give birth, the "hindrance" of UN convoys at checkpoints and the taking over of UNRWA schools in refugee camps.

AP 21 Nov 2002 Terrorist's family: We are proud of him The parents of Na'el Abu Hilayel, the terrorist who blew himself up on a bus in Jerusalem Thursday, said they are proud of their son for carrying out the suicide attack. Many of their neighbors agreed, even though they expressed fears the IDF is planning to re-enter the Bethlehem district. "I thanked God when I heard that my son had died in an operation for the sake of God and the homeland," said the father, Azmi, who works as a vegetable merchant in Bethlehem. Abu Hilayel said he last saw his son on Wednesday afternoon. Since then, he has been trying to reach him on his cellular phone, but to no avail. He said he heard about the operation on the radio in the early morning, but was unaware that his son was the perpetrator. "Later some people came to me and told me that Na'el was the one who carried out the suicide operation in Jerusalem," he said. Abu Hilayel said he was unaware his son was a member of Hamas. "He never spoke of his political affiliations and I didn't know that he had joined the armed wing of Hamas," he said. "But the truth is that there is no difference between one Palestinian group and the other. We are all one people fighting against the common enemy the Jews." He added: "There is no difference between Hamas and Islamic Jihad. The war of all the Palestinian factions against the Zionist enemy is a holy war. May God bless him and all the other heroic martyrs who have sacrificed their lives for the sake of God, Islam, and the homeland." The terrorist's mother said her son was out to avenge "daily Israeli atrocities committed against our people." She added: "It's all because of the crimes committed by the occupation. That's why my son, may God be satisfied with him, carried out the operation. Of course I'm proud of him and all the martyrs." The Abu Hilayel family moved from the town of Dura, south of Hebron, to the village of El-Khader, west of Bethlehem, about six months ago. The suicide bomber son was the fifth of 13 children. According to villagers, the family is renting a house in the village. The IDF raided Dura Thursday and conducted searches in a house belonging to one of the terrorist's uncles. According to Palestinian sources, the soldiers arrested one of his brothers, Nader, and a nephew, Murad. Palestinians in El-Khader told The Jerusalem Post they are afraid the IDF will return to the village. Schoolchildren were sent home early out of fear the IDF will deploy in El-Khader. In the nearby city of Bethlehem, residents were hastily shopping and many queued at banks to withdraw cash. Some policemen were seen deserting their positions and workers were told to go home as rumors spread that the IDF was planning an invasion. "This is the last thing we need now," said Ahmed Najjar, a schoolteacher. "Bethlehem has been very quiet in recent months and now it appears that we are going back to square one. Someone is trying to destroy everything." But many villagers, especially young men, expressed their joy over the bus attack, saying it was an appropriate response to "Israeli massacres." "The Jews are killing women and children almost every day and the world is sitting and watching," said Ayman Abu Harb, a taxi driver. "The Jews have to understand one thing, that this is our land and they have no place here. They should take all their settlers and Russian immigrants and go back to where they came from. It's either us or them here."

Reuters 20 Nov 2002 Ex-general wins Israel's Labour leadership By Matt Spetalnick JERUSALEM - Dovish former general Amram Mitzna is savouring victory in the race to lead Israel's Labour Party but faces a tough battle against right-wing opponents tipped to win a January election. Labour's choice of the Haifa mayor, who has vowed to begin dismantling Jewish settlements if he becomes prime minister, pulls the centre-left party further towards the peace camp and away from the hawkish policies of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. But political analysts said Labour's shift runs counter to the mood of the Israeli electorate, which has swung to the right amid a surge of gun and suicide attacks during a two-year-old Palestinian uprising for independence. Opinion polls have shown Labour, regardless of its choice of leader, with almost no chance of defeating Sharon and his right-wing Likud party in the January 28 general election. Mitzna, a newcomer to national politics who has vowed not to shave his beard until there is peace, hopes to beat the odds by presenting voters with the clearest choice between doves and hawks since the uprising erupted in 2000. He was elected Labour chief in a landslide victory on Tuesday, winning 54 percent of the vote to 38 percent for incumbent Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, former defence minister in Sharon's unity government which collapsed earlier this month. "We will separate from the Palestinians, either with an agreement or unilaterally," Mitzna, 57, said as Israel's main opposition party cast ballots on Tuesday. "If I am elected, I will evacuate settlements in the Gaza Strip within a year." Seven thousand Jewish settlers live in fortified enclaves in Gaza among more than a million Palestinians. Mitzna reiterated to reporters he would reopen peace talks with Palestinian leaders, with whom Sharon refuses contact and who he wants replaced, to decide the future of the West Bank. Palestinian President Yasser Arafat told reporters on Wednesday Palestinians "were ready to deal with anyone who is elected" and hoped Mitzna would follow up on land-for-peace deals. VIOLENCE DRIVES MOVE TO RIGHT A surge of attacks on Israelis during the Palestinian revolt has left many Israelis pessimistic of peace prospects and squarely behind Sharon's tough military approach. On Wednesday, Israeli troops shot dead a 13-year-old boy in the West Bank city of Tulkarm during protests over the killing on Tuesday of a Palestinian militant and four passers-by, witnesses said. The army said it opened fire on youths throwing petrol bombs. Arafat called the Tulkarm killings a "massacre". In the Gaza Strip, Israeli soldiers killed two militants who had been trying to sneak into a Jewish settlement. The militants' coalition, Popular Resistance Committees, said the army bulldozed a house on top of them as they hid. The army said there was a gun battle. At least 1,674 Palestinians and 640 Israelis have been killed in the Palestinian uprising that began in September 2000. An ailing economy is also high on the agenda in the election campaign, which has compounded uncertainty in the Middle East at a time when the United States is seeking calm so it can try to win Arab support for a possible war against Iraq. HAWKS CONTEST LIKUD LEADERSHIP Political analysts and commentators said that while Mitzna's win marked a clear victory for Labour's left wing, he had little chance of broadening the party's appeal to win the election. "When Labour members rejected Ben-Eliezer and elected the most dovish candidate in the race...they apparently condemned their party to four years of watching from the opposition as a Likud-led government decides the nation's future," columnist Gil Hoffman wrote in the conservative Jerusalem Post. Foreign Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is challenging Sharon for the Likud leadership, said "the real option (for Israeli voters) is not between Likud and Labour but within the Likud". Polls have shown Sharon opening up a commanding lead over the more hawkish Netanyahu for Likud's November 28 leadership primary, and most commentators see the prime minister's victory as all but sewn up. A survey published last Friday in Yedioth said Likud would win 35 seats in the 120-member parliament in the election, up from 19, while Labour would fall to 19 from 25 today. While Mitzna's victory over Ben-Eliezer returned Labour to its roots, he will now have a tough time healing an internal rift caused by its 20-month partnership with Likud. Ben-Eliezer pulled Labour out of the coalition earlier this month in what was widely seen as a manoeuvre aimed at courting the Labour doves to counter Mitzna's growing popularity.

AFP 21 Nov 2002 Israeli army launches operations in Bethlehem after suicide bombing JERUSALEM, Nov 22 (AFP) - The Israeli army early Friday launched operations in the West Bank town of Bethlehem following a suicide attack on a bus in Jerusalem that killed 11 people, an Israeli military source said. "The Israeli army has started various operations within Bethlehem," the source said without giving details of their scale or of any resistance from the Palestinians. Earlier, army radio had quoted high-ranking military officials as saying an offensive on Bethlehem was inevitable as Thursday's bomber was identified as coming from the southern West Bank town. The radio quoted the officials as saying Bethlehem had become a "sanctuary for terrorists" since the military pulled out of the town in August as a part of a deal to test whether the Palestinian Authority would crack down on militant groups.

Jerusalem Post 22 Nov 2002 11 die in Jerusalem bus bombing By ETGAR LEFKOVITS AND MATTHEW GUTMAN A Palestinian suicide bomber boarded a crowded No. 20 Egged bus in Jerusalem's Kiryat Menahem neighborhood during rush hour on Thursday morning and exploded his shrapnel-packed explosive belt, killing 11 people and wounding 48 others. Among the dead were a mother and her son, and a grandmother and her grandson. Four of those killed were children making their way to school. The dead were Hodaya Asraf, 13; Marina Bezersky, 46; Dikla Zino, 20; Sima Novak, 56; Ella Sharshevsky, 44, and her son Michael, 16; Kira Perlman, 67, and her grandson Ilan, eight; Yafit Ravivo, 13; Hadassah (Helena) Ben-David, 32; and Yirga Mersa, 25, a Romanian worker who arrived here five weeks ago. All 11 resided in Ir Ganim, adjacent to Kiryat Menahem. As of Thursday night, 28 victims remained hospitalized, including seven who were listed in serious but stable condition at Hadassah-University Hospital, Ein Kerem. Hamas took credit for the attack, which police said was carried out by Na'el Abu Hilayel, 22, from el-Khader, just south of Bethlehem. Security officials said Hilayel, who was single, had no past security record and was not previously associated with any terrorist organizations. Hours after the 7:15 bombing, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon held an emergency session with senior security officials, including Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, to discuss a response. They reportedly agreed to a "wide and extensive operation" that will include sending troops back to Bethlehem from which soldiers withdrew on August 19, as part of an attempt by former defense minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer to encourage the Palestinian Authority to crack down on terrorism. Jerusalem police chief Cmdr. Mickey Levy said there had been no specific alerts for the city, although there were "a large number" of general intelligence warnings of future attacks. "During the last two years, Jerusalem has always been at the epicenter of terror alerts and attacks," Insp.-Gen. Shlomo Aharonishky told reporters. "The fact that there have been [almost] four months of quiet [in Jerusalem] has nothing to do with the terrorists' intentions. Not for a moment during this time did we think that the war was over." "In the last few months we lived with the hope that things would quiet down," Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert said, "but we didn't fool ourselves that this would last much longer." "The Palestinian Authority is responsible for initiating, planning, and carrying out acts of terror," he said. "Despite the political differences we might have, it is forbidden for us not for a minute, not for a second to blur this unequivocal and undeniable fact." Several of the victims were buried in the evening. Kira and Ilan Perlman were interred at the Har Menuhot Cemetery in Givat Shaul. Kira made aliya with her family from Russia 10 years ago; Ilan was the pride of the family for being the only member born here. Kira was escorting him to school when they were killed. Sima Novak, 56, was also a recent immigrant. She was on her way to work as a housekeeper in Pisgat Ze'ev. She emigrated eight years ago from Ukraine, where she had worked as a chemistry and biology teacher. As soon as Novak's daughter Svetlana heard the ambulances, she began to suspect something terrible had happened. After turning on the TV, she learned of the attack and immediately worried that her mother was one of the victims. "I began calling all the hospitals, and they said that there was no one by [my mother's] name there. So I decided to go the scene of the attack to try to identify mother," she said. A little later a social worker arrived at her house, and they made the rounds of the area hospitals. It was then that Svetlana received the news. She drove to the L. Greenberg Institute for Forensics Medicine at Abu Kabir, where she identified her mother's body. Novak is to be buried today at noon in Har Hamenuhot. Hodaya Asraf, an eighth grader at an arts school, was the first to be buried, in Har Hamenuhot on Thursday afternoon. "Her friends said the last thing she drew were leaves," said a teacher, Chana Ben-Ya'acov, who attended the funeral. "The leaf has fallen." Thursday was to be a day of art workshops at the art school in Katamon. But instead the students constructed memorials. "She particularly loved to sculpt hands using plaster casts. She also loved sports," a classmate said. Others remembered her as infinitely gentle. "She was the kind of girl who would not harm an ant," said her uncle Albert Asraf. "We always though that this section of the city was safe," said Ariel Gino, 18, who lives across the street from the attack site. "Look, they do this in the city center, in shopping malls, but not in your own backyard," said Ronit Tourgeman, whose daughter Zohar, 13, was wounded. In March, a suicide bomber tried to enter a supermarket in the adjacent neighborhood of Kiryat Hayovel. The impact of that attack was lessened by the bravery of the security guard, who prevented the bomber from entering the store, only to be killed with a young shopper. The last successful attack in Jerusalem was on July 31, when an east Jerusalem-based Hamas cell targeted a cafeteria at the Hebrew University campus on Mount Scopus, killing nine, including five Americans. The last bus bombing in Jerusalem was near the Patt intersection on June 18; 19 people were killed. It was the 82nd suicide bombing in more than two years of violence.

Ha'aretz 24 Nov2002 UN refutes IDF claim that gunmen fired from UNRWA compound UNRWA's Jenin project manager Iain John Hook, killed during an exchange of fire between IDF, Palestinians in Jenin Friday. (Photo: AP) A United Nations statement denied Sunday claims made by the IDF that Palestinian gunmen used the UNRWA compound in Jenin refugee camp to fire on troops, during a gunfight Friday, in which Iain Hook, a British UNWRA official, was shot and killed by IDF soldiers. In its initial investigation into the death, the IDF admitted that Hook was mistakenly shot by an IDF soldier, adding that he was shot by accident after emerging from a caravan during the gunfight holding a mobile phone, which was mistaken by the soldier for a grenade. According to the IDF, troops involved in the Jenin operation came under fire from Palestinian gunmen, some of whom were holed up inside the UNRWA compound. Paul McCann, a UN spokesman, said the army's claim that gunmen were inside the compound was wrong. "Our preliminary inquiry does not agree with the statement that firing could have come from the UNRWA compound. It in fact is quite clear from our inquiry so far that this report of firing from the compound is totally incredible," he said. Hook was killed while trying to evacuate staff from the small UN compound, made up of mobile trailers, in the Jenin refugee camp during a prolonged clash between IDF soldiers and Palestinian gunmen, a UN statement said. At the time, IDF troops had surrounded a nearby hide-out of a wanted Islamic Jihad leader, Abdullah Wahsh, demanding that he surrender. Palestinian gunmen fired at the troops, and an exchange of fire erupted, Palestinian witnesses said. Hundreds of Palestinian youngsters threw stones at the soldiers, who returned fire and called in helicopter gunships, the witnesses said. "Several bullets hit the trailer and hit him," UN spokesman Sami Mshasha said. Mshasha added that UN investigators were expected to arrive in Jenin later in the day, and that Hook's body would be taken to Jerusalem for an autopsy in the evening. A UN statement said IDF soldiers refused immediate access for an ambulance to take Hook to the hospital, and that it wasn't known whether the delay caused Hook's death. An army spokeswoman, Capt. Sharon Feingold, said Hook was evacuated as soon as was possible. The Jenin Hospital director, Mohammed Abu Ghali, said the bullets retrieved from the victim's abdomen were of the kind generally used by IDF soldiers. Hook was a senior manager in UNRWA, the UN agency helping Palestinian refugees, and was in charge of a $27 million project to rebuild the Jenin camp, which Israel has targeted frequently in search of militants responsible for attacks against Israelis. Two local Palestinian workers for UNRWA were killed previously, Mshasha said. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan was "greatly disturbed" that the army prevented the ambulance from getting through immediately, spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in New York. Elsewhere in the camp in different shooting incidents, an 11-year-old Palestinian boy was killed and an Irish national wounded.

Al-Ahram 21 - 27 November 2002 Issue No. 613 Alone with the settlers Jonathan Cook visits Yanun, a Palestinian village with much to tell about transfer and the settlers' clout For the past month the tiny village of Yanun, south-east of Nablus, has breathed deeply the air of liberation that has followed its briefly being thrust into the limelight. Children play on the rocky track that winds up from the wide valley below, men sit on low stone walls smoking, while women lean chatting in huddles on the balconies of their homes. The relaxed atmosphere is, all of them are aware, as temporary as it is contrived. A few weeks ago the alleys of this West Bank village were empty, the last families having fled under a relentless campaign of attacks from neighbouring Israeli settlers. Today, the villagers' safety is ensured only by the heavy presence of outsiders. Sharing the lives of Yanun's inhabitants for the last four weeks have been dozens of Israeli peace activists and international solidarity groups. They sleep in the villagers' homes, accompany them to the fields to pick olives, and each night a few sit by a campfire keeping watch. They are not the only visitors. Since Yanun's plight was telegraphed to the world in reports of how the last of the 150 inhabitants had abandoned their homes on 18 October in the face of settler violence, Israeli army jeeps have been making almost continuous sweeps of the olive groves. Friendly young soldiers in battle fatigues check in at regular intervals with the villagers. Fawzi Zbeh, 42, is skeptical of the army's new policy of vigilance. "We have been suffering attacks from the settlers for five years and nothing was ever done about it before," he said. "We reported the incidents to the police but they never investigated. Eventually we stopped even reporting the attacks." He added: "The army is here because of all the international attention. Where were they when we needed them? When everyone forgets us, so will the army and then we will be alone again with the settlers." It is not a prospect any of the inhabitants relishes. They have suffered a catalogue of assaults since the day five years ago when settlers from Itimar, a religious settlement of 400 Israelis, first entered the village and beat Fawzi Zbeh's 85- year-old father, Ahmed, with a stick, blinding him in one eye. On regular Saturdays since they have returned, throwing stones at the villagers and their houses, shooting in the air, blocking access to fields with their tractors, uprooting trees and stealing sheep. Over the past year the intimidation has been stepped up, says 47-year-old quarry worker Najeh Zbeh. Last November, he says, the village chief, Abdul Latif Youssef, was badly injured when a group of 30 settlers came looking for him and beat him with their rifles. A month later they brought in bulldozers to raze 50 dunums (12 acres) of olive trees. And in April they burnt the village's only generator, donated by the United Nations, depriving the inhabitants of both electricity and running water for the past seven months. Spending the long nights in darkness waiting for the next attack was too much for most families. "They started packing up and heading for Aqrabeh," Najer Zbeh said, referring to a much larger Palestinian village, a 15-minute drive away. By the summer's end there were only eight families left. The final straw came on 16 October when the villagers found settlers using their only water source, a small concrete reservoir, to wash their animals. Two days later, village leader Abdul Latif Youssef declared his regret at being forced to leave, the last inhabitant to do so. He piled his battered old car, a black Volkswagen Beetle, high with his family's belongings and set off on the dusty, bumpy road to Aqrabeh. The flight from Yanun coincided with last month's general wave of settler violence in the West Bank against Palestinians harvesting their olive crop. But while peace activists have concentrated their efforts on helping farmers quickly gather in the olives to avoid clashes with armed settlers, the real problem cannot be so easily be solved. Israeli groups are due to quit Yanun soon, leaving the villagers in a potentially worse situation than before their exodus. On October 27, shortly after the first international activists escorted the villagers back to Yanun, settlers from Itimar returned to the area and chased after the group of foreigners. The two oldest members, who were 68 and 74, were caught and badly beaten. After the attack one had a broken arm and the other a perforated lung. Fawzi Zbeh says the settlers also issued a warning to the villagers. "One of them said, 'They [the activists] won't be here for ever. Then we will be back and things will be much worse for you'." Itimar, like many other West Bank settlements, rapidly expanded during the Oslo years. Despite its small number of inhabitants, it has spread huge distances in every direction, taking over hilltops for miles around with small outposts of caravans and watchtowers. Although Yanun is some five kilometres from Itimar's main settlement, outposts were built on the hilltops around the village four years ago, coinciding with the start of the attacks. "They can see us every minute of the day. They know everything we do," said Najeh Zbeh, pointing to one of the watchtowers on a long ridge on the other side of the valley. Settler leaders have defended the attacks on villagers in the area as legitimate self-defence, arguing that the settlements must protect themselves against terror attacks waged by Palestinians. Five inhabitants of Itimar, including three children, were killed by gunmen in June. But no one is suggesting that the villagers of Yanun were involved in that attack, or that they have tried to infiltrate the outposts. The attacks on the inhabitants appear to have a different, and more sinister, motivation. Yanun has almost certainly been picked on because it is the smallest and most isolated of the Palestinian villages in the area. It comprises two small groups of houses, Upper and Lower Yanun, that are separated by a kilometre or so of fields. The rocky track linking them weaves along the exposed valley from Aqrabeh -- under the watchtowers of Itimar's outposts -- until it comes to an abrupt halt at Upper Yanun. The news that the villagers had been forced to flee from homes that have belonged to generations of their families sent a powerful message to the surrounding villages. "Yanun is being made an example of," said Musli Hardil, a 35-year-old bus driver from Aqrabeh. "We are being shown the future. No one knows who will be next, and that is the point. The settlers want to frighten us all away. Then the land will be theirs." It is a view confirmed by peace activists who have lived in Yanun. Two members of Taayush, a leftwing coexistence group comprising Israeli Jews and Arabs, wrote last week in Haaretz that they believe the settlers are systematically trying to drive Palestinians into ever larger population centres -- from small villages to larger ones, and then on to Palestinian cities -- in an attempt to besiege them and take the land for themselves. According to figures released by Peace Now, settlers now control some 45 per cent of the West Bank, even though they live on only a tiny fraction of the territory. The settlers' almost unchallenged power over the Palestinian civilian population has encouraged ever greater settler militancy, particularly from religious youngsters, known familiarly in Israel as the "hilltop youth". For the past few months they have been furiously resisting the half-hearted attempts of the former defence minister, Binyamin Ben Eliezer, to dismantle outposts like those set up by Itimar. At one outpost, Gilad Farm, the youths even hurled stones at soldiers ordered to clear the site. After a series of eviction battles at Gilad, the army allowed the youngsters to remain in the area. As in dozens of earlier cases, the settlers are hoping their intransigence will eventually win them a license from the government for the outpost so that it can become an official settlement. The dismantling of the outposts was not intended to tip the balance in favour of the Palestinians. Ben Eliezer, the leader of the Labour party, staged the operation mainly for the cameras, to publicly distance himself from Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who vocally supports the settlers, before the elections. A recent survey by Peace Now showed that only eight of the 106 outposts had been removed. But the hilltop youth took the operation, and their success in resisting it, at face value. The youngsters' mistaken assumption that they had pushed the government off its chosen course -- that they had defeated the state -- is contributing both to a new inflammatory rhetoric among settler leaders and to a shift in ideology among their followers. The outpost battle has effectively pitted the settlers' vision of Zionism "as a religiously inspired redemption of the land" against the state's largely secular Zionism, seen by most Israelis as project of creating and sustaining a Jewish homeland. Denunciations of the hilltop youth by leftwingers like Meretz leader Yossi Sarid, who called them a band of "Jewish fascists", underestimate the problem. The young settlers have organised themselves into armed militias with little respect for the law and a ready understanding that they will be treated with restraint at all times by the security forces. One settler leader, Moshe Feiglin of the extremist Zo Artzenu movement, has become a spokesman for many of the youngsters and articulates a new ideology based on what he calls a "Jewish dream", as opposed to the traditional "Zionist dream": investing power in an expanded theocratic Jewish state rather than a secular Zionist one. He told an Israeli newspaper recently: "Zionism has exhausted its mission. It was the right thing for its time but now the turn of Judaism has come, not only as a way of life but also at the level of political sovereignty, as a guiding ideology." "This is an inbuilt time bomb and we are in the midst of its explosion," he told another paper. He also offered advice to those like the Palestinians who stand in the way of realising the Jewish dream: "Those who do not accept the authority of a Jewish state have the whole world to go to." It is precisely this message that is worrying not only the villagers of Yanun but Palestinians across the West Bank and Gaza.

Japan (see China)

Xinhuanet 9 Nov 2002 Nanjing massacre memorial to add footprints of witnesses NANJING, Nov. 9 (Xinhuanet) -- A memorial in honor of the 300,000 Chinese massacred here by invading Japanese troops will see the addition of the bronze footprints of 222 witnesses to the tragedy. A spokesperson for the Nanjing Memorial in honor of compatriotsslaughtered in the capital of Jiangsu province, east China, said the footprints will be cast on bronze blocks. The move is designed to caution later generations not to forgethistory, said the spokesperson. The bronze blocks, to form a pavement 40 meters in length and 1.6 meters in width, will be created piece by piece and assembled together on the square adjacent to the memorial. The memorial planners have collected the footprints and signatures of the 222 witnesses. About 300,000 unarmed Chinese civilians and soldiers were slaughtered 65 years ago by the Japanese troops, an event right-wing Japanese have time and again attempted to write off from history.

Reuters 10 Nov 2002 Loophole may allow for ex-Peru leader's extradition LIMA, Peru (Reuters) -- A legal loophole would allow Japan to extradite Peru's former President Alberto Fujimori, who is wanted at home on murder charges, Attorney General Nelly Calderon said in an interview published Sunday. Fujimori, who ruled Peru with an iron fist from 1990 to 2000, fled to his ancestral homeland two years ago at the height of a corruption scandal that felled his government. His Japanese citizenship shields him from any moves to have him hauled home to face charges. The former president denies all charges against him. Peru and Japan do not have an extradition treaty -- and Japan does not as a rule extradite its nationals anyway -- but Calderon told El Comercio newspaper that she had been checking the legislation and had concluded that "extradition is possible." "As the son of Japanese parents born in Peru, he has Japanese and Peruvian citizenship. But Japanese law is very clear in establishing that at the age of 20, a person must decide which nationality to hold. It gives a person until the age of 22 [to decide]," she said. "It also signals that a Japanese citizen who carries out public functions in a foreign country -- in this case Peru -- seriously contradicts the possession of Japanese citizenship," Calderon added. The most serious charges hanging over Fujimori are that he was responsible for the deaths of 25 people in two massacres by an army death squad in the early 1990s. The Cabinet has approved a formal extradition request for Fujimori, but that move has been stalled for five months pending official translation into Japanese. Asked whether Peru planned to seek to exploit this legal loophole in its strategy to try Fujimori, Calderon said, "A team of prosecutors and advisers are looking into it."

Times of India 12 Nov 2002 Japanese team in Nagaland to apologise for war crimes P P SINGH TIMES NEWS NETWORK [ TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 12, 2002 09:29:58 PM ] GUWAHATI: A group of Japanese church leaders have apologised to the Nagas for atrocities committed by their soldiers during World War II in Battle of Kohima. The church leaders are in Kohima leading the delegation of Agape, the charity supported by the Japanese government and business houses, to promote reconciliation between the Japanese people and those who bore the brunt of Japanese army atrocities. "The Nagas suffered because they sided with the Allied forces. So we apologise to them," Keiko Holmes said on phone from Kohima. She said that some Naga church leaders had organised the visit by getting in touch with Agape when they found that the charity was organising "reconciliation trips" to countries whose people suffered Japanese atrocities during the War. On Tuesday, the visiting Agape delegation held a special service at the Commonwealth War Memorial in Kohima. "We prayed for those who suffered and died at the hands of the Japanese," Holmes said. An eighty-year old war veteran, Dovi Khate, formally accepted the apology on the behalf of the Nagas and granted pardon. "My friends were tortured by the Japanese and I was very bitter but now that they have apologised, it is all over," Khate said at the end of the special service at the War Memorial, where nearly 2,000 Allied troops, mostly British, lay buried. Agape has held similar "reconciliation meets" in Thailand, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Australia, the US, Canada and Great Britain. This is their first visit to India. Holmes, who is founder director of Agape and wife of a businessman who had died in a plane crash nearly 20 years ago in Bangladesh, said that she felt the people who suffered atrocities had to be reached out to. She further said that some Japanese War veterans had also accompanied her during her visits to the UK and apologised to the people who were their prisoners of war. She said that they also planned to visit China in April 2002 and South Korea in May on a similar mission. Rev Luoliehu Yimsung, who is leading the four-member delegation said that Holmes was awarded Order of British Empire by the Queen two years ago for bringing people closer and removing the bitterness some still had over the atrocities committed on them.

Jordan

BBC 19 Nov 2002, Jordan's peaceful image shattered Jordanian forces imposed a curfew in Maan By Nicolas Pelham in Maan The time might have come to rewrite the guidebooks to Jordan. "Though surrounded by instability, Jordan is the safest country in the Middle East by quite a long way, and domestic extremism is virtually non-existent," reads a recent introduction to the Hashemite kingdom. But over the past two weeks two major incidents have dented that comfortable image. King Abdullah has enjoyed improved relations with the US On 20 October, a gunman shot dead a US aid official in the first ever killing of a Western official in Jordan. On 9 November, the authorities sent dozens of tanks rolling into the kingdom's desert-town of Maan to suppress the armed disciples of a local militant preacher, Mohammed Shalabi, better known as Abu Sayyaf. In an admission of extremist activity, officials say Mr Shalabi was bent on creating a state within a state, stockpiling rocket-propelled grenades and bomb-making equipment to reinforce his claim to Maan. The Jordanian authorities say the two incidents are not directly related. But they reveal how high the stakes have risen in the Hashemite kingdom as the gap grows between the pro-Western government and many Jordanians whose sympathies are with Iraq. This is taking place against the background of the crisis over weapons inspections in Iraq and US preparations for a war against Saddam Hussein. Anti-US feeling Jordanian opposition groups have charged the government with allowing the United States to use the kingdom as a launch pad for a strike on Baghdad. The government, enjoying increasing aid and trade with the US, has denied the charges but says it will do nothing to damage its relations with Washington. Tensions have risen since the government began hosting US military exercises near the border with Iraq. In an attempt to silence sources of dissent, the government has restricted civil liberties and delayed elections. Now on both sides the verbal spat has turned violent. Hitherto moderate Islamist clerics, meeting within days of the killing of the US aid official, have called for a jihad against US interests in the region. And Jordan's armed forces have mounted their fiercest onslaught inside the kingdom for 30 years, imposing a week-long curfew on the 70,000 people of Maan in a confrontation in which at least four people were killed. Ministers said they were weeding out bandits, bank robbers and brigands who were using using the cloak of religion as a cover. They added that a sweep to collect weapons in Maan will help "boost national security" ahead of the expected US strike against Iraq. But in this part of the world, violence has a tendency to beget violence. Tribal opposition Observers fear that confiscating weapons in a region where carrying guns is viewed as a tribal birthright could make Maan's residents feel that they are being treated as the enemy. "Why are the authorities cancelling gun licences if they believe they have the people's support?" one shopkeeper asked after five days under military rule. Jordanian TV showed pictures of the weapons seized Mohammed Shalabi already appears to have garnered considerable popular support in a town which in 1920 led the way for the installation of the Hashemite dynasty. When government forces moved into the town, his supporters hid on rooftops and exchanged fire with the police. Tribal leaders also refused the army's demand to hand over Shalabi and his supporters, apparently helping them to flee to Jordan's nearby tourist centre at Petra. Not over yet Significantly, there is no sign that the unrest has spread from the Jordanian tribes of the south to the other centre of dissent, the Palestinian refugee camps of the north. But commentators in Jordan say its effects will still be felt nationwide. "The investment ambience we talked about for years flew away with the smoke of the first gun fired in the streets of Maan," wrote Jordanian commentator Musa Keilani, in the semi-official English-language daily, the Jordan Times. Since the killing of the US aid official, hundreds of armed guards have taken up posts in Western residential neighbourhoods, shaking Jordan's claim to be a rare haven of security for foreigners in the region. Cocktail parties seethe with anguish over when to evacuate, how to confuse hostile stalkers by swapping diplomatic car plates for local plates and what to do about the children. With tensions continuing to mount over Iraq, few think Jordan's new bout of violence to has ended.

Background: BBC 31 Jan 2002, Riots rattle Jordan's leaders By Caroline Hawley in Maan The Jordanian authorities are continuing their investigations into riots last week in the southern town of Maan, which were the worst public disturbances in the country in more than three years. A policeman died during the protests which followed the death in custody of a teenager. The government says it has launched two separate inquiries - one into the riots and one into how the 17-year-old, Suleiman Fanatseh, died. But they did that to him because of the pictures of bin Laden and the Palestinians Suleiman Fanatshe's mother Although Maan is very, very quiet at the moment, these were the worst riots here King Abdullah came to power. The authorities say Suleiman was arrested because he was about to commit a robbery and that he died of a kidney complaint. His family has another story. They say he had been associating with an Islamist religious leader and that he was tortured after police found a picture of Osama bin Laden in his pocket, as well as photographs of Palestinians killed during the intifada. Protests "May God hold them to account," Suleiman's grandmother says, as his mother angrily names the three policeman she says stubbed out lighted cigarettes on him and crushed his stomach and kidneys with their boots. "He practised karate and was always healthy before," Suleiman's mother says. "But they did that to him because of the pictures of bin Laden and the Palestinians." The riots were the worst disturbances since King Abdullah came to power The government has denied the teenager was tortured and blamed the riots on professional troublemakers. Whatever the truth, many in Maan believe they were fuelled by poverty. Vegetable sellers hawk their wares in the centre of Maan, one of Jordan's poorest cities, deep in the desert. No coverage There is high unemployment here and low expectations. These men told me the economy had died. Maan has been a centre of unrest before over price rises, and in 1998 there were violent demonstrations in favour of the Iraqi leader, Saddam Hussein. We had to control the situation, we have to contain it, and it's just that - the whole case is not political. Muhammad Adwan, information minister But the latest riots have still rattled the authorities. No pictures of the riots were shown on Jordanian television and foreign crews who filmed the disturbances either had their tapes taken away or were warned not to broadcast them. Days after the riots were over, the police did not want the BBC there either. We were taken to the police station and told we couldn't be here and then we were given a police escort to the edge of town. The government insists it has nothing to hide and says its forces did not fire even though some of the protestors were armed. 'Political significance' Jordan's Information Minister, Muhammad Adwan, says this is a volatile region. "Sometimes you take certain security measures that may seem not appropriate for journalists at the time," he says. "But this is a government decision. We had to control the situation, we have to contain it, and it's just that. The whole case is not political. Perhaps if there is an over-reaction by some citizens or by the police, we are investigating this right now." But human rights activist Labib Kamhawi believes what happened in Maan has wider political significance. "The bottom line is that people are suffering," he says. "This is a general mood of the country. A spill-over is what the government is worried about. And Kamhawi says the government has recently adopted increasingly repressive measures, particularly since 11 September. In May, demonstrations in support of the Palestinians were banned and since the attack on the US, new laws have been adopted that curb press and other freedoms. "We are actually witnessing the beginning of the erosion of the laws that protect human rights," Mr Kamhawi says. "I can be taken to court now and put in jail for talking to you the way I'm talking. I should not tell you that 'yes, there are grievances' because this might be interpreted -- according to new laws -- as being defamation of the government." Jordan has been one of the Arab world's most politically liberal countries. But with the Middle East now in turmoil, its reputation for relative tolerance is wearing thin.

Kazakhstan

Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty Date: 13 Nov 2002 -Chechen displaced persons request refuge in Kazakhstan A group of more than 300 Chechen families currently facing expulsion from Ingushetia have appealed to Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbaev to grant them temporary refuge in that country until the war in Chechnya is ended, chechenpress.com reported. The letter, dated 12 November, explains that Chechens consider Kazakhstan a "second homeland" as their forebears were deported there by Stalin in 1944. It adds that the October hostage taking by Chechens in Moscow has triggered a wave of indiscriminate reprisals against civilians in Chechnya, in which "entire families of totally innocent people disappear." It also says that Chechens are subjected to harassment and arrest elsewhere across the Russian Federation and that Western countries that earlier accepted refugees from Chechnya are no longer willing to do so.

AFP 14 Nov 2002 Chechen request for Kazakh home "unrealistic": official ASTANA, Nov 14 (AFP) - A request by hundreds of Chechen refugees living in Ingushetia to live in the central Asian republic of Kazakhstan is "unrealistic," Kazakh Deputy Interior Minister Ivan Otto said Thursday. Otto was responding to a letter by Chechen refugees in Ingushetia in which they ask that they be allowed to live in Kazakhstan, where they were deported in the 1940s, rather than return to their war-ravaged homeland in southern Russia. "The residents of the tent city in Ingushetia have written to our president with a request to accept them as refugees. We can't allow this. It is not realistic. But at the same time we have to think about it," Otto said. The deputy minister did not absolutely rule out allowing the refugees to enter the country. At present, Chechen refugees are not granted refugee status in Kazakhstan but are allowed to enter the country freely. Some 12,000 Chechen refugees currently live in Kazakhstan, according to Chechen representatives in this ex-Soviet republic. Otto's comments come after Chechen refugees in Ingushetia wrote to Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev denouncing their present situation, in which they said being forced to return to war-torn Chechnya would be "worse than the deportation." The refugees said that they would prefer to live in Kazakhstan "where (Soviet dictator Joseph) Stalin deported our ancestors," rather than be forced back to their homeland where they said they faced "genocide." Kazakhstan's Foreign Minister Kasymzhomart Tokayev, for his part, said that the request had not yet reached the foreign ministry but added that it would have to be discussed. In 1944, almost all the 450,000 inhabitants of what was then designated the Chechen-Ingush region were deported to central Asia within the space of 24 hours on Stalin's orders. They were allowed to return to their homeland after Nikita Khrushchev, Stalin's successor, denounced the dictator's crimes and launched a process of destalinisation in 1956.

AFP 15 Nov 2002 Kazakh president says Chechen refugees are Russia's affair ASTANA, Nov 15 (AFP) - Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev said Friday that the problem of Chechen refugees who have asked for sanctuary in Kazakhstan was a Russian internal affair and should be dealt with by Moscow. Questioned about a written request by 300 Chechen refugee families in the southern Russian republic of Ingushetia, bordering Chechnya, in which they asked him for refuge in Kazakshtan, Nazarbayev said Astana had "not received any official letter." The families said their plight in being forced to return from Igushetia to their homeland in war-torn Chechnya as "worse than deportation," and urged the Kazakh leader to "save our people from genocide." Nazarbayev said the issue was "a Russian internal affair," noting that Russia was "a close neighbour and strategic partner." He added: "If such issues arise, naturally, after consultations, we will resolve them. But I am sure that all this will be resolved within Russia." The request threatens to become a political hot potato for Kazakhstan, which fears aggravating Russia -- a key strategic partner -- and has concerns over an influx of refugees and the spread of Islamic extremism. At the same time, Kazakhstan prides itself on its reputation of maintaining harmony in a multi-ethnic society and would not wish to appear unwelcoming towards the refugees. Some 12,000 Chechen refugees already live in Kazakhstan and Chechen representatives here expect that number to grow following a hostage taking by Chechen rebels at a Moscow theatre last month in which 128 people died. The hostage crisis has sparked a new wave of round-ups in Chechnya and the persecution of Chechens throughout Russia, refugees and Russian human rights activists said Thursday. Hundreds of thousands of Chechens were deported to Kazakhstan on Stalin's orders in 1944, at the height of World War II, for alleged collaboration with Nazi occupation forces. They were allowed to return to their homeland after Nikita Khrushchev, Stalin's successor, denounced the dictator's crimes and launched a process of de-Stalinisation in 1956. Nazarbayev said that some 10,000 people from the Caucasus had migrated to Kazakhstan over the years of war in Chechnya. "I think they live in the hope that peace will be restored to their homeland and they will return to their homes. Let us all hope for this," he added.

Lebanon

Daily Star (Bierut) 15 Nov 2002 EU urges Beirut to sign on for International Criminal Court Greek Ambassador George Gabrialides, conveyed a message to Foreign Minister Mahmoud Hammoud on Thursday on behalf of the European Union calling on Lebanon to join the International Criminal Court. The message came from Danish Foreign Minister Per Spig Moeller, whose country is the current president of the EU. Greece represents Denmark in Beirut. Gabrialides told reporters that the message detailed the EU's support for the court and its establishment. He said Hammoud promised to hand him Lebanon's reply to the request in the near feature and indicated that a large number of Arab states had formally agreed to join the court, including Morocco, Algeria, Egypt, Yemen, the UAE, Kuwait and Syria. He added that those who agreed to join the court would vote on its framework at the beginning of next year. AP 21 Nov 2002 American missionary found dead in south Lebanon SIDON, Lebanon - An American missionary has been shot dead in southern Lebanon, police said Thursday. The body of Bonnie Weatherall was found with three bullets to the head inside a building that houses a chapel and a clinic in the port city of Sidon, police said. Weatherall was found lying in a pool of blood in the building where she worked as a nurse. It was not clear whether the killing was politically motivated. The killing was the first of an American citizen in more than 10 years in Lebanon, which saw many attacks against Americans in the 1980s during the civil war.

Palestine Chronicle 21 Nov 2002 Young American Killed in Lebanon, While Serving Palestinian Refugees SIDON, Lebanon (PC) - On Thursday morning, an American was shot and killed in Sidon, Lebanon. 31 year old Bonnie Penner was an American missionary working in a Christian center that provides medical care to Palestinian refugees. She was shot in the had as she was opening the center on Thursday morning. Palestinian child growing up in a refugee camp in Lebanon The woman was found at the entrance of the center by a co-worker that morning, according to police. It is still undetermined whether this killing was politically motivated. The police are carrying out investigations, but have no suspects yet. The Unity Center’s director, Rev Sami Dagher, said that there were no threats to the clinic before the incident. The clinic provides medical care to a large population of Palestinian refugees. Penner, who was a resident of California is the first American to be killed in Lebanon in more than a decade. A nurse, she and her husband, Garry Whitherall had been working in the center for a year and a half While Penner’s distraught husband refused to speak with reporters, other colleagues praised Penner’s service saying that she died because she loved the people she served, Palestinian refugees in Sidon. - palestinechronicle.com

AFP 22 Nov 2002 American missionary nurse shot dead in Lebanon SIDON — An American nurse at a Christian mission was shot dead yesterday in the southern Lebanese port city of Sidon, apparently the victim of anger over US Middle East policies, police said. “The body of an American woman, a nurse in the clinic of an Evangelical mission, was found in the building of that mission in a southern district of Sidon. She had been shot dead,” a police official said. The US embassy here named the victim as Bonnie Penner, 31, saying she had worked in Sidon for two years. It said she was married to a Briton, Garry Whitherall. It said it and the British embassy were coordinating the investigation of the murder, the first of a US citizen in Lebanon since the end of the country’s 1975- 1990 civil war. An official at the embassy said earlier that embassy security officers had been dispatched to Sidon to follow up on the crime. A police source said the murder did not appear to have a “personal motive,” but probably stemmed instead from anti-Americanism. “This was apparently an act committed by a person filled with anti-American feelings in the generally hostile climate toward the United States, which people here reproach for its desire to carry out a war against Iraq and for supporting Israel,” said the official, on condition of anonymity. No group issued a claim of responsibility for the killing. Sidon, the hometown of Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, is located 25 miles south of Beirut. It is a predominantly Muslim community, whose residents are known for their strong Arab nationalist sentiment. Investigating magistrate Nadim Abdel Malek told journalists at the scene that the motives of the killing were being investigated. Initial reports said the murderer was an armed man who had knocked at the door of the clinic located in the Sidon branch of the Alliance Church. “The victim apparently opened the door to her killer, who immediately fired three shots into her body, because there is no sign of (any other) violence,” a detective said. She was hit once in the face and twice in the chest, according to an AFP correspondent who saw the body before it was transferred to the morgue of a hospital in Sidon. US and British embassy and security officials visited the scene of the crime, said the head of Penner’s church. “They visited the centre, interrogated the personnel and spoke to the police and judicial authorities,” said the Alliance Church’s Pastor Sami Dagher. Daghur called the killing a “horrible crime” and said there had been no threats beforehand. He added one American and one British member of his staff had left Sidon after the slaying. The victim and her husband lived in an apartment in Sidon. She worked in the gynaecological department of the clinic, where she was currently helping with a caseload of 85 impoverished women, a source there said. Her murder is the latest in a string of recent anti-American attacks. The US embassy in Lebanon called on US nationals to watch out for their safety after yesterday’s murder, while the two MPs from Sidon condemned the killing. On November 12, virtually simultaneous explosions hit Pizza Hut and Winners restaurants around Jounieh near Beirut, as well as a Pizza Hut franchise in the northern port of Tripoli. The blasts caused extensive damage to the restaurants and neighbouring shops but no casualties. In May, a security guard was slightly hurt in a blast at a KFC restaurant in Tripoli. Officials said on Tuesday that police were seeking five suspects in last week’s bombings, all residents of Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon. No-one has claimed responsibility for those attacks. They come amid a widely observed boycott of US fast-food outlets in Lebanon called by left-wing and Islamic groups to protest Washington’s policies in the Middle East, but the committee behind the boycott has condemned the bombings. On November 6, the State Department issued a new “Worldwide Caution” to US citizens, saying they “may be targeted for kidnapping or assassination” and warning them to remain vigilant and to exercise caution. The previous week, a US diplomat was shot to death as he left home for work in the Jordanian capital, Amman.

North Korea

AFP 17 Nov 2002 Food crisis worsening in North Korea as fuel shipments suspended BEIJING, Nov 17 (AFP) - Lack of international aid to famine-stricken North Korea is forcing the UN World Food Program (WFP) to cut back food to up to three million starving people, a UN official said Sunday. The serious food shortage was developing as the United States, Japan, South Korea and the European Union decided Friday to suspend badly needed fuel oil shipments to the Stalinist nation as punishment for its alleged nuclear weapons program. "Because of falling food supplies, we've been forced to cut back on the number of our aid recipients since September," Rick Corsino, director of the WFP in Pyongyang, told AFP by telephone. "We are providing aid to some three million less people than we used to," he said. At the height of its food aid program in North Korea, the WFP was supplying food to some 6.4 million needy, mainly children, pregnant women and elderly people, Corsino said. Despite a normal fall harvest, North Korea would still be about 1.1 million tonnes short of the amount of food it needs to feed some 21 million people, he said. The WFP was hoping for at least 100,000 tonnes of food aid for the first quarter of next year in order to maintain its present aid levels and needed some 500,000 tonnes for the entire year. North Korea was also facing another "serious" situation, he said, as the end to fuel oil supplies could have an almost "immediate" impact on some 18 factories that the WFP works with to blend and fortify its food supplies. "There has always been a shortage of electricity here, so this will have an immediate impact on the factories that have produced up to 50,000 tonnes of blended and fortified foods for the needy," he said. An international consortium, known as KEDO, has supplied North Korea with some 500,000 tonnes of fuel oil annually as part of a 1994 deal that required Pyongyang to shut down an aging nuclear power plant and its secretive weapons program. The supplies amount to up to 10 percent of North Korea's total electrical production. The move comes after the United States accused North Korea of violating the pact by reviving its nuclear weapons program. North Korean officials were reported to have admitted this was the case in US-North Korea talks in Pyongyang last month. Pyongyang has countered that Washington itself broke the 1994 deal by threatening it with nuclear weapons and listing the country as part of an "axis of evil" with Iraq and Iran. The Stalinist nation has suffered serious famines since 1995, compounding the near-total collapse of the country's planned economy. According to some western estimates, up to two million people have died of starvation and disease since then. Government figures show 45 percent of North Korean children under five are chronically malnourished and a further four million school-aged children are severely underfed.

Solomon Islands

PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT 9 Nov 2002 -SOLOMON ISLANDS OPPOSITION ATTACKS GOVERNMENT’S APPROACH TO POLICE HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Nov. 9, 2002 – Radio New Zealand International)---The Solomon Islands opposition has described the government’s stance towards the police as hypocrisy. Its leader, Patteson Oti, made the accusation after the police commissioner, Morton Sireheti, resigned, citing government interference. Oti praised Siriheti for revealing the hypocrisy of the government. Oti said it is deceptive and totally dishonest when the government publicly supports the rebuilding of the police force while at the same time meddling in operational and management issues of the force. He also questioned why the prime minister is only interested in one single police constable when there is a current UNDP program being undertaken at the request of the government to demobilize the special constabulary. Oti called on Australia and New Zealand, who have provided financial and technical support for restructuring the police force, to reconsider their position in the light of the police commissioner's resignation. For additional reports from Radio New Zealand International, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio New Zealand International. Pacific Islands Development Program/East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies/University of Hawai‘i

Sri Lanka

BBC 31 October, 2002, Sri Lanka's 'Muslim question' Muslims and Sinhalas clashed in Colombo in late October Analysis By Priyath Liyanage BBC Sinhala Service editor The violence between Sinhalese and Muslim mobs in the Sri Lankan capital on Wednesday was the first of its kind in Colombo for decades. There has always been a perception in certain sections of the Sinhala community, that Muslims are as much a threat as the Tamils The clashes point to the underlying social, political and economic tensions dividing the Muslims from other communities in the country. There are many issues relating to what is often referred to as the "Muslim question" in Sri Lanka. The Muslims have lived as a separate community, although they speak Tamil, and make up about 7% of the population. There has always been a perception in certain sections of the Sinhala community that Muslims are as much a threat as the Tamils. The relationship between the Muslims and the Tamils, too, has been rocky. Threat Muslims have traditionally provided the traders and businessmen in many areas of the country - with the exception of the east and certain areas in the south, and the north-west. Their economic success and prosperity have been seen as a threat by extremist Sinhala groups. Muslims have long felt under pressure Muslims were a powerful force within the mainstream political parties until recently. With the emergence of Tamil militancy, Muslims created a separate political party, the Muslim Congress, which has been playing a crucial king-making role in contemporary Sri Lankan politics. Many Muslims in the east are anxious about the expected outcome of the peace talks between the government and the Tamil Tigers. They feel the east should be considered a separate entity from the north. Following the peace accord between India and Sri Lanka in 1987, the north and the east were merged as a single administrative region. Tamil Tigers claim the whole area as their traditional homeland. Currently, Tamils are the single largest community in the east, but Muslims and Sinhalas together add up to a majority in the area. Throughout the civil war, the Muslims have felt the pressure both from the government and the Tamil rebels. In 1990, over 16,000 Muslim families were evicted from their ancestral homes by the Tamil Tigers. Call to return They were branded as collaborators and kicked out of rebel-controlled areas. Tamil Tigers were also suspected of raiding a mosque in the east and spraying bullets at those inside, killing many innocent Muslims. A curfew was imposed after the Colombo clashes Recently the leader of the Tamil Tigers, Vellupillai Prabhakaran, accepted that grievous harm had been done to the Muslims, and invited them to come back. Thousands of Muslims are still living in refugee camps in the north-west and the east. The government is acutely aware of the sensitivity of the issue surrounding the Muslims and the east. Its working majority has been under threat recently because a group of Muslim MPs, including a cabinet minister, have been boycotting parliament over the past few weeks over of the issue. They want a separate administrative entity for the Muslims prior to a lasting political solution in the north and the east.

AFP 6 Nov 2002 Tigers top guns return to Sri Lanka amid hopes for peace by Amal Jayasinghe COLOMBO, Nov 6 (AFP) - Top Tamil Tiger leaders returned to Sri Lanka Wednesday after notching a key breakthrough in the Norwegian-brokered peace talks in Thailand, officials said. The top military commander of the Tiger rebels, Karuna (eds: one name), and the group's political wing leader, S.P. Thamilselvan, took a military transport helicopter Wednesday to a northern area held by the guerrillas. The duo and three other Tigers returned from Thailand just before midnight (1800 GMT) to Sri Lanka's only international airport -- which only 15 months ago the Tigers had bombed. Their journey via Colombo and taking of a military helicopter was seen by diplomats as a sign of growing confidence between the two sides that are officially still foes. The Tiger members were escorted out of the airport by Norwegian diplomats. They were put up overnight at a hotel near the airport. Karuna and Thamilselvan told journalists travelling with them from Thailand that they were pleased with the second round of peace talks that wrapped up in Thailand Sunday with three crucial agreements. "We went with hope, we are returning with optimism," Karuna said. Karuna will head a rebel team in a panel that will supervise the military de-escalation in the island's embattled regions while Thamilselvan will serve on a panel that will jointly seek international aid to rebuild war-ravaged areas. The most crucial agreement, however, was the establishment of a committee with the top negotiators from the two sides on seeking a final political settlement to the island's three-decade Tamil separatist conflict, which has claimed more than 60,000 lives. The government and rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) are now due to jointly study different models of governing to develop a new system of administration for the ethnically divided island-nation. The breakthrough after four days of talks was seen as potentially strengthening Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's shaky coalition. The government had earlier faced criticism for not persuading the LTTE to take up contentious matters relating to power-sharing in a post-conflict Sri Lanka. The premier and top Tiger negotiator Anton Balasingham will now take up some of those issues when they meet November 25 at a Norwegian-organised meeting of aid donors to underwrite the peace process, diplomats said. The Tigers boosted peace hopes Sunday by announcing they will enter the democratic mainstream and allow rivals to conduct political activities in areas under their control. The first round of formal peace talks held at a Thai naval base six weeks ago also saw an unexpected concession from the Tigers when they dropped their demand for outright independence. The LTTE has been leading a guerrilla war for a separate state called Eelam in the island's northeast where the minority Tamils are concentrated. The Tigers have emerged as one of the most ruthlessly efficient guerrilla outfits in the world with a dedicated band of suicide bombers. They have been outlawed as a terrorist organisation in a number of countries, including the United States, Britain and India. In July last year, the LTTE bombed Colombo airport, destroying four civilian jet liners parked there as well as over a dozen military aircraft parked at the adjoining airbase. Until September 11 last year, the Colombo airport attack was regarded as the deadliest terrorist attack against civil aviation. No civilians were hurt but 12 Tiger suicide bombers and six security personnel were killed.

Deutsche Presse Agentur 7 Nov 2002 Tamil rebels defuse 10,000 mines and bombs in northern Sri Lanka Colombo (dpa) - Tamil rebels defused more than 10,000 mines and bombs collected from areas controlled by them in northern Sri Lanka as a Norwegian backed peace process made steady progress, media reports said Thursday. The mines and bombs collected over the past two months by the Tamil Rehabilitation Organisation (TRO), a front organisation of the rebels involved in handling rehabilitation and resettlement of displaced persons, were defused on Wednesday in Vadamarachchi, 410 kilometres north of the capital, reports said. The organisation members mainly used their bare hands and improvised devices such as rakes to collect the mines and bombs left over during the fighting between government troops and Tamil rebels of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Among those defused were 3,500 land mines, 4,000 anti-personnel mines and 2,000 mortars. A large number of casualties have been caused by mines in the two decade old ethnic conflict. A majority of civilians are prevented from returning to their homes due to the numerous mines. The Sri Lankan government and the rebels are to make a joint appeal to the international community at an aid pledging meeting to be held in Oslo, Norway on November 25. Part of the assistance will be used to clear mines enabling people to resettle. The government and the rebels have made steady progress in the Norwegian backed peace process aimed at ending the conflict through a negotiated political settlement.

14-Nov-2002 ICRC News 02/46 Sri Lanka: A favourable time for humanitarian law On 8 November, for the first time ever, the ICRC and the Foreign Relations and Protocol Office of Sri Lanka's Parliament jointly held a seminar on international humanitarian law for members of parliament. The aim was to raise awareness among Sri Lankan MPs of the vital role they have to play in implementing humanitarian law at national level. Following the agreement reached in February 2002 between the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam on a cessation of hostilities, the government stepped up implementation of the National Framework for Relief, Rehabilitation and Reconciliation, a process aimed at meeting the many challenges of assisting people living in conflict areas. The Framework's objectives are to help strengthen Sri Lanka's capacity to meet the basic needs of people affected by conflict — allowing them to lead productive lives — and to facilitate reconciliation and partnership across ethnic lines. Earlier this year, the Ministry of Policy Development and Implementation issued a comprehensive report that placed the principles of humanitarian law at the centre of the Framework process. The recent seminar was designed to help this process move forward with speed and purpose.

AP 22 Nov 2002 Sri Lanka and United States agree not to surrender each other's citizens for International Criminal Court trial, COLOMBO, Sri Lanka Sri Lanka and the United States signed an agreement Friday not to surrender each other's citizens for trial at the International Criminal Court, a foreign ministry statement said. Sri Lankan foreign minister Tyronne Fernando and U.S. Ambassador Ashley Wills signed the agreement in the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo. "The agreement obliges not to surrender or extradite nationals of either party in the territory of the other to the International Criminal Court unless the express consent is obtained," the statement said. The ICC, the first permanent international tribunal to judge individuals for war crimes, opened in The Hague, the Netherlands, last July. The United States has already signed similar agreements with other 14 nations, John Bolton, undersecretary of state for arms control and international security said in Washington earlier this month. He said such agreements are not aimed at undermining the ICC but only sought an assurance that any American accused of war crimes will be returned to the United States for trial. Friday's statement said the agreement also reaffirms that individuals who commit genocide and war crimes should be brought to justice and stresses there should be investigation and prosecution by national jurisdictions.

Reuters 28 Nov 2002 Sri Lanka govt upbeat on peace after Tiger speech By Lindsay Beck COLOMBO, Nov 28 (Reuters) - Sri Lanka welcomed on Thursday comments from the leader of the Tamil Tigers that the rebels would settle for regional autonomy, raising hopes for a negotiated end to nearly 20 years of separatist conflict. The government's top peace negotiator said the comments from Velupillai Prabhakaran, the leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), marked a "paradigm shift" for the rebels, who wanted a separate state for minority Tamils in the north and east. "They are now shifting from a demand for a separate state to a demand for substantial devolution within one country," cabinet minister G.L. Peiris told a regular news conference. "That is the most important change reflected in the LTTE's response, which is the basis for hope and expectation for a negotiated settlement in the future," he said. The government and Tigers signed a Norwegian-brokered truce in February and have been meeting regularly for direct talks to end the conflict that has killed more than 64,000 people. Peiris played down Prabhakaran's statement that the rebels -- infamous for their disciplined fighting force and ruthless suicide squads -- would pursue secession if their demands for self-rule were not met. "That is a hypothetical situation. We are confident the peace process will not break down. Our positions are not incompatible and there is no reason to anticipate a failure of the peace process," he said. Peiris's views were echoed by a Colombo resident. "I think given the uncertainty of the political establishment in Colombo, Prabhakaran feels the need to have at least a subtle drumming of war," said Mohandas Thangarajah, an executive at a garments company. The government, which has only a slim majority in parliament, faces the thorny question of opposition reaction to a political settlement. A devolution of power to the north and east would need constitutional changes, which require assent of the president, who is elected separately and belongs to a rival political party. "We fail to see (in Prabhakaran's speech) where there is a renunciation of violence and an acceptance of democracy or rights for minorities in the north and east," presidential spokesman Harim Peiris told Reuters. "It is disingenuous to say you're rejecting a separate state then define the key ingredients of a separate state," he said. While the government and Tigers agree a form of regional autonomy will be the basis for negotiations, minister Peiris did not give specifics on the government's vision for such an arrangement. "Our concepts of self-rule do not match," he said. "If they did we would not need to have these discussions." South Africa has offered to host a future round of talks between the government and LTTE, and Peiris said its experience moving from apartheid to democratic rule was a model Sri Lanka could draw on. The two sides meet in Norway's capital Oslo for four days from Monday for a third round of talks.

Europe

Wired 9 Nov 2002 Europeans Outlaw Net Hate Speech By Julia Scheeres The Council of Europe has adopted a measure that would criminalize Internet hate speech, including hyperlinks to pages that contain offensive content. The provision, which was passed by the council's decision-making body (the Committee of Ministers), updates the European Convention on Cybercrime. Specifically, the amendment bans "any written material, any image or any other representation of ideas or theories, which advocates, promotes or incites hatred, discrimination or violence, against any individual or group of individuals, based on race, colour, descent or national or ethnic origin, as well as religion if used as pretext for any of these factors." It also obliquely refers to the Holocaust, outlawing sites that deny, minimize, approve or justify crimes against humanity, particularly those that occurred during World War II. "The emergence of international communication networks like the Internet provide certain persons with modern and powerful means to support racism and xenophobia and enables them to disseminate easily and widely expressions containing such ideas," the council's report on the amendment states. "In order to investigate and prosecute such persons, international cooperation is vital." Many European countries have existing laws outlawing Internet racism, which is generally protected as free speech in the United States. The council cited a report finding that 2,500 out of 4,000 racist sites were created in the United States. Critics say that the measure may push hate groups to set up virtual shop in the United States, pointing to a decision last year by a U.S. judge who ruled that Yahoo did not have to block French citizens' access to online sales of Nazi memorabilia, which are illegal in that country. The judge determined that U.S. websites are only subject to American law. "This could lead to a clash of cultures," said Cedric Laurant, a Belgian lawyer and staff counsel with the Electronic Privacy and Information Center. "What will happen if the French police start asking local U.S. police to give them information about the people running a site?" European countries may decide to censor U.S. content themselves, as Spain has done, suggested Carlos Sánchez Almeida, a cybercrime lawyer located in Barcelona. Spain recently passed legislation authorizing judges to shut down Spanish sites and block access to U.S. Web pages that don't comply with national laws. "If European countries adopt the (anti-racism) amendment of the European Council in their legislatures, they'll also be able to block websites from the U.S.A., despite the First Amendment." Representatives of the 44 European countries on the European Council must decide whether to adopt or reject the measure during the next Parliamentary Assembly session in January. Countries who support the amendment will then need to ratify it in their national legislatures before making it law. www.wired.com

Austria

JTA 11 Nov 2002 Holocaust memorial dedicated in Vienna By Toby Axelrod BERLIN, Nov. 11 (JTA) -- Only a miracle will keep Austria's small Jewish community from shrinking away to nothing, according to the leader of Austrian Jewry. Ariel Muzicant made the grim assessment at the dedication Sunday of a memorial to the tens of thousands of Jews deported by the Nazis from Vienna. The memorial, located at Vienna's City Temple, has the names of 62,400 deportees engraved on black slate. Some 65,000 Jews were deported from the city, but not all their names are known. Vienna also has a Holocaust memorial at Judenplatz. The ceremony marked the anniversary of Kristallnacht, the pogrom of Nov. 9, 1938, when Nazi thugs ransacked Jewish-owned shops and set synagogues ablaze across Germany and Austria. By the time the rampage ended, more than 1,000 synagogues in Germany and Austria had been destroyed. In the following days, several hundred Jews were killed or committed suicide. Muzicant said at Sunday's ceremony that Austria's Jewish community, which now has between 7,000 and 8,000 members, is shrinking. By comparison, Germany's postwar Jewish community has tripled to about 100,000 in the last 10 years, largely as a result of Jewish immigration from the former Soviet Union. While Germany has opened its doors to Jewish immigrants in an attempt to rebuild lost communities, Austria has not done the same. Muzicant, who is up for re-election to his leadership post on Nov. 24, repeatedly has asked the Austrian government to relax its strict immigration laws in order to rebuild the nation's Jewish community. He voiced the hope Sunday that, in the future, not only memorials but also Jewish kindergartens and schools will be dedicated. Among those at the dedication ceremony were the president of the National Assembly, Heinz Fischer, and Vienna's mayor, Michael Haupl. Catholic Bishop Helmut Kratzl and Protestant Bishop Herwig Sturm also were present, as was Avraham Toledo, charge d'affaires of the Israeli Embassy in Vienna. Vienna's chief rabbi, Chaim Eisenberg, called the memorial a symbolic gravesite for all those whose final resting place was not known. In another development, an exhibit about the Nazi deportations from one section of Vienna opened at the Museum of the Landstrasse District. Based on 10 years of research by the museum's director, Karl Hauer, the exhibit depicts the fate of the 13,048 Jews who lived in Landstrasse in 1938. More than 3,700 were deported to concentration camps, while most of the rest were able escape the city. Only 41 of the deportees survived. The names of the deportees are written on the walls of one room, in Hauer's own hand.

Guardian UK 25 Nov 2002 End of the road for far-right Haider Jeevan Vasagar in Klagenfurt, and Jane Burgermeister in Vienna Jörg Haider, the far right Austrian politician who once praised Hitler's employment policies, was fighting for his political survival last night after voters deserted his party in droves. The Freedom party's share of the vote collapsed to below 10% after bitter internal squabbles between Mr Haider and rival leaders. He had also alienated voters with increasingly eccentric behaviour, including a trip to Baghdad to meet Saddam Hussein. European leaders were appalled three years ago when the hardline anti-immigration party won 27% of the vote. But last night's result was the biggest collapse of any political party in Austria's postwar history and came as the conservative Austrian People's party scored a landslide victory. Preliminary results gave 42% of the vote to the People's party which had shifted to the right to attract former Haider voters. Even in the province of Carinthia, a party stronghold where Mr Haider is governor, the Freedom party was pushed into third place. At the party's headquarters in the regional capital, Klagenfurt, spokesman Siegfried Jost said the party was "licking its wounds" and had to work out how to regain voters' lost trust. "This is a heavy blow for Haider," Mr Jost said. "He is in a difficult situation. He has seen his life's work go up in smoke in a very short time. There is no question that Jörg Haider also carries a certain responsibility for this defeat." Mr Haider is not the official leader of the Freedom party, but is still regarded as de facto boss. His party may still play a role in a coalition government but its influence will be massively diminished. The far right's collapse was due partly to vicious internal power struggles between Haider and his rivals. But it was also a consequence of the conservatives stealing their policies. As soon as the election was called, the conservative interior minister, Ernst Strasser, began hounding asylum seekers, forcing refugees deemed to have come from "safe countries", such as Kosovo, to leave government-run camps. Mr Strasser gave charities the responsibility of looking after these refugees but he did not give them any extra funds, creating chaos. Thousands of asylum seekers, including children, were evicted and in some cases forced to sleep rough. But unlike Mr Haider, the People's party has steadfastly condemned the Nazis and made reparations to Jewish wartime slave labourers. Yesterday Mr Haider went climbing in the Alps to evade the media, but at a folk dance in Klagenfurt on Saturday, he told the Guardian that his party had been a victim of its own success. "The People's party have refused to accept our ideas, but later on, they have taken them on. This is our problem." He added: "It is essential that we put some questions on the table, like the immigration question. We need to have a debate on this subject." Asked about his statements lauding the SS and praising Hitler's employment policies, he said: "This is a democracy. It must be possible to make statements on history without being labelled as a Nazi." Carinthia lies on the border of Austria and Slovenia, which is also the frontier between the EU and eastern Europe - for the time being. Mr Haider plays on fears about the border, anxiety over asylum seekers and fears that EU enlargement will spur further immigration. For the ethnic Slovenians, who make up more than 10% of Carinthia's population, that has meant a constant struggle to keep their language on road signs, and to ensure it is taught in schools. Marjan Sturm, the leader of an ethnic Slovenian community group, knows what can happen when ethnic hatred is unleashed. His sister died, aged six, after being experimented on by Nazi doctors in the second world war. She, and his parents, had been deported from their homes in Carinthia because they were Slovenes. "Haider is a racist whose parents were Nazis," Mr Sturm said. "He is a modernised Nazi, and that is more dangerous. "We have the right to have schooling in our own language. The right to have bilingual signs. It's in the constitution. But he is always minimising our rights. "He has created a racist climate in Carinthia, which has led to Slovenes asking whether we should stop speaking our language, just be assimilated, because it is less trouble." Outside a cafe in central Klagenfurt is a picture depicting rightwing Austrian politicians with Hitler hairstyles and moustaches. Mr Haider's face is covered with swastikas. The cafe, a hangout for left-leaning artists and writers, has been threatened with closure by the city authorities for displaying the satirical artwork. Yesterday the cafe owner was preparing to take it down, hoping it would no longer be necessary to remind her fellow Austrians of the evils of fascism.

Azerbaijan

AFP 1 Nov 2002 Caught on the wrong side of the front-line: Armenians in Azerbaijan by Christian Lowe BAKU, Nov 1 (AFP) - Thousands of ethnic Armenians in the former Soviet republic of Azerbaijan are living a twilight existence, too scared to tell anyone their real names, go to the doctor or apply for state benefits. Stranded in Azerbaijan after a war between the two countries in the early 1990s, they are now bearing the brunt of the bitterness and anger Azeri people feel towards their nation. When war broke out between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh in 1989, hundreds of thousands of Armenians, whose forebears had lived peacefully for centuries alongside the Azeris, fled the country fearing reprisals. But many -- 20,000 according to official estimates -- stayed on for various reasons: because they were married to Azeris, because they felt Azerbaijan was their home, or simply because they had nowhere else to go. Over a decade later, the war is long over but the hatred lingers. Armenian citizens only travel to Azerbaijan as part of official delegations sponsored by international organisations, and even then they are given police protection. For the ethnic Armenians who continue to live inside Azerbaijan, their daily life, they say, involves running a gauntlet of insults and discrimination even though most have changed their Armenian-sounding names. Elmira Kurbanova is herself not Armenian but her ex-husband, with whom she had two children, was. She claims that because of persecution by her neighbours she had to leave her home in Sumgait, near the Azeri capital Baku. She is now homeless and her eldest son is in prison for shoplifting. She wants to apply for political asylum in the United States. "I married an Armenian and they will not let me forget that for a hundred years. They will never accept that I am Azeri," she said. "After I separated from my husband I could not find any man to look after my family. I was left completely alone and had to beg for food... I feel like a cuckoo in the nest. Everywhere here I am foreign." Angela Osmanova was born to an Azeri mother and an Armenian father, and is married to an Azeri. She claims she lost her job as a teacher and was beaten up by her neighbours because of her Armenian blood. "All this is linked to my nationality," said Osmanova, who lives with her husband in Baku. "They do not even take into account that I am only half Armenian but they attach that label to me regardless." "I cannot show my passport anywhere because of my nationality. When I was in hospital after I had a miscarriage I had to check myself out after one day because they kept asking me what nationality I was." Such cases are not rare, according to Arzu Abdullayeva, chair of local human rights group the Helsinki Citizens' Assembly. She said she is approached on average by six ethnic Armenians each month seeking her help. But there is another, more tolerant side to the coin. Azerbaijan's President Heidar Aliyev personally intervened on behalf of Osmanova who claimed she was being discriminated against in a property dispute. Abdullayeva said she knew of a young Armenian man with learning difficulties who was taken in and cared for by his Azeri neighbours when his parents died. Officials hint that some ethnic Armenians play the nationality card to get preferential treatment and point to the fact that there are many times more Armenians living in Azerbaijan than vice versa. "There are thousands and thousands of Armenians in Azerbaijan. Not just in Baku but in other regions, who live under their own names," said Idayat Orudzhev, State Adviser on National Minorities. "They work, they receive their pensions, they bring up their children. There are Armenians in old peoples' homes being kept by the government, there are Armenian children living in our orphanages." "They have the same rights as anyone else, they have the same status as all national minorities in Azerbaijan... Azerbaijan is showing its great humanity whereas in Armenia there is not a single Azeri left."

AFP 21 Nov 2002 Armenia, Azerbaijan make 'small step' to resolve Karabakh conflict: reports BAKU, Nov 21 (AFP) - The heads of state of Armenia and Azerbaijan said Thursday they had made "a small step" towards resolving their long-running conflict over the separatist enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh after they met for talks in the Czech capital, Azeri media reported. The two neighbouring countries both claim the mountainous enclave and are locked in a tense military standoff which is fuelling tension in the already volatile south Caucasus region. Armenian President Robert Kocharian and Azerbaijan's President Heidar Aliyev met for 90 minutes on the fringes of the two-day NATO summit in Prague, Azerbaijan's Turan news agency reported. "I cannot say that we reached any concrete result but we made a small step forward," the agency quoted Kocharian as saying. "We have not got the result we want yet but there is movement forward. That is better than standing still," Turan quoted Aliyev as saying. Both heads of state refused to reveal the details of the talks. Nagorno-Karabakh is under de facto Armenian control and its rulers are pressing for it to be recognised as an independent entity, but Azerbaijan insists Nagorno-Karabakh is part of its territory and wants it back. The two sides fought a war in the early 1990's over the territory, leaving some 30,000 people dead and forcing about a million people to flee their homes. Azerbaijan and Armenia have been in negotiations to thrash out a solution to their conflict for more than a decade but each time hopeful signs appeared the talks have led into a blind alley. Both countries are due to hold presidential elections in 2003 and observers said this makes the chances of a breakthrough even more remote as politicians try to win votes by taking a hardline stance on the conlict. "There are difficult times ahead. We must do everything we can to avoid becoming hostages of the election cycle," Turan quoted Kocharian as saying at the close of the Prague talks.

Belgium (see D R Congo)

AFP 26 Nov 2002 SHARON CASE IS SET ASIDE Belgium's highest court has indefinitely shelved an appeal hearing on charges of war crimes against Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of Israel, officials said. Palestinians started legal action in Belgium in June 2001 over Mr. Sharon's reported role in massacres of Palestinians in two Lebanese refugee camps in 1982 when he was defense minister. A lower court rejected the case, but it was to have been heard by the highest court on Wednesday. NYT November 24, 2002 'A Girl From Zanzibar': A Postcolonial Candide By SUZANNE RUTA Why isn't that Iraqi doctor practicing medicine? Why is he running a popular cafe in London's Bayswater district? He must be a political refugee, like most of the characters in this timely, entertaining novel about postcolonial migrants trying to survive in Margaret Thatcher's Britain. The slight time warp adds extra ironies. In mid-1980's London, privatization is still a shocking new tactic. Applied to public housing, it brings windfalls for a few and homelessness for many. AIDS has struck but not yet been identified. The British and the Americans connive with Pakistan's attempts to obtain weapons of mass destruction, the deal financed by a shady international banking network and brokered by a steely Pakistani mercenary whom the Americans invite to train the Nicaraguan contras. He turns them down: he has bigger fish to fry. These alarming events are filtered through the mind of the title character in Roger King's fourth novel, ''A Girl From Zanzibar'' -- a naive, ambitious and beautiful young illegal immigrant. Marcella D'Souza is a wonderful invention, a latter-day Candide, an East African on a picaresque voyage of discovery. Her creator specializes in close-up, intimate views of the global economy: the meetings in overheated rooms where the haves decide the fates of the have-nots. He's been in those rooms. As an agricultural economist, he worked for United Nations agencies in Asia and Africa. These days, he lives and teaches in western Massachusetts. America is not Marcella's land of opportunity; it's where she comes to lie low after her dramatic rise and fall in London. By the time the novel opens, in the late 1990's, she's pushing 40, unmarried, childless, lonely and newly hired to teach multicultural studies at a small college in Vermont. She wonders about her American students. ''How can it be that these privileged children of such a big, rich and confident nation are so fragile and lost?'' The curriculum is mystifying too. The term ''multicultural studies'' makes no sense to her, so she promptly revises the course description, arguing that ''cultures are just the outcomes of people who moved from somewhere else and would move on'' and ''nothing is separate, permanent, fixed or owned.'' Marcella's life, as she looks back on it, is a case in point. Born from the ruins of three major empires -- the Portuguese, the Arab, the British -- she is, as a friend puts it, a ''Goan Indian Portugese Arab African of Catholic Moslem parentage.'' ''You're from everywhere,'' this friend (an earnest British aid worker who serves as the novel's deus ex machina) tells her. She corrects him: ''I'm from nowhere.'' Marcella divides this account of her life into sections: ''Life Before,'' ''In My Life,'' ''After Life.'' She doesn't tell her story in chronological order but meanders artfully from then to now and back again, trying to redeem her past, salvage a future. The layering adds depth to a vivid, precise and fast-paced narrative, told with graceful, at times almost arch, concision. ''Life Before'' is the nowhere of Marcella's native Zanzibar, waiting for her passport to be granted, arguing with her forceful Aunt Stella, a pillar of the local Goan community. Aunt Stella (or Mrs. F, as she's known), a Dickensian eccentric for sure, insists that Goans are ''really Europeans in disguise.'' ''We have European names, some of us have European blood. We've been European for 400 years. We eat beef. We drink alcohol. We ballroom dance. We're European.'' Naughty Marcella disagrees: ''Just because our ancestors were the first to jump into bed with the Portuguese when they arrived in India, doesn't make us European.'' This fine comic passage has a grim subtext, since, when independence came to East Africa, Indians and Arabs by the thousands were expelled or killed. Marcella's own father is said to have perished in the massacre that preceded the union of independent Zanzibar with Tanganyika to form Tanzania. Twenty years later, as she prepares to leave the country, violence is still in the air: ''The degree of delicacy and tentativeness we brought to our social encounters was that of people tiptoeing among light-sleeping lions.'' Marcella makes her getaway at last with the help of a Tanzanian bureaucrat and that well-meaning British aid worker. And the result is a migration from the sorry stagnation of Zanzibar under state socialism to the feeding frenzy of London under rampant capitalism. In Zanzibar, Marcella -- who, like her ancestors, has a head for business -- ran a prosperous ice cream stand. In London, she quickly makes a killing in real estate. She also finds the love of her life, Benji, an Indian from Singapore who recognizes her at once as a kindred spirit. Not only is their skin the same color, they are, as he puts it, ''both godless business Indians with Portuguese names, once displaced and twice removed.'' Benji is a wonderfully conceived character, the classic middleman, always optimistic, always on the run. (''Debt,'' he explains, ''just proves people trust you.'') The only book he owns is his Filofax. He does business out of his car and sleeps in half-built apartments. He has contacts everywhere. But ambition and ego lead him astray. In the end -- the point is belabored a bit -- all the horrors of Zanzibar, from murder to corruption to terrorism, converge on London too. As we have known from the beginning of the novel, Marcella will go from a life of success to a prison cell, and she'll do it in a single day. Her friends and business associates, even Benji, vanish. She serves an eight-year sentence for a crime she did not commit. Marcella is the author's mouthpiece, his stage manager, theorizing, summing up the action, signaling transitions, and at times these extra roles blur her outline. But the minor characters are just themselves, seen whole with tragic clarity. Kamara, a political refugee from Sierra Leone, a committed socialist, gradually becomes embroiled in the petty corruption of the government office that employs him. Monique, a beauty from Mauritius, drifts into a soul-destroying marriage with a a kind of modern slave trader. Even that Iraqi doctor, glimpsed now and then unloading a tray of pastries from his car, suggests a painfully reconstructed life. There is no safe haven, this brilliantly prescient novel suggests, and nothing to hold onto. For better or worse, we are all migrants now. Suzanne Ruta is the author of ''Stalin in the Bronx: And Other Stories.''

Croatia

AFP 17 Nov 2002 Vukovar: Milosevic must pay Related Articles Milosevic trial adjourned Serbians go to polls in hope I worked for peace - Milosevic Milosevic aide surrenders Milosevic's gruesome show and tell Ferdinandovac, Croatia - Eleven years after Vukovar fell into the hands of Serb forces, its wartime commander still vividly remembers the three-month siege of the eastern town and hopes that former Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic, on trial at the UN court in The Hague, will answer for the atrocities committed there. "I live with Vukovar 24 hours a day, it visits me in my dreams. That is not something you can leave behind and go on as nothing happened," said Mile Dedakovic, known as Jastreb (Hawk). The 51-year-old father of six now lives quietly on his farm in the northern village of Ferdinandovac, close to the border with Hungary. In August 1991, at the outbreak of the 1991-95 war between Croatia and secessionist Serbs, Dedakovic was sent by Zagreb to head some 1 800 lightly armed volunteers as the town came under heavy attack from the Belgrade-controlled Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) joined by rebel ethnic Serbs. During the brutal siege some 15 000 civilians, living in their basements, were exposed to constant shelling while the town was razed to the ground. 'Court will find him guilty' Charges against Milosevic in the second phase of his trial in The Hague relating to his role in the 1990s wars in Croatia and Bosnia include torture and killing of 255 Croat and non-Serb patients taken from the Vukovar hospital after Serb forces conquered the town on November 18, 1991. "I feel nothing about his trial and I just expect that the court will find him guilty," Dedakovic said. "I am convinced that all those who violated the international conventions will have to answer for that sooner or later, including Radovan Karadzic, Ratko Mladic and Veselin Sljivancanin," he added. Karadzic, Bosnian Serb wartime leader, and Mladic, his military commander, are wanted by the UN court for war crimes and genocide committed during Bosnia's 1992-95 war. Sljivancanin, one of three JNA officers indicted by the UN court for war crimes in Vukovar, tried to persuade Dedakovic to surrender during the siege. But, Dedakovic would not talk to him since the JNA "actually turned against people who created it and whom it was supposed to defend". 'Immense desire' According to his estimates, published in his book The battle of Vukovar, over 80 000 fighters were operating in Vukovar, including only 18 500 paramilitary Serb forces. Dedakovic said these figures disproved the claims that Croatian Serbs "rebelled and did all that since they were oppressed". "Those were the JNA forces coming from the very heart of Serbia," Dedakovic said listing JNA brigades, participating in the Vukovar siege, which were based in Belgrade and Serbian towns of Nis and Valjevo. As a former JNA pilot Dedakovic knew well how the army functioned. "Realistically they should have conquered Vukovar in five to six days. However, it was a huge machinery based on collectivism and it took them too much time to reach a decision while we were constantly changing our tactics," he said. The morale on the Croatian side was high "because there was this immense desire to create the Croatian state and we were very united in it". Dedakovic stressed that the people of Vukovar were joined by volunteers from all over Croatia but also from France, Spain, Britain and elsewhere. Besieged According to Dedakovic, the battle for Vukovar was crucial to the defence of the whole country as Milosevic launched a military campaign following Zagreb's proclamation of independence from the former Yugoslavia in June 1991. Vukovar tied down JNA military forces for three months, giving Croatia time to arm itself and to raise and train troops. "We have done the impossible by merely sustaining for three months that huge military force, but we could not do a miracle because only God can do that," he said. Dedakovic left Vukovar during the fighting in a vain attempt to get military help for its defence, but could not return to the besieged town. Some 1 100 civilians were killed in Vukovar while 5 000 others were taken prisoner in Serbia. Most of the 1 300 people who are still listed as missing in Croatia were from Vukovar. The once wealthy provincial town on the border with Serbia, was conquered on November 18, 1991, after being virtually razed to the ground by rebel Serbs and the former Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) who besieged it. After the war ended, Vukovar and its region were put under UN administration and reintegrated into Croatia in January 1998. - Sapa-AFP

NYT 22 Nov 2002 Archive may affect verdict on Croat Marlise Simons PARIS Secret archives recently made public in Croatia may lead the war crimes tribunal in The Hague to reduce one of the longest sentences it has so far handed down, the 45-year term of a Croatian general convicted of war crimes. Lawyers for General Tihomir Blaskic, the commander of Croatian forces in Bosnia during the 1992-1995 war, have filed an appeal based on crucial new information they said they discovered in the archives in Zagreb. Among the documents are transcripts of recorded conversations and details of secret command structures the attorneys believe may vindicate their client and exonerate him of some of the gravest crimes. Russell Hayman, a lawyer for Blaskic, said the defense team had sent more than 1,000 pages to the appeals chamber. In a hearing Thursday, the lawyers are requesting that the general's conviction be annulled and that a new trial be ordered. Such a request has never been granted before, but Hayman, an American lawyer, said it might succeed this time. The appeals court has already admitted much of the new evidence, he said. Blaskic was charged with ordering attacks on two dozen towns and villages and with failing to prevent or punish crimes by subordinates. In March 1996, when Blaskic learned of his indictment, he said he had two meetings with senior aides of Franjo Tudjman, then the president of Croatia. According to his defense lawyers, the meetings were taped and they now have copies. They said the general argued that he was not guilty of the atrocities and wanted to prepare his defense. But the aides, among them Croatia's defense minister, pressed him to go immediately to The Hague and assured him that Tudjman himself had guaranteed that witnesses and documents would be sent from Zagreb to show the charges were a mistake. On April 1, 1996, Blaskic gave himself up to the UN war crimes tribunal, saying he wanted to clear his name. His trial lasted two years, but the promised evidence to support him never came. In March 2000, he was sentenced. The judges cited the 1993 massacre at Ahmici in Croatian-controlled Western Bosnia, when more than 100 Muslim civilian were killed.

Cyprus

NYT 12 Nov 2002 U.N. PEACE PLAN The United Nations gave Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders a peace plan aimed at reuniting the island as it prepares to join the European Union by 2004. Diplomats in Athens said it includes territorial trade-offs and a rotation of power. Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish forces invaded its northern third in response to a coup by Greek Cypriots backed by the military junta then ruling Greece. Turkey has warned it could annex the north if Cyprus is admitted to the European Union before the dispute is settled. Anthee Carassava (NYT)

BBC 12 Nov 2002, Analysis: Make or break for Cyprus- Southern Cyprus will join the EU with or without the north By Barnaby Mason BBC diplomatic correspondent The United Nations has put the two squabbling communities in Cyprus up against the wall by presenting them with a detailed peace plan and asking them to reach an outline agreement within a month. The majority Greek Cypriots and minority Turkish Cypriots have been arguing for nearly 30 years about how to re-unite their island in the eastern Mediterranean. Apocalyptic noises have been muted recently, and the warming of relations between Greece and Turkey has encouraged hopes that a solution can be found Turkish troops occupied the northern third in 1974 in response to a Greek Cypriot coup backed by the then military regime in Athens. Now the UN has seized the initiative at a crucial moment. At their summit in Copenhagen starting on 12 December, leaders of the European Union are due to approve the admission of Cyprus along with a group of eastern European states and Malta. The fate of the UN plan will decide whether Cyprus joins the EU as a whole, or divided. Threats Failure would mean in reality that membership would apply only to the southern two thirds of the island under its internationally recognised Greek Cypriot government. The self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, recognised only by Turkey, would remain outside the EU. Turkish Cypriots want a confederation of states In the past, Turkey has threatened to annex the Turkish Cypriot zone if this happens. In response, its ancient rival Greece - already a member of the EU - has threatened to block the whole next stage of enlargement if Cyprus is not admitted. These apocalyptic noises have been muted recently. And the warming of relations between Greece and Turkey over the past few years has encouraged hopes that a solution can be found. The situation is hard to predict, since a party led by former Islamists is about to take power in Ankara. But its public stance is moderate, and the party leader, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has thrown his weight behind the latest effort to re-unify Cyprus. Mr Erdogan said solving the Cyprus issue would not just accelerate the EU process - it would also be a concrete and useful step in overcoming many problems between Turkey and Greece. Differences over Turkey Turkey's influence over the Turkish Cypriots will be essential to any settlement. But in return it will want European leaders to set a date for starting negotiations on its own EU membership. After months of fruitless talks, the UN is trying again to use the looming EU deadline as a catalyst So Cyprus is crucial to Turkey's relations with Europe, and to its political stance in the wider world. The United States is pressing the EU to admit Turkey, already a member of Nato, in order to consolidate its strategic relationship with the West. Turkey will be vital to any military campaign against Iraq. Britain thinks the same way, and both the British and Americans have contributed to the UN Cyprus plan. But many in the EU remain doubtful about Turkish membership - last week former French president Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, who chairs the convention on Europe's future, said Turkey was not a European country. On balance, though, there are various pressures in favour of a Cyprus settlement that the UN is trying to exploit. After months of fruitless talks between the leaders of the Greek and Turkish Cypriots, it is trying again to use the looming EU deadline as a catalyst. Power structure This time, in a change of tactic, the UN has presented its own comprehensive peace plan. It is not quite "take it or leave it", but the idea is that changes should be relatively minor and agreed by both sides. It is not just a list of options. The bulky document covers all aspects of the Cyprus dispute, including territorial adjustment between the two zones, compensation for dispossessed property owners, and security - the intention is that Cyprus will be demilitarised. But as ever the crux of the problem is the structure of government and how the two communities will share power. The Greek Cypriots have insisted on a single state, albeit on a federal model with only a few powers reserved for the centre. The Turkish Cypriots have talked of a confederation of more or less independent states, demanding that the sovereignty of their own entity be recognised first. The UN plan tries to get away from this entrenched language. It avoids the terms federation or confederation. Instead it defines the new Cyprus as an indissoluble partnership, with a common state government and two equal component states. Balancing act The emphasis on equality is designed to appeal to the Turkish Cypriots. On the other hand, the plan says that Cyprus will have a single sovereignty and international legal personality: that is one of the Greek Cypriots' bottom lines. Remembering relatives who vanished after the Turkish invasion of 1974 The Greek Cypriots should also like the provision that the membership of the Presidential Council - in effect a collective head of state - will be proportional to population. They make up more than three-quarters of the population. But they are thought to dislike the proposal for rotating the president and vice-president of the council every 10 months, so that neither community can hold the president's office for more than two consecutive terms. The plan is a delicate balancing act that could easily come crashing down. Both Greek and Turkish Cypriots will have to make painful compromises if agreement is to be reached. The past history of this intractable dispute is discouraging. But the international context now is as promising as it is ever likely to be.

Czech Republic

Radio Prague 24 Oct 2002 Israel Recognises Czech Righteous By Dean Vuletic Listen For the first time since arriving in Prague ten months ago, the Israeli ambassador to the Czech Republic, Arthur Avnon, opened up his residence yesterday to guests. On the invitation list: Holocaust survivors, people who saved Jews during the war, Jewish community leaders, Czech politicians and others. And the occasion: recognising the late Otakar Nesvadba as a "Righteous Among the Nations" - the highest Israeli tribute to non-Jews who saved the lives of Jews during the Second World War. As a portrait of Otakar Nesvadba watched from atop a mantelpiece in the elegant living room of the Israeli ambassador's residence, the ambassador, Mr Arthur Avnon, presented Mr Nesvadba's daughter with a medal issued by Yad Vashem, Israel's Holocaust remembrance authority. On the medal an inscription: "As a sign of thanks and gratitude from the people of Israel." Mr Avnon is himself named after a man who helped his parents during the Second World War. I asked him why it was so important for Israel to publicly recognise the "Righteous": "The State of Israel was born kind of out of the ashes of the Holocaust. It became the refuge for survivors of the Holocaust. The State of Israel is there to assure that the Holocaust will not happen again in the future. So therefore not only remembering - just for the sake of memory - the past, but also learning the lessons for the future. That is very important for the State of Israel. I think that we know how to recognise good deeds made by others, and we would like to do that. When good people risk their lives to save Jews, we want to recognise them." Israel was unable to publicly award these medals to Czechoslovak citizens during part of the communist period, for the two countries did not have diplomatic relations. So how was it done? Mr Avnon again: "It was not done. Czechoslovakia under the communist regime disrupted relations with Israel back in 1967, and we had no representation in this country. So these ceremonies did take place, but unfortunately not for citizens of this country. But now with the reopening of relations about eleven years ago, we are glad that we are able to do this small thing for the people who saved Jews during the war." Otakar Nesvadba is the one hundred and fourth Czech to be recognised as a "Righteous Among the Nations." A political prisoner at the Mathausen concentration camp, he saved the lives of many Jews and non-Jews. One such person was the Jewish prisoner Thomas Luke, who requested that Yad Vashem recognise Mr Nesvadba as a "Righteous Among the Nations." The two met at Mathausen in January 1945, when Mr Luke was just eighteen years old and fatally ill. Nesvadba took care of him, saw to it that he received medical care, and hid him from SS squads that earmarked prisoners for extermination. I asked Mr Luke how he would define the continuing significance of figures such as Otakar Nesvadba: "One sentence: if it weren't for people like Ota Nesvadba, and if it weren't for some of the people who were here, whom I suggested to the ambassador to invite, we would all live in a dictatorship."

NYT 12 Nov 2002 PRAGUE SPRING TREASON CHARGE A former Communist Party leader was charged with treason for his suspected role in cutting off access to radio and television as Soviet troops invaded during the so-called Prague Spring in 1968. Karel Hoffman, 78, who later became head of the Czech Communists, was head of the telecommunications office at the time. He is accused of shutting down radio and television broadcasts before the invasion and of refusing to broadcast a condemnation of it from the reformist government. Ian Fisher (NYT)

MS FORMER CZECH PREMIER REITERATES THAT 'NICE WORDS DO NOT OBLITERATE INJUSTICE' Addressing the Czech-EU Parliamentary Committee in Brussels on 26 November, former Premier Vaclav Klaus reiterated his opposition to EU's recent suggestion that the Czech Republic make a "political gesture" that would relieve the tension over the Benes Decrees, CTK reported. Klaus said that "nice words" introduced in parliamentary resolutions do nothing but "create new fictions" and cannot heal the wounds resulting from World War II and its immediate aftermath. EU Enlargement Commissioner Guenter Verheugen reminded Klaus that by signing the Czech-German 1997 declaration, Klaus himself had actually made such a political gesture.

Denmark

Copenhagen Post 31 Oct 2002 Tension mounts, Chechen arrested By Lewis Demat After Russia escalated diplomatic tension with Denmark Sunday by issuing a strongly worded press release claiming Denmark was in breach of a UN anti-terror resolution, Copenhagen police arrested a high-ranking Chechen early Wednesday morning. The arrested Chechen, Akmed Sakajev, was a delegate to the World Chechen Congress. Russian authorities have claimed that Sakajev was involved in the planning of last week's deadly hostage episode in Moscow, as well as several other terrorist actions between 1996 and 1999. Sakajev is acting vice president of the Chechen opposition government and a close ally of Chechnya's popularly elected president, Asland Maskadov. The strongly-worded press release issued Sunday by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated: 'In reality, the Danish authorities are expressing solidarity with Chechen terrorists, a breach of the UN's anti-terrorist resolution 1373.' Resolution 1373 is the UN's chief weapon against terrorism and was passed in the wake of 11th of September. However, Danish politicians, led by Minister of Justice Lene Espersen (C) rejected the claim. 'I have difficulty seeing what part of this resolution overrules our constitution,' said Ms Espersen. 'Russia may be using language such as terrorists and acts of terrorism, but that has no effect on the constitution and its guarantees of freedom.' Former PM Poul Nyrup Rasmussen (S) said: 'As far as I have been informed, this conference has nothing to do with terrorism or sympathy for terrorists' actions. The UN resolution doesn't state that conferences dealing with the problems of civil minorities throughout the world can't be held.' According to Swedish terrorist expert Magnus Ranstorp, if the Russian Government suspects that individual delegates at the conference have connections to terrorism, then they should present tangible evidence to the Danish Government. 'However, even if certain individuals are linked to terrorist acts, it still isn't sufficient reason to forbid the conference,' says Professor Ranstorp.

Copenhagen Post 31 Oct 2002 Russia: we are not your friends any more The hostage tragedy in Moscow has indirectly created a tense diplomatic crisis between Russia and Denmark. Russian President Vladimar Putin is threatening to cancel his visit to Denmark on 11th November, because the Danish Government failed to cancel the so-called Chechen world congress in Copenhagen on Monday. According to the Russian Government the conference was convened 'as a result of Chechen terrorist' propaganda and with the help of their henchmen abroad.' However, after an emergency meeting of Parliament's Foreign Policy Committee, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Per Stig Møller (K) said that Denmark would not bow to Russian pressure. 'According to the Russians, the conference is nothing more than a declaration of sympathy towards terrorism, but it isn't within my power to forbid a conference that is being held here as a result of private initiatives,' said the Minister. An official declaration from the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Saturday, stated: 'The fact that the Danish authorities permit a conference such as this to take place in Copenhagen can only be perceived as a hostile act towards Russia, as the aims of the conference are to coordinate efforts and increase funding for terrorists and their criminal actions.' Although Per Stig Møller says he has no intention of contacting the arrangers of the conference, he said that they should seriously consider how the conference will be perceived throughout the world in the light of the Moscow hostage tragedy, and he expressed hopes that they would condemn the terrorist action.' http://cphpost.periskop.dk/

Moscow Times 30 Oct 2002. Page 1 Danish Police Put Zakayev in Prison By Yevgenia Borisova Akhmed Zakayev, one of Chechen rebel leader Aslan Maskhadov's closest associates, was arrested Wednesday in Denmark after Moscow accused him of involvement in the theater siege and other "terror attacks." A Danish court decided to hold Zakayev, Maskhadov's foreign emissary and a former brigade general, for two weeks pending an investigation. Moscow sent Denmark an extradition request Wednesday, NTV television reported. Zakayev, 46, is thought to be the No. 4 person in the rebel leadership, after Maskhadov and field commanders Shamil Basayev and Ruslan Gelayev. He was in Copenhagen for a two-day Chechen conference attended by about 100 separatists, human rights activists and lawmakers that ended Tuesday. The conference provoked a sharp protest from the Russian Foreign Ministry, which said it was "organized and financed by Chechen terrorists, their accomplices and their patrons from al-Qaida." The protest caused European Union officials to move a EU-Russia summit in November from Copenhagen to Brussels. "Zakayev is suspected of a series of terror attacks during the period of 1996-99 and is suspected of taking part in the planning of the hostage-taking crisis in Moscow," Danish police said in a statement Wednesday, according to The Associated Press. The police received a request from Russia to arrest Zakayev on Friday but asked for additional information, Interfax reported. They arrested Zakayev at 3 a.m. Wednesday, TVS television reported. Prosecutors have been seeking Zakayev's arrest since late last year in connection to an investigation of armed rebellion in Chechnya, said Robert Adelkhanyan, a top official in the Prosecutor General's Office. Zakayev is wanted on charges of participating in a rebellion, organizing armed formations and attempts to take the lives of law enforcement officers, he said. Russia had asked Interpol to help detain Zakayev, and the request was passed over to European countries earlier this year, an Interpol official told Interfax. In a two-hour hearing that was closed to the public, a Danish court on Wednesday ordered Zakayev jailed until Nov. 12 so he could not attempt to flee. Defense attorney Ervin Birk Nielsen said he had not decided whether to appeal, the AP reported. Some politicians praised the arrest and demanded immediate extradition. "It would make sense not to stop at this, but to arrest all the others who took part in that get-together," Akhmad Kadyrov, the head of the pro-Moscow Chechen administration, told Interfax. Zakayev is "one of the coordinators of international terrorism" and almost certainly "has direct contacts with [Osama] bin Laden," said Akhmar Zavgayev, a member of the Federation Council. However, Ruslan Khasbulatov, a former Russian parliament speaker and a participant at the Chechen conference, stood by Zakayev in an interview with Ekho Moskvy radio. "I don't believe he took part in any of these kinds of acts," he said. "This is ridiculous. I have no doubt that they will release him." State Duma Deputy Aslanbek Aslakhanov said he thought the Danes would refuse to extradite Zakayev. "I am absolutely certain that the links between Zakayev and Chechen terrorists that were provided by the Russians are exaggerated and there will be no extradition," he was quoted by Interfax as saying. Federation Council Speaker Sergei Mironov disagreed. "There are probably enough grounds in those documents for Mr. Zakayev's extradition to Russia, and after an investigation he will probably be punished for various terrorist attacks that have taken place in Russia over the years," he told Interfax. Denmark and Russia have no extradition treaty, but Danish officials said it would still be possible to extradite Zakayev under other agreements. "We are in a situation where in certain circumstances he can be extradited to Russia," Danish Justice Minister Lene Espersen said. He added that Denmark would need guarantees that he will not face the death penalty. Russia imposed a moratorium on the death penalty in 1996 to gain entry into the Council of Europe. Zakayev, who studied to be an actor, was once a rising talent in a Grozny drama theater. He took the post of culture minister in Chechen President Dzhokhar Dudayev's government shortly before the start of the 1994-96 Chechnya conflict. He made his way up the ranks of the Chechen government by fighting. He retired as a brigade general, one of the highest military ranks. He was appointed head of the Security Council in Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev's government just after the first war and, when Maskhadov was elected in 1997, worked as his adviser and later deputy prime minister. He retired from the military after suffering a serious leg injury in fall 1999. In recent years he has lived abroad. He met briefly last year with Kremlin envoy Viktor Kazantsev at Sheremetyevo Airport in Russia's only attempt at peace talks during the ongoing Chechnya military campaign. Shamil Beno, a former foreign minister in Dudayev's government, said Zakayev is among those who contributed to the current chaos in Chechnya. "They basically let the situation get out of control," he said. "Their incompetence did not allow them to manage the country. Zakayev once said that 70 percent of the population 'appeared to be traitors.'" Although Maskhadov shares a government with rebel field commanders like Basayev -- whom Movsar Barayev, the leader of the hostage-takers, said was his commanding officer -- that does not mean he agrees with their tactics, Beno said. "For example, even though the Interior Ministry and Defense Ministry in Chechnya work together, they do not necessarily agree on everything," he said. "I had a checkpoint near my home in Chechnya that was controlled by the OMON. It was very lucrative and collected a lot of money from passing cars. The army badly wanted to get it under its control. Once they attacked it with a helicopter and completely destroyed it. "There are plenty of these kind of contradictions in Chechnya," including Maskhadov and Basayev's relationship, he said. "Maskhadov needs Basayev to control the army," he said. "They have an alliance. But they belong to different groupings with different targets." Reacting to the theater attack, Zakayev said he condemns "any acts of terrorism." Maskhadov distanced himself from the hostage-taking, but only after it was over. Beno said Wednesday's arrest might cost Moscow a chance to find a political resolution in Chechnya. "I don't like Maskhadov," Beno said. "He is a war criminal. But he is not involved in terrorism and neither is Zakayev. "By rejecting Zakayev, the authorities are effectively blocking the opportunity to find a compromise over Chechnya. By rejecting peaceful negotiations, the authorities reject a whole segment of the Chechen population who believe that Maskhadov is their only lawfully elected president.

Moscow Times 6 Nov 2002. Page 3 Zakayev Dossier Handed to Danes By Oliver Bullough Reuters Maxim Marmur / AP Espersen leaving the meeting at the Justice Ministry in Moscow on Tuesday. Russia handed Denmark new evidence on Tuesday against Akhmed Zakayev, a prominent Chechen separatist detained days after the Moscow theater siege, and pressed its demand for his extradition, Danish Justice Minister Lene Espersen said. Denmark, at Russia's request, detained Zakayev, a spokesman for fugitive rebel leader Aslan Maskhadov, only days after the end of the 58-hour siege, while he was attending a Chechen conference in Copenhagen. "I had a meeting with the general prosecutor ... and we got a very fat piece of paper," Espersen said in English, holding her thumb and forefinger apart to indicate a thick dossier. Russia was elated by the detention of Zakayev. But Denmark has said it needs more evidence before it could extradite him, and Espersen said Denmark had set a deadline of Nov. 30 for Russia to provide it. She could not say whether the new dossier was enough. "I haven't had time to study this yet, but it will be handed over to the relevant authorities and they will look through it first thing when I get back," she said in Moscow outside a meeting of Russian and European Union justice ministers. Separately, Espersen said by telephone that Russia had promised to present further evidence if Denmark sought it. "They're very keen to get Zakayev extradited and told us they will do their utmost to send any material regarding the case," she said. Zakayev condemned the theater siege, in which 120 hostages died, and said the Chechen guerrillas who seized the building belonged to a splinter group outside Maskhadov's control. Moscow dismissed his comments and accused him of armed rebellion, organization of illegal groups and attempts to kill law-and-order officials. In Ingushetia, to the west of Chechnya, Chechen refugees, crowded into tent camps, said on Tuesday that Zakayev should not be judged as a criminal. "He is not a terrorist, he is simply a guerrilla who fought with the enemy when they came to his homeland," refugee Umar Bukhigov said at a protest demanding the withdrawal of Russian troops circling four of the tent camps where tens of thousands of refugees live. Hundreds of protesters held photographs of relatives who have disappeared in house-to-house searches in Chechnya.

NYT 13 Nov 2002 COURT KEEPS CHECHEN IN DETENTION A court ruled that a senior Chechen envoy arrested in Copenhagen last month should remain in detention for two more weeks while the Justice Ministry considers Russia's request to extradite him. Russian prosecutors gave a dossier to their Danish counterparts last week that they said justified the extradition of Akhmed Zakayev, charged by Russia with armed insurrection and other crimes from 1996 to 1999. Mr. Zakayev, a senior aide to the ousted Chechen president, Alsan Maskhadov, addressed the court about the case, "including his well-known viewpoint that it is utterly political," one of his lawyers, Tyge Trier, said in a telephone interview. Steven Lee Myers (NYT)

Reuters 22 Nov 2002 Iraqi defector insists he was ordered to gas Kurds By Khaled Yacoub Oweis, LONDON - The most senior Iraqi defector alive, who is facing a possible war crimes case in Denmark over the gassing of Kurds, said yesterday that he was horrified by the chemical attacks but had been powerless to stop them. General Nizar al-Khazraji, who was chief of staff of the Iraqi Army when Kurds in northern Iraq were subjected to genocide in 1988, said he could not have resigned because that would have put his life in danger. ''The concept of resignation does not exist in Saddam's Iraq,'' Khazraji said by telephone from Soro, west of Copenhagen. ''My family would have been also killed if I tried to step down.'' Iraqi military operations to crush a Kurdish rebellion killed up to 200,000 Kurdish civilians in 1988. The genocide, which the Kurds call al-Anfal, included razing thousands of villages, depopulation, and bombing Kurdish areas, such as Halabja, with chemical weapons. ''Ask British and US military intelligence, and they will tell you about Iraqi command structure: Saddam alone ordered Anfal, and Ali Chemical executed it,'' said Khazraji, referring to Ali Hasan al-Majid, who is President Saddam Hussein's son. Khazraji fled to Jordan and four years later applied for political asylum in Denmark. An independent group of Kurds has been trying to bring a war crimes case against Khazraji. Local news reports said Khazraji had been placed under house arrest, but an official said he had only been denied permission to travel and was required to inform the police of his movements. The two Iraqi Kurdish parties that have controlled an enclave in northern Iraq since the end of the 1991 Gulf War also supported the general. ''We have not been given any proof that he took part in any gassing operation against the Kurds,'' said a spokesman for the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. A Kurdistan Democratic Party official said in a telephone interview from northern Iraq: ''We have not seen sufficient evidence to implicate him. We believe the real perpetrators of those crimes are still outside the law.'' This story ran on page A35 of the Boston Globe on 11/22/2002.

Tehran Times 24 Nov 2002 General Put Under House Arrest for Nerve Gas Attacks on Iran TEHRAN TIMES POLITICAL DESK TEHRAN -- Saddam Hussein's former chief of staff, who directed the country's army at a time when it was using nerve gas to terrorize the Kurds and lay waste to the Iranian Army, was placed under house arrest in Denmark yesterday. Under General Nizar al-Khazraji's command, the Iraqi Armed Forces gassed to death thousands of Kurdish men, women and children in the town of Halabja in 1988. An estimated 5,000 civilians died. In the course of the six-month campaign of extermination, known as Anfal, hundreds of thousands of Kurds fled into exile; tens of thousands more were killed in a campaign of genocide that peaked that year. General Al-Khazraji is the highest-ranking military officer to have defected from Iraq, but his attempts to gain political asylum in Europe have been thwarted by Kurdish exile groups. "I have been without a passport and I do need to travel," General Al-Khazraji, 64, said in Soroe, 60 miles from Copenhagen, where he has been living since 1999. "I want to travel to see my friends and my colleagues abroad and I want to attend meetings and conferences, but I am unable to move because I am restricted." General Al-Khazraji was part of President Saddam's inner circle of military commanders when as many as 80,000 Iraqi Kurdish refugees were forced to flee the Badinan area into the Turkish borderlands. The Iraqi Army razed thousands of villages and dropped chemical weapons on civilians to terrorize them into fleeing over the mountains. The Halabja and Badinan episodes are counted as the first documented instances of a government employing chemical weapons against its own civilian population. The main Iraqi troops involved in the Anfal campaign were the army and air force, commanded by General Al-Khazraji. He was fired in 1990 by President Saddam two years after the war with Iran ended. He then became a military advisor to President Saddam, but was critical of the 1990 invasion of Kuwait. He fled Baghdad in 1995 with his family, going first to Jordan and then to Europe. General Al-Khazraji was put under house arrest after saying he wanted to leave Denmark for Saudi Arabia. "He said that he wanted to travel out of Denmark as soon as possible," said Brigitte Vestberg, a prosecutor who is investigating his involvement in crimes against humanity and violation of the Geneva Convention on protection of civilians during war. General Al-Khazraji is now restricted to his apartment and must regularly report to the police. Al-Khazraji also stands accused of ordering the use of chemical weapons during the Iraq-Iran war. The Iraqi Army turned the tide of the war with Iran by using sarin nerve gas and mustard gas to instill panic into the army and population. In 1986 Iraq was formally accused by the UN of using banned chemical weapons which caused more than 10,000 casualties. Despite being turned down for asylum, General Al-Khazraji was granted leave to remain in Denmark on the basis that he could face execution in Iraq.

WP 25 Nov 2002 A Would-Be Iraqi Leader, Caught by His Past Ex-Army Chief Finds Revolt Plans Stalled by War Crimes Charges in Denmark By Glenn Frankel Page A01 SOROE, Denmark -- In a simple two-bedroom apartment set in an anonymous block of flats in a small town in Denmark, the general waits. Once he was the most senior officer of Saddam Hussein's army, with a row of ribbons across his chest, a million Iraqi soldiers under his command, and the respect and admiration of a nation. Then he fell out with the Iraqi leader and fled abroad -- lured, he said, by promises from the CIA of support to lead the grand revolt that would topple the dictator and restore Iraq to greatness. He would be Iraq's Charles de Gaulle. Nizar Khazraji, 64, says he is ready to play the role that his entire life has prepared him for, that the time is ripe now that Washington and the world are applying new pressure on the faltering government. But he is going nowhere. For the general has a past, and a pursuer. He faces allegations that he played a role in the Anfal, the brutal campaign against Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq in which Hussein's forces slaughtered more than 100,000 civilians, razed hundreds of villages and sprayed poison gas. He has been released on his own recognizance but ordered to remain in Denmark. He says he is innocent, the victim of false accusations by Hussein's agents and by rivals in the fractious and fratricidal world of Iraqi opposition groups, and of a right-of-center Danish government that is determined to show it is not soft on immigrants in general and an accused war criminal in particular. To his pursuer, none of this matters. Special prosecutor Birgitte Vestberg said she doesn't much care that the general is a pivotal figure in the Iraqi opposition, nor is she impressed by his claim that he was about to leave Denmark to launch an insurrection against Hussein when she charged him last week with the wholesale murder of civilians and other war crimes. Her response to his complaints is: "How sad," delivered without even a hint of a smile. She has no interest in his potential role as leader of a new Iraq, nor does she mind if she has upset geopolitical strategies hatched in Washington, London or Riyadh. Her sole task is to determine whether the general has committed crimes he must answer for and to bring him to justice if he has. It could take a year, she said, or it could take longer. Sitting in his small living room with the dining table jammed against a wall so that people can walk through, the highest-ranking general ever to flee Iraq impatiently tore open another pack of Marlboros, leaned back and pondered his unexpected fate. "I need to be in Iraq," he said. "Instead, I'm in a cage." A National Hero By birth and training, Khazraji is a professional soldier. His father was a brigadier, his uncle an army chief of staff. He studied at the Iraqi military college, served in the armored corps, special forces and engineers, and vaulted up the ranks. In 1971, he was military attache in Moscow, and there he met Hussein for the first time. The future president was 34 years old at the time and vice president of the ruling Baath Party. Khazraji's uncle had been condemned to death after the 1968 coup that brought the Baath Party to power. Khazraji pleaded for his uncle's life. Hussein promised the sentence would be commuted -- and it was. From then on, a wary relationship was established. Khazraji said that at first he admired Hussein, who declared he would build a modern Arab state. But in the years that followed, as torture and mass executions became commonplace, he came to understand the man's ruthlessness. During the Iran-Iraq war, Khazraji served as commander of the First Corps in northern Iraq, in the country's Kurdish region. In July 1987, a low point in the Iraqi war effort, Hussein appointed him army chief of staff. Khazraji said he found a demoralized armed forces. He restructured the army and launched a new offensive. Within months the tide had turned and Iran sought a cease-fire. Khazraji became a national hero. Still, he said, Hussein retained personal control of most military sectors, leaving Khazraji in charge only of the regular army, and kept him in the dark. Then on Aug. 2, 1990, the Republican Guard, under Hussein's authority, invaded neighboring Kuwait. "I was called to the general command headquarters along with the minister of defense and I was informed," he recalled. "It was like being struck by lightning. I had never dreamed that Saddam would invade another Arab country. And this was a message in capital letters that this man didn't trust me anymore." Khazraji said that within weeks he wrote two strategic reviews predicting disaster unless Iraq withdrew. On Sept. 18, Hussein summoned him to a meeting and demanded that he read aloud from his report. But Hussein, his face reddening, quickly interrupted him. "He told me, 'Why don't you just spit it out and say you don't want to fight this war?' I was shocked. I told him, 'What I've written is only part of the truth -- the rest is even darker than I've stated.' " Two days later, he was relieved of his post. He believes that only his popularity saved him from execution. Five months later, as the United States and its allies evicted Iraqi forces from Kuwait, he was summoned back to active duty and dispatched to Nasariya in southern Iraq to help organize a defense against a possible U.S. invasion. Instead, he faced an uprising from the region's Shiite Muslims, who included some of his own soldiers. The local governor and Baath Party leader were slaughtered by a rebel mob, and Khazraji was shot four times in the stomach. It took him seven months to recover. After that, he said, he lived under virtual house arrest in Baghdad, seldom venturing out of his family compound for fear of arrest or assassination. In 1996, he accepted what he said was an invitation by exiled dissidents connected to the CIA to leave Iraq and join the external opposition. He fled Iraq with his family through the Kurdish zones. He settled in Amman, Jordan, where he soon met with CIA representatives. He said they wanted him to join the Iraqi National Accord, one of many competing opposition groups. When he refused, he said, the Americans cut off contact. "I made it very clear that I had left Iraq to work for the Iraqi army and people and not to be part of any movement outside the country," Khazraji recalled. "It seems they didn't like this tone." David L. Mack, a former senior U.S. diplomat and now vice president of the Middle East Institute in Washington who has been working with Iraqi opposition figures, said U.S. officials were disappointed in Khazraji. "It was clear he enjoyed a lot of respect inside the country, especially within the army," Mack said. "But he handled himself poorly in the interviews. The relationship was not continued." Jordan was not a safe place from which to plot the overthrow of the dictator next-door. Eventually, the general and his family headed for Scandinavia. Denmark, he assumed, would be a safe haven. War Crimes Charges Pieces of shelving and picture frames lay stacked in the corridor outside Birgitte Vestberg's new office on the third floor of a nondescript government building in central Copenhagen. She was appointed to the newly created post of chief prosecutor for special international crimes last June. Top on her list, she said, is Nizar Khazraji. He, his wife and his younger son Muhammad arrived at Copenhagen airport in July 1999 and applied for political asylum. While waiting for a ruling, they were given public housing and welfare benefits in the small town of Soroe, 45 miles southwest of Copenhagen. There, Khazraji was reportedly recognized by a Kurdish refugee who complained to the authorities that Denmark was harboring a war criminal. The state immigration service denied Khazraji asylum because of the accusation, but allowed him to remain in Denmark, ruling that he would be endangered if forced to return to Iraq. His file was turned over to the security police for investigation, where it apparently sat inactive for more than a year. Then Politiken, a Copenhagen daily newspaper, got wind. In September 2001 it revealed he was living in Denmark. The report proved embarrassing for the country's left-of-center government, which was locked in a tough parliamentary election campaign and was under attack for its welcoming immigration policy. Khazraji's legal status soon became a campaign issue, and helped lead to the government's defeat in November 2001. TV camera crews descended on his modest apartment house, interviewing his neighbors and customers at the local supermarket where he shopped. The tabloids dubbed him "The Poison General." The accusations center on Khazraji's alleged role before and during the Anfal campaign. The operation began in 1987 as Iraqi forces rounded up thousands of Kurdish civilians and handed them over to the secret police and bulldozed hundreds of villages. A mustard and nerve gas attack on the town of Halabja in March 1988 killed between 3,000 and 5,000 civilians. Human Rights Watch, the international rights organization, has uncovered several memos and orders that seem to implicate Khazraji during his time as First Corps commander. The first, dated May 14, 1987, states that "the Commander of the First Army Corps issued an order as requested by Comrade Ali Hassan Majeed to execute the wounded civilians after the Party Organization [has] confirmed their hostility toward the authorities." Another, dated June 3 and labeled "Top Secret and Personal," issued by the Northern Bureau Command of the Baath Party and sent to nine departments, including the First Corps command, states: "Within their jurisdiction, the armed forces must kill any human being or animal present within these areas." A third, dated June 20, calls for First Corps to execute, after interrogation, all persons between the ages 15 and 70 captured in prohibited villages. Khazraji said he never saw any of these orders and that he played no role in the Anfal or the Halabja massacre. In an interview and in a municipal court hearing last week, he said Hussein had placed total authority for dealing with the Kurds with Majeed, the president's cousin and a senior Baath Party official known as "Chemical Ali" for his use of chemical weapons. Occasionally, he said, Hussein ordered the army to provide troops to Majeed, but those units functioned under Majeed's sole command. "These were internal security operations," he said. "The army had nothing to do with it and the Kurds themselves know it." Khazraji has submitted to the court letters from the mainstream Kurdish opposition parties exonerating him. "We strongly believe that these attempts to undermine the reputation of Gen. Khazraji play into the hands of Saddam Hussein's regime to discourage other Iraqi officials from defecting and joining the Iraqi democratic opposition," wrote Dilshad Miran, head of the Kurdish Democratic Party's international relations bureau. All of the documents are part of a growing file in Vestberg's new offices, along with the 100 witness statements she and her investigators have compiled. There is much more work to do, she said. There are about 2.4 million documents seized from northern Iraq in storage in Boulder, Colo., under the control of the State Department. She needs to view some of the originals to build her case. A Skeptical Prosecutor Like Khazraji, Vestberg, who is 60, is a professional. She spent 19 years as one of Denmark's six regional prosecutors for serious crimes. She goes by the book. If Khazraji or the soldiers under his command participated in acts that violated the Geneva Conventions, she will prosecute him. He will not be able, she avers, to claim that he had no knowledge of his men's actions or that he was forced to follow orders. "It's very easy," she said. The rules established for prosecuting war crimes in Yugoslavia, Rwanda and during World War II, and all the literature on command responsibility make it clear: "It's no excuse to say you were following an order." Overall, she seems unimpressed by Khazraji's story. "The general did manage to flee from Iraq when he saw fit," she said, "so he might have done so at an earlier stage." Last week, the general was ready to leave again. His wife and son were due to travel to Saudi Arabia on Wednesday. Khazraji had planned to follow soon after. He had applied to the police for a one-way travel document. He said he was planning to journey to Iraq's Kurdish north, link up with fellow former officers, then launch an insurrection. There were suggestions that the Saudis were prepared to back him, but the general declined to comment. He fears that a U.S. military invasion would destroy what's left of Iraq's infrastructure and inflict further suffering on an already battered population. But he said there are hundreds of Iraqi soldiers in exile and thousands more inside the country who are prepared to follow him in overthrowing Hussein. "If we manage to gain control of one army unit -- it doesn't have to be a big one -- they will be backed up by the people and it's going to snowball. No one will be able to stop it." A police raid last Tuesday ended those plans. The authorities took away Khazraji's files and his hard drive. That afternoon he was summoned to municipal court for a six-hour hearing, accused of murder and other war crimes, and ordered to remain in Denmark pending further investigation. Darkness fell; the hearing dragged on into the night. As it wound down around 10 p.m., Khazraji sat slumped in his chair, shaking his head in disappointment. Time was passing. Who knows when the Americans will launch their invasion? "This is a terrible mistake," he said. "These people don't understand what they're doing, and what kind of message they're sending to the Iraqi people." The prosecutor folded a loose-leaf notebook and returned it to a large white file box with a dozen others. By the next morning she would be back at her desk in Copenhagen, pursuing the general.

Estonia

Reuters 24 July 2002 Estonia split over Nazi monument Vahur Lauri in Tallinn Wednesday July 24, 2002 The Guardian An organisation representing Estonian soldiers who supported Hitler during the second world war said yesterday that it would unveil a monument next week to honour them, reviving painful memories of Estonia's past. The prime minister, Siim Kallas, condemned the move, which reflects Estonia's struggle to come to terms with its tragic experience during the 1940s, when the tiny Baltic state was invaded by Germany and the Soviet Union. Supporters of the monument - featuring a man in an Estonian Waffen SS uniform - say that it is meant to pay tribute to the soldiers' fight to stop Stalin's tyranny by taking up arms with the Nazis on the Russian front. An inscription says it is dedicated "to all Estonian servicemen who died in the second war for the liberation of the fatherland and a free Europe in 1940-1945". The prime minister said that it could tarnish the country's image as it seeks EU and Nato membership this year. "It is regrettable that a monument with such text and strong expression emerged," Mr Kallas told a press conference yesterday. "It will certainly cause a lot of trouble in Estonia and abroad. I don't think government members should attend the opening of this monument." Estonia hopes that Nato's November summit in Prague will bring an invitation for the country to become a member. It is also working to complete EU entry talks by December so that it can join around 2004. The municipal government of Parnu, the site of the monument, is expected to meet this week to consider whether to ban it. An SS insignia had originally been etched into the soldier's helmet, but was subsequently removed. The Nazis occupied Estonia in 1941 after driving out the Soviets, who had invaded the Baltic states the year before in a brutal occupation during which tens of thousands were executed or shipped to Siberian camps. Many in Estonia and neighbouring Latvia and Lithuania welcomed Germans as liberators and were shocked when the Nazis began their own repression and slaughter of Jews. But Nazi hunters say some local people also helped carry out atrocities. Earlier this month the Simon Wiesenthal Centre sent a list of alleged war criminals to Estonian authorities, asking for assistance in tracking them down. The Estonian security police announced yesterday they had found no evidence that the 16 men, former members of a Nazi police battalion, attacked Jews. "The security police have also found that none of the 16 people listed is in Estonia at present," the police said in a statement. When the Soviets began pushing back the Germans, many Estonians volunteered to fight with the Nazis to prevent a second communist occupation. Others were conscripted. Jewish groups and several western governments, including the United States, have urged Estonian officials to investigate Nazi crimes more aggressively and to try any living suspects. "Of course Europeans will not understand us," said Leo Tammiksaar, a history enthusiast and private initiator of the monument. "We made this monument for our soldiers and not for Brussels."

France

AP 6 NOv 2002 Encyclopedia Ordered to Ax Passage Wednesday November 6, 2002 11:30 PM PARIS (AP) - A French court on Thursday ordered the publisher of France's leading reference book to remove from its next edition a passage that raises questions about the number of people killed in the Holocaust. The ruling came after publisher Robert Laffont failed to heed an earlier order in 2001 to remove the passage from the Encyclopedies Quid by 2003. The reference guide is updated each year. In a section on World War II extermination camps, the book says that the official number of deaths at Auschwitz-Birkenau was 1.2 million. However, it adds that ``other figures have circulated,'' and cites one by a revisionist historian, Robert Faurisson, who claims that 150,000 people died at the camp, of which 100,000 were Jews. Five French Jewish groups argued the passage violates a French law against publishing revisionist theories. They demanded that Quid publishers retract the 300,000 copies of its 2003 edition, which had already been sent to stores. Judge Marie-Therese Feydau refused to grant the request but ordered the publishers to remove the offensive passage from its 2004 edition as well as from its Internet site. Publishers were also ordered to send a correction notice to all bookstores where Quid is sold and to insert the correction in the 100,000 copies still being printed. They were also ordered to publish the correction in three daily newspapers and two weeklies. ``We are satisfied,'' said Patrick Klugman, president of the Union of Jewish Students of France. ``'Never again' must not be an expression said in vain. The duty to remember must begin with those who manufacture knowledge.'' The Quid is widely consulted, not just by researchers but also by ordinary French. The book's publisher said it had no immediate comment.

Germany

Forward (New York) 8 Nov 2002 LETTER FROM BINSWANGEN A Bavarian Shul Reborn, Without Jews By LIBBY GARLAND The synagogue in the German town of Binswangen would be difficult to miss. It stands smack in the middle of this tiny, red-roofed Bavarian village, its tall white gables cutting an anomalous shape against the sky. I am here on this sunny day because my German friend Volker Gläser, a cameraman, is working on a film about the "Old Synagogue," as it is known, and has invited me along. The synagogue was built between 1836 and 1837. Of interest to architectural and art historians as Germany's oldest surviving example of that era's sudden trend toward showy Moorish synagogue design, it is beautiful even to my layperson's eye. Watching the filming, I see the lovely, empty room appear on the monitor: the women's gallery with its latticed railing, the elegant pillars lining the room on both sides, the light coming through the horseshoe-shaped windows, the delicate pale blue walls, the graceful chandeliers. Trashed during Kristallnacht, the nationwide pogroms of November 9, 1938 — all but one of the marauders, the story goes, were out-of-town Nazis — the synagogue was painstakingly, expensively restored in the mid-1990s. Not, however, because anyone wanted to use it as a place of worship. When the synagogue was built, over a third of Binswangen's approximately 1,000 inhabitants were Jews, but there are no Jews in Binswangen anymore. The last three were deported to Theresienstadt in 1942. It is a group of locals, from Binswangen and the surrounding villages, who raised the 3 million Deutschmarks — approximately $1.5 million — for the restoration. It is this group — the Friends of the Binswangen Synagogue — that has helped turn the Old Synagogue into a modest cultural center. In addition to arranging tours, they sponsor art exhibits, lectures and concerts here that reflect Jewish themes. Two years ago, they invited Augsburg-based director Chistoph Gött to make a short film about the synagogue, something that could be shown to visitors to teach them about the place. The Binswangen synagogue is an apt metaphor for the curious way Jewish culture and history in post-Holocaust Germany can be both omnipresent and glaringly absent at the same time, a void at the core of Germany's national self-understanding. This is changing. The last decade's influx of over 30,000 Soviet Jewish immigrants to Germany has made this the world's fastest growing Jewish community, and larger cities like Berlin and Frankfurt, and even smaller ones like Augsburg, have a good deal of real, live Jewish culture. There are still plenty of Germans these days, however, particularly in small rural places like Binswangen, who have little or no occasion to interact with Jews. The recent history of the Binswangen synagogue, then, has more to do with non-Jews' relationship to this empty Jewish space in their midst than it does with Jews themselves. The villagers' active attention to the synagogue's Jewish history is a fairly recent turn of events. During the war, the building housed grain and soldiers; afterwards it served as a commercial storage facility for coal and construction materials. But Josef Reissler, who grew up in Binswangen before the war and served as its mayor during the 1970s and 1980s, found the synagogue's dilapidated state shameful. When Anton Dietrich, the head of the county government, heard Reissler pleading the building's cause in a 1985 television interview, he was impressed. In 1987, the county acquired the synagogue in a bankruptcy auction. Through the combined efforts of Dietrich, Reissler and the others who formed the Friends of the Synagogue group — 43 people showed up at the first meeting — the money for the renovation was raised from state and private sources. The film is similarly financed by donations. It is meant, Gött tells me, to teach not only about the synagogue itself, but also about the long, tumultuous history of Jewish life in the region, a see-saw of settlements and expulsions, tolerance and persecution. The year 1813 proved to be a turning point: A royal edict limited Jews' rights to settle where they chose, but also granted them permission to enter trades previously forbidden to them. The Binswangen Jews who built the synagogue were a socially and economically upwardly mobile group, confident enough to want a big, unusual-looking building in the middle of town — with the bureaucratic blessing of the appropriate authorities — and prosperous enough to afford it. The synagogue, then, is a monument to the 19th-century heyday of Jewish Binswangen. By World War I, when a number of Jews here served in the Kaiser's army, Jews made up less than 10% of the village's population; many had left for larger German cities after the ban on Jewish settlement was lifted, or for America. In 1933, when Hitler came to power, there were only 36 Jews left in Binswangen. Inside the synagogue, the film crew works silently and intensely, striving to get a perfect shot of the blue stained-glass Star of David over the synagogue door. I wonder, as I watch them, whether this place — Binswangen in general and the synagogue in particular — is in any sense still a Jewish place, and whether that matters. Is this synagogue these days just a museum, a movie set? I feel uncomfortable, as I often have in the presence of non-Jewish Germans engaging with Jewish culture. It seems too much like a séance, a longing for contact with something, someone long gone. At the same time, though, I am moved by this collective desire to fix what was destroyed, and to document it. It seems particularly noteworthy given recent heated debates about what the alarming reports of attacks on Jewish people, cemeteries and synagogues around Europe portend. In Germany, people are still talking about the political firestorm prominent politician Jürgen Mölleman caused last spring when he welcomed into his Free Democratic Party Jamal Karsli, the legislator ousted from the Greens after remarks about Israel's "Nazi tactics" and the "Zionist lobby." How dangerous is antisemitism in Europe right now? How best to measure this? How, if at all, to factor in remote, slow-moving stories like that of the Binswangen synagogue? I go outside and sit on the synagogue steps a while. I can smell cows. Staring back at me from a niche in the yellow wall of the house next door is a small statue I think is Jesus, though it might be a saint. From inside come the sounds of the crew lugging metal camera equipment, and of German. "That is very beautiful," I hear my friend Volker say, about some image of the synagogue captured on his camera.

DPA 10 Nov 2002 German ceremonies mark 64th anniversary of Kristallnacht By DPA Berlin - German politicians and representatives of the Jewish community warned against the rise of anti-Semitism in ceremonies over the weekend to commemorate the 64th anniversary of the pogrom against the Jews known as Kristallnacht. In a ceremony Saturday evening in Berlin, Alexander Brenner, chairman of the Jewish community in the city, said "the demon of anti-Semitism had again risen its head" in Germany. Similar ceremonies were taking place Sunday. Only this week in Bochum a memorial near the former synagogue in the city was sprayed with anti-Semitic slogans, and similar incidents are reported throughout the country regularly. The events of November 9 and 10, 1938, which has come to be called Kristallnacht, or "the Night of Broken Glass", was the first intimation of the coming Holocaust. Mobs led by Nazi brownshirts roamed through Jewish neighbourhoods breaking windows of businesses and homes and burning synagogues. More than 1,000 synagogues were destroyed, 91 people killed and more than 30,000 Jews arrested and sent to concentration camps. Coinciding with the anniversary, students of architecture at the Technical University of Darmstadt have opened an internet archive on the synagogues destroyed by the Nazis. The internet page offers a virtual three-dimensional tour of 14 of the synagogues destroyed on Kristallnacht. There is information covering some 2,000 synagogues including the time of the attacks on them and extent of damage caused. The inter-active archive can be used by visitors to provide additional information such as eye-witness accounts, commentaries and pictures. The webpage address is: www.synagogen.info.

AP 12 Nov 2002 Berlin Jews Mark Pogrom Anniversary BERLIN (AP) — Warning against resurgent anti-Semitism, Berlin's Jewish community marked the 64th anniversary Saturday of the destruction of synagogues and Jewish businesses across Germany in the 1938 Kristallnacht pogrom, seen as a precursor to the Holocaust. Several hundred people, among them German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer and Israeli ambassador Shimon Stein, gathered at the city's main Jewish community center, which stands on the site of a synagogue destroyed Nov. 9, 1938. ``After that night, no one in Germany could say they knew nothing,'' said Ralph Giordano, a German Jewish essayist who was 15 at the time and later barely escaped being sent to the Auschwitz death camp. ``It was a dress rehearsal.'' By the time the Kristallnacht, or Night of Broken Glass, rampage ended on Nov. 10, more than 1,000 synagogues had been destroyed. In the following days, several hundred people were killed or committed suicide. Wreaths were laid outside the Jewish community center, where a plaque bears the names of camps and ghettos where more than 6 million Jews died at the hands of the Nazis. ``We must do everything to ensure that, in this city, in this country, such a disaster never happens again,'' Jewish community leader Alexander Brenner said, adding that ``Jewish people in Germany are having to make the painful discovery that anti-Semitism is rearing its ugly head again.'' A surge in hate crimes in 2000 prompted the German government to launch a crackdown on right-wing extremism — including an application to outlaw the far-right National Democratic Party, which officials blamed for encouraging that increase. In Vienna, Austria, a memorial to the 65,000 Austrian Jews who perished in the Holocaust was unveiled in the city's central synagogue on Saturday. Vienna's head rabbi, Paul Chaim Eisenberg, described the memorial as a ``symbolic grave'' for Austria's Jewish Holocaust victims. ``One-third of Austria's Jews were murdered, and most of them never had a grave or a gravestone,'' he said. Dozens of people, including President Thomas Klestil, gathered under the sky-blue, star-studded domed ceiling of the synagogue to inaugurate the memorial, which bears the names of the Austrian victims.

NYT 19 Nov 2002 ANTI-SEMITIC JEERS PROMPT INVESTIGATION Berlin's government has opened a criminal investigation into anti-Semitic disruptions at a ceremony in the Spandau suburb, where a local street was being renamed Jüdenstrasse (Jews Street). On Nov. 1, protesters interrupted a Jewish speaker at the ceremony by shouting "Jews out" and "Jews are to blame for everything." The police rejected complaints that officers on duty had failed to take steps against the hecklers and said they had only heard boos and whistles, not any anti-Jewish slogans. Victor Homola (NYT)

Guardian UK 18 Nov 2002 Soviet PoWs to sue Germany John Hooper A Berlin lawyer will today bring a suit against the German government that could end up costing it up to £300m. Stefan Taschjian is seeking compensation on behalf of two Armenian veterans of the Red Army who were held as prisoners by the Germans during the second world war. But the case could open the way for payments to be made to as many as 60,000 surviving former Soviet prisoners of war. Mr Taschjian's petition argues that their suffering was at least as great as those of slave labourers who were offered compensation in a deal concluded two years ago. It quotes a Russian historian as saying that the death rate among Germany's 3.3 million Soviet PoWs was 57%, compared with only 5% among prisoners from the forces of the other anti-Axis powers. The law which gave effect to the slave labourers' settlement offered payments to former prisoners of war only if they had been put into concentration camps. But the suit claims that this provision is at odds with the stated basis of the law, which is that victims of the Third Reich have a right to be compensated if they were singled out on grounds of race or ideology. The petition cites guidelines issued to the German army in 1941: "The Bolshevik soldiers have lost all right to be treated as honourable combatants under the terms of the Geneva convention." Soviet prisoners were used for medical experiments and to test the effects of Zyklon B, the agent used in the Nazi gas chambers. In a deposition appended to the writ, Professor Pavel Polian, a member of the Russian Academy of Science, writes: "In the winter of 1941-42, the Dulags [staging camps] and Stalags [detention camps] for the Soviet prisoners of war - were genuine extermination camps - Even cannibalism was not an exceptional occurrence." The case has been brought on behalf of two men aged 79 and 82, who are demanding 15,000 marks (£5,000) - the compensation agreed for slave labourers. Mr Taschjian says a further 1,500 Armenians, the oldest of whom is 105, are watching the outcome.

Scotsman 22 Nov 2002 Was Winston Churchill a war criminal? German victims cry out against Allied bombing Paul Gallagher HE WAS the inspirational wartime leader who once said: "History will be kind to me, for I intend to write it." But while Winston Churchill’s stock has arguably never been higher in the English-speaking world, the legacy of the former Prime Minister has finally been called into question in the nation he vanquished in the Second World War. A new book by the historian Jorg Friedrich has provoked claims in Germany that Churchill should be named in the court of history as a war criminal for deliberately ordering the massacre of civilians in their homes. Friedrich’s study of the Allied bombing offensive between 1940 and 1945 suggests that Churchill had decided deliberately to target civilians even before Adolf Hitler sent the Luftwaffe into the skies over Europe. The book also claims that as many as 635,000 civilians died in German cities such as Dresden, Hamburg and Cologne during the strategy of "area-bombing" carried out by RAF Bomber Command under Churchill’s orders. Rather than accepting the strategy as a necessary evil for the Allies as they attempted to force out the Nazi regime, Friedrich’s argument is that the German civilians who suffered have not been given the recognition they deserve. It is the first time such views have been so publicly debated in Germany since the defeat of Hitler and they were stridently espoused this week in the country’s mass-circulation tabloid Bild, which is serialising the book. It has awakened a feeling among Germans that they can now discuss being victims in the conflict, even though it was a war started by their own country. Friedrich defended his work yesterday, saying it was time for Britain to face up to the truth about its wartime history. He asked: "Do you want to live in a nation which doesn’t know its own past? "You have to look into the face of the past. Then you can ask if it was a heroic one or a tragic one or perhaps a criminal one, or if it included necessary evils in a tragic time. You have to look into this face even if it has a Medusa face, and in the British case the Medusa’s face is the bombing campaigns." Friedrich accused British historians of closing their minds to what took place after the RAF bombs left the aircraft flying over Germany during the war. "You have to look at what happened on the ground. This is a new contribution to the discussion, the depth of the suffering which happened on the ground," he added. The RAF bombing of German cities began in retaliation for Hitler’s 1940 attacks on London but was expanded because of the failure of Bomber Command to pinpoint Nazi airfields and installations during raids. It was estimated that only one in five bombs was landing within five miles of its intended target. For Churchill’s military chiefs, "area bombing" - aiming for a target like a city which was so large it could not be missed - was the only method available to inflict damage on Hitler’s regime. Dr Paul Addison, a Churchill historian based at the University of Edinburgh, said it was not the case that British historians had ignored the moral dimension of the strategic bombing campaign. He pointed out that many academics - such as John Keegan, who said Britain had "descended to the enemy’s level" - had been sharply critical of the policy and refused to brush over its impact. Even during the war, there was public opposition to the policy from the Bishop of Chichester and there have been numerous iconoclastic historians who have used the bombing strategy to rubbish Churchill’s reputation. "There are those who say it is simply wrong to kill civilians during war but others say there is a more complex moral dilemma," Dr Addison said. "Of course, the killing of civilians is evil but if that prevents a greater evil, then it could be justified. "The question is, how far did bombing contribute to victory, and military historians generally agree that it was a very important part of the defeat of Nazi Germany." Dr Addison said Churchill was acutely aware of the moral questions raised by the bombing of Germany. He is said to have thrown his hands up in horror and asked aloud, "Are we beasts?" after seeing footage of the destruction of Dresden. In the final weeks of the war, Churchill wrote in a memo to his Chiefs of Staff: "It seems to me that the moment has come when the question of bombing of German cities simply for the sake of increasing the terror, though under other pretexts, should be reviewed ... the destruction of Dresden remains a serious query against the conduct of Allied bombing." Friedrich’s book, The Fire: Germany Under Bombardment 1940-45 claims to be the most authoritative account of the impact of the bombing campaign. The historian said that it was the Allies, as much as Hitler, who were responsible for "abolishing the principles and traditions which protected civilians from war since the Christian knights". The 1939-45 war leaders should all be judged using the same standards, he added. As victors, the Allies had largely not been forced to ask whether their actions were justified because they had won. "Germany, with the horrors of the Holocaust and the Russian campaign, cannot in any way be self-righteous about this, but we should engage in a common fight for the truth," Friedrich added. The account comes at a time when Churchill’s reputation in Britain and the US is higher than it has ever been since his death in 1965. Both US President George Bush and the former mayor of New York, Rudolph Giuliani, borrowed from his speeches after 11 September and cited him as an inspiration in a time of crisis. President Bush keeps a bust of Churchill in the Oval Office and during a visit to London last year, he asked to be taken to the cabinet war rooms where the Prime Minister led Britain during the Blitz. The US secretary of defence, Donald Rumsfeld, also drew parallels between Churchill’s "lone voice" against Hitler in the 1930s and the current American warnings about the danger posed by Saddam Hussein and his weapons of mass destruction. In his home country, Churchill is among the favourites to win the poll in the BBC programme Great Britons and a film about his life and work will be presented in the series tonight by Mo Mowlam. A survey published yesterday found that Churchill was the clear favourite to appear on the back of a £100 note, if one is ever introduced in England and Wales. In Scotland, where a £100 note already exists, 27 per cent said they would like to see Churchill on a £200 note. The claims in Friedrich’s book are unlikely to damage Churchill’s standing in Britain but Dr Addison said there was a danger that they could be taken up by Neo-Nazis as part of attempts to revise history and play down the role of Hitler. "It probably is true that we have not looked too closely at the German civilians who suffered," he added. "There is an argument that towards the end of the war the bombing was being done in an almost mechanical way but there is a danger that people can forget that this was part of the wider context of the war. "I believe it is a healthy development that historians in Germany now feel able to examine what happened on the ground during the Second World War and discuss the suffering of ordinary people. But I am wary of this being taken up by the Neo-Nazi movement to suggest that Churchill was just as bad as Hitler, which is not the case." Britain saw just cause in attacks IT IS estimated that at least 500,000 German civilians were killed during the Allied bombing raids of the Second World War. Jorg Friedrich puts the figure at 635,000 dead. In comparison, there were 1,236 people killed during the 41 bombing raids on Coventry, the city which suffered the most in Britain under Nazi attacks between 1940-42. About 60,000 civilians were killed in Britain by German air raids. During the war, more bombs by weight were dropped on the city of Berlin than were released on the whole of Great Britain in the blitz. Indiscriminate bombing of civilians was explicitly outlawed under the 1922 Washington Treaty and the targeting of non-combatants was also prohibited under the Geneva Convention. But after Hitler’s Luftwaffe bombed Rotterdam and Warsaw in the early stages of the war and his aircraft conducted the first bombing raid over London in August 1940, it was felt justified in Britain that the Nazis should "reap the whirlwind" they had sown. Industrial cities such as Cologne and Hamburg endured the greatest bombardment, but by the summer of 1944, bombing raids on cities were scaled down as Allied ground forces fought with the German army to regain invaded territories in Europe. In the final months of the war there was an escalation of the bombing as the Allied generals decided it was better to continue rather than risk soldiers’ lives while wiping out the remnants of the Nazi resistance. RAF aircraft had already destroyed nearly all industrial centres and so it switched to towns with little military importance, such as the medieval towns of Wurzburg and Pforzheim. In Dresden and Leipzig, the bombers were told to "cause confusion in the evacuation from the east", which resulted in tens of thousands of civilian refugees being targeted. As the historian Max Hastings wrote: "Those air forces were allowed to continue to do things which it must be said in cold blood were a moral blemish, a moral blot perhaps on the conduct of the Allies."

Greece

RFE/RL 20 Nov 2002 Greece: Minority Languages, Plea For More Recognition (Part 1) By Breffni O'Rourke Greece is being urged to grant more recognition to its minority languages -- Vlach, Macedonian, Albanian, Turkish, and a version of Bulgarian called Pomak. At present, only Turkish is recognized. Now the European Bureau for Lesser-Used Languages (EBLUL) has undertaken an initiative designed to highlight the plight of these neglected minorities. In this first of a two-part series on language issues in the Balkans and East Europe, RFE/RL reports on the situation in Greece. Prague, 26 November 2002 (RFE/RL) -- Greece, the cradle of European culture, appears less than sympathetic to its own minority languages. Among the country's minority cultures with their tongues and dialects other than Greek, only one -- Turkish -- is fully recognized by the Athens government, and then only because the Turks are categorized as a religious minority. The other languages, although largely ignored by Athens, reflect the rich history of the region through the millennia. For instance Vlach, or Aromanian, spoken by several tens of thousands of people, is an echo of Imperial Rome. It is found in northern Greece, along what used to be in ancient times the road linking Rome and Constantinople. The marching legions, as they disappeared into history, left behind them settlers and the language now known as Vlach, a Latin tongue similar to Romanian. The other minority languages in Greece are Macedonian, an Albanian Tosk dialect called Arvanitika, and what's called Pomak, a version of Bulgarian used by a Muslim minority. Johan Haeggman is an official with EBLUL, the Brussels-based European Bureau for Lesser-Used Languages, a nongovernment organization working on behalf of the European Union's minority-language speakers. He explained the difficulties faced by those in Greece who use unrecognized languages like Vlach. "They have no rights whatsoever. They have no education in their language, no schools, no media in their language, they can't use it in administration." According to EBLUL, the Greek authorities are apparently unaware of the number of citizens who speak minority languages. The last census in which minority-language speakers were counted separately was in 1951. Looking to focus attention on the plight of these neglected languages, EBLUL recently held its first conference in Greece. The gathering, held in the northern city of Thessaloniki, was organized by EBLUL's recently formed Greek chapter. A score of journalists were among those attending, and it's hoped they will help inform the Greek public about a subject rarely dealt with in the national media. "We hope, of course, that this will give a more positive picture of minority languages and lesser-used languages, and that they will not be seen a threat. Our message is that lesser-used languages are a richness; and we are not going against any language. We think that these languages should be taught alongside Greek," Haeggman said. EBLUL President Bojan Brezigar said that, "putting it politely," Greece has not reached the level of its European Union partners in recognizing linguistic diversity. He said that the situation regarding the Macedonian minority, for instance, is "terrible." "The situation we found was worse than we were expecting, because specifically in some areas where the Macedonian language is spoken, that language is not allowed at all in public. I'm not talking about only the official use of the language in public -- also the public use of the language by private individuals." Brezigar said in one area he visited, even the singing of Macedonian songs is prohibited -- a severe restriction he calls a kind of "linguistic genocide." He said he understands that for historical reasons linked to chronic instability in the Balkans, Greece has not been willing to see the fragmentation of its national fabric. But now, he said, it is time to move forward. "We [at EBLUL] would like to start [talks] with the Greek government, to start a discussion on specific topics. For example, we would like the Greek government to sign the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages." In Athens, Greek Foreign Ministry spokesman Nicholas Giotopoulos declined to acknowledge the existence of minorities in the country, with the sole exception of the Turks. "We understand that there are certain people who see the existence of other minorities in Greece. But the reality is that there are, in certain parts of the country, bilingual Greeks, who may also have adopted an oral tradition, but [who] do not consider themselves to be minorities." He said he cannot comment on EBLUL's desire for talks with Greek officials on the minority-language issue. In view of Athens' unyielding stance on the issue, it would seem that EBLUL is going to have an uphill struggle. (Part 2 on minority languages will focus on efforts to help the 20 million minority-language speakers in Central and Eastern Europe. It will be issued on 27 November 2002.)

RFE/RL 27 Nov 2002 Eastern Europe: Language Group Turns Its Attention To Minority Languages (Part 2) By Breffni O'Rourke The European Bureau for Lesser Used Languages (EBLUL) is planning a major drive to expand its activities in Central and East Europe. That coincides with the admission into the European Union of 10 states from the region in 2004. EBLUL is a nongovernment organization that works on behalf of those in the EU who speak minority languages. It says there is much to be done to help the 20 million people who speak minority languages in Central and East Europe. But in some cases, the work will be politically delicate, such as in the Baltic republics. In this second of two articles, RFE/RL correspondent Breffni O'Rourke reports on the situation. Prague, 27 November 2002 (RFE/RL) -- The European Bureau for Lesser Used Languages (EBLUL) is planning a major push into Central and Eastern Europe in line with the EU's expansion there in 2004. The Brussels-based nongovernmental organization is committed to preserving languages, like Occitan or Sorbian, that are threatened with extinction. But the organization is also active in helping to protect the rights of any minority linguistic group -- such as the Russian minority in Latvia -- even in cases where the survival of the language is not in question. With these objectives in mind, the EBLUL is planning to set up member-state committees in all of the new EU countries to represent the interests of some 20 million minority-language speakers. EBLUL Secretary-General Markus Warasin says: "Our plan is now to meet next year in Bozen in South Tyrol, in Italy, and to invite as many contacts as we have in the enlargement countries, and start there with the setting up of the member state committees." Warasin says the work of EBLUL is at its most delicate where there are tensions between the linguistic communities, such as the case in Latvia, where Russian speakers make up some 40 percent of the population. Warasin says: "Although if you look at it from a global context, Russian is of course not a lesser-used language. If you compare it with Latvian -- which will become an official language of the European Union. But since minority protection and the promotion of lesser-used languages is the competence of member states of the European Union, you have to look at it from the view of state borders, so that if you look at it from inside Latvia, Russia will be a lesser-used language." That means Russian speakers from the Baltic republics will have a place at EBLUL's table. As Warasin says, the bottom line concerns human beings, in that for instance thousands of people in those republics are at present receiving electricity bills in a language they cannot understand. As to other languages, Warasin goes onto say: "A community which is of huge importance are the Hungarians, for example, in Romania, in Slovenia, in Slovakia; so there are several languages like this which have millions of speakers. And there are, of course, others like the Sorbs where you have small communities. For example, you have a very small community of Italians in Slovenia." EBLUL President Bojan Brezigar cautions against thinking that Eastern Europe is necessarily worse than Western Europe in its treatment of language minorities. He says there are failures and successes on both sides: "I hope we shall start to speak of 'one Europe' from next year, up till now we used to make a lot of distinctions between East and West. I would say from my point of view there are situations in the west where a minority language situation has been well resolved, as well as in the east." If national committees are established in all 10 of the expected new EU member states, the number of people represented by EBLUL will grow by 20 million to 60 million people across 25 countries.

Kosovo

Deutsche Presse Agentur 7 Nov 2002 Serbs seeking to return stoned by ethnic Albanian teenagers Pristina (dpa) - Eight Serbs seeking to return to their homes in Kosovo under United Nations escort were stoned Thursday by Kosovo Albanian teenagers, who also injured a Jordanian serving in the United Nations police force, a U.N. official said. The attackers were 30 teenagers in the village of Grmovo in eastern Kosovo. The eight Serbs displaced earlier from Kosovo and currently living in central Serbia came to Grmovo escorted by officials from the U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) and by U.N. policemen to see the conditions for returning to their village, according to Andrea Angeli, a spokesperson for the U.N. mission in Kosovo. "After their arrival they were attacked by a group of some 30 Albanian teenagers,'' Angeli said. The situation was broken up with the arrival of American soldiers serving in the NATO-led peacekeeping force (KFOR), who are responsible for security in eastern Kosovo. The Jordanian police officer was hit by a rock in the head, while one person involved in the incident was arrested, a U.N. official said. NATO intervened in the ethnic clashes in 1999, when Serbian civilians and military tried to drive ethnic Albanians out of Kosovo. The territory is administered under a United Nations resolution. Three years later, an uneasy peace prevails, with the ethnic Albanian majority seeking independence for Kosovo and the Serb minority wanting Kosovo to be returned under proper authority of Yugoslavia and its dominant republic of Serbia. Although Kosovo has remained legally a part of Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, its final political status has yet to be decided. The international administration which runs Kosovo is trying to repatriate Kosovo Serbs, who fled to Serbia and Montenegro and now fear to return because of revenge attacks.

AFP 21 Nov 2002 Former Kosovo rebel commander charged with war crimes PRISTINA, Yugoslavia, Nov 21 (AFP) - Four former Kosovo rebels have been charged with war crimes against civilians by UN prosecutors, a UN official said Thursday. Rustem Mustafa, once a senior officer in the now disbanded Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), and three of his associates were charged Wednesday in the first such case against the former ethnic Albanian rebels since the province came under UN and NATO control in 1999. Mustafa was a KLA commander in northern Kosovo during the 1998-1999 war against Yugoslav troops. The four are charged on 11 counts including illegal detention, inhumane treatment, torture of illegally detained people and murder, UN spokeswoman Izabella Karlowicz told AFP. The alleged crimes took place against fellow ethnic Albanians in the region of Podujevo, some 50 kilometers (30 miles) north of Pristina in Mustafa's zone of command. A date for the trial has not yet been set, Karlowicz said. The suspects will remain in the custody of international forces to await their trial. Mustafa was arrested last August by UN police and NATO-led peacekeepers (KFOR), spurring protest by thousands of ethnic Albanians who view former KLA members as heroes for battling the troops of former Yugoslav strongman Slobodan Milosevic.

Malta

Reuters 30 Nov 2002 Malta joins war crimes court Malta yesterday became the latest nation to join the world's first permanent criminal tribunal, bringing to 85 the number to ratify the treaty creating the court despite strong US opposition. Malta formally deposited the required ratification papers at a ceremony at UN headquarters. The new court was set up to pursue atrocities like genocide, war crimes and gross human rights abuses. The tribunal, which formally came into being on July 1 and will move into a courthouse in The Hague, Netherlands, early next year, is a belated effort to fulfill the promise of the Nuremberg trials 56 years ago in which Nazi leaders were prosecuted for war crimes. But US President George W. Bush has rejected it, arguing it could be used by a malicious prosecutor to ensnare US peacekeepers or other officials as a result of politically motivated law suits.

Netherlands

NYT 12 Nov 2002 THE HAGUE: MILOSEVIC RETURNS TO COURT Slobodan Milosevic appeared in court yesterday for the first time since his war crimes trial was suspended Nov. 1 because of his recurring health problems. The judges at the United Nations tribunal have asked the prosecution, the "friends of the court" appointed to help guarantee a fair trial and Mr. Milosevic himself to propose ways of assuring the trial can proceed. The prosecution repeated its request that the court impose a defense lawyer on Mr. Milosevic but the former Yugoslav president retorted that the court had no right to do so and that he would continue his own defense. Marlise Simons (NYT)

NYT 12 Nov 2002 BOSNIA INQUIRY OPENS Parliament began an inquiry into why 200 Dutch peacekeepers failed to prevent the execution of more than 7,000 unarmed Muslim men and boys in 1995 when Bosnian Serb forces overran the enclave of Srebrenica, which was under United Nations protection. The inquiry had been postponed until an official investigation, by a history institute, was completed. That report, which was published in April and prompted the government to resign, concluded that Dutch political and military leaders had sent the soldiers on an "impossible mission" and that many other mistakes had been made. Marlise Simons (NYT)

AP 12 Nov 2002 Srebrenica massacre probe THE Dutch parliament began hearings today to affix political blame for the failed Dutch peacekeeping mission in the Bosnian "safe haven" of Srebrenica in 1995, where Serb forces massacred thousands of Muslims in Europe's worst mass killing since World War II. The inquiry by a parliamentary commission in The Hague is the latest in a series of investigations into the mistakes that led to the slaughter of about 7500 civilians. Most victims were killed trying to flee the Serb onslaught, but many were executed after being seized from a Dutch-manned UN base where they had been promised protection. The lightly armed Dutch troops, who had been ordered to open fire only in self-defence, stood by without firing a shot as Bosnian Serb troops under the command of General Ratko Mladic separated Muslim men from their wives and children, loaded them onto buses and took them away to an uncertain fate. The parliamentary inquiry comes seven months after the state-financed Netherlands Institute for War Documentation partially blamed the Dutch government for the fiasco. The institute's report, which was published in April after six years of research, accused the Dutch government of dispatching ill-prepared troops to Srebrenica to "keep the peace where there was no peace". It also faulted the United Nations for declaring a "safe zone" without defining what that meant or how to defend it and for not backing up the Dutch commanders when they requested air support. The entire cabinet of former Prime Minister Wim Kok accepted collective responsibility and resigned, even though elections already had been scheduled for the following month. But members of the then-opposition, including the current prime minister, Jan-Peter Balkenende, demanded a political inquiry by the parliament. The parliamentary commission will meet for three weeks and hear from 37 witnesses, including Dutch soldiers, commanders, politicians and several foreign witnesses who were not immediately identified. A UN report in 1999 largely absolved the Dutch battalion of blame, saying the 150 troops were outnumbered and outgunned. It said Mladic and then-Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic bore primary responsibility for the massacre. The massacre at Srebrenica is one of the genocide charges that Milosevic is facing at his trial at the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague. Prosecutors have also indicted Mladic, in part for his alleged role in the killings, but he remains at large.

Radio Netherlands 11 Nov 2002 Srebrenica inquiry underway by our Hague correspondent Hans Andringa, The inquiry is held in the Upper Chamber of the Dutch Parliamant A Dutch parliamentary inquiry has got underway into the 1995 massacre at Srebrenica, the UN-designated safe haven in Bosnia where Dutch peacekeepers failed to prevent the murder of thousands of Muslim civilians at the hands of the Bosnian Serb army. The inquiry will give a final verdict on the individual responsibilities of Dutch politicians, civil servants and soldiers for the events leading up to the tragedy. There is no doubt within political circles in The Hague that the Bosnian Serb General Ratko Mladic and his political leader Radovan Karadzic were ultimately responsible for the murder of 7000 Muslims at Srebrenica in the summer of 1995. Could the Dutch peacekeeping contingent or the Hague government have done more to prevent what was to become the worst atrocity in Europe since the end of the World War? Over the next 11 days, the Dutch parliament hopes to find answers to this crucial questions. Key decisions It was in 1992 that the government of then Prime Minister Ruud Lubbers gave the green light to Dutch participation in the UNPROFOR peacekeeping operation in Yugoslavia. From that moment until the fall of the enclave of Srebrenica in July 1995 a whole string of decisions were taken both in The Hague and on the ground in Bosnia. The parliamentary inquiry now seeks to determine whether those responsible at the time drew the right conclusions and whether they had sufficient information available. On the first day of the inquiry, members of the military will be heard. Not the top brass, but the middle-ranking officers of Dutchbat-III, who were deployed at Srebrenica when the enclave fell to the Bosnian Serbs and the slaughter began. Why didn't the Dutch peacekeepers put up more resistance? Who gave the orders on the ground and on the basis of what information? No political impact Captain J. Groen was the first officer to be heard on Monday Later this week, members of parliament and government ministers serving in the 1990s will appear before the inquiry. None of them hold any position in the current government and so their testimony will have no political consequences. Last April, the Dutch cabinet resigned after a government-commissioned report blamed Dutch political and military leaders and the UN for setting up an "ill-considered, and practically unfeasible peace mission" to protect the enclave. Overall preparation had been insufficient and targets had been unrealistic, according to the report by the War Documentation Institute (NIOD). This time around, no more heads will roll. However, following the NIOD report, there's consensus that individual political responsibilities must be clarified, if only for the sake of future peacekeeping operations. Dutch peacekeeping Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic (right) and his commander, General Ratko Mladic, are still wanted by the UN War Crimes Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia for their part in the Srebrenica massacre After all, the Netherlands has set out to participate in international peace missions. At present, Dutch peacekeepers are leading the UN military operation in Macedonia. From early next year, the Netherlands and Germany will have the joint command over the international security force in Afghanistan. This is an unstable and potentially explosive environment where responsibilities and decision-making will have to absolutely transparent.

AP 22 Nov 2002 Report: Dutch Cabinet Knew of Murders THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The entire Dutch cabinet knew Serb troops were murdering Bosnian Muslim civilians during the 1995 fall of the U.N. safe haven of Srebrenica, a former minister told an official inquiry Wednesday. Former Development Minister Jan Pronk, testifying before a parliamentary commission, said the likelihood of a massacre in Srebrenica was discussed at a meeting of Dutch ministers on July 11, 1995 — the day Serb forces overran the safe haven as Dutch peacekeepers stood aside. Outnumbered Dutch peacekeepers were assigned to protect the Bosnian Muslim civilians but had orders only to fire in self-defense. They stood by as Serb troops under the command of Gen. Ratko Mladic separated men from their wives and children. An estimated 7,500 of the men and boys were later slaughtered in the worst mass killing in Europe since World War II. Pronk's testimony was one of the clearest admissions so far of political responsibility. At the time, the Dutch said they had no choice but to comply with Mladic's demand to surrender the Muslims, and did not know the Serbs would harm them. ``You knew that there were murders taking place on the basis of a lot of experience elsewhere in Bosnia,'' Pronk told the commission. ``My perception was that everyone in the Cabinet knew that Mladic would see every boy older than 15 as a potential soldier and have him killed.'' The parliamentary inquiry, which began Nov. 11, is the latest in a series of investigations into the massacre. It's scheduled to run through next week. A U.N. report in 1999 largely absolved the Dutch battalion of blame, saying the 150 troops were outnumbered and outgunned. It acknowledged U.N. forces failed to give Dutch troops air support after repeated requests, but said Mladic and then-Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic bore primary responsibility for the massacre. However, a comprehensive report published in April by the state-financed Netherlands Institute for War Documentation said both the U.N. and Dutch government bore partial responsibility. The report prompted the resignation of prime minister Wim Kok, who was been in power in 1995, and the rest of his cabinet. According to the Institute's report, the Dutch government sent an insufficient number of troops to protect the civilians. Former Dutch Prime Minister Ruud Lubbers, who was prime minister when Dutch troops were first sent to Bosnia in 1993, testified Wednesday that he believed it was the government's ``moral obligation'' to send the soldiers. He said he felt European nations had a duty to protect the civilians of Bosnia, and that it was evident smaller countries like the Netherlands should participate as peacekeepers, since they didn't have the muscle to play a leading role in military operations. ``I can remember that I continually had the feeling that we could have done it better,'' he said.

AP 25 Nov 2002 Witness: Milosevic Controlled Serbs THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Challenging Slobodan Milosevic's version of history, an insider witness testified Thursday that the former Yugoslav president held direct political and military control over Croatian Serbs when they carved out an independent area inside Croatia. Milosevic, who is conducting his own defense and has not yet cross-examined the witness, says his influence on events in Croatia was only indirect in the early 1990s, when he was president of neighboring Serbia. Milosevic became president of Yugoslavia in 1997. To convict Milosevic of war crimes in Croatia, U.N. prosecutors must show the war crimes tribunal that he controlled troops who were committing atrocities, and did not try to stop or punish them. Milosevic, 61, is charged with genocide and crimes against humanity for ordering the purging of non-Serbs from Serb-dominated areas of Bosnia and Croatia in the attempt to create a ``Greater Serbia'' during the wars of 1991-95. He is also accused of war crimes in Kosovo in 1999. The witness, who knew Milosevic and other top Serbs personally, testified as a protected witness from behind a screen and was identified by the court only as C-61. He displayed intimate firsthand knowledge of political maneuvering on the Croatian Serb political scene in the early 1990s, suggesting he was a high-ranking politician himself. The media are not allowed to name protected witnesses or risk being held in contempt of court. Though much of C-61's testimony occurred in closed sessions, he said Thursday that Milosevic was directly involved in all important political decisions taken in the breakaway republic. Specifically, he said Milosevic ordered leaders of the breakaway Serbs to accept U.N. peacekeepers in 1992, and to reject a Western peace plan in 1994. He said that in 1994, he watched as the president of the breakaway republic, Milan Martic, traveled to Belgrade to consult with Milosevic, and on his return refused to consider a peace plan that had been proposed by the U.S. ambassador to Croatia, Peter Galbraith. ``(Martic) wouldn't even take it into his hands'' after talking with Milosevic, C-61 said. The witness said Milosevic had publicly supported a 1992 Western peace plan where the breakaway Serbs would surrender their arms in exchange for receiving protection by U.N. peacekeepers. But C-61 said Milosevic then privately undermined the deal. ``(Milosevic) said that military measures (to disarm) shouldn't be followed,'' C-61 said. C-61 said that Milosevic had complete control over Serb armed forces in the region throughout the fighting in Croatia. ``He supported them, appointed their leaders, financed them right up until 1995, until August 1995, in fact,'' C-61 said. Milosevic is due to cross-examine the witness next week. The testimony of C-61 has so far run for four days, the longest time on the stand of any witness in Milosevic's trial. The three-judge panel hearing Milosevic's case reluctantly granted a request from prosecutors to continue questioning the witness for an additional two days. Prosecutors said the witness's testimony was unique, and would save them from having to call 14 other witnesses later. The judges, who are concerned that Milosevic's trial is taking too long, demanded to see the list of 14 witnesses. The trial started in February and is expected to stretch

Norway

Guardian UK 1 Nov 2002 Norway's dark secret - Calls are growing for the far right to be given real power for the first time since the second world war, writes Andrew Osborn Friday November 1, 2002 It gives more money to the developing world than any other country and its standard of living is officially recognised as the best that money can buy but Norway has a dark secret: it has become home to Europe's most successful far-right movement. The far-right Progress party is not in power yet (although the country's minority government relies on it to pass legislation) but that could change and pressure is growing for it to be given a seat at the top table. It already has 26 seats in the country's 165-member parliament and captured almost 15% of the vote in elections last year. However, recent opinion polls show that its strength has grown considerably and that 33.6% of Norway's population now support it. Almost half of the country's 4.5m inhabitants also believe that it is time for the party to take the reins of power and be brought in from the cold. That makes the Progress party the country's most popular by far. Its poll ratings make the National Front in France or the Danish People's party seem fringe parties by comparison. And if the current centre-right coalition government were to fall, the Progress party could be in an ideal position to seize a slice of real power. It is true that the Christian Democrat prime minister, Kjell Magne Bondevik, has ruled out sharing power with the Progress party but his own position grows weaker and weaker by the day. The Progress party's success is in large part due to its charismatic leader, Carl Hagen, popularly known as "King Carl", who has laboured to give what used to be an unruly hard right party a more respectable image purging it of its most outspoken and maverick elements. However, the party's most radical ideas remain unchanged. Its symbol may be a juicy red apple but its policies are far from wholesome. It advocates abolishing development aid to the third world because, it says, the money is spent on "arms and luxury goods" for the elite. And poverty, it argues, is a result of poor countries' inability to organise themselves. Norway already operates a restrictive immigration policy but Mr Hagen would go further. A maximum of 1,000 immigrants a year would be allowed in, and asylum seekers who broke Norwegian law would be repatriated. The party also wants a national referendum on whether any more foreigners at all should be admitted -Norway has about 250,000 - and it is keen to test new arrivals for Aids. It also has a resolutely populist approach to another issue that is dear to people's hearts - tax. While Norway's political elite believes that financial prudence should be the order of the day and that the country's oil millions should be invested for future generations, the Progress party advocates a more free-spending approach. Its attractive solution is to have your proverbial cake and eat it. It wants lower income taxes, lower alcohol taxes, lower taxes on cars, and provide more money for pensioners and more funds for what it regards as Norway's failing welfare system. We have all this oil wealth, the argument goes, so why not spend it now and enjoy it? It is an argument which has struck a chord with many ordinary Norwegians and establishment politicians who oppose "King Carl" usually end up looking tax-happy and mean. It is also an approach which is obviously paying off. There are growing calls for the Progress party to be given a chance to show what it can do, even from its detractors. "I think that we won't be rid of the "problem" the Progress party represents for the rest of Norwegian politics until Hagen really gets a chance to show what he stands for," Labour party veteran Thorbjoern Berntsen said recently. Daily newspaper Dagbladet agrees: "Efforts in the past decade to keep Mr Hagen and the his party out in the political cold have so far only resulted in his party becoming larger and larger," a recent editorial concluded. "Mr Hagen represents the only untried alternative, and therefore embodies the dream of something different. Until he is given responsibility for his (mis)deeds, he will continue to terrorise the established parties and drain them of voters. "And anyway, the rightwing policies Mr Hagen wants are currently being pursued by the sitting government." Perhaps because it is relatively small, not a member of the EU and has traditionally enjoyed an enviable reputation for social democracy and humanism, Norway's disturbing political metamorphosis has gone unnoticed. But something is stirring in Norway and if things go on as they are it could become a beacon of hope for far-right politicians across the continent.

Norway Post 12 Nov 2002 President Putin ends official visit to Norway Russian President Vladimir Putin met for talks with Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik Tuesday noon, at the start of his official visit to Norway. The two leaders discussed various bilateral issues, and also the Chechnya conflict, Bondevik said after the meeting. Earlier in the day Putin also met with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, who was on a private visit to Oslo. Talking to the press after their talks, Bondevik said the two had discussed various bilateral issues, such as fisheries management and oil and gas resources in the Barents Sea. The two leaders signed a joint declaration, agreeing to expand the cooperation between Norway and Russia. Among other things, the declaration states that Norway is positive to a continued Russian activity on Svalbard, and that Norway will support Russia in its efforts to become a member of the World Trade Organization. A Norwegian-Russian expert forum will be set up to further cooperation between the two nations. Bondevik said the talks with the Russian President had been botgh direct and frank. He said had also brought up the conflict in Chechnya, and had expressed Norway's view that a political solution should be found to this conflict. -I urged President Putin to arrange for such a solution, Bondevik said during the press conference after the talks. Putin arrived in Oslo late Monday night, accompanied by 23 government ministers and department heads, who met with their Norwegian counterparts. Among other things, there were talks between the Russian Sports Minister and Norway's Minister for Culture, with the aim to achieve closer cooperation in the fight against doping. When the Russian President arrived for talks with Bondevik, he was met by demonstrators, protesting against what they term is genocide in Chechnya. After meeting with a Norwegian industrial delegation, President Putin was received in audience by King Harald at the Royal Palace. He was scheduled to leave by plane for home later Tuesday evening. This was Putin's first visit to Norway as president.

Poland

BBC 2 Nov 2002, Poles blamed for wartime massacres As many as 1,600 Jews were killed in Jedwabne At least 30 organised massacres of Jews in Poland during World War II were carried out by local people rather than occupying German Nazis, a new report has revealed. It [report] brings to light information that was so far buried in the archives and puts the facts in a broad perspective Pawel Machcewicz, editor of the report The investigation by Poland's Institute for National Remembrance (IPN) was carried out after allegations made two years ago that Poles killed 1,600 Jews in the north-eastern village of Jedwabne in 1941. The report - due to be published on Monday - says the Jedwabne pogrom was not an isolated incident, and that hundreds of Jews were murdered in similar attacks by Poles in more than 20 towns in the same region. The evidence about the Jedwabne pogrom has shaken many Poles' view that they were only victims during the war, as all the massacres had previously been blamed on Nazi troops. Buried information The 1,500-page report "Around Jedwabne" lists the names of more than 100 murdered Jews and at least as many of suspected killers, according to Rzechzpospolita newspaper, which saw a preview of the report. About three million Polish Jews died in the Holocaust IPN researchers dug out records from 1946-1958 investigations and trials and translated written testimonies which survivors had given to a regional Jewish history commission. "It brings to light information that was so far buried in the archives and puts the facts in a broad perspective," Pawel Machcewicz, editor of the report, told the Associated Press news agency. But Mr Machcewicz said it was hard to establish figures for the exact number of Jews killed by Poles because of conflicting testimony and lack of other evidence. Cover-up For decades, Polish communist authorities covered up the role of Poles in the Jedwabne massacre, blaming Nazi killing squads for the murders. But a book by Polish emigre historian Jan Gross "The Neighbours", published in 2000, challenged the official version of events. Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski made a historic apology for the killings at a 60th anniversary ceremony in Jedwabne last year, but insisted Germans were behind the pogrom. After World War II, 12 people were convicted by a Polish communist court in 1949 for having helped the Germans carry out the killings. They received sentences varying from 30 months to life in prison. One person was executed. Instytut Pamieci Narodowej - Komisja Scigania Zbrodni przeciwko Narodowi Polskiemu. http://www.ipn.gov.pl/index_eng.html

DPA 7 Nov 2002 Warsaw's only surviving synagogue gets face-lift By DPA Ronald Lauder, President of the Lauder Foundation, standing in front of the Warsaw Nozyk synagogue's renovated facade on Thursday. (Photo: AP) Warsaw - The renovated facade of Warsaw's 100-year-old Nozyki Synagogue, one of only two Jewish centers of worship in the city to have survived World War II, was officially unveiled Thursday. Ronald Lauder, head of a New York based foundation promoting the rebirth of Jewish life in Poland, presided over the event, also attended by members of Warsaw's small Jewish community and U.S. and Israeli diplomats. Built a century ago, the Nozyki Synagogue was one of the 400 Jewish synagogues and prayer houses serving Warsaw's large and vibrant Jewish community prior to the Second World War. Its wooden doors and part of its facade were badly damaged in what police suspected was an arson attack by neo-Nazi hooligans in 1997. Prior to WWII, Poland's Jewish community was the largest in Europe. The population pegged at 3.5 million accounted for roughly ten per cent of all Polish citizens. Three million Polish Jews fell victim to ethnic genocide during the Second World War. Only an estimated 20,000 Jews live in modern-day Poland.

RFE/RL 27 Nov 2002 POLISH RIGHT-WING LAWMAKERS ATTACK DOCUMENTARY ABOUT CATHOLIC BROADCASTER Thirty-four lawmakers from the right-wing League of Polish Families, Movement for the Reconstruction of Poland, and the Catholic-National Circle have protested the airing of a documentary about the Catholic radio station Radio Maryja and its head, Father Tadeusz Rydzyk, by state-owned Polish Television on 25 November, PAP reported on 26 November. The documentary alleged that Father Rydzyk was involved in major tax evasion while setting up and running Radio Maryja. The protest slams the television station, saying the documentary was an action to besmirch "the good name" of Radio Maryja and its director. Radio Maryja is an influential, radical Catholic media outlet claiming a regular daily listenership of 1.4 million and a weekly audience of 5.9 million. The station is known for spreading strongly worded anti-EU and xenophobic messages. Cardinal Jozef Glemp, the head of the Roman Catholic Church in Poland, has sought to diminish the clout of Radio Maryja among believers by banning the operation of its bureaus at parishes in Warsaw Diocese (see "RFE/RL Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine Report," 3 and 17 September 2002).

Russia (see also Denmark and Germany)

AFP 29 Oct 2002 Chechnya conference asks Moscow to end 'genocide' COPENHAGEN, Oct 29: Chechen exiles appealed in an open letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday to immediately halt the war in the republic that they termed genocide. "We call on you to take immediate steps to stop the suffering of the Chechen people," the World Chechen Congress said in the letter on the final day of a conference here that provoked fierce protests from the Kremlin. "The Chechen people are being eliminated by Russian forces and you are the commander in chief," it said, calling for negotiations between Russia and Chechnya. "There are no alternatives to political dialogue." US President George W. Bush also believes "political dialogue" is needed to end the conflict, but worries that global terrorists may be operating there, a spokesman said Tuesday in Washington. "Clearly, to the degree that there is Al Qaeda operating, international terrorists operating in Chechnya is a source of concern," said Bush spokesman Ari Fleischer. "But the President does believe that the ultimate solution to the crisis in Chechnya must be resolved through political dialogue," he said. The three-year "forgotten war" between Russian forces and Chechens fighting for independence was thrust back into the spotlight last week after commandos held 800 people captive in a theatre for three days. Russian forces stormed into the southern republic in Oct 1999 in a "counter-terrorism operation" after a first war from 1994 to 1996. The latest campaign has left a heavy toll - Russia says at least 4,500 soldiers have been killed, while conference speakers said up to 150,000 lives had been lost on the Chechen side, many of them children, and tens of thousands more have fled. "This is not a war on terrorism but simply genocide of a small ethnic nation called Chechnya," said Congress president Mohammad Shishani. Denmark allowed the conference to go ahead only days after the bloody end to the siege, despite Russia accusing it of "solidarity with terrorists." The Danish authorities, however, agreed to move an EU summit with Russia next month to Brussels after Moscow warned it would boycott the event if it was held in Copenhagen. EU leaders plan to discuss the situation in Chechnya at the Nov 11 summit after Russian officials agreed to include it on the agenda, according to an EU source. The letter to Putin said congress delegates "condemned all terrorism" including the hostage stand-off which it said had hindered any push for a peaceful solution to the conflict. But it added: "State terrorism is the most dangerous form ... based on the full power of the state, its armed forces and police." The letter to Putin expressed dismay at Russia's attempt to ban the Copenhagen conference, saying the only goal was to seek a solution to the suffering of the Chechen people. Russia had claimed there were "terrorists" among delegates, who included top Chechen officials, campaigners from both Russia and Chechna and acclaimed British actress Vanessa Redgrave. Putin has vowed to retaliate after the Moscow siege and refuses to negotiate with the separatists, insisting they have links to international terrorism, including top terror suspect Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network. In a final declaration, delegates called for an international war crimes tribunal to be established to investigate alleged abuses in the Russian republic and for Chechens displaced by the conflict to be considered refugees of war. Chechen leader Aslan Maskhadov called on Russia on Monday to return to the negotiating table, warning that more attacks were otherwise inevitable. "There is one reasonable, correct step - to sit down at the negotiating table," he said. Vanessa Redgrave, founder of the International Campaign for Peace and Human Rights in Chechnya, said the people were being subjected to "cruel and barbaric" treatment in "ghettos" she likened to Stalin's notorious Gulag labour camps. A short film she produced about the plight of children in the conflict was shown at the conference - images of villages bombarded by Russian forces, a crying baby with only a stub for leg, a young girl with hands wrapped in bandages like boxing gloves.

Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty 30 Oct 2002 Human Rights Ombudsman warns against anti-Chechen hysteria Human Rights Ombudsman Oleg Mironov said on 30 October that he is concerned about the likely increase in anti-Chechen sentiment in the wake of last week's Moscow hostage crisis and the subsequent activity of the military and security forces, Ekho Moskvy reported. "In Russia, there are enough ultra-patriots who are ready to defend the interests of Slavic people by exploding our country and casting it into the abyss of interethnic strife," Mironov said. He added that there are no legal grounds for expelling Chechens from Moscow or other regions and that the heightened security measures must not violate constitutional norms. President Putin was briefed on anti-Chechen incidents by the Interior Ministry and the FSB on 30 October, RIA-Novosti reported. "I have just been acquainted with the alarming information of the Interior Ministry about the increased threats against Chechens.... Under no circumstances can we allow this negative turn of events or give in to the provocations that are being pushed upon us. We do not have the right to permit injustice," Putin said.

NYT 1 Nov 2002 Ignorance Perpetuates the Chechen War By MASHA GESSEN, MOSCOW — Last Saturday, about four hours after the hostage crisis at the Moscow theater ended with more than 150 dead and hundreds injured, I was speaking to my students — Russian college undergraduates majoring in journalism — about media coverage of the crisis over the preceding few days. They are a wonderful group: I am continually surprised at how well these 19-year-olds analyze the press. But this time I could feel that some of what I was saying just wasn't making sense to them. I had brought up an incident in which a foreign journalist had compared interviewing Chechen terrorists to interviewing Russian generals, and I had suggested this might not be an unfair comparison. My students stared blankly. "Is this about getting both sides of the story?" one of them ventured. No, I said, this was about history. This was about Russian troops detaining hundreds, possibly thousands of Chechen civilians — taking them hostage, in effect, since they were usually not charged with anything — for indefinite periods of time. This was about young people disappearing from their villages after Russian raids and never returning. This was about using heavy artillery and bombs in densely populated areas, where the majority of those who suffered were civilians. There was stunned silence. Only one or two of the students had ever heard about any of this. "That's right," I said. "I guess you weren't reading the papers seven or eight years ago." They laughed — of course not. They were 11 years old when the war in Chechnya started. In 1994, when Russia began its long and brutal war in Chechnya, hundreds of Russian journalists flew to the Caucasus Mountains to write about what was happening there. They risked their lives to tell the truth about the atrocities committed by Russian troops and, later, by the Chechens. But as the war wore on, the story became more and more dangerous to cover — first because the Chechen rebels started taking journalists hostage, and then because Russian authorities put heavy pressure on the press to stop publishing or broadcasting anything but official reports. Journalists who dared to cover the Chechen side of the conflict were at times threatened and detained by Russian troops. All national television channels and the overwhelming majority of newspapers and magazines have obeyed. As a result, young people here have never seen anything but victorious and hate-filled reports from the military, relayed uncritically by the press. My students represent a generation of Russians who grew up with the conflict in Chechnya. Ever since they started paying attention to the news, it has been there. They know nothing about the people of Chechnya or the roots of this war. They have never thought of Chechens as anything but the enemy: they have simply taken the distant war for granted. Their peers in Chechnya are, in a sense, in a similar predicament. They have always known war, violence and constant danger. Those who live in the rural settlements that make up most of Chechnya have not watched television since they were children. They have rarely talked with anyone outside their clan. Movsar Barayev, the 23-year-old leader of the group who took hundreds of people hostage in Moscow last week, was one of these young Chechens. Perhaps as a child, he often heard adults say, "If people started getting killed in the middle of Moscow, Russia would have to stop the war" — a common refrain in any conversation about the war. Last summer after his uncle, a Chechen commander, was killed, Mr. Barayev probably decided to take on his mantle and devise a way to make his peoples' dream come true. He apparently drew on his limited experience to come up with a plan. He did to his hostages exactly what Russian troops are known to have done with Chechen detainees. Russian troops tie up their detainees and place them in small pits dug in the ground; Movsar Barayev made his hostages sit still in their theater chairs for hours. Russians make their detainees use their pits or their cells as toilets; Movsar Barayev turned the orchestra pit into one. Russians make their prisoners go hungry — and so did he. Through it all, he probably dreamed he would become a hero by convincing Russia to end the war. He failed, of course, because violence and terror cannot end a war. But this is something that neither young Chechens nor young Russians are likely to understand because they do not remember a time when they were not at war with each other. After last week's hostage crisis each group is even less likely than before to see the other as anything but a crazed, dangerous enemy. The possibility of peace is even more remote than before. Masha Gessen is Moscow correspondent for U.S. News and World Report and editor of www.polit.ru, a Russian online publication.

KNIGHT RIDDER NEWS SERVICE 1 Nov 2002 Anti-Chechen Feelings on the Rise as Russia Mourns Its Dead BY MARK McDONALD MOSCOW -- The national mourning over last week's hostage crisis has festered into a kind of rage in Russia, and law-enforcement agencies have been placed on alert to guard against a possibly violent backlash against ethnic Chechens. "We should drive all Chechens away, isolate them and keep them in their primitive state," said Ernest Muchakov, a Moscow radio executive and an assistant professor of advertising. "I would build a wall and place mines all along the border of Chechnya. Let them live in their mountains, where theft and murder is their way of life. Put the beasts behind bars." Muchakov's anger and frustration boiled over as he attended the double funeral of two teenagers, a boy and a girl, who died in the siege of a Moscow theater last week. The youths were performing in the hit musical "Nord-Ost" when a group of Chechen terrorists burst into the building and seized more than 750 hostages, demanding that Russian troops leave Chechnya. The ensuing 58-hour ordeal ended with 120 hostages and 50 rebels dead. The fiercely independent Chechens have fought the Russian military to a standoff in the breakaway republic of Chechnya, and many Russians have come to regard the war to suppress the rebels as unwinnable and unstoppable. President Vladimir Putin has already appealed to Russians not to lash out at minority groups. He didn't mention Chechens in particular, but there was no misunderstanding him. Security officials said they were determined to prevent an outbreak of violent reprisals. "We will not allow the latest events in Moscow to serve as a catalyst for extremist activities," said Deputy Interior Minister Alexander Chekalin on Thursday. He noted that his agents have been "responding very toughly" to the attacks that have already begun on Chechens. Presidential aide Sergei Yastrzhembsky, speaking at a news briefing Thursday, said, "We should always remember that the Chechens are citizens, just like ourselves, and there should be no ethnic settling of accounts in Russia. " During the crisis, security agents intercepted cell phone calls from the hostage-takers. Taped excerpts of three of those calls were played for reporters Thursday. One was said to be from a rebel leader named Abu Bakar to an unidentified man: "We have many kamikazes outside who are ready to work and are waiting for our call -- about 100 kamikazes. They are ready, as we have agreed. If something goes wrong, [Russian authorities] will see the kamikazes one by one. We have suicide bombers sitting everywhere. They have legitimate Russian passports and Moscow residence permits. We will have them act from the streets." The police are taking these comments seriously and have been searching for the alleged suicide bombers. Some people think the police have been too heavy-handed in their dragnets, roundups and apparently arbitrary arrests. They have been breaking up Chechen business and social gatherings, stopping Caucasians on the street to check identity cards and residence permits, holding people overnight or demanding bribes to let them go. Chechens are darker skinned than ethnic Russians and are usually singled out by their appearance. "The repression of Chechens has begun," Aslambek Aslakhanov, a Chechen member of parliament, told the Agence France-Presse news agency. He charged that "the police's hysterical behavior" includes jailing Chechens after planting drugs or weapons on them. Discrimination against Chechens -- which is partly inspired by a fear of them -- is apparent at almost every level of Russian society. The war, although brutal and unpopular, had largely been kept at a distance, far from the urban centers and sleepy villages of Slavic Russia. That all changed the night of Oct. 23, when the heavily armed Chechens rolled into central Moscow, took over the theater and threatened to kill everyone inside. "This was an attack against Russia and an attempt to humiliate us," said Muchakov, the advertising man. "It takes Russians a long time to rise up, but when we rise up, we rise up fast. In his own time, (the 13th-century general-prince) Alexander Nevsky said that those who come to us with the sword will perish by it. "This terrorism is a disease, an AIDS, the real plague of the 21st century. I am sure I speak for most Russians that if America and Russia are morally united, we can drive terrorism into a corner and never let it raise its head again."

AFP 3 Nov 2002 - Russia halts plans to withdraw from Chechnya MOSCOW, Nov 3 (AFP) - Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said Sunday he has ordered a halt to a planned army withdrawal from the rebel republic of Chechnya in response to last month's Moscow hostage crisis in which 119 civilians died. "I have made a decision to interrupt plans to reduce the number of troops in Chechnya," Interfax news agency quoted Ivanov as saying. The Russian military has an estimated 80,000 troops in and around the separatist North Caucasus republic, where Moscow launched a self-declared "anti-terrorism" operation three years ago. Ivanov's comments contradict his own announcement Friday in which he insisted that the planned troop withdrawal would continue despite the Chechen hostage-taking. But Ivanov said Sunday the military now had evidence that new suicide attacks against the Russian state were being planned in Chechnya. As a result, Moscow has reached a decision to intensify its military campaign in the region. "Starting today, our military has begun a broad, tough but well-conceived special military operation across the whole of Chechnya," said Ivanov. "Over the past days, we have been receiving information that guerrillas based in Chechnya -- and not only Chechnya -- are preparing new terrorist acts," the Russian defense minister said. "They are training suicide-terrorists," he added. His comments came shortly after top Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev, who claimed responsibility for the Moscow hostage theater attack, warned in a statement that he was preparing to "bring the war back home" to Russia. The attack also coincided with an apparent new alliance between Basayev and Aslan Maskhadov, who was elected president of Chechnya in 1997 and had been viewed a more moderate rebel leader who could represent the republic at peace negotiations with Moscow. But on Saturday, Moscow stepped up pressure on the United States to add Chechen rebel groups to its terrorist blacklist, describing the issue as a test of the international coalition against terrorism. Latest Russian reports said that some 150 survivors of the three-day Moscow hostage crisis that ended October 26 remained in hospital on Friday, seven of them in critical condition. The hostages were rescued from their Chechen captors by Russia's special forces, who stormed the theater where they were being held using a powerful opiate gas. Of the more than 800 hostages overall, at least 119 are known to have died, alongside nearly all of the 50 Chechen rebels. The rebel attack was the most deadly within Russia during the three-year Chechen war. It further threatened to deliver a serious political setback to the leadership of President Vladimir Putin, who launched the Chechen offensive while still serving as prime minister in October 1999. Almost all of the civilian casualties have been attributed to a powerful sleeping gas used by the special forces before they had stormed into the building.

BBC 4 Nov 2002, Russia pursues new assault in Chechnya Russia has halted a planned scaling down of operations Russian forces are carrying out large-scale operations against separatists throughout Chechnya, amid fears of more rebel attacks both inside the republic and in Russia as a whole. The Russian news agency Itar-TASS reported that 25 rebels had been killed over 24-hours. Ivanov said Moscow was "nipping the threat in the bud" Defence Minister Sergey Ivanov announced the operations on Sunday, as nine Russian servicemen died on board a military helicopter that crashed in the republic. The helicopter was the second to be lost in less than a week - another Mi-8 was shot down on Tuesday with the loss of four lives. Meanwhile in the neighbouring Republic of Dagestan, two men were arrested over the bombing of a military parade in the town of Kaspiysk in May. More than a dozen people have already been arrested in connection with the incident, in which 43 people were killed and more than 150 injured. Response to siege Mr Ivanov said that previous plans to reduce the Russian military presence in Chechnya had been suspended. The offensive comes a week after Russian troops stormed a Moscow theatre in which about 800 theatre-goers were taken hostage by Chechen rebels. Another victim of the siege died over the weekend bringing the total death toll among the hostages to 120. Fifty rebels were also killed in the Russian assault. Russian news agency Itar-Tass quoted Mr Ivanov as saying that the operations launched on Saturday were aimed at "nipping the threat in the bud". Tough restrictions There have been few details of the campaign so far, as the Russian authorities have imposed tough restrictions on reporting, and access by Russian and foreign correspondents is under strong Kremlin control. Correspondents say operations have been going ahead in all areas of the republic where rebel activity has been reported. Private vehicles have been banned from leaving or entering residential areas of Grozny and the second city Gudermes, amid fears of car bomb attacks. Interfax news agency quoted Russian military sources as saying that some rebels were trying to cross into Dagestan disguised as refugees.

Prague Watchdog 4 Nov 2002 Russian military ignores Kadyrov, mop-ups underway in Chechnya Timur Aliyev, North Caucasus - The search for "bandits and terrorists", launched in the territory of the Chechen Republic after the recent hostage-taking in Moscow, has triggered another outbreak of violence and abuses against civilians. Only in the course of the last 10 days, large-scale punitive operations, commonly called "mopping-up operations", took place in Prigorodnoye, Berdykel, Chechen-Aul, Stariye Atagi, Alkhazurovo, Duba-Yurt and Chiri-Yurt. The villages were cordoned off by troops and armoured vehicles and the servicemen of the Russian Interior Ministry forces detained males for so called "filtration" and carried out thorough searches in houses. These events are taking place against the backdrop of recent statements of the head of the Moscow-backed Chechen administration Akhmad Kadyrov, who claimed that he would not allow any "mopping-up" operations in the republic. "There were and will be no operations," Kadyrov said on October 26, adding that there will be just operations aimed at specific persons. "Yesterday I summoned the heads of power structures, including the commandant of the republic. I gave the following warning: no 'mop-ups' must be allowed," Kadyrov said. The fears of the inhabitants of Chechnya are fully grounded. On October 3, Russian media reported that large-scale harsh mopping-up operations aimed at specific persons will be launched all over the territory of Chechnya. Source URL: http://www.watchdog.cz/

AlterNet 5 Nov 2002 With Friends Like These By Geov Parrish, As you read this, Russian soldiers are once again rampaging through Chechnya, exacting what Russian leader (and former Communist Party and KGB boss) Vladimir Putin and his government specifically call "revenge" for the recent hostage crisis in a Moscow theatre. In that crisis, 119 hostages and at least 70 Chechen rebels died; the problem is, however, that with the exception of one lone hostage -- shot when he attacked an armed Chechen woman -- it was Putin's government, and its use of a lethal, Fentanyl-based gas, that was responsible for the theatre deaths. Putin is taking vengeance for a crime his own government committed. In the end, it scarcely matters; regardless of who first did what, hapless Chechen civilians and refugees are now paying the price, as they have repeatedly over the past eight years. An endless litany of reports by groups like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch documents the extent of Moscow's abuses in the conflict; Chechnya is one of several places in the world at the moment where the word "genocide" is being used by reasonable people. It is the Russian government, far more than isolated rebel bands in Moscow, who have reatedly targetted innocent lives during the conflict. Russia's casual execution of the Moscow hostages was neither surprising nor inconsistent. Opiate gases like Fentanyl have a long history of controversy; many researchers believe they should be banned under the International Chemical Weapons Convention. Beyond the 119 dead, another 145 people, at last report, are still in intensive care, many on respirators because they have no lung function left. That's not the simple error in dosage first claimed by the Russian military. Such concerns, and a culture of reflective secrecy, led Russian authorities to refuse to even identify the components of the gas when hostages began pouring into Moscow emergency rooms after the attack. It took toxicology reports in blood samples from corpses of foreign nationals -- shipped home to Western Europe -- to begin to make public the presence of not only Fentanyl, but several other lethal elements in the concoction used on the Chechens and their hostages. The pre-dawn attack on them came as rebels were still negotiating with authorities, having already released some of the hostages. At the time, only two hostages had been harmed by the Chechens -- the death mentioned above, and another man wounded in the same incident. The gassing was, by any calculation, unnecessary; it was premeditated murder, in a manner all to familiar to Chechens. However, that wasn't the general tenor of media coverage of the incident here in the United States. The White House was quick to defend the Russians' actions, and many American networks went so far as to adopt the official Soviet, er, Russian characterization of the incident as not just terrorism, but "Russia's 9/11." The theatre hostage-taking was nothing of the sort, of course. Beyond being Muslim, Chechens have virtually nothing in common with the sort of radical fundamentalism represented by groups like Al-Qaeda. (Though Chechnya is right alongside Palestine and Iraq on every Muslim terror group's short list of grievances against the West.) Most obviously, the presence of numerous women fighters among the Chechen hostage-takers suggests a very different culture than that of, say, the Taliban. More importantly, the Chechen's seizure of hostages in Moscow was not a random incident; it was part of a war for independence, by a culturally distinct region chafing for escape from the control of Imperial Russia. Chechnya is a mostly Muslim slice of real estate in the Caucasus Mountains that, like many other nearby parts of the former Soviet Union, attempted to bolt Moscow's rule when the opportunity arose. Alas, Chechnya is also a small nation, squarely situated between the Caspian and Black Seas -- near any westward route for a pipeline that could deliver Caspian oil to market. Since the start of the Chechen rebellion, the United States, far from helping the country escape the control of its former Communist rulers, has offered benign support to Moscow, including international credit that has allowed the Russians to continue to bankroll their massively expensive military campaigns. But the dynamics of Washington and Chechnya shifted dramatically after 9/11. Putin has campaigned relentlessly to have America and the West consider his anti-Chechen campaigns as part of any War on Terror. Tacit support -- along with a blind eye to any Russian atrocities -- was widely believed to be part of the price the Bush Administration paid for gaining Moscow's support for last year's U.S. attack on Afghanistan. And Russia, like Israel and India, used the Bush invention of a doctrine of "harboring terrorists" as a rationale for new military offensives. The precedent set by the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan cost Chechen civilians dearly. That cost, however, turns out to have been much more direct that simply shrough the setting of bad precedent. A report Monday on MSNBC puts the Moscow hostage deaths, and the U.S. response to them, in a troubling new light. According to MSNBC, documents obtained from the U.S. military Central Command show a much tighter relationship between the Americans and Russians in the Afghan campaign than either country has publicly disclosed. In particular, the U.S. has been using Russian rail, from ports in both the Baltic (Murmansk) and Pacific (Vladivostok), as a primary means of supplying U.S. forces in Afghanistan. The troops and supplies have been shipped via the former Soviet rail system, which still connects Russia with the former Soviet republics of Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. The Pentagon has established massive new U.S. military staging areas in those dictatorships (which also have abysmal human rights records) for its Afghan campaign. The Pentagon's reliance on direct Russian support for its Afghan operations not only puts it in league with a military committing war crimes in Chechnya, but suggests a more troubling aspect to the agreement, announced earlier this year, to provide U.S. advisors and training to the military of the former Soviet republic of Georgia. Specifically, the Pentagon is now assisting in Georgia's efforts to combat Chechen rebels that, according to Moscow, use neighboring Georgia as a staging area for anti- Russian attacks. The Afghan revelation also suggests the complexity and danger of behind-the-scenes negotiations as the Bush Administration offers further concessions to try to gain Russian approval for a tougher anti-Iraq resolution at the U.N. Security Council. How many Chechen lives is Washington willing to sacrifice -- or help kill -- in order to avoid a Security Council veto on invading Iraq? In short, it's starting to smell like the United States is not simply agreeing to look the other way as Russia rampages its way through the civilian population of Chechnya. With the Pentagon working closely with the Russian military, part of the price may well be a much more active American role in supporting Russia's "anti-terror" campaigns. Far from being an "anti-terror" war, Moscow's actions in Chechnya much more closely resemble how Saddam Hussein has treated the Kurds. And now, we can add gassing to the list of similarities. American media's glossing over of the context of the recent Moscow tragedy may not simply be a case of lazy journalism and a distant war. As with so many other global flash points these days, it is a dreadful conflict that the U.S. is apparently wading into ever more deeply -- on the wrong side.

www.csmonitor.com 12 Nov 2002 Moscow Chechens appeal to Putin to end war Chechen diaspora leaders, wary of ethnic discord in the capital, went to the Kremlin Sunday to urge peace. By Fred Weir | Special to The Christian Science Monitor MOSCOW - Responding to pleas from Moscow's frightened Chechen community, President Vladimir Putin has spelled out his version of a political endgame for Russia's long conflict with breakaway Chechnya. But critics warn that Mr. Putin's scheme contains nothing new. And the observers say the plan may be too rigid to stop the radicalization of young Chechens like those who seized hostages at a Moscow theater last month. In particular, the Kremlin's rejection of any role for moderate rebel leaders, such as Chechnya's elected president Aslan Maskhadov, may doom the plan to irrelevance. Speaking to leaders of Moscow's Chechen diaspora Sunday, Putin said the Kremlin would sponsor a referendum on a new constitution for Chechnya, to be held in the tiny republic next spring, followed by elections to a local legislative assembly. He pledged to initiate a political process that could produce legitimate leaders and government institutions, as well as a large measure of autonomy – though not independence – for the war- ravaged region. In an unprecedented step, about a dozen leaders of Moscow's 100,000-strong Chechen community had asked for the meeting with Putin out of growing fear that last month's eruption of Chechnya's bitter conflict in central Moscow might trigger police repression and even pogroms against Chechen homes and businesses around Russia. They appealed to Putin to end the war and restore stability. Anna Politkovskaya, a Russian journalist who has covered Chechnya's rebel movement and was summoned to negotiate with the hostage-takers last month, says the panic of Moscow's moderate Chechen business community is a sign of deeper trouble. In the past, she says, leaders of the Chechen diaspora, working through Chechnya's tight clan system, may have been able to prevent terrorist attacks against the Russian capital. In fact, last month's theater raid was the first overtly Chechen strike in Moscow. (A series of apartment bombs three years ago were blamed on Chechen rebels, but the accusations were never proved.) "Radicalization of young Chechens is snowballing," says Ms. Politkovskaya. "The leaders of the Chechen diaspora have lost their influence among the young, who are impatient and want to see as much pain inflicted on Russia as possible. Stability has collapsed." Ms. Politkovskaya says that Chechen rebel leader Mr. Maskhadov is also under pressure from angry young militants, who favor Islamic extremist ideology and ruthless terrorist methods. "If Russia doesn't move quickly to work with Maskhadov, he may be swept away," she says. "In that case there will be one terrorist act after another, and Russia will have nobody to negotiate with." But Putin's plan, though it promises a political process, freezes out Maskhadov and other relatively moderate Chechen rebels. "Those who choose Maskhadov choose war," Putin said during the meeting at the Kremlin. "Those who propose negotiating with that murderer might as well suggest reaching an agreement with (Osama) bin Laden and Mullah Omar," the well-known leaders of Al Qaeda and the Taliban. And he made clear that any future constitution for the republic will permanently lock it into Russia's federal system. "Citizens must understand what a Chechen settlement means," Putin said. "The issue here is maintaining the integrity of the Russian state." Critics say that leaves only Chechen forces already allied to Moscow, such as the Kremlin's handpicked Chechen leader Akhmad Kadyrov, to write the republic's constitution and be elected to its new legislature. "You can't have talks with people you nominate yourself instead of those you're fighting with," says Andrei Piontkovsky, director of the independent Center for Strategic Studies in Moscow. "This plan is a blind alley." Some of the pro-Moscow Chechen leaders who attended the Kremlin meeting with Putin sound a bit more hopeful. "Ninety-nine percent of Chechens are exhausted with war and will welcome any move to peace," says Dzhabrail Gakayev, head of the Chechen Cultural Center in Moscow and one of the signatories of the appeal to Putin. "But Putin is mistaken in such a narrow approach. He must broaden the process and invite in all forces who want peace." Says Aslambek Aslakhanov, Chechnya's sole deputy to the State Duma: "This chain of war and hatred has to be broken, and I'll support anything that leads to this. A referendum may be a good idea, but not if it's going to be held at gunpoint." Last month's hostage crisis formed one of the bitterest chapters in Russia's conflict with Chechnya. On Oct. 23, 50 heavily armed and explosives-laden Chechens, demanding that Russian troops withdraw from Chechnya within a week, seized Moscow's Na Dubrovke theater and more than 800 hostages. Security forces stormed the building after three days, shooting dead all the Chechens but also inadvertently causing most of the 128 hostage fatalities with an experimental knockout gas used to subdue the rebels. The attack sent shivers through many in the Chechen community, who fear a breakdown of the relative ethnic peace that has prevailed in Moscow, despite two savage wars in Chechnya. "When terrorist acts occur, Chechens, wherever they are, will be blamed," says Mr. Aslakhanov. "There is a big possibility of more terrorist strikes. No one knows what will happen then." "Ethnic splits are growing in this country, and the war is feeding the prejudices of average Russians against Chechens and people from the Caucasus in general," says Mr. Gakayev of the Chechen Cultural Center. Though they are Russian citizens, the huge Chechen diaspora in Russian cities have led precarious lives since the first war to crush a separatist movement in Chechnya began in 1994. Chechens are regularly subjected to "special procedures" by police, such as fingerprinting, and are sometimes singled out for violent treatment by Russian nationalist and skinhead groups. Gakayev says that in the wake of the theater attack, there has been sporadic persecution of individual Chechens – but nothing like the wave of arrests, police beatings, and deportations that occurred in Moscow following a series of still-unsolved apartment bombings that killed hundreds in 1999. "This time authorities are keeping things under control, but Chechens are still regarded as enemy aliens," he says.

Reuters 12 Nov 2002 Putin brushes aside Chechnya advice By Alister Doyle OSLO (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin has brushed aside European advice on how to end the Chechen conflict peacefully, saying it had to be resolved by the Russian and Chechen people alone. "Of course we listen to advice from our colleagues in Europe," Putin told a news conference in Oslo on Tuesday after talks with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, who said he hoped for a peaceful, political solution in Chechnya. But he added: "It is an internal Russian problem to be solved between the Chechen people and the Russian federation." Russia has scrapped plans for a partial military pullout from the southerly province since Chechen separatists took a Moscow theatre hostage last month. The siege ended with the deaths of 128 hostages and 41 rebels. "We don't want to turn up our noses and say that others' opinions are irrelevant," Putin said. But he added: "The problem is so complicated that no one can give really good advice." Putin said Europe had some good examples of conflict resolution but other conflicts had rumbled on unsolved for centuries. About 100 protesters waved banners such as "Putin is guilty of genocide" and yelled "Stop torture in Chechnya" as Putin arrived in the snow for talks with Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik. The demonstrators were kept away from Putin by dozens of riot police, some on horses and some with dogs. Putin has shown no sign of reining in the Russian military in Chechnya, where thousands of people have died in almost a decade of fighting. Putin has said a new constitution and elections offer the best prospects of a swift resolution. "GOOD START" Schroeder praised Putin for progress so far but insisted: "The political process on Chechnya must continue." "We have taken note of how the political process with regard to Chechnya is being organised and moved forward. This involves in particular the constitutional process and is, I believe, a good start that deserves our support," Schroeder said. Putin and Schroeder met in Oslo because Putin cancelled a planned visit to Germany last month during the theatre siege. Both men were on visits to the Nordic nation by coincidence. Later, Bondevik expressed concern about human rights in Chechnya. "Conflicts of this type must be solved by a political dialogue and process," he told reporters after meeting Putin. "We have expressed our concern about human rights and refugees." Putin said the world had to stand united in a fight against terrorism, saying "there are no boundaries and an invisible enemy". Putin brands Chechen rebels as terrorists.

AFP 12 Nov 2002 EU pressing Russia "vigorously" over Chechnya: Patten BRUSSELS, Nov 12 (AFP) - The European Union is pressing Russia more vigorously than ever over the thorny issue of Chechnya, external relations commissioner Chris Patten said Tuesday. He said the current Danish EU presidency had pulled no punches with President Vladimir Putin at an EU-Russia summit in Brussels on Monday, where the Chechen issue dogged the Russian leader. "I have not been to a meeting with our Russian counterparts at this level, at which the subject has been raised in a more informed or more prolonged and comprehensive way," he said. Danish Prime Minster Anders Fogh Rasmussen said after Monday's summit that the "conflict in Chechnya cannot be regarded only as a terrorist problem." "A political solution is the only way to a lasting peace," he said, sitting next to a stony-faced Putin. Patten also rebuffed suggestions that the EU has been "too weak" in raising the concerns of humanitarian organisations acting in Chechnya and in Ingushetia. "This is completely wrong," he said. "We have concerns about the access of humanitarian organisations" in both the Caucasus republics. "We continue to raise those issues and to raise them vigorously while of course at the same time deploring terrorist activities especially the sort of activities which recently caused so much loss of life in Moscow," he said. He added that the fact that Russia was an important strategic partner "should not ever in my view stop you raising questions which that country may find difficult or sensitive."

AP 13 Nov 2002 Putin: Non-Muslims Target of RebelsBRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) - A French reporter who questioned the Kremlin's war in Chechnya provoked an angry outburst from Russian President Vladimir Putin, who challenged him to convert to Islam and come to Moscow for circumcision. During a post-European Union summit news conference, Putin also said Chechen rebels want to kill all non-Muslims and establish an Islamic state in Russia. Putin became agitated Monday after a reporter from the French newspaper Le Monde questioned his troops' use of heavy weapons against civilians in the war in Chechnya. Chechnya is predominantly Muslim. ``If you want to become an Islamic radical and have yourself circumcised, I invite you to come to Moscow,'' Putin said. ``I would recommend that he who does the surgery does it so you'll have nothing growing back, afterward,'' he added. Circumcision is a tenet of Islam for all males. As a result of the faulty translations, there was little coverage of Putin's remarks in the European media on Tuesday. Details of what Putin said were revealed Tuesday when The Associated Press translated an audiotape from the news conference. EU spokesman Jonathan Faull, who was not at the press conference, said that if reports of Putin's remarks were true they were ``entirely inappropriate.'' Gunnar Wiegand, also a EU spokesman, said it was not the job of EU officials to take responsibility for comments by foreign dignitaries. Russia is not a member of the European Union. Wiegand said Putin used ``decidedly less robust'' language when speaking with EU leaders about the Chechen war and human rights in the breakaway province. The translation showed Putin issuing a broadside against the Chechen rebels. ``They talk about setting up a worldwide (Islamic state) and the need to kill Americans and their allies,'' Putin said. ``They talk about the need to kill all...non-Muslims, or 'crusaders,' as they put it. If you are a Christian, you are in danger. ``If you decided to abandon your faith and become an atheist, you also are to be liquidated according to their concept. You are in danger if you decide to become a Muslim. It is not going to save you anyway because they believe traditional Islam is hostile to their goals.'' In Moscow, the daily Kommersant said the EU-Russia summit ``ended in a serious scandal'' because of Putin's comments, which Kremlin aides said were made in response to a ``provocative question.'' Gazeta.ru, a leading online publication in Moscow, quoted unidentified Putin aides as saying the president was tired and angry after being peppered with questions about Chechnya. Putin owes his quick rise in the Russian power structure to his tough handling of the Chechen war, which has been sharply criticized by many in the West. Putin claims Russia is fighting international terrorism - not an independence movement - in Chechnya. He calls Chechen fighters ``religious extremists and international terrorists'' whose impact has spread far beyond the borders of the republic. He pointed to last month's hostage-taking in a Moscow theater by Chechen rebels. Russian special forces troops stormed the auditorium after three days, pumping a knockout gas into the theater to disable the rebels, all of whom were killed. At least 128 of the approximately 750 hostages died, most from the disabling gas. Putin praised Russian handling of the crisis and said other nations must adopt a similarly tough stand against terrorism to prevent further incidents like it and the recent bombing of tourist nightclubs in Bali, Indonesia, where about 200 people were killed. EU officials said Tuesday they had made ``strenuous efforts'' but failed to win Putin's signature on a joint declaration on Chechnya. The Russian leader refused to sign because the document referred to human rights in the republic.

NYT 13 Nov 2002 Why Putin Boils Over: Chechnya Is His Personal War By MICHAEL WINES OSCOW, Nov. 12 — In certain diplomatic circles outside Russia today, not to mention entire whorls of political gossip within the country, there was but one question about President Vladimir V. Putin's stop on Monday in Brussels: did he really say that? Indeed he did. Nor, despite foot-shuffling and hurried excuses from Kremlin aides, was there much evidence that he would take it back. Mr. Putin, whose usually inscrutable demeanor befits his old career as a Soviet intelligence agent, blew his customary cool Monday over the one issue that seems to have taken residence under his skin: Chechnya. It came at a news conference after a Brussels summit meeting with European Union leaders, when a reporter for Le Monde asked whether the Russian military's use of land mines in Chechnya was killing innocent civilians as well as Islamic terrorists. Bristling, Mr. Putin replied that Islamic radicals wanted to wrest Chechnya from Russia as part of a worldwide plan to kill Americans and their allies. "If you are a Christian, you are in danger," Mr. Putin said. "If you decide to become a Muslim, this won't save you either, because they think that traditional Islam is also hostile to their goals." Then he said this: "If you are determined to become a complete Islamic radical and are ready to undergo circumcision, then I invite you to Moscow. We are multi-confessional. We have experts in this sphere as well. I will recommend to conduct the operation so that nothing on you will grow again." In the long silence that followed, even translators were at a loss for words. The last crucial sentence of his remarks was never rendered outside the original Russian for the diplomats and journalists in attendance. Notably, it did not appear today on the Kremlin's official Web site, which carried an otherwise complete text of the news conference. Kremlin aides later explained that Mr. Putin was both exhausted and, as one put it, "sick and tired of Chechnya." He has good reason: three years after starting a war there to crush Islamic radicals' invasion of a neighboring Russian republic, not only have hopes for a quick military triumph evaporated, but atrocities appear on the rise. Chechnya has long been a transforming topic for Mr. Putin. It is the one issue that has repeatedly turned him from the articulate and persuasive Euro-Russian who is welcome at any table of global leaders into something closer to Nikita Khrushchev — another forward-thinking leader for his time, but one who made a famous point with his shoe. It was Mr. Putin who, after still-unsolved bombings of Moscow apartment houses in September 1999, drove home his enmity toward Chechen guerrillas with the blunt threat: "If we catch them in the toilet, we will rub them out in the outhouse." Many saw his use of crude slang for the word "outhouse" then as inspired political positioning, the creation of a tough-guy image for a nebbish with his eye on a presidential campaign. Mr. Putin later startled Westerners by shrugging after his own army handed over a Radio Liberty journalist to Chechen guerrillas, ostensibly in exchange for captured Russian soldiers. Mr. Putin called the journalist, who had questioned Russian policy in the Caucasus, a traitor. Mr. Putin raised eyebrows again in mid-2001 when a London journalist's question about the Russian army's human rights record in Chechnya produced a visibly angry lecture about human rights abuses by guerrillas that he suggested the foreign press had ignored. The Russian president has had so many such moments, both publicly and in private sessions with both Russian and American officials, that Chechnya's impact on him has become an article of faith among Putin-watchers, both friendly and critical. Boris Nemtsov, a former deputy prime minister and now the leader of a liberal faction in Russia's lower house of Parliament, has discussed Chechnya many times in the Kremlin. "This is not news for me," he said today of Mr. Putin's blunt remarks in Brussels. Mr. Nemtsov suggested that Mr. Putin was engaged in a show of bravado — speaking baldly and angrily about Chechnya because his military strategy is failing and his options are running out. "He's obsessed with Chechnya. He has been from the beginning," said Alexander Rahr, a leading German foreign-policy scholar and Putin acquaintance. Why is a mystery, he said, but judging from conversations, Mr. Putin's bleak memories of the successive collapses of East Germany, the Soviet Union and the K.G.B. he long served have left him deeply committed to preventing any further disintegration of Russia. Mr. Rahr says he believes Mr. Putin is struggling for a way to reach a just peace in the region, but that he sees any power-sharing agreement with separatist forces as the road to just such disintegration. "It's put him in such a state of alert that he behaves like we see him now," Mr. Rahr said. "This is an aspect where he will never make any compromise." Whatever the reason, the contrast between the livid, salty Mr. Putin and the Western-style statesman was never so evident as on Monday, when both personalities were on view at a meeting expressly aimed at drawing Russia more closely into the European fold. European human rights monitors have been the most persistent critics of Russia's conduct of the war in Chechnya, and European leaders have been among those who have urged Mr. Putin most strongly to rein in his army's excesses and seek a peaceful settlement.

AFP 14 Nov 2002 -- Harassment means Chechens 'have no place in Russia': human rights group MOSCOW, Nov 14 (AFP) - Chechens have effectively been outlawed in Russia, the human rights group Memorial said Thursday, denouncing the harassment of Chechens throughout Russia and recommending they be allowed to settle in the central Asian republic of Kazakhstan. "Chechens no longer have their place on Russian territory," Memorial spokeswoman Svetlana Ganushkina told reporters, noting a sharp increase in police actions against Chechens since last month's Moscow hostage crisis in which 128 civilians died. Ganushkina said for many Chechens a return to Kazakhstan, where Stalin deported the Chechen people en masse in 1944 for alleged collaboration with Nazi occupation forces, is their last hope. "Several families of Chechen refugees have already sent their relatives to Kazakhstan," she said. Some 300 Chechen refugees signed a letter to Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev on Tuesday, calling on him to "save our people from genocide" and saying that a forced return to their home republic would be "worse than the deportation." Laura Musayeva, who heads a Chechen children's defence group, said the letter was "a cry of despair." "Compared with how Chechens are treated today, Stalin's deportation appears a fairy story," she said. Many of the 450,000 inhabitants of what was then the Chechen-Ingush republic died after their deportation in February 1944. The survivors were allowed to return to their Caucasus homeland after Nikita Khrushchev, Stalin's successor, embarked on destalinisation in 1956.

AFP 16 Nov 2002 Russian action in Chechnya likened to genocide THE HAGUE, Nov 15: Russia has played into the hands of militant groups in Chechnya by murdering and torturing civilians in a campaign "bordering on genocide" in the rebel region, a human rights watchdog said on Friday. The International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (IHF), which says it has evidence of murders, torture and rape by Russian forces in Chechnya, urged Moscow to find a political solution to the long-standing conflict. Russia denies its troops have been involved in systematic abuses and says excesses are investigated and punished. It says life is returning to normal in Chechnya despite fresh clashes between its troops and rebels. The watchdog condemned last month's three-day hostage seizure in Moscow by Chechen rebels but said Russia's campaign in the region had only hardened Chechen militancy. "The campaign is driving people into the arms of extremists. The campaign is not a campaign against terrorism. It is a campaign that is generating terrorism. It's a source of terrorism," IHF executive director Aaron Rhodes told a news conference in the Netherlands. The IHF, an alliance of human rights groups in 37 countries, said Russia's Chechen campaign was killing many civilians. "We have characterised this as a process which borders on genocide," Rhodes said. One Moscow-based human rights group, taking part in a two-day IHF general assembly at The Hague, estimated that between 10,000 and 20,000 Chechen civilians had been killed by Russian forces since 1999. Moscow's troops are regularly accused by Western governments and human rights groups of looting houses and killing civilians during raids aimed at rooting out rebel fighters. Fewer than 40 servicemen charged with rights violations have been convicted since the present campaign began. A decree issued in March this year by the commander of Russia's forces in Chechnya ordered servicemen to identify themselves and take local officials with them during raids on suspected separatist hideouts, in a bid to curb possible abuse. "The crisis is one of impunity. There is no success in bringing those responsible for human law violations to justice. None at all. Russian institutions have been categorically incapable of undertaking this job," Rhodes said. Russian forces withdrew from Chechnya in 1996 after 20 months of fierce fighting which cost thousands of lives. President Vladimir Putin sent troops back in 1999 after attacks in Dagestan and bomb attacks in Russian cities that Moscow blamed on the rebels. In Brussels this week, Putin pointed to a planned referendum on Chechnya's new constitution to deflect European charges that he was banking all on solving the crisis by force of arms. APPEAL TO UKRAINE: Russia repeated on Friday its demand for Ukrainian authorities to shut down a Chechen rebel information center operating from the southern port city of Odessa, the Russian embassy here said. The Chechen information center has been running for several years with support from Ukraine's nationalist Rukh party, which often takes a hostile view of Moscow and argues that the rebels' information counter-balances biased reports on the war coming from Moscow. Russia and the Chechen guerrillas have been engaged in a bitter propaganda war throughout the three-year conflict in the separatist republic, with Russian security services frequently trying to crack down on rebel Internet sites operating from other regions. The activities "of the information center of the republic of Ichkeria (Chechnya), through its links with the regional Rukh party ... are aimed at giving political and propaganda backing to the terrorists," the Russian embassy statement said. Russia has been repeating its demands for the center to be shut down since last month's terrorist attack on a Moscow theater which 128 civilians died. Ukrainian authorities however respond that no such information center has been officially registered in the republic, and are thus unable to act on Russia's request. REFUGEES: Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev said Friday that the problem of Chechen refugees who have asked for sanctuary in Kazakhstn was a Russian internal affair and should be dealt with by Moscow. Questioned about a written request by 300 Chechen refugee families in the southern Russian republic of Ingushetia, bordering Chechnya, in which they asked him for refuge in Kazakshtan, Nazarbayev said Astana had "not received any official letter." The families said their plight in being forced to return from Igushetia to their homeland in Chechnya as "worse than deportation," and urged the Kazakh leader to "save our people from genocide."-

AFP 18 Nov 2002 - Nine civilians found killed in Chechnya MOSCOW, Nov 18 (AFP) - The bodies of nine civilians, six of them killed by bullet wounds to the head, were among 13 bodies found in Russia's war-torn Chechen republic over the weekend, police told news agencies Monday. The bodies included those of two people found in Grozny, one close to the village of Stariye Atagi, south of the capital, and three in the village of Karpinsky Kurgan near Grozny. All of those bodies were discovered with bullet wounds to their head, Interfax quoted Russian security officials as saying. Three bodies -- of an elderly couple and their son -- were also found in the Grozny suburb of Kirov, killed by unkown assailants, the police told Interfax. Separately, three rebel fighters died while setting a mine in Grozny's Zavodskoi suburb on Sunday, police in the capital told RIA Novosti news agency. In more fighting, the deputy head of a police station in the Urus Martan region south-west of Grozny was killed by unknown assailants in a market in the village of Ordzhonikidz, close to Chechnya's border with Ingushetia, the interior ministry told RIA Novosti. Russian tanks rolled back into Chechnya in October 1999 following a bloody war from 1994 to 1996 and have been there ever since, with almost daily casualties on both the Russian and Chechen sides.

Government of the Russian Federation 19 Nov 2002 20,000 forced migrants to return to Chechnya from Ingushetia by year-end 19.11.2002 19:15 By the end of the year, the federal government plans to repatriate back into Chechnya up to 20,000 persons it terms forced migrants, who mostly live in tent camps in neighboring Ingushetia, Stanislav Ilyasov, the federal minister for Chechnya, told a press briefing at the seat of the Cabinet in Moscow Tuesday. Ilyasov said these people would be accommodated in the private sector, with the rents paid by the government of Chechnya. He went on to say that within next year, 20,000 more refugees will be repatriated from Ingushetia into the Chechen Republic. He specified that this will happen after warm weather sets in, obviating the need for heating. He stressed the importance of providing security in Chechnya to avoiding a new exodus into Ingushetia. "The refugees will all be accommodated either in the private sector or in specially adapted places," Ilyasov said. "The bottom line is to finally resolve the issue of tent camps, which aren't suitable for sustained residence." He also noted the need to rebuild the communities stricken by summer's disasters in the North Caucasus region. "The task set by the President of the Russian Federation will be accomplished and we will succeed in rebuilding the stricken communities," he pronounced, emphatically. (RIA Novosti)

RFE/RL 26 Nov 2002 Plans For Referendum In Chechnya May Be Hollow Gesture By Valentinas Mite Russia has announced plans to hold a referendum in Chechnya on a new constitution. The referendum would be preceded by an international conference, but it's not yet clear who would be invited. Pro-Moscow Chechens say a referendum and new constitution is the quickest road to peace. Analysts, on the other hand, say that without the active involvement of Chechen separatists, any vote is likely to be meaningless. Prague, 26 November 2002 (RFE/RL) -- The Russian minister for Chechnya, Stanislav Ilyasov, has announced plans to hold a constitutional referendum in the breakaway republic sometime in March. Speaking on 22 November, Ilyasov said the Kremlin had approved a plan for a Chechen constitution that provides for the establishment of a republic and a one-chamber parliament. The idea for the referendum was proposed by pro-Moscow Chechens on 7 November. In an appeal to Russian President Vladimir Putin, they said the main problem facing Chechnya was the lack of a constitution and urged the Kremlin to organize a referendum as soon as possible. Aslambek Aslakhanov, a deputy in the State Duma representing Chechnya, signed the appeal. He said a referendum and constitution is the quickest way to end the bloodshed. "Every day, people are killed [in Chechnya]. Every day, young people die, and every day, people are abducted and shot and their corpses found. It is impossible to wait any longer for negotiations to start. Something must be done," Aslakhanov said. Aslakhanov said an international conference on Chechnya would precede the referendum, but it's not yet clear who would attend the conference. Aslakhanov said the Chechen opposition should be invited but not those now fighting Russian forces. "During the last week, I spoke about this problem with some Kremlin officials, and they told me that those Chechens who are not wanted by Russian authorities would be allowed to take part in the conference," Aslakhanov said. The question remains, however, how effective such a conference would be, since almost all of the Chechen separatist leaders, including Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov, are wanted by Russian authorities. Putin has described Maskhadov as a "murderer" and "scum," and just two weeks ago blamed Maskhadov for almost all of the breakaway republic's troubles. "[Maskhadov] led the republic to economic collapse, famine, destruction of the social and cultural sphere, genocide against other ethnic groups in Chechnya, and heavy casualties of ethnic Chechens," Putin said. Ivan Rybkin, a Russian Duma deputy and former chairman of parliament, is skeptical about the success of the referendum. He said any vote held without the inclusion of the separatist leadership is not likely to succeed. "These people who are resisting 100,000 federal troops must take part [in the negotiations]. Federal troops are there not against [Duma Deputy Ruslan] Khasbulatov, who is an academic and professor, [and] not against Aslakhanov, who is general and a member of the Russian Duma," Rybkin said. Brussels-based Russia analyst Marius Vahl of the Center for European Policy Studies agreed, saying that in his opinion, Chechnya is not yet ready for a referendum or elections. He said the separatists would not stop fighting just because the Russians decided to have a referendum. Vahl said he thinks Russia is probably using the idea of a referendum as a way of showing the West that it seeks a peaceful solution for Chechnya. But a referendum alone is not likely to be very persuasive. "I think so. I mean the view in the West is very clear: You need to have a political solution, a political settlement that will have to be negotiated between the ones who are fighting. Simply holding elections in Russian-controlled parts of Chechnya -- I don't think that will make any difference on opinion in the West," Vahl said. Dov Lynch, an analyst from the EU Institute for Security Studies in Paris, is also critical about a referendum. "This referendum is still far from falling in line [with a] policy of peace and [the] search for peace. It really falls in line with the current Russian policy of isolating, eliminating, destroying separatists, terrorists, whatever they want to call them, and is not really a step toward peace," Lynch said. Lynch said Russian authorities will hail the referendum as a step toward peace, but in reality, he said, it would be more a "Potemkin village." Analysts say any vote would be heavily weighted in Russia's favor. Separatists would not likely vote, but the 100,000 Russian soldiers now deployed in Chechnya probably would.

Reuters 28 Nov 2002 Refugees fear death in war-torn Chechen homeland SLEPTSOVSK, Russia (Reuters) - Refugees in tent camps along the border with Chechnya said on Thursday they were scared to return to their war-torn homeland as the authorities piled on pressure for them to go. Russia wants to send home some 70,000 Chechen refugees who have been living in neighbouring Ingushetia since the Kremlin sent troops into Chechnya in 1999 in its second post-Soviet attempt to crush a drive for independence. Many of the potential returnees say their lives would be in danger if they went back to Chechnya, which seethes with daily violence as rebels keep up armed attacks on Russian forces. "Most people still have no plans to return to Chechnya where they expect nothing but death," said Vakha Gaitukayev, a 44-year-old father of four who has spent years in the IMAN camp in northern Ingushetia. "I won't go home before the war is over." Officials have for months said they wanted the refugees to return to Chechnya but efforts to vacate the camps moved into overdrive after Chechen guerrillas seized a packed Moscow theatre last month. A total of 129 hostages died when Russian special forces stormed the theatre after three days to end the stand-off. The Ingush authorities told refugees last month the impoverished republic could no longer support them and said they all had to leave by December 20. FAMILIES TOLD TO PACK Gaitukayev said Chechen and Ingush officials had visited the camp, which is guarded by heavily armed Russian soldiers, and told families to pack up as soon as possible. "They were pointing at the soldiers all the time, saying if the Russians came here they would be a lot less gentle and it was better for us to leave before anything bad happened," he said. The European Union, a major aid donor to Chechnya, has protested against Moscow's drive to resettle the refugees, saying a lack of security in the separatist region did not allow for their safe return. Russia, whose troops die almost daily from rebel attacks, insists it has established control over the region and built adequate housing for the returning refugees, some 30,000 of whom live in Ingushetia in tents. But the stick seemed to work better than the carrot. "They told me that if I don't go they will burn down my tent, turn off power and gas in the camp and that all those who stay will be regarded as guerrillas," said Maret, a 42-year-old widow from the Chechen capital Grozny, as she went about dismantling her tent. Maret said fatherless families were most vulnerable to such threats from officials and she was about to join several dozen people who had already left for Chechnya over the last week. "I just cannot stand it when my family is threatened in such a way," she said.

IWPR Institute for War & Peace Reporting 28 Nov 2002 Chechen police plan raises concerns The people of Chechnya are divided on the merits of a plan to hand over law enforcement powers to a new Chechen police force. By Timur Aliev in Grozny (CRS No.157, 28-Nov-02) The transformation of the regional department of the Russian interior ministry into an autonomous Chechen police force is being hotly debated here. The new force is expected to be put in charge of law and order in Chechnya on January 1 next year, by which time police units from other parts of Russia will have been withdrawn. "We are very happy about this event," said Sultan Satuyev, police chief in the Zavodskoi region of the Chechen capital. "Only Chechens can and should be responsible for order in Chechnya." The local police service, which falls under the auspices of the new Chechen interior ministry, formally created on November 11, will have 12,000 men - equivalent to the number of officers being withdrawn from the republic. The creation of the new force is designed to strengthen the administration of pro-Moscow leader Akhmad Kadyrov and relieve the federal interior ministry of its burden of responsibility in Chechnya. But some Chechens are reluctant to see the Russians go because they fear a force made up of locals may be still more brutal and corrupt and vulnerable to infiltration by rebels. Moscow officials are also nervous and have decided to both retain some of their law enforcement units and maintain current levels of army deployment in the republic. The Chechen police force will be dwarfed by Russian army troops, estimated to number around 80,000 men. Plans to reduce the latter to around 22,000 - as a sign that the three-year-old "anti-terrorist operation" in the republic was reaping results - were suspended after last month's hostage-taking crisis in Moscow. The new Chechen interior minister Said-Selim Peshkhoyev, who has just been promoted to the rank of major general, said the new police service needs to "restore the trust of the population in interior ministry organs - we have to do everything so that our citizens see us as their defenders and actively help us." But former Russian interior minister Anatoly Kulikov - who commanded his countries' forces in Chechnya during the 1994-6 war - said the military should be responsible for law and order in the troubled republic, and policemen should be restricted to investigating crimes like cattle-theft. Many Chechens also do not want to see Russian policemen leaving their republic. "In the first place, it's easier to do a deal with Russian 'cops," said Salman Daduyev from the village of Avtury. "It costs 10 roubles (about 30 US cents) to get through one of their checkpoints. But you won't get away with less than 50 with our cops. "Secondly, the local policemen sometimes behave more brutally in zachistki (a reference to the notorious 'clean-up' operations that security forces carry out in Chechnya's towns and villages)." Russian interior ministry troops used to go out on these sweep operations, but they've been replaced by Chechen policemen who, unlike their Russian counterparts, usually cover their faces with black balaclava masks. "They just want to earn money, that's why they went into the police," said Roza Rasayeva, a resident of Grozny. Senior Russian officials, meanwhile, have alleged that Chechen police are harbouring rebel fighters within their ranks. After a bomb explosion in a Grozny police station last month, in which 26 Chechen officers were killed, the director of Russia's counterintelligence service, the FSB, Nikolai Patrushev, said, "It's obvious that only someone whom the terrorists had specially infiltrated into the police could have carried out this act of terror." Peshkhoyev concedes that there may be some men who aid the fighters amongst the local force. "But overall, it's absolutely wrong to call Chechen officers their accomplices, as some media do," he protested. Peshkhoyev said special selection committees had been set up, which were screening new recruits. The entire leadership of the new interior ministry and its city and regional departments, he went on, had already been vetted. "Several men have either been fired or moved to other posts," Peshkhoyev said. "In the near future we are planning to screen the ordinary men." This does not satisfy many Chechens, who are frightened that radical Islamists, known locally as Wahhabis, are infiltrating the police force. "All the Wahhabis joined the police long ago," said Mansur Khizriev, who has left Chechnya for neighbouring Ingushetia. " Tomorrow the Russian policemen will leave and the Wahhabis will take power. They just want to sell us out." A Russian soldier manning a checkpoint agreed. "Yes, the Chechens are all bandits," he said. "And we are giving them weapons. By making them generals we are preparing new Dudayevs and Maskhadovs." The withdrawal of Russian police units comes at a time of rising tensions between the pro-Moscow administration of Kadyrov and the army, fuelled by the continuing disappearance of young Chechen men in security sweeps. "Nine people have been taken away from my native village of Tsentoroi this week and it's impossible to find out where they are now," Kadyrov told Interfax news agency on November 15. "I can't look my fellow villagers in the eye," he added. These tensions possibly explain why Russian security chiefs are not putting the new Chechen force solely in charge of law and order. According to the Russian interior ministry press office, the 46th Brigade of interior ministry troops and the 42nd Division of the regular army are staying behind on a permanent basis to "support the commanders and local authorities". Timur Aliev is a freelance journalist based in Nazran.

Guardian 29 Nov 2002 Chechen capital, but reality defeats it uploaded 29 Nov 2002 Grozny, where recovery is still just a word Russia wants to show off success in the Chechen capital, but reality defeats it Aslan lost two friends before he turned 16 this year. A young Chechen who moved to Grozny from the volatile region of Vedeno when he was 10, he is a prime candidate for a Russian clean-up operation designed to intercept "terrorists", or "potential terrorists". But so far he has been lucky, he says, despite last year losing his friend Rusul, 18, to a missile explosion, and Rustan, 16, six months later, to a landmine. "There is no life to live here", he said, fidgeting nervously on a street in Grozny patrolled by Russian soldiers. "Every night in the town there is unrest, and murders. Several times a week there are clean-up operations. "We are all against the Russians. If they left it would be all right again here. In Grozny there are snipers, checkpoints. If you have a good car, they stop you and take it away." He has a small scar on his cheek. "We all have scars, all over." he says. "You would be a fool not to be afraid here. Nobody knows the names of the killers. But where can I go from here? There is nowhere else for Chechens." Things are little different from the other side of the line, despite Russian officials insisting they have Chechnya "105% under control". Anatoli, 20, is a Russian conscript from Omsk. He toys with his sleeve as he mumbles about his six months based near Grozny. "There is fighting and shooting every night in town." Many rebel fighters are in the surrounding region, he says. "Have we lost our people? Yes. But, for the present, none were friends of mine." Since the second Chechen war of the 90s came to a close in April 2000, the killing has gone on under different guises - to use Moscow's terms, of "anti-terrorist clean-up operations", and "banditism by terrorists". For every brutality there is a reprisal. A little before some 50 gunmen burst on stage at the Nord Ost show in southern Moscow to demand a Russian withdrawal from Chechnya, a group of Russian soldiers had burst into a block of flats in Chechen-Aul. According to human rights group Memorial, they led away eight men, aged from 20 to 77 years, whose whereabouts remain unknown. Memorial has seemingly endless lists of the missing, which Russian officials say are exaggerated. Colonel Boris Podoprigora, the assistant commander of Russian forces in the north Caucuses, said: "These lists are a political show for the international community. A few days after they are published, the people return home. "Our soldiers are not angels, but many of these disappearances are from Chechen internecine violence." Yet the lists grow. The world caught a glimpse of how both sides have given up on their humanity recently when negotiators appealed to the Moscow theatre gunmen to let children aged over 12 go free. They were told that back in Chechnya, even pre-teen Chechen boys were targets for Russian sweeps, so Russian teenagers were legitimate targets for Chechen reprisals. But ordinary Chechens are tired of the killing. Some of them have been beaten into submission. There is no longer enough left of Grozny to be called a city. Everything has been brutalised beyond recognition. What were once its ruins are now just piles of dust and litter. Its walls are worn down to their concrete support struts. Open fires inside the shells of blocks of flats keep the city's 300,000 people warm. Greyed cars and buses queue behind the city's numerous checkpoints, on which edgy soldiers have scrawled the names of their hometowns, and the warning: "Stop ten metres away or we shoot." Two weeks ago, 30 passengers from a bus that had been machine-gunned were brought into hospital, some with their legs missing. Women scurry along pock-marked streets, laden with shopping. Getting to school is a "nightmare", said Magammad, 17, a student at Grozny university, "but it is the safest place. I live 2km away, but pass two checkpoints each morning." Amid Grozny's dust and chaos, a clothes line, a window or a lightbulb seem opulent and out of place. As part of the three-day tour choreographed by Moscow, we were driven past a large building whose brand new, prim blue roof looked ridiculous in the wreckage around it. Streets that have been carpet-bombed have shiny, new name plaques. We are shown scaffolding, fresh concrete: a town on the mend, perhaps wheeled out for our benefit. At dusk, both Russian soldiers and Chechens rush home or back to base, petrified of what night will bring in a city with no streetlamps. The dark sky is only punctuated by the odd apartment with a light on, and by gunshots and explosions. On the Monday of our trip, three Russian soldiers were reported killed in Grozny's central market. On Tuesday, the head of the Komsomolskaya region was kidnapped, along with his son. As Col Podoprigora says: "We speak of the quantity of our control in Chechnya, but the quality of it is another matter." Yet the Kremlin has peddled the same line since summer last year: life in Chechnya is returning to normal, albeit slowly. Major General Anatoly Kriachkov was mid-way through telling journalists that life had improved in Grozny enough for ordinary Chechens to volunteer to join the Moscow-led local police, when an explosion rattled the windows of his office, and for a second wiped the fixed grin from his face. He continued, outside, a few minutes later by saying Chechnya should be part of a harmonious "multinational Russia", but a second explosion caused his audience to duck, and his credibility to crumble. When they rose, he said: "I don't know what that was." In the past six months, both sides have become more galvanised towards brutality. The theatre siege has strengthened Moscow's hawks. 'Systematic genocide' Military officials say operations have not accelerated since the incident, but human rights groups say that this "usual pace" of operations translates as the systematic genocide of young Chechen men. Even President Putin criticised the sweeps in the summer. On the Chechen side, the moderate, elected president of the separatists, Aslan Maskhadov, has lost out to the extremist Shamil Basayev, who sees his struggle as that of the "international mujahedin" against infidels. Mr Maskhadov made Mr Basayev his chief of military operations in August, perhaps with the aim of reining him in before peace talks. Yet it was Mr Basayev who ordered the Moscow theatre attack, pushing all Chechen separatists into the sights of the "war on terror". Washington, a firm advocate of a political solution, now refers to Mr Mashkadov as "damaged goods". On Saturday, Mr Basayev threatened more terrorist attacks if Russian troops did not immediately withdraw from Chechnya. Few western states would negotiate any kind of peace on such terms. Now, instead of working towards some kind of talks, the Kremlin is busy designing an administration for Grozny, run by pro-Moscow Chechens, something which will do little to turn ordinary Chechens against the radicals. It is the extremists for whom this is a war without end; and it is lucrative. In the bowels of Lubyanka, the Moscow headquarters of the Russian security service, the FSB, the Guardian was shown a tape of teenage Russian conscripts, filmed bleeding to death after their throats had been cut by Chechen rebels. The FSB said the tape was used to raise funds from Gulf state donors. But there are spoils for others involved in the conflict, too. The Kremlin recently reacted positively to a UN offer of help in controlling the millions they pour into the Chechnya each year. "So much just 'disappears' in their bureaucracy", said a senior UN source. "It apparently offends Putin." The shadow of war has also given organised crime a stronghold in an area where guns and drugs can be moved easily, if a few palms are greased. As one Russian soldier put it: "This war is not about us, or politics. It is about power, and about money." The personal details of the young Chechen men and Russian soldiers in this article have been changed.

Serbia (see Netherlands)

BBC 4 Nov 2002, Yugoslavia fights genocide case - Kostunica has tried to rebuild ties with Bosnia Yugoslavia has told the United Nations' highest legal body - the World Court - that it should not have to answer charges of genocide brought by Bosnia. The accusation has been brought by Bosnia over the siege of Sarajevo - where thousands of civilians died - and other killings in the war. Yugoslavia says the court has no jurisdiction in the case, because at the time of the deaths, Belgrade was not a UN member or a party to the Geneva Convention. The court has previously ruled that it does have a say in the affair - but Belgrade is now seeking to persuade judges in The Hague to reverse their decision. Thousands were killed in the brutal war in Bosnia "Yugoslavia was not a member of the United Nations, was not a state party to the statute of the court, and was not a state party to the genocide convention," said Yugoslav legal representative Tibor Varady. The case is complex, because Yugoslavia was a UN member before it began breaking up in the 1990s. Its lawyers are hoping to prove that, because Yugoslavia was officially readmitted in its slimmed-down form in 2000, the war years cannot be seen as a period of membership or accountability. Bosnia, which will put its case on Tuesday, argues that Yugoslavia's defence is irrelevant. Long process The court has already stated that as the former Yugoslavia did sign the Genocide Convention in 1948, both Bosnia and the present Yugoslavia are still bound by it. Nevertheless, the court has agreed to hear Yugoslavia's latest argument on the grounds that it could be a decisive factor in establishing the court's jurisdiction. If the judges stand by their decision to deal with the case, no early progress is expected. It will probably be next year before a decision on hearing the case, and the case itself would be some time after that. Precedent Cases before the International Court of Justice are often complex and intricate but in this instance the application of the Genocide Convention is an important issue of fine legal precision. The BBC's Geraldine Coughlan in The Hague says the outcome will serve as a precedent in courts and tribunals dealing with future cases of international humanitarian law. The World Court - officially titled the International Court of Justice - is separate from the international war crimes tribunal, also in The Hague, where war crimes accusations from the former Yugoslav are also being heard.

AP 5 Nov 2002 War Criminals Sought in Yugoslavia UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The chief U.N. war crimes prosecutor called on the Security Council Wednesday to pressure Yugoslavia to hand over 11 war crimes suspects, including Bosnian Serb wartime commander Gen. Ratko Mladic. Carla Del Ponte, who has been trying for seven years to bring Mladic and former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic to trial at The Hague, said that NATO and the European Union should also exert pressure. The EU, she said, should make the handing over of suspects a condition for Yugoslav membership, while the defensive alliance should make their arrest a condition for Yugoslavia to join NATO's Partnership for Peace Program. Mladic and Karadzic have been indicted for war crimes and genocide during Bosnia's 1992-95 war. Del Ponte spoke to reporters a day after she and the presidents of the Yugoslav and Rwanda tribunals told the council they want to finish all investigations by 2004 and complete all trials by 2008. But reaching those goals, she said, will be impossible unless suspects are arrested quickly and governments cooperate in providing evidence and witnesses. Del Ponte said that for more than a year she has had information on places where Mladic was staying in Serbia — once at a residence of a former army general. But she said Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic and other Serbian officials have told her they ``can do nothing'' because Mladic is protected by the Yugoslav army controlled by President Vojislav Kostunica. Del Ponte said NATO-led efforts to capture Karadzic have failed because they involve hundreds of troops, trucks and helicopters, and Karadzic gets tipped off. She said she has been trying to convince force commanders to establish a small tracking team that can move stealthily after him. Del Ponte said council pressure on Yugoslavia could include sanctions. She called the council's reaction ``very positive'' though it took no action. Diplomats said the council may establish a working group to study the issue. But Russia said a tough new resolution with sanctions would be ``contentious'' and China said it wouldn't get council support. ``We're working individually to keep the pressure on,'' said Richard Grenell, spokesman for U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte.

Spain

Spain: Socialist Party demands opening of Franco’s mass graves By Vicky Short 31 October 2002 The opposition Socialist Party of Spain (PSOE), which governed Spain for 14 years after the death of the fascist dictator General Francisco Franco and the so-called “peaceful transition to democracy”, has belatedly lodged an amendment to this year’s budget demanding the government earmark one million euros to finance the opening of the mass graves from the Civil War. Earlier this month the PSOE demanded of the Congress Constitutional Commission that the memory of the dead be honoured and their bodies recovered. Mass graves are thought to be spread all over Spain. According to the Association for the Recovery of Historical Memory, which has taken the case to the United Nations, there are more than 30,000 Spaniards and foreigners assassinated by Francoist troops, falangists and fascist thugs secretly buried. The friends and relatives of the victims have kept details of the geographical location of some graves for more than 60 years. A few have already been opened by the association with the help of volunteers from 10 different countries and some excavating machines lent by several councils. Attempts have been made to identify only four corpses found two years ago and the results are still to be published. Now the Instituto Anatomico Forense will carry out DNA tests on the corpses of at least seven young Republican soldiers assassinated in 1937 and exhumed last summer from a mass grave found in a ditch in Piedrafita de Babia (Leon). This work will be at the expense of the state. While this is a minimal beginning, it will set a precedent for the discovery and identification of the bodies contained in other mass graves. One of the beneficiaries, 84-year-old Isabel Gonzalez, witnessed the detention of her 22-year-old brother, Eduardo, and one of her brothers-in-law when she was just 19. Their grave was excavated three months ago. She told the newspaper El Pais, “We have suffered much over many years and if we now had to pay in order to know with certainty that our loved ones are there ... I couldn’t afford it.” One of the demands that the Association for the Recovery of Historical Memory has put to the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances is the withdrawal from public display of all the countless Francoist symbols which “offend the dignity of the victims”. The most infamous of these is the monument Franco had built to be his final resting place: El Valle de los Caidos (The Valley of the Fallen). This is an underground shrine topped with a 500-foot-high stone cross, which can be seen from a distance of 30 miles. Prisoners of Franco, many of whom lost their lives in the process, were forced as slaves to quarry this huge cavern, 250 meters deep, into the rocks of the mountain of the Sierra de Guadarrama. The work began in the early 1940s and was completed in 1959. While supposedly housing the dead from the Civil War, it is a monument to Franco and his regime. On show inside are the graves of Franco himself and of Jose Antonio Primo de Rivera, the founder of Franco’s extreme right-wing political party, Falange Espanola. To sugar the pill, a few Republicans were buried among the 50,000 bodies of Francoist supporters. The memorial is advertised today as one of the main tourist sites around Madrid. This is not the only construction built by slave labour. On October 24, the Congress of Deputies approved unanimously a motion from Izquierda Unida, an umbrella organisation set up by the Spanish Communist Party, which seeks to honour the dead and acknowledge the tragedy of “Franco’s slaves”—prisoners who between 1937 and 1970 were utilised as forced labour. As well as erecting the Valle de los Caidos, they were hired off to private companies. They are thought to have numbered over 400,000 people, who built more than 30 dams and canals, prisons, viaducts, railway lines and factories, including Sniace and Portland Cement, as well as mines. Companies such as Dragados, Construcciones, Banus, Duro Felguera and others also made use of their labour. They even built luxury chalets. The prisoners received 25 percent of the low wages paid by the companies, with the state pocketing the rest. The ruling Partido Popular (PP) agreed to honour the “slaves” of the Franco dictatorship, but did not accept compensation as demanded by the motion. The PP has recently poured about £50,000 of state funding into a foundation dedicated to the memory of Franco. Ten percent of the Ministry of Culture funding for independent archives has been given over to the National Francisco Franco Foundation. The foundation organises celebrations to mark Franco’s death every year and maintains fresh flowers on his tombs at the Valley of the Fallen. The government grant is to help with the computerisation of its files. These files are kept only for the eyes of Franco sympathisers. Professor Paul Preston, the British historian and Franco biographer who was the main historical adviser to the recent exhibition at the British War Museum “Dreams and Nightmares”, was denied access along with other international researchers. There have been protests from trade unions and other organisations that have been refused permission to reclaim documents taken from their archives during the civil war. The foundation is headed by Franco’s daughter Pilar. Its web site describes the dictator as “modest, honest and providential” and claims that the 1936 military rebellion against the elected government was legal and legitimate. See Also: Spain: Excavation of Franco’s mass graves demanded

BBC 18 July, 2002, Spain digs up civil war graves Gen Franco ruled over Spain for almost half a century Spain has begun excavating the sites where the remains of Republican soldiers killed during the Spanish Civil War are thought to be buried. Since last week, bones, skulls and even black espadrilles have been turned up in the village in Piedrafita de Babia, near the town of Leon, north-western Spain. Some seven sites near Piedrafita are being excavated in search of about 50 people, whose relatives say were killed on the night of 5 November 1937. The Republican soldiers had been persuaded to turn themselves in to General Franco's nationalist forces which had taken over northern Spain. A group called the Association for the Recovery of Historical Memory has been working for two years to identify and excavate mass graves which they say are dotted all over Spain. The association uses the testimonies and memories of relatives and survivors to pinpoint the unmarked graves. But the group believes that, as the graves are opened, more relatives will come forward. "They are still afraid," said association spokesman Santiago Macias. "They've been unable to speak for 60 years and it's an effort for them to break the silence. But they will." Buried past According to relatives, Piedrafita's mass grave was discovered the morning after the killings, but fear stopped the families from speaking out at the time. "If you spoke once, you never mentioned it again. That was terror. On TV they go on about Yugoslavia, Chile, Argentina... they should ask us, we've suffered much more, and longer," said one. Another relative, Asuncion Alvarez, 87, whose brothers were shot that night, became so worried over the years that their fate would be forgotten that she drew a map of the spot where they lay and gave it to her children. Last week's excavations confirmed the map's accuracy. One high-profile grave the association is hoping to locate is that of the poet and playwright Federico Garcia Lorca, who was shot and dumped in a trench in August 1936.

Asociación para la Recuperación de la Memoria Histórica http://www.memoriahistorica.org/

Turkey

BBC 4 November, 2002, Turkey's charismatic pro-Islamic leader Erdogan insists that he is not hardline Islamist Recep Tayyip Erdogan, leader of the Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkinma Partisi, or AK) is one of Turkey's most popular politicians - but he is banned from holding political office. The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers... Poem that landed Erdogan in jail He is a charismatic politician from a poor background. Born in 1954, his father was a coastguard in the city of Rize on Turkey's Black Sea coast. He was 13 when his father decided to move to Istanbul, hoping to give his five children a better upbringing. As a teenager, he sold lemonade and sesame buns on the streets of Istanbul's rougher districts to earn extra cash. He attended an Islamic school, before obtaining a degree in management from Istanbul's Marmara University - and playing professional football. Joining Islamist movement While at university he met Necmettin Erbakan - who went on to become the country's first Islamist prime minister - and entered Turkey's Islamist movement. Mr Erdogan's first brush with the law came after the military coup of 1980, while he was working for Istanbul's transport authority. Mr Erdogan's boss, a retired colonel, told him to shave off his moustache. Mr Erdogan refused and had to quit the job. His political career in the Welfare Party, as the Islamists' party was known until it was banned in 1998, was developing fast. In 1994, Mr Erdogan became the mayor of Istanbul. Even his critics admit that he did a good job, making Istanbul cleaner and greener - although a decision to ban alcohol in city cafes did not please secularists. Most people consider him not to be corrupt - unlike many other Turkish politicians. His background and commitment to Islamic values also appeal to most of the devout Muslim Turks who have been alienated by the state. Conviction But his pro-Islamist sympathies earned him a conviction in 1998 for inciting religious hatred. He had publicly read an Islamic poem including the lines: "The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers..." He was sentenced to 10 months in jail, but was freed after four. However, because of his criminal record, he was barred from standing in elections or holding political office. Mr Erdogan and his lawyers have argued that recent changes made to Turkey's legislation regulating freedom of speech render his conviction invalid. New image Mr Erdogan has disavowed the hard-line Islamic views of his past and is trying to recast himself as a pro-Western conservative. He does not insist on leaving Nato and says Turkey's membership of the European Union is a necessary and useful step. He has avoided the issue of Islamic dress for women by saying he will not bring his own wife - who wears a headscarf - to official functions. Women are banned from entering government offices and schools wearing headscarves, to the annoyance of many religious-minded Turks. Turkey's secular constituency and, of course, the generals, look at Mr Erdogan's new-found moderation with suspicion. Mr Erdogan is said to speak no foreign languages and to know little about the outside world. Many feared ahead of the election that he might change his views again if his party came to power. "If Erdogan were to become prime minister, I think the military would take an attitude of 'wait and see'," one diplomat said. "Erdogan knows what will happen if he oversteps a line."

Past item: Muslimedia: 1 May 1998 Turkish secularists get nasty Receb Tayyob Erdogan, the 'Islamist' mayor of Istanbul, was sentenced to ten months' imprisonment on April 21 after being convicted of inciting 'hatred based on religious differences' by a special security court sitting in Diyarbakir. The court's three judges, who included a senior military officer, jailed him despite the fact that even the state prosecutor argued that Erdogan had done nothing wrong. The court's decision is part of an ongoing campaign against the influence of Islam in public life and politics. Later the same week, the mayor of Kayseri began a jail term for a similar offence. A few days earlier, 16 businessmen in Kayseri were arrested and questioned for financially supporting the local Islamic movement. The same week, 185 people were arrested in the Kurdish south east of Turkey for marching in protest against government attempts to enforce its ban on government employees from wearing hijab. Erdogan was prosecuted on the basis of a speech he gave in Siirt, near Istanbul, in December last year, in which he quoted from a poem by the Turkish nationalist leader Zia Gokalp (d. 1924). The extract he quoted included the lines "the mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, minarets our bayonets, and the believers our soldiers." Erdogan argued that this passage was from a well-known Turkish poem and represented an appeal for peace, not war. Even the state prosecutor agreed, telling the court that it is normal for expressions such as these to be used in this country, which is 99 percent Muslim.' The fact that Erdogan was still convicted and sentenced to jail clearly indicates that the prosecution was politically motivated. Erdogan was a senior member of the now-dissolved Refah Party, and has been mentioned as a future leader of its successor, the Fazilat Party. His highly regarded performance as mayor of Istanbul is often cited as an an example of what Islamists could do if properly granted power in central government. Erdogan appealed against the conviction and remains free pending further hearings. Over 5,000 people demonstrated outside his mayoral office the day after the conviction, demanding that it be overturned, a fact which is unlikely to have reassured his persecutors. Sukru Keretepe, the mayor of Kayseri in central Turkey, and also a former Refah member, began serving a one-year on April 24. He was also convicted of inciting hatred based on religious differences' -- this charge is used as an a catch-all to prosecute any anti-secular' activities. Keretepe's offence was to have criticised Mustafa Kemal Ataturk', the founder of Turkey's secular ideology, in a 1996 speech. He had expressed pain and regret that his position obliged him to attend a ceremony honouring Ataturk. The Keyseri businessmen were rounded up by anti-terrorist police in a series of pre-dawn raids on April 20, and held for questioning. Erol Yarar, head of Musiad, the Islamic employers' federation, said that they were the founders of an Islamic insurance company in Kayseri, and their arrest was intended to deter others from financially supporting the Islamic movement. The 16 businessmen were reported in the local press to have given financial donations for the development of political Islam.' The continuing crackdown on Islamic activists reflects a growing fear of the popularity if Islamic leaders and groups. Erdogan, who has been mayor of Istanbul since 1994, is highly regarded for his administration of the city, particular for his concern for addressing the problems of ordinary people. The crackdown on Refah, which culminated in its being shut down in January and former prime minister Necmettin Erbakan being banned from politics, has also not slowed the Islamic movement's momentum. Its effective successor, Fazilat, is now regarded as the most popular party in the country. Few people doubt that it would gain the largest number of seats in Parliament were elections to be held now. The question of how to counter this growing Islamic threat' is now tearing the secular establishment apart. In March, following popular protests against Reffah disbandment and Erbakan's banning, the military issued a veiled threat that it would take over power itself if prime minister Mesud Yilmaz's government does not take effective action. Yilmaz responded by openly warning of the damage a military coup would do to Turkey's standing and saying that secularism must be promoted through democratic and constitutional means. Yilmaz's job is not made easier by the ambitions of other secular politicians. On April 23, Yilmaz was forced by Republican Peoples Party (RPP) leader Deniz Baykal to promise to establish a caretaker government when the Parliament returned from its summer recess in October, pending elections in March. The RPP has long been demanding early elections, while Yilmaz has been saying his government needs to stay in office until the elections are formally due in 2000, in order to enact and implement effective anti-Islamic measures. It appears that Baykal finally lost patience and threatened to withdraw his Republican People's Party's support from Yilmaz's fragile coalition if his terms were not met. It is still unclear whether Yilmaz will be able to hold on until March, as other coalition partners have said they would not support the proposed caretaker government. Whenever the elections are held, however, one thing is clear. All Turkey's secular parties, and the military which sees themselves as the guardians of Mustafa Kemal's secular legacy, have a common interest in preventing Fazilat from doing well. As the elections grow more and more imminent, the pressure on Turkey's Islamic movement will increase and friction between popular Islam and the elites' secular extremism is likely to grow. Where this will lead remains to be seen.

Ukraine (see Canada)

United Kingdom (see Germany)

Guardian UK 27 Oct 2002 Genocide film sparks diplomatic row and ban on young Tracy McVeigh A top museum has run into controversy after commissioning an exhibit that is too harrowing to be seen by children. For the first time in Britain an age limit has been imposed for an exhibit, with under-16s being barred from viewing a specially commissioned film on genocide at the Imperial War Museum. The film, entitled Crimes Against Humanity, contains graphic images of massacres across the globe. It also courts controversy by including two hotly disputed events - the massacre of 1.5 million Armenians by Turkey in 1915 and the slaughter of Tutsis by Hutus in Rwanda. The film is part of a wider exhibition on genocide and violence that opens in December. The exhibition is the museum's latest effort to shake off its image as an outdated display case to celebrate the 'boys' toys' of war - tanks, aircraft and big guns. Narrated by well-known commentators, the film contains some deeply disturbing images from Nazi Germany, Bosnia, Cambodia, Armenia and Rwanda, much of which has never been screened on television. In one piece of footage from Rwanda, only ever shown before on the BBC after the 9pm watershed, a man can be seen in the distance standing above a kneeling group of three figures. He suddenly swipes with what is clearly a machete and one figure falls, another swipe another topples. For the viewer it is a slow-dawning horror of what is taking place. Later the camera focuses on the face of a young Rwandan woman as she shamefully confesses to having beaten another woman to death with a club. As well as shocking its viewers, the film pulls few political punches. Turkish diplomats in London, who deny the claim of genocide against Armenians - are considering an official protest over the film. A museum spokeswoman said: 'The film will be controversial as it is a sensitive subject to tackle but I think it is a powerful and thought-provoking film and as a museum of war we have to tackle the gravest of issues.' The United Nations and the US are also criticised by several of the film's commentators, which include war correspondents' Fergal Keane and Martin Bell, human rights activist Michael Ignatieff and African affairs expert Alison des Forges. 'The UN is a club of states. The ultimate irony was that while the Rwandan genocide was ongoing, Rwanda was one of the non-permanent members of the Security Council and no one questioned that,' Des Forges said. Keane told The Observer that, while many of the comments were controversial, they were accurate. 'The Clinton White House worked extremely hard to make sure Rwanda wasn't called genocide because that would have triggered an obligation on the part of the UN to intervene,' he said.

WP 1 Nov 2002 'Bloody Sunday': Indelible Images By Desson Howe Page WE41 IN "BLOODY Sunday," a movie to remember, the date is Sunday, Jan. 30, 1972. The place is Derry, a northern Irish city, where an estimated 20,000 Catholics intend to march peacefully for civil rights. They are protesting mass internments without trial, a measure introduced by the British government a few months earlier. In this religiously bifurcated town, the leader of the march is Ivan Cooper (James Nesbitt), a Protestant who was head of the northern Irish Civil Rights Association. On this day of glorious sunshine, he will invoke the ideals of Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. It will be a day of harmonious protest. Not so. British paramilitary troops wait for them in camouflage gear, faces painted black, weapons at the ready, armored cars idling. Snipers also attend them. This day will henceforth be known as Bloody Sunday for the 13 unarmed civilians about to die from gunshot wounds. A 14th will die a year later as a result of wounds sustained that day. "Bloody Sunday," based on Don Mullan's book "Eyewitness Bloody Sunday," and a co-winner of the top prize at this year's Berlin Film Festival, takes us into this very real situation. The re-creation of the day's events – done in documentary style – is staggeringly effective. Handheld, highly mobile cameras follow both sides of the battle, as British troops and terrified Irish marchers face one another with anger, fear and sad misunderstanding. To the British, the crowd is crawling with "yobbos" and political extremists from the IRA who are using the march to confront the troops with guns, petrol and nail bombs. Whether that's true or not, they are prepared to take what they consider to be appropriate measures. It's clear they have one scenario in mind if this march continues: bloody confrontation. To the demonstrators, a peaceful day is turning into an unprovoked massacre. And by day's end with people lying dead in the streets, there's little reason to consider peaceful means of protest again. Who's causing the trouble here? Of course, the truth lies somewhere between these moral positions, as a recent British official inquiry in the matter continues to uncover. But in "Bloody Sunday," the verdict is unequivocal: the British paramilitary's claims of initial crowd aggression are surreal at best. Nesbitt is terrific as Cooper, leader of the Northern Irish Civil Rights Association, whose ideals crumble as the bloodshed begins; and Tim Pigott-Smith makes an affecting British officer who appreciates the horror of what his troops are doing. But the movie belongs almost entirely to the vision of writer-director Paul Greengrass. He has made an extraordinary film – not only based on eyewitness accounts in the book but featuring Derry residents and relatives of the slain – that's impossible to dismiss or leave ummoved. BLOODY SUNDAY (R, 107 minutes) – Contains obscenity and disturbing violence.

Daily Telegraph UK 6 Nov 2002 Pg. 19, , 'War crimes' fear for British troops, By Michael Smith Defence Correspondent THE Government is concerned that British servicemen and women involved in any war against Iraq could find themselves facing action from the International Criminal Court, defence sources said yesterday. This week's attack, by a CIA Predator drone, on a car containing al-Qa'eda terrorists in Yemen has served only to intensify concerns within the Cabinet, which extend to Tony Blair and Geoff Hoon, Defence Secretary. They are both lawyers by training, as is Jack Straw, Foreign Secretary, another key player in the debate. "Lawyer Blair and lawyer Hoon are really worried about this now," one defence source said. Lord Goldsmith, Attorney General, and Harriet Harman, Solicitor General, have warned the Government that if it attacked Iraq without the backing of a UN Resolution action then it could find itself hauled before the ICC. But defence sources said there was just as much concern over the possibility that even with a resolution in place individual servicemen might find themselves subject to action. One suggested that if a British reconnaissance aircraft passed information to a US ground attack aircraft that subsequently attacked civilians, the British servicemen might be held responsible. They would be subject to the ICC, although the pilot of the US aircraft would not, since America did not recognise the court. Despite extensive efforts by the British Government and the Foreign Office in particular, the US administration is opposed to any recognition of the ICC. Admiral Sir Michael Boyce, Chief of Defence Staff, who expressed concerns over the Government's decision to sign up to the ICC, also warned against the US willingness to act like "a 21st century high-tech posse". The attack in Yemen, with the CIA apparently acting as judge, jury and executioner, was typical of the type of activity over which Admiral Boyce expressed concern, defence sources said. He advocated drawing "red lines" beyond which British troops operating alongside US forces would not go. He also warned ministers that under the ICC commanders might face a choice between being accused of war crimes or changing rules of engagement to the point where the enemy could be certain of striking first. The MoD said that any British serviceman or women involved in any alleged offence brought before the ICC would have to be tried in Britain and would therefore be subject to the normal laws of the land. "We obviously agree to share information and intelligence with the Americans," a spokesman said. "We don't necessarily have any control over how it is used. "Nor does it follow that because US servicemen are not subject to the ICC they are allowed to go out and act with impunity. Any US serviceman accused of war crimes would be liable to prosecution in the US courts."

BBC 13 Nov 2002 Hate crime police raid 150 homes Community safety units were set up in 1999 Police investigating allegations of racism, homophobia and domestic violence have raided about 150 addresses across London. At least 90 people have been arrested after officers from the Metropolitan Police's community safety unit took part in the dawn raids on Wednesday. Twenty-seven people have been charged, including one for rape but most have been arrested on suspicion of making racist threats and of homophobic harassment. The raids signal the start of a day of police action against "hate crime" - offences against people on the grounds of their race, faith, religion, disability, or sexuality. People should not have to go through life being subjected to abuse because of who they are or what they believe in Commander Cressida Dick Posters in newspapers and on the Tube and trains urging victims of hate crime to come forward are running as part of a two-week campaign by the Metropolitan Police. Commander Cressida Dick, director of the Diversity Directorate, denied the operation was simply a publicity stunt. She said: "We want the offenders who hate, hurt and harm others to know the Met will do everything in its power to find them out and put a stop to their crime. "People should not have to go through life being subjected to abuse because of who they are or what they believe in." The raids will be followed up by a day of activities to raise awareness of the Met's community safety units, which deal with hate crime. Officers will take a mobile hate-crime reporting centre into the heart of London's gay community in Old Compton Street, Soho.

Scotsman 22 Nov 2002 UK) Offences Facing Double Jeopardy Change By David Barrett, Home Affairs Correspondent, PA News The full list of offences in which the Government wants to reverse the double jeopardy rule is: Murder Soliciting murder Manslaughter Kidnapping Rape Attempted rape Intercourse with a girl under 13 Incest by a man with a girl under 13 Unlawful importation of Class A drugs Unlawful exportation of Class A drugs Producing or being concerned in production of Class A drugs Supplying or offering to supply Class A drugs Armed robbery Arson endangering life Causing explosion likely to endanger life or property Intent or conspiracy to cause explosion likely to endanger life or property Genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes Grave breaches of the Geneva Convention Directing terrorist organisation Hostage-taking Hijacking of aircraft Destroying, damaging or endangering the safety of an aircraft Hijacking of ships Seizing or exercising control of fixed platforms Destroying ships or fixed platforms or endangering their safety Hijacking of Channel Tunnel trains Seizing or exercising control of the Channel tunnel system Conspiracy. All the offences carry a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. However, the list does not include all offences for which life is the maximum punishment because some of these may be common law offences for which life is rarely imposed. In the White Paper Justice for All, published in July, the Government said the change would extend to “a number of ... very serious offences such as rape, manslaughter and armed robbery”.

Vatican City

AP 30 Oct 2002 Vatican will release WWII documents VATICAN CITY Some 3.5 million files on World War II prisoners of war will be made public by the Vatican in January as part of a promised release of documents intended to counter criticism of the papacy during the Holocaust. Cardinal Jorge Maria Mejia, the Vatican's librarian, said Tuesday the POW files will be available on CD-ROM on the Vatican's Web site. The Vatican will also release documents relating to its diplomacy in Germany from 1922 to the outbreak of World War II in 1939. The files are believed to deal exclusively with the treatment of POWs during the conflict and not directly with issues surrounding the Holocaust. Critics of Pope Pius XII, the wartime pope, argue he failed to raise his voice and use his position to head off the extermination of European Jews by the Nazis. Defenders insist he made every effort possible to help Jews and others. Jewish groups and others have been seeking a complete opening of the Vatican archives. Before becoming a cardinal, the future Pius XII served as a diplomat in Germany during the 1920s. As Vatican secretary of state, he was responsible for Vatican diplomacy in the years leading to WWII. The Vatican announced in February that it planned to release the material, saying the files on wartime prisoners would show historians "the great works of charity and assistance' undertaken by Pius XII for prisoners and other victims regardless of nation, religion or race.


news source abbreviations

AFP - Agence France-Presse
All-Africa - All-Africa Global Media
AI - Amnesty International
Al Jezeera - Arabic Satellite TV news from Qatar (since Nov. 1996, on web since 2001, English coming soon)
Anadolu - Anadolu Agency, Turkey
ANSA - Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata - Italy
Antara Antara National New Agency, Indonesia
AP - Associated Press
BBC - British Broadcasting Network
DPA - Deutsche Presse-Agentur
EFE - Agencia EFE (Spanish),