News Monitor for October 2002
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Tracking current news on genocide
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BBC 10 Oct 2002 Berber riots rock Algerian poll Berbers see themselves as a persecuted minority Rioting in Algeria's ethnic Berber region has marred local elections with at least five people injured in clashes with police. Elsewhere, voting ended smoothly in elections seen as a test of political stability under President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. Mr Bouteflika has vowed to restore peace to this country of about 30 million which has seen tens of thousands killed in fighting with Islamic militants since 1992. Berbers protesting at what they see as discrimination by the majority Arab population seized ballot-boxes and burnt down polling-stations in the Kabylie region. Building barricades, they hurled stones at riot police, beefed up to a strength of 20,000 by the government in the run-up to the election. Police fired tear gas near the Kabylie city of Bejaia to break up protesters as they attacked polling-stations and tried to burn ballot-boxes. In the city of Tizi-Ouzou, at least five protesters were wounded, one of them seriously, in clashes with the security forces. Interior Minister Noureddine later announced that voting was disrupted in 20 of the 67 municipalities in Tizi Ouzou Province and 19 out of 52 municipalities in Bejaia Province. Bouteflika's party ahead National election results are due to be released at around 1100 GMT on Friday but analysts already predict that President Bouteflika's ruling National Liberation Front (FLN) will capitalise on its May general election victory and win most of the votes. Correspondents say that while local elections have limited significance in Algeria, a successful vote is seen as shoring up the president's portrayal of Algeria as a stable democracy, attractive to foreign investors. The vote passed off peacefully in most of the country However, in addition to the Berber unrest, attacks attributed to Islamic militants continue, with massacres of civilians routinely reported In the Berber region, politicians called a boycott of the vote as part of their continuing campaign for greater recognition. But one Berber party, the Socialist Forces Front, broke ranks and rejected the boycott. A security clampdown in Kabylie in the spring of 2001 left some 100 people dead. The Berbers, who have their own language and make up at least a fifth of Algeria's population, are demanding greater rights from the central government.
IRIN 10 Oct 2002 UNITA reunification boost for peace process JOHANNESBURG, 10 Oct 2002 (IRIN) - After several months of negotiations Angola's former rebel group UNITA was unified this week, paving the way for national reconciliation and the implementation of outstanding aspects of the 1994 Lusaka peace agreement. "It has taken some time but we have successfully accomplished a very important task. We are now working towards a concrete programme of action. Already we have set up 18 working groups which will act as a shadow cabinet to the government," George Valentim, secretary-general of the now defunct UNITA Renovada faction, told IRIN. He added that UNITA would work on transforming its image from that of a guerrilla movement "to something that appeals to most Angolans". Splits in the rebel movement surfaced after the abortive 1994 Lusaka peace deal. The Luanda-based Renovada was formed by Eugenio Manuvakola in September 1998 along with other dissidents who had fallen out with UNITA's founder, Jonas Savimbi. The new group was recognised by the government as the interlocutors for the 1994 Lusaka Protocol. However, since the 4 April ceasefire between UNITA and the government this year, the splinter group has found itself on the sidelines of the broader political changes happening in the country. In July Manuvakola resigned from the Renovada leadership, saying his decision would pave the way for the reunification of the party. Valentim was appointed caretaker of the splinter group until the final reunification of the party. He had earlier been appointed to conduct negotiations with the main wing of UNITA. "We have to restructure the united party so that it can reflect democratic principles. Admittedly, we [UNITA] do not have a very positive image but our focus is on bringing new ideas to the people. Angolans must be free to voice criticisms of the way public affairs are conducted," Valentim said. On Wednesday church groups welcomed UNITA's reunification saying that,"a unified UNITA is very good for everyone who has been involved in the peace process". Daniel Ntoni-Nzinga, executive secretary of the Interchurch Committee for Peace in Angola said: "UNITA now has to show that they are capable of standing as a political party without a military wing. They must prove they have the capacity to mobilise the Angolan people." Meanwhile, Joao Porto, a senior researcher at the Pretoria-based Institute for Security Studies, told IRIN that as a unified political movement, UNITA could prove to be a serious contender for political power. "Although reduced to a fraction of what it once was, UNITA now constitutes a serious contender for power in Angola as was demonstrated in the 1992 legislative elections where UNITA commanded 34 percent of the votes. "UNITA could substantially increase this result in the next elections should it demonstrate to the Angolan people that it has the capacity to address some of their major concerns," Porto said. A peace agreement in 1991 led to elections the following year. The ruling MPLA won 129 of the 220 seats, with UNITA particulalrly strong in its traditional central highlands stronghold. President Jose Eduardo dos Santos received just over 49 percent of the vote, just short of the 50 percent needed to avoid a second round against Savimbi who secured 40 percent. Savimbi refused to accept the result and returned to war. His death in February this year has given Angola another chance for peace and reconciliation under the terms of the Lusaka settlement. "After so many years in power it would interesting to watch if the MPLA government opens a political space for multiparty politics. Will civil society be permitted to voice criticisms of the government?" Porto said. The government-controlled media dominates the scene. The country's only news agency, Angop, and the only daily newspaper, Jornal de Angola, are state-owned and they all carry little criticism of the government. Porto said a successful transition to political pluralism would replace, once and for all, the violence and mistrust which has historically marked relations between the government and UNITA.
Washington Afro-American 9 Oct 2002 Benin Seeks Forgiveness For African Slave Trade By LaWanda Johnson WASHINGTON - In an unprecedented move, Cyrille Oguin, ambassador to the United States from the African Republic of Benin, has admitted his country’s part in the transatlantic slave trade that peddled millions of Africans over 300 years, and is seeking reconciliation and forgiveness. Oguin said the loss of millions of Africans from the continent has led to its lack of development and prosperity. “If a vital part of you was missing, would you not miss it?” asked Oguin at a press conference at the embassy of the Republic of Benin in Washington, D.C. "No amount of money can fix anything that has already happened. This apology is from the heart. And that is much more valuable than money because of the psychological impact." The slave trade - or the “Middle Passage,” the journey of Africans kidnapped from their homeland and put on European vessels to be transported to Europe and the Americas for enslavement - has been described as the most horrific and disgraceful crime against human beings in history. This peddling of human beings, an untold number of African men, women and children, between the 15th and 19th centuries cost millions of lives and robbed Africa of her most valuable natural resource, her people. What has always been clear is that Europeans implemented, organized and fueled the slave trade for their own greed and prosperity. The part that has always been unclear is the involvement of African leaders in assisting in the capture, exportation and exploitation of millions of Africans. Oguin echoed the Republic of Benin President Mathieu Kerekou’s sentiment expressed at a 1999 reconciliation conference: “We owe to ourselves never to forget these absent ones standing among us who did not die their own deaths. We must acknowledge and share responsibility in the humiliations.” Oguin said that admitting guilt is the first step in reconciliation, to clean the blood of millions from the past from his country’s hands. “I think that’s a very important move on his part,” said A. Peter Bailey, a lecturer and editor of “Vital Issues: A Journal of African American Speeches.” “There has been a tendency to blur over the pivotal role that some African chiefs played in the enslavement of African people. It is a good sign to hear someone acknowledge it and express regret over what happened.” Originally called Dahomey, Benin changed its name after gaining independence from France in 1960. A country of about 6.5 million, it is between Togo, Burkina Faso, Niger and Nigeria in West Africa. It is about the size of the state of Pennsylvania and borders the Atlantic Ocean. That, said Oguin, allowed its country to be used as a major port for the slave trade. Slaves were marched down a path that cuts through Oguin's country, branded or otherwise marked, and held at holding camps in the port of Ouidah, now part of a toured slave route in Benin, said Oguin. From this port city, thousand of slaves were stripped, chained in pairs by the ankles and taken by canoes, at night, to slaving vessels anchored in the harbors. For this assistance and for sometimes even providing the cargo for the slave merchants, Oguin says they are sorry. The meeting shed light on rumors and innuendoes that have plagued relationships between Africans and African Americans, according to some observers. This basis for mistrust, according to Oguin, keeps African Americans from benefiting from an economic relationship with the continent. "The apology is too late. The damage has been done. The apology cannot compensate for everything we’ve been through." Charlene Crafton | Government Worker Prince George's County “There are many people who have negative ideas about Africa,” said Oguin. “Nowadays, many people are rushing to the continent because of the enormous opportunities it presents. In this move, African Americans should not stay out while they have a special relationship - a historical connection - and blood links with Africa.” For over a decade, Benin has been noted for its political stability and encourages a market economy that fuels its economic expansion. However, like Ghana, it courts the attention of African Americans to spearhead development in a country that has seen years of painfully slow growth. They feel that ignoring the damage inflicted by slavery would impede the peace and reconciliation they seek. “No amount of money can fix anything that has already happened,” said Oguin. “This apology is from the heart. And that is much more valuable than money because of the psychological impact. Once we have that confidence that we have spiritually addressed those concerns, then the relationship in business, trade and culture will follow and become larger, stronger and long-lasting.” “The apology is too late,” said Charlene Crafton, a 30-something local government worker. She spoke for many in her Prince George’s County community. “The damage has been done. The apology cannot compensate for everything we’ve been through.” “I believe in retribution,” said lecturer Bailey. “And I do believe that Africa, as a continent, has paid a severe price for what those chiefs did. Now both of us will only advance together. It is to the advantage of Africans and African Americans that we develop a serious, mutually beneficial relationship.” Oguin announced plans for the first annual international festival, “Gospel and Roots,” from Oct. 27 to Nov. 3. The festival is expected to be a forum of cultural expression to pave the way for reconciliation. The festival will bring musicians from all over the world to Benin, including King Sunny Ade of Nigeria; Ron Kenoly, Spiritual Jubilation Choir, Righteous Choir and Rodnie Bryant, all of the United States; Rebecca Malope from South Africa; Shekina from Cote d’Ivoire; Roberte Laporal from Guadeloupe; and the Winneba Youth Choir from Ghana. Benin hopes that thousands of African Americans and “sisters and brothers in the Black Diaspora” will take advantage of this festival to come “home.” Crafton was wistful. Bitterness aside, Crafton said, smiling, “I wouldn’t mind visiting any part of Africa.”
IRIN 2 Oct 2002 Hundreds more flee as conflict escalates, UN agency says NAIROBI, - A recent influx of some 900 Burundians into Tanzania brings refugee arrivals to at least 3,000 in September, the office of UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported on Tuesday. It said this represented a nearly a 10-fold increase from August. Most of the refugees had fled "after a period of internal displacement", the agency reported, while others who had previously been in Tanzanian refugee camps and gone home only to find themselves having to flee the current fighting between government and rebel forces. A UNHCR report from Kibondo, Tanzania, near the border with Burundi, said many of the new arrivals were in poor health, "with children showing signs of malnutrition". The refugees had said the fighting between the army and the rebels had escalated, and that some soldiers had burnt down their homes after accusing them of complicity with the rebels. Meanwhile, the flow of Burundian returnees had dropped dramatically, the UNHCR spokesman, Kris Janowski, said on Tuesday in Geneva. In recent weeks, he said, an average of 600 refugees had gone home each week, compared to up to 1,500 per week a few months ago. At least 45,000 Burundian refugees have returned home since the beginning of the year, 25,000 of them with UNHCR help. The agency has maintained that it is only facilitating the return of refugees to relatively safe parts of northern Burundi. Tanzania was hosting some 350,000 Burundian refugees in camps, UNHCR reported, with nearly 500,000 others living on their own outside the camps.
IRIN 3 Oct 2002 Military investigates parasitic contamination among peace troops NAIROBI, 3 Oct 2002 (IRIN) - South Africa's military has opened an inquiry into an outbreak of parasitic contamination among its troops serving in Burundi, a South Africa Internet news service provider reported on Wednesday. "From a group of 23 sick soldiers tested, two had abscesses on their livers that may be the result of drinking contaminated water," news24 reported. The South African Military Health Service is conducting the investigation. The military's surgeon-general, Lt-Gen Rinus Jansen van Rensburg, said the type of parasite concerned was usually transmitted via contaminated water, but could also be passed on through vegetables, fruit or even meat. Most of the affected soldiers are from the 46 SA Brigade in Johannesburg, news24 quoted him as saying. He added that water sources in the Burundi capital, Bujumbura, were being investigated, as well as the circumstances surrounding the supply of fresh produce to the South African base there. South Africa deployed 701 soldiers to Burundi in November 2001 as a special unit to provide protection for returning Burundian exiles who are now members of state institutions.
IRIN 4 Oct 2002 Army officers imprisoned for Itaba killings NAIROBI, 4 Oct 2002 (IRIN) - Two army officers have been imprisoned in connection with the killing of some 173 people in Itaba, in the central province of Gitega, Net Press reported on Thursday. The officers, whom Net Press identified as Maj Budigoma and Lt Ngendakuriyo, are being held at the Gitega Central Prison. Their arrest followed "intense pressure" from Hutu parties in the country. "It is the first time that military officers have been imprisoned following army operations," Net Press, a Bujumbura news organ, reported. Speaking from Bujumbura on 26 September, Amnesty International Secretary-General Irene Khan told IRIN that all those killed in Itaba had been civilians, including women and children. She described the act as "cold-blooded", and said Burundian President Pierre Buyoya had promised that the state would prosecute those who had ordered the killings. The massacre occurred on 9 September, but was only made public several days later. It is unclear what prompted the killings although the army has been active in trying to put down a rebellion by Hutu fighters in parts of the country. Burundian soldiers also killed at least 100 civilians in July in the province of Muramvya, northwest of Gitega, the Missionary Service News Agency reported on Wednesday, citing a report from an independent parliamentary commission of inquiry. The first reports of this incident emerged a day after Buyoya confirmed that soldiers had been responsible for the Itaba killings.
Reuters 4 Oct 2002 Burundi struggles to remember life without war By Maria Eismont BUJUMBURA, Oct 4 (Reuters) - Sitting on the softly-lit terrace of an expensive restaurant on the shores of Lake Tanganyika, you can clearly see the flare of rebel gunfire in the hills that flank the Burundian capital. "Usual problem in the hills," a seasoned expatriate or wealthy Burundian will shrug, glancing briefly at the red flames lighting up the night sky before turning back to his beer. After nine years of civil war, shelling in the sinister hills around Burundi's capital can no longer surprise. Night attacks, road ambushes and kidnappings have all become part of everyday life, a strange routine in a country devastated by conflict. Rebels of the ethnic Hutu majority have been fighting the Tutsi-led army since 1993, and the civilian population has been caught in the crossfire. For the privileged few who live in the centre of town, in large stone houses with shady tropical gardens, it is easy to forget that a war rages outside. "My family in France reads newspapers and listens to the radio and they think it is hell here -- bombs and bullets everywhere," one young expatriate NGO worker told Reuters. "But if they knew how good my life is out here, they would come over themselves." But for those living in the lush green hills that rise above the small capital, the war is a frightening reality. Many spend nights outdoors, hiding in fields for fear that armed rebels or government soldiers will come to their houses to loot and destroy. "We have forgotten what normal life is," 43-year-old Evelyne told Reuters. "One day it is quiet and we thank God, but the next day we hear bullets and it is time to run away, leaving our fields and our cattle." Evelyne's home is near the Kibira forest, which Burundi's two main rebel groups use as a base. The Burundian army often ventures to the area, launching offensives to root out the Forces of National Liberation (FNL) or the Forces for the Defence of Democracy (FDD). "They all say they are protecting us, but none of them do," Evelyne said. "When they fight each other, it is us who die." WAR IGNORED While the 1994 genocide of 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus in Rwanda and its aftermath was relatively widely covered by Western media, Burundi's conflict has been largely ignored outside the region. The two countries share the same ethnic divide -- majority Hutu, minority Tutsi -- but unlike in Rwanda, Tutsis have dominated Burundi's government since independence from Belgium in 1962 and have committed many of the worst massacres. Since the Belgians left, politicians at all levels have manipulated ethnic divisions between Hutus and Tutsis, with extraordinarily violent results. At least 100,000 people were killed in 1972 when the army put down a Hutu uprising, wiping out a generation of educated Hutus. The event sealed Tutsi control of government and army. Another 5,000 people died during a 1988 uprising of Hutu farmers and the subsequent army repression. The civil war was sparked in 1993 when the army murdered Melchior Ndadaye, Burundi's first elected Hutu president. The current conflict is thought to have killed around 200,000 people since, but experts say the actual death toll is impossible to assess. "Those figures are very estimated and...have nothing to do with reality," said Pie Ntakarutimana, from the Burundi-based human rights group Ligue Iteka. "It is really difficult to count. When there are more then 100 people dead, who counts them? Who knows about all the massacres going on? People are dying anonymously." REBELLION CONTINUES Last November, a new government sharing power between Hutus and Tutsis was inaugurated under a peace plan brokered by former South African president Nelson Mandela, to try to steer Burundi away from ethnic conflict. But neither of the two main rebel groups have signed a ceasefire, and the ambushes, kidnappings, grenade attacks and raids on the capital have continued. The rebellion is divided, and talks between the various rebel factions and the government have so far yielded little. Both the army and the rebels are accused of indiscriminate killings, and it is civilians who bear the brunt of the suffering. Thousands have been displaced by fighting, fleeing to refugee camps in neighbouring Tanzania or the Democratic Republic of Congo, itself racked by war. In early September, 173 civilians were killed in Itaba, in central Gitega province. Human rights groups have accused the army of deliberately carrying out the killings, which included women and children. The government says it will carry out a formal investigation, but for a population battered by war the mass killing is just another chapter in a seemingly intractable conflict. Back in Bujumbura, a change of wind brings the sound of artillery and grenade explosions echoing back off the hills. The noise is familiar enough and far enough away to allow life to keep going on as normal. "Sometimes I feel like thanking God I was born and live in Bujumbura," said one of the capital's residents, referring to the city's relative safety. He glanced up at the luxury residential district of Kiriri, home to President Pierre Buyoya and most of Burundi's top politicians. "But I also have a question," he said. "Do you really think that if it was Kiriri burning, the war would last even a day longer?"
Pan African News Agency (PANA) 25 Oct 2002 68 percent of Burundians live below poverty line Bujumbura, Burundi (PANA) - Structural economic deficiencies in Burundi have deepened because of its protracted civil war, forcing about 68 percent of the population below the poverty line, officials said at a UN Day function Thursday. According to a document released by the UN Development Programme (UNDP), public investment in Burundi has seriously decreased, with the bulk of available resources going to civil service salaries, military spending and debt servicing, rather than fighting poverty. It further noted that foreign aid fell from 280 million US dollars in 1992 to 90 million in 1999, and that Burundi's public debt currently stands at 1.4 billion US dollars, or 14 percent of GDP. The report said more than 95 percent of Burundians work in the primary sector, which accounts for more than 50 percent of GDP. It noted, though, that the displacement of the population, climate change, lack of input and dwindling aid has weakened the sector. Due to forcible displacements, about 1.2 million Burundians live in extreme poverty in and outside Burundi, the report indicated. It also noted that poverty was mostly felt in the sphere of basic education, health and employment, due to the destruction of schools, displacement of people, illiteracy, lack of access to health care and safe drinking water, coupled with a paralysis of the private sector. The new cooperation framework between the UNDP and Burundi is aimed at improving the situation, with the specific objectives of reducing the incidence of poverty from 68 to 25 percent of the population by 2010, the document said.
Cote d'Ivore - Ivory Coast (see also France and Nigeria )
NYT 1 Oct 2002 Ethnic Clenching: Misrule in Ivory Coast By NORIMITSU ONISHI ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, Sept. 30 — The conflict that has gripped this country for almost two weeks has its source in xenophobic policies unleashed nine years ago by the death of Félix Houphouët-Boigny. He was the autocrat who made Ivory Coast into one of Africa's most stable countries, keeping close links with France and emphasizing ethnic harmony in a region with sharp divisions. When he went, so did his vision. In the decade since, the three men who have led Ivory Coast have differed greatly, except on one front: all three have used ethnic and religious differences to gain and keep power, at the expense of national stability. The three leaders, Christians from the south, saw the cold numerical reality that they were outnumbered by Muslims from the north. So they invented a logic, called "ivoirité," which held that the southerners were the only pure Ivoirians. Over the years, through one ploy or another, the leaders made sure that Alassane D. Ouattara, a popular northerner who would almost surely have carried a general election, was disqualified from running for president. They said he was a phony Ivoirian, a citizen from neighboring Burkina Faso, even though he had once served as Mr. Houphouët-Boigny's prime minister. Under the politics of xenophobia, ordinary northerners began facing daily harassment from the authorities, including the police and military. Northerners were removed from positions of power in the security forces, or shunted aside. In large part it is these disaffected soldiers who rose up in three cities two Thursdays ago. And today the country's ethnic and religious divisions are physically manifest. Ivory Coast is split in half. The rebel soldiers control the north and the government clings to the south. So far, President Laurent Gbagbo's government has rejected any suggestion that internal problems may have caused the uprising. To do so would, of course, mean acknowledging misguided ethnic policies. At first the government said the uprising stemmed from a failed coup by the former military ruler, Gen. Robert Gueï, who during the unrest was killed with a bullet through the head. Then, through its media, the government shifted the blame to Mr. Ouattara and the president of Burkina Faso, Blaise Compaoré. The rebels were branded terrorists. At a meeting of West African leaders in Accra, Ghana, on Sunday, Abdoulaye Wade, the president of Senegal, who is known for his blunt talk, seemed to dismiss the Ivoirian government's explanation. "It was not a coup d'état," he said. "It was not a mutiny. It is a group of military — former military, including officers — who have taken up arms to make a number of demands." What Mr. Wade left unsaid, at least this time, was how the government's policies had pushed those soldiers and others to such a desperate act. Last year he was not so reserved on the subject, asserting that a native of Burkina Faso faced more discrimination living in Ivory Coast than an African living in France. The Ivoirian government's policies were condemned throughout West Africa, though more discreetly. On a continent with poorly educated, easily manipulated people, many believe that talk of ethnic purity opens a Pandora's box leading to catastrophes like the Rwandan genocide. In Nigeria, generals held power for years, partly by arguing that politicians would inflame ethnic and religious divisions for selfish goals. Since Nigeria was handed over to civilian politicians in 1999, about 10,000 Nigerians have been killed in ethnic and religious clashes fueled by politicians, more than at any other time in the country's history. West African leaders may feel little genuine sympathy for the Ivoirian government's present predicament. But given its regional importance, they quickly agreed in Accra on Sunday to send mediators and perhaps, eventually, a peacekeeping force. "A threat to Ivory Coast is a threat to all of us," said President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, the country that would almost certainly dominate any regional peacekeeping force. During the glory years under Mr. Houphouët-Boigny, Western and African tourists flocked to Abidjan, the so-called Paris of Africa, where they could go to the Hôtel Ivoire and skate on its ice rink. The hotel so impressed Mobutu Sese Seko, the ruler of Zaire, that he had a similar one built in Kinshasa (albeit without the rink). In the Ivoirian capital, Yamoussoukro, tourists visit Notre Dame de la Paix basilica, which is bigger than St. Peter's in Rome. But since a coup in 1999, instability has become part of everyday life here. Soldier mutinies have occurred every few months. Restaurants and clubs have had to factor in periodic curfews. The Gbagbo government has pursued the politics of ethnic exclusion. Tourists have scratched the country off their lists. The ice at the Hôtel Ivoire rink has melted. And what used to be one of Africa's most stable countries may soon witness the arrival of the West African intervention force — the same one deployed in recent years in failed states like Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Prévention Génocides (Belgium) 3 Oct 2002 Release Ivory Coast , A Crisis Foreseen The Ivory Coast is now undergoing an attempted coup d’état that has cost numerous deaths. The situation is worsening and becoming more complex each day. Some observers are warning of another Rwanda. For more than two years, the non-governmental organization (NGO), Prévention Génocides, based in Brussels, Belgium, has attempted to call attention both to Ivorians and to Western policy makers, of the dangers of ethnic, xenophobic identity politics that has developed for a dozen years during the Ivorian economic crisis. A film was produced entitled, "Ivory Coast, An Explosive Identity Crisis". Paradoxically, this alert got more attention in Ivory Coast than in Belgium and the West. The film was broadcast on Ivorian television in August 2001 and provoked a debate in the press. Steps of the original analysis Our involvement began in October 2000. A team of sociologists of our NGO was sent to the Ivory Coast . Field research was carried out including hundreds of in depth interviews at many levels of the society and in many geographical regions. An analysis of recorded narratives, testimony, and images by Spring 2001 resulted in a clear diagnosis: Ivorian society is undermined by several crises: A crisis of the political elites: a battle among four leaders ( Bédié, Guéi, Ouattara and Gbagbo ) has rocked the political life of the country for ten years and has often led to petty tactical calculation to gain or preserve power at the expense of the long-term goals of development. Corruption has also undermined the foundations of the rule of law. A crisis of finances of the Ivorian state due primarily to the fall of the price of cacao, and the suspension of certain international assistance in light of evidence of massive theft of subsidies from the European Fund for Development in the health sector. A deep identity crisis. For almost ten years the concept of "ivoirité" ("ivorianess") was fabricated by politicians in search of legitimacy. An ideology and propaganda directed by those in power created, little by little, in the social imagination two identity groups: the "100 percent Ivorians" from the "roots"; and the "dubious Ivorians, " of whom the leader is Alassane Ouattara, leader of the opposition RDR (former prime minister of Houphoët Boigny.) He was excluded from elections for his "dubious Ivorianess." Besides him, his whole community is targeted. Beyond his own community, there is a linkage of "dubious Ivoirians" with foreigners. An equation is readily made: Ouattara = RDR militants = people of the north = Muslims = Dioulas = foreigners. In these representations, the cleavage "us versus them" is deeply embedded. There is nothing "natural" about such images. They are socially constructed. In Ivory Coast , there is the desire to portray one part of the inhabitants as not belonging to the political community. It is the place of birth, the village, and blood that count. This is the logic of a political elite. It is a politicization of identity to gain or maintain power. It is an ideology founded on purity of identity determined by origin. It is a paradox that such an illusion of identity founded on blood, on a myth of a common past, appears in particularly mixed societies, thereby including some and excluding others. It is said of a naturalized Ivorian whose family has lived in the country for many generations,"It is not because of his papers that he is Ivorian." Thus the culture is "naturalized." It becomes, as the sociologist Michel Wieviorka says, a sort of "genetic" attribute that one acquires at birth and that one cannot acquire otherwise. This is the idea of "essence." It is why in the Ivory Coast , certain people call themselves "100 percent Ivorian" of multisecular origin. It is this way that collective life is deeply racialized and ethnicized. It leads to practices of apartheid, of forced emigration, and finally of ethnic cleansing. A second aspect of this ideology and propaganda is the self-perceived victimization of the "true Ivorians." They are would-be victims of the RDR, the Dioulas, the foreigners, the foreign press, etc. Stereotypes are durably fixed in people’s minds and feed their hatreds. These social markings are powerful. The propaganda feeds fear and hatred of the "other", perceived as impure and threatening. Humiliations, extortions, and discriminations are daily. They constitute social landmines, and the smallest thing can make them explode. The virus of origins and the powderkeg The Ivory Coast appears to us to be a veritable powderkeg. Most of the elements that preceded the conflagrations like the ethnic cleansings in Bosnia and Kosovo or the Rwandan genocide are present. These are what we call the "constants." Among the most important of these is the policy of manipulating identity and ethnicity. We are not determinists. On the contrary, we are convinced like the writer Gilles Deleuze, that history has forks in the road, and we think that even if the probability of a crisis is only one in a hundred, one must do everything to avoid it. On the strength of this sociological analysis, and despite acts of intimidation by certain Ivoirian groups, we have attempted to deliver our message of prevention and alert. We have notably pled for a substantial augmentation of the aid to the Ivory Coast . (We have often called publicly for a Marshall Plan for the Ivory Coast .) This aid should be directed to new socio-cultural conditions in addition to the classical criteria of good government and respect of formal rights. For example: judgment of those responsible for ethno-political crimes, such as the perpetrators of the mass grave at Yopougon, because impunity always feeds the spiral of desire for vengeance; condemnation of the concept of "ivoirité" (Ivorianess); promotion of multiculturality, development of a politics of integration, etc. Along with good government and formal democracy, addressing these new social dimensions would reverse the logic of hatred and rejection of the "other". Prevention: Mission Impossible? In doing this, we have been confronted with difficulties in the work of prevention and in alerting Western decision makers. This situation presents the following obstacles to awareness: How can one act when very little has happened so far? The regime of Laurent Gbagbo has launched several initiatives for reconciliation, including a forum held in Autumn 2001. Why not let oneself be convinced that the Ivory Coast is taking the route of pacification, because that is the line of Ivorian opinion leaders? Based on our sociological analysis of the Ivorian culture (the images of self and of others, the relationship to the world, to time and space), we remain convinced that the conditions for long-term reconciliation have not yet come together. Without them, reconciliation will be reduced to an arrangement at the top, which can only leave buried the seeds for future conflict. As Claudine Vidal (CNRS, specialist on the Ivory Coast ) has noted, "the political action of the principal leaders is entirely oriented toward the 2005 presidential elections, without addressing the fundamental conflicts that divide the society." (Le Monde, 27 September 2002) The blindness of the Western lenders In reality, international lenders are content to condition the resumption of aid, notably that of the European Union, upon economic structural adjustment (privatization) and formal political reforms. It is a sign of short-term memory. Collette Braeckman, journalist for the Brussels newspaper "Le Soir" and recognized internationally as an expert on Africa, reminds us in her interview at the end of the film, "Ivory Coast, An Explosive Identity Crisis" that in Rwanda, the Arusha Accords, praised by Western foreign ministries as a decisive step for reconciliation, preceded the genocide by only a few months. The fundamental problem is to understand the reality of a society, of its dynamics, in order to deduce the role that international aid can play. The sociological task attempts to understand the rationality of individual or collective actions. It analyzes representations, beliefs, values, and social discourse that determine the social behavior of actors as functions of the results they expect. For a sociologist, abstract collective entities such as the state, the nation, the law, or the school have no autonomous existence by themselves, but can only be understood according to the representations of actors, even when these abstractions are the objects of proceedings by jurists or diplomats. A powderkeg and the pyromaniacs Today, in the light of the sparks from the fire, we see that the risks that we pointed out yesterday, are unfortunately becoming realities. Listening to the speeches of political leaders and reading the press, one is led to conclude that the fragile reconciliation process is dead. More than ever, fear and hatred of the other are manufactured. Old stereotypes are again dominant. Everything is to be done again. If only the worst could be avoided! What is to be done? As administrators and directors of the NGO, "Prévention génocides" : We earnestly and strongly call upon all Ivorians (political, press, and leaders of civil society) to voluntarily abstain from any act that could accentuate the ethnicization of the conflict. This often results from speech that is indirect but damaging. For example, When Alassane Ouattara reported that "the police who came to assassinate me spoke the Bété language," his words could be perceived as suspicion cast upon the whole ethnic group of his rival, the president Gbagbo. When the President called on television for the "cleansing of the neighborhoods" and the press of his party cited explicitly Burkina Faso as an invader of the Ivory Coast , such statements could appear as encouragement of ethnic cleansing of Burkinans living in the country. They are about three million out of sixteen million inhabitants ! Passing from these words to deeds, the police have burned many Abidjan shantytowns whose population is mostly of foreign origin. All references to individual acts can in this context lead to the collective: it is the whole group that is immediately designated for popular revenge, if not for massacres. The most xenophobic Ivorian press fans the flames, accusing pell-mell the Western media, neighboring African countries, opposition parties, and foreigners on Ivorian soil of wanting to destroy the country. They are thus putting in place all the conditions necessary for a large-scale conflagration. We ask the international community to quickly conceive an integrated plan for the support of the Ivory Coast in order to create conditions for long-term reconciliation. We reiterate our call for criteria of good government and formal democracy to be well-suited to socio-cultural conditions in the Ivorian context. Without this intervention, the worst-case scenario is to be feared. If the calls for xenophobic and ethnic hatred do not stop and if, on the contrary, politicians continue to exploit ethnicity, the following may occur: Massive emigration of a major part of the three million Burkinans living in Ivory Coast to their country of origin. For Burkina Faso, one of the poorest countries on earth, this would be a catastrophe; they would be inassimilable because of incapacity to receive, much less to feed, such an influx of refugees. An essential resource of its fragile economy would disappear – financial transfers from its citizens working in Ivory Coast . The economy of the Ivory Coast would probably be heavily affected by the brutal disappearance of such a large number of laborers essential to the survival and vitality of its economy. Consequences for Ivorian society would be frightening: virulent ethnic hate speech, growing rancor, search for economic scapegoats, and social catastrophe that could lead straight to civil war. Contrary to what is sometimes prophesied, this will not be a "simple" war of secession between North and South. Many religious and ethnic groups of the Ivory Coast are present in each city, village, neighborhood, and courtyard of the country, as intricately inter-related as are the Hutu and Tutsi in Rwanda. A civil war in Ivory Coast would soon turn into thousands of local pogroms, and if there were secession, it would come at a price of mass forced displacements of the population as occurred in India and Pakistan. The dissolution of the state and the rule of force that would follow could only lead the Ivory Coast into a situation like Sierra Leone or Liberia, with all the predictable effects on the stability of the sub-region, of which the Ivory Coast is the economic heart (40 percent of the GDP of the West African Economic Community). Brussels, 3 October 2002
News 24 SA 4 Oct 2002 Ivory Coast's demons are back Abidjan - Ivory Coast's ethnic demons are coming back to haunt it, two weeks after a rebellion, which has seen mostly Muslim rebels from the north - soldiers who had fled into exile, and mutineers - seize half the west African cocoa-producing nation. The demons, some let loose by former leaders, are national identity, xenophobia, tribal tensions, and animosity between the predominantly Muslim and animist north and the mostly Christian south. President Felix Houphouet-Boigny, who ruled from independence from France in 1960 until his death in 1993, was able to keep the demons bottled up, but they emerged triumphant as soon as he was gone. President Laurent Gbagbo, a Christian from the southwest, set up a National Reconciliation Forum towards the end of last year in a bid to end several years of political violence, but it manifestly failed to bring Ivory Coast's disparate population of 16 million together. The country is now cut in half, with the rebels controlling part of the centre and the whole of the north, from Guinea to Ghana, while the loyalist army controls the south and the Atlantic seaboard. The two sides were due on Friday to sign a ceasefire as a prelude to examining the rebels' grievances. The last census, in 1995, which gave Ivory Coast a population of 15 million (it is estimated to have increased by a million since then), showed that close to a third of the population - 4.5 million - were foreign-born. Most of the "foreign Ivorians" were immigrants who had come from nearby west African states to work. Houphouet-Boigny encouraged the migrants to come to Ivory Coast to work in the cocoa plantations - under his rule, the country became the world's biggest producer, now exporting 40% of the world total - or to set up businesses. He gave them land, government jobs, and the right to vote. In 1990, Gbagbo, running against Houphouet-Boigny in presidential elections, contested that policy, accusing the president of using the foreigners as "electoral fodder". But it was Houphouet-Boigny's successor as president, Henri Konan Bedie, who campaigned from 1995 for the concept of "Ivorianness" - excluding foreigners, and Ivorians with foreign roots, from the mainstream. That explosive concept quickly saw Muslim immigrants from countries such as Burkina Faso and Mali make common cause with their "brothers" in the north of Ivory Coast. In many cases they were ethnic Dioulas, from a tribe that spreads across half a dozen countries in the region. In recent years, conflict between locals and immigrants over land has become a major problem, particularly in the southwest, leading to thousands of Burkinabes being displaced, and some of them killed. Even if the rebels advance south into territory controlled by Houphouet-Boigny's tribe, the Bouale, its political and military heart will remain in the north. Some pro-government newspapers in Abidjan are fanning the flames by describing leading opposition figure and former prime minister Alassane Ouattara, a Muslim Dioula from the northern town of Kong who has taken refuge with the French ambassador in Abidjan, as a Burkinabe. The rebels are making it clear they are fed up with such discrimination. "We're sick of being described as Malians, as Burkinabes," said one. "We're Ivorians, like everybody else. Enough is enough." Dozos, a hunter caste renowned for their markmanship, and reputed to have mystical powers, are also fighting alongside the rebels. Abidjan has long accused Ouattara of using Dozos as a private army. A diplomat in Abidjan opined that the current crisis was a clear posthumous indication of the role "the old man", as Houphouet-Boigny was respectfully known, played during his 33 years in power. "He alone, like Tito in Yugoslavia, was capable of keeping the country united." Ouattara, whose nickname, from his initials, is ADO, took refuge with the French ambassador during the first day of the uprising, with the blessing of the government. Defence Minister Moise Lida Kouassi warned at the time: "If anyone touches a single hair on ADO's head this country will explode." Since then, many of the officials of Ouattara's Rally of Republicans party have been arrested and others are in hiding, as the security forces, officially hunting down rebels, have stormed into shantytowns inhabited largely by migrants, where they have burnt down hundreds of shacks. The Burkinabes and other foreigners are now the best customers of the vendors selling rosettes in the Ivorian colours of orange, white and green - wearing their "patriotism" on their lapels. - Sapa-AFP
AFP 7 Oct 2002 Ivory Coast president snubs peace efforts Jacques Lhuillery Posted Mon, 07 Oct 2002 Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo has not only angered West African mediators by snubbing their attempts to broker a ceasefire with rebel soldiers but also clearly demonstrated that he is now in war mode. The embattled Gbagbo, whose government has been struggling with an army rebellion which has claimed the lives of some 400 people and seen half the country fall into rebel hands, on Sunday spurned mediation attempts after dragging his feet for a week. Going against the counsel of senior regional ministers from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), who had been advocating prudence and a truce, Gbagbo now appears to have burnt his bridges. The army uprising, which began on September 19, shows no sign of abating and all-out war seems the only option left. Signing of peace pact deferred The rebels are bent on toppling Gbagbo, whose regime they say fosters a policy of discrimination against the Muslim-majority population of northern Ivory Coast. The ECOWAS-brokered ceasefire accord was due to be signed on Friday but was deferred as both sides examined the fine print. On Saturday, the Ivorian government failed to send a document authorising a military official to sign the pact on Gbagbo's behalf. On Sunday, Gbagbo finally spelt out the truth: he was not signing the pact because his was a "legitimate" government which could not be put on a par with rebels. He said the rebels had to disarm before any pact was signed. Mediators furious at Gbagbo’s refusal to sign The ECOWAS mediators were furious. Drawn from about half a dozen countries, they immediately packed their bags and left, without attending a dinner hosted by Gbagbo. Gbagbo on Sunday claimed that the ECOWAS mediators had "moved away" from the tenets of an ECOWAS emergency summit in the Ghanaian capital Accra on September 29, where it decided to despatch mediators to broker peace and to send regional peace keepers to act as a buffer force between government troops and rebels. "It's totally false, it's a lie!", a minister from the ECOWAS contact group exclaimed as he left the Ivorian presidency. Gbagbo “open to dialogue” – aide However, an aide to Gbagbo said the Ivorian president "is open to dialogue and is not opposed in principle to a cessation of hostilities," but parroted the line that ECOWAS mediators "must know that legitimacy is on the side of Laurent Gbagbo." The president's stance has upset local politicians. A leading politician said he feared the crisis could assume "dangerous" ethnic proportions. Crisis takes on ethnic overtones Ivory Coast's state television on Sunday, in an echo of "hate-radio" Mille Collines in Rwanda during the genocide there, said the "key to victory" against rebel soldiers who have overrun half the country lay in expelling immigrants from neighbouring Burkina Faso. "According to a 1998 census, Burkinabes represent 50 percent of foreigners living in Ivory Coast with 2.3 million individuals," the journalist said. Ivory Coast has blamed a regional "rogue state" for the military uprising which has effectively split the country into Muslim-dominated north and Christian-dominated south. An Ivorian daily has directly fingered neighbouring Burkina Faso, a charge Ouagadougou denies.
AFP 10 Oct 2002 Ivory Coast rebels rule out ceasefire, want transitional government KORHOGO, Ivory Coast, Oct 10 (AFP) - Rebels in Ivory Coast believe a ceasefire with the government army is now out of the question, and want President Laurent Gbagbo to quit to make way for a transitional government, an insurgent commander declared Thursday. Warrant Officer Messamba Kone, the rebel chief in Korhogo, the main town in the Muslim-dominated north of the west African nation, said he had agreed on these aims with Master Sergeant Tuho Fozie, a rebel commander in the central city of Bouake, during a telephone conversation Thursday. "What interests us from now on is the liberation of Ivory Coast, with a transitional government," he told AFP. "Our principal concern now is the reconconstruction of Ivory Coast, so that anyone who wants to can contest democratic elections." The rebels had earlier said they were open to a ceasefire. Gbagbo told west African mediators last week that he would sign one, and then negotiate with the rebels on their grievances, but reneged on that pledge on Sunday, saying he would not put his elected government on a par with the insurgents. The rebels, former soldiers who have returned from exile, and mutineers, want an end to discrimination against northerners. Kone confirmed rebel plans to launch a general offensive as the uprising enters its fourth week. The insurgents hold the entire north and key towns in the centre, west and east. "We shall attack simultaneously on several fronts, including the town of Daloa," Kone said, adding that the rebels were just 20 kilometres (12 miles) from Daloa, a strategic crossroads town in the western cocoa-growing region. Ivory Coast produces 40 percent of the world's cocoa crop, and prices have shot up to 17-year highs on fears that the imminent harvest will be disrupted. Foreign journalists in Korhogo saw men and weapons leaving the northern town Thursday. Rebels said they were headed for Daloa. An AFP correspondent in Korhogo also saw around 100 young men enrolling in rebel ranks. \
Xinhua 11 Oct 2002 WFP launches emergency operation in Cote d'Ivoire LAGOS, Oct 11, 2002 (Xinhua via COMTEX) - The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) Friday said the agency launched an emergency operation in Cote d' Ivoire to address pending "large-scale humanitarian crisis." Btu Arnold Vercken, deputy WFP directory general for west Africa, told a press conference here that the agency's normal operations would be replaced by the emergency program in the troubled country, where more than 300,000 people, mostly children, have been receiving WFP food. Vercken said that the priority is helping people coming south from rebel-held areas and foreigners who had been attacked. There was heavy fighting this week around rebel stronghold of Bouake during two days of failed assaults by government troops. The International Committee of the Red Cross said up to 150,000 people had left the strategic central city of Bouake since fighting erupted after a failed coup three weeks ago. The WFP said it was looking at what it could do in the event of massive movements of people within west African region, which has been already racked by hundreds of thousands of refugees from wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone. The security situation in Cote d' Ivoire is becoming increasingly volatile as thousands of terrified people were on the move in the west African country on Friday. The rebel soldiers, who are holding about half of the world's largest cocoa-producing country, have extended their control in the north by holding a string of towns in the center, north and west since they launched a rebellion on Sept. 19. A diplomatic mission launched by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) collapsed earlier this week after President Laurent Gbagbo refused to agree to a ceasefire. However, Gbagbo is facing increased pressure to seek a negotiated settlement to the crisis. The ECOWAS has said that it will try and revive negotiations between the government and rebels. ECOWAS Executive Secretary Mohamed Ibn Chambas is to travel to the country on Saturday. Meanwhile, Senegalese Foreign Minister Cheikh Tidiane Gadio is in Cote d'Ivoire on a new mediation mission and is hoping to meet rebel leaders in the second largest city of Bouake, on Friday. France, the former colonial power in Cote d' Ivoire which has sent logistical and military assistance as well as more than 1,000 troops, has urged Gbagbo to sign a ceasefire with the rebels. The rebellion has plunged Cote d' Ivoire into its worst crisis since its independence from France in 1960 and has claimed hundreds of lives and wounded thousands of people.
Reuters 11 Oct 2002 Frightened civilians flee in Ivory Coast By Silvia Aloisi BOUAKE, Ivory Coast, Oct 11 (Reuters) - Thousands of terrified people were on the move in Ivory Coast on Friday after rebels vowed to press on with a revolt that has sent prices for the cocoa beans used to make chocolate spiralling higher. In a country poisoned by years of ethnic hate, the three-week-old war has sharpened divisions between the mostly Christian south, the Muslim north and immigrants who make up a quarter of the West African country's 16 million people. The rebels, who hold most of the north, were expected to meet later on Friday with a new regional negotiator, Senegal's Foreign Minister Cheikh Tidiane Gadio, but there was little sign the latest mediation effort would fare better than the last. "There is no more ceasefire to negotiate," one rebel, Cherif Ousmane, told reporters in the stronghold of Bouake, the biggest city after the coastal business hub Abidjan 360 km (225 miles) to the south, where President Laurent Gbagbo is based. "We're going to tell him to tell Gbagbo to resign before we march on Abidjan," he added. Gbagbo's forces launched a major offensive this week but failed to capture Bouake. They have said they are keeping to their positions to allow the rebel Patriotic Movement of Ivory Coast to consider a government offer of talks if they disarm. But Cherif ruled out freezing the front line, saying: "While we're talking, if we can advance, we will advance". THOUSANDS FLEE ETHNIC ATTACKS Thousands of people have fled their homes in Bouake and in the main cocoa growing region further west, fearing more ethnic bloodshed after several people were burned to death this week. French troops helped foreigners escape from behind rebel lines and the International Committee of the Red Cross says up to 150,000 people have fled Bouake, a city of over 500,000 that is running short of food three weeks after a failed coup. The U.N. World Food Programme said it was looking at what it could do in the event of massive movements of people within a region already burdened by hundreds of thousands of refugees from wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone. The conflict has fed a tide of nationalism in Ivory Coast, increasing ethnic tensions. Gbagbo has urged an end to a wave of attacks on immigrants, but foreign relations remain tense. "If the abuses and humiliations suffered by our compatriots in Ivory Coast should continue despite our repeated appeals, the people of Burkina Faso and its government are prepared for any eventuality," Prime Minister Paramanga Ernest Yonli of Ivory Coast's northern neighbour Burkina Faso said on Thursday. Millions of Burkina Faso nationals live in Ivory Coast, providing labour to the world's biggest cocoa industry. In the western region where most beans are grown, at least 5,500 immigrants, mostly from Burkina Faso, have fled farms after attacks by locals who accuse them of backing the rebels. Benchmark London cocoa futures neared 17-year highs on Thursday as rebels advanced to just 30 km (20 miles) from the key industry town of Daloa. Traders said cocoa shipments had already been disrupted since fighting began on September 19. Some of the rebels are soldiers who say they were unfairly kicked out of the army. But they also complain of ethnic discrimination and say they will put in place a system in which all Ivorians are treated equally so fair elections can be held.
IRIN 11 Oct 2002 Increasing number of civilians flee war zones YAMOUSSOUKRO, 11 Oct 2002 (IRIN) - Three weeks after the 19 September failed coup d'etat, the number of civilians fleeing Cote d'Ivoire's "war zones" was increasing rapidly and the administrative capital, Yamoussoukro, was by Friday turning into a transit town for the displaced. The secretary general of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Mohammed Ibn Chambas, was expected to return to the commercial capital, Abidjan, on Saturday to re-start peace negotiations between the government and rebellious soldiers controlling the "war zones", news reports said. President Laurent Gbagbo had on Tuesday said he was not opposed to talks as long the rebels first disarmed. He also said the ECOWAS chairman President Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal had suggested a new peace proposal. In Yamoussoukro, four hundred people arrived on Thursday at St. Augustin cathedral from Bouake, 111 km to the north, church officials said. Some had walked through the bushes. The number, mostly women and children, was the largest to arrive at the town in a single day. They told church workers that "several hundreds were still on their way". Their displacement was motivated by "fears of an attack" on the besieged town of Bouake, they told Church officials. Some 114 people had arrived on Wednesday. A few rooms have been temporarily converted into sleeping rooms, Cathedral officials said. As at 9 October, the cathedral had received 1,065 people of whom 603 were women, 232 children and 230 men. Yamoussoukro's Catholic Diocesan Center has also been transformed into a shelter area and had received 450 people. Some of them were from the northern town of Korhogo, 353 km from Yamoussoukro. A logistics base was being established by the World Food Programme (WFP) in Yamoussoukro "to respond to the unfolding crisis in the northern areas of the country". Plans were being made to provide emergency food aid rations to 2,000 displaced people. WFP, in a press statement in Abidjan on Friday, also reported that together with its partners, it was assessing the food aid needs of nearly 10,000 displaced immigrant workers in the western Man region. These included 6,500 people in Duekoue town. It was discussing with the Burkina Faso government a mechanism to cater for a massive return of immigrants from Cote d'Ivoire, of whom some 4,500 had reportedly already arrived in Burkina Faso. WFP said five transit centers would be set up and assistance would be provided for two months. A mechanism was also being set up in Mali to respond to possible return of Malians, of whom 4,000 had already crossed back. "The UN Country Team has mapped out available resources in the country and put together a set of Reponses for the Malians," the WFP statement said. Similar discussions were going on with Ghana. "The WFP food stocks in Ghana are very limited and by next week 40 tons of emergency food rations and high energy biscuits will be airlifted to the country," WFP said. In Yamoussoukro, church officials said food, accommodation and medical attention ranked as the most urgent needs as some walked for days with little or no food. Most of the displaced, they said, were on "transit" and would be assisted to join their families in the economic hub Abidjan or other major towns. The Ivorian Ministry of Solidarity and Social Security, The Red Cross, NGOs such as CARITAS and Medecins sans Frontieres, the District of Yamoussoukro, some business owners and others had been providing aid to the displaced. A UN inter-agency humanitarian needs assessment of the displaced was being conducted in the areas around Yamoussoukro, Bouake and neighbouring towns.
Reuters 15 Oct 2002 Shooting Sweeps Across Key Ivory Coast Cocoa Town By David Clarke DALOA, Ivory Coast (Reuters) - Machinegun fire and explosions Tuesday swept across Ivory Coast's battle-scarred town of Daloa, which has changed hands twice in four days of fighting. Rebels who control most of the north of the country after a failed September 19 coup said they had sent massive reinforcements to fight off a government offensive at Daloa. "Parts of Daloa are putting up resistance (to government forces). We have sent massive reinforcements," Guillaume Soro Kigbafori, secretary-general of the political wing of the rebel Patriotic Movement of Ivory Coast (MPCI) told Reuters by phone. Fighting has plunged the West African country into crisis, left hundreds dead and forced tens of thousands from their homes, terrifying a region little prepared to cope with the turmoil that could spill over from a full-blown civil war. Days of fighting in Daloa, a hub for the cocoa industry in the world's biggest grower, has pushed futures to their highest level in nearly 17 years, though prices were off their highs on Tuesday. The town is a microcosm of the political, ethnic and religious tensions that have poisoned Ivory Coast in recent years and which have been sharpened by the rebellion. On one side of the central town are southerners, for the most part Christians and backers of the government. On the other are Muslim northerners who cheered the arrival of the rebels, many of them their kinsmen. Army spokesman Jules Yao Yao called on citizens not to take the law into their own hands, and not to turn it into an ethnic or religious conflict. HEAVY FIGHTING Monday's fighting left Daloa, 450 km (250 miles) northwest of Abidjan, littered with smashed and burned vehicles. A cemetery worker said 16 bodies brought in included one young man caught in crossfire. Witnesses said the others were mostly rebels, including one wearing the charms of a traditional northern Dozo hunter, believed to give magic protection. The rebels, who say they want to hold fresh elections and end ethnic discrimination, said Monday they had stopped all negotiations, saying Angolan forces had flown in to help President Laurent Gbagbo, himself a Christian from the west. "It was the Angolans who cleaned up this sector," said Londry Tagro, 29. "We know that it was the Angolans because of their special combat uniforms and because they are much fitter than our men." President Gbagbo has spoken of seeking help from friendly countries, though not specifically troops. Angolan embassy officials repeated their denial Tuesday that Angolan forces were in Ivory Coast either officially or as mercenaries. Some of the soldiers on the pickup trucks cruising Daloa's streets wore battle-dress that was clearly different from that of the Ivorian forces, but they would not speak to reporters. "We are ready to systematically massacre the Angolan soldiers who are on our soil and we have the means to do it," said commander Cherif Ousmane in the rebel stronghold of Bouake, 225 miles north of Abidjan. Senegalese envoy Cheikh Tidiane Gadio, who has been trying to bring the two sides together, said he was still waiting to hear from the rebels after their pullout. "What we want is to convince them it is in the best interest of the country to sign an agreement," he told Reuters. He said he would not comment on the possible presence of Angolans. West African countries fear that a civil war in Ivory Coast could send millions of refugees spreading over their borders and create a crisis even bigger than that resulting from more than a dozen years of war in nearby Liberia and Sierra Leone. Tens of thousands of people have already been displaced by the fighting in northern and western Ivory Coast. "The humanitarian situation in the north...seems to be deteriorating by the day," said the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
Democratic Republic of the Congo
News24 SA 3 Oct 2002 11:54 - (SA) Rape, a weapon of war Bukavu, Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo - Every kick from the child in her belly is a dull reminder to Agnes of the night armed men burst into her home and raped her until she fell unconscious. What local laws remain in Congo's war-ruined east prevent the 20-year-old from having an abortion. "It is a child of evil, but it is also partly my blood, so I don't know what to do. It torments me," she says in a whisper, explaining she was a virgin before the attack. So distraught are the 15 women huddled under a tree at a help centre in the town of Bukavu that occasionally they vomit at the thought of their experiences. Those experiences are steadily emerging as a terrifying pattern of mass rape in Africa's biggest war. Consolate, a 40-year-old mother of eight was raped on three separate occasions over the past two months, most recently by five armed militiamen who stole what little her family had, including four goats and a pig. Borrowed rags "Men who do this are not normal. If I could kill them I would, but it's impossible to catch them," she says through a translator, adding that she is reduced to dressing in rags borrowed from a friend. "They took everything, even my clothes," she says. Such stories are all too common in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, where many rural families no longer spend nights at home, opting instead to sleep in groups in the bush "with our ears open" for fear of attacks from the brutal militias and rival rebel soldiers who roam the lawless mountains and forests of the former Zaire with impunity. More than two million people have died in Congo's four-year conflict involving six national armies, several rebel movements and countless bandit gangs all fighting for control over the central African country's vast supply of natural resources, including gold, diamonds and timber. But hidden by taboos and the fear of confession, the added horror of sexual violence used as a weapon of war is only just emerging. "Sexual violence has been used as a weapon of war by most of the forces involved in this conflict. Soldiers and combatants rape and otherwise abuse women and girls as part of their effort to win and maintain control over civilians and the territory they inhabit," said a recent Human Rights Watch report. Ignored crisis The conflict has created the worst and most ignored humanitarian crisis on the planet, observers say. "I can't think of anywhere else where the situation is as bad as it is here. Forget Afghanistan under the Taliban, eastern Congo is probably the worst place in the world to be a woman. And the thing is, very little is being done to change that," said one foreign aid worker requesting anonymity. The region was plunged into anarchy when thousands of Hutu extremists known as Interahamwe fled into Congo's wilds after committing the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Rwanda and an allied Congolese rebel army pursued them, triggering a messy war that has seen Zimbabwe, Angola and Namibia support Kinshasa's central government, which has also battled rebel groups backed by Uganda. The civilian population is caught in a circle of violence that includes traditional Mai-Mai warriors who, like the Interahamwe, have links to the government and mostly fight the Rwandans and their rebel allies, the Rally for Congolese Democracy (RCD), who loosely control a vast swath of Africa's third largest nation. The sheer number of factions has dampened hopes for peace that were raised in July by a deal under which Rwanda would pull out troops in exchange for the disarmament of the Hutus. Weapon "Rape is frequently used (by the RCD) as a weapon against women to punish husbands suspected of collaborating with the Mai-Mai. Some combatants are said to have boasted about having infected women they raped with Aids," said a report published this month by a Canadian human rights organisation. Experts estimate that up to 60% of soldiers and militias in Congo are HIV positive. With the massive scale of rape, the long-term consequences for the country are likely to be catastrophic. In some villages such as the remote gold-mining town of Shabunda, up to 80% of women have been raped, witnesses say. Local gynaecologists in Bukavu say women have had their genitals mutilated with sticks, knives, razor blades and guns. Several women have been shot between the legs and killed after being raped by RCD soldiers, according to Human Rights Watch. The hunters follow a pattern, attacking at night or targeting women collecting food, water of firewood from fields. Women and girls are frequently abducted, kept as sex slaves and forced to cook, do laundry, and transport looted goods for their captors. Those who survive abduction or attack are marked for life. Insanity "For many it means death from disease and infection or insanity from the trauma. And because rape is socially unacceptable, women are often shunned by their husbands, families and communities," says Mathilde Muhindo, a nun who runs Bukavu's Olame Centre, where the 15 women under the tree arrived on a recent morning. The centre, which has seen a sharp increase in arrivals recently, tries to provide rape victims with shelter and basic medical care. But with limited means, it can only offer a meal, a hospital visit and a night's accommodation before the victims must return to the hills where attackers wait to strike again. "I have to go back because where can I flee to? If I'm going to die, I will die at home. The entire population is suffering and so am I," says Janine, a 15-year-old girl who was forced by nine Interahamwe armed with machetes and guns to carry goods looted from her village 30km outside Bukavu. Three men raped her before she escaped when they got drunk. Less than 10% of women raped in Congo admit to it because of the social stigma attached, experts say. The extent of the problem is only now surfacing because women have long suffered in silence. "Finally, there are coming and talking because they realise they have nothing left to lose," said a worker from Doctors Without Borders, one of the few foreign agencies helping victims. "I am the object of mockery in my community. It's a double insult because I'm pregnant and I have no hope of getting a husband or reclaiming my dignity. But it's not my fault," says Agnes, who has lost four members of her family in the war.
AFP 10 Oct 2002 Hundreds flee DR Congo fighting into Burundi BUJUMBURA, Oct 10 (AFP) - Over 500 people, mostly women and children, have fled fighting in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to take refuge in Burundi, officials said Thursday in the country's capital Bujumbura. Joseph Havyarimana, a local official in the region, said the refugees had fled across the Rusizi River, which runs along the border between Burundi and the DRC, to escape fighting between anti-government rebels and militia groups which are generally on the side of the government in the vast, mineral-rich country. He said the fighting, pitting militia groups known as Mai-Mai against anti-government forces of the Congolese Rally for Democracy, had taken place in the villages of Ruvunyi and Bwegera, in Citiboke province. The Burundian official said 95 of the refugees had been put up in a local school, while others had been taken in by relatives and friends living in Burundi.
IRIN 11 Oct 2002 Food aid reaches 44,000 people after years of isolation NAIROBI, 11 Oct 2002 (IRIN) - The International NGO World Vision and two UN agencies have begun evaluating a joint food-aid delivery to 44,000 war displaced now living in Ankoro, in the territory of Manono, in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported on Friday. OCHA and the UN World Food Programme (WFP) - partners with World Vision in this relief effort - visited Ankoro on Thursday, where 8,000 malnourished children under five years old are among the internally displaced persons, who have been without aid for three years. Over a three-month period, World Vision will distribute 556 mt of maize, soya, oil, sugar and salt to the displaced. After this period, World Vision and WFP will determine if more aid is still needed. Food distributions are also taking place in Kitanda, Kibao, Kiofwe, Kuboko-Kamina, Kizuki, Kashia, Makena, Kitanda - the towns and villages where the displaced are concentrated. Most of them come from Manono, Nyunzu, Kabalo and Lenge. They had been receiving food aid at the time the war started in August 1998, but this has been interrupted for the last three years by insecurity and the inaccessibility of the area. OCHA reported that the area was "totally isolated" because of the poor state of roads and by the closure of river traffic. The access route to Ankoro is by the railway running northeast from Kamina through Kitanda. The only road capable of taking trucks is that linking Kitanda and Ankoro. The remaining roads in the Manono area can only be used by bicycle or mopeds. Apart from the current aid, World Vision was supplying essential drugs to the Ankoro referral hospital, OCHA reported. "The nutritional situation in this area is not extremely grave, other than the displaced, who do not have land to farm," it added.
VOA News 23 Oct 2002 UN: Armed Groups in DRC Incite Ethnic Hatred , A senior U.N. official says armed groups in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo are deliberately inciting ethnic hatred to prolong fighting there. The U.N. deputy emergency relief coordinator, Carolyn McAskie, says the international community must act to defuse the situation, or, she says, the country could experience "a massacre of horrific proportions." Ms. McAskie made the remarks at a press briefing after her recent mission to the Congo and Burundi. She said U.N. agencies and non-governmental organizations routinely report widespread killings, torture and other human rights abuses against civilians by armed groups on all sides. Ms. McAskie said in one incident a hospital was surrounded and hundreds of people were killed. She also said children have been turning up in hospitals with mutilations and machete cuts. The Democratic Republic of Congo has been torn by war since 1998 when ethnic Tutsis based in the eastern region revolted against the government. Other armed groups, including rival ethnic-Hutus are also active in the same area. The Hutus fled to eastern Congo after the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. The United Nations estimates that at least two-and-half million people have died in the Democratic Republic of Congo since 1998.
IRIN 3 Oct 2002 Over 60 reported dead in tribal clashes ADDIS ABABA, 3 Oct 2002 (IRIN) - Fierce clashes between rival ethnic groups in western Ethiopia have left more than 60 people dead and forced thousands to flee their homes, an Ethiopian human rights organisation said. According to the Ethiopian Human Rights Council (EHRCO), the fighting broke out in July between the Agnuak and Nuer tribes who live in Gambella National Regional State, bordering Sudan. It is one of the most remote parts of Ethiopia. “During the conflict great destruction was caused to both human life and property,” EHRCO’s head office in Addis Ababa said. The Nuers claim that their rivals – the Agnuak – have deliberately prevented them from gaining political representation after their vice president died last year. He still has not been replaced. According to EHRCO, the Nuers attacked the Agnuak, burning down dozens of houses in eight local districts. Some 8,700 people were forced to flee their homes. EHRCO says the fighting has still not subsided. “The failure on the part of the appropriate authorities has contributed towards a worsening of the conflict that has caused a lot of damage,” it added. It also warned that the final death toll could be much higher as full details have still not been received. EHRCO argues that the federal government in Ethiopia should step in to ensure that the Nuer tribe regains some kind of political representation in Gambella. It also called for local officials who are found to be complicit in the violence to be brought to justice.
IRIN 11 Oct 2002 UN peacekeepers in confrontations with armed Ethiopians ADDIS ABABA, 11 Oct 2002 (IRIN) - The UN has made an official protest after a group of Ethiopian militiamen illegally entered the temporary security zone (TSZ) and threatened its peacekeepers. The militiamen, who were armed with AK-47 assault rifles, fired several bursts over the heads of the UN Blue Helmets in an angry confrontation inside the demilitarised TSZ. This was the first-ever clash between armed Ethiopian militia and peacekeepers of the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE). "Armed threats to the peacekeepers – this is the first of its kind," said Col Rajesh Arya of UNMEE, speaking from the Eritrean capital, Asmara. He added that what happened was a major violation of the peace agreement signed by Eritrea and Ethiopia at the end of the war in December 2000. The TSZ is a 25-km buffer zone between Ethiopia and Eritrea. Villages inside the TSZ are inhabited mainly by Eritreans. Cheikh-Tidiane Gaye, the Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General, has delivered a letter of protest to the Ethiopian authorities regarding the clash. UNMEE said that since the two incidents of this nature, which happened on 4 and 5 of October, there had been no further incursions into the buffer zone. It also reported that Ethiopian Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr Tekeda Alemu promised to investigate. UNMEE said as many as 60 Ethiopian villagers, armed with knives and axes, had entered the TSZ in the central sector with the militiamen. The incidents took place in Irob, about 10 km northeast of Zela Ambesa – a border town that was the scene of heavy fighting during the bloody two-year war between the two countries. Tensions have been high in Irob since the Border Commission announced the new international boundary between Ethiopia and Eritrea. Both countries claimed sections of Irob, and local populations are still unsure where the demarcation will actually be. "The locals on either side are not exactly aware what will be the results once demarcation takes place, so they are not sure whether this area belongs to them or not," Arya said. He noted that tensions increased as villagers wandered with their animals in search of grazing lands into territory that did not belong to them. Arya added that the Ethiopian villagers had made threatening gestures and abused the Indian battalion's peacekeepers, who had approached them to order them to return to Ethiopian territory. The militia then fired over the heads of the soldiers as a warning not to interfere. "Eight militiamen did fire two bursts of rounds into the air threatening the peacekeepers. At the end of it, nobody was hurt and everyone went back to their respective areas," Arya, the UNMEE chief of staff third in the line of command of the 4,200 peacekeepers, said. UNMEE also revealed that villagers along the border had complained about abductions at gunpoint and widespread cattle rustling. It said it believed that many such incidents were being sparked by the severe drought in the region.
Agence France Presse, 8 Oct2002 Gambia becomes 13th country to sign ICC immunity deal with US, WASHINGTON, Oct 8 Gambia has become the 13th country to sign a deal with the United States exempting US troops from prosecution by the International Criminal Court (ICC), the State Department said Tuesday. US and Gambian officials inked a so-called "Article 98" agreement at a ceremony in Banjul on Saturday, spokesman Richard Boucher said. Under the terms of the deal, the west African nation pledged not to extradite US soldiers for prosecution to The Hague-based court that Washington virulently opposes. The United States has concluded similar deals with 12 other countries since the court came into being on July 1 -- Afghanistan, the Dominican Republic, East Timor, Honduras, Israel, the Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Micronesia, Palau, Romania, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Only five of the 13 countries -- Gambia, Honduras, Tajikistan, Romania and the Marshall Islands -- have signed and ratified the Treaty of Rome that created the ICC, the world's first permanent war crimes tribunal. Two others, the Dominican Republic and Uzbekistan, have signed the Rome treaty but not yet ratified it. Israel, along with the United States, signed the treaty but has no intention of ratifying it. Afghanistan, East Timor, Mauritania, Micronesia and Palau have not signed the treaty at all. Washington fears the court may be used as a tool to unfairly prosecute US servicemen and women for political reasons and has warned that it may withdraw military aid to large numbers of countries which refuse to sign Article 98 deals. US diplomats around the world have been racing to negotiate as many agreements as possible since July 1.
IRIN 9 Oct 2002 Lawyers boycott courts over constitution NAIROBI, 9 Oct 2002 (IRIN) - Kenya's lawyers on Wednesday boycotted the law courts in various parts of the country, in protest against what they consider to be attempt by the executive and judiciary branches of government to frustrate the ongoing constitutional review process, ahead of this year's crucial general elections. The lawyers are demanding the withdrawal of a case in which the judiciary has sued the Kenya Constitutional Review Commission (KCRC), a body established last year to review the constitution. The judges have expressed a number of reservations to changes proposed in a new draft constitution that affect them and are seeking to block public debate on the draft document. The lawyers, whose have been joined by human rights and other civil society organisations, have however, argued that the judiciary and the ruling Kenya African National Union (KANU) were planning to prevent the completion of the constitutional review process before the elections, expected in December. The Kenya Television network reported that the lawyers, led by Raychelle Omamo, chairwoman of the Law Society of Kenya, also marched through the streets of the capital, Nairobi, to the high court, but refused to attend court proceedings. The march was joined by hundreds of members of public, according to a journalist who covered the event. President Daniel arap Moi, who under the current constitution has the power to dissolve parliament and call elections at a date he deems suitable, has publicly stated that this year's elections will be conducted under the current constitution. Moi, who is also KANU's national chairman, is due to retire after completing his two five-year terms in office under a multiparty system established in 1992. Meanwhile, the case against the KCRC, which was scheduled to be heard on Wednesday morning was not heard, KTN reported.
IRIN 10 Oct 2002 Retracing the footsteps of a nation NEW YORK, 10 Oct 2002 (IRIN) - In a new documentary Liberian filmmaker Nancee Oku Bright chronicles the history of her country since its “colonisation” by freeborn black Americans in the early part of the nineteenth century. Titled “Liberia: America’s Stepchild,” the film analyses US/Liberian ties against the backdrop of the sometimes difficult relationship between the incoming black settlers and the indigenous communities who had occupied the territory for centuries. “Today people generally think of Liberia as a disaster, but it was not always so,” said Oku Bright, who also works for the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. “It was the only black republic in the sea of colonial Africa and it made the colonisers very uncomfortable and the Africans very proud.” The film begins in the early 1820s when the Washington, DC-based American colonization society tried to send free blacks to Africa. The society’s purpose was to reduce the possibility that free blacks might encourage slaves to revolt against their oppressors and to spread Christianity and “civilization” to the African continent. The documentary retells the early story of Liberia, including its early struggles with disease; the eradication of slavery on its own shores; warring indigenous communities; its evolution as Africa’s first independent republic; and the nurturing of its international diplomatic relations, particularly with the United States. “As someone who got parachuted into the middle of the story in the mid 1980s, this filled in a lot of holes,” former BBC West African correspondent Elizabeth Blunt told IRIN. One hundred and fifty years later, the film explains, Liberians were divided into two distinct groups: the often privileged American descendants – known as “Americo Liberians”- and the indigenous population. It was a division that would sow the seeds of the turmoil that has ravaged Liberia since Samuel Doe, a master-sergeant in the Liberian army, grabbed power in a bloody military coup in 1980, which ultimately led to a seven-year civil war, leaving 150,000 Liberians dead and more than half the population displaced. “Many of the events that occur in Liberia happen partly because people simply don’t know their own history and, in that vacuum, history can be terribly manipulated,” Oku Bright said. Part of what the documentary portrays is that Liberia’s usefulness to the United States ended, in the eyes of U.S. policymakers, with the end of the Cold War, leaving Liberians, who used to call their country “Little America”, with a great sense of disappointment. “I hope that this film can show us how tragedies unfold when there is no political will to do the right thing, either from leaders or from those who they believe to be their allies,” Oku Bright said. Copies of the video can be ordered through the PBS web site.
Rueters 6 Oct 2002 Shi'ite group threatens Libya over Lebanese cleric BEIRUT, Oct 6 (Reuters) - A shadowy Lebanese Shi'ite Muslim group threatened vengeance on Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and his country on Sunday over the disappearance of a charismatic cleric 24 years ago. Lebanese Shi'ites have long believed Libya kidnapped and killed Imam Musa al-Sadr, who organised Lebanon's 1.2 million dispossessed Shi'ites, during a visit to Libya in 1978. Libya says Sadr, founder of the pro-Syrian Shi'ite Amal movement, left the country safely. But Lebanese Shi'ites have demanded that Tripoli explain his fate. The Shi'ite Sadr Brigades said proof of Libya's involvement had reached them recently from Iran. "The killing of the leader imam and his companions was confirmed to us through reliable news that reached our brothers in Iran a long time ago and we were able to get a few weeks ago," the statement said. "We shall avenge the blood of the martyred imam...in the appropriate way and at the appropriate time. We shall strike without mercy the interests of Gaddafi and his men in every place on the face of the earth in revenge," it said. It called on Lebanon to sever diplomatic ties with Libya. Libya sent out a call in August for information on the fate of Sadr, after the issue resurfaced several months ago at an Arab summit in Beirut. Shi'ites had protested against allowing Gaddafi to attend the summit and the Sadr Brigades warned they would take unspecified action if he did.
Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique (Maputo) 28 Oct 2002 Chissano Visits Memorial to Rwandan Genocide Kigali Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano said on Sunday that he had been deeply shocked by a visit to Murambi, one of the sites of appalling massacres during the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Speaking to Mozambican journalists, after his Rwandan hosts had shown him the remains of genocide victims at Murambi, in Gikongoro province, Chissano said that, although he was familiar with images of earlier atrocities, such as the Nazi extermination camp at Auschwitz, what he had seen on Sunday was still a shock. "The feelings I have are of shock and revulsion", he said. "This is something that should never be repeated anywhere in the world". Murambi is about 200 kilometres from Kigali. Here the government has preserved the remains of some of the over 40,000 people who were massacred here in April 1994. Hundreds of human skeletons have been preserved in more than 20 rooms, some of them still bearing the clothes they wore when they were murdered. Some of the skeletons are of babies. One room is filled exclusively with human skulls. A survivor named Mutanka told Chissano how about 40,000 people were enticed to Murambi in the belief that they would obtain protection there (the place was close to a contingent of UN observers). But instead they were slaughtered in an orgy of killing that lasted for two days. "Those who were not shot, were hacked or beaten to death", said Mutanka. "I saw how they killed children by smashing their heads in". During his visit, Chissano laid a wreath on a symbolic grave in memory of the victims. Speaking after this ceremony, Chissano called on Rwandans not to nurture any spirit of revenge. The best way to honour the memory of those who died, he said, was to go forward and rebuild the country. Chissano noted that Mozambique too has passed through a period of great violence in its recent history - but with the difference that in Rwanda the conflict was motivated by hatred. Chissano said that, although a large number of different languages are spoken in Mozambique, "we feel that we are brothers". He said he could not understand how, in a country such as Rwanda, where only one language is spoken, "people were capable of killing their own brothers, sisters, even their own children". He stressed the importance of dialogue as a means of solving problems. In Mozambique, he said, "we learnt that we had to sit down and talk about what happened, in order to guarantee that no Mozambican would ever be used again as an instrument". Perhaps nobody will never know exactly how many people perished in the Rwandan genocide of April-June 1994. The usual estimate given is "over half a million". The victims were mostly from the Tutsi minority, but those moderates among the Hutu majority who opposed the fanatics of the Interahamwe militias were also massacred.
This Day (Lagos) 8 Oct 2002 National Assembly Releases 32 Constitutional Breaches Chuks Okocha, Bature Umar, Tokunbo Adedoja Abuja And Lagos The House of Representatives yesterday said that it was not bound by the plea made last week to the National Assembly by former President Shehu Shagari and one-time military head of state, General Yakubu Gowon to drop the impeachment threat against President Olusegun Obasanjo. The House also released an aggregate 32 constitutional breaches the president allegedly committed. And from the Senate came indication that the upper chamber would take a definite stand on the threat to impeach the president this week after receiving the report of the Senator Mohammed Tukur Liman Ad-Hoc Committee saddled with the task of investigating budgetary and constitutional breaches allegedly committed by Obasanjo. The position of the House was made known by the Chairman of the House Committee on Information, Hon. Farouk Lawan. One of the new charges against Obasanjo is that he unlawfully authorised the Minister of Aviation to deal with the assets and liabilities of Nigerian Airways Limited and the shares of Air Nigeria Plc in a manner purporting to be "privatisation to Airwing Aerospace Limited as a core investor contrary to sections 11, 13 and part 1, of First Schedule to Privatisation and Commercialisation Act No 28 of 1999, which act amounts to gross misconduct." According to Lawan, the House members may meet with Shagari and Gowon before the end of this week, adding that before the request by the former leaders to intervene in the face-off with the executive, the House in conjunction with the Senate had already completed the itemization of the alleged constitutional breaches by the president. In their joint letter last week, Shagari and Gowon had urged the lawmakers to back off from the impeachment proceeding against Obasanjo and allow an amicable resolution of the dispute. But Lawan said that "The House is not prepared to shy away from its constitutional duties." He explained that the House had over two-thirds of the required signatures to commence the impeachment proceedings against the president. The spokesman of the House said that none of those who "have signed the impeachment notice against the president has indicated or served notice of withdrawing from the process," adding "if for anything, members are itching that the process should commence without further delay. "But, we have to hear General Gowon and former President Shagari out first. That is our mark of respect for them. But their intervention does not in any way stop us from doing or performing our constitutional duties," Lawan said. He also ruled out the chances of submitting the 32 charges to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for consideration, stating that the new list is the consensus between the two arms of the National Assembly. And in Lagos yesterday, the National Conscience Party (NCP) questioned the qualification of Gowon and Shagari to mediate in the face-off between Obasanjo and the National Assembly. In a statement signed by its National Secretary, Mr. Femi Aborisade, NCP said that the two leaders while in office at various times breached the nation's constitution and also abused the democratic process. Commenting on General Gowon, NCP said during his regime, democratic norms had no place at all as he was an absolute dictator adding that the former head of state had to be overthrown after nine years in power when it was clear that he wanted to perpetuate himself in power. On Shagari, it said that the ineptitude and corruption that characterised his administration coupled with the unconstitutional deportation of Bornu State majority leader, Alhaji Shugaba Abdulrahman-Darman striped him of any qualification to advise the National Assembly on its constitutional duties. "Only in a country like Nigeria can failed past rulers like Shagari and Gowon have the effrontery to advise on the process of democratic governance and enjoy media reception", it added. The Senate would receive and deliberate on the report of the Senator Mohammed Tukur Liman Ad-Hoc Committee this week. In a chat with THIS DAY, Senate spokesman, Jonathan Zwingina, said the inability of the Senate to take a formal position on the impeachment of the president so far was as result of the non-completion of investigations by the Liman committee. Zwingina said the problems which had hampered the committee's work had been taken care of and that its final report would be made available to the upper chamber within the week. But he did not state the exact date. He said: "You know what caused the delay on the declaration of the position of the Senate on the issue was inability of the Liman committee to submit its report to us, but the committee will file in its report within the week and our position would be made known thereafter on the allegations against the President." Last week, the Senate had to issue a bench warrant for the arrest of the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr. Jackson Gaius-Obaseki, for his failure to honour summons by the Liman committee. The arrest warrant on the NNPC GMD which followed complaints by Liman, who is also the Senate Leader, was to compel him to supply information on the domestic revenue profile of the company from May 29 1999 to date. The 32 alleged constitutional breaches are as follows: . . (excerpt) . 4. That you, Chief Olusegun Mathew Okikiola Aremu Obasanjo in the year 2000, ordered the deployment of military troops to Odi in Bayelsa State to massacre innocent citizens without recourse to the National Assembly contrary to Section 217(2)(C) of the 1999 Constitution, which requires firstly for some conditions to be prescribed by an Act of the National Assembly for the deployment of the Military in that regard which act amounts to gross misconduct.
IRIN 10 Oct 2002 Obasanjo says Nigeria may intervene in Cote d’Ivoire LAGOS, 10 Oct 2002 (IRIN) - Nigeria’s President Olusegun Obasanjo has written the senate saying the country may have to intervene in the conflict in Cote d’Ivoire to protect its citizens there, officials said on Thursday. A top official of Nigeria’s upper legislative chamber told IRIN the letter was addressed to senate president, Pius Anyim. It informed the National Assembly the government was studying the situation in the fellow West African country closely and might intervene to protect millions of Nigerian nationals there if the situation deteriorates. "There is no commitment to deploy troops on combat duty in Ivory Coast," Obasanjo was quoted as saying in the letter. "But I will seek Senate approval when the need arises." The Nigerian government estimates that more than two million of its citizens are resident in Cote d’Ivoire. Following the 19 September mutiny by a section of the country’s armed forces against the government of President Laurent Gbagbo, Nigeria had sent three military aircraft and a small contingent of troops to Cote d’Ivoire’s commercial capital, Abidjan. But the troops and aircraft have since returned with the government explaining it was an exploratory visit. Nigeria had intervened in the past decade in civil wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone as the dominant power in the Economic Community of West African States regional intervention force known as ECOMOG.
IRIN 10 Oct 2002 Abia governor vows to revive vigilante group LAGOS, 10 Oct 2002 (IRIN) - Governor Orji Kalu of Nigeria’s southeastern Abia State on Wednesday vowed to revive a controversial vigilante group, the Bakassi Boys, which has operated in the region in the past two years but was recently disbanded by the federal government. State-owned Radio Nigeria reported the governor as saying the passage by the state legislature of an enabling law creating the group indicated their operations had popular support. "Nobody has the power - unless they want to cause problems - to stop us from having the vigilante services," Kalu said on the radio. He said when reconstituted in the state, the Bakassi Boys would not engage in extra-judicial killings and would cooperate with the police authorities. The vigilante group was first set up by traders in the main Abia State trading town of Aba in 1999 in response to apparent inability of the police to contain unprecedented levels of violent crime, especially armed robbery. Kalu, who was elected governor of the state in the same year as Nigeria ended more than 15 years of military rule, quickly provided the group government backing. Another southeastern state, Anambra, also adopted the services of the Bakassi Boys the following year under the official name of Anambra Vigilante Services. The group appeared effective in quickly curbing violent crime, but critics and human rights groups were alarmed at their unorthodox methods, including public beheadings and burning of suspected criminals. Amnesty International estimates that more than 1,000 people were summarily executed by the group in two years at Onitsha, the main city in Anambra State. The group has also been blamed for the brutal murder early in September of lawyer, Barnabas Igwe, president of the Onitsha branch of the Nigerian Bar Association, and his wife - both well-known critics of the group and the Anambra State government. In recent months the police authorities have raided the offices of the vigilante groups in Abia and Anambra States, arresting their operatives, confiscating their weapons and freeing scores of detained people. But the latest stance of the Abia governor indicates a continuing conflict in Nigeria between local and federal laws, which has seen states in the south passing laws to create vigilante groups, while those in the mainly Muslim north have passed laws for strict Shari’ah law prescribing punishments including stoning to death for adultery and amputation of limbs for stealing.
Daily Trust (Abuja) NEWS 15 Oct 2002 16 Killed in Fresh Plateau Violence By Buhari Bello And Rakiya Mohammed Jos Sixteen people were reported to have been killed in a renewed attack by suspected Fulani assailants at Haipang village in Barikin Ladi Local Government Area of Plateau State. Our correspondents report that the village was attacked at the early hours of yesterday by the Fulani assailants who killed 10 people and destroyed property worth millions of naira during the raid. The Plateau State Joint Task Force on Internal Security said it killed six of the retreating Fulani assailants in a shoot-out immediately after the incident. The State Commissioner for Information, Dr. Patrick Dokun, disclosed in a statement that those killed were suspected armed Fulani's who allegedly burnt down several houses and injured many people in the raid. According to the statement made available to Daily Trust in Jos, the commissioner said that residents of Kassa blocked the Haipang-Barikin Ladi road in what he described as self-defence. The action, however, led to a serious traffic problem along the road. Most motorists and passengers from Mangu, Yelwa, Shendam and Langtang Local government areas could not pass through the road yesterday in fear of being attached. However, the intervention of the law enforcement agents in the visit of the State Deputy Governor, Chief Michael Botmang, cleared the blockage. According to the deputy governor, it is regrettable that the renew violence was coming at a time the government is making a concerted effort to broker peace among the various communities in the state after the series of crises that enveloped it in the past. He further assured that a joint security patrol team will be intensified in order to flush out those harbouring miscreants who are bent on disruption the hard earned peace in the state. In another development there was pandemonium with in the Jos metropolis yesterday afternoon when a soldier (name withheld) opened fire at a civilian leading to his instant death at a police station ("C" division). Our investigation revealed that trouble started when the civilian allegedly brushed the soldier's car in a hold up. On sensing trouble, it was gathered that the civilian ran to a near by police station where the soldier caught up with him and allegedly shot him directly at his forehead. Efforts made by the policemen of the station to get the soldier arrested proved abortive as he threatened to open fire on them. It, however, took the intervention of some soldiers stationed at the Jos Central Mosque to get him arrested.
Rwanda (see also France)
IRIN 2 Oct 2002 Rwandan ex-combatant mission arrives in Kigali KAMINA, DRC, 2 Oct 2002 (IRIN) - An exploratory mission of disarmed and demobilised Rwandan Hutu former combatants based in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) arrived in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, on Monday to gauge whether it was safe for their return, new organisations reported. "We will see if the conditions are sufficient for our security and reintegration in Rwanda, then we will decide on a definitive return," Ephraim Hakazimana, one of the 79 volunteers, told IRIN before departing Kamina, southeastern DRC. Seventy-nine ethnic Hutus volunteered for the week-long mission, after which they will return to the southeastern DRC military base where they have been housed to report their findings to another 1,711 former fighters of the Forces democratiques pour la liberation du Rwanda (FDLR). Of the 79, 66 are ex-combatants, 10 are women, and three are children. "You hold the key to the repatriation process," Bill Maselta, an adviser to South African President Thabo Mbeki, said at a ceremony before their departure. South Africa and the United Nations constitute the third party to the agreement signed on 30 July in Pretoria, South Africa, between presidents Joseph Kabila of the DRC and Paul Kagame of Rwanda. The agreement commits Rwanda to withdrawing its troops from the DRC in exchange for Kinshasa taking steps to address security concerns in the DRC. In particular, this means the dismantling of the former Rwandan army (ex-FAR) and Interahamwe Hutu militias who fled to the DRC following their involvement in the massacre of some 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and politically moderate Hutus in Rwanda in 1994. The UN peacekeeping mission in the DRC, known as MONUC, and several international human rights NGOs have developed a follow-up mechanism to help guarantee the safety of returnees during both the exploratory mission and the actual repatriation and reintegration of all Rwandan ex-combatants. "We will monitor the returnees for several months to make sure that their rights and liberties are assured and that nothing bad happens to them in their country," Luc Henkinbrant, a MONUC human rights officer, told IRIN. Rwandan authorities have said that it will be up to legal authorities to determine which of these ex-combatants might be implicated in the 1994 massacres. Aside from the 1,780 Hutu ex-militants in Kamina, another 201 wounded and sick who are currently hospitalised in the DRC capital, Kinshasa, and the southeastern city of Lubumbashi are also waiting for the results of the exploratory mission to decide whether they will return. The DRC government recently indicated that an additional 2,000 Hutu combatants could be found in the vicinity of Kamina. A number of the volunteers expressed their concerns about the treatment they would receive upon their return, and one withdrew from the exploratory mission at the last minute. An FDLR leader was asked to intervene to reassure the remaining members of the delegation.
Hirondelle News Agency (Lausanne) 14 Oct 2002 Gacaca Takes Off Slowly Kigali After a break of several months, pilot 'Gacaca' courts have been starting work again one by one since the middle of September. 'Gacaca', meaning literally 'judgement on grass', has been introduced in Rwanda to speed up the trials of around 115,000 people who are accused of participating in the genocide, in which more than a million people were killed between April and July 1994, including Tutsis and moderate Hutus. These popular courts were in effect, temporarily suspended at the end of July, at the end of their fifth public meeting. This was principally to allow the coordination to take stock of the situation, see what had been accomplished and what problems they had faced. It was also to prepare the judges for the two next stages, during which the public assemblies will establish lists and individual details of the accused. At the end of this process the real trials will finally begin. But already the Gacaca pilot courts have shown up a number of problems which it will be necessary to take into account before eleven thousand courts are due to begin their work all over the country, at the beginning of next year. The pilot courts began on 19 June this year in 73 cells of 12 sectors chosen from the 11 provinces of Rwanda and the city of Kigali. Rwanda is divided administratively into cells, sectors, districts and provinces, with the city of Kigali treated separately. Every level of the administration will have its own gacaca court. Adding it together, there are 9001 cells, 1545 sectors and 106 districts, making 10662 tribunals, which call upon 254,152 voluntary judges. They are known as the 'Integres' meaning people with integrity and were elected in October 2001. During their first meeting on 19 June the 73 gacaca courts began by fixing the day of the week of which their public assemblies would regularly meet. The whole population of the cellule can take part in the public assembly, along with the 19 judges. According to the law, the quorum or minimum level of participation is 100 people. During their second meeting during the next week, the assemblies concentrated on listing every family and their members who were living in the cellule until 6 April 1994 (the date that the genocide of Tutsis and moderate Hutus started), as well as their current probable addresses. The law allowing for "the assembly to present the means of proof in the trial," the census will be the basis for identifying potential witnesses. The third meeting, from 2 July onwards, established the lists of the victims of genocide killed in the cellule between 1st October 1990 and 31 December 1994, house by house, those who were residents, those who were passing through or were refugees. This list was finished during the fourth public meeting when the courts also put together a list of those who were permanently resident in the cellule between 1st Oct 1990 and 31 December 1994 but who were killed outside the cellule. During the fifth stage, the assemblies filled out forms for genocide survivors who are asking for compensation, family by family. When a person has been identified, the files mention his relation to the victim, as well as material damage. The sixth meeting, which is happening now, puts together the lists of those accused. In the lists are all the charges against an individual. For the seventh stage, the last one in this preparation phase of the judicial papers, the courts classify the accused by category. During this first phase, the public assemblies of the pilot gacacas met every week in each cellule. This rhythm will slow down when the trials start, with one ordinary meeting per month according to the law. All the steps followed by the 73 cellules in this pilot phase are a sort of practice. They will be followed to the letter by all the other jurisdictions when they get going. The pilot cellules were not chosen at random. One reason is that a some of them, around 475, have a high number of previous residents who have pleaded guilty. Once the gacaca courts start, they will first of all judge those who have admitted their guilt. Officially, that means more than 21 thousand people. According to the Department for Gacaca courts at the Supreme court, these cellules were also chosen because they were more cooperative than elsewhere. SPEED UP THE PROCESS AND RECONCILE THE RWANDANS Each of the four administrative levels in Rwanda, cellules, sectors, districts and provinces has its own gacaca courts. And each administrative court has a level of responsibility for judging. At the cellule level, the gacaca court is authorised to judge those suspected of looting and other material damage, meaning the fourth category of detainees. Those judged guilty will repair or reimburse the victims. According to the gacaca law there is no possibility of appeal at this level. At the next level up, gacaca courts of the sector are concerned with third category matters, meaning suspects who injured without intending to kill. At the district level the courts will judge second category suspects, meaning those who have killed and for whom the maximum penalty would be life imprisonment, along with hearing appeals from sector level judgements. Finally Gacaca at the provincial level would only be dealing with appeals. In the Gacaca trials the accused do not have lawyers. According to the law, the population will at the same time be both complainant and judge. As for the first category suspects, comprising the organisers and planners of the genocide, along with those suspected of rape and other sexual torture, for whom the maximum sentence is death, they will continue to be judged in law courts where the judges are fully trained professionals. Around 115,000 detainees are accused of participating in the genocide. Since 1996, when genocide trials started, a little more than 7,000 have been judged. At the current pace of trials, they would take more than 100 years to complete. Therefore, gacaca ? judgement on grass ? was resurrected. Inspired by the traditional village meetings, in which the wise people of the village make decision about community disputes, the gacaca have been modernised and formalised by an organic law, in order to accelerate the judicial process. According to estimates by the Department of Gacaca, 5 or 6 years of trials will be needed to judge all the accused. DON'T TOUCH WAR CRIMES OF THE RPF But apart from speeding up of process, Gacaca, popular participative justice has two other major objectives: to establish the whole truth about the genocide, crimes against humanity and other war crimes committed between 1 October 1990 and 31 December 1994 and also, to reconcile Rwandans. However, in some pilot courts the inhabitants have 'suggested' that the truth should not only concern about the crimes committed by the former Hutu militias of the 'Interahamwe' against the Tutsi minority. They say it should also deal with war crimes committed by the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), dominated by Tutus, which came to power after its military victory over the Hutu regime in July 1994. Some independent newspapers have quickly relayed these 'suggestions'. Le Verdict ? a monthly magazine of the Rwandan League for the Promotion and Defence of Human Rights (LIPODHOR), which covers the genocide trials, gives an example of a case which was presented during a gacaca meeting in the cellule of Gihanga (Nyarugunga sector, Kanombe district, Kigali city). While the assembly was in the process of establishing a list of the victims of the genocide in the cellule, one of its members posed the delicate question: "what about a person hunted in 1994 and who had the luck to survive the Interahamwe (Hutu militia). And is then found assassinated when the refugees returned. Who does responsibility for this death lie with?" A woman, member of the judges, left the bench at that point and joined the assembly. She wanted to speak as a simple witness. "I stayed here. The victims who are causing us problems were killed by RPF soldiers. It is up to you now to decide which category to put them in", she said before returning to her place on the bench. According to the magazine, some welcomed this provocative declaration by clapping and others in disbelief. In order to cut short the debate the president of the judges remarked that if these people were killed by the RPF, their case belongs to the regular courts. These complaints should not be brought in front of the gacaca. This is not an isolated case. During the fourth session of the public meetings of the gacaca in the cellule of Murambi (Nyange sector, Budaha district, Kibuye province), as they were finalising the lists of the victims, suddenly a woman wanted to be heard: "We are giving the names of those killed between 1 October 1990 and 31 December 1994 aren't we?" The judges agreed. "So the lists you have just put together are not right. You haven't counted the 18 members of my family killed 22 July 1994 by RPF military". She then gave the name of the commandant. This declaration appeared to liberate the assembly. Straightaway all reticence disappeared. "Stop this discrimination between deaths," rang out one voice. "You are mixing up genocide and acts of vengeance," said others. Everyone was speaking at the same time. The name of the commandant was on many people's lips. He was known along with where he worked. In all this confusion, the president of the court had severe difficulties in controlling the situation. In the end a representative of the coordinator of gacaca in Kibuye province managed to calm spirits. "Unless you only could prove that these crimes are part of a deliberate plan to exterminate one ethnicity, you should not mix them up with genocide. Leave them to the ordinary courts," he said. A provincial representative of the National Commission for Unity and Reconciliation supported this, explaining that, "these crimes, also condemnable, are different from genocide. They were severely punished each time they were reported to the RPF hierarchy". But the meeting was not completely satisfied. One of its members confided, "if the gacaca courts are to lead to reconciliation, they have to give justice to everyone. Another adds "It would have been much simpler to burst the abscess right away." The Rwandan authorities have never denied that war crimes were committed by some elements of the RPF. But they have always differentiated between these crimes and genocide and said that they are not for the gacaca courts to deal with. Head of State, General Paul Kagame, knocked the idea on its head in his inauguration of gacaca on 18 June, "there should be no amalgamation between genocide and crimes committed during or after. Acts of vengeance were committed by isolated individuals. Every time they were known about, were punished severely". THE ETHNIC DEMONS ARE NOT DEAD This 'divergence' between the general population and the authorities is not the only problem facing gacaca. According to one inquiry into the gacaca pilots by an international NGO, Penal Reform International (PRI), published in July, the ethnic problems and the reconciliation give rise to a good number of questions by the people during the meetings. Most of them are pointed: "how should human rights violations before and after the genocide be treated? Why does gacaca only deal with one ethnic group? Why aren't the Hutus killed in 1994 by the RPF talked about as well? In April 1994 some Tutsis ran away and came back later. Others ran away in July 1994. The first group stole our grain stocks. Can we get reimbursement? When we hear talk about the Gacaca process, we are frightened about what will happen when prisoners are released. How can we live with them? If the criminals don't ask for forgiveness from us, how do we know they won't do it again?" In addition to these practical issues, there are also the vivid ethic fears in some regions. According to the enquiry, "the population in Kimisugi and Muhororo (Mutete sector, Kisaro district, Byumba province), hesitated about going to the first Gacaca meetings. Rumours were flying about reports of Tutsis killing Hutus there. Some families ran away, while others sold their goods. When the authorities wee informed, they organised meetings to reassure the people. The first gacaca assemblies in these areas were not finally heard until 22 June, three days after the other pilot cellules. PRI believes that "these fears are probably linked to a historical event never able to be confirmed and which happened in the region in 1994: during a public meeting organised by the RPF, its soldiers killed many civilians." Faced with these questions for the moment the Gacaca courts lack an answer. Unfortunately, time appears to be running out. PRI suggests in theconclusion of its report that there is growing disenchantment with the first phase of the gacaca pilots: the number of participants is going down and many participants no longer express themselves during the meetings. "The enthusiasm of some people has diminished considerably when they realised that Gacaca could not investigate the past. One part of the Hutu community who lost loved ones following the RPF counter attack in 1994 lost all interest in the gacaca meetings when it became apparent that the victims were not taken into account. One part of the population fears being arrested if they show that they know things relation to these events. Others testify with a great sense of insecurity, especially those who escaped from genocide, when they remember what happened", explains PRI. This low level of enthusiasm is also explained by economics, especially "agricultural obligations. The gacaca pilots started during the sorghum harvest. Therefore some people said these meetings will lead us to famine", writes PRI. There is no doubt, the Gacaca pilots constitute a excellent case study which will permit the authorities to correct the different problems, before the start of 11, 000 gacaca courts. These problems and the questions which would have been much more difficult to manage if the whole gacaca apparatus had begun at the same time.
Guardian UK 3 Oct 2002 Justice goes on trial in Sierra Leone - Secrecy and confused politics threaten to scupper Africa's latest war crimes court Richard Dowden in Tomboudou, Sierra Leone. David Crane, the prosecutor for the special court for Sierra Leone, strode up the overgrown path to a single-storey blue building on the hillside and peered gingerly through the door. Grinning back at him from the floor were a dozen skulls. They were, however, not what he was looking for. This particular crime scene was, he said, "contaminated"; it had been tampered with. In the diamond-rich east of Sierra Leone, Tomboudou was a key town in the 11-year civil war. Diamonds dug here by various factions were bartered for guns and food. Huge diamond pits, like bomb craters, filled with pale brown water are dotted around the town. It might as well have been bombed. Every building has been wrecked and burned, roofs ripped off, window frames and doors torn out. People are now beginning to drift back and rebuild. Sahr Gbamanja, son of the local MP, fled an attack by the rebel Revolutionary United Front (RUF) in 1998. He saw them burn his 13-year-old brother to death in their house. The rebels, he said, tied people together in gangs and forced them to work or carry food and ammunition. Those who refused or were too weak to work had their hands cut off or were butchered. No one knows how many died because most people in the area fled across the border into Guinea. Crime scene Mr Crane found what he was looking for among the reeds beside one of the diamond pits: a long bone that looked human. The returning villagers told him that in the pond were the bodies of between 400 and 1,000 murdered people. He officially declared it a crime scene and the local police roped it off. Then he was shown a water pipe running through the town on which, he was told, the rebels forced people to place their arms before cutting off their hands. The special court has moved quickly since President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah officially declared the war over in January. Set up in March by treaty between the Sierra Leonean government and the United Nations, it aims to avoid the cost and inertia of the Rwanda genocide tribunal. Operating with a $58m (£37m) budget, one-sixth of the Rwandan tribunal's, and a much smaller group of staff, the court has a three year mandate to find, arrest, try and convict those guilty of war crimes in Sierra Leone since November 1996. The Rwandan tribunal has convicted only eight in seven years. Bulldozers are already clearing recently acquired land in the capital, Freetown, for a new court house and registry. The court is accountable to a management committee comprising states that have contributed to it, and it is not bound by UN employment rules or UN bureaucracy. If successful, it may become a model for future war crimes tribunals. Indeed the big number of Americans in senior positions may suggest that it is a US attempt to thwart the setting up of a permanent international criminal court. Mr Crane denies that interpretation. Since arriving in Sierra Leone six weeks ago, the energetic 52-year-old former judge advocate in the US army has shown clearly that he is determined to complete his task in the allotted three years. He says he is here to listen to his clients, "the people of Sierra Leone". In his first trip outside the capital to visit the areas most affected by the war, he whizzed around Tomboudou, leaving his police escort and others puffing in his wake. Africa is not used to such hyperactivity. The willingness of the local people to show him what happened might give Mr Crane the impression that his task will be easy. Identifying the baddies should be straightforward because Sierra Leone is a small country of about five million people. It is hard to hide here. People such as Mr Gbamanja are quite open about who ordered the massacres, rapes and torture. In Tomboudou, he says, it was "Staff" Al Haji Bayo. Everyone around us agreed. He should not be hard to find. He is an officer in the newly British-trained Sierra Leonean army. This is where the real contamination starts. Commander Bayo was not a member of the RUF. He had been an officer in the army. In 1997 junior officers overthrew President Kabbah's government and teamed up with the RUF. Together they committed some of the worst atrocities. To complicate matters, the Nigerian-led West African peacekeeping force, Ecomog, and the local civil defence militias also butchered people. In 1999, under a bizarre American-sponsored peace accord, an amnesty was granted to all and about 2,230 fighters from the different factions were integrated unscreened into the new army. As a result, some of the worst killers are now defending the state. Mr Crane is determined that he will simply go after "those with the most responsibility"; those who gave the orders, those who killed large numbers and the paymasters in Sierra Leone or elsewhere. But the search for justice cuts across the new settlement. There is speculation that he might indict Charles Taylor, the president of Liberia who swapped diamonds for guns for the rebels and gave them a base in his country. The court could also indict ministers in the government, such as Hinga Norman, once the leader a militia group known as the Kamajors, and still a close ally of the president. Contaminated Unlike Rwanda, Sierra Leone's war does not have one single source of evil. The whole society became contaminated. Mr Crane will not find a clear line dividing government and rebels, order and chaos, good and evil. In Sierra Leone all is contradictory and grey. To try to get Sierra Leone's traditionally secretive society to open up and talk about what has happened for the past 11 years, the government has set up a truth and reconciliation commission (TRC) similar to South Africa's. But it is infected with the same contradictory politics and is short of funds. There are also doubts about whether statements made in the commission can be used in the special court. Mr Crane says that he wants to build his own case and not use the commission's statements, but he will not rule it out. The main culprit in the war, in the eyes of most Sierra Leoneans, is Foday Sankoh, the RUF leader. But even in his case doubts exist about a successful prosecution. He spent the worst period of RUF atrocities as a "guest" detained by the Nigerians. Now languishing in Pademba Road jail in Freetown, he has recently fallen ill with hypertension and is refusing medication. He may even die before the court is set up. Even worse, he could plead insanity or he may simply have terrified too many witnesses. On the other hand the most visible victims of the war, the war-affected amputees' association, is sending a confusing message to the court and the commission. Living with their families at a camp in Freetown, the 250 or so mutilated survivors with no hands or no feet say they do not want revenge. Indeed, there has been astoundingly little personal revenge since the end of the war, despite the victims and perpetrators living together again in the same streets and villages. It looks like superhuman forgiveness. But at the same time the amputees want to be paid for giving evidence to the court. Though they are well looked after by local and foreign aid agencies, the association is demanding that the government gives them $100 and a bag of rice every month for life. Until it does, they are refusing to cooperate. Without the participation of these living symbols of Sierra Leone's suffering, or the trial and conviction of Foday Sankoh, Mr Crane and the war crimes court will be wasting their time.
South Africa ( See Burundi)
AFP 9 Oct 2002 Five killed, 11 seriously injured in bombing in Sudan: rebels NAIROBI, Oct 9 (AFP) -- At least five people were killed Tuesday and 11 others seriously wounded when a Sudanese military plane bombed Yabus relief centre in Southern Blue Nile state, south Sudan rebels said here Wednesday. "The Antonov dropped six bombs on the centre, targeting the market, killing five people instantly and wounding 11 others seriously, as the market was full of ordinary people and traders," Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) spokesman Samson Kwaje said in a statement. "The government knows that every Tuesday is a market day at Yabus, where many people gather, and therefore it was a deliberate target," Kwaje charged. Kwaje condemned the indiscriminate targeting of the civil population and challenged the Sudanese government "to respect the agreement it had signed last March with SPLA for the Protection of Civil Population and Civilian Infrastructure." The air raid came only two weeks after the United States condemned the Sudanese government's recent bombings of civilian areas of southern Sudan and urged Khartoum to resume peace talks with the SPLA rebels who operate there. In his condemnation, US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher noted in particular a September 21 attack that killed at least 13 people, including four children, at a cattle farm. The war in southern Sudan, increasingly fuelled by a struggle for key resources such as oil, has pitted the Arab and Muslim-dominated north against the mainly animist and Christian south since 1983. The war and its related effects have killed more than two million people and either displaced internally or forced into exile four million others.
IRIN 11 Oct 2002 Many people still facing starvation NAIROBI, 11 Oct 2002 (IRIN) - A US-based Christian relief organisation has warned that thousands of civilians in areas affected by the country's civil war face starvation as a result of the Sudanese government's continuing restrictions on humanitarian access to southern Sudan. In a statement released on Thursday from Baltimore, US, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) urged the international community to ensure unrestricted access to all populations in need there. The statement said that although the Sudanese government had this week lifted parts of its 27 September ban on UN humanitarian flights in southern Sudan, Khartoum had continued to obstruct humanitarian operations in the country. The ban had affected about 800,000 people in Eastern and Western Equatoria, according to humanitarian sources. An unprecedented 61 sites in the country remain inaccessible despite the lifting of the ban, according to CRS. In Eastern Equatoria, where CRS assists some 375,000 people, humanitarian air operations had been denied for four consecutive years, the statement added. As a result of the frequent bans, local and international organisations under the UN umbrella group of humanitarian agencies called Operation Lifeline Sudan, of which CRS is part, was forced to travel into selected regions of Sudan by land from Uganda, thereby facing "life-threatening danger from roving bands" of the Ugandan rebel Lord's Resistance Army, CRS said. CRS Executive Director Ken Hackett noted in the statement that he also feared that the obstructions to the delivery of humanitarian aid would spark a disaster similar to that of the 1998 war-induced famine in which an estimated 70,000 people died. "The international community, led by the United States, and members of the OLS agreement, have a responsibility to ensure that all victims of this tragic war receive humanitarian assistance, without further interruptions," he said. "There must be a universal understanding that any political negotiations toward peace in Sudan must include and address humanitarian concerns." The appeal follows this week's passing of a resolution in the US House of Representatives empowering President George W. Bush to impose sanctions on Sudan as part of the efforts aimed at achieving peace there. The Sudanese government has, however, condemned the US resolution. The Sudanese embassy in Washington said the resolution did not advocate for peace, but encouraged the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army to continue fighting, the Sudanese newspaper Al-Anba said on Friday.
BBC 12 Oct 2002, US passes Sudan sanctions bill The United States Congress has passed a bill which could lead to sanctions against Sudan, if it fails to make progess in ending its 19-year civil war or is found to be obstructing humanitarian efforts. The bill accuses the Sudanese Government of using what it describes as low-intensity ethnic cleansing against various groups such as the Dinka, Nuer and Nuba peoples. It requires President George W Bush to decide every six months if Sudan is negotiating with its rebels in good faith. The sanctions might involve the White House downgrading diplomatic relations with Sudan, opposing new international loans or backing a United Nations sponsored arms embargo.
BBC 15 Oct 2002, Sudan truce deal signed Civilians have paid the price for 19 years of war The Sudanese Government and rebels have agreed to observe a truce while their peace talks continue in the Kenyan town of Machakos. Reuters news agency reports that the agreement covers all areas of Sudan. On Monday, the agreement was delayed after the government insisted that it only cover the south. This is the first time where we have signed a cessation of hostilities Samson Kwaje SPLA The BBC's Ishbel Matheson, reporting from Machakos, says both sides have come under intense international pressure to sign their first truce after 19 years of civil war. Two million people are believed to have died in the conflict, which has pitted rebels from the mainly Christian south against the Arab government of the north. "Both parties have signed the cessation of hostilities, which will take effect on 17 October at noon (0900 GMT)," said Lazaro Sumbeiywo, Kenya's envoy at the talks, according to Reuters. "It will last for as long as the talks are on, which could be until the end of the year," he told reporters. 'Purge' "This is the first time where we have signed a cessation of hostilities," said Samson Kwaje, spokesman for the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA). "Both parties have signed so as to allow the talks to continue." Government negotiator Tagelsir Mahgoub, Sudan's state minister for labour and administration reform, confirmed that the deal had been signed, according to Reuters. The overall peace talks are set to resume on Wednesday, Mr Kwaje said. Earlier on Tuesday, the army claimed to have captured more territory from the SPLA. Sudanese state radio quoted General Mohamed Beshir Suleiman as saying the army's capture of Loringo and Lofid areas in East Equatoria State was part of a campaign to "purge the area of rebels who fled Torit". The army retook the key garrison town of Torit last week. State radio also reported fierce fighting in eastern Sudan, near the Eritrean border. Negotiators believe a ceasefire must be in place if progress is to be made with the overall peace process.
Catholic News Service 24 Oct 2002 At Holocaust museum, Sudanese bishops plead for help to end genocide By Willy Thorn WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Two Sudanese bishops, calling the civil war in their country genocide, asked the international community for help in ending the violence. In a briefing at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum Oct. 23, Bishops Paride Taban of Torit and Rudolf Deng Majak of Wau described a country where forests are strewn with human bones, oil wells are a curse, constructing buildings is dangerous, and schools require bomb shelters -- if their classrooms are not being raided for potential soldiers. Bishop Taban said that, having been to Jerusalem, he was familiar with genocide, but that anyone who visited the southern forests of Sudan "will know there has been a holocaust." The bishop described portions of the Sudanese countryside where "human bodies were smashed into the ground by tanks," and yet "nobody speaks of this. These are very painful things ... these are things happening today." "Many people are traumatized," he said, "because of the bombs, because of hunger, because of the land mines. You find women and children wandering through the bush talking to themselves. When they hear the planes, they cry, 'God where are you?'" Southern Sudan's oil reserves are "a curse," the bishop said. "It is not a blessing," he said, because the government has used the fuel to intensify its bombing efforts. Profits from oil sales have only one use, he added. "They don't do any development for the people," he said of Sudan's Khartoum-based government. "The money is only for war." Meanwhile, constructing buildings is a constant risk, he said, because they become targets from the air. "That's why it's genocide," he said, "the bombs are dropped without planning: 'to whom it may concern.'" He said the indiscriminate bombing has killed whole herds of livestock and forced schools to be built with underground bunkers. "Most families in Wau only have one good meal a day," said Bishop Deng. "It's hard to stomach what the teachers have (to offer) on an empty stomach." Mill Hill Missionary Father Mathew Haumann, stationed in Sudan for 30 years, said the church is "the only civic institution which is still surviving." "Most other structures have collapsed," he said. "We are the voice of the voiceless," Bishop Taban said, "trying to bring peace from the grass roots. War divides people and brings hostility. But we are training people to get anger and hatred out of their hearts." Bishop Deng said religious groups try to appeal to an "open attitude of tolerance, brotherhood and mutual respect" and "keep faith alive that something good will come." "People take time to change -- you cannot shoot at them to make them change," Bishop Deng said, laughing. "You'll only kill them. It takes time to change mindsets." He said that in addition to education the primary role of the Catholic Church is to offer health and pastoral services, "helping people to understand their faith so they can deal with the onslaught ... and limitations of war." Sudan's 18-year civil war originally pitted Christian and animist African rebels in the South against the Arab Muslim government in the North. It has since evolved into a nationwide conflict fueled by religion, ethnicity, oil and ideology. An estimated 2 million have been killed and another 4 million displaced in the South, while reports persist that captured southerners have been enslaved. Bishop Taban said the Islamic government uses religion to further its political power by using the premise of jihad, or struggle, against nonbelievers to mobilize Islamic youths for the war. He said soldiers find that people in the South "aren't fighting for religion but for their own rights." He added that he feared "a holocaust ... because of religion." "This (museum) should testify to that," he said. "Christian fundamentalists are just as bad as Islamic fundamentalists. "Nobody can win that war," he said. "We have to see a change of heart," or "there will be conflict for generations." Bishop Deng said the global church has a role to play in ending the war by praying and educating itself. "There is a lot of ignorance about Sudan -- even among well-to-do people of good education," he said. "Everything starts with knowledge. Without knowledge people will not be able to contribute." Bishop Taban thanked the United States and its citizens, saying, "The U.S. is doing a lot now." "People appreciate it very, very much -- somebody ready to sacrifice for their brothers and sisters in a situation which is a holocaust or genocide," he said. The Sudan Peace Act, which President Bush signed into law Oct. 22, authorizes the president to impose sanctions if the Sudanese government is not negotiating for peace in good faith. "Something is better than nothing," Bishop Taban said of the act. The bishop was quick to point out that Sudan needs more than relief aid, but that military assistance would not help. "Yes, we need relief, but if you give relief but don't stop the war, it's like fattening the cow before the slaughter," he said. "There must be peace with dignity. The peace process is continuous. To heal a wound takes time. One has to handle it with care. It's not impossible. (The situation) is not God-made. It's man-made ... so it's difficult, but not impossible."
Tanzania - ICTR
New Vision (Kampala) NEWS October 3, 2002 Bwindi Killer Suspect Netted Kampala THE suspected mastermind of the gruesome 1999 massacre of eight American and British tourists and a Ugandan in the world famous Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has been arrested in the DR Congo and handed over to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. Alfred Wasike reports that Tharcisse Renzaho, the former Prefect of Kigali and a close confidant of the late President Juvenal Habyarimana, has been on the run since their regime collapsed to the Rwandan Patriotic Army in 1994. Renzaho is also to be tried for the 1994 Rwanda genocide in which up to 800,000 people were killed. He is alleged to have been a top mastermind in the killings. Describing him as a major figure, the United States' State Department spokesman, Richard Boucher, told journalists in Washington on Monday that Renzaho will also be tried for playing a leading role in fomenting the conflicts that have dogged Congo for the past decade. Boucher was quoted by the Washington File. "He is believed to be the leader of the Army for the Liberation of Rwanda (ALIR), a group that is linked to the killing of American and British citizens in Bwindi, Uganda, in 1999. So that's a major figure, and it's an important development," Boucher told the media. He said the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda was preparing Renzaho's charges. The USA launched a massive man-hunt in June 2002 for the leaders of the former Rwandan army militia (Interahamwe) said to have attacked Bwindi and destroyed property worth $500,000. They also destablised Rwanda and the DR Congo. A $5m reward was placed on the head of the killers. The US has listed ALIR, Joseph Kony's LRA and the Allied Democratic Force and al-Qaeda as terrorists. Boucher said, "This is the third arrest of an alleged leader of the Rwandan genocide since the beginning of the campaign that we undertook with the announcement of the Rewards for Justice." He said the rewards for justice does not apply in the case of Renzaho's arrest because he was arrested by a government. "The arrest of Renzaho is part of a commitment that President Joseph Kabila made to President George W. Bush during the General Assembly in New York," he said.
Hirondelle News Agency (Lausanne) 3 Oct 2002 Col. Renzaho: Governor of a City - And a Genocide ? Arusha Fortunes can change but not even the optimistic mind would have imagined the sight of 'Engineer of war' and governor of the Rwandan capital Kigali at the time of the 1994 genocide, Col. Tharcisse Renzaho, siting before a judge answering questions. Renzaho, 58, was arrested on Saturday in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) by Congolese authorities and immediately handed over to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). The morning after his arrest, the colonel was flown to the ICTR detention facility in Arusha, Tanzania. Renzaho made his first of what is likely to be countless appearances, lasting months and probably years, before judges at the ICTR on Thursday. Asked by Judge Andresia Vaz of Senegal about his profession, Renzaho denied having one at the moment but quietly added, " I was a military officer (?) a colonel." Indeed, in his neat charcoal grey suit, white shirt and a checked tie, the clean shaven relatively short and stout man on the stand, looked more like a businessman than a colonel, stereotypically speaking. For several human rights organisations and genocide survivor's groups, Renzaho was truly a man at the helm of a business. A business in charge of killing ethnic Tutsis and politically moderate Hutus in the hilly city of Kigali. "Renzaho's office was the nerve centre for the planning of the genocide in the city. It was the office where the broad outlines and details of the policy of genocide were debated and decided, priorities drawn up and instructions delivered", says a report by London based human rights group, African Rights. The prosecution at the ICTR is still preparing his indictment. Renzaho has however been provisionally charged with three counts of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Much as his appearance in court on Thursday was not an arraignment, anybody following the proceedings would guess what his plea is going to be, come the indictment. The composed and sometimes smiley European trained officer asked the court to help him foot the bills for a defence team so he can "enlighten the world on what happened in Rwanda". Renzaho was appointed governor of Kigali on October 5th, 1990, four days after the beginning of the attacks by the predominantly Tutsi RPF (Rwandese Patriotic Front) rebels. His appointment to a position previously held by civilians coincided with a major operation in the city to arrest "accomplices" of the RPF. Thousands of Tutsis and Hutus opposed to the government were arrested and kept in detention for varying periods. According to an African Rights report titled "Colonel Renzaho. A soldier in the DRC?", shortly after taking office in Kigali "Col. Renzaho identified the local officials who were considered unreliable, either because they were Tutsi or Hutu members of the opposition, and took steps to put the right men in place." The "right men", says the report, were those in favour of the genocide. As a member of the city "security council", Renzaho allegedly gave instructions to implement the genocide that were conveyed by officers under his authority. " The report further say that, "As governor of the capital and a senior military officer, Renzaho was in an exceptionally powerful position at a definitive moment." The report also claims that at the peak of the genocide in 1994, as Interahamwe militias (a militia that participated in the genocide close to the then ruling party) combed though the city killing any surviving "enemies", Renzaho embarked on a campaign to cover up evidence of the massacres from aid workers in the city, and the international media. "He said on radio that state employees should come and help the workers in the hygiene section to clean up the filth from the town", the report quotes a witness as having said. "Filth", according to the report, meant corpses of victims of the massacres. After fleeing with the defeated former Rwandan army, Renzaho is widely believed to have fought in the following years alongside the DRC army in its war against Rwanda. In the Congo, he is also said to have helped in the regrouping, training and arming of ex-Rwandan soldiers, Interhamwe militia and other forces opposed to the new government in Kigali that have occasionally made incursions on Rwanda. Until his arrest, Renzaho was one of the most wanted men by the ICTR and one of the most elusive as well. Renzaho also appears on a list published earlier this year of some 15 suspects of the genocide for whose arrest the US government has put a $ 5 US million prize. He is known to have previously slipped out of the hands of ICTR tracking teams at least twice. The first was during Operation NAKI (Nairobi-Kigali) in Kenya. The other known escape was last year in Zambia. Besides the bounty on his neck, recent political developments in the region might not have played in favour of the colonel. One of the main trade-offs in a recent peace agreement signed between the governments of Rwanda and the DRC to end a four-year war was the disarmament and repatriation to Rwanda or the ICTR of suspected 'genocidaires'. A clear picture of Renzaho's status before, during and after the genocide will perhaps only show up after the prosecutor has rested her case and the defence is through with its side of the story. However, analysts of both the ICTR and politics in the war-ravaged great lakes region of Africa may never understand exactly how a man once considered a trusted and fine associate of the Congolese army came to be arrested one Saturday morning by erstwhile comrades. One of the curious persons may be Judge Vaz who asked him to describe circumstances of his arrest. "If it isn't so necessary, I would rather not say", responded Renzaho.
IRIN 1 Oct 2002 Religious leaders to pursue talks with LRA NAIROBI, 1 Oct 2002 (IRIN) - A group of religious leaders has vowed to continue pressing for talks between the Ugandan government and the rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) despite a presidential order preventing them from making further contact with the rebels. The Ugandan media on Tuesday reported that President Yoweri Museveni had written a letter to John Baptist Odama, the Catholic archbishop who chairs the Acholi Religious Leaders' Peace Initiative (ARLPI), instructing him to stop visiting the LRA. According to 'The New Vision' government-owned newspaper, Museveni's letter follows reports that the LRA was planning to kill the archbishop, who has been leading mediation efforts between the government and the rebels. Lam Cosmas, the ARLPI coordinator, told IRIN from northern Uganda that this new development was a setback to the peace process. "We have information about the LRA threats, but of course we have no way of verifying that information," he said. "But if they [LRA] have any message to pass on, we will continue to do so." "We are not interested in the politics," he added. "We think people's blood should not be spilt anymore. We have a clear agenda, to stop the deaths of people. We will continue appealing to both parties to sit down and talk." Regional analysts says the religious leaders' initiative is widely seen as one of the most successful attempts at mediation in the northern Uganda conflict. Museveni's new directive, the analysts say, reaffirms the government's position which favours a military solution to the northern insurgency. The absence of a political wing within the rebel movement is also a major setback to prospects for talks with the government, one observer told IRIN.
IRIN 4 Oct 2002 Acholi ordered back to 'protected camps' NAIROBI, 4 Oct 2002 (IRIN) - The Ugandan army has ordered civilians displaced by rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) attacks to return to government-protected camps within 48 hours. Maj Shaban Bantariza, the Ugandan army's spokesman, told IRIN on Friday that the civilians had been ordered to return to the camps on Thursday so that they would be protected against the LRA, as well as against any possible fall-out arising from the army's stepped-up offensive against the rebels. "IDPs [internally displaced persons] cannot settle in their villages, because the problem that displaced them has not ended," he said. According to Bantariza, some LRA elements were hiding in villages, thereby posing a grave threat to civilian populations there. Unless these civilians were secured in the camps, "the bandits will come and cause trouble to the villagers. If they report rebel presence to us, the LRA will, come back and kill them. So either way, they [villagers] cannot win," he said. The increased insecurity in northern Uganda has prompted NGOs operating in the region to demand an "immediate de-escalation" of the current conflict. They urged all parties to the conflict to seek a sustainable peace by addressing the root causes of the conflict. In a joint statement released on Friday, the NGOs expressed grave concern over the escalating humanitarian disaster due to the deteriorating security in the Acholi subregion, which comprises Gulu, Kitgum and Pader districts, but in recent weeks has spilled over into neighbouring Lira and Adjumani districts. According to the statement, the current armed conflict in the region is destroying the gains made from years of rehabilitation in the subregion, with communities previously self-sufficient now unable to cope. "The population of the subregion is deprived of a life of security and dignity," the statement said. "Since June 2002, hundreds of civilians - Ugandans and Sudanese refugees in Gulu, Kitgum, Pader, Lira and Adjumani - have been killed. Thousands have suffered displacement, injury, and loss of property. Tens of thousands of refugees and internally displaced persons have been re-displaced due to insecurity and fear," it added. Furthermore, the statement added, insecurity was preventing humanitarian access to needy populations, and prohibiting farmers from accessing their fields, thereby creating a humanitarian crisis in the region. "Insecurity has made it almost impossible for humanitarian agencies to deliver vitally needed relief supplies like food, water, sanitation, medicines, medical care, shelter and clothing," it said. "Reduced planting this season will result in little or no harvest, and consequently a dependency on outside food assistance for the coming year," it added.
AP 7 Oct 2002 Animals Among Victims in Zimbabwe By ANGUS SHAW NYABIRA, Zimbabwe--Bonnie, a golden Labrador, wagged her tail playfully for the last time Monday before she died. She is one of 600 dogs that once guarded now-abandoned white-owned farms being put down by veterinarians in a blitz of euthanasia. The dogs, along with hundreds of domestic pets, horses, swans and even goldfish, are innocent victims in Zimbabwe's political unrest, animal welfare workers say. ``People have suffered in this, but the animals have no mouth to speak, no ability to make other plans, they are the silent victims of the tragedy,'' said Meryll Harrison, head of the independent Zimbabwe National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Harrison strokes Bonnie's fur gently, and veterinarian Anthony Donohoe pumps the phenylbarbitone into a vein in the dog's right foreleg that will take the fatal drug straight to her heart and vital organs in a second or two. ``It's all right, sweetheart, it's all right,'' Harrison holds and comforts the Labrador as she slumps, her eyelids flutter and she quietly dies. Her body is laid alongside the dogs that came before her. Farther away, a 12-foot deep grave has been dug for the 24 dogs put down Monday in the once thriving farming community of Nyabira, 20 miles northwest of Harare, the capital. Graves nearby hold the remains of 130 other guard dogs put down since Friday. About 440 others will also die, abandoned by the security company that owned them when it collapsed a week ago. ``I cannot think of anywhere else in the world where 600 dogs have to be put down because all we can provide them with is a dignified death,'' Harrison said. The security company provided crop guards and protection for some 300 white farmers in the Trelawney and Darwindale tobacco and corn district. It shut down after most of the farms were seized under a government program to take white-owned land and give it to blacks. The government has targeted 95 percent of the nation's 5,000 white-owned properties for confiscation. Many of the farmers were ordered to leave their land by Aug. 8. Ruling party militants have attacked or threatened many of those that defied the eviction order. Since 2000, when the militants began occupying white-owned farms and the government said it would seize the land, animal welfare officials have seen animal abuse and cruelty on ``a huge scale,'' Harrison said. As farmers fled, horses, chickens, domestic pets, hamsters, cranes, geese, swans, hand-reared lion cubs, at least one tamed baby elephant and even goldfish were abandoned, she said. Some animals had their tendons cut by militants. Some were clubbed. Others were slashed, axed or torched to death in hay. In the collapsing agricultural economy, farmers were forced to sell pregnant cows for slaughter. Where fences were broken down, sheep ran loose and pigs fled their sheltered styes. ``We found sows lying exhausted and sunburned, unable to move, and boars unused to each other that had fought each other to the death,'' Harrison said. ``We saw a cow with an ax embedded in its back and horses with open blade wounds.'' Conservation groups have also reported the hunting and killing of more than half of the nation's small game animals as well as endangered rhinos bred in nature preserves. Deer and African antelope have been sighted in some impoverished areas for the first time in 40 years. They apparently fled a wave of poaching on seized game farms, and now face the traditional snares and traps and half-wild dogs usually used by local hunters to kill rabbits, rodents and birds. Conservationist Gill Munn said her animal welfare group rescued 83 horses, but had to put down 27 of them while searching for homes for the others. Donohoe said his veterinary practice in Harare was putting down about 60 domestic pets--about 10 of them cats--each week as farmers and others leave in the worst economic and political crisis in Zimbabwe since independence in 1980.
IRIN 8 Oct 2002 Opposition seeks UN investigation of rights abuses MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai wants a UN probe JOHANNESBURG, 8 Oct 2002 (IRIN) - Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai wants the United Nations to investigate alleged human rights abuses in Zimbabwe. Tsvangirai told IRIN on Tuesday that the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) was hoping a UN investigation would "stop the carnage, the violence and human rights abuses that are taking place in the country". When asked what kind of intervention the MDC was seeking, Tsvangirai said: "It is clear that the [political] crisis is deepening and we want the UN Security Council to consider the matter. What we want is to stop the violence against the people, we want a UN Security Council investigation into the matter." Tsvangirai lost the March presidential elections to President Robert Mugabe. However, the MDC has rejected Mugabe's victory as fraudulent, claiming the poll was rigged in Mugabe's favour and that opposition supporters were intimidated or prevented from voting. The United States and the European Union imposed sanctions against Zimbabwe's ruling elite after the March poll, while the Commonwealth suspended Zimbabwe's membership. "We are seriously considering contacting the [UN] Human Rights Commissioner to put the matter before the [Security] Council. We will be moving on that issue very shortly. "We believe that there's not just the humanitarian crisis with regard to hunger [about six million people require food aid until March 2003], but regarding ethnic cleansing that is taking place, the selective application of the law and serious and deliberate displacement of people, especially farm workers. The human suffering has gone beyond just a question of hunger, there have been serious abuses," Tsvangirai alleged. A spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva told IRIN that the office "on its own cannot initiate an investigation" and would have to have a UN mandate based on a request.
IRIN 11 Oct 2002 No end to political violence JOHANNESBURG, 11 Oct 2002 (IRIN) - Zimbabwean police allegedly tortured and "seriously injured" the leader of a teachers' trade union who called a strike this week, his lawyer said. Raymond Majongwe gave himself up to police on Wednesday after hearing that the police were looking for him. His Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe has been on strike since Tuesday, demanding a 100 percent pay rise, the French news agency AFP reported. "He has been beaten and when I saw him yesterday [Wednesday] night he couldn't sit on his own. I think he has broken ribs and internal bleeding," lawyer Tererayi Gunje told AFP. Police spokesman Andrew Phiri told the news agency that the allegations would be investigated. Majongwe was expected to be charged under the controversial Public Order and Security Act. The police have accused Majongwe and other union leaders of visiting schools and intimidating teachers into following the strike call. In a statement on Thursday, the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) condemned "the politicised and militarised Zimbabwe Republic Police for the assault on the Secretary-General of the Progressive Teachers' Union". It said the government, "has continued to defy provisions of the constitution of Zimbabwe, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and several protocols to which Zimbabwe is a signatory, which clearly prohibit torture and other degrading treatment". The statement added: "The MDC is also concerned by reports from several schools around the country that officers from the Criminal Investigations Department are being sent to schools where they are asking pupils which teachers had reported for lessons and listing the names of those that have not reported. It is the teachers' constitutional right to engage in a peaceful strike, and the regime should be, instead, making concerted efforts to address the grievances of the teachers, who are the most expensive resource in the education system." Meanwhile, reported cases of political violence in Zimbabwe continued last month, according to the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum. In its latest survey covering the period 1 to 30 September, it said cases of political intimidation had declined to 20 from 35 compared with August, but the number of assaults rose from 23 to 38. The report said one case of murder had been reported in the local press. This brought the number of deaths from politically motivated violence to 59 since 1 January 2002, the rights group noted. "Nikoniari Chibvamudeve was allegedly hacked to death by [ruling party] ZANU-PF supporters in Hurungwe West ahead of the two day by-election," the NGO said. Chibvamudeve was reportedly murdered by youths suspected to have been deployed by ZANU-PF supporters to drum up support for their candidate. In the run-up to country-wide local elections last month, the MDC complained of victimisation and "spurious bureaucracy" that prevented about 700 of their candidates from registering in around 1,400 wards. On 27 September, the day before the polls were to start, an MDC petition to the High Court to nullify the election nomination process was dismissed. ZANU-PF went on to win almost 90 percent of all local council seats.
Independent (Harare) 11 Oct 2002 Mugabe in Total Onslaught On Democracy - Tsvangirai Dumisani Muleya PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe is intensifying political repression as he pursues his "total onslaught against democratic forces", opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai has said. Addressing a public meeting this week, Tsvangirai said Mugabe had heightened his totalitarian methods since he stormed back into office after a smash-and-grab election victory in March. "The major problem that confronts us remains the political impasse caused by regime illegitimacy, and which is degenerating daily into a dangerous crisis," he said. "The stealing of the presidential election amounted to a veritable coup d'état because it overthrew even the shoddy constitution that is in place today." Calling for resolute defiance of Mugabe's authoritarian rule, Tsvangirai said people should be ready to confront the current regime despite its coercion and violence. "The aftermath of the fraudulent poll therefore did not usher in a dictatorial civilian regime," he said. "Instead, a civil-military junta presided over by a civilian absolute dictator was installed and continues to impose violently an illegitimate government over the people." The MDC leader said Zimbabweans have to realise they were now living in an "age of total absolutism" and have become prisoners of tyranny. "So what this means is that we are confronted by a post-coup d'état situation with an illegitimate regime in power," he said. "Civil authority and civil power have been crushed. It is a dictatorial political dispensation that is more dangerous and qualitatively different from all other Mugabe dictatorial projects between the achievement of national Independence in 1980 and the March 2002 presidential poll. "Its impact in scale, magnitude and wickedness surpasses all the evil forces that have been unleashed in this nation in the past," he said. "The preliminary results of this fascist programme are there for all of us to see." Whereas the state-sponsored war of physical annihilation and genocide was confined to the south-western region and the Midlands between 1982-87, Tsvangirai said, "this has now been extended to envelop the whole nation with increased ferocity and intensity. "The new infrastructure of state-sponsored violence and terror that is now in place is not an accident of circumstances. It is there by deliberate design. It is a clear demonstration of the regime's determination to settle the issue of its illegitimacy by force or military means." In a bid to rally his supporters, Tsvangirai said Zimbabwe has entered a "critical period that calls for new strategies of resistance to tyranny" through broad and effective coalitions. "Defy unjust and inhuman laws, because freedom comes from such an exercise," he said. "Transform food and fuel queues into theatres of the struggle for democracy. Turn hunger into fortitude. Unemployment and poor wages must constitute the driving force for this inevitable change. Women's groups must organise and resist starvation. The youth must reject the bleak and hopeless future. "And to the churches I say: preach the gospel of the cleansing value of suffering in order to achieve liberation and justice." Tsvangirai said Mugabe's regime remains on the brink of collapse despite stealing elections in order to pretend it was popular. "A nation cannot go on in a state of siege indefinitely," he said. "All indications are that the regime is in an advanced state of decay. It is collapsing because it has no capacity to govern anymore."
SABC News, South Africa - 12 Oct 2002 Mugabe warns NGO's against meddling: President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe has accused some non-governmental organisations (NGO's) of meddling in the country's internal affairs and said his government will regulate them, the Herald newspaper reported. NGOs, trade unions, the private media and embassies were among the "Trojan horses" that received money from abroad "all to be used against us" Mugabe was quoted as saying. He singled out the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP), a church funded human rights group, which he said had recently fielded opposition candidates in a northern rural constituency in local elections. "This is a gross interference in our national affairs, disguised as non-governmental work," Mugabe told members of his ruling Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) Central Committee yesterday. Mugabe said NGO's were not registered to be "hatcheries of political opposition" and said his government would tighten policies to regulate their work. "They should not cry, for they have redefined the rules of engagement," Mugabe added. A move to restrict the work of NGO's is likely to be seen as a further clampdown on the country's civil society. Mugabe views criticism of his country's controversial land reform programme, which aims to give white owned land to blacks, as being fuelled by the West. His government regularly accuses NGO's of being manipulated by Western powers, especially former colonial power Britain. - Sapa-AFP
Herald (Harare) 14 Oct 2002 Australia announces sanctions against State officials Herald Reporter Australia announced yesterday unilateral sanctions against Zimbabwe, including travel bans and a freeze on assets of Government officials following its failure to persuade the Commonwealth to impose sanctions on Zimbabwe. In a statement, Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer claimed the sanctions were designed to influence the Zimbabwean Government to return "good governance and rule of law’’. But Foreign Affairs Minister Dr Stan Mudenge last night scoffed at the so-called "smart sanctions" and described white Australians as raciste genocidaire, (French word for people who commit genocide on racial grounds) who had no moral standing to criticise Zimbabwe on human rights considering how the Australians had committed ethnic cleansing against the indigenous population of Aborigines. "Zimbabwe has nothing to learn from Australia on the subject of human rights and good governance. White Australians committed genocide in Tasmania and went on to the mainland taking land from Aborigines without compensation. This was in pursuance of white only policy. "The Aborigines are today crying for compensation. It is totally unacceptable that a country, which has committed genocide now wants to defend its own Anglo-Saxon racists in Zimbabwe. "I would say to Mr Downer remove the log in your eye first before you start criticising Zimbabwe on these issues,’’ Cde Mudenge said in an interview with The Herald. He said he would give a full statement of his response to Australia’s actions today. Mr Downer claimed that President Mugabe had failed to respond to the international community's concern about human rights abuses and the subversion of democracy since the presidential election last March. "The measures I am announcing are designed to influence the current government to return to good governance and the rule of law, while avoiding harm to the people of Zimbabwe," he said. However, Cde Mudenge said he wondered why Australia wanted to champion human rights in Zimbabwe when it had refused to allow the United Nations human rights rapporteurs to investigate the human rights abuses on the Aborigines. "Australians are now trying to champion the cause of their kith and kin in Zimbabwe who robbed us of our land. But we say no. There is no going back on land redistribution in Zimbabwe. "White Australians should restitute the Aborigines as we are doing to our majority black people here,’’ said Cde Mudenge. Zimbabwe has embarked on a land redistribution programme aimed at redressing the colonial land imbalances where a few whites owned 75 percent of the country’s prime agricultural land while the majority blacks were left crowded in areas with poor soils and rainfall. Cde Mudenge said he would advise Mr Downer to concentrate on his predilection of wearing women's stockings and leave Zimbabwe alone. ‘’You should spend more time pursuing your hobby by trying out the latest stocking fashions from Paris.’’ Australia has been leading calls for tougher action against Zimbabwe since President Mugabe was returned to power in March, which African countries endorsed but European countries viewed as rigged. Prime Minister John Howard late last month met Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria and Thabo Mbeki of South Africa - the troika of states tasked with determining Commonwealth policy on Zimbabwe - but failed to push them to impose sanctions against President Mugabe. Australia’s "smart sanctions" include a ban on travel to Australia by Zimbabwean ministers and certain senior officials, a freeze on the Australian assets of Government ministers and officials and a suspension of Australian non-humanitarian aid to Zimbabwe. They also include a ban on military sales and a suspension of all defence links with Zimbabwe, the downgrading of cultural ties and a halt to ministerial contacts. The United States and European Union members have already imposed a range of targetted sanctions on President Mugabe and senior members of Government and individuals believed to have links with the ruling Zanu-PF.
The Times 26 Oct 2002 The tribal catastrophe that awaits Zimbabwe matthew parris The Times ONLINE The worst may not be over in Zimbabwe. If every white farmer were hacked to death and his farm consigned to ruin, the worst might not be over. The worst is what faces not a few thousand whites but a few million blacks: the Matabele people. My evidence is anecdotal, sketchy and based on unsourced information, but a boyhood spent there lends me confidence to back my hunch. My fears are sharpened by those in Zimbabwe to whom I have been speaking this week. The majority Mashona tribe who occupy the richer, northern part of the country centred on Harare, may soon be urged by their leader, Robert Mugabe, and his Zanu (Patriotic Front) governing party into a genocidal bid to take from the southern Matabele (“take back”, he would say) the lands which the Mashona believe were stolen from them more than a hundred years ago. The situation has parallels with Kosovo. The plan would be to drive the Matabele, by terror and by massacre, over the southern borders of Zimbabwe whence (in some Mashona minds) they came. A little history is useful here. Much is disputed and what follows is the white settlers’ version, and reality may have been cloudier: but this story of black-on-black aggression suits the modern, militant Mashona viewpoint among whom it has taken hold. It gives their tribal nationalism a narrative. In the 19th century much of what is now Zimbabwe was inhabited by the Mashona people and smaller associated tribes. There was no central command structure, just a shared cluster of dialects around a recognisable language. They were pastoral people: subsistence agriculturalists. To their south, in what is now South Africa, the Zulu people had coalesced into something like the Romans of southern Africa. So ferocious was Zulu imperial policy — the choice was between subordination and extermination — that splinter groupings fled in revolt from the hub. Thus were the Swazi people established in what is now Swaziland. And thus, under Chief Mzilikazi and others, around the middle of the 19th century, were the Ndebele (or Matabele) people established in and around what is now the south of Zimbabwe, centred upon Bulawayo, dispossessing the Mashona. All spoke, and speak, a Zulu-like language. By massacre and pillage the Matabele pushed the less warlike Mashona north. But at the end of the 19th century, Rhodes, Empire and the British South Africa Police froze the tribal map along lines close to the present division between Mashonaland and Matabeleland. Each of the two peoples in succession later rose in rebellion against the whites. The Matabele rebellion was brave, focused and short: a military campaign ending in total military defeat. Valiant Chief Lobengula (who had visited Queen Victoria with a tribal delegation to beg for his people’s rights) was killed. The Mashona rebellion was more insidious, slow-burning, sporadic and difficult to quell, but it was quelled. Mashona ideologues call this uprising against the white settlers “the first Chimurenga”. They call the uprising of combined Mashona and Matabele freedom-fighters against Ian Smith’s Government during the 1960s and 1970s “the second Chimurenga”, which they believe will not be complete until white farmers are removed from their land and it is given back to the Mashona and their friends. Thus, tribal historians may think, comes the end of tribal history. They may be wrong. A document I have seen gives chilling voice to what I know goes already with the grain of a Mashona version of the past. The document speaks of “the third Chimurenga”. What this would be is all too clear: a Mashona crusade spearheaded by Zanu (PF) to drive the southern Matabele, of whom there are millions, off their land. The massacre (by North Korean-trained Zimbabwean Government forces) of at least 3,000 and up to 7,000 Matabele in the 1980s, well-documented yet somehow never properly noticed, could be a terrible augury. The full document (see link on right) has been doing the rounds only recently among concerned people in Zimbabwe, but appears to date from the earlier years of Mugabe’s presidency. Its authorship is unknown and I cannot certify its authenticity — that it might be a Matabele scare story remains a possibility — but to me it has every appearance of having been written by a literate, well-educated tribal zealot of a racialist-fascistic turn of mind, with a vituperative if stilted command of English, Marxist jargon and a biblical style. I would guess the author is a mission-educated Mashona man: a “blue-skies” thinker and propagandist in Zanu (PF), not an active politician. The document seems intended for an inner-core and calls itself a “progress review on the 1979 Grand Plan”. Mugabe is extolled as a Mashona Jesus, a “precious present” from history and “perfect embodiment of all our cultural norms and values” who has “an incredible consciousness of who we are as a people”. After a few pages of this and some routine attacks on Western imperialists, Tony Blair et al, the paper moves to its thrust: “For many years both the Ndebeles and Europeans were living under a shameful illusion that the crimes of their forefathers had been forgiven and forgotten ... Is it possible that such heinous crimes as those committed by these people against the Shona can just be swept under the carpet because it is politically expedient to do so? “Now, comrades, come to think of it — a settler is a settler — period! What peaceful coexistence can there be to talk about between the majority indigenous Shona and the occupying force of those of Ndebele extraction? A black settler is as unwelcome as a white settler in our country.” Then comes the most chilling section. Land: “..a bone of contention since the Ndebele occupation of Zimbabwe. The deployment of Shonas in Rural Matabeleland will be the last blow to break the spine of the enemy. Land that is still in white hands must all find its way into Shona hands.” This first is now happening. What must happen next, suggests this document, is horribly clear. On leaving the Rhodesia Department of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1976 I wrote a memo to my head of department saying that in the years ahead, as Rhodesia moved towards and then beyond independence, the key to the most intractable difficulties would be land. I despaired. Of finding a permanent solution I still despair but a more urgent task may face us. We may have to forestall an immediate massacre. Make no mistake, as Zimbabwe’s economy stumbles and famine grows, a fight with the Matabele would enhance Mugabe’s troubled position among his own people. What can Britain do? Here, unlike Iraq, our historical connection is plain. Here, unlike Iraq, the problem is manageable, the cost affordable, and there is less danger of interference destabilising the region. It would be the flight of Matabele refugees into Botswana which would destabilise the region and the Botswana Government would share our anxiety. The South Africans are less reliable allies: Thabo Mbeki’s position is ambiguous and the ANC feels no strong bond with the Zulu-speaking peoples. The looming crisis in Zimbabwe tests to the limit my belief that Britain should avoid military adventures, but with our European and American allies we should consider every measure short of invasion or assassination to remove Mugabe. As the crisis there deepens it will be desperately important for its victims and potential victims in Zimbabwe, black and white, to avoid a trap of which I think some of the more naive among them are not properly aware. I would advise them to steer clear of the reactionary Right in Britain. Steer clear of covert white supremacists who have a drum of their own to bang. Steer clear of those who care only about whites and those whose only real concern is with the property interests of British kith and kin. Remember that the Tories were in power when Mugabe’s men massacred thousands of southern Matabele, and a Tory Government showed little interest in those blacks’ plight. Call to mind the young Baroness Amos, who is black, at the Lords dispatch box when elderly peers whose white friends and relatives have interests in Central Africa intercede on behalf of white settlers. I cannot read the mind of Lady Amos but I know what I would feel in her shoes. It is to a Labour Government that any useful appeal must be made, and it must be made for the lives and property of all Mugabe’s victims and potential victims, the overwhelming majority of whom are Africans. Something terrible is afoot in Zimbabwe. Rwanda was a Belgian colony but Zimbabwe was ours. Britain should be preparing for a looming humanitarian catastrophe there. There may be no better warning than what we know already. It is enough.
BBC 11 Oct 2002 Americas 'failing native peoples' Governments have failed to implement agreements Governments throughout the Americas are failing to fulfil their commitments to the region's indigenous peoples, according to a new report. The human rights group Amnesty International says America's native peoples are still one of the most marginalised and poorest communities in the world, discriminated against and often exposed to grave abuses of their fundamental human rights. Many people are forced to sleep on the streets Amnesty published the report to coincide with Columbus or Native American Day, when several countries celebrate the continent's multicultural heritage and mark the arrival in the Americas of Christopher Columbus in 1492. "Basic rights of indigenous communities, including the right to land and to cultural identity in the use of language, education and the administration of justice are systematically violated," the report says. "Racism and discrimination entrenched in most societies make indigenous people more vulnerable to human rights violations including torture and ill-treatment, 'disappearance' and unlawful killings," Amnesty argues. Countries singled out for criticism include: Canada where the killing in 1995 of an Indian man remains unresolved Mexico which Amnesty accuses of weakening guarantees on indigenous constitutional rights Guatemala where Amnesty says almost nothing has been done for Mayans who suffered during more than 30 years of civil war Brazil where a leader of the Xavante people fled his home after receiving death threats Amnesty says governments often fail to implement agreements reached with indigenous communities, which can lead to further mistrust and resentment. Communities downtrodden "I think Amnesty International reaffirms what many of us have been saying for years," said Rosalina Tuyuc of the National Co-ordination of Guatemalan Widows. "In all of Latin America, and especially in Guatemala, there have been no advances in recognising or respecting Indian communities." The report says that in countries such as Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada and Nicaragua, indigenous people trying to reclaim the lands of their ancestors are facing violent opposition from landowners and companies exploiting natural resources. Brazilians face violent opposition from land owners The study found that in Colombia indigenous people often find themselves trapped in the crossfire between the army and their paramilitary allies and left-wing rebels. In Honduras, several native leaders have been killed and no-one has been held responsible for their deaths. It says that in Saskatoon City in Canada police have been accused of routinely leaving what they consider troublesome members of the indigenous community in isolated areas. And in Argentina, more than 100 policemen raided the Toba community in the north of the country, beating and racially abusing the residents. Amnesty is calling on governments to take immediate and concrete action to turn their rhetoric on multiculturalism and indigenous rights into reality.
AP 13 Oct 2002 Indians protest Columbus holiday By Juan Carlos Llorca, COLOTENANGO, Guatemala -- Thousands of Indians blocked highways across Central America and Mexico on Saturday, protesting Columbus Day and celebrating the region's Indian heritage. Organizers of marches in Guatemala had originally predicted that participants would close Guatemala's borders with Mexico, Honduras and El Salvador, but only a few crossings were blocked. Police and soldiers were sent out across the region to prevent violence, but no major disturbances were reported. In Guatemala, 1,000 protesters blocked a highway near Colotenango, 170 miles northeast of Guatemala City near the border with Mexico. Indian farmers also put up barricades on four other northern highways in the nearby Peten region to protest the construction of a Mexican hydroelectric dam farther up the Usumacinta River. Opponents say it will flood Mayan archaeological sites. Saturday's protests coincided with the anniversary of Christopher Columbus' discovery of America in 1492. Many Indian groups oppose Columbus Day celebrations, arguing that the Europeans' arrival marked the start of the Indians' fight to maintain their traditions and land. Across the border in Mexico, President Vicente Fox praised the Indian marches, saying they were a "recovery of (the Indian groups') dignity, identity, culture, history." In Mexico's southern Chiapas state, supporters of the Zapatista rebels closed off roads to a military base and blocked highways with ropes and dirty shirts. They urged the government to cancel its Plan Puebla-Panama, which calls for greater development in Central America and impoverished southern Mexico. And they called on the Mexican government to comply with the Zapatista rebels' demands, including pulling all troops out of the tense region, freeing Zapatista sympathizers from jail, arresting paramilitary members and canceling plans to create a free-trade region of the Americas. Fox's efforts at reaching a peace agreement with the rebels dissolved in early 2001 when Congress watered down an Indian rights bill and the Zapatistas broke off contact with the government. Thousands also marched through the streets of Mexico City, calling on the government to end widespread discrimination against the country's millions of Indians and provide them with better education, jobs and living standards. In Managua, Nicaragua, Indians protested free-trade agreements and the privatization of government utilities in front of the Inter-American Development Bank's offices.
NYT 1 Oct 2002 A New Intrusion Threatens a Tribe in Amazon: Soldiers By LARRY ROHTER, SURUCUCU, Brazil — The Yanomami Indians have lived precariously in the most remote reaches of the jungle here for thousands of years, hunting with bows and arrows, and warring among themselves and with the few white intruders who have appeared in recent years. But now they are facing a threat to their very existence as a people: the Brazilian Army. As part of a program to strengthen the military's presence along Brazil's vast and largely undefended northern Amazon border, the Brazilian Armed Forces are building new bases and expanding old ones in territories set aside for the Yanomami and other tribes. As their numbers expand, soldiers are increasingly getting Yanomami women pregnant, spreading venereal disease and disrupting patterns of village life that have endured largely unchanged since the Stone Age. "The destruction has already begun," Roberto Angametery, the village chief here, lamented in an interview in the lodge where members of his community live together. "The soldiers say they are here to protect us, but they have brought diseases and taken our land without asking us. Soon there will be more, and then what will we do? Where will we go?" Initiated in the mid-1980's, the military's Northern Channel program was shelved during a budget crisis more than a decade ago. But with the United States' decision two years ago to provide more than $1.5 billion in military and other assistance to neighboring Colombia, Brazilians fear that the conflict there will spill over into their territory. Indian advocates, however, argue that the logic of the military expansion is dubious here in Roraima State, which borders instead on Venezuela and Guyana. "The armed forces are just seizing an opportunity to revive a program that has long been desired but long lain dormant," Egon Heck, executive secretary of the Indigenous Missionary Council, a Roman Catholic church group, said in an interview in Brasília, the capital. "There is nothing to justify the construction of military bases in Roraima, because no concrete guerrilla threat exists there." Military officials in the border region, at the headquarters of the Amazon Military Command in Manaus and at the Army Chief of Staff office in Brasília declined to discuss the issues that Yanomami leaders have raised, failing to respond to two weeks of telephone calls, faxes and e-mail messages seeking comment. In a letter, however, the minister of defense, Geraldo Quintão, blamed the tense situation here on what he called "a systematic and reiterated campaign" on the part of Indians and advocacy groups "against the army, which historically has always conferred a cordial treatment on the Indians." He acknowledged the existence of sexual relationships between soldiers and Indian women but said he saw no need to intervene because they were "consenting relations" between adults. "A relationship that lasts two or three years is not sexual abuse," Mr. Quintão maintained. "It is natural that these relationships occur," and "to block them is to impede the fruit of human nature." As perhaps the most primitive of the indigenous peoples of the Amazon, the Yanomami, who number about 15,000 in Brazil and another 12,000 just across the border in Venezuela, are especially vulnerable to the military effort. In his recent book, "Darkness in El Dorado," Patrick Tierney describes the Yanomami as having been victimized repeatedly by miners, missionaries and anthropologists since sustained contact with the outside world began in the 1960's. The impact of the increased military presence in Yanomami territory appears to have been similar. According to Davi Kopenawa, a Yanomami shaman who serves as a tribal spokesman, at least 18 children have already been born of sexual liaisons between soldiers and Yanomami women: 5 here and 13 in Maturacá, a Yanomami village about 250 miles southwest of here. "The soldiers have women of their own, so why don't they bring them along?" he asked. "They should stop messing with our wives and daughters, and respect our rights instead of abusing us." Tribal leaders here refused to allow interviews with the women involved, to avoid further humiliation, they said. But in a videotaped deposition to the Human Rights Commission of the Brazilian Congress last year, one woman about 18 years old said she had agreed to have sexual relations with a soldier after he gave her thread and food as gifts. The couple had sex in the barracks at the base here, the woman testified. "The sergeant knew what was going on, but he did nothing," she said through an interpreter. "It is illegal under federal law for government employees to have sex at their workplace, but that is what these soldiers are doing," said Martinho Alves da Silva, regional delegate for the National Indian Foundation, the government agency in charge of indigenous affairs. "They are having sex with Yanomami girls in the barracks, on top of cars, in the jungle, at waterfalls." Mr. Alves da Silva said he had complained to the army about such incidents, with few results. "They tell us they have taken measures to stop that behavior and opened an internal investigation," he said. "We would like for federal prosecutors to supervise that process, but they have been unable to do so." A four-day visit here revealed few if any restrictions on fraternization between troops and Indians. Yanomamis were observed playing soccer on the army base, and soldiers would occasionally swim at a nearby waterfall that is also frequented by the Yanomamis, including young women wearing only loincloths. For the Yanomami, the sudden appearance of mixed-race children in their midst has created a cultural quandary. The village here consists of only 143 people, and has until now been racially homogenous, which is one of the requirements for an Indian tribe to maintain its status under Brazilian law. If tribe members intermarry with whites and the group becomes excessively acculturated, its members run the risk of being reclassified as caboclos, as persons of mixed white and Indian blood are called in Portuguese, and losing the benefits and protections provided to indigenous peoples. For that reason, the mixed-race children here are regarded not just as a source of shame but also as a threat. "When these children grow up, no one knows where their loyalties will lie," explained Ivanildo Wawanawetery, a Yanomami who works for the National Indian Foundation as an interpreter. "They may want to follow the path of their fathers and live with the whites, and then they will no longer be Indians." In at least one other case, near Maturacá, a soldier has announced his intention to settle down with the mother of his child and move into the village and live as a Yanomami. This, too, has caused consternation among the Yanomami who, while not hostile to occasional visits from strangers, clearly delineate between themselves and outsiders. Mr. Kopenawa said that one particularly alarming result of sexual contact between soldiers and Yanomami women was the introduction of venereal diseases, which had not previously been reported in the tribe. "The soldiers have already brought gonorrhea and syphilis with them, and we fear that if they continue to have sex with Yanomami women, they will transmit AIDS," he said. Claudio Esteves de Oliveira, director of Urihi, a nonprofit group that provides health care to the Yanomami under a government contract, acknowledged that doctors have recently treated cases of gonorrhea in Yanomami villages here and elsewhere. But he said he lacked proof that the disease originated with soldiers, because the Yanomami may have also had sexual contact with miners and employees of the government's Indian affairs agency. At the same time, tribal leaders complain, the army is stepping up efforts to recruit young Yanomami men as soldiers. Because the Brazilian military has intensified its presence along the border, guides and scouts who know the their way through the dense, trackless jungle are in greater demand, and the Yanomami are clearly the best qualified to fill that crucial role. Tribal elders worry, though, that the young men will return from their one-year enlistments with the white man's materialistic values and a sense of cultural inferiority that will make it difficult for them to fit back into village life. The few Yanomami who have come back from military service have already become disruptive forces in their communities, leaders say. Alarmed by what they see as the threat the military poses to their identity and culture, the Yanomami and other Indian groups are now seeking to block the construction of new bases along the border. The focus of that effort is Ericó, a Yanomami village north of here where virtually none of the residents speak Portuguese or have had extended contact with whites. The Indians have also filed a suit seeking the dismantling of a new base at Uiramutã on the border with Guyana and another older base at Pacaraíma, on the Venezuelan border. They argue that the military bases are unconstitutional because they violate provisions granting Indians "exclusive use" of lands designated for them. "The military argues that national security is above Indian rights, but we don't think the Supreme Court will agree," said Joenia Batista de Carvalho, a Wapixana Indian who is a lawyer for the Roraima Indigenous Council. "But we are prepared to go all the way to international courts if Brazil does not respect rights of indigenous peoples that it has already recognized." In the meantime, the situation here is growing increasingly complicated. Fleeing a conflict with a group of villages further north that has denied them access to their traditional hunting grounds, one Yanomami community recently moved to a site that is about 200 yards from the military base here. "Now the Yanomami look forward to the whites' giving them food instead of going hunting and tilling their fields," Mr. Kopenawa said. "This is bad, like a dog you feed every day. Everything is being ruined."
Halifax Daily News 3 Oct 2002 Nova Scotia honours its own By BRIAN FLINN - Ten outstanding Nova Scotians and every surviving representative of the Queen joined the new Order of Nova Scotia yesterday. Former premier John Savage, the late human-rights crusader Carrie Best and pop singer Anne Murray were among those honoured. “Some are quite well-known, but many are less well-known, except in their communities,” said Sharon Oliver, chairwoman of the advisory council that picked the recipients from 191 nominees. . . Historian Dan Paul said Mi’kmaqs “must be making progress” in Nova Scotia for him to win the award. He was a controversial figure nine years ago, when his book, We Were Not The Savages, condemned 18th century British officials for genocide against natives.
National Post 4 Oct 2002 Customs detains pro-Israel papers 'Clear case of censorship': Ayn Rand group says ideas are radical but not hateful Michael Higgins National Post Friday, October 04, 2002 ADVERTISEMENT Canada Customs and Revenue Agency was accused of censorship last night after confiscating newsletters defending "Israel's moral right to exist" that were destined for the University of Toronto. The agency said the goods were being detained to determine whether they constitute hate propaganda. "I think it's a clear case of censorship. It is Canada censoring intellectual material. It is harmful to free speech," said Dr. Yaron Brook, president of the California-based Ayn Rand Institute, which published the newsletter. Copies of the 10-page newsletter, In Moral Defense of Israel, were being delivered to the University of Toronto Objectivist Club so they could be handed out at a meeting on Sunday at which Dr. Brook is speaking. On Wednesday, the president of the club, Ray Girn, received a letter from the CCRA saying the newsletters were being held. "The following goods have been detained for a determination of tariff classification as they may constitute obscenity or hate propaganda. You will be notified in writing of the decision," the letter said. Mr. Girn said he did not know how the CCRA came to inspect the newsletters, which were believed to be in a sealed box possibly identifying it as literature from the Ayn Rand Institute, which promotes the philosophy of Ayn Rand. He said he had tried contacting the CCRA about the matter but had been unable to get a response. "It is an intellectual argument in defence of Israel. There's nothing wrong with the material that could be considered a crime," he said. The newsletter, Dr. Brook said, "is radical. But does Canada want to restrict speech to the middle ground, to the compromising ground of the middle and exclude the radical position of the extreme, the civilized radical of the extreme? "Clearly we are not advocating violence or discrimination. I do not believe in hate speech. We are justifying Israel's moral right to exist." He said the material had been freely distributed to U.S. universities without any problem. Caroline Jacques, a spokeswoman for CCRA, said she could not comment on specific cases. Normal procedure is that if a customs officer suspected something is obscene or constitutes hate literature, it is detained for examination by experts, she said. CCRA's guidelines say, "Goods that constitute hate propaganda under the Criminal Code are those which advocate or promote genocide or promote hatred against an identifiable group distinguished by colour, race, religion or ethnic origin." The guidelines state that, "full recognition should be given to freedom of expression" and goods that may constitute hate propaganda will not be classified, for example, if they express a religious opinion in good faith or are discussing a matter of public interest. The newsletter covers a number of topics with such headlines as, Israel Has a Moral Right to Its Life, Allowing Israel to Destroy the PLO Helps Defend the U.S., and Radical Islam's Assault on Human Life. The introduction states, "We hold that the state of Israel has a moral right to exist and defend itself against attack -- and that the United States should unequivocally support Israel." It says those attacking Israel are "terrorist organizations, theocracies, dictatorships and would-be dictators" and says Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian chairman, "is responsible for the kidnapping and murder of Israeli schoolchildren, the hijacking of airliners and the car bombings and death-squad killings of thousands of Israeli, American, Lebanese and Palestinian civilians." In the article Innocents in War? Onkar Ghate, who earned his Ph.D in philosophy from the University of Calgary, says civilian casualties in war are sometimes necessary and maintains that not all civilians in "enemy territory" are innocent. "Many civilians in the Mideast, for example, hate us and actively support, materially and/or spiritually, those plotting our deaths. Can one seriously maintain, for instance, that the individuals in the Mideast who celebrated by dancing in the streets on September 11 are innocent?" Another article, Radical Islam's Assault on Human Life, by Edwin Locke, is sub-titled Anti-Reason, Anti-Freedom Ideas in Islam Encourage Terrorist Fanaticism. It says that Muslim terrorist fanatics interpret parts of Islamic philosophy to justify their motives. "Although there are other possible interpretations of Islam, the terrorist fanatics are consistent and uncompromising advocates of its doctrines," says Prof. Locke. email@example.com The newsletters can be viewed at (http://www.aynrand.org/israel/israel_sept_2002.pdf )
National Post 5 Oct 2002 Ayn Rand newsletter ban lifted Not hate literature Anne Marie Owens National Post Ayn Rand, founder of Objectivism. ADVERTISEMENT Canada Customs has rescinded its ban on a pro-Israel newsletter it had detained at the border as possible hate literature propaganda. The federal agency held back the 10-page pamphlet, which was prepared for a meeting featuring a speaker from the Ayn Rand Institute, for 48 hours before determining the material did not violate Canadian laws. The temporary ban left conference organizers hurriedly photocopying replacement material to hand out at a meeting in Toronto tomorrow and decrying what it says is rampant censorship. The newsletter, In Moral Defense of Israel, was prepared by the California-based Rand society in conjunction with its president's speech before the University of Toronto Objectivist Club. The society advocates the objectivist philosophy of strident individualism, minimalist government and laissez-faire capitalism espoused by Rand in such novels as Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead. Organizers of tomorrow's speech say the pamphlet, which includes articles such as, "Israel Has a Moral Right to Its Life" and "Allowing Israel to Destroy the PLO Helps Defend the U.S." is certainly provocative, but should never have been even considered as hate propaganda. Ray Girn, president of the University of Toronto Objectivist Club, said he expected the talk would draw its detractors, but never anticipated that Canada Customs and Revenue Agency would be one of them. He said he is still bewildered by how Customs officers would have become concerned over intellectual arguments about Israel. "I never anticipated this controversy," said Mr. Girn, a philosophy student at the university. "I really believe that the arguments made in this pamphlet are basic intellectual arguments that need to be made on this issue." Collette Gentes-Hawn, spokeswoman for Canada Customs, said customs officers have the authority to set aside any material that arouses concerns and refer it to specialists in determining what should be prohibited. "We try to do this as quickly as we can to minimize the inconvenience." In 1988, Canada Customs placed a similar import block on the Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie about six months after it had been for sale in Canada and then rescinded the ban within 48 hours. In 1993, Customs officers seized copies of Black Looks, a book by black feminist author bell hooks, for investigation as possible hate literature. Canada Customs guidelines classify "goods that constitute hate propaganda" as those "which advocate or promote genocide or promote hatred against an identifiable group distinguished by colour, race, religion or ethnic origin." They also state that goods will not be classified if they are deemed to be "discussing a matter of public interest." firstname.lastname@example.org
Jerusalem Post 6 Oct 2002 Canadian customs confiscates pro-Israel newsletters By MICHAEL FREUND Canada's Customs and Revenue Agency has come under fire for briefly confiscating newsletters defending Israel's right to exist on the grounds that "they may constitute obscenity or hate propaganda," the National Post of Canada reports. The 10-page booklets, entitled "In Moral Defense of Israel," were prepared by the California-based Ayn Rand Institute and mailed to Canada in advance of a lecture at the University of Toronto by the organization's president, the newspaper said. The booklets, which contained articles such as "Israel Has a Moral Right to Its Life" and "Allowing Israel to Destroy the PLO Helps Defend the U.S.", were confiscated last week upon their arrival in Canada, where customs officers have the authority to seize any materials suspected of violating the country's criminal code, which prohibits hate-literature. It was only on Friday, some 48 hours after impounding the booklets for examination, that Canadian customs agreed to release them after determining that they did not constitute "hate propaganda." The customs agency's guidelines define "goods that constitute hate propaganda" as those which "advocate or promote genocide or promote hatred against an identifiable group distinguished by colour, race, religion or ethnic origin." Dr. Yaron Brook, president of the Ayn Rand Institute, which published the brochures, told the National Post after learning of the confiscation that, "I think it's a clear case of censorship. It is Canada censoring intellectual material. It is harmful to free speech." Ray Girn, head of the University of Toronto student organization slated to host the lecture, said he could not understand how customs officers could be apprehensive over intellectual arguments about Israel. "I never anticipated this controversy," he said, adding, "I really believe that the arguments made in this pamphlet are basic intellectual arguments that need to be made on this issue."
Globa and Mail 11 Oct 2002 Amnesty criticizes Canada Canadian Press Toronto — Canada and a host of Central and South American countries are marginalizing and discriminating against their indigenous populations, human-rights group Amnesty International said Friday. "More than half the countries on the (American) continent recognize the multicultural character of the state and guarantee indigenous rights in their constitutions and legislation," the group said in a statement. "However, this is in stark contrast with the reality faced by the vast majority of indigenous people from Canada, through Central America, down to the very tip of Chile and Argentina, who are often treated as second-class citizens." In Canada's case, Amnesty singled out the case of Dudley George, a native protester who was killed by an Ontario Provincial Police officer in 1995. The group says that the shooting "has still not been the object of an independent enquiry despite repeated calls including by the UN Human Rights Committee." Canada was also named among other countries in which indigenous people attempting to reclaim the lands of their ancestors are being opposed by land owners and corporations, often supported by the authorities. Other countries criticized by Amnesty for mistreating native populations included Brazil and Mexico, where indigenous people are being adversely impacted by land developments, Argentina, where indigenous people were beaten by police and Honduras, where indigenous leaders have been killed. "Amnesty International believes that governments throughout the American continent are clearly lacking the political will to make indigenous rights a reality," the group's statement said. The group said governments should respect indigenous rights "not only in the legal, judicial and political system, but throughout society as a whole." Amnesty's comments came a day before the United States celebrates Columbus Day, to honour the landing of Spanish explorer Christopher Columbus on the American continent. In recent years, the holiday has been rejected by those who view it as a celebration of conquest and genocide. In its place, Indigenous Peoples Day is celebrated. Many Latin American countries observe this day as Dia de la Raza, celebrating the Spanish heritage of the Latin American peoples. The report also detailed the case of a Brazilian Xavante leader forced to flee his home after receiving death threats. It said native leaders in Nicaragua, Ecuador and Bolivia had also been threatened. It cited Honduras for not implementing native rights agreements it reached in 2000 and Mexico, whose legislature watered down a native rights constitutional amendment so much Zapatista guerrillas rejected it when it was passed last year. The report made no mention of natives in the United States. The report was especially critical of Guatemala and Colombia. It said Guatemala had done little to help Mayans recover from a 1960-1996 civil war. In Colombia, the report said paramilitary groups have killed and kidnapped several prominent native leaders.
St. Catherines Standard, Canada - 12 Oct 2002 Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip end brief visit to New Brunswick CHRIS MORRIS Canadian Press Saturday, October 12, 2002 (CP/Ryan Remiorz) Queen Elizabeth II waves to admirers as a young girl looks on after opening an elementary school in Sussex, N.B. Saturday. (CP/Ryan Remiorz) ADVERTISEMENT MONCTON, N.B. (CP) - Queen Elizabeth left New Brunswick on Saturday after a brief visit that included the usual walkabouts and receptions, but not the apology some Acadians had hoped for. The Queen and Prince Philip boarded a Canadian Forces jet bound for Ottawa after a 25-hour stop in the lone Atlantic Canadian destination on their 12-day Jubilee tour that ends Tuesday. Before leaving, the Queen unveiled a plaque marking the official opening of a terminal at Greater Moncton Airport and its new designation as an international airport. The airport is located in the town of Dieppe, a predominantly Acadian community. Fewer than 400 people showed up for the airport dedication, although tour organizers had been expecting thousands. Dozens of school buses sat empty in the parking lot. Stephane Bergeron, a Member of Parliament for the Bloc Quebecois and a descendant of Acadians, came to Dieppe with hopes that the Queen would say something about the expulsion of his ancestors 250 years ago. He said he believes she said nothing during her New Brunswick visit because of controversy surrounding a request by Acadian groups for a royal acknowledgment of the expulsion, regarded by many francophones as an early form of ethnic cleansing. "We just ask the crown to recognize that some wrongs have been done to this people," said Bergeron, who tried unsuccessfully last year to get the House of Commons to endorse a motion requesting a royal acknowledgment of the expulsion. Earlier in the afternoon, the Queen was heckled by an Acadian woman as she did a brief walkabout prior to a government luncheon in her honour. Marie-Claire Dugas waved an Acadian flag within metres of the monarch and shouted: "Give me back the land you stole from my ancestors in 1755!" The Queen didn't flinch or look in Dugas' direction, but walked quickly into a downtown hotel where the luncheon was held. The decision by 18th-century British governors to remove an entire ethnic population - the French-speaking Acadians - from the colony of Nova Scotia had consequences that resonated for generations. It's believed about 11,000 Acadians were deported from what is now the Maritimes between 1755 and 1758. It's estimated another 3,000 hid in the forests of Atlantic Canada and Quebec. Others sailed south to Louisiana where, over the centuries, they lost their language and much of their culture in the huge U.S. melting pot. There are now about 245,000 francophones, most of them Acadians, in New Brunswick, with another 34,000 Acadians in Nova Scotia and 5,500 in Prince Edward Island. In the morning, thousands of people lined the streets of Sussex, N.B., as the royal couple began the second day of their visit to the province. Excited schoolchildren, their parents and others packed the grounds outside Sussex elementary as the Queen and Prince Philip drove up following a brief motorcade through the small town in the province's dairy heartland. Bev Harrison, Speaker of the New Brunswick legislature, was in the crowd with his corgi dog when Elizabeth stopped for a brief chat. "It's probably the sixth time I have met her," Harrison said. "She is a tremendous personality - you can speak to her with ease." The Queen unveiled a plaque marking the opening of a new wing at the school, then oversaw the opening of an agricultural centre named Golden Jubilee Hall in honour of her 50 years on the throne. "We're so tickled pink," said Sussex Mayor Ralph Carr. "We're very pleased to have her here and very humbled that she would come to our community." The day began with a short helicopter ride from Fredericton, where Elizabeth and Philip began their visit to the province Friday afternoon.
National Post Saturday, 12 Oct , 2002 91 war criminals evade Ottawa But 46 are deported: Missing culprits failed to show up for their removal Stewart Bell Canadian authorities are on the lookout for more than 90 war criminals who were supposed to be removed from the country due to their involvement in modern-day atrocities but failed to show up for deportation. A report released yesterday by Citizenship and Immigration Canada said the government did not know the whereabouts of 91 war criminals who vanished before they could be escorted from the country. The missing war criminals "did not report for removal" and warrants were issued for their arrests, according to the government's fifth annual report on Canada's war crimes program. There is no record of their whereabouts. The report does not say what countries the war criminals are from or specify the nature of their crimes. "They could have left of their own accord," said Simone McAndrew, a spokeswoman for the Immigration Department, "but because we haven't confirmed it absolutely, for sure, that warrant stays outstanding." The missing 91 are in addition to 22 war criminals who could not be sent home because they had no passports, 28 who stalled their deportation by appealing their refugee claims and six who filed court appeals. A total of 157 war criminals were either lost or could not be sent back to the homelands where they committed their atrocities. "In most cases these impediments to removal are beyond the control of the Department," the report said. Despite the problems, Canada has succeeded in deporting a record number of war criminals in the past year, including a former deputy prime minister of Afghanistan, a bomb-maker for the Palestinian terror group Hamas and a member of the Yugoslav secret police. Forty-six refugees suspected of committing atrocities in modern-day conflicts were removed from the country in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2002, up from 42 the year before. The figure, a 10% increase, is in addition to the 445 foreigners not allowed to enter Canada due to war crimes. The government is investigation 292 war crimes cases involving refugees in Canada, 205 cases regarding immigrants and another 170 cases in which suspects have approached Canadian embassies seeking permission to enter Canada. Among those caught and sent home were Samuel Ramirez-Perez, a former member of a Guatemalan police unit called Commando Six that was involved in the disappearance of leftist demonstrators in the 1980s. Although he was removed from Canada under escort in June 2000, Mr. Ramirez-Perez came back. He was identified by police during a routine traffic stop on Jan. 20, 2002, detained and sent back to Guatemala, again under escort, on Feb. 21. Several political leaders were also caught by war crimes investigators, including a Rwandan official who applied for a visitor visa at the Canadian embassy in Paris but was turned down due to his regime's involvement in genocide. He was coming to Canada at the invitation of the Rwandan Congress of Canada. The report also says that an Afghan who entered Canada at Niagara Falls, Ont., last December was deported three months later after investigators found he had served as deputy prime minister in the Soviet-installed communist regime that held power in Kabul until 1992. Also removed were members of guerrilla, paramilitary and terrorist groups such as the Egyptian Islamic Jihad and Hamas. Qasem Ibrahim Qasem Hussein, a Hamas recruiter who studied bomb-making techniques, was deported to Jordan on March 4. "Mr. Hussein was complicit in crimes against humanity based on the widespread and systematic murder of Israeli citizens and Palestinian collaborators by Hamas between 1994 and 1998," when he was an active member, it said. Officials also deported several members of secret police units such as the Leopards, a Haitian army anti-guerrilla group implicated in gross human rights and elections violations. One was removed to Haiti on March 9. Zoran Vujovic, a member of the Yugoslav secret police who arrived in Vancouver in 1997, was deported on Feb. 20 after he was found to have been complicit in crimes against humanity in Croatia, Bosnia and Albania. Under Canada's war crimes program, the RCMP, Justice Department and Immigration work together to screen refugees, immigrants and visitors. Although they have succeeded in identifying many of those responsible for atrocities, the deportation cases often get bogged down in the court system, and the suspects sometimes disappear before they can be sent home. Denis Coderre, the Minister of Immigration, said the report illustrates the government's commitment to ensuring that Canada is not used as a safe haven by those who have committed war-time abuses in their homelands. email@example.com
www.therecord.com Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada 29 Oct 2002 'Didn't lie,' Waterloo man says 78-year-old continues his fight against deportation from Canada Tuesday October 29, 2002 BRIAN CALDWELL RECORD STAFF Helmut Oberlander leaves court yesterday accompanied by his wife Margret (left) and daughter Irene Rooney. Oberlander was in the Toronto courtroom as his hearing before the Immigration and Refugee Board resumed nearly a year after it was adjourned. TORONTO -- Helmut Oberlander maintained his innocence yesterday at a hearing that could lead to his deportation for lying about his role with a Nazi death squad. The retired Waterloo developer wasn't called to testify as lawyers made only arguments and written submissions to the Immigration and Refugee Board. But in a brief interview after the hearing adjourned, Oberlander insisted he did nothing wrong while serving as an interpreter with an infamous unit that executed thousands of civilians, mostly Jews, in the Ukraine from 1941 to 1943. "I killed no one, I hurt no one and I didn't lie when I came to Canada in 1954,'' he said, backed by a small group of supporters including his wife, Margret, and daughter, Irene Rooney. "That's everything in a nutshell.'' The government is trying to deport Oberlander, 78, after a Federal Court judge found he lied about his involvement with the death squad when he applied to emigrate from Germany in the early 1950s. Cabinet paved the way for his expulsion by stripping him of Canadian citizenship last year. But, as has been the case since proceedings against Oberlander began more than seven years ago, his fate remains unclear amid legal wrangling. Lawyers for Oberlander are seeking a judicial review of the cabinet decision, arguing it was flawed. They are also trying to have deportation proceedings put on hold until that issue is settled. The immigration hearing in Toronto was allowed to resume yesterday -- it was suspended almost a year ago -- but board member Carmen DeCarlo can't make a deportation order until a related appeal has been decided. Barbara Jackman, a lawyer representing Oberlander, has said she will argue it would be unfair to deport her client when there is no evidence he actually committed any war crimes. But the key to the immigration case will likely be a law in place until 1978, well after Oberlander had established his life in Canada. In effect, the law said anyone who had lived in the country as a permanent resident for at least five years could only be deported for treason, drug offences and a few other specific crimes. Oberlander admitted he had difficulty following twists and turns in the complex case, which was to resume today. But he and supporters made it perfectly clear what they think of the entire process. "We can only say this is a malicious persecution -- from Day 1,'' said Margret Oberlander. firstname.lastname@example.org
Background article: www.therecord.com Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada 6 May 2000 Germany could reopen Oberlander case Saturday May 6, 2000 Jeff Outhit RECORD STAFF Helmut Oberlander may face a revived war crimes probe if he is deported to Germany. But a review of German justice suggests he has nothing to fear. Oberlander, 76, faces deportation after the Federal Court ruled in February that he lied about his war service record when he immigrated to Canada in 1954. Pending appeal, the federal cabinet must decide whether to strip him of his Canadian citizenship, which was granted in 1960. "Based on the available information, Oberlander's leaving the country or deportation to Germany is expected," Willi Dressen, Germany's senior public prosecutor in charge of uncovering Nazi war crimes told The Record. If Oberlander returns, German prosecutors may reopen the criminal case they closed against him years ago for lack of evidence. "I think that the state attorney's office in Munich, they now have an open investigation," said Dressen, who attended Oberlander's 1998 Federal Court hearing as an expert witness. "All of the available evidence will have to be examined in light of criminal law." Germany may be able to call on more evidence against Oberlander than was admitted by Canada's Federal Court, including witness recollections by deceased wartime comrades. German courts may accept affidavits from the deceased, but the statements are not strong enough on their own to secure a conviction. Germany has prosecuted only a handful of men who served in the same death squad as Oberlander and has targeted officers. Oberlander, an interpreter, held a low rank (roughly a senior private) and remains below the radar for German prosecutors. "The name Oberlander is not known in our office," said Manfried Wick, chief prosecutor of Munich State Court I, which is responsible for prosecuting war crimes by Einsatzkommando 10a. In 1970, Oberlander was summoned to the German consul-general's office in Toronto to answer questions as part of the German government's broader investigation into the activities of Ek 10a. Oberlander was not charged and Germany closed its file on him. Germany also declined to prosecute a higher-ranking Ek 10a member, Benno Harlander, who immigrated to Canada but later returned to Germany. Harlander, suspected in killings in Krasnodar, came to Canada in 1951 and settled near Brooklin, Ont. Like Oberlander, Harlander faced a German probe in 1970. Unlike Oberlander, Harlander eventually left Canada voluntarily and returned to Germany. Born in 1909, Harlander was alive in 1994 when he was interviewed in Germany by a lawyer with Canada's war crimes unit. He has since died. A different fate befell former Nazi death squad member David Geldiashvile in 1973. Geldiashvile, Soviet-born like Oberlander, became a Canadian citizen after the war but made the mistake of returning to the Soviet Union on vacation in 1973. He was arrested, tried and sentenced to death by the Soviets for serving with an Einsatzgruppe death squad in the same area as Oberlander's unit. Leaders of Ek 10a escaped postwar prosecution by the Allies at Nuremberg. Heinz Seetzen, Oberlander's first commander, killed himself while in Allied custody in 1945. The unit's second commander, Kurt Christmann, was not tried and convicted until 1980. Leo Maar, another Ek 10a interpreter who testified at Christmann's trial, was never prosecuted. GERMAN JUSTICE Seven men have been convicted of war crimes in West Germany for serving in the same Nazi death squad as Helmut Oberlander. Trials of Einsatzkommando 10a members and their outcomes: 1972: Three convicted in the 1941 massacre of 200 Jews in Taganrog and the 1942 massacre of 214 children in Jeissk. All received four-year sentences. 1973: Three convicted in the 1941 shootings of hundreds of Jews and isolated civilians in a dozen locations in the southern Ukraine in 1941. Sentences ranged from two to 4 1/2 years. 1980: One convicted in the gassing of at least 30 prisoners in Krasnodar and the shooting of more than 30 villagers in Maryanskaya. Sentenced to 10 years.
EFE 9 Oct 2002 Court says Pinochet mentally incapable SANTIAGO — A Chilean court has quashed a bid from Argentine judges to strip elderly strongman August Pinochet of his legislative immunity so he can be tried in Argentina for the 1974 murder in that country of a Chilean opposition leader. Sixteen of the 21 judges on the Santiago Appeals court agreed Tuesday that the 87-year-old Pinochet, who ruled Chile with an iron hand from 1973 to 1990, is unable to defend himself in proceedings that might lift the immunity he enjoys as former head of state. "Pinochet suffers from progressive and irreversible vascular dementia, and thus is incapable, mentally and under the law, to defend his interests in any process that may result in his losing his immunity," the court ruled. Pinochet has been indicted in Argentina for the 1974 murder of Carlos Prats, Pinochet's predecessor as Chilean Army commander-in-chief, and his wife in Buenos Aires, where they had gone into exile. Both were killed by a bomb in their car a year after the coup that brought Pinochet to power. The Appeals court cited as precedent the Supreme Court finding of last year that cited "incurable senile dementia" as a cause for dropping the case against Pinochet holding him responsible for the deaths or disappearances of 75 political opponents. That ruling effectively quashed the over 250 lawsuits and civil complaints filed in Chilean courts by relatives of the 3,198 people who disappeared or were killed while Pinochet ruled the country. Pinochet appointed himself senator for life, complete with lifetime judicial immunity before he allowed elections to be held in 1990. But Pinochet resigned as senator last year and the immunity that had been challenged by the Argentine judge hearing the Prats case was that which he claimed as former head of state. The British government also cited concerns about Pinochet's physical and mental fitness when in March 2000 it decided to end the judicial battle over his extradition to Madrid from London, where he was being held on a crusading Spanish judge's warrant. Pinochet remained under house arrest for 16 months in Britain while his lawyers fought a back-and-forth court battle against their client being extradited to Spain, where he had been indicted on charges of murder, torture and genocide.
Amnesty nInternational 4 Oct 2002 Guatemala Myrna Mack Verdict -- A Tribute to Courage and Persistence AI Index: AMR 34/062/2002 Publish date: 4 October 2002 The sentencing of Guatemalan army colonel Juan Valencia Osorio to thirty years in prison for having ordered the 1990 killing of anthropologist Myrna Mack is an overdue but welcome step towards justice, Amnesty International said today. More on this Web site: Guatemala Two other officers, General Edgar Augusto Godoy Gaytán and Colonel Juan Guillermo Oliva Carrera, who had faced the same charges, were acquitted. They were Colonel Valencia's superior officers in the notorious Estado Mayor Presidencial(EMP), Presidential High Command. Amnesty International will study the court's judgement closely to determine whether it finds convincing the court's decision that they were indeed not involved in ordering Ms. Mack's death. "Never before had a high-ranking military official been convicted for a crime committed during Guatemala's 36 year internal conflict, and only once before had other officers been convicted for a political crime," Amnesty International noted. In welcoming the conviction, Amnesty International paid tribute to the victim's sister, Helen Mack, and the Guatemalan human rights community. "It was their courageous determination to see the killers punished and their effectiveness in mobilising international and local support which finally moved the case through the courts," the organization said. However, the organization expressed its dissatisfaction that it had taken 12 years for the case against those who ordered the killing to finally come to court. "The wheels of justice have ground slowly, far too slowly," said Amnesty International. "Twelve years is far too long to wait to see justice -- possibly only partial justice -- done." "Justice should be the rule, not the exception in Guatemala," Amnesty International insisted. "Despite a Constitutional guarantee that it is the duty of the State to guarantee justice to all of its inhabitants, only a handful of high profile cases have seen convictions for conflict-related abuses, while nobody has been held accountable for the killing and 'disappearance' of over 200,000 people, the majority of them indigenous," the organization added. "A genocide -- and that is what the Guatemala's UN-sponsored Historical Clarification Commission (CEH) determined had occurred -- cannot be swept under the historical carpet. Each and every victim and each and every survivor deserves justice," Amnesty International said. The organization also noted that the three officers were tried in an atmosphere of death threats, intimidation and violence against individuals and organisations associated with the case, including the lawyers for the prosecution. "These attacks against the human rights and legal communities in Guatemala, are symptomatic of an escalating wave of violence against those involved in seeking justice for human rights violations committed both during and following Guatemala's long civil conflict," Amnesty International said. Background Myrna Mack, founder member of the social science research institute, AVANCSO, was brutally stabbed to death in September 1990 as she left the AVANCSO office in Guatemala City. In 1989, she had published a ground-breaking study which concluded that the massive internal displacement of Guatemala's indigenous people, and the suffering it had caused, had been a direct result of the army's counter-insurgency policy. Her findings were published just as peace talks began, and were highly damaging to the government. From the beginning, efforts to convict those who carried out Myrna Mack's brutal murder encountered irregularities, incompetence and every imaginable legal manoeuvre to paralyse the judicial process. Finally, however, in 1993 Sergeant Noel de Jesús Beteta Alvarez, a member of the EMP, was found guilty of the killing and jailed for 25 years. Source: Amnesty International, International Secretariat, 1 Easton Street, WC1X 8DJ, London, United Kingdom
Reuters 8 Oct 2002 Guatemala Court Annuls Rights Convictions By Greg Brosnan GUATEMALA CITY (Reuters) - A Guatemalan appeals court on Tuesday annulled the landmark convictions of three military men and a priest in the 1998 murder of prominent bishop and human rights defender Juan Jose Gerardi. Reuters Photo The three-judge panel ordered a retrial and said it annulled the convictions because of irregularities in the testimony of a witness who claimed he saw the accused on the night of the murder. Gerardi was bludgeoned to death in April 1998, two days after publishing a four-volume report blaming Guatemala's military for hundreds of massacres and other abuses during a 1960-1996 civil war, in which some 200,000 people were killed. Retired Col. Byron Lima Estrada, his son Capt. Byron Lima Oliva, and former presidential bodyguard Obdulio Villanueva were sentenced to 30 years each for the murder at a trial in June 2001. Roman Catholic priest Mario Orantes was sentenced to 20 years as an accomplice. The convictions were initially lauded by human rights groups as a landmark victory in a country where the military traditionally enjoyed impunity for rights abuses. ELATION AND DISBELIEF Lima Estrada, Lima Oliva, Villanueva, and their relatives and supporters in the court, including active and retired military men, cheered the decision and hugged each other while rights activists and Gerardi's former colleagues looked at each other in disbelief. "There is justice in Guatemala," Lima Oliva told reporters, standing up and making a military salute upon hearing of the annulment. "We soldiers defended the country." Orantes' lawyers say he suffers from severe migraines. He is interned in a hospital and did not attend the hearing. All four will remain in prison until the retrial. TESTIMONY IN DOUBT One of the main witnesses in the case, an indigent named Ruben Chanax Sontay, told judges in the trial he was hired by Lima Estrada to spy on Gerardi, and that on the night of the crime he helped Lima Oliva and Villanueva move the bishop's corpse. Judges accepted an argument by Villanueva's lawyer that Chanax Sontay had not mentioned those details in earlier statements to investigators. "A GRAVE SETBACK" "The court is convinced that the sentencing court did not weigh up this proof," the court said on Tuesday. "The sentence is annulled. ... We order a new trial." There was no mention of when that new trial, which will be overseen by a new panel of judges, will be held. Nery Rodenas, a lawyer for the Roman Catholic church human rights office Gerardi formerly headed, and who worked alongside prosecutors in the original trial, called the verdict "a grave setback." The sentence came after a court last week sentenced a former colonel to 30 years in prison for ordering the 1990 civil-war era stabbing murder of an anthropologist who had conducted extensive research of the effects of the war on Maya Indian refugees fleeing the conflict. "My feeling is that the military is reacting to all this," said rights activist Frank La Rue. "The judges are under a lot of pressure." Gerardi's cook, Margarita Lopez, who was accused of participating in the crime but freed by judges in the trial, will not have to participate in the retrial.
AP 8 Oct 2002 New Trial in Killing of Guatemala Cleric GUATEMALA CITY, Oct. 8 (AP) — An appeals court granted a new trial today to three military officials and a priest convicted of killing a Roman Catholic bishop, ruling that a witness's testimony was flawed. In June 2001 a three-judge panel convicted retired Col. Byron Lima Estrada; his son, Capt. Byron Lima Oliva; and Sgt. Obdulio Villanueva of killing Bishop Juan Gerardi, who was bludgeoned with a concrete block in his garage in April 1998. The three were sentenced to 30 years in prison each. The Rev. Mario Orantes, Bishop Gerardi's assistant, was sentenced to 20 years as an accomplice in the killing, which occurred days after the prelate had presented a report blaming the military for 80 percent of the deaths during the 36-year civil war that ended in 1996. Today the appeals tribunal said the lower court did not adequately verify the testimony of Ruben Chanax, a homeless man. Activists had considered the convictions a human rights victory for a country plagued by thousands of atrocities. But the defendants appealed last month, claiming that the police never found the person responsible for the killing and accusing the trial judges of basing their ruling on speculation and hearsay. Mr. Chanax, who lived in a park across the street from the seminary where Bishop Gerardi was killed, testified that the Limas and Sergeant Villanueva hired him to spy on the bishop, told him someone would die on the night of the killing and enlisted his help in altering the crime scene before the police could arrive.
EFE 1 Oct 2002 Two Mexican street children killed with stones Two Mexican street children aged 7 and 9 were killed, apparently with stones, in Tuxtla Gutierrez, the capital of the southern state of Chiapas, the state Attorney General's Office reported Monday. The children's bodies were found on Sunday in a vacant lot, authorities said. "The bodies show wounds to the head and face, apparently caused by large stones," the Attorney General's Office said. The children apparently cleaned car windows for money and were two of the nearly 5,000 street children in the state, one of the country's poorest. Most of the state's street children are from broken indigenous families or children of Central American immigrants.
AP 3 Oct 2002 Mexico commemorates 34th anniversary of 1968 student massacre MEXICO CITY - Mexico City's mayor lowered the national flag to half-staff and activists headed to the streets Wednesday to commemorate the 34th anniversary of the massacre of student demonstrators in 1968. Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador declared a day of mourning in Mexico City to remember dozens of students who were shot down by government security forces during a largely peaceful student demonstration in Mexico City's Tlatelolco Plaza. The massacre occurred shortly before the 1968 Olympics were held here. Lopez Obrador held a minute of silence for the victims before a chorus led a rendition of Mexico's national anthem. Students, unions and various social organizations marched through the capital to remember the massacre, and dozens were arrested for vandalism and acts of violence. The government claimed about 24 died in the shooting, but historians have said about 300 students died, caught in a cross fire while police and troops blocked the plaza's exits. Special prosecutor Ignacio Carrillo, appointed by President Vicente Fox ( news - web sites) to investigate the massacre and other alleged crimes of past governments, has estimated that about 38 people were killed. Former President Luis Echeverria, who was Mexico's interior secretary in charge of domestic security at the time, has been accused of ordering the attack. Carrillo called Echeverria in for questioning in July and August, but the former president refused to talk, citing his constitutional right to remain silent. But Echeverria publicly has denied that he had anything to do with the killings. Carrillo has said that officials have put together a list of high-ranking public officials who also will be called to testify about the 1968 and 1971 massacres, but he has declined to give their names.
WP 3 Oct 2002 Mexico Seeks Second Ex-President's Testimony Lopez Portillo May Follow Echeverria for Questioning About 'Dirty War' Against Leftists Page A10 MEXICO CITY, Oct. 2 -- Former president Jose Lopez Portillo will almost certainly be called to testify under oath about his role in Mexico's "dirty war" against leftists during the 1970s and 1980s, the special prosecutor investigating that era said today. "We are working on the denunciations against him, but we have no date yet for calling him," the prosecutor, Ignacio Carrillo Prieto, said in an interview. The 1976-82 presidency of Lopez Portillo, now 82 and frail, is an increasing focus of an investigation that so far has been directed more at former president Luis Echeverria, who held office from 1970 to 1976. Both ran the country during security campaigns that included torture, disappearances and murders of students, guerrillas and other anti-government activists. The two are old-style leaders from the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, which ruled Mexico from 1929 to 2000. Echeverria is also widely believed to have been involved in the Tlatelolco massacre of Oct. 2, 1968 -- 34 years ago today -- when soldiers and police opened fire on student demonstrators, killing as many as 300. At the time, Echeverria was head of the Interior Ministry, which was in charge of internal security. Carrillo said the massacre, which mobilized a generation of anti-government guerrilla violence, was "directed [from] the highest level of the federal government." He said he believed Echeverria "knew of the events," but that there was not yet sufficient evidence to bring criminal charges. During the PRI era, retired presidents were untouchable. But Vicente Fox of the National Action Party, who became president in December 2000, has repeatedly vowed that no one would be beyond accountability and prosecution for crimes committed during that era. Echeverria, 80 years old and a recluse, sat rigid and silent for three hours on July 2 as Carrillo and other prosecutors asked him more than 100 questions. His attorney said he would answer all the questions in writing. But a month later, Echeverria invoked his constitutional right not to testify against himself. He has said nothing publicly since. "His silence says a lot," Carrillo said.
EFE 3 Oct 2002 Rights victims want civilian courts to try military Monica Medel, Mexican military prosecutors say they have sent to the civilian attorney general's office files on the prosecution of two generals accused of responsibility in the summary execution of political opponents in the 1970s. Military prosecutor Jaime Lopez Portillo said in an interview published Tuesday in La Jornada that they would send the federal Attorney General's Office documents containing information on the deaths of 37 soldiers and injuries to 29 others between 1975 and 1979, during confrontations between the army and rebel groups from the southern Mexican state of Guerrero. He noted that Generals Arturo Acosta and Francisco Quiros, currently under arrest for drug trafficking, are being investigated by military prosecutors to determine their part in the disappearance of 143 people at that time, adding that the information provided to civilian prosecutors is part of this investigation. The report came the day after victims and family members of those killed during Mexico's "dirty war" against leftists demanded that civilian courts try the officers implicated in the repression. Raul Alvarez, who is the head of the 68 Committee which groups the victims and families, told EFE the organization wants a probe by a military court into the activities of two generals to be transferred to the special prosecutor within the federal Attorney General's office. "We want these proceedings (against Acosta and Quiros) to be included in the cases which we have already presented to the Attorney General because it deals with the same thing: the genocide that was carried out during that era," he said. The office of the special prosecutor headed by Ignacio Carrillo was created by President Vicente Fox to investigate abuses by the Mexican security services between the late 1960s and the early 1980s. According to Mexican officials, around 500 people disappeared at the hands of the military during the repression but human rights groups put the figure at closer to 3,000. In comments to the press over the weekend, Carrillo said the office was probing the activities of 70 people, including 22 generals. Military prosecutor Lopez Portillo recently said that there was proof those rounded up by the security forces' "White Brigade" in the crackdown were taken to the Pie de la Cuesta military base and later tossed into the sea. Portillo added that witness testimony and documents indicated the two generals were involved in these disappearances. However, he said those officers who are suspected of committing abuses during the "dirty war" should be tried by the military courts and not civilian tribunals. www.thenewsmexico.com
In These Times 11 Oct 2002 Murder in Chiapas Low-intensity conflict continues. By Kari Lydersen Chiapas, Mexico—In a concrete and wooden hut in the tiny K’an Akil community of the highlands of Chiapas, the sound of soft rain on a tin roof mixes with the pungent scent of incense made from tree resin and the chanting of Hail Marys and Our Fathers in the Mayan tongue of Tzeltzal. The people gathered here are performing a mourning Mass for Antonio Mejia Vazquez, the town deacon and patriarch of the community. He acquired this small parcel of lush, rainy land about 30 years ago and, along with his brothers and their families, carved out a cornfield on a slope rising steeply above the huts, where chickens and hogs now meander, children play and women in brightly embroidered traditional blouses and wool skirts make tortillas out of corn on a smoky wood fire. In 1999, the 50 or so members of K’an Akil decided to declare themselves an autonomous community aligned with the Zapatistas, the guerrilla movement that emerged on New Year’s Day 1994 by taking over the city of San Cristobal de las Casas and demanding the Mexican government recognize indigenous rights to autonomous government, land and education. On August 26, Mejia was shot to death by several members of the Aguilares, a group variously described as “paramilitaries” or simply “thugs,” in the latest of several attacks by paramilitaries on Zapatista supporters in Chiapas. In the past two months, violence has escalated in the region. While government officials deny the conflict is political, local NGO leaders and activists note that the low-intensity war being waged against the autonomous communities has intensified in the past few months, with the reported incursion of hundreds of new army and paramilitary troops in the Lacondon jungle and surrounding areas over the summer. This “low-intensity warfare,” a term coined by the government itself, consists of breaking down the resolve of communities through constant military presence, harassment and intimidation from paramilitary groups like the Aguilares. Zapatista supporters view the military and paramilitary presence as a key part of the government’s plan to take over collective lands for projects like the Plan Puebla Panama, a proposed series of transportation corridors in the region. Mejia’s family couldn’t even get to his body for a day and a half, since members of the Aguilar group continued to stand guard over the corpse and fire shots into the air. When they were finally able to recover Mejia’s body, with the protection of a contingent of hundreds of Zapatista supporters from other communities, they found his ears had been sliced off and his left cheek cut away. Community leaders say the Aguilares are trying to take over their land through a campaign of intimidation and terror. In December 2001, the Aguilares cut a water line that had connected K’an Akil to a spring in the mountains. They demanded 8,000 pesos (about $800) to reconnect the water supply, money the town didn’t have. Tensions escalated, and the Aguilares began to make death threats against Mejia and his family. Mejia was one of four Zapatista supporters murdered in August. In all four cases, the murderers, whose identities are well-known, continue to enjoy almost complete immunity from prosecution. Mexican President Vicente Fox and Chiapas Gov. Pablo Salazar have both publicly stated recently that no armed paramilitary organizations exist in Chiapas. Locals say that, to the contrary, the paramilitaries are as strong as ever and receiving weapons and other clandestine support from the military. Since Fox unseated Mexico’s long-time ruling party, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), the president’s campaign promise to solve the Chiapas conflict in “15 minutes” has proved completely hollow. “The paramilitaries have lost some support since the PRI is no longer in power,” says Ruben Moreno of the Chiapas Community Defenders Network. “But even though the links aren’t as direct, it is evident that they are supported by the government through total impunity.” Before Mejia, two Zapatista supporters were murdered August 25 in the community of Amaytik during a raid by the paramilitary group OPDIC, an organization with branches throughout Chiapas that claims to be an indigenous rights group and is vocal in its opposition to the Zapatistas. The Center for Political Analysis and Social and Economic Research has done a study noting the presence of OPDIC chapters in areas key to government-sponsored development projects like the Plan Puebla Panama, a fact they say is no coincidence. Zapatista supporter Jose Lopez Santiz was also shot to death in August. He was gunned down in his cornfield in front of his two sons, who identified his killers as friends of a wealthy local landowner. The Zapatista community had “recuperated” part of the landowner’s holdings to work as their own. Thousands of Zapatista supporters held protests calling for justice in the case. In a public statement, Gov. Salazar himself urged protesters to have faith in the judicial system. Community leaders note that after Santiz’s wife and brother went to the police in Altamirano, they tried to prevent the body from being examined and declared his death was caused by a falling tree. The Zapatistas have not issued a statement since April 2001, when the government failed to meet their demands for autonomy after the march of tens of thousands of Zapatistas and their supporters to Mexico City. They are expected to break their silence soon in response to the killings, as well as a September decision by the Mexican Supreme Court that dismissed challenges to the controversial Indigenous Rights Law passed last year, which critics say offers very few indigenous rights and undermines stronger existing laws. The Zapatistas have also found some of their support bases, such as ARIC Independiente, the cattle ranchers’ union, and ORCAO, the coffee growers’ union, eroded by Salazar’s program offering incentives for collective landholders to privatize their land. The autonomous communities vehemently oppose this trend, saying it makes it easier for the government and corporations to buy up land for development and exploitation of natural resources. Meanwhile, those who live in K’an Akil live with the immediate fear and grief caused by the paramilitary presence. “We are afraid of these groups,” a spokesman from the community told a group of human rights observers from the Mexico Solidarity Network in late September. “We can’t work because of the threats. The women are afraid to leave their homes at all, and children can’t go to school. The paramilitaries keep doing this to us night and day.” inthesetimes.com
United States (see Benin, Gambia and Iraq)
Hellenic News of America 2 Oct 2002 GENOCIDE PROCLAMATION BY N.J. GOVERNOR JIM MCGREEVEY Press Release from: Pan-Pontian Federation of U.S. & Canada New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey issued a Proclamation on September 8, 2002, recognizing the Genocide of Pontos, Asia MInor and the destruction of Smyrna. He concludes by proclaiming September 9, 2002, as A DAY OF REMEMBRANCE OF THE DESTRUCTION OF SMYRNA AND THE GENOCIDE AGAINST THE GREEK PEOPLE OF PONTUS AND ASIA MINOR. This is the third recognition of the above Genocide by an American elected official. The first one was issued by New York Governor George Pataki, the second one by a joint resolution of the State Senate and State Assembly of New Jersey, and the third one by Governor Jim McGreevey. Special thanks to the well known political activist Tasso Efstratiadis and the Honoragle N.J. Assemblyman Steve Corodemus, for working closely with the Pan-Pontian Federation to achieve these fruitful results in the Great State of New Jersey. We are continuing our efforts in the nearby states of Connecticut and Pennsylvania to multiply our successes and establish new precedents. The recognition of the Asia Minor Genocide will set the historical record straight and will prevent tragic events like this one to take place again.
Lawrence Ledger, NJ 3 Oct 2002 Exhibit tells of salvation By: Dave Hemmer , Eric Saul, curator of the “Visas for Life” exhibit at Rider University, talks Tuesday during a preview of the exhibit. Rider University exhibit tells of diplomats who risked their lives to save Jews from the Nazis. Under the threat of Nazi invasion in the French coastal city of Bordeaux in 1940, Portuguese diplomat Aristides de Sousa Mendes decided "I would rather be with God against man than man against God." Mr. De Sousa Mendes is one of nearly 100 diplomats who during World War II risked their lives to deliver thousands of Jews from certain peril under the Nazis. His story and the story other courageous diplomats is on display at Rider University's Art Gallery in an exhibit called "Visas for Life: The Righteous and Honorable Diplomats." The exhibit has been on display in the United Nations in both New York and Geneva, and is on display on the top floor of the university's student center in Lawrence until Oct. 27. The exhibit, brought together by its curator Eric Saul, tells the story of a courageous and selfless unknown group of diplomats, who risked their lives and careers to save thousands of Jews who would otherwise have succumbed to the Nazi onslaught between 1938 and 1945. The displays in the exhibit are based on original photographs and materials collected from the diplomats' families, historical accounts by survivors, and information from government records. Also on hand will be Lawrence resident and scholar Vera Goodkin, who was among the thousands rescued by Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg in Hungary. Mr. Saul, 52, is a former curator for the Military Museum at the Presidio in San Francisco, and has been touring the world with "Visas for Life" for eight years now. "One of the goals of the exhibit itself is to thank them (the diplomats) posthumously," he said. Mr. Saul has designed and circulated exhibits on the contributions of minorities to the United States military which also included his exhibit on African-American soldiers in the United States called "Ready and Forward." Mr. Saul also is the co-founder of the National Japanese American Historical Society, and it was through his discussions about the Japanese-American experience during World War II that led indirectly to "Visas for Life." In 1993, a friend of Mr. Saul's in his home state of California suggested that he look into the story of a local Japanese man, Chiune Sugihara, who had been the ex-Japanese consul general during World War II in Lithuania. Mr. Sugihara had died, his wife agreed to speak with Mr. Saul. In an unlikely turn of events, Mr. Saul discovered that Mr. Sugihara had issued illegal visas for nearly 6,000 Jews during World War II, writing an average of 200 visas a day. Hinda Oler Gutof, one of the many rescued by Mr. Sugihara said, "The Japanese consul general in Lithuania was a great humanitarian who issued visas because it was the right thing to do. He didn't have to do it, and he suffered for it. To me that is the definition of a martyr: someone who suffers for other people is a hero." As Mr. Saul began exhibiting Mr. Sugihara's story in California, more people with stories similar to Mr. Sugihara's started to emerge and Mr. Saul's exhibit simply "snowballed," with relatives of other diplomats telling Mr. Saul their stories. The question had now been proposed to Mr. Saul, "Why did it happen? Why was it forgotten? And why did it take so long to be recognized?" Eight years later, Mr. Saul is now touring the world with his exhibit, "Visas for Life," which contains the detailed stories of more than 100 courageous diplomats from 25 countries. These diplomats were individuals from different countries, religions, and cultural backgrounds. But by the end of World War II, they were responsible for having saved the lives of more than 250,000 Jews and refugees. Mr. Saul said, "The most rewarding thing is finding someone saved by a diplomat and then reuniting them either with that diplomat or with their family." These diplomats helped the Jews by issuing exit visas, transit visas, citizenship papers or other forms of false documentation that allowed the Jews to escape from the Nazis. Some of these diplomats personally smuggled refugees across international borders or established safe houses. "This was the largest rescue of human life," Mr. Saul said "And it was mostly a secret operation." Many of the diplomats involved in saving Jews were in direct defiance of previous orders given by their governments. However, despite these orders, most of the diplomats helped the Jews illegally, directly violating the regulations and immigration laws of their respective countries. "In most cases they (the diplomats) were hiding from their own governments," Mr. Saul said. Aristides de Sousa Mendes was one of these courageous men who directly defied his government to save the lives of 30,000 Jews, between June 17-19 in 1940. He was born in Portugal in 1885 of Jewish ancestry. In 1938, he became the Portuguese consul general in Bordeaux, France, and thus the story of his heroism began. In 1939 came the Nazi invasion of Poland, and with Europe being divided between the Axis and the Allies, Portugal declared itself neutral. In its neutrality, it strictly forbade the Portuguese consulate from issuing of any visas without direct permission. As the Nazis pressed on, rolling over the Benelux countries in 1940, thousands of fleeing Jewish refugees were forced to cross over the borders into France. With the Nazis advancing with little resistance, Mr. de Sousa Mendes urged Lisbon for permission to issue visas to the Jews, but his ministry denied the request. Fearing the worst of the German advance, he contemplated for three days without sleep what should be done. Eventually, he decided to defy the Portuguese regulations and issue visas to anyone who wanted one. Mr. de Sousa Mendes said, "My government has denied all applications for visas to any refugee. But I cannot allow these people to die.... I am going to issue (a visa) to anyone who asks for it.... Even if I am discharged I can only act as a Christian, as my conscience tells me." He was responsible for saving the lives of tens of thousands of Jews. Similar to others who had done the same, Mr. de Sousa Mendes lived the remainder of his life with little or no recognition for his deeds. He died in 1954 without a penny to his name. Many diplomats like Mr. de Sousa Mendes were censured or punished for their acts, while others were simply fired and stripped of their ranks and pensions. Many of them died in poverty, although two diplomats lost their lives almost immediately. Today, there are thousands of descendants of the original Holocaust survivors. Much of the exhibit details the secret diplomatic efforts that made life possible for so many Jews today. "There are tens of thousands of books on the Holocaust, and virtually none of them were written about those who had been saved," Mr. Saul said. Most of the stories exhibited in "Visas for Life" are being told for the first time, and although many of these heroic diplomats have gone publicly unrecognized, the exhibit exists as means of thanking those who risked it all for the sake of humanity. "Visas for Life" is on display at Rider University — the gallery is open seven days a week. The exhibit is co-sponsored by the American Jewish Committee-Central New Jersey Chapter and the Julius and Dorothy Koppleman Holocaust/Genocide Center at Rider University. For additional information, call toll-free, 866-721-5222.
New Haven Register 7 Oct 2002 Wiesel attests to oral history Holocaust survivor at Yale stresses value of storytelling Tara York, NEW HAVEN - No one in the world can truly comprehend life as Elie Wiesel or any other Holocaust survivor knew it in Auschwitz. But the 1986 Nobel Peace Prize winner will continue to tell his stories in memoirs and books, such as "Night," which details his time in the concentration camp. He has published more than 40 books, and on Sunday told an audience of about 1,000 at Battell Chapel why it's important to teach with stories. "One German was killed by one German," he said. "The story has been told 6 million times." Wiesel said countless books have been written and every story seems the same, but each one is "something profound and true." But he also sympathizes with those who are troubled by reliving these events and others who feel it's pointless to even attempt to explain. Wiesel, 74, was the keynote speaker at a Yale University conference, "The Contribution of Oral Testimony to Holocaust and Genocide Studies," that celebrates the 20th anniversary of the establishment of a video archive for Holocaust testimonies. New York resident and Holocaust survivor Fanya Heller, 78, said she agrees with Wiesel's ideology and has told her story many times. Heller said she survived Nazi Germany hidden underground by a Christian Polish family. She authored the book "Strange and Unexpected Love," which she said "speaks about the gestures of the Polish Christians." "It's hard to explain what it feels like to be hungry," Heller said, noting the difficulty of passing her stories on. "It kills your soul." But Heller said it is necessary to teach future generations the best she can. The three-day conference began Sunday and will include discussions on listening to stories, trauma, differences between testimony from child and adult survivors and sociological and cultural perspectives. The conference celebrates an effort that began in 1979 to record 4,200 Holocaust testimonies over 10,000 hours on videotape. The original archives are at Yale University and are open to scholars, educators and the public for viewing and research. Deborah Lurie of New Haven is a fervent Wiesel fan and attends his public appearances whenever she can. Lurie said most of her grandparents' relatives were killed during the Holocaust and she has tried to trace her own genealogy. She said it is necessary for survivors to tell their stories to overcome those who persistently try to dispute that it ever happened. "It's very important, because there's still so many deniers," Lurie said. "Even in 2002 they're still denying that the Holocaust happened."
Ap 7 Oct 2002 'Wichita Massacre' Trial Underway Jonathan Carr on the first day of his murder trial in Wichita, Kan. Tuesday, October 08, 2002 WICHITA, Kan. — Locals call it the Wichita Massacre. After two years, two brothers accused of a week-long rampage of murder, rape and robbery in the American heartland will have their reckoning in a Kansas criminal court. The trial began Monday. In all, Reginald Carr, 24, and Jonathan Carr, 22, face 58 charges each. Of the six people they are accused of trying to kill, only one survived. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty. The crime spree began with robbery. On Dec. 7, 2000, the Carr brothers allegedly abducted a 25-year-old man at a Wichita convenience store, forced him to withdraw money from an ATM and then stranded him on a dirt road. The blood began flowing four days later. On Dec. 11, prosecutors say, the Carr brothers hid out at the home of 55-year-old cellist Ann Walenta. When she came home that night from orchestra practice, one of the brothers approached her car with a gun and, as she tried to drive away, shot her. She died Jan. 2. AP Monday: Reginald Carr in court. The horrors only escalated. Three days later, on Dec. 14, the brothers allegedly targeted a townhouse where three men and two women, ages 25 to 29, had gathered. High school science teacher Jason Befort, 26, was planning to propose to his girlfriend. Around 11 p.m., the Carrs burst through the door brandishing guns, prosecutors say. The women were repeatedly raped, and then all five were forced to have sex with each other, according to authorities. Then the Carrs allegedly drove each victim to an ATM to withdraw cash. Three hours later, the Carrs allegedly drove the five to a frozen field, lined them up and shot them in the head, execution-style. Then, prosecutors say, one of the brothers ran over the victims with his car. But one woman -- a 25-year-old high school teacher known publicly only as "H.G." -- survived. With a bullet lodged in her skull, having been run over by a car and left naked in 17-degree weather, the woman ran to a nearby house a mile away for help. Now H.G., who was supposed to have begun a new life that night with Befort, is the prosecution's sole eyewitness. On Tuesday, jurors heard her 911 call, telling the operator that, if she died, police could find evidence on her body -- the bullet in her head and semen from one of her attackers. Other pieces of evidence include the engagement ring Befort meant to give H.G., found in one of the brothers' coat pockets. Befort's credit card was found on the other brother. On Monday, the first officer at the scene described his overwhelming sadness when he found the bodies lying on the field the next morning. The brothers' lawyers say their clients have alibis and have hinted at a possible third suspect still walking the streets of Wichita. "We're going to be pointing fingers at each other a lot," Jay Greeno, one of Reginald Carr's lawyers, told the Associated Press. The trial, in which some 70 witnesses are expected to be called, could take a month to complete. Jury selection took a grueling 18 days. The case has already reverberated throughout the state. In 2001, it was discovered that Reginald Carr was supposed to have been in prison during the murders, but had been released by mistake. The reason: Two state parole officers made a math error. Allegations of racial bias also emerged when prosecutors refused to press hate-crime charges. The Carrs are black; all their victims are white. Fox News's Carol McKinley contributed to this report.
NYT 9 Oct 2002 U.S. Presses for Total Exemption From War Crimes Court By ELIZABETH BECKER WASHINGTON, Oct. 8 — A top State Department envoy left for Europe today to try to persuade several governments to ignore a recent European Union compromise on the international criminal court that would exempt only some Americans from prosecution. The envoy, Ambassador Marissa Lino, was headed for London, Paris, Madrid and Rome to try to ensure that no Americans would be prosecuted by the court, which the United States strongly opposes, according to a senior administration official. Last week, the European Union agreed to exempt only American military personnel and diplomats from prosecution. After strong pressure from the Bush administration, the European Union agreed that individual member governments could sign agreements with the United States giving such limited exemptions. The court, in The Hague, is the first permanent international institution dedicated to trying cases of genocide and other crimes against humanity. "We think that was a step forward but these were just guidelines," said the senior official. "Those governments are still sovereign nations and we expect they will take into account that there is no reason not to exempt all Americans." John R. Bolton, the under secretary of state for arms control and international security and the administration's point man for the court, traveled to London and Paris last week to urge those governments to sign broad exemption clauses before the United States takes any military action against Iraq. But expectations for immediate success are muted, especially after the United States failed in a recent attempt to have American peacekeepers automatically exempted during the annual review of NATO's rules of engagement for the Balkan peacekeeping operations. After weeks of tense negotiations at the United Nations last summer, the United States won a year's exemption from prosecution by the international court for American peacekeepers. Alone among the industrialized nations, the United States has refused to sign the treaty, saying the court might stage politicially motivated trials of Americans, especially senior leaders, who could be deprived of Constitutional protections. Originally the European Union said it would devise a unified position, either approving or opposing the American request for exemption. The group stated publicly in September that it would resist what it called "worldwide political pressure" by the United States to misuse the court's Article 98 to win broad exemptions. But when the nations failed to agree on a single position, the group came up with a narrow compromise that they say protects the integrity of the court. Still, the compromise fails to address the administration's deep concerns about the vulnerability of civilian leaders. Those fears were stirred in part by legal actions brought against former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger in Chilean and American courts, accusing him of aiding in the 1973 coup in Chile and the ensuing 17-year dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet. Opponents of the American position say those fears are misplaced. They say the court would have provided greater protection to Mr. Kissinger because it allows defendants to be tried in their own countries. Indeed, they fear that even the European compromise threatens the integrity of the court. "The premise of the court is universal jurisdiction — that everyone is liable for crimes against humanity," said Sarah Sewall, of the Carr Center for Human Rights at Harvard and editor of a book on the court. "To exempt oneself, especially for a superpower like the United States, undermines the very premise of the court." The United States hopes to sign agreements with 190 countries exempting all Americans from the reach of the court in their territories. So far, only 13 countries have reached such agreements, including Romania, Israel, Micronesia and Gambia. Ken Anderson, a professor at the Washington College of Law at American University, said the administration was correct to pursue those broad exemptions because Americans should expect to be tried in their own country under their own laws. "The fundamential issue here is that all Americans ought to be entitled to American constitutional protections, including in this war on terror," he said. The court held its first assembly last month, moved into offices in the Netherlands and set up a Web site. "We are not going to allow American pressure to turn us into one of history's lost causes, like the League of Nations," said a senior European official whose country supports the court.
Washington Times 8 Oct 2002 U.S. lists nations curbing religion Larry Witham The State Department yesterday identified 32 countries that violate religious freedom, ranging from anti-religious dictatorships such as China to regimes such as Saudi Arabia that are hostile to minority religions. Countries designated as "authoritarian" are nearly all communist and suppress all religion, and nations cited for "state hostility" to unapproved faiths are predominantly Muslim, according to the fourth annual Report on International Religious Freedom. The report, which details 195 nations, said that Egypt, India and Indonesia allow sectarian violence by dominant groups, while Israel and Russia discriminate against some religions, and anti-sect laws in France and Germany are being copied by communist regimes. "These inexcusable assaults on individual liberty and personal dignity cannot be justified in the name of any culture, in the name of any creed or in the name of any country," Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said at a news conference. "This report will serve as a basis for discussions with other nations on how best we can work together to end violations of this fundamental human right," he said. The annual report, required by Congress since 1998, does not prescribe potential U.S. actions, but Mr. Powell is required in its aftermath to issue a list of "countries of particular concern" that may have sanctions imposed. Nations listed for "particularly severe violations" now include North Korea, Iran, Iraq, Burma and Sudan. Since the report and sanctions were required by the International Religious Freedom Act, economic and political penalties already imposed on these countries have been called "double designated" responses to cover the religious violations. The independent U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, also established by the 1998 law, has criticized the State Department for not imposing new and tougher sanctions on countries such as Sudan and China. Amid the criticism, State Department officials have said the report establishes a basis for diplomacy with countries in hopes of solving individual cases or reversing trends of increased violation. "You often have to take satisfaction in small victories," Ambassador at Large for Religious Liberty John V. Hanford, who is responsible for the annual report, said at the news conference. Some countries that are allies of U.S. trade or the war on terrorism could be "on the cusp" of being added to the worst-case list, he said. "That is a tough call," he said when asked about Saudi Arabia. In addition to traditional forms of repression, he said, religious-based terrorism is "emerging as a new cause of religious persecution." The report said that "U.S. religious freedom policy is a means of fighting the war of terrorism" because such freedom promotes democracy abroad and relieves the duress that can produce young terrorists. The list of 32 countries, presented in the executive summary of the report, reflect a scale of the worst "level of brutality" to lesser forms of religious restrictions, Mr. Hanford said. Nations such as North Korea or Vietnam, where the state kills religious dissenters, are consider greater violators than Saudi Arabia, where "freedom of religion does not exist" but the violence is far less, according to the report. Of the worst nations, only Afghanistan has shown "a major improvement of religious freedom" with the fall of Taliban, the report said. "Religious freedom is under siege in many parts of the world," said Mr. Hanford, who has already traveled extensively to conduct quiet diplomacy since taking the post in May. While last year's report was overshadowed by the September 11 terrorist attacks, the listing of violator countries each year has provoked criticism from world capitals. "We're an equal opportunity offender," Mr. Hanford said. He cited the report's criticism of a French law banning sects, for example. "When I'm in Vietnam or China, this [French] law gets quoted" as justification for communist crackdowns, he said. The report explains that highest possible grade for a nation is to "generally respect" religious liberty, since it is not realized perfectly in any nation including the United States. The report is one of three annual human rights reports issued by the United States, the oldest being the "country reports" on all human rights. A second religious-liberty report is issued by the independent U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, which is often tougher on countries than the State Department. Yesterday's report also notes that: •The Cuban government maintains "a strong degree of control over religion." •Laos has 19 "known religious prisoners" who are Christians. •Israeli laws favoring Orthodox Jews discriminate against other faiths. •Jews, Baha'is, and Sufi Muslims are imprisoned in Iran. •Blasphemy laws in Pakistan allow "rivals" to get revenge. •Muslim charities in Sudan withhold aid from non-Muslims.
Inter Press Service 9 Oct 2002 US report blasts religious intolerance By Jim Lobe WASHINGTON - The US State Department on Monday accused several Asian states, in particular those with totalitarian governments or predominantly Muslim populations, of denying religious freedom to their citizens and discriminating against religious minorities. The fourth annual report report classifies abusive governments into five categories, ranging from totalitarian and authoritarian regimes that try to control religious belief or practice to those accused of stigmatizing certain religions by associating them with dangerous "cults" or "sects". In the first category, the report named Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, China, North Korea, and Cuba. No significant improvements were noted in any of these countries' policies toward religion during the past year, it said. But the situation in Afghanistan, which had been included on the same list the preceding three years, improved significantly as a result of the fall of the Taliban regime last December, said the report, which credited the new, US-backed interim government's commitment to religious tolerance. The second category of abusive governments - in which Islamic regimes were especially featured - included those that showed hostility toward minority or non-approved religions. These included Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and the Central Asian states of Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. "Baha'is, Jews, Christians, Mandaeans, and Sufi Muslims reported imprisonment, harassment or intimidation based on their religious beliefs" in Iran, said the report, which also noted the imprisonments of journalists and publishers of reformist newspapers on charges of "insulting Islam" or "calling into question the Islamic foundations of the Republic". The report accused Iraq's Sunni Muslim leaders of pursuing "systematic and vicious policies against the Shi'as", the country's largest religious group, as well as abuses against Assyrian and Chaldean Christians, while in Saudi Arabia, "freedom of religion does not exist", it said. In Pakistan, "the government failed to protect the rights of religious minorities, due both to public policy and to its unwillingness to take action against societal forces hostile to those that practice a different faith", the report found. It pointed especially to continued violence against the Shi'a and Ahmadi minorities, as well as several lethal attacks on Christian churches and agencies after the Taliban's ouster from Afghanistan. The report also listed eight countries where the state has generally neglected the problem of discrimination and harassment of minorities by non-official entities or local law-enforcement officials. Violators in this category included Indonesia, Bangladesh, India, Belarus, Georgia, Guatemala, Egypt and Nigeria. It singled out Egypt for having improved its treatment of minority Christian Copts over the past year. The fourth category included states that enacted discriminatory laws or pursued policies that disadvantage certain religions. The report named Malaysia, Brunei, Israel and the Occupied Territories, Jordan, Russia, Turkey, Moldova and Eritrea in this connection. In a rare criticism of Israel, the report noted that non-Jewish citizens there, chiefly Muslims, Druze and Christians, remain subject to "various forms of discrimination, some of which has a strong religious dimension". Israel's closure policy in the occupied territories over the past year has also prevented many Palestinians from reaching their places of worship, it added. In releasing the report, John Hanford III, US ambassador for international religious freedom, stressed that religious freedom was a potent weapon with which to "fight the war on terrorism". "The [September 11, 2001] attacks by al-Qaeda highlighted the reality that people can and do exploit religion for terrible purposes, in some cases manipulating and destroying other human beings as mere instruments in the process," says the report's introduction. "Where governments protect religious freedom, and citizens value it as a social good, religious persecution and religion-based violence find no warrant," it added, noting that such protections were essential to avoid a potential "clash of civilizations". But at least one Muslim organization here said that the United States has itself fallen short in this area since the September 11 attacks. "It would be very interesting to see what the authors of this report would say if they were to look at the United States," said Jason Erb, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). "While there is not institutionalized discrimination, there's definitely a high tolerance for discrimination [against Muslims] within the country right now, usually through religious profiling." The report is mandated under a law approved by Congress in 1998 after a lengthy and sometimes controversial campaign led mostly by lawmakers associated with the Christian Right upset about reports of growing persecution against Christians in China, India and Russia, as well as a number of Muslim countries. Their original bill, which included far-reaching and mandatory economic sanctions against offending governments, was targeted primarily at those regimes. But in the face of strong opposition from the administration of former president Bill Clinton and corporate interests with major investments in China and key Arab oil-exporting countries, the bill was significantly watered down. The president, for example, is not obliged to impose sanctions against any of the countries named as worst offenders in the report. But in coming weeks, the George W Bush administration could use the law to single out "countries of particular" concern and impose sanctions against them. Some of the abuses included in the third and fourth categories and even in the first group - such as police surveillance or unofficial harassment of minorities - could be applied to problems faced by Muslims in the United States, particularly since September 11 last year, according to CAIR's Erb. "We have a grave concern that all Muslims are now viewed as a security threat based on the acts of a few, and policies enacted since September 11 certainly had had the effect of stigmatizing all Muslims, particularly immigrants from Muslim countries," he noted. He cited "fingerprinting visitors from Muslim countries; interviews of Muslim immigrants where they have often been asked questions about their religious practices; and the fact that the Federal Bureau of Investigation [FBI] appears to be infiltrating mosques in order to engage in surveillance of activity that should be protected by the First Amendment of the US constitution" (which guarantees religious freedom). "Abuses here certainly aren't as grave as in many countries cited in the report, but there are certainly parallels that are interesting to note," Erb added.
villagevoice.com 9 Oct 2002 Exclusive -Researchers Uncover Records of the Company's Work at Death-Camp Complex -The IBM Link to Auschwitz by Edwin Black. The infamous Auschwitz tattoo began as an IBM number. And now it's been revealed that IBM machines were actually based at the infamous concentration-camp complex. IBM's extensive technological support for Hitler's conquest of Europe and genocide against the Jews was extensively documented in my book IBM and the Holocaust, published in February 2001. Last March, the Voice broke exclusive new details of a special wartime subsidiary set up in Poland by IBM's New York headquarters, shortly after Hitler's 1939 invasion, to help Germany automate the rape of Poland. The new revelation of IBM technology in the Auschwitz area constitutes a final link in the chain of documentation surrounding Big Blue's vast enterprise in Nazi-occupied Poland, supervised at first directly from its New York headquarters, and later through its Geneva office. "This latest disclosure removes any pretext of deniability and completes the puzzle that has been put together about IBM in Poland," says Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the New York–based Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations. "The picture that emerges is most disturbing." IBM spokesman Carol Makovich didn't respond to repeated telephone calls. In the past, when asked about IBM's Polish subsidiary's involvement with the Nazis, Makovich has said, "IBM does not have much information about this period." When a Reuters reporter asked about Poland, Makovich said, "We are a technology company, we are not historians." But these latest revelations about IBM come during an unprecedented confession by officials of the German media conglomerate Bertelsmann (which owns Random House, among other properties) that its previous official company history was incorrect and that it actually collaborated with Hitler's regime and used Jewish slave labor. Bertelsmann just released an 800-page report saying that company patriarch Heinrich Mohn belonged to a circle of supporters who donated money to a group called the "SS Sponsors Circle," which provided financing to Hitler's elite troops. As an October 8 report by The Wall Street Journal noted, Bertelsmann's new history stands in stark contrast to the previous official company record, which had portrayed Mohn as a devout Christian and strong opponent of Hitler. The current chairman of Bertelsmann, Gunter Thielen, was quoted as saying the company, which is still controlled by the Mohn family, accepted the conclusions of the report. Thielen added, "I would like to express our sincere regret for the inaccuracies . . . in our previous corporate history of the World War II era, as well as for the wartime activities that have been brought to light." Jewish leaders and others have pressed IBM to discuss its wartime activities, as companies such as Bertelsmann and Ford have done. "IBM must confront this matter honestly if there is to be any closure," said Hoenlein. And scholars have urged the company to open its New York archives to researchers. "The news that IBM machines were at Auschwitz is just the latest smoking gun," said Robert Urekew, a University of Louisville professor of business ethics who has studied IBM's Hitler-era activities. "For IBM to continue to stonewall and hinder access to its New York archives flies in the face of the focus on accountability in business ethics today. Since the United States was not technically at war with Nazi Germany in 1939, it may have been legal for IBM to do business with the Third Reich and its camps in Poland. But was it moral?" -- Thanks to the new discoveries, researchers can now trace how Hollerith numbers assigned to inmates evolved into the horrific tattooed numbers so symbolic of the Nazi era. (Herman Hollerith was the German American who first automated U.S. census information in the late 19th century and founded the company that became IBM. Hollerith's name became synonymous with the machines and the Nazi "departments" that operated them.) In one case, records show, a timber merchant from Bendzin, Poland, arrived at Auschwitz in August 1943 and was assigned a characteristic five-digit IBM Hollerith number, 44673. The number was part of a custom punch-card system devised by IBM to track prisoners in all Nazi concentration camps, including the slave labor at Auschwitz. Later in the summer of 1943, the Polish timber merchant's same five-digit Hollerith number, 44673, was tattooed on his forearm. Eventually, during the summer of 1943, all non-Germans at Auschwitz were similarly tattooed. Tattoos, however, quickly transmogrified at Auschwitz. Soon, they bore no further relation to Hollerith operations for one reason: The Hollerith number was designed to track a working inmate—not a dead one. Prisoner deaths at Auschwitz climbed at a staggering rate. Various tattoo numbering schemes ultimately took on a chaotic incongruity all its own as an internal Auschwitz-specific identification system. Central to the Nazi effort was a massive 500-man Hollerith Gruppe, installed in a looming brown building at 24 Murnerstrasse in Krakow, Poland. The Hollerith Gruppe of the Nazi Statistical Office crunched all the numbers of plunder and genocide that allowed the Nazis to systematically starve the Jews, meter them out of the ghettos, and then transport them to either work camps or death camps. The trains running to Auschwitz were tracked by a specially guarded IBM customer site facility at 22 Pawia in Krakow. The millions of punch cards the Nazis in Poland required were obtained exclusively from IBM, including from one company print shop at 6 Rymarska Street across the street from the Warsaw Ghetto. The entire Polish subsidiary was overseen by an IBM administrative facility at 24 Kreuz in Warsaw. The exact addresses and equipment arrays of the key IBM offices and customer sites in Nazi-occupied Poland had already been uncovered. But no one had ever been able to determine whether there was an IBM facility at, or even near, Auschwitz—until now. Auschwitz chief archivist Piotr Setkiewicz finally pinpointed the first such IBM customer site. Auschwitz was actually three concentration camps, surrounded by some 40 subcamps, numerous factories, and a collection of farms. The original Auschwitz became known simply as Auschwitz I, and functioned as a camp for transit, labor, and detention. Auschwitz II, also called Birkenau, became the extermination center, operating gas chambers and ovens. Nearby Auschwitz III, known as Monowitz, existed primarily as a slave labor camp. The newly unearthed IBM customer site was a huge Hollerith Büro. It was situated in the I.G. Farben factory complex, housed in Barracks 18, next to German Civil Worker Camp 7, about two kilometers from Monowitz. Archivists found the Büro only because it was listed in the I.G. Werk Auschwitz phone book on page 50. The phone extension was 4496. "I was looking for something else," recalls Auschwitz's Setkiewicz, "and there it was." Many of the long-known paper prisoner forms stamped Hollerith Erfasst, or "registered by Hollerith," indicated the prisoners were from Monowitz. Now Auschwitz archivist Setkiewicz has discovered about 100 Hollerith machine summary printouts of Monowitz prisoner assignments and details generated by the I.G. Farben customer site. Comparison of the new printouts to other typical camp cards shows the Monowitz systems were customized for the specific coding Farben needed to process the thousands of slave workers who labored and died there. The machines were probably also used to manage and develop manufacturing processes and ordinary business applications. The machines almost certainly did not maintain extermination totals, which were calculated as "evacuations" by the Hollerith Gruppe in Krakow. "The Hollerith office at IG Farben in Monowitz used the IBM machines as a system of computerization of civil and slave labor resources," said Setkiewicz. "This gave Farben the opportunity to identify people with certain skills, primarily skills needed for the construction of certain buildings in Monowitz." At press time, the diverse Farben codes and range of machine uses were still being studied.--- Even some IBM employees are frustrated by IBM's silence. Michael Zamczyk, a longtime employee of the company in San Jose, California, also is a survivor of the Krakow ghetto in the early 1940s. Revelations about IBM's ties to Hitler, which first came into public view in February 2001, spurred him to try to learn more about the company that he works for. "Originally," he said, "I was just trying to determine if it was IBM equipment that helped select my father to be shipped to Auschwitz, and if the machines were used to schedule the trains to Auschwitz." Zamczyk said he started writing letters and e-mails, but to no avail. "Now I feel that IBM owes me, as an IBM employee, an apology," he said. "And that is all I am looking for." But Zamczyk said he's frustrated. "The only response I got," he said, "was basically telling me there would be no public or private apology. But I am still waiting for that apology and debating what to do next." Meanwhile, wartime documents continue to be uncovered in Europe. ---Edwin Black is author of IBM and the Holocaust: The Strategic Alliance Between Nazi Germany and America's Most Powerful Corporation (Crown Publishers 2001 and Three Rivers Press 2002). This article is drawn from his just released German paperback edition. Information relating to the new Auschwitz discovery will be appended to future editions of the English-language editions.
NorthJersey.com, NJ 12 Oct 2002 Remembering the 'Great Hunger' By ELIZABETH LLORENTE Staff Writer Few places have gripped Carol Russell like the farm in Ireland that she visited this spring. The farm includes remnants of an old village that became a ghost town after the potato blight that killed more than 1 million people and forced another 2 million to flee their homes. Russell saw parts of homes that famine victims abandoned. And she saw crudely carved gravestones and a mound, rimmed by small rocks, said to be a burial site for unbaptized babies who starved to death. She thought of her great-grandparents, who were among the nearly 1 million who fled to the United States in the 1840s to escape hunger. "What I saw there tied in so directly with my own family history," said Russell, an art critic from Morristown. "I've never gone hungry, because my relatives made the difficult effort to come to America." Today, Russell will join other Irish-Americans on the steps of the Bergen County Courthouse, near a memorial to Irish famine victims, to commemorate the tragedy. Since the memorial was unveiled in 1995, Irish-Americans have used the annual commemoration to reflect on the suffering that led to the first major migration of the Irish to the United States. Focusing on the potato blight gives many the chance to discuss a topic that long had been taboo. "It was too painful for Irish émigrés," said Francis J. Holt, a River Vale chiropractor and chairman of the commemoration. "They didn't talk about it. It's like prisoners of war not wanting to talk about what they went through. It's a protective phenomenon." The shame was not confined to the famine; many Irish-Americans say their immigrant relatives said little, or nothing at all, about the hostility many faced when they arrived on U.S. shores. "The early Irish immigrants lived in squalor," said Bill O'Connell of Waldwick. "They were ill-educated, they were hungry. Many people, even Irish who were born here and weren't immigrants, felt ashamed of their history." And so now, many Irish-Americans view the famine and other Old Sod affairs as things to be recounted often and passionately. Indeed, after the Irish American Unity Conference, a human-rights group, concluded a congressional candidates forum in Ridgewood on Wednesday, Holt urged his compatriots: "Bring your children on Saturday. ... We must tell them." A driving mission of Irish-Americans who want to heighten awareness of the potato blight, in which a fungus caused the crop to rot, is to convince other Americans the deaths of so many did not have to happen. Though scholars debate this view, many Irish-Americans argue that discrimination by the British - who ruled over Ireland - led to deficient relief efforts. A few years ago, Irish-Americans persuaded New Jersey to add a lesson about the famine to its curriculum about the Holocaust and genocide. A 1998 survey showed 65 percent of public school districts teach the famine. "The Irish could have survived on other things, like grain and other crops, but they were forced to sell it, to export it, by the British," said Peter Quinn, who lives in Tenafly and left Ireland more than 50 years ago. Holt says the best way to describe the tragedy, which lasted for about five years, is to call it the "Great Hunger." "If someone dies because of a famine, it means no food was available,'' Holt said. "But it was. The Irish weren't allowed to eat it." Some have dismissed the accusation as an attempt to stir up anti-British feelings. But in 1997, British Prime Minister Tony Blair apologized for the government's inadequate efforts to help the Irish during the potato blight. Meanwhile, Irish-Americans such as Holt, Quinn, and Russell say their obligations to their roots are as much about fighting present-day injustices against the Irish as telling about past hardship. At Wednesday's forum, the audience peppered candidates or their representatives with questions about ending sectarian conflict in Northern Ireland. With some prodding by Russell, who is president of the Bergen County chapter of the Irish American Unity Conference, the candidates and their aides vowed to work for an end to British rule in Northern Ireland, and to travel there if they are elected. For Russell, the pledges were a small step along the road she told herself she'd never veer from when she visited the famine-ravaged village this year. "Standing there, literally on the bones of my ancestors, I thought about how I needed to give something back to that land," Russell said, "how I had to make people in America see that the Irish are a proud and dignified race of people."
Salt Lake Tribune 13 Oct 2002 Goshutes Feared Two Savage Enemies: Starvation, and the White Man Sunday, October 13, 2002 BY WILL BAGLEY Historian Milton Hunter claimed the first colonists of Tooele Valley's lush grasslands "had almost continuous trouble with the Indians." Hunter blamed "very aggressive" natives for stealing cattle and claimed they were "plotting" to "run the first few settlers out." Like much of what Hunter wrote, the claim the Kusiutta -- the Goshutes -- were "in a position and frame of mind" to massacre the Mormons is malarkey. (The great scholar Herbert Bolton once said Hunter was the worst student he ever had.) The Kusiutta were not formidable warriors and feared the well-armed whites almost as much as they dreaded their most ancient enemy, starvation. "Do we wish the Indians any evil?" Brigham Young asked as he struggled to find a just way to deal with Utah's tribes. "No, we would do them good for they are human beings." But he warned Utah's Indian leaders in May 1850, "We cannot live with bad Indians." Utah's natives were "doing no good here to themselves or anybody else," Young, as governor, complained. There was nothing in Utah but "naked rocks and soil, naked Indians and wolves" who were "annoying, and destructive to property and peace." The Mormons were "trying to shoot, trap and poison the wolves," and in 1850 Young asked the federal government to remove all the Indians from the territory. The U.S. government did nothing, but in June 1851 militia Captain William McBride led the third "Tooele Expedition" west into Kusiutta country. His 55 men spent four frustrating days chasing Indians who had stolen 15 head of cattle and horses. After three days, the soldiers spotted nine Indians, who vanished into the brush. Tracked to a mountaintop, these fearsome warriors fired one shot and disappeared. Every time the soldiers spotted Indians, they "had principally relocated" before they could catch them. Soon McBride's men were "melted down" and fainting from exhaustion. At last they found the Indian camp and the cattle "butchered recently and concealed in the cedars." McBride reported they "burned everything we could find, including the meat." Then McBride crossed the line dividing legitimate (if brutal) military actions from genocide. "We wish you without a moment's hesitation to send us about a pound of arsenic we want to give the Indians' well a flavour," McBride wrote. "A little strychnine would be of fine service, and serve instead of salt, to their too-fresh meat." His report ended with a three-line appeal: Don't forget the arsenic! Don't forget the spade and arsenic! Don't forget the spade, strychnine and arsenic! This may not prove territorial officers poisoned Goshutes, but journals reveal Utah's Indians were convinced Mormons used poison to try to exterminate them. Despite such war crimes, the Kusiutta survived. Today, as the sovereign Goshute Nation, they have at last found a way to profit from the desolate 18,000-acre Skull Valley Reservation created in 1918. The state has designated the West Desert a waste zone, but won't tolerate an Indian casino, so the tribe must, as the state Web site notes, "rely on economic development programs which are consistent with the numerous waste, production and testing facilities" surrounding the Rez. The West Desert is littered with poison gas, toxic waste, unexploded bombs and "low-level" nuclear waste, generating millions in profits for businesses and campaign contributions for legislators. The Goshute Nation believes it has found a way to bring its people a better life. Will Bagley found Capt. William McBride's June 14, 1851, report at Utah State Archives.
Telegraph UK 14 Oct 2002 Massacre unfolds in slow motion By Julian Coman Washington The numbers, and fatalities, are mounting but no end is in sight. As the Washington sniper claimed his tenth hit and eighth kill in just over a week, the chief of Montgomery County police, Inspector Charles Moose, gave his 31st press conference since the murders began. He had no new leads. When asked if he felt frustrated by the ability of his quarry to outwit more than 1000 police officers and 100 FBI agents on the case, Inspector Moose responded frostily. "Frustration is your word," he snapped. "We are not frustrated. We continue to work diligently." Privately, inside the inspector's cramped and overcrowded police headquarters at Rockville, where FBI officers work standing up because of a lack of desk-space, there is no need for a public front. "This guy's driving us crazy," admitted a local officer. "We're still in the dark about so much and he just keeps on going." The latest victim was named on Friday evening as Kenneth Bridges, 53, a father of six, who was shot at a Virginia petrol station. The latest killing in what has been dubbed "the slow-motion massacre" took place in full view of a state trooper investigating a traffic accident across the street. "Obviously we're dealing with an individual who is extremely violent and doesn't care," said local sheriff Howard Smith. Theories can be heard in every gun shop, bar and shopping mall in Washington, DC, and beyond. The man who has shot from a distance to kill eight strangers in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia, and has wounded two others, including a small boy, may be a soldier who has gone off the rails. He could be a frustrated sniper rejected by the army. Or a terrorist. Or a deranged hunter. For others he is a cinema obsessive, a crazed imitator of the plot of Dirty Harry, the 1970s film starring Clint Eastwood, in which a sadistic sniper terrorised San Francisco; or of Two-minute Warning, a film in which a psychopath, armed with a rifle, embarks on a cross-country sniping rampage chased by police. Along with the theories come questions. Why has he only killed on weekdays? Is he working with an accomplice? So far, the leaders of one of the biggest manhunts in American history have no answers and no clues regarding the most important question of all: where will the assassin go next? The random shootings, which began 10 days ago, targeting men, women and children, have a constant feature: the victim is felled by one .223 calibre bullet, fired from a high-powered hunting or military rifle. The gun is probably a standard American military M-16 or a Remington or Bushmaster hunting rifle. Both give accuracy over distance. The killer aims for the head or the torso. He knows how to shoot.
Gulf Daily News, Bahrain 14 Oct 2002 Preacher's apology is welcomed CAIRO: Officials from Muslim countries welcomed yesterday an apology from conservative US preacher Jerry Falwell for insulting Islam, and urged that debate be more informed. Falwell, a leading voice for the Christian right in America, had angered Muslims across the world with his comments, triggering Hindu-Muslim clashes in western India that left at least nine people dead. But on Saturday, he said he meant no disrespect to "any sincere, law abiding Muslim". "It's good and fitting that he should apologise for remarks which hurt so many Muslims' feelings around the world. But people should really think before they speak, and make sure they really know about Islam before commenting on it," an Egyptian official said. "There has been a trend since September 11 to criticise Islam unfairly. Many of the people who comment on Islam don't have any idea what the faith is really about. There is also a trend to use criticism of Islam for political advantage." Falwell's apology came after top Iranian and British officials condemned the remarks, which he made last week in an interview on the CBS news show 60 Minutes. Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi on Wednesday condemned the remarks as encouraging violence. "What this American priest said encourages war among civilisations and also increases crises and it should be confronted," Kharrazi said. British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, who was in Iran to seek Tehran's support for a tough UN resolution on Iraq, said he regarded Falwell's comments "as much an insult to me as a Christian as they are to Muslims."
AP 14 Oct 2002 Black abortion foes march in Birmingham By JAY REEVES Activists, led by a minister from North Carolina, portrayed abortion as a plot to wipe out the black race as they marched through downtown Monday, treading the same ground as civil rights protesters nearly 40 years ago. About 50 people chanted and held signs with slogans including "Stop Black Genocide" as they paraded on the same Birmingham street where blacks marching for equal rights were doused by fire hoses in the early '60s. The turnout was disappointing since organizers wanted at least 1,452 participants - the number of black babies they say are aborted daily in the United States. Demonstrator Freddie Johnson lamented the turnout, saying many blacks think of abortion as being an issue for whites. "People aren't educated about what abortion is. They just think it's a mass of tissue and not a baby," said Johnson, who said she participated in the civil rights protests in the '60s in Birmingham. March leader Johnny M. Hunter said the abortion industry has "targeted" blacks by locating a disproportionate number of clinics in majority black areas. "We're dying out as a race," said Hunter, a pastor from Fayetteville, N.C., and director of the Life, Education and Resource Network. The group concluded three days of abortion protests in the city with the march. Hunter said the founder of Planned Parenthood Federation of America Inc., Margaret Sanger, was interested in racial superiority theories later espoused by Hitler and wanted to eliminate blacks through abortion. "She was just as racist as she could be," said Hunter. A statement by Planned Parenthood, which describes itself as world's largest reproductive health care organization, said abortion opponents were mischaracterizing Sanger's beliefs. "Margaret Sanger was not a racist," the organization said. A survey released earlier this month by the Alan Guttmacher Institute found that blacks and Hispanics have disproportionately high abortion rates. Blacks make up about 14 percent of women age 15 to 44 but account for 32 percent of abortions, the survey found. Pregnancy rates are historically higher among minority women.
AP 15 Oct 2002
Race riot trial stirs emotions for family of murder victim YORK (AP)
- From the time Lillie Belle Allen was born on Christmas Day 1941, the daughter
of a preacher, relatives were not surprised to see her grow into an independent
woman who watched over her seven brothers and sisters and raised her two children
alone. "When someone's born on Christmas Day, you look at them a little differently,"
said her brother, Benjamin Mosley, of Columbia, S.C. "She was special." In
her family's eyes, Allen was also a martyr: Her short life ended July 21, 1969,
in a hail of gunfire while trying to save four relatives from a mob of armed
white gang members during York's race riots. Now, 33 years later, Mosley and
six other relatives, including Allen's two children, are attending the trial
of York's former mayor and two other white men charged with murder in her death.
Her relatives, five of whom live in South Carolina, brought with them a
range of emotions: There is forgiveness for those who they believe have told
what they know about the "uneasy alliance" prosecutors say existed between white
police officers and white gang members to kill blacks. And there is bitterness
and sorrow over those who they believe have hidden the truth of Allen's slaying,
which at least a dozen witnesses have rendered during testimony. "It amazes
me how people can still have hate in their hearts and go through what they did
without changing," said Allen's son, Michael, of North Augusta, S.C. The attack
on Allen was one of scores during the 10-day riots that left two people dead,
about 60 wounded and whole city blocks torched before about 400 state troopers
and National Guardsmen came to town with tanks and rifles to quell violence
between blacks and whites. Lillie Belle's children, Debra Taylor and Michael
Allen, said they were young adults before they made peace with their mother's
death, using their closely held religion as a roadmap. Hate and vengefulness
gave way to forgiveness, they said. Still, despite the long years since their
mother's slaying, the trial has been "very difficult after coming to grips with
it and making my peace with it, only to have it stirred up," said Taylor, who
is raising a 13-year-old son in Aiken, S.C. The hardest part has been listening
to rationalizations for Allen's killing - defense attorneys contend that Allen's
death is the tragic result of white residents acting in self-defense - or arguments
that charges should not have been brought after all these years, they say. Saying
new information surfaced, prosecutors reopened an investigation in December
1999. Jury selection and testimony so far have taken three weeks, and the trial
is expected to last at least another week. Sheriff's officers escort the family
members each morning from their hotel down the block to the courthouse and then
back at the end of the day. Most days, they sit in the courtroom's steel folding
chairs right across the aisle from family members of the three men facing life
in prison if convicted. Those men are Charlie Robertson, a police officer in
1969 who went on to become York's two-term mayor, and two other white men whom
prosecutors say were members of the white gangs that ambushed Allen and unleashed
a barrage of gunfire that kept Allen's sister, brother-in-law and parents pinned
down in their Cadillac until police arrived. Robertson, 68, is accused of inciting
white gangs to violence against blacks and handing out ammunition to gang members
in an effort to even the score for the shooting of white patrolman Henry Schaad
on July 18, 1969, in a black neighborhood. Some testimony has been graphic.
Racial epithets were used liberally to quote gang members. Other witnesses explained
how Allen's chest was torn open by the lead shotgun slug.
Guardian UK 14 Oct 2002 The lost tribe Only a handful of native Tasmanians escaped being slaughtered by the English in the 19th century. Now a bitter row has broken out between the many people - some black, some white - who claim to be their descendants. Acclaimed author Richard Flanagan asks what it really means to be an Aborigine. - In Tasmania over the past few months tension has steadily built over a single question to which it may be presumed there is a very simple answer: who is an Aborigine? On an island of ironies, where leading Aboriginal activists can have fair skin and blue eyes, the question becomes daily more perplexing. Even to Tasmanian Aborigines, some of whom are predicting bloodshed, the answer is divisive. To the rest of the world it is merely baffling, for Tasmania is to this day frequently - and wrongly - cited as the site of the only successful genocide in history. On that strange, sorry island so far away, the antipode of the antipodes, it was said that a race of indigenous people had, within 80 years of the English invasion, disappeared from the face of the earth as surely as the dodo. Glosses on their fate varied, but no doubt was had as to the fate itself. With the death of Trugannini in 1876, the last of the Tasmanians was gone. The dominant early view was that they had been wiped out by the colonisers. This, at least, had the honesty of acknowledging the horror of the English invasion. The Aborigines had fought back in a long war, and some, if not all, early colonists recognised their right in doing so. "Whatever the future historian of Tasmania may have to say," wrote the 19th century historian JE Calder, "he will do them an injustice if he fails to record that, as a body, they held their ground bravely for 30 years against the invaders of their beautiful domains." But this view dimmed as a new idea took hold in the late 19th century, backed with the ballast of the most advanced scientific thought. Nothing seemed to offer more striking proof to the late Victorian mind of the infernal truth of social Darwinism than the supposed demise of the Tasmanian Aborigines. They were an inferior race, a meek and primitive people doomed to die out, and the coming of the English, with their diseases and guns, had merely hastened the inevitable. It was a strangely pervasive and persuasive view which held until as late as the 1970s when prominent archaelogists would still talk of "the declining technological base of the extinct Tasmanian Aborigines". While this wistful debate went on, the descendants of Tasmanian Aborigines battled a bizarre and most Tasmanian of fates: while some were discriminated against as black people, being subjected to different laws, forced until the 1940s to live in special areas, and until the 1970s subjected to a policy of assimilation that could see their children being taken away from them, they would be reviled if they called for equal rights as Aborigines, being told Tasmanian Aborigines didn't exist. The oppression these Aborigines experienced following the so-called black war led to many paradoxes. The survivors of the invasion fell into two groups. There were those largely descended from the offspring of Aboriginal women stolen or bought from Aboriginal tribes in the early 19th century by white sealers and taken to the remote islands in Bass Strait, the sea some hundreds of miles wide that separates Tasmania from Australia. Here they were used as slave labour and often treated with extreme cruelty. The women sometimes killed the offspring of their liaisons with the sealers. But not all. The ones that survived formed a distinct community in the isolation of the Bass Strait islands, conscious of their standing and rights as Aborigines. The second group were the descendants of Aborigines who lived on the Tasmanian mainland. Their lives were even more difficult, the assertion of their Aboriginality courting contempt and discrimination. It was far easier to live as a Tasmanian by not being black, and so many Tasmanian Aboriginals kept quiet about there being "blackfellas" in the family. And yet, in their family ways, in their traditions and customs, they retained much that marked them as different. But Van Diemen's Land, as Tasmania was known until 1856 when it changed its name to rid itself of the stigma associated with its convict past and history of war, was not an English land, but a polyglot world, full of Otahetians, Caribbean slave revolt leaders, Lascars, Moluccan whalers and Maori sealers, and their descendants, too, hid their origins with fabulous genealogies of Portuguese princesses and Spanish maidens. In time the descendants of such people not only wondered if they were not, too, Tasmanian Aborigines, but were often discriminated against on that very basis, sometimes for generations. Having suffered and continuing to suffer as Tasmanian Aborigines, not without good reason some came to believe that they were Tasmanian Aborigines. Over the past 30 years the Tasmanian Aboriginal community has been resurgent, finding an organised voice in the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre (Tac). But over time the radicals of the 1970s transformed into a black political establishment. Tac's sense of identifying only those allied to its politics as the Aboriginal community, and those opposed to Tac and its politics as not being Aborigine, led to a growing anger on the part of those Aborigines who didn't see eye to eye with Tac. Through the 1990s the fracturing of Tasmanian Aboriginal politics was given impetus by the ongoing corruption of a number of black organisations started under federal government programmes, with large amounts of public money being lost. The saddest expression of the poisonous infighting that now seemed endemic came when the bones of 19th-century Aborigines, returned from European museums, were stolen from safekeeping on Aboriginal property by Aborigines hostile to Tac. Then came the announcement that the national Aboriginal body, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (Atsic), was to trial the creation of an indigenous electoral roll in Tasmania. Begun by the Hawke Labor government in 1990 with the lofty ideal of allowing black people to control their own destiny, Atsic was seen by some as an embryonic black parliament. It was to administer black education, health, and social welfare, and be overseen by elected black representatives. A decade on, the hope reposed in this body has long disappeared in a welter of ongoing allegations of corruption and incompetence. Given the indifference and very low turn out of Aboriginal voters, powerful Atsic positions controlling large government funds have been ripe for the picking through vote rigging. Until now, anyone declaring themselves Aboriginal at the polling booth could, unless directly challenged, vote in Atsic elections. The trial indigenous electoral roll was meant as an attempt by Atsic to begin cleaning up its own tarnished image. But with it, the long simmering personal enmities, the old family feuds, the ideological squabbles, the political battles of distant origin and the new disagreements, the simple rage felt by many toward Tac, exploded into a controversy attracting national and international attention. Tight selection criteria were to be used in determining Aboriginality. Unless an applicant could produce official documents tracing their lineage back to traditional Aborigines at the time of invasion, they would not be deemed Aborigine. In Tasmania this criterion suits the Aborigines from the Bass Strait islands, whose histories are thoroughly recorded in consequence of their separate treatment by the government. But for the Aborigines of the Tasmanian mainland, whose lives as invisible black people demanded the falsifying of names and genealogies, whose histories can sometimes not be found in 19th-century documents, and whose sympathies are not always those of Tac, all that remains is oral history. They rely on family stories of Aborigines who, not killed in the wars or caught up in official dragnets being taken off to settlements on the islands, made new identities in the frontier world of colonial Van Diemen's Land, interbreeding with the freed convicts, publicly denying their Aboriginality, but privately passing it on. The problem with oral history is that it is also a wonderful quarry for the creative and the fraudulent. Alongside those families who, despite the lack of documentary evidence, all acknowledge to be Aboriginal, there has flourished in the past 10 years many families whose claims to Aboriginality are fiercely contested. Their tales of descent from lost tribes seem, to the sceptical, highly dubious, bordering on the fabulous, and have no basis in the historical record. The number of those identifying as Aborigine in Tasmania rapidly rose in the late 20th century. Out of the island's declining population of less than 500,000 people, the number of those choosing to tick the box in the census asking if you are an Aborigine has ballooned in the past two decades, from 2,700 in 1981, to 16,000 in 2001. Yet only 1,298 people applied for inclusion as Aborigines on Atsic's electoral roll. What next erupted was a tragi-comic furore, tinged with absurdity. The task would have proven contentious anywhere in Australia. But in Tasmania it has proven disastrous, with senior Aboriginal leaders privately conceding that it will only get much worse, expecting to see houses being burnt down. To 1,100 of the electoral roll applicants were lodged a total of 2,572 objections. Cousins objected to cousins, fathers objected to sons, and one man even objected to his own inclusion on the list. Why this obscure battle in remote Tasmania has had curious resonance around the globe is not easily explained. The prospect of indigenous people applying strict criteria of race seems a curious inversion, or even reversion to a time when master races had done the nose measuring. It raises questions that are not readily or easily answered, because it shows that the politics of identity can sometimes obscure more than they reveal; that they can cripple and gaol, as much as they can liberate. Could it be that the need to be one thing denies the many things we come from, and the many things we are constantly becoming? Could it be that in the merge of Aborigine and convict cultures that occurred in Tasmania something else came into being, neither European nor Aborigine, but something different in its own terms? And is it possible that the indigenous people of Tasmania are unique in ways not accurately described by the word Aborigine, that are mocked by the word black? Unlike some mainland black groups, Tasmanian Aborigines now have no traditional tribal culture left. It was taken from them with great violence and great rapidity. And yet they remained different and what that difference is haunts them till this day. In the 1970s they were the first black community in Australia to face up to the issue of what it was to be modern and black in contemporary Australia. To find some rock of new identity, they proposed the idea of a separate Aboriginal nation, a concept owing more to modern European political thinking than to black traditions. In so doing they were reinforcing the idea of a profound racial divide that was essentially European, not Aboriginal. Tasmanian Aborigines at the time of the English invasion at first saw themselves as fundamentally connected to white people. It was to England their spirits went at death to be reborn as Englishmen. In the traditional Aboriginal cultures that remain in remoter parts of Australia, Aboriginality is not defined by the European notion of race but by knowledge of the Aboriginal "Law", best but not completely understood as black culture, into the ways and meanings of which young men and women are separately initiated. Though difficult and exceedingly rare, it is possible for a "whitefella" to be initiated into the Law and thus exist in the black world as a "blackfella". Access to the public purse demands that Aboriginality not become a haven for the spiritually needy and financially dubious. It means that there must be some objective criterion to determine Aboriginal identity, and the only objective criterion, finally, is proof of blood. Yet while European notions of blood are not as catholic in their liberating possibilities for identity as initiation into the Law, it is in these notions of blood which denied Tasmanians their identity for so long, that Aboriginal Tasmanians now find themselves writhing in a new torment. A people who suffered so completely from a racist ideology, and whose very existence was denied for over a century, now have to face once more their recurrent, mocking fate: the derision of a world that, in the end, still thinks they don't exist. In the 1970s a young Tasmanian Aborigine, Errol West, wrote a beautiful poem, The Moon Birds of Big Dog Island, about the great gaping absence that was being a Tasmanian Aborigine. Like dust blown across the plain are the people of the Moon Bird. And yet there is no one to teach me the songs That bring the Moon Bird, the fish Or any other thing that makes me what I am. · Richard Flanagan's latest novel is Gould's Book of Fish. He is the winner of the 2002 Commonwealth Writers Prize.
AFP 9 Oct 2002 Taliban victims' graves found in Afghanistan MAZAR-I-SHARIF: Afghan authorities have found several mass graves containing bodies of ethnic Hazaras allegedly killed by the deposed Taliban militia in northern Balkh province, a report said on Wednesday. The Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) reported local officials as saying that seven graves were found recently in Balkh. "The graves are of people from the Hazara community who were killed by Taliban," Saeed Mohammad, a close ally of the northern Uzbek leader Abdul Rashid Dostam, was quoted as telling reporters in the provincial capital Mazar-i-Sharif. He said that one mass grave was found in Chamtal town, 36 km west of Mazar-i-Sharif and another just 4 km from the city. Another provincial official, identified only by his first name Akhlaqi, as saying that at least seven mass graves had been found in the region. A witness told AIP that he had seen the remains and clothes worn by the Hazaras, members of the mainly minority Shiite sect concentrated in central Afghanistan. But a spokesman for the Hazara's main community group Hezb-i-Wahdat, General Ustad Sayeedi, said that they had long known of the graves. "These graves are nothing new," Sayeedi said, adding "We have known about them for a long time. What we want now is someone to come and investigate them properly. An estimated 10,000 people have been killed and their bodies have been interred in mass graves throughout northern Afghanistan." The fundamentalist militia had repeatedly denied reports that it massacred Hazaras when it seized Mazar-i-Sharif in 1998. The capture of Mazar-i-Sharif came a year after the Taliban was defeated in their attempt to overrun the key northern city. Thousands of their fighters were killed by forces of rival general Abdul Malik in the 1997 battle. The United Nations last month said that it was preparing a team to investigate reports of a grave in northern Afghanistan which was said to contain the bodies of hundreds of Taliban prisoners. "We are holding consultations at the sites and once they are identified, we will proceed," spokesman Manoel de Almeida e Silva told reporters in Kabul on September 22. A report by Newsweek magazine quoted witnesses including truck driers and local residents as saying that some 1,000 Taliban prisoners may have died of asphyxiation in container trucks while being transferred by the US-backed Northern Alliance. The victims were thought to have died while being transferred from the northern city of Kunduz to the town of Shebargan, the base of regional strongman Dostam. Northern Alliance leaders in Mazar, including Dostum denied the report.
ABS CBN News, Philippines - 3 Oct 2002 Cambodians call for Khmer Rouge trials CHEOUNG EK - Thousands of Cambodians thronged to one of the Khmer Rouge's most notorious execution sites on Thursday to remember victims of the "killing fields" and renew calls to try those responsible for genocide. The name of Cheoung Ek, a paddy field on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, is seared into hearts and minds in Cambodia, where 1.7 million people died during the Khmer Rouge's four-year reign of terror in the 1970s. It was here that thousands of men, women and children suspected of opposing dictator Pol Pot's bloody, peasant revolution were killed and bulldozed into mass graves. Despite the wishes of many Cambodians and efforts of the international community, no Khmer Rouge leader has ever stood trial for what was one of the 20th century's worst atrocities. "This place is very critical to us -- the place where they killed hundreds of people," said Phnom Penh governor Chea Sophara who lost 27 relatives, including his mother, in the slaughter. He was among the 3,000 Cambodians crowded round the silent tower of human skulls at the center of the site, to offer prayers and food to the spirits of the dead as part of the annual Pchnum Benn "Festival of the Dead." "There is no question the Khmer Rouge leaders must be tried, otherwise the spirits of the victims will never be appeased," he said. Nearly five years of talks between Phnom Penh and the United Nations to set up a genocide tribunal broke down in February. With the international community now focused on the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001 few are optimistic about a restart. Some analysts doubt the Cambodian government, sprinkled with former Khmer Rouge cadres, really wants to push ahead with a trial for fear of what dark secrets might emerge. Even today, tourists making the pilgrimage to Cheoung Ek and its memorial tower of 8,000 skulls, find human bones and fragments of clothes sticking out of the soil. "I cannot describe today," said Moeun Nath, a 67-year-old nun who lost five children under the Khmer Rouge. "Even though their rule is over, for me it's not over unless those responsible are punished," she said, tears streaking down her cheeks. The majority of modern Cambodia's 13 million people are too young to remember the horror, but they too feel the injustice. "I do not know much about the Khmer Rouge but I know the meaning of genocide from my studies at school," said one student who did not wish to be named. "Whoever is responsible for genocide must be prosecuted to ensure it never happens again."
Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 9 Oct 2002, Cambodian premier hopes to send judges to international court, Phnom Penh Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Wednesday that he plans on proposing some of the country's judges for seats on the newly-established International Criminal Court. "Cambodia already has plans to send some of its judges to stand as candidates for the International Criminal Court," Sen told about 100 officials, diplomats and legal experts at a conference on the ICC, at the Hotel Intercontinental in Phnom Penh. "Cambodia strongly hopes that they will receive support from the other member countries," he said. Cambodia's notorious judicial system is frequently criticized by rights groups and legal experts for its lack of independence, resources and corruption. The failure of the country's judiciary to meet "international standards" was one of the chief concerns of the United Nations in setting up a joint tribunal for former Khmer Rouge leaders. The world body withdrew in February from negotiations to set up a court that would prosecute leaders of the late 1970s regime, which was responsible for the deaths of some 2 million people.
Reuters 10 Oct 2002 Cambodia positive on resuming genocide trial talks By Ek Madra PHNOM PENH, Oct 10 (Reuters) - Cambodia gave its most positive indication to date on Thursday that it and the United Nations might patch up their differences and restart talks on a genocide trial of the former leaders of the Khmer Rouge. Sok An, Phnom Penh's chief negotiator to the U.N., said he was optimistic the talks, which broke down in acrimony in February, would restart since many of the major issues separating the two sides had been ironed out. "I am optimistic because we have solved all the main obstacles, and only small things are left over," he told a news conference. He did not say what remained to be hammered out. The ultra-Maoist Khmer Rouge are said to have been responsible for the deaths of 1.7 million people, many from execution, starvation and overwork, during their four-year reign of terror in the late 1970s. No Khmer Rouge commander has stood trial for the "autogenocide", as it has become known. Many of those who survive live a life of peace and quiet in small homes tucked away in the jungle or in luxury villas in central Phnom Penh. Talks to establish a genocide trial started five years ago, and the U.N. stunned Cambodia by pulling out in February, saying its trial plans fell short of international standards of justice. Phnom Penh countered by accusing the U.N. of doubting its intentions from the start. Since then, Cambodia has explored other options including a court established with another country, or going it alone. However, it has always made clear the U.N.-backed tribunal was its preferred option. Prime Minister Hun Sen, himself a former Khmer Rouge cadre, gave only a cautious welcome in August to a move by U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan to win a mandate for new talks from the U.N. General Assembly members. At the time, Hun Sen declined to reveal how optimistic he was, saying it was merely a "wait and see" situation. Sok An said the main pressure for the talks to resume had come from Australia and Japan, both major donors to the impoverished southeast Asian nation. He also countered growing suggestions that some of the ageing Khmer Rouge commanders were too infirm to face a full international tribunal, saying he had studied their medical records and believed they were fit to stand trial.
Al-Ahram (Egypt) 3 - 9 October 2002 Issue No. 606 Gandhi's legacy betrayed India was thrown into chaos last week as another spate of communal violence gripped Gujarat. Murad Bukhari wonders if this is just the tip of the iceberg. Gujarat Special Police stand guard on the lawn of Akshardham Temple in Gandhinagar where 31 people were killed and 70 injured in a terrorist attack on 25 September Gujarat was the homeland of Mohandas Gandhi, a man of supreme religious tolerance and possibly the greatest pacifist of the 20th century. Yet, in recent times, it has seen some of the worst communal and inter-religious violence in India's post- Independence history. On the evening of Tuesday, 24 September, the flames of communal violence erupted once more. This time at the 23 acre Akshardham Swaminarayan Temple Complex in Gandhinagar, the state's capital. According to one eyewitness, two armed Muslims walked into the complex, spraying bullets indiscriminately. Thirty- one were killed and scores more injured in the ensuing melee. Shots, screams and explosions pierced the usually calm and serene evening air. After a siege lasting 12 hours, the two were finally shot dead by government commandos. The following morning the site of the massacre was littered with the human debris of the dead and wounded. Blood stained the walls of the temple and its, normally pristine, sandstone walls were riddled with bullets. In a temple that normally bustled with the faithful, the silence was deafening. Although the Indian government was quick to suggest a Pakistani hand in the killings, the rhetoric was soon replaced by calls for calm and national unity. Fearing yet more communal violence in the aftermath of the massacre, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, stressed "the trend of killings and counter-killings in Gujarat must stop and the people of Gujarat should fight terrorism by peace and harmony." However, the reaction of Hindu nationalist leaders and groups, including Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, has sought to divide, rather than unify, India's diverse polity. In the past, Modi has been accused of manipulating communal tension between Muslims and Hindus to bolster his own hard-line position on Gujarat's Muslim minority. Indeed, many blame him, albeit indirectly, for inciting the anti-Muslim riots that took place in the aftermath of February's Godhra train massacre. Some say that Modi, a member of India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has been playing the hard-line Hindu card for the upcoming Gujarat state elections. However, Outlook India magazine has quoted one BJP leader as saying that before the temple massacre Modi's political position was looking tenuous, but now "Narendrabhai [Modi] need only sit back and relax. The elections are already won." Other Hindu nationalists have also been engaged in inflammatory rhetoric since last Tuesday. Despite mounting evidence that the temple massacre was carried out in revenge for the treatment of Muslims in the aftermath of Godhra, the World Hindu Council has steadfastly demanded that action be taken against Pakistan. BL Sharma, of the Council said, "there can be no peace in India as long as Pakistan exists. We demand that the government end its inaction." Even when evidence that the massacre was an act of revenge seems compelling, the Hindu nationalists are intransigent. When confronted with notes carried by the two perpetrators of the massacre stating that they were seeking revenge for the post-Godhra massacres of Muslims, Chief Minister Modi stated "they carried the notes knowing well that there are people willing to buy this story. They know what sells." The two identical notes, written in Urdu, identify the two as members of the Tehreek-e-Kasas (Movement for Revenge) and categorically state, "we will never rest in peace if we do not take revenge for the killings of our people." It seems that, if this was a revenge attack, Gujarat's BJP government might be implicated for its inaction, amounting to tacit approval of anti-Muslim riots in the aftermath of Godhra. It would also have to shoulder the responsibility for not ensuring adequate security at Hindu temples. Far simpler to blame Pakistan. But how has communal violence in Gujarat affected relations between Hindus and Muslims in the rest of India? Aakif Merchant, a Muslim student in India's cosmopolitan financial hub, Bombay, feels that Muslims reap what they sow. He believes that India's under-educated and economically unsuccessful Muslim community has been increasingly radicalised and infiltrated by pro-Pakistani propaganda. This has coloured the way Hindus view Muslims. "Hindus do look at Muslims with great suspicion and link them to Pakistan, now more so than ever before." He believes that the only way forward is through the education and economic development of India's Muslim minority. "At the grassroots level the educational process of the Muslims must change. We have to make ourselves economically more viable, only then will we be able to walk with our heads held high." Nishita Mehta, a Gujarati businesswoman based out of Bombay, is pessimistic about the future. "I feel that [Hindu-Muslim enmity] is deeply rooted in the hearts and psyche of many Indians -- Hindu and Muslim alike." Mehta also feels that the combination of increased communal violence and government complacency only exacerbates an already dangerous situation. "There are many like myself who don't have any ill feeling or hatred for Muslims. However, there are many more, Hindus and Muslims alike, whose hatred for each other is only growing exponentially. And events like that of last week only act as a catalyst for more animosity. Any such act of terrorism is promptly blamed on Pakistan! It has become so convenient. It's like India doesn't need to introspect anymore!" Gandhi, or the Mahatma (Great Soul), as he was commonly called, was a deeply religious Hindu. Yet he was once quoted as saying "I am a Hindu. I am a Muslim. I am a Jew. I am a Christian. I am, after all, a human being, and I am connected to all my fellow human beings!" India, with Gandhi at the helm, was founded as a secular state. A state where people of all religions could co-exist peacefully. Today, one must posit the question: Is Gandhi's legacy being drowned in the blood of Gujarati communal violence?
Times of India 8 Oct 2002 Prime suspect in Godhra case arrested TIMES NEWS NETWORK [ TUESDAY, OCTOBER 08, 2002 02:40:12 PM ] VADODARA: The Gujarat police achieved a major breakthrough in the Godhra train massacre case when a key suspect Abdul Razzak Mohammed 'Kurkur' was arrested late on Monday by the team investigating the Sabarmati Express incident of February 27. Though police refused to give further details, it is believed that Kurkur surrendered himself after being on the run for over seven months. Kurkur, a prominent hotelier of Singal Falia, is believed to be one of the prime conspirators of the massacre that left 59 people dead and police had been on the look-out for him ever since. Police officials said they had evidence from various witnesses which corroborates the fact that the fuel used for burning the S-6 compartment was obtained from a building owned by Kurkur. Though several politicians, including the former municipality chief Mohammed Kalota and corporator Haji Bilal, had also been arrested immediately after the incident, police believes that it was Kurkur who had played a key role in hatching the conspiracy to attack the train. Kurkur runs the Aman Guest House in Singal Falia and also has a network of vendors at the railway station for supply of food-stuff. Police officials said he was engaged in faking popular soft-drink brands and was also a supplier of building material. One of the more affluent inhabitants of Singal Falia, Kurkur, who is in his mid-forties, had a stranglehold over the area in and around the railway station because of his clout. "He was the missing link so far, he is the person who can throw light on the entire episode. Kurkur had played a key role in the conspiracy and will help us piece together the entire sequence of events. He was also the person who instigated the mob that burnt the coach," an official said. Government Railway Police superintendent J K Bhatt confirmed that Kurkur had been arrested. He, however, said that further details regarding his arrest would be disclosed at a later stage.
BBC 11 Oct 2002 Five killed in Indian sectarian violence India has already seen sectarian violence in Gujarat By Charles Haviland BBC correspondent in Delhi Five people have been killed in India during a protest against remarks made by US preacher Jerry Falwell about the Prophet Mohammed. Two of those killed died in police gunfire during the violence in the western town of Solapur which degenerated into sectarian clashes between Muslims and Hindus. Falwell called the prophet a terrorist It has become clear that the protests in Solapur were much more violent than earlier police reports suggested. Two people died when police opened fire on crowds of angry demonstrators - three more were killed in stabbing incidents. The crowds had gathered in this textile town 450 kilometres (280 miles) south-east of Bombay to protest at last weekend's remarks by Reverend Falwell. In a television interview he described the Prophet Mohammed as a "terrorist" and a "man of war". Police sources said the crowd in Solapur suddenly started throwing stones and setting vehicles and shops on fire, then the security forces had started firing. Other protests The violence took on a sectarian nature, setting Muslims against Hindus. The police sources said there were incidents of sectarian violence in the town since the morning but these are now said to have stopped. A curfew has now been imposed in some neighbourhoods. In Bombay several hundred people staged another demonstration against the comments by the controversial Baptist preacher, but it went off peacefully. The sectarian nature of the violence in Solapur will create considerable unease given this year's widespread Hindu-Muslim clashes in another part of western India Gujarat.
BBC 12 October, 2002, More deaths in Indian religious strife India has already seen communal rioting in Gujarat By Charles Haviland BBC correspondent in Delhi Two more people have been killed in religious violence in the western Indian town of Solapur. One of the people who died on Saturday was fatally stabbed in clashes between Hindus and Muslims. The other was killed by police firing, the home minister of Maharashtra state told the BBC. The clashes began on Friday when crowds gathered to protest at remarks against the prophet Mohammed by right-wing American evangelist, the Reverend Jerry Falwell. The demonstrations gave way to communal violence in which five people were killed on Friday. Controversial comments The whole of Solapur has now been placed under curfew until early on Sunday. Mr Falwell's comments angered many Muslims This textile town, 450 km southeast of Bombay, has no reputation for sectarian violence. A neighbouring part of western India, Gujarat state, has witnessed extensive clashes between Hindus and Muslims since February. Tensions there are still very high. A week ago Mr Falwell, who has long been controversial, sparked outrage among many Muslims by describing the prophet Mohammed as a terrorist.
Times of India 13 Oct 2002 Trouble erupts in Modasa over remarks on Prophet by Falwell AHMEDABAD: Trouble broke out in Modasa town of Sabarkantha district on Sunday morning after members of the minority community tried to close down shops to protest the remarks Christian preacher Jerry Falwell made about Prophet Mohammad. A section of the community has declared a bandh on Monday, putting the state police on tenterhooks for the umpteenth time since the communal riots subsided. Rival communities clashed and resorted to stone-throwing even as six shops were stoned and burnt around 11.30 am. There were no reports of casualties, although tension prevailed in this communally sensitive district. Superintendent of police Nitiraj Solanki told TNN that trouble broke out after the hand-outs declaring the bandh were distributed in Modasa on Saturday. "Some boys tried closing down shops which led to stone-throwing, although the attempts at arson were aborted by the police," Solanki said. A complaint was registered by the local police inspector stating that some 60 unidentified people from both communities clashed near the bus stand area in Modasa, leading to the tension. Meanwhile, several Muslim leaders have decided not to extend support to the state-wide bandh called by a section of the Muslim community on Monday in connection with the remarks made on their prophet. Security has been tightened in all the communally-sensitive areas including Ahmedabad. A platoon of the BSF and the SRP were rushed to Sabarkantha to take care of Himmatnagar and Modasa. In separate press releases, the Gujarat Chand Committee and the Jamat-e-Islami-Hind made it clear that they had not given any bandh calls and would not support any call either. The JIH voiced its protests against Falwell’s remarks, but refused to support the bandh saying, "it was against the principles of Islam". President of the JIH Mohammad Shafi Madni stated that "it was not in the teachings of the Prophet to stop all work and participate in bandhs". Advocate Hashim Qureshi condemned the derogatory remarks by Falwell but did not support the bandh. According to sources, the bandh call was declared by a lesser-known Muslim organisation called Mustafa Raza Academy, based in Gomtipur which is one of the communally sensitive areas of the city. Hand-outs were printed and distributed all over the state in support of the bandh, which further charged the sensitive atmosphere in the state. Security has been tightened in these areas of the city for Monday, police sources added.
PTI 15 oct 2002 23 charged for Ahmedabad riots Ahmedabad, October 15 Charges have been framed against the 23 accused in Ahmedabad's Gulbarg Society massacre of February 28 in which 35 people, including former Congress MP Ehsan Jaffrey, were killed, police said today. Additional sessions judge B N Jani yesterday framed charges against the accused for the attack in Chamanpura area. The accused have been charged with murder, rape, unlawful assembly, arson and inciting communal tension in the city, a day after the Godhra railway station mayhem.
Jakarta Post 5 Oct 2002 RI seeks support for territorial integrity Fabiola Desy Unidjaja and Kornelius Purba, , Yogyakarta Indonesia, as the host, opened a two-day meeting of the Southwest Pacific Dialogue Forum here on Friday to seek reconfirmation of support for its territorial integrity from the six-member forum. The meeting, held amid growing public criticism against the government's poor diplomacy to promote the country's territorial integrity, is part of the government's strong campaign to maintain international support in defending its territorial integrity, especially in Papua, where many are calling for independence. The forum, initiated by then president Abdurrahman Wahid in 2000, gathers the foreign ministers of the participating countries. Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs Hassan Wirayuda said Indonesia expected all six countries, including East Timor, to reconfirm their support for Indonesia's unity. While emphasizing the principles of non-interference, Hassan also indicated a readiness to receive suggestions from his guests in resolving the country's problems. The meeting itself was originally scheduled to be held in Timika, Papua, in August to demonstrate Indonesia's confidence in keeping Papua. However, due to security problems there, the venue was moved to Yogyakarta. "We wanted all of our partners at the forum to state, in the very heart of Papua, their support for the territorial integrity and national unity of Indonesia," Hassan told The Jakarta Post in response to the failure to hold the meeting in Timika. Hassan declined to comment on the statement by New Zealand's Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Phil Goff that New Zealand was willing to help resolve the prolonged conflicts in Papua. "All participating countries are very supportive of our territorial integrity," Hassan said. Citing his own country's experience in mediating separatist conflicts in Papua New Guinea, Phil Goff indicated that New Zealand was willing to participate in ending conflicts in Indonesian Papua. Goff emphasized that Papua was Indonesia's domestic problem, and praised Indonesia for implementing the special autonomy status for Papua. However, he also pointed out that prolonged insecurity in the province would affect the whole region's security. "It is hypothetical, but if we were requested, we can play a fruitful role in the talks on Papua," Goff said prior to attending the meeting. The foreign ministers are expected to issue a 13-point joint statement on Saturday, covering security issues such are transnational crime and terrorism, human and drug trafficking and border issues. Other issues include the enhancement of cooperation in the fields of education, social problems and maritime affairs. The forum is expected to be held annually. "Australia, New Zealand and PNG are very active in drafting the statement," an Indonesian diplomat said, referring to deliberations during the senior officials meeting (SOM) on Friday. The two-day meeting was also attended by East Timor Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Minister Jose Ramos Horta, Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer, Papua New Guinea Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister Rabbie Namaliu and the Philippines Secretary of Foreign Affairs Blas F. Ople. Horta said his presence was a good opportunity to learn from his colleagues. He also stated that East Timor had not decided whether it would join the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). "I am here just to learn from more senior colleagues," said Horta. Meanwhile, foreign ministry officials denied that President Megawati Soekarnoputri had canceled her plan to open the forum in Yogyakarta, saying she had, from the beginning, asked Hassan to read her speech. The statement conflicted with the insistence of three Palace officials who said they had come to Yogyakarta to prepare for the President's visit. The visit was canceled apparently, shortly after they had arrived in the town. "We came here to prepare for her visit, but then she canceled it," the three officials told the Post when found shopping in downtown Yogyakarta on Thursday evening.
BBC 14 Oct 2002 Investigators probe Bali bomb blast Most of Australia's injured have been evacuated Investigations have begun into the bomb on the Indonesian island of Bali that ripped through a nightclub on Saturday night killing 187 people and injuring 309. Australia, home to the majority of the blast's victims, has sent a team of police and intelligence officers to help with the probe into the car bomb attack. Some of those burns are quite nasty burns, quite significant burns covering a considerable amount of the body Len Notaras Medical superintendent at Darwin hospital The Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, has called an emergency Cabinet meeting to discuss the country's response to the incident, pledging that it will be measured, but powerful. Many tourists have already opted to leave Bali and now the US State Department has urged all American citizens in Indonesia to leave the country and ordered the departure of non-emergency US Government personnel from there. Click here for a map of the area Australia's deputy ambassador to Indonesia, Neil Mules, speaking on local television, said that the last of the injured Australians would be boarding a flight bound for Darwin on Monday. The other injured Australian were evacuated overnight on government Hercules planes or specially laid on commercial flights. Glass was flying everywhere and people were screaming and running in all directions Daniel Tyler, England To read more of your comments, click here "We have now evacuated from the hospitals here probably all of the Australians who were in hospital," Mr Mules said. Unfortunately one of the injured victims died during the course of one of the flights. Most of the first evacuees are suffering from severe burns. "Some of those burns are quite nasty burns, quite significant burns covering a considerable amount of the body," Darwin hospital medical superintendent Len Notaras said. Westerners targeted More than 200 Australians remain unaccounted for after the explosion, which completely destroyed the Sari Club in the resort of Kuta. But Australia's Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs Christine Gallus told the BBC it was not possible to say for sure that the attackers had deliberately targeted Australians. She said a significant number of Australians had died in the explosion, but a large number of Balinese had also been killed. The names of the missing - mostly foreign tourists - have been posted Europeans, Americans and New Zealanders are also among the dead and injured. Mr Howard said Australia would not let the bombing go unpunished. "It is not an occasion for hot headed responses, but certainly not an occasion to imagine that if you roll yourself up into a little ball all these horrible things will go away," he said. Identity unknown Leaders around the world have condemned the attack, with US President George W Bush, describing the attacks as "heinous" and calling on the world to confront the perpetrators. Lists of missing people have been posted in Bali and officials warn it could take days to identify all the victims, some of whom were trapped in the Sari club by a wall of flames created by cars outside which caught fire. A notice board at the hospital in Bali includes a section called "Identity Unknown" and lists details on victims such as: "Young girl in intensive care, 11-14 years old, face burned, in coma. Caucasian," or "Girl in intensive care, about 5 years old, 130 cm, fair skin, Caucasian with reddish brown hair. She has a purplish belly button ring." Tourists at the blast scene have now reported there being two explosions around the nightclub. A first small homemade device is said to have exploded outside Paddy's Bar some 30 metres away just seconds before a huge car bomb hit the Sari Club. English tourists Ben and Joe Norton had just left Paddy's when they heard the small bang as they turned they saw an orange flash and then the boom of the bomb that hit the Sari Club.
Jakarta Post 14 Oct 2002 Nation unites in condemning bombing , Jakarta Condemnation poured in from around the country on Sunday against the worst bombing in Indonesia's history, which killed nearly 200 people on the resort island of Bali. Many of those denouncing Saturday's bombing also said the "savage attack" posed the biggest challenge the administration of President Megawati Soekarnoputri has faced. The country's two largest Muslim organizations, the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) and Muhammadiyah, strongly condemned the "uncivilized" attack and expressed condolences to all of the victims, most of whom were foreigners. "I strongly condemn the attackers and ask the National Police and the Indonesian Military (TNI) to work together to capture them immediately and break up their network," NU chairman Hasyim Muzadi said. NU deputy chairman Solahuddin Wahid said that with the devastating tragedy, Indonesia could no longer reject offers from other countries to assist officials here in investigating terrorist activities. Muhammadiyah chairman Ahmad Syafii Maarif called for Megawati's Cabinet to be dissolved for its failure to prevent the tragedy and a series of similar incidents that have rocked the country. "The incident proves the failure of the national leadership. The government is not serious in running the country .... The Cabinet should be disbanded and replaced," Syafii told The Jakarta Post. He said similar incidents had taken place on a smaller scale around the country, but the government failed to deal with them seriously or to take action to prevent future attacks. Yet Syafii refrained from suggesting that President Megawati should resign, which he said could undermine national stability. "I don't think Megawati needs to be replaced," he said. The House of Representatives and political parties also joined in the condemnation, and demanded that the authorities apprehend and prosecute the bombers. Also denouncing the bombing was popular Muslim preacher Abdullah Gymnastiar. In a sermon at the Istiqlal Grand Mosque in Jakarta on Sunday, Gymnastiar said the bombers were uncivilized, had lost their minds and had no religious faith. The tragedy will further sideline Indonesian Muslims and others across the globe, he said. Observers have begun to speculate about who was behind the tragedy. Some said the bombers were "highly trained" people likely linked to Western forces, and others believed the bombing could have been the work of fundamentalists opposed to the U.S. or the Indonesian government. The attack follows persistent reports that Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network was trying to establish a foothold in the world's most populous Muslim nation. President Megawati indirectly blamed terrorists for the attack, but offered no clues as to who authorities believed might be to blame. Former president Abdurrahman Wahid said he believed the "terror attack" was perpetrated by those opposed to Megawati's government hoping to destabilize the country. "If they oppose the current government they should not use such violence that could destroy the nation. I don't agree with that way," he said. Political analyst M. Budyatna from the University of Indonesia, legislator Yasril Ananta Baharuddin of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI Perjuangan) and Indonesian Mujahiddin Council (MMI) chairman Abu Bakar Ba'asyir, accused by the U.S. and Singapore of belonging to a regional terrorist network, from the University of Indonesia speculated that the bombing was engineered by a foreign party aimed at targeting Muslims and breaking up Indonesia. However, Syafii, Muzadi and Solahuddin urged people not to accuse any domestic or foreign groups of masterminding the attack without first providing clear, hard evidence. "We can blame CIA agents, Muslim extremists or whatever other group for the incident if there is authentic evidence," Syafii said. "If authentic evidence proves that extremists here were involved in the human tragedy, I agree that we should fight them according to the law. It is certain that the attackers were highly trained people," he said.
Guardian UK 14 Oct 2002 In the shadow of terror - All are victims of the Bali massacre Leader This was a crime against all humanity. Its victims were Muslims, Hindus and Christians. They included Australians, Britons, other Europeans, Americans, Indonesians and south-east Asians of many, so far uncounted nationalities. They were of all ages but for the most part young, partying inside the Sari nightclub on Bali. They were all different. But what they shared transcended the particulars of colour, language and belief. All were innocent of any offence, oblivious to any threat. All were unsuspecting of fell conspiracy, all unprotected and at their ease. And the toll comprises not just those who died or were terribly injured, over 500 in all. It also includes perhaps hundreds more who were there and escaped immediate harm but whose lives were shattered by a moment of horror, whose consciousness will be forever scarred, whose dreams henceforth may always be troubled. And in truth the shock and trauma of what happened on Saturday night in Bali will spread ever outwards, like tremors from an earthquake's epicentre. It will touch eventually every corner of an inter-dependent and mutually vulnerable world. Such inhumanity makes victims of us all. The casualties of Bali could, and did, come from anywhere and everywhere. And this gruesome attack upon them came out of nowhere, out of a balmy, insouciant night, without any prior warning, without compunction and without mercy. That it was a carefully planned assault seems clear. That a smaller bomb, detonated moments before outside another nearby disco, and a third device that exploded close to a US consular office, formed a trap designed to maximise the carnage and intensify the sudden, enveloping sense of utter terror also seems evident. That a "soft" target was deliberately chosen to minimise the risk to the perpetrators only serves to emphasise the base and cowardly nature of the act. It was, whichever way it is looked at, an inhuman deed by people who, whatever their convictions and motives, demonstrated a lack of common feeling that places them beyond the pale of any concept of society. Yet simply to dub this Islamic terror and to bewail some sort of global confrontation between Islam and the west is to fall into the extremists' wider trap. These skulking murderers besmirch and dishonour the religion for which they claim to fight. They know nothing of Islam's true path. But they are hardly unique. There have through history always been individuals prepared cynically to exploit belief and to sacrifice others for their own twisted ends. And the way to defeat them, as all history shows, is not blindly to demonise whole peoples or faiths but rather to isolate and disarm those small minorities who betray them while simultaneously addressing the roots of their dispossession, ignorance and anger. The linear connection of Bali to the fundamentalist killers behind September 11 does indeed appear all but certain. That al-Qaida, or groups affiliated to it, or supportive of it, carried out this latest outrage is a conclusion that, even without firm evidence, seems inescapable. That there has so far been no admission of culpability is merely another, typical sign of al-Qaida's hand. There have been indications in recent months that the group was building up its strength in south-east Asia and especially in Indonesia amid hardline domestic agitation over President Megawati Sukarnoputri's support for US anti-terror policies. Malaysia earlier expressed its concern. Singapore arrested several alleged operatives last winter. In the southern Philippines, despite US military intervention, the al-Qaida sympathisers of Abu Sayyaf remain unvanquished. Last month, fearing new attacks, particularly by car or truck bombs, the US temporarily closed its regional embassies. Last week it issued a worldwide alert. None of this should be taken to imply that somehow Bali could have been specifically foreseen or prevented. But it does surely demonstrate that the threat directly represented and symbolised by al-Qaida remains undiminished, despite all efforts at elimination, and is perhaps increasing. The main difference now may be that the organisation has decentralised its operations since its expulsion from Afghanistan and that small cells or even lone individuals are now tasked with carrying out "freelance" assaults wherever and whenever they can. The broader pattern into which this may fit includes such recent incidents as the gun attack on US marines in Kuwait, the ramming of a French oil tanker off Yemen, the attempted assassination of the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, in Kandahar, numerous outrages in Pakistan, the killing of German tourists in Tunisia and several other plots, executed or planned, extending across much of the globe. Looked at in this uncomfortable context, the trumpeted success of the US-led anti-terror campaign in Afghanistan now seems ever more vacuous. The problem has simply been displaced and dispersed. Nearly a year after Osama bin Laden and his henchmen disappeared into the Tora Bora mountains, it is plain that their malign cause has far from disappeared and is far from defeated. Two imperatives arise in the face of this ramifying, many-headed menace: that all that possibly can be done is done, collectively, to defeat the terrorists; and that nothing is undertaken that may aid or assist their campaign. In these key respects, there is an obvious danger that the current US focus on Iraq is counter-productive on both counts. A war in Iraq will do nothing to prevent further massacres of the type witnessed at the weekend. Even the Bush administration will find it a stretch to blame Bali on Saddam Hussein. More worryingly still, by inflaming opinion in the Muslim world and beyond, war may disrupt anti-terror efforts, weaken or destroy the international coalition and act as a persuasive recruiting sergeant for al-Qaida, raising the prospect of yet more murders of innocents. If Bali tells us anything, it is that the defeat of stateless, international terrorism is the most pressing security issue of the day. It is far too important to be misdirected or diverted for dubious, divisive reasons by one country against another. Defeating terrorism must be the shared work of all humankind - for all humankind is its prey. Our common humanity demands that it be so.
WP 6 Oct 2002 The Day After Saddam Five Iraqis Who Are Preparing To Rebuild Their Homeland (excerpt) By Richard Leiby ; Page F01 The ideal: Uncle Sam invades Iraq, accomplishes regime change and applauds the arrival of a new democracy of 23 million. A welter of ethnic and religious factions -- Kurds in the north, the Shiite Arabs in the south, the minority Sunnis, not to mention assorted Assyrians, Chaldeans and Turkmen -- hold hands and sing praises to federalism and the rule of law. The less-than-ideal: Iraq splinters with no strongman in charge. Tribalism and terrorism follow. See: Afghanistan. Except with a huge door prize at stake, namely oil. The reality: Nobody knows for certain what will happen the day after Saddam Hussein falls -- or the hour after, for that matter. Think- tankers are convening; the State Department's Future of Iraq project has brought dozens of exiles together for working groups; and, somewhere, Special Forces and CIA guys are doing their warm-up routines. America will be "completely devoted" to the reconstruction of Iraq, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice vowed the other day, but the administration has offered no blueprint. Uncle Sam will need help. Here are some of the nation-builders ready to take the stage. . . . The Lawyer 6 Oct 2002 Page F04 In a suburb of Chicago, an attorney more accustomed to handling employment discrimination cases is pondering crimes against humanity: gassing, genocide, rape, torture. How shall they be punished in Iraq? Who will be held accountable? What can be done to prevent vigilantism? "Replacing Saddam is the easier part, the lesser part," says Feisal A. Istrabadi, a trial lawyer who favors bow ties and speaks with scholarly precision. "The more profound question is: With what do you replace him?" Note: He says "with what" -- not "with whom." The next leader isn't his focus. Creating the post-Hussein system is what fascinates Istrabadi and a cadre of other intellectuals. They're interested in the laws, the governance process, the institutions of civil society, the constitution itself. "That is the work of lawyers. It's not sexy," Istrabadi concedes. Since April he has sat for hours in meetings in Washington and London, debating the mechanisms of constitutional democracy with fellow Iraqi opposition members. Conversant with Islamic law, he serves on the "Transitional Justice" and "Democratic Principles" working groups of the State Department's Future of Iraq project. He was born in Arlington in 1962 to Iraqi parents who shuttled between the countries, "depending who led the last coup d'etat," he notes dryly. His family was affiliated with the monarchy, which ended in 1958 with the murders of 23-year-old King Faisal II and other members of the royal family. Istrabadi's parents named him after the slain king. The Hashemite royals presided over a "generally benevolent dictatorship" and the least oppressive government in Iraq since the state's founding in 1920, according to Istrabadi. His parents, both professors, left for good in 1970, not long after their young son got a glimpse of the new regime's version of justice: "I remember watching on TV when 13 or so defendants were accused of spying for the United States and Israel, then watching as they were hanged in a mass public hanging in Baghdad, in Liberation Square." His priority is to help establish a legal system in which such show trials will never occur. "The judicial system now is nothing but an alter ego of the ruler," he says. "The difficulty one faces in attempting to reconstitute a judicial system for Iraq is that you have very little raw material to work with: the bench and the bar. They are untrained in Western concepts of the rule of law." An Iraqi constitution, acknowledging that sovereignty lies with the people, was ratified in a plebiscite in 1925, seven years before the country became independent of Great Britain. Istrabadi considers that the only "legitimate" constitution because it went to a vote of the citizens. An Iraqi flag from the monarchist period adorns his office. "Monarchy may be an answer to Iraq's problems for a time," says Istrabadi, but leaves that for the voters to decide. Founding partner in a small law firm, he doesn't aspire to hold office himself in Iraq. "This is my country," he says of America. Still, "I could conceive of spending a year or two at the University of Baghdad law school lecturing on legal issues." Students, after all, must be taught how to defend clients. There will be many matters to tidy up. Reimbursements for property confiscations, accountability for war crimes, prosecutions, truth commissions and the like.
Guardian UK 7 Oct 2002 US compiles case to charge Saddam with genocide Threat of war: President seeks congressional support for attack on Iraq amid peace protests David Teather in New York Monday As further evidence of the Bush administration's preparations for "regime change" in Iraq, the US has begun compiling a dossier with which to prosecute Saddam Hussein for genocide and other crimes against humanity. President George Bush will present his case on national television tonight. He kept the pressure up at the weekend, warning in his regular radio address that "delay, indecision and inaction are not an option for the American people because they could lead to massive and sudden horror". The danger to Americans, he said, was "grave and growing". The dossier on President Saddam and at least 12 other Iraqi officials is being prepared by the US state department, the Pentagon and intelligence experts. "We need to do our part to document the abuses, to collect the evidence that points to who is responsible," Pierre-Richard Prosper, the state department's ambassador at large for war crimes told the Los Angeles Times. "We feel there has to be accountability for what has occurred. You can't brush aside the deaths of more than 100,000 people." Six of the accused officials are members of President Saddam's family: two sons, three half brothers and a cousin. Ali Hassan Majid, a cousin, was nicknamed "chemical Ali" for his alleged role in a 1988 operation that used chemical weapons to kill tens of thousands of Kurds in northern Iraq. US officials estimate that at least 130,000 civilians have been killed during President Saddam's 23-year rule. The administration is planning to prosecute the leadership in a post-Saddam Iraq to head off criticisms of its reluctance to sign up to the international criminal court. The president is stepping up his public relations campaign as Congress prepares for a crucial vote this week on a resolution granting his administration sweeping authorisation to attack Baghdad. The vote is expected to give him overwhelming approval. The Senate majority leader, Tom Daschle, said he would press for a toned-down version of the resolution but admitted that the president had blunted calls for a multilateral approach. The Democrat senator Edward Kennedy voiced dissent yesterday. "The administration has not made the case that this is a clear and present and imminent danger to the United States," he said. There was also growing disquiet about the urgency and motives for an attack among the public. An estimated 5,000 people rallied in Portland, Oregon, chanting "no more war". Pockets of protesters also surfaced in Austin, Texas, and in New Hampshire on Saturday, where the president was giving a speech. A large rally was also due to take place in New York's Central Park yesterday. "Maybe this will spread awareness that not all of America is behind Bush," Cris Jackson, an officer manager, said at the Portland rally. The White House spokesman, Ari Fleischer, indicated that the president would not be announcing new policies or offering fresh evidence in his attempt to woo the public in his address. The case for aggression against President Saddam would instead be a repackaging of the argument already made. Aides to Mr Bush said that the speech, to be made in Cincinnati, was still being drafted, but that it would make the case against the Iraqi leader in the strongest terms yet. "The country will benefit from an opportunity to hear the president reflect on the reasons that Saddam Hussein is such a clear threat to the US," said one aide. America is reported to be preparing a big deployment of forces around Iraq in the next few weeks, and is quietly building up stocks of military equipment. Defence officials are said to be keeping the build-up as low key as possible to avoid upsetting political efforts to win support for action in Washington and the UN. Jack Straw, the British foreign secretary, will fly to the Middle East today to try to build support for a coalition to take action against Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. He will meet leaders from Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait and Iran, and claimed that they shared many of the same objectives as Britain. He also maintained there was no schism between Britain and the US about the aims of any action against Iraq. At a Republican fundraising event at the weekend, the president described President Saddam as a "cold-blooded killer" and challenging him to honour his pledge to allow unfettered weapons inspections. Democrats have criticised the president for focusing on Iraq rather than the shaky economy in the run up to the mid-term elections in November. The Iraqi foreign minister, Naji Sabri, continued a Middle East tour to drum up opposition to the US and Britain.
Los Angeles Times 7 Oct 2002 Top Iraqi Officials Wanted For War Crimes Oct 07, 2002 Saddam's 'Dirty Dozen' They will be prosecuted as part of a three-tiered system of tribunals inside a 'free Iraq' with Iraqi and foreign judges WASHINGTON - The Bush administration is laying the groundwork for prosecuting Mr Saddam Hussein and what it calls a 'dirty dozen' of other officials for genocide, 'ethnic cleansing', mass executions, rape and other crimes against humanity. The list is a telling reflection of how the Iraqi leader rules: Half of the dozen are Mr Saddam's family members - two sons, three half-brothers and a cousin. At least 130,000 civilians have been killed as a result of deliberate regime policies during Mr Saddam's 23-year rule, although that might prove to be only a fraction of the final tally, according to US officials and human rights groups. Tens of thousands, including women, children and the elderly, were victims of chemical weapons attacks. In a massive ethnic cleansing campaign, more than 120,000 Iraqis - primarily Kurds, Turkomans and Assyrians - have been expelled forcibly from around city Kirkuk to 'Arabise' the oil-rich region, government and private groups say. Ethnic cleansing in the northern region Kurdistan, which began in 1991, has accelerated in recent months, say Human Rights Watch. Every week, three to 20 families are expelled from their homes, said Mr Hania Mufti, an Iraq specialist who was on a fact-finding mission to the region. The push, involving the US State Department, the Pentagon and the intelligence community, to prepare dossiers for war crimes prosecutions reflects the growing momentum in Washington towards ousting Mr Saddam and the preparation for the days after. 'We need to do our part to document the abuses, to collect the evidence that points to who is responsible,' said Mr Pierre-Richard Prosper, the State Department's ambassador-at-large for war crimes and a former UN war crimes prosecutor. 'We feel there has to be accountability for what has occurred. You can't brush aside the deaths of more than 100,000 people,' he said. The issue of justice is also key to Iraqis, both for healing deep wounds and for rebuilding the nation. 'For Iraqis and the international community, the issue of addressing Saddam's crimes against humanity is as important as addressing his possession and use of weapons of mass destruction,' said Mr Sermid Sarraf, an Iraqi American lawyer who works with the State Department on government transition issues. The United States, with varying degrees of support from Iraqi opposition groups and human rights groups, is looking at a three-tiered system of tribunals to deal with the army commanders, ruling Baath Party officials, government employees and security and intelligence agents implicated in war crimes. The administration favours a tribunal to try top officials inside a 'free Iraq', with Iraqi and foreign judges, probably including Americans, say US officials. The tribunal would prosecute the leadership - which could well expand beyond the dirty dozen - for violations of both Iraqi law and international conventions. 'If and when there is a regime change, the appropriate forum should be at home, in a free and democratic Iraq,' said Mr Prosper. The concept has been endorsed by the Iraqi Jurists Association, a London-based exiled group, and by over 40 Iraqi emigrant judges, law professors and legal experts who met last month to discuss a post-Saddam transitional justice system. The hybrid is also necessitated by the Bush administration's opposition to the International Criminal Court. US would look hypocritical if it asked for a UN-mandated war crimes tribunal. After the trials of the top leaders, the next level - dealing with hundreds or even thousands of offences, as the war crimes go back a generation - would be left to local courts, US officials say. The third and largest group of cases might never go to trial but would be worked out through a truth and justice commission that would grant amnesty in exchange for a full accounting of crimes. To avoid violent retribution after regime change in Baghdad, the exiled group of jurists are calling on their countrymen not to take the law into their own hands.
Agence France Presse, 9 Oct 2002 White House suggests special war crimes tribunal for Saddam Hussein, WASHINGTON, Oct 9 The United States would like to see Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein tried before a special war crimes tribunal similar to the one created following the Bosnian War, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said Wednesday. Asked what the United States would do with Saddam if they got their hands on him, Fleischer said: "If you remember what was going on with Serbia, it would be the international community" that would set up "a special tribunal." Those accused of the worst human rights violations in former Yugoslavia since 1991 have been indicted by a special International War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague. The international community has ratified the charter for new, permanent International Criminal Court, despite opposition from the United States, which has embarked on a mission to sign bilateral treaties with every other country in the world in order to exempt its soldiers from prosecution in the new court. Fleischer said the US position on the new court was not linked to any eventual trial of Saddam. "This is not the reason why the United States hold the position that it's holding on the International Criminal Court. What worked on Serbia will work again," he said.
WP 10 Oct 2002 Absorbing Iraq's 'Unique' Evil By Jim Hoagland Thursday, October 10, 2002; Page A33 It is accurate to say that there was little "new" in the three major speeches on Iraq given recently by President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Accurate, but irrelevant. Information does not have a use-by date stamped on it. Changed circumstances make the truth important even after it has ceased to be novel. Confusing the urgent with the important is a constant risk in daily journalism and in election-year politics. On Iraq, the world has too long rushed past the obvious. As Bush and Blair spotlight and lengthen the list of the dark deeds already committed and now planned by the Baathist regime in Baghdad, there is no intellectually honest way to continue saying, "We didn't know." Or to ask, "What's that got to do with us?" As any top-secret CIA analyst or caring therapist will tell you, knowledge is important not when it first becomes available but when an audience becomes available to absorb and act on the knowledge. Two American presidents in the past decade sank into denial rather than deal with Iraq decisively. Sept. 11, 2001, removed that psychological luxury for George W. Bush and for the American public. Bush's immediate predecessors overlooked the genocide against the Kurds, the defiance of the United Nations on weapons of mass destruction, the harboring of terrorists, the breaking of the overly generous cease-fire terms that the United States dictated at the end of the Persian Gulf War and other parts of what Bush on Monday accurately called Iraq's "unique" record of evil. Until the Sept. 11 attacks, Bush and his Cabinet seemed able to also argue information about Iraq round or flat. Secretary of State Colin Powell, for example, publicly dismissed information published in this column early last year about the increasing tempo of Iraq's firing on American and British pilots over no-fly zones. Monday night the president cited the hostile fire in his case against Iraq. A sea change has occurred in official Washington since the president decided last summer that he would soon have to be ready to go to war against Iraq. Public attempts by officials to bury or explain away menacing information about Iraq have largely dried up or gone underground, although the CIA fights a rear-guard action. Now information and intelligence are marshaled to make the case, rather than deflect it. This is, broadly speaking, political use of information -- no more and no less so than was the previous phase of denial and obfuscation. Bush mobilized facts on Monday to mobilize the nation for a challenge that is no less dangerous for being "largely familiar," as the New York Times labeled Bush's arguments in Tuesday editions. The State Department and the CIA, institutionally wary and dismissive of the extensive intelligence about Saddam Hussein and his crimes provided by the dissidents of the Iraqi National Congress, had to listen Monday night to the president recite a dossier full of Iraqi National Congress information and insights that have filtered down over the years through the media, the government and academia to the skillful and alert speechwriters on Bush's staff. When Bush correctly labeled the man all Arabs know as Saddam as "a student of Stalin, using murder as a tool of terror and control within his own Cabinet, within his own army and even within his own family," he was drawing on the expert analysis of Ahmed Chalabi, Kanan Makiya and other Iraqis who for several decades have told Westerners tales of seemingly unbelievable horrors -- tales that time after time proved to have been understatements. The government is not the only American institution to have observed Iraq through a glass fitfully for a decade and more. "You sure write a lot about Iraq," an exasperated editor at The Post said to me in 1998. I took it as an unintended compliment from a colleague who was not eager to devote more space to Saddam Hussein's transgressions then. Bush's determination has cleared news space as well as time at the Pentagon for Iraq. The information battlefield is the crucial first stage of war in the electronic era. That was true in Kosovo and in Bosnia. It is even more true since the al Qaeda attacks on the United States illuminated in a blinding burst of light the failure of oceans, of deterrence and of the misplaced hopes that letting sleeping monsters lie would protect Americans from terror. The information about Saddam Hussein's Iraq that Bush and Blair have assembled and presented to their nations may not be all that "new." But the knowledge they have drawn from it is fresh and, as they say, urgent.
AP 14 Oct 2002 Bush Cautions Iraqis on War Crimes WASHINGTON (AP) — President Bush is sending a message to Iraqi generals who, if and when the fighting starts, decide to obey Saddam Hussein's orders instead of ignoring them. The generals, Bush said in his Cincinnati speech this week, ``must understand that all war criminals will be pursued and punished.'' Bush believes that, given the proper incentives, Iraqi generals could desert Saddam, leaving him bereft of the military leadership he needs to counter invading Americans. This could spare U.S. troops who might otherwise have to face nightmarish chemical and biological weapons attacks. Bush's comment Monday night begs the question of why Saddam and his top lieutenants haven't been hauled before a war crimes tribunal already for past misdeeds, or at least indicted. A partial list of Saddam's abuses over the past 15 years includes: a genocidal 1987-88 campaign against Iraqi Kurds, the invasion and occupation of Kuwait in 1990, and the suppression of the 1991 post-Desert Storm uprising in northern Iraq, with a death toll of some 30,000. The Clinton administration spent many hours plotting ways to persuade the U.N. Security Council to create a war crimes tribunal for Iraq. But the effort fell short, a victim of international politics, said Ambassador David Scheffer, a former top legal aide in the Clinton administration. Scheffer said critics of a special tribunal for Iraq argued successfully that pursuit of indictments could have impaired Iraqi cooperation with U.N. weapons inspectors and with the U.N.-approved oil-for-food program. Scheffer also said the Soviet Union, which survived for a time after Desert Storm, and China were worried that creation of a tribunal for Iraq could set a precedent that some day could be used against them in light of their own misdeeds over the years. Much like Saddam, Scheffer noted, Cambodia's Khmer Rouge leaders also have escaped prosecution by the world community even though their late 1970s genocide record is far bloodier than Saddam's. As Scheffer sees it, expediency in such matters should not be allowed to prevail indefinitely. ``Ultimately, war crimes accountability has to be addressed,'' he said. Richard Dicker, of the New York-based Human Rights Watch, said the failure to indict Saddam and his colleagues dramatizes the need for a permanent international tribunal to deal with war criminals. He said the International Criminal Court, created by the United Nations over the summer, will fill that need but has no authority to pursue crimes against humanity that occurred before its founding. David Mack, an Iraq expert and former State Department official, said the number of Iraqis implicated in the crimes of Saddam's regime probably number in the tens of thousands. He said it is unrealistic to try to hold these people accountable for their abuses because this would reduce their incentive to break with Saddam. Many thousands of troops defected at the time of Desert Storm. Of these, large numbers have either returned clandestinely to Iraq, been resettled in the United States or other countries or languish at refugee camps outside Iraq, Mack said. Many are guilty of serious crimes from their military days, he added. In the interests of justice for their victims, he said he was hopeful that at least some will be brought to justice. Douglas Feith, an undersecretary of defense, said disaffection within the Iraqi military continues to be widespread. In a war with the United States, Feith said, senior Iraqi officers who are faced with the certainty of an American victory ``would think twice about fulfilling orders to use weapons of mass destruction.'' Indeed, he said, disobedience may be the best option for a disgruntled Iraqi officer, the alternative perhaps being an appointment with a war crimes tribunal prosecutor once the dust settles. ——— EDITOR'S NOTE — George Gedda has covered foreign affairs for The Associated Press since 1968.
Israel (see also Canada)
NYT 1 Oct 2002 Fictions Embraced by an Israel at War By DAVID GROSSMAN JERUSALEM — A dangerous and deceptive plot line has become superimposed on the story that Israeli society tells itself about its conflict with the Palestinians. Since the outbreak of the current intifada two years ago, it is as if the Israeli mind has turned to a new page in the chronicle of the conflict and, at the same time, erased many of the pages that preceded it. It's as if the 33 years of repression, occupation and humiliation that Israel imposed on the West Bank and Gaza between June 1967 and September 2000 vanished with the wave of a magic wand. The majority of Israelis take comfort today in believing that the horrifying deeds committed by Palestinian terrorists in the last two years somehow "balance the books" for those long years of subjugation and that all the guilt for the current state of affairs rests on Palestinian shoulders. Furthermore, they believe, the suicide bombings, and the broad support they have received from the Palestinian population, have revealed things about the Palestinians that ex post facto justify the injustices of the occupation. In a contorted way, many Israelis believe that the new wave of Palestinian terrorism has granted their country absolution for its problematic past. Of course, the Israeli occupation is not the entire story. During those 33 years the Palestinians contributed their share to the march of blood and folly by being intractable in their positions and murderous in their actions. And we must not forget that the Six-Day War was not a war that Israel wanted. Yet, despite this, the historical story that Israel chooses to tell itself is astoundingly obtuse and superficial. The story that now reigns nearly unchallenged in the media and political discourse obliterates more than 33 years of roadblocks, thousands of prisoners, deportations, and killings of innocent people. It's as if there were never long months of closures in cities and villages, as if there had been no humiliations, no incessant harassment, no searches of houses, no bulldozing of hundreds of homes, no uprooting of vineyards and olive groves, no filling up of wells and, especially, no construction of tens of thousands of housing units in settlements and large-scale confiscation of land, in violation of international law. The new narrative leaps back through the manipulative fog created by the prime minister and his cabinet, his supporters and his various spokesmen straight to the Six-Day War, our pinnacle of justice. And looking forward from that point in 1967 there is a kind of desert devoid of history, devoid of responsibility, devoid of blame, until we suddenly emerge from the miasma right at the Oslo accords, the proposals that Ehud Barak made to Yasir Arafat at Camp David and, after Camp David, like thunder on a bright and sunny day, the second intifada. According to this story, the Palestinians suddenly exploded in September 2000 in an uncaused natural eruption, spewing out lava and ash and igniting the entire region. They had no logical reason for exploding and there was no prior Israeli provocation. Ehud Barak made them a generous offer, and they betrayed him with an outburst of violence — because they, by their nature, are motivated solely by destructive, irrational forces that make impossible any future compromise with them. This theory is also the basis of another right-wing claim that now seems to be accepted by the majority of Israelis. It is that the Oslo accords, and their supporters, were what in fact caused the second intifada. In other words, it wasn't the intolerable conditions in which the Palestinians lived for more than three decades. It wasn't the tacit support that most Israelis lent to the ongoing occupation, all the while persuading themselves that it was such an enlightened occupation that it was barely an occupation at all. It wasn't the refusal of every Israeli government before the second administration of Yitzhak Rabin to try to reach a true, if painful, accommodation with the Palestinians. It wasn't the doubling of the number of Israeli settlers in the territories in the years after Oslo. Nor was it the way in which Ehud Barak conducted the Camp David talks, presenting to Yasir Arafat as ultimatums proposals that, while they were generous compared with Israeli positions in the past, were entirely insufficient in Palestinian eyes. None of these factors are now viewed as sufficient reason for a popular uprising by a subjugated and despairing people. No, it's the Oslo accords that are to blame, as if in the absence of Oslo the Palestinians would have come to terms with the Israeli occupation, accepting it tranquilly, even lovingly, to this very day; as if the Oslo agreements were a match, not a fire extinguisher. Obviously, one of the reasons this story line has gained acceptance is that it seems to give a logical structure to a chaotic and threatening reality. Along the way, it also seems to justify the use of massive and unrelenting military force against the Palestinians. But this view of reality is fraught with danger because it is simply not realistic. It's true that the Palestinians have committed serious errors and war crimes in the last two years. It also may well be true that, had they acted otherwise, they would have a state today. But if Israel is interested not just in punishing the Palestinians but also in extricating itself from the trap it's in, it must wake up and reinsert into the tragic story of the conflict those parts that have been expunged from its consciousness during the last two years. If we do not replant the recent intifada in its historical context, no chance of any minimal mutual understanding will sprout. And without context, we will never be truly cured. David Grossman is the author, most recently, of "Be My Knife,'' a novel. This article was translated by Haim Watzman from Hebrew.
B'Tselem 6 Oct 2002: Protect the Olive Harvest, Enforce the Law on Violent Settlers B'Tselem today submitted an urgent request to the OC Central Commander, Moshe Kaplinsky, and Shai District (Samaria and Judea) Police Commander, Shahar Ayalon, calling on them to take all steps necessary to ensure that the olive harvest in the Occupied Territories is carried out without disruption. Such steps are more urgent now than ever, as the harvest is critical source of income for hundreds of thousands of Palestinian residents, who are already suffering from very difficult economic conditions. Following are highlights of the letter: Lack of law enforcement on violent settlers Over the past week, the security forces have not taken sufficient steps to enforce the law on settlers who used violence to prevent Palestinian farmers from harvesting their olives. Settlers have also harvested olives that belong to Palestinians and stolen the crop. Soldiers and police officers have not taken measures to prevent incidents in locations where disturbances should have been anticipated, and have not intervened when such disturbances occurred. The lack of law enforcement creates an atmosphere of disregard for the lives and property of Palestinians, and encourages the continuation of such phenomena. Today's killing of Hani Bani Maniyah by a settler, near the village of Aqraba, is the direct result of the lack of law enforcement on settlers. Restrictions on freedom of movement Physical obstacles, curfews, and the designation of fields belonging to Palestinians as “closed military zones” make it difficult, and sometimes impossible, for Palestinians to harvest their olives and produce marketable goods from them. For thousands of Palestinian families, olives and their by-products are their sole source of income. Given the severe poverty and unemployment in the Occupied Territories, disruption of the olive harvest will be a harsh blow for these families.
IRNA (Iran) 7 Oct 2002 Israeli tanks attack hospital in central Gaza, several killed and injured Al-Khalil, Oct 7, IRNA -- Israeli tanks on Monday attacked with heavy machineguns the main hospital in Khan Younis in central Gaza, killing and injuring several Palestinians. Sources at the hospital said Israeli troops stationed at the adjacent settlement of Gani Tal bombarded the hospital with machinegun fire for half an hour in mid-morning Monday, killing at least two people and injuring six others. Hospital officials described the attack as "a wanton act of state terror against a hospital." At least 12 people were killed in Khan Younis earlier Monday when an Israeli Apache helicopter gunship fired at least one hellfire air-to-ground missile at a crowd of hundreds of people who had gathered near a mosque to witness the damage inflicted throughout the neighborhood by Israeli tanks. Palestinian hospital sources said as many as 120 people, many of them children and women, were injured, some very badly. It is widely believed that the number of victims will rise as many of the people injured were listed in serious to critical condition. The Israeli army admitted soldiers opened fire at the hospital, but gave no details. Meanwhile, Palestinian officials continued to send out distress calls to the international community for help and urgent protection. PA official Sa'eb Erekat described the daily killing of Palestinian civilians as a "holocaust in slow motion." Erekat said in an interview with the PA-run television that Israel was committing a genocide against our people. He added that the "deafening silence throughout the world was encouraging Israel to slaughter us without having to worry about any negative reaction from the international community."
Ha'aretz 8 Oct 2002 U.S. raps Israel on religious freedom By Natan Guttman The U.S. State Department's annual report on religious freedom around the world criticizes Israel for for government interference in the election of the Greek Orthodox Church's patriarch for the Holy Land, Eireneos I, and for budget discrimination against non-Jewish citizens and non-Orthodox Jewish communities. The report, issued last night, does not cite Israel for grave violations of religious freedom but it does say the government tried to prevent Eireneos' being elected. It conditioned recognizing his election on getting political concessions from the Palestinian Authority, and the the authorities wanted one of his competitors for the post who had business dealings with Israelis. The report cites Israel for using budgets to discriminate against non-Jewish citizens, and against those who belong to non-Orthodox Jewish communities. The report criticizes the PA for refusing to allow non-Muslims to visit the plaza on the Temple Mount and the mosques there. Countries cited as being the worst offenders against religious freedom were China, Mynamar, Cuba, Laos, North Korea and Vietnam. The State Department also criticized religious intolerance in Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Afghanistan was the only country named report as showing improvement.
Christian Science Monitor 10 Oct 2002 Stop ethnic cleansing in the Mideast before it starts "Forced deportation of Palestinians from the occupied territories - "transfer," as it is widely described inside Israeli society - is the most horrifying possibility being discussed.." By Helena Cobban CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA. - "No deportations of Palestinians!" "Get back to the negotiating table!" Should these things even need saying to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon when he visits Washington Oct. 16? One would think not. But given President Bush's long record of negligence in Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking, they probably need restating to Mr. Sharon very loudly - and by the president - right now. Most of the attention regarding how Israel might behave in the event of an American war against Iraq has thus far focused on whether Sharon's government would launch a military response against Iraq if Iraq should start aiming at Israel during the war. But there's another possibility, even more feared by members of the peace camps in Israel and Palestine. That's the prospect that - with or without receiving a prior hit from Iraq - Sharon might use the cover of a "big war" in the region to undertake new and serious escalations in his campaign against the Palestinians. Forced deportation of Palestinians from the occupied territories - "transfer," as it is widely described inside Israeli society - is the most horrifying possibility being discussed. It is also the option that, unless vigorously and consistently opposed by Washington, would do the most harm to America's broader interests in the Middle East - and that includes America's ability to bring the campaign against Saddam Hussein to a successful conclusion. How real is the prospect of an Israeli attempt at transfer - or ethnic cleansing, as this same policy is called in the rest of international discourse? Well, Israel's recently appointed minister of infrastructure is a retired general called Effi Eitam, who made his political career precisely by advocating transfer. And earlier this month, Education Minister Limor Livnat directed schools throughout the country to devote an hour of study to the teachings of former Tourism Minister Rehavam Zeevi. Mr. Zeevi was assassinated by a Palestinian gunman a year ago. But the idea he was most closely associated with during a long political career was transfer. The idea of transfer is dressed up in a number of guises by various right-wing Israelis. Sometimes they suggest that Palestinians can be persuaded to emigrate "voluntarily" from the occupied territories. Many in Israel's peace camp say that the tight squeeze the Sharon government has imposed on the Palestinian areas since last March is designed to push Palestinians toward this "choice." If that is the case, it is an immoral and unconscionable use of state power. So would be any attempt at forced deportations. When Mr. Bush meets Sharon, he should express the total opposition of all Americans to any Israeli attempt at ethnic cleansing. But more is needed. Whether there's a war against Iraq on the horizon or not, the president needs to tell Sharon that the violence in the Holy Land has gone on far too long, and that Washington will now take active steps to help the two traumatized parties escape from it. Ever since he came into office, Bush has been damagingly passive in Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking. The situation on the ground has become far worse since January 2001. Palestinian and Israeli civilians have continued to die in totally unacceptable numbers. Last June, Bush made one major speech on the issue - but then, he immediately returned to his earlier passivity. Even during a six-week lull in Israeli casualties from August through early September, Bush did nothing to press Sharon to hotfoot it back to the negotiating table. How do the Israeli trend toward escalation and Washington's apparent passivity toward it serve America's broader interests throughout the Middle East and the Muslim world? Clearly, they don't. Whether the president wants to build a strong coalition against Saddam Hussein, or to maintain the cooperation that's still needed in the fight against Al Qaeda, the perception and reality of American permissiveness toward Sharon's actions are certainly harmful to American interests. That needs to end. The US is deeply implicated in everything Israel's government does. At least $3 billion of our tax money has gone to Israel each year since the mid-1980s. Washington gives the Sharon government massive military and diplomatic support. But that support cannot be unconditional, so long as Sharon and his government pursue policies that are clearly escalatory. Constructive American reengagement with Palestinian-Israeli peacemaking is simply the right thing to do. Leaders in Israel's reemerging peace camp call for a lot more than just renewed diplomacy. They want Washington to lead a new interposition force, stationed in the occupied territories, that can help Israelis and Palestinians to disengage, while providing protection that the much-beleaguered Palestinian communities urgently need. Bush is likely wary of any such plan. But he certainly needs to act now to reposition America as an engaged and credible peacemaker in the Holy Land. And if he's not willing to do that? Then he should hand Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking back to the United Nations, and promise the UN our country's full cooperation as it works where he chooses not to: for a speedy resolution of this tragic but still escapable cycle of violence. Brought to you in association with Miftah.org
Arutz Sheva 13 Oct 2002 www.israelnationalnews.comThis article originally appeared in The New York Forward. Blame the Arabs, Not the Settlers Yisrael Medad My community of Shiloh has grown this past year. Although four families left for employment opportunities that required moving closer to their new jobs, 21 other families arrived. That information would not be very important except for the fact that Shiloh is located in Samaria, 30 miles north of Jerusalem. It is one of those "settlements" in those "territories" that seem to upset many people. It is a community that has lost three people to Arab terror in the past 18 months. The faith of these "settlers" who should properly be termed "revenants," people who have returned to a place after a long absence”, their commitment and their determination, are intangibles that some Diaspora Jews still find difficult to grasp. To some Diaspora Jews, especially those who have traditionally championed a more liberal or leftwing approach to Zionism, the Oslo process is still strong after nine years of abject failure. For them, it seems, my community is an impediment to fulfillment of the Oslo vision of two states, one Jewish, the other devoid of Jewish communities. To those who still champion the Oslo process, peace requires that Jews be banned from the heart of the Jewish people´s historic homeland, Judea and Samaria, as they were for 19 years after Israel´s 1948 War of Independence. To them, the quarter-million Jews who reside there are always "the settlers." Their communities constitute "human rights violations," they are an "illegal occupation" and must be dismantled for their vision of peace to be fulfilled. My home in Shiloh was never occupied, to use a phrase too liberally applied, by Arabs, though there are Arab villages nearby. Calling Shiloh a "settlement" implies something foreign, intrusive and temporary, something that is purposefully and maliciously imposed. To us, however, "settling" is the most natural thing for a Jew to do: to reside where his forefathers dwelled, where his kings ruled and his prophets spoke. My window provides a view that has been Jewish for more than 3,000 years. Here Joshua divided the land; here Elkanah made pilgrimage; here Hannah prayed, and here Samuel the prophet grew up. Not coincidentally, the community of nations also took this War I, the Jewish right to a "national home" in these same areas. They also authorized, it is worth recalling, "close settlement" on the land. No, we are not violators of justice and international law. If there is any substance to the charges of ethnic cleansing and human rights violations so frequently tossed about, it relates to what the Arab leadership and its supporters have done and continue to do. We have done our best to avoid hindering Arabs as they continue to live here and in Israel, and have founded our communities almost exclusively on unused and unpopulated hilltops. Arab terrorists and their supporters justify killing our children and women just because we live here. There is no logical link between the continued existence of Jewish communities in the heart of the Jewish homeland and the ending of terror or the achievement of peace. Prior to the 1967 war there were no "settlements," no "occupation," no "territories," and yet there was no peace. Terrorism, though, was a constant factor. To suggest that our renewed presence in these areas somehow causes terrorism, as Arabs and some on the Zionist left maintain, perverts history and arguably encourages more terror. Dismantling Jewish communities and yielding land will not bring peace and never has. During and after World War I the Jewish people was promised a restoration of its national home in the Land of Israel, and yet throughout the British Mandate period, Jews ceded land. Land was ceded in the 1922 partition that created the Kingdom of Transjordan in eastern Palestine and again in the 1947 U.N. partition of western Palestine. Land was given away after the 1956 Sinai campaign, in the 1978 peace agreement with Egypt and in the 1994 treaty with Jordan. It was always Israel that yielded, never the Arabs. And still, peace was not achieved. Now Israel is under pressure to yield once again. Most Israelis now understand, in the wake of Camp David 2000 and the hostilities that broke out that autumn, that the Oslo peace process must be judged a failure. The continuing murder of Jewish women and children, the nonstop incitement to violence and hatred, the destruction of Jewish holy places, the destruction of the Temple Mount antiquities, the razing of Joseph´s Tomb, the torching of the Jericho synagogue - all these show the true intentions of the Arab leadership, should it gain full control of the "territories" as it would under the Oslo vision of peace. That this leadership´s agenda is very different from peace can be seen in the classic anti Semitic portrayals in its schoolbooks, in its media broadcasts hailing violence and hatred and suicide bombings, and indeed, in the human rights violations suffered by the local Arab population under Yasser Arafat´s despotic regime. Those who bemoan Israel´s "transgressions" would do better to direct their energies to convincing the Arabs to cease their violence and embrace genuine peace. That would not only open a new chapter in the conflict but would put events back on the true course of morality and relevance. - Yisrael Medad, a New York native, is a longtime activist on behalf of the Jewish communities of Judea, Samaria and Gaza and is currently the educational programming director at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center. www.forward.com/issues/2002/02.10.11/oped3.html
Ha'artez IL 14 Oct 2002 Report: 46 innocent bystanders killed in IDF assassinations By Moshe Reinfeld Nineteen bystanders, including five children, were killed in 53 assassinations of Palestinians carried out by the Israel Defense Forces between November 2000 until January 2002, according to a report issued jointly yesterday by the Israeli Public Committee Against Torture and the Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights and the Environment (LAW). The report also says that since the beginning of this year another 51 Palestinians have been assassinated - and that 27 innocent bystanders were killed in those attacks. The report only deals with assassinations decided upon by the security cabinet or by the "kitchen" cabinet, consisting of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Defense Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, and the heads of each of the other factions in the coalition. In addition, the report says that a deliberate killing of a man who is not endangering human lives at the time of the attack does not grant the killer any legal defense, and therefore the killing is a criminal offense, a grave violation of international law, and possbly a war crime making the perpetrators liable for prosecution at the International Criminal Court in the Hague. The report was written by Renata Capella and attorney Michael Sfarad, and is based on testimonies and information from different sources. It details the events that began with the first assassination of Hussein Abayat on November 9, 2000. The two human rights organizations called on the government to immediately abolish the assassination policy, to indict those responsible for implementing it, to compensate the relatives of the assassination victims, and to punish those who planned and carried out the assassinations, which, the report says, are extrajudicial murders. The report claims that in the future, the families of the assassinated men may need to be compensated from state coffers, warning Israeli citizens they may have to pay for the policy in higher taxes.
Jersulam Post 14 Oct 2002 Yossi Sarid's inciteful remarks BY ISI LEIBLER Although we argue and disagree passionately on many issues, whenever we were previously confronted by an external threat, with the exception of a few marginal elements, we always set aside our differences and united. Alas, not so today. Using venomous language about Jews of which even Goebbels would have approved, Opposition leader Yossi Sarid has reached new depths of debased incitement. How else to describe someone who demonizes the entire settlement movement -- hundreds of thousands of Jews -- as "a cancerous growth"... "the Sodom of the Jewish state"... "members of a different planet" ... "not my brothers" ... "who make me ashamed of being an Israeli and a Jew." These obscene remarks drenched in hatred against fellow Jews were published in Ha'aretz without even an editorial caution. Yet, paradoxically, when Chief of General Staff Moshe Ya'alon recently referred to the confrontation with the Palestinians as an "existential cancerous threat to Israel," he was viciously assailed and bad-mouthed by Sarid's political associates not only on political grounds but especially in relation to the language he used. He was accused of using Nazi terminology and told "he should know when to shut up." In other words, language relating to those who seek to destroy us -- considered unacceptable when used by the chief of General Staff -- is permissible for the leader of the opposition to employ in relation to hundreds of thousands of loyal Israeli citizens. Who are these people Sarid describes as "cancers"? The so-called settler movement is comprised of two categories: Those who sought low-cost housing and those who shared a dream of rebuilding Eretz Yisrael. Their enterprise was officially sanctioned by former governments, Labor and Likud alike, with even Meretz on occasion participating. Some individual settlers committed despicable acts. The mass murder by Baruch Goldstein was demented and unforgivable. There have been other ugly acts of vandalism, violence, and even murder. But these foul deeds were singular exceptions to the norm, and condemned by the overwhelming majority of law-abiding settlers. Crimes committed over the Green Line, as with crimes committed in Tel Aviv, Haifa and elsewhere in Israel, must be dealt with by law-enforcement authorities. Sarid is truly stooping to the gutter level of politics -- incitement to hatred. To vilify entire communities for the transgressions of a few misfits or criminals is a classical ploy of racists and hate peddlers. Had Sarid read Mein Kampf, he would know that this is precisely how Hitler promoted anti-Semitism amongst the German people. THERE ARE, undoubtedly, legitimate disagreements and difficult questions to be considered about future policies in the disputed territories. But never let it be forgotten that contemporary religious Zionist pioneers were motivated by similar ideals to the original halutzim (pioneers) who created villages in early Palestine. To Sarid these people are all fanatical zealots and his hate-drenched outbursts against them are intended to portray them as subhuman. Yet to most unbiased observers, as a group they represent the most committed and idealistic Jews in the land. Their passion for Eretz Yisrael has not been polluted by post-Zionist ideologies whose distorted logic leads to the conclusion that Israel was born in sin. Their personal way of life also contrasts with the rampant materialism and consumerism that much of Israeli society has now embraced. It would be interesting to take a comparative poll between Sarid's school of thought and that of the settlers. I have no doubt that on the basic issues facing Israel today, such as Zionism, emigration, and the apologetic and defeatist approach to the country at large, the attitudes of the Sarid camp would contrast starkly to those espoused by the "cancerous" settlers. Indeed I would be bold enough to say that a substantial proportion of those living over the Green Line would qualify for inclusion amongst the most dedicated elites of the Jewish people. The settlers deserve our support, understanding and comfort. None have suffered more from the horrendous consequences of the Oslo debacle than our fellow Israelis over the Green Line who represent only 3% of Israel's population but have incurred 20% of the nation's fatalities from Palestinian terror. More than anybody, they take the brunt of the war which is being directed against all of us. Sarid's outburst is a qualitative leap beyond the permissible. He already has much to answer for, not least being his articles in foreign newspapers as leader of the opposition at a time of war, urging foreign governments to act against the policies of the democratically elected government of Israel. By demonizing a vast number of his fellow Israelis in a manner reminiscent of the worst hatemongers, Sarid has crossed all red lines. The timing for such an outburst is also awful. Just as we begin seeing some light at the end of the tunnel, with Palestinians beginning to question where the policies of their terror are leading them, Sarid re-energizes the killers with his obscene remarks. It is a terrible but undeniable fact that by using such demonic language, the leader of Israel's parliamentary opposition is implicitly giving an endorsement to the Palestinians to intensify the killings. When Arafat calls on his assassins to concentrate on killing Jews over the Green Line, he has only to quote Sarid's definition of the settlers as "wicked cancers... that should be eliminated." Enough is enough. Sarid must apologize. He must apologize to the Jews he has maligned. We should call on the government to formulate legislation to prevent such outrageous outbursts in the future. This is a nation at war. We are entitled to expect our leaders to promote unity amongst our people rather than sow sinat hinam (needless hatred) and dissension. If we fail to protest and remain silent in the face of such wicked onslaughts on fellow Jews, we all become party to the outrage. The writer is senior vice president of the World Jewish Congress. He may be contacted at email@example.com.
Reuters 15 Oct 2002 Israeli police briefly detain Jerusalem Mufti JERUSALEM, Oct 15 (Reuters) - Israeli police detained the Mufti of Jerusalem, the Palestinians' highest Muslim religious authority, for several hours on Tuesday for questioning about statements he allegedly made in defence of suicide bombers. The police said in a statement that Sheikh Ikrima Sabri was detained for questioning "at the instruction of the state attorney-general". The inquiry was launched over statements Sabri allegedly made to an Arab newspaper, describing suicide bombings that have killed scores of Israelis as a legitimate act of self-defence against occupation, police said. Sabri denied the quotes attributed to him and condemned his arrest. "I am the Mufti of the Holy Land, I condemn the manner in which I was arrested," Sabri told Reuters upon his release after a three-hour interrogation. In June, Sabri was quoted by the United Arab Emirates' daily al-Bayan as saying that there was "no legal or religious objection to (suicide bombings) which on the contrary are a legitimate self-defence and a form of successful resistance." In the same interview, Sabri was quoted as saying the tactics of the Israeli army trying to crush a two-year-old Palestinian uprising for statehood were "barbaric...and surpass by far the impact of suicide operations".
Ha'artez 21 Oct 2002 What's illegal: occupation or refusal to serve? By Moshe Gorali Tomorrow the High Court of Justice will discuss the petition of eight men who refused to report for reserve duty, who want a ruling that their refusal is legal, because since the Al Aqsa Intifada, the occupation and IDF [Israel Defense Forces] activities in the territories are what is illegal. The appeal was submitted after IDF Attorney General Major General Menahem Finkelstein refused to accept this argument and to cancel the indictments against them for disciplinary infractions: non-compliance with an order and refusing an order. The discussion will take place as a result of an interesting legal exercise initiated by Supreme Court President Justice Aharon Barak. The High Court of Justice was supposed to decide three months ago on the request of First Lieutenant David Sonnschein to be placed on trial in a military court. The petition was submitted for reasons of principle, but also in order to arouse a public debate about refusal to serve, and to question the legality of the IDF's actions in the territories. This petition was submitted after the IDF attorney general, in order to prevent the refuseniks from receiving too much attention, dismissed their refusal as a disciplinary infraction, and sent them to a disciplinary trial before a senior officer, who sentenced them to several days in military detention. After the discussion in the High Court, even before the ruling was handed down, Barak invited both sides to see him on July 16, and surprised them with an offer that was hard to refuse. "You'll come to us in the end in any case," said Barak, "so why don't we create a shortcut. Erase the petition, and instead let First Lieutenant Sonnschein request that the IDF attorney general cancel the disciplinary ruling against him. In his request, he will raise his arguments on the heart of the matter. If he is not satisfied, he will petition us against the decision of the IDF attorney general." In this way, Barak actually invited a debate on the legality of the occupation and of the legitimacy of refusal to serve. Sonnschein, and his friends who joined the new petition, are receiving the benefit of a respectable High Court platform, where they will be able to submit a complete legal argument, with all its moral and political implications. The lawyers for the two sides, attorney Michael Sefarad, representing the refuseniks, and attorney Einar Hellman, representing the State, agreed. The proposal took on the validity of a legal decision, and Barak's scenario began to unfold. Sonnschein turned to the IDF attorney general and asked him to rule that refusal does not constitute a crime. The attorney general rejected the request, as expected, and Sonnschein's attorneys, Sefarad and Avigdor Feldman, petitioned the High Court in his name and that of his friends. Tomorrow the High Court will discuss the legitimacy of the refusal, instead of making a simple decision regarding the location of the trial. The main argument in the petition, which is spread out over 26 pages, is that the occupation has become illegal during the past two years, and therefore, orders aimed at supporting and continuing it should not be obeyed. The argument against the occupation focuses on its deterioration, in the words of the petition, "to a system which consists entirely of collective punishment of a civilian population that today numbers over three million people - children, women and men; the State of Israel and the IDF have in recent years entirely absolved themselves of their duty, according to international law and Israeli constitutional law, to take care of the population occupied by them." War crimes The results of this denial of responsibility, the petition claims, have reached the point of war crimes, expressed in the targeted assassinations during which dozens of passersby have been killed, in the destruction of homes and orchards, in the harm done to medical teams, in the abuse at checkpoints, in the hunger, unemployment and economic ruin that are caused as a result of collective punishment such as curfews, closures and encirclements. In addition, the petition claims, "IDF soldiers are now exposed to standing trial in the International Criminal Court [ICC] in The Hague." In this way, the petitioners want to overturn a previous ruling of the High Court, made during the Lebanon War, according to which there is no place in the State of Israel for selective conscientious objection. The ruling then was made on the issue of Yaakov Schein, a soldier who refused to serve in Lebanon. For the most part, democratic countries recognize absolute conscientious objection, on the basis of pacifism or religion, but not partial objection like that of Sonnschein and his friends - all officers and combat soldiers - who are not objecting to military service itself, but rather to its specific aims, as they are realized in the territories. Is every soldier who serves in the territories responsible for "war crimes"? According to the petition, the answer is yes. "In the present military situation, there are no clear boundary lines between actions that serve those clearly illegal goals of prohibited collective punishment, and innocent actions that do not serve this goal," they claim. "The attempt to distinguish between tasks that are tainted and those that are legal, is a vain attempt." The conclusion is that every soldier who serves in the territories perforce becomes a party to "applying unremitting pressure on the civilian population." This is the reason for the legal protection and the legal justification for refusal - whether it's a matter of a clearly illegal order which must be refused, or an "ordinary" illegal order which one is allowed to refuse and which there is no obligation to follow. "Illegality has come to dominate all the strata of military activity in the occupied territories, and makes the occupation as a whole illegal," states the petition. This statement relies on "noncompliance with the obligations of the occupier according to international law, and wide-scale violation of human rights." The claim for freedom of conscience is parallel to the claim for religious freedom. First Lieutenant Sonnschein described being forced to serve in the territories like this: "For me, it's like giving a religious person non-kosher food." And the conclusion: "Freedom of conscience and belief is not limited to the granting of religious freedom, but covers a very broad variety of values and beliefs." In this context, the attorneys quote an American ruling that compares the status of non-religious people who request an exemption from military service for reasons of conscience, to those who request an exemption for reasons of religious belief. In Israel, various arrangements, including the Tal Law [exempting yeshiva students from military service], recognize only exemption for religious reasons. IN order to bring about the downfall of the Schein law, they are enlisting the Basic Law on Human Dignity and Freedom, many international conventions, and the reality in which, the petitioners say, "We haven't found a single democratic country that has dealt with the occupation of a civilian population for the past decades, with all the moral difficulties that accompany it." Therefore, a "soldier who declares that for him carrying out activities that directly or indirectly harm a civilian population and innocent people damages ... his essence as a human being, his self-image and the wholeness of his conscience and his soul" should not be punished, and should even receive consideration. Such a soldier "is not making a political argument, but a conscientious-moral one." And therefore his right to refuse should be recognized. The essence of the IDF attorney general's reply to the petition consists of an "enlistment" of the High Court. While the petition of the refuseniks focuses on the overall illegality of the occupation, the attorney general "breaks up" the argument into the dozens of petitions that have already been submitted to the High Court and denied. "The IDF's commitment to the rules of humanitarian international law, which is carried out with the close accompaniment of the IDF attorney general's office, has not remained within the confines of the army," writes the attorney general, adding that it has been examined and approved by the High Court on dozens of occasions, in the context of more that 100 petitions submitted to the High Court in the course of the events of High Tide/ Low Tide [the IDF code name for the intifada that began in October 2000]. (Many of the petitons were submitted during the course of Operation Defensive Shield, when the IDF operated in Palestinian cities.) This claim was meant to take the wind out of the sails of the petition. If the High Court has rejected many petitions by human rights organizations against the activity of the army, it should reject a petition against the overall situation. After parts of the whole (i.e. the occupation) have been sanctioned by the court, there is no possibility and no chance that the whole itself will not be sanctioned. Major General Finkelstein lists a substantial number of the petitions submitted, and quotes at length the position of the High Court and its reasons for denying them. These reasons fit in well with his position, which preaches at the petitioners and scolds them for presenting "a distorted, one-sided and infuriating picture of the reality in which the State of Israel finds itself, and in which the IDF operates." This reality, he continues, is one of rampant terror that is harming Israel, and that is produced within and under the protection of the civilian population, about which the petitioners are concerned. "It is hard to find another country in the world, certainly in the democratic Western world, which has had to confront terror of the kind the State of Israel is confronting," declares the IDF attorney general, adding: "The activities of the IDF are dictated by the need to protest the lives of our citizens, and not by the wish to harm the civilian Palestinian population." The attorney general confirms that criminal behavior has been found among IDF soldiers. The Military Police have opened 193 investigations since the outbreak of the intifada, and 26 indictments have been submitted against soldiers suspected of crimes such as looting, damage to property, violence and illegal use of weapons. "Such cases are an exception," writes the attorney general. "They are unfortunately part of the reality of fighting on a large scale." Fighting back Regarding the argument that the state has shrugged off its obligation to take care of this population, the attorney general mentions the political agreements that Israel signed with the PLO [Palestine Liberation Organization], which gradually transferred the civil administration to the Palestinians. After they started the war, there is no room for complaints about Israel for focusing on fighting back, and not finding the time to rehabilitate the infrastructure of the economy, education and health in the territories. The attorney general attacks the refuseniks who chose to violate the law instead of acting in acceptable ways such as petitioning the High Court immediately upon receiving the draft order, or turning to the Defense Minister to ask for an exemption for reasons of conscience. Instead, they chose to wait to be called up, and then to refuse. To the point, the attorney general does not accept selective objection, not only for democratic reasons, but also for constitutional reasons, which balance between values: "Like any human right, the right to freedom of conscience is a relative one. This relativity is expressed in the fact that this right can be limited in order to carry out the public interest. In fact, in an organized society, the realization of the right of the individual must, in the proper circumstances, retreat before the general good." In supporting opinions enlisted by the two sides, there is a discussion of the distinction between conscientious objection, which is seen as a legitimate personal act, and organized refusal, which is seen as civil rebellion. "The act that looks like conscientious objection is in most cases an act of civil rebellion. This is an act that is unjustified in every way, and that justifies, morally speaking, a punitive reaction on the part of the law enforcement system," argue Professors Ron Shapiro and Avi Sagi of Bar Ilan University, in an opinion they wrote at the request of the IDF attorney general. Basing their decision on the statement that "the present war was forced on the State of Israel, Israel didn't start it and is not interested in it," Sagi and Shapiro maintain that "the real meaning [of refusal] is abandoning the lives of people, in the territories and outside of them, to a murderous attack." Sagi and Shapiro conclude that "the truth of the matter is that the behavior that is posing in the case before us as moral conscientious objection, is nothing but civil rebellion," an act of violating the law for political reasons, with the aim of changing a law or a policy, or of expressing public protest against them. On the other side, the petitioners enlisted the academic opinions of Prof. Yosef Raz of Oxford, and Professors David Hed and Alon Harel of the Hebrew University, who consider conscientious objection a positive phenomenon. Hed objects to the statement of Sagi and Shapiro. He claims that "they are making the sweeping argument that at least in the present political conditions in Israel, all those who refuse to serve in the territories fall under the category of `civil rebellion.' This conclusion does not accord with the heart of my argument about the blurring between civil rebellion and conscientious objection, and the need to carefully examine the motivation for refusal."
Christian Science Monitor 30 Oct 2002 A fight for the hearts and minds of Malaysia's Muslim majority A leading opposition party with plans for Islamiclaw is slowly gaining support. By Dan Murphy | Special to the KOTA BHARU, MALAYSIA - To Nik Aziz Nik Mat, the obligation to make multiethnic and multireligious Malaysia an Islamic state is clear. "The ultimate political strength is the truth, and the truth is God's revelation that the day of judgment will come. This can't be escaped – the evidence is in the holy Koran.'' Mr. Aziz is the 70-year old leader of Malaysia's leading opposition party, the Pan-Malaysian Opposition Party (PAS). His serene, grandfatherly smile belies a grim, acrimonious struggle he is locked in with Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad's United Malays National Organization party (UMNO) for the hearts and minds of the country's mostly Muslim ethnic Malays, who account for about 60 percent of the population. It's a struggle in which Aziz is making steady – if small – gains. With Mr. Mahathir, who has dominated Malaysian politics for more than 20 years, planning to step down late next year, Aziz is hoping to win more political ground, and draw one step closer to his dream of creating a fundamentalist state. "There's no secret that there's a split right down the middle of the Malay constituency,'' says a Western diplomat. "PAS strategy is to exploit that split to destroy UMNO's claim that it speaks for all Malays." To be sure, the party's prospects for winning outright control of the national government anytime soon are virtually nil. UMNO has won every election since independence in 1957. In the last election, only about a third of ethnic Malays voted for PAS. Among the rest of the population – ethnic Chinese, Indians, and indigenous people – there is virtually no support for the party because of its Islamic agenda. Yet PAS has been riding high since the jailing of Mahathir's popular former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim in 1998 on charges of sodomy and corruption – which many believe were politically motivated. Anwar's treatment drove many ethnic Malays from the party and toward PAS, seen as the antidote for "money politics," Malaysia's catch-all phrase for the cozy relationship between privileged businessmen and the ruling party. In 1999 elections, PAS' seats in the national parliament more than tripled to 27. Though a tiny fraction of the total 193 seats, Aziz is expecting similar gains at the next national elections, which will be held sometime in the next two years. "The Anwar issue crystallized for many people how corrupt and unfair the government really is,'' says Zulkifli Sulong, the editor of Harakah, a newspaper run by PAS. "It was a watershed for us." Since Sept. 11, polarization among Malays has increased, with many urban Malays uncomfortable with the PAS agenda in the light of the terror attacks. Their discomfort is understandable. Ultimately, Aziz wants to recreate the Islamic golden age of Arabia, 1,400 years ago. Though he's vague on how Malaysia, a rapidly modernizing country of 15 million that manufactures semiconductors and computers, could be made like 7th-century Medina, he speaks with the conviction of faith that it will come to pass. Aziz comes from an illustrious line of Islamic teachers. His own father ran a religious school and was famed for his conservatism. He never left the house without an umbrella that he would pop open to shield his eyes in the event an uncovered woman approached. In the 1950s and '60s, Aziz studied Islam at schools in India and Pakistan, and then moved on to Cairo, where he studied Islamic law. He continues to live in the same house where he was born. A battered car in the driveway testifies to his reputation for living modestly. Though Aziz comes across as mild-mannered, his views are far from it. He has said women who wear short skirts or shirts that reveal their navel have only themselves to blame if they're raped, he doesn't think women should be allowed to work outside the home, and he favors government subsidies and aggressive programs to convert non-Muslims. In two of Malaysia's 13 states, Aziz's attempt to turn back the clock is already under way. In Kelantan and Terengannu, where PAS holds sway, he is fighting against the federal government for the introduction of Islamic law, or sharia, including the criminal code known as hudud, which calls for such extreme measures as the stoning of adulterers. Mahathir has vowed to block the legislation. "They insult Islam by creating a set of laws that is supposedly Islamic but has no justice,'' he told a June press conference. "We are Islamic. They [PAS] are un-Islamic." Aziz takes such attacks philosophically. He says he has no intention of taking the government head on – pointing out that the federal state declared emergency powers and took over Kelantan in the late 1970s to foil another attempt at introducing Islamic law. "We won't allow ourselves to be put in that position again,'' he says. "The prime minister has been saying that if we have hudud, then the West will be against us. But they're already against us!" While he hasn't won on Islamic law yet, the fact that his government is nominally an Islamic one is a point of great pride for Aziz. "We've achieved something few others have,'' he says. "We've managed to make Islam the basis of our government." Despite this claim, someone from Saudi Arabia or Iran – two Islamic states – would probably feel disoriented on the streets of Kelantan and Terengannu, where Islamic symbolism has had a greater impact on daily life than has Islamic practice. In the searing heat of Kota Bharu's bustling central market, most of the women are covered from head to toe. But a few holdouts can be seen in the crowd – including a 20-something in platform shoes and a tiny T-shirt that says "Party Girl." She gets a few dirty looks as she totters across the square, but that's the extent of Muslim fury. At The Store, a downtown supermarket, the only evidence of separate checkout lanes for men and women is signs that declare some lanes "for women only." Yet the cashiers are all women, and men and women freely mingle in line. Nevertheless, residents say such restrictions have been gradually on the rise. The small Chinese minority are almost universally alarmed by the rise of PAS. Evelyn Chua, whose family runs a hostel, Internet cafe, and restaurant catering to tourists, says the Islamic party's "crazy" restrictions have hurt business, and are infringing on individual rights. "No karaoke, no traditional dance, men and women can't swim in the same pool. This isn't the city I grew up in.'' Experts in Malaysia say that most Malays, in practice, are uncomfortable with the fundamentalist approach. "If those guys cut one Malay hand off, their support will evaporate, and they know it,'' says a political analyst in Kuala Lumpur.
ICG 3 October 2002 Transition to Democracy? Ahead of the 10 October national elections in Pakistan, President Pervez Musharraf has promised that he will restore democracy and transfer power to an elected government. However his military government is following the pattern of Pakistan's previous military rulers by unilaterally instituting political and constitutional changes intended to ensure that the generals retain the real power and any democratic transition falters before it begins. External pressure, especially from the United States and the European Union, is vital if President Musharraf is to fulfil his pledge to restore democracy. Political stability and the marginalisation of extremists will best be served by ensuring Pakistan moves genuinely towards representative government. For the full report, please see CrisisWeb - http://www.crisisweb.org
IRIN 9 Oct 2002 Special report on minorities and the election - Christians will vote on Thursday for the first time in Pakistan's new inclusive electoral system ISLAMABAD, 9 Oct 2002 (IRIN) - In the same week that the US State Department’s annual report on international religious freedom accused Islamabad of hostility towards certain faiths, millions of religious minorities including Christians, Hindus, Sikhs and Zoroastrians are preparing to cast their votes in a new inclusive electorate system on Thursday - perhaps ending more than two decades of political isolation for religious minorities in this deeply-Muslim country. Rukhsana is a Protestant, she cooks for a wealthy expatriate in the capital, Islamabad, and is preparing to cast her ballot in the elections on Thursday. She lives in a mud-built slum known as "Christian colony" in the sprawling capital. The district was the centre of attention during the frantic election campaign over the past few weeks with candidates visiting and promising everything on earth - clean drinking water, a dispensary and even ownership rights of their crumbling mud houses. This shift in attitude is the result of government’s decisions to allow non-Muslims to vote for and contest elections in all constituencies across the country. In January, Pakistan's government ended an electoral system that discriminated against religious minorities by compelling them to vote for just 10 non-Muslim seats in the overwhelmingly Muslim Parliament. Experts believe that the decision to scrap the old system could pave the way towards establishing a secular political culture in the country. But minority groups are very much on the defensive right now. Over the past few months non-Muslims, Christians in particular, have been victims of deadly terrorist attack. Last month 7 Christians lost their lives when gunmen calmly walked into the offices of a Christian NGO in the commercial capital Karachi and shot non-Muslims through the head. The attacks are in apparent retaliation for Pakistan’s backing of the US military campaign in neighbouring Afghanistan and Musharraf's moves against extremists groups at home. Christians say they are condemned to live as an under class in Pakistan. "It is difficult because we are like second type of people here. I have to keep my faith a secret," Rukhsana told IRIN. "People laugh at us and shout and throw stones when we go to the church." She is worried that her daughter, although skilled in computing, will not be able to get a job in the public sector because of the family's faith. Rukhsana’s story illustrates the plight of millions of religious minorities in Pakistan. Mostly employed as cleaners, sweepers and manual labourers at the lower end of the economic spectrum, they face marginalisation, draconian discriminatory laws as well as violent attacks at the hands of extremists. The US Commission on International Religious Freedom recently recommended to the State Department to declare Pakistan a "country of particular concern" for restrictions on religious rights. "It [the change to the electoral system] is an important beginning," Chairman of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, Afrasiab Khattak, told IRIN. He added that the system of separate electorates introduced by the country’s erstwhile military dictator, General Zia-ul Haq in 1985 was never accepted by non-Muslims and it was a part of his "Islamisation" drive. "Although at the moment the general political climate is not conducive for minorities," he said, pointing towards a series of recent terrorist attacks on non-Muslims - both Pakistanis and expatriates. Khattak maintained that lack of security and intolerance were the major issues for religious minorities in the country. "While the state should ensure security, civil society should address the question of intolerance," he said. Despite the introduction of the new joint electorate system, recent attacks may explain why not a single non-Muslim is contesting some 272 general seats of the national legislature. However, some 50 Hindu and Christian candidates are running for office on general seats in the provincial legislatures of the southern Sindh and eastern Punjab province. While non-Muslims are officially estimated at between three and five percent of the 140 million people in Pakistan, their vote may play a decisive role in some 60 national assemblies and another 130 provincial assembly constituencies. Haroon Nasir, a researcher with the Christian Study Centre, a Rawalpindi-based NGO working on minority issues, told IRIN that separate electorates were against the concept of unity of a nation. "We should not be differentiated on the basis of religion and must be treated as Pakistanis," he said. Nasir maintained that minorities in Pakistan face legal discrimination under the Blasphemy laws, which are often used against non-Muslims. "Before 1977 there used to be social discrimination against the religious minorities but now after General Zia’s era it has changed into constitutional discrimination," he added. But Shabaz Bahatti, Chairman of the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance, told IRIN that scrapping the old quota system was not necessarily a good thing "Keeping reserved seats is a positive discrimination for marginalised groups," he said. Other activists also object to the special quotas and the method of filling minority quota seats. "We were for the joint electorates but we were against quotas," Waseem Anthony, a human rights activist with the Christian charity, National Commission for Peace and Justice told IRIN. "We only want a normal citizen status," he said, echoing a broadly shared view. Not all minority communities are happy with the new arrangements. 'Ahmadi' or 'Qadianis' a religious sect mostly concentrated in the Punjab province, officially declared as non-Muslim under Pakistan’s constitution, have boycotted the elections on the grounds that although they have been included in the joint electorate system, they are retained on separate electoral lists - a move believed to be taken to appease the country’s strong conservative clergy. "The government should not be run on the basis of religion," a spokesman for Jammat-e Ahmadya, requesting not to be named, told IRIN. "We don’t bother about being declared non-Muslims but we should have shared the joint electoral lists with others," he said, adding that their boycott would affect some 2.5 million Ahmadi voters. Human rights activist I A Rehman told IRIN that there had been an improvement in the minority communities’ situation as a result of the abolition of the old electoral system. "But it is theoretical, it will take time before this joint electorate system produces the results that are expected," he said. Whether the new arrangements will end the marginalisation of minorities in Pakistan remains to be seen. "I am not very optimistic about the absorption of minorities into the mainstream because elections is only one part of life," Rehman said. "The state still has some laws that discriminate against non-Muslims. Many things have to be done before non-Muslims can become citizens."
Philippine Bombing Kills at Least 8 By REUTERS Filed at 5:57 a.m. ET KIDAPAWAN, Philippines (Reuters) - A bomb ripped through a bus terminal in the southern Philippines on Thursday, killing at least eight people and wounding 19 in the latest of a series of bomb attacks in the violence-hit region. Police said the explosion occurred around 2:45 p.m. (2:45 a.m. EDT) at the bus terminal in Kidapawan City in North Cotobato province. One woman and a child were killed on the spot and the others died in hospital, Superintendent Casimiro Medez of Kidapawan City told reporters. Local radio reported explosives were believed to have been planted in the waiting shed of the terminal and those who died included a six-year-old boy and street vendors. At least two buses were damaged.people were being treated for injures, said regional army spokesman Julieto Ando. Ando said the military and police were investigating possible motives for the attack and that communist and Muslim rebels were among the top suspects. ``We are checking on the possible involvement of the NPA (New People's Army) and the MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front). But we are not discounting other terrorist groups,'' he said. Authorities said the NPA, a communist group which has been fighting for an establishment of a Marxist state for over three decades, was known to be active in the Kidapawan area. The MILF is the main rebel group fighting for a Muslim homeland in the south of the mainly Catholic Philippines. The Manila government and the MILF are engaged in peace talks brokered by Malaysia. Last week, a powerful bomb ripped through a karaoke bar and restaurant in southern Zamboanga City, killing a U.S. soldier and two Filipino civilians. Authorities blamed the Abu Sayyaf, a guerrilla band which Washington has linked to the al Qaeda network of Osama bin Laden. A Jordanian man detained for immigration irregularities was suspected to be linked to the Zamboanga attack, but officials said on Thursday he was likely to be deported soon as police did not have evidence to press criminal charges against him. The 36-year-old man was taken into custody on Tuesday in Manila for violating immigration laws. ``We do not have anything to link him to any terror activities as of yet,'' police intelligence Chief Superintendent Jaime Caringal told reporters. Military intelligence sources had said they suspected the man was a Palestinian. Newspapers have said the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Philippine military were looking for a Palestinian who was believed to have had a hand in the bombing.
Radio New Zealand International 12 Oct 2002 SOLOMONS PARLIAMENT MEMBER REJECTS CLAIM OF INVOLVEMENT IN WEATHER COAST MASSACRE HONIARA, Solomon Islands---A member of parliament in the Solomon Islands Opposition, Alfred Sasako, says there is no evidence to back up claims by the prime minister that he was behind a failed attempt in June to take rebel leader Harold Keke into custody. A group of 10 Malaitan men traveled to the Weather Coast in June to try and collect the bounty on the warlord, but they were massacred on Keke’s orders. Prime Minister Sir Allen Kemakeza said Friday that Sasako, the Opposition’s Foreign Affairs spokesman, should resign over his role in the failed mission. Sasako says that while he had expected the prime minister to make such a claim, there is nothing in it, and police had not spoken to him about the mission. Sasako says he welcomes the chance to sue the prime minister for defaming him. "I don't have a shred of dot against my name and I stand innocent before God and before my constituency and the people of Solomon Islands. "If the Prime Minister and I were to be put together and judged on integrity, I think people know who comes out first," Sasako said. Kemakeza admitted yesterday that he had encouraged militants not to surrender their guns, but that a planned reconciliation between the various groups was derailed by the attempt to take Keke into custody.
Reuters 6 Oct 2002 Belgium apologizes for helping Nazis deport Jews BRUSSELS - Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt on Sunday made the country's first official apology for the complicity of local government officials in deporting tens of thousands of Jews to Nazi Germany. Speaking at a ceremony commemorating the 60th anniversary of the deportation of Jews by train out of Belgium, Verhofstadt said his country had to acknowledge and assume responsibility. "In Belgium, too many were those who gave in to collaborating," he said. "We must have the courage to say it, to acknowledge it, to bear it." Verhofstadt also paid homage to those who did not cooperate with the occupiers, including Brussels municipal officials who refused to compel Jewish residents to display yellow stars on their clothes. Belgium deported nearly half of the 70,000 Jews living in the country. It is not the first time that Verhofstadt has tried to atone for his country's past. He has apologized for Belgium's failure to do more to prevent the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, as well as its role in the 1961 assassination of Congolese leader Patrice Lumumba. Rwanda and Congo are former Belgian colonies. Jewish Holocaust survivors recently reached an agreement with Belgian banks over compensation worth about 55 million euros ($54 million) for cash left in accounts whose owners died in World War Two. The compensation was in addition to a payment of about 55 million euros promised by the government, insurers and the central bank for stolen assets and unclaimed life insurance policies. Belgium was slower than other countries in paying the Jewish community for lost assets. It passed a law allowing assets to be returned to families of Jewish victims only last year.
CTK National News Wire, 3 Oct 2002 RYCHETSKY TO PRESENT AMENDMENT ON EXTRADITION OF CZECHS TO ICC, TAM, PRAGUE, Oct 3 ; (TAM), 'Czech government Constitution criminal' The Justice Ministry wants this year to submit a draft amendment to the Constitution which would enable extradition of Czech citizens to the International Criminal Court in the Hague, minister Pavel Rychetsky told the Senate constitutional and legal committee today. The passing of the amendment is a condition for the accession of the Czech Republic to the Rome Statute, international agreement on the establishment of this court which is to judge war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity. The previous Czech government of the Social Democrats (CSSD) failed to push through a similar amendment in the lower house in October last year. "Even though the Czech Republic was among the first to sign the agreement, it is among the last not to have ratified it," Rychetsky said. The ICC started activities in July but is to start actually working as of 2003. By September 19 the ICC Rome Statute was signed by 139 countries and ratified by 81 of them. The ratification has been rejected by, for example, Russia, China, Israel and the USA, for fear of ungrounded suits against their citizens. Most of EU members consider the current USA's efforts to exempt its citizens from the court's jurisdiction a violation of the Rome Statute, which the USA had signed. The amendment is also to enable the prosecution by ICC of people protected by immunity, including the head of state, members of parliament and constitutional court judges. According to Rychetsky, the redrafted amendment is also to meet the ruling of the Constitutional Court from May and enable court panels chairmen to execute state administration. Under the amendment, judges as well as soldiers could be sent within peacekeeping operation abroad to handle suits there.
Reuters 3 Oct 2002 France back in Africa after non-intervention years By Steve Pagani PARIS, Oct 3 (Reuters) - France sent more troops to Ivory Coast this week amid a deepening rebellion, prompting newspapers and commentators to ask whether the nation once known as the gendarme of Africa was back on patrol. The centre-right government of Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin ordered paratroopers into Ivory Coast on Tuesday to reinforce some 700 crack troops already in the West African country, a former French colony. Their first mission to help evacuate thousands of foreign nationals following a failed coup two weeks ago was a success. Now French soldiers and men of the Foreign Legion have reinforced positions around the country. The swift deployment, coupled with quick, unambiguous backing for the democratically elected government of Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo, signalled what appeared to be a shift in France's policy towards its former colonies in Africa. "The change is clear," said Roland Marchal, senior research fellow at the Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches Internationales (CERI) in Paris. "It is a break from Jospin's doctrine of non-intervention," Marchal added. Soon after winning power in 1997, Socialist Prime Minister Lionel Jospin toured Africa, ushering in a new era of ties he said was based on "fraternity, not paternalism". "Under Jospin, there would have been a military intervention to evacuate foreign nationals and nothing more," Marchal said. Jospin's election followed a murky period of French involvement in Africa, particularly its role in Rwanda in 1994 where rights groups accused Paris of failing to halt genocide. France's close links with the Hutu government in the 1990s led to accusations it had trained and then shielded Hutu forces responsible for the slaughter of Tutsis and moderate Hutus. The Tutsis who finally seized power in Kigali later opposed all French attempts to intervene in the conflict in Zaire to prop up President Mobutu Sese Seko. The days of post-colonial intervention sanctioned by presidents from General Charles de Gaulle to Francois Mitterrand, were at an end. In 1997, French newspapers ran headlines announcing "the end of French Africa". When trouble broke out in the Congo capital, Brazzaville, in 1997 French forces evacuated foreign nationals and withdrew. With the "gendarme's" badge commanding more derision than respect, French President Jacques Chirac fell in behind Jospin. CHANGE OF GOVERNMENT, CHANGE OF LANGUAGE Chirac's re-election this year and a centre-right government in power means both can sing from the same song sheet on foreign policy. France has dug its heels in against pressure from the United States to back a tough U.N. Security Council resolution on Iraq. It has responded quickly to requests by Ivory Coast for help. The language also appears more forthright. Chirac said in a speech on Monday France had to assume its responsibilities and that might mean having to fight a war. On Ivory Coast, Paris insists it is merely honouring a military accord it has with most of its ex-colonies in Africa and is just providing "logistical support" and trying to help maintain stability. But rebels controlling Ivory Coast's second city, Bouake, have complained that French troops were blocking their advance. "Chirac is now changing the (Jospin) stance, wanting to appear more active, telephoning around, as with Ivory Coast, counselling moderation and negotiation," Catholic newspaper La Croix said in an editorial. Apart from Ivory Coast, France maintains troops in Africa in Djibouti, Senegal, Chad and Gabon. Chirac told visiting Djibouti President Ismail Omar Guelleh this week he could count on support from Paris. Involvement in African affairs might be stepped up, but the strategy looks more aimed at cooperation than coercion. No longer the strutting former colonial power, analysts say France may, in the longer term, seek to prevent crises exploding in Africa with help from its European partners, cooperating more with African institutions and funding African peacekeeping forces. "Ever since the genocide in Rwanda, France has kept its distance from crises in Africa," Liberation daily said in a commentary this week. "Under pressure, France is back, although its freedom of action is not the same as it was."
WP 14 Oct 2002 France's Role in a Genocide Page A28 I lived in Rwanda in 1993 and 1994 and returned there in 1995 after the genocide to gather testimony for a book. I was therefore surprised to read Emily Wax's assertion ["At the Heart of Rwanda's Horror," front page, Sept. 21] that the U.N. arms embargo on Rwanda during the genocide ensured that the weapons stocks of Gen. Augustin Bizimungu's Forces Armées Rwandaises (FAR) "were not replenished." To the contrary, the French government continued to supply arms to the French-speaking FAR through Zaire well into May 1994. Correspondence to the genocidal government indicates that 35 tons of munitions were funded through Paris and delivered as late as May 25, 1994. Similar arms deals, such as the sale of $6 million in arms to the genocidal government, were underwritten by the French bank Crédit Lyonnais. French military support of the genocidal government dates from 1990, when the English-speaking Rwandan Patriotic Army invaded Rwanda from Uganda. The French government's support for the FAR government continued throughout the genocide, culminating in the establishment of the French army-patrolled "zone turquoise," through which the remnants of the FAR were allowed to escape into Zaire. JOHN A. BERRY Alexandria
NYT 10 Oct 2002 Hungarian Novelist Wins Nobel Prize in Literature By ALAN RIDING ARIS, Oct. 9 — Imre Kertész, a Hungarian novelist and Holocaust survivor with a small but devoted readership in Europe, today won the 2002 Nobel Prize for Literature for what the Swedish Academy described as writing that "upholds the tragic experience of the individual against the barbaric arbitrariness of history." Mr. Kertész, 72, a secular Jew whose work has been shaped by the time he spent as a teenage prisoner in Auschwitz and Buchenwald, was largely unknown even in Hungary until the collapse of Communism. Since the early 1990's, he has been acclaimed in Germany and has won a loyal following in Sweden and France. Only two of his novels — "Fateless" and "Kaddish for a Child Not Born," (Northwestern University Press) — have been translated into English. In its citation, the Swedish Academy said Mr. Kertész explores how an individual resists the enormous pressure of social and political conformity. "For him Auschwitz is not an exceptional occurrence that like an alien body subsists outside the normal history of Western Europe," the academy noted. "It is the ultimate truth about human degradation in modern existence." Mr. Kertész, who was working in Berlin when he learned of the prize, said he considered it a tribute to Hungarian literature. "It is a great honor for me and perhaps it now means I can have a quieter life, at least financially," he told reporters. "We're going to have a big party with my closest friends." Hungary's first Nobel literature laureate, Mr. Kertész received congratulatory messages from the country's president, Ferenc Madl, and from Prime Minister Peter Medgyessy. The prize, worth around $1 million, will be presented to him at the Nobel awards ceremony in Stockholm on Dec. 10. While Mr. Kertész once noted that "when I am thinking about a novel, I always think of Auschwitz," his writing was also influenced by living for four decades under a Communist dictatorship to which he refused to submit. Particularly after the Soviet invasion of Hungary in 1956, he once noted, many intellectuals accepted self-censorship in exchange for small privileges. "I refuse to adapt or integrate myself," he explained. But this meant that for 25 years he was a solitary figure in Budapest, devoted to reflection on the two repressive political systems that came to dominate his life. Born in Budapest on Nov. 9, 1929, Mr. Kertész was only 14 when he was deported to Auschwitz in Poland during a massive round-up of Hungarian Jews in 1944. The following year, he was sent to Buchenwald in Germany, where he was liberated in May 1945. When he was 19, he began working as a journalist for the Budapest newspaper, Világosság, but he was dismissed in 1951 after the Communists seized power. From then, he lived off translating German-language authors, including Nietzsche, Schnitzler, Freud and Wittgenstein. Mr. Kertész completed his first novel, "Fateless," in 1965, but it was 10 years before it was published in Hungary and, even then, it went unnoticed. For many contemporary critics, though, it is the cornerstone of his work, not only the first in a semi-autobiographical trilogy that includes "Fiasco" (1988) and "Kaddish for a Child Not Born" (1990), but also the book that spells out his philosophy of life. In "Fateless," György Köves, the 15-year-old Jewish narrator, is arrested and taken to a concentration camp where, arriving unaware of what awaits him, he gradually discovers the horrors of a death camp. But he learns to survive, noting at one point that "one cannot start a new life, you can only continue the old one." He also observes: "I will continue to live my unlivable life (because) there is no absurdity that one cannot live quite naturally." The Swedish Academy remarked on the absence of ready-made answers — neither moral indignation nor metaphysical protest — to the atrocities that Köves describes. "Both perpetrators and victims were preoccupied with insistent practical problems, the major questions did not exist," it said in its citation. "Kertész's message is that to live is to conform. The capacity of the captives to come to terms with Auschwitz is one outcome of the same principle that finds expression in everyday human existence." This is not, however, how Mr. Kertész has lived his own life. Although he remained in Budapest, he preferred obscurity to conformity. Asked recently how a grown man could recover the memories of a 15-year-old boy, Mr. Kertész remarked with characteristic good humor that the "goulash socialism" of Hungary after 1956 served as the Proustian madeleine that enabled him to recall the concentration camps. In "Fiasco," Mr. Kertész continues to write in Köves's voice, but now as an older man who must wait frustratingly for the publication of his memoirs of Auschwitz. When he finally finds a publisher, his reaction is one of emptiness and distaste at finding his secrets displayed on the literary marketplace. And in "Kaddish for a Child Not Born," Köves's Jewish prayer for the dead is said for the child he refuses to bring into a world that permitted Auschwitz. While his life and work have been molded by the fact that he is Jewish, however, this identity also troubles Mr. Kertész. "My work is a form of commitment to myself, to memory and to humanity," he explained in lengthy interview with the Spanish daily, El País, last year. "My Judaism is very problematic. I am a non-believing Jew. Yet as a Jew I was taken to Auschwitz, as a Jew I was in the death camps and as a Jew I live in a society that does not like Jews, one with great anti-Semitism. I always have the feeling that I was obliged to be Jewish. I am Jewish, I accept it, but to a large extent it is also true that it was imposed on me." But when he visited Jerusalem earlier this year amid Palestinian suicide bombs and Israeli military incursions into the West Bank, the experience reinforced his Jewish identity. "I am not impartial and, moreover, cannot be," he wrote in an essay. "I have never assumed the role of impartial executioner. I leave that to European — and non-European — intellectuals who embrace this role for better and often for worse." And he added: "They have never bought a ticket for a bus ride from Jerusalem to Haifa." After completion of his trilogy, Mr. Kertész published "Galley Diary" (1992), a diary in a fictional form that brings together three decades of reflection on cultural criticism through a dialogue with the likes of Pascal, Goethe, Schopenhauer, Kafka, Camus and Beckett. He continues in this vein in "I — Another: Chronicle of a Metamorphosis" (1997), which cover his notes from 1991 to 1995. He has also published "The Holocaust as Culture" (1993), a collection of lectures and essays, as well as "Moments of Silence While the Execution Squad Reloads" (1998) and "The Exiled Language" (2001). Mr. Kertész's international career dates only to the 1990's when he was discovered in Germany. The fact that five of his books have also been published in Swedish may partly explain his selection today by the 18 lifetime members of the Swedish Academy. However, he is still not a household name in Hungary. "There is no awareness of the Holocaust in Hungary," Mr. Kertész told reporters today. "People have not faced up to the Holocaust. I hope that in light of this recognition, they will face up it more than until now." The French-Hungarian historian, François Fejtö, said that the award was in some way a reproach to Hungary for not addressing its responsibility in the deportation of 600,000 Jews. "Only one other author — Primo Levi — has succeeded in recounting what happened to him in such a masterful way or almost with humor," Mr. Fejtö said, adding that Mr. Kertész is "very jovial, strangely gay, a man who likes parties and people." Hermann Terstch, who interviewed Mr. Kertész for El País, also spoke of the author's affability, a man who "converted fear of human beings into warm gratitude towards life and everyone around him." "He is a person who has created literature and culture where others would find only desolation and neurosis," Mr. Terstch wrote. "His smile is a permanent gesture of conciliation towards a world that at no moment deceives him. And his amiable nature seems like a generous revenge for the cruelties and miseries he has known."
WP 2 Oct 2002 Trials in Latvia Bring Painful Past Into the Present Deportation of Thousands Under Stalin Remains a Divisive Issue in Baltic Nation Page A11 RIGA, Latvia -- In the decade since Latvia became independent, the headlines often have trumpeted what would be considered old news in other countries. Lately, 1949 has become a hot topic again as Latvians debate the actions of Nikolai Larionov. The 81-year-old retiree, a one-time agent of the Soviet secret police, is on trial for genocide, accused by Latvian prosecutors of helping organize the 1949 deportation of more than 500 Latvians to Siberia. Many were women and children. More than 60 died. Larionov's case is the most recent in a string of such prosecutions since the Soviet Union's collapse allowed Latvia and the two other Baltic countries, Lithuania and Estonia, to regain the freedom lost during World War II. In recent years, nothing has proved more divisive than such trials in a country where rifts run deep between those who suffered under Joseph Stalin's regime and those who participated in it. In a place where the ghosts of the 20th century still loom large in the 21st, the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact of 1939 is mentioned in interviews almost as frequently as the latest economic indicators, and no political issue has as much resonance today as what happened in 1949. Across the three Baltic countries, the memory of the 140,000 families Stalin deported to Siberia during and after World War II has been zealously resurrected. "Of course it's relevant," said Larionov's attorney, Alexander Ogurtsovs. "Even today, almost every family in Latvia was repressed in some way. It's hard to find anyone here whose relatives weren't connected with repression or repressed." The Latvian government takes the position that it is not prosecuting the Soviet system, just going after individuals accused of wrongdoing, such as Larionov. "This is not about collective responsibility, this is about individuals," said State Secretary Maris Riekstins, the top professional diplomat in the Latvian Foreign Ministry. "This is not about collective responsibility of Russians as a nation." But for Russia, and the more than 700,000 ethnic Russians still living here, it's pure revenge. In Moscow, hardly a week goes by without the Foreign Ministry denouncing Latvia for cases like Larionov's, while here in the Latvian capital, ethnic Russians see an effort to score political advantage. "We should have long ago put a full stop to this historical settling of accounts and look to the future," said Ksenia Zagorovska, editor in chief of Chas, a Russian-language daily. Like other Russians here, she believes such trials are a matter of politics. "It's a useful thing for those parties who are interested in fanning disputes between ethnic communities," she said. Top Russian officials reinforce that idea. Larionov's trial is a "psychological persecution" of "an elderly, sick man," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Boris Malakhov recently. In pursuing Larionov, "the Latvian judicial system is once again demonstrating to the whole civilized world its disregard for the principles of universal international documents," he added, according to the Interfax news agency. Latvians should be doing less to go after Soviet-era crimes and more to address their own history of collaborating with Nazi Germany, Malakhov continued. "If Latvia is truly interested in building an image of a democratic country and a good neighbor with Russia, instead of squaring accounts with fighters against fascism, its authorities should seriously get down to business and look for former Nazi criminals." Listening to such statements, Latvian officials like Riekstins see a rear-guard effort to needle, pester and generally annoy a former colony the Russians can no longer subjugate. The Latvians point out that it was only in the late 1980s, as the Baltic independence movement was gaining steam, that the Kremlin belatedly announced it had discovered the existence of the secret Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, which divided Europe between Hitler and Stalin and placed the three Baltic countries squarely in Stalin's territory. Officially, as Riekstins noted recently, the Russian Foreign Ministry considers the absorption of Latvia into the Soviet Union a matter of free will, citing the "invitation" from the Soviet-installed puppet government, while the Latvian government calls it an "illegal occupation." Russia, he and others noted, is never interested in discussing deportations like those being prosecuted in the Larionov case. In its own post-Soviet decade, Russia has not gone through a legal process of accounting for the crimes of the Stalin era. There has never been a Nuremberg-type prosecution of those responsible for the labor camps and the mass killings, and most Russians say they prefer to look ahead rather than back at the murders of a previous government. Latvia has its share of current concerns to tackle: dismal Soviet-era hospitals; poor rural areas untouched by a decade of the Baltic "economic miracle" so evident in this prosperous capital; corruption so rampant that Transparency International, which monitors the problem, recently ranked Latvia as the second-most corrupt country of those hoping to join the European Union. But here and in the other Baltic states, the arguments over history continue. In the Larionov case, which was scheduled to resume yesterday in a courtroom just outside Riga after lengthy delays caused by the defendant's health, Latvian prosecutors are litigating anew one of the most painful episodes of their Soviet past: the mass deportations, starting on March 25, 1949, that took place as part of Stalin's order to forcibly impose collectivization of agriculture on the Baltics. Altogether, 42,133 people were deported from Latvia, accused of being kulaks, or rich peasants, along with thousands more from the other Baltic countries. In total, 94,799 people from the Baltics were sent to labor camps in Siberia in just a few days. Larionov, an officer in the State Security Ministry at the time, allegedly was responsible for 500 of the deportations. He does not deny taking part in what Russians still call the "repressions." The issue for him and his legal team is whether he should now be held accountable for following orders -- a debate familiar from decades of Nazi war crimes trials. "It's a mistake to prosecute him," said his attorney, Ogurtsovs. "The whole system participated. They shouldn't hold responsible only those people at low levels. This is wrong. A typist might have had a stronger impact on somebody's life than these people." Talk about the Larionov case quickly turns to a detailed discussion of Communist bureaucratic practices. The recounting serves as a reminder of how huge an apparatus participated in the massive gulag prison system, which sent millions of Soviet citizens to their deaths. As a bureaucrat in the secret police, Ogurtsovs argued, Larionov came into the deportation process long after it had been ordained. He was handed a list with 500 names on it, his attorney said, and told to check each one to determine whether the individual belonged on it. People were removed from the list only if it could be proved that they had served in the Red Army or had been decorated by the Soviet Union. "He did not make decisions, with the exception of one thing -- to decide whether a person had reasons for not being deported," Ogurtsovs said. "Clearly, he indirectly participated in it, but his participation was less than the driver of the truck or train that took them away, for example." For Ogurtsovs, an ethnic Latvian who has represented a long list of accused Stalin-era killers in the decade since Latvian independence, the matter seems clear. "I'm Latvian, but our nation has got its negative sides, especially vengefulness," he said. In this trial, he said, and all the others, "the goal is to make enemies out of those who used to be heroes."
Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty 17 Oct 2002 Montenegro 'Deep Polarization' Seen As Voters Head, Yet Again, To The Polls By Jolyon Naegele The people of Montenegro go to the polls on 20 October to elect a new parliament. As RFE/RL reports, the campaign has been marked by particularly sharp backbiting among the various political camps. Prague, 17 October 2002 (RFE/RL) -- Just 18 months after the last parliamentary elections in Montenegro, the republic's 455,000 registered voters on 20 October are being asked yet again to choose a new parliament -- in the republic's seventh free elections since 1990. Some analysts describe this campaign as revealing "deep polarization" among the parties in this tiny mountainous republic, wedged between Albania, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, and Kosovo. The formerly pro-Milosevic, pro-Serbian opposition coalition, which last year campaigned under the banner of Together for Yugoslavia, now calls itself Together for Change and is campaigning on a single theme of trying to topple President Milo Djukanovic. These pro-Belgrade forces are portraying Djukanovic and his allies in the For a European Montenegro coalition as privileged and corrupt and are accusing Djukanovic of ruling the country virtually single-handedly because of his alleged distrust of those around him. The opposition is accusing the ruling coalition of quietly organizing an election boycott to ensure that the opposition gets few votes. Savo Djurdjevac is deputy chairman of the People's Party and a Together for Change member. "The regime of Milo Djukanovic is not publicly calling on citizens not to vote. But they are secretly buying up personal identity cards in all sorts of ways [since without the IDs people are barred from voting]." The rhetoric sometimes runs to excess. Liberal Alliance Chairman Miroslav Zivkovic, speaking recently at Podgorica University, said: "This is not a battle for the state, nor for the nation or the church. This is a battle for bare human existence, for the honor of our families." President Milo Djukanovic and his For a European Montenegro coalition are just as feisty. "What is needed on 20 October is an end to the political history of retrograde, conservative, nationalist, mythical policies, which unfortunately for so long have tripped up Montenegro from its European road and even today represent a stumbling block." Djukanovic has an image problem, even in his own camp. In the words of one politician from the junior Social Democratic partner in the ruling coalition, "The only people in this country who are well-off are 'King' Milo and some 200 families -- everyone else is poor." Djukanovic is under investigation by an Italian magistrate for his alleged role in cigarette smuggling. But many voters in Montenegro do not perceive smuggling as a crime but rather as a reliable source of income. Under pressure from the international community, most smuggling routes through the country have been shut down. And the incumbents in the election are promising the passage of laws that would fundamentally reform the police and establish a national security agency. The government, with considerable assistance from the international community, has undertaken some economic reforms and adopted the euro as its currency. But high unemployment, a 20 percent inflation rate, and government interference in the media have embittered many voters. Djukanovic risks losing his traditional support among pro-independence Montenegrins for allegedly having "sold out" to Brussels. Some feel he succumbed to pressure from European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana in postponing for three years plans for a referendum on independence, in favor of a new loose relationship with Serbia, to be known as Serbia and Montenegro, which would replace the current dysfunctional Yugoslav Federation. The international community tolerated Montenegro's separate path as long as it weakened the regime of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, but in the post-Milosevic era, another independent Balkan mini-state is not perceived by Washington or Brussels as being a stabilizing influence on the region. Nebojsa Medojevic is the head of the Center for Transition, a nongovernmental organization based in Podgorica. Medojevic predicts a close race between the two main coalitions that will, in the end, provide no long-term solutions. He believes neither coalition -- if it forms a government -- will have sufficient legitimacy or capacity to implement real reform. "I suspect there will be new elections very soon since whatever government is formed [after the 20 October elections] will not be able to respond to the difficult problems in society, will not be able to launch a program against corruption and won't be able to undertake an effective program of economic development." Medojevic warns that voters are not being given a real choice: "A serious problem has arisen here -- the lack of progressive political alternatives. And in this sense, the international community has created plenty of problems for us by, on the one hand, confirming that there are no credible forces here, while on the other hand partially offering short-term and pragmatic support, which just delays the development of new political alternatives in Montenegro." Medojevic says that what Montenegro needs is a new political class not burdened by corruption, by the legacy of sanctions, by collaboration with Milosevic and other indicted war criminals -- a new political class that would offer citizens solutions to their difficult problems. The issue of identity also remains a political stumbling block for many parties in Montenegro. Many Orthodox residents in the north of the republic consider themselves Serbs rather than Montenegrins and traditionally vote for nationalist-oriented Serbian parties. Pro-Serbian opposition activist Zolica Tajic-Drenovic was on fertile ground this week as she was campaigning in Berane near the Serbian border: "It's an honor to repeat for the millionth time that our language is called Serbian, that our religion is called Serbian [Orthodox], and that the dignity of our Montenegro is also of Serbian origin. (Applause)" Several parties, both monoethnic and multiethnic ones, are competing vigorously for the ethnic-minority vote. Unlike in other parts of the former Yugoslavia, Montenegro's Albanians and Bosniaks have not traditionally voted en masse for ethnic parties. In fact, three of the five deputies in the Montenegrin parliament are members of mainstream Montenegrin parties. Djukanovic campaigned in the overwhelmingly Albanian seaside resort of Ulcinj/Ulqin on 15 October, telling a crowd that Montenegro is the only example in the region where minority peoples have had a constructive, genuine and loyal relationship to the state. Mixing metaphors, he described Montenegro as "an oasis and lighthouse of multiethnic democracy that disperses the gloom hanging over the Balkans." The head of the Albanian coalition in parliament, Ferhat Dinosha, is hopeful that the republic's Albanians will vote en masse this time for Albanian parties. He says the time has come to define the social and political status of Montenegro's Albanians according to European standards, so that "our status will not depend on the changing of governments in Montenegro." "We'll try to have Albanians integrated into this society and state organs and public services of Montenegro. We make up 7 percent of the population today but only 0.5 percent maybe in the state organs and public services of Montenegro. We need integration, but integration with identity. Our ethnic roots are different. Our culture, tradition are different." But Dinosha insists the Albanians of Montenegro are autochthonous, living on their own land and deserving of European democratic standards being applied "not more but not less."
NYT October 10, 2002 Russia's View of Chechnya Clashes With Reality By STEVEN LEE MYERS GROZNY, Russia, Oct. 2 — This is how the commander of Russian forces in Chechnya, Col. Gen. Vladimir I. Moltenskoi, sees life here. "I watched with pleasure how 217 schools began their new school year this year," he said in his heavily fortified headquarters near here, "how the university works, institutes work, how people visit markets, move about the republic, even travel beyond the republic." "The situation," he added, "is quite normal." This is how it seems to Zarema Baisukhanova, a 21-year-old Chechen, the oldest of four sisters for whom life without war is but a youthful memory. "Our mother doesn't allow us to go to the central market," she said in her family's single room in a hostel on Grozny's outskirts, shared by the sisters, their parents, the husband of one sister and their baby. "Anything may happen on the road. Something may explode. Russian soldiers may get drunk and shoot around." "Practically speaking," she added, "we stay at home." What is most staggering about Chechnya today is not just the shocking scale of destruction, but the dissonance between the pronouncements of Russian officialdom and the realities of life in a place battered first by one war, and then, for the last three years, by another. President Vladimir V. Putin and other Russian officials have declared more than once that Chechnya is now on the road to peace and stability. Yet even a four-day visit organized by the Kremlin's special press office for Chechnya could not disguise the through-the-looking-glass quality of Russia's campaign here. "The war is over, but there is no peace," said Akhmad Kadyrov, the Kremlin-appointed chief of the republican administration. Russian soldiers kill and are killed in almost daily clashes and attacks. While commanders report all is under control, a 19-year-old conscript in a mountain redoubt at Itum-Kale offered another view out of earshot of the official escorts. "It's tense, as usual," Junior Sgt. Aleksei V. Polezhayev said quietly, adding that he was just biding the days until he can go home. Despite repeated announcements that the number of military and security forces in Chechnya would drop, more than 85,000 men remain in an area roughly twice the size of Connecticut, manning checkpoints by day, retreating to bunkers with the curfew at night, when lawlessness reigns. The republic is supposed to set up its own security force, but its formation has been delayed by what the Russians say is the difficulty of drafting and training enough qualified Chechen recruits. The Kremlin also pledged to hold a referendum on a new constitution cementing Chechnya's place as part of Russia. Officials at first said the vote would be held this fall, but now say it will not come before next spring. Then, officials said, the troops could begin to withdraw. Mr. Kadyrov, however, said the referendum could not be held until after the troops withdrew. As a sign of progress, General Moltenskoi said he had "significantly cut the number of checkpoints." They once numbered more than 400, but he did not say how many there are today. General Moltenskoi also reported high morale and discipline among Russian troops, despite persistent reports of desertion. Although drafted into the military, only volunteer soldiers serve in Chechnya, lured mostly by the pay of $130 a month, compared with less than $3 for a regular draftee. Chechens and international human rights organizations have listed what they say are repeated abuses by Russian forces, especially during mopping-up operations known as zachistki, in which troops surround an area and comb through houses in search of rebels or weapons. General Moltenskoi praised his troops for "an exceptional sense of responsibility," dismissing accusations of abuses as exaggerated. Any wrongdoing is vigorously investigated, he said, citing the punishment of 19 soldiers this year on charges that he did not detail. "There have been no rapes," he noted, evidently meaning none since the case of a 43-year-old Chechen widow who told Human Rights Watch that she had been gang-raped in February by drunken Russian soldiers. Earlier this year Mr. Putin famously said the zachistki — literally, cleanup operations — would be halted, or at least conducted more politely, with civilian prosecutors present. Nikolai P. Kostyuchenko, Chechnya's chief prosecutor, said that his deputies were present 87 percent of the time, but he acknowledged that he had not been informed of all the operations. Mr. Kadyrov said Mr. Putin had reiterated his pledge on Sept. 26. Still, the operations continue, albeit under a new name: "operative search measures." Mr. Kostyuchenko said they remained a necessity. "There are places where servicemen are killed every day," he said. Order is indeed elusive. Schools did open last month, though textbooks and supplies remain scarce, as do jobs for those who acquire an education. Economic activity is limited to meager roadside stands or Grozny's battered central market, near which an explosion killed 11 civilians earlier this month. The Kremlin has promised billions of rubles for reconstruction, but almost the only sign of work is an effort to patch up six apartment buildings near the ruins that were once Lenin Square. The only buildings fully restored in Grozny include Mr. Kadyrov's building, Mr. Kostyuchenko's office, and the headquarters of Grozny's electric company, Grozenergo. The company managed to restore electricity to parts of the city this summer for a few hours a day. There is still no running water. By contrast, the bases of the Ministry of the Interior's 46th Brigade and the Red Army's 42nd Motorized Infantry Division are neat, tidy oases in Grozny's ruins. The 46th's base is next to what remains of the civilian airport, where trees have now taken root on the terminal's roof. When Russian troops occupied Grozny in February 2000, there were just two burned-out buildings at the bases. They have been rebuilt as officers' quarters. New brick mess halls and barracks have risen, and 15 new barracks are under construction, each designed to hold a company of 120 soldiers. The troops, it seems, are to stay in Chechnya as a permanent garrison. They will police the peace, whenever it comes.
Interfax 12 Oct 2002 Yeltsin urges Turkey to admit 1915 anti-Armenian genocide YEREVAN. Oct 12 - Former Russian President Boris Yeltsin on Saturday urged Turkey to recognize its 1915 action against ethnic Armenians as an act of genocide. "Time has come today for Turkey to recognize the genocide against Armenians," Yeltsin wrote down in a guest book during a visit to a 1915 events memorial complex in Yerevan. "For a long time I have been watching and have seen Armenia revive. I am grateful that you preserve you memories and justice," he also wrote. Yeltsin, who arrived with his wife Naina Yeltsina in Yerevan on Saturday at the invitation of Armenian President Robert Kocharian, also took part in festivities to mark the 2784th foundation anniversary of the Armenian capital.
NYT 9 Oct 2002 BOSNIAN SERB HARD-LINERS PRAISED President Vojislav Kostunica welcomed the election victory of a hard-line nationalist party in the Serbian part of Bosnia, saying the party "was rewarded for its wise and rational policies." Mr. Kostunica, who is in a runoff election on Sunday for the presidency of Serbia, has maintained close links with the Bosnian Serb Democratic Party. It was founded by Radovan Karadzic, who has been indicted on charges of war crimes by the United Nations tribunal in The Hague.
UPI 11 Oct 2002 Officers convicted of Kosovo war crimes By Stevan Zivanovic BELGRADE, Yugoslavia, Oct. 11 (UPI) -- A military court on Friday found Yugoslav army officers guilty of war crimes against civilians in Kosovo -- for the first time in the almost three and one-half years since the end of the 11-week conflict with NATO over the province in 1999. At the same time, another war crimes trial is being held in the civilian district court in Prokuplje, Serbia proper, against two members of a special anti-terrorist police unit known called the Scorpions. The most famous of those on trial for crimes against humanity in Kosovo, the former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, has already had his case heard before the United Nations tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands. Milosevic's trial continues, however, regarding his alleged command responsibility for similar crimes in Croatia and Bosnia, two other parts of what was once Yugoslavia. And the court is still waiting for Belgrade to hand over two of the three senior army officers -- Veselin Sljivancanin and Miroslav Radic, accused of the destruction of the Croatian town of Vukovar in November 1991 and the arbitrary killing of over 250 Croat civilians taken away from the town's hospital. The third accused, Gen. Mile Mrksic, turned himself in to the tribunal and just had his request for provisional release refused. Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and his army commander, Gen. Ratko Mladic, are still on the run despite years of efforts by international forces in Bosnia and the tribunal's pressure on Belgrade to catch them and bring them to justice. But Biljana Plavsic and Momcilo Krajisnik, two of the men's former close associates and co-defendants with Milosevic for alleged genocide and other crimes in Bosnia, are facing a trial that is scheduled in The Hague for next month. Krajisnik was arrested in Bosnia by international peacekeeping troops and turned over to the tribunal in April 2000. Plavsic, another former president of Republika Srpska -- the Serb half of Bosnia-Herzegovina -- surrendered voluntarily in January 2001 and has been on provisional release for the past year. She recently changed her plea from innocent to guilty to charges of war crimes against Muslims and Croats in Bosnia in the early 1990s. Friday's military court finding in the central Serbian town of Nis jailed Lt. Col. Zlatan Mancic for seven years and Capt. Rade Radivojevic for five years on charges of ordering two soldiers to kill two Albanians during the conflict in April 1999. Mancic was also found guilty of extorting money from Albanian civilians in a refugee convoy. The law specifies jail terms of five to 40 years for those convicted of war crimes. Radenko Miladinovic, presiding over the trial chamber, said Mancic and Radivojevic as security officers had been obliged to ensure civilians were given protection but had instead ordered murders. Both officers denied the charges. Two former soldiers who actually carried out the murders, Danilo Tesic and Misel Seregij, both 24 years of age, were sentenced to four and three years imprisonment, respectively. They admitted murdering the two Albanians and burning their bodies. The court gave those soldiers less than the minimum sentences in view of extenuating circumstances: Miladinovic explained that they had committed the murders in the belief that they themselves would be killed if they refused to carry out the order. Nevertheless, he was firm in adding, all four men had violated the Geneva Convention on the protection of civilians. They were released pending appeals within the next 15 days. At Prokuplje, meanwhile, none of the five witnesses testifying Friday confirmed that Scorpion members Sasa Cvjetan and Dejan Demirovic, both 27, committed a war crime of killing several Albanian civilians in the Kosovo town of Podujevo on March 28, 1999. Scorpions commander Boco Medic, one of the witnesses, told the court he was confident that none of his troops had committed the murders. His men were distinguished by "Serbian military honor and uprightness," he declared. "If I had learnt that any of my fighters had committed such dishonorable deeds, I would personally have punished them (with death) on the spot," said Medic. Earlier this week, some 1,300 kilometers (800 miles) away in The Hague, a Belgrade journalist told the Milosevic trial panel about his wartime tours of the regions. Dejan Anastasijevic said he had heard of the operations of Scorpion members in eastern Croatia and Bosnia where they struck terror into the local population, but had never seen them. "People there told me, 'Where SAJ (Scorpion) men treaded, the grass did not grow'," he said. Milosevic denied that any police units commanded by the Serbian government had ever crossed into the neighboring territories of the former Yugoslavia.
JTA 6 Oct 2002 After 500 years, Jews leaving Spanish enclaves near Morocco By Hillel Landes MADRID, Oct. 6 (JTA) — Growing anti-Semitism and poor economic prospects are threatening to extinguish two Jewish communities on the North African coast. After the expulsion from Spain in 1492, a small number of Jews escaped across the Strait of Gibraltar to two fortress cities that Spanish kings were establishing as beachheads in North Africa. Despite the Inquisition on the Iberian mainland, the Jewish inhabitants of Ceuta and Melilla largely were left alone for the next five centuries. They were joined by other Sephardic Jews over the centuries. Their descendants now are leaving the enclaves, which are surrounded by Moroccan territory, and returning to Spain. “In 10 years, perhaps there will be no one here,” said Mesod Bengio, a Jewish perfume merchant in Ceuta. Ceuta and slightly smaller Melilla are unlike any other part of Spain, where no Jews lived — at least not openly — until religious freedom was reinstated in the 19th century. Jews in Ceuta and Melilla, which measure about eight and five square miles, respectively, have lived cheek by jowl, but largely in peace, with Christians, Muslims and a small minority of Hindus. Historical evidence shows Jews living in Ceuta as far back as the 12th century. The Jewish presence in Melilla is said to have started several years after the expulsion with a Spanish aristocrat who had Jewish ancestors. Ceuta’s total population is around 70,000; Melilla is slightly smaller. Though their Jewish communities today are small — some 300 in Ceuta and around 800 in Melilla — they still have functioning Sephardic synagogues, schools and butcher shops. That’s down from their peak in the late 1960s, when there were about 600 Jews in Ceuta and 1,000 in Melilla. However, the communities’ future has grown uncertain since the Sept. 11 attacks and Moroccan King Mohamed’s renewed claims of sovereignty over the cities fired up young Muslim inhabitants. In the past year, eggs, rocks and bottles have been thrown at Ceuta’s Sephardic synagogue while Jews were at prayer, Palestinian flags and graffiti glorifying Osama bin Laden have been painted on synagogues and churches, and graves in Melilla’s Jewish cemetery have been desecrated. Meanwhile, Moroccan claims over the enclaves have become more vociferous since last summer’s crisis with Spain over Perejil Island, an uninhabited island a mile and a half from Ceuta. Moroccan troops occupied the island, but were swiftly kicked off by Spanish soldiers. Morocco argues that if Spain wants Gibraltar back from Britain — which has held it since the early 18th century — then, by the same logic, it should be prepared to give Ceuta and Melilla to Morocco. “Now they’re Spanish,” said another Ceuti Jew, Jose Benchimol. “Who knows what could happen in 10 years?” Some commentators sketch worst-case scenarios. “If anyone doesn’t think that within a year or two we’ll be at war over Ceuta and Melilla — be it terrorism or open war” — then he “doesn’t want to see the obvious,” one columnist wrote in Spain’s El Mundo newspaper. What might Moroccan rule be like for Jews in the enclaves? “Morocco has always accepted Jews,” said Benchimol, who spent 12 years as vice president of Ceuta’s Jewish community. He noted that there are still Jews in Rabat, Morocco’s capital, who “live peacefully and have endured the intifada without repercussions.” However, many Jews who today live in Ceuta and Melilla fled there from Morocco after the 1967 Six-Day War, when Morocco was swept up in the Arab world’s outrage over Israel’s victory. Benchimol echoed Spanish leaders’ frequent assertions that Ceuta and Melilla are paragons of interfaith harmony. The leaders of the different faith communities “always wish each other happy holidays,” he noted. Still, he conceded that interethnic harmony doesn’t always filter down to the population at large — particularly to Muslim youths who have become radicalized since Sept. 11. Madrid’s chief rabbi, Moshe Ben Dahan, is a former Ceuta resident. He moved there from Morocco with his family after the 1967 Six-Day War, when he was 12 years old, and later moved to Madrid after yeshiva studies in Israel. Ben Dahan downplayed the impact of anti-Semitism in Ceuta and Melilla. Yet he acknowledged that the communities are dwindling — primarily, he said, because there’s little future for young Jews in the enclaves, whose economies are dependent on tourism, trade and government subsidies. “The Jews are going to big cities like Madrid, Malaga and Barcelona where there are more possibilities for educated people to work,” the rabbi said. “The young people are leaving and the old are dying.”
Turkey (see Russia)
Anadolu Agency (Turkey) 7 Oct 2002 Mccarthy: Armenians Prefer Not To Speak With Anybody On Massacre Any More ERZURUM - The U.S. Kentucky Louisville University Historian Justin McCarthy said Armenians preferred not to speak with anybody on massacre with those who don't share the same views with them. He said Armenians thought that realities would be revealed if those issues are being discussed. Prof. McCarthy, who will address the ceremony that would be hold for the opening of Ataturk University 2002-2003 education year, visited cemetery of martyrs in Karskapi, Yanikdere, Yesilyayla, and Alaca. McCarthy, who is seen as a rare scientist who could consider Turkish-Armenian relations impartially and who could openly announce his views in every platform, pointed out that he had visited Erzurum 35 years ago. Pointing out that he was often threatened by the Armenians at the beginning of his studies, McCarthy said they also threatened his family. ''However, the Armenians changed policy recently, and put an end to their threats,'' he noted. McCarthy said the Armenians preferred not to speak with anybody the massacre issues with those who don't share the same views with them, adding that the Armenians convinced many people in Europe and in the United States that Turks committed massacre. He said that Armenians think that realities would be revealed if they discuss this issue with those who don't share the same views with them. Armenians think most of the people are already looking at events from their perspective; that is, in the way they wanted, and they wanted continuation of this, he added. McCarthy said people for centuries believed in those lies, and it is not so easy to change their ideas, and noted that the Turkish government did its best in this respect. He said, ''this is not only the job of the governments, everybody, including universities and NGO's should exert efforts in this respect.'' Prof. McCarthy had attracted attention with a speech he delivered in the U.S. House of Representatives International Relations Sub-Commission. He had said ''I am here to oppose a parliamentary decision which disregarded the sufferings of the Turks, and which announced the cruelties, that were reciprocally made during an intercommunal war, as genocide.'' Prof. McCarthy was awarded with Turkey Medal of Merit, and was given 1st Sukru Elekdag award. He was given honorary doctorate in 1985 by Bogazici University and in 2000 by Suleyman Demirel University. McCarthy has works on demographical structure in Anatolia during World War I, deportation of Moslems from the Balkans, Crimea, and Caucasus, and the Ottoman Turks.
Forum, Ukraine 15 Oct 2002 "Kuchma sentenced to life imprisonment" The people’s tribunal staged to judge President Leonid Kuchma last Saturday in the European Square in Kyiv condemned the president and resolved to request the law-enforcement agencies to imprison him for life, according to MP Volodymyr Oliynyk, who chaired the tribunal. Oliynyk said that Kuchma constantly breached the current laws and the Constitution while he was the premier and the president, according to UA TODAY. The tribunal decided to turn to international organizations and foreign countries for moral support and called on the Ukrainian judges “to show patience, not respond to pressure and make decisions for the sake of national interests.” Speaking at the trial, ex MP Viktor Shyshkin accused Kuchma of several crimes, such as being involved in the murder of journalist Heorhiy Gongadze and attempt on the life of ex MP Oleksandr Yelyashkevych, and persecuting opposition leaders. He suggested using the recordings made by ex Major of the Presidential Guards Mykola Melnychenko as material evidence in investigating the crimes. MP Serhiy Holovaty accused Kuchma of controlling the mass media and perpetrating genocide of the Ukrainian people. MP Hryhoriy Omelchenko accused the president of illegally opening bank accounts with Hr2 billion on them. The other deputies and opposition members speaking at the tribunal accused Kuchma of conducting illegitimate arms’ trade with Iraq and putting pressure on the detectives investigating Rukh leader Viacheslav Chornovil’s death. MP Yulia Tymoshenko accused Kuchma of high treason. MP Volodymyr Yavorivsky accused the president of destroying the Ukrainian culture. Upon bringing the charges and pleading the president guilty, the tribunal organizers and participants resolved to demand the General Prosecutor’s Office file a criminal case against Kuchma. According to BYT member Oleksandr Turchynov, 100 thousand copies of this resolution will be spread among Ukrainians and sent out to international organizations very soon. eng.for-ua.com
AP 9 Oct 2002 NORTHERN IRELAND: HEARING IN PARAMILITARY CASE The man accused of heading the Real I.R.A., the dissident republican group that killed 29 people in a car-bomb attack in Omagh in 1998, appeared in court for preliminary hearings before he is tried on charges of directing a terrorist organization. Lawyers for Michael McKevitt, 51, are questioning the admissibility of evidence from David Rupert, an F.B.I. agent who infiltrated the paramilitary group. Prosecutors said Mr. Rupert would provide details of the paramilitary group's leadership meetings, including plans for an Internet hacking unit and a possible assassination attempt on Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Herald UK 14 Oct 2002 A writer who is no stranger to controversy HUGH MacDONALD MICHAEL Fry's controversial view on the Highland Clearances first surfaced in a series of columns in The Herald in May 2000 as he prepared to write his magnificent and provocative Scottish Empire. The columns should have been headlined: Light blue touch paper. Fry was accused of doing for the Gaels what David Irving did for the Jews. But Fry replied: "While I believe that the Holocaust did happen, having met people who were inmates of Auschwitz, I believe that the Clearances did not happen, except very occasionally on a small and local scale." He added: "The best circumstantial evidence of this arises out of the use of the word genocide. By definition, genocide means killing. Homicide means killing one person and genocide means killing a whole nation. "It is true that Patrick Sellar, in Strathnaver in 1814, did cause a couple of old codgers to croak a day or two before they otherwise would have done, by leaving them exposed to chill northern airs: it was only June, after all. "For that he was tried and acquitted on charges of culpable homicide. Whatever the merits of the acquittal, two people are not genocide." He challenged his accusers: "If there were more, let us know names, dates, places. I do not think there were any." Fry, too, has robust views on John Prebble as a historian. Speaking after Prebble's death in January, 2001, he said: "I think he was an inferior historian who did not have the proper respect for evidence. He seemed to come to his subjects with his mind made up. This led to him producing shrill accounts of Scottish history." John Murray is a publishing firm which predates the Clearances, formed as it was in 1768. Although taken over by a subsidiary of WH Smith recently, the acquisition of Fry shows it has not lost its independent streak and its power to be both original and iconoclastic.
USA TODAY 14 Oct 2002 Northern Ireland peace in gravest peril in 4 years Ellen Hale BELFAST, Northern Ireland -- ''Welcome to hell'' reads the sign greeting the entrance to Cluan Place, a once placid little street off Albert Bridge that four months ago was home to two dozen Protestant families. One day last week, soft rain fell on the few habitable houses left in the cul-de-sac, but the night before it was raining nuts, bolts, golf balls, bottles, knives, hammers, drill bits, bricks and gasoline bombs. The nightly shelling, residents say, comes from Roman Catholics living behind them who have encroached on the once largely Protestant area and are trying to take over their street. It is also, they say, symbolic of the barrage of affronts that Protestants have faced from Catholic nationalists in the 4 years since the landmark Good Friday peace accords were signed, creating a power-sharing government to run Northern Ireland. ''We've given and given and given, and they've taken and taken and taken. We feel excluded and completely disillusioned,'' says Sonia Copeland, 42, sitting in the living room of one of the deserted homes on Cluan Place, where five families remain. Her thoughts echo those of most Protestants in Northern Ireland, whose growing disenchantment with the Good Friday agreement has put its future in doubt. Now, the brittle peace deal is facing the gravest threat of its existence. It was discovered this month that Sinn Fein, the Irish Republican Army (news - web sites)'s political affiliate, had been secretly copying classified documents at Britain's offices at the Northern Ireland assembly. As a result, British Prime Minister Tony Blair (news - web sites) is expected today to suspend the power-sharing government and return Northern Ireland to direct rule from London. David Trimble, leader of the main Protestant party, called the espionage ''10 times worse than anything that happened in Watergate.'' On Sunday, he said Sinn Fein deputy leader Martin McGuinness should step down. ''In Watergate, Nixon resigned,'' Trimble said on the BBC. ''If McGuinness were a man of honor, he would resign.'' So serious is the charge that the suspension could last for months at the very least, say observers, many of whom fear the peace process could be permanently derailed but who also see no alternative. Some worry the vacuum will be filled by what this land seems to know best: violence. ''The history of this place is that it is filled with violence, and many of us are afraid it will return,'' says Gerard McGuigan, a Catholic community worker. Northern Ireland is widely considered one of the few successful models for conflict resolution in a world where wars occur not among nations but between communities and cultures that must live together. Terrorist attacks and other sectarian violence in the three decades before the accords -- a period everyone here calls the ''Troubles'' -- claimed the lives of 3,600 people. Since the peace agreement, the number of killings has dropped dramatically. The economy, meanwhile, has blossomed, helped along by the newfound political stability and a flood of financial support pouring into the fledgling power-sharing government. But the years of the Good Friday agreement have been chancy, marked by one crisis after another. Blair has had to suspend home rule three times: twice for 24 hours and a third time for three months. In the meantime, divisions between mostly Protestant unionists (who want to retain ties to Britain) and predominantly Catholic republicans (who want a united Ireland) have in many ways worsened. Here in Belfast, the number of ''peace walls'' -- unsightly, towering fences dividing Catholic and Protestant neighborhoods -- has multiplied as inner-city areas have become increasingly separated along lines of faith. Sectarian violence, while not so murderous as in the past, is on the rise, especially in ''interface'' areas, where the two communities abut. This summer, in a show of further partition, Palestinian flags began flying over republican areas, and unionists hoisted Israeli flags in retort -- though neither side has ties with the Middle East. Most of the discontent comes from Protestants, who once ruled the roost in Northern Ireland, getting the choice jobs and wielding economic clout. Even before the Good Friday agreement, Catholics had made education a priority, and their steady economic gains have created a solid middle class. (It is said here, only half jokingly, that IRA members came out of prison with degrees, while unionists came out with tattoos.) With guarantees of equal opportunity, the peace accords opened up even more avenues for Catholics. ''Protestants are now the ones who feel persecuted against,'' says the Rev. John Dunlop of Rosemary Presbyterian Church. ''They feel betrayed and disappointed.'' The unionists' resentment has been inflamed by recent republican actions they say undermine pledges of peace: the arrest several months ago of IRA members who broke into a community police office to steal information, and the ongoing trial of three IRA members in Colombia on charges of training terrorist guerrillas there. What angers unionists most is the continuing resistance of the IRA to completely decommission its considerable cache of weapons -- a make-or-break provision of the peace agreement. Now, the discovery of Sinn Fein's espionage could prove the final insult for unionists. Four people have been charged in connection with the espionage ring. The documents they're accused of stealing contained, among other things, the names and addresses of hundreds of officers who worked at prisons during the ''Troubles,'' setting off fears that the IRA could use the list to target them for assassination. The investigation also revealed the IRA code name for Blair: ''naive idiot.'' If a vote for the Good Friday agreement were taken today, experts agree, unionists would never support it. Paul Bew, a professor of politics at Queen's University in Belfast, estimates the odds of putting the Humpty Dumpty power-sharing agreement back together again at just one in three. He and others say the only hope for salvation lies in getting the paramilitary groups on both sides -- but primarily the IRA -- to disarm. But Bew and others also argue that people here have forgotten the strides made since the Good Friday accords. ''The actual administration of this place -- by people who hate each other -- has worked,'' Bew says. ''It's been remarkably stable.'' Leadership from direct rule is needed to create confidence for the younger generation and draw investors and tourists, says Nigel Smyth, director of the Consortium of British Industries in Northern Ireland. Returning power to London will slow political and economic development and lead to an increase in sectarian violence, Smyth and other experts predict. Even so, they say, it may be the only chance the peace agreement has. ''We've been here before, and they've always pulled rabbits out of a hat,'' Smyth says. ''It'll have to be a hell of a rabbit this time.''
ICRC 3 Oct 2002 Press Release 02/57 ICRC welcomes WHO report on violence Geneva (ICRC) - The International Committee of the Red Cross congratulates the World Health Organization on its publication of the "World Report on Violence and Health". The ICRC welcomes this document at a time when violence in its many forms dominates the news. The ICRC is particularly encouraged by the fact that the report focuses on collective violence primarily as a health issue. Collecting data on the effects of armed violence on people's physical, psychological and social well-being is a crucial aspect of prevention. To this end, the ICRC has often engaged in fruitful collaboration with the WHO. Dr Robin Coupland, medical adviser to the ICRC's mines and weapons unit, said that the organization fully supported the conclusion that key preventive measures for governments include steps to promote, adopt and ensure respect for international humanitarian law, human rights law and treaty prohibitions such as those on anti-personnel mines and chemical and biological weapons. As part of its effort to prevent deliberate poisoning and spread of disease, the ICRC recently issued an appeal entitled "Biotechnology, Weapons and Humanity" calling on governments and scientists alike to ensure that advances in biotechnology are used exclusively for the benefit of mankind and are not put to hostile use.
World Health Organization 3 Oct 2002 First ever Global Report on Violence and Health released New WHO report presents more complete picture of global violence 3 October 2002|GENEVA -- The World Report on Violence and Health is the first comprehensive report of its kind to address violence as a global public health problem. Violence kills more than 1.6 million people every year. Public health experts say these statistics are just the tip of the iceberg with the majority of violent acts being committed behind closed doors and going largely unreported. This report aims to shed light on these acts. In addition to the deaths, millions of people are left injured as a result of violence and suffer from physical, sexual, reproductive and mental health problems, says the first comprehensive World report on violence and health released today by the World Health Organization (WHO). The death and disability caused by violence make it one of the leading public health issues of our time, says the report. Violence is among the leading causes of death for people aged 15-44 years of age, accounting for 14% of deaths among males and 7% of deaths among females. On an average day, 1424 people are killed in acts of homicide almost one person every minute. Roughly one person commits suicide every 40 seconds. About 35 people are killed every hour as a direct result of armed conflict. In the 20th century, an estimated 191 million people lost their lives directly or indirectly as a result of conflict, and well over half of them were civilians. Studies have shown that in some countries, health care expenditures due to violence account for up to 5% of GDP. For more information: Violence health topic The report challenges us in many respects. It forces us to reach beyond our notions of what is acceptable and comfortable to challenge notions that acts of violence are simply matters of family privacy, individual choice, or inevitable facets of life, said Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland, Director-General of WHO on releasing the report. Violence is a complex problem related to patterns of thought and behaviour that are shaped by a multitude of forces within our families and communities, forces that can also transcend national borders, she added. The World report on violence and health is the first comprehensive review of the problem of violence at a global level. It focuses not only on the scale of the problem, but also covers issues related to the causes of violence and the methods for preventing violence and reducing its adverse health and social consequences. In addition to the familiar issues of collective violence such as war or conflict, the report examines equally significant yet frequently overlooked issues such as youth violence, child abuse, elderly abuse, intimate partner violence, sexual violence, and self-inflicted violence or suicides. The data on youth violence show that youth homicide rates have increased in many parts of the world. For every young person killed by violence, an estimated 20-40 receive injuries that require treatment. Research shows that fighting and bullying are common among young people and that drunkenness is one of the situational factors found to precipitate violence. As far as child abuse is concerned, data from selected countries suggest that about 20% of women and 5-10% of men suffered sexual abuse as children. Women often face the greatest risk at home and in familiar settings, says the report. Almost half the women who die due to homicide are killed by their current or former husbands or boyfriends, while in some countries it can be as high as 70%. While exact numbers are hard to come by due to lack of reporting, available data suggest that nearly one in four women will experience sexual violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime. Most victims of physical aggression are subjected to multiple acts of violence over extended periods of time. A third to over half of these cases are accompanied by sexual violence. In some countries, up to one-third of adolescent girls report forced sexual initiation. Abuse of the elderly is one of the most hidden faces of violence according to the report, and one that is likely to grow given the rapidly aging populations in many countries. Up to 6% of the elderly report having been abused. As for suicide or self-inflicted violence, it is recognised as one of the leading causes of death in the world. Among those aged 15-44 years, suicide is the fourth leading cause of death and the sixth leading cause of disability and ill-health. The statistics are chilling but the situation is far from hopeless, say the experts. There is nothing inevitable about violence, nor is it an intrinsic part of the human condition, said Dr Etienne Krug, Director, Department of Injuries and Violence Prevention. Evidence from around the world suggests that violence can be prevented by a variety of measures aimed at individuals, families and communities, he added. As a complement to the law and order approach to violence, the report promotes a public health understanding of the complex social, psychological, economic and community underpinnings of violence. While recent research suggests that biological and other individual factors may explain some of the predisposition to aggression, these factors more often interact with family, community, cultural and other external factors to create a situation where violence is likely to occur. Understanding these situations and these causes creates opportunities to intervene before violent acts occur, providing policy-makers with a variety of concrete options to prevent violence. Among the recommendations for prevention made by the report are primary prevention responses such as preschool and social development programmes for children and adolescents, parent training and support programmes and measures to reduce firearm injuries and improve firearm safety. Other recommendations include strengthening responses for victims of violence, promoting adherence to international treaties and laws, and improving data collection on violence. For information on the report, visit www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention
WP 5 Oct 2002 BED FOR THE NIGHT Humanitarianism in Crisis By David Rieff Simon & Schuster. 367 pp. $26 In 1997, David Rieff, best known for his reporting from Bosnia, wrote an excellent article in Foreign Policy Journal entitled "In Defense of Afro-Pessimism." In those Greenspan-ophoric days, the piece's argument verged on heresy: "The answers to [Africa's] problems will never be provided by the market." Africa's ruined infrastructure, illiterate workforce and devastating AIDS epidemic rendered it unable to compete economically, and no new generation of African leaders would be able to change that. Rieff called for "a vast increase in aid" to protect Africa from "a global economic system in which the deck is stacked against it." Five years on, such views are no longer heretical; the world has caught up to Rieff's pessimism. In A Bed for the Night, he takes on another confident prediction of the last decade: the idea that a worldwide humanitarian consensus is slowly consigning gross human rights abuses and civil disasters to the dustbin of history. Rieff finds this transparently false. Having spent the last decade watching the international community tolerate mayhem from Sarajevo to Sierra Leone, he sees no reason to believe that things will improve. Indeed, what Rieff sees is precisely the opposite: the collapse of the humanitarian idea. Since the founding of the Red Cross in 1859, humanitarianism has been predicated on political neutrality. Just as the International Committee of the Red Cross protects soldiers regardless of the cause they fight for, humanitarian agencies traditionally stood apart from governments and other political interests -- including human rights issues, which often demand taking sides. But over the past several decades, humanitarian organizations have found such neutrality increasingly difficult to justify. In the Biafran war in 1971, a number of ICRC doctors denounced what they saw as Nigerian government genocide, and founded Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders), whose mission is to bear witness to abuses as well as provide relief. Politically neutral humanitarianism was further discredited in the 1990s in Bosnia and Rwanda, where humanitarian relief operations by NGOs and the United Nations became excuses for Western powers to avoid military intervention, while creating safe havens for genocidal militias. Such catastrophes revealed humanitarianism's powerlessness to affect the root causes of crises, which are usually political. Rieff quotes Sadako Ogata, the former U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees: "There are no humanitarian solutions to humanitarian problems." Humanitarians such as MSF founder Bernard Kouchner began to dream of a new, "muscular" humanitarianism, enlisting the military power of democratic states to spearhead interventions around the globe. Thirty years after Biafra, Kouchner got his wish: In Kosovo, humanitarian NGOs rode in on the backs of NATO tanks, and Kouchner himself was appointed to run the province. Rieff sees Kosovo as the moment when humanitarianism lost its independence -- and thus its raison d'être. How, after all, did humanitarian organizations allied with NATO expect to serve Kosovo's Serb population? Kosovo, argues Rieff, effected the "political instrumentalization of humanitarianism" by Western governments; humanitarian organizations became the civic relief arms of NATO militaries. The new order was cemented in Afghanistan. In both places, Western governments intervened militarily for geopolitical reasons, not humanitarian ones; in both campaigns, it was the militaries who said jump, while humanitarian organizations were expected to ask how high. Humanitarianism is in crisis, Rieff argues, because humanitarians are trying to do too much. They find it pointless just to tend the wounded; they want to prevent the massacres. But they can't. Only states can prevent massacres. Old-fashioned apolitical humanitarianism may have been powerless; it aimed to palliate the world's suffering, not eradicate it. But the new utopian political humanitarianism implies a liberal-democratic holy war on the part of Western states -- a new colonialism. And that will not happen; pace Tony Blair, Western governments act primarily to protect their interests, not their values. Is Rieff right? His argument is sophisticated -- probably too much so. Humanitarianism may have become logically incoherent, but big political ideas do not stand or fall on logical coherence. Coherent or not, MSF continues to expand its operations. Other NGOs are finding governments less interested in their services, but the end of the '90s boom and the rise of the anti-globalization left have given them a boost with the general public. Strikingly, Rieff pays almost no attention to the overwhelming humanitarian development of the past two years: the new global commitment to fighting AIDS. Future humanitarian interventions will certainly be more politically conscious -- famine relief in Zimbabwe this winter will have to address the actions of the Mugabe government, which caused the famine -- but Rieff does not argue that humanitarian interventions should ignore their political consequences. In the aftermath of Bosnia and Rwanda, that argument is untenable. Rieff says in his conclusion that he would prefer to be optimistic, if only he could be. I am not sure that this is true. A writer who spends 10 years in refugee camps is probably not looking for upbeat stories. Earlier in the book, he describes himself as "too skeptical by temperament" to be comfortable as an activist; and this seems to me closer to the mark. He has the good critical journalist's temperament, with its affinity for complexity, tragedy and agonizing paradoxes. Humanitarian aid workers, however, tend to have the activist's temperament. They may complain about paradoxes; they may make jokes about paradoxes; but then they strap on the walkie-talkie and head out to attempt the impossible, for the umpteenth time this week. Fortunately, there seem to be a fair number of such people. And as Rieff says, they are the best people in the world. • Matt Steinglass, a journalist in Africa, is married to a relief and development worker.