Prevent Genocide International 

News Monitor for April 2003
Tracking current news on genocide and items related to past and present ethnic, national, racial and religious violence.

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BBC 20 Apr 2003 Berbers protest in Algeria Thousands of Algerian Berbers have brought towns to a standstill in the eastern region of Kabylie, in a mass demonstration for cultural and linguistic rights. They were marking the anniversary of riots in 1980 in the provincial capital, Tizi Ouzou, when protesters demanded recognition for their separate identity from the Arabic-speaking majority. A general strike closed down businesses and shops in Tizi Ouzou, Bejaia and Bouira on Sunday and in Algiers, several hundred students also demonstrated. The protests were mainly peaceful but riot police clashed with students outside a theatre in Tizi Ouzou when a 10,000-strong march was diverted away from a prison holding Berber leader Belaid Abrika. In the Algerian capital, student protesters were prevented by police from leaving campus. Marchers in Bouira carried black banners and shouted slogans including "Release the prisoners", "No to oppression" and "No to the arrest of youths and demonstrators". The demonstrations also commemorated protests in April 2001, when dozens of people were killed in clashes with police. Berbers are believed to make up about 20% of Algeria's population of 30 million. Demonstrations to mark the Berber Spring are an annual event.


ICG 7 April 2003 Angola's Choice: Reform or Regress For the first time since independence, economic and political reform has become a strategic imperative for the government of Angola. Elections and the desire to enhance its image after four decades of war are important motivations. But reform will not come quickly and requires a long-term strategy of international engagement. This report sets out policies to encourage a democratic post-war transition and fiscal transparency - especially in the oil sector. The report also urges economic diversification beyond oil, more equitable distribution and use of land, and poverty reduction strategies. If the destructive legacy of the war is allowed to fester, development and stability cannot be assured. For the full report, please see CrisisWeb - http://www.crisisweb.org


Survival International 25 April 2003 Botswana: government ban on Survival materials condemned The Botswana government has banned Survival materials from the country's schools, as part of ongoing attempts to silence criticism of the treatment of the Gana and Gwi 'Bushmen'. The ban, which has provoked concern from teachers and others, specifically refers to Survival's 'We, the world' education pack for 8 to 12 year olds. The pack, which mentions the Bushmen only in one short paragraph, was described as 'excellent' by the Times Education Supplement and 'brilliant' by the head of the Botswana centre for human rights. In Brazil, on the other hand, government agencies have requested Survival materials for display. http://www.survival-international.org/bushman.htm http://www.survival-international.org/books.htm#children Botswana: Bushmen barred from their own homes Gana and Gwi 'Bushmen' trying to return to their ancestral homeland, from which they were evicted by the Botswana authorities, are being physically turned back by officials. In some areas, Bushmen are not being allowed in even if they offer to pay the tourist fee. Military personnel are rumoured to be in the area now. http://www.survival-international.org/bushman.htm Brazil: two arrested for Marcos Veron's murder Two people have been arrested and a third is wanted in connection with the murder of Marcos Veron, the leader of the Guarani-Kaiowá community of Takuára in southern Brazil. Marcos was beaten to death in January of this year when he and others from his community were trying to move back onto the land stolen from them by ranchers 50 years ago. Marcos had visited Europe in 2000 to launch Survival's book on Brazilian Indians and speak about his people's long struggle for their land. A group from Marcos's community is now lobbying the authorities to recognise their land as an Indian reserve. South Africa: landmark court verdict A court has ruled that the 'Richtersvelders' indigenous people have a right to their land, although they have never had title deeds or had their rights recognised by the government. This historic victory brings hope to the Gana and Gwi 'Bushmen' in Botswana, where the legal system is similar. Both peoples live in areas where there is diamond mining or prospecting. Survival International is a worldwide organisation supporting tribal peoples. It stands for their right to decide their own future and helps them protect their lives, lands and human rights. It receives no government funding and is dependent on donations from the public. e-news from Survival International, supporting tribal peoples worldwide. Founded in 1969, registered charity (UK) no. 267444


AFP 30 Mar 2003 600 arrested in Bujumbura, 70 held in custody BUJUMBURA, March 30 (AFP) - Close to 600 people were arrested in the Burundian capital in a weekend raid on two neighbourhoods, police said Sunday, as the country's second largest rebel group accused the government of launching a manhunt against Hutus. "Friday we arrested more than 250 people in the Musaga area (south) and Saturday we arrested 340 others in the Kamenge neighbourhood (northeast) in an crackdown on 'irregulars'," a police officer in charge of security in Bujumbura told AFP. The term "irregulars" refers to people who do not hold the necessary paperwork. "We are holding around 70 people who did not have identity cards or were not recognised by anyone in their neighbourhoods," the officer said. "The others will be released as soon as the investigation is complete," he added. The arrests sparked an angry response from the rebel National Liberation Forces (FNL), Burundi's second largest Hutu rebel group. "This is a government-sponsored hunt for Hutus, because the police is only targeting Hutus, in Hutu neighbourhoods," Pastor Habibama, FNL counsellor and spokesman, charged on Sunday. FNL rebels are highly active around the capital and enjoy wide popular support in Hutu neighbourhoods on the city's outskirts. "We are giving (President Pierre) Buyoya's government seven-days to release all those arrested, safe and sound and without exception," the FNL spokesman said. More than 300,000 people have been killed in Burundi's civil war which has pitted four Hutu rebel groups against the Tutsi-led army since 1993, according to UN figures. Of the four Hutu rebel movements, three signed ceasefire agreements with Bujumbura in 2002, including the largest, the Forces for the Defence of Democracy (FDD) under Pierre Nkurunziza. However, the FNL under Agathon Rwasa has not even begun negotiations. Meanwhile, the FDD and the army regularly accuse each other of violating the ceasefire agreement.

IRIN 31 Mar 2003 - Burundi: President vows to step down on 1 May BUJUMBURA, 31 March (IRIN) - President Pierre Buyoya of Burundi has promised to leave office on 1 May, as agreed in a power-sharing deal with some rebel groups and political organisations. In a nationwide broadcast on Friday, Buyoya, a Tutsi, said he would hand over to Vice-President Domitien Ndayizeye, a Hutu, in accordance with the transitional constitution. State-controlled Radio Burundi said the decision was a difficult one to make, as some politicians wanted key issues such as the ceasefire to be resolved before any change of power. In February, Buyoya hinted that he might not step down by calling for a national debate on whether or not the handover should take place before the integration of Hutu rebel fighters into the national army. Nineteen political parties signed the Arusha accord in August 2000, which defined a transitional period divided into two equal 18-month phases. The first phase began in November 2001.

IRIN 1 Apr 2003 UN rights rapporteur says violence against civilians increasing NAIROBI, 1 April (IRIN) - The UN's special rapporteur on human rights in Burundi has reported an increase in violence against civilians caught up in 10 years of civil war. Presenting her sixth report on Burundi to the UN Commission on Human Rights in Geneva on Monday, Marie-Therese Keita Bocoum said that state and nonpstate actors had violated the right to life in the continuing war. She said that between July and September 2002, state agents had allegedly killed a number of civilians (including women, children and the elderly). Bocoum said the Burundian government continued to run illegal detention centres within military camps and in insecure places. Also, torture and other forms of punishment continued to be inflicted in different police stations and underground detention centres. Law enforcement agents, she said, had been accused of torturing civilians. The UN's information service quoted Bocoum as saying that with the approach of the rotation of power between Tutsi and Hutu presidents due on 1 May, "the political situation was clouded with concern". A Burundian government representative questioned the reliability and objectivity of the special rapporteur's information, in particular the figures she advanced and the responsibilities attributed. The government representative said it must not be forgotten that the country had been suffering from a complex civil war since 1993. The government said that cases of misconduct by the armed forces were investigated and those responsible were punished. Reports that displaced people were afraid to visit health and relief centres were part of a campaign by "certain Burundian political circles and rebels who tended to demonise the army", the government representative said. During a question-and-answer session, Bocoum told the commission she intended to visit Burundi as soon as possible. While there had been some improvements with regard to the peace process, civilians still could not feel the full effects of peace, she said. Bocoum said attacks against women and children had been serious, and called for a special inquriy into the violence. Asked if the leaders of rebel groups were willing to respect human rights, Bocoum said she had been unable to meet the rebel groups. The only appeal she could make was through the recommendations in her report.

IRIN 2 Apr 2003 440 civilians reported killed in recent fighting in eastern Burundi NAIROBI, 4 Apr 2003 (IRIN) - An independent radio station in Burundi, African Public Radio, reported on Thursday that around 440 civilians have been killed in fighting in the eastern province of Ruyigi since January. The radio, which has an office in Ruyigi, said the civilians died in fighting between the rebel CNDD-FDD (National Council for the Defence of Democracy-Forces for the Defence of Democracy) and government troops in Gisuru commune in Ruyigi. The report, based on survivors' testimonies and interviews with local officials, said hundreds of houses had been looted and burnt. Ruyigi province, bordering Tanzania, has been the centre of continued fighting between rebels and the army for a number of months. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has expressed concern at the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the whole province. Hundreds of people displaced by the fighting in the hills have been sleeping rough in the bush, local officials have reported. Humanitarian agencies say the Burundian army has prevented them from delivering food and medicine to the displaced, claiming the area is insecure.

Reuters 4 Apr 2003 Burundi frees ex-president from house arrest BUJUMBURA, April 4 ( Reuters) - Authorities in Burundi released former President Jean-Baptiste Bagaza from six months of house arrest on Friday but maintained a ban on his extremist Tutsi opposition party. Bagaza was placed under house arrest in November, accused of planning to topple the government and assassinate old rival President Pierre Buyoya, who had ousted the hardline Tutsi leader in a 1987 coup. "We decided to release Mr Bagaza, but he will continue to report to the court," Interior Minister Salvator Ntihabose told a news conference. "The government will continue to keep an eye on his activities, because we are not sure if he has given up his plan." Bagaza leads the opposition PARENA party, an extremist Tutsi group that is unhappy with the relatively moderate Buyoya -- also a Tutsi -- for signing a peace deal in Arusha, Tanzania in 2000 which they believe may hand power to the Hutu majority. Bagaza, who has protested his innocence, is banned from holding any public meetings as a condition for his release. "I never planed to destabilise the security of the country nor to kill leaders of this country," Bagaza told reporters, saying he was happy to be freed. "It is the best day of my life." Burundi, one of the smallest countries in Africa, has been ripped apart by ethnic conflict between Hutu rebels and troops of the Tutsi-led army in which more than 300,000 people have been killed during the past decade. Many Tutsis fear that genocide such as Rwanda's 1994 massacre of 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus by extremist Hutus could happen in Burundi if they gave up power. Ntihabose denied Buyoya's recent promise to hand over power to his deputy on May 1 had had any influence on the decision to free Bagaza. "There's no relation between Bagaza's release and the political change due on May 1," he said. Last Friday, Buyoya said he would honour the Arusha peace accord and hand over power to his Hutu deputy, Vice-President Domitien Ndayizeye, as scheduled on May 1 after 18 months in office. Although Bagaza's PARENA party -- the biggest Tutsi opposition group -- signed the Arusha deal it has never accepted taking part in the transitional government. The three-year transitional plan aims at sharing power between majority Hutus and minority Tutsis in a bid to bring an end to Burundi's 10-year civil war.

AFP 9 Apr 2003 African peacekeeping force due in Burundi by May BUJUMBURA, April 9 (AFP) - The head of an African peacekeeping force for war-ravaged Burundi said Wednesday that the force itself would be deployed in Burundi by next month. "The troops will be here before May 1," South African General Sipho Binda said in Bujumbura. When Binda left for Burundi earlier Wednesday, Colonel John Rolt, South African National Defence Force (SANDF) spokesman, said he was assessing the situation ahead of the arrival of an expected force of some 3,200 troops. "He has travelled to Burundi to go and look at the situation and to make an appraisal," Rolt told AFP. Officials in Bujumbura said that the force, acting under the authority of the African Union, will initially be made up of 1,500 troops from South Africa, 900 from Ethiopia and 200 from Mozambique. Binda arrived in Burundi, where civil war has raged since 1993, with about 50 soldiers from South Africa and Mozambique, who will form part of his general staff. The general is due to remain in Burundi for a week before returning to South Africa. The force's deployment comes at a time when a ceasefire reached between government forces and the main Hutu rebel group, the Forces for the Defence of Democracy, shows little sign of holding. Both sides accuse the other of violating the truce. The force's mandate will be to demobilise and disarm all armed groups and to set up an integrated national army and police force. The African Union has already sent 43 military observers to Burundi to monitor various ceasefire accords.

South African Press Association (Johannesburg) 8 Apr 2003 South African Troops Start for Burundi Pretoria The first South African troops forming part of a peace support mission to Burundi are to leave for that country on Wednesday, the SA National Defence Force said on Tuesday. They are to be accompanied by Major General Sipho Binda, the first commander of the African Union mission, which would also comprise troops from Mozambique and Ethiopia. Binda is to command a force of about 3200 soldiers, the SANDF said in a statement. SANDF spokesman Major Niko Allie said about 1200 of these would be South Africans. They are to be deployed in phases -- the last being by the end of May. Allie could not say when the Mozambican and Ethiopian troops would join the South Africans. The troops would be tasked with enforcing a series of ceasefire agreements and political settlements. A total of 751 SANDF members are already deployed in Burundi in a separate United Nations-endorsed VIP protection operation in support of the transitional government. Last month, Burundi's two main political parties signed a political and security agreement in Pretoria. A transitional government is to take over in Burundi on May 1 in a bid to end the civil war which has claimed more than 250000 lives since October 1993.

Washtington Times 10 Apr 2003 Burundi struggles to halt violence Carter Dougherty BUJUMBURA, Burundi — The country is entering its 11th year of civil war, and despite peace accords and cease-fires, guns are still blazing and people are still dying. According to U.N. sources, 440 persons have been killed in the eastern province of Ruyigi since January. This tiny, impoverished East African country of 8 million people has had 300,000 people killed since violence erupted in 1993, and at least that many have fled their homes amid constant armed clashes. President Pierre Buyoya agreed last week to step down May 1 as part of an agreement that includes elections late next year. But the country's war grinds on, and "Burundi is as fragmented now as I've ever seen it," said Jan van Eck, a professor at the University of Pretoria in South Africa who has studied this country extensively. For most of Burundi's history since independence in 1962, parties dominated by the minority Tutsi people have used their control of the army to subjugate the Hutu majority. In 1993, under international pressure, Burundi elected a Hutu president, Melchior Ndadaye, in what turned out to be a brief respite from violence. Renegade army officers assassinated Mr. Ndadaye a few months later, and Hutu militias went on a rampage against Tutsis before heading into the hills to start an insurgency, a situation that remains unchanged today. What makes the past few months notable, diplomats and Burundian officials say, is that all the elements of peace are in place — a formal agreement, cease-fires, neutral troops from the African Union and fresh injections of aid. Yet the violence continues. "Everything is in place," said one Western diplomat who asked not to be identified. "The ball is in the court of the Burundians to show some political will." In August 2000, the government of Mr. Buyoya, a Tutsi, signed a power-sharing accord in Arusha, Tanzania, mediated by South African elder statesman Nelson Mandela, with a group of Hutu political parties, but not with armed rebels. The agreement forsaw Mr. Buyoya stepping down May 1 in favor of his Hutu vice president, Domitien Ndayizeye. Signatories of the deal expected that cease-fires with the rebels would quickly follow. But the last such agreement came into place in December, and one rebel group — the Forces of National Liberation — fights on, regularly shelling Bujumbura, the capital. Most observers predicted that Mr. Buyoya would point to the shaky cease-fires as a reason why he could not leave May 1, and he appealed to the parliament to hold a debate on his continued tenure. But last week, facing solid opposition from his Hutu partners in the peace process, he agreed to step down. Though this decision bodes well for the Arusha accord, Burundian politicians have still not tackled its core provision — a plan to integrate the army's Tutsi-dominated officer corps. Nor have they begun to demobilize some of its 60,000 soldiers, far more than a tiny country like Burundi might need in peacetime. "In this country, the army is playing the major role in whether or not there's peace," said Alexis Sinduhije, director of African Public Radio, an independent station in Bujumbura. The most powerful Hutu rebel group — the Forces for the Defense of Democracy, led by Pierre Nkurunziza — still fights pitched battles with government troops in the countryside, despite the December cease-fire. It also keeps up a steady stream of angry rhetoric that hardly suggests it is ready to talk instead of fight. "Buyoya and his army do not respect any agreement aimed at restoring peace in Burundi," Mr. Nkurunziza said in a recent statement. During the past week, the country saw "an upsurge in violence throughout Burundi's eastern and central provinces," said a U.N. report. In separate incidents, the army reported a battle involving 68 rebels, and other, smaller clashes. Civilians reported that armed men stole 50 cows from a village and looted dozens of other settlements. Burundi's civilian population, most of which engages in subsistence agriculture in the hills and mountains outside Bujumbura, has been caught in the vise of clashes between rebels and the army. In a typical engagement, rebels ambush army patrols, especially at night, and the army responds by lobbing heavy artillery into the nearest hillside, killing mostly peasants. In other incidents, hungry rebels loot villages in search of food and blame it on army provocation. An estimated 260,000 civilians have been displaced from their homes, and many of them have fallen into regular habits in which they tend their fields during the day, but sleep in the bush at night for fear of getting caught in the cross fire, according to U.N. officials. "It is sad to say, but the population has gotten used to war," said Antoine Gerard, head of U.N. humanitarian relief operations in Burundi. Nevertheless, the African Union will soon send up to 5,000 troops to Burundi, in the hope that it can help turn the promises of the Arusha accord, and the cease-fires, into reality. Already, there are 43 African military observers mapping out deployment routes, and the troops will have what one African official described as a "tough mandate" to intervene and stop conflicts, rather than simply observe the fictitious peace. "It is going to make the role [of South Africa and other countries] much more risky and much more suspect as far as many Burundians are concerned," Mr. van Eck said. Burundi's donors, especially the World Bank, hope to follow on with a share of $500 million that the bank and several countries have earmarked for demobilization of soldiers in eight African countries. But as Burundi strives for a shaky peace, extremist Tutsis who oppose the Arusha agreement serve as a reminder that for every person committed to peace, there is another bent on war. Amasekanya — a group whose name means "hard like a rock" in Kirundi, the language of Burundi — argues that the peace agreement protects Hutu rebel leaders who may have been complicit in the killing of roughly 20,000 Tutsis in 1993. The group, many of whose members are in prison, is a thorn in the side of Mr. Buyoya or any other Tutsi who tries to make peace. "These [Hutus] are the people who tried to exterminate us," said Diomede Rutamucero, Amasekanya's president. "Buyoya must leave Burundi, and the army must pursue these terrorists."

IRIN 24 Apr 2003 No more coups, says Buyoya BUJUMBURA, 24 April (IRIN) - President Pierre Buyoya, who is due to leaves office on 1 May, said on Wednesday he would never try to regain power by force in the future. "I will continue to remain active in politics, and I will be a candidate once elections are organised in five to six years," he told reporters. For now, he said, he would serve as a senator. Buyoya, a Tutsi, is expected to hand over power to his vice-president, Domitien Ndayizeye, a Hutu, in line with the Arusha accords of 2002 and the Burundian constitution. Buyoya seized power in two coups: in 1987 when he ousted President Jean-Baptiste Bagaza, recently released from house arrest; and in 1996 when he ousted Slyvestre Ntibantunganya, a Hutu. Buyoya said that Ndayizeye and his vice-president designate, Alphonse Kadege, would have tough tasks ahead of them such as eradicating poverty and ending the war. Nevertheless he expressed optimism for the future. "I am confident they could return the country to peace because they are supported by their respective parties, Frodebu and Uprona, which are strong parties," he said. Another advantage for the new leaders, he said, was that Burundians were determined to achieve peace and that the international community was willing to help. Buyoya said the ceasefire agreement between his government and the main Hutu rebel movement, the Conseil national pour la defense de la democratie-Force pour la defense de la democratie (CNDD-FDD) of Peter Nkurunziza, was not implemented because the rebels did not show any willingness to respect the accord. "It now wants to seize power by force," Buyoya said.

IRIN 30 Apr 2003 President Buyoya transfers power to Ndayizeye BUJUMBURA, Domitien Ndayizeye was inaugurated president of Burundi on Wednesday, to lead the second half of a three-year transitional power sharing government designed to end 10 years of civil war. "I swear to work for the good of all Burundians, to fight genocide and exclusion, and to ensure the respect of human rights," the BBC reported Ndayizeye as saying when he took the oath of office in the Burundi capital, Bujumbura. He takes over from Pierre Buyoya, a Tutsi, who led the country during the first 18 months of the transitional government. Ndayizeye, a Hutu, will rule until presidential elections are held at the end of the transitional phase. Buyoya handed over power under the terms of the Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement, signed between Tutsi and Hutu political parties in 2000. The accord was the culmination of two-and-a-half years of negotiations, led by the late Tanzanian president, “Mwalimu” Julius Nyerere. The talks resulted in a transitional government that brings together 19 Burundian political parties for the three-year transition phase prior to democratic elections. Under Buyoya, the government was charged with securing a ceasefire with non-signatories to the Arusha Accord; beginning reformation of the judiciary, administration and the security services; repatriating refugees and beginning reconstruction of the war-shattered country. Buyoya seized power in two coups: in 1987 when he ousted President Jean-Baptiste Bagaza, a Tutsi, recently released from house arrest; and in 1996 when he ousted Slyvestre Ntibantunganya, a Hutu. South African Deputy President Jacob Zuma, the chief facilitator in the peace process, said on Tuesday the transfer of power would be an important landmark and showed how much progress had been made toward peace. "I think the Burundian people should celebrate that we have moved so far," he told reporters shortly after his arrival in Bujumbura. "The last period is going to be more testing because there is nothing that we can leave untouched," he said, "but I think people should be convinced that the Burundians are ready for peace and now that the peacekeeping force is coming, we must say that the situation is changing." In his speech at the presidential inauguration ceremony, Zuma described the event as a "significant step forward". He paid tribute to Buyoya for displaying "statesmanship, courage and patriotism by stepping down from office when the time came to do so". Zuma also saluted former South African President Nelson Mandela, present at the ceremony, who took over as facilitator of the peace process when Nyerere died. "I wish to single out for praise two outstanding statesmen who have driven this peace process at different periods, Mwalimu Nyerere and former President Nelson Mandela," Zuma said. "Mwalimu must be smiling upon us today as he see yet another realisation of his dream of restroring peace, stability and democracy in this country," Zuma added. Not all Burundians are convinced, however, as they say that they have seen many ceasefire ceremonies and inaugurations, but they still live in a state of war. "I don't see this as an important event," Eugene Nindorera, a former minister for Human Rights in Buyoya's government, told IRIN. "There are lots of events like this, but none of them have brought what most Burundians want - an end to the war." While humanitarian organisations in Burundi welcomed the positive steps in the peace process and the renewed international attention that Burundi was receiving, they warned that the humanitarian situation on the ground was still a serious concern. "Today people's eyes are on the political situation, but I think that it is important that we also talk about the people of Burundi as they are suffering extremely from this war," Antoine Gerard, the head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said on Tuesday. Burundi has been embroiled in internal conflict for decades, but the UN estimates that the most recent conflict, which was sparked off by the assassination of the first democratically elected Hutu president in October 1993, has left an estimated 300,000 dead and over a million people internally displaced or living abroad as refugees.

Central African Republic

IRIN 9 Apr 2003 CEMAC forces in CAR to number 350 BANGUI, 9 Apr 2003 (IRIN) - The strength of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central African States (CEMAC) force which will remain in the Central African Republic (CAR), has been set at 350, CEMAC said on Tuesday. "Donors have accepted to support a force of 350 men", Martin Mavoungou, the commander-in-chief of CEMAC in CAR, told IRIN. The force, which currently comprises 272 men from Gabon and the Republic of Congo, was originally brought in to CAR to protect the former president, Ange-Felix Patasse, to secure the CAR-CHAD border and to restructure the CAR army. On 15 March, Patasse was ousted in a coup by Francois Bozize, who declared himself the new president. Mavoungou said that CEMAC leaders were discussing a new mandate for the force, and that a draft was being passed around "for amendments and suggestions." He said that the Gabonese ministers for foreign affairs and for defence, Jean Ping and Ali Bongo, visited CAR on Monday to assess the situation. A summit in Brazzaville on 21 March agreed that Chadian troops who entered CAR to secure the capital for Bozize four days after his coup, would be integrated into the CEMAC force. Mavounga said the number of Chadians in the new CEMAC force had not yet been decided.

Côte d'Ivoire - Also read News Monitors for Côte d'Ivoire from 2002 and 2001

IRIN 1 Apr 2003 Parties endorse document of transitional constitution SUN CITY, SOUTH AFRICA, 1 April (IRIN) - Government representatives and rebel groups from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), meeting in South Africa for the final session of the Inter-Congolese Dialogue, have unanimously endorsed a transitional constitution to govern DRC for two years. The talks opened on Tuesday in Sun City, Pretoria, with a five-minute plenary session, involving delegates from the government, rebel groups, the political opposition, civil society and various militia groups. They endorsed the gobal agreement signed in Pretoria on 17 December 2002. It is hoped that the dialogue, due to end on Wednesday, will result in the signing of an accord by all the parties to set up a national government for the DRC, and to integrate the different forces into the national army. The main principles have already been agreed by all parties, but questions remain over the sharing of responsibilities, especially in the military. At a press conference after the short session, the secretary-general of the Rwandan-backed rebel Rassemblement congolais pour la democratie (RCD-Goma), Azaria Ruberwa, said, "We will come tomorrow to put an end to the war." The delegates agreed that DRC president Joseph Kabila would keep his post in the new national government. There would be four posts of vice-president to be filled by members of the rebel movments and the non-armed political opposition parties. All the delegates agreed to call for a neutral international military force to ensure the security of the transitional government and its members.

AFP 31 Mar 2003 A chronology of peace talks for DR Congo SUN CITY, South Africa, March 31 (AFP) - Since war broke out in Democratic Republic of Congo on August 2, 1998, numerous efforts have been made to end the conflict through dialogue. Herewith a chronology of the key talks on the war: 1998 Aug 8: The first summit on the DRC conflict brings together seven heads of state from southern and east Africa at Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. Sept 13-14: The annual summit of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) recognises Zimbabwe's, Angola's and Namibia's intervention on behalf of the Kinshasa government and condemns Rwanda and Uganda for supporting DRC rebels. Oct 26-27: Ministers from 11 African countries meet in the Zambian capital Lusaka and adopt the framework for a ceasefire in DRC. Zambia acts as regional mediator. 1999 July 10: A ceasefire agreement is signed at a summit in Lusaka by the DRC government and its allies Zimbabwe, Angola and Namibia, and by Rwanda and Uganda. The Congolese Liberation Movement (MLC, backed by Uganda) and the two factions of the Congolese Rally for Democracy (RCD, backed by Rwanda) ratify the agreement in August. 2000 Jan 24-26: Seven regional heads of state meet in New York with UN mediators. Feb 23: Seven African heads of state meet in Lusaka and adopt a new timetable for applying the DRC ceasefire. 2001 Feb 15: DRC's new President Joseph Kabila -- who came to power after his father Laurent was assassinated in January -- takes part in his first summit on the DRC in Lusaka, together with four other countries involved in the conflict and the rebel movements. Announcement of deployment of UN observers for DRC, MONUC, and appointment of Sir Ketumile Masire as Inter-Congolese Dialogue facilitator. Oct 15: Inter-Congolese Dialogue officially opens in Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa but is suspended after three days and later adjourned. 2002 Feb 25-April 19: Inter-Congolese Dialogue opens in Sun City, South Africa. The talks run on for six weeks and eventually result in a non-inclusive accord on power sharing, which is never implemented. Sept 6: The DRC and Uganda ratify a protocol of agreement for Kampala to withdraw its troops from DRC soil. Dec 17: All parties to the DRC war sign an agreement in Pretoria on a power-sharing transition government aimed at taking DRC through to its first democratic elections since 1960. 2003 March 6: After 11 days of talks in Pretoria, delegates adopt a draft constitution and a memorandum on the military and security arrangements during the transition period. March 16-30: At the end of talks on integrating rebels into the DRC armed forces and on security measures during the transition period, only the RCD rebel group signs an agreement in Pretoria on a high command for an integrated armed force.

IRIN 18 Apr 2003 Scores injured, some die, following air attacks - NGOs ABIDJAN, - A number of civilians, including children, are reported to have died this week following air attacks in western Cote d'Ivoire, according to NGO and humanitarian sources. Scores of people were evacuated and dozens were being treated in a hospital in Man, a rebel-held town 578 km northwest of the Ivorian commercial capital, Abidjan. Eight die following helicopter attacks - MSF On Thursday, Medecins sans frontieres (MSF) said in a communique that nearly 50 wounded civilians were treated within the space of a few hours on 15 April at a hospital in the rebel-held town of Man. It said its teams expected to receive other wounded in the coming hours. According to MSF the patients, who included nine children, 13 women and elderly persons, said they had been injured during helicopter attacks on the rebel-held towns of Danane and Mahapleu. "Most of the injured had extensive abdominal wounds, open fractures and shattered limbs," MSF said. The surgical team had to do 12 emergency operations including amputations, it said. At least eight persons, including three children, died from their wounds within the hospital compound. The number of civilians who died on the spot during the attacks was unclear. Patients evacuated from Zouan-Houien Also on Thursday 62 people, 45 children and 17 adults, arrived in Abidjan from the town of Zouan-Hounien, near the border with Liberia, on board two helicopters provided by a French force stationed in Cote d'Ivoire. They were evacuated from a Burulli Ulcer Centre run by Catholic priests in the town after the centre’s church was hit by bombs dropped from the air. Zouen-Hounien is located some 671 km northwest of Abidjan, in an area that was under the control of the rebel Mouvement Populaire Ivoirien du Grand Ouest (MPIGO - Ivorian Popular Movement of the Great West). Danane and Mahapleu were also controlled by the rebel group, and was reported to have changed hands on more than one occasion this week. Over seven million CFA francs (US $11,500) worth of medicines and bandages were either stolen by armed men or destroyed during the bombardments, a medical source told IRIN. Fighting was also reported this week in the town of Daloa in the centre west. Violence against civilians outside rebel zones - MSF MSF said "other cases of violence against civilians are regularly observed by our teams in the field in our programmes of assistance to displaced persons around Daloa, Duekoue and Guiglo". The three towns, located in the centre west and far west, are controlled by forces loyal to the government of President Laurent Gbagbo. "In the face of these attacks and their consequences for the victims, MSF is alarmed at the non-protection of civilian populations who, in no case should be deliberately targeted," the NGO said, urging all parties to the conflict to respect civilian populations and do everything possible to protect medical facilities, equipment and staff.

DR Congo (see China, Rwanda Uganda)

AFP 6 Apr 2003 At least 1,000 people dead in ethnic violence in DR Congo: UN mission KIGALI, April 6 (AFP) - At least 1,000 people have been killed in ethnic violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the United Nations said on Sunday, one day after the signing of an accord to end over four years of war in the vast Central African country. The massacres, which took place on Thursday in the northeastern region of Ituri, claimed "at least one thousand victims", the UN mission in the DRC said in a statement sent to AFP's office in the Rwandan capital Kigali. It said this information came from "witness accounts" of the massacres, which took place in the parish of Drodo and 14 neighbouring areas. According to lists compiled by local leaders, 966 people were "summarily executed" in three hours of massacres, said the UN mission, which on Saturday sent a team to Drodo and the surrounding areas. The UN mission said it had visited 49 seriously injured victims in a local hospital. Most had machetes wounds and some had been hit by bullets. The team had also witnessed "20 mass graves, identifiable by traces of blood that was still fresh". The UN mission, MONUC, said it would continue its investigations to identify those responsible for the bloodletting. DRC's minister for human rights, Ntumba Luaba, called on the MONUC to help catch the killers. "MONUC, which has already gathered some information on the massacre, must quickly pursue its investigation so the perpetrators are don't remain unpunished," he told AFP in a telephone interview from the capital Kinshasa. The violence came one day after the warring parties in the Democratic Republic of Congo signed a historic pact on Wednesday to end more than four years of brutal warfare. The accord between the government, opposition parties and several rebel groups ended 19 months of tortuous peace negotiations. It enabled President Joseph Kabila to issue on Friday a new constitution which opens the way for a national unity government and the first democratic elections in the former Belgian colony for more than 40 years. A commission, set up to try and bring peace to the troubled Ituri region, began work on Saturday. Earlier on Sunday, Ugandan officers, who have troops stationed in Ituri, said between 350 and 400 members of the Hema ethnic community had been killed in the region in attacks by members of the Lendu ethnic group. The head of the rebel Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC), Thomas Lubanga, confirmed the massacres and said more than 900 people had died. Lubanga, whose rebels recently engaged in fighting against the Ugandan troops in Ituri, accused the Ugandan army of taking part in the Lendu attacks. But General Kale Kaihura, the commander of Ugandan troops in Ituri, rejected the claims, saying he had sent his men to the site of the massacres after receiving information from local chiefs. Representatives of the Hema community in Kinshasa who had been in contact with Drodo accused the UPC of being responsible for the massacre with support from neighbouring Rwanda, which supported rebel groups operating in eastern DRC. "It wasn't an interethnic massacre, but an operation controlled by Rwanda to spread terror and block the advance of peace in Ituri," said one of the community's leaders, on condition of anonymity. In a sign of further instability elsewhere in the Democratic Republic of Congo, weapons fire resounded on Sunday afternoon in the town of Bukavu, the main centre in the eastern province of South-Kivu. A spokesman for the rebel group which controls Bukavu, the Congolese Rally for Democracy, said it was a "restrained" attack by local militia in protest at the arrest of their leader on Thursday. "We are hearing shots from heavy and light arms which started some time ago and are continuing," said an inhabitant from the village who was taking refuge inside a church. The war in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the former Zaire, broke out in 1998, one year after the fall of reviled dictator Mobuto Seke Seso. It has claimed around 2.5 million lives, either directly or through disease or starvation.

AP 7 Apr 2003 966 Congolese Are Killed in Attacks on Villagers By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS AIROBI, April 6 (AP) — At least 966 people were killed in attacks on more than a dozen villages in northeastern Congo last week, United Nations officials said today after a preliminary investigation. It is not clear who carried out the attacks, which occurred in Ituri Province, the scene of some of the worst battles in Congo's 4 1/2-year civil war. Rival fighters, rebel factions and Ugandan troops all have been involved in the fighting in the mineral-rich province. Witnesses told the United Nations investigators that the attackers included women and children, while others were men in military uniforms, said Manodje Mounoubai, a spokesman for the United Nations mission in Congo. "This is the worst single atrocity since the start of the civil war," he said. Officials said the killing occurred over a period of just a few hours on Thursday in the Roman Catholic parish of Drodro and 14 surrounding villages. "The attack started with a whistle blow and lasted between five and eight hours," Mr. Mounoubai said. United Nations military observers visited the area on Saturday and spoke to witnesses, survivors and local leaders who led them to 20 mass graves, he said. Another spokesman for the United Nations mission, Hamadoun Touré, said the mass graves had "fresh blood on them." Investigators said some of the survivors were seriously wounded, mostly by machetes but also by bullets. On Saturday, a Congolese rebel leader, Thomas Lubanga, accused Ugandan troops and fighters from an allied Congolese ethnic group, the Lendu, of carrying out the killings. A Ugandan military spokesman, Capt. Felix Kulayigye, denied that any Ugandan troops were involved. He said 400 people had been killed in ethnic fighting. An aid worker and a local leader in Bunia said that Ugandan forces were in the area when civilians were killed, but that they could not say whether the troops took part. The rebel group draws its support from the Hema, who have traditionally fought with the Lendu for control of land and other resources. .

BBC 7 Apr 2003 Hope survives DR Congo killing The Hema and Lendu have a long history of conflict The BBC's Mark Dummett was in north-eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo last week, when up to 1,000 people were killed in a massacre by an ethnic militia. On Friday, talks opened in Bunia, the capital of Ituri district, that, for the first time grouped in one room representatives of all the different ethnic factions, militias and concerned governments. The talks were, everyone said, the best chance for peace that the long suffering four and a half million people of Ituri had. At the same time survivors in Drodro, some 80 km away were recovering from an appalling experience. The day before men, women and children from a rival ethnic group charged into the town and neighbouring villages from five directions. Using machetes and some guns, survivors say they butchered 966 people. The attackers were from the Lendu ethnic group, the victims Hema. Human bones That same day the UN rights investigators who visited Drodro over the weekend, drove 45 kilometres out of Bunia to Cobu. I travelled with them - through a succession of burnt-out villages. DR CONGO'S WAR Four years Seven foreign armies At least 2 million dead Disease and abuses widespread A hard road to peace At one place we passed human bones in the road - apparently placed as a warning. We were later shown what locals said were the mass graves of between 35 and 75 people. The victims that time were Lendu, the killers Hema. Bunia's White hospital - named so because in colonial days only the Europeans were allowed to be treated there - is full of victims of the fighting. Ngayo is about to give birth, she is nine months pregnant, but she is also dying. To either side of 20-year old Ngayo's cot are other victims of Ituri's ethnic war - an old woman with wounds to her neck which Lendu fighters tried to slash, and there are two young women with legs blown off by landmines planted by Hema militiamen. Praying for peace Her mother Jean Ernestine explained that the family home is near the town's airstrip. Heavy fighting broke out there when the ruling faction - a Hema militia called the UPC attempted to oust its one-time backers the Ugandan army. Thousands of people have fled their homes Because Ngayo was heavily pregnant she could not find shelter in time, a bomb exploded over head and she was hit. Everyone in Bunia I spoke to said they were praying the so-called Ituri Pacification Commission would end the terrible cycle of violence in Ituri, that started with a simple land dispute between the pastoralist Hema and the Lendu, who tend fields. Local groups say more than 50,000 people have been killed, while villages and towns are out of bounds to aid workers and UN peacekeepers. Schools, hospitals, and the gold mines of the area, have been looted. Neutral force Things however are changing for the better. For the first ever time, Bunia seems to have a responsible Ugandan soldier in charge. Previously rival Ugandan commanders armed rival factions and flew the region's wealth back to Kampala. Now they say they want to leave Ituri for good and, what's more, an Ituri that is peaceful and functioning. The plan is to have a neutral force in charge of Bunia itself. Angola, South Africa, or the UN might provide the troops for this task. Houses rebuilt The UN too seems to be getting its act together. There are reports that more peacekeepers, perhaps with a stronger mandate will be sent in soon. I saw houses being rebuilt and saw districts of Bunia, which had been terrorised by Hema death squads, filling up with returnees. But no-one thinks the killings will stop soon. There are worries that too many people still have guns, and that the mutual hatred still has not gone away. Jean Enerstine, caring for her dying daughter, however is optimistic things will improve. "We are all fed up with this war," she says. "We are praying to God that peace will return to Ituri."

U.N. lowers Congo massacre toll African leaders meet amid charges of troop movements Wednesday, April 9, 2003 Posted: 4:30 PM EDT (2030 GMT) A woman from the Drodro hospital visits a mass grave in the village after the April 3 killings. Story Tools RELATED • U.N. finds Congo mass grave • Witnesses tell of Congo massacre • Congo Conflict Chronology NAIROBI, Kenya (Reuters) -- A U.N. official said investigators believed up to 350 people were massacred by tribal militias in Congo last week, far fewer than the nearly 1,000 deaths initially reported by local witnesses. "As far as our team has been able to verify, they have been able to determine 150 to 350 dead," Behrooz Sadry, a senior official with the U.N. mission in Congo (MONUC), told Africa Journal, a Reuters Television program. Interviewed late Tuesday, Sadry said U.N. teams were still investigating reports from local witnesses that the true death toll was 966 civilians. The Congolese government said the perpetrators should be put on trial, echoing a call by the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights. Tribal militia armed with machetes and guns raided Drodro and 14 neighboring villages in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo on April 3, according to U.N. officials. Most of those shot or hacked to death were women, children or old men. Dozens of survivors were left with deep wounds, but most of the younger men in the villages managed to flee the attacks. U.N. investigators said they saw some 20 mass graves after the raids near Ituri province's capital Bunia, about 50 miles from the border with Uganda. "We haven't been able to count the bodies and we have not been able to dig up the mass graves," MONUC spokesman Hamadoun Toure told reporters in Kinshasa Wednesday. "A massacre is still a massacre," he said when asked about the revised death toll. The Ugandan army has put the number of dead at between 350 and 400. The figures could not be independently confirmed. Human rights groups say thousands of people have been killed in northeastern Congo since 1999 in ethnic fighting between tribes allied to the armies of Rwanda and Uganda. Drodro's population is made up mainly of Hema, who have been pitted against the Lendu in a conflict that has drawn in factions from the wider war. Survivors said last week's attackers spoke Lendu and were backed by soldiers in uniform. Rights groups have accused Ugandan troops of fueling ethnic tensions in the area, but Uganda's army has denied any involvement in the attack. The Congolese government has left the investigation to the United Nations. Africa summit tries to stop killing African leaders met Wednesday to try to halt a new wave of ethnic killing in the Congo's devastating and complex war amid fresh allegations of troop movements in the region. South African President Thabo Mbeki, who hosted the summit in Cape Town, has spearheaded efforts to get countries neighboring the Democratic Republic of Congo to withdraw their armies from its territory and make a peace plan work. But as leaders converged in Cape Town, Uganda's army said Rwandan troops had returned to Congo and were advancing toward Ugandan positions in Ituri province, where tribal conflict led to ethnic massacres last week. "They are heading toward Ituri and we have advised them against it," army spokesman Maj. Shaban Bantariza told Reuters in the Ugandan capital Kampala. Rwanda's army, which has threatened to send troops back into Congo unless Uganda withdraws, retorted that it had not yet done so. "They [Ugandans] want to incriminate us into the massacres being performed in Ituri. Uganda knows very well that we are not yet in Congo. This talk is meant to legitimize their stay in the DRC," Rwandan army spokesman Gill Rutamemara said in Kigali. Under an agreement with Congolese President Joseph Kabila, Uganda has promised to withdraw troops from Congo by April 24. Army officers have said they will keep to that date, even though hundreds more troops flew in after last week's killings. Saber-rattling by Rwanda and Uganda, whose leaders were both in Cape Town for the summit, has kindled fears of an open battle between their two armies on Congolese soil, as has happened before with devastating consequences for civilians. Kabila and Tanzania's Benjamin Mkapa were at the summit. Most foreign troops have left Congo and the internal warring factions signed up last week to an interim administration. But new bloodshed in the east threatens to derail peace efforts. "It is a situation which has to stop. The meeting will find ways to halt the war and restore territorial integrity," Mbeki's spokesman Bheki Khumalo said as the summit began. Allegations that an ethnic Lendu militia carried out the Ituri massacre have added to fears of yet another cycle of violence. "The massacre ... raises all the old demons of the past, where people kill each other with machetes on an ethnic basis," said one Western diplomat. "Clearly there are two objectives: to agree terms for a Ugandan withdrawal and to negotiate guarantees for the security of the civilian population of Ituri." Uganda says Rwandans heading toward Ituri base Bantariza, the Ugandan army spokesman, said Rwandan soldiers had marched past Kanyabayonga, about 40 km (24 miles) as the crow flies from the Rwandan border in Congo's Kivu province. The town is 140 km north of Goma. He said they were heading for Lubero, about 300 km (180 miles) south of Uganda's base at Bunia. U.N. spokeswoman Patricia Tome said the organization was not aware of any Rwandan troops near Ituri. Meanwhile, the Kinshasa-allied RCD-ML group said they were fighting troops from the rebel RCD-Goma, backed by Rwandan soldiers, near the town of Mbingi, south of Lubero, on Wednesday. "Rwandan troops are still attacking us. Fighting is still going on," said RCD-ML commander Jean Louis Kyaviro. A U.N. official said they had not received reports of fighting in the area since March 29, when the U.N. confirmed that RCD-Goma had captured two towns south of Lubero from the RCD-ML. Ituri has been the scene of some of the worst atrocities in Congo's civil war, which started in 1998 when Rwanda and Uganda backed an eastern rebellion against their former ally Laurent Kabila, Joseph's slain father, but the rebels they supported split into rival factions. Congo's war is estimated to have killed more than three million people and is intertwined with other conflicts in the region, including those in Burundi and Rwanda. Under a peace deal signed last July with the Kinshasa government, Rwanda agreed to withdraw its troops in return for the disarmament of Hutu militiamen involved in Rwanda's 1994 genocide who, according to Rwanda, are still roving around Congo. With a host of rebel groups acting as proxy forces, mineral-rich eastern Congo has become a minefield of shifting front lines, changing loyalties and systematic looting, jeopardizing efforts to install power-sharing institutions.

Reuters 9 Apr 2003 War and tribal violence ravage eastern Congo NAIROBI, April 9 (Reuters) - Ravaged by warring tribal militias and rebel factions, and beyond the reach of many aid agencies, eastern Congo is one of the worst sffected areas in a devastating and complex civil war. Fighting between the Lendu and Hema tribes in the Democratic Republic of Congo's Ituri province has killed thousands of people in recent years in a conflict over land and resources. Aside from ethnic tensions, political feuds among Congolese rebel leaders and their foreign backers -- Rwanda and Uganda -- have also fuelled the clashes in northeastern Congo. Amnesty International said in a 2002 report that fighting between members of the Hema and Lendu ethnic groups had killed an estimated 50,000 people, mainly civilians, since June 1999 and forced around 500,000 people to flee the province. Long running conflicts between the pastoralist Hema and Lendu farmers mirror the relationship between the minority Tutsis and majority Hutus in nearby Rwanda -- where 800,000 people, mainly Tutsis were killed in the 1994 genocide. It was partly to pursue the perpetrators of that genocide that Rwanda invaded Congo in 1998. The Lendu, who number some 700,000 in the area, live primarily from their crops. The wealthier 150,000 Hema rely on both cattle raising and cultivation. After Congo's civil war began in 1998, guns poured into the region from Rwanda and Uganda and made their way into the hands of tribal militias previously armed with machetes and spears. Much of Ituri is controlled by troops from Uganda, the last foreign state to have soldiers openly in Congo, although it has pledged to withdraw by April 24. Uganda is traditionally close to the Hema, but its troops have clashed with the Rwandan-backed Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC), which has accused Uganda of siding with the Lendu and using their militia to contain the Hema. Rwanda says it has already withdrawn its tens of thousands of troops from eastern Congo, but has threatened to send them back if Uganda does not keep to its pledge to pull out its forces. Bunia, the biggest town in Ituri and strategically located near the Ugandan border, lies at the epicentre of the conflicts and is a gateway for exploration of timber and gold. Following are key events in the conflict: 1998 - Rwanda and Uganda invade Congo to back rebels fighting to oust Congolese President Laurent Kabila, just over a year after the two neighbouring countries propelled him to power. 2000 January - Aid groups say thousands have died from fighting between Hema and Lendu around the town of Bunia since mid-1999. Uganda deploys more troops to cool ethnic tensions. May - Fighting between Rwandan and Ugandan forces destroys much of largest eastern Congo city Kisangani, which Rwandans capture. 2001 January - Amnesty International says it fears more violence after 200 people die in fighting between Hema and Lendu near Bunia. It blames the Ugandan army for not stopping the killings. 2002 June - Congo's Hema tribe release report of what they said were attacks on 73 villages in the Ituri region in which 1,468 Hema had been killed in the two months since the end of May. There was no independent confirmation of the figures. October - Amnesty International urges United Nations to prevent "genocide" in northeastern Congo. 2003 January - Over 100,000 people flee as rival rebel groups battle for control of mineral-rich region near town of Beni. March 2 - Congolese rebels say 467 civilians are killed by pro-government soldiers, tribal militia and Ugandan army troops south of Bunia. Uganda denies involvement. March 6 - Ugandan troops drive the Rwandan-allied Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC) from Bunia after fierce fighting. Rwanda warns it will send troops back to Congo if Uganda does not withdraw its remaining forces. March 19 - Hema and Lendu militias sign ceasefire deal, paving the way for peace talks. March 20 - Ugandan army says it captured two towns in eastern Congo -- fueling fears of renewed conflict with Rwanda. The United Nations says Ugandan and Congolese governments agree to delay Ugandan troop withdrawal to April 24, citing security concerns in the region. April 5 - Ituri Pacification Commission begins peace talks. April 6 - The United Nations receives reports of hundreds of Hema massacred by Lendu tribal militias armed with machetes and guns on April 3 and buried in mass graves around Drodro. April 9 - Region's leaders hold summit in Cape Town where Uganda confirms plan to withdraw from Congo by April 24 and that "Third Party Verification Mission" should investigate Ugandan claims that Rwandan troops have returned to Congo.

NYT 9 Apr 2003 With All the Little Wars, Big Peace Is Elusive By MARC LACEY NAIROBI, Kenya, April 8 — Amid celebratory handshakes last week, representatives of the Congolese government and some of the rebel groups and militias that have been fighting for their own slice of power signed an accord aimed at ending a war that has claimed millions of lives, most of them through hunger and disease. A day later, in a place called Drodro and in 14 surrounding villages, all in the northeast of the country, about 1,000 people were killed in a matter of hours, according to United Nations military observers in Congo. It is a cruel pattern, one that seems to be repeated endlessly in Africa. A peace deal, often reached after months of arduous negotiations, is followed almost immediately by violence that makes a mockery of the pact. As a Kinshasa newspaper said about the latest accord, "The Congolese people have had no faith in these ceremonies, whose impact will be forgotten as soon as the doors close." Why is it that the deals never seem to stick? Why do they seem to fall apart as soon as they are announced? No two countries are alike, but Congo provides as good an example as any to explain how war and peace can seem so easily to coexist. The latest war began in 1997, after the dictator Mobutu Seke Seso was ousted. Outside armies from Congo's many neighbors rushed to fill the country's power vacuum. The warring parties fought as well over the country's abundant deposits of gold, precious stones and valuable minerals. Most lethal of all: the invading armies stoked existing tribal conflicts by arming villagers with guns. In a country of more than 50 million people speaking 700 different languages and divided into 250 ethnic groups, many of them warring, this can be a problem. Today, no negotiating table is large enough to fit all the belligerent parties. Analysts distinguish between the big war, the main conflict between the Congolese government and the rebel armies trying to topple it, and the many smaller wars being waged deep inside Congo's jungles. The peace deals that are signed with some regularity deal with the big war. Smaller wars can be just as deadly. The national peace deal appears to be progressing. The many foreign armies that had crossed into Congo, compounding the country's woes, have pulled out the bulk of their forces. Rebel factions have agreed in principle to trade their guns for a chance at governance. On Monday, the president of the fractious country, Joseph Kabila, took an oath of office, the first step toward the formation of a transitional government that is aimed at balancing many of the rival power bases in the country. He will soon have four vice presidents representing various competing factions. Yet, the killing goes on. "The national level and the local level are two different things in Congo," said Fabienne Hara, co-director of the Africa program at the International Crisis Group, a think tank based in Brussels. "Signing a national peace deal is not enough for peace to happen on the ground. That's more difficult." The International Rescue Committee released a mortality study today that captures the country's terror. It calls the Congo conflict the deadliest war since World War II, with about 3.3 million victims. Most of those people have died from preventable diseases. Others have been shot or beaten or hacked to death, most of them in small wars. The Ituri region, where the latest round of killing occurred, is the fiercest part of Congo. There is one foreign army in place, the Ugandans, although their bitter rivals, the Rwandans, are inching back into the country farther south. There are militia groups trying to gain control of land and Congo's mineral wealth. There are ethnic tensions as well — the conflict between the Hema and the Lendu, the communities involved in the massacre, has been going on for over a century. Given the overwhelming number of tribes and ethnic groups, there can never be enough positions in any government to keep everyone happy. "Right now, there are many kings in Congo with their own little jungle kingdoms," said an aid worker who lives in the east of the country. Many of the royals have an interest in the conflict continuing and they regularly stoke the tensions that exist. A huge outside military presence in Congo is one suggestion offered to end the chaos in the country. But the 6,000 or so international military observers already in the country know the number of troops it would take to contain such a vast country — about the size of the United States east of the Mississippi — is impossibly high. The ultimate answer is not one peace process but a separate peace for each little war. Grandiose agreements among those with the largest armies can contain much of the shooting. But true peace will only come when each and every conflict across the land is addressed. Such a local pacification process was set to begin in Ituri last week. The Ituri Pacification Committee was created to calm local animosity. But the massacre happened before the committee could convene a single reconciliation meeting. Now, Congo's death toll is even higher than before and its inter-ethnic tension is even more intense. Yet the committee's work, analysts agree, is even more urgent now than before.

Irin 8 Apr 2003 Protect civilians in Ituri, Human Rights Watch urges Uganda NAIROBI, 8 Apr 2003 (IRIN) - Following reports of a massacre of about 1,000 civilians on Thursday in Ituri district, north-eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the New York-based NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW) has urged Ugandan forces to prevent further civilian deaths in the region. In an open letter to Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, HRW said on Monday that the killing of civilians in Drodro and Blukwa in Ituri "is the latest in a surge of killings and other serious human rights abuses that have taken place in the area". "This massacre follows a horrific pattern we've seen in Ituri in recent months, where military operations often turn into the slaughter of civilians," said Alison Des Forges, senior advisor for HRW Africa division. HRW said that reports from the field suggested that Lendu militias, "who may have been supported by Ugandan soldiers, attacked remnants of the recently ousted Union des patriots congolais (UPC) Hema forces". HRW said the Ugandan forces had a responsibility to prevent such killings by their own troops and their allies. However, the commander of the Ugandan forces controlling Ituri, Brig Kale Kayihura, told IRIN on Sunday that Ugandan troops were not in Drodo when the massacre occurred. He said they heard about the massacre on Thursday and got to Drodro on Saturday, when they were able to secure the area. Kayihura estimated that between 300 to 400 had been killed in the attacks. He said the Lendu fighters attacking Drodro, Mbulukwa and Largo had used "mostly cutlasses, bows and arrows." The Hema villagers had not put up a fight, he said. News reports on Monday said the governments of France, the United States and the United Kingdom condemned the Drodro massacre. In a press release issued from New York on Monday, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan demanded that basic human rights of civilians be respected in Ituri. "The reported massacres underscore the need for the local leaders to participate fully in the Ituri Pacification Commission, which has been established to find peaceful solutions in this troubled region," Annan said. Fighting between the Lendu and Hema communities dates back years, but has intensified in the last four years. The Ituri Pacification Commission (IPC), involving representatives of armed groups and local communities in the district, opened in Bunia, the principal town in Ituri district, on 4 April.

IRIN 9 Apr 2003 MONUC delivers household kits to massacre survivors DRODRO, The humanitarian arm of MONUC, the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), on Tuesday delivered 100 kits of household items to survivors of Thursday's massacre in Drodro, a town of 8,000 inhabitants in Ituri district, northeastern DRC. The kits, each comprising two blankets, a saucepan, a jerry can, two plates, two drinking cups, two bars of soap and cutlery, were flown in by helicopter. "This distribution was for the affected population in the latest attack," Alieu Khan, MONUC humanitarian affairs officer, told IRIN. The Catholic charity Caritas will distribute the kits with the help of the church in Drodro and local leaders. The kits were donated by the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the Italian NGO Coopi. Congolese minister of human rights, Ntumba Lwaba, who comes from Ituri, and the minister for the peace process, Vital Kamerhe, were in Drodro to watch the delivery. Lwaba told around 150 local people that their presence was to show them that the government of President Joseph Kabila had not forgotten them. "Well be here till the end," he said. A visit to the hospital where survivors of the massacre were taken revealed 79 people receiving treatment. The majority of them were women, many of whom sustained cutlass wounds. Two had their arms cut off above the elbow. One survivor, Charles Wa Molindo, told IRIN he had also been a victim of an earlier attack in 2002. The hospital wards were basic, and dirty. There was no food for the wounded and other patients because farmers were too afraid to work their fields. "People are traumatised," Sister Alfosine, the hospital administrator, told IRIN. She said the hospital urgently needed antibiotics and anti-malarial drugs. After the 3 April massacre, when members of the Hema community in Drodro and surrounding localities were attacked by Lendus, local chiefs gave the names of 996 people they said had been killed. The Uganda People's Defence Forces (UPDF), now patrolling the area, estimated the number of dead at between 300 and 400. Many were already buried in mass graves when the Ugandan troops arrived in Drodro two days after the massacre.

Reuters 9 Apr 2003 Pope calls on Congolese leaders to stop massacres VATICAN CITY, April 9 (Reuters) - Pope John Paul appealed to Congolese leaders on Wednesday to bring an end to "massacres and summary executions" in the African country where nearly 1,000 civilians were reported killed by rival tribesmen last week. "I make a grief-stricken appeal to the responsible politicians...to commit themselves to stop the violence and abuses of power, putting aside personal interests and those of groups, with the cooperation of the international community," the 82-year-old Roman Catholic leader told pilgrims gathered in St Peter's Square. Witnesses told U.N. investigators 966 civilians were shot and hacked to death on Thursday in the Ituri province in what may have been the worst atrocity in the Democratic Republic of Congo's 4-1/2 year war. It occurred a day after a final peace deal was signed by leading parties involved in the many-sided conflict, which at one point involved six foreign armies. "In recent days, we have had news of massacres and summary executions," the pontiff said. "For this reason, every effort at reconciliation among the Congolese, Ugandan and Rwandan populations must be encouraged...in the hopes that they could bring about dearly wished for peace," he added. Ituri province has been the scene of some of the worst atrocities in Congo's war, which began in 1998 when Uganda and Rwanda backed an uprising to overthrow the Kinshasa government. About half of Congo's people are Catholics.

AFP 9 Apr 2003 Toll in clashes between DRCongo rebels, militia rises to 12 KIGALI, April 9 (AFP) - Twelve people were killed in fighting at the weekend between rebels and a local militia in Bukavu, in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, a rebel spokesman told AFP on Tuesday. The rebel Congolese Rally for Democracy (RCD) had previously said three of its soldiers and the wife of one of its officers had been killed on Sunday in fighting with the Mudundu 40 militia. "We now know three of our soldiers died, seven of the assailaints and two civilians, including the wife of the officer. There were dozens of injured," RDC spokesman Jean-Pierre Lola-Kisanga said. Bukavu, the main town in Sud-Kivu province near the border with Rwanda, is controlled by the Rwandan-backed RCD. On Monday a human rights group in the Democratic Republic of Congo blamed Rwanda for engineering the fighting in Bukavu, accusing it of wanting to keep troops in the eastern DRC. Kigali deployed troops in its vast central African neighbour in 1998, to back the RCD against the government of then president Laurent Kabila. Under the terms of a peace accord signed between Rwandan President Paul Kagame and current DRC President Joseph Kabila in July last year, Rwanda withdrew its troops last October. The fighting in Bukavu occurred just four days after the government, rebel groups, militias, civil society groups and the political opposition signed a peace plan in South Africa to end more than four years of war. At its height the war, which began in 1998, drew in seven African countries. The conflict has claimed some 2.5 million lives, either directly in fighting or through famine and disease, according to United Nations estimates. The signature of the "final act" in the peace process on Wednesday was followed a day later by the massacre of around 1,000 people in the northeastern region of Ituri. The RCD rebels have said the Ituri massacre was ethnic cleansing encouraged by the government in Kinshasa and the Ugandan army, which backed a rival rebel group during the war and has kept troops in Ituri at the request of the UN mission in DRC, to try to prevent recurrent ethnic clashes. Those clashes have mainly pitted the Hema tribe against their arch-rivals and long-time enemies, the Lendu.

AFP 9 Apr 2003 DR Congo massacre: Uganda sends more troops, urges UN to act KAMPALA, April 8 (AFP) - Uganda said Tuesday it had deployed some of the thousands of its troops based in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to northeastern area where 1,000 people were massacred last week but said the UN should do more to keep the peace there. "We have deployed some more troops in the area of the massacre and the situation has calmed down," said Major Shaban Bantariza, spokesman for the Ugandan army, which has several thousand troops in northeast DRC. On Thursday, about 1,000 members of the Hema ethnic group were killed, reportedly by fighters of the rival Lendu tribe, during a three-hour attack on some 15 villages in the Ituri region. Bantariza went to call for the UN monitoring force in the DRC, MONUC, to beef up its presence in Ituri. The United Nations "should increase its numbers to be able to carry out such investigations, instead of calling on Uganda to investigate. They should do their job," Bantariza said. The spokesman said the main role of Ugandan forces in Ituri was to search for members of a Ugandan rebel group, the People's Redemption Army. On Monday, the United States condemned the massacre and called on Uganda to exercise its responsibility to protect civilians in Ituri. Bantariza responded by saying, "we don't have enough forces to enforce law and order in every village and every forest in Ituri." He pledged, however, that Ugandan forces would give full support to the Ituri Pacification Commission, which was borne out of a September accord reached by the Kinshasa government and Uganda to try to restore peace to Ituri.

Reuters 9 Apr 2003 UN revises Congo massacre toll amid talk of trial (Recasts with details, background) By David Mageria NAIROBI, April 9 (Reuters) - A United Nations official said investigators believed up to 350 people were massacred by tribal militias in Congo last week, far fewer than the nearly 1,000 deaths initially reported by local witnesses. "As far as our team has been able to verify, they have been able to determine 150 to 350 dead," Behrooz Sadry, a senior official with the U.N. mission in Congo (MONUC), told Africa Journal, a Reuters Television programme. Interviewed late on Tuesday, Sadry said U.N. teams were still investigating reports from local witnesses that the true death toll was 966 civilians. The Congolese government said the perpetrators should be put on trial, echoing a call by the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights. Tribal militia armed with machetes and guns raided Drodro and 14 neighbouring villages in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo on April 3, according to U.N. officials. Most of those shot or hacked to death were women, children or old men. Dozens of survivors were left with deep wounds, but most of the younger men in the villages managed to flee the attacks. U.N. investigators said they saw some 20 mass graves after the raids near Ituri province's capital Bunia, about 80 km (50 miles) from the border with Uganda. "We haven't been able to count the bodies and we have not been able to dig up the mass graves," MONUC spokesman Hamadoun Toure told reporters in Kinshasa on Wednesday. "A massacre is still a massacre," he said when asked about the revised death toll. The Ugandan army has put the number of dead at between 350 and 400. The figures could not be independently confirmed. TALK OF WAR CRIMES TRIAL Ituri has been the scene of some of the worst atrocities in Congo's civil war, which began in 1998 when Uganda and Rwanda backed an uprising to overthrow the Kinshasa government. Human rights groups say thousands of people have been killed in northeastern Congo since 1999 in ethnic fighting between tribes allied to the armies of Rwanda and Uganda. Drodro's population is made up mainly of Hema, who have been pitted against the Lendu in a conflict that has drawn in factions from the wider war. Survivors said last week's attackers spoke Lendu and were backed by soldiers in uniform. Rights groups have accused Ugandan troops of fuelling ethnic tensions in the area but Uganda's army has denied any involvement in the attack. The Congolese government has left the investigation to the United Nations. "We want MONUC to investigate this and if they find out that people committed genocide, they should be charged for genocide," Congo's Minister for Peace Vital Kamerhe told Reuters. The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Sergio Vieira de Mello said those responsible could go before the new International Criminal Court, set up in March to tackle cases of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. "The perpetrators of these atrocious abuses will be placed under the spotlight and will have to answer for their actions," he said on Tuesday. Pope John Paul appealed on Wednesday for an end to "massacres and summary executions" and called for "every effort at reconciliation among the Congolese, Rwandan and Ugandan populations". The presidents of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda are attending talks in South Africa aimed at averting a further flare-up of hostilities in the east of the mineral-rich Congo. Kamerhe said renewed fighting would threaten efforts to set up a new transitional government in Kinshasa, agreed under a peace deal signed last week to pave the way for the former Belgian colony's first democratic elections in four decades. "What we are saying is that if they have problems they should fight at their border and not in Congo," he said.

IRIN 9 Apr 2003 UN warns Ituri massacre perpetrators may face international court NAIROBI, 9 Apr 2003 (IRIN) - The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Sergio Vieira de Mello, warned on Tuesday that those behind last week's massacre in the Ituri district of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) could be charged before the International Criminal Court (ICC). "The perpetrators of these atrocities will be put under the spotlight and will have to answer for their actions," de Mello said in a statement. The ICC in The Hague is the first permanent international tribunal established to try cases of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. De Mello said he was "seriously alarmed" by the report of the UN mission in DRC, known as MONUC, on the "savage" killings that took place in the town of Drodro, northeastern DRC. He called on all parties to the conflict in Ituri to identify those responsible for these "criminal and odious" acts and bring them to justice. The UN Security Council on Tuesday requested the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to initiate an investigation into the massacre in Ituri district and report to the Council as soon as possible. Members of the Council condemned the killings and called for the perpetrators to be identified and brought to justice. News agencies reported on Wednesday that Pope John Paul made a "grief-stricken appeal" to Congolese leaders to stop massacres in the DRC. In a separate development, Antoine Mindua Kesia-Mbe, representing the government of the DRC, told the UN Commission on Human Rights in Geneva on Tuesday that human rights abuses were "widespread" in rebel-occupied areas of the DRC. He called on the Commission and the UN Security Council to pay greater attention to human rights violations in occupied territory, and called for an international criminal court to punish perpetrators of crimes in the eastern part of the country.

New Vision (Kampala) April 17, 2003 A Whole New Genocide is Well Underway in Congo Felix Osike in Drodro the DRC Kampala We used to stay well, but I don't know what happened. The Lendu started this war. Our houses have been burnt and we have nowhere to go," says Dunji Ijamarie, 43, a Hema peasant. Ijamarie and 2000 others taking refuge in a Catholic church compound in Drodro, 80km north of Bunia, are among the survivors of a systematic massacre in north eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Ituri is a home to several ethnic groups, the main ones being the Lendu, Hema, the Bira, Alur, and Nande. The civil war in the Ituri pitting the Lendu cultivators against the mainly affluent and economically powerful Hema has plunged the area into chaos. On April 3, death visited Drodro village. Survivors say the killings were signaled by a warning shot, followed by a whistle. Lendu militias thereafter wrecked havoc on the whole village. From 5:00am till 8:00 am the assailants who included children and women burnt and razed buildings to the ground. Three hours later over 500 lay dead. As we drove to the scene of mayhem bands of Lendu militia carrying guns dived into the bush upon seeing the UPDF convoy. Some Congolese in this region have turned to God for solace. We found open air choirs along the roads. Finally, at Drodro Catholic church premises, every evening, people arrive carrying papyrus mats and torn blankets, coming to spend the night. Bonfires and bundles of firewood litter the entire compound. Inside one crammed room, children lay on papyrus mats without blankets or bed-sheets for protection against the cold night. There is a foul smell emanating from the large room. "We have been here four years," says Ijamarie adding that because of the Lendu attacks they go to tend their gardens in the morning and come back to the safety of the church at night. But even the church is not always safe. Besides offering insufficient accommodation, there is little food and no clean water available. Ibeda Borire 50 cannot hold back her tears. A mother of three children, she last saw her husband four years ago. Francis Chechu, 66, has nothing to offer his six children starring at him. The children in the camp look frail and are dying of hunger, dehydration and illness. Drodro Missionary Hospital is a horrific sight. The wailing of patients and relatives fills the air. Nemanzale, a breastfeeding mother, has multiple head wounds. Her hand was chopped off as she protected her head from the attackers. One of her daughters did not survive the machetes. She cries out in pain as she narrates her ordeal. The Lendu took all her belongings except the blood stained dress she was wearing: "This is all I am left with," she says. A bespectacled Loi Sharile, 63, has an amputated arm. He is a bitter man. Besides, he has a fresh bullet wound on his back and he can't walk. Sharile tries to narrate the origin of the conflict. He says that after independence, the Hema claimed the huge chunks of land left by the Belgians, but which originally belonged to the Lendu. The Hema elite had great access to education and wealth. "In June 1999, full scale fighting broke out. The Lendu killed our people, stole cows, burnt houses and raped our women," he says. Sharile says, besides the land issue, the Lendu are fighting for political power, which has been a preserve of the Hema. Amnesty International says between 1999 and 2000, Hema militias, often backed by the UPDF, gained the upper hand. The Lendu were driven from their traditional areas, particularly along the lucrative roads leading to the Uganda border. Banyanise Emeraso suffered machete wounds all over her body. Her two children were killed. She says the attacks have provoked fear among the population. Marie Ngaventale is in hospital with her two injured children. She fears to go back to the village. She lost one daughter, but does not know in which mass grave she was buried. Drodro Hospital medical assistant John Membe says they have tried their best to save peoples lives, albeit drug shortages. Two days before we went there, a UN transport helicopter flew 200kg of medicines and plastic sheeting to help survivors. Drodro Parish priest Father Desire Abbi Ngomolo says the problem was exacerbated by political ascendancy in the region caused by the actions of some UPDF commanders. He says when Adele Lotsove, a Hema was, appointed as governor of Ituri Province there was apprehension: "The Lendu were not happy with this and the burning of the houses and looting of Hema property continued and the war spilled to all areas in Ituri." "This shows you that it is not only a land problem. If it was a land problem it would not have spread to other areas in Ituri," says Ngomolo, adding that the war has gone beyond civilian hands. "It is now political and the issue of controlling of resources has also been a factor to the conflict," he says. The mass graves tell it all. Church statistics indicate 1,011 people killed between March 15 and April 3. In one grave 22 people are buried. Tattered children's clothing was strewn all over the place. There were also traces of blood. Near another grave lies a jaw of an adult. At another, only a toe is visible. In all there were 20 mass graves and many other individual graves scattered all over 14 villages. Survivors said they were attacked from five different directions, making it difficult to escape. Some of those killed had their throats slit, others were shot or hacked to death. Some children and women also accompanied the group with a primary duty to carry the loot. Smoke was still billowing from the burnt houses. The overseer of the UPDF operation in Ituri province, Brig. Kale Kaihura, says there are all indicators of a possible genocide if the UPDF leaves the area without an effective peace keeping force and administration. The savage killings in Drodro are a reminder to the international community to stop the genocide before it reaches alarming levels. According to Amnesty International (AI), at least 50,000 people have died and more than 500,000 are displaced as a result of the conflict since 1999. AI also says the governments of Rwanda, Uganda and DRC have been partly responsible for arms transfer and offered training to the different political groups in the region. Uganda has tried to play the mediator role, but has found itself trapped in the conflict because of switching support to different groups. All the armed political groups fighting in Ituri have enjoyed Uganda's political patronage. They include the Congolese Rally for Democracy (RCD-ML) led by Mbusa Nyamwisi, Movement for Liberation of Congo under Jean Pierre Bemba, RCD-National led by Roger Lumbala, the UPC and Front for the Integration of Ituri of Gegere chief Kawa Mandro Panga. Although UPDF was widely seen as defending the interests of the Hema, they have also defended Lendu villages. Military analysts say it is expensive and risky for the UPDF to remain in Congo if it is not recognised by the UN Security Council as a peace-keeping force. There are some suggestions that Angolan troops should replace the UPDF. But the UN says no neighbouring country to Congo can claim neutrality. MONUC, even at the proposed staffing level of 8,700 personnel, lacks the capacity to contain the situation in the vast territory. A security vacuum in the area will only aggravate the situation. And a plan by the Kinshasa government to deploy their forces in Ituri is not the solution. Some of the militia may have to be integrated into the national army so that they can police the area. Sergio Vierra de Mello, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, says the perpetrators of these atrocities will answer for their crimes in the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands. Grief stricken Bena Baunoba, 67, sums it up: "This is not Lendu land. It is for the Hema. They want to finish us, nothing else."

New Vision (Kampala) April 23, 2003 A Genocide Could Erupt After UPDF Quits DRC Bunia Uganda's presence in Ituri has drawn considerable criticism. Some of that criticism has been directed at its alleged past role in playing off the Hema and Lendu communities in Ituri against each other to justify its presence in the mineral-rich district. Some Ugandan military officers who have served in Ituri have also been blamed for exploiting the natural resources of the district. The result has been international pressure for the Uganda People's Defence Forces (UPDF) to begin leaving the DRC, a departure now set for tomorrow. Yet observers of the political scene in Ituri worry that if a Ugandan pullout leaves a security vacuum a disaster could follow swiftly. "If there is the slightest security vacuum, there will be genocide here," one analyst in Bunia told IRIN. Expectations are that Thomas Lubanga's Congolese rebel group, the Union des Patriotes Congolais (UPC), ousted from Bunia by the UPDF on March 6, would try to make a comeback and fighting between Lendu and Hema would erupt anew. Uganda has repeatedly called for a neutral international force in Ituri to fill any vacuum when its forces leave. Also, it has suggested that the Congolese government organise a security structure for the district. The commander of Ugandan forces in Ituri, Brig Kale Kaihura, drove this message home at the opening of the Ituri Pacification Commission (IPC) meeting on April 4. "We are anxious to withdraw back to our country. Indeed, we are even ready to withdraw before tomorrow," he told delegates. An 18-member body of the IPC is assessing the security context of Ituri and will submit recommendations to a district assembly that is to be set up to govern Ituri. So, despite the calls for an international force for Ituri, the IPC for the moment has responsibility for security in the district after the withdrawal of the Ugandans. Another analyst, who has a military background, told IRIN that it was dangerous to ask UPDF to leave Ituri without providing an alternate security formula for the district. "Peace needs to be created with a military presence with at least three mobile infantry brigades and one airmobile battalion for quick reaction ," the analyst told IRIN. In addition, an international Police Force of between 400 and 600, as well as 200 advisers were needed, the analyst said. The immediate installation of an international criminal court and the clearly declared presence of the DRC government in Ituri were a must to bring legitimacy to these actions the analyst added. Failing that, another long-time analyst of Ituri said, the international community could pay for Uganda to carry out peace operations on condition its force cooperates with UN military observers and that the operation is conducted under the command of the present Ugandan force commander, [Brig. Kale] Kaihura who has been credited with bringing relative stability to Ituri. He said a neutral force would need at least two mobile infantry brigades with land and air transport. (One brigade consists of about three battalions or 2,400 men). "The incoming force would also need an air monitoring capability to cover Ituri," Kaihura said. On UPDF's entry into Ituri, Uganda has denied its presence in Ituri is for material gain. Kaihura told IRIN there were several issues related to Uganda's presence in Ituri: for example the need to secure the IPC process, which was concluded on April 13; the need to eliminate the presence of the Ugandan dissident group, the People's Redemption Army (PRA) in Kwandruma, about 80km northeast of Bunia; the need to halt the shelling of Uganda from Ituri; and the need to stop armed cattle rustlers from crossing from Ituri into Uganda. Kaihura said these PRA dissidents, led by former UPDF Col. Edison Muzoora, lieutenant colonels Samson Mande and Anthony Kyakabale were linked to Ugandan politician and a former army colonel, Kiiza Besigye. Kaihura said the bulk of the PRA's arms had come through the Congolese rebel UPC group to the Aburo Hills in eastern Ituri, south of Kwandruma. "This group [the PRA] is allied with Thomas Lubanga's UPC and the Lendu of Kpawdroma," he said. "The PRA wants to go to West Nile and link up with the Joseph Kony's Lords Resistance Army," Kaihura said. However, Kaihura said the UPDF had been deployed along the axis to Uganda's West Nile Province, near the northwest tip of Uganda and the border with the Congo, to block the move. Ugandan jet bombers destroyed the PRA camp and airstrip at Kwandruma, Kaihura said. Scared by this action, he added, the Lendu in the area turned in 22 PRA, loyal to Muzoora, but he escaped to the Blue Mountains, east of Fataki. Kaihura said this group "was neutralised" on March 16, forcing the PRA to scatter. Four of the PRA surrendered to UDPF in Bunia, he said. Besigye, a former Ugandan presidential candidate, has denied any link with the PRA. A privately owned Kampala daily, The Monitor, reported him as saying on April 12 that the PRA was "a concoction" of the Ugandan intelligence services "competing for a cut in the hefty budget of the intelligence industry." Disposition of the Congolese UPC, Kaihura said the remaining UPC elements and the PRA were allies. He said they were concentrated and were reorganising around Drodro, Largo, and Mblukwa. Some of Lubanga's remnant 'army" and those of the PRA, he said, were moving towards Lake Albert along a north-south line running from Largo to Kasenyi, a lakeside town southeast of Bunia. "Ugandan troops have now confined themselves along the lakeshore between Lidyo and Kwandruma," Kaihura said. The UPC retreat followed their expulsion from Bunia. Observers and residents of Bunia say that before Ugandan troops moved into Bunia under Kaihura, Lubanga had introduced a harsh regime spreading fear among people in Bunia. Movement of people was curtailed to the point where access to different parts of the district was close to impossible. Ugandan forces moved into central Bunia after the UPC shelled the UPDF's tactical headquarters at the airport and planted four mines across the airport road. The attack had been expected since March 1 after the UPC former chief of intelligence, Ali Ngabo, and other local informants passed intelligence to the UPDF. On improved security, whatever the reasons for Uganda's entry into the DRC, observers in Ituri told IRIN that since UPDF troops forced the UPC out of Bunia, security has improved considerably in Ituri. Under this political climate, roads have reopened, Bunia's residents are able to walk the streets without fear, and food has started appearing in the town's tiny market. The Ugandan army says it has reopened the Bunia-Kasenyi road and has enabled fish catches to reach Bunia's market. The Bunia-Komanda and Bunia-Djungu roads are also open. "Following the defeat of the UPC at the hands of the UPDF on March 6 and its retreat from Bunia entire communities of the Ituri District may now become accessible," OCHA reported in its draft Open Ituri Humanitarian Action Plan document. Loolomg at the Lendu, Hema rivalry it is noted by analysts that a security vacuum would probably lead to the resurgence of the worst forms of rivalry. The underlying and complex web of ethnic rivalries in Ituri that date back centuries and appears to be at the cor of Ituri's current problems. In Djugu territory, in the centre of Ituri District, the Lendu (a Sudanic ethnic group) are pitted against the northern Hema, also known as the Gerere, who are a pastoral people. In the southern Ituri area of Gety, the southern Hema are pitted up against the Ngiti, also a Sudanic group. The north and south Hema are allied against the Lendu and Ngiti who speak different languages. Age-old land feuds between Lendu and Hema grew in intensity with the breakdown of government control in Ituri and with the power play of foreign and local political heavyweights. "There was no protection so little by little communities started to protect themselves," Ruhigwa Baguma, a Hema chief and delegate to the IPC, told IRIN. Baguma, who is a professor of agronomy, said gold, timber, Coltan and fish are the new spoils for which the rivals were fighting. Other analysts said that because of their cattle wealth, the Hema were traditionally stronger than Lendu, who worked the land. When state control broke down in the district, the Lendu attempted to break their underling status. Where previously they used bows and arrows to settle scores, the proliferation of arms increased the intensity and volume of violence. "The anger with which these killings have been carried out is indescribable," Kaihura said. In August 2002, the Hema-Gerere communities (that dominated the UPC, took over the administration and the UPC assumed its repressive rule of other communities. Soon various ethnic militias formed self-defence units and political parties set up paramilitary forces "operating uncontrolled throughout Ituri". German Agro Action, which fights hunger worldwide, estimates that 80,000 IDP families (some 224,000 individuals) were immediately victims of the on going inter-ethnic fighting before, during and after the UPC took over Ituri. Analysts said constantly shifting alliances and the initial UPDF support to one particular community created an anarchic environment that never allowed Iturians to recover from a period of continuous persecution which began in 1997. However, that changed with the UN report on the exploitation of DRC's resources and the UPC alliance with the Rwandan-backed RCD-Goma. With this knowledge, Uganda finally dropped its support for the UPC. "President Yoweri Museveni found out that if he supported UPC against other communities, Uganda would be forced to leave Ituri (leaving him unable to defeat Ugandan dissidents)," an analyst told IRIN. "Uganda could only control Ituri with the cooperation of at least one of the major groups." Till recently vulnerable communities in Ituri had been living under a climate of lawlessness and disorder. "Sometimes clothing is very difficult to acquire," a humanitarian worker told IRIN. In 2002, access was very restricted when the UPC denied aid agencies permission to go beyond Bunia's immediate surroundings, a representative of a humanitarian agency told IRIN. But, aid agencies said, UPDF had been cooperative. For example, the UPDF has been guarding WFP warehouses since March 6 and humanitarian actors are no longer targeted. Despite these improvements, the continued presence of pockets of armed groups, the very poor road network, hostile communities and the presence or suspected location of landmines still prevent full-scale humanitarian action district wide. The presence of mines in Ituri, planted by the UPC and earlier by the Armee populaire du Congo of Mbusa Nyamwise, has caused humanitarian agencies to limit the reach of their operational areas. "Our concern today is these mines. There are areas suspected and areas of known land mines," a humanitarian worker told IRIN. UN Mine Action (known as UNMAS) and Handicap International are trying to locate and clear these areas of mines. For humanitarian actors to work effectively, there must be access to the vulnerable after the departure of the UPDF. Therefore the international community must follow through on the UPDF's efforts to pacify Ituri, observers say. Some humanitarian organisations are ready to spring into full action once security improves. The UN World Food Programme (WFP) is unable to reach large areas such as Gety, in the south of Ituri and armed elements still exist. However, the agency is shipping food deliveries from Kasenyi to Bunia, although quantities are limited to 150 metric tonnes of relief food each week due to a lack of trucks, Robert Deckker, the WFP head of sub-office for North Kivu and Ituri, told IRIN. Water and sanitation remain one of Ituri's greatest needs and the British charity, Oxfam, is the only NGO involved in this line of work in Ituri. Its first objective is to work with IDPs and returnees. Six months ago Hema prevented Oxfam from helping the Lendu but since March 6 Oxfam has found it easier to enter all areas of Ituri. But needs remain significant, Oxfam's Flory Balaga told IRIN in Bunia. He said that 200,000 people needed aid in the town. "It would be suicidal if Oxfam left Ituri," Balaga said. As far as the health situation is concerned, Ituri lacks all functional health and medical facilities. It only has seven practising doctors in the area, a doctor with the humanitarian NGO Medair told IRIN. Again, health workers say their greatest need is security so they can access certain localities and help with the rehabilitation of medical facilities. Medair has still not reached the western district town of Mambasa from Bunia because of perceived insecurity. So Medair is serving Mambasa from its North Kivu base of Beni. Since March 6, Kanyamanda said, the situation had improved with people moving freely. However, pockets of danger remained such as the Ngiti towns of Gety and Songola, and the Lolwa-Mambasa road. Kanyamanda said if Ituri's medical facilities were to provide a minimum service at pre-war levels, it would need at least 15 doctors who are paid regular salaries. Those who have stayed throughout the war out of dedication to their jobs, get monthly stipends of between US $70 and $100 from Mediar. Children have also suffered grossly in the four-year war in Ituri and have been prime candidates for recruitment into the various armies. Kassi Conda Ntare of Save the Children UK in Bunia said some children had joined fighting forces out of the need to protect their parents. In other cases parents have compelled their child to join the militias because they have been unable to give cows, money or other material goods. "In the African context, to have a weapon is a sign of virility," Ntare said. By February, the UPC had 6,000 children aged between eight and 17 years in its ranks. Lenti Ngiti leaders told SAVE UK they had about 5,000 child soldiers in their ranks. All child soldiers are also used as bodyguards, spies, cooks, guards and munitions porters. SAVE UK is sensitising communities to disallow recruitment of the children. Girls (10%) have been recruited to serve as concubines of "officers" while boys serve as cools, spies and munitions porters. "These horrors have affected these children," he said.

NYT 20 Apr 2003 Chaos in Congo Suits Many Parties Just Fine Adam Hochschild, The New York Times, 4/20/03 As in the Sherlock Holmes story about the dog that didn't bark in the night, sometimes silence says more than words. About one of the great tragedies of today's world, the silence is telling indeed. In Congo, according to an International Rescue Committee report released earlier this month, at least 3.3 million people have lost their lives in four and a half years of civil war. They have perished in combat, in massacres of civilians (the most recent occurred on April 3) and, most of all, in the disease and famine that strike when millions of desperately poor people are forced to flee their homes. This number does not include the estimated 2.8 million Congolese who have H.I.V. or AIDS, some of it spread through mass rapes by marauding bands of soldiers. Nor does it encompass the misery of having to live for years in refugee camps that turn into fields of mud during the rainy season. The war has been marked by a series of ineffective peace agreements among three major factions, one of them the national government in Kinshasa, and several smaller groups. And a token force of United Nations observers is now on the scene. But Congo's separation into rival segments continues, and last week one faction boycotted talks that are supposed to form a power-sharing government. Few Americans, however, seem to care about stopping a conflict with a death toll larger than any since World War II. Why? American interest in Africa is erratic, but there is a larger reason that few countries have put much effort into ending this war. Simply, Congo's current situation -- Balkanized, occupied by rival armies, with no functioning central government -- suits many people just fine. Some are heads of Congo's warring factions, some are political and military leaders of neighboring countries, and some are corporations dependent on the country's resources. The combination is deadly. To begin with, the warlords of most of Congo's factions are happy to divide up its vast treasure of mineral wealth while spending little on public services. The few schools open are mainly run by the Roman Catholic Church. The continuing turmoil also suits the various countries nearby, above all Rwanda, Uganda and Zimbabwe, whose troops have long propped up one or another side in the conflict. In return, they have received a stream of timber, gold, diamonds, copper, cobalt and columbium-tantalum, or coltan, a valuable mineral used in cellphones, computers and many other electronic devices. At its peak price a few years ago, coltan was selling for $350 a pound. Such riches have made the war self-supporting, with profits to spare. Despairing Congolese say they would be better off if they were not so rich. Finally, the Balkanization and war suit the amazing variety of corporations -- large and small, American, African and European -- that profit from the river of mineral wealth without having to worry about high taxes, and that prefer a cash-in-suitcases economy to a highly regulated one. An exhaustive report to the United Nations Security Council last year detailed the dozens of companies now making money from Congo's conflict, based everywhere from Ohio to Johannesburg to Antwerp to Kazakhstan. As a result, neither the United States nor any other nation now seems to have much interest in seeing a strong Congolese central government keep profits from the country's patrimony -- the word the White House uses about Iraq's oil -- mostly at home. When Patrice Lumumba, Congo's first and last democratically chosen leader, threatened to do just that after taking office in 1960, the Eisenhower administration secretly sought his overthrow and assassination. Emboldened, Congolese and Belgians then carried out the job. Congo's current disorder grows directly out of a long, unhappy history. Ethnic groups speaking more than 200 different languages live in the territory. For centuries, it served as raiding grounds for the Atlantic slave trade and the equally deadly slave trade from the east coast of Africa to the Islamic world. When the colonial era began, the land became the privately owned colony of King Leopold II of Belgium. His army turned much of the male population into forced laborers, working many to death. First the laborers gathered ivory -- Joseph Conrad gave an unforgettable image of this in "Heart of Darkness" -- and then a still more lucrative crop, wild rubber. During Leopold's rule and its immediate aftermath, the territory's population was slashed roughly in half. Belgian state colonialism followed; it was less brutal and more orderly, but still the profits flowed overseas. In 1965, five years after independence, Joseph Mobutu seized power in a military coup, encouraged by Washington. He renamed himself Mobutu Sese Seko and his country Zaire, and ruled as a dictator for 32 years, receiving more than $1 billion in American aid and repeatedly being welcomed at the White House. Meanwhile he looted the national treasury of an estimated $4 billion. Small wonder that his ravaged country has been having a hard time ever since. It has not helped that in the 1990's the United States supplied more than $100 million in arms and military training to six of the seven African countries that have been involved in the fighting of the Congo war. Even in a magical world where great powers always had good intentions, no outside intervention -- whether by American, European, African or United Nations forces -- would be likely to solve Congo's problems. "Nation building" by outsiders is inherently arrogant and risky, and there are few success stories. More than 28,000 NATO-led troops are currently keeping the peace in Kosovo; Congo's population is more than 25 times as large as Kosovo's, and its land area more than 200 times bigger. There are other problems as well. In Africa, loyalty to the extended clan or ethnic group is often far stronger than to the nation-state. These divisions have allowed Congo's plunderers to profit so much for so long. In the immediate future, factional leaders, generals and politicians from surrounding countries, and various Western companies are likely to continue making money. What hope is there for an end to Congo's misery? The United States made one surprising step forward earlier this month when Congress approved American participation in an international agreement not to trade in "conflict diamonds" -- the gems coming from anarchic, war-torn areas like Congo. More than 50 other countries have already signed on. The pact will be hard to enforce -- but so was the ban on the Atlantic slave trade in its early years. And if conflict diamonds can be made taboo, why not conflict gold or conflict coltan?

Women's E-News 27 Apr 2003 In War-Riddled Congo, Militias Rape with Impunity Run By Tiare Rath WeNews correspondent As the five-year conflict rages on in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, women and girls continue be sexually assaulted by members of the many warring militias, the majority of whom are infected with HIV/AIDS. BUKAVU, Democratic Republic of the Congo (WOMENSENEWS)--At just 13, Gisele Buhendwa possesses a tough exterior that reveals little. She tells her story in a matter-of-fact manner: her deep, scratchy voice never changing tone, and her scrawny, boyish body never showing a hint of emotion. The only physical sign that displacement, kidnapping and rape affected her, like thousands of other girls in war-tortured East Congo, is that she refuses to look anyone in the eye. In July, Buhendwa and her older sisters fled to escape the fate of other girls recently snatched by militiamen raiding their village in South Kivu. Knowing the kidnapped girls would be raped and most likely never heard from again, Buhendwa's parents told her to run to Bukavu, the largest city in South Kivu, where they believed she would find safety living with her sister high on the mountain. Two days after her arrival, she was raped. She got lost, she said, staring out the window, her neck constantly craned away from those in the small room without electricity. She lost her way home while fetching water, and was approached by two men in uniform who said they'd help get her back home. One instead took her to his militia camp and spent the night violating her, telling her when he left in the morning to have breakfast ready when he returned or she would be killed. Another man wearing a uniform appeared after her rapist departed, advising her to escape while she had the chance. For the second time in 48 hours, she ran. "When I remember it, I feel I might go mad. I get a headache and I feel very sick," Buhendwa said. "When I see any soldier, my heart starts pounding and I run away." By this war's standards, Buhendwa was lucky. It took her five hours, but she made it to her sister's house and received support from her family, rather than shame. She bled after the rape, still has stomachaches and cannot bear to go out after dark. But she was not held for months, beaten and sexually assaulted every night like many of the girls at a center for women and children in Bukavu where she spent time last fall. Rape Used as Brutal Weapon in Five-Year War Rape is frequently used as a weapon in war and the five-year conflict in the Congo has proved just how brutal that weapon can be. No reliable figures exist as to how many women and girls have been victims, but in the South Kivu region bordering Rwanda and Burundi, it is difficult to find a family not affected by sexual violence. The most horrifying stories include those of as many as 3,000 women in Shabunda--an area in central South Kivu--who were raped between late 1999 and mid-2001, primarily by tribal Mayi-Mayi fighters. Some who were sexually violated escaped to outlying towns and cities and reported being raped again by rival militias along the way. "All different rebel groups fighting in the area have made terror against civilians their way of fighting the war and sexual violence is part of that," said Juliane Kippenberg, co-author of a 114-page Human Rights Watch report, "The War Within the War: sexual violence against women and girls in Eastern Congo," which was released last year. Soldiers or militiamen are frequently the perpetrators, but victims often can only make educated guesses as to which rebel group or army their assaulters belong. At least a dozen rebel groups have sprung up since the war began and six foreign armies have fought in Congo. Rwanda and Uganda invaded eastern Congo in 1998 to protect their borders from hostile militias, including the Interhamwe, which participated in carrying out the genocide in Rwanda in 1994 before fleeing to Congo. The Rwandan and Uganda armies, along with militaries from other African countries allied with the Congolese government, pulled out most of their troops last fall in line with a peace agreement, but the area remains more unstable than ever. The war between neighboring countries, anti-government militias and nationalistic rebel groups in nearly half of the Congo--Africa's third-largest nation--has devastated its civilian population. A United Nations report released in October on the plundering of the country's vast mineral wealth--widely believed to be a major cause of the conflict--estimated that if the mortality rate continued as it had since 1998, the war would have taken 3.5 million lives by late 2002. Most have died of malnutrition and disease. International relief agencies, accustomed to providing food, medical supplies and other basic-needs services, found sexual violence so widespread in the region that they established crisis and follow-up medical care for victims. Doctors Without Borders has one of the largest operations and is still treating women from the Shabunda attacks. Local, International Organizations Aid Victims With the U.S. war in Iraq, some non-governmental organizations are concerned that international attention and money may be diverted from humanitarian aid in the Congo and elsewhere, said Kris Torgeson, spokeswoman for Doctors Without Borders in New York. "We're needs-driven, not media-driven," she said. But, she added, "Donor dollars often follow media attention." Local organizations have emerged as well to support women and girls, particularly around the Bukavu area. Once a playground for former dictator Mobutu Seso Seko, who renamed the nation Zaire during his 30-year reign, Bukavu is home to lush mountains, a beautiful lake and the most important universities in the east that make it a center for civil society. "Women and children have suffered the most in this conflict. They're not protected," said Claudine Mwa Mulegwa, secretary-general of Amaldefea, a non-governmental organization in Bukavu supporting mothers and children. Many of the girls who learn to read, write and sew at Amaldefea also find common, tortured histories. Like Buhendwa, 18-year-old Alima Malehe now lives away from home. Since August, she frequently gets stomachaches and her heart thunders whenever she sees a soldier. That is because one night, men in uniform pounded on her front door, demanding to see a girl who fit Malehe's description. Her family begged them to take whatever they wanted and leave, but they searched the house until they found Malehe hiding under bed. Dragging her out into the living room, the soldiers tore her clothes and raped her in front of her parents. She does not know how many assaulted her because she, like other girls and young women interviewed, passed out after the third began his rape. Malehe sought refuge from her village in Kabare, north of Bukavu, with her sister in the Bukavu mountains. Since September, she began receiving a certain level of comfort at Amaldefea. The neighbors in her village now whisper about her, she said, and it isn't with sympathy. She worries she contracted HIV or another sexually-transmitted disease but has not received medical care. Her potential to marry and have children, Malehe believes, is over. "I've been raped," she said, her eyes fixated on the floor. "My reputation is spoiled." Many Families Reject Raped Women The widespread rapes of women and girls are "very well-known," said Karin Wachter, who works with the International Rescue Committee's sexual- and gender-based violence project. "People are talking about it, but women and girls still aren't let back into their families sometimes and definitely not by their husbands." Malehe's family does not reject her, she said, but the few times she returned home were uncomfortable. Her concern about HIV is valid: Human Rights Watch reports that 60 percent of troops and militiamen involved in the Congo conflict are infected with HIV/AIDS. She does not know to which militia the men in uniform who sexually assaulted her belong, and she does not expect to receive any kind of justice. With the war, Eastern Congo is dominated by violence, lawlessness and poverty: elements that allow fighters to act as they please, according to Tony Tate, who helped research the Human Rights Watch report. "They're basically making sport of the whole thing," Tate said. "Probably a lot of them feel like they're never going to get caught. They don't care." After learning of her sister's rape, Buhendwa's older sister marched to the notoriously dangerous military camp where the 13-year-old was held and demanded the commander reprimand the soldier. The commander, in turn, made a veiled threat by reminding her that the militiaman could also identify Buhendwa--and figure out where her family resided. The camp is run by the Congolese Rally for Democracy, a Rwandan-backed militia controlling Bukavu and parts of South and North Kivu. The militia officially stands for democracy, peace and justice, but locals said that in practice, the exact opposite is true. One official from the Congolese Rally for Democracy reluctantly admitted the militia, along with others such as the rival Mayi-Mayi and Interhamwe, sexually assaults girls. "We are also participating in the injustice," said Prosper Mushobekwa Nyalukemba, president of the South Kivu Province Assembly. Christianity runs strong here. Many girls said because of their religious values, it is more important that they forgive their rapists rather than wait for justice. "Even if I get angry about it, I can't change anything," Malehe said. "What's done is done. It was fate." Tiare Rath is a New York City-based freelance reporter.


The Nation (Nairobi) 4 Mar 2003 OPINION Comment: Kanu's Undoing is Self-Denial Macharia Gaitho Nairobi After a little break and a little wandering, it does feel nice to be back on familiar space. Nothing much has changed since I was last here. The Narc Government is still trying to finds its feet and the main opposition seems to be tottering on the verge of disintegration. The most amusing happening of late was the defection of serial defector Steve Ndichu from a short-lived dalliance with Kanu. He sat in the Seventh Parliament as a Ford Asili MP. When the party collapsed he was re-elected on the Social Democratic Party ticket. Midway through the last Parliament he was among a crop of Central Province opposition legislators making all kinds of noises about uniting the community behind Mr Mwai Kibaki's Democratic Party. But as the whole nation, and not just Central Kenya, was uniting behind Kibaki via the National Rainbow Coalition, Mr Ndichu, and a few others of his ilk, chose to hitch his wagons firmly to Kanu, or rather to the presidential candidacy of Mr Uhuru Kenyatta. Now that the Kanu candidate failed dismally to deliver the presidency to Central Kenya, and Mr Ndichu became one of the casualties, the former Juja MP wants Mr Kenyatta to join him in decamping to Narc! Come to think of that, it might not be a very bad idea considering Kanu's present travails. But then if Mr Kenyatta ever made such a foolhardy move, he would lose the last shreds of respect he retains. As for his reasons for quitting Kanu, Mr Ndichu trotted out all the old, tired and hackneyed excuses. But he also brought out quite some gems. He claimed, for example, that Mr Kenyatta, whom he still supports, had been sidelined from decision-making process at Kanu headquarters - wherever that may be. He suggested that Baringo Central MP Gideon Moi, who is not even a party official, was the one running the show while Mr Kenyatta, the head of the Kanu Parliamentary Group and thus the nominal party leader, had been relegated to the periphery. Could that be true? Anything coming from Mr Ndichu must be taken with a large bucketful of salt. But then it is clear that Mr Kenyatta would not have had anything to do with the warlike noises coming from a bunch of MPs gravitating around Mr Moi Jr. The Kalenjin MPs obviously would want to use Kanu as a tribal bastion from where they can protect their narrow interests. Their interests, in this case, amount to little more than safeguarding the ill-gotten wealth of those who looted with wild abandon during the Moi regime. If most of the people in position to loot the country dry were Kalenjin, it follows that they will seem to be disproportionately targeted in any clampdown on corruption. Many of those who profited from the excesses of the Moi regime obviously have real reason to be extremely worried. Select members of the former First Family and close aides, relatives and friends who held strategic positions used their proximity to power to commit economic crimes that defy imagination. When a particular individual finds the auctioneers on his doorstep over billions taken from the Cooperative Bank, the Kenya Commercial Bank and the National Bank of Kenya, he will naturally retreat to the laager he knows best - Kalenjin solidarity. But should the problems of one thief become the problems of an entire community? And should that be a problem for Kanu? If the former ruling party wants to remain relevant as a viable opposition party, the first thing it should do is jettison the characters that give it it a bad name. This will depend on whether Mr Kenyatta has the guts and the leadership ability to really make a move. That might be highly doubtful because it is evident that even he is in denial mode. Watching him on Nation TVs's Newshour last Thursday and the public rally he addressed in Kajiado Central over the weekend, one is struck by the bullheaded determination to refuse to accept a few home truths. Kanu lost the election for two main reasons. One, it was tainted beyond redemption. Secondly, the attempt to craft a new image by hoisting a sallow greenhorn as the presidential candidate did not impress the voters. Some time ago, Kanu seemed to be on the right track when it appointed a committee to help chart the way forward. Part of the brief was to examine why the party fared so badly. My understanding is that the committee is not being allowed to do its work. Anything that would suggest that Kanu lost because Mr Kenyatta was its presidential candidate and because the people were finally rejecting Mr Moi, together with his troupe will not be laid on the table. Instead, the committee headed by Mr Chris Obure will only be allowed to bring forward nonsense such as that Narc employed negative campaign advertisement. As long as Kanu continues to bury its collective head in the sand, it will never remake itself. With ex-President Moi into overdue retirement, he left a Kanu that is totally bereft of leadership. Mr Moi is still the party chairman, but he is no longer interested in party affairs. If he has any interest in politics at all, it might be in some behind-the-scenes skulduggery designed to warn the new regime that it better lay off his people or face the threat of ethnic conflagration. These characters still have to learn that this is not 1992 or 1997 when the state security and Provincial Administration machinery could be used to stoke up ethnic wars in the Rift Valley. It is also clear that those charged with preaching ethnic hatred this time are mostly at sea. It was quite amusing to see, the other day, Mr Gideon Moi purporting to have the clout to scare away foreign investors from Kenya. He might be perplexed that nobody paid him heed. Then there was another MP who threatened that the Kipsigis people might take over the giant tea estates in Kericho owned by multi-national corporations. The Kipsigis people, fortunately, are not so foolish. They have learnt from bitter personal experience that every time their leaders open up land for sub-division, the only people who benefit are a corrupt, greedy, thieving lot who pretend to speak on their behalf. It might be instructive for the Rift Valley MPs to note one little thing. Their misguided rabble-rousing in the Rift Valley has earned them some attention as designed. But when it came to hogging the headlines and the radio talk shows, not one of them can compete with one John Serut! There is something else. The Rift Valley - or rather the Kalenjin - MPs still think they are the rightful "owners" of Kanu. The are blind to the fact that the most they are achieving is to alienate everybody else who still holds a stake in the party. A bunch of just over a dozen MPs should pale into insignificance seen against the fact that Kanu has more than 60 MPs drawn from all corners of the country. The majority of those MPs have absolutely no interest in their party being hijacked to serve the interests of a venal family. If they are interested in salvaging what remains of Kanu, the only option is to put the small clique in its rightful place. The only other option is the defeatist and dishonest one of Mr Ndichu and others who are abandoning a sinking sheep like so many rats. Leadership, of course, is sorely lacking. The challenge is Mr Kenyatta's. If he cannot provide that leadership, he must quit politics altogether. He will not lack for something to keep him busy.

South African Press Association (Johannesburg) 9 Apr 2003 Perpetrators Of Village Massacre Not Identified Those responsible for the recent massacre of villagers in the Ituri region of the Democratic Republic of Congo have not yet been identified, that country's President Joseph Kabila said on Wednesday evening. Speaking at media briefing at Tuynhuys in Cape Town, where he has been taking part in a Great Lakes region heads of state meeting chaired by South African President Thabo Mbeki, Kabila said if they were caught justice would take its course. "The United Nations team on the ground is trying to get the correct information on who is involved and why," he told journalists. UN officials in the region on Wednesday confirmed the massacre had claimed between 150 and 300 lives, revising sharply downward earlier reports from other sources that close to a 1000 people were killed. Reports of the latest massacre in the strife-torn DRC comes one day after the signing of an accord to end over four years of war in the vast Central African country. Kabila said the violence was "due to impunity" of crimes committed and nobody being punished. Also attending Wednesday's heads of state meeting were Rwandan President Paul Kgame, Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni and Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa. According to South Africa's department of foreign affairs, the meeting was aimed at finding "ways of resolving escalating intra and inter-state conflict in the region". Speaking at the media briefing, Mbeki said agreement had been reached among the leaders that Uganda would pull its troops out of the DRC by April 24. "This has been confirmed. We have spoken to the Secretary General of the United Nations to request that some of the MONUC forces in the DRC be deployed to the Ituri region. "He is attending to that as a matter of urgency. "We are all agreed that this will help in resolving this conflict," Mbeki said. Asked what Ugandan troops were doing in the DRC, Museveni said they had been sent there to counter a "very vicious terrorist campaign" being waged against his country from Sudan. He said the terrorists had been moving into Uganda via the DRC. "The Congo was being used as a transit artery." After assurances that MONUC would deploy troops in that area of the DRC, it would be a relief to pull his troops out. "We are happy to go home," he said.

Vanguard (Lagos) 9 Apr 2003 War Claims 3.3 Million New York THE war in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has claimed 3.3 million lives and was "the deadliest documented conflict in African history," a US-based refugee agency said yesterday. The International Rescue Committee (IRC) said in a report issued Tuesday that at least 3.3 million people had died since the war broke out in August 1998 and IRC's mortality study was completed in November last year. "This is a humanitarian catastrophe of horrid and shocking proportions," IRC President George Rupp said, presenting the voluntary relief agency's report on the Internet. "The worst mortality projections in the event of a lengthy war in Iraq, and the death toll from all the recent wars in the Balkans don't even come close. "Yet, the crisis has received scant attention from international donors and the media," Rupp said. Most of the victims died of disease or malnutrition, linked to displacement and the collapse of much of the country's health system and economy. With poor or no access to basic health care, the smallest children have died at disproportionately high rates. In three of the ten health zones, IRC teams visited in the east, more than half the children were dead before the age of two," the report said. The report was published the day after President Joseph Kabila took the oath of office as head of an interim government aimed at restoring peace in the vast central African country and taking it through to its first democratic elections in more than 40 years. His swearing-in capped off 19 months of arduous peace talks between all parties to the DRC conflict, which resulted in a final accord being signed last week in South Africa. The IRC wrote that "improved access and security in 2002 enabled the IRC to measure mortality among 9.3 million people in 10 districts in the war-decimated east, and 31.2 million in 10 western districts." The increased security was in part due to the deployment of some 5,500 UN observers in DRC, and to the withdrawal of most foreign armies involved in the complex war, which Zimbabwe, Angola, Namibia and Chad had joined on Kinshasa's side, and Rwanda and Uganda on the side of rebel groups, the report said. "While people continued to die at an extraordinary rate, death from violence in the east dropped by 90 per cent compared to the previous three years of the war, and overall mortality also declined significantly." But it warned that "the peace process is in danger", with renewed fighting in northeastern Ituri, where some 1,000 civilians were massacred in a single day last week, and urged regional security concerns be addressed urgently. "Unless there is rapid and bold international investment in strengthening this peace process, all that has been gained in Congo could be lost," Rupp said. "We hope the findings in this report compel the international community to take action." The IRC made diplomatic and humanitarian recommendations, ranging from a halt to backing for militia groups to a major donor effort "to provide emergency assistance and reconstruction support at a level proportional to need". "In addition, (illegal) exploitation of Congos natural resources by local and regional actors continues to fuel violence," the report noted, calling for further documentation of the violations and for punitive measures.


IRIN 17 Apr 2003 State of emergency lifted in northern Ghana ACCRA, 17 Apr 2003 (IRIN) - A year-long state of emergency in the Dagbon traditional area of northern Ghana, was lifted on Tuesday after Ghana's ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) failed to secure the required 101 votes in the 200-member parliament to retain it. The state of emergency was imposed in March last year following the murder of the Dagbon king Ya Na Yakubu Andani and 29 others in a chieftaincy dispute between the Andani and Abudu royal clans at Yendi, in northern Ghana. It had been renewed every month until Tuesday when the second deputy speaker Ken Dzirasah called for a head count after a heated debate on the motion tabled by Defence Minister Kwame Addo Kufuor. The ruling NPP recorded only 88 votes in favour of the state of emergency while 73 members of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) voted against it. Under the state of emergency, a curfew and censorship on news on and about the Dagbon crisis was imposed. All news had to be cleared by the minister of information before it was published. There was also a ban on mass gatherings and rallies. A security officer in Ghana's northern town of Tamale told IRIN that the lifting of the state of emergency did not mean that the soldiers would go back to the barracks. They would still maintain their presence in the area until a lasting solution was found to the crisis, he said. In a related development, the feuding clans agreed on 13 April on a peace deal to end the Dagbon conflict, at separate meetings with Addo Kufuor. The defence minister told journalists after the meeting that the factions had resolved to denounce the use of violence to settle the dispute and abide by the judicial process underway. They also called for the process to be speeded up, and recommended the use of traditional and customary processes and procedures to resolve the dispute, pledging to ensure that peace was maintained and fully restored to the Dagbon Traditional Area to enhance its socio-economic development. Addo Kufuor regretted that since the problem started over a year ago, economic activities in the area had slowed down and no development had taken place. He said investors who had previously expressed interest to invest in the area had all withdrawn to the detriment of the people of Dagbon.


This Day 2 Apr 2003 Youth Demand Naval Commander's Redeployment From Omon-Julius Onabu in Benin-City The Itsekiri National Youth Council has called on the Federal Government to immediately reassign the Flag Officer Commanding Western Naval Command , Rear Admiral Bob-Manuel on grounds that the officer, may jeopardise current peace efforts aimed at restoring normalcy to Warri, Delta State. A release made available to THISDAY in Benin-City, and signed by Mr Matthew Itsekure, press and media relations officer of the association and Mr Victor Neburagho, Secretary noted that "the commanding officer of NNS Umalokun has been redeployed and this was done within the seven-day ultimatum issued by the Ijaws" on grounds of lack of confidence in the ability of the man to be neutral in the conflict, simply because the man, Navy Captain Awoyemi is from the Yoruba race. "Ideally, posting of military personnel is solely the function of military authorities, but the recent development has demonstrated the contrary to the extent that the Ijaws are capable of manipulating and arm-twisting the military high command to their advantage," the group noted. It further alleged: "in an inexplicable twist, Rear Admiral Bob-Manuel (an Ijaw of Kalabari ethnic extraction) has now been re-assigned to the Western Naval Command from the Eastern Naval Command as Flag Officer Commanding (FOC). "It is our view that this re-assignment of Rear Admiral Bob-Manuel, especially at this point in time, is a deliberate policy of government to give naval backings to the Ijaws war of genocide against the Itsekiris. What guarantee can be put in place that Rear Admiral Bob-Manuel (an Ijaw and also a member of Ijaw National Congress) will be neutral?" A similar statement signed by Mrs Ori Okotie-Eboh, an Itsekiri woman leader also observed that "the question now begging for solution is that, is there a grand conspiracy to exterminate the Itsekiris? We call on the Federal Government and all well-meaning Nigerians to intervene before we are forced to pick up arms." www.thisdayonline.com

HRW 9 Apr 2003 Act on Delta violence, HRW tells government, oil companies ABIDJAN, 9 Apr 2003 (IRIN) - Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Wednesday called on the Nigerian government and multinational oil companies to take immediate measures to prevent further violence and abuses around the southern town of Warri, located in the Niger Delta. "The Nigerian government is responsible for public order in the Delta, but the oil companies have a role to play here, too," Peter Takirambudde, executive director of the African division of HRW, said in letters to President Olusegun Obasanjo and the managing directors of three transnationals. Since 13 March, clashes between members of the Ijaw and Itsekiri ethnic groups in the Niger Delta have claimed scores of lives. Most of the victims of the communal clashes were reported to be Itsekiris, HRW said, while Ijaws were the main victims of a combined Nigerian army, navy and police operation mounted against their villages after armed Ijaw youths allegedly killed four soldiers. HRW said it had received reports of government security forces firing indiscriminately on Ijaw villages, killing dozens of people. Similar military operations had led to hundreds of extrajudicial killings in the past, for example in the southern town of Odi (Bayelsa State) in 1999 and in the central state of Benue in 2001, HRW noted. No one had been tried for these killings, it said. Other people affected by the violence around Warri included staff of oil companies, according to HRW, which also reported that some companies had helped evacuate community members from the area. The rights watchdog appealed to the main companies operating in the area, ChevronTexaco, Royal Dutch/Shell and TotalFinalElf, to publicly urge the government to restore security in a manner that respects due process and fundamental human rights and is not disproportionate. The letter to President Obasanjo can be found at: http://www.hrw.org/press/2003/04/nigeria040703obasanjo.htm The letters to the oil companies can be found at http://www.hrw.org/press/2003/04/nigeria040703chevron.htm and http://www.hrw.org/press/2003/04/nigeria040703shell.htm


VOA News 01 Apr 2003 Africa Rwanda's Former Defense Minister Flees to Uganda Rwanda's government said former Defense Minister Emmanuel Habyarimana has fled to Uganda, along with at least one army officer. General Habyarimana is reported to have left for neighboring Uganda Sunday just after a Rwandan parliamentary report accused him of involvement in "subversive" activities. A government spokesman is quoted as saying the parliamentary report accuses General Habyarimana of working with Ugandan officials to destabilize Rwanda. Recently, tensions have heightened between the two countries over their continued backing of different rebel factions in the Democratic Republic of Congo. General Habyarimana was defense minister from 2000 until November last year before being dismissed for what the government called "extreme pro-Hutu" views. General Habyarimana was part of the former Rwandan army, members of which were involved in the 1994 genocide against ethnic Tutsis and politically moderate Hutus. An estimated 800,000 people were killed in a 100 day period.

IRIN 8 Apr 2003 Kagame Denies Troop Presence in DRC Nairobi Rwandan President Paul Kagame denied on Monday that Rwandan troops had gone back into the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). But he warned that his troops could re-enter the DRC if Rwanda's security were threatened, the government-owned Radio Rwanda reported. Kagame made the remarks at a ceremony in Murire-Rwamagana in Kibungo Province, eastern Rwanda, to mark the ninth anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda. Radio Rwanda reported that Kagame criticised the international community for its "pre-occupation" with the issue of Rwandan troops going back to the DRC, "despite their failure to intervene during the [1994] genocide and to address the problem of Interahamwe [DRC-based Rwandan Hutu] militias, who continue to pose a security threat to Rwanda". "We don't want anything back in Congo. We don't want anything there other than to ensure that the security of our people is guaranteed. And for that we are going to do it [possibly go back if our security is threatened]. We are going to do whatever it takes to ensure that this [genocide] does not repeat itself," Kagame said. Rwandan troops, together with most other foreign troops, withdrew from the DRC in October 2002.

East African Standard (Nairobi) NEWS April 10, 2003 UN Censured Over Genocide By Patrick Wachira Nairobi The United Nations (UN) came under harsh criticism yesterday for "looking on" as over a million Rwandese "got butchered" in 1994. Rwanda's Ambassador to Kenya, Seth Kamanzi said the UN Security Council instead, convened endless meetings "to determine the appropriate terminology-whether it was massacre or genocide". "It has now become a cliché to mention that the genocide in Rwanda was planned and perpetrated with the full knowledge of the international community. International media houses gave live coverage of this human tragedy," said Kamanzi. He was speaking at the All Saints Cathedral during a service to mark the 9th Anniversary of the Genocide in which at least 1 million Tutsi were murdered by militia from the Interahamwe. Kamanzi said that the genocide was systematically planned by the State and implemented by the army and large "numbers of fanatic people in all age brackets of the population".

News 24 SA Rwanda's 'forgotten' genocide 09/04/2003 10:15 - (SA) Print article email story Addis Ababa - The African Union (AU) held an ecumenical religious ceremony late on Monday to mark the ninth anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, in which up to a million people were killed in a government-orchestrated ethnic cleansing campaign. The date of "April 7, 2004, will be commemorated by the Commission of the AU as a day of remembrance of the victims of the genocide in Rwanda and the reaffirmation of African resolve to prevent and fight genocide on the continent", said Ethiopian President Girma Wolde-Girogis. Over the course of 100 days in 1994, beginning April 7, government troops and allied militia unleashed a well organised killing spree that left up to a million Tutsis and Hutus opposed to the genocide dead. "This ceremony commemorates an event that most of the world has totally forgotten," said Gerard Kaplan, a Canadian professor and author of a report entitled "Rwanda: the genocide that could have been prevented." "We can be sure that CNN will not interrupt its coverage of the war in Iraq," lamented Kaplan. "I represent those who believe that this is the world's second betrayal of Rwanda. The first was committed during the genocide itself," he said, referring to the failure of the international community to intervene in 1994. "We must learn lessons from the Rwandan tragedy and regard the genocide not as a singular historical event but rather as a collective failure to learn from history," said Rwanda's ambassador to Ethiopia, Pascal Ngoga. "The wounds are still open," said Vatican Apostolic Nuncio Silvano Tomasi. "We are here because we do not want to see a repetition on the continent," said AU Commissioner Lawrence Agubuzu.

New Vision (Kampala) 9 Apr 2003 Genocide Pictures Shock Diplomats NEWS April 9, 2003 Posted to the web April 9, 2003 Kampala SEVERAL foreign envoys to Uganda on Monday broke down and sobbed hysterically as they watched a horrifying documentary of the 1994 Rwanda Genocide at the National Theatre in Kampala, reports Geoffrey Kamali. The 45-minute documentary, called The General Metamorphosis, showed graphic pictures of the mass killings in which over 700,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus perished. It was part of the activities to mark the genocide's ninth anniversary. "When your people see this kind of horror, doesn't it change their minds so they can avoid fighting between Rwanda and Uganda?" a visibly stunned official of the Chinese Embassy was heard saying. He was referring to the growing tension and threats of war between Rwanda and Uganda. Over 3,000 bodies of genocide victims were recovered in Uganda in 1994 by volunteers on the shores of Lake Victoria in Rakai and Kalangala. They were buried in mass graves. A monument was built at the site and a memorial service will be held at the Kansesero landing site in Rakai this week, where most of the bodies were retrieved. The Monday events started with a procession from the Constitutional Square. Torch-bearing marchers, wearing purple scurves and caps branded with, "Rwanda Genocide, Never Again". The host Rwandan ambassador, Christine Umutoni, led the procession, jointly organised with the former Kakuuto MP, Manuel Pinto. The envoys included the French ambassador, Jean Bernard Thiant and representatives of the US, Egypt, Netherlands and Djibouti embassies.

The East African (Nairobi) 31 Mar 2003 Freed Genocide Convicts Begin Journey Home Nairobi In 1999, five years after the Rwanda genocide, the government set up the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission to reconcile convicts and victims, writes HENRY LUBEGA Andrew Mugabo was found guilty of participating in the 1994 Rwanda genocide but has been pardoned and is now in a solidarity camp undergoing "reorientation." Although he is eager to go home, he is not sure of what reaction awaits him from those who lost relatives in the 100-day massacre. Mugabo's fear is shared by many others in the reorientation camps established around Rwanda to rehabilitate the convicts before they are allowed to return to their families. They are expected to go back to the commune they lived in before being arrested, to apologise publicly and seek forgiveness from the community. "I was forced to kill; I only wanted to stay alive. It is our leaders who should be blamed for what we did, not us," Mugabo told The EastAfrica, as he narrated what had happened in the 100 days of the killings. Mugabo, who gave such a graphic account of the genocide that it was as if it had happened the other day, said he was waiting for the end of the three months he is supposed to spend in the solidarity camp. Aged 53, and from the Muhima commune in Nyarugengye in the prefecture of Kigali village, Mugabo says the day he was told that he was leaving prison to join the solidarity camps, he felt he was in heaven. "A prison is a prison, you cannot compare it with anything else. Even if you are poor and without relatives, home is the best place to be," Mugabo told The EastAfrican in one of the numerous solidarity camps on the outskirts of Kigali. Since January, Rwanda President Paul Kagame has pardoned hundreds of genocide prisoners who have confessed and asked for forgiveness. But before they go back to their communities, they are taken to solidarity camps to be "rehabilitated and taught how the new Rwanda operates." In the camps, they are taught the history of Rwanda, among other things. Fatuma Ndagiza, secretary general of the Reconciliation Commission, which runs the solidarity camps, says the teaching of Rwandan history is meant to show people what Rwanda has gone through and how they can work together to rebuild it. "Many years away from home is not something that people can take so easily," says Ndagiza. "After being out of touch with the ordinary people, there is a need for them to be taught about what the new Rwanda needs. It's not division but unity." Mugabo, who is married with two children aged 30 and 20, says: "I know that I killed, but the blame should not be put on me. Let former government officials and our local leaders who demanded that we fulfil the government programmes come out and stand trial on our behalf." He says it is the public that will be the final judge of their fate. "The crimes were committed against the locals and the government has played its part. Now its up to the communities we are going back to, they will give us the final forgiveness, says Mugabo, who has been so battered by prison life that he looks over 70. Ndagiza, however, says that the people who have been forgiven can be taken back to the Gacaca (community) courts if there is anybody who comes forward with a new complaint against them related to genocide crimes. In 1999, five years after the genocide, the government set up the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission to work towards reconciling the convicts and the victims. However, it was not until recently that President Kagame passed a decree to set free at least 23,000 people who fall in the 2-4 categories of genocide crimes. These categories cover those who killed because they were forced to and have since confessed. There are 18 solidarity camps countrywide, where these people are undergoing what is known as engando (rehabilitation and sensitisation) before they return home. About 12km east of Kigali is Kinyinya solidarity camp, which plays host to close to 1,000 pardoned genocide convicts who are waiting to return home. Ezekeil Mukaragye, 30, from Kicikiro in Kanombe Commune, has been in prison for seven years for genocide-related crimes. It was not until he confessed to having participated in the killing of innocent people that he was pardoned under the presidential decree. He, however, says that as an individual he never killed anyone because he wanted to. It was the only way to survive during those days, he says. "Many people of my ethnic group had been killed because they refused to take part in the killing; so when I was asked to join in I had no alternative but to go ahead and kill," he told The EastAfrican. He says he hopes that when he returns home, everything will be as it was before the genocide. "I know many of my family members were killed during the war but it is time that we looked at each other as Rwandans, as one people, and worked for the good of our country," he says, adding that although he is now left with few relatives, he is ready to face society. "Since I was released from prison and started attending the Ngando, I have realised that we need to work together as Rwandans and that it was the government, that divided us, says Mukaragye. "I went to prison a non-believer but while there I was saved and that is why when they came asking for those who were ready to confess to the crimes they committed, I did not hesitate to go forward and confess." Although Mukaragye is ready to go home he still feels there is a need for the government to do more in terms of educating the masses about the advantages of forgiving so that the past is forgotten for the sake of a new Rwanda.

The East African (Nairobi) April 21, 2003 We'll Come After You, Kagame Tells Interahamwe Gertrude Kamuze, Special Correspondent Nairobi After watching a documentary at the Uganda National Theatre in Kampala on the Rwanda Genocide, memories of what happened in 1994 flow vividly. Many Ugandans stopped eating fish from Lake Victoria, fearing they had fed on the dead bodies of genocide victims washed downstream on the Kagera river. Over 3,000 bodies were recovered by volunteers in Rakai and Kalangala in Uganda on the shores of Lake Victoria in 1994. They were buried in mass graves, which many Rwandans visited last week. Rwandans mark the genocide with a week of mourning from April 1 every year; this year, the Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Robert Bayigamba, called upon all Rwandans to participate in the mourning activities. President Paul Kagame warned that Rwanda would go back to Congo to hunt down the perpetrators of the 1994 genocide unless they stop regrouping to destabilise peace in Rwanda. Reliving the tragedy, 20-year-old Ivan Mukama told a Rwandan newspaper: "I was 11 years old when I witnessed the killing of my family. It was an act of slaughtering humans. I ran for almost six hours to escape. I was lucky to survive, but my life has never been the same again." Such stories are told over and over by the survivors both inside and outside Rwanda. It was no surprise that several people, including foreign dignitaries in Uganda, sobbed as they watched the documentary at the National Theatre. The 45-minute documentary, The General Metamorphosis, showed graphic pictures of the mass killings in which over 700,000 Tutsi and moderate Hutus died. "When your people see this kind of horror, doesn't it prick their minds so they can avoid fighting between Rwanda and Uganda?" a Chinese embassy official wondered loudly. Tension has been building up between Uganda and Rwanda, whose armies have clashed several times in DRC. For many of the survivors in Kigali, life will never be the same again. Thousands of people are still in prison and orphans and widows are heading families. Most Rwandan say that much as they try to put the events of the genocide behind them, they can't. "How can you forget when there are genocide sites everywhere around us?" said Nyamirango of Nyamitanga village.

AP 14 Apr 2003 Genocide Widows' Baskets Are Sold Online By RODRIQUE NGOWI MAZA, Rwanda -- Sitting on a traditional three-legged stool, Agnes Hirere patiently weaves papyrus and sisal fibers to make a basket with a conical top that has become the symbol of Rwanda. But after hours of weaving intricate patterns in the basket on her lap, the Tutsi woman stands up and says her scars are throbbing -- the painful reminder of the 1994 genocide in which she lost both a husband and her health. Hutu neighbors attacked her home at the outset of the 100-day slaughter in April 1994, clubbing her husband to death and leaving her unconscious in a pool of blood with multiple stab wounds and cuts on her body. Hirere, 41, survived because another Hutu neighbor took her in and secretly treated her wounds for four days before pushing her out as the slaughter escalated, claiming the lives of more than half a million Tutsis and political moderates from the Hutu majority. "I never recovered properly ... I suffer severe pain if I exert myself even today," Hirere said. "And I was not educated enough for a desk job, which limits my options for earning a living to weaving these baskets." Traditionally, weavers made wall panels for the round, thatched dwellings that dotted the hillsides of Rwanda, traps for hunting, clothing, beds, mats and other household decorations, said Deo Byanafashe, dean of the arts faculty at the National University in Butare. But the fine basketry, originally the province of women in the court of Tutsi kings and great chiefs, has evolved from a status symbol to a means of weaving Tutsi and Hutu families together today. Known as "agaseke" in Kinyarwanda, the national language, they symbolize reconciliation as they are woven by Tutsi and Hutu genocide widows struggling to rebuild lives destroyed by the slaughter orchestrated by the former extremist Hutu government, said Aurea Kayiganwa of the association of genocide widows, or AVEGA. For generations, the baskets have been used to hold gifts to newlyweds and new mothers, symbolizing the endurance of family values. Tiny baskets held highly prized salt; big baskets were for millet and sorghum. Now they have taken on additional value since the Business Council for Peace, a network of American businesswomen, joined forces with Eziba -- the online and catalogue retailer of global handicrafts -- to give the genocide widows access to the $22 billion market for traditional crafts in the United States. "These baskets have a potential of producing a lot of revenue for the widows," said Amber Chand, co-founder of the North Adams, Mass.-based Eziba and a member of the businesswomen's network. "The global consumer is not only looking for something to buy but also to connect to an experience." Eziba sells a 14-inch basket online for $48. Aurea Kayiganwa of the widows association says a weaver receives $10 per basket, $2 to $3 more than she would make selling it locally in handicraft shops; $3 goes to AVEGA for administrative costs; and $35 goes to Eziba. One hundred and fifty baskets have been shipped to Eziba, which has placed an order for another 150, she said. Selling in such volume in Rwanda would be very difficult because the local market is small, and there are only a handful of tourists visiting the beautiful tiny central African nation of rolling green hills and mist-shrouded volcanic mountains. In traditional Rwanda, a bride-to-be would make two elegant, fine-fibered baskets, giving the first to her groom, "promising to be faithful by saying that no one would open the lid of the basket except him," said Odette Niyonsaba, who lives in Butare, the cultural capital of Rwanda. "She would give the second one to her mother-in-law two days after the wedding to indicate that the woman is now like her mother." No one knows when Rwandans began weaving the baskets, but they were familiar fixtures in the courts of Tutsi kings well before the 19th century, said Jean-Jacques Nsanzabaganwa of Rwanda's National Museum in Butare. The arrival of western Christian missionaries, followed by German and Belgian colonial rule, led to a dramatic decline in traditional art, Nsanzabaganwa said. Synthetic fibers replaced papyrus reeds, and demand for the baskets dropped as western products took their place, Nsanzabaganwa said. Low prices discouraged young people from taking up basketry, and a dwindling number of women now possess the skills required to make the baskets. However, Chand hopes that as business grows through access to the global market, Rwandans "will be encouraged to continue a tradition that could eventually die."

Boston Globe 27 Apr 2003 Rwandan courts strained by silence Reluctant witnesses hinder proceedings on 1994 genocide By Carter Dougherty, Globe Correspondent, 4/27/2003 KABUGA, Rwanda -- Wagging her finger, Evanice Mukamusoni looks every bit the school disciplinarian as she lectures her neighbors about telling the truth. But she is a judge, trying to coax testimony from reluctant witnesses about the horrific events a decade ago in this village outside the capital of Kigali. ''There is a difference between seeing and doing,'' says Mukamusoni, 39, assuring them that they will not be accused of crimes they merely observed. ''The truth is what matters.'' The crowd, about 100 people sitting under tall trees on wooden benches or directly on the ground, demurs. People stare downward or nurse babies but offer no information about what they saw from April to June 1994, when the majority Hutu tribe slaughtered 800,000 of the minority Tutsis and sympathetic Hutus across the country. Gacaca (pronounced ga-CHA-cha), which in the local language of Kinyarwanda means ''on the grass,'' is Rwanda's massive experiment in postgenocide justice at the community level. With prisons bursting at the seams, the government decided two years ago to hand the search for truth to the traditional courts, which previously had dealt with such cases as stolen goats or damaged huts. Now, Rwandans in the country's 9,170 cells, administrative units that include as few as 200 people, are drawing up lists of the accused and preparing for trials that the cells may begin as early as next month. Although many courts are chugging along, others, like Mukamusoni's, are plodding. At the meeting of her court, Mukamusoni, a Tutsi who lost her husband in 1994, reads to the crowd from Rwandan law, which, she notes, punishes the uncooperative. Then, John Paul Gasore jumps to his feet and shakes his finger furiously at the crowd while telling of a nearby mass grave that he said contains thousands of bodies. ''If you know the truth, you have to say it,'' says Gasore, 55, also a Tutsi. Silence. Visibly peeved, Mukamusoni consults with the other judges, then adjourns the meeting in frustration. Moments later, the heavens pour rain on the participants as they scamper away to shelter. ''As gacaca was constructed, it is very good,'' Mukamusoni said later about the meeting earlier this month. ''But the people who don't give information, they are the ones who make gacaca bad.'' Noncooperation is just one of the challenges of the proceedings. Most people here are subsistence farmers who must tend to their corn and bean fields each day, gacaca or no. ''However often you tell people they have to attend, they still say they have to eat,'' said Geraldine Umugwaneza, a senior counselor in the Supreme Court office that oversees gacaca. In January, the proceedings stumbled, when President Paul Kagame announced that 40,000 confessed genocide participants, most of whom are elderly or very young or have already served their time, would be provisionally released. One motivation was financial: Keeping 100,000 people locked up, as Rwanda has done since 1994, has drained government resources. Another, observers say, was political. Kagame, a Tutsi, faces Rwanda's first postgenocide elections this year, and the prisoners have families who will vote. Genocide survivors, who, like Mukamusoni, are the most active gacaca participants, excoriated the move. ''How do you expect gacaca to move on smoothly if all these people are let free?'' Francois Xavier Ngarambe, secretary general of the survivors organization Ibuka, said after the announcement. ''They will intimidate survivors into silence.'' Tutsi survivors are not the only ones with complaints. As the Rwandan Patriotic Front, the rebel movement then commanded by Kagame, halted the genocide in 1994, its soldiers killed thousands of Hutus who had no part in the genocide, human-rights groups say. Family members frequently highlight these murders in gacaca proceedings. Rwandan officials say that gacaca courts will try only crimes related to the genocide against the Tutsis, with other courts handling other alleged crimes. Just as the United Nations has a convention against genocide, and the International Criminal Court for lesser offenses, Rwanda has an organized system, they say. ''Rwanda's practices mirror international law,'' Umugwaneza said. Human-rights activists counter that the government has been loath to prosecute rebel soldiers, who now form the backbone of Rwanda's army. ''The government doesn't want to hear about other crimes, and that hurts gacaca's credibility,'' said Klaas De Jonge, the director of Penal Reform International, a group that is monitoring the court system. Still, gacacas meet every day. Down the road from Mukamusoni, Celestin Murangira, 48, a farmer, leads a court that is deep into its work, far ahead of Mukamusoni's even though both groups began in November. ''People are participating enough,'' he said. ''There's no problem.'' In Mukamusoni's proceeding, things loosened up the following week. Several people acknowledged they had seen a deep mass grave filled with bodies, and three of the dead were identified. But one man, who lived near the pit, insisted he had seen nothing. Survivors made jeering comments, and after two hours the session ended. ''I try to be strong,'' Mukamusoni said. ''But sometimes, the people who refuse to participate, they are stronger.'' This story ran on page A14 of the Boston Globe on 4/27/2003.

Sierra Leone

AP 1 Apr 2003 Sierra Leone Wraps Up Atrocities Report By Associated Press April 1, 2003, 11:37 PM EST FREETOWN, Sierra Leone -- A truth panel has finished collecting thousands of statements on atrocities committed during Sierra Leone's vicious civil war, officials announced Tuesday. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has amassed 6,000 reports of human rights abuses during the 1990s, panel official Daniel Adekera told reporters. The next stage of the panel's work will be holding hearings to allow victims, witnesses and even perpetrators to discuss their experiences. Sierra Leone's Revolutionary United Front rebels, internationally reviled for hacking off civilians' limbs with machetes -- launched their first attacks in 1991. A decade of military coups, shattered peace deals and massive human-rights abuses followed before Sierra Leone finally declared its war over early last year and held elections. The truth commission -- modeled on that of South Africa -- is aimed at helping the West African nation construct a lasting peace. The commission won't offer amnesty from prosecution, however, and a separate war-crimes tribunal is currently gearing up to try its first batch of accused.

BBC 10 Apr 2003 Sierra Leone release demanded Senior members of the former Kamajor pro-government militia group who fought against rebels in Sierra Leone have called for the release of their leader. Samuel Hinga Norman, a former interior minister, pleaded not guilty to war crimes charges in a special UN court trying alleged ring leaders of a 10-year brutal civil war. Hinga Norman's militia accused of recruiting child soldiers In a statement, the Kamajors said their actions were in defence of the people of Sierra Leone. Mr Norman's supporters are angry that he is been put in the same bracket as the RUF rebels who some have accused of cutting off the limbs of civilians. A total of 10 indictments have been issued by the UN tribunal. Denials The Kamajor militia's alleged human rights abuses included torturing and summarily executing opponents and recruiting child fighters. But a leading member of the militia group, who wanted to be called Commander Kasela denied in an interview with the BBC's Focus on Africa programme on Wednesday that they had carried out atrocities against civilians. The defence wants Sankoh examined (Court photo) "We are pleading to the Sierra Leone government, we are pleading to the people, we are asking President Ahmed Tejan Kabba to help secure the release of our chief", Mr Kasela said. He did not say what the militia group would do if Mr Norman is not released but one source said they "would cause trouble". Mr Norman is being detained in a cell in Bonthe Island in Sierra Leone where, over the weekend, his daughter claimed he was being treated inhumanely. But the UN denied the claim. The Chief UN prosecutor Mr David Crane said at the start of the trial that it was being held in a secret location because of fears that Mr Hinga Norman's supporters in the Kamajor militia "might seek to put pressure on the court and disrupt the trial". The tribunal is also hearing charges against rebel leaders, including Foday Sankoh, the head of the Revolutionary United Front. Fugitives Mr Sankoh appeared during the court's opening session but was not compelled to plead to his charges until he has undergone psychiatric testing. The tribunal was launched under a UN-Sierra Leone accord to try serious violations of international and Sierra Leonean humanitarian law since November 1996, when the rebels signed a peace deal with the government. A rebel commander, Sam Bockarie, and former military leader, Johnny Paul Koroma, are still at large. There have been calls for west African countries harbouring them to hand them over to face trial. Correspondents say that in Sierra Leone there has been much controversy over the arrest of Mr Norman, who as defence minister during part of the war years, was described by some as a hero for standing up to the rebels who were trying to oust an elected government.

WP 15 Apr 2003 Sierra Leone Court May Offer Model for War Crimes Cases Hybrid Tribunal, With Limited Lifespan, Focuses on Higher-Ups By Douglas Farah Washington Post Foreign Service Tuesday, April 15, 2003; Page A21 FREETOWN, Sierra Leone -- It was a day that Lami Dusujaroka, who in 1999 lost both his hands to a rebel with a machete, never believed would come. On March 10, five people accused of overseeing some of the most horrific war crimes of Sierra Leone's 10-year civil war were taken into custody in a coordinated operation and whisked off to a maximum-security prison on an island off this oceanside capital. The five will go on trial for alleged war crimes in a special joint U.N.-Sierra Leone court that is being studied in other countries as a model for dealing quickly and fairly with war crimes. Cambodia is taking a similar approach. The mandate of the court here is not to punish every crime committed during the war, which centered on control of diamond fields, one of the impoverished country's few sources of wealth. With a limited lifetime and budget, the court is charged with prosecuting people who organized and oversaw atrocities that occurred starting in 1996, not necessarily those who carried them out. The war ended last year with the ultimate demobilization of the rebel Revolutionary United Front (RUF) and the pro-government militias known as Kamajors. But the conflict left the country traumatized. "I am so happy," said Dusujaroka, chairman of a dusty camp of huts covered with plastic sheeting that is home to several hundred victims of the RUF's terror-by-amputation campaign. "No one punished these people when they started this, so they kept doing it. Without a court to try them, they will keep doing it again and again." The new-style court is a hybrid, established by a treaty between the United Nations and Sierra Leone, in an effort to insulate the trial process from politics while giving Sierra Leonean society a role in closing the books. Its judges and lawyers come from Sierra Leone and other countries; they will try cases based on international laws against war crimes. This structure reflects growing frustration with the slow-motion justice at tribunals for war crimes committed in Rwanda and the Balkans. Those courts are run entirely by the United Nations and each draws about $100 million a year in U.N. funds. Trials have dragged on for years. John Cerone, executive director of the War Crimes Research Office at American University's Washington College of Law, said the Sierra Leone court was unique as the only present-day war crimes court to sit in the country where the atrocities occurred; it has a fixed budget of $16 million a year and three-year mandate. It is funded by direct donations from U.N. members, rather than from the general U.N. budget. "Clearly the Sierra Leone court is operating much more quickly and on a much smaller budget than other U.N.-mandated courts," Cerone said. It took prosecutor David Crane, who left his senior post in the inspector general's office at the Pentagon to work with the court, only seven months to bring the first indictments. The court's credibility was greatly enhanced by the arrests that quickly followed, netting some of the most feared people in the country. Two others he charged remain at large; court officials said about 20 other people will be indicted soon. The war was characterized by the mass use of rape as a weapon of terror, the abduction of thousands of children who were forced to become combatants, the burning of villages and the signature atrocity of hacking off the arms, legs, lips and ears of civilians, including children as young as 2. "I have never seen a more black-and-white case, a situation of good versus evil," said Crane, a bookish man who worked on some of the Pentagon's most sensitive internal investigations. "The war was about diamonds from the beginning." Crane, who has served as assistant general counsel for the Defense Intelligence Agency and taught international law at the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's School, has held town meetings across the country to explain the court's work. "Everyone," he said, "is a victim, a witness, a perpetrator or a combination of that." The legal strategy, Crane said in an interview in the court's offices in a converted house near the center of the capital, is to prosecute those responsible as part of a "joint criminal enterprise." While Crane and his chief investigator, Alan White, are American, 50 percent of the court's professional staff members are African, and more than a third are from Sierra Leone. The staff, including Crane, has traveled widely in the country, gathering testimony and digging for evidence. "It is a lot like a drug case, but with diamonds as the product," Crane said. "The primary motive was to take over a commodity, diamonds, by taking over Sierra Leone after Liberia, followed by Guinea. It is an organized, international criminal case we are prosecuting here." The RUF launched the conflict with the support of Libya's leader, Moammar Gaddafi, and Charles Taylor, formerly a Liberian warlord and now the country's president. Crane would not say whether Gaddafi or Taylor would be indicted. But because Taylor is named extensively in the seven public indictments as a key participant in the criminal enterprise, many people here expect he will face charges. Crane said that, in the course of the investigations, he has uncovered evidence that Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network is buying diamonds in Sierra Leone. The ties were first reported by The Washington Post 17 months ago but dismissed by the CIA in subsequent congressional questioning. Crane said his investigators could link the diamond trade to al Qaeda "by name, and it is very specific evidence of al Qaeda ties to the blood diamonds of West Africa." Crane said his team also uncovered evidence that various other terrorist and criminal groups were involved in or benefited from the diamond trade, but said they were not the focus of his investigations because none of those groups ultimately fueled the conflict. In the first indictments, the court focused on the senior tier of the RUF and Kamajor militias. RUF commanders Issa Sesay and Morris Kallon were arrested in a sting operation that drew them to the capital. The group's founder, Foday Sankoh, and one of his lieutenants, Alex Tamba Brima, known by many as Gullit for his penchant for slitting throats, were already in prison and transferred to custody of the court. Also arrested was Hinga Norman, leader of the anti-RUF Kamajor militias. Norman was serving as interior minister, making him one of the most powerful people in the country. At the court's request, police surrounded his office without advising the government, held his guards in a separate room and whisked him away. All were charged with terrorizing the civilian population, unlawful killings, sexual violence and sexual slavery, use of child soldiers and slavery. Norman was also charged with human sacrifice and cannibalism. No pleas have been entered yet. Public defenders will be provided if defendants cannot afford their own attorneys. Trials are due to start by August. The maximum punishment the court can order is life in prison. A three-panel judge will hear the evidence and determine a verdict by majority vote. A separate chamber of five judges will hear appeals, with majority decisions binding. The appellate court's rulings cannot be appealed. Crane said the court had made two decisions that would shape its operations. The first was not to try anyone younger than 18, even though child soldiers were responsible for many of the worst atrocities. The second was to issue indictments only when the evidence was essentially irrefutable. Though the court enjoys broad public support, some people complain about its limits. Sieh Mamsareh, whose hand was also hacked off by the RUF, said he wanted the court to punish not only the overall commanders, but the person who mutilated him and killed his family. "I know where he lives, I have seen him with my own eyes, and nothing is happening to him," Mamsareh said. "Why will he not be punished?" Crane acknowledged that many could ultimately be disappointed. "Some of the people who won't be tried will leave us aghast," Crane said. "We have full knowledge horrible people will walk away. But our mandate is to try those with the greatest responsibility, and that is all we can do."

AFP 29 Apr 2003 Sierra Leone's truth panel heads to provincial towns FREETOWN, April 29 (AFP) - Members of Sierra Leone's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), who are probing the atrocities and rights abuses of the country's 10-year civil war, moved Tuesday to provincial towns. Hundreds of villagers flocked to the northern town of Port Loko to attend hearings by the commission, which began public sessions last week and is loosely modelled on the TRC of post-apartheid South Africa, witnesses said. Commissioners were also due to hear testimony about the civil war, which ravaged the west African country for a decade from 1991, in the southern town of Bo. TRC District Coordinator Mike Kamara said that of 52 witnesses among those who have already made statements to the commission from the districts concerned, 27 will testify publicly between Tuesday and May 19. The others have relocated to other parts of the country. Government functionaries, local paramount chiefs and opposition party members of parliament have lent their support to the commission by urging people with grievances from the war to the commission. Like the panel set up in South Africa by the first black majority government, the TRC is due to make recommendations to ensure lasting peace in the mineral-rich nation. However, the panel, which has taken about 600 written statements since December 2002, is not empowered to grant amnesties to parties in Sierra Leone's conflict, which was characterised by brutality. Some 200,000 people were killed and thousands more had their limbs hacked off during the conflict in Sierra Leone, one of the world's poorest countries despite its large diamond reserves.


IRIN 31 Mar 2003 Sudan: No improvement on human rights front, UN says NAIROBI, 31 March (IRIN) - The human rights situation has not improved in either the north or rebel-held south of Sudan, according to Gerhart Baum, the UN's Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Sudan. "I have seen no fundamental change since my last visit, in spite of further commitments by the government," he told a briefing at the UN Human Rights Commission on Friday. "The country remains under the iron-tight grip of the omnipresent security apparatus, which continues to enjoy virtual impunity." While some improvements had taken place as a result of the ceasefire agreement between the government and the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army, he said they had been insufficient and human rights abuses had not actually decreased. The situation in the rebel-held south of the country also remained of concern, where virtually no guarantees were set for the respect of basic rights and fundamental freedoms, he added. Of particular concern was the escalating rebellion and resulting conflict in Darfur, which affected 25 percent of the country's population, and which was not covered by the current peace agreement. "The government's interpretation of the conflict as caused by armed groups engaged in robbery and its response to solve the Darfur issue by resorting to Special Courts, group trials, death sentences and cruel and inhumane punishment such as cross amputation, are totally inadequate and resulted in serious human rights abuses," he said. Baum also mentioned a number of breaches of the ceasefire agreement in the oil-rich Western Upper Nile region, and confirmed that deliberate attacks had been conducted by government-allied militias against civilians in a number of areas close to planned government oil fields. He said he had received reports of over 22 percent of the total population enrolled in primary schools in Unity State being forcibly recruited by government-allied militias, including children as young as nine years old. Ibrahim Mirghani Ibrahim, Sudan's representative to the UN in Geneva, told the briefing that any assumption the militia groups operating in Western Upper Nile enjoyed government support or control was a "total denial of reality". He added that the Darfur conflict was the result of environmental degradation and desertification, causing a scarcity of pasture that pitted nomadic tribes against farming tribes. Meanwhile, the US and British governments have issued travel warnings to their citizens entering Sudan because of the war in Iraq.

IRIN 8 Apr 2003 Government accused of Darfur attacks NAIROBI, 8 Apr 2003 (IRIN) - The Sudanese government has been accused of stepping up attacks against indigenous communities in Darfur, western Sudan, as part of its response to the recent formation of a new armed movement. According to Muhammad Adam Yahya, chairman of the US-based Masalit Community in Exile, the attacks include the killing last month of a prominent religious leader of the indigenous Masalit community. In a statement, Yahya claimed government-sponsored Arab militias opened fire on Shaykh Salih Dakoro and four of his companions while travelling to West Darfur. He further accused the Khartoum government of exploiting the international focus on the current conflict in Iraq to escalate human rights abuses in western Sudan, an area not covered by the ceasefire between the government and rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A). "In the past few months, the Sudanese government security forces and Arab militias have dramatically increased attacks against leaders of Masalit, Fur, Zaghawah, Tama and other non-Arab groups in Western Sudan," the statement said. The new rebel movement in Darfur, the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A), was formed early this year. In a political declaration released in March, the movement's secretary general Minni Arkou Minnawi said it had taken up arms because the Khartoum government had "introduced policies of marginalisation, racial discrimination, and exploitation, that had disrupted the peaceful coexistence between the region's African and Arab communities". George Garang, a spokesman for the SPLM/A in Nairobi, told IRIN that the rebellion in Darfur was an "uprising against injustice". However, Muhammad Ahmad Dirdeiry, spokesman at the Sudanese embassy in Nairobi, said he had no information concerning the Darfur region.

IRIN 4 Apr 2003 Debate about human rights status NAIROBI, 4 Apr 2003 (IRIN) - Sudan's human rights status should not be "upgraded" by the United Nations Human Rights Commission, said the Cairo-based Sudan Human Rights Organisation (SHRO). SHRO said it was "deeply stressed" that the commission might "upgrade" Sudan's status from an item 9, which mandates a special rapporteur to the country, to an item 19, which provides UN technical assistance, such as human rights training. The commission is due to take a vote on the matter on 16 April. For the last 10 years, Sudan has been categorised as an item 9, which mandates a rapporteur - currently Gerhart Baum - to monitor and investigate human rights abuses. A change of status would "free the regime from useful scrutiny at a time the rapporteur confirms that there has not been any improvement in the human rights situation in Sudan", the SHRO said. Jemera Rone of Human Rights Watch told IRIN on Friday that human rights groups were actively lobbying the commission members to uphold Sudan's current status. "We've been working hard to get the commission to agree to extend the mandate of the rapporteur," she said. "I think it's very close right now. We need to watch very closely and keep the pressure up." On 28 March, Special Rapporteur Baum told a briefing at the UN Human Rights Commission that he had seen "no fundamental change" since his last visit to the country, in spite of further commitments by the government. "The country remains under the iron-tight grip of the omnipresent security apparatus, which continues to enjoy virtual impunity," he added.

The Nation (Nairobi) ANALYSIS April 24, 2003 Africans Abetting Genocide in Sudan Tommy Calvert, Jr Nairobi For 20 years, the international community has largely ignored the genocide carried out against black people in Africa's largest nation, the Sudan. Recently, the UN Commission on Human Rights, with the looming complicity of African states, sought to pull a dark veil of silence over the cries for help from southern Sudanese, persecuted in government-sponsored genocide. It upgraded Khartoum's human rights status so that monitors will no longer be able to expose its jihad, which has resulted in the deaths of over two million, mostly black southern Sudanese. The Sudan is currently classified - and rightfully - with Item 9 status indicating "countries with special problems". The upgrade to Item 19 status, which means Khartoum's human rights conditions are "untroubling", flies in the face of a mountain of evidence from human rights monitors around the world. This would, in effect, eliminate the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Sudan, a human rights investigator charged with reporting on Khartoum's rights violations and issuing his recommendations to the UN, thereby, helping to direct the global humanitarian response to the bloodiest civil war in the modern era. US Secretary of State Colin Powell calls the Sudan the worst human rights nightmare on the planet - tens of thousands of southern Sudanese are enslaved and some five million people have been displaced from their homes. At least 500,000 were displaced last year alone, as the government has reneged on promises to stop wiping out civilians where the common interests between it and others in the international "community" want to explore for oil. Changing the status would also make the Islamic fundamentalist regime eligible for UN funding, even though it shuns UN resources that would feed its southern population as it serially denies food aid as part of its genocide campaign. The proponents are playing "make-believe policy" by saying the regime's actions are "untroubling". The Rapporteur tells the commission he has seen "no fundamental change since his last visit, in spite of further government commitments ." And yet, the chair of the commission on human rights, Libya, wants to proclaim that in their opinion, the struggle of southern Sudanese to overcome extinction is "untroubling". To get rid of the Special Rapporteur Libya would, indeed, support their "make-believe policy" of hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil. After all, the Libyan dictatorship does not allow UN human rights monitors within its borders, it permits the sale of Sudanese slaves to Libyan citizens and so, of course, what is good for the goose is good for the gander. As the New York Times exposed, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi used oil revenues to "finance the African Union. In exchange, he wanted his country to be selected by fellow Africans as their next nominee to be chairman of the human rights commission. Pronouncements from African "leaders" on the commission about their vote to upgrade the Sudan's status - South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, among others - indicate the big oil payoff may lead one too many of these states to continue serving the Libya-Sudan needs - selling out innocent Africans tortured, enslaved, murdered. As a human rights advocate, I am appalled when anyone aids and abets slavery and human rights abuses anywhere in the world. As a person of African descent, my heart is further burdened when African "leaders" themselves, whose people have centuries of history suffering as slaves, are complicit in the oppression of their own fellows. Mr Calvert Jr. is the Chief of External Operations for the American Anti-Slavery Group

IRIN 24 Apr 2003 Government hails Bush remarks on peace process NAIROBI, 24 April (IRIN) - The Sudanese government has described as "encouraging" remarks made this week by US President George Bush hailing the country's ongoing peace process. In a report to the US Congress on Tuesday, Bush said he would not reimpose sanctions on Sudan because efforts to forge a peace deal with the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) had been made "in good faith". "There is still much work remaining," Bush added. "It is now time to move the peace process to a new level where the actions of both parties replace promises as the measure of their commitment to peace." Negotiating in "good faith" was part of the conditions set by the Sudan Peace Act, established by the US government last October. Sudan's deputy ambassador to Kenya, Muhammad Ahmad Dirdeiry, welcomed the move and said the US had an important mediating role in the search for lasting peace in his country. "In the past, the US has played a negative role," he told IRIN. "But the Bush administration has made a shift towards being even handed and playing a constructive role towards achieving peace in Sudan." However, he urged the US government to repeal the Act, which he said was unfair because it was an obstacle to the peace process and gave preferential treatment to one party in the conflict. "We feel the United States government should also send a signal to the SPLM/A that it would also be punished it fails to negotiate in good faith," he said. Bush's report follows an upgrading of Sudan's human rights status at the ongoing UN Commission on Human Rights in Geneva. "This is a recognition of the efforts that we have made over the years to improve human rights in Sudan," Dirdeiry said. "All the previous accusations have been dropped and Sudan has been exonerated. But we have to do even more."


IRIN 18 Apr 2003 Northern peace mediators call for patience GULU, Northern Uganda’s Acholi religious leaders – the sole mediators between the Ugandan government and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels – have urged both sides to give peace talks more time to work. Referring to both Presidential Peace Team members and senior rebel commanders, representatives of the Acholi Religious Leaders’ Peace Initiative (ARLPI) have warned each side against being impatient with the dialogue, saying it could take months of hard work before a lasting ceasefire is agreed upon. “The process of healing needs a lot of time,” David Achana, Acholiland’s senior cultural leader based in Gulu, told IRIN. “Things will have to go slowly, step-by-step. People get excited when they see us bringing letters between the government and the LRA. They see these and want to move quickly to a resolution. But we need patience”. The leaders also said that the bitter exchanges between the government and the LRA should be taken as a positive sign that both sides are letting off steam. “If anything, the recriminations give us encouragement to work harder,” said Achana. “This shows a lot more has to be done. There is deep mistrust which must be defused. Confidence builds over time.” Father Carlos Rodriguez, a Catholic priest and chief ARLPI negotiator, agreed, saying dialogue of any kind was better than none. “I’m not worried by the fact that they are hurling insults at each other. That’s still talking. Before there was no talking at all,” he said. Catholic Archbishop Odama of Gulu Municpality, also a key go-between, added that "for the first time, the LRA are out in the open". "Not completely, but partly. They are phoning people and talking. This is progress," he said. Meanwhile, fighting in Kitgum and Pader – Uganda’s two most war-ravished districts – is getting worse. “The LRA are attacking again," Father Joseph of Kitgum parish council said. "People are fleeing in desperation. Mothers are coming to me screaming and begging me to take their children so the rebels cannot snatch them. Children are terrified, sleeping in the rain.” Likewise, the Ugandan army is continuing its offensives. On Wednesday, it launched a raid on rebel positions in Lapul, Pader district, killing six.

IRIN 30 Apr 2003 Fear for children as ceasefire collapses in north NAIROBI, - The head of the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), Carol Bellamy, has expressed concern over the renewed abduction of children and women by the rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) following the recent collapse a ceasefire in northern Uganda. Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni last week cancelled the limited ceasefire he had offered the LRA in March and ordered a fullscale military operation against the group, accusing it of failing to respond positively. "Every resurgence in the fighting brings renewed expressions of concern from governments and a wide range of national and international organisations," Bellamy said. "But these concerns have yet to be transformed into a constructive peace process." Throughout its 16-year insurgency in northern Uganda, the LRA has abducted thousands of girls and boys from their families and forced them to commit atrocities against their own communities in northern Uganda. Some 20,000 children have since been abducted, over 5,000 in the last year alone, according to UNICEF estimates. Bellamy said the recent intensification of the conflict and increased military operations in the area were a setback to hopes for peace. She urged both the Ugandan government and LRA leaders to renew efforts for dialogue and secure the return of all abducted persons. She said the civilian population in an area already exhausted by 16 years of conflict, had become even more vulnerable as a result of the renewed hostilities. She called on both sides to guarantee safe and unimpeded humanitarian access to all of northern Uganda, where an estimated 800,000 people have been displaced by the conflict.


The Daily News (Harare) OPINION 1 Apr 2003 Mugabe - The Man Who Ruined the Jewel of Africa Doris Lessing BEFORE independence Zimbabwe had fine and functioning railways, good roads; its towns were policed and clean. It could grow anything that thrives under tropical conditions. The staple food, maize, grew like a weed and fed surrounding countries as well. It has minerals such as gold, chromium, asbestos, platinum, and rich coalfields. Damming Zambezi River created Lake Kariba, which fed electricity north and south. A paradise, and not only for the whites. When the blacks rebelled and won their war in 1979 they looked forward to a plenty and competence that existed nowhere else in Africa, not even in South Africa, which was bedevilled by its many mutually hostile tribes and its vast shanty towns. But paradise has to have a superstructure, an infrastructure, and by now it is going, going, almost gone. One man is associated with the calamity - Robert Mugabe. For a while I wondered if the word "tragedy" could be applied here, greatness brought low, but Mugabe, despite his early reputation, was never great; he was always a frightened little man. There is a tragedy, all right, but it is Zimbabwe's. Mugabe is now widely execrated, and rightly, but blame for him began late. Nothing is more astonishing than the silence about him for so many years among liberals and well-wishers - the politically correct. What crimes have been committed in the name of political correctness. A man may get away with murder, if he is black. Mugabe did, for many years. Early in his regime, we might have seen what he was when the infamous 5 Brigade, thugs trained in North Korea, hated by blacks and whites alike, became Mugabe's bodyguards, and did his dirty work, notably when he attempted what was virtually genocide of thousands of the Ndebele people in Matabeleland. Hindsight gives us a clear picture of his depredations: at the time mendacity ruled, all was confusion. But the fact was, we knew the 5 Brigade: it had already murdered and raped. It was confusion, too, because Mugabe seemed to begin well. He was a Marxist, true, but like other politicians before and since he said the right things, for instance, that blacks and whites must flourish together. And he passed a law against corruption, forbidding the top echelons of officials from owning more than one property. When his officials only laughed, and bought farm after farm, hotels, businesses, anything they could grab, he did nothing. It was at that point that everyone should have said, "This is no strongman, he is a weakling." From the start Mugabe has been afraid to show his face out of doors without outriders, guards, motorcades - all the defences of paranoia. When Queen Elizabeth ll visited, refused to ride with him in an armoured car, and insisted on an open one, people jeered as the frightened man clung to the sides of the car while the insouciant sovereign smiled and waved. Here is the heart of the tragedy. Never has a ruler come to power with more goodwill from his people. Virtually everybody, the people who voted for him and the ones who did not, forgot their differences and expected from him the fulfilment of the their - and of his - promises. He could have done practically anything in those early years. When you travelled around the villages in the early 80s you heard from everyone, "Mugabe will do this . . . Comrade Mugabe will do that . . ." He will see the value of this or that plan, build this shop or clinic or road, help us with our school, check that bullying official. If Mugabe had had the sense to trust what he heard, he could have transformed the country. But he did not know how much he was trusted, because he was too afraid to leave his self-created prison, meeting only sycophants and cronies, and governing through inflexible Marxist rules taken from textbooks. Someone allowed into his presence who came looking for evidence of Mugabe's reputation as a well-read man would have found only Marxist tracts. He had come to Marxism late, converted by the Mozambique independence leader, Samora Machel, who was a sensible, large-minded man, unlike Mugabe, who tended to be narrowly doctrinaire. There are those who blame Mugabe's wife Sally, from Ghana, for what seemed like a change in his personality. She was, this Mother of the Nation, corrupt and unashamed of it. Departing the country for a trip home to Ghana and stopped at customs with the equivalent of a million pounds' worth of Zimbabwean money, she protested it was her money, and only laughed when she had to leave it and travel on without. In the early 90s there was a savage drought in Zimbabwe. When members of Mugabe's government sold the grain from the silos and pocketed the money, by then the popular contempt for these ministers was such that the crime was seen as just another little item of a much larger criminal record. United Nations officials were saying as early as the mid-80s that Mugabe's government was the most rapacious bunch of thieves in Africa. Well, said his defenders, often members of his bureaucracy, corruption was not unknown in Europe. If you visited Zimbabwe after Mugabe took control and met only the whites and blacks who hardly ever leave Harare or Bulawayo, you heard laments for the corruption, the incompetence, the general collapse of services. But if you took the trouble to visit the villages then it was impossible not to be inspired by the people. Rural Zimbabweans are a sane, humourous, enterprising people, but they have a fault: they are too patient. I have heard a famous Zimbabwean writer complain: What is wrong with us? We put up with you whites far too long and now we are putting up with this gang of crooks. The villagers joked about their oppressors, and continued to dream about better times, which they were only too ready to help bring into being by their own efforts. In the early years, promised free primary, secondary and university education, they were helping to build schools, unpaid, though soon free education or, in some places, any education at all would be a memory. Denied a decent education, or any, they hungered for books. One man complained, "They taught us how to read, but now there are no books." Three years ago a Penguin classic cost more than a month's wage. And there it is, the tragedy, one that could not have happened if Mugabe had been even half the man people took him for. People say, "Get rid of Mugabe and we will get back on course." But he has created a whole caste of greedy people like himself. Get rid of him and there will be others as bad. If this is the merest pessimism and the crooks can be got rid of, then there will remain the damage that has been done. Sometimes an adage dulled with age comes startlingly to life. "There is a tide in the affairs of men . . ." Had Mugabe ridden the tide that was running at independence, Zimbabwe could have been an example to all of Africa. But he didn't, and the shallows and the miseries are there as evidence. Nothing can now recover that opportunity. Those of us who are old enough can only mourn lost possibilities. The racial hatred that Mugabe has fomented will not die. Throughout the period beginning in 1980, anti-white rhetoric went alongside the Marxist slogans that were as primitive as they would be if Marxism had been invented in Zimbabwe. Yet what everyone remarked on was the amiable race relations, friendliness between whites and blacks, compared to South Africa, where apartheid created such a bitter legacy. Fiery articles in the government Press were read in the same perfunctory way as were the public pronouncements of the Soviet government, or any Communist government. The official rhetoric in Zimbabwe was worse than anywhere in Africa - so said a United Nations report. "Never has rhetoric had so little to do with what actually went on." This anti-white rhetoric was directed at whites generally, but particularly at the white farmers, who owned sizable tracts of land and were growing most of the food and earning Zimbabwe's foreign currency. They were well aware of their anomalous position, and the Commercial Farmers' Union, the organisation representing white farmers and some black ones, was putting forward proposals for a redistribution of land that would not disrupt the economy. Not one of these proposals was ever even acknowledged by Mugabe. Meanwhile farms that had already been acquired by the government were not being turned over to the poor blacks; that happened only at the beginning. They were being acquired by Mugabe's greedy cronies. Why then, when there was no need for confrontation, did Mugabe unexpectedly launch an attack on the white farmers, in a clear attempt to drive them from the country? Mugabe had enjoyed seeing himself as the senior black leader in southern Africa; he did so at a time when he was increasingly seen as an embarrassment. When Nelson Mandela appeared and became the world's sweetheart, Mugabe, according to many accounts, was furious. He became desperate to establish himself as the Great Leader. The issue of land had always rankled, not least because during the War of Liberation in the 1970s he had promised land to "every man, woman, and child". Why had he made such foolish and impossible promises? Ah, but then it was by no means certain that he would come first in the race to be leader. But now he, Mugabe, the great statesman, the father of his people, would throw out the white farmers, and Mandela, that paltry figure, would be forgotten. And in some backward parts of Africa, and other places, he became famous. He did so at the price of ruining his country, already so misgoverned by his regime that it was on the edge of collapse. And there remains an unanswered question: Why did he act so destructively? Mugabe isn't stupid. His cunning as he established his position showed a scheming, guileful man. For instance, the war in the Congo, which impoverished Zimbabwe when it was already on its knees, enriched him personally with the loot he got from its mines in return for his sending troops. And it enabled him to buy off his greatest threat, the army officers who are the only force that can dislodge him. But perhaps one has to be a sentimental liberal to doubt that a leader, particularly one so prolific with resounding onward-and-upward rhetoric, could be making plans that would ruin his people. Meeting a former friend, a Mugabe crony in the street, he said, "We never meant for things to get out of hand like this. The trouble is that Robert can think of nothing but Tony Blair. He is convinced Blair wants to ruin him, even kill him but I doubt whether Tony Blair thinks of Mugabe for as much as half a minute a week." DORIS LESSING lived in the then Southern Rhodesia in the 1940s during which she wrote her first novel, The Grass is Singing. Although she settled in London in 1949, she has kept in touch with Zimbabwe, which she has visited many times since independence.

BBC 4 Apr 2003 Mugabe under regional spotlight MDC activist James Munetsi says he was attacked by ruling party supporters Southern Africa's regional body has announced that it is to send a task force to Zimbabwe to investigate allegations of political violence. The Southern African Development Community (Sadc) team will travel next week to speak to political parties, farmers' groups, civil rights organisations and churches, said Mozambique's foreign minister. Sadc has been criticised for not putting enough pressure on President Robert Mugabe's government to end political violence but Zimbabwe's Foreign Minister, Stan Mudenge, said he had invited the Sadc team to dispel "propaganda". The announcement came as the vice president of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) remains in police custody. Those who resort to military and paramilitary tactics will be treated in equal if not greater measure and they have no reason to complain especially when they throw petrol bombs, and dynamite bridges and buildings Jonathan Moyo Information Minister Gibson Sibanda's bail hearing was postponed until Monday after the judge did not turn up because his daughter was ill, reports the privately-owned Daily News. The MDC condemned "a deliberate ploy by the Mugabe regime to unjustifiably lock up MDC officials". 'Peace and stability' Following an MDC-called strike two weeks ago, hundreds of opposition activists have been arrested. The MDC says that many have been tortured but these claims have been dismissed by the authorities, who say those arrested were planning or responsible for acts of violence. The strike was marred by violence Mr Sibanda was arrested for organising the strike and the police do not want him released in case he organises another "more devastating" one. An MDC deadline to the government to stop political harassment passed on Monday but the opposition has not yet announced what action it will take after Mr Mugabe ignored the ultimatum. "We are worried because... we want to see peace, stability and harmony in every member state and in Zimbabwe you don't live under this," said Mozambique's Foreign Minister Leonardo Simao after a meeting of Sadc foreign ministers in Harare. The MDC had earlier urged Sadc not to "turn a blind" to the "political reign of terror" in Zimbabwe. Foreign Minister Stan Mudenge said he had invited the ministerial team "to ensure that my colleagues in Sadc, who are subjected to so much propaganda, a lot of it untrue, do come and get a better view, and a better impression of the situation in Zimbabwe." Government spokesman Jonathan Moyo defended the crack-down which followed the recent strike. "We want to make it clear that those who resort to military and paramilitary tactics will be treated in equal if not greater measure and they have no reason to complain especially when they throw petrol bombs, and dynamite bridges and buildings," he told the official Herald newspaper. "These are not instruments of democratic expression nor are they small matters to be handled by the police in the usual manner.

IRIN 8 Apr 2003 Focus on rape as a political weapon - Demonstration in South Africa against torture in Zimbabwe JOHANNESBURG, 8 Apr 2003 (IRIN) - "In a Dark Time", a documentary film about sexual abuse in Zimbabwe perpertrated by pro-government militia, premiered last week at Witwatersrand University, one of South Africa's most respected tertiary institutions. In the film, 16-year-old Sarudzai recalled how she was alone in the family home with three younger siblings when militiamen surrounded it. Her father was at a funeral. Her mother was in the bush, hiding from the militia. Fearing they would set the hut on fire, Sarudzai stepped out. She was raped right there, she said, to punish her mother for supporting Zimbabwe's opposition party. Sarudzai and other women featured in the documentary said their attackers were militiamen known as the "Green Bombers", a government-created youth brigade often accused of human rights abuse. For protection, the film maker and women interviewed have remained anonymous. The event, organised by Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research, sought to alert academics and human rights activists about gender-based human rights abuses, like gang rape and sexual torture, reportedly taking place in Zimbabwe. "We need to break the silence of academia and human rights institutions in South Africa about what is happening in our neighbourhood," said Dr Sheila Meintes, a member of South Africa's Commission on Gender Equality and a lecturer in political studies at Witwatersrand University. International human rights watchdogs like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the International Crisis Group and Physicians for Human Rights have documented systematic rape and sexual torture of women during Zimbabwe's political violence since 2000. Last year, Amnesty International warned about "mounting reports of rape and sexual torture by the militia, continuing the pattern seen before presidential elections in March 2002". Tony Reeler, regional human rights defender with the Institute for Democracy in South Africa, described what he said was a new pattern of sexual violence in Zimbabwe. During 2000 and early 2001, human rights watchdogs documented widespread torture of opposition supporters. About 40 percent of these were women. They were beaten up, stripped naked and humiliated, but few were raped or sexually abused. After June 2001, rape and sexual torture of women became more prevalent and brutal. It allegedly happened in front of family and neighbours. As a result, the whole community experienced the psychological impact. "One individual's physical torture becomes a mass psychological torture," explained Reeler. The Zimbabwean government has dismissed reports by local and international human rights groups that rape is used as a political weapon. "Yes, we have seen the allegations, but I don't need to tell you that definitely these are fabrications," Betty Dimbi, an official in the Department of Information told IRIN. IRIN was unable to get further comment on Tuesday from the Zimbabwean government. Rape remains the least condemned war crime, concluded the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, referring to Rwanda and other civil wars in the late 1990s. The tide, though, is turning. In 2001, in a historic decision to acknowledge rape as a war crime, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia began prosecuting rapists. This, says Amnesty International, "challenges the widespread acceptance that torture of women is an intrinsic part of war." The Rwanda Tribunal is explicitly empowered to prosecute rape as a crime against humanity and a violation of the Geneva Conventions. South African judge Richard Goldstone, a former prosecutor for the Rwanda Tribunal, found that sexual assault can constitute torture and be prosecuted as a transgression of international humanitarian law. International law condemns rape and other forms of sexual violence as war crimes. The Geneva Conventions of 1949 were later strengthened by Protocol II, which extends protection to victims of rape, enforced prostitution or indecent assault during conflict. Broadly, four kinds of rape can be identified in conflict. Genocidal rape, as in Rwanda and the Balkans, seeks to destroy an ethnic or political group perceived as being the enemy. Political rape punishes individuals, families or communities who hold different political views. Opportunistic rape takes place when combatants run amok, assured of impunity in a lawless context. Forced concubinage involves the conscription or kidnapping of young girls to wash, cook, porter and have sex with soldiers and militiamen. The Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association estimated that some 1,000 women were held in militia camps in 2002. The last three forms of rape are found in Zimbabwe, said Reeler. Tina Sideris, a South African researcher and activist on gender-based violence, noted the general invisibility of sexual abuse of women during conflicts in Southern Africa. Rape and forced concubinage were frequent during the long-running civil wars in Mozambique and Angola, but ignored in South African media and political circles, she said. Even in South Africa, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission "didn't deal with rape as a gross human rights abuse. Women were raped in detention and in guerrilla bases, raped by the enemy and by comrades," she noted. The TRC devoted a great deal of time to the murder and torture of freedom fighters, but only one day to listen to abused women. "Awareness of the gender dimension in human rights abuses is missing," said Meintes. In conflicts throughout the world, sexual violence is routinely directed at females as a conscious strategy, although commanders and politicians may dismiss it as isolated incidents by rogue soldiers. "Rape in conflict is a weapon to terrorize and degrade a particular community and to achieve a specific political end," said a Human Rights Watch report. "The rape of one person is translated into an assault upon the community through the emphasis placed in every culture on women's sexual virtue. The shame of the rape humiliates the family and all those associated with the survivor." "I act, I feel differently from the other girls," Sarudzai said in the documentary. "I am not a virgin any more. It happened against my will. Maybe I have HIV. I wish I'd die. Then I'd feel no pain." Sideris points out that post-conflict programmes don't deal adequately with gender violence. One reason is underreporting. Out of shame, economic vulnerability and powerlessness, women keep quiet about sexual abuse. In Zimbabwe, "the most vulnerable, the poorest, uneducated, unemployed rural women like Sarudzai ... are abused, which makes it all the more sinister," said Reeler. "We have a responsibility to speak out against human rights abuses and the time has come to do so," concluded Meintes.

NYT April 15, 2003 Mugabe's Recruits Flee Brutal Zimbabwean Past By GINGER THOMPSON JOHANNESBURG, April 10 — It's neither the week they spent in jail nor the nights on the streets that most torment the dozen or so young Zimbabweans standing like scared deer in a park at the center of the city. Their nightmares, they said, come from the demons inside. They look like common vagabonds, dressed in ripped T-shirts and shoes with no laces. But since they abandoned their homeland last December, they said, they have lived like hunted prey: on the run from their government, harassed by the South African police and despised as traitors by Zimbabwean immigrants here. The young men, who range in age from 18 to 22, explained that they are runaways from Zimbabwe's National Youth Service, whose graduates are known and feared as the "green bombers," a nickname that comes from the group's military-style uniforms and capacity for devastation. Human rights groups and Western diplomats accuse President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe of turning the recruits into violent thugs and unleashing them on political opponents. President Mugabe, who has governed since the end of white rule in 1980, dismisses the accusations. He has said that he established the youth league three years ago as a kind of poor boys' Peace Corps, enlisting his country's sizable 18-and-under population for desperately needed community service projects. In an interview today, Makhosi Ngusanya, 19, said he answered President Mugabe's call to service when his teachers filled his head with visions of a noble way out of poverty. "They told us that if we became good green bombers then they would make us soldiers and give us land," Mr. Ngusanya said. "But they didn't give us anything. And all they taught us was to kill. "For me it got too bad," he added. "There was too much beating — old people, young people, our own aunts and uncles. I had to run away." Allegations of escalating abuses by the green bombers — whose numbers are estimated at 10,000 by human rights investigators — have led Western leaders and human rights groups to criticize the Mugabe government. But for President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, political analysts said, the arrival here of a small band of green bomber defectors compounds a complex foreign policy problem. President Mbeki has so far clung to a policy of quiet diplomacy in Zimbabwe, issuing statements of concern that have the effect of playing down allegations of government abuses. Meanwhile, mounting evidence of a brutal Zimbabwean reality pervades South African society, turning up pressure on President Mbeki to take a tougher stand. Human rights groups report a violent crackdown by President Mugabe against the opposition that forced nearly 1,000 people to flee their homes. An opposition representative in the Zimbabwean Parliament arrives in Johannesburg showing reporters how he was tortured by Zimbabwean security agents with electric shock. Three Zimbabwean women who had participated in a rally here against President Mugabe report they were later raped by Zimbabwean agents operating in South Africa. A popular Zimbabwean cricket player flees to South Africa saying he received numerous death threats after wearing a black armband — a symbol of mourning for what he considered the death of democracy in his homeland. At the University of the Witwatersrand last week, researchers held the premier of a documentary called, "In a Dark Time," about sexual attacks by the green bombers against women and girls linked to government opposition groups. "We need to break the silence of academia and human rights institutions in South Africa about what is happening in our neighborhood," said Dr. Sheila Meintes, a member of South Africa's Commission on Gender Equality. Now, young men like Henry Nyathi, trained in Zimbabwe's youth service camps, have begun talking publicly in Johannesburg about the cruelties they committed in Mr. Mugabe's name. In Zimbabwe, where an estimated seven million people go hungry, Mr. Nyathi described how he chased men away from food lines if they were not card-carrying members of the governing political party. "If the people refused to leave the lines," he said, "we beat them." John Luscious, 22, said he recalled setting fire to the homes of those who opposed the president. He said he ransacked white-owned farms, beat white farmers and stood by laughing as his superiors raped women. Buthelezi Moyo, 18, said he and 11 other green bombers beat a 21-year-old woman with a sjambok, a stiff whip. He decided to run away, he said, when he realized that everyone, even his own mother, despised him. "She did not want to see me anymore," he said. Jethro Goko, the deputy editor of a leading South African newspaper and a native of Zimbabwe, said reports of such abuses had not been lost on the Mbeki government, the second black government since the end of white rule in 1994. However, he said the issue, like most in South African politics, has become clouded by race. It starts, he said, with a reluctance to turn against another black government, one that helped free South Africa from white minority rule. Mr. Goko noted that demands within South Africa for more aggressive pressure — including economic sanctions — had come mostly from sectors that are dominated by whites. Among them, Mr. Goko said, are the same white business leaders and white political parties that urged South Africa's black leaders to refrain from sanctions against the former white regime. Political experts said President Mugabe had successfully portrayed the opponents as tools of Western governments. Other political experts, including Princeton Lyman, a former United States ambassador to South Africa, suggest that Mr. Mbeki's political influence over President Mugabe is limited. Mr. Mugabe was once one of Zimbabwe's fiercest freedom fighters. President Mbeki, on the other hand, lived in exile during his country's fight against white rule. That difference, Mr. Lyman said, continues to hold great weight in both societies. Still, he and other political experts pointed out, as the leader of one of Africa's strongest democratic economies, President Mbeki could exert a different, and perhaps more effective, kind of pressure. Moses Mzila Ndlovu, a high-level official in Zimbabwe's leading opposition party, has charged that South Africa helps prop up the Mugabe government by allowing Zimbabwe to defer payments of millions of dollars in debt for electricity, fuel, telephone service and food. "President Mugabe is taking that money and using it to build structures of repression," said Mr. Ndlovu, who arrived in Johannesburg on Wednesday and plans to seek temporary asylum because of recent arrests in Zimbabwe of opposition leaders. "The South African government has to come clean on this. They cannot continue to hide their support for a repressive regime behind arguments of African solidarity."



NYT 22 Apr 2003 ARGENTINE IS ELECTED TO NEW COURT By Joya Rajadhyaksha. Luis Moreno Ocampo, an Argentine lawyer, was elected the first chief prosecutor of the new permanent war crimes court in The Hague. His election was by nations that had ratified the international treaty creating the court. Mr. Ocampo, who has taught at Harvard University's law school, led investigations against his country's military junta. Despite a decision by the United States to shun the global court, it is expected to begin hearing cases of war crimes and genocide by next year.

BBC 28 Apr 2003 Analysis: Past haunts Argentina vote By Peter Greste BBC correspondent in Buenos Aires The outgoing president backs one candidate and served under another It seems Argentines can't shake off the past. With polls now closed across the country, supporters have been celebrating in Santa Cruz, the home town of the provincial governor Nestor Kirshner, and in La Rioja, where Carlos Menem ruled for almost a decade also as governor. The two men are neck-and-neck in early results, and look set to go through to a second round run-off. But much of the rest of the country is watching this process with grim resignation. The polling process its self passed off relatively smoothly, but time and again deeply disenchanted Argentines appeared at the ballot booths only to go through the motions of voting. "I'm doing this because we have a democracy and it's my duty," one voter said in the upscale Buenos Aires suburb of Belgrano. "We have to do this if we don't want to go back to the dictatorship. But I don't think this is going to change anything." 'No new ideas' Her view was typical, and it seems relatively universal. For many voters, the choices are all too familiar Another pensioner from the other end of the economic scale complained that he only just managed to scrape by, and that he too was voting only because he had to. "I am here because its obligatory. But the candidates are all the same. Nobody has any new ideas, and we will continue to suffer as before," he said. With more than 60% of the country now living below the poverty line, and many more just on the border line, millions of Argentines are hoping for something better. The economic crisis has stripped the peso of two-thirds of its value, and for over a year locked up people's savings in frozen bank accounts. With so much suffering, memories of Carlos Menem's last term in office, from 1989 to 1999, still resonate strongly. He accepted the IMF's prescription, opened up markets, sold off state assets, and watched foreign investment flow in. Economists acknowledge that it spurred short-term wealth, but they also say it sowed the seeds for the current crisis. Even so, Carlos Menem is now presenting himself as the only man capable of restoring the prosperity of the 90s boom. "Back to the future" is his campaign slogan. Pair of Peronists The other candidate almost certain to make it through - Nestor Kirshner - is responding with his own slogan: "Not one step back". Menem could return to the presidency He's been working hard to emphasise the difference between himself and Mr Menem. When he went to vote in Santa Cruz, he told cheering supporters that they now faced a choice between the old, bad habits of the past, and a clean, fresh future. But he is from the same Peronist Party as Carlos Menem, and the hand-picked choice of the outgoing President Eduardo Duhalde. Mr Duhalde once served as deputy president under Carlos Menem. "I am fed up with them all," complained yet another voter. "But I guess this is our own fault. We are a democracy, after all, she said as she entered the polling booth. We have only ourselves to blame for this choice."


CBC Ottawa Mar 19 2003 Ottawa Kurds remember Iraqi atrocity Ottawa - As war looms in Iraq, Kurds around the world are gathering to remember one of Saddam Hussein's worst atrocities. Kurdish families leave Irbil, in Northern Iraq, fleeing for fear of attack by Saddam Hussein's forces (AP PHOTO/ Husan Sarbakhshian) Fifteen years ago, the Kurdish town of Halabja was the target of a chemical attack by Iraqi government forces. An estimated 5,000 people died. Kurds living in Ottawa fear it could happen again. They gathered Tuesday night to remember, and to vow never to forget. Zafer Kayik, who helped organize the event, said, "It is a very sad day, and it's something that we as the youth, or the future of the Kurdish community, have to keep with us, or remember." These days, the reminders are constant. Kurdish refugees are fleeing the unofficial border between Kurdistan and Iraq, and Saddam Hussein has just promoted Ali Hassan al-Majid, who was nicknamed "Chemical Ali," because of his role in the chemical attack on Halabja. Abdul-Rahman Mawlood says no one wants another war, but, he says, Saddam Hussein must go. "We want to get rid of this guy as soon as possible, by all means. At the same time, we wish it was in a peaceful way." Whether the following days and weeks bring peace or war, Kurds everywhere will be watching, and praying that what happened in Halabja never happens again.

Canadian Press 9 Apr 2003 World's best wanted to design museum WINNIPEG - Architects from around the world will be invited to compete for the chance to design a human rights museum that is the brainchild of Winnipeg's Asper family. "They want a very outstanding building, a landmark place," said Bill Norrie, chairman of the Forks North Portage Partnership, which manages the area where the museum will be built. So far, the project has a tentative price tag of $150 million, but that figure could climb to $200 million, he said. Financing is still being discussed, but the Asper Foundation is prepared to put $50 million into the museum. The federal government will initially contribute $27 million, the province will contribute 10 per cent of the total costs, while the city is offering land, infrastructure and tax relief worth $20 million. Additional money will be raised by the Aspers through a fundraising drive. Negotiations are ongoing with the federal government for operating capital and recognition of the museum as a national institution, similar to the Museum of Civilization in Ottawa, said Norrie. Heritage Minister Sheila Copps and the Asper family will unveil more details about the project at a news conference April 17. However, the project has already been scrutinized by a multicultural coalition called Canadians for a Genocide Museum, which fears it may treat some victim groups as more worthy of attention than others. Coalition spokesman John Gregorovich said he is worried the museum will give "disproportional display space" on certain human rights abuses, while downplaying others. But those concerns are premature, said Moe Levy, executive director of the Asper Foundation, adding they've consulted with 10 national ethnic groups, including Ukrainians and aboriginals, to ensure the museum is properly organized. "We had universal support from all of them," Levy said. "We are not prioritizing human rights abuses." Skeptics should wait for the announcement, he said. Then they can judge the merits of the museum. © Copyright 2003 CanWest News Service

National Post CA 9 Apr 2003 Surely genocide is reason enough Lewis MacKenzie National Post Wednesday, April 09, 2003 I spent the majority of my life beside tens of thousands of fellow Canadian Forces personnel, serving the nation and actively supporting its values at home and abroad. As a direct result, I rejoice in our freedom of speech that encourages demonstrations and debates -- pro and con --throughout the land, including Parliament, regarding the current war in Iraq. Mind you, surely there is a rule somewhere that requires research somewhat proportional to the seriousness of the issue before one marches in protest or support of that issue. I would suggest that the same rule should apply to political leaders when they attempt to justify their decisions. Attacking our government's decision to surrender our sovereignty in favour of a dysfunctional United Nation's Security Council is to beat a dead horse. Much has been written on the subject and the case has been persuasively made that Canada successfully hid behind the skirts of the UN regarding Iraq. This, the same UN that gave us "safe havens" in Bosnia, a humiliating defeat in Somalia, the slaughter in Rwanda and UN missions requiring rescue in East Timor and Sierra Leone -- to name but a few failures since the end of the Cold War. Nevertheless, I cannot comprehend how our government can formally demand that Saddam Hussein should be indicted on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity once the war is over, and in the same breath try to justify not taking part in the very action designed to remove him from power and bring him to trial. Forget links with terrorism and destroying weapons of mass destruction. Genocide trumps them both -- doesn't it? The Canadian government, by introducing the term "genocide" into the vocabulary describing the current Iraqi regime and its leader, Saddam Hussein, stands in stark contrast with its decision to not participate in the war to remove him. Canada ratified the UN's 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide yet, for all intents and purposes, it has ignored Saddam's blatant genocide activities and has decided to let other nations shed their blood to bring him to justice. All of this must be compared to Canada's decision to intervene with deadly force against a sovereign nation during another war, citing ethnic cleansing as the justification. In 1999, when Serbian security forces responded to attacks from the Kosovo Liberation Army by pushing a good number of Kosovo Albanians over the border into Macedonia and Albania, NATO intervened with Canada as a willing participant. Initially, the term genocide was erroneously used to describe what was happening in Kosovo. This was a gross insult to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust. The Jews who were rounded up by the Nazis during the Second World War and forced onto trains were not dropped off at the nearest border and kicked out of the country. As despicable as ethnic cleansing is, it is certainly not genocide. The UN itself has assisted in ethnic cleansing a number of times when it was the best of a bunch of bad options. Following the Turkish intervention in Cyprus in 1974, the UN assisted in relocating Greek Cypriots to the South of the Island and Turkish Cypriots to the North. In the Former Yugoslavia, we in UNPROFOR facilitated the movement of people in all three communities, Muslim, Croat and Serb, when to deny them such protection would have guaranteed their death. In a similar vein, the peace marchers constantly advertise the tragedy of civilian casualties as justification for not proceeding with the war. One has to ask where were these folks when Saddam's regime was torturing and brutally murdering 250,000 of its citizens during the past 15 years. I won't jump on the "gassing his own people" bandwagon as there is considerable doubt regarding the accuracy of the charge. There is no doubt that the Kurds were gassed and killed in atrocious numbers, but some CIA reports indicate the perpetrator was Iran. But considering the tonnage of bombs dropped to date, the Iraqi civilian casualty toll (one is too many) has been modest to the extreme compared to Saddam's record. Surely the litmus test for Canada's foreign policy should be -- does it pass the "do the right thing" test? Bombing the hell out of Serbia in a futile attempt to stop ethnic cleansing -- the revisionists are now saying the bombing was designed to remove president Slobodan Milosevic, something that happened much later and had nothing to do with the bombing -- while avoiding anything but words to try and stop a dictator that has used genocide as a convenient and favourite tool, fails the "right thing" test in my mind. Who can argue with "war is bad and peace is good" and all the myriad of variations on the same theme? The questions the anti-war protesters and our political leaders have to answer is: Who would have spoken for Saddam's next 250,000 victims? Who would have stopped the genocide? Maj-Gen. Lewis MacKenzie, now retired, commanded UN troops during the Bosnian civil war of 1992.


BBC 21 Apr 2003 Colombia's holiday violence surges By Jeremy McDermott BBC correspondent in Medellin, Colombia Police have been unable to protect ordinary Colombians Security forces have been unable to contain rebel attacks despite a promise guaranteeing the safety of Colombians to travel and enjoy the Holy Week holiday. Fifteen people were kidnapped on Sunday, a town was placed under siege and heavy fighting was continuing with Marxist rebels, leaving at least 22 dead, mostly guerrillas. General Jorge Enrique Mora, the commander of the armed forces, assured Colombians they had nothing to fear and encouraged them to travel during the Holy Week holiday. Tens of thousands of people took him at his word. But he has been unable to keep his promise. Pitched battles Of the 15 people kidnapped by suspected Marxist guerrillas, eight were taken from an island just off the coast in the Caribbean where they were enjoying a long weekend. Seven more were taken as they drove home in the northern province of La Guajira. The town of Dolores, in the central province of Polima, which suffered a rebel attack on Good Friday when guerrillas opened fire on a religious procession, is still under siege and the security forces have been unable to break through. In the northern province of Antioquia, there are pitched battles between guerrillas and the security forces. The assurance by the army that it could protect Colombians during the holiday was taken as a challenge by the country's 20,000 rebels, and they responded by launching operations across the country. The guerrilla aim is simple - to show Colombians that the promises of hardline President Alvaro Uribe to crush the insurgency and restore order is a pipe-dream. And they aim to show the government, which broke off peace talks in February last year, must be forced to sit down again at the negotiating table on terms set out by the rebels.


Miami Herald 12 Apr 2003 Quick trial, firing squad for three men provoke fury BY ALFONSO CHARDY achardy@herald.com Three men who hijacked a passenger ferry and attempted to steer it to Florida last week were executed by firing squad at dawn Friday after summary trials, infuriating the U.S. government, international human rights organizations and Cuban Americans in Miami. The men were charged with ''very grave acts of terrorism'' and sentenced at trials Tuesday, according to an official statement read on Cuban state television. The men appealed -- but the sentences were swiftly upheld by Cuba's Supreme Tribunal and ruling Council of State and carried out shortly thereafter, the statement said. No one was hurt in the hijacking, ultimately foiled by the Cuban authorities, for which the three men were executed. The three were identified as Lorenzo Enrique Copello Castillo, Bárbaro Leodán Sevilla García and Jorge Luis Martínez Isaac. In Miami, Yordani Montoya, 27, half sister of Martínez Isaac, blasted the Castro regime. ''This was an injustice,'' she said. `No one was killed or injured in the hijacking. If he had gotten a prison term, that would have been OK. . . . From Fidel Castro, you can expect anything.'' In Havana, police reportedly were sent to cordon off the neighborhood where Sevilla García's mother lives, after witnesses said some neighbors went into the streets crying and shouting against the government. Though more than a dozen people have been executed in Cuba since 1994, Friday's executions were the first of Cubans charged with terrorism-related offenses in more than a decade. An exile from Miami, Eduardo Díaz Betancourt, was executed in January 1992 after being found guilty of terrorism, sabotage and enemy propaganda following his arrest while on a mission to infiltrate Cuba. ''These were almost certainly cases in which the defendants were not given due process and, given that Cuba hadn't carried out death sentences in two years, a highlydisturbing development,'' read a statement issued by the U.S. branch of Amnesty International. Friday's executions came as a shock, but seemed part of a deliberate hardening of Cuban government attitudes against any act of political dissent. They were the capstone to weeks of heightened political tension on the island, highlighted by scores of arrests of dissidents, stiff sentences against some of those opponents and a string of successful and attempted hijackings. Seventy-five dissidents were sentenced this week to terms ranging from six to 28 years on charges of receiving money from, and collaborating with, U.S. officials to undermine the Cuban government. Senior Cuban officials have said the crackdown was necessary to protect national security against opponents bent on undermining the island's communist system at the behest of the United States. Cuba's Catholic bishops issued a statement deploring the executions and the crackdown on dissidents. ''No one has the right to put in danger the lives of other people, like the hijackers did, but in the same manner, no one can decide that death must be inflicted on others as a remedy,'' the statement said in part. The Bush administration reacted quickly, calling the executions a reflection of totalitarianism. ''We are concerned that these executions may have been a result of summary proceedings,'' said Lou Fintor, a State Department spokesman. ``Summary proceedings are a hallmark of totalitarian dictatorships like Cuba. Due process allows an appropiate judicial process to carefully identify and punish serious crimes like hijacking and guard against manufactured charges based on political agendas as was done with the opposition groups.'' South Florida's Cuban-American Republicans in Congress also condemned the executions. ''They were sentenced in kangaroo courts, tried for trying to flee Cuba and within hours shot to death,'' said Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. ''Castro's oppression constitutes a form of terrorism that cannot continue to be allowed to exist by the international community,'' said Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart. In Miami, Cuban exile leaders were furious. Joe Garcia, executive director of the Cuban American National Foundation, summed up the sentiment: ''They have murdered these poor people,'' he said. ``The summary trial and an execution without due process is murder, and the U.S government should indict Fidel Castro and his brother Raúl Castro and all the other thugs that govern that island.'' In Key West, a U.S. Coast Guard spokesman said the service was on alert for any unusual activity in the Florida Straits arising from the executions. In times of tension in Cuba, South Florida officials worry about uncontrollable refugee boatlifts. Criticism also came from a few other countries -- but, by and large, foreign governments were silent. For example, Spanish Vice President Mariano Rajoy said the executions prove Castro ''is a tyrant,'' but Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez -- a Castro friend -- refused comment, saying he did not wish to interfere in Cuban affairs. Some Cuban experts said the executions and the dissident crackdown marked the start of a period of harshness in the island. Jaime Suchlicki, director of the Institute for Cuba and Cuban American Studies at the University of Miami, said Castro is trying to eliminate the opposition to solidify the Cuban Communist Party before retiring. ''The crackdown has to do with a plan by Castro of ending the opposition to pave the way for his brother and succession in Cuba,'' Suchlicki said. Castro has repeatedly said his brother Raúl, the defense minister, will be his successor. Besides those executed, another four men received life sentences: Maikel Delgado Aramburo, Yoanny Thomas González, Harold Alcalá Aramburo and Ramón Henry Grillo. Also sentenced in the same case were Wilmer Ledea Pérez, who received a 30-year term; Ana Rosa Ledea Ríos, five years; Yolanda Pando Rizo, three years; and Dania Rojas Gongora, two years. The group, reportedly armed with at least one pistol and several knives, seized the Baragua and its 50 passengers in Havana Bay April 2 and ordered the captain to sail north toward Florida. Later that day, the 45-foot ferry ran out of fuel in the Florida Straits. Officers on two Cuban Coast Guard patrol boats that chased the boat tried to persuade the hijackers to return to the island. The hijackers allegedly threatened to throw passengers from the boxy, flat-bottomed boat overboard but soon agreed to let the ferry be towed 30 miles back to Cuba's Mariel port for refueling. After the boat docked April 3 in Mariel, west of Havana, Cuban authorities gained control of the ferry and arrested the suspects. The arrests came after a French woman hostage jumped into the water to confuse her captors. The standoff ended with all the hostages, then the suspects, jumping into the water. The Baragua was hijacked a day after a Cuban passenger plane was hijacked to Key West by a man who allegedly threatened to blow up the aircraft with two grenades. The grenades turned out to be fake. Another Cuban plane was hijacked to Key West less than two weeks earlier. Cuba blames the hijackings on what it says is a lax attitude by American authorities toward Cuban hijackers who reach American shores. Hijackers who reached U.S. soil are now in U.S. custody, and U.S. officials deny they are being treated leniently. U.S. Attorney Marcos Jiménez in Miami has said Castro is ''wrong'' to say his office will treat the seven charged hijackers as ''heroes,'' noting they could face at least 20 years in prison for forcing the planes to Key West. Yet, U.S. District Judge James Lawrence King on Thursday agreed with a Key West magistrate that six of the hijackers could be released on bail because they pose no danger to the community or risk of flight. Immigration officials, however, say that even if the defendants are ordered released on bail, they would still remain in detention because of immigration violations. Herald staff writers Luisa Yanez and Jennifer Babson contributed to this report, which was supplemented by material from The Associated Press.

AI 14 Apr 2003 Cuba Executions Mark an Unjustifiable Erosion in Human Rights AI Index: AMR 25/014/2003 Publish date: 14 April 2003 In yet another blow to respect for human rights, Cuban authorities have ended a three-year de facto moratorium on executions by sending three men to their deaths before an official firing squad, said Amnesty International today. More on this Web site: The Death Penalty "Coming on the heels of the mass arrest and summary trials of at least 75 Cuban dissidents -- most of whom received shockingly lengthy prison terms ranging up to 28 years -- these executions mark a serious erosion in Cuba's human rights record." "The executions are extremely worrying as a human rights development, not only because they signal the end of Cuba's widely-heralded de facto moratorium on executions," continued Amnesty International. "What is equally of concern is that the men were given a summary trial, and their appeals to the supreme court and the Council of State were dealt with in a cursory and wholly inadequate manner. They were shot and killed less than a week after their trial began." The three men, Lorenzo Enrique Copello Castillo, Bárbaro Leodán Sevilla García and Jorge Luis Martínez Isaac, were among a group who reportedly hijacked a Cuban ferry with several dozen passengers on board on 2 April and tried to force it to the United States. The incident,the third hijacking in two weeks in Cuba, ended without bloodshed, after several days' standoff between Cuban security forces and the the hijackers. Currently there at least 50 people on death row in Cuba. Amnesty International is concerned that these people may also face imminent execution given that the moratorium has ended, and has taken action by calling on authorities to urgently commute all pending death sentences. Lorenzo Enrique Copello, Bárbaro Leodán Sevilla and Jorge Luis Martínez were convicted of terrorism under Law 93 of late 1991, which expanded existing anti-terrorism measures and reaffirmed the use of the death penalty in the most extreme cases. Another four hijackers received life sentences, while four others received shorter prison terms. In an official statement on the executions on 11 April, the Cuban government claimed that it was undergoing serious provocations and threats to its national security emanating from the United States. "There is no justification for executions, particularly following summary trials," Amnesty International responded. "Over the last four weeks, Cuba has reversed significant human rights progress made over a period of years. This represents a return to extreme repressive measures in use decades ago which cannot be justified, and which ultimately harm the Cuban people."

AP 25 Apr 2003 Criticism From Leftists Surprises Cuba by Traci Karl MEXICO CITY -- Carlos Fuentes called Cuba a "suffocating dictatorship." Jose Saramago said Fidel Castro "cheated his dreams." Shocked at Cuba's recent crackdown on dissent, many leftist intellectuals and authors find themselves criticizing a government they spent years applauding. The backlash appears to have caught Cuba off guard and forced officials to defend themselves against not only their foes -- but also their longtime friends. For years, the communist government appeared to be relaxing its tough stance toward critics. Encouraged, even Republican U.S. lawmakers were calling to lift more than four decades of U.S. imposed sanctions. But that changed earlier this month, when Cuba ordered a firing squad to execute three men accused of terrorism in the unsuccessful hijacking of a ferry full of passengers. The men were trying to get to the United States. Days before, Cuba sentenced 75 dissidents, many of them independent journalists or directors of independent libraries, to prison terms of up to 28 years. Cuba accused them of working with U.S. diplomats to undermine Castro's government -- a charge the dissidents and the State Department have denied. The crackdown was condemned around the globe. Sweden warned the actions could harm Cuba's prospects for a better relationship with the European Union, while Canada and Italy sent letters of protest to Castro. But some of the strongest criticism came from Cuba's supporters, who have stuck by the government's 44-year rule despite complaints about its human rights record. "Must they learn the bad habits of the enemy they are fighting?" wrote Uruguayan author Eduardo Galeano, who once praised Castro as a "symbol of national dignity." "The death penalty is never justified, no matter where it is applied." Fuentes, a Mexican novelist and longtime Cuba supporter, was even more disillusioned. He lumped Bush and Castro together and declared himself against both. Castro, he said, needs "his American enemy to justify his own failings." "As a Mexican, I wish for my country neither the dictates of Washington on foreign policy, nor the Cuban example of a suffocating dictatorship," he wrote in a letter published in Mexico City's Reforma newspaper. He wasn't alone. Saramago, a Portuguese writer who won the 1998 Nobel Prize for literature and considered himself a close friend of Castro, said Cuba "has lost my confidence, damaged my hopes, cheated my dreams." Colombian Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who lives part-time in Cuba, has been silent on the issue. But his magazine, Cambio, published an article saying "few other repressive waves have left a government so isolated and rejected." The government responded by publishing rebukes in the Communist Party daily Granma. In one letter published Saturday, a group of well-known Cuban intellectuals urged their colleagues to stop criticizing the island. Entitled "Message from Havana to our friends in faraway places," the letter said the recent statements by leftist intellectuals "are being used in the great campaign trying to isolate us and prepare the stage for military aggression by the United States against Cuba." Cuba made a similar assertion about several of its Latin American allies earlier this month, calling them U.S. "lackeys" after the nations backed an amendment calling for a U.N. rights monitor to visit the island. Peru protested the comments by the Cuba's U.N. delegate, and Nicaragua recalled its envoy from Cuba for consultations. Still, Cuba has claimed some political victories recently. The 53-member U.N. Human Rights Commission rejected a tougher amendment criticizing Cuba's dissident crackdown. Maryland also is sticking with plans to send the Pride of Baltimore II clipper ship to the island to promote the state's seafood, poultry, pet food, cake mix, juices and spices. The ship is scheduled to arrive at the island on May 24. But the Bush administration, unhappy about the Cuban action, is contemplating ways to make Castro's government pay a price. It also has undercut embargo foes on Capitol Hill. Fuentes warned it will be hard for Castro to bounce back. The Cuban president, he said, is preparing "the way for his own exit from the world stage in a hail of flames."


NYT 10 Apr 2003 Government in Guatemala Is Accused of Backing Crimes By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS GUATEMALA CITY, April 9 — An alliance of social groups has accused the Guatemalan government of being behind a string of burglaries and attacks intended to intimidate human rights groups in the country. In a written statement on Tuesday, the alliance said the attacks left many in the groups terrified that they would be the targets of violence. One alliance leader said he believed the crimes were related to creation of a state commission to investigate civil rights abuses. On Monday, thieves raided the Guatemala City home of Mario Polanco, a director of the Mutual Support Group, which is for relatives of people who died or disappeared during the country's civil war, from 1960 t0 1996. That attack came hours after assailants broke into the offices of the country's human rights ombudsman in Puerto Barrios, 150 miles northeast of Guatemala City. On Friday, kidnappers abducted Diego Xon, a Mayan priest who was active in the Mutual Support Group in the largely Indian province of Quiche, in central Guatemala. Mr. Xon was well known for his condemnation of a plan to pay Guatemalan peasants who joined paramilitary forces and helped the government carry out anti-insurgency campaigns at the height of the war. About 200,000 people, mostly Mayan peasants, were killed before peace agreements ended the fighting. The statement said government officials indirectly organized these and other recent attacks and demanded that the authorities "investigate, identify and prosecute those responsible for these crimes, which together provide evidence of continuous pressure and systematic policies" against human rights groups. Alejandro Pérez, a spokesman for President Alfonso Portillo, could not be reached to comment. Gustavo Meono, director of a group founded by Rigoberta Menchú, the winner of the 1992 Nobel Peace Prize, said tge violence demonstrated "that these types of attacks are not isolated incidents, nor are they the product of common crime." Mr. Meono said the homes and offices of human rights activists are often raided by thieves who "come for information and take files and computer hard drives." He added, "These kinds of attacks happen over and over again." Mr. Meono said criminals associated with the government launched new attacks because a state commission had been created to investigate illegal groups and clandestine networks that violate human rights.


AFP 5 Apr 2003 Massacre Charged in Honduran Prison Riot By Noé Leiva TEGUCIGALPA - Family members of some of the 69 prisoners who died Saturday in a riot at a prison farm near La Ceiba accused police of massacring the victims, charging that some of the injured were killed by authorities and that others survived by pretending to be dead. According to witnesses quoted in the local media, the riot began mid-morning Saturday when members of the "Mara 18" youth gang killed one non-gang member prisoner to protest penal authorities' punishments of prison gang members. Gang members had been confined to two small cells because in a surprise inspection two days earlier, guards found 47 knives and four machetes. The initial killing led to guards firing at the machete-wielding gang members, who responded with a charge at the guards and allegedly with some revolver fire as well. Authorities said they did not know how the weapons got into the prison. BODIES of inmates prepared following riot: investigation ordered. AFP Photo During the nearly one hour of confusion, some gang members set fire to their bunks, killing more than 20 prisoners through smoke inhalation. President Ricardo Maduro, who was elected on a platform of cracking down on gang-related crime, visited the El Porvenir prison farm 400 kms. north of the capital near the Caribbean coast on Saturday afternoon and ordered an investigation of the incident. He also ordered reinforcing security at the country's other 23 prisons. "Some of the prisoners were still alive but the police came and killed them, others saved themselves because they feigned being among the dead," Ana Machado, mother of 24-year-old Juan Carlos Machado who died in the riot, told the local media. Authorities say 61 of the dead belonged to Mara 18, five others were prisoners, and three were women visiting that day, one accompanied by a child. Another 20 people were injured. "At least 40 died from shots fired from (automatic) Galils," Leonel Sinclair, the father of one prisoner, said. Attorney General Roy Medina said responsibility for the deaths lies at least by "omission" with authorities "because they did not prevent this tragedy and did not take the proper actions at the proper time." Vice-Minister of the Interior Armando Calidonio announced the head of the prison, Dany Rodríguez, had been suspended after "preliminary data" showed he allowed the weapons to get to the gang members. Suspicions that authorities participated in a massacre are fed by claims by claims from international human-rights organizations such as Casa Alianza that Honduran authorities abuse and kill gang members as part of a policy of "social cleansing." Casa Alianza has not commented on the riot.


Rights Action 6 Apr 2003 PERU: THE STRUGGLE FOR TRUTH AND JUSTICE The Government of Peru is imposing barriers against the principle forensic anthropology team (Equipo Peruano de Antropología Forense - EPAF) that is exhuming mass graves and exposing crimes against humanity related to this South American country’s internal armed conflict (starting in 1980 and commonly regarded as ending in 2000).DIGGING UP THE TRUTH IN PERU After years of conducting exhumations (digging up mass graves) in Argentina, Ethiopia, Rwanda, the Congo, and the former Yugoslavia, several Peruvian forensic anthropologists returned to Peru in 2001 to form the Peruvian Forensic Anthropology Team (Equipo Peruano de Antropología Forense - EPAF). With experience working in post-conflict societies across the globe, and with knowledge of the conflict in their own country, Peru desperately needs their professional expertise. Experience in other post-conflict societies has shown that the location and exhumation of clandestine graves in post-conflict societies greatly depends on the political climate. Peru is no different. While the historic impunity of State, paramilitary, clandestine, and select rebel actors continues in today’s Peru, most surviving victims of the political violence that devastated this country in the 1980s and 1990s are hesitant to denounce clandestine graves. According to an official and public report by Peru’s Ombudsman’s Office for Human Rights (Defensoría del Pueblo), the vast majority of forced disappearances occurred during the presidential term of Alan Garcia (1985-1990). IMPUNITY AND THE ON-GOING PRESENCE OF THE ACTORS IN THE INTERNAL ARMED CONFLICT Unfortunately for the victims and survivors of the political violence, the actors in the conflict remain present in their daily life. Garcia’s APRA political party continues as a powerful force in Peruvian politics. Although most surviving members of the two armed rebel movements involved in the internal armed conflict are still imprisoned, only a handful of officials of the Peruvian Armed Forces and other security forces have been detained, much less prosecuted. A faction of one of the armed rebel groups, the Shining Path, purportedly continues active in the Eastern jungle zones. Peru, like many post-conflict societies in the region, has established a truth commission to investigate and report on the internal armed conflict. As part of its labors, scheduled to end in July 2003, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (Comisión de la Verdad y Reconciliación - CVR) sponsored three exhumations. Two were of State massacres (Chuschi and Totos); the other was a massacre committed by the Shining Path (Luccanamarca). At the Luccanamarca inhumation (re-burial) of the exhumed remains, President Toledo oddly asked for forgiveness for this crime. Critics viewed this as a State attempt to wash its hands of its direct responsibility in the conflict’s political violence. Since February 2001, EPAF and its members have performed five of the seven official exhumations of clandestine graves in Peru. The EPAF also has sponsored forums, workshops, and conferences to educate society, including State institutions like the Ombudsman’s Office for Human Rights and the Public Prosecutor’s Office (Ministerio Público), as well as rural inhabitants, about the need for exhumations, including explaining the forensic science involved. Permitting the positive identification of victims of the repression, forensic science also allows the collection of evidence for future judicial prosecution of the responsible institutions and individuals. Despite EPAF’s important work, overzealous and/ or politically manipulated persons in rural areas continue to independently exhume clandestine graves and destroy vital legal evidence. Due to the democratic facade that existed during Peru’s twenty-year internal armed conflict, little international attention was given to the political violence. Outside the populations and regions directly affected by the political violence, most Peruvians even ignored the brutal violence that occurred in the remote Andean regions and jungle zones. THE HUMAN TOLL Current assessments of the political violence estimate that at least 45,000 people during the twenty-year conflict were killed and disappeared, many of whom are now located in clandestine graves throughout the country. Although the conflict between State forces and two distinct armed insurgent groups affected everyone in society, rural campesinos and indigenous inhabitants of the Andean mountain region and the jungle zones were particular targets during the political violence. EPAF estimates that there are at least 400 unmarked mass graves in Peru; approximately 150 of these are located in the Northwestern region of Ayacucho, the Andean province where the political violence began and decimated the primarily monolingual, illiterate Quechua people. However, EPAF vice-president Juan Carlos Tello states that the figure of 400 is low, since grassroots organizations in Peru’s isolated eastern jungles assert the existence of at least 200 mass graves in the jungle region alone. Initially working closely with Truth and Reconciliation Commission (CVR), the EPAF withdrew from these labors after the Public Prosecutor’s Office thwarted their efforts. In a clear contradiction of established international standards in post-conflict societies, a branch of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, the Institute for Legal Medicine, claimed legal, political, and scientific authority over all exhumations in Peru. Beyond lacking the professional rigor necessary for scientific exhumations, particularly necessary for future judicial processes, international human rights standards outline that State institutions cannot be involved in the investigation of human rights violations in which they are potentially involved. Although Peruvian Attorney General Nelly Calderón Navarro attended a February 2003 conference sponsored by the International Committee of the Red Cross (CICR) which reiterated that States implicated in human rights violations must name independent investigative teams to guarantee objectivity, transparency and impartiality, the Peruvian State continues to ignore international human rights standards. The Public Prosecutor’s Office in March 2003 announced a “massive exhumation plan.” Beyond the lack of technical capacity and partiality of this State institution, this plan includes absurdities like the reburial of non-identified remains in contradiction of all internationally-accepted standards in exhumations. Unlike other post-conflict societies, where surviving family and/ or community members solicit exhumations, collectively receive the remains, and rebury them according to their particular cultural and religious practices, the Peruvian State has ignored the psychosocial needs of the affected communities in this plan to exhume now and explain later. Additionally, the State’s action and plan appear an attempt to discourage legal prosecution of the individuals and institutions responsible for these crimes. This report was prepared by Marie J. Manrique, a Rights Action staff member who spent March 2003 in Peru.www.rightsaction.org

United States (see also China, Iraq )

NYT 31 Mar 2003 Police Arrest Man in Slayings of 4 Shopkeepers By ROBERT F. WORTH The police have arrested a Brooklyn man who they believe has shot and killed four shopkeepers without provocation in Brooklyn and Queens since early last month, Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly announced last night. The suspect, Larme Price, 30, confessed on Saturday to the four slayings, which terrorized residents and small-business owners and had been described as the work of a serial killer, the police said. Mr. Price said he was motivated by a desire to kill people of Middle Eastern descent after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Mr. Kelly said at a news conference at police headquarters. Only one of the four victims, all foreign-born men, was from the Middle East, but Mr. Price was apparently under the impression that they all were, Mr. Kelly said. Mr. Price, the police say, shot the four victims in the head, usually without demanding money. He will be prosecuted first by the district attorney's office in Brooklyn, where three of the killings took place, Mr. Kelly said. A law enforcement official said charges would include multiple counts of first-degree murder, a crime that could be punishable by death. He will also face two counts of attempted murder, Mr. Kelly said. Mr. Price drew attention to himself when he walked into the 77th Precinct station house on Friday night and offered to help the police find the killer, Mr. Kelly said. Mr. Price told investigators the killer went by the nickname "Dog" and "appeared eager to help the investigation," Mr. Kelly noted. The investigators quickly became suspicious of Mr. Price, whose walk and appearance, they say, resembled that of the killer. They did not have enough evidence to detain him. But the next day, speaking to investigators on a cellphone, Mr. Price broke down and confessed to the killings, Mr. Kelly said. Mr. Price said he was confessing because he had been reading the Bible, particularly the commandment "Thou shalt not kill," Mr. Kelly said, and because he was concerned about his two daughters. The police said Mr. Price did not appear to have been involved in a fifth fatal shooting that took place at an auto parts store in East New York, Brooklyn, on March 1. Members of the task force assigned to the case had believed that killing was carried out by the same man. Mr. Price told the police that he killed one of his victims, a Russian-born man who worked at an all-night coin laundry in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, because Mr. Price felt disrespected when the man told him he could not sit in the store unless he was doing laundry there, Mr. Kelly said. Asked about Mr. Price's statement that he wanted to kill people of Middle Eastern descent, Mr. Kelly said, "I believe it fits the definition of a bias crime." But Mr. Price's mother, Leatha Price, said yesterday that her son's anger at Middle Easterners was a matter of mental illness, not ethnic hatred. Speaking at the door of her apartment in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, Ms. Price said her son had a history of drug abuse and mental health problems, and that as recently as three weeks ago she had tried unsuccessfully to have him admitted to Woodhull Hospital in Brooklyn because he appeared to be mentally unbalanced. She said her son ranted wildly, claiming that the Central Intelligence Agency was after him and that the hospital had put a tracking device in his hand. After the Sept. 11 attacks, "he walked around scared all the time, he couldn't sit still," Ms. Price said. At one point he said, "I'm going to join the war," she added. After the most recent trip to the hospital, he was scared to come out of the car, saying, " `They're following me, Ma, they're following me,' " she said. "We kept trying to get help for him, but they kept letting him go," Ms. Price said. The police are investigating the possibility that Mr. Price is mentally ill, Mr. Kelly said. The police have also detained a man who was with Mr. Price during the first killing, at a food market in Ozone Park, Queens, on Feb. 8, Mr. Kelly said. That man, whose name was not released, is being considered a witness. Mr. Price was alone during all the other shootings. In addition to Mr. Price's confession, there is ample evidence linking Mr. Price to all four killings, Mr. Kelly said. Investigators have recovered the 9-millimeter Intertech handgun that they say was used in the most recent killing, on March 20, at the Stop I Food Market in Crown Heights. They said they had also found a distinctive hat, gloves and other clothing that could be seen on surveillance videotape taken at the scenes of other killings. The gun and clothing were found at the home of Mr. Price's girlfriend, who is pregnant with his child, Mr. Kelly said. She is not the mother of Mr. Price's two other children, who have different mothers, Mr. Kelly added. Mr. Price discarded the .40-caliber handgun he used in the first three killings because he was out of ammunition and knew that the police were looking for it, Mr. Kelly said. That gun has not been recovered. Mr. Price, who is unemployed, has eight prior arrests dating back to 1989, on charges including robbery, assault, burglary and criminal possession of a weapon, Mr. Kelly said. In the past, he has sold textbooks, which the police believe were stolen, on the street near the campuses of New York City colleges, Mr. Kelly said. Mr. Price lives at 1225 Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights, Mr. Kelly said. The building is less than a block from the Stop I Food Market, where a Yemeni immigrant was shot and killed on March 20. Several residents in the building said yesterday that Mr. Price had often shopped there. After that shooting, the police say, Mr. Price also shot Yakoob Aldailam, 21, an employee at the market, three times, seriously wounding him. Like many others in the neighborhood, Mr. Aldailam, who is still recovering at the Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center in Brooklyn, was relieved to hear the news that someone had confessed in the string of deadly shootings, his family said. "Before, when I went to see my nephew, he would tell me, `Hold my hand, stay with me,' " said Adel Aldailam, Mr. Aldailam's uncle, whose family owns the Stop I Food Market. "But now my nephew is very happy. He is relieved a lot. Now he is going to be O.K."

WP 2 Apr 2003 Political Statements Sprouting In D.C.'s Suburbs, Yards Become a Grass-Roots Forum About War By Mary Otto Washington Post Staff Writer Wednesday, April 2, 2003; Page A28 The crocuses and daffodils bloom in spite of the distant war. The yard signs bloom because of it. "Another Family Supporting President Bush and Our Troops," reads the star-spangled cardboard sign that Fay and Craig Woodburn placed on their broad lawn in Ellicott City as soon as the war started. Their son Chad, 40, got it from Texas, via the Internet. Fay Woodburn, leaning on her rake, compares Saddam Hussein to Hitler and is convinced of a link between Iraq and al Qaeda. But her sign is out there mostly for the troops and their families. "No matter what happens, we want our boys home safe." In the neighborhoods that surround the nation's capital, public expressions about the war are everywhere, from yellow ribbons tied around trees to the "Support Our Troops" slogan students painted on a rock outside West Potomac High School to the challenge "Blow Your Horn if Genocide is Ever Moral" emblazoned by a graffiti artist upon a Dulles Greenway overpass. But the yard signs are a genre unto themselves. Phyllis Maringer, a Silver Spring artist, speaks of the exhilaration and release she felt that Sunday morning before the war when she decided to make a statement in her own yard. "I felt like I couldn't be silent," she said. So she hung a handmade banner on her fence that runs along busy Dale Drive. In foot-tall block letters, it reads, "PEACE." Maringer said she believes the yard signs particularly in this region, as opposed to her native Midwest, reflect an awareness that local decisions affect the entire world. To neighbors, they serve as a constant reminder: "We are part of a bigger picture." For now, at least, most of them call for peace. Silver Spring doctoral student Virginia Murphy decided to get her "War Is Not the Answer" yard sign the day U.S. troops entered Iraq. "Up to that point, we only had bumper stickers. We decided we needed something bigger." Her neighbor Dick Marks, a retired Pan American Health Organization official, decided that now, more than ever, he needs a peace sign in his yard. "We've lost the argument for the moment. The war has broken out. But at least we can keep talking about it." In Takoma Park, a bastion of liberal sentiment, there is a yard sign in front of the public library saying: "Takoma Park . . . A City for Peace." There are streets in Takoma Park where every other bungalow sports a blue-and-white yard sign reading, "War Is Not the Answer." The signs have become a staple of life in the community, available at the Takoma Park/Silver Spring Co-op like organic apples and milk. Next to the stack of yard signs, a coffee can welcomes donations for the Friends Committee on National Legislation, a Quaker lobbying group. "We've distributed 15,000 and ordered another 5,000," said Kathy Guthrie of the committee's headquarters on Capitol Hill. A Quaker group in Atlanta started putting up peace yard signs during the Christmas season. Then in February, the Washington office ordered its first batch. Since then, people from all over the country and world have ordered "War Is Not the Answer" yard signs and bumper stickers from the group's Web site. The committee has two of the yard signs outside its Hill headquarters, which faces the Hart Senate Office Building. Sometimes, during the night, one of the signs disappears. "I like to think it was someone who really wanted one when our offices were closed," Guthrie said. Takoma Park also has its own locally produced white yard signs with simple black letters: "We Vote for Peace . . . No War on Iraq." George Taylor, 63, a Presbyterian minister, is responsible for those. He had about 300 of them printed, and dozens of his neighbors display them, sometimes in addition to "War Is Not the Answer." The yard at his own blue-and-yellow home has both signs. The front door and windows are papered with other signs and posters, brought home from recent peace marches by Taylor and his wife, Ellen, 50. "Support Our Troops; Bring Them Home," one reads. "Stand Against War and Racism," says another. Both of the Taylors have been arrested lately -- Ellen at a Code Pink: Women for Peace demonstration, George during a protest joined by two Nobel Peace Prize winners, who were also arrested. Some in his congregation continue to struggle with the rightness or wrongness of the war. A few have grandchildren in the Persian Gulf, he said. "It's hard for them to get beyond that place." But he must speak his conscience and stake it out there amid the struggling grass, out among the crocuses and daffodils. Staff writer Ian Shapira contributed to this report.

charlotte observer.com 4 Apr 2003 N.C. judges lose power to sterilize N.C. Senate votes unanimously to remove all vestiges of program once aimed at `feebleminded' SHARIF DURHAMS Raleigh Bureau RALEIGH - N.C. senators voted Thursday to remove the last vestiges of a program that gave judges and health officials the power to forcibly sterilize thousands of men and women from the 1930s to the 1970s. Top state officials apologized in December after learning their predecessors used sterilization as a way to keep those deemed "feebleminded" from having children. A panel convened by Gov. Mike Easley started studying the practice, only to find out that judges still had the authority to order sterilizations. Thursday's vote changes that. "Hopefully, we'll be apologizing, as the governor has done, for this heinous act," said Sen. Jeanne Lucas, D-Durham, just before the unanimous vote. The House approved the measure earlier this week, and Easley intends to sign it. Several states sterilized men and women as part of a scientific belief known as eugenics. Scientists at the time believed they could control mental retardation and other ailments by preventing anyone with impairments from having children. "Even science sometimes can be gravely mistaken by societal goals and values that are very, very wrong," said Sen. Ellie Kinnaird, D-Orange. Health officials stopped ordering sterilizations in 1974, but judges still had the power to order them. The state doesn't know of any cases in which the judicial power was used. Lawmakers and officials in the Department of Health and Human Services have been trying to figure out how to help more than 7,200 people the state sterilized. The panel is also looking into allegations that some of the sterilizations were ordered as a form of racial engineering, since the percentage of black women receiving the procedure drastically increased in the latter years of the program. Rep. Larry Womble, D-Forsyth, who likened the operations to genocide, has mentioned possible compensation in the form of free health services or education vouchers for family members of those who were sterilized. Womble introduced the bill to strip the power of district court judges to order sterilizations, after fielding calls and visits from relatives of those who were sterilized. Womble also helped pay for two victims who live in the Atlanta area to return to the state to testify before lawmakers and the governor's panel. The panel, officially known as the Eugenics Study Committee, plans to make a recommendation on compensating victims and on whether any other laws need changing to ensure nothing similar happens again.

April 3, 2003 Nonfiction Book Awards Announced By THE NEW YORK TIMES Genocide, slavery and the environment are the subjects of the two books and the work in progress that have been named winners of the annual awards for nonfiction given by the J. Anthony Lukas Prize Project, administered by the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and the Nieman Foundation at Harvard University. The $10,000 J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize goes to Samantha Power for "A Problem From Hell: America and the Age of Genocide" (Basic Books). The Mark Lynton History Prize, also $10,000, goes to Robert Harms for "The Diligent: A Voyage Through the Worlds of the Slave Trade" (Basic Books). The J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award of $45,000 goes to Suzannah Lessard for "Mapping the World: An Inquiry Into the Meaning of Sprawl," to be published by Dial Press. Sponsored by the family of the late Mark Lynton, a historian and senior executive at Hunter Douglas in the Netherlands, the Lukas Prize Project is named for a Pulitzer Prize-winning foreign and national correspondent for The New York Times. Lukas, the author of several critically acclaimed books, died in 1997. The awards are to be presented on May 8 at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

Yale Daily News 8 Apr 2003 Power '92 wins nonfiction Pulitzer BY ERICA YOUNGSTROM Staff Reporter Samantha Power '92, a sports reporter in college who turned her attention to human rights after graduation, won the Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction Monday for a work that almost did not make it into print. Her book, "A Problem from Hell: America in the Age of Genocide," examines the major genocides of the 20th century and the dearth of American efforts to stop them. Every publisher in New York rejected the nearly finished manuscript, she said, until she finally found one to take a chance last year. "To me, the book is amazing because it brings in so many different perspectives," said Power's senior essay adviser, emeritus history professor Gaddis Smith. Smith called "A Problem from Hell" one of the most important books of our time. "First, there's the understanding of a trained lawyer, because human rights and genocide have legal dimensions," he said. Then there's superb history -- archivally-based history. Then there's her skill as an investigative reporter -- and then there's her passion." Power, a former editor of the Yale Daily News Magazine, traced her patience and her interest in reporting to the years she spent as a student at Yale. She spoke on campus this weekend as part of a panel on the diplomatic, military and human consequences of American power in the post-Sept. 11 world. When she decided to become a journalist for U.S. News and World Report and The Economist in Bosnia shortly after graduating from Yale, Power witnessed atrocities that she said changed her life. At that time, she had not yet decided on a career. Now, less than 10 years later, she is an avid human rights advocate. "I think that American political leaders have miscalculated and done the American people a great disservice," she said. "I hoped that book editors were making the same mistake, that they too were underestimating what American readers would want and what they would be capable of digesting." In addition to the Pulitzer announced Monday, "A Problem from Hell" has earned Power other numerous accolades since its publication in 2002, including this year's National Book Critics Circle Award in nonfiction, as well as the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize. "Americans are strikingly unaware of the gap between the 'never again' after Hitler and the reality of the last 50 years," Power said, adding that changing this attitude would require a shift in the focus of the U.S. government's foreign policy. Power, who calls herself "her own worst critic," said she felt "affirmed" by the positive response the book received once she was able to get it published. Power took her first turn at investigative journalism while working with Smith, who said that even as a student, Power demonstrated "undaunted courage" in her effort to gain access to classified materials for her senior essay. "Everybody called her Sam in those days when she was an undergraduate, and with her startling red hair, she was really one of the best-known on campus," Smith said. While Power's book discusses human rights through the stories of people who stood up to genocide, she said she did not always know that she wanted to focus on human rights issues. "I was not a 'human rights person' as such at Yale by any means -- it was really just seeing the carnage in Bosnia and being aghast," Power said. "NATO planes were flying overhead and watching what was going on, but not doing anything to stop it." Power said that her journalism experience, combined with the interests she discovered in her time at Yale, helped her begin to focus on human rights. After she returned to the United States, Power attended Harvard Law School and took classes related to human rights. She said she was not sure what her focus would be even at that point, since she was also interested in ethnic conflict issues. In 1998, Power helped establish the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy -- of which she was once the executive director -- at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government, where she now teaches a course on human rights and U.S. foreign policy. Gerald Thomas, the former master of Davenport College and one of Power's professors at Yale, said she was a "force" in class, as well as in her residential college. "She was a colorful, outspoken -- but sensibly spoken -- free spirit," Thomas said. www.yaledailynews.com

NYT 1 Apr 2003 editorial The Death of Innocents It wasn't supposed to be like this. The Bush administration had envisioned a different kind of invasion in Iraq, one that would flood the Arab world with pictures of American soldiers feeding hungry people and giving medical attention to sick children. Instead, billions around the globe are seeing and hearing reports that women and children were gunned down yesterday while riding in a civilian van at an American checkpoint. This is just what the Iraqi commanders have in mind when they send soldiers disguised as noncombatants to fire on unsuspecting American troops. The killing of the soldiers is an incidental benefit. The real goal is to turn the Americans against Iraqi civilians and cause them to behave like a hostile occupying army rather than the friendly liberators we had envisioned. It happens all the time when troops are fighting in areas full of civilians, mixed in with terrorist insurgents. The My Lai massacre in Vietnam was not the result of bad intentions, but of the fury of frightened young American men who were no longer able to distinguish between innocent civilians and hostile forces. The great hatreds between common people and military authority that existed for so long in Northern Ireland, and that exist now in the West Bank, have all been fanned by the same phenomenon. When troops wonder whether a man standing in his own doorway is harboring a sniper, or if a van full of women and children is a van full of suicide bombers, each side quickly learns to distrust, fear and finally hate the other. Yesterday in southern Iraq, American soldiers fired into a van filled with women and children, killing seven. The van was approaching a military checkpoint near an area where a car bomb had recently exploded, killing four soldiers. The authorities said that the van had ignored all the soldiers' attempts to bring it to a halt, and that the shooting had been justified. They promised to investigate. Those reassurances are important to Americans but will mean very little in the Arab world, particularly if such scenes become routine. If that happens, the political war for Iraq could be lost even before the military one is won.

NYT 7 Apr 2003 The My Lai Massacre To the Editor: Your assertion in "The Death of Innocents" (editorial, April 1) that the 1968 massacre at My Lai was the result of "the fury of frightened young American men" is startling. Those soldiers entered a village and began firing at 8 a.m. They continued killing women, children and old men — at least 200 — until they broke for lunch nearly three hours later. No shot was ever fired at them. The soldiers in Iraq who fired on the van that would not stop were faced with a clear and present risk to their lives from unseen people driving toward them. The soldiers reacted quickly, perhaps even hastily, but it is offensive to sympathize with them by recalling the methodical crime at My Lai. In combat, there is a difference between overreaction and murder. My Lai was no mere overreaction. ALLAN A. RYAN JR. Cambridge, Mass., April 1, 2003 The writer teaches the law of war at Harvard University's summer school. m

www.capitalnews9.com (Albany NY) 9 Apr 2003 Genocide Awareness Project sparks controversy The "Genocide Awareness Project" and "Reproductive Choice Campaign" caused quite a stir at the UAlbany campus. Albany's "College Standard Magazine" teamed with the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform to bring their billboard size ad campaign to the school's campus center. The two-day display showed explicit pictures of the Holocaust, Sept. 11, and abortion. The posters outraged students and attendees. Shelly Shapiro, the Director of Community Relations for the United Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York said, "Were horrified at such a huge display which basically incites hatred. Some extremist group has decided to exploit the memory of victims of all genocides, including holocaust and racism and desecrate those victims for purpose of inciting hatred against women." Some students felt they were being emotionally manipulated and decided to offer alternatives. Meaghan Carroll, VOX voices of Planned Parenthood said, "We're offering alternative displays and information about abortion rights the history of choice and the issue of faith in choice." An employee at the Center for Bioethical Reform said the disturbing images are all part of the campaign. Fletcher Armstrong said, "They object to the fact that we're showing the truth about abortion here on this campus, they find things to complain about. One thing they don't like is abortion is a horrible act of genocide comparable to other forms of genocide." Skidmore students also came to voice their opposition, in addition to UAlbany's Women's Studies Department who organized a "DIE IN" to represent victims of back alley abortions before abortion was legalized.

Fresno Bee 9 Apr 2003 Senate approves genocide bill With Assembly's OK, April 24 would commemorate the Armenian genocide. By Lesli A. Maxwell Bee Capitol Bureau (Published Wednesday, April 9, 2003, 5:09 AM) SACRAMENTO -- Lawmakers in the state Senate gave unanimous approval to legislation Monday that will set April 24 as California's date to commemorate the Armenian genocide. For years, the state Legislature has agreed to officially recognize the massacre of millions of Armenians 88 years ago by backing resolutions written by Sen. Chuck Poochigian, R-Fresno. Other states have done the same, but Congress has yet to follow suit amid concerns that taking a position on the events would damage diplomatic and economic relations with Turkey. California is home to more than 500,000 Armenians, many who lost family members in the mass killings ordered by the Ottoman Empire between 1915 and 1923. Armenian officials say that 1.5 million people were killed by the Ottoman government in those eight years. "Few Armenians today don't have a direct connection to the genocide," said Poochigian, whose maternal great-grandparents were tortured and killed. "The tragedy and the pain has been worsened by the long period of denial." That denial has come from Turks who argue that there was no organized destruction of Armenians and that the post-World War I conflict was a multisided one that also killed Greeks, Arabs, Turks and Kurds. One Turkish man urged state lawmakers Monday to reject Poochigian's resolution. "We are proud of our heritage," said Karachan Mete with the Turkish Cultural Organization of Yolo County. "Unfortunately, you know us only through the Armenian hate propaganda. This bill has no constructive purpose, and it misleads the public." Mete asked lawmakers to draft a new resolution that doesn't use the word "genocide" and one that would recognize the deaths of other ethnic groups during the final days of the Ottoman Empire. Poochigian said the Turks' refusal to acknowledge the genocide is "no less than state-sponsored revisionism." Many historians and scholars have written that the massacres and starvation in Armenia amounted to a systematic destruction of a population. The measure moves now to the Assembly for a vote.

Christian Science Monitor 10 Apr 2003 Rise in hate crimes worries Arab-Americans Recent incidents in an edgy America raise questions about how to keep the US safe. By Amanda Paulson NEW YORK - The murders had terrorized shopkeepers in Brooklyn's Crown Heights neighborhood for more than a month. They seemed to have no motive: No provocation had been given, no money was taken. But when Larme Price confessed to the crime more than a week ago, he said his aim was to kill Middle Easterners, in retribution for Sept. 11. In fact, only one of the four victims was from the Middle East. But it's the intent, say concerned residents, that counts. Across the country, the past few weeks have been an uneasy time for Arab-Americans. The murders are just one part of a disturbing uptick in violent hate crimes that have worried Arab-American groups - from the Afghan man set on fire in his Indianapolis restaurant to the Pakistani who was beaten unconscious in a New Jersey parking lot, as his two attackers hurled insults to Islam. Another, more immediate concern for many Arab-Americans is increased surveillance and profiling. They worry about getting deported on a technicality, or finding themselves unwitting terrorist suspects in a nightmarish Kafkaesque scenario. "I'm afraid of giving out my number and having it put in someone's phone book," says Shaker Lashuel, a soft-spoken schoolteacher from Yemen who has lived in the US for 16 years. "It's guilt by association." The fear that Mr. Lashuel and other Arab-Americans feel raises a tough question for the US government: how to keep America safe from potential terrorists without fostering an atmosphere of discrimination or hate. "It's a balancing act," says Philip Anderson, director of the Homeland Security Initiative at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. "You have to weigh national security, and safety at home, against a threat to privacy.... But the real strength of America is that we have a legal system that's almost certainly going to protect us when these kinds of things come into question." Not everyone agrees with him. While most Arab-Americans laud government officials for speaking out against hate crimes and blanket accusations against Islam, they say another, subtler message is sent by policies such as forced registration, deportation, and FBI interviews of Arab-Americans. The increasing anti-Islam rhetoric from some right-wing websites and radio talk-show hosts also helps create an atmosphere in which hate and prejudice can thrive. Popular websites like World Net Daily and FrontPage Magazine "have articles almost every day calling Muslims the fifth column," says Hodan Hassan of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). A Chicago deejay, "Mancow" Muller, recently parodied Elvis's "Burning Love" song with "Burning Mosques," she adds. When CAIR gets hate mail and phone calls, they nearly always parrot, word for word, what is said on those sites and shows. Ms. Hassan and others are also concerned about the message sent by the Bush administration's ties to Christian evangelical leaders like Franklin Graham or Jerry Falwell - who has harshly portrayed the prophet Muhammad - and the fact that Bush recently nominated Daniel Pipes, seen as anti-Muslim by many in the Islamic community, to the board of the US Institute of Peace. "There's kind of a mixed message," says Laila al-Qatami of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. Arab-American leaders also worry that measures like racial profiling encourage a distrust of all Muslims, and haven't necessarily made America safer. Some argue it's not so simple. "I'm very concerned about going back to 1942 and what we did to Japanese-Americans," says Randy Larsen, director of the Anser Institute for Homeland Security in Arlington, Va. "But then again, we're not worried about Swedish grandmothers," but rather about a threat that has emerged from the Arab world. Others say the best results have come when the government works with, rather than against, the Arab community. Dozens of concrete leads have come out the FBI's interviews with Iraqi-Americans, says Jean AbiNader, managing director of the Arab American Institute, who helped the FBI review their policy. At the same time, he's disturbed by reports of a few interviews gone wrong. In one, an Iraqi-American asked to have his attorney present. According to the man, the FBI agent said, "Go down that path, and you'll see what happens," and slammed down the phone. So far, however, the war hasn't brought the kind of backlash that the US Muslim community saw after Sept. 11, says Ms. Qatami. But she's disturbed by the increasing violence of some incidents. In Phoenix, for instance, someone threw homemade dry-ice bombs into the backyard of an Iraq-American family. In Burbank, Ill., a man blew up a Palestinian family's van. Here in Brooklyn, meanwhile, residents are just glad that the shopkeeper shooter seems to have been caught. "I know these people like they're my family," says Cynthia Edwards. A resident of Crown Heights for 38 years, Ms. Edwards says her son's father escaped from the World Trade Center on Sept. 11. "I was upset about the whole thing too, but I don't take it out on them." www.csmonitor.com

ANCA 10 Apr 2003 OVER 50 MEMBERS OF CONGRESS ATTEND ANCA CAPITOL HILL ARMENIAN GENOCIDE OBSERVANCE -- Rep. Radanovich Announces Introduction of Resolution with Congressmen Schiff, Knollenberg, Pallone and over 65 Cosponsors -- Support H.Res.193 by Sending a Free ANCA WebFax Today www.anca.org WASHINGTON, DC - Over 50 Members of Congress joined with several hundred Armenian Americans from across the country last night in honoring the victims and survivors of the Armenian Genocide at the ninth annual ANCA Observance on Capitol Hill, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA.) Senators and Representatives, as well as Congressional staff representing over 100 Congressional offices, were greeted by over 350 community members, many of whom travel to annually Washington, DC to attend the Capitol Hill Observance and discuss Armenian American concerns with their elected representatives. The program was held in the historic Cannon Caucus Room. "We were pleased that so many Armenian Americans from around the nation joined with us at this observance in thanking Members of Congress who are fighting for official U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide," said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. "We look forward, in the weeks and months ahead, to working with all of our friends in bringing an end to Turkey's campaign of denial and making sure that the lessons of the Armenian Genocide - and all past genocides - are used to help prevent future crimes against humanity." Master of Ceremonies Chris Hekimian opened the evening by inviting His Eminence Oshagan Choloyan to offer the invocation. In addition to Congressional speeches throughout the evening, remarks were offered by His Excellency Arman Kirakosian, Ambassador of Armenia to the U.S.; Vardan Barsegian, Nagorno Karabagh Representative in Washington, DC; ANCA Chairman Kenneth Hachikian; and, Anthony Barsamian Vice-Chairman of the Armenian Assembly. Bishop Vicken Aykazian, Legate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America, and Bishop Manuel Batakian representing the Apostolic Exarchate for Armenian Catholics also participated in the program. Genocide Resolution Introduced April 10th -- Rep. George Radanovich (R-CA), the first of over 20 Members of Congress to offer remarks during the course of the evening, spoke forcefully about the need for U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide and announced that he would be joining Representatives Adam Schiff (D-CA), and Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Joe Knollenberg (R-MI) in introducing legislation on April 10th, marking the 15th anniversary of the U.S. implementation of the U.N. Convention on the Punishment and Prevention of Genocide. The legislation -- H.Res.193 -- was introduced earlier today with over 65 original cosponsors.

AP 18 Apr 2003 Prosecutor: Temple fire was a hate crime SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- A prosecutor said a man accused of setting fire to a Jewish temple entered the building to burglarize a safe full of valuables but instead burned it as a hate crime. Raussi "Ramsi" Uthman was driving around with a friend the night of Oct. 13, 2000, looking for places to burglarize, senior Onondaga County District Attorney Edward McQuat said. But McQuat said evidence will show Uthman also targeted the Temple Beth El to be torched as a hate crime. Uthman, 29, was arraigned Thursday on an 11-count indictment in Onondaga County Court. Uthman, who has one prosthetic leg, was brought into court in a wheelchair. Paul Carey, Uthman's lawyer, pleaded innocent for his client. Uthman was arrested March 14 in California after a grand jury issued a sealed indictment accusing him in the arson. Uthman was returned to Syracuse by federal marshals Wednesday to face the charges. The most serious charge of second-degree burglary as a hate crime carries a maximum penalty of 25 years in state prison. The indictment opened in court Thursday provided no specific information about possible motives in the case. The fire heavily damaged a first-floor business office in the back of the building and an upstairs office used by the Montessori Learning Center. The blaze caused about $700,000 in damage.

WP 20 Apr 2003 editorial Museum With a Message Sunday, April 20, 2003; Page B06 THE U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum opened its doors 10 years ago this month following years of skeptical questions: What was a museum dedicated to an event of European and Jewish history doing on the Mall? Was the Holocaust in any real sense part of the American experience? Should the museum address other genocides as well? These questions had -- and still have -- no adequate philosophical or theoretical answers. For while the Holocaust is in some respects unique, it is not so different from other efforts by one people to wipe out another as to have a claim on American consciousness that transcends the time and place in which it occurred. Indeed, if the Holocaust museum were not among the finest historical exhibits of any kind, on any subject, anywhere, its existence at the central square of American democracy would be difficult to justify. Yet from the day it opened, the museum's excellence has overwhelmed its apparent incongruity. Its portrait of totalitarianism seems a fit warning among the monuments to democracy's founders; its portrait of the destruction of the Jews of Europe, even in its specificity and particularism, conveys something universal about oppression and its victims. And the controversy over the museum, predictably, did not persist. Few today would question the value of a museum that educates so many at such a high level of seriousness on a subject of such gravity. The public response has been remarkable. The Holocaust museum has seen 18.9 million visitors -- an astonishing figure given that the subject matter with which it entices tourists and school groups involves some of the world's darkest hours. Walking through the museum takes hours, and many people leave feeling defeated by its vast quantities of historical information and pressing emotional power. Yet it draws. A decade after it opened, people still sometimes have trouble getting in. And crowding, says the museum's director, Sara Bloomfield, is the main complaint among those who do. Many museums would pray for such problems. The message in the museum's accomplishment is an encouraging one: People want good history -- cogently presented but not dumbed down, either intellectually or morally. It's a lesson that should inspire other institutions.

Chicago Sun Times 20 Apr 2003 Cabdriver's friend, kin say death may be hate crime April 20, 2003 BY DAN ROZEK Staff Reporter Advertisement Muhammad Rafiq Haroon had $40 and several credit cards in his wallet when he was found outside his cab with his throat slashed. His cell phone was still in the cab. Those circumstances have family members and other cabdrivers fearing that the 60-year-old Pakistani immigrant wasn't murdered during a robbery as Chicago police theorize, but was deliberately targeted for death because he was a Muslim. "They didn't want to rob him, but they really wanted to kill him brutally,'' said Mujahid Ghazi, a community activist and longtime friend of Haroon, who was stabbed to death early Wednesday on Chicago's North Side as he neared the end of his 12-hour shift. Ghazi and others called Saturday for police to treat Haroon's murder as a hate crime committed because of Haroon's religious beliefs. They also announced plans to offer a reward for information about Haroon's murder, although details were not final. Haroon, who is survived by his wife and four children, was a devout Muslim who always wore a hat and beard as required by his faith. Some Muslim cabdrivers have downplayed their religious identity since the Sept. 11 attacks because of some customers' hostility toward Muslims, but Haroon wouldn't do that, said his brother, Mohammed Bawany, 54, who also is a cabdriver. "No one knows the true motive of the killer, but because my brother wore a religious cap and had a religiously mandated beard, it could be a hate crime,'' Bawany said. Haroon had been a cabdriver for 27 years and owned his cab, which did not have a safety shield because Haroon didn't feel threatened by his riders. "He was a very kindhearted man, always wanting to help anyone in need,'' Bawany said. A police spokesman said Haroon's slaying remains under investigation and that police have not yet firmly established why Haroon was killed. No one has been charged in his slaying, which was the first murder of a Chicago cabbie since 2001.

Los Angeles Daily News 24 Apr 2003 Crowds mark Armenian genocide By Nicholas Grudin Staff Writer Thursday, April 24, 2003 - Eighteen-year-old Armen Soudjian speaks about the Armenian Genocide with a passion blind to the 88 years that have passed. Among more than 2,000 people at a genocide observance Thursday in Hollywood, Soudjian said his family is still haunted by the deaths of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians in the Ottoman Turkish Empire between 1915 and 1922. "My grandfather was born the day that my great-grandfather was murdered by the Turks," Soudjian said. "My grandfather made up a different birthday when he migrated to the U.S., and will not tell anyone his true birthday." Thursday -- the 88th anniversary of the beginning of the eight-year genocide -- Soudjian and his friends took a day off school to mourn the losses and demand official recognition of the genocide. Thousands of Armenian-Americans at several rallies throughout L.A. voiced a mixture of sorrow, contempt and determination Thursday. Mayor James Hahn, Gov. Gray Davis and U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Glendale, were among those who spoke at the afternoon Hollywood rally. The state of California officially recognizes the genocide, but the federal government has yet to do so. "(The genocide) began with the roundup of intellectuals ... It then moved from village to village," Schiff said. "Families were wiped out and these people were killed for one reason alone -- because they were Armenian." On Thursday, four generations of Armenian-Americans joined the events, which included a wreath-placing in the morning, two rallies in Hollywood and a protest at the Turkish Consulate. "It gets passed on from generation to generation and it is not going to stop," said Salpy Sassounian, 35, of Glendale. "My grandmother used to cry so much about the genocide -- that sadness and strength to fight for justice has been passed on to me." Turkish officials, whose homeland Armenians blame for the killings, have steadfastly denied that the genocide took place, saying war and disease claimed casualties on both sides. The have also argued that the number of Armenian dead has been exaggerated.

New York Post 27 Apr 2003 FIGHT EVIL: REMEMBER By MENACHEM Z. ROSENSAFT April 27, 2003 -- TUESDAY is Holocaust Remembrance Day, and this month marks the 10th anniversary of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Let me explain why this matters - directly - to us all. On Tuesday, as most days, I will think of a little boy named Benjamin. Sixty years ago, he lived and played in the ghetto of Sosnowiec in southwest Poland. Three months later, on Aug. 4, Benjamin was murdered upon arrival at the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp. The Germans killed his father and his grandparents then, too. In her memoirs, his mother - our mother - described her final moments with the brother I never knew: "Suddenly there was terrible chaos and screaming. Men were separated from women. People with children were sent to one side, and young people were separated from older-looking ones. No one was allowed to go from one group to another. My parents were holding onto each other. Our 51/2-year- old son went with his father . . . As we were separated, our son turned to me and asked, 'Mommy, are we going to live or die?' "I didn't answer this question. I didn't know how. First, we didn't know what would happen, and second, how do you answer a child in Birkenau?" I am haunted by my brother's face, his eyes. Sometimes, when I am alone, I see him entering the gas chamber; I listen to a voice I never heard. But do I see him, or is it merely my own reflection? Are my tears mine, or are they his? I do not know. I shall never know. My brother has no grave. His tiny body was burned in a crematorium. One and a half million Jewish children shared his agony. And each time I emerge from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., I realize anew why this unique institution is essential to our nation. Here, we sense inexorable evil - and know instinctively, gratefully, that we will never be able to understand how it could have been allowed to fester so very openly. "Auschwitz," Elie Wiesel once wrote, "signifies not only the failure of 2,000 years of Christian civilization, but also the defeat of the intellect that wants to find a Meaning - with a capital M - in history. What Auschwitz embodied had none." Walking through the museum's somber corridors, I find myself in a cattle car of the type that transported Jews to the death camps. I feel, truly feel, how small and cramped it is. My mother, brother and grandparents were packed into such a rail car for almost an entire day. I can only stand it for a few seconds; I walk out quickly, taking deep breaths of air. You see hundreds and hundreds of shoes worn by Jewish men, women and children only hours before they were forced to inhale Zyklon-B gas. Big shoes, little shoes, wide shoes, narrow shoes. Once they made the sound of footsteps. Now they bear mute witness. Whatever happened to my brother's shoes? Before the museum opened 10 years ago, skeptics questioned both its relevance and its legitimacy, arguing that there is no need for a federal American memorial to a crime, however heinous, committed elsewhere by others. The critics have been proven wrong. The museum speaks to Americans of all faiths, ages and backgrounds because it is not a shrine to victimhood. Its core message, transcending memorialization of the dead, is that raw, absolute evil can permeate, corrode, and ultimately destroy civilized society whenever average men and women look the other way. Silence in the face of anti-Semitism, racism and all other forms of bigotry is in itself a moral crime against humanity. Whenever an isolationist politician tells us that ethnic cleansing in Kosovo, genocide in Rwanda or brutal oppression and mass murder in Iraq is not our problem, the Holocaust Museum is there to remind us of the dire consequences of indifference. The museum commands us to know a fate our nation was spared. Images of the May 1933 Berlin book burnings bring to mind those who want to purge our own libraries. The same highly educated Germans who lit the Nazis' cultural bonfires also ignited the flames that consumed my grandparents and my brother. And African-Americans and southern whites alike can relate to a displayed German hotel notice from the mid 1930s: "Jewish guests are politely asked not to use the hotel restaurants, but to eat their meals in their rooms." Remember the Jim Crow laws in this country, the museum warns us. Remember segregation. We learn about the Third Reich laws prohibiting sexual relations between Jews and Aryans, and we are forced to recall that it was not until 1967 that the U.S. Supreme Court declared laws banning interracial marriages to be unconstitutional. And, yes, the museum puts the lie to the obscenity that is Holocaust denial - from the abhorrent articles continually published in the mainstream Arab press that insist the Holocaust never happened, to more coy grotesqueries, like the syndicated column of March 17, 1990, in which Patrick Buchanan wrote that it would have been impossible for Jews to perish in the gas chambers of Treblinka. During the past decade, more than 16 million Americans and over 2 million others have absorbed the museum's lessons. My mother thought of her murdered child every day of her life. She died 51/2 years ago. Sadly, the numbers of Holocaust survivors, of the eyewitnesses to the cataclysm, are steadily dwindling. Their memories are their legacy to the world. And within the walls of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, these memories live on to become an integral part of every one of us. Menachem Z. Rosensaft is the founding chairman of the International Network of Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors, and has been a member of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council since 1994.

South Florida Sun-Sentinel 28 Apr 2003 Stenographer recalls Nazi horrors revealed at Nuremberg tribunal By Jeremy Milarsky Staff Writer April 28, 2003 HOLLYWOOD · For three years, she kept having the same dream. Clutching a small child in her arms, crawling through a dark tunnel, squeezing under a security fence, Nazi soldiers at her heels. Vivien Spitz never experienced the horrors of a Nazi concentration camp, but when she was a young woman, it was her job to write down every word spoken about those horrors. Now 78 years old, Spitz was only 22 when she took a job with the U.S. War Department transcribing two years of trials and hearings during the famous Nazi war-crimes trials in Nuremberg, Germany, from 1946 to 1948. In those first years after the trials ended, she had nightmares. For years she couldn't even talk about it. But in 1989 a high school teacher in her hometown referred to the Nazi Holocaust as "the Whole Hoax." Outraged, Spitz began telling her story to several large groups, and Sunday morning -- the day before Yom Ha' Shoah, the annual day of Holocaust remembrance -- it was a band of about 24 people at Temple Beth El on South 14th Avenue who came to listen. "What I stress at my talks was that the Holocaust was a planned, mass, state-sponsored genocide of all the Jews in Europe," Spitz said in an interview before her speech. Although the situations are not quite the same, Spitz realizes that another generation of young court officers and stenographers probably will begin trying war criminals very soon -- this time, for atrocities during the war in Iraq. "I'm talking to a group of court reporters in a few months," she said. "Part of my talk ... goes over the freezing experiments the Nazis performed on people. So the question for them is, will there be military tribunals to try the Iraqi war criminals? Would you be able to report in a dispassionate manner and cope with what you are going to report? Just so they know, so they have some idea." After World War II, an international war tribunal heard the cases against Nazi Germany's military and political leaders. But Spitz was most interested in the regime's doctors. "They had taken the Hippocratic oath to do no harm," she said. "But here there was no objective to heal or cure, but to torture and exterminate. There was not one scintilla of any remorse shown by any one of these doctors." Spitz recorded scores of hearings verbatim. Twenty Nazi doctors, including Adolf Hitler's personal physician, Karl Brandt, and three medical assistants faced trial in 1946. The tribunal convicted 16 of them, seven of whom were executed, and seven more were found not guilty and released. The convicted conducted experiments shocking to most modern physicians, Spitz said. More than 100 Jewish prisoners and several hundred subjects of various ethnic backgrounds were tortured with acid, hypothermia, extreme air pressure and disease. Most of the people who came to hear Spitz speak were adults. Two young girls sat in the audience to learn more about darker times. One of them, 11, hid her head in her mother's hands when Spitz showed the more grotesque photographic evidence from the trials. "I've learned about the Holocaust, but ... I've never seen slides that graphic," said Rachel Kaplan, 16, of Hollywood. Jeremy Milarsky can be reached at jmilarsky@sun-sentinel.com

Straits Times (Singapore) 28 Apr 2003 The fading of a moral vision for the world By MARTHA NUSSBAUM THERE once was a noble vision of what the world of international relations can be. In recent weeks this vision, once nearly realised, has receded from view, so much so that we might forget that human beings ever had such a dream. The idea I have in mind is Hugo Grotius' concept of 'international society': the notion that all human beings form part of a single moral community, regulated by binding ethical norms that constrain the actions of nations in pursuit of their own advantage. Grotius (or Hugo de Groot), the founding father of international law, lived between 1583 and 1645. A child prodigy, he played a leading role in Dutch trade negotiations at the age of 15, and published books from that time onward. But he was also a man who stuck his neck out. Prevailing religious doctrine in the Netherlands held that human beings were not free to alter the course of their salvation by their own choices. Closely linked to this idea was a political belief that people had no right to give themselves laws, deciding how to conduct their own affairs. Grotius was a great believer in choice and human freedom, and in the freedom of each state to make its own laws. For these beliefs, he was convicted of heresy and sent to prison in a gloomy castle. But he was permitted to receive books, which his wife would deliver and cart away in a large trunk. One day, the outgoing trunk had an extra occupant: Grotius himself. He managed to get on a boat to France, where he spent the next five years in exile and wrote his great work, On The Law Of War And Peace. The book has been hugely influential for many reasons: for its insistence that war is just only if it responds to a conspicuous and serious act of aggression; for its insistence that even then, the party in the wrong must be treated in accordance with strict moral laws; for its insistence that killing of innocent civilians is morally wrong, even though the formal international law of that time did permit it; for its insistence that a stable and moral peace should be the long-term goal of international relations. But the work's greatest contribution lies in its conception of relations among states. For Grotius, each state has sovereignty: the right to give itself laws and control its destiny. This is not just a fact, but a moral norm that expresses something deep about human freedom, something for which Grotius was prepared to risk imprisonment and worse. Second, however, the world contains interactions between nations, which are mediated not just by concerns for expediency and safety but by moral considerations. Moral laws bind all nations in their dealings with one another, whether these laws have been turned into enforceable international law or not. Why should this be? Because, third, the world contains, most fundamentally, individual human beings, who are needy and trying to flourish. The moral duties to support human well-being bind us all into what Grotius calls 'international society'. The norms of this society begin with the idea of humans as creatures who are both rational and social, and who need to find a way to live together. Certain ways of behaving support that conception (for example, abiding by treaties that one has made), and others do not (killing civilians in wartime). According to Grotius, then, when international law limits America in some of its plans, Americans are not wrong to feel constrained. But Grotius would insist that the more fundamental identity we have is as members of a moral world of human beings. National sovereignty also is limited internally by morality. If a nation commits certain very bad acts against its own population, such as torture and mass murder, another nation may intervene - what we now call 'humanitarian intervention' - to help the people. National sovereignty's importance derives from its value to people and their freedom; it cannot be invoked to justify genocide and torture. Grotius was also a radical in his thought about material need. He saw that a lasting peace among nations requires thinking about how all citizens of the world can get the things they need to live. He held that when any person anywhere is in extreme need, that person has a right to food and other necessities of life (he explicitly mentions medical care). He even says that the needy person owns the surplus that the rich are squandering, if he needs it and they don't. Grotius' vision was not the way the world was seen in his own day. But by insisting on the power of this vision, he created a climate of opinion in which that vision increasingly became real. Although his contemporary Thomas Hobbes influentially developed the pre-Grotian idea that the realm between nations is one of force and interest only, Immanuel Kant in the 18th century sided with Grotius, envisaging a world that achieved lasting peace through a federation of nations. Such ideas eventually led to the United Nations and Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Although the UN treats nations as the major actors in international affairs, the human rights movement moves us closer to Grotius' picture of a world in which national boundaries are porous, and international agreements have at least some power to constrain nations. Are these ideas still alive? The Bush administration treats such moralised visions with utter scorn, casting America as the Hobbesian sovereign needed to bring order to an amoral realm. This stance is deeply alien to America's founding traditions: Thomas Paine and other founders were steeped in the continental human rights tradition that had grown out of Grotius' ideas. In the Grotian/Kantian vision, alliances among republican nations are crucial to lasting peace. In the United States' current foreign policy, by contrast, even once-stable alliances are treated with contempt. The duty of wealthy nations to ensure that all humans have urgent needs met does not rank high on the agenda of any major politician or political party. It remains to be seen how effectively humanitarian aid is given in Iraq; the example of Afghanistan gives reason for scepticism. But the more important issue is that the US has long lagged behind wealthy nations in the proportion of gross domestic product it designates for foreign aid, giving, for example, about one-tenth of Norway's share. The Grotian vision entails support for all urgent needs, not just those of a nation one has invaded. For me, the events of the past weeks engender a powerful grief - grief for a hope that is dying. And yet, moral norms are not docile, submissive things. They do not quit the scene when people treat them with contempt. Instead, they call us to outrage and protest. Just as the leaders of the civil rights movement did not abandon their vision of human equality in the face of the contempt and scorn of white society, so those who care about the vision of international society that Grotius handed down should insist on that vision. People in power may say that the US is dealing with 'rogue states' and must shape its thinking accordingly. Grotius had seen a side of human conduct that he called 'bestial'. He argued that in such a world, it is all the more important to proclaim and abide by principles of which a decent society can be proud and to work tirelessly to produce a world in which such principles increasingly hold sway. He warned people in power that if they imitate wild beasts, they may forget to be human. Grotius' own life also takes its stand against the course of despairing detachment, a great temptation in this time as in his own. He conspicuously does not say: 'These times are bestial, so we right-thinking people had better check out.' Instead, living in exile, he created a norm of cooperation and moral order that continues to inspire, and to determine the course of some world events, even if not all. Those who feel a deep moral sadness about the current conduct of the US, as its leadership shows contempt for this vision of a multilateral world, could do worse than to follow Grotius' example. Moral norms do not cease to exist because current leaders do not believe in them. We may refine them and further develop them, in the hope that once again, sooner or later, their day will dawn. The writer is professor of law and ethics at the University of Chicago Law School. This comment appeared in the Los Angeles Times.



NYT 8 Apr 2003 Tribunals Nearly Ready for Afghanistan Prisoners By NEIL A. LEWIS ASHINGTON, April 7 — After nearly 18 months of planning, the Pentagon is at last ready to put in place its system of military tribunals to try people captured in the war in Afghanistan, officials and lawyers outside the government say. The officials and lawyers said the military would, in the next few weeks, complete work on the structure of the first tribunal, the final list of crimes that could be prosecuted and the list of military officers who would serve on the panels, as well as those who would prosecute the crimes and those available as defense lawyers. Soon after that, they said, they will announce the first small group of detainees to face charges of war crimes. The proceedings will take place at the United States naval base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, where some 640 detainees are being held. Despite the fact that there will be a system in place, many officials said that there might not be an actual proceeding anytime soon. The Pentagon hopes that the first handful of prisoners charged will be persuaded to accept plea bargains in which they could plead guilty to lesser charges in exchange for providing new information about Al Qaeda. In essence, the first tribunal is supposed to serve as a continuation of the plan to get as much information as possible out of the detainees, with the actual prosecution of any crimes as a secondary goal. "The priority has always been to gather intelligence from these people," one official said. Another official cautioned, however, that there was no guarantee that the defendants would go along with this plan. In that event, the military would be obliged to go ahead with a proceeding. Under the military order signed by President Bush on Nov. 13, 2001, the tribunals may be used only for noncitizens who were members of Al Qaeda or who have "engaged in, aided or abetted, or conspired to commit, acts of international terrorism, or acts in preparation therefor, that have caused, threaten to cause, or have as their aim to cause injury to or adverse effects on the United States," or who have harbored those people. That would seem to prevent the use of the tribunals for people captured during the war in Iraq unless Mr. Bush amends the order. Officials have already said that they are planning two other kinds of tribunals for captured Iraqis. One would be military tribunals for those charged with crimes in connection with the current fighting. There would be separate civilian tribunals conducted by Iraqi lawyers and judges with the help of the United States to prosecute crimes against humanity committed over the past 20 years, including charges of genocide against the Kurds. W. Hays Park, special assistant to the Army for war crimes, told reporters that Iraq was violating several main tenets of the Geneva Conventions. Mr. Park said Iraq had violated the conventions by broadcasting gruesome pictures of dead coalition troops and showing prisoners of war forced to answer interrogations, and had committed treachery by falsely using white flags of surrender to attack forces and having soldiers disguise themselves in civilian clothing. Pierre-Richard Prosper, ambassador for war crimes issues, said the use of civilian garb by Iraqi fighters had "caused numerous civilian casualties and has put thousands of civilians in harm's way." Mr. Prosper said the convention's prohibition against using civilian garb was intended to maintain a distinction between civilians and soldiers. He also said that Kuwait might establish tribunals for crimes committed in the 1991 gulf war that could not previously be prosecuted because the war ended before Iraqi officials could be captured. The prisoners at Guantánamo are in a kind of legal limbo because the administration has refused to designate them as prisoners of war, a status that would entitle them to immunity from prosecution for many acts committed during a lawful war, among other things. The government contends that the prisoners are "unlawful combatants," and that position has drawn criticism from human rights groups as well as a group of British judges who, in an opinion last November, denounced the treatment of the detainees. Officials said the prisoners loosely fell into three categories: people who were probably needlessly detained, a few Qaeda members and a group of people about whom they know little. The military has compiled a list of 24 crimes for which the detainees may be prosecuted, including murder, the taking of hostages, degrading treatment of prisoners, use of human shields and false use of a white flag to wage war. Mere membership in Al Qaeda is not considered a crime, but the list includes a broad-gauge charge of "related offenses," like conspiracy and aiding or abetting, attempting, soliciting or ordering any of the 24 crimes mentioned. Human rights organizations have criticized the Pentagon's plans for, among other things, allowing no appeal to a civilian court. The critics say international law requires that captured soldiers have the same right of appeal as soldiers in the host country. In the United States, convictions in military courts are ultimately appealable in the civilian courts. The defendants will be represented by military lawyers, and the regulations also allow for some private lawyers to be retained. But the nonmilitary lawyers would have to be cleared to examine classified and even some nonclassified documents. They would probably be hired by detainees' families.

IRIN 9 Apr 2003 Heavy toll on civilians in years of war KABUL, 9 Apr 2003 (IRIN) - Almost a quarter of a century of war in Afghanistan has taken a heavy toll of the population, estimated at 25 million. Still locked in abject poverty, millions of Afghans have been killed, maimed, displaced or forced to leave their country in a series of some of the most gruesome conflicts of modern times. There are widely divergent estimates of the dead, but, since 1978, up to two million Afghans have been killed, another two million internally displaced, and some seven million turned into refugees. Ali Javad, a 45-year-old shopkeeper now living in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-e Sharif, told IRIN that, far from being protected, civilians had been used as human shields by the warring factions in the civil war that followed the Soviet Union’s withdrawal from Afghanistan in February 1989. In his own case, his house had itself had become part of the front line. "At the height of the civil war in 1992, gunmen from one faction used our living room to target opposition positions in the area," he told IRIN recently in the Afghan capital, Kabul. Javad’s apartment in the Russian-built, five-storey Mekrorayan residential complex in the heart of Kabul city was eventually destroyed in the fratricidal fighting following the demise of President Najibullah’s regime in 1992, when rival factions from what had been the country’s Islamic resistance to the Soviet forces began fighting for the control of the capital. "We could not stop them," he said. "They even forced us to give them our own food." Javad has been lucky to get away with his life. A decade ago, 50-year-old Muhammad Hashim, now a chief mechanic with an aid agency in Kabul, lost his brother to a barrage of rockets fired indiscriminately at the city by an Afghan warlord, Gulbuddin Hikmatyar. He claimed to be targeting the administration of President Borhanuddin Rabbani, established in 1994 through a Pakistan-brokered agreement, but rejected by sections of the erstwhile mujahedin which had fought Soviet forces, notably Hikmatyar’s. Although the rockets were supposed to be targeting military installations, they killed thousands of civilians. "Nobody protected us - neither the government nor the huge international human rights organisations," Hashim told IRIN. In terms of civilian deaths, the struggle for Kabul was overshadowed by the fighting in the north in the late 1990s, when towns, cities and provinces changed hands between the Taliban Islamic Emirate and the rival Northern Alliance. The continuing discoveries of mass graves of civilians in the north bear witness to the intensity and nature of the battles. Whereas up to two million civilians were killed in fighting during to 20-year war, aid agencies say many more died from the preventable diseases and malnutrition that flourished during the conflict. That legacy remains. Afghanistan has some of the worst human and social indicators in the world, with child and maternal mortality rates particularly high. In the words of John Sifton, a researcher with the New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW): "It’s clear that millions of civilians died prematurely because of the fighting in Afghanistan." Targeting of civilian infrastructure was a favoured tactic of the mujahedin. Meanwhile, the Soviets and their Afghan communist allies also brutalised civilians, bombing villages and burning fields, thereby forcing people to leave. In the civil war that followed the Soviet withdrawal, rival warlords and factions bent on inflicting maximal damage on one another destroyed the remaining infrastructure, each deeming it necessary as a means of achieving victory over the other. Kabul, the country's most modern city, became a battlefield. Almost half its buildings were destroyed and still lie in ruins. Although some humanitarian relief was supplied to civilians, the wars in Afghanistan were particularly brutal, according to Simon Chesterman, author of the book 'Civilians in War' and a senior associate with the International Peace Academy in New York. "The notion of 'total war' was meant to be abolished by the Geneva Conventions, but is sometimes used to describe the conflict with Russian occupation forces," he told IRIN. Although there were occasional expressions of concern from outside countries, little was done to remedy the plight of civilians over that period, he said. Deploring the absence of international concern for civilian casualties in Afghanistan, Sifton observed that it had been "the foreign influence which has been one of the most destructive elements of the conflict". As the last battleground of Cold War, the Soviet Union (and, afterwards, Russia and the Central Asian countries) fought against the interests of Pakistan, Iran, China, the US and the West at large. Millions of civilians were mutilated and killed by the small arms and mines supplied by these regional and global powers to their Afghan proxies. "All these countries involved in Afghanistan in a sense bear the responsibility for the deaths there," Sifton said, adding that the same applied to the refugee camps in Pakistan. "The violence that plagues these places is brought about by outside influence," he asserted. But with Afghanistan remaining a series of armed city-states and fiefdoms with little loyalty to the new government, the protection of civilians remains a key issue. Regional warlords and their gunmen enforce their own laws and raise revenue any way they can. And millions of landmines and other items of unexploded ordnance still litter the countryside. Moreover, despite the continuing presence of military forces from the international coalition that ousted the Taliban, Al-Qaeda and Taliban renegades persist in rendering parts of the country insecure and dangerous for civilians. "The key to securing civilian protection in the future is the international community's support for the reconstruction of Afghanistan's national army and police force," Vikram Parekh, a senior analyst with the International Crisis Group, told IRIN in Kabul. "Until that process is completed, the expansion of an international security force outside of the capital to ensure security all over Afghanistan is required." The extended deployment of the 4,800-strong International Security and Assistance Force (ISAF), which currently guards Kabul alone, has been a fundamental demand by international human rights organisations as a temporary step towards filling the security beyond the confines of the capital and assuring the protection of civilians. "The international community should work to expand international peacekeeping forces. And, secondly, disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration of Afghan military forces must go forward," Sifton stressed. Such demands were highlighted after thousands of ethnic Pashtuns were forced to abandon their homes and fixed assets in the north early last year following the demise of the Taliban, whose ranks had been dominated by Pashtun clerics from the southwestern Kandahar region. In addition to the hazards posed by the unexploded cluster bombs dropped by the US-led coalition, HRW documented many atrocities against Pashtun nomads and farmers in the north. Meanwhile, Bashir Oryakhel, a schoolteacher in Kabul still vividly remembers past brutalities. "Once, on my way back from school, the fighters stopped civilian men and forced us to dig trenches for them," he told IRIN. "There were even instances when they forced people to walk on paths they suspected of having been mined." In order to address past grievances and ensure the protection of citizens in any future conflict, Afghans should themselves independently direct the national reconciliation process, according to Chesterman. "Outsiders can suggest options, ranging from truth commissions, local trials, international trials or doing nothing, he said. "The most important thing is that whatever process is put in place is Afghan-led." He also called for the preservation of the evidence of Afghanistan’s recent, bloody past as a first step in that direction. [This article is one of a series of reports and interviews that comprise a new Web Special on Civilian Protection in Armed Conflict. In it, IRIN explores International Humanitarian Law and principled humanitarian action, the provisions for civilian protection, the problems encountered in achieving this, and the prospects for the future. See web special at www.irinnews.org]


Reuters 10 Apr 2003 Five years on, Pol Pot's shadow lingers in Cambodia - By Ed Cropley ANLONG VENG, Cambodia, April 10 (Reuters) - With child-like respect, former Khmer Rouge guerrilla Kim Peo crawls beneath a rusty tin awning in the Cambodian jungle to tend the grave of one of the 20th century's most reviled mass murderers. This simple gesture by a 41-year-old who has known little else but war reveals that even five years after his death Pol Pot still casts his shadow over pockets of Cambodia, the country he and his brutal revolution ruined. "Brother Number One" of the ultra-Maoist movement whose "Killing Fields" regime is thought to have claimed 1.7 million lives, Pol Pot died on April 15, 1998, aged 73. His dream of creating an agrarian peasant utopia in the lush Southeast Asian nation died with him. His influence over many of his followers has not. "You can say he was a betrayer or a good man, but I don't care because he was an old man, and it is our tradition to show respect to the elderly," said Kim Peo, standing proud in his khaki battle fatigues -- now the property of the Cambodian army. "I put fruit on his grave to ask him to keep me safe and bring me luck. I might even pick the winning numbers in the lottery," he said, recalling the tale of a local woman who scooped the national draw with numbers revealed to her by Pol Pot in a dream. LINGERING LOYALTY Tucked in among the trees on the Khmer Rouge's final hilltop redoubt of Anlong Veng in Cambodia's wild northwest, Pol Pot's grave remains a site of pilgrimage for many former guerrillas. The burial mound itself, just yards from the Thai border, is not at first sight very impressive. Dogs lie on the rubble-strewn grave, sheltering from the sun under its corrugated iron awning. A shred of a rubber tyre serves as a reminder of Pol Pot's cremation in a blaze of gasoline and rubber -- symbols of the modernity he so despised. But at its foot lie fresh fruit, incense sticks and bottles of water -- offerings to a man seen as a nationalist hero by his followers and a genocidal tyrant by the rest of the world. With Cambodia finally reaching a deal last month with the United Nations to set up a Khmer Rouge genocide court, this lingering allegiance to the regime overthrown by a Vietnamese invasion in 1979 will come firmly under the microscope. One of those most likely to face trial is local Khmer Rouge commander Ta Mok, known as "The Butcher" for alleged atrocities while a top Khmer Rouge military chief, but still feted by many in the northwest as a hero and leader. He is now languishing in jail hundreds of miles away in the capital, Phnom Penh. "When Ta Mok was here, he helped the people a lot -- building roads, schools and dams, as well as feeding those who lived in the area," said border officer Khun Ly, who used to mediate for the Khmer Rouge with the Thai army. While most Khmer Rouge soldiers traded in their guns for ploughshares under a series of amnesties in the late 1990s, some still hark back to their guerrilla days as golden years. San Roeun, 51, a former battalion commander who lost his leg when he trod on a landmine underneath a mango tree, said Ta Mok had been unjustly dealt with by the government of Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen. "My personal opinion is that this is an injustice for him. We all eat at the same table, but he is the one who is being made to pay," San Roeun said. "UNCLE POL POT" With only one leg and an ageing group of unarmed like-minded colleagues, San Roeun -- now a guard at Ta Mok's house which has become a tourist attraction in Anlong Veng -- does not represent a threat to Cambodia's new-found stability. But many ex-guerrillas bemoan their lot under the present government, saying their plight has been quietly forgotten now that the drive for national reconciliation is losing its urgency. "My living conditions now are worse. Nobody cares for us. The government only helped us during the reintegration period. Since then, I have to help myself," San Roeun said, swinging gently to-and-fro in his hammock. "Before, with Pol Pot, he fed us, but now we have to feed ourselves -- even if we are amputees or blind." He reminisces over the few times he met the secretive Pol Pot, who he said came across as softly-spoken and kind. "One time he met me and asked me how I was. I said I'm very well, uncle.' He then asked me what I had to eat, and so I said: We eat anything we can because we are all poor,' and then he urged us to keep up the struggle to defend our motherland."

NYT 11 Apr 2003 SOLDIERS' REMAINS REPATRIATED The government said that it had repatriated and buried the remains of 226 soldiers who died fighting in neighboring Cambodia, the latest of nearly 5,000 sets of remains it has brought back since its recovery program began two years ago. An estimated 5,000 soldiers remain unaccounted for in Cambodia, where the Vietnamese sent troops to fight the French in the 1950's and the Americans during the Vietnam War, and then during a 10-year occupation in the 80's, after the fall of the Khmer Rouge. Officials said only two sets of the latest remains, all of which were buried in a war cemetery in southern Vietnam, could be identified. Seth Mydans (NYT) .

NYT 16 Apr 2003 LETTER FROM ASIA Flawed Khmer Rouge Trial Better Than None By SETH MYDANS PHNOM PENH, Cambodia, April 15 — It seems straightforward enough. Some of the worst mass killers of our times are living freely now in Cambodia, playing with their grandchildren and tending their flower gardens. They should be put on trial. Last month, after six years of difficult negotiations, Cambodia and the United Nations agreed to set up an international tribunal to try the top leaders of the Khmer Rouge, inventors of the killing fields. But instead of cheering, human rights groups have risen up in opposition. The problem is that — retreating from its policy in similar tribunals in other countries — the United Nations has effectively ceded control of the proceedings to local judges under a complex formula that gives them the power to make the final call on who is prosecuted and who is convicted. Cambodian law will take precedence over the guidelines agreed upon for the tribunal, reducing the United Nations — in the words of its legal counsel, Hans Corell, last year — to "a technical assistance provider to a Cambodian court." In Cambodia, where the judiciary is weak, corrupt and politically docile, that means Prime Minister Hun Sen will be the master of ceremonies, with results that are predictable only to him. On the world stage, it means that the new Cambodian formula, with its more relaxed approach to international law, will now be a United Nations-sanctioned precedent that other countries can demand for themselves. "Justice is not served by diluting international standards to suit the occasion or a government in power," Amnesty International said in a statement last December. In addition, some experts are challenging the decision to limit the trial to the top leaders and "those who were most responsible," effectively granting amnesty for lower ranking killers. "From the perspective of truth and justice, a de facto show trial of a few senior political figures would almost be a worst-case scenario," said Steve Heder, an expert on Cambodia at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. But this trial is the only one on offer. The Cambodian formula is the best the United Nations is going to get after running up against a brick wall in its talks with Mr. Hun Sen's men. Time is on the side of the killers, who caused the deaths of 1.7 million people through execution, starvation, disease and overwork when they ruled Cambodia from 1975 to 1979. Their chief, Pol Pot, is dead. With the surviving leaders old and sick, this could be the last chance to put them in the dock. So at its bluntest, the question now is whether a potentially flawed trial is better than no trial at all. Even if real justice is not done, will it be worth it to see these extraordinary creatures on display, facing their accusers and making their elaborate excuses? It would offer at least a gesture to their victims. The formula agreed upon is not in itself fatally flawed. It's how it's applied that counts. "The proof of the pudding is in the eating," said the former American ambassador, Kent Weidemann, admittedly stringing together clichés. "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Let's give it a shot." The worry is that the door has been left open to the kind of manipulation that is standard practice in Cambodia. After much wrangling, the two sides agreed to set up a mixed tribunal with both foreign and Cambodian prosecutors and judges. In an awkward supermajority formula, Cambodian judges would dominate but would need the vote of at least one foreign judge for any decision. The Cambodians would have the advantage in resolving disputed rulings. The first caution in any analysis is that a trial could still be derailed. Mr. Hun Sen has an almost perfect record of making promises he has no intention of keeping and of undermining the country's democratic processes. Negotiations to create a tribunal have been punctuated by breakthroughs that came to nothing. The arguments in favor of proceeding are essentially based on wishful thinking: Who knows? Things could go well. Mr. Hun Sen could break his habit of preaching what he does not practice. He could turn out to be a champion of democracy in disguise. He could loosen his dictatorial grip and let justice take its course. If things go terribly wrong, the United Nations can pull out at any point. "It would be a shame to waste this opportunity," Mr. Weidemann said. "If it fails, it fails; but honestly, I think that would be a real shame." Certainly, the arguments of the idealists stand on firmer ground. International standards must not be compromised. It is foolhardy to base one's hopes on the good faith of the Cambodian government. The country needs to see real justice done as a foundation for democratic reform. The Cambodian people deserve better than this after all they have suffered. The alternative, though, seems to be to let the old killers fade away undisturbed. Do the people who make these sensible arguments really want to be the ones who finally close the door on any trial for Khmer Rouge leaders? Honestly, it would be a real shame.

AP 20 Apr 2003 Years after Pol Pot's death, questions linger Cambodia was cheated of answers and justice PHNOM PENH, Cambodia - Justice was both served and cheated with the death five years ago last week of Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot. Pol Pot's death April 15, 1998, heralded the demise, less than a year later, of the Khmer Rouge, who even after being ousted from power in 1978 continued to terrorize the Cambodian people as jungle-based guerrillas. With Pol Pot died chances for Cambodians to fully explore the reasoning behind one of the most genocidal governments of the 20th century and for Cambodian authorities to bring the tyrant to justice. While in power from 1975 to 1979, the Khmer Rouge were responsible for the deaths of an estimated 1.7 million of their countrymen from overwork, starvation, disease and execution. Vann Nath, one of the handful of people to survive the group's notorious Tuol Sleng torture center, recalled feeling a sense of "emptiness" when he saw television images of Pol Pot's cremation, held April 18, 1998. "I wanted to hear him say for what and whom his past actions were, and how he regarded the lives of the Khmer people. Like animals or worse?" he said. He and many Cambodians are still haunted as they wait to see Pol Pot's remaining lieutenants brought to justice. The Cambodian government reached an agreement with the United Nations last month to hold an internationally assisted genocide tribunal for surviving Khmer Rouge leaders. Pol Pot cheated his victims of justice, but he suffered an ignominious end. A captive of his own comrades after a bloody power struggle, he died - purportedly of a heart attack - in a shack in Anlong Veng, a Khmer Rouge stronghold near Cambodia's northern border with Thailand. The body of the 73-year-old Pol Pot was unceremoniously cremated on a pile of used furniture and tires. In early 1999, the Khmer Rouge movement collapsed as its leaders surrendered or were captured. Youk Chhang, head of an institute researching the Khmer Rouge's atrocities, said he was frustrated when he heard the news of Pol Pot's death. "It's kind of awkward to see him burned in the jungle like that. Why did he die ... without anyone giving him a hearing so we knew what went on [under his regime]?" he said. Pol Pot's key lieutenants - Ieng Sary, Nuon Chea, Khieu Samphan - live freely in Cambodia today. Old and infirm, it is a race against time to see whether they will stand trial. Cambodia's nightmare began April 17, 1975, when the Khmer Rouge marched into Phnom Penh, ending a five-year civil war. The group adapted the most extreme principles of communism, attempting to create a classless society by abolishing trade, money, education and religion, and by emptying the cities to start up large rural communes. It was ousted only after an invasion by neighboring Vietnam in early 1979. Ta Mok, the group's notoriously brutal military commander, and Kaing Khek Iev, the Tuol Sleng warden also known as Duch, are the only two senior figures in detention awaiting trial for crimes against humanity. As many as 16,000 prisoners are thought to have passed through Tuol Sleng's gates on the way to execution. Vann Nath, 58, is one of 14 prisoners known to have survived the prison, which is now a genocide museum. A skillful sculptor, Vann Nath said that during his year at Tuol Sleng he made a statue of Pol Pot on the Khmer Rouge's orders, "not daring to miscount even a single hair on his eyebrow." After Pol Pot's fall, he said, "I wanted so badly to see his face and hear him speak in front of a tribunal alive." But he believes that Pol Pot's end was ordained by his karma. Researcher Youk Chhang lost 10 siblings to the Khmer Rouge, including a sister whom the Khmer Rouge accused of stealing rice. He said the Khmer Rouge cut her stomach open to check for the stolen rice. Such brutality still baffles Cambodians. "What happened was as clear as daylight, but why did it happen?" Chhang said.

AP 24 Apr 2003 Judge in Khmer Rouge Case Is Killed PHNOM PENH, Cambodia -- A Cambodian judge who last year sentenced a notorious Khmer Rouge commander to life imprisonment was killed by gunmen, police said. Two unidentified men on a motorcycle pulled alongside Judge Sok Sethamony's car at an intersection in the capital and opened fire, said Heng Pov, deputy police commissioner of Phnom Penh. Witnesses reported hearing five shots. On Dec. 23, Sok Sethamony sentenced Sam Bith, a former Khmer Rouge provincial chief, to life in prison for directing the 1994 abduction and murder of three Western tourists. Sam Bith has appealed the verdict. He is one of the highest-ranking Khmer Rouge officials to be tried in court. However, no leader of the Khmer Rouge, the communist regime that turned Cambodia into "killing fields" during the late 1970s, has been brought to justice over the genocide.

UN 29 Apr 2003 The Third Committee of the General Assembly has just adopted by CONSENSUS the draft resolution A/C.3/57/L.90 (Text below). ******************** United Nations A/C.3/57/L.90 General Assembly Distr.: Limited 29 April 2003 Original: English Fifty-seventh session Third Committee Agenda item 109 (b) Human rights questions: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms Australia, Cambodia, France, India, Japan, Republic of Korea and Russian Federation: draft resolution Khmer Rouge trials The General Assembly, Recalling its resolution 57/228 of 18 December 2002, Welcoming the efforts of the Secretary-General and the Royal Government of Cambodia to conclude the negotiation of the draft agreement between the United Nations and the Royal Government of Cambodia concerning the Prosecution under Cambodian Law of Crimes Committed during the Period of Democratic Kampuchea contained in the annex to the present resolution, Taking note of the report of the Secretary-General on Khmer Rouge trials, 1. Approves the draft agreement between the United Nations and the Royal Government of Cambodia concerning the Prosecution under Cambodian Law of Crimes Committed during the Period of Democratic Kampuchea contained in the annex to the present resolution; 2. Urges the Secretary-General and the Royal Government of Cambodia to take all the measures necessary to allow the draft agreement referred to in paragraph 1 to enter into force, and to implement it fully after its entry into force; 3. Decides that the expenses of the Extraordinary Chambers to be defrayed by the United Nations in accordance with the relevant provisions of the draft agreement shall be borne by voluntary contributions from the international community as indicated in paragraph 9 of General Assembly resolution 57/228, and appeals to the international community to provide assistance, including financial and personnel support to the Extraordinary Chambers; 4. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the General Assembly at its fifty-eighth session on the implementation of the present resolution.


People's Daily 2 Apr 2003 Chinese Peace-keepers Leave for DRC A 158-strong engineering company of Chinese peace-keepers and an eight-person medical team departed from Beijing Tuesday night for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). They are the advance party of the 175 troopers and 43 medical staff, including 13 female doctors and nurses, to be sent to the DRC by China. This is the second time China has sent a detachment of military personnel to join a United Nations-sponsored overseas peace-keeping mission. Eight hundred Chinese engineering troops participated in the peace-keeping mission in Cambodia in 1992 and 1993, building and rebuilding two airports, and building 36 bridges and 500 km of roads. China has sent more than 1,450 soldiers and officers to missions in 10 nations and regions since 1990 when it joined the UN's peace-keeping programs. A Defense Ministry official said the Chinese peace-keepers, selected from the Chinese military and equipped with advanced engineering outfit, are capable of fulfilling the mission of airport rebuilding and the construction of roads, bridges and houses. The medical team will also serve local civilians, he said. People's Daily Online --- http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/

IRIN 7 Apr 2003 Chinese Engineers Arrive in Bukavu Kinshasa A contingent of 175 Chinese engineers has arrived in Bukavu in South Kivu province, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), to build a medical centre, the spokesman of the UN Mission in DRC, known as MONUC, Hamadoun Toure, said on Monday. A 70-strong Chinese medical team was also due to arrive soon in Kindu in Maniema province, Toure told IRIN. Toure said MONUC was also awaiting the arrival of around 1,000 South African and 105 Swedish troops to support the process of disarming, demobilising, repatriating, and rehabilitating foreign armed groups operating in the DRC. These are mainly the Rwandan Interahamwe militia and the ex-Forces armees rwandaises (FAR), both responsible for the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. Toure said the Swedes' task would be to contact targeted groups in their forest hiding places and convince them to be repatriated.

NYT April 8, 2003 Saddam Hussein as Surrogate Dictator By JIANYING ZHA olstoy would have said that every democracy is different, but all totalitarian countries look the same," my cousin said as images of Baghdad rolled by on television. They reminded him of his visit to Pyongyang, but I could have easily added Stalin's Moscow or Mao's Beijing. He added, "The leader puts his statues everywhere and gets 100 percent of the vote — and you know life must be living hell in that country." This was the second day of the war, and we were watching the news in my mother's Beijing apartment. My cousin supports the war; so do all his colleagues at work. My mother, too, is rooting for American victory; so is her downstairs neighbor. Feeling ambivalent about the war, I visited Beijing and discovered a startling phenomenon: many Chinese I spoke with resolutely support it. Sure, you can't hear their voices in the state news media because of the government's antiwar stance, but in private conversations and anonymously on the Chinese Internet, these voices are distinct and impassioned. Here is one posting from a major Chinese Web site, Sohu.com: "Saddam rapes the will of his people, treating them as weeds and Iraq as his private property. Why should such a leader be allowed to stay on? War is cruel, but after the war Iraq will have a bright new future." Or consider this view on the American decision to bypass the United Nations: "Suppose a thug has been raping a young girl behind closed doors and the girl is too scared to cry for help," said a guest at a dinner I attended. "Should we keep sitting on our hands and waiting for a neighborhood committee to come to a decision? No! The right thing to do is to rush in and save the girl!" The analogy may be crude, but I understand its roots. Most of the supporters of the war, I noticed, experienced the darkest periods of contemporary Chinese history. They are officials, scholars and journalists ages 30 to 60 — and they remember Mao's Cultural Revolution and Deng's Tiananmen Square massacre. Much like Eastern Europeans, they see in Saddam Hussein the kind of despot they know too well. The Chinese government hasn't missed this. After all, the people who support the war exert considerable influence over China's cultural life. That's probably why, despite relatively thorough and neutral war coverage in the state news media, all information about Saddam Hussein's murderous rule has been withheld. (The war, the stories suggest, is about oil and 9/11 retribution.) Chinese leaders, even the new reformists, do not want comparisons drawn between them and Mr. Hussein. Meanwhile, the Iraqis' lot reminds Chinese liberals of China's own past. It also reminds them how far China has to go to reach full democracy. Support for the war is by no means widespread, and young people who missed the worst of China's purges and know little of Saddam Hussein's atrocities — but plenty about the American strike on the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade — are the most fervently opposed to it. This reflects the complex transition China is undergoing. While the shift to a market economy has improved the lives of millions, political reforms have been put on the back burner. To distract attention from this failure, and to fill the vacuum left by a bankrupt communist ideology, the state has done its best to build nationalist sentiment. It has done a very good job, especially among those under 30. Anti-globalization and anti-Americanism — and thus opposition to an American-led war — are natural byproducts of this campaign. The United States is portrayed as a wealthy bully that will try to beat back China or any country (like Iraq) that dares challenge it. The clashes between the United States and China in the last decade (trade, Taiwan, the embassy bombing, even the Olympics) are used as evidence of American arrogance. How the United States deals with the aftermath of Iraq will also be closely watched for signs of overbearing — and if the postwar period is mishandled, the younger generation could permanently turn away from the United States. Amid this fog of nationalist emotion, it is all the more remarkable that so many Chinese have managed to keep their faith in American-style liberal democracy. They yearn for a deeper change in their own country's political system. It is in this sense that their support for war is an expression of idealism: for them, the war is against not only totalitarianism, but also narrow-minded, radical nationalism. Judging by its moderate position on this war, the government understands that it is not in China's interest to antagonize the United States. Quietly, the government has stopped some students' plans for an antiwar demonstration. Perhaps China's new leaders have recognized the dangers of stoking the fires of nationalism. As for the day when all political views can be openly expressed, when all peaceful protests can freely take place in China — that day is well in the future. The quiet dissent on the war in Iraq, however, shows that it will surely come. Jianying Zha, author of "China Pop: How Soap Operas, Tabloids and Best Sellers Are Transforming a Culture," is a research fellow at the Baker Institute of Rice University.

Guardian UK 9 Apr 2003 China accused of Sars cover-up Staff and agencies Wednesday April 9, 2003 A senior Chinese doctor today accused his government of covering up details about the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars), while a Beijing hospital was shut down, reportedly because medical staff became infected. Even as state media repeated the government's claim that the outbreak is under control, the health ministry said officials from throughout China had been summoned to Beijing to discuss efforts to counteract Sars. The accusations of a government cover-up came in a statement by Dr Jiang Yanyong, retired chief of surgery at a Beijing military hospital. He said that doctors and nurses at two other military-run institutions told him at least seven deaths have occurred in their hospitals and claimed there were 106 cases of the disease in Beijing - more than five times the figured announced by authorities. Health workers dismissed as "nonsense" claims by the health minister that the outbreak was under control, said Dr Jiang, who continues to see patients at the No 301 hospital after retiring as its chief surgeon. He said that he has not been contacted by authorities about his claims. The accusation comes as WHO voiced its concern to Chinese leaders about the spread of Sars and called on the government to give them access to investigate outbreaks in Beijing and other infected areas. WHO doctors, having completed a week-long investigation into the disease's origin in the southern province of Guangdong, made the request as they presented a preliminary report to the Chinese health minister, Zhang Wenkang, and vice-premier, Wu Yi. The doctors shared with them "the concern that there are many rumours and no clear answers," said Henk Bekedam, the WHO representative in China. The WHO team praised health officials in Guangdong, home to the worst outbreak since the disease emerged there last November, and said their efforts at trying to contain Sars should be adopted as a model in China and the rest of the world. However, the Chinese government, which had already waited a week before giving the WHO doctors permission to go to Guangdong, have not yet agreed to the group's requests to visit hospitals in the country's capital. The health ministry says four fatalities and 19 cases in Beijing, including a Finnish man who died on Sunday. Doctors and administrators at the hospitals cited by Dr Jiang - Numbers 302 and 309 hospitals - refused to comment on the claim. The Chinese government has faced criticism from home and abroad about its slowness in releasing information about the outbreak. Even after recent pledges of openness by senior officials, the health ministry and other offices decline to release details about deaths and cases of infection. Sars has infected more than 2,600 people worldwide and killed at least 106, most of them in mainland China and Hong Kong, with other deaths in Canada, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia. An American teacher who became ill with Sars was today driven across China's border to Hong Kong, where he was pronounced dead in a hospital, officials said. Hong Kong had earlier reported two more deaths, bringing the number of fatalities here to 27, and 42 new cases, out of a total of 970. Elsewhere, Malaysia stopped issuing entry visas to most Chinese travellers. Indonesia told its citizens to stop spitting in public places. In Hong Kong, officials cautiously prepared to let more than 200 people go home from quarantine camps after they showed no signs of Sars. A spokesman for Malaysia's embassy in Beijing said it has been ordered to stop issuing visas to most mainland Chinese until Sars is contained. But members of government delegations and those on business trips can still apply if they are declared free of Sars symptoms such as fever, coughing and breathing difficulties, he said. Officials have also revoked visa-free travel for citizens of Hong Kong. The Philippines issued an advisory against unnecessary travel to Hong Kong and the southern Chinese province of Guangdong, citing the Sars outbreak. More than 150,000 Filipinos work in Hong Kong. The decisions by Malaysia and the Philippines spell more trouble for an Asian-Pacific travel industry that has been battered by Sars, which has been spread by air travellers after apparently originating in Guangdong. Australian flag carrier Qantas announced today that it will lay off 1,000 staff before the end of June, blaming a drop in traffic brought about by Sars as well as the war in Iraq. Hong Kong's airport has seen hundreds of flights cancelled since the World Health Organisation warned people not to travel to the former British colony if they could avoid it. Following numerous cancellations of sporting and cultural events and meetings around the region, Norwegian mediators said they might move peace talks between Sri Lanka and Tamil Tiger rebels away from Thailand, while south-east Asian finance ministers might postpone an upcoming session in Manila.

AP 10 Apr 2003 Li peng lawsuit seen as strain on U.S.-China ties A U.S. prosecutor warned that a human rights lawsuit against the premier of China at the time of the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protest might have "grave consequences" for U.S.-China relations. Assistant U.S. Attorney David S. Jones told U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley on Tuesday that the 2000 lawsuit filed in Manhattan had improperly caught the State Department in the middle of a dispute with wide ramifications. He asked the judge to reverse an August ruling that the lawsuit against former Premier Li Peng was properly delivered when it was given to a U.S. security detail protecting him during a visit to New York. "We are informing the court of grave consequences that flow from this order," Jones said. The prosecutor added in court papers, "Indeed, the case, and in particular the court's orders relating to service or process, have significantly strained our relations with the People's Republic of China, bringing repeated, sharp, high-level protests that have complicated one of the most delicate and critical of this nation's foreign policy relationships." Li, recently retired as chairman of China's national legislature and the second most powerful figure in the Chinese Communist Party, was served during the Conference of Presiding Officers of National Parliaments at the United Nations. Li was blamed by victims of the government crackdown after he declared martial law on national television two weeks before a military crackdown killed hundreds of people in June 1989, ending seven weeks of protests. The Chinese Consulate in New York issued a statement Tuesday that said it hoped the United States "takes every practical and effective measure to stop the court concerned from trying the case. "According to established principles of international law and basic norms of international relations, he enjoys sovereign immunity and that U.S. court has no jurisdiction over him," the statement said. "The malicious charge against him is out of a vicious intention and politically motivated." Lawyers for the Center for Constitutional Rights who brought the lawsuit seeking unspecified damages on behalf of student protesters argued that the U.S. government exaggerated dangers. "This particular case involves a former head of state who played a leading role in one of the most notorious human rights atrocities of the past 20 years, an atrocity that the U.S. government has repeatedly, publicly and loudly condemned," it said in court papers. Attorney Beth Stephens told the judge Tuesday: "The danger, I believe, is overstated." In a court submission, a State Department official said allegations that Peng was served the lawsuit on Aug. 31, 2000, "so alarmed the Chinese government that a series of high-level official protests and diplomatic representations followed." Donald W. Keyser, deputy assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, said a top Chinese official told him the Chinese government considered the lawsuit "a violation of international law and a serious infringement of China's sovereignty with the potential to severely damage bilateral relations." He said Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan told Secretary of State Colin Powell on Sept. 13 at the United Nations that the lawsuit could do serious harm to relations between the countries. Keyser said China "deeply resents its leaders being subject to private lawsuits in the courts of the United States." Last spring, he said, the Chinese government refused to send representatives to the United States to participate in an important anti-narcotics training course because of concerns that Chinese officials would be served with lawsuits. The judge reserved decision.


PTI 2 Apr 2003 Governor holds back conversion Bill TIMES NEWS NETWORK[ WEDNESDAY, APRIL 02, 2003 01:06:30 AM ] GANDHINAGAR: Even six days after it was passed in the state assembly, Gujarat Governor S S Bhandari has not given his assent to the controversial Gujarat Freedom of Religion Bill, 2003, seeking to ban forced conversions. This has left the state government guessing about Raj Bhawan’s intentions. Assembly speaker Mangaldas Patel told TNN on Tuesday that while the other six Bills, also passed by the assembly on March 26 amidst pandemonium over ex-home minister Haren Pandya’s murder, have been duly signed, the anti-conversion Bill remains with the Governor. Hence, the Bill is yet to be converted into an Act. “The Governor may be taking legal advice,” the speaker said. “We hope to hear from the Raj Bhawan on the Bill by Wednesday,” he added. Sources said that while the Governor set aside the complaint by Opposition leader Amarsinh Chaudhary that none of the Bills be signed as they were passed when the House was not in order, he has preferred to seek the advocategeneral’s view on the Freedom of Religion Bill. The reason for Raj Bhawan’s refusal to sign the Bill is not far to seek. Archbishop S Fernandes, during his meeting with the Governor last week, had expressed fears of harassment to minority religious leaders,who under the Bill are supposed to take permission for conducting conversion ceremony from the district magistrate. This means the process of conversion can depend on the ‘sweet will’ of the district magistrate, who is also the district collector. Only when the district collector is ‘satisfied’ that no force or allurement is involved, can a person be converted. The Bill’s provision is stricter than that of the anticonversion law, passed in Tamil Nadu last year, which just requires the person conducting the ceremony, to inform the district official about the deed. Meanwhile, sources said the state government has decided to incorporate certain clauses in the Bill that will allow Hindus to get converted to Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism, and vice-versa, without seeking any permission. A top ministerial source told TNN that Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism were part of the Hindu personal law. “ Therefore there would be no need to take permission for those coming under the Hindu code.” Nor would the rules contain any time-frame during which the collector would have to give his permission to the religious leader to perform the act of conversion. “The district magistrate can take one or six months. All depends on the official’s will. Our main intention is ensure that conversions taking place in the eastern tribal belt stop. The purpose would be solved,” the source insisted.

PTI 2 Apr 2003 Curfew in parts of Dahod after clash TIMES NEWS NETWORK[ WEDNESDAY, APRIL 02, 2003 01:05:54 AM ] VADODARA: An indefinite curfew was clamped on parts of Dahod town late on Tuesday after five people sustained injuries in a clash between members of two communities. The condition of two of the injured is reportedly serious. The incident occurred at 1.30 pm in an area adjoining Court Road. An FIR filed with Dahod town police station alleged that a boy belonging to a minority community had teased a tribal girl. Things went out of control after relatives of the girl had a tiff with the boy. People in the locality became excited and the tiff snowballed into a riot. Two boys, around 20 years, were seriously injured. One was stabbed on the neck and the other was attacked on forehead by a sharp-edged weapon. Both were brought to Vadodara for treatment. Three others suffered minor injuries. A team of police officials, including Dahod superintendent of police DJ Patel, rushed to the place. Combing operations were launched and all 14 people, named in the FIR, were booked. Special IGP (Vadodara range) Deepak Swaroop said combing operations in the town were still on.“We have arrested 16 others for trying to create troubles,” he added. Swaroop said the incident might be the fallout of misbehavior by people in inebriated state. “Some people of the minority community were abused by them which led to trouble. However, this has to be investigated,” he said. “Curfew has been clamped on some parts of the town as a precautionary measure.The situation is under control,” he said. Areas from Court Road to Dabgarfalia and Gaushala are under curfew. Miscreants had also tried to set ablaze haystack in a house in communally-sensitive area. However, it could not cause major damage.

FT.com 2 Apr 2003 Healing touch fails to remedy Kashmir tension By Edward Luce Published: April 2 2003 5:00 | Last Updated: April 2 2003 5:00 The people of Kashmir are accustomed to being caught in the middle. But as India and Pakistan once more ratchet up the war of words over the divided province, Kashmir's 8m inhabitants are bracing themselves for a particularly difficult spring. Last week India accused Pakistan of sponsoring the terrorist massacre of 24 Hindu villagers in Kashmir. Alarmed by India's strident tone, the US and the UK, in a joint statement, called on the nuclear-armed neighbours to declare a ceasefire along the Line of Control that divides Kashmir. The statement also called on Pakistan to cease its alleged sponsorship of terrorism and urged the two countries to start talking. Neither evinced much interest. As the snows melt in the mountain passes that terrorists use to infiltrate India's portion of Kashmir, the diplomatic temperature seems likely to continue rising. "We need the US to persuade the two countries to talk," said Umar Farooq, a moderate separatist leader and spiritual leader of Kashmir's Sufi brand of Islam. "Unless there is a restraining influence from outside, India and Pakistan seem to be on another collision course." Mr Farooq has other grounds to be worried. As a moderate separatist who preaches dialogue with India rather than violence, he is a prominent target for separatists yet to put down the gun. Last week, Abdul Majid Dar, a former militant leader who abandoned insurgency in favour of politics, was killed by terrorists in Kashmir. Abdul Ghani Lone, Kashmir's most widely liked separatist politician, was murdered last May. Mr Farooq's father was killed by terrorists in 1990. Yet India remains loath to engage with Mr Farooq and other non-violent separatists. Last month it withdrew Mr Farooq's passport. New Delhi also refuses to talk to Yassin Malik, a leading separatist who abandoned the gun in 1994. "New Delhi still calls me a terrorist," said Mr Malik, who was released from detention two months ago having - he says - lost hearing in his right ear after repeated beatings. "If India was interested in a political solution then why aren't they talking to us?" New Delhi is also making life difficult for the provincial government of Jammu & Kashmir, which came to power last October on the promise of applying the "healing touch" to the deeply traumatised Himalayan province - India's only Muslim-majority state. Last week, after the massacre of the Hindu villagers, India's Hindu nationalist-led government accused Kashmir's new administration of being "soft on terrorism". Since attaining office, Kashmir's new government has released militants from detention and launched inquiries into human rights abuses by Indian security forces. "We have always said that the more successful we are at applying the healing touch, the more desperate the terrorists will become," said Mehbooba Sayeed, daughter of Kashmir's chief minister, Mufti Sayeed. "New Delhi should not be so quick to judge us." Ms Sayeed - architect of the healing touch policy - remains widely popular in a province where pro-India politicians are normally held in contempt. Since her People's Democratic party came to power, it has taken unprecedented steps to hold the security forces to account for alleged abuses. "It takes time for such a policy to take root. We need time," said Ms Sayeed. Yet neither New Delhi nor Islamabad - both of which appear to view the Kashmir dispute through military binoculars - seem willing to give time or encouragement to Ms Sayeed's moderate brand of politics. Pakistan has clearly failed to implement a promise it made last year to put an end to cross-border terrorism. Pro-Pakistan groups, which security forces say are infiltrating Kashmir along with the spring thaw, view Ms Sayeed's healing touch as a threat to their cause. So, apparently, does New Delhi. On Monday India set up a new body to manage counter-insurgency in the province. Atal Behari Vajpayee, India's prime minister, will visit the province this month to oversee tougher security measures. One western diplomat said: "New Delhi doesn't have much patience for the healing touch."

BBC 8 Apr 2003 Tripura rebels attack wedding By Subir Bhaumik BBC correspondent in Calcutta Separatist rebels in the Indian state of Tripura have killed five supporters of the governing party. The attack happened in the remote village of Jagabandhupara late on Monday night. Police say the villagers were celebrating the wedding of the son of their village council chairman when the rebels of the National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) attacked. Just over a week ago, NLFT rebels ambushed and killed seven personnel from the Railway Protection Force in a nearby area. According to police about a dozen rebels, wearing olive-green military uniforms stormed into Jagabandhupara during the wedding of the local council leader's son. The rebels opened fire indiscriminately with automatic weapons. Landslide victory Five villagers including one woman were killed instantly and eight others were injured. Four of those injured are reported to be in a critical condition. The NLFT were disappointed with last months election results All those killed or injured were identified as supporters of Tripura's ruling Left Front, the Marxist party which won a landslide victory in last month's state assembly elections. The rebels of NLFT, who supported the opposition alliance in the election, have intensified their violence since their defeat, particularly targeting security forces and Marxist supporters. Intelligence officials say the NLFT secretly imported a huge consignment of weapons last month and their violent activities are likely to intensify. Tripura's Leftist Chief Minister Manik Sarkar has alleged that the rebel group is operating from its many bases in Bangladesh - and he has asked the federal government in Delhi to put pressure on Bangladesh to dismantle the camps and chase the rebels out. Bangladesh routinely denies the allegations and says many of their known criminals who fled the country during the army's anti-crime drive have received shelter in India.

NYT 19 Apr 2003 Indian Leader, in Kashmir, Extends Olive Branch to Pakistan By AMY WALDMAN NEW DELHI, April 18 — For the first time in at least 15 years, an Indian prime minister addressed a public rally in the disputed territory of Kashmir today, using the occasion to reach out to Pakistan, which also claims the border area. "We extend the hand of friendship again, but hands have to be extended from both sides," Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee said of Pakistan to a crowd of more than 10,000 in Srinagar, the summer capital of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. "It is time to change things." Kashmir, which has a Muslim majority, has been the site of an Islamic anti-Indian insurgency since 1989. India accuses Pakistan of backing the rebellion, and the two countries, which have both tested nuclear weapons, nearly went to war last year. India has said it will not have any dialogue with Pakistan until the infiltration of militants from Pakistan into India across the Line of Control in Kashmir ends. It is not clear whether Mr. Vajpayee's statements today represented any substantial deviation from that position, since he neither enunciated nor renounced India's conditions for talks. A poet, Mr. Vajpayee is also a master of using language that allows for multiple interpretations. Still, for those worried by the renewed rise in tensions between India and Pakistan in the wake of a recent massacre of Hindus in Kashmir, his words were heartening. "Both sides should decide that they want to live in harmony," Mr. Vajpayee said. "We have to change the road map, and the time has come to change this road map. In New Delhi, we are engaged in changing the road map." Speaking from behind a bulletproof glass screen, Mr. Vajpayee assured the people of Jammu and Kashmir of his government's determination to strengthen democracy and settle the Kashmir dispute through dialogue. "Both internal and external problems should be settled through talks," he said. Separatists in the Kashmir Valley had called for a strike, and as a result shops and businesses were closed and the streets largely deserted. The crowd consisted mainly of supporters of the People's Democratic Party, which is part of the state's coalition government, who had been bused in from villages. The party helped upset the ruling dynasty last fall in an election that, unlike previous ones in recent years, was generally considered free and fair. Mr. Vajpayee told the crowd: "After many years, you got the opportunity to decide your own fate. Make the best use of it." The state's chief minister, Mufti Muhammad Sayeed, evoked the "healing touch" policy he has applied since his ascension. "I request of the prime minister that our policy should be not to punish the wayward youth who lost their path and resorted to the gun," he said. "We have to win them over with love and compassion; they are our own children." In Pakistan, Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali said of Mr. Vajpayee's speech: "We welcome it. We appreciate it." "On the main issue, Pakistan's stand remains the same," he said of the dispute over who should control Kashmir, but added that flexibility was possible once talks began. Pakistan's information minister, Sheik Rasheed Ahmed, told Reuters in Islamabad, "If they take one step, we are ready to take two steps."


ICG 27 Mar 2003 Dividing Papua: How Not To Do It A Presidential Instruction issued in Jakarta on 27 January 2003 to divide Papua, now one province, into three undercuts a special autonomy law passed by the parliament in November 2001 and has done more to create tension and turmoil in Papua than any government action in years. The official reason given for dividing Papua was to bring government closer to the people and facilitate economic development. However, the real reason is almost certainly to weaken the Papuan independence movement. Dividing the province could also help President Megawati's PDIP party and weaken its main rival, Golkar, in the lead up to the 2004 elections. There is little chance that the decree will be revoked. The best that can be hoped for is that the government will delay implementation and work on a broader consensus. For the full report, please see CrisisWeb - http://www.crisisweb.org

BBC 8 Apr 2003 Aceh peace monitors to withdraw Aceh's separatist war has claimed thousands of lives International peace monitors in the Indonesian province of Aceh are to be withdrawn from their regional offices following a series of threats and attacks. Staff working for the Joint Security Committee (JSC) supervising the fledgling peace agreement will be relocated to the Acehnese capital Banda Aceh, officials said on Tuesday. "The JSC will temporarily relocate the monitors until such a time they are satisfied they can carry out their duties safely and securely," Steve Daly, a spokesman for the Swiss-based Henry Dunant Centre, which brokered the four-month-old peace deal, told BBC News Online. This is the most fragile period since the peace deal was signed Steve Daly, Henry Dunant Centre Just over 100 staff will be relocated from 12 offices around the province, Mr Daly said. "Our number one priority is the safety of the monitors in the field," he added. The monitors' departure is a further blow to the fragile ceasefire agreement between the Jakarta Government and separatist rebels from the Free Aceh Movement (GAM), who have been fighting a 26-year civil war which has claimed thousands of lives. Mr Daly conceded that this was "the most fragile period since the peace deal was signed" in December, and that there had recently been a rise in the number of violent incidents in the province. On Monday, hundreds of protesters besieged an office in the southern town of Tapaktuan, threatening to burn down the building if staff refused to leave. Just the day before, another JSC office was torched in the eastern town of Langsa. Mr Daly described that attack as "deliberate" and "clearly organised". "There appear to be elements in Indonesia who wish to undermine the peace process," he said. Mr Daly declined to say who he thought was behind the attacks. GAM has accused the Indonesian security forces of trying to undermine the peace process in order to strengthen its own hand. This allegation has been vehemently denied by senior military commanders. The BBC's correspondent in Indonesia, Rachel Harvey, says there are now real fears the Aceh peace process could be unravelling. Demilitarisation phase No time has been set for the monitors to return to the field, but Mr Daly said it would be a "good start" if the authorities conducted a thorough investigation into the recent attacks and apprehended those responsible. But he also said he was "encouraged" by the Indonesian Government's announcement on Monday that it intended to continue its support for the peace process. Mr Daly also emphasised that even allowing for recent events, the security situation was still far better than it had been before the agreement was signed in December. The peace process is currently at its most difficult stage - the so-called "demilitarisation" phase, which was supposed to have started on 9 February. As part of this phase, GAM rebels have been asked to place their weapons in designated secret locations, which will be subject to random inspections by international monitors. For its part, the Indonesian military has agreed to relocate its soldiers to defensive positions and replace its paramilitary police units with a normal police force. Both actions are meant to be undertaken simultaneously, but while the two sides have talked about their next moves, neither has so far taken any physical steps on the ground, Mr Daly said. "I want to encourage one party or the other to make an act of good faith to start this thing," he said. "It is down to the courage and commitment of the two parties to get through this period and continue on the path to peace."

Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) 10 Apr 2003 Plea to rebels from Papua leaders The Papua Presidium Council is appealing to Free Papua rebels to refrain from attacking the Indonesian military so it can continue efforts to establish dialogue with Jakarta. Council member, Franz Albert Joku, says there are government members who are willing to discuss Papua's political status but attacks by O-P-M rebels could jeopardise that. Free Papua rebels were last week accused of breaking into an army arsenal at Wamena, sparking a gunfight in which three people, including two soldiers, were killed. Mr Joku said while it was not clear if rebels were involved in that incident, he is calling on them not to jeopardise the small support Papuans have within the Indonesian government.

ETAN 10 Apr 2003 Press Release: New Indictment of Indonesian Officials for Crimes East Timor Action Network Praises New Indictment of Indonesian Officials for Crimes in E Timor Media Release Rights Group Praises New Indictment of Indonesian Officials Calls on International Community to Strongly Support Joint UN/East Timor Serious Crimes Court Contact: John M. Miller, +1-718-596-7668, +1-917-690-4391 For Immediate Release April 9, 2003 - Following yesterday's indictment of Indonesian military and police officials, the East Timor Action Network/U.S. (ETAN) today urged the United States and United Nations to fully support the prosecution of Indonesian officials accused of committing crimes against humanity in East Timor by the joint UN/East Timor Serious Crimes Unit. "We urge the U.S. and the UN to actively pursue the extradition and prosecution of all those indicted by the Serious Crimes Unit (SCU) currently residing in Indonesia. The Bush administration must use all diplomatic resources at its disposal to ensure Indonesian authorities honor the indictments issued and comply with extradition requests," said John M. Miller, spokesperson for ETAN. "There must be concrete repercussions for Indonesia's complete failure to cooperate with the SCU." "The serious nature of the crimes committed, the inability of the new nation of East Timor to seek justice on its own, and the extreme violence aimed at a UN Security Council-mandated mission all necessitate international involvement," added Miller. Indonesia has publicly refused to extradite anyone to East Timor for trial. Of the 227 suspects previously indicted by the SCU, nearly two-thirds reside in Indonesia. In an effort to avoid an international court process, Indonesia established its own ad hoc court on East Timor, considered a sham by nearly all observers. The Indonesian court is expected to announce its last verdicts this month. So far, the court has acquitted 11 of 14 Indonesian defendants before it. The SCU indictment accuses 16 persons, including nine Indonesian military (TNI) officers and the former Indonesian District Chief of Police, of crimes against humanity committed against the civilian population of Covalima district in 1999. Among incidents involved is the notorious September 1999 massacre at the Suai church, where scores of women, men, and children were killed, including three priests. "East Timorese officials have expressed concern about the impact of the SCU indictments on relations with Indonesia, but East Timor's civil society has repeatedly called the pursuit of justice fundamental for stability and stated that the East Timorese people are crying out for justice," said Miller. East Timor's National Alliance for an International Tribunal, praising February's indictment of the former head of the Indonesian military General Wiranto and other high-ranking officials, wrote to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Sergio de Mello, "East Timorese victims have complained that [earlier SCU] indictments only charged lower-ranking Indonesian military and police personnel as well as militia members, but failed to address the primary perpetrators. The people of East Timor, who since 1975 have lived under Indonesian military occupation… are well aware that the violence in 1999 was part of an ongoing systematic and planned use of violence against our people." "The U.S. and UN must ensure that the SCU and its courts have sufficient resources to finish investigations and conduct effective trials," added Miller. "The current May 2004 deadline for the SCU must be extended by the Security Council. Otherwise, justice will become just one more broken international promise to the people of East Timor." "UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the Security Council must further establish an international tribunal to investigate and try war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide committed throughout the illegal Indonesian occupation of East Timor, from 1975 to 1999." Background The April 8 indictment charges eight TNI District and Sub-District Commanders, the former Indonesian District Civilian Administrator (also a TNI Officer), the former Indonesian District Chief of Police and six East Timorese TNI soldiers with 31 counts of crimes against humanity, including murder, extermination, enforced disappearance, torture, deportation and persecution committed against the civilian population of Covalima district between 27 January 1999 and 25 October 1999. The indictment includes the September 6 massacre of refugees who sought refuge inside the Suai Church compound. Last August, the ad hoc court in Jakarta found five of those named in the SCU indictment not guilty of the church massacre. The SCU has now issued a total of 59 indictments against 243 persons. Most of those indicted remain at large, likely in Indonesia. The United Nations Transitional Authority in East Timor (UNTAET) established the SCU under authority granted by UN Security Council Resolution 1272 (25 October 1999) to set up a system to administer justice in East Timor. The SCU has focused on investigating serious crimes that took place during 1999 and prosecuting those responsible. The UN also created a hybrid international-East Timorese Special Panel of the Dili District Court to hear serious crimes cases. East Timor gained independence in May 2002, but the UN retained authority to investigate and prosecute serious crimes committed through 1999 in the post-independence UN support mission UNMISET through Security Council Resolution 1410. Indonesia's ad hoc Human Rights Court on East Timor has acquitted 11 of 14 Indonesian defendants tried thus far, in addition to two convictions for the only East Timorese on trial. The five sentences handed down were not commensurate with the crimes committed; four defendants received less than the legal minimum under Indonesian law. All remain free pending appeal. Few of the top architects of the terror in East Timor were even named as suspects, much less brought to trial. Other serious shortcomings of the Indonesian court include an extremely unprofessional courtroom environment packed with high-ranking military and militia; inadequate witness protection; and a prosecution that has presented weak and inaccurate indictments and arguments, painted a false picture of the conflict in 1999, and failed to present the overwhelming amount of evidence available. The East Timor Action Network/U.S. supports human dignity for the people of East Timor by advocating for democracy, economic justice and human rights, including women's rights. Additional background can be found at http://www.etan.org

Jakarta Post, April 16, 2003 'War in Aceh needs 50,000 combatants' The Indonesian Military has revealed that its plans to crush Free Aceh Movement separatists would involve 50,000 troops and take just six months but would minimize civilian casualties. A peace deal between the two sides, engaged in a war that has claimed at least 10,000 lives since 1976, is in tatters but both sides have agreed to return to the negotiating table. Iskandar Muda (Aceh) Military Commander Maj. Gen. Djali Yusuf said in Jakarta on Tuesday that the huge number of troops was needed to combat the guerrilla tactics that would most likely be adopted by the separatists. "GAM now has around 5,000 members. Ideally, each rebel will be faced by 10 soldiers. But off course we will not ask for that much," Djali said, adding the military currently had 26,000 soldiers in the province. The Indonesian Military (TNI) had mapped out the targets of operation in order to minimize civilian fatalities, but it would still take about six months to break GAM, Djali said. "We have to minimize civilian casualties. It will be impossible for us to conduct massive attacks so it will be a guerrilla war. "We have all the information that we need regarding their number, activities and leaders." To contain gunrunning, the TNI had increased naval patrols around Aceh. Aceh military spokesman Lt. Col. Firdaus Komarno said marines killed three suspected separatist rebels in a gunfight in waters off East Aceh. The marines fired on the alleged GAM members after the guerrillas responded to warning shots by opening fire, Komarno said, adding that 12 Kalashnikov assault rifles and thousands of bullets were found on the boat.

Jakarta Post, April 17, 2003 Govt urged to continue dialog on Aceh issue Tiarma Siboro, Jakarta While the Indonesian Military (TNI) is insisting on a military operation to end the conflict in Aceh, local legislators and political analysts have strongly urged the government to continue with the peace process and win the Acehnese people's support for the unitary state. The politicians and analysts were commenting on the postponement of a hearing on Wednesday between the House of Representatives and the government to evaluate the escalating situation in Aceh. The law requires the government to secure the House's approval if it decides to launch a military operation. Despite the opposition of many legislators, the major political parties have expressed their support for the planned adoption of a repressive approach to crush the separatist movement. Amris Hassan, a legislator from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI Perjuangan), denied that his Commission I on defense affairs has ever given the government the green light to launch a military operation in Aceh. He conceded his commission, which deals with security, defense and foreign affairs, had discussed the latest developments in Aceh and Papua with the military leadership during a closed-door meeting early in March, but no agreement was reached. "During the meeting, we decided on two options to deal with the separatist movement in Aceh. The first option is to continue with dialog, while the second one is for the government to stick to the peace process. He said many legislators were of the opinion that a military operation should be a last resort and that there should be "a series of talks and negotiations before the last resort is reached." According to Amris, if a military operation were launched, both the government and the House would have to closely watch its implementation in the field to make sure that no violations occurred. He warned that the nation should learn from the military operation in Aceh from 1989 through 1999, when the military proved incapable of suppressing the separatist movement. He said the nation should not make the same mistake twice. "If necessary, we could also invite UN officials as observers to monitor whether or not the military and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) are abiding by the peace deal. Somehow, I believe there are still prospects for a peaceful solution in Aceh," Amris told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday. Acehnese figure Gazhalin Abas, a member of the People's Consultative Assembly, called on the government to change its mind and continue to pursue dialog as there was no guarantee that the planned military operation would be over quickly, produce a victory for the government, crush GAM and avoid civilian casualties. "We should not listen to the military because all they want is war, even if it is at the expense of thousands of innocent lives," Gazhali told the Post. Indonesia and GAM signed the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (COHA) in December last year, marking the end of some two-and-a-half years of negotiations initiated by former president Abdurrahman "Gus Dur" Wahid after several years of military repression by his predecessors. GAM has been fighting for independence as many there feel they have been deceived by Indonesia ever since the country's independence in 1945. The disappointment of the Acehnese reached its peak during former president Soeharto's 32-year New Order regime during which most of the revenues from natural resources went to Jakarta while thousands of Acehnese people were killed during repeated military operations. The government under former presidents B.J. Habibie and Abdurrahman Wahid tried to heal the wounds caused by their predecessors, but so far no concrete action has been taken to fulfill its promises. Following several negotiations, GAM finally agreed to accept special autonomy as a starting point toward the formation of a democratic government in the province, and the creation of security for Acehnese people. Misinterpretations by both sides have damaged the mutual confidence necessary to end the conflict. The Army's Strategic Reserves Command (Kostrad) chief Lt. Gen. Bibit Waluyo amplified the military leadership's call for an immediate military operation to end the conflict. "I'm ready to deploy hundreds more reinforcements to Aceh to crush GAM," he told reporters after attending a ceremony marking the 51st anniversary of the Army's Special Forces (Kopassus) at their headquarters in Cijantung, East Jakarta. Agreeing with Bibit was Kopassus Commander Maj. Gen. Sriyanto, who said that two battalions of Kopassus troops hae been dispatched in Aceh a few days ago to reinforce the 21,000 military personnel already there.

Jakarta Post, April 20, 2003 Fear grips Aceh as war looms Nani Farida, The Jakarta Post, Banda Aceh The country's westernmost province of Aceh is awash not only with natural resources, but also with horrifying stories of children being orphaned, women raped and fathers and husbands assassinated during the military operation to quell the separatist movement in the province from 1989 to 1998. Traumatized by the (first) military operation, the Acehnese have been living in fear, with many remembering once again their grief and unhealed scars, ever since the government announced recently that it was considering launching a second military operation to crush the separatist movement. Nuraisyah, a resident of Majee village in Geulumpang Minyeuk Pidie, shivers whenever he hears the words "military operation". His brother, Mansuriadi, was shot on Friday while playing soccer in a football field in the village. "There's not even a military operation yet and my brother has been shot. He was just playing football. I can imagine all too well what will happen if they launch another military operation here," he said. "We're scared right now. Soldiers regularly come into our village to mount checkpoints," he added. Geulumpang Minyeuk Pidie, 130 kilometers west of Banda Aceh, the capital of Aceh province, is known as a GAM stronghold. Nuraisyah recalled that during the first military operation, referred to here by its Indonesian acronym DOM, corpses were left lying in the streets of her village. "Whenever there are lots of soldiers, there are lots of dead bodies," she said. "They (military) always say they are looking for GAM, but it is unarmed civilians who die." Iboy, a 25-year-old private sector employee, said he was afraid the military would try to finish off the rebels quickly by shooting people at random without considering whether they were GAM members or civilians. "Frankly, I'm really worried about what will happen if Aceh is declared a military operations district (DOM). We won't be able to move freely and we'll have a night curfew imposed as well," he said. GAM and the government are scheduled to hold a Joint Council meeting in Tokyo on April 25 to evaluate the implementation of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement they signed in Geneva last December. The government has threatened to launch a military operation should GAM continue violating the agreement, as the government sees it. Muhammad, 40, a resident of Simpang Lima, Banda Aceh, is also worried about what would happen should Aceh be declared a military operations district. Relying for his livelihood on repairing tire punctures, he said many people would not dare to go out at the designated times and his income would drastically decrease if a curfew were to be imposed on the province. "As an ordinary person, I only want security so that I can earn money and make a living for my family," said Muhammad. During the first military operation, men of his age had to take part in the night watch in their villages. "If we fell asleep (during the night watch), the soldiers would punish us by ducking our heads in and out of a water-filled ditch for the rest of the night," he recalled. He called on the military and GAM to leave aside their political interests and instead put the people's interests first at the next meeting. Like Muhammad, Suryana, 35, also wants to lead a peaceful life. He is a teacher, but is forced to collect firewood in his spare time. "My salary is so small that I have to seek additional income," said Suryana, a resident of Indrapuri district, one of the areas declared a peace zone in late February. "Why don't they let things stay the way they are. There are no longer any shoot-outs here, and I can go deep into the forest for firewood." Twenty-year old Misbah, a student of the fishing industry at the state-run Syiah Kuala University, said he was too young to remember the first military operation in Aceh. But he said that he was still worried about any move to adopt a repressive approach. "There's no doubt that they'll be spying on us everywhere. We won't be able to sit freely out in public like we can now," he told The Jakarta Post on Saturday in Banda Aceh. He expressed the hope that the Tokyo meeting would serve to bring the two sides back to the spirit of the peace agreement, and encourage them to continue to seek a peaceful solution to the Aceh question. He said he fervently prayed that Aceh would not become a war zone should the Joint Council meeting end in deadlock. Many families have sent members out of Aceh in preparation for the possible military operation. At least 7,000 human rights abuses were recorded during the previous military operation -- obviously just the tip of the iceberg as untold thousands of others remain buried, literally. If any proof be needed, in the Pidie area there is a village known as Kampung Janda, or village of the widows, which earned its name from the many Acehnese men who were murdered there.

Iraq (see also United States)

ICG 27 March 2003 IRAQ War In Iraq: Managing Humanitarian Relief Largely due to the controversy and uncertainty that preceded the war, planning and preparations for relief efforts have been plagued by secrecy, inadequate coordination and lack of resources. If fighting drags on, new humanitarian tragedies will compound the problems of a country suffering effects not only of this war, but also of two earlier wars, years of sanctions and decades of authoritarian government. The U.S. should forego temptation to control post-conflict humanitarian efforts and hand coordination over to the UN. An all-dominant U.S. role would likely become a source of resentment in post-war Iraq and throughout the region and an impediment to funding by other donors. European governments and NGOs need to work with the U.S. and put their plans and their funding on the table. Involvement of Iraqis is also crucial. - For the full report, please see CrisisWeb - http://www.crisisweb.org

BBC 31 Mar 2003 Three British soldiers sent home after protesting at civilian deaths Richard Norton-Taylor Monday March 31, 2003 The Guardian Three British soldiers in Iraq have been ordered home after objecting to the conduct of the war. It is understood they have been sent home for protesting that the war is killing innocent civilians. The three soldiers - including a private and a technician - are from 16 Air Assault Brigade which is deployed in southern Iraq. Its task has been to protect oilfields. The brigade includes the Ist and 3rd battalions of the Parachute Regiment, the 1st battalion of the Royal Irish Regiment, a Royal Horse Artillery regiment, and a reconnaissance squadron of the Household Cavalry. The three soldiers, based in Colchester, Essex, face court martial and are seeking legal advice, defence sources said yesterday. The Ministry of Defence said it was not prepared to comment on individual cases. It said it had "no evidence" to suggest the soldiers had been sent home for refusing to fight. Soldiers could be returned home for a number of reasons, including compassionate and medical, as well as disciplinary grounds, defence sources said. But it is understood that the three soldiers have been sent home for complaining about the way the war is being fought and the growing danger to civilians. The fact that they are seeking legal advice makes it clear they have been sent home for refusing to obey orders rather than because of any medical or related problems such as shell shock. MoD lawyers were understood last night to be anxiously trying to discover the circumstances surrounding the order to send the soldiers home. Any refusal of soldiers to obey orders is highly embarrassing to the government, with ministers becoming increasingly worried about the way the war is developing. It is also causing concern to British military chiefs who are worried about growing evidence of civilians being killed in fighting involving American soldiers around urban areas in southern Iraq.

Reuters 1 Apr 2003 Civilian deaths in the war in Iraq LONDON, April 1 (Reuters) - U.S. Marines shot dead anunarmed Iraqi driver at a military checkpoint in southern Iraqon Tuesday, just hours after seven women and children died in asimilar incident. The seven deaths from the incident on Monday were the firstfrom U.S. shooting that the U.S. military has officiallyacknowledged, but other civilian deaths from gunfire have beenreported by correspondents with U.S troops. Here are details of some of the main known incidents ofcivilian deaths in the war in Iraq that began on March 20. March 20 - Jordanian taxi driver killed in first U.S.missile strike on Baghdad. March 23 - U.S.-British aircraft bomb a bus carrying Syrianworkers back home from Iraq, while attacking a bridge near theSyrian border. Five people are killed and an unspecified numberinjured. Washington later expresses regret for the accident. March 26 - At least 15 people die and 30 are wounded in whatIraq describes as U.S. air strike on residential and commercialstreet in Baghdad's al-Shaab district. The U.S. military saysthat neighbourhood was not targeted. March 28 - Iraqi officials say at least 62 people are killedand 49 wounded in an air raid on a Baghdad market in the city'simpoverished al-Shula neighbourhood. U.S. and Britain say civilian deaths in the March 26 andMarch 28 incidents may have been caused by Iraqi anti-aircraftmissiles missing their targets and falling back on the city;Iraq insists Western bombing was responsible. March 28 - Iraq says U.S. and British bombing killed 75civilians and wounded 290 overnight around the country. It also said that since the war began, 116 civilians hadbeen killed and 659 wounded in Basra province, and 230 killedwith 800 wounded in Dhi Qar province, containing the city ofNassiriya. March 29 - Iraqi family of four is caught in crossfirebetween U.S. Marines and Iraqi soldiers; mother is killed andfour-year-old girl is hit in the eye, stomach and shoulder. March 31 - Seven women and children are killed when U.S.troops open fire on a van packed with 13 women and children whenit fails to stop at a checkpoint in the desert near Najaf, 160km (100 miles) south of Baghdad. Marine Corps General Peter Pacesaid the soldiers who shot at the van "absolutely did the rightthing", because they thought their lives were threatened. April 1 - U.S. marines kill an unarmed Iraqi man who drovehis pickup truck at speed towards a checkpoint outside thesouthern town of Shatra. His passenger is badly wounded. Onemarine says he feared a suicide bomb.

BBC 1 Apr 2003 Media monitor attacks Iraq 'show' Viewers feel closer to the battle A European media watchdog has said television coverage of the Iraq war is turning the battlefield into "a show". The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe's representative on freedom of the media, Freimut Duve, said frontline footage hid the "truth of brutality and killing". "The problem is that this new chapter of TV war reportage pushes aside reality..." he told the BBC World Service's World Today programme. "We think we are close to [reality], but we are further than ever." Mr Duve is preparing to report on his concerns to the Permanent Council of the 55-member OSCE. Snapshot It is incumbent on broadcasters to add background and context BBC Director of News, Richard Sambrook He says the media needs to do more to provide an overall view of the war, including its potentially dangerous consequences elsewhere in the region. He has also argued that correspondents attached to specific military units are being "steered" and censored by the army. However, he has welcomed the additional security that the journalists have acquired from being in the presence of coalition forces. The BBC's director of news, Richard Sambrook, said journalists had always reported from the frontline, and that their reports had never provided more than a snapshot of the situation. "It is incumbent on broadcasters to add background and context," he said. Fog of war Journalists cannot always instantly separate appearance from reality He added that to describe television reportage from the frontline as a show undermined the "brave and serious" work done by correspondents. Mr Sambrook said that the combination of 24-hour news channels and new technology allowing live broadcasting from the battlefront, meant that viewers were more exposed to rumour, speculation and the "fog of war". Mr Duve said he hoped that after the war was over media specialists would sit down and examine whether the coverage from Iraq had informed the public on "what war is all about".

Guardian UK 1 Apr 2003 Conflict will create 100 Bin Ladens, warns Egyptian president Radical volunteers pouring into Iraq, claims Baghdad Ian Black and Chris McGreal in Jerusalem Tuesday April 1, 2003 The Guardian War on Iraq will create "100 Bin Ladens", the Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak, warned yesterday as hundreds of Arab volunteers streamed to Baghdad pledging "martyrdom operations" against US and British forces. The remarks by the president, a friend of the west but an opponent of the drive to topple Saddam Hussein, underlined mounting alarm across the Middle East about the dangerously radicalising effect of the conflict. With the Arab media highlighting claims from the Iraqi capital that thousands of men from more than 20 countries were prepared to die, the prospect of mass suicide attacks is emerging as a new ingredient in an already volatile mix. "When it is over, if it is over, this war will have horrible consequences," Mr Mubarak told Egyptian soldiers in the city of Suez. "Instead of having one [Osama] bin Laden, we will have 100." Iraq has boasted that the Arab volunteers will follow the example of Ali Hammadi al-Namani, the soldier identified by Baghdad as having killed four US soldiers in a suicide bombing near Najaf on Saturday. Iraq's foreign minister, Naji Sabri, said yesterday that 5,000 Arabs had travelled to Iraq to fight. "Most of them want to train on martyrdom attacks," he said. The radical Palestinian group Islamic Jihad announced that it was sending several dozen "martyrdom volunteers" to Iraq, a day after claiming responsibility for an attack in the Israeli coastal town of Netanya. It called the atrocity, which injured 40, a "gift" to Iraq. "Al-Quds Brigades affirms that it is one battle from Palestine to Baghdad against the Zionist-US invasion targeting the entire Arab and Islamic nation," the group said. Israeli analysts said the threat had to be taken seriously. Roni Shaked, a military commentator, wrote in the Yediot Aharonot newspaper: "It is only a matter of time before the culture of suicide in Basra and Baghdad - exactly as in Gaza and Nablus - becomes an inseparable part of the war." Palestinians from the occupied territories have refined suicide bombing as a tactic but the heavy Israeli military presence in most Palestinian cities means it is unlikely that many of those who have arrived in Baghdad came from the West Bank or Gaza Strip. An easier recruiting ground would be the Palestinian camps in Lebanon and Jordan. Evidence that the phenomenon may be spreading came from Kuwait, where the government said an Egyptian electrician was the main suspect in an attack on Sunday, when a truck drove into a group of US soldiers in the emirate, injuring 15. No precise figures are available about the number of foreign Arabs or Muslims seeking to fight in Iraq. But 36 Lebanese, Palestinians and Egyptians left Beirut yesterday en route for Syria to take up arms in Iraq. Hundreds more have applied for visas. "We are going to fight the Americans, the British and the Zionists who want to take over our land - Arab and Muslim land," Nourredine al-Sayyed, a 24-year-old shopkeeper, told Reuters. Last week Iraq's embassy in Algeria said more than 100 volunteers had offered to go into battle. "This is a war for oil and Zionism. We want to help Iraqis, not Saddam," said Amr, a student volunteer from Cairo. "I know I might die. I don't want to kill people but I will if I have to, to protect people like those children with their heads missing." Egypt and other Arab countries are likely to try to prevent volunteers leaving for Iraq out of fear they might become radicalised and return home to fight their own governments. Saudi towns near the porous border with Iraq have already been declared off limits. In south Lebanon a commander of the Palestinian Fatah group denied he had sent suicide bombers to Iraq but said "hundreds of volunteers" had gone of their own accord. What Islamic Jihad says about suicide attacks "We say to all sons of jihad and supporters, to our nation, our people, wherever they are, that whoever is able to march and reach Iraq, Baghdad, Najaf and blow himself up in this American invasion ... this is the climax of jihad and climax of martyrdom" Ramadan Abdullah Shallah Islamic Jihad chief in interview with al-Jazeera TV "The Islamic Jihad movement is interested in intensifying its attacks ... to make it clear ... that what is going on here in Palestine is the same as what is happening in Iraq" Nafez Azzam Islamic Jihad leader in the West Bank and Gaza Strip "Al-Quds Brigades brings to our people and nation the good news of the arrival of its first martyrdom [attackers] to the heart of Baghdad" Armed wing, Islamic Jihad in a statement "The cause of Iraq is an Arab and Muslim cause and we are a part of the Arab and Muslim nation" Abu Imad al-Rifai Islamic Jihad's representative in Lebanon

Reuters 2 Apr 2003 US loses ground to Iraq in propaganda war LONDON: Iraq is winning battles in the propaganda war with a modest media strategy, despite a multi-million dollar US campaign featuring painstakingly choreographed briefings and Hollywood-style sets. Undeterred by America's elaborate media plan, Iraq is making its mark on the airwaves with its decidedly basic approach, media pundits say. From a crude Baghdad set, Iraqi ministers each day knock down Western media reports and list their latest claims of conquest, sometimes wielding chrome-plated Kalashnikovs. Unlike America and its allies, theirs is a simple message delivered directly: "We will defeat the infidel invaders". Despite poorly-lit surroundings and a sea of microphones often crowding the view, Iraqi Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf has become something of a global television star. Tightly controlled briefings are twinned on state television with footage of bombed buildings, bloodied Iraqis and slain US and British troops, aimed at portraying US-led forces as invaders. Iraqis have little access to other media. Despite their intricate blueprint, America and Britain have so far struggled to compete against such images, particularly in the Arab World where fledgling Arab channels such as Al-Jazeera are beaming the often gruesome footage into millions of homes. Indeed, a key failing of the US-led military campaign has been its inability to knock out Iraq's state television network in Baghdad bombings, political analysts and academics say. "It's certainly possible that America and Britain underestimated the level of skill of the Iraqi media campaign," said Nick Couldry, a lecturer in media and communications at the London School of Economics. America and its allies have hinged their media campaign on "embedding" reporters with forces on battlefields across Iraq, a strategy aimed at vindicating their decision to go to war. The result has been a torrent of action-hero style images beamed back from the front lines, which have delighted armchair warriors in the United States and Britain. But critics argue they fail to give the big picture. Despite carefully planned briefings at glamorous facilities such as a multi-million dollar press centre in Qatar designed by a Hollywood art director, the United States and Britain are criticised for failing to fill in the holes in a complex war. Both America and Britain are also struggling to keep up with the pace of 24-hour television news, often falling into the trap of making claims that subsequently have to be retracted. Britain this week conceded it faced a "huge uphill battle" in the Arab world. "Dictatorships are at a huge in-built advantage when it comes to...this battle for public opinion," Britain's government director of communications and strategy Alistair Campbell told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in an interview. "Democracies...cannot tell lies in the way that dictatorships tell lies all the time, both about themselves and about us, and I think that gives them...an advantage in the way this thing is prosecuted," he said. As the dream of a quick, clean war and cheering Iraqis evaporated last week, America and its allies have been furiously tweaking their media strategy. But how can they hope to gain the upper hand? "Some people have suggested they should be more straight talking. But it's very difficult to preserve the impression of straight talking when you're in a war where certain information has to be kept secret," Couldry said. However, Britain's own master of spin is publicly skeptical about the power of television. "They (the public) are not being swayed necessarily by the media, they are following it through the media and making up their own minds," Campbell said in the ABC interview.

Al Jazeera 9 Apr 2003 Iraq may need a truth and reconciliation commission to survive Odai Sirri Abbas Kareem Naama was a prosperous pharmacist in the south of Iraq. He was also a colonel in the Iraqi army. He was one of the many army officers that listened to George Bush’s call to revolt against President Saddam Hussein’s government in 1991 after the first Gulf War. However, Hussein’s forces quickly crushed the revolt when expected US assistance never came. Two of Naama’s brothers were subsequently executed before he and his family fled. Today, his family is in the US watching, as the Hussein government nears collapse. But it is that very collapse which may lead to even more killings as individuals act out in retribution after 24 years of harsh rule. Naama’s daughter, Esra Naama on American television, further increased these fears with her comments. On MSNBC’s programme, “Hardball” she stated that there are 100,000 Saddam loyalists in Iraq. Asked what should be done with them, she responded, “Executions.” The response surprised the host of the programme who asked the question again. And she repeated her earlier response. “Executions. These people have to be punished for what they did!” Pandora’s box Her statements may be disturbing to even the most hawkish proponents of war, as they undoubtedly open a Pandora’s box of moral issues. But they are not atypical. History is witness to a plethora of examples of how human nature yearns for vengeance. Other nations have experienced similar challenges after revolutions or coup d’état’s. Even pluralistic and stable societies exhibit such “eye for an eye” sentiments after the killing or murder of an individual. Although this pales in comparison to the form of revenge killings that can occur on a nation-wide scale when fierce emotions can overwhelm the most rationale of people. Therefore Iraq could be next. Not for another war; although the heavily circulated argument that Iraq may succumb to the varying internal forces and explode into civil war is a distinct concern. Instead Iraq may very well see the implementation of a truth and reconciliation commission similar to what South Africa, Sierra Leone, and East Timor have witnessed. People need the opportunity to tell their story. In telling the story, there is a healing that happens These are all countries that have undergone, or are in the middle of the truth and reconciliation commission process, which have been used to offer immunity for perpetuators and closure for victims of violence. When President Saddam Hussein is finally ousted from power it may leave a void in a socio-political system that has thrived on suspicion, fear, and violence. Undoubtedly, many Iraqis have suffered under the 24 years of Saddam Hussein’s regime. That, coupled with extensive sanctions after the first Gulf War, has thrown in its wake many obstacles for ordinary citizens. But normal life may still not be achieved after the removal of Saddam Hussein if factional fighting breaks out. Unfortunately, the advantage, and therefore disadvantage of Saddam Hussein was his capability, or vicious skill, to create an absolute circle of fear where no group would consider causing a ripple in the status quo of Iraqi affairs. With his removal, however, different ethnic groups may feel emboldened and see an opportunity to extract revenge for acts committed against them in the past. However, revenge would not be limited to the Kurds in the north or the Shiites to the south. The average Baghdad citizen has much to be vengeful about as well. From being forced to attend pro-Saddam demonstrations to more extreme violations of human rights from government officials who “enforce” their own judicial system, much speculation surrounds the amount of retribution that individuals will seek, if any. 'Forgiveness is realpolitik' Archbishop Desmund Tutu has been one of the most vocal leaders calling for reconciliation commissions to be created in order to allow a nation’s people to heal. “People need the opportunity to tell their story. In telling the story, there is a healing that happens. Without forgiveness there is no future.” It is arguable though whether this will provide enough solace for the countless Iraqis who have endured physical and psychological hardships under Hussein’s government. The key question that many Western media outlets have been asking is whether or not the peace in Iraq can be won after the war. A tough question, with even harder answers. But the application of a truth and reconciliation commission that truly represents various sections of Iraqi society could be a start. Such a commission cannot bring back the lives of Abbas Kareem Naama’s brothers or that of other executed Iraqis; but it would hopefully avert the mass execution of 100,000 Iraqis. --- Al Jazeera http://english.aljazeera.net

Al Jazeera April 2003 Glossing civilian atrocities Adam Porter They “just kept coming, just kept coming.” (BBC 10 O`Clock News/Sky TV news/BBC News 24) What could anyone do? They “failed to stop” (BBC Radio 5 Live) Everyone “feels sorry” for the 3rd Infantry soldiers being put in that position. (Major David Holly BBC Radio 5 Live). The “soldiers were right to shoot” and should be “given (the) backing” of Washington.And the tactics were direct result of the Iraqi military.” (BBC Radio 5 Live). The “soldiers were right to defend themselves.” (BBC Radio 4) These statements are the UK `media reality` of the seven women and children killed by American 3rd regiment soldiers on the night of 31 March as they approached a checkpoint on a bridge near the southern Iraqi city of Karbala. BBC news announced the incident from `Central Command` in Doha shortly after a news briefing. It was said the car had “kept coming a warning shot was fired, it kept coming, shots were fired into the engine, it kept coming...” Iraqi families like this one leaving Basra across a bridge manned by British soldiers are at risk of being killed. REUTERS/POOL/Dan Chung Some 20 minutes later Sky News was discussing the same incident with their studio presenters. When asked to explain its circumstances it was said that the car had “kept coming, a warning shot was fired, it kept coming, shots were fired into the engine, it kept coming…” The repeated phrase, presumably uttered by someone else, was not qualified in either case. Was the phrase from Central Command? Who said it first? Whatever the truth the phrase became a soundbite. Its message that warning shots were fired twice, was unequivocal. Until the morning the British event was reported as a tragedy rather than the unwarranted effects of a war many disagree with. Media discussion centred almost exclusively on the basic premise that the Iraqi women and children had contributed, fatally but unwittingly, to the incident. Then as the first presses appeared in the USA came denials of the “warning shot” theory. The Washington Post reported the comments of Captain Ronny Johnson. Johnson was the man in command at the Karbala bridge. "Fire a warning shot," he (Johnson) ordered as the vehicle kept coming. Then, with increasing urgency, he told the platoon to shoot a 7.62mm machine-gun round into its radiator. "Stop [messing] around!" Johnson yelled into the company radio network when he still saw no action being taken.” "Cease fire!" Johnson yelled over the radio. Then, as he peered into his binoculars from the intersection on Highway 9, he roared at the platoon leader, "You just [expletive] killed a family because you didn't fire a warning shot soon enough!"” From that point one may have thought the premise would have changed but instead a Central Command spokesman on BBC Radio 5 Live said the action was defendable “whether a warning shot was fired or not.” And the idea that the Iraqi women and children had been responsible for their own deaths continued to run. Pattern of behaviour There have been other events, now quite widely reported. This is what two 20-something US “sharpshooters” from the Marine’s 5th Division told The New York Times: “We had a great day. We killed a lot of people. We dropped a few civilians.” One of the marines, Sergeant Schrumpf, said Iraqis would use civilians as human shields. Sometimes if there were too many nearby he would not fire, but when “two or three” were around, that was different. He watched as one woman civilian was “dropped.” “I'm sorry,” said Schrumpf. “But the chick was in the way.” Then there are disturbing reports from The Times in London following the US Marines Alpha Company. Especially their guarding of a bridge near Nasiriya. “Genuine civilians were running for their lives. Many, including some children, were gunned down in the crossfire… this was the start of day that claimed many civilian casualties. A truck came down the road…the marines fired...four men were killed... 10 other civilians, mainly women and children who were evacuated, crying, their clothes splattered in blood. “Though civilians on foot passed by safely, the policy was to shoot anything that moved on wheels. Inevitably, terrified civilians drove at speed to escape: marines took that speed to be a threat and hit out. During the night, our teeth on edge, we listened a dozen times as the AVVs' machineguns opened fire, cutting through cars and trucks like paper. 15 vehicles blocked the road…riddled with bullet holes…I counted 12 dead civilians, all had been trying to leave this southern town overnight, probably for fear of being killed by US helicopter attacks and heavy artillery. Their mistake had been to run into a group of shell-shocked young American marines with orders to shoot anything that moved. One man's body was still in flames…down the road, a little girl, no older than five and dressed in a pretty orange and gold dress, lay dead in a ditch next to the body of a man who may have been her father. Half his head was missing.” So, not only have there been similar events but also orders issued to shoot anything “at speed”. Would it be possible to deduce that the seven Iraqi women and children at Karbala were in fact part of a wider policy of shoot first, ask later? And what of the general attitude to Iraqi civilians? “The Iraqis are sick people and we are the chemotherapy," said Corporal Ryan Dupre. “Wait till I get hold of a friggin' Iraqi. No, I won't get hold of one. I'll just kill him.” (The Times) None of these major reports in the mass media were examined by news outlets in the UK. And without that kind of scrutiny, it's a near certainty they will 'just keep on coming'. -- Al Jazeera

Al Jazeera April 2003 The Kurds Kurdish people comprise a large ethnic group in Iraq and other countries in the Middle East and Asia. Numbering at least 25 million people, Kurds are mostly divided among Turkey 46%, Iran 31%, Armenia 5%, Syria 5%, and Iraq 18%. The history, the land and the people -A pick up truck takes Iraqi Kurd fighters to a new position on the frontline with Saddam Hussein's troops Between them the Kurds speak 18 different dialects. Their history is equally rich. Many Kurds have featured prominently in Islamic civilizations, such as Abu Muslim Al-Khurazani, the famous leader of the Abbasid state, Salah Eddin Al-Ayoubi who led the Muslim re-conquest of Jerusalem, the Islamic scholar Ibn Taymiya, and others. Around 3.8 million Iraqi Kurds live a nomadic lifestyle in the mountainous regions and their economy is mainly dependent on raising livestock and agriculture. Kurds are known for their bravery and horsemanship. The Kurdish political map There are various political parties in Iraqi Kurdistan, the most important of which are: Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP): Founded in 1946, the KDP is led by Masoud Barazani and represents the more traditional and tribal parts of Kurdish society in Iraq. It is based in Irbil in the north of Iraq and enjoys good relations with Turkey, the Iraqi government, the United States and other western countries. Its relations with Iran, however, are not as good. Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK): This party split from KDP in 1975 and is led by Jalal Talabani. PUK is based in Suleymaniyah and follows a liberal ideology, enjoying strong relations with Iran and the United States. Yet, its relations with the Iraqi government and Turkey are not good. Kurdistan Islamic Union (KIU): Formed in 1992, KIU is part of an international organization called the Ikhwan Al-Muslimin (Islamic Brotherhood). Led by Salah Eddin Mohammed Baha Al-Din, this reformist-party does not favour armed confrontations and is represented in the Erbil government of Masoud Barazani by the Minister of Justice. It also enjoys good relations with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood organization and the Turkish Islamic leader, Necmeddin Erbakan. Iraqi Kurd women fighters near frontline with Saddam Hussein's troops Islamic Movement of Iraqi Kurdistan (IMIK): This movement, which has remained for a long time the most important Kurdish Islamic-oriented party, has been close to the international organization of the Muslim Brotherhood. Founded in the 80s by Mulla Othman, IMIK is currently led by brothers Mulla Ali and Mulla Sadeq. Kurdistan Workers’ Party (KTP): This left-leaning party is headed by Kader Aziz and is strongly linked to the PUK with which it formed an alliance during the Sulaymaniyah provincial elections in 1992 and alongside which it fought during the incursion of the Iraqi army into Suleymaniyah on August 31, 1996. Ansar Al-Islam: A newly formed Kurdish Islamic group, which was founded on December 10, 2001 and is headed by Fateh Karikar, also known as Abu Sayyid Qutb. Being a hard-line group, Ansar Al-Islam has been dubbed the “Kurdish Taliban”. The party opened a dialogue with the PUK one day after its foundation despite earlier bloody confrontations between PUK and followers of Jund Al-Islam (Soldiers of Islam), a component of Ansar Al-Islam. The confrontation left 1000 PUK fighters dead and 50 from the Jund Al-Islam. Dr. Barham Saleh, Prime Minister of the Kurdish government in Suleymaniyah and one of the PUK’s key figures, escaped an assassination attempt just after the beginning of negotiations. Ansar Al-Islam was blamed for the attack – an accusation it denied - leading to a further deterioration in relations between the two sides deteriorated once again. Ansar Al-Islam is active politically and militarily in Iraqi Kurdistan, but accused by its opponents, particularly the PUK, of being controlled by the Al-Qaeda network. So far no real evidence has been presented to support the allegation. The divided state of Kurdistan Kurds have long dreamed of a national homeland. Their shared language, traditions, history and ethnicity has motivated Kurds to seek their own state. Neighbouring countries such as Turkey, Iraq, Syria or Iran, where Kurdish minorities live, reject the emergence of such a state. Yet, in the aftermath of the Second Gulf war in 1991, the Kurds managed to secure a ‘safe haven’ in northern Iraq under the protection of the United States and Britain. The area has proved only to be safe from Saddam Hussein since it is periodically attacked by Turkey which claims it is pursuing Kurdish insurgents from its own country seeking refuge there. Iraqi Kurdistan after Operation Desert Storm Kurdish divisions affected their new entity in Iraqi Kurdistan. The safe haven was split into two regions. The south was put under the control of the pro-Iran Suleymaniyah-based PUK, to be run by Prime Minister Dr. Barham Saleh. The northwest region was put under the control of the Erbil-based KDP which enjoys good relations with both Ankara and Baghdad. The government is chaired by Prime Minister Nisharwan Barazani. In October 1991, the government of Iraq decided to withdraw its civil administration from Iraqi Kurdistan following the setting up of a unilateral no-fly zone north of the 36th parallel, leading the two main Kurdish parties to seize on the opportunity to govern themselves in the Kurdish safe haven. In May 1991, Kurds organized elections to set up their own parliament. The KDP took 50 seats in the Kurdistan National Assembly and participated on a 50/50 basis in a coalition government with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, PUK. Co-ordination between them, however, soon collapsed and fighting erupted. The security and military situation in Kurdistan Before the Second Gulf war, Kurds were living in a state of insecurity due to sporadic fighting with the central government in Baghdad. The situation remained the same after 1991 and the two key parties, PUK and KDP, soon resumed fighting. While the latter turned to Iraq for backing, in response, the PUK turned to foreign parties. The following are the most important phases of the two parties’ conflict: - Fierce clashes erupted between PUK and KDP in May 1994. - Masoud Barazani called on Iraqi army to intervene in August 1996, which complied by launching intensive attacks against Talabani’s forces. - The two parties failed to reach an agreement in September 1996 and to observe a cease-fire, which was supposed to begin in November 1996, despite the U.S., British and Turkish sponsorship of the initiative. - Thanks to U.S. mediation, the two sides signed a new agreement in September 1998. - Armed confrontations broke out between forces of the two parties in July 2002. The clashes lasted for several days and left 40 people dead, mostly from the PUK. -The two sides were engaged in sporadic fighting lasting two weeks in various regions in mid-September, 2000. - The fighting ceased on October 4, 2000, after the PUK declared a ceasefire. - Dr. Barham Saleh, Prime Minister of the Kurdish government in Suleymaniyah and PUK member escaped an assassination attempt. allegedly by Ansar-Al Islam. The role of the central government in the conflict International human rights organizations blame Iraq for forced expulsions of Kurds and Turkmen from Kirkuk, Khaniqin, Tuz Khormatu and other districts as part of its “Arabization programme”. The Iraqi government is also blamed for repopulating the Kurdish areas with Arabs. Kurds and the US war on Iraq Some Kurdish parties stress the necessity of maintaining a “confederation” with the ruling government in Baghdad even in the event of a US success in toppling Saddam Hussein. Kurds justify this orientation by stating that despite the confederation’s reliance on the United States and Britain to police the no-fly zones and despite their success in weakening the Iraqi government, the confederation has managed to spread stability, social justice and redistribute authority and wealth. But some experts believe the Kurds will play a role in toppling Saddam’s regime, since the historical relationship between the Kurds and the Iraqi government is full of long and bloody confrontations, particularly the 1988 Halabja massacre, where an estimated 5,000 people, mostly civilians, were killed by Baghdad’s bombardment of the district with poison gas. Kurds, however, distrust the real objectives of the US and are afraid of getting involved along with Washington in a military operation against Baghdad. They still remember how President Bush, senior, let them down in 1991, after encouraging them to revolt against Baghdad. The concern of Kurds as was explicitly voiced by Barazani: “We are not ready to take a risk because we are not sure that by taking a risk, our situation will get better”. The two “Kurdish governments” in Erbil and Suleymaniyah share fear and hesitation about US plans. According to some observers, Kurds are not expected to jeopardise their security for Washington’s other priorities. This non-encouraging Kurdish situation (for advocates of war in the United States and for Iraqi opposition abroad) led some observers to compare the situation of Kurds in Iraq to that of Afghan northern forces before the US war on Taliban. The US believes the Kurdish-controlled areas are ideal for launching a land attack against Baghdad from Iraq's north. US-led forces looked set to repeat the same tactics used by US forces against the Taliban in Afghanistan and co-opt local forces to fight a common enemy. But their plans have been set back by Ankara's refusal to allow Turkish territory to be used for US-led ground troops. Iraqi Kurds favour a guaranteed confederation inside any rule that will replace Saddam. Though leaked statements from US officials reflect Washington’s opposition to the establishment of any Kurdish state in northern Iraq in order to satisfy Turkey, it remains to be seen if the war against Iraq will help in providing solutions to Kurdish aspirations or complicate their already tangled situation.

BBC 9 Apr 2003 Post-war Iraq: war crimes trials? Paul Reynolds News Online world affairs correspondent Iraqi people will be allowed to impose their own justice If they are taken alive, Saddam Hussein and a handful of his top officials face a trial in an Iraqi court. There will not be an international tribunal of the kind set up after the massacres in Rwanda and the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia. Saddam Hussein, sons and company will not follow Slobodan Milosevic into a Dutch prison and an international court in The Hague. Instead they will be put on trial in front of a panel of Iraqi judges made up from those not tainted by a role in the old system. There could also be judges from other countries in the Arab world. Decision quite deliberate The decision, taken by the United States and supported in principle by the British government, is quite deliberate. It is designed to allow Iraqi people to impose their own justice. We believe that it must have some indigenous roots to reinstate the rule of law US Ambassador for war crimes Pierre Richard Prosper The American official in charges of war crimes issues, Ambassador Pierre Richard Prosper said: "We believe that it must have some indigenous roots to reinstate the rule of law." There could also be other trials, either in US federal courts, or courts martial, for alleged crimes committed during the current war. These include breaking the Geneva Conventions by mistreating prisoners of war and using subterfuge such as misusing flags of surrender. Cases are now under investigation. There will no role for the recently formed International Criminal Court. It is not recognized by the United States. Talks with exiles The plan to have an Iraqi court try the top leadership emerged from discussions which started last July between the US State Department and Iraqi lawyers in exile or opposition. Slobodan Milosevic is on trial in an international court in The Hague Charles Forrest, chief executive of Indict, an organisation based in London dedicated to bringing Saddam Hussein and his associates to trial, said that the Iraqi lawyers were "adamant that this should be done as an Iraqi project with Iraqi and other Arab judges. They really feel that this is possible and that it would be the most effective way of meeting the demands for justice." The charges, Mr Forrest said, would probably be selective but would include major crimes like the gassing of the population of Halabja, and some cases of murder and torture. "It is important to focus on a small number of symbolic cases," he told BBC News Online. "Otherwise, the process gets bogged down as it has in the international tribunals where it can go on for years. A Truth Commission could take care of the historical aspects while a trial is conducted quickly." Possible death penalty They really feel that this is possible and that it would be the most effective way of meeting the demands for justice Charles Forrest, chief executive, Indict As for penalties, Mr Forrest said: "The Iraqi people will not accept that Saddam Hussein or some torturer will escape the death penalty." Such a penalty would not be available in an international tribunal. The prospect for Iraqi-led trials, though, has been criticised by Human Rights Watch in New York. It said: "A tribunal composed of Iraqi jurists selected by the United States would not have the capacity to adjudicate the staggering scope of crimes by the Iraqi government, including genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. "The local solution proposed by the US government would be a mistake." The local solution proposed by the US government would be a mistake Human Rights Watch The group said that it would be difficult to organise a fair trial: "For example, a judicial panel composed of victims of the Baath regime, such as Kurds or Shiites, could not be considered impartial." Instead, Human Rights Watch called for an international tribunal, perhaps with Iraqi legal figures taking part as well. At the same time, the American and British conduct of the war is going to be the examined at a hearing - called a "War Crimes Tribunal" by the organisers - in London in May. Phil Shiner of Public Interest Lawyers said that it would concentrate on the weapons systems and methods used in the war. These included attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure and the use of cluster bombs which, he said, were "inherently incapable of distinguishing between civilian and military targets as required by the Geneva Conventions."

Jerusalem Post 10 Apr 2003 Last Jew to leave Iraq? - By Melissa Radler "Jacob," a 55-year-old Iraqi Jew from Baghdad, escaped to freedom in Europe last month, becoming the last member of the country's dwindling Jewish community to flee Saddam Hussein's Iraq. According to officials at the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) and the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), Jacob, whose real name was not released to protect his identity, arrived in Europe on March 28 after an arduous journey through a neighboring country. HIAS said Jacob posed as an Iraqi Arab until he reached safety. Once outside Iraq, Jacob contacted his sister, whose family was the last group of Iraqi Jews to flee the country two years ago. His sister informed HIAS of Jacob's plight, and the group, which has settled more than 4.5 million Jewish immigrants since its founding in 1881, flew him to an undisclosed location in Europe. There, officials aided by additional funds from the JDC are providing him with food, shelter, and help in applying for asylum. HIAS is also looking into securing special refugee status for Jacob through the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, said the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, which first reported the story. In an interview with HIAS officials in Europe, Jacob said he crossed the border days before the US-led coalition began bombing Baghdad. Jews are forbidden to emigrate legally from Iraq, but Jacob said he had recently received a passport from the government after retiring from his job as an engineer for the state. He also told HIAS that given the chance, he believes most Iraqi Jews will jump at the chance to leave Baghdad. "It's ironic and sad that this is the cradle of Jewish civilization, this where it all began," said a HIAS official. According to the JDC's executive vice president, Steven Schwager, 35 Jews remain in Iraq today, down from a pre-1948 population of more than 100,000. Several more Jews are thought to reside in Kurdish areas in the North. Of the remaining Jews, most are over 50, with some in their 80s and 90s, and the youngest are two college-age siblings a 19-year-old boy and a 20-year-old girl. The community has one functioning synagogue in Baghdad, the Meir Tweg synagogue, said Schwager. According to media reports, the Iraqi government has provided funds for the maintenance of the country's Jewish cemeteries, and Saddam even paid for the renovation of the synagogue, then ordered armed guards to protect the premises after a Palestinian gunman killed two Jews and two Muslims on the eve of Sukkot in October, 1998. Schwager said kosher slaughtering in the Iraqi capital continued throughout Saddam's reign, with a trained member of the community providing 10 kilograms of meat to each of the 35 Jews every two months. He said the average monthly salary of employed Jews is $25 month, and most members live on the monthly distribution of food and other provisions provided by the United Nations through the oil-for-food program. Before the war, some 60 percent of the population was thought to be dependent on the program for their survival. One JDC official said Jewish chaplains serving with the US army have been briefed on the Iraqi Jewish community and hope to contact its members before Pessah. "The big question is whether they are interested in staying in Iraq or leaving," said the official. He noted that several members have relatives in England, and may try to settle there after the war.

Gulf News 10 Apr 2003 U.S. warcrimes plan draws flak Washington By Tom Brune The Bush administration's plan for U.S. and Iraqi courts to try Saddam Hussain and his regime for warcrimes and past abuses was called a "mistake" Tuesday by some senators and human rights groups, who called instead for trials to be held by international tribunals. "We will work with Iraqi people to create an Iraqi-led process that will bring justice for the years of abuses that have occurred," said Pierre-Richard Prosper, the U.S. ambassador-at-large for war- crimes issues, on Monday. "For the current abuses, the crimes particularly against U.S. personnel, we believe that we have the sovereign ability and right to prosecute these cases," he said. "We are of a view that an international tribunal for the current abuses is not necessary." That stand drew criticism Tuesday from Sen. Joe Biden, the ranking minority member of the Senate Foreign Relations Comm-ittee, who said he believes it is important that an international tribunal be convened to try Saddam and his officials. Along with Sen. Arlen Specter and Rep. Curt Weldon, Biden is sponsoring a concurrent resolution calling for prosecution of the Iraqi regime for warcrimes, including use of suicide bombers and soldiers in civilian disguise. "I think it would be a tragic mistake to do it alone," Biden said of the Bush plan. "It would not have the same legitimacy as an international tribunal." Biden said the "whole idea" is not only to punish Saddam and his regime for abuses and war- crimes, but also to create an international standard for acceptable conduct, even during wartime. The most appropriate location for an international tribunal would be The Hague, in the Netherlands, the site of the international trial of Slobodan Milosevic for warcrimes during the Balkans conflict, Biden said. Specter referred to the international tribunals for Milosevic and the leaders of Rwanda as models for Iraqi warcrime trials. But he said he would try to clarify the issue in a hearing Thursday. Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch called the U.S. proposal to leave the trial of Saddam and his government for past abuses to Iraqis a "mistake". A tribunal composed of Iraqi jurists selected by the United States would not have the capacity to adjudicate the staggering scope of crimes by the Iraqi government, including genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, Human Rights Watch said. "After decades of Baath Party rule, the Iraqi judiciary has been deeply compromised," said Richard Dicker, the group's international justice director. "The Iraqis should certainly be involved in this process, but the country's justice system just doesn't have the capacity to handle a series of highly complicated trials." Dicker proposed instead that the United States support a tribunal of international jurists or a mixture of international and local Iraqi jurists. Prosper said a purpose of the Iraqi-led judicial process is to reinstate a rule of law in Iraq. He said the United States would help Iraq by providing technical, logistical, human and financial assistance, and that the international community should help, too. © Los Angeles Times-Washington Post News Service

NYT 9 Apr 2003 No Neat Categories for the Casualties of War By JOHN M. BRODER OHA, Qatar, April 9 — The effort to number the dead on the Iraqi side in the war begins with a conundrum: who is a civilian and who is a combatant? In Basra, for example, ambulance drivers and hospital workers estimate that they have handled 1,000 to 2,000 corpses during the three-week war. Some were clearly military — they wore uniforms and army-issued boots. Others were clearly civilians — women and children and the elderly. Some were burned or blasted beyond recognition by bombs, artillery or grenades. But perhaps hundreds more were men and boys of potential fighting age who arrived at hospitals and morgues in civilian clothes. Were they members of the Republican Guard who had thrown off their uniforms? Were they armed Baath Party loyalists fighting on behalf of Saddam Hussein's government? Were they members of the fedayeen or other irregulars? And even if they were, could they have been trying to surrender and been killed by their own side? The same puzzle exists across the country, even more acutely and on a much larger scale in and around Baghdad. For example, relentless bombing and a week of ground combat left the Iraqi Army's Baghdad Division reduced to "zero percent strength," according to Marine officers who engaged the division. The Iraqi division was once thought to number about 10,000 soldiers. Where are they? The problem of first sorting out and then trying to quantify the dead in this war is one that will plague journalists, human rights groups and military historians for years. Neither British nor American military officials will provide even rough estimates of the number of Iraqi soldiers killed in the war, although they occasionally release figures on individual engagements. The most startling such estimate came from Central Command officials on Saturday, when they said that 2,000 to 3,000 Iraqi soldiers had been killed in a three-hour armed incursion into Baghdad by a column of American armored vehicles. No evidence was offered to back up that assertion. The bombing campaign that accompanied ground actions to squeeze Iraqi military units into ever-smaller "kill boxes" almost certainly left thousands of soldiers dead, perhaps tens of thousands. But it is likely the world will never know — and there is no Iraqi authority left to count them and notify their families. The question of enemy dead does not come up in daily briefings for senior commanders at Central Command, according to a senior official here. They are interested solely in the combat effectiveness of the units they face, and how that can be further reduced, he said. Nor are field commanders being asked to tote up the Iraqi battlefield casualties, although some, out of pride or the military impulse to quantify things, report casualty estimates from discrete battles. But at the policy level, no such estimates exist. "We cannot look at combat as a scorecard," said Capt. Frank Thorp of the Navy, the chief military spokesman at Central Command headquarters here. "Out there, in the combat environment, the commander on the ground is focused on the present, the future and how his troops are doing. We are not going to ask him to make specific reports on enemy casualties." He said that lingering on the battlefield to count the enemy dead is "too time-consuming and, frankly, too risky." Another official here said that the numbers of Iraqi dead were certainly high, but ultimately unknowable. "In the bombing of the different divisions, the destruction there was terrifying," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. "Whole divisions were destroyed — many went home, but many were killed. It won't be until after the war that we get a better accounting, if then." Mark Burgess, a researcher at the Center for Defense Information in Washington, a private research group, said that the war in Iraq presents unusually difficult problems in estimating the dead, because few Iraqi military units fought in an organized manner. It was also difficult to determine who was in fact an enemy combatant, because many fought out of uniform and many were forced to fight by their superiors. "It's an unanswerable question," he said. "We don't know the exact number who stood and fought. There really wasn't much in the way of conventional battles." He said that the nature of the powerful munitions used by American and British air forces had also probably left hundreds or thousands of battlefield victims pulverized, burned or buried. The center had been posting the official Iraqi estimates of civilian deaths on its web site, but stopped today because the figures coming out of Baghdad had become "outlandish," Mr. Burgess said. Another group, the Iraq Body Count Project, posts a daily estimate of civilian casualties culled from Arab and Western media reports. The tally today is between 961 and 1,139. But officials from the group caution that those are reported deaths, not actual deaths, which may be considerably higher. That effort, too, suffers from the same problem that pervades the entire enterprise of counting the Iraqi casualties. Are people working in government ministries civilians or, as the Pentagon likes to call them, "regime targets"? Is a woman who dies as a suicide bomber a civilian or an enemy combatant? The Iraqi government figures and the estimates from the Body Count Project both suffer from "dubious methodologies," Mr. Burgess said. "We just don't know and we might as well just make up a number," he added.

AP 9 Apr 2003 Iraqis Cheer Collapse of Saddam's Regime By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Filed at 9:12 p.m. ET BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- Their hour of freedom at hand, jubilant Iraqis celebrated the collapse of Saddam Hussein's murderous regime on Wednesday, beheading a toppled statue of their longtime ruler in downtown Baghdad and embracing American troops as liberators. ``I'm 49, but I never lived a single day. Only now will I start living,'' said Yussuf Abed Kazim, a mosque preacher. A young Iraqi spat on a portrait of Saddam. Men hugged Americans in full combat gear, and women held up babies so soldiers riding on tanks could kiss them. Iraqis released decades of pent-up fury as U.S. forces solidified their grip on the capital. Marine tanks rolled to the eastern bank of the Tigris River; the Army was on the western side of the waterway that curls through the ancient city. Looting broke out in the capital as Iraqis, shedding their fear of the regime, entered government facilities and made off with furniture, computers, air conditioners and even military jeeps. ``We are not seeing any organized resistance,'' said Navy Capt. Frank Thorp at the U.S. Central Command. ``The Iraqi military is unable to fight as an organized fighting force.'' There was continued combat in cities to the north, though, where government troops were under attack from U.S. and British warplanes. The scenes of liberation in Baghdad and celebrations in scattered other cities unfolded as the Pentagon announced that 101 American troops had died in the first three weeks of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Eleven others are missing and seven listed as captured. The British said 30 of their troops were dead. There are no reliable estimates for Iraqi casualties, although an Army spokesman said 7,300 prisoners had been taken. The medical system was overrun with civilian casualties in Basra and Baghdad, cities where some of the fiercest fighting has occurred. Doctors said 35 bodies and as many as 300 wounded Iraqis were brought to the al-Kindi hospital in the capital Tuesday. Saddam's whereabouts remained a mystery, especially so since a bombing Monday night on a building where U.S. intelligence officials believed he and at least one of his sons were meeting. U.S. special operations forces scoured the site Wednesday, looking for remains or other evidence that the four bombs may have killed the Iraqi leader. Russia's Foreign Ministry denied that Saddam had taken refuge in Moscow's embassy in Baghdad. There was scattered fighting in the capital, including at Baghdad University, where Iraqis were cornered, the river at their backs. Fires burned in the city after dark -- the Ministry of Transport and Communication was ablaze -- and gunfire persisted. But Pentagon officials characterized it as sporadic attacks from pockets of resistance, and said U.S. troops had been through most areas of the capital. Increasingly, American and British forces were turning their effort to humanitarian assistance in the southern part of the country, and their firepower on northern regions not yet under their control. Warplanes bombed Tikrit, Saddam's birthplace about 100 miles north of the capital, in advance of ground forces moving in. American commandos and Kurdish peshmerga fighters seized a key mountaintop in northern Iraq, eliminating an Iraqi air defense installation near the government-held city of Mosul. To the south, officials said the 1st Battalion Royal Irish Regiment had reached Qurnah, said to be the site of the biblical Garden of Eden. The troops were welcomed by cheering crowds of Ma'dan, marsh Arabs who have suffered genocide at the hands of Saddam. There was celebrating, too, in Basra, according to a British journalist who reported that rejoicing broke out after news of developments in Baghdad reached the city. Administration officials cautioned that difficult and dangerous days may yet lie ahead for American and British forces. ``This is not over despite all the celebrating on the streets,'' said Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. And Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Iraqi death squads still exist in the western part of the country. Like other officials, Rumsfeld said he did not know Saddam's whereabouts. But he said some unidentified members of Saddam's regime were moving out of Iraq into Syria. Citing intelligence information, he added that some were staying in Syria, while others were going on to other locations. While Rumsfeld and other American officials cautioned that combat may lie ahead, Iraq's U.N. ambassador told reporters that ``the game is over and I hope peace will prevail.'' Mohammed Al-Douri's comments to reporters in New York were the first admission by an Iraqi official that Saddam's forces had been overwhelmed. Whether Saddam was living or dead, wounded or hoping to escape, the signs of his regime's collapse were everywhere. For the first time since Operation Iraqi Freedom was launched three weeks ago, Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf failed to appear before reporters with claims of glorious battlefield victories by Iraqi troops. And for the first time in decades, Iraqis were defacing images of the man who ruled brutally for nearly a quarter century. One wall painting was spraypainted with black devil's horns, eyeglasses and a black chin beard. Others were set ablaze. ``We are relieved because for years we lived in anxiety and fear,'' said Shamoun George, a resident of Baghdad's Karrada district, as American troops entered the area. ``Bush, Bush, thank you,'' chanted small bands of youth in Saddam City, a predominantly Shiite area of eastern Baghdad. At the city center, a crowd gathered at the base of a large statue of Saddam inside al-Firdos (Paradise) Square. Several men climbed up a ladder, tied a thick rope around the statue like a noose, then tried to pull it over. Moments later, a Marine briefly covered the upright statue's head with an American flag, then replaced it with an Iraqi flag, underscoring the sensitivity that senior U.S. officials feel about entering Iraq as liberators, rather than occupiers. Finally, the Marines brought an M88 tank recovery vehicle into position. A chain was attached to the statue, which was toppled to the cheers of watching Iraqis. Quickly, they swarmed over the downed icon, stomping it. Soon after, several men were seen dragging its severed head through the streets, and Iraqis used a sledgehammer to attack the pedestal where it once stood. The scene was televised worldwide to an audience that included President Bush. At the same time Baghdad rejoiced, celebration broke out in Irbil, far to the north. There was joy, too, in the Kurdish city of Sulaymaniyah, base of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. That celebration, and statements by Baghdad residents to American reporters, underscored the complexity of establishing a postwar government in Iraq. ``We will never allow them to stay. Whatever he (Saddam) has done, he is a Muslim and we are a Muslim nation,'' said Ali al-Obeidim, a store owner in Baghdad. ^------ This story was written by Special Correspondent David Espo in Washington, based on reporting from Ellen Knickmeyer, Chris Tomlinson, Alex Zavis and Hamza Hendawi in Baghdad and other AP reporters in Iraq and elsewhere.

QP 13 Apr 2003 'Our Heritage Is Finished' Looters Destroyed What War Did Not By Rajiv Chandrasekaran Washington Post Foreign Service Sunday, April 13, 2003; Page A01 BAGHDAD, April 12 -- At the National Museum of Antiquities, where priceless artifacts had been wrapped in foam and secured in windowless storage rooms to protect them against U.S. bombs, an army of looters perpetrated what war did not: They smashed hundreds of irreplaceable treasures, including Sumerian clay pots, Assyrian marble carvings, Babylonian statues and a massive stone tablet with intricate cuneiform writing. As employees returned today to survey the damage at one of the world's greatest repositories of artifacts, they encountered devastation that defied their worst expectations. The floor was covered with shards of broken pottery. An extensive card catalog of every item the museum owns, some of which date back 5,000 years, was destroyed. A cavernous storeroom housing thousands of unclassified pieces was ransacked so badly that an archaeologist predicted it would be impossible to repair many of the items. "Our heritage is finished," lamented Nabhal Amin, the museum's deputy director, as she surveyed a Sumerian tablet that had been cracked in two. "Why did they do this? Why? Why?" As throngs of angry and impoverished Iraqis sack government offices and private businesses, making away with everything from porcelain bathtubs and police uniforms to forklifts and ambulances, it has become increasingly clear that the looting that was sparked by the fall of Saddam Hussein's government -- largely unchecked by U.S. forces -- has wreaked more damage on Iraq's civilian infrastructure and economy than three weeks of U.S. bombing. The damage could have a significant effect on the Bush administration's military and political goals in Iraq, complicating efforts to win the trust of ordinary people, return cities to normalcy and eventually reconstruct the country. Many here feel U.S. forces in the city -- Army units on the western side of the Tigris River and Marines on the eastern side -- could and should be doing more to crack down on looting. As the mayhem continues, they have begun shifting blame for the lawlessness from their fellow countrymen to U.S. troops. "If there were five American soldiers at the door, everything would have been fine," Amin said about the museum. "They're supposed to be here to protect us. They should be protecting us." U.S. bombardment largely targeted centers of Hussein's power -- his palaces, intelligence offices and military installations. But the thievery that has enveloped the capital and other cities across the country, from Mosul in the north to Basra in the south, has resulted in broader, more indiscriminate destruction. Although television images of the lawlessness have focused on people carting chairs and desks from government offices and ornate fixtures from Hussein's many palaces, visits inside several government buildings suggest the pillaging is more profound. At the Foreign Ministry, for instance, looters have stolen every single piece of furniture. They have taken away thousands of files, leaving only scattered papers on the floor. At the Yarmouk Hospital, the largest medical center on the western side of Baghdad, they took not just all the beds, medicines and operating room equipment, but also the CAT, MRI and ultrasound scanners. And along Rashid Street, one of the capital's main shopping avenues, some merchants said they have lost so much merchandise that they cannot afford to reopen their shops. "The bombing was terrible for sure, but it is not ruining our city like these looters are," growled Sherko Jaf, a dentist, as he watched a band of young men hauling rolls of carpet out of the 10-story Foreign Ministry building and placing them inside a yellow dump truck. "How will this ministry ever work again? You know, even if we don't have Saddam Hussein, we will still need a foreign ministry." U.S. military commanders contend they are doing as much as they can to stem the thievery. But they acknowledge they do not have enough troops to patrol every looting-prone part of the city while also focusing on stamping out lingering pockets of resistance and guarding against suicide attacks. Some Iraqis, however, question the allocation of U.S. forces around the capital. They note a whole company of Marines, along with at least a half-dozen amphibious assault vehicles, has been assigned to guard the Oil Ministry, while many other ministries -- including trade, information, planning, health and education -- remain unprotected. "Why just the oil ministry?" Jaf asked. "Is it because they just want our oil?" U.S. military officials said the Marines have been guarding other sensitive installations, including the Interior Ministry and the Irrigation Ministry, and have stepped up patrols of commonly looted areas, dispatching troops in small convoys of Humvees to deter and apprehend thieves. But during a lengthy drive though the capital today, such patrols could only be seen in two wealthy neighborhoods. In one of those areas, the Arresat district, a boy on a bicycle flagged down a Marine unit after noticing four men trying to enter a photography shop. The Marines arrived, brandished their M-16 rifles and ordered the men to lay face down on the sidewalk. As a crowd gathered around, the men insisted they were entering the shop at the owner's request to remove merchandise before looters got to it. Their keys did open the front door. But Marine Gunnery Sgt. Mark Grice, 31, was unconvinced. He noticed a hammer and anvil near the door, and he pointed out that the men's truck had no license plates. As the men started arguing with some of the Marines, Grice sighed. "Three days ago, we were mortar men," he said. "Now we're babysitters." Finally, he compromised. The men would have to put the merchandise back in the shop, lock the keys inside and promise never to be seen by Grice again. Grice wondered aloud whether he was making the right call. He figured one of the men was an employee of the shop but that the removal of the goods was unauthorized. By letting them go, he mused, would they just hit another shop? "How are you supposed to transition from being a warrior to King Solomon?" he said. A few miles away, near the Interior Ministry, throngs of eager young men were hauling desk chairs and other office equipment less than a block away from a Marine camp. Privately, some U.S. officials involved in reconstruction have expressed concern that failure to quickly crack down on looting could have worrisome, long-term consequences for the transitional government that the Bush administration wants to set up here. "By not being more aggressive now, there is the risk of bigger problems later," one official said. Some military officers believe some of the gun battles that have recently erupted among different groups of Iraqis may be turf wars over places to loot or an escalation of long-standing conflicts in the new lawless environment. "Once the Americans allowed this, it was 'Game On,' " said Lt. Erik Balascik of the Army's 3rd Infantry Division. Many Iraqis and some of the few Western aid workers in the capital expressed wonder that the U.S. military was not more prepared to handle civil disturbances stemming from Hussein's downfall and evaporation of his once-pervasive security forces. "It was predicted," said Roland Huguenin-Benjamin, a spokesman for the International Committee of the Red Cross. "Everyone knew it was coming." The lack of police on the streets -- except for young boys in looted police uniforms -- has prompted some neighborhoods to organize block patrols, complete with men armed with AK-47 assault rifles. After a prominent Shiite Muslim cleric issued an edict calling on people to stop looting, some mosques also have set up anti-looting militias whose members man roadblocks and confiscate items deemed to have been pilfered. At the East Karrada Mosque today, one room was full of chairs, electronics and files from a nearby U.N. Children's Fund office that had been looted, but then secured by the mosque militia, which promised to track down the rightful owners. Among the men at the mosque, there was near universal agreement that U.S. soldiers could put an end to the plunder if they wanted to. "I tell the United States, 'You wanted to overthrow the government so you should have taken responsibility and put one soldier in front of every government building,' " said Saad Tuema, a portly, middle-aged engineer who claimed not to have slept in three days because he has been hunting looters. "Instead, they just stood by and let it happen." That is a common perception here. Some attribute the lack of an aggressive U.S. response to a miscalculation. Others ascribe it to underhanded motives. "They wanted to let these robberies happen so the Iraqi people will be bankrupt and they will need American assistance," said Mehdi Zuemi, a clerk in the Foreign Ministry who observed his office being destroyed today. "They'll use our oil to pay for it." At the Yarmouk Hospital, which was hit by a U.S. tank shell during a street battle Wednesday, doctors said they have no interest in getting protection from U.S. troops. "We just want them to leave us alone," said Amir Kadhim, a general surgeon. "We don't need their protection. We'll do it ourselves." But a promised contingent of armed guards from the surrounding Karkh neighborhood has not yet materialized. Until they arrive, Kadhim said, the doctors are too nervous to work in the building, so they perform minor surgery, without the benefit of anesthetics or sterilized equipment, on the hospital's portico. "Yesterday, the looters came with knives and stole our only working ambulance," he said. "How can we feel safe here?" At the National Museum of Antiquities, Amin said she wants American soldiers -- and lots of them. Today, as she led a small group of journalists through the museum, five looters armed with an ax sneaked into one of the rooms, prompting several of the journalists to give chase. "They will keep coming here until there is nothing left to take," she said. For the past 70 years, the museum has served as the showcase for records and collections of art and artifacts from the beginnings of ancient Sumer in 3,500 B.C. to the end of Islam's Abbasid Caliphate in 1258 A.D. "There are thousands of one-of-a-kind objects," said John Russell, an archaeologist and art historian at the Massachusetts College of Art. "This material is absolutely irreplaceable." Many of the museum's most valuable pieces had been moved to another location before the war, but items that were too big, such as marble statues and reliefs, were left in place and covered with foam and lined with sandbags. "We were ready for the bombs," Amin said. "Not the looters." As she quickly walked through more than three dozen rooms, Amin did not catalog what was missing or damaged. There was just too much. But every few minutes, she would stop in front of an empty pedestal or a decapitated statue. "This was priceless," she sobbed as she pointed to two seated marble deities from the temple at Harta that had been defaced with a hammer. Later, after observing more damage, she broke down again. "It feels like all my family has died," she wept. Even storage rooms and workshops were trashed. An old Babylonian wooden harp was broken in two and its gold inlay scraped off. But most inexplicable to her was the destruction of rooms that contained no artifacts, just archaeological records and photographs. "I cannot understand this," she said. "This was crazy. This was our history. Our glorious history. Why should we destroy it?" Staff writers Mary Beth Sheridan in Baghdad and Guy Gugliotta in Washington contributed to this report.

malaysiakini.com US allowed cultural genocide in Iraq Vellapan 2:37pm Thu Apr 24th, 2003 I refer to Jeffrey's long and muddled justification to whitewash the US military in his letter Don’t blame US for looting of Baghdad museum. Anybody who had watched CNN would have seen US soldiers standing by doing absolutely nothing as looters ransacked the museum and other cultural places. In fact, US soldiers were also busy picking up memorabilia for themselves. The looting might have been organised and anybody could have been behind it...Saddam Hussein, CIA etc. We don't know yet. But the perception widely held is this - rightly or wrongly, the US allowed the destruction of the cultural heritage of an entire people. This is a genocide that is not easily forgiven and will never be forgotten. The US government will have to live with that!

NYT 17 Apr 2003 Unmarked Graves Testify Silently to Iraq's Decades of Grief By C. J. CHIVERS KIRKUK, Iraq, April 17 — The mounds stretch in rows for more than a quarter-mile across the hard, cracked earth at the edge of an industrial park here. Many are covered in weeds; all but two look undisturbed. They are unmarked graves, nearly 1,600 in neat lines. They are close enough together in places that it would seem the skull of one skeleton might be within a yard of another skeleton's feet. The first of the potential mass graves has been found in this northern Iraqi city, between a Pepsi-Cola bottling plant and one of the mansions of a cousin of Saddam Hussein. It is a grim, dingy place, and judging by what Kurds described as the quick exhumation of two skeletons from mounds at the graveyard's edge, it seems certain to be the hastily dug and anonymous resting place of hundreds of Iraq's lost. For decades Iraq has been a land of grief and wasted lives, from the 500,000 soldiers and civilians thought to have died in the Iran-Iraq war from 1980 to 1988, to the untold tens of thousands of civilians who were killed or disappeared in crackdowns across the land Mr. Hussein ruled. Human rights organizations and Iraqi households have long awaited the collapse of Mr. Hussein's Arab Baath Socialist Party, saying it would allow the beginning of the tedious process of accountability and the return to families of missing remains. The limits of public expectation were evident today. The death toll in Iraq has been large enough and the killing has spanned such a long stretch of the nation's time that a gravesite can initially provide more questions than answers, as this one did today. As word spread of the discovery on the road beyond the bottling plant, and people gathered here, everyone seemed to have a different idea about who might be under this lumpy, sun-hardened dirt. One man, a Turkmen who works as a manager for the North Oil Company, thought they might be civilians he said the Iraqi army randomly seized from Kirkuk's streets after quelling an uprising in 1991. "The soldiers grabbed anybody who was outside when they recaptured the city," said the man, Jowdat Mustafa. "None of them have been seen again. We always thought they took them here." Capt. Kowa Hawez, a Kurdish police supervisor who toured the remains, said the graves held a fraction of the Kurdish vanished. In the Iraqi government's most notorious assaults on Kurdish villages, part of a campaign in 1988 known as the Anfal, 182,000 Kurds are estimated by aid organizations to have disappeared or died. "The Iraqi regime killed our families without justification and buried them like this," the captain said. "These are our innocents." Another man, an elderly Arab, wandered along the field today, and said the mounds held the anonymous remains of Iraqi soldiers killed nearly 20 years ago in the war Mr. Hussein started against Iran. The war was a conscripts' hell, into which thousands of soldiers silently disappeared. Some men who claim to have been soldiers in the Iraqi Army also strolled these graves today, telling fearful stories from 12 and 15 years ago. One described being ordered to work here for five days in 1988, as trucks with stacks of coffins and bloody ambulances kept arriving with more dead. "Our officers told us that all of these people were hanged," another said. It was a testimony to just how widespread and unsparing the killing has been that one man's theory seemed as plausible as the next. Even the spare forensic details provided little help. Kurds said the first two graves to be exhumed held a headless man in Kurdish shirt with a tag that read "Unidentified #37" and a skeleton in a blood-stained track suit and whisps of long light-colored hair. Kurds said the second skeleton was the remains of a woman, but this was based more on a look at the length of hair than trained study. Kurdish police guarded the road to the mounds, and two American Army officers measured it and reported its coordinates to their command. They said they would try to verify who was in the earth here, and might guard it once they had a clearer idea. "This is really a question," said Capt. David Downing, a civil affairs officer at the site. "We don't know what this is." Charles A. Forrest, executive director of Indict, a London-based organization that has been seeking war crimes against Mr. Hussein and senior Baath officials, said a period of methodical examination would be required at this site and the others almost certain to be found. He said teams of researchers and examiners were departing for Iraq to begin the work. "This is exactly what we expected would be found when the situation opened up," he said. "Where are the bodies of the 182,000 Kurds killed in the Anfal? They have to be somewhere." He was cautious, however, about finding conclusive answers soon. "Getting a thorough understanding of each site will be just a massive job," he said. For now, as questions linger, the graves are a sad and lonely place, a blank on the map and on the mind. It is a condition that gives them enormous resonance. Each man who arrives can assign them whatever meaning he requires. Captain Hawez, the police officer, walked the graveyard this afternoon, head down, dust rising as he slowly strolled, his subordinates keeping a little distance. He seemed near to tears. His story was dark. "I loved a Kurdish girl," he said. "The Iraqi regime took her when we were young." He paused and swallowed, before explaining his reddened eyes. He said: "Every time I find new graves I feel like it is her in the ground."

WP 21 Apr 2003 Iraqis Learn Sad Fate of the Missing For One Family, News of Relatives' Death Ends 20 Years of Uncertainty By Peter Finn Washington Post Foreign Service Monday, April 21, 2003; Page A01 BAGHDAD, April 20 -- In November 1981, Awatif Hamdani, a 22-year-old medical student, disappeared along with her husband, Ali Nassir. Awatif was pregnant and on June 6, 1982, she gave birth to a daughter, who was named Duaa, in the Rashid Prison for women in Baghdad. The authorities turned the baby over to relatives and that September Awatif was executed by hanging, one month after her husband was hanged at another jail. The two bodies were returned to their family for burial. That proved to be a small mercy: confirmation they were dead. Between 1979 and 1982, a catalogue of horror engulfed Awatif's extended family and lingered like a curse down through the years. A prosperous Shiite Muslim clan of doctors, engineers and students, the family was suspected of harboring pro-Iranian sympathies following Saddam Hussein's ascent to the presidency and the outbreak of war with Iran. Eight more of Awatif's relatives, including her brother, Rafel, simply vanished, plucked from classrooms, workplaces and the streets by agents of Iraq's feared State Security Organization. The authorities refused to say if they were alive or dead. The answer came this afternoon: At least seven of the eight are dead, executed by the government. "We have freedom and tears," said Adel Salman Kahachi, Awatif's uncle, whose son, Mazen, disappeared in 1981 when he was a high school senior and is the only one of the eight who may still be alive. For more than 20 years, this family, torn between forgetting and hope, has waited to speak the truth, and hear it. Duaa, for instance, never learned of her parents' fate and, according to the family, believes her grandparents are her parents. Now, says Adel, she must know. The fall of Hussein's government has broken a terrible silence here. Across the country, the relatives of the disappeared are speaking of their loved ones for the first time -- pouring out memories of their terror and helplessness as an all-powerful state swept up its victims at the slightest utterance of dissent and gagged those left behind. Mazen Salman Kahachi, Adel's son, vanished with most of his senior class in November 1981 after one of them wrote an anti-government message on the blackboard. Seven were reportedly executed in the 1980s; the remaining 56 students, including Mazen, are still unaccounted for. At least 300,000 people are missing, according to human rights groups who fear that may be a conservative figure. They include people killed nearly 25 years ago and some who were dragged away in the night a day after the U.S. military breached Baghdad. "You ask once and then no more," said Akbal Salman Kahachi, whose husband, Ali Ibrahim Asadi, has been missing since 1982. "It was too dangerous. Maybe they take more of your family." In prisons, graveyards and government offices, a desperate population is literally roaming this city with pickaxes and false hopes to dig up secret underground prisons. Today, it was under the gates of Baghdad. Yesterday, it was a highway underpass. Tomorrow, it will be somewhere else. "They could be under here," said Basman Jawad Abas as he wandered aimlessly around the Abu Ghraib prison outside Baghdad searching for his brother, Kanan, taken in 1985. "We have to dig," he continued, speaking outside an execution chamber with isolation cells and twin gallows. "Tell the Americans to come with special equipment." In another part of the prison, the ground did offer up the dead, five of eight men arrested at their homes on April 10, a day after U.S. forces first entered Baghdad. Two of the men had satellite phones they were using to contact opposition forces in the north, according to their relatives. The government discovered them as it was in full retreat, and they may have been among its last victims, according to the brother of one of the dead. The bodies were found hooded with their hands tied behind their backs with rope, bullets through each head. Haid Hassan, 30, watched as his cousins, their faces wrapped in scarves to ward off the stench, pulled another corpse from the ground. His brother, Mahday, was one of the three they had not yet found. "I lost my brother but that is a small price to get rid of Saddam," Hassan said. "Believe me: We want our children to live in freedom. We are grateful for that chance. I hope America is not just another invader." A couple of miles away, at a walled section of Baghdad's principal cemetery, Laith Mohammed Mustafa, 28, walked among grave mounds marked only by numbers. He was looking for the burial site of his brother-in-law, Abdul Majid Hamid Salah, a 28-year-old former fighter pilot in the Iraqi air force who was executed in 1981 for allegedly plotting against Hussein. "They refused to give us the body," Mustafa said. "And until now I could not even come here to look." "I don't know the number," he added as he examined one grave after another. At the Committee of Free Prisoners, a human rights group set up here in the last week, Younis Hashim Salih, 69, handed in the names of his three sons, arrested over a six-week period in November and December 1980. They were 16, 18 and 20 years old at the time they disappeared. "They were good boys," he said, a visible pride holding back tears from his red-rimmed eyes as he spoke to a reporter. "They never hurt anyone." But the eldest, Majad, refused to join Hussein's Baath Party when he entered college and that was enough to make the family an enemy of the state, Salih said. "I want to see my sons before I die," he said. He hesitated before adding, "If they are dead, I want to know." At the entrance to the committee's new headquarters, located in the former home of a Hussein associate, a crowd constantly swells to hand in names and look at the lists of those whose police and prison files have been discovered. But the accounting of what happened here under Hussein remains almost completely chaotic. State documents, looted from government offices, are surfacing all over the city. Relatives are racing from one location to another in an endless quest for information. "Everything is random," said Ibrahim Raowf Idrissi, a founder of the Committee of Free Prisoners. "We need human rights groups to help us." For now, this is a city of stories, numbing accounts of persecution and grief, offered up spontaneously and endlessly. Basil Ali Ibrahim Asadi, Awatif's cousin, came to the committee building this morning to find the eight missing members of his family. Hamid Rashid Majid Asadi, a 35-year-old high school teacher at the time of his arrest, was the first of the clan to disappear. On Dec. 23, 1979, shortly after midnight, the Iraqi State Security Organization raided his home. Hamid, Basil's cousin, managed to flee to a neighbor's house. The security agents, after ransacking the home, told Hamid's wife and mother that the teacher, suspected of being a member of a pro-Iranian political party, had to show up at their headquarters the next day or they would come back for the women and other members of the family. Hamid turned himself in. He was never heard from again. Hamid was suspected of being a member of the Dawa political movement, a Shiite party that looked to Iran. After Hussein came to power and war with Iran loomed, the government and its secret police launched a violent campaign against prominent Shiites, especially educated members of the middle class such as the Asadis and their kin. Awatif's brother, Rafel, then a 22-year-old dentistry student, was arrested in December 1980. In April 1981, Abdul Hamdani, another cousin and then a 23-year-old medical student, was arrested. The following month cousin Jinan Kahachi, a pharmacology student, was arrested and sentenced to life in prison; she was released after 10 years. Her brother and two cousins were sentenced to life, eight and five years, respectively; all were eventually released. Jinan's arrest was prompted by an informer's report that she was in Dawa, according to a police report found by the family. The investigating officer noted that there was no evidence to support the charges. Six of the older men in the family were also arrested following Jinan's detention and held for six months. They were suspended by ropes in the detention center and beaten, they said. One of the men, Dhafer Kahachi, Jinan's uncle, took off his shoes and socks at the family home today to show the scars from the beating of his feet with steel cable wire. On Nov. 5, 1981, Mazen's entire class was taken, turned in by the school principal. On Nov. 14, Awatif and her husband were picked up. Four days later, Arkan Kahachi and his cousin Amjid Asadi were arrested on the street. On Nov. 21 Alia Hamdani, Abdul's brother, was dragged from a Baghdad hospital where she was a pharmacist. Several months later, on Feb. 5, 1982, Ali Ibrahim Asadi, Basil's father, was arrested as he drove his son in his car. The police dropped Basil, then 9, at his front door. After the arrest of Arkan and Amjid on Nov. 18, six of the women in the family were arrested and held for nine months. At 3 p.m. today, with lunch still warm on the table, Dhafer burst into the family home in northwest Baghdad. "They are all dead," he said, referring to the eight still missing. "All but Mazen. All but Mazen. All dead." A wail of grief rose from both the men and women in the house where only moments earlier they had been speaking of their belief that some secret prison would soon be liberated to reveal their loved ones. At a mosque in Baghdad, Dhafer had seen looted state security files, including some of the personal documents of his family. "Executed" read the notation in one file after another, seven in all. "All but Mazen," said one person after another, the house now a bedlam of grief. Basil's mother, Akbal, collapsed and was carried into a bedroom, shrieking women following her. Basil folded and fell to the floor in tears. His uncle, Alaa, whose son, Arkan, had been missing, waved his arms frantically in the air and sobbed. "No! No! No!" he said.

Knight Ridder Washington Bureau, April 24, 2003, Thursday, WASHINGTON DATELINE, Coalition looking into possible war crimes by U.S., British troops, By Tosin Sulaiman WASHINGTON _ An international coalition of lawyers and human-rights groups is gathering evidence to determine whether American and British troops committed war crimes in Iraq. They intend to use the 9-month-old International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, to prosecute government and military leaders who may have violated international humanitarian law, and point to the dropping of anti-personnel bombs in civilian areas as an example of such a breach. But taking on the United States will not be easy, since the Bush administration has refused to ratify the treaty establishing the International Criminal Court (ICC). Lawyers with the Center for Constitutional Rights and the Center for Economic and Social Rights in New York, two groups that had opposed to the U.S.-led invasion, along with colleagues in Britain, say that their investigation of possible coalition war crimes will ensure that both sides in the war are held accountable. "We don't want a victor's justice," said Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights. Referring to U.S. plans to bring Iraqi leaders to justice, Ratner said, "If there's going to be an investigation of Iraq, there should also be an investigation of the coalition." He said the groups are collecting evidence from multiple sources, including the International Committee of the Red Cross, Amnesty International as well as journalists and so-called human shields in Iraq. They plan to investigate reports of 33 civilian deaths following the apparent dropping of cluster bombs on al Hilla on April 1, and the bombing of a marketplace in Baghdad on March 28, where at least 60 people reportedly were killed. They also condemn U.S. strikes on the Palestine Hotel and the destruction of the al Jazeera TV station's office in Baghdad on April 8, resulting in the deaths of three journalists. Ratner believes that such incidents could constitute a violation of international humanitarian law, which prohibits the indiscriminate use of weapons. He argues that when used in residential areas, cluster bombs "become an indiscriminate weapon" because they fail to distinguish between civilians and military targets. Reuben Brigety of Human Rights Watch expressed "profound concerns" about the use of cluster bombs _ anti-personnel weapons that release deadly bomblets. Whether their use in Baghdad constituted a war crime depends on "whether or not these weapons were used indiscriminately, whether or not civilians died as a result, and whether or not those attacks were systematic," he said. Feisal Istrabadi, a lawyer with the Iraqi Forum for Democracy, a political action group in Michigan, is confident the United States would prosecute its war crimes if credible evidence were found. But he argued, "The war crime in the first instance was committed by the government of Iraq in commingling its forces with the civilian population." He accused the groups investigating the United States of trying "to delegitimize what was done by coalition forces." "I'm always amazed by the indifference of certain groups at the utter brutality of Saddam Hussein in dealing with his people," Istrabadi said. "Yet they make out charges against the very people who have saved Iraqis from their own government." Ratner and Shiner say the process will be as fair and independent as possible. Next month, Shiner plans to convene a panel of five international law experts in London to debate the issue and produce a final report. However, Philippe Sands, a visiting law professor at New York University from the University of London, said the United States will not face the ICC. "The (United Kingdom) is a party to the (ICC) statute so all UK nationals are subject to the jurisdiction of the ICC," he said. Feisal Istrabadi said the activists were lucky they weren't in Iraq. "They can do what they want," he observed. "No one drags them away kicking and screaming in the night." Theirs was the kind of freedom Iraqis hoped for, he said.

NYT 25 Apr 2003 Justice for Iraq Tariq Aziz, the former deputy prime minister of Iraq, is one of the best known of Saddam Hussein's inner circle, making his capture yesterday especially significant. In the deck of cards of Iraq's most wanted, distributed by the Pentagon, Mr. Aziz is the eight of spades. The aces are Mr. Hussein, his secretary and his two sons. The cards do not list the acts for which the men are wanted, but the crimes they committed include genocide, torture and the use of chemical weapons. Justice for these crimes is a vital goal of the postwar occupation of Iraq. But the administration's announced plans for justice — an Iraqi tribunal, supported by the United States — cannot accomplish the task. The idea of Iraqi justice for Iraqi crimes is attractive, but we doubt that it is possible, even with huge amounts of American training and money. Under Mr. Hussein, Iraq's utterly subservient court system dispensed the opposite of justice, and it is wishful thinking to believe that independent jurists who understand impartial trials could have emerged. International participation will be necessary to create a court capable of judging such huge crimes. The new International Criminal Court, unfortunately, is not an option, even if the administration were to reverse its virulent opposition to the court. It can try only crimes committed since its establishment on July 1, 2002. The best choice is a special tribunal established by the United Nations with judges from Iraq, if qualified jurists are found, and from other countries — with as many from Islamic nations as possible. The current tribunal in Sierra Leone is a possible model. To avoid the appearance of partiality, judges should not come from countries that participated in the war. The involvement of the United States should be minimal. The tribunal should be in Iraq if witnesses can be adequately protected there from retribution, and nearby if they cannot. It is unclear how many on the most-wanted list are alive. A small number have been captured, and a fair tribunal for them can help Iraq come to terms with their crimes and serve as a model for new courts. Building a justice system is a crucial task, but not one that can be accomplished soon enough to make it useful for judging these criminals.

Human Rights Watch 27 Apr 2003 Northern Iraq: Civilian deaths higher since war ended (Arbil, Iraq, April 27, 2003) The number of civilians killed or wounded since the war ended in northern Iraq is higher than it was during the conflict, Human Rights Watch said today. Extensive research at five hospitals and morgues in Kirkuk and Mosul suggests that the high civilian tolls can be attributed to general lawlessness after the collapse of local authorities; the ready availability of weapons and ammunition; and the vast stores of ammunition and ammunition components left behind by the Iraqi military, including landmines, rocket-propelled grenades, and other explosives. Many of the victims have been children who play with explosives or pick up unexploded ordinance (UXO) as toys and sustain serious injuries as a result. "In some ways, the peace has proved more lethal than the war," said Hania Mufti, London Director of the Middle East and North Africa division of Human Rights Watch. At the al-Zahrawri Hospital (formerly al-Jumhuri Hospital) in Mosul, for example, emergency room records show that three civilians were treated on April 22 after an unidentified person riding a motorbike tossed a grenade in their direction. Another ten patients were brought in that day after a looting incident in the Hawi al-Kanisa area of the city. Three of them later died of their gunshot wounds. The Iraqi authorities stored up huge amounts of ammunition and small arms in homes, schools, and other sites in residential areas in the run-up to the war. At the al-Bayda' Secondary School for Girls in Kirkuk, Human Rights Watch researchers on April 13 found one classroom still stacked with dozens of boxes of ammunition, including rocket-propelled grenades, 82mm and 100mm mortar shells, and 12.7mm machine gun bullets. The guard at the school told Human Rights Watch that the Iraqi military had brought the ammunition to the school about five or six days before the start of the war, leaving one sentry in the classroom, and that students had been obliged to attend their classes in these conditions. Storing ammunition in a functioning school is a violation of international humanitarian law. At the al-Razi Hospital (formerly Saddam Hospital) in Mosul, one doctor in the emergency ward told Human Rights Watch that during the coalition bombing raids, most civilian casualties were the result of ammunition left behind by the Iraqi army in and around the city. "The [Iraqi] army placed ammunition and weapons in between houses and among civilians in preparation for the war," the doctor said. "But the Americans did not attack these civilian areas. When the army withdrew, they left behind bombs, bullets, and machine guns. People, mostly children, picked these up and they exploded." The doctor said that he treated about fifteen burn cases every day in the course of an eight-hour shift, often children who were trying to light loose gunpowder. Another doctor at al-Razi Hospital in Mosul said on April 21 that he was often treating "tens of cases daily," mostly wounds sustained from landmines, exploding ammunition or bullets. He also said that Ba'ath Party loyalists were still present in the hospital and he could not speak freely, out of fear of reprisal attacks. "They are everywhere and they spy on us even now," he said, "so you can imagine what it was like before." Injuries from sniper fire and hand grenades are still a major problem in Mosul, where the situation remains more volatile than in Kirkuk. Doctors at the Azadi Hospital (formerly Saddam Hospital) in Kirkuk said that in the first three days after the city fell, they were treating around 70 patients every day, most of them civilians who had sustained bullet wounds, shrapnel wounds, and injuries caused by landmines and other explosives. Now, however, the numbers were falling to one or two a day, mostly children with burns on their faces and hands. Anti-personnel landmines and ammunition are being found in holes dug in the ground in residential areas, while similar explosive materials were left strewn around the grounds of military bases on the perimeters of both Mosul and Kirkuk. The bases include the al-Khalid Garrison south of Kirkuk, a Republican Guard facility; and al-Ghazlani Garrison in Mosul.

BBC 30 Apr 2003 Protesters shot in Falluja US troops fired on a march protesting another shooting US troops have opened fire on protesters for a second time this week in the town of Falluja, 50 kilometres (35 miles) west of Baghdad. Ahmed al-Taha, a senior official at Falluja's main hospital, said two people were killed and eight wounded during a march to protest against the deaths of 13 people on Monday night. The dead Iraqis had head wounds caused by bullets or shrapnel, he said. US military spokesmen say troops were fired on first in both incidents, which occurred outside facilities being used by US paratroops in the town. About 1,000 local people from the town - a Sunni Muslim former stronghold of Saddam Hussein's Baath party - had marched down the main street to the battalion headquarters of the US 82nd Airborne Division to protest against Monday's deaths outside a primary school. In pictures: Falluja clashes Stones and shoes were hurled at the HQ, situated in a compound formerly occupied by the Baath party, and troops opened fire at about 1030 local time (0630 GMT), dispersing the crowd. There was confusion over whether guards inside the compound or troops from a passing US convoy fired the shots. US Major Michael Marti said troops had opened fire after a convoy came under gun attack which began as protesters hurled stones at the vehicles. "Then fire came from the crowd, directed at the convoy," he said. "It was at that point that they returned fire... It was well-aimed fire." But witnesses who spoke to the Associated Press news agency said there had been no gunfire from the direction of the protesters. Jamal Shaqir Mahmood, the imam at the Grand Falluja Mosque, said people wanted American troops to leave the town or at least reduce their numbers. "There is no [Iraqi] military presence here," he said. "Why is there an American military presence? We just want a reduction in the numbers."


NYT 9 Apr 2003 Israeli Missiles Kill 7, Including a Hamas Leader, in Gaza City By JAMES BENNET ERUSALEM, April 8 — Israeli aircraft fired five missiles into a Gaza City neighborhood tonight, killing at least 7 people, including a leader of Hamas and a 14-year-old bystander, and wounding 47 others, witnesses and Palestinian hospital officials said. Witnesses described an initial salvo of two missiles fired from a jet fighter and aimed at a Subaru car in the southern neighborhood of Zeitun. They said that minutes later, as bystanders and rescue workers rushed into the street, helicopters swept overhead and fired two more missiles. The Israeli Army declined to comment. Hamas vowed to retaliate for the attack, which came as the Bush administration was weighing how to proceed here with a new international peace plan, known as the road map. The Hamas leader was identified as Said Aldin al-Arabid. Israeli security officials, acknowledging the attack, called Mr. Arabid a top official of Hamas in Gaza and accused him of directing dozens of attacks that killed many Israelis. He was jailed for a time by the governing Palestinian Authority but released at the start of the current uprising more than two years ago. A bodyguard died with him, along with a member of Hamas who was not active in its violent wing, Palestinian authorities said. Hundreds of people gathered tonight at Shifa hospital, where women searched screaming through the halls for their children. The wounded included children, women and the elderly. Abdullal Daloul, 14, said he had just left a nearby mosque when the car was struck. "We ran to the car to collect the body parts," he said. "Then, while we were gathered around the car, they hit us." The blue shirt of his school uniform was spotted with blood. Doctors hovered over him, checking for wounds. The airstrike came after a period of relative calm for Israelis. No Israelis have been killed in political violence since the United States began its war in Iraq, an outcome Israel attributes to its army's work. But as Israel pressed its offensive during that period, more than two dozen Palestinians have been killed. Palestinians call attacks like the one tonight assassinations and provocations to further violence. Israel says that killings of known Palestinian militants are important for its security. Imail Haniya, a leader of Hamas in Gaza, said, "This is a massacre, which is now extended from Baghdad to Palestine, that's committed by Americans and Zionists." He added, "This will only motivate Hamas and the Palestinians to be more persistent in keeping the jihad." Israel previously tried to kill Mr. Arabid, 33, with a missile strike in August 2001, Palestinian officials said. His son was killed in that attack, they said. A month ago, Israel used missiles fired from a helicopter in Gaza to kill a founder of Hamas, Ibrahim al-Makadmah. North of the West Bank city of Nablus, Israeli forces demolished the family home today of a Palestinian gunman who killed 6 Israelis and wounded 26 others in a suicidal shooting attack. That attack, on a banquet hall in the Israeli city of Hadera, was on Jan. 17, 2002.

AFP 9 Apr 2003 Israel kills 12 in Gaza, bomb rocks Palestinian school, as German FM meets Arafat by Sakher Abu El-Oun GAZA CITY, April 9 (AFP) - The Israeli army killed 11 Palestinians, among them several children, in a controversial air strike on a Hamas militant leader and a foray into a Gaza town, and an extreme right-wing Jewish group claimed responsibility for a blast in a West Bank school that injured 29 Palestinian pupils. As the Palestinians slammed a late Tuesday Israeli air strike on Gaza City as a bid to "sabotage" an internationally backed peace "roadmap", German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer pushed their leader Yasser Arafat to hurry reforms aimed at sharing power with his moderate new premier. Israel defended the missile strike by an F-16 fighter-bomber and two Apache helicopters, which killed seven Palestinians, including three Hamas Islamists and four civilians. Military sources said the raid targeted Hamas leader Saad al-Arabid, "responsable for attacks which killed and wounded dozens of people". "Saad al-Arabid was a particularly dangerous terrorist," said Deputy Defence Minister Zeev Boim. "We have not changed our policy on targeted operations against terrorists since the US intervention in Iraq," he added. Shortly after the F-16 strike, two Apache helicopters fired two missiles at the same area, witnesses said. That second attack raised the death toll and doubled the number of injured as it hit emergency service workers and onlookers staring at the wreckage from the first missile. Women and children were among the 47 wounded, eight of whom were said to be in critical condition. Hamas's armed wing, the Ezzedin al-Qassam Brigades, responded by firing a home-made missile from the Gaza Strip into the southern Israeli town of Sderot, without causing damage or injury. And around Israeli 15 tanks rumbled into the town of Beit Hanun, just north of Gaza City, at dawn in a raid that left five Palestinians, including a 13-year-old boy, dead as the Israelis opened fire on crowds of stone-throwing youths. At the same time, medics said a 12-year-old Palestinian boy who was injured in an Israeli raid on Jabalya refugee camp early last month died from his wounds. Hamas again swore bitter vengeance, with political leader Abdul Aziz al-Rantissi saying the group would act "quickly" to avenge the six deaths. The diplomatically isolated Arafat called the Gaza air raid "an unforgivable crime" after meeting in Ramallah, in the West Bank, with Fischer, his first meeting with such a senior foreign official in almost a year. Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat accused Israel of launching the attack to "sabotage" the push to implement the international peace "roadmap", which Israel wants to see heavily amended before being published. "Israel is doing all it can to sabotage the roadmap with its policy of killing and destruction," he said. "The roadmap has been delayed more than six times." The roadmap was drawn up by US, UN, EU and Russian diplomats to end the 30-month conflict and create an independent Palestinian state alongside a secure Israel by 2005. US President George W. Bush has said he will publish the roadmap when new Palestinian prime minister Mahmud Abbas has formed his cabinet. On Wednesday, Arafat gave Abbas an extra two weeks to do so. Fischer also met with Abbas, who is pushing for reforms and for an end to Palestinian attacks on Israelis. One official in the German delegation said Fischer had told Arafat "that a real breakthrough in the dynamics of change is necessary." Fischer had earlier met with Israeli leaders, stressing the need to support the moderate Palestinian premier as the latter struggled to form a government, mainly owing to disagreements with Arafat. "The roadmap is an excellent proposal. The reforms in Palestinian areas must be supported," Fisher said in Jerusalem Tuesday. Israel said it hoped that with the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime to US forces in Iraq, the Palestinians would "draw the right conclusions." "Now that the Iraqi people, thanks to America and Britain, are getting rid of their own brutal dictatorship, we hope that also our Palestinian neighbours will draw the right conclusions and give the necessary authority to a more peaceful leadership of their own", said Zalman Shoval, aide to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Meanwhile, more violence erupted in the northern West Bank when a bomb ripped through a school in the village of Al-Jarba, south of Jenin. A radical right-wing Jewish group on Wednesday claimed responsibility for the explosion that injured 29 Palestinian children, Israeli army radio said. The group, calling itself "Revenge of the Babies," said in a message sent to the radio that the blast was "to avenge the Jewish children killed by the Palestinians." But Israeli security officials said they doubted the claim, and that they believed the bomb -- possibly explosives found in the village -- was taken into the school by a student.

Item from 2002 Daily News from Israel - March 6, 2002 RESIDENTS SAY BOMB IN ARAB NEIGHBORHOOD WAS ARAB PROVOCATION A bomb exploded this morning in an Arab school in Tzur Baher, an Arab neighborhood just east of Ramat Rachel in southeastern Jerusalem; eight people were lightly wounded. An unknown organization calling itself "Revenge of the Babies" took credit. However, many signs indicate that the bomb was nothing more than an Arab provocation. Asked if there was a suspicion that Arabs may have placed the bomb, City Councilwoman Roni Aloni told Arutz-7's Yosef Zalmanson today, "Of course it was Arabs! There is no doubt!" Aloni, who describes herself as "extreme left" in matters of civil rights and other issues - "I am in favor of evacuating settlements" - said that she is very right-wing when it comes to the unity of Jerusalem. "I happened to visit that very school yesterday," she said, "and the teachers and students were complaining that they were not being protected from Arab elements who wish to stir up trouble. It's clear that areas such as Beit Tzafafa and Tzur Baher, which are well within Jerusalem city limits, are viewed by the PA as enemies of Arafat - and the Tanzim wishes to end the peaceful co-existence that currently exists between Jews and Arabs in these areas." Local leader Zuhair Hamdan expressed similar sentiments. http://www.israelunitycoalition.com/html/archive/Mar02/dailynews_020306.htm

IslamOnline.net 9 Apr 2003 Extremist Jewish Group Blasts Palestinian School A Palestinian points to the blood of Palestinian children wounded in an explosion took place in a Palestinian school OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, April 9 ( & News Agencies) - A radical right-wing Jewish group on Wednesday, April 9, claimed responsibility for an explosion which injured 29 Palestinian children in a school in the northern West Bank, Israeli army radio said. Calling itself "Revenge of the Babies," the group said in a message sent to the beeper of one of the radio's journalists that the blast was "to avenge the Jewish children killed by the Palestinians." Palestinian security officials were interviewing children to establish exactly how the explosive device went off. Initial reports indicated one of the children had found the device, thought to be an Israeli-made grenade, in the school and that it exploded while he was playing with it in a classroom. The blast occurred in a school in the village of Al-Jarba, 10 kilometres (six miles) south of Jenin. Four of the injured were in serious condition, Palestinian medics said. Israeli military sources did not rule out that the blast could have been the work of Jewish extreme nationalists. A group also calling itself "Revenge of the Children" claimed responsibility for a bomb attack on a school in an Arab district east of Occupied Jerusalem in March last year. In that blast, three Palestinian school pupils and a teacher were wounded. A carnage was narrowly averted as two more bombs were found on the scene and defused, while a fourth explosive device was also discovered in time in a nearby community clinic. That group had been previously unknown, police said. It was not clear if the same group was behind Wednesday's attack. Police arrested four Jewish settlers from the Bethlehem and Hebron areas in the southern West Bank in May on charges of preparing the March attack. Last September, in the village of Zif near Hebron in the southern West Bank, fears of Jewish extremists were again revived when a bomb went off in the toilets of a Palestinian school, leaving five children seriously wounded. A second bomb was found in the school and neutralised by army sappers.

Jerusalem Post 10 Apr 2003 Police doubt Jewish group involved in school bombing Margot Dudkevitch Apr. 10, 2003 Israel Police and Shin Bet officials doubt that a Jewish group called "Toddlers' Revenge" was responsible for the bomb explosion in a Palestinian high school in Jaba'a near Jenin on Wednesday morning which wounded 20 pupils, three seriously. Hours after the blast, the Jewish extremist group claimed responsibility for the attack, sending a message to reporters beepers claiming "a bomb exploded in the yard of an Arab school in Jaba'a," and claimed it was in response to the killing of Jewish children by Arabs. Judea and Samaria Police launched an investigation and were seeking to coordinate with security officials to enter the school, located in Area B, and examine the site of the blast and question witnesses. Police officials said last night that the chances of a Jewish organization being involved in the incident are zero. "The Palestinians were not interested in assisting us in the probe or being forthcoming with any details. They apparently have something to hide, and at this point we believe that no Jewish organization was involved in it." Police sources said that they tended to believe Palestinian claims that a pupil apparently spotted the bomb and played with it, triggering the explosion. Israeli security officials did not rule out the possibility that one of the pupils brought the bomb to the school. All the pupils were taken to the local hospital in Jenin. Palestinians turned down offers made by the IDF to give them medical assistance. The IDF Spokesman said at the time of the blast there were no troops deployed in the area. Last April and May, five Israelis from Maon Farm and Bat Ayin were indicted for planning to set off a large bomb between an Arab hospital and a girls' school on the Mount of Olives. The attack was thwarted when a chance Border Police patrol spotted a car and trailer parked nearby the school and discovered guns and inflammable material inside and a large bomb connected to a gas canister. It was the first time that security officials were able to arrest the assailants. In the past two years there have been a number of fatal attacks on Palestinians perpetrated by various Jewish extremist groups who claimed responsibility. Despite intensive investigations by the police and Shin Bet, none of the perpetrators were arrested. Also in April last year, a Jewish extremist group called Tears of the Widows and Orphans claimed responsibility for killing two Palestinians as they drove their truck between Ma'aleh Ephraim and Kohav Hashahar. In July 2001 a Jewish extremist group called the Committee for Road Safety claimed responsibility for a drive-by shooting near Hebron in which three Tmeizi family members were killed, including a three-month-old baby, and four wounded. The group at the time claimed the shooting was in response to the murder of 10- month-old Shalhevet Pass in Hebron.

Jerusalem Post 21 Apr 2003 Police accused of revenge assaults on Palestinians Eight border policemen have been arrested on suspicion of assaulting Palestinians in Hebron in revenge for the attack on Israelis in November on Worshipers' Way, media reports said Monday. The suspects are accused of hurling stun grenades into crowds, puncturing tires, vandalizing and stealing from shops. They are reportedly from the same unit as four policemen arrested last week on suspicion of killing a 17-year-old Palestinian boy by tossing him out of a jeep.


AZG Daily 5 Apr 2003 #065, THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE DISCUSSED AT INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE IN JAPAN A week-long international conference on comparative genocides just ended here at the University of Hiroshima. Experts from Germany, U.S.A., Japan, Australia, Switzerland, Indonesia and Great Britain were invited to explore a new direction in genocide studies – away from ubiquitous single-case Holocaust studies which are deemed to be inhibiting the task of scientific generalizations through comparison. The cases which were discussed involved the Armenian, Rwandan, East Timor, Australian Aborigines, Cambodian, Indonesian, and Central Sudan episodes. A special focus of the conference was also the pioneering work of Raphael Lemkin who coined the term "genocide" and who was instrumental in the elaboration and adoption by the United Nations of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. In his as yet unpublished autobiography Lemkin points out that the unpunished genocide of the Armenians had a powerful impact upon him. He then successfully pushed for the promulgation of an international criminal law. Among the scholars selected to participate was Professor Vahakn N. Dadrian who delivered a lengthy paper on "Patterns of Twentieth Century Genocides: The Armenian, Jewish and Rwandan Cases," In it Dr. Dadrian not only discussed a host of dissimilarities but focused on the commonalities of the three major genocides of the 20th century. At the end he developed a conceptual framework through which practically all genocides may be juxtaposed, examined, and analytically compared. Following this presentation the conference participants unanimously voted to Adopt Dadrian’s analytical framework as a basis to explore and compare the other cases of 20th century genocides that were part of the conference agenda. Also, following the delivery of his paper, Prof. Dadrian by acclamation was elected Chairman of the Conference. During the banquet that was given by the university at the end of the conference There were speeches commending the university for embarking upon this path of Comparative genocides. And, encouraged by the success of this inaugural conference, it has been decided to follow up with a sequel either at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu, or at Elmau, Germany. Moreover, one of the prominent Japanese scholars at the conference expressed interest in translating into Japanese Prof. Dadrian’s paper. In a private exchange Dadrian expressed his admiration for the Japanese, stating, among others, "The Japanese are just amazing people. There is not a trace of the massive devastation that the first Atomic bomb had caused there on August 6, 1945. Hiroshima is a hustling and bustling modern metropolis where science, industry, and education and culture are thriving. But this prosperity and progress is and always will remain under the melancholy and macabre shadow of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum permanently embodying the gruesome horrors of that cataclysm to which more than 130,000 people fell victim."

NYT 25 Apr 2003 Japan's Shrine to War Dead Worries About Its Generation Gap By HOWARD W. FRENCH TOKYO, April 24 — To the tune of a huge bass drum beaten slowly, 13 Shinto priests in billowing white robes walked in slow processional this week down the lane and up a wooden stairway, disappearing into a shrine's inner sanctum under purple bunting bearing the chrysanthemum seal. On the dais of the opposite pavilion sat dozens of relatives of Japan's war dead, which mostly meant people well along in years. The oldest man must have himself been a veteran, but when it came time to stand, that did not stop him from bowing longest and deepest. What was new about this ceremony, the annual Great Spring Festival of Yasukuni Shrine, held under a flawless blue sky, was that it was the first time that foreign journalists had ever been allowed so close to the sacred altars and hallowed grounds of the most hotly disputed shrine of Japan's oldest religion. Year in and year out, this place of worship is at the center of diplomatic crises with Japan's most important neighbors, China and the Koreas, as prime ministers and lesser politicians stubbornly return to pay their respects to the nearly 2.5 million who have died in wars since the Meiji restoration of the late 1860's. Every country seeks to commemorate its dead, but for Japan's neighbors, and indeed for a significant number of Japanese, the problem with Yasukuni, which means "peaceful country," is that mixed in with the heroes, celebrated and unknown, are 14 Class A war criminals associated with atrocities committed during World War II. In past years, Yasukuni Shrine has sought to skirt the controversy attached to this history by snubbing the foreign press. But it quickly became evident why the shunning of publicity was being scrapped. Japanese public speaking is famous for decorous euphemism and indirection, but the head priest, Tadashi Yuzawa, came very bluntly to his point. It amounted to an attack on Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi for having recently considered finding another, less controversial place to remember Japan's fallen soldiers. "A counscil has met only 10 times, for a total of 15 hours, and has decided to recommend a nonreligious national commemorative facility," Mr. Yuzawa said, speaking on the stairs of the shrine. "This would have no feeling of religion, no thanks or respect. This removes the values of Japan, and would lead to a lack of respect, in my opinion." Later, during a question-and-answer period, it became clear that calling in the foreign press was only peripherally related to Mr. Koizumi's commission, whose recommendations are in any event nonbinding. The monks' greater concern, it seems, is that visits to the shrine are dwindling as the older generation dies out. Indeed, in a quick guided tour of the shrine's museum, virtually the only visitors on hand were stooped elderly people, who marveled over a preserved car from the notorious Burma railway, or gazed solemnly at a long wall, plastered solid with the black-and-white portraits of kamikaze pilots. In the arboreal cool of the shrine's generous grounds, however, prosperous young office workers checked their mobile phone e-mail between bits of boxed lunch, and lovers stole kisses, indifferent to all of this. "Up until now, veterans and bereaved families have supported the shrine," said the administrative manager, Tatefumi Yamaguchi. "But their average age is now around 80. To be honest, the number of visitors is falling each year."


Daily Star 18 Apr 2003 Survivors remember Qana massacre ‘My children were killed … I cannot forget them’ Mohammed Zaatari correspondent The southern village of Qana on Friday commemorated the 1996 massacre in which more than 100 Lebanese were killed by an Israeli artillery bombardment. Mohammed Bourji, 13, was only six years old when he lost both his parents during the attack on two UNIFIL shelters where local residents were taking refuge from Israeli raids during an 18-day onslaught. Mohammed was one of dozens of children who lost their parents or loved ones due to the Israeli bombardment, which fell on compounds that were used by UNIFIL’s Fijian contingent. Some of the people hiding in the shelters were burned to death, while others were mutilated, handicapped or seriously wounded. Among other Israeli atrocities was the shelling of an apartment bloc in Al-Nabatieh al-Fawqa, where an entire family perished except for the mother. “I was eating and playing in my mother’s lap while my sister Zeinab, who was 11 then, was talking to her friends,” Mohammed said. It was an experience he would remember for the rest of his life, he said, when he heard the explosions and saw the flash of a shell. “I looked at my mother but I could not find her. I am still waiting for her,” he said, adding that his father and “aunts, grandfather and other relatives” also perished in the attack. Sitting near Mohammed, who was not hurt in the attack, was Saadallah Balhas, who lost 13 members of his family. Every now and then Saadallah raised his hands to the sky and said “they all went to heaven.” Around his neck were pictures of the victims. While a band played mournful music, Kheirieh Bourji sat in a wheelchair, disabled as a result of the Israeli attack in which she lost her hands and a foot. She also lost her children and grandchildren. Bourji could not stop crying. “My children were killed. See their pictures and see me. Seven years have passed and I cannot forget them,” she said. On Friday, many people converged on Qana in remembrance of the massacre and local Scouts staged a march. Children carried pictures of the victims of the massacre and a poster with images of Qana, Jenin and Baghdad. “The victims were the same. The crime was the same, and the weapon was the same,” the poster said. On arriving at the graveyard, the children’s march was received by several MPs and Speaker Nabih Berri’s wife Randa, who Berri laid a wreath on the tomb of the victims.

Daily Star (Lebanon) 24 Apr 2003 Armenians mark anniversary of 1915 genocide Community members, MPs attend Masses Nayla Assaf Members of the Armenian community in Lebanon commemorated on Thursday the 88th anniversary of the 1915 genocide which left over 1 million victims. In the Jamhour School in Jeitawi, Armenian Catholic Patriarch Nerses Bedros XIX Taramouny conducted a Mass for those killed, in the presence of some 300 community members, many of whom lost relatives in the genocide. Those present included incoming Administrative Reform Minister Karim Pakradouni and Beirut MPs Serge Toursarkissian and Jean Hogassapian. In Bourj Hammoud, the three leading Armenian parties, Tashnak, Hentshak and Ramgavar, commemorated the event in a joint ceremony attended by Sports and Youth Minister Sebouh Hovnanian and a number of Armenian MPs. In the morning, a Mass commemorating the genocide was conducted at the Armenian Catholicosate in Antelias. It was attended by Aram I Keshishian, the Catholicos of the House of Cilicia, and other clerics. Keshishian said the Armenian people will keep struggling until they obtain an apology from the Turkish government. “We will not forget the blood of our martyrs because their memory is our heritage and the title of our struggle against persecution and denial,” Keshishian said. The 1915 genocide, perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire, left some 1.5 million Armenians dead and caused the displacement of millions of others. “The living example of such a struggle is the struggle of the Palestinian people who are still struggling to gain back their right,” he added. The Mass was also attended by Anglican Bishop of Palestine Riah Abou Assal. Krikor Ayvazian, an attendee at Jeitawi who lost his grandparents in the genocide said, “this is a painful time of year because all of us here have lost relatives in the massacres. It is shameful that many nations, including the US, have not yet recognized the genocide, because it is only through international pressure that Turkey will be made to admit its crime.” Garabed Marashian recounted the painful story of his great aunts who were killed in the genocide: “I hear from my parents that they were both extremely beautiful and for fear of being raped they threw themselves in the river and drowned,” he said.


AP 24 Apr 2003 Suu Kyi Opposes Lifting Burma Sanctions RANGOON, Burma -- Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi said she did not believe the military junta was interested in a transition to democracy and that it was too early for Western countries to lift crippling sanctions. In her strongest criticism of the junta in months, the Nobel peace laureate said she had been harassed repeatedly by officials on recent visits to supporters outside the capital. "They don't want change, but change is inevitable," Suu Kyi said at a news conference at the headquarters of her National League for Democracy.

Sri Lanka

TamilNet 8 April 2003 SLMM head meets LTTE’s Trinco leaders [TamilNet, April 08, 2003 18:53 GMT] The Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam Tuesday agreed to hold a meeting with the local heads of Sri Lankan Government armed forces on April 21 at the no-man zone in the Mutur area, south of Trincomalee town, to sort out the problem that has arisen over the question of LTTE members crossing through the army controlled areas to LTTE controlled areas, sources said. A decision to this effect was taken at a discussion held between the SLMM head Major General (retired) Tryggve Tellefsen and the LTTE district area commander Colonel Pathuman at the latter's office at Sampur in Mutur-east Tuesday. The SLMM head arrived in Trincomalee from Colombo by a Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) helicopter, Tuesday, and travelled to Sampoor by a Sri Lanka Navy boat. The LTTE’s Trincomalee district political head, Mr.S.Tilak and a senior LTTE commander in Trincomalee, Mr.Mathu participated with Colonel Pathuman in Tuesday's talks. The SLMM’s Trincomalee head Mr.Jan Ledang accompanied the SLMM head, sources said. Major General (retired) Tryggve Tellefsen told press later that talks were conducted in a constructive way in a cordial atmosphere. (L-R) LTTE Trincomalee district political head, Mr.Tilak, Colonel Pathuman, Major General (retired) Tryggve Tellefsen, senior LTTE commander, Mr.Mathu and SLMM Trincomalee head Mr.Jan Ledang. "We worked out details about a meeting to be held on April 21 regarding problems about sea movement and crossing points in land," said the SLMM head. Colonel Pathuman told press after the meeting, "We have told the SLMM categorically that if the talks scheduled to be held on April 21 fails, we will have no alternative other than to take food and medicine to our members in areas held by us, crossing through Sri Lanka Army controlled areas, without waiting for permission from the Sri Lankan government troops. It cannot be considered as a ceasefire violation."

AFP 9 Apr 2003 Sri Lanka to study South African model for peace COLOMBO, April 8 (AFP) - Sri Lanka is to study the South African process of "national reunification" as a model to end the island's decades-old conflict with Tamil rebels, an official said Tuesday. The top government peace negotiator, G. L. Peiris, leaves for South Africa later Tuesday to undertake the study, an aide said. Peiris, who is also the Constitutional Affairs Minister, is expected to meet the key players of the 1992 South African peace effort, aide Dayasiri Jayasekera told AFP. Peiris and Rolf Meyer, who had been the negotiator with Nelson Mandela on behalf of the then white government of the South African President F.W De Klerk, are to work together to help Sri Lanka benefit from the African experience. The Sri Lankan government which is currently engaged in a Norwegian-backed peace bid with the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has said it was contemplating a nationwide referendum on its peace efforts. Peiris last week said it was important to get public endorsement of the process kicked off by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe shortly after his victory in the December 2001 parliamentary elections. The government entered a truce with the Tamil Tigers, lifted an economic embargo on the war-battered north and eastern regions and started direct negotiations. The two warring parties have had six rounds of negotiations. The two sides are still formally foes, but are jointly looking for a suitable federal form of government as a final solution. More than 60,000 people have been killed in fighting since 1972 but both sides have observed a ceasefire since February last year

TamilNet 16 April 2003 Two Muslim youths disappear, LTTE denies involvement [TamilNet, April 16, 2003 01:24 GMT] The Trincomalee political secretariat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) Tuesday in a statement denied any involvement in the alleged abduction of two Muslim youths in the Mutur sea a few days ago, sources said. "Tamils and Muslims have been living in Mutur as one family for several years. Currently, some anti-peace groups are actively engaged in creating division between Tamils and Muslims for their own political gain,” the statement said. "We categorically state we have no connection with the alleged abduction of the said two youths. We have learnt that the mother of an abducted youth has committed suicide. We express our deep sorrow over the death of the mother,” the LTTE's statement said. The LTTE appealed to Tamils and Muslims to identify the group that is "actively engaged in disrupting peace moves" and urged them to exercise patience and work for establishing lasting peace. Meanwhile, three Muslim ministers of the United National Front (UNF) government, Messrs. Rauff Hakeem, A.H.M.Azwer and A.R.M.Cader, paid a sudden visit to Mutur to defuse the tension in the area consequent to the suicide of the mother of one of the abducted youth, sources said. The head of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM), retired Norwegian Major General Triggve Teleffsen, accompanied the ministers. A conference was held at the SLMM office in Mutur Tuesday evening, sources said.

Reuters 17 Apr 2003 14 Muslim-Tamil tensions put east Sri Lanka on edge - By Scott McDonald COLOMBO, April 17 (Reuters) - Three men were shot dead on Thursday as authorities struggled to put a lid on rising communal tension on Sri Lanka's volatile east coast. Officials said five people were wounded in fighting between Muslims and Tamils in Muttur, 230 km (140 miles) east of Colombo, after Muslims protested the alleged abduction of two youths by Tamil Tiger rebels. "There were three killed and five wounded, but the fighting has stopped and the police now have things under control," said military spokesman Brigadier Sanath Karunaratne. He said a curfew had been declared in the area and the army had also been called out to support the police. Clashes between Muslims and the mostly Hindu Tamils have highlighted the long-standing friction in the east that officials say must be reduced if a bid to end the island's two-decade war is to go ahead. Muslims comprise about eight percent of the island's population, but make up about one third of the east, and the community is seen as crucial to any final peace settlement. The latest fighting comes after Muslim-Tamil clashes last July left 13 dead along the east coast. "The majority of the dead and wounded seem to be Muslims, but we also have reports that three Tamils were hurt," said Teitur Torkelsson, a spokesman for the Nordic monitors overseeing Sri Lanka's ceasefire signed in February 2002. He said a monitor was crossing the bay from the port of Trincomalee to check on the situation. The Tamil Tigers, who hold a seventh round of peace talks with the government later this month, denied involvement in the abduction. According to local media reports, a mother of one of the missing youths committed suicide on Tuesday, which led businesses in the area to close their shops. The Tigers have been accused of ethnic cleansing for evicting about 100,000 Muslims from the Tamil-majority majority Jaffna peninsula a decade ago. Even though the ceasefire has stopped the fighting between government troops and the Tigers, Muslims accuse the rebels of extortion and abductions.

Reuters 18 Apr 2003 CORRECTED: Muslims, Tamils Clash in Eastern Sri Lanka Fri April 18, 2003 06:26 AM ET (Correcting to clarify description of fighting in first paragraph) By Waruna Karunatilake MUTTUR, Sri Lanka (Reuters) - Muslim and Tamil mobs clashed in eastern Sri Lanka on Friday as cabinet ministers met to solve the latest crisis threatening the island's peace bid ahead of a huge donors' meeting set for Tokyo. Police fired tear gas to keep the crowds apart in the eastern area of Muttur, 230 km (140 miles) east of Colombo, the site of increased tension between Muslims and mostly Hindu Tamils after the alleged abduction of two youths by Tamil Tiger rebels. The clashes have left two dead and have highlighted long-standing friction in Sri Lanka's volatile east that officials say must be reduced if a bid to end the island's two-decade war is to go ahead. "If this escalates, this could affect the peace process very negatively," said Muslim Affairs Minister Rauff Hakeem, a member of the island's peace negotiating team who is under pressure to pull his Sri Lanka Muslim Congress party out of the government. As Hakeem was speaking at an army camp near Muttur, gunfire could be heard from outside the camp. "The government must take full responsibility for the security of Muslims. I'm under tremendous pressure from my politburo to leave the government," he said. If Hakeem's party left the government, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, a driving force behind the peace process, would have to rely on a Tamil party to keep his majority in parliament. The clashes and political worries come as Wickremesinghe and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), who signed a truce in February 2002, prepare for a donors' conference in Tokyo in June to raise money to rebuild war-hit parts of the island. Military spokesman Brigadier Sanath Karunaratne said Defense Minister Tilak Marapana was meeting local Muslim and Tamil officials, along with Hakeem, to try to ease the tension. "They are meeting to try to solve the security and political issues," he said, adding at least seven people had been wounded. Muslims comprise about eight percent of the island's population, but make up about one-third in the east, and the community is seen as crucial to any peace settlement. Witnesses said LTTE cadres had burned Muslim fishing boats and had charged through the nearby village of Sampur firing guns. They said Muslims retaliated by destroying Tamil shops. The Tamil Tigers, who hold a seventh round of peace talks with the government later this month, denied involvement in the abduction of the two youths. The Tigers have been accused of ethnic cleansing for evicting about 100,000 Muslims from the Tamil-majority Jaffna peninsula a decade ago. Even though the cease-fire has stopped the fighting between government troops and the Tigers, Muslims accuse the rebels of extortion and abductions.

Reuters 19 Apr 2003 Sri Lankan east calm after arrival of troops By Scott McDonald COLOMBO, April 19 (Reuters) - Sri Lanka's volatile east coast was calmer on Saturday as the government poured troops into the area after communal clashes threatened the island's peace process ahead of a huge donors' meeting set for Tokyo. Several houses were destroyed overnight, but officials said there was no increase in the toll of two dead and seven wounded in Muttur, 230 km (140 miles) east of Colombo, the site of clashes between Muslims and mostly Hindu Tamils over the last several days. "It is a lot calmer now and we hope it stays that way," said Teitur Torkelsson, a spokesman for the Nordic monitors who oversee a ceasefire signed by the government and Tamil Tiger rebels in February 2002. The unrest has highlighted long-standing friction in Sri Lanka's east that officials say must be reduced if a bid to end the island's two-decade war is to go ahead. The tension also had put pressure on Muslim Affairs Minister Rauff Hakeem to pull out of the government. Hakeem, who on Friday said the peace process could be affected "very negatively", is a member of the island's peace negotiating team and his Sri Lanka Muslim Congress party helps give Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe his parliament majority. Wickremesinghe, a driving force behind the peace bid with the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), is preparing for an international donors' conference in Tokyo in June to raise money to rebuild areas devastated by two decades of war. The two sides will hold a seventh round of peace talks later this month in Thailand. Military spokesman Brigadier Sanath Karunaratne said 1,400 troops were sent into the area to keep the peace after the clashes, which started after two Muslim youths disappeared. The LTTE has rejected accusations it was involved in the disappearances, and Torkelsson said the monitors were trying to arrange a meeting in Muttur on Sunday between the LTTE and Muslim leaders. The LTTE was accused of ethnic cleansing for evicting 100,000 Muslims from the Tamil-majority Jaffna peninsula a decade ago. Muslims comprise about eight percent of the island's population, but make up about one-third in the east, and the community is seen as crucial to any peace settlement.

Gulf News (United Arab Emirates 20 Apr 2003 Bid to defuse tension in riot-hit town Colombo |From Sinha Ratnatunga | 20-04-2003 Print friendly format | Email to Friend Tamil guerrilla representatives will meet with Muslim religious leaders in north eastern Sri Lanka today at a meeting arranged by Scandinavian monitors to defuse the escalating tension in the area as the government continued an indefinite curfew to prevent further clashes. Amidst continued violence, acts of arson and round-the-clock curfew, the monitoring mission spokesman Teitur Torkelsson said today's meeting has been arranged to discuss ways on how the two sides could avert such clashes in the Muttur area, 260 kilometres north east of the capital. Police said the situation in Muttur was tense and acts of arson continued despite the indefinite curfew with the latest victims being the people of Saityanagar. By yesterday, Muslim areas of Muttur had been deserted by fleeing civilians who took refuge in mosques and schools. As the situation worsened, the government sent top ministers and security forces chiefs to restore order in the multi-ethnic town. Minister Mahinda Samara-singhe who visited Trincomalee on Friday said two Army battalions and 500 extra police personnel had been sent to Muttur with instructions to strictly enforce the curfew and restore order. He said the security forces personnel had been deployed near mosques and other vulnerable places and Navy reinforcements would be sent if necessary. The Prime Minister, who is expected to visit Muttur during his scheduled eastern tour, has ordered compensation for families of the victims and those whose houses and properties have been damaged in the week-long violence. Rehabilitation Minister Jayalath Jayawardena has left for Muttur to assess the damage. Three people were killed and 11 injured while 3,500 people have been displaced in the violence that erupted after a Muslim woman committed suicide following the abduction of her son and another youth allegedly by the Tamil guerrillas. Top Muslim leader Rauf Hakeem said he feared that the unrest could spread to other areas and undermine the island's fragile peace process. Hakeem is also a government negotiator at peace talks with the rebel LTTE. "This is a very unfortunate situation and if we do not take steps to stem the violence, this will have serious implications for the peace process," Hakeem said. However, he added that the planned peace talks at the end of this month will go ahead as scheduled in Thailand. "I will be going to Thailand for the talks starting on the 29th," Hakeem said. "All sides must take steps to ensure that there is no repetition of this sort of violence." The Scandinavians said they did not know who was responsible for the violence. "It is difficult to say who is firing at whom," a truce monitor said. He said they were getting complaints from all sides and were monitoring the situation.

TamilNet 25 April 2003 JVP demonstrators condemn Muttur violence The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), a Sinhala nationalist opposition party in Sri Lanka that espouses radical Marxism, held a demonstration Friday afternoon at Lipton Square, in downtown Colombo, condemning the violence in Muttur in the East against Muslims and demanding that Norwegian monitors should be ‘thrown out’ of the country to safeguard the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the island, sources said. The demonstration commenced soon after the Friday Jumma prayers. Though organized by the JVP, some Muslims from the Muslim section of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party and the Muslim United Front, including JVP Parliamentarian Ms. Anjana Umma and Western Provincial Governor Mr.Alavi Moulana participated in the demonstration. Several Buddhist monks, including the President of the National Bhikku Front, Ven. Kalavalgoda Chandaloka, shouted slogans against the Prime Minister, Mr.Ranil Wickremesinghe, and Minister Mr.Rauff Hakeem, who is also the leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, saying the two leaders are helping the LTTE to divide the country. The monks said that the security of the Muslims in the East was at stake as the government had failed to take steps to control the ‘illegal’ activities of the LTTE and this had been ‘proved’ by the Muttur violence.

Daily News (Sri Lanka) 25 Apr 2003 PM assures security of Muttur citizens, promises compensation Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe who met a group of citizens from Muttur yesterday assured them of all necessary steps to ensure their security. The Premier also promised compensation to all those affected during the recent unrest in the area. The Prime Minister accompanied by Ministers Thilak Marapana, Milinda Moragoda and UNP Chairman Malik Samarawickrema participated in a long discussion with Muslim Congress Parliamentarians led by SLMC Leader Rauff Hakeem at the Navy Headquarters in the afternoon of yesterday (24). Religious and lay leaders of Muttur attended the discussion. The Premier, thanking Minister Hakeem for his relentless efforts to find solutions to the problems of his fellowmen during difficult times expressed his sorrow about the recent unrest in the Muttur area and assured that all those who were affected during the restive period will be duly compensated and steps will be taken to solve the political issues concerned through discussion. He also instructed the relevant segments concerned to take measures to restore normalcy in the day-to-day life of the people and maintain law and order. The Premier further emphasised that the Memorandum of Understanding between the Government and the LTTE meant only a cessation of hostilities but never meant to be an interval for enforcement of law and order. The Prime Minister prior to the discussion in Muttur discussed the Muttur issue at length with MP R. Sambandan in the evening of April 23 and is expected to meet the Buddhist and lay leaders in the South today. www.dailynews.lk


BBC 3 Mar 2003 Mosques attacked in Philippines Davao, once a peaceful city, is reeling from the violence Three mosques in the south Philippines city of Davao have been hit by a series of attacks, just hours after a deadly bombing killed 16 people. The mosque attacks prompted fears of a spiral of religious violence in the mainly Christian city. Military vice-chief of staff Lieutenant General Rodolfo Garcia said the mosque attacks might be "a retaliatory action" for the bombing, but added that this should not be allowed to become a "religious confrontation". The initial bombing, at the city's bustling Sasa wharf at dusk on Wednesday, killed 16 people and injured at least 40. The bomb was hidden in a barbecue stand and tore through the crowds leaving a ferry terminal. A nun and at least one child were among the dead. Hooded attackers The bomb was followed by attacks in Muslim or mixed districts of the city. At about 0200 on Thursday local time (1800 GMT on Wednesday), five hooded men in a car hurled two grenades and directed rifle fire at a mosque in the southern, mainly Muslim district of Tibungco before fleeing A blast at a ferry terminal killed 16 people Minutes later, a bomb exploded outside a mosque in the mixed Christian-Muslim district of Toril Less than an hour later, unidentified men in black jackets hurled a home-made bomb near a mosque in the mainly Muslim district on Roxas Boulevard, shattering the mosque's windows There were no reports of casualties. No group has claimed responsibility for any of the attacks, and police would not comment on any link between them. Davao is on the island of Mindanao, the heartland of the Philippines' small Muslim minority, where rebels have been waging a bitter war for a separate homeland. President Gloria Arroyo, who visited Davao to offer her sympathy and inspect the damage from Wednesday's bomb, declared a "total war" on terrorism. Police have a sketch of a 36-year-old male suspect based on witness statements, spokesman Senior Superintendent Eric Javier told the Associated Press. Guide to Philippines conflicts President Arroyo issued an order late on Wednesday for the military and police to take "all appropriate measures" against "lawless elements and terrorists". Davao had largely escaped the three decades of violence in the southern Philippines, until a huge bomb blast at the city's airport last month, in which 23 people died and more than 150 others were injured. That attack was blamed by police on the main Muslim rebel group in the region, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). The MILF said it was not responsible. The MILF also denied any part in the latest violence. The group has been engaged in fresh fighting with the government in recent months. But on Sunday, it agreed to hold peace talks with Mrs Arroyo's administration following an initial two-day meeting between both sides in Malaysia. .

Manila Times 4 Apr 2003 Bombs strike 3 Davao mosques By Karl B. Kaufman, Reporter EXPLOSIONS rocked three mosques in Davao City yesterday morning, hours after a wharf on the outskirts of the city was bombed, killing at least 18 people and injuring 53 others. President Arroyo, following the wharf explosion, placed the city and the provinces of Davao del Norte, Davao Oriental and Davao del Sur in a “state of lawlessness.” The declaration is expected to lead to the setting up of military patrols and checkpoints and an intensified search for suspects. Reports reaching Camp Aguinaldo said five hooded men hurled two grenades at the mosque in the Muslim community of Tibungco at 2 a.m. Minutes later, another explosive device shook a mosque at Barangay Toril in the center of the city. No casualties were reported in the two explosions. At around 3 a.m., a third bomb exploded near a mosque on Roxas Boulevard, shattering its windows and damaging a van parked nearby. Witnesses saw three men in black jackets minutes before the explosion. The military was verifying reports that 14 people were hurt in the last incident. Defense Secretary Angelo T. Reyes, who went to Davao City with the President yesterday, confirmed that “a few people” were injured in the explosions. He gave no other details. Military officials in Camp Aguinaldo are not discounting a connection between the mosque bombings and Wednesday night’s explosion at Sasa wharf. “This may be directly connected; the police will have to determine it,” said the Armed Forces vice chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Rodolfo Garcia. “On the surface it would seem these bombings were retaliatory actions, but we have to be careful in our assessment of the situation because we do not want this to be seen as a religious conflict,” he said. The police and the military have no suspects in the Sasa bombing. On March 4 a powerful blast ripped through the waiting lounge of the Davao International Airport, killing 22 persons. Authorities said the bombing was the handiwork of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). The government and the MILF are on the brink of resuming stalled peace negotiations after holding exploratory talks in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, last week. Garcia said it would be “premature” and “highly speculative” to blame the MILF. He said the legal details of police-military operations during the state of lawlessness have yet to be spelled out. Yesterday the Department of Justice gave the assurance that the declaration of a state of lawlessness in Davao would not curtail of the people’s basic rights. Justice Secretary Simeon Datuma­nong said it “is within President Arroyo’s executive power” to proclaim such a state. “It is part of her executive function as commander in chief. This, I think, was declared to prevent the recurrence of what had happened. The President is duty bound to do something to protect the interest of the Filipino people,” Datumanong said. In July 2001 the President also declared a state of lawlessness in Basilan as part of the government’s all-out offensive against the Abu Sayyaf. “There are no rights to be suspended. The Armed Forces is called upon to suppress the lawlessness and to assist the law-enforcement agency of our country in order to protect the persons and property of the population,” Datumanong said. He noted that a state of lawlessness is far different from martial law, which allows warrantless arrests. The President hinted that the attack on the Davao wharf could be part of a campaign to launch “sympathy attacks” for Iraq. The Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Hermogenes Ebdane Jr. said it was premature to speculate about a failure of intelligence in the bombing. A source in the PNP, however, said that the bombing would trigger changes in the police intelligence community. The bombing has led Davao officials and police authorities to consider banning backpacks in the city. Investigation showed that the explosive device used in two bombing attacks in the city were hidden in backpacks. Lawmakers are asking the President to create an independent body to investigate the wharf bombing. Rep. Prospero Pichay of Surigao de Sur, chairman of the House Committee on National Defense, lashed out at the MILF for targeting civilians, calling them “terrorists without souls.” Other congressmen, Prospero Nograles of Davao City, Faysah Dumarpa of Lanao del Norte and Crispin Beltran of Bayan Muna, wondered why the police and the military had been caught unawares. Nograles will file a resolution to find out how such an incident could take place despite a presidential directive to secure all airports and seaports tightly. “Obviously, this is another breakdown of intelligence and appropriate law-enforcement action,” he said. Beltran also said the tragedy was a result of poor intelligence and security work. “What have the police and the military been doing? This is the second serious attack against civilians in as many months, and still they have no leads on who the perpetrators are. The authorities appear to be clueless,” he said. Dumarpa said failure of intelligence could have sprung from the belief of law-enforcement authorities that violent crimes can be committed only by the MILF and the New People’s Army. Some senators pressed the issue of failure of intelligence, prompting a call to form a Philippine Central Intelligence Agency. The Senate minority leader, Vicente Sotto III, filed a resolution calling on the formation of a superintelligence body under the Office of the President. Sotto said the big number of intelligence agencies is cluttering up information-gathering. “We need to insulate intelligence gathering from political motivation and maximize our intelligence information to aid executive decision-making. No clear line of authority will instill discipline in the intelligence divisions and operatives,” Sotto said. The Senate majority leader, Loren Legarda, suggested that local people help gather intelligence to combat terrorists. Sen. Manuel Villar Jr. made the same call, urging local officials to be very vigilant. Sen. Ramon Magsaysay Jr., chairman of the Committee on National Defense and Security, urged the government to push even harder to achieve peace. “Chaos will not stop the government from pursuing the recently initiated peace talks with the MILF,” he said. Sen. Aquilino Pimentel Jr. of Mindanao said the disruption of the peace talks is the likely objective of the Sasa bombers. With Maricel Cruz, Joel R. San Juan and Joshua Dancel, Reporters and Anthony Vargas, Correspondent



NYT 22 Apr 2003 Give Up Chase for Nazis? Not So Fast By CLYDE HABERMAN SIMON WIESENTHAL, the world's most famous pursuer of Nazi war criminals, says his work is done. "I have found the mass murderers I was looking for, and I have outlived all of them," Mr. Wiesenthal, who is 94, said the other day to an Austrian magazine called Format. "If there's a few I didn't look for, they are now too old and fragile to stand trial." It was a strong statement, not easily ignored. Did it signal that Nazi-hunting as we have known it is all but finished? Not a chance, say federal prosecutors in New York, where three men are accused of having taken part in the Nazis' campaign to exterminate Europe's Jews. One man, Jack Reimer of Putnam County, who was born in Ukraine, has already had his United States citizenship revoked, and he may be deported if his court appeal fails. The other cases, involving Jakiw Palij and Jaroslaw Bilaniuk, Queens men born in a Polish village that now lies in Ukraine, are in pretrial stages. All three, it is charged, were guards at Trawniki, an SS training camp in Poland that produced men who did much of the Nazis' dirty work, liquidating Jewish ghettos and rounding up Jews to be murdered. Mr. Reimer admitted in court that he was with Trawniki guards who in 1941 forced dozens of Jews into a pit and shot them. But he insisted that he himself had fired his rifle only once — aiming, he testified, over the victims' heads. Even if that were true, Judge Lawrence M. McKenna of Federal District Court in Manhattan ruled in September, it was enough to strip Mr. Reimer of his citizenship for committing a "concrete personal persecutorial act." The evidence against Mr. Palij and Mr. Bilaniuk has not been made public. Reached by phone in Jackson Heights, Mr. Palij said he had no comment. The family of Mr. Bilaniuk, who lives in Douglaston, issued a statement asserting his innocence and calling him "the victim of overzealous prosecutors." A basic position of the Office of Special Investigation, a branch of the Justice Department that prosecutes accused Nazis and collaborators, is that men trained at Trawniki were bad guys, almost by definition. And, the agency says, if it can be proved they lied about their past when they came to America in the 1950's, they have no business being here. Never mind that 50 years have passed. "They never should have come into the country in the first place," said Drew Wade, a Justice Department spokesman. The special investigations unit, created in 1979, has been busy of late, and not just in New York. After communism collapsed in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, once-inaccessible archives from the Nazi era became available. One result is that in 2002 the unit began 10 new cases in various parts of the country, a record for a single year. Over the years, 71 "Nazi persecutors" have lost their citizenship and 57 have been deported, with 20 new prosecutions in the works. PERHAPS inevitably, some people question the value of such cases now. All these men are about 80 or older. There isn't a Himmler or Göring in the bunch. They were in their 20's back then, small fry. Does Mr. Wiesenthal have a point when he says no one is left worth pursuing? "That's Wiesenthal's ego talking," said Efraim Zuroff, director of the Israel office of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. "He's saying, `If I didn't chase him, he's not worth chasing.' As much as I respect, admire and love Wiesenthal, his is not the last word on the subject." In general, Mr. Zuroff said by phone from Jerusalem, the SS guards trained at Trawniki were volunteers. "They were not coerced into doing what they did," he said. Eli M. Rosenbaum, director of the Office of Special Investigation, added, "These are line-level perpetrators of the Holocaust, the people who persecuted victims directly." To Mr. Rosenbaum, the question is whether people should be able to duck their past just because they are old. Let's say that 50 years from now, some low-level participants in the Sept. 11 terrorist plot are caught. How many Americans are likely to say, "It was long ago; forget it"? What about those who commit new atrocities, in places like Rwanda and Bosnia, and seek refuge here? "We have some hope," Mr. Rosenbaum said, "of sending a message to would-be perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity in the future" — that they will be pursued "even into old age." But time, he knows, is also his enemy. The clock may take care of some cases before the courts do.


NYT 1 Apr 2003 Belgium Rethinks Its Prosecutorial Zeal By RICHARD BERNSTEIN RUSSELS, March 28 — "The News from Absurdistan" was the headline on a commentary here the other day, written by Luc Van der Kelen, the chief editor of the Flemish newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws. "A former president and the vice president are indicted for what happened during a war of liberation against a monstrous dictator who had invaded a small country," Mr. Van der Kelen wrote. "This is the totally absurd and inevitable consequence of grotesque legislation." The former president to whom Mr. Van der Kelen was referring was George Bush, the father of President Bush, and the vice president was the current vice president of the United States, Dick Cheney. Both have been charged in Belgium with war crimes in connection with the bombing of a civilian shelter in Baghdad that killed 403 people in the Persian Gulf war of 1991. The accusations were filed under a Belgian law that gives this small country "universal jurisdiction," to try the perpetrators of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, even if there is no Belgian connection with the alleged crimes, the victims or perpetrators. In fact, the effort to use the law against former President Bush, which provoked angry complaints from Secretary of State Colin L. Powell (who is also named in the suit), has now led to an abrupt change here. On Thursday, a parliamentary commission rewrote the law to insert "filters" that will essentially enable the government to dismiss the case against Mr. Bush. "There will be enough changes to prevent all these ridiculous cases," Mr. Van der Kelen said in an interview. "Hopefully, we will be out of these problems." Yet, pending a vote of the full Parliament on the changes in the law, the Belgian effort to make itself a place where the victimized of the world can get a hearing seems a case study in good intentions gone awry. It is also the story of a small country seeking a special moral role but, in the view now beginning to prevail, has overstepped the margins of good sense. The Belgian law of universal jurisdiction was adopted in 1993, when the Parliament, horrified by mounting civil strife in Rwanda — a former Belgian colony — wanted to act against what the law called "grave violations of international human rights" wherever they occurred. Other countries also have laws that enable them to reach beyond their borders when it comes to war crimes or crimes against humanity. Israeli law grants its authorities power to arrest and try those responsible for the Holocaust, as happened with Adolf Eichmann in 1961. In 1998, a Spanish magistrate relied on Spanish law and the international law of universal jurisdiction to seek the extradition of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet from Britain, where he was living in exile. After holding Mr. Pinochet in prison for a year, a British court denied the demand for extradition and instead returned him to Chile. But the Belgian law is unusual in that it requires no connection with Belgium at all for a case to be brought. In its first years, many people who had suffered grave abuses of human rights did come here to file their cases. Saddam Hussein was accused by Iraqi Kurds in the chemical attacks of Kurdish areas; exiled Cubans accused Fidel Castro of human rights violations. Israeli victims of suicide bombings filed suit against Yasir Arafat. None of these suits meant very much in practical terms. The accused leaders ignored them, and Belgium clearly has no capacity to pursue anybody indicted of war crimes. But supporters of the law of universal jurisdiction felt there was an important element of symbolism. "We shouldn't forget that people who have undergone extraordinary suffering have been able to find a country in the world capable of hearing their pain and following up on their demands, even if it is in a purely theoretical way," Eric David, a professor of law and a strong advocate of the Belgian law told a French-language newspaper. In 2001, a group of Lebanese Palestinians filed a suit against Ariel Sharon, charging him with war crimes because of Israel's failure to prevent the 1982 Sabra and Shatila massacres in Israeli-occupied Lebanon. Israel protested vigorously, and Belgians questioned what business they had subjecting any Israeli to prosecution. Israel became the first country to defend a case here, arguing successfully in lower courts that Belgium had no jurisdiction to try an Israeli leader. But a few weeks ago the Belgian Supreme Court issued a ruling that left open the possibility that Mr. Sharon could be prosecuted. The court ruled that Mr. Sharon is immune from prosecution because he is now a serving prime minister, but upheld the principle of universal jurisdiction, meaning that once Mr. Sharon becomes a private citizen, a new suit could be filed against him. Meanwhile, other Israelis named in the suit are still subject to Belgian prosecution. It is more than technically possible that if one of them came to Belgium for, say, an international conference, or even went to a country with an extradition treaty with Belgium, he could be arrested. Then, on March 18, seven Iraqi families filed suit against Mr. Bush, Mr. Cheney, Mr. Powell and H. Norman Schwarzkopf, the American commander in the gulf war. "The objective of the Iraqi families, who together lost four or five children in that bombing, was to bring up the question of responsibility for their losses," said Raymond Coumont, president of an antiwar group called Meetings for Peace that filed suit with the Iraqis. "They also knew from their own experience that it is simply not true that precision weapons prevent civilian deaths," Mr. Coumont said. "And when they learned that President Bush had decided to go to war against Iraq, they felt that it was the moment to present their case." Mr. Powell retorted with a stern warning that Belgium was risking its status as an international meeting place and the headquarters of NATO, a warning that the government seems to have taken seriously. More generally, as Mr. Van der Kelen wrote, there seemed something absurd in filing charges against a former president of the United States, even if the feelings of the Iraqi families were easily understood. "This case proved that there is something wrong with the genocide law," Didier Seeuws, the spokesman for the Belgian Foreign Ministry, said in an interview. "The government wants to change the law." The government of Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt has engaged in intense discussions to persuade parliament to accept the "filters" in the law that will essentially enable the government to reject cases where the accused person comes from a democratic country.

NYT 2 Apr 2003 Belgium's good intentions on human rights go awry Richard Bernstein BRUSSELS "The News from Absurdistan" was the headline on a commentary here the other day, written by Luc Van der Kelen, the chief editor of the Flemish newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws. "A former president and the vice-president are indicted for what happened during a war of liberation against a monstrous dictator who had invaded a small country," Van der Kelen wrote. "This is the totally absurd and inevitable consequence of grotesque legislation." The former president to whom Van der Kelen was referring was George Bush, the father of President George W. Bush, and the vice president the current vice president of the United States, Dick Cheney. Both have been charged in Belgium with war crimes in connection with the bombing of a civilian shelter in Baghdad that killed 403 people in the Gulf War of 1991. The accusations were filed under a Belgian law that gives this small country "universal jurisdiction" to try the perpetrators of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide - even if there is no Belgian connection with the alleged crimes, the victims or perpetrators. In fact, the effort to use the law against former President Bush, which provoked angry complaints from Secretary of State Colin Powell (who is also named in the suit), has now led to an abrupt change here. On March 27, a parliamentary commission rewrote the law to insert "filters" that will essentially enable the government to dismiss the case against Bush. "There will be enough changes to prevent all these ridiculous cases," Van der Kelen said in an interview. "Hopefully we will be out of these problems." Yet, pending a vote of the full Parliament on the changes in the law, the Belgians' effort to make their country a place where the victimized of the world can get a hearing seems a case study in good intentions gone awry. It is also the story of a small country that is seeking a special moral role but that, in the view now beginning to prevail, has overstepped the margins of good sense. The Belgian law of universal jurisdiction was adopted in 1993, when the Parliament, horrified by civil strife in Rwanda - a former Belgian colony - wanted to act against what the law called "grave violations of international human rights" wherever they occurred. Other countries also have laws that enable them to reach beyond their borders when it comes to war crimes or crimes against humanity. Israeli law grants its authorities power to arrest and try those responsible for the Holocaust, as happened with Adolf Eichmann in 1961. In 1998, a Spanish magistrate relied on Spanish law and the international law of universal jurisdiction to seek the extradition of the former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet from Britain. But the Belgian law is unusual in that it requires no connection with Belgium for a case to be brought. In its first years, many people who had suffered grave abuses of human rights did come here to file their cases. Saddam Hussein was accused by Iraqi Kurds of chemical attacks on them; exiled Cubans accused Fidel Castro of human rights violations. Israeli victims of suicide bombings filed suit against Yasser Arafat. None of these suits meant very much in practical terms. The accused leaders ignored them, and Belgium clearly has no capacity to pursue anybody indicted of war crimes. But supporters of the law felt there was an important element of symbolism. "We shouldn't forget that people who have undergone extraordinary suffering have been able to find a country in the world capable of hearing their pain and following up on their demands, even if it is in a purely theoretical way," Eric David, a professor of law and a strong advocate of the Belgian law, told a French-language newspaper. In 2001, a group of Lebanese Palestinians filed a suit against Ariel Sharon, charging him with war crimes because of Israel's failure to prevent the 1982 Sabra and Chatila massacres in Israeli-occupied Lebanon. Israel protested vigorously, and Belgians questioned what business they had subjecting any Israeli to prosecution. Israel became the first country to defend a case here, arguing successfully in lower courts that Belgium had no jurisdiction to try an Israeli leader. But a few weeks ago the Belgian Supreme Court issued a ruling that left open the possibility that Sharon could be prosecuted after he leaves office. Then, on March 18, seven Iraqi families filed suit against Bush, Cheney, Powell and H. Norman Schwarzkopf, the U.S. commander in the 1991 Gulf War. "The objective of the Iraqi families, who together lost four or five children in that bombing, was to bring up the question of responsibility for their losses," said Raymond Coumont, president of an anti-war group called Meetings for Peace that filed suit with the Iraqis. "They also knew from their own experience that it is simply not true that precision weapons prevent civilian deaths," Coumont said. "And when they learned that President Bush had decided to go to war against Iraq, they felt that it was the moment to present their case."

EUObserver.com 3 April 2003 Belgium softens law on foreign criminals, Mihaela Gherghisan Belgium restricts the controversial law that allows foreign leaders to be tried in Belgian courts for war crimes and crimes against humanity. In ten years existence, this embarrassing law has initiated more than thirty appeals against figures like Bush, Sharon, Arafat and others. BODY: Belgian MPs adopted Wednesday a draft text and restricted the controversial law that allows foreign leaders to be tried in Belgian courts for war crimes and crimes against humanity. The Lower House of the Belgian parliament approved the changes by 63 votes to 48. The Senate is expected to approve the changes later this week. Under the changes, war crime trials would get permission to proceed in Belgium only if they origin from countries lacking democracy or fair trials. A prosecutor would have to rule on the case if neither the alleged victim nor the attacker were Belgians. Other charges would be sent on to the countries themselves, or to the new international criminal court in The Hague. Embarrassing law In ten years existence, this law has initiated more than thirty appeals against "war criminals" and other. The most recent one was received last month against US president George W. Bush. The Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was also pleaded against by a compliant filed in 2001. Fidel Castro, Saddam Hussein and Yasser Arafat have all been the subject of cases under the law as well. These kinds of complaints often-embarrassed Belgium and threatened to damage its relationships with other countries. Therefore, the modified text now states that a senior prosecutor will first have to approve cases, which are based on events outside Belgium. The amendment will also be applied retrospectively to a string of cases, which are already being filed against high-profile foreign figures. But the old law, although interesting for such complains, has been used successfully only once, in June 2001, against four Rwandans. They were found guilty of involvement in the 1994 genocide and jailed for up to 15 years. Powell's remarks Colin Powell has also been the subject of a complaint in Belgium. The American Secretary of State is travelling to Belgium today (Thursday) although the court case against him might have an impact on his travels plans. Mr Powell has nevertheless criticised the Belgian law and its implications. According to the BBC, he told reporters in Washington: "For a place that is an international centre they should be a little bit concerned about this".

Guardian UK 3 Apr 2003 Sharon made safe by Belgian vote on war crime law, Andrew Osborn in Brussels The attempt by Palestinians to have the Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon, tried in Belgium for war crimes seems to have been finally ruled out by a Belgian parliamentary vote to water down the contentious legislation involved. The law, which gives judges the right to hear cases of war crimes committed by anyone, anywhere, at any time, looks certain to be diluted beyond recognition. Mr Sharon is accused of responsibility for the massacre of Palestinian refugees by Christian militiamen in Beirut in 1982, when he was defence minister and ordered the invasion of Lebanon. Survivors of the massacre lodged a case against him and in February the appeal court provoked outrage in Jerusalem by ruling that he could be tried once he had left office. A string of other world figures, including former president George Bush and the Cuban president Fidel Castro have had cases brought against them too. Belgium's diplomatic relations with a number of countries have suffered in consequence, and, tired of the diplomatic embarrassment, it has decided that enough is enough. The lower house voted 63-48 late on Tuesday night to approve sweeping amendments that will kill off such cases, past and present. The upper house is expected to ratify the decision today. The amended law will allow those claiming to be the victims of crimes against humanity outside Belgium to bring a case in Belgium only if they have lived there for at least three years. Even then, their complaints will be investigated only if the public prosecutor's office decides that Belgium is the right place to deal with the matter. Officials say that will be the exception not the rule. If the alleged crime took place in a democratic country with an impartial judiciary Belgium will simply refer the case back there, and many complaints will be passed on to the international criminal court in the Hague. The amendments mean that the Sharon case will simply be referred back to Israel, where it will be shelved. Before the vote it seemed likely that the case would be unaffected, since the new rules were intended to apply only to cases lodged after July last year, and the case against Mr Sharon was submitted in July 2001. But the Liberals angered their coalition government partners the Socialist and the Greens by voting to make the changes completely retroactive instead. The changes will also kill off a recent attempt by seven Iraqi families to bring charges against George Bush Sr, the current secretary of state Colin Powell, the vice-president, Dick Cheney and the retired general Norman Schwarzkopf. The Iraqis hold the four men responsible for bombing an air raid shelter in Baghdad during the 1991 Gulf war in which 403 civilians died, and wanted them prosecuted in Belgium for war crimes . .

Expatica 4 Apr 2003 Last-ditch effort to save genocide law 4 April 2003 BRUSSELS – Socialist and Green MPs have moved to block amendments to Belgium’s controversial law of universal competence — possibly leaving the way open once more for US President George W Bush to face a war crimes case. After the Chamber of Representatives passed amendments to the legislation with a majority of 63 to 48 Thursday night, PS and Ecolo parties manouvered a dramatic last-ditch attempt to halt adoption of the controversial changes. The move threatens to delay the dissolution of Parliament and to prevent changes to the law occuring until after the 18 May general election – possibly allowing enough time for a war crimes case to be brought against US President George W Bush. The so-called ‘genocide law’ gave courts in Belgium universal jurisdiction to try cases of genocide, war crimes and human rights violations. Following a politico-diplomatic cleanup, it was feared by opponents to the proposed changes that the law would be left toothless. Several clauses were to be amended in an effort to avoid the law being used for political complaints. The PS/Ecolo strategy is to consult State Council in extreme urgency, which would delay the vote due simultaneously in the Senate. The law was due to be passed in the Belgian Senate on Friday, after which time the new-look law of universal competence would have been globally adopted. But what was expected to be a mere formality could now become a non-event. Legally, elections in Belgium must be held no more than 40 days after dissolution. With the general election set for 18 May, it will be a scramble for the government to both re-review the legislation and dissolve Parliament on time. If Parliament decides to go ahead with dissolution on Friday as planned, the 1993 law of universal competence could have to stay as is until after the re-instatement of the Belgian government. When two Iraqi nationals recently submitted a crimes against humanity case against George Bush Senior, Foreign Affairs Minister Louis Michel took the decision to change the 1993 law which allows suspected perpetrators of war crimes and genocide to be tried in Belgium regardless of where the crimes were committed and regardless of the nationality of the alleged perpetrator. US Secretary of State Colin Powell was described by the BBC as labelling the Belgian legislation a ‘serious problem’ after joining Dick Cheney and George Bush Senior on a list of suspects in a lawsuit pertaining to alleged crimes committed during the last Gulf War. Louis Michel conceded meanwhile that the law was causing too many problems for Belgium’s diplomacy, especially as George W Bush seemed set to be next to face a case under the legislation. www.expatica.com

Haaretz IL 5 Apr 2003 Amendment to Belgian war crimes law delayed; suit against Sharon stands By Sharon Sadeh The ruling coalition in Belgium has failed to pass amendments that would have curtailed the controversial law seeking to prosecute war crimes and genocide perpetrators from around the world, Israel Radio reported Friday. The amendments were expected to bring an end to the lawsuit against Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. On Wednesday the Belgian House of Representatives approved the amendments to the law that were expected to be ratified by the Belgian Senate, but the process has been delayed. The amendments to the law, which has turned into a serious diplomatic liability for Belgium, were to be effective retroactively on a series of lawsuits presented in Belgium against many leaders, as well as IDF officers, for their involvement in the slaughter at the Sabra and Chatila refugee camps in 1982. Aside from Sharon, cases are also pending under the Belgian law against U.S. President George Bush, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Palestinian Authority Chair Yasser Arafat, Iraq's Saddam Hussein and Cuban President Fidel Castro. According to the amendments, the Belgian court would only be permitted to try people suspected of committing war crimes in states that are not democratic and do not grant the right to a fair trial. The amendments were passed before dawn Wednesday in a stormy session which broke up the Belgian coalition. The Liberal Party of Prime Minister Guy Verhofstatd announced its intention to support the amendments with the opposition parties, against the position of its coalition partners, the Greens and Socialists. Under the impression that the amendment would pass, the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem commented that this was "a positive development" and was to decide whether to send the Israeli ambassador back to Brussels.

Expatica 7 Apr 2003 War crimes law pits right against left BRUSSELS – Vlaams Blok, CD&V and Liberal parties stood united against left-wing opposition as the law of universal competence was passed through Senate on Saturday. The rainbow coalition faded on Saturday as amendments to Belgium’s so-called genocide law were passed, despite State Council criticism, by a majority of 36 to 22 votes, with five abstensions – right wing parties pitted against left. The State Council had insisted that the reinvestigation of the validity of cases already in progress, as well as the fact that cases were to be vetted by government rather than a court of law before being taken on, were suspect. A compromise was reached whereby cases would now also be vetted by the Court of Cassation. But the move seemed only to have convinced the Christian Democrat CD&V party. The so-called ‘genocide law’ had given courts in Belgium universal jurisdiction to try cases of genocide, war crimes and human rights violations. Several clauses were to be amended to avoid the law being used for political complaints in the current climate. Suject to a politico-diplomatic cleanup, it was feared by opponents to the proposed changes that the law would be left bereft of its previous clout. US Secretary of State Colin Powell was described as labelling the Belgian legislation a ‘serious problem’ after joining US Vice President Dick Cheney and former US President George Bush Senior on a list of suspects in a lawsuit pertaining to alleged crimes committed during the last Gulf War. Socialists and Greens went on the counter-attack last week as they slammed the brakes on amendments to Belgium’s law of universal competence. Last Thursday night, after the Chamber of Representatives passed amendments to the legislation, PS and Ecolo parties manouvered a dramatic last-ditch attempt to halt adoption of the controversial changes by consulting State Council at the same time the law was due to pass through Senate for adoption. The move threatened to delay the dissolution of Parliament and prevent and changes to the law occuring until after the 18 May general election – possibly allowing enough time for a war crimes case to be brought agianst US President George W Bush. Although the socialst/green partnership managed to delay dissolution until Saturday, State Council’s criticism of the proposed amendments did not change the outcome. The amended legislation was due to pass through the Chamber of Representatives Tuesday one final time before adoption. Once the changes have been accepted, it is unlikely that war crimes suspects such as Ariel Sharon and George Bush Senior will ever face trial in Belgium. .

NYT 7 April 2003 Belgium Eases Law on Trial of Foreigners PARIS, April 6 — Modifications to a law that allowed Belgium's courts wide freedom to try foreigners for war crimes and crimes against humanity will permit the government to dismiss complaints against foreign leaders, including one against Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of Israel and one filed last month against the first President Bush. On Saturday, the upper house approved "filters" that will allow the judiciary to reject complaints in which there are no victims of Belgian nationality or in which the plaintiffs have lived in Belgium for less than three years. The government will also be able to reject cases in which the accused person comes from a democratic country, where the issue presumably could be brought in its own courts.

Expatica.com 9 Apr 2003 MPs desert Senate for war crimes vote 9 April 2003 BRUSSELS – Belgium’s rainbow coalition dissolved Tuesday under the shadow of what was described as a ‘last-minute sulk’ by opponents of the revised law of universal competence who failed to attend a Senate vote. "If you want constituents to vote against the system, keep sending messages like that," said an enraged Senate president, Herman De Croo, reported Le Soir. De Croo closed what was the final Senate session without giving his traditional end-of-term speech. MPs were to vote for the fourth and final time on the controversial adoption of a newly politically-filtered war crimes law. The so-called ‘genocide law’ had given courts in Belgium universal jurisdiction to try cases of genocide, war crimes and human rights violations. Liberal Democrates, Greens and Socialists all disappeared from their benches as the vote was due. Some began their holidays early, others hid behind Senate doors until the storm had passed. The result was that the requested quorum of 76 deputies was not achieved and the formality of Senate adoption did not occur. Although it will have no effect on the adoption of the new legislation, as it had already been passed by Belgium’s lower house, it was an embarassing end for Guy Verhofstadt’s government. Earlier in the week, the CD&V and Liberal parties had to rely on the support of the far-right Vaams Blok to pass the new-look law. The rainbow coalition was torn apart as right-wing parties were pitted against left. At issue were several clauses amended to avoid the law being used for political complaints in the current climate. Suject to a politico-diplomatic cleanup, it was feared by opponents to the proposed changes that the law would be left bereft of its previous clout. US Secretary of State Colin Powell had labelled the Belgian legislation a ‘serious problem’ after joining Dick Cheney and George Bush Senior on a list of suspects in a lawsuit pertaining to alleged crimes committed during the last Gulf War.

Expatica 18 Apr 2003 Franks faces Belgium 'genocide' case 18 April 2003 BRUSSELS – US Allied Forces Commander, General Tommy Franks, and a second, unnamed party, could face trial in Belgium for war crimes under the country's amended genocide law after four Belgian doctors lodged a complaint in Brussels. The four men, two of whom are still in Baghdad, work for the Belgian association Medicine for the Third World and were witnesses to the Allied invasion of the country. Print this article Email this article Write to the editor Start or join a discussion Several events have already been cited by the doctors' lawyer, Jan Fermon, including an ambulance under fire from US troops, the bombing of a market, an attack on a civilian bus, random excecutions and inaction in the face of hospital pillaging. This will be the first time Belgium's law of universal competence will be tested since its politico-diplomatic cleanup last month. The so-called genocide law had given courts in Belgium universal jurisdiction to try cases of genocide, war crimes and human rights violations. Several clauses were amended so as to avoid the law being used for political complaints in the current climate. It is feared by opponents to the changes however that the law is now left bereft of its previous clout. The doctors' case is thought to be within the remit of the new law because it is filed on behalf of Iraqi doctors by their Belgian colleagues. However, the complaint will still have to be vetted by the Belgian government and the country's highest court, the Court of Cassation, before it can go ahead. US Secretary of State Colin Powell labelled the Belgian legislation a "serious problem" after joining Dick Cheney and George Bush Senior on a list of suspects in a lawsuit pertaining to alleged crimes committed during the last Gulf War. General Franks is currently holding residence in one of Saddam Hussein’s former palaces in the Iraqi capital – a symbolic gesture heralding the close of the Iraqi conflict.

JTA 21 Apr 2003 Belgian Jews Relieved 'War Crimes' Law Changed Jonathan Fisk APRIL 21, 2003 Brussels Belgian Jews are breathing a sigh of relief after the country revised a controversial law that allowed Belgian courts to try foreigners for alleged crimes against humanity. "Belgium has come to its senses. It has realized that its position was becoming awkward because of international reactions to this law," said Julien Klener of the Consistoire Central Israelite de Belgique, the official body representing Jews. "Let's hope that the negative criticism Belgium is facing will calm down." The amendments to the law, passed April 5, bring an end to the lawsuit filed against Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon by a group of Palestinians over his alleged role in the 1982 massacre of Palestinians by Lebanese Christian militias in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps. The law, which aims to prosecute war crimes and genocide wherever they occur, remains unique for its principle of "universal jurisdiction." That extends the reach of Belgian courts to complaints against people with no direct link to the country. The recent changes, however, will allow the judiciary to reject complaints in which there are no victims of Belgian nationality or in which the plaintiffs have lived in Belgium for less than three years. The government also will be able to reject cases in which the accused comes from a democratic country where he or she can receive a serious trial. High-profile cases were becoming increasingly embarrassing to Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt's government. The Sharon case, for example, soured relations between Belgium and Israel and even led to the recall of the Israeli ambassador. The final straw came last month when a group of Iraqis used the law to file a complaint against the first President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Colin Powell and Gen. Norman Schwartzkopf, accusing them of war crimes during the 1991 Persian Gulf War. The lawsuit infuriated the current Bush administration and woke Belgian lawmakers to the dangers of the law. But Belgian Jews are especially relieved by the dismissal of the case against Sharon. On the one hand, Belgian Jews were concerned by the deterioration of relations between Israel and Belgium. On the other, they wanted to ensure that the law did not strain their dialogue with Belgian authorities. "The crisis in the Middle East creates so much confusion in this country already that we do not want to mix things up even more," said Michele Szwarcburt, president of the Centre Communautaire Laic Juif, the secular Jewish community in Brussels. Szwarcburt said she believes that the law is misunderstood. "It stems from a generous feeling to fight war crimes," she explained. "But it is unjust to try Sharon. Israel is a democratic country and can try its own nationals. This law would be perfectly acceptable if it were only applied to non-democratic states." Belgian Jewish officials said they believed they had made a difference on the issue. "Our role here is to ease tensions that have risen between Belgium and the State of Israel," said Philippe Markiewicz, head of the Coordinating Committee of Belgian Jewish Organizations. "But we have absolutely no problem with the authorities," he insisted. "Belgium's international role on the political stage has been saved." Israel has said that it will return its ambassador, Yehudi Kinar, after Passover. Kinar was recalled to Jerusalem last February after Belgium's Supreme Court declined to invalidate the law, leaving the door open for Sharon to be prosecuted when he leaves office and loses his diplomatic immunity.

Expatica News 29 April 2003 Belgian genocide law still panics US BRUSSELS — The United States has reiterated concerns over Belgium’s war crimes law, despite the Verhofstadt government's efforts to politically filter the legislation. The US State Department, although pleased with the screening process now written into the law of universal competence — which had allowed for foreign officials to be sued on accusations of war crimes — has signalled that more should be done in order to filter out politically motivated cases. Print this article Email this article Write to the editor Start or join a discussion "We've expressed those concerns to the government of Belgium," spokesman Richard Boucher told Washington Times reporters in response to a suit planned against US Central Command chief, General Tommy Franks, by a group of Iraqi civilians. "We're pleased that the Belgian government has taken action to change the law, but we believe the Belgian government needs to be diligent in taking steps to prevent abuse of the legal system for political ends," Boucher said. "As to this specific case, we believe it does show the danger of a judicial system that's open to politically motivated charges," he added. In March, after being named along with Dick Cheney and George Bush Snr. in a case pertaining to war crimes during the 1991 Gulf war, US secretary of State Colin Powell had labelled the Belgian law as seriously problematic. Belgian Foreign Affairs Minister Louis Michel reacted by pushing through changes to the legislation in early April, narrowing the scope of the law. Several clauses were to be amended so as to avoid the law being used for political complaints in the current climate. Subject to a politico-diplomatic clean-up, it was feared by opponents to the proposed changes that the law would be left bereft of its previous clout. There was vehement opposition form Socialist and Greens before amendments were finally passed, delaying dissolution of Parliament before the general election for several days and dividing the country’s rainbow coalition.


International Herald Tribune 1 Apr 2003 600 victims of 1995 Srebrenica massacre are finally buried Six hundred victims of the Srebrenica massacre in 1995 were buried on Monday while, in another reminder of that conflict, the UN war crimes tribunal sentenced two former Bosnian-Croat commanders to up to 20 years in jail for atrocities against Muslims in the city of Mostar. In another part of the fragmented Yugoslav republic, the European Union's first peacekeeping force started work Monday in Macedonia. The 380-member European Force took over from NATO peacekeeping troops, who have been in the country since 2001, as part of a peace deal that ended seven months of fighting between government forces and ethnic Albanian rebels. In Belgrade, the Parliament of Serbia and Montenegro, the loose union that replaced what was left of Yugoslavia last month, voted Monday to ratify the statute of the Council of Europe and become part of the European mainstream. The 44-member council, based in Strasbourg, exists to promote human rights, democracy and closer relations among its members. Also in Belgrade, the police said they would file an international arrest warrant for the wife of former President Slobodan Milosevic for her alleged role in killing the former Serbian president, Ivan Stambolic. He was preparing to challenge Milosevic in national elections when he disappeared in August 2000. His remains were found in a lime-covered grave in Serbia last week, during a crackdown on the paramilitary and underworld network suspected of involvement in the murder of Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic on March 12. Milosevic is on trial at the UN war crimes tribunal for genocide and other crimes, while his wife, Mirjana Markovic, is believed to be hiding in Russia. The court on Monday sentenced Mladen Naletilic and Vinko Martinovic, who were found guilty on several counts of murder, persecution, torture and forced labor. The court found that the two were responsible for the criminal acts of their subordinates and were also involved personally in the crimes, which were meant to rid Mostar of non-Croat inhabitants. The court sentenced Naletilic to 20 years in jail and Martinovic to 18 years, saying that there were no mitigating circumstances that could have reduced the sentences. They have 30 days to appeal. In Srebrenica, thousands of relatives of the 8,000 Muslim men and boys murdered by Bosnian Serbs gathered to bury 600 victims of that atrocity - those that have so far been identified - in fresh graves in a field in eastern Bosnia. The graveyard is near the site where the Serb forces divided women from the men who were about to be slaughtered. When the massacre occurred, Srebrenica had been declared a safe area and was guarded by Dutch troops wearing the colors of the United Nations. Those troops stood by, and the subsequent scandal caused the entire Dutch cabinet to resign last year after a damning report into the tragedy. The victims of the massacre were plowed into 60 mass graves. Only 850 of them have been identified by DNA analysis. Paddy Ashdown, the senior Western official in Bosnia, read a letter from Kofi Annan, the secretary-general of the United Nations, saying that the failure to prevent the tragedy would "haunt our history forever. The United Nations remembers horrific events of Srebrenica with the deepest pain." Annan said the burial ceremony "ends the long period of waiting and of anguish and the beginning of an important stage in the process of healing for the entire region." The UN court has indicted the wartime political leaders Radovan Karadzic and his military chief, Ratko Mladic, for the Srebrenica massacre. Both are still at large. The Bosnian government declared Monday a day of national mourning for the dead.

ONASA 31 Mar 2003 TIHIC ADDRESSES POTOCARI GATHERING SREBRENICA, March 31 (ONASA) - BiH Presidency's member Sulejman Tihic said on Monday at a funeral of 600 identified Srebrenica residents, killed in June 1995, that he speaks on his own behalf, because, unfortunately, it is still impossible to speak on behalf of the BiH Presidency. "Today, after almost eight years, we gathered here to bury 600 identified victims of the crime, which is only a part of approximately 10,000 them registered as missing persons. They were killed because they were different from their neighbors and only because they were Bosniaks and Muslims," Tihic said. "We are advised not to look back in the past, but to look into the future. Maybe they are right. However, today we must speak about the past. That is my obligation because of the victims, truth and justice and that Srebrenica never happens again to anyone in Bosnia and in the world," Tihic said. He added that Srebrenica and Zepa were the places of the biggest crime in Europe after the II World War. "The genocide over Bosniaks Muslims was committed in Srebrenica, which has been confirmed with the verdict of the International Criminal Court for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague," he said. "Although eight years have passed, we are still waiting for answers to questions: where are those missing, how long mothers from Srebrenica and Zepa will protest each eleventh day of a month carrying banners with the names of their missing children, husbands, brothers and sisters, why the Republika Srpska (RS) authorities do not show the locations of mass graves, how long their murderers, first of all Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, will be at large and why no one has been processed for these crimes, why the UN did not protect the protected zone and will anyone answer for that," Tihic said. "We have the right to ask questions, and those who are asked must give answers," he added. "We know there are no innocent persons when it is about Srebrenica. All are guilty. The most responsible are former political and military leadership of the RS and Yugoslavia which organized and committed crime. The UN, which did not protect its protected zone, is also responsible," Tihic said, adding that the truth about the crime in Srebrenica is a pre-condition for the permanent peace, creation of trust among the peoples and normal inter-state relations. He said that the role of the international courts for war crimes in The Hague in the BiH's lawsuit against Yugoslavia for the aggression and genocide is irreplaceable. "I hope that souls of all persons buried today will find their peace, that the truth about other missing persons will be revealed as soon as possible and that all killed persons will be buried here with dignity," Tihic said. "I would like that we gather in the future in Srebrenica because of marking the return, opening of new working positions and other events that mean returning of a life to Srebrenica. I am calling on all those present and competent to help the sustainable return and economic recovery of Srebrenica," he said. Tihic said that the Memorial center Srebrenica - Potocari should be the place of remembrance and reminder that evil never happens again. He expressed condolences to families of killed persons. Publication: ONASA News Agency

AFP 30 Apr 2003 Bosnia fast-tracks ICC immunity agreement for Washington SARAJEVO, April 30 The Bosnian presidency on Wednesday urged senior officials to finalise an deal giving US citizens on its soil immunity from extradition to the International Criminal Court (ICC), the Fena news agency reported. Sulejman Tihic, the Muslim member of Bosnia's tripartite presidency, has asked the justice and foreign ministries to have the agreement ready by May 7, the report said. Tihic added that it was of crucial importance that US troops remain in Bosnia, where they have served as part of the NATO-led force since the end of the country's 1992-95 war. The Hague-based ICC is the world's first permanent court set up to try cases of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Washington refuses to support the court, arguing that it could become a forum for politically motivated prosecutions against US citizens and has been on a worldwide campaign to sign bilateral immunity deals for its troops. Human rights groups have accused the US of pressuring states to agree to the deals by suggesting that governments which refuse could receive less military aid. Washington, which has been a key supplier of economic and military aid to Bosnia since the end of the war, sought the agreement in August 2002. Since July 2002, when the treaty creating the ICC came into effect, the United States has signed immunity deals with 27 countries. They are: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Djibouti, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Dominican Republic, East Timor, El Salvador, the Gambia, Georgia, Honduras, India, Israel, the Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Micronesia, Nauru, Nepal, Palau, Romania, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Tonga, Tuvalu and Uzbekistan.

BBC 30 Apr 2003 BH Radio 1, Sarajevo, in Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian Radio examines Bosnia's predicament with regard to USA's immunity agreement Text of report by Bosnia-Hercegovina public radio on 30 April Announcer Negotiations between Bosnia-Hercegovina and the USA on granting immunity to US citizens before the International Criminal Court ICC , which are expected to start in next two weeks, have opened a new chapter in the process of our country's Euro-Atlantic integration. The signing of the agreement would significantly set back the process of gaining the membership of the European Union, while the non-signing would almost shut the door for our country with regard to its participation in the Partnership for Peace Programme. This report by Lejla Hodzic: Journalist In next few weeks, Bosnia-Hercegovina will be faced with a question which has suddenly imposed itself on all countries in transition - the USA's request on signing an agreement which would grant US citizens immunity before the ICC. Our country is faced with a kind of choice between the EU and USA which might cause negative consequences with regard to Bosnia-Hercegovina. However, our country's foreign minister, Mladen Ivanic, believes that a compromise solution is possible. Ivanic At this stage we are just thinking to negotiate about granting the immunity to the US citizens who are taking part in peacekeeping operations, and not all of them. It seems to me that such an approach would enable Bosnia-Hercegovina to fulfil both aims - to retain a strong EU presence and full respect of the EU and, on the other hand, to retain the presence of the USA here. Journalist In accordance with a law which was adopted in August last year, the USA insists on immunity for all its citizens who find themselves in places where war crimes might take place and might be attributed to US citizens. This is what political analyst Zekerijah Smajic has to say: Smajic There is a danger here that Bosnia-Hercegovina might make a mistake at the very beginning by focusing itself only on the individuals who are part of military or civilian missions in the country - something which in fact has been already regulated by the Dayton Agreement and is not disputed at all. Bosnia, actually, can learn a lesson from the case of Romania which responded to the first call from Washington with signing the agreement, but its parliament has not ratified it to this day. That is why Romania can now play on two fields and answer to Washington and Brussels, too. Journalist If the negotiations between Bosnia-Hercegovina and the USA provided a solution which would fit only Sarajevo and Washington while, at the same time, pushing European strategic interests onto the second burner, our country would be exposed to the risk that the report on whether it is ready to start negotiations with the EU could be assessed as negative. However, if it does not sign the agreement, its membership in the Partnership for Peace would be put under a huge question mark. Smajic Bosnia-Hercegovina is taking the first step to regulate its status within the EU. However, Bosnia-Hercegovina has not even reached the first step towards the Partnership for Peace. Beside the benefits with regard to economy and everything that the USA has done for Bosnia-Hercegovina so far, including securing the peace in our country, we must also be aware that the refusal to sign the agreement and ratify it would definitely stop Bosnia-Hercegovina in its tracks on the road towards the Partnership for Peace. Journalist The signing of the agreement would generate other problems for Bosnia-Hercegovina, too. If our country makes the Americans happy, it is almost certain that similar requests would follow from some other countries such as the UK, Spain and Italy. It is obvious that Bosnia-Hercegovina is facing one of the toughest tests since the signing of the Dayton Agreement.


AP 6 Apr 2003 Bosnian Croat Arrested on War-Crimes Charges By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS AGREB, Croatia, April 6 (AP) — The Croatian police have arrested a Bosnian Croat long sought by the United Nations war crimes tribunal who is suspected of carrying out atrocities against Muslim civilians during the Bosnian war, a police official said today. The suspect, Ivica Rajic, 45, was arrested Saturday in the Croatian capital, Zagreb, said a police spokeswoman, Zinka Bardic. Advertisement "The suspect was arrested on the basis of an international arrest warrant issued by the U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands," Ms. Bardic said. She said Mr. Rajic did not resist arrest, but did not give further details. Mr. Rajic was indicted in September 1995 by the tribunal on charges of killing Muslims in Bosnia.

AP 30 Apr 2003 Janko Bobetko, 84, a Hero of Croatian Independence, Dies ZAGREB, Croatia, April 29 — Gen. Janko Bobetko, hailed at home as a hero of Croatia's struggle for independence in 1991 but charged with war crimes by the United Nations tribunal in The Hague, died today, his doctor said. He was 84. General Bobetko, the most senior Croatian officer sought at the tribunal, was never tried there. The court, which revealed his indictment in September last year, acknowledged in February that he was too ill to stand trial. The chief of the Croatian Army from 1992 to 1995 was released from hospital last week at his own request. He had been treated for heart and kidney ailments since November. The Hague indictment charged General Bobetko with responsibility in the killing of at least 100 Serbian civilians and soldiers during Croatia's 1993 offensive to retake a central Croatian area that had been seized by the Serbian rebels in the 1991 war for Croatia's independence from the old Yugoslav federation. General Bobetko's refusal to go to The Hague prompted nationalists and war veterans to rally to his defense, creating a thorny situation for the current pro-Western government in Croatia, which could have faced sanctions for failing to extradite him. The government's dilemma ended with the February ruling exempting the general on health grounds. In his 1996 memoirs titled "All My Battles," the general said the 1993 action — aimed at ending the Serbian bombardment of the central Croatian town of Gospic — was "brilliant." "In only four hours, Serb units were crushed," he wrote. Although United Nations peacekeepers had accused Croatian troops of alleged atrocities against civilians long before the memoir was published, General Bobetko barely mentioned local Serbs. "Some fled, some surrendered," he wrote. "Elderly, women and children were released," he wrote. The casualties were only "minimal." General Bobetko was something of a national hero in Croatia for building up — with help from an American company hired by the government — a force that proved capable in 1995 of recapturing the approximately one-third of the country held by the Serbs since 1991. But he also came under some criticism for belittling the contribution of others in the independence drive and for his refusal to acknowledge Croatian war crimes. General Bobetko was born on Jan. 10, 1919, in a village near Sisak in central Croatia. At the start of World War II, Croatian pro-Nazi authorities expelled him from the veterinary faculty of Zagreb University for his anti-fascist views. His father and three brothers were killed by the fascists during the war, while Mr. Bobetko was among the first to join anti-fascist units. When Communist-run Yugoslavia was established after 1945, he remained in the federal army and was promoted to general in 1954. In the early 1970's, he sided with Croatian Communists, who were demanding more autonomy for Croatia, and was ousted from the army. He joined the Croatian Army after the 1991 declaration of independence and was appointed chief of staff by the late president, Franjo Tudjman, in November 1992. He was retired in 1995. He is survived by his widow, Magdalena, and three sons.


JTA 16 Apr 2003 A few Jews survived rural France, with the help of local wartime heroes By Philip Carmel FESTALEMPS, France, April 16 (JTA) — There is a plaque just in front of the war memorial in Festalemps, a tiny village in the Perigord region of southwestern France. The plaque commemorates 24 Jews who were taken from farms and homesteads in the village on the night of Oct. 8, 1942. The Jews were put onto a bus by French gendarmes and taken to a nearby town. From there they were transported by train to Drancy, a concentration camp in the northern suburbs of Paris. From Drancy, they were taken to Auschwitz — and, like more than 70,000 French Jews, from Auschwitz they did not return. They were not, however, the only Jews who had taken refuge in Festalemps — and some survived the war, thanks to heroic efforts. In 1939, as the French government waited for the German army to cross the Rhine and enter France, a decision was taken to evacuate the population from the eastern border areas. People from across Alsace, Lorraine and the Moselle — and the large Jewish communities of eastern France, including from cities such as Strasbourg and Metz — poured into the French interior. Initially, the easterners were placed in empty houses on the Atlantic coast. They were not to remain there long. France was cut in two during the war, with an occupied zone run directly by the German army and a “free” zone, administered from the central French spa town of Vichy, by the collaborationist government of World War I hero Marshall Philippe Petain. Fearing a potential allied invasion from the west, however, the Germans soon set up another zone, the “Forbidden Area.” All “non-residents,” including the Jews who had been relocated from eastern France, were thrown out of towns along the Atlantic coast. Under orders from Vichy, they were spread around the rural villages of Perigord in the occupied zone. For the residents of Perigord, the arrival of the strange “Easterners” — many of them city dwellers and some speaking a Germanic-sounding Alsatian patois — must have seemed strange. So strange, in fact, that most of the locals were not even aware that some of the Easterners actually were speaking another Germanic-sounding language, Yiddish. Isidore Drabinowski was born in Metz in 1930, the son of Polish Jews who had arrived in France after fleeing pogroms in the mid-1920s. With the outbreak of war in September 1939, the Drabinowski family arrived in a small town on France’s Atlantic coast. In the middle of 1940, “we were taken by train and bus to Festalemps and placed in abandoned farm houses” near the 200-person village, Isidore Drabinowski says. For the next two years, Jewish children went to the school next to the village hall, even though Festalemps was in occupied France, under the control of the German army. In 1941, a young man named Henri Neyrat arrived in Festalemps to take up his first teaching post. Neyrat is still alive today, and it is difficult to imagine this mild-mannered, humble man spending much of the war organizing Resistance operations against the Germans across southwest France. Throughout almost three hours spent recalling the war at his home, Neyrat’s easygoing tone of speech disappeared only once — when he described the day in 1942 when Jewish children in Festalemps were forced to wear the yellow star. “That was intolerable,” he said. “I told all the children in the school they were not to make fun of the Jewish kids.” Fernand Peyronnet, a young man in the village at the time, remembers it a bit differently: “Neyrat told the children he would give the first child who made fun of the Jewish children a kick up the arse,” Peyronnet says. Peyronnet knew Neyrat well, and was an active participant in the soccer team Neyrat set up in town. A scion of generations of Perigord farmers, Peyronnet also helped Resistance activities. He knew the region like the back of his hand, including the location of the Demarcation Line, the crossing point between occupied and free zones, a few miles south of Festalemps. Neyrat, an accomplished soccer player, had asked Peyronnet to pass the wife of a professional soccer player across the line in early 1942. Peyronnet was happy to oblige, he said, “just to annoy the Germans.” The way both Neyrat and Peyronnet describe it today makes it sound like youthful fun, but the Demarcation Line was patrolled by German troops. Detection could have led to death. Unlike some “passers,” Peyronnet received no money for doing it, and repeated the mission at least four times, saving the lives of at least seven people. Drabinowski has spent the last few years searching for details about the period and, with the assistance of the Perigord archives, can put exact dates on Peyronnet’s night passages. Drabinowski himself was passed over the line by Peyronnet in late August 1942 and spent the rest of the war together with his family in the village of St. Cyprien in the free-zone section of Perigord. He did not remember Peyronnet’s name until he was contacted more than 50 years later by Robert Frank, another Jewish child who spent most of 1942 in Festalemps. Peyronnet also kept his exploits from his fellow villagers, even when the war was long over. “He led us through woods and forests and we stopped on the side of the road which marked the Demarcation Line,” Drabinowski recalls. “We waited for a German patrol to pass and then we crossed over. But I never saw his face. He was just a shadow in the night, leading us to safety.” Peyronnet passed Isidore Drabinowski’s father, Jacques, over the line in July 1942. The rest of the family followed a month later. It’s doubtful that Jacques Drabinowski knew what was beginning to happen to French Jews in the occupied zone, though he was passed over just a day after the infamous roundup at the Velodrome d’Hiver in Paris, the first major deportation of French Jews to Auschwitz. Nevertheless, Jacques Drabinowski had decided that he and his family had to leave Festalemps. Luckily for the Drabinowskis, Jacques’ eldest child, Annie, knew of Neyrat, and it was she who asked the teacher whether he could help the family. Once again, Peyronnet was only too happy to oblige Neyrat. According to official Perigord archives, French officials carried out a deportation in the free-zone section of the region on Aug. 26, 1942, some two and a half months before the deportation in the occupied zone, which included Festalemps. However, the Vichy regime at that time was still making a pretense of protecting its citizens, and French citizens like Isidore Drabinowski — and even parents of those Frenchmen like Drabinowski’s father — were exempt from the deportation and, thus, survived the war.


AP 4 Apr 2003 Construction begins on Holocaust memorial in Germany (AP) A German memorial to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust should be completed by the year 2005 -- the 60th anniversary of the Nazis' defeat at the hands of allied forces. After several years of false starts, construction work began on the site today near Berlin's Brandenburg Gate. The monument features nearly three-thousand concrete slabs set slightly below street level. The first slabs will be put in place this August or September. The 30-(m) million dollar project has faced many delays as Germans debated how they would portray their country's role in the Holocaust. There were then arguments over possible designs to honor over six (m) million Jews and others who perished in the Holocaust.


Irish Examiner 28 Apr 2003 Visa ban on two allies of Karadzic By Cormac O’Keeffe TWO close allies of the world’s most wanted war criminal have been banned from entering the country. The two, Milovan Cicko Bjelica and Momcilo Momo Mandic, are key right-hand men to Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic. Karadzic led the “ethnic cleansing” of Bosnian Muslims and Croatians from the Balkan state during the 1992-1995 war. Karadzic and former Bosnian Serb military commander Ratko Mladic are top of the International Criminal Tribunal’s most wanted list. They are accused of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Ireland’s visa ban is part of an EU-wide move following a council meeting of foreign ministers on April 14 last. “The General Affairs and External Affairs Council of the EU agreed to put in place a visa ban on certain individuals who assist indictees of the International Criminal Tribunal in the Hague,” said a spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs. He said the decision was given legal effect in Ireland last week. “The names have been given to the Department of Justice. "Our embassies abroad will be issued with them, and they will not be allowed get visas. It’s the same for other EU countries.” He said once the list was in place other names could be added to it by the EU council. A spokesman for the Council of Europe in Brussels said the travel ban was placed on those who were involved in the “evasion of justice”. He said: “The common position requires Member States to take the necessary measures to prevent the entry or transit of specific persons who are engaged in helping persons at large to evade justice for crimes for which the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia has indicted them.” The spokesman said the EU called on countries outside the EU to adopt the same position. The EU envoy to Bosnia Paddy Ashdown has indicated that up to 100 people could be placed on the list. The move is part of an ongoing effort to flush out Karadzic and Mladic. The NATO-led peacekeeping force in Bosnia, S-For, said the travel ban will tighten the net around Karadzic and other fugitive war criminals. Karadzic is thought to be moving between eastern parts of the Serb republic and a neighbouring mountainous region in Montenegro. Mladic is thought to be shielded by the military in Serbia and Montenegro. Karadzic and Mladic led the massacre of more than 6,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica on 11 July 1995. They are also accused of the internment of thousands of non-Serbs in concentration camps as well as a systematic campaign of sniping at civilians in Sarajevo.


AFP 25 Apr 2003 Kosovo Serbs seek solution - but not independence - for province by Jean-Eudes Barbier PRISTINA, Serbia and Montenegro, April 25 (AFP) - In the search for a solution for restive Kosovo, many minority Serbs are prepared to stick with its tense divide along ethnic lines but vow never to accept the independence demanded by Albanians. The province, part of Serbia and Montenegro, remains under UN administration after four years to keep peace between the estranged communities. Oliver Ivanovic, a Kosovo Serb leader, is among those who favor maintaining the status quo "for a period of 10 to 15 years". "During that time a lot of things will change," he said. "We will be advancing well towards Europe and we may be at a point of integrating together -- Serbia-Montenegro and Kosovo -- into the European Union. "Then, the question of borders will be much less important," he said. Ivanovic, a deputy from the ethnically divided northern town of Kosovska Mitrovica, said a delegation of Kosovo Serb representatives is planning to tour key western states in the coming months. Their aim: to persuade the international community not to rush any examination of a final status for Kosovo. Most of the fewer than 100,000 Serbs in Kosovo live in enclaves, surrounded by the southern province's two million Albanians who have been pushing hard for independence from Serbia. Ivanovic said inter-ethnic relations were "very bad" and Serbs' security here remains uncertain despite the fact that UN administrators have made it one of their priorities. Kosovo has been under United Nations control since June 1999 after the NATO alliance conducted a 78-day bombing campaign to force former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic to end a brutal crackdown on ethnic Albanians in the province. At the same time, a multinational peacekeeping force (KFOR) was deployed in the province. The Kosovo Serbs back UN Security Council Resolution 1244, adopted at the end of the war. This envisaged substantial autonomy for the province within the Yugoslav Federation, which was replaced in February by Serbia and Montenegro. The Albanians however hope the provisional institutions established two years ago -- a multi-ethnic parliament and government as well as presidency -- will lead to independence. Before he was assassinated on March 12 in Belgrade, Serbian prime minister Zoran Djindjic said he wanted talks on the final status of Kosovo to start as soon as possible. Djindjic appeared to accept that the division of Kosovo along ethnic lines was the best solution since any reconciliation between the two communities, also evoked by Resolution 1244, appeared unlikely. Kosovo's Serbs still have very limited freedom of movement outside their enclaves, where they have been grouped mostly in the north of the province under heavy KFOR protection against hostility from ethnic Albanians. Rada Trajkovic, another leader of Kosovo Serbs, had pleaded for a "consolidation of enclaves" and the establishment of "corridors," secured by KFOR, to link them. She feels setting up such corridors would encourage the return of many of the 200,000 Serbs who fled the province fearing attacks by Albanians. Many of their homes have since been destroyed or occupied by Albanians. "All this is a matter of political will," Trajkovic said. She believes the "federalization" of Kosovo in two equal communities will be the best eventual solution for the province. "But we will never live in an independent Kosovo," she warned, urging the international community "to persuade the Albanians to observe UN Resolution 1244 and give up their aim."


Reuters 1 Apr 2003 MACEDONIA: EUROPE'S MILITARY DEBUT The European Union began its first military operation, taking over NATO's small peacekeeping mission in the former Yugoslav republic Macedonia. "By taking on its first military mission, the E.U. is demonstrating that its project of a European security and defense policy has come of age," said the NATO secretary general, Lord Robertson. A French general will be in charge of the force of 300 lightly armed peacekeepers drawn from 27 countries with current or pending membership in the European Union. The Europeans are planning to take over NATO's much larger Bosnian peacekeeping mission early next year.

AFP 31 Mar 2003 - EU takes over first peacekeeping mission in Macedonia SKOPJE, March 31 (AFP) - The European Union on Monday formally deployed its first peacekeeping force, taking over from NATO peacekeepers who have been in the Balkan state of Macedonia since 2001. The first EU peacekeeping mission to a country recovering from violent conflict is a key test for future deployments in the Balkans and beyond. The 350-member strong European Force (EUFOR) took over from NATO peacekeepers at a ceremony in the Macedonian capital, Skopje. The NATO troops were deployed in Macedonia in 2001 after a peace deal ended seven months of fighting between government forces and ethnic Albanian rebels. Their successors were welcomed in Skopje on Monday by the EU's foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, NATO Secretary General George Robertson and Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou, whose country currently holds the EU presidency. The European troops, coming from 27 different countries and under the command of a French general, will be stationed in Macedonia for a renewable six-month period. The aim of the operation, codenamed "Concordia", is to keep the fragile balance of peace in the former Yugoslav republic, where up to 150 people were killed in the 2001 conflict.


Reuters 1 Apr 2003 WAR CRIMES VERDICT Two Bosnian Croat paramilitaries were found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity for persecuting Bosnian Muslims in 1993. The two men, Mladen Naletilic and Vinko Martinovic, were given prison terms of 20 years and 18 years, respectively. "Neither Mladen Naletilic nor Vinko Martinovic were the grand architects of this plan," Judge Maureen Clark of Ireland said at the sentencing. "They each, however, played a role in giving effect to the plan."

UN Press Release 31 Mar 2003 U.N. Tribunal Sentences Two For War Crimes; More The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia yesterday sentenced two Bosnian Croats to 18 and 20 years in jail for crimes against humanity committed against Muslims during the 1992-95 civil war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Mladen Naletilic was sentenced to 20 years in prison on charges of political, racial and religious persecution; torture; unlawful labor; willfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health; and unlawful transfer of a civilian. Vinko Martinovic was sentenced to 18 years on charges of persecutions on political, racial and religious grounds; murder; unlawful labor; and inhuman treatment (U.N. release, March 31).

BBC 8 Apr 2003 War convicts lose Hague appeals Delic: "Sadistic" deputy commander created climate of fear Three men who killed, tortured, raped, and beat ethnic Serbs during the Bosnian civil war have lost appeals against their sentences at the Hague. The men - two Bosnian Muslims and a Croat - were convicted in November 1998 and lost appeals in 2001. The case, said to be one of the most complex ever to come before the tribunal, was the first to deal with attacks on Serb civilians, and the first to establish that rape could be legally held to be torture. The three convicted men were in charge of the Celebici prison camp in central Bosnia, where the atrocities were committed, in 1992. Witnesses at the original trial described how camp inmates were tortured, beaten to death by guards wielding baseball bats, set on fire, and raped. Small victory There was a small victory for the camp's deputy commander, Hazim Delic, a Muslim, whose appeal against one conviction for wilful killing was upheld. His sentence was reduced from 20 to 18 years. But judges dismissed protestations from Delic that a reduction of two years was too small, saying the serious nature of his offences justified the heavy sentence. In the original trial, judges said he had taken sadistic pleasure in causing pain and created a climate of terror and absolute fear around the camp. Appeals have only served to see Mucic's sentence increased The appeals court upheld the nine-year sentence of camp commander Zdravko Mucic, a Croat, who was convicted for failing to stop the atrocities. Previous appeal judges increased his sentence from seven years, in view of the gravity of his offences. A 15-year murder sentence imposed on Esad Landzo, a Muslim guard, was also upheld. All the defendants have been in prison since 1996. An original decision to acquit the region's military commander, Zejnil Dalalic, of all charges, was allowed to stand. The tribunal, set up in 1994 to punish war crimes during the former Yugoslavia's violent break-up, is currently hearing cases against former President Slobodan Milosevic and four aides.

AP 9 Apr 2003 Serbian Editor Indicted for ID'ing Witness In Trial of Slobodan Milosevic THE HAGUE, Netherlands -- (AP) The Yugoslav war crimes tribunal has indicted the editor of a Montenegrin newspaper for revealing the identity of a protected witness in the Slobodan Milosevic trial, the court said Tuesday. Monday's action was the first taken against a journalist by the U.N. court. Dusan Jovanovic, who also writes for the daily Dan newspaper, published the name of witness K-32, who testified in July for the prosecution. Jovanovic faces a maximum punishment of seven years imprisonment or a fine of $106,000, or both, if convicted of contempt of court. After the publication of K-32's name, the witness received threatening telephone calls, the court said Tuesday. Reached by telephone in Podgorica, Montenegro's capital, Jovanovic said he intended to answer the summons. The proceedings against Jovanovic started in October when prosecutors filed a confidential report and supporting material alleging he broke the tribunal's rules on witness confidentiality. Three witnesses also submitted statements. Dan was banned last month in Serbia, the other republic in the Balkan union formerly known as Yugoslavia, because of its reporting in the aftermath of the assassination of Serbia's Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic. Jovanovic protested that names of other protected witnesses were published but only he was charged. Milosevic, the former Yugoslav president, is on trial in The Hague on charges of 66 counts of war crimes in Croatia, Bosnia, and Kosovo during the 1990s, including genocide. The witness known as K-32, whose image was electronically distorted on court monitors during his testimony, said he was a truck driver with the Yugoslav army unit based in the southern town of Prizren during the conflict in Serbia's rebellious Kosovo province in 1998 and 1999. The former soldier, a Muslim from Montenegro, claimed that members of his unit executed dozens of civilians in several Kosovo villages during their campaign against ethnic Albanian rebels. Source: Editor & Publisher Online

Legal Times, April 28, 2003, COURT WATCH; Pg. 01, 1471 words, The World's Prosecutor For the International Criminal Court, trying genocide is only one of many challenges., By Siobhan Roth Luis Moreno Ocampo faces a daunting task. As the first prosecutor of the nascent International Criminal Court, it's his job to seek justice for the victims of the unimaginable: genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. Some 78 countries supporting the ICC elected Ocampo last week. A visiting professor at Harvard Law School and well-respected in Washington foreign policy circles, he is seen by many as an excellent choice for a difficult job. Ocampo's challenges are legion. Although given a powerful mandate, there are strict limits to his jurisdiction. He can initiate investigations, but he can bring charges only if individual countries are unable or unwilling to do so. And he can prosecute only those crimes committed after July 1, 2002, the official date of the court's inception. Magnifying the difficulty is the hostility the court faces from the United States. Last May, the U.S. government withdrew from the treaty that created the ICC. Citing what it termed the "unchecked" power of the prosecutor, the United States feared that politically motivated charges might be filed against American soldiers and civilians. Not only did the United States pull out of the treaty, but also it has since established bilateral treaties with 27 other nations, including Argentina, that foreclose the surrender of U.S. personnel to the ICC. In Washington, President George W. Bush signed the American Servicemembers' Protection Act last August. The law prohibits U.S. cooperation with the ICC and authorizes the president to use "all means necessary" to free U.S. personnel detained by the ICC. "He has the enormous challenge before him of having the most powerful country in the world in opposition to the court," says Scott Silliman, a former Air Force lawyer who heads the Center on Law, Ethics, and National Security at Duke University School of Law. The selection of Ocampo should help mollify U.S. critics of the court, say observers of the situation. Indeed, the Clinton administration, which had its own reservations about the ICC, "had hoped Ocampo would become the first prosecutor for the Yugoslavia war crimes tribunal," says David Scheffer, the chief U.S. negotiator in talks to establish the ICC and now a senior vice president at the United Nations Association of the United States of America. The position of chief prosecutor for the ICC, Scheffer notes, "requires a unique blend of skills. If one were to list everything that the prosecutor must be, no one would fit all the requirements, but Mr. Ocampo comes pretty close." 'NO BABE IN THE WOODS' Few attorneys in the world have Ocampo's depth of experience investigating atrocities and prosecuting public officials. Ocampo, 50, graduated from Buenos Aires Law School in 1978. Starting in 1984, he served as assistant prosecutor in the trials against the military junta that had ruled Argentina, which involved analyzing more than 10,000 alleged human rights abuses, selecting 700 cases, and presenting 2,000 witnesses. He also worked on the trials of former Buenos Aires Police chief Gen. Ramn Camps and eight police officers accused of murder, kidnapping, and torture. In 1987, he helped extradite former Gen. Carlos Guillermo Suarez-Mason, a commander in the Buenos Aires region during Argentina's "dirty war." These trials were a "turning point in Latin America," says Robert Goldman, professor at American University Washington College of Law and a member of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. "It was the first time that a military government had been held accountable for its abuses. "At a very young age, he was involved in what were some of the first experiments in the world, other than Nuremberg, in prosecuting state officials responsible for really horrible human rights abuses," Goldman says. In the following years, Ocampo led the review of a sham military trial of those responsible for the Falkland Islands War and headed the prosecution in the trials stemming from the 1987 and 1990 rebellions against Argentine democracy. Ocampo also serves on the board of Transparency International, an organization dedicated to eliminating corporate and government corruption. Since 1992, he has been the main partner at Moreno Ocampo & Wortman Jofre, a 12-lawyer Buenos Aires firm specializing in criminal and human rights law, corruption control for large organizations, and alternative dispute resolution. He advocated for the interests of victims in the case of Nazi officer Erich Priebke, who was extradited from Argentina to Italy for World War II crimes, and he represented former Argentine economics minister Domingo Cavallo before the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights. Says Goldman: "Ocampo's a savvy guy. He's no babe in the woods." Goldman, Scheffer, and others say they think Ocampo is a good choice for the ICC job. "I'm very encouraged by this selection," Scheffer says. "I think it bodes well for the United States' relationship with the court." Ocampo could not be reached for comment, but in an address following the election, he vowed to use his powers "with responsibility and firmness." The existence of the court, Ocampo added, should deter those who would commit atrocities and serve as a catalyst for states to prosecute bad actors in their own courts. "The absence of trials," he said, "as a consequence of the regular functioning of national institutions, will be its measure of success." Addressing fears of an activist court and prosecutor, Ocampo offered reassurance. "The world can trust them," he said. LIMITED DOMAIN Under the ICC's charter, the court's reach is confined to cases of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity that nations are unable or unwilling to resolve on their own. The prosecutor may initiate an investigation on his own or on referral by a state member or by the U.N. Security Council. Terrorism and drug trafficking are not within the court's mandate. Because of the classified information inherent in terrorism cases, as well as the vast web of bilateral agreements, both categories of crime were omitted from the court's purview in the early stages of negotiation, Scheffer says. But that doesn't mean the ICC prosecutor can't go after alleged perpetrators of terrorist acts. Scheffer says a plausible argument could be made that a systematic, planned assault against a civilian population, such as the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, constitute a crime against humanity and could be prosecuted as such. Of course, the Sept. 11 attacks predate the court's creation and are thus beyond its jurisdictional reach. Thus far, 139 countries have signed the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, as the treaty establishing the court is known, and 89 have ratified it. [Not all participated in last week's vote for the Office of the Prosecutor.] The judiciary comprises three divisions: pretrial, trial, and appeals. Eighteen elected judges from 18 different countries serve either three-, six-, or nine-year terms, depending on their division. The court, based in the Hague, Netherlands, has a budget of 30 million euros for its initial 16 months of operation. Ocampo will draw a salary of $224,816 a year. ICC boosters such as Human Rights Watch and the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights downplay the potential hobbling effect of the U.S. opposition to the court. They point out that the ICC has thus far survived U.S. efforts to undermine it. The real test, of course, will come when the first indictment comes down. "It's hard to predict how the U.S. will respond," says Anthony Arend, professor of government at Georgetown University. "But say Pakistan captures someone. And it's a terrorist. My suspicion is that the U.S. will exert strong pressure on Pakistan not to turn him over to the ICC because it would lend legitimacy to the organization," he says. Neither the State Department nor Pierre-Richard Prosper, current U.S. ambassador at large for war crimes issues, returned calls seeking comment. Arend and others say that the U.S fears of politically driven indictments may be overblown. The Rome Statute allows for agreements that insulate military personnel from ICC prosecution. Ocampo is considered a very measured, careful lawyer, "not a loose cannon," as Goldman puts it. And by deciding to elect him, observers say, the ICC member states are demonstrating a commitment to bringing in high-caliber public servants rather than rogues with anti-America agendas. "I personally am more sanguine about the court," Silliman says. Adds Fiona McKay, director of the International Justice Program at the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights: "We see his appointment as a major step forward. We're very hopeful that once the court starts to operate, that people will see it's not so scary."


AP 8 Apr 2003 Polish Court Upholds Holocaust Sentence By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Filed at 7:50 p.m. ET WARSAW, Poland (AP) -- Poland's Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the eight-year sentence for an 80-year-old Polish man convicted of helping kill Jews in a World War II death camp. Henryk Mania was sentenced to eight years in prison in July 2001 for taking part in acts of genocide at the Nazi death camp of Chelmno between Dec. 8, 1941, and April 7, 1943. Advertisement Mania has denied the charges. His lawyer, Jaroslaw Ladrowski, appealed the verdict saying Mania was a prisoner himself and had been forced to work at the camp by the Nazis, who threatened to kill him if he disobeyed or tried to escape. The Supreme Court threw out the appeal Tuesday. ``There is no doubt that Mania was a prisoner, but his role was confirmed unequivocally,'' Judge Rafal Malarski said in upholding the verdict. Last year an appeals court in the western city of Poznan also upheld the 2001 ruling, citing evidence that Mania had shown eagerness to beat victims and rob them of their belongings. Mania was arrested in November 2000 in the first such case brought to court by the government's Institute of National Remembrance. Earlier that year the institute began investigating archives and documents relating to communist- and Nazi-era crimes. Mania had been freed pending the outcome of the appeal. The central Polish town of Chelmno was the site of the first Nazi extermination camp. Jews were killed by deadly gasses as early as 1941. About 3 million of Poland's prewar Jewish community of 3.5 million people died in the Nazi Holocaust, which claimed a total of 6 million Jewish lives across Europe. Polish sources say as many as 300,000 people, mostly Jews from the ghetto in the city of Lodz, were killed at Chelmno.

NYT 20 Apr 2003 Warsaw Ghetto Survivor Relays Powerful Message Saturday, April 19, 2003 LODZ, Poland — Marek Edelman, the lone surviving commander of the Warsaw ghetto uprising against the Nazis 60 years ago, keeps its lesson fresh simply by looking at today's world. The fight for freedom and against tyranny is never over, he says. With a strong French cigarette in his hand and strong opinions on his mind, Edelman, 82, grows agitated when talking about war in Iraq. "The war is not about oil, it's about defending man's freedom," Edelman said in an interview at his home. "As you can see, the world has not learned the lessons of the Holocaust." Warsaw's Jewish community is commemorating the April 19, 1943, start of the uprising Saturday night with prayers for the dead and a march to the rail platform where Jews were rounded up for transports to Nazi death camps. An official ceremony with the Polish and Israeli presidents is set for April 30. Dictatorship is "a disease that can spread" if unchecked, whether in Iraq or in Europe, he said. Edelman and a few hundred other young Jews faced impossible odds when they took up arms in the spring of 1943 against the Nazis, who had set about destroying Warsaw's ghetto. Before the Nazi invasion of Poland that touched off World War II, Warsaw's Jewish community of more than 400,000 was Europe's largest. By 1943, at least 350,000 Jews -- some brought to the ghetto from other areas -- had died there of starvation and disease or were deported to death camps. After the Nazis deported some 250,000 people to Treblinka death camp in the summer of 1942, "the Jews began to understand that resettlement meant death, that we have no other solution than to die with honor," Edelman wrote in his 1945 book, "The Ghetto Fights." The Jewish insurgents armed themselves with pistols, grenades and a few machine guns they bought from Germans or got from non-Jewish resistance fighters. Smuggling the weapons past Nazi guards and the 10-foot-high ghetto wall was to risk death. The struggle lasted three weeks and most of the fighters were killed, along with thousands of others, as the Nazis systematically burned down the ghetto street by street. Edelman and a few others escaped through sewers to the other side of the wall and went into hiding. Edelman does not like to dwell on his role in the resistance, but takes pride in the message the uprising sent to the victims of Nazi oppression and brutality. "It was the first time in occupied Europe that civilians put up armed resistance against Nazi occupiers," he says. Polish resistance fighters stepped up pinprick attacks against the Nazis and in August 1944 launched an ill-fated revolt in Warsaw that took the Germans 63 days to put down. There also were uprisings in several death camps the Nazis had set up on Polish soil, including Treblinka and Sobibor. "In this dark Nazi night blanketing Europe, the ghetto constituted the first brick that was removed from the wall of hatred," Edelman said. "Those 200 boys who were shooting there had no chance to win with the German army, but the fact that the struggle happened shook the dictatorship." After fleeing the ghetto, Edelman returned to fight in the 1944 Warsaw uprising. When the war was over he stayed in his homeland and settled as a cardiologist in Lodz, a city about 80 miles west of the capital in central Poland. Edelman joined Poland's anti-communist opposition and was active in the Solidarity movement that toppled communism in 1989. During the Balkan wars of the 1990s, he urged NATO to send ground troops to Kosovo against the threat of a new European genocide, this time against ethnic Albanians.


Prague Watchdog 31 Mar 2003 The week in brief: 24-31 Mar 2003 Summary of the main news related to the conflict in Chechnya. Compiled by Prague Watchdog. Monday, March 24 According to the new Chechen constitution, the powers of the President of the Chechen Republic are delegated to the head of the [Moscow-backed] Chechen administration as of the date of the adoption of the constitution, said Yevgeny Popov, head of the legal department of the Moscow-backed Chechen government. Russian media mogul Boris Berezovsky, who is wanted by Russian authorities for alleged frauds, was arrested in Great Britain but then released on bail. Berezovsky campaigns against the Kremlin and his actions include assistance to the Chechen resistance movement. Tuesday, March 25 Chechen MP to Russia's State Duma Aslanbek Aslakhanov said that he was not going to run for the President of the Chechen Republic but would seek re-election to the Russian Parliament. Wednesday, March 26 Nearly 89.48 % of voters registered on voters' lists took part in the Chechen constitutional referendum. 95.97 % of them approved the new constitution, 95.4 % the draft act on presidential election and 96,05 % the draft act on parliamentary election, chairman of the Chechen Election Committee Abdul-Kerim Arsakhanov said. In an interview for the "Ekho Moskvy" radio station, head of the Moscow-backed Chechen administration Akhmad Kadyrov said that he was going to run for the President of the Chechen Republic. Thursday, March 27 The Council of Europe (CoE) is ready to provide assistance to sign a Treaty between the Russian Federation and the Chechen Republic on the division of competences, said CoE Secretary General Walter Schwimmer. Friday, March 28 Representatives of the presidential administration, State Duma and Justice Ministry have drafted bills regulating the amnesty for participants in the armed conflict in Chechnya, said Pavel Krasheninnikov, a member of the working group. Saturday, March 29 No major events. Sunday, March 30 No major events.

AP 18 Apr 2003 Russian police on alert for skinheads around Hitler's birthday By The Associated Press MOSCOW - Police across Russia are to be on alert this weekend, paying special attention to diplomatic missions and universities attended by foreigners, in an attempt to head off skinhead attacks around Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler's birthday Sunday, a top police official said. "In large cities, especially Moscow and St. Petersburg, law enforcement agencies will also control places where skinheads gather, as well as subway and railway stations," the Interfax news agency quoted Deputy Interior Minister Alexander Chekalin as saying Friday. According to the Interior Ministry, Russia is home to up to 15,000 skinheads. Some 5,000 of them are in and around Moscow, up to 3,000 are in St. Petersburg, and other large cities have up to 1,000 skinheads each. "The police are ready to oppose skinheads' actions," Chekalin was quoted as saying. "They should not think that they will get away with breaking the law." However, human rights advocates and victims of extremist violence have complained in the past of police inaction in the face of skinhead threats and attacks. Russia's extremist and neo-Nazi groups have targeted dark-skinned immigrants from poverty-stricken formerly Soviet Central Asia and the Caucasus Mountains region, as well as Africa, East Asia and other distant regions. Last year, several markets in Moscow, which are staffed mostly by traders from the Caucasus and Central Asia, closed on Hitler's birthday to avoid violence.

BBC 20 Apr 2003 Russia buries murdered MP Yushenkov: a veteran liberal from a military background Hundreds of people have been attending the funeral of assassinated Russian liberal MP Sergey Yushenkov in Moscow. Fellow politicians, human rights activists and ordinary citizens paid their last respects as his body lay in state in a cultural centre off the city centre. Yushenkov, a veteran liberal who was planning to lead his new party into the December parliamentary election, was gunned down in broad daylight near his home on the outskirts of Moscow on Thursday in an apparent contract killing. A female aide to Yushenkov has requested political asylum in the United States in the belief that his death was linked to his efforts to prove that a series of devastating bomb attacks in 1999 were the work of the Russian secret police. Colleagues and friends of the late MP expressed outrage at the murder as mourners gathered at the Palace of Youth on Moscow's Komsomolski Avenue before the burial at the Vagankovo Cemetery. Yushenkov, 53, leaves a wife and two children "We live in a country where despicable actions go unpunished," said Viktor Pokhmelkin, a fellow leader of Yushenkov's Liberal Russia Party. Boris Nemtsov, the former deputy prime minister and one of the country's most prominent MPs, described his late colleague as a "calm, incorruptible, and honest politician". "We should do everything we can so that, for once, the scoundrels are found," he said. "His despicable murder happened because there is complete impunity, because the government is completely helpless." The army provided an elaborate guard of honour for Yushenkov, a former colonel. Bomb probe The Russian authorities have not announced any arrests in connection with the assassination although Interior Minister Boris Gryzlov said some progress had been made in the investigation. According to a press release issued by Ms Morozova's lawyer in America, she believes Yushenkov's murder was linked to his insistence that the Federal Security Service (FSB) was responsible for the explosions in Moscow. There is no doubt in my mind that Sergey Yushenkov was killed because of his investigation of the Moscow bombings Alyona Morozova Her mother was killed by one of the bombs which went off in an apartment block in the south of the city. The attacks, blamed by the Russian authorities on Chechen separatists, largely swayed public opinion behind a new war in Chechnya later that year. In 2002, Ms Morozova helped arrange in the US Congress a screening of a film expounding this theory, which was promoted by exiled Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky. Miss Morozova said that, after the film was shown, Mr Yushenkov told her that the FSB was enraged by their actions and he feared they would try to "get even, sooner or later". However, the BBC's Stephen Dalziel notes that some Russian commentators suggest the assassination is more likely to be linked to internal political rows. The assassination of such a prominent liberal, he writes, could be linked to attempts to intimidate liberal voters in an election year.

AFP 24 Apr 2003 Chechen kidnappings continue despite referendum: officials by Bernard Besserglik MOSCOW, April 24 (AFP) - Top Chechen officials on Thursday called for a halt to kidnappings of citizens by Russian troops and pro-Russian police and admitted that nearly 50 people had disappeared since a key referendum a month ago. Ali Alkhanov, interior minister in the pro-Russian administration, said that 46 people had been abducted, two of them in the previous 24 hours, since the March 23 constitutional referendum, which was hailed by Moscow as proof that security had been restored to the war-torn republic. Alkhanov, appointed to his post only last week, told a meeting of the republic's security council that he had ordered an investigation to find the missing people, the Interfax news agency reported. "The police have been given every opportunity to defeat the criminals and gangsters, to become the support and hope of residents," he said. Security council chief Rudnik Dudayev accused federal servicemen and pro-Russian police of responsibility for many of the illegal detentions and disappearances, Interfax said. The servicemen "enter populated areas at night ... and take people without identifying themselves and without saying where they are taking them," he said. "Since the beginning of the year, 215 people have been illegally detained or kidnapped in Chechnya, and 46 of these cases were registered after the referendum," Dudayev said. "The overwhelming majority of these people are law-abiding citizens" who have no relation to rebel groups, he said. Dudayev warned that the lack of discipline among the law enforcement agencies was undermining the chances of peace in the republic. "Federal servicemen are not carrying out the orders of the Russian prosecutor general and the commander of the federal forces which govern operations and the detention of suspects. "This is hindering the normalization of the socio-political situation in Chechnya and cancelling out the administration's efforts to achieve stability," he said. "The people have adopted a constitution, believing in changes for the better, but the situation has only become worse. People are asking us why we are not protecting them if they are citizens of Russia, but we don't have anything to say to them yet." Security council members and regional chiefs attending the meeting expressed unhappiness at the absence of law enforcement representatives who had been invited to attend, Interfax noted. The constitution massively approved in last month's referendum fixed the republic's place in the Russian Federation and gave the go-ahead for elections for a new president and parliamentary assembly. The Kremlin is hoping that the new arrangements will be seen as a political settlement to the long-running separatist insurgency that has led to two military interventions, the latest in October 1999, and the loss of tens of thousands of lives. Russian troops in Chechnya have been accused by human rights groups of numerous abuses in Chechnya, including abductions in which Chechen residents have been held to ransom or, in many cases, killed and buried in mass graves.

Rosbalt News Agency (Russia) 29 Apr 2003 Political Haggling over Armenian Genocide To this day the Armenian genocide remains a taboo subject in most countries. Turkey is constantly struggling to prevent the international community from recognising the Armenian genocide as an undisputed fact. If this were to happen, Turkey would face reparation payments of several billion dollars. Armenians were once one of the richest peoples in Turkey. If the international community were to acknowledge the mass murder of these people, Turkey would have to pay back all the money it had seized by force, which according to rough estimates could total hundreds of billions of dollars. Native Armenian land would perhaps also have to be returned. On April 24 Armenians around the world celebrated the anniversary of the Armenian genocide. This is considered the date when the Young Turks began to massacre Armenians as a way of solving the 'Armenian problem' in Western Armenia, which at that time was a part of the Ottoman empire (Eastern Armenia was less populated and was then a part of the Russian empire). On April 24, 1915 many leading figures of the Armenian intelligentsia were arrested and killed and the mass deportation of Armenians from their native soil began. Armenians had in fact been persecuted and ill-treated from the middle of the 19th century but it was only at this time, in 1915, that the Ottoman empire began its conscious and large-scale extermination of the Armenian people. The Turkish army drove hundreds of thousands of Armenians through the Der Zor desert where they died from hunger and thirst. What is more, the government sanctioned raids by Turkish soldiers, who destroyed whole Armenian villages, not sparing even the women or the children. This policy of the Young Turks and Ataturks's subsequent adoption of their methods meant that the Armenian population was virtually completely wiped out in Western Armenia. About 600 thousand survived and now live in various countries of the world. Some of the refugees settled in Eastern Armenia. The Young Turks took advantage of the general chaos brought by the First World War and they were encouraged by Germany in their annihilation of the Armenian people. Recently discovered archives show that Germany was sympathetic and to a certain degree even initiated the Armenian genocide. The Armenians turned to Russia for help and many even joined the Russian forces which were now advancing and which made things more difficult for Germany and Turkey on this front. The deportation of the Armenians suited the Germans and it enabled Turkey to solve one of its global ambitions. Published decrees of the Young Turks' government show that they were seeking the complete destruction of Armenians as an ethnic group in order that the Ottoman empire might unite all the Turkish peoples in a single Pan-Turkish state reaching from Albania to Central Asia and then on to the Uigur provinces of China. When the Russian government passed a resolution in 1995 criticizing the Turkish government and the Armenian genocide, the State Duma described it as an offence against the Russian state as well and even aimed at its destruction. The Pan-Turkish dream had been aimed at 'liberating' all Turkish territory including Azerbaijan, the Caucasus, Tatarstan, Bashkiria, Yakutia and other regions in Central Asia to create an enormous empire of Turkish people. Such was the Turkish strategy. Armenia was a 'Christian obstacle' which had to be destroyed. Then they would deal with Russia and conquer other 'native Turkish land.' Such aspirations continue to this day. In settling the Nagorno Karabakh conflict, there is occasionally talk of exchanging the Nagorno Karabakh enclave for the Southern part of Armenia which cuts Turkey off from Azerbaijan. If this area did become a part of Azerbaijan, Turkey would achieve a vital part of its ambition. The presence of Russian border guards on this section of the border shows that Russia intends to strengthen its position in this region. Until now only 20 countries have acknowledged the Armenian genocide. The events of 1915-1922 are still of immense significance and intrigue for international politics. Despite the historicity of the facts, many have preferred to ignore them. It was taboo to mention the genocide in Soviet times. Only in 1965, when Uruguay formally acknowledged the Armenian genocide, mass uprisings broke out in Yerevan which caused the regime to soften its stance and a memorial museum was built in Armenia dedicated to the victims of genocide. April 24 became the unofficial anniversary. The Armenian genocide has now become a political weapon. The EU, which continually seeks to prevent Turkey from entering its ranks, uses Turkey's failure to acknowledge the genocide as an obstacle to talks for greater Turkish integration with the West. This effectively gives the EU complete control over Turkey. Ironically though, most of the EU member states still have not acknowledged the fact of genocide themselves. The situation is equally strange in the US. Here there is a two-million strong Armenian minority, which exerts a powerful influence in lobbying the government and, what is more, there are 122 congressional representatives of Armenian origin. This Armenian minority has three main aims. The first of these is clear - to do what is best for Armenia and Karabakh. However, for several years before the appearance of an independent Armenia and Karabakh, Armenian organisations had been putting pressure on Turkey to acknowledge the Armenian genocide. A more far-reaching goal is to return native Armenian soil to their original owners. US presidents address the Armenian community every year, paying their respects to the victims of the Armenian genocide. However, one fundamental difference is in the fact that they describe this crime as slaughter and do not use the word 'genocide'. There have been several attempts in Congress to pass a resolution acknowledging the Armenian genocide but every time the resolution has been rejected for fear of jeopardizing relations with Turkey. In this way, 31 US states have now officially acknowledged the Armenian genocide while the country as a whole has still preferred not to do so. For the US the genocide has also become a political tool for putting pressure on Turkey. Before the war with Iraq, when there was talk of opening a northern front and the Turkish government was reluctant to allow US forces onto Turkish territory, the Turkish press was full of rumours that George Bush had threatened to pass the genocide resolution in Congress if Turkey failed to comply with US demands. Even the Vatican took advantage. In 2000 the Pope signed a joint declaration with Catholicos of All Armenians Garegin II although only part of the declaration was made known in Armenia. According to the Armenian press, the Vatican had officially condemned the Armenian genocide. At the same time reports appeared in Russia that the Armenian Apostolic Church had declared it had no fundamental differences with the Catholic Church in return for the Vatican's acknowledgement of genocide. The Armenian Apostolic Church is, of course, a completely isolated branch of Christianity, which is closest to the Orthodox Church. Moreover, leaders of the Armenian Apostolic Church were involved in an uncompromising struggle with the Catholic Church for more than a thousand years. By signing this agreement however, the Pope managed to take advantage of Armenian grief about the genocide and make the Armenian Apostolic Church a part of the ecumenical movement which it had fought against for so many centuries. Apparently an Armenian Catholic committee has been formed now, which is trying to align the dogmas of the two denominations. Samvel Martirosyan, Yerevan Translated by Nick Chesters www.rosbaltnews.


UPI 1 Apr 2003 Assassination suspect gives war-crime deal BELGRADE, Serbia-Montenegro, April 1 (UPI) -- A senior secret service officer accused of organizing last month's assassination of the Serbian prime minister has approached the Hague war crimes tribunal offering information about the two most wanted Bosnian Serb leaders in exchange for a new identity and asylum abroad, according to diplomatic sources speaking to Belgrade media. Police Col. Milorad Lukovic, known as Legija, has had close ties with Radovan Karadzic, former president of Republika Srpska, and his wartime army commander, Gen. Ratko Mladic, reports said Tuesday. He offered to disclose their present whereabouts through an intermediary, they said. The United Nations has indicted Karadzic and Mladic for their alleged roles in the slaughter of thousands of Muslims and Croats in Bosnia by Bosnian Serb forces, particularly the massacre in Srebrenica in 1995. Among 16 charges of war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity are also using nearly 300 U.N. peacekeepers as human shields and shelling Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina. As the two most wanted men in the world by the United Nations, prosecutors could not help but find tempting any authoritative information that could lead to their capture. Turning that information into custody is another story, however -- as is its price. Asked if she could confirm the reported offer, the spokeswoman of the U.N. tribunal prosecution, Florence Hartmann, was quoted as saying: "I cannot comment on it. It is too sensitive a topic." The new Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Zivkovic today said he was sure the tribunal would not agree to such a bargain. "I can believe Lukovic intends to sell Serbian citizens and others down the river just as he has sold his friends and that he is now about to try and sell something else. But I think he hasn't got the goods he is offering to the Hague tribunal and I am sure the tribunal will not enter into any kind of dirty trading with anybody," he declared. Lukovic has been on the run since March 12, when reformist Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic was shot and killed while he walked from his car into the government building in Belgrade. Serbian authorities believe Lukovic and his alleged connections to organized crime were behind the assassination. Two men accused with Lukovic of planning the assassination were traced by police to a rural farmhouse outside Belgrade and killed in a shootout last Thursday. They were Dusan Spasojevic, also a former secret service officer, and Mile Lukovic. All three were leaders of Serbia's most powerful criminal gang, known as "Zemun Clan." Police said Tuesday Lukovic may have fled the country on a Croatian passport. The Serbian police ministry said Lukovic possesses a diplomatic passport issued in 1996 in which his profession was given as "an expert." Police in Zagreb, Croatia, Tuesday confirmed a report by the Serbian ministry that he also has a forged Croatian passport in the name of Vlado Vukomanovic. Croatia, along with Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia-Montenegro, Slovenia and Macedonia, are the nation-states formed after the bloody break-up in the 1990s of Yugoslavia, a former Soviet satellite. Lukovic is a former commander of the Special Operations Unit, known as JSO or more colloquially the Red Berets. The group was founded in 1991 by then-Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic's secret service and took part in ethnic wars in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo in the 1990s, during the former Soviet satellite's bloody break-up. After Djindjic's assassination the Serbian government disbanded the JSO, which had remained a greatly feared, secretive force even though Milosevic and his regime were toppled in a bloodless popular uprising in Oct. 2000. Dozens of JSO and Zemun Clan members as well as hundreds of other criminals have been rounded up by police, who said Serbian authorities are preparing charges against them. JSO Lt. Col. Zvezdan Jovanovic, known as Zmija ("snake" in Serbian), has been arrested and accused of killing Djindjic outside the government building with a sniper rifle from the window of a nearby house. Five other JSO men, including Lukovic's successor as commander, Dusan Maricic, are also under arrest and are expected to be charged with kidnapping and killing Ivan Stambolic in August 2000. Milosevic, who ousted Stambolic as Serbian president in 1987, is suspected by the government of ordering the murder. One of the five as yet unidentified men led police to a quick lime pit on Fruska Gora Hill, where Stambolic was shot, then buried in the northern province of Vojvodina.

AP 1 Apr 2003 MILOSEVIC AND WIFE DENY KILLING Slobodan Milosevic and his wife, Mirjana Markovic, separately denied involvement in the kiling of Mr. Milosevic's predecessor as Yugoslav president, Ivan Stambolic, whose remains were found last week. Mr. Milosevic made his denial at the United Nations war crimes tribunal in The Hague, where his trial for war crimes in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo during the 1990's resumed after a two-week delay due to his ill health. Ms. Markovic, believed to be in Russia, made her denial in a letter published in the Montenegrin daily Publika. On Sunday, Serbia's deputy prime minister, Zarko Korac, accused the Milosevic family of ordering the killing.

AP 4 Apr 2003 Warrant issued for arrest of Milosevic's wife A warrant has been issued for the arrest of Slobodan Milosevic's wife in relation to the murder of a former Serbian president. Police would not specify what charges were included in the warrant to arrest Mirjana Markovic, but have accused her and her husband of being behind the murder of Ivan Stambolic. Sources in Belgrade did not say whether any charges had been filed against Milosevic, who is currently on trial for genocide and other war crimes in The Hague. Markovic, who wielded much power during her husband's presidency, is believed to be hiding in Russia and authorities in Serbia and Montenegro are expected to ask for her to be extradited. Police say Markovic and Milosevic are linked to the murder of Stambolic, a political opponent to Milosevic. He had been missing for three years when his remains were found last month in northern Serbia. The investigations into his killing and several other unsolved murder case have progressed due to a sweep on organised crime following the assassination of Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic on March 12. Markovic, an unpopular figure in Serbia widely known as 'the red witch', left the country weeks before Djindjic was shot dead by a sniper in front of government headquarters. In a letter released this week, she denied that she was involved in Stambolic's killing. She said: "These are untrue, heinous accusations. I have no connection to any criminal act."

NYT 22 Apr 2003 A Top Suspect in '91 Massacre of Croatians Surrenders By PETER S. GREEN BELGRADE, Serbia, April 21 — A former Yugoslav Army commander, charged with directing the 1991 massacre of nearly 300 Croatian civilians during the siege of the Danube port of Vukovar, turned himself in to the Serbian authorities today. Serbia's government called the surrender of the commander, Capt. Miroslav Radic, a major victory in its crackdown on organized crime and war-crimes suspects after the assassination last month of Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic. A spokesman said the government also expected "concrete movement" soon in the case of the former Bosnian-Serb military leader, Ratko Mladic. Mr. Mladic is charged with genocide against Bosnia's Muslims and the 1995 massacre of more than 7,000 Muslims from Srebrenica. Mr. Radic, who officials said would be extradited to face trial at the international war crimes tribunal in The Hague, is one of three former Yugoslav People's Army officers charged in connection with the Vukovar massacre. Gen. Mile Mrksic, who commanded the artillery that left Vukovar a pile of rubble, turned himself in last year, and he maintains that he is innocent. The third Vukovar commander, Veselin Sljivancanin, is still at large. Serbia's government has cracked down on organized crime gangs and the many in their ranks indicted for or suspected of war crimes. The police have questioned more than 7,000 people and detained more than 2,000 since the deputy head of the Red Berets Special Operations unit was arrested and charged with shooting Mr. Djindjic. The authorities say Mr. Djindjic's killers hoped to scare the Serbian government into halting its plans to send suspects to The Hague. The three-month siege of Vukovar became a symbol of the brutality of the government of Slobodan Milosevic, whose own trial in The Hague is continuing. In August 1991, the Yugoslav Army attacked Vukovar as it carved up the disintegrating Yugoslav federation to build an ethnically pure Serbian homeland. On Nov. 19, 1991, Yugoslav Army units arrived at Vukovar's hospital, where several hundred ethnic Croats sought refuge. The next day, most of the refugees were herded on to buses and taken to the village of Ovcara, where soldiers from Mr. Radic's special infantry unit were said to beat them for several hours. Almost 300 were taken to a nearby field, where they were shot and killed. Investigators from Physicians for Human Rights exhumed the remains in 1992.


Anadolu Agency 4 Apr 2003advertisement Unal: We Formed A Committee For Armenian Genocide Allegations ESKISEHIR - Nedim Unal, spokesman of the Armenian Issue Platform in Eskisehir province in central Anatolia, said on Thursday that they had formed a committee to do research on so-called Armenian genocide allegations. Members of the platform under the chairmanship of Unal visited Eskisehir Governor Sami Sonmez. Stating that he had initiated a series of studies on so-called Armenian genocide allegations, Unal said that they would prepare a report after translating articles of several academicians and several foreign press organs about the issue into Turkish. Unal said that they had found some important information during their research on genocide allegations and stated, ''we have formed a committee to do a detailed research on so-called Armenian genocide allegations. We have found important information that it was the Armenians who committed genocide against Turks. Armenians who were forced to migrate during the Ottoman era raided villages and killed Turkish people. We understand this from the remains of bodies which were recovered from cemeteries in that region. However, we could not explain it in international platforms.'' Meanwhile, Governor Sonmez said that external powers which did not want Turkey to get stronger, brought such baseless allegations onto the agenda and added, ''they are trying to prevent Turkey's growth. I support your initiatives and efforts to explain the realities of the issue.''

Al-Ahram Weekly Online (Cairo, EG) 3 - 9 April 2003 (Issue No. 632) Hand on the trigger With troops amassed on the Iraqi border, the smallest spark could rekindle Turkey's slow-burning Kurdish question, reports Nyier Abdou in Silopi-- Driving through Istanbul's Taksim district, Mehmet, an off-duty intelligence policeman, is heatedly expounding on why government policy is driven by fear of an independent Kurdistan. The massive humanitarian crisis engendered by the crossing of some 500,000 refugees from predominantly Kurdish northern Iraq following the Gulf War in 1991 is still fresh in the minds of Turkish officials nervous that the war in Iraq will push refugees back over the border. "Turkey is not a rich country," says Mehmet. "But we helped them. We gave them food, they stayed here." Taking his eyes off the road, he turns long enough to declare that the Kurds are so ... nankör. "You know nankör?" he asks. "No, explain it," I say. He shakes his head, searching for the right word, but ultimately just repeats "nankör" more emphatically. Suddenly, he pulls the car over to the side of the road, pulls out a pocket Turkish-English dictionary and flips through with determination. He shows me the book, his finger on the word. "Ungrateful." Turkey's Kurdish south-eastern provinces are a long way from Istanbul or Ankara, where protestors continue to spill out onto the streets in anti-war demonstrations, but support for Turkish military presence in Iraq is strong. The towns and villages of the south- east are the Turkey that the European Union doesn't see. More than four years after the unilateral cease- fire that ended hostilities between the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the government, towns still maintain a heavy police presence, main roads are dotted with frequent military checkpoints and people are not inclined to talk to reporters or have their pictures taken. With war next door, tensions are rising as the military continues to build up its troops at the small border town of Silopi. At the military checkpoint outside Silopi, Turkish troops waylay reporters making a symbolic effort to reach the Iraqi border some 15 kilometres south. They're as camera shy as locals, and brandishing a camera falls just short of wielding a weapon. This is the end of the line, with only local traffic and military trucks waved through. When we rolled up, a surprisingly jovial general greeted us with a well rehearsed "I'm sorry. You speak English?" We leaned out the window, dangling our press passes, but no language was necessary to understand what came next. Even so, he unfolded a worn paper that bore the same short paragraph in numerous languages: "I'm sorry. Passage is forbidden. Turn back from here please. This is an order given for us." A few paces away, a soldier faced off oncoming traffic, his machine gun poised. All protestation was greeted with the same cheerful "I'm sorry." From the road, there's not much to see beyond the checkpoint. All troops are concealed behind walls of concrete and barbed wire, but it's no secret they are there. Talks were still ongoing this week between the US and Turkey on a deployment of Turkish troops in northern Iraq, which the US and Britain have made clear would be an unwelcome development. But comments by Turkish Army Chief of Staff Hilmi Ozkok indicate that Turkey will not enter northern Iraq without cooperation from the US. On Tuesday, US Secretary of State Colin Powell was in Turkey to discuss the situation in northern Iraq and the country's powerful National Security Council, made up of military and civilian authorities, was set to meet on Friday. Diplomatic sources indicate that the US is well aware of Turkey's "red lines" -- namely US support for an independent Kurdish state in northern Iraq and an uncontrollable refugee influx. For Turkey, the Kurdish issue is paramount, and the perceived threat of a potential Kurdish state overshadows all other policy issues. "The Kurdish problem is the main problem," says prominent nationalist and media personality Altemur Kiliç. Suggesting that Washington and the American media have been won over by the "very successful" Kurdish lobby, Kiliç argues that the government squandered Turkey's chances to have a say in what happens in northern Iraq when it refused to allow US troops to enter Iraq from Turkey. "Even before, the US was flirting with the Kurds," he says. "The 'poor suffering Armenians' have been overtaken by the 'poor suffering Kurds'." Uzmit Uzdag, chairman of the Eurasia Institute, says that in terms of timing, the freshman leadership of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) have "made some mistakes" that have led to a weakened and unclear policy on Iraq. But he adds that because the US is "too pro-Kurdish", there is "strong suspicion about American aims in northern Iraq". "Both the Turkish government and the military are trying to find a way out of this dilemma," says Uzdag. He suggests that a lot will depend on how Washington handles a post-Saddam Iraq and the treatment of Iraq's ethnic Turkmen. "If America doesn't stop Kurds from attacking the Turkmen; if Washington neglects the Turkmen in the post-war makeup, then there will be a lot of problems," he said. While the US has been portrayed as naively pro- Kurdish among nationalists, it is unlikely that Washington would dare to back Kurdish independence, since another disputed state would further destabilise the region. Still, says Kiliç, the possibility exists. "They say they won't now," he says. "But then something happens and things get out of control." Since the Kurds in northern Iraq already have a government, Kiliç insists that it is natural that they would want to develop that authority into a formal state. "If I was a Kurdish nationalist, that's what I would do. But I'm a Turkish nationalist," he said. Turkey already maintains several thousand troops in northern Iraq, but fears that the war could spark unrest have put the military on edge. Although Kurdish opposition parties maintain that there is no plan to establish an independent state, panic over the prospect is palpable among policy-makers and on the street. Suspicions of Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP) leader Massoud Barzani and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) founder Jalal Talabani run deep, and few doubt they are eyeing south-eastern Turkey. Many fear the emergence of a new resistance group, or a new arm of the old PKK, that might take advantage of the grab for power after the fall of the Iraqi leadership to raise the call for independence. Ultimately, however, this is an irrational fear, argues Hassan Kaoni, a professor of international relations at Ankara University. "Turkish Kurds want to stay in Turkey and become part of Europe," he suggests. But the military is always obsessively concerned about the security of Turkey's borders, he adds. "That's their job." A trip by a top US general, Henry Osman, to the Iraqi border town of Salahuddin on Monday has fuelled rumours that the US will soon set up a coordination centre near the border. Such a post would be similar to that set up in the area during the first Gulf War, but it could also signal a tacit understanding between the US and Turkey that a Turkish deployment across the border is not out of the cards. The US is unlikely to accept a crossing at this time, especially since the main reason offered by Turkey for a deployment is that it wants to contain a possible refugee crisis inside Iraq's borders. But with no sign of internal movement, this reason is too thin to justify a deployment. Many believe, however, that the US might accede if a radical shift in events took place and the deployment could be painted as a reaction instead of an incursion. If this is the case, then the Turkish military will be waiting for an incident on which to peg its claim that more troops in Iraq are needed to maintain the status quo. With the situation in northern Iraq becoming increasingly uncertain, a trigger could come at any time. If it does, the first of what could be many offspring crises of the war in Iraq may be born here.

turks.us April 27 2003 @ 01:23 PM Pacific Daylight Time Contributed by: Admin Views: 15 BY OKTAY EKSI HURRIYET- Columnist Oktay Eksi comments on the so-called Armenian genocide allegations and the measures Turkey can take to refute them. A summary of his column is as follows: Sukru Elekdag, a former Turkish ambassador to Washington, is now a deputy for the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy. In Washington, he provided exemplary services to organize Turkish people there to solve their problems. In particular, he helped Turks respond to the unfounded claims that 1.5 million Armenians lost their lives early last century in a so-called genocide.’ Every year on April 24 the Armenian lobby works for the recognition and commemoration of the genocide. Their aim is to tar Turkey as a country guilty of crimes against humanity in order to demand ‘compensation’ and then territory. Earlier this week, Elekdag told his fellow parliamentarians how Turkey can best fight the genocide allegations. In sum, he said, ‘The facts show clearly that the Ottoman Empire neither planned nor carried out a genocide. A book entitled ‘The Treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, 1915-1916’ is often used as a source to assert the opposite. This book, which is also known as the blue book, describes Turks as people lacking honor, conscience and mercy, and as fundamentally tending towards evil, bloodthirsty acts. However, this blue book is a tissue of lies and fabricated documents. Professor Justin McCarthy definitively demonstrated this through using archives located in Britain. Moreover, if the documents in the book had been real, then Britain, which invaded Istanbul in 1920, would have showed these documents when they arrested Turks and expelled them to Malta. However, Britain instead set these Turks free.’ Elekdag also suggested that officials publicize their case to the world. Armenians will soon open an ‘Armenian Genocide Museum’ in Washington. This museum would be in essence a factory to crank anti-Turkish propaganda. ‘We cannot prevent this unfortunate development,’ said Elekdag, ‘but we can all work to establish a museum of Anatolian culture and civilizations in the same area’. SOURCE: OFFICE OF THE PRIME MINISTER, DIRECTORATE GENERAL OF PRESS AND INFORMATION

United Kingdom

BBC 8 Apr 2003 Three guilty of Real IRA bomb plot Three men have been found guilty of masterminding a dissident republican bombing campaign in England two years ago which injured several people and caused millions of pounds worth of damage. Among the targets were the BBC Television Centre in White City, west London. Aiden Hulme, 26, his brother Robert, 23, and Noel Maguire, 34, had denied conspiracy to cause explosions on Saturday nights in London and Birmingham. Two other men have already admitted plotting to cause explosions between January and November 2001 as part of a Real IRA bombing campaign. Real IRA attacks 4 Mar 2001: Car bomb outside BBC TV Centre, White City, London. Tube worker injured. 15 Apr 2001: Bomb explodes near sorting office in Hendon, north London. No-one hurt. 6 May 2001: A second blast at Hendon sorting office. One man injured. 2 Aug 2001: Car bomb detonates in Ealing Broadway, west London. Several people injured. 3 Nov 2001: Bomb in Birmingham city centre fails to detonate properly. Minor injuries. On the bombers' trail James McCormack, 34, and John Hannan, 19, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to plotting to cause the explosions. All five will be sentenced on Wednesday. Each of the three bombings had similarities including being left in vehicles, created with home-made explosive mixtures and had similar timing mechanisms. The same code word was also used. Although there was no direct evidence that any of the defendants physically set the bombs, there was a wealth of evidence suggesting they were part of the team responsible, the court heard. They were also associated with the two self-confessed conspirators, Hannan and McCormack. The jury heard lengthy and complex mobile telephone evidence which showed links between the defendants and the explosions. It was nothing short of a miracle that no pedestrians or others in clubs and pubs nearby did not suffer fatal injuries Orlando Pownall QC Pensioner's tip-off Orlando Pownall QC, prosecuting, had told the jury: "It was nothing short of a miracle that no pedestrians or others in clubs and pubs nearby did not suffer fatal injuries." The Real IRA, a dissident Irish republican group which refused to accept the Good Friday Agreement, hoped to bring about a united Ireland, or at least force the UK Government back to the negotiating table, using terror. The plotters were discovered during an undercover Customs and Excise investigation into a fuel tax fiddle when equipment for a car bomb was found in a remote Yorkshire farmhouse. Then a pensioner in north London recognised one of the men from an E-fit released after the Ealing bombing. Maguire's lawyers claimed he suffered from "significant intellectual impairment" and could not possibly have helped plan the bombing campaign. Text messages Maguire, nicknamed "Brain Dead" by friends, said he was at a party on the night of the BBC blast. Robert Hulme had denied any involvement and said he only knew McCormack because he had once had a relationship with McCormack's sister. Hannan and McCormack admitted their part in the plot He admitted being involved in a scam involving diesel fuel in the UK. The jury heard how Aiden Hulme was sent several text messages from Ireland on the day after the Ealing blast. One said: "Up the Provos!" and was accompanied by an image of fizzing sticks of dynamite. Robert Hulme was also convicted of possessing a timer and three detonators with intent to cause an explosion. Maguire was acquitted of that charge. Both Robert Hulme and Maguire were cleared of two other charges alleging they were in possession of a hand grenade and a Smith and Wesson revolver. None of the defendants had previous convictions for terrorist activity.

Reuters 9 Apr 2003 Real IRA Bombing Gang Jailed for 100 Years By Michael Holden LONDON (Reuters) - Five dissident Irish republicans who launched a bombing campaign on the British mainland were jailed on Wednesday for a total of 100 years. The Real IRA cell carried out an attack on the BBC's main London offices in 2001, along with car bombings in Ealing, west London and in Birmingham later that year. Anti-terror police believe the gang had been planning more attacks when they were caught. Robert Hulme, 23, his brother Aiden, 26 and Noel Maguire, 34, were found guilty on Tuesday of conspiracy to carry out the bombings along with John Hannan, 19, and James McCormack, 34, who pleaded guilty in January to plotting the attacks. McCormack, a father of six whom the judge said had played the "most serious part," was jailed for 22 years, the Hulmes received 20 years each and Maguire 22 years. Hannan, just 17 at the time of the attacks, became one of the youngest Irish guerrillas to be jailed. He got 16 years. "These were abnormal crimes designed as a threat to the country as a whole and must call for long sentences," judge Justice Gibbs said. "It is a mercy no one was in fact killed." The gang launched their first attack in March 2001 when a massive car bomb estimated to involve 50 pounds (23 kg) of explosives, was left in a taxi outside the main offices of the British state broadcaster. The next blast came in August in Ealing, an area of the capital popular with night revelers, injuring seven people. The final attack came in the busy center of Birmingham, Britain's second city, in November. No one was hurt as the explosive mixture failed to go off. The men were said to be foot soldiers in the Real IRA, the most active of the renegade Irish groups. The judge said that there was clear evidence that other people were involved in the plot in a "controlling capacity" in England or the Republic of Ireland. Peter Clarke, head of the UK's anti-terrorist branch, warned that the Real IRA threat remained serious. "London and indeed the rest of the UK continues to face a risk of terrorist threats from a number of different groups," he said. "The threat from Irish dissident republican terrorists remains high and continues to be of great concern to us." The mainstream Provisional IRA group has called a cease-fire in its 30-year war against British rule in Northern Ireland but other splinter groups, opposed to the 1998 Good Friday peace accord, have continued to mount attacks. The Real IRA was responsible for the single worst atrocity in Northern Ireland's conflict -- the Omagh bombing that killed 29 people in 1998.


NYT April 6, 2003 Paramilitaries on the March By SANIL DASGUPTA Paramilitary forces are linked to some of the deadliest crimes of recent history. The ethnic cleansing in Bosnia and Kosovo was largely carried out by Serb paramilitary forces, not the regular military. Hutu militias, known as the Interahamwe, were responsible for the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. In Indonesia, West Timorese paramilitaries and government-organized youth squads ledthe "dirty wars" against the separatists of East Timor. In the first two weeks of the war in Iraq, Iraqi paramilitary fighters, not Republican Guards or other formal military units, were responsible for most of the coalition casualties in combat. These groups, the Saddam Fedayeen and Baath Party militias, like paramilitary forces everywhere, operate outside the regular military structures and serve to provide internal security for the regime that allowed their formation. While Pentagon officials dismiss paramilitaries as a nuisance and a perversion of the rules of war, paramilitary forces are increasing the world over and will continue to pose challenges to American interests. In 2002, from one-third to one-half of the total military manpower in China, Russia and India — the largest non-Western military powers in the world — was in paramilitary organizations. A report on the internal use of force by the East West Center, a research organization, found that, from 1975 to 1996, the ratio of government troops to the population rose 29 percent in Thailand, 42 percent in Burma, 63 percent in China, 64 percent in Pakistan and 71 percent in India. Though paramilitaries are smaller than regular armies, their rapid growth and rising status make them more important than the sum of their numbers. The countries with the largest paramilitaries — including China, India, Russia, Pakistan, Indonesia, North Korea and Algeria — have doubled and tripled their relative importance (as a percentage of total military strength) in the last 30 years. Paramilitaries, which grew out of the security and economic conditions in the developing world, were in many cases intended to be parallel military forces outside the military or police command to protect regimes from internal threats like separatist rebellions. They include constabulary forces, like the People's Armed Police of China, a large, uniformed group developed as the first line of defense against civil unrest like that in Tiananmen Square in 1989. In some cases, paramilitaries are fighting the government, as in Colombia, where the United Self-Defense Forces emerged as local militias to guard farmers against leftist guerrillas but now control much of the drug trade. Unlike regular militaries, which are built by training diverse recruits to work together, paramilitaries are drawn from politically reliable groups, creating ethnically or tribally based units. For example, the Saddam Fedayeen drew primarily on Sunnis from central Iraq. The most dangerous type of paramilitary organization is the security intelligence agency, in which power is concentrated in few hands. Death squads, for example, are usually located within a country's security intelligence agencies. In Egypt, the General Intelligence Agency conducted a brutal campaign against Islamists in that country, eventually forcing many of them to move to Sudan and Afghanistan. Since their primary function is internal security, paramilitaries are adaptable. The fedayeen in Iraq, for example, have discarded uniforms, hidden among the civilian population, attacked the rear or ambushed coalition troops, sometimes luring them with white flags of surrender. As dispersed forces, the fedayeen could survive long after the lines of Iraqi military command have been disrupted. Though many paramilitary forces resemble guerrilla warriors, they are more potent than guerrillas because of their access to the state's resources. This also links their fate directly to the regime's. The independence of East Timor, for example, was most forcefully resisted by paramilitaries in the former Indonesian province. Under dictatorships, paramilitaries are often so identified with the government's oppressive actions that the chances of clemency under a new government are likely limited. This can often undermine plans of a peaceful change. In Brazil, for example, attempts to democratize in 1981 were undermined by the actions of the security intelligence agency, which had controlled many members of death squads in the 1970's. By contrast, South Africa, under the leadership of the African National Congress, agreed not to prosecute members of the apartheid regime's "dirty warriors" to ensure a peaceful transfer of power. The ruthless effectiveness, tactical agility and continued survival of paramilitaries contrast with the weak militaries in many developing nations. The effectiveness of paramilitaries also comes from the changed world in which wars are waged. New constraints on some shaky regimes — like human rights requirements — have driven the use of force underground. In Iraq, the fedayeen and other paramilitary troops will eventually be defeated, but not without cost. If they inflict enough casualties and cause enough trouble, the Americans in charge of occupying Iraq might be lured into establishing truces with defecting elements of the regime. In Afghanistan, the effort to reduce fighting through local truces with warlords is one obstacle to stabilizing the country. Clearly, disarming paramilitary forces is as much a political task as a military one. Sunil Dasgupta, a research associate at the Brookings Institution, has just completed a major study of paramilitary forces.

victimstrustfund.org 1 Apr 2003 On Saturday April 6, on the anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, citizen groups and individual activists across the U.S. will begin a simple action campaign that we believe has the potential for a profound impact. Please take a minute to read about a short-term creative campaign that just might get leaders in Washington, DC, to remember why international human rights laws exist: to support and protect the survivors of atrocities - genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity - and to prevent these atrocities in the future. The plan is simple: We’re asking people from around the United States to join the campaign by sending a $5.00 check to the Victims Trust Fund of the International Criminal Court – through their senators’ offices. The donations to the Victims Trust Fund will help victims of future atrocities rebuild their lives. The fact is, senators can’t easily ignore a check. Each individual’s action will be powerfully magnified by the impact of asking their senators to forward their checks to the Victims Trust Fund, for the senators will have to either pass the money on to the Fund or send the check back to their constituent. Either way, the message will be heard. This campaign is a collaborative effort of a number of U.S. civil society groups – but we don’t own it. You do, and your friends and family in your email address book do, too. These simple actions can have a huge effect. Check out the campaign website for more details: http://www.victimstrustfund.org The campaign is a positive and powerful way for Americans to demonstrate that we recognize pain and suffering beyond our own borders, and want our government to build a better world by cooperating with our global neighbors instead of dictating from the superpower soapbox. Our actions will also send a strong message of solidarity with other amazing on-going global efforts to end impunity for atrocities. Even as we have been preparing the Victims Trust Fund Campaign’s launch, we have been overwhelmed by the enthusiasm that it has generated among civil society groups and activists. You will be hearing more about this campaign in the coming weeks, as senators grapple with their constituents’ demands for a better way to deal with dictators. We hope that groups of activists, students and others around the country will come together to make this campaign their own, organizing events and activities in their local communities. To help build local action, we have put together a kit for activists on the website, with materials you can download and copy, ideas for action, and plenty of how-to support. Please take action now by visiting http://www.victimstrustfund.org.

news source abbreviations

AFP - Agence France-Presse
All-Africa - All-Africa Global Media
AI - Amnesty International
Al Jezeera - Arabic Satellite TV news from Qatar (since Nov. 1996, English since 2003)
Anadolu - Anadolu Agency, Turkey
ANSA - Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata - Italy
Antara Antara National New Agency, Indonesia
AP - Associated Press
BBC - British Broadcasting Network
DPA - Deutsche Presse-Agentur
EFE - Agencia EFE (Spanish), www.EFEnews.com (English)
HRW - Human Rights Watch
ICG - International Crisis Group, CrisisWatch, monthly bulletin since Sept. 2003
ICRC - International Committee of the Red Cross
Interfax - Interfax News Agency, Russia
IPS - Inter Press Service (an int'l, nonprofit assoc. of prof. journalists since 1964)
IRIN - Integrated Regional Information Networks (UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Africa and Central Asia)
IRNA -Islamic Republic News Agency

IWPR Institute for War & Peace Reporting (the Balkans, Caucasus and Central Asia, with a special project on the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal)
JTA - Global News Service of the Jewish People
Kyodo - Kyodo News Agency, Japan
LUSA - Agência de Notícias de Portugal
NYT - New York Times
UN-OCHA - UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (ReliefWeb)
OANA - Organisation of Asia-Pacific News Agencies
Pacific Islands Report - University of Hawai‘i at Manoa
PANA - Panafrican News Agency
PTI - Press Trust of India
Peace Negotiations Watch
 (PILPG) Weekly News monitor since Sept. 2002
RFE/RL - Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty ( private news service to Central and Eastern Europe, the former USSR and the Middle East funded by the United States Congress)
Reuters - Reuters Group PLC
SAPA - South African Press Association
UPI - United Press International
WPR - World Press Review,
a program of the Stanley Foundation.
WP - Washington Post
Xinhua - Xinhua News Agency, China

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