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Prevent Genocide International 

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

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Africa

Algeria

News 24 SA 7 Jan 2003 Algerian rebels kill 58 - claim Rebels kill 43 govt troops Algiers - In one of the worst weekends of violence in more than a decade of trouble in Algeria, rebels with suspected links to al-Qaeda killed at least 58 people, local media reported on Monday. Daily newspaper Liberté said fighters from al-Qaeda network had joined forces with Algeria's Islamic rebel Salafist for Preaching and Combat group (GSPC) to ambush a convoy of government forces, killing 43 and wounding 19 others on Saturday. "The information according to which foreign elements belonging to al-Qaeda participated with GSPC members in the massacre had been confirmed by several sources," it said. Government officials were not available for comment. The government says the GSPC faction has links to al-Qaeda, and its leader, Hassan Hattab, had at least one telephone conversation with Osama bin Laden before September 2001. The attack, near Theniet el Abed village in Biskra province, 320km south of Algiers, is believed to be the worst single rebel assault on government troops in the past six years. On Sunday, suspected rebels killed two local government officials and 13 civilians from two families, media reported. State news agency APS said Chetaibi mayor and his first deputy were shot dead, and the second deputy mayor was missing after their vehicle was stopped by rebels on the short journey home from a conference in Annaba, 420km east of Algiers. A few hours earlier, rebels had killed 13 civilians from two families in a raid on a village in the Zabana area, 50km south of Algiers. Algeria has been racked by violence since early 1992 when the authorities cancelled a general election that radical Islamists were poised to win. More than 100 000 people have been killed since then, according to the government, although independent sources put the death toll at up to 150 000.

News 24 SA 9 Jan 2003 Islamists kill 8 Algerians - report Algiers - Eight Algerian soldiers were killed in an ambush by Islamist militants accused of links to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network, local newspapers reported on Thursday. The latest killings push the year's death toll over 100 in just nine days, which have included the deadliest attack since civil war erupted more than a decade ago after the army moved to block Islamists from taking power. The newspapers, Le Matin and La Depeche de Kabylie, said two bombs were set off by remote control as troops made a routine patrol on Tuesday evening in the Tizi Ouzou region 100 kilometres from the capital, Algiers. They blamed the attack on the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), and said members of the group have links to al-Qaeda. The United States has also accused the GSPC of ties to bin Laden's militant group. The GSPC also carried out an ambush on Saturday that killed at least 39 paratroopers and four armed civilian guides. Newspapers have since said the death toll from that attack has climbed to 49. Algeria has been gripped by unrest which has claimed at least 150 000 lives since the army moved in January 1992 to call off the second round of parliamentary elections that a Muslim fundamentalist party was poised to win. Algerian officials say a top al-Qaeda operative, Emad Abdelwahid Ahmed Alwan from Yemen, was killed in September in the Batna region where Saturday's attack took place. He was reportedly in charge of north Africa for al-Qaeda. - Sapa-AFP

Burundi

AFP 8 Jan 2003 'Imminent clash' with Hutu rebels threatens Burundi truce: army chief GITEGA, Burundi, Jan 8 (AFP) - Burundi's army chief of staff warned Wednesday that an imminent "major confrontation" between government forces and the main Hutu rebel movement threatened a truce signed last month. "I wouldn't be surprised if in the next few days there is a major confrontation with the FDD (Forces for the Defense of Democracy) which would threaten the peace accord, despite the restraint we have shown," General Germain Niyonkana told reporters in the central town of Gitega. The army had called a press conference here to parade 52 FDD recruits and two experienced rebel fighters before journalists. The rebels had been taken prisoner by the army on Tuesday after clashes in neighbouring Ruyigi province, near the border with Tanzania, despite a historic peace deal signed by President Pierre Buyoya and FDD leader Pierre Nkurunziza in the northern Tanzanian town of Arusha on December 3. Under the accord, both sides agreed to abide by a ceasefire starting December 6, with a definitive truce to take hold by December 30. However, the truce did not come into effect because both sides said other aspects of the Arusha accord had not been implemented. These included the arrival in the country of an African peace-monitoring mission, the setting up of a joint ceasefire commission and the cantonment of the belligerents. Burundi has been ravaged since 1993 by a conflict that has pitted Hutu rebels against the mainly Tutsi army and claimed nearly 300,000 lives, mostly civilians. Last week, Burundi's army accused the FDD of repeatedly violating the ceasefire in a bid to increase territory under its control, and warned it would attack rebel positions if they continued to do so. On Tuesday, the army said it had killed 14 rebel fighters in the clashes in Ruyigi. Niyonkana appealed for the international community to ensure that the African observer mission provided for in the accord be put in place quickly. "The FDD appears to be mocking the international community by continuing with its policy of enrolling and training new recruits in spite of the accord, possibly with the aim of waging all-out war," he said. "More than a thousand schoolchildren and farmers have been recruited by the FDD, by our calculations, since the signing of the accord," army spokesman Adolphe Manirakiza said. Some of the rebel prisoners in Gitega told AFP they had joined the FDD of their own free will, while others said they had been forced to join the insurgents. "I joined the rebels three weeks ago after an awareness campaign," said 30-year-old Leonidas, a teacher. "They are recruiting because they are worried the army will not abide by the accord and, if that is the case, they will continue the war," he said. The restoration of peace in Burundi is also hampered by the fact that Burundi's second largest rebel group, the National Liberation Forces (FNL), is not party to the Arusha accord, having refused to enter into peace talks with the government. On Wednesday, Buyoya called in his New Year address on "this recalcitrant group (the FNL) to finally and without delay join other Burundians who have decided to bury the hatchet of war" by engaging in peace talks.

AFP 20 Jan 2003 Fighting in Burundi Causes 15,000 to Flee BUJUMBURA, Burundi, Jan. 19 (Agence France-Presse) — More than 15,000 civilians in Burundi have fled an outbreak of fighting between government troops and Hutu rebels in central Gitega Province, an administrative official said today. Troops set up outposts four miles out of Gitega, the country's second-largest city, and were shelling rebel strongholds in the hills, said the local governor, Tharcisse Ntibarirarana. Officials said between 15,000 and 20,000 people had fled their homes since Friday. News of the fighting followed government reports that Hutu rebels from the main rebel group, Forces for the Defense of Democracy, had killed 10 soldiers in an ambush on Saturday in the eastern province of Ruyigi. A rebel spokesman confirmed the attack but said the government had broken a cease-fire. Burundi has been torn apart since 1993 by a civil war pitting Hutu rebels against the mainly Tutsi army in which nearly 300,000 people have died, most of them civilians. Meanwhile, fighting in the west with rebels from the National Liberation Forces, another group, left two paramilitary officers dead on Friday, a local official said. The Forces for Defense of Democracy signed a peace pact with the head of Burundi's transitional government, Pierre Buyoya, on Dec. 3 in Tanzania. Both sides agreed to stop hostilities starting Dec. 6, with a definitive truce to take effect on Dec. 30. But the starting date was put off, with both sides saying aspects of the peace accord were unresolved. The National Liberation Forces group has steadfastly refused to enter into negotiations with the government.

AFP 28 Jan 2003 African Union troops could be in Burundi within week: S.African mediator PRETORIA, Jan 28 (AFP) - The first African Union troops to oversee a ceasefire agreement in Burundi could be deployed there as early as next week, South African Deputy President Jacob Zuma said late Monday night. "I cannot give dates for their deployment," said Zuma, who mediates the peace process in the war-ravaged central African country, "but I believe that by next week we will be in a position to see the African Mission force landing in Bujumbura." Burundian President Pierre Buyoya and the country's largest Hutu rebel force, the Forces for the Defence of Democrcay (FDD) headed by Pierre Nkurunziza, Monday concluded two days of talks in the South African capital. Both leaders signed a declaration "recommitting themselves to a permanent cessation of hostilities in Burundi to ensure an end to all forms of violence between the two parties". The two groups signed a historic truce early in December to end conflict between the mainly Tutsi army and the Nkurunziza's main wing of the FDD. Burundi, a small former Belgian colony bordering Rwanda in east-central Africa's Great Lakes region, has for nearly 10 years been ravaged by a largely ethnic war, sparked by the assassination in 1993 of the first elected Hutu president and has claimed more than 300,000 lives. The declaration on Monday agreed to the urgent establishment of a Joint Ceasefire Commission. The parties also undertook to give Zuma the names -- which were already available -- of people who will serve on the commission. Both Buyoya and Nkurunziza urged Zuma to "expedite the processes that will lead to the rapid deployment of the African Mission to Burundi." Monday's talks also revolved around food, with rebel soldiers being accused of breaking off from round-up points to look for livestock, a source close to the talks said. Buyoya has charged that these forays were a pretext for renewing the fighting and recruiting new rebels. South Africa, Mozambique and Ethiopia have announced their commitment to send peacekeeping troops as part of an African mission to Burundi. Military experts from the United Nations, the AU and the South African National Defence Force have been meeting in Pretoria since last Tuesday to draw up a comprehensive plan for African Mission troops to monitor the ceasefire.

IRIN 29 Jan 2003 Peacekeeping troops for Burundi ADDIS ABABA, 29 Jan 2003 (IRIN) - Ethiopia is expected to send a battalion of troops, or 800 men, to act as peacekeepers in war-torn Burundi, senior sources within the African Union told IRIN on Wednesday. The move would be a temporary step until UN peacekeepers move in. However, there have been growing calls within the diplomatic community for Ethiopian troops to act as peacekeepers within the UN. “Ethiopian troops ought to be used in regional peacekeeping operations, in peacekeeping operations in western Africa, and indeed in peacekeeping operations around the globe, operating under a UN framework,” said Myles Wickstead, the British ambassador to Ethiopia. According to an AU spokesman, the troops would make up a pan-African force which would observe the Burundi ceasefire until the UN moves in. “The African mission would prepare the groundwork and ensure a conducive atmosphere in readiness for the UN to provide peacekeepers," the spokesman said. The move comes after a recent visit to Ethiopia by South African Deputy President Jacob Zuma who is leading the Burundi ceasefire process and who described the situation as “very urgent”.

Central African Republic

IRIN 9 Jan 2003 WFP resumes food distribution to May 2001 coup victims BANGUI, 9 Jan 2003 (IRIN) - The World Food Programme (WFP) in the Central African Republic has resumed food distribution in the southern suburbs of the capital, Bangui, to 84,000 victims of a coup attempt in 2001, according to the agency's programme officer. WFP suspended distributions in the area on 26 December 2002 after its employees received verbal and physical threats from discontented people whose names were not on the food distribution lists. "We received threats from armed civilians who claimed to belong to a self-defence group and who wanted food at all cost," Albert Bango-Makoudou, the WFP programme officer, told IRIN on Tuesday. He said that during one distribution, conducted in Bangui's second district, youngsters detained the WFP logistics officer, who subsequently had to be freed by the UN security team. With a view to resolving the situation, the WFP and the Femmes croyantes mediatrices de la paix, a local Christian women's NGO that distributes WFP food in southern Bangui, convened a meeting on 3 January with leaders of Bangui's sixth district. "We held this meeting to ask them to brief their people about the objective of the [food distribution] project and on how the census of the beneficiaries was carried out," Bango-Makoudou said. In total, 1,700 families - that is about 5,000 people - then received their one-month rations, composed of maize flour, beans, corn-soya blend flour, salt and vegetable oil. Only women were allowed to represent their families at the distribution site. "No incident was reported today. We think that the message was understood," Bango-Makoudou! said. He said the effort had initially targeted 55,000 of the most needy people, whose living conditions had been severely affected by the 28 May 2001 coup attempt, allegedly mounted by former President Andre Kolingba. "We redefined the goal of the project as we took into account those who came back [from exile] and the neediest and priority groups," Albert Bango-Makoudou told IRIN on Thursday.

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

COTE D IVOIRE: Army denies killing civilians ABIDJAN, 2 Jan 2003 (IRIN) - The spokesman of Cote d'Ivoire's armed forces, Lt Col Jules Yao Yao, denied on Thursday that the military had killed civilians in an attack on a rebel-held village in the centre of the country. The attack had been disclosed by Lt Col Ange-Antoine Leccia, spokesman of a French force that has been monitoring a 17 October ceasefire in the West African nation. Leccia was quoted as saying by BBC, Radio France Internationale and AFP that French soldiers had found the bodies of 11 civilians who had died in the helicopter attack on Minankro, a village 100 km north of the capital, Yamassoukro. The death toll mounted to 12 on Thursday when another victim of the attack died in hospital in the central town of Bouake, AFP reported. Minankro is 50 km north of the ceasefire line between government forces and Patriotic Movement of Cote d'Ivoire (MPCI) rebels who control most of northern Cote d'Ivoire. Yao Yao said on RFI that the military had not killed civilians. "We reacted to an attack by the rebels against our position in Gohitafla [another village in central Cote d'Ivoire] and this was not mentioned by anybody," Yao Yao said on RFI. "We carried out a number of operations to clear the area of all rebels. So, as far as we are concerned, those killed were rebels, not civilians." The French government has come out against the attack. "France strongly condemns the bombardment of Minankro by a helicopter belonging to the Ivorian armed forces which killed 12 civilians and wounded several others," French Foreign Ministry spokesman Francois Rivasseau said on RFI. "This followed an earlier cease-fire violationon 23 December at Pelezi [another hinterland town]. "We consider this violation of 17 October 2002 to be unacceptable," he added. "We shall be asking the Ivorian authorities for an explanation. The cease-fire must be respected by everyone." Meanwhile, news media reported that rebels in the west of the country had invaded an oil palm plantation south of the ceasefire line by crossing the border into Liberia, skirting the French forces and re-entering Cote d'Ivoire.

AFP 7 Jan 2003 Chronology of Ivory Coast crisis ABIDJAN, Jan 7 (AFP) - Following is a chronology of three and a half months of crisis in Ivory Coast, where rebels are fighting the army of President Laurent Gbagbo: September 2002 - 19: Rebellious soldiers launch attacks in Abidjan, the country's economic capital; the second biggest town of Bouake in the centre, and Korhogo, an army garrison town in the north. Former president General Robert Guei and Interior Minister Emile Boga Doudou are killed in Abidjan. - 22: French troops arrive from other bases in Africa to help a 600-strong garrison permanently based in Abidjan to protect expatriates. Some 3,000 foreign nationals are evacuated in one week. - 24: The newspaper of the ruling party accuses President Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast's northern neighbour, of "destabilising" the country. Compaore denies any involvement. - 28: The Ivory Coast government activates a defence agreement with France, the former colonial ruler. - 29: The Economic Community of West African states (ECOWAS) sets up a "contact group" and decides to send a peacekeeping force. October - 1: Rebels declare they have overthrown Gbagbo's regime and call on France to remain neutral. - 6-7: Intense fighting in Bouake, forces loyal to the government are repulsed. - 17: Rebels sign accord in Bouake to end hostilities. President Gbagbo accepts deal and asks France to police it. - 22: France sends more troops to enforce ceasefire. - 23: President Gnassingbe Eyadema of Togo, another former French colony in west Africa, is named mediator of peace talks. - 29: Guillaume Soro, secretary-general of the Ivory Coast Patriotic Movement (MPCI), the main rebel group, says army generals support the rebellion. - 30: First direct talks between government and rebels begin in the Togolese capital Lome. November - 1: Government agrees in principle to an amnesty and reintegration of rebel forces into army. - 27: French Foreign Minister Dominque de Villepin visits. The main opposition figure, Alassane Ouattara leaves the country after having taken refuge in the French embassy in Abidjan. - 28: Two new rebel groups, the Movement for Justice and Peace (MJP) and the Far West Ivory Coast People's Movement (MPIGO), emerge, claim to control the western towns of Man and Danane. December - 1: Some 160 foreigners evacuated from Man. - 3: Meeting at Bamako between Gbagbo and Campaore. - 12: MPCI demands total neutrality and withdrawal of France. - 15: French troops authorized to open fire on anyone impeding their mission. - 16: De Villepin condemns "external meddling" in conflict. - 18: ECOWAS summit held in Dakar, shunned by many key players. - 19: Amnesty International calls for UN investigation after discovery of mass graves. - 20: The Far West Ivory Coast People's Movement (MPIGO) capture town of Bangolo, south of Man. The United Nations give its full support to the "elected government" and calls for a political solution. - 21: French forces at Duekoue in west Ivory Coast return fire on MPIGO rebels approaching their positions. - 23: MPCI spokesman Soro calls on France and the UN to take over mediation role, saying the rebels no longer have confidence in an inter-African solution. - 24: ECOWAS announces the deployment of 1,264 men, but the arrival of the first soldiers is put back to January 3. - 28: French contingent swells to 2,500 with arrival of some 300 reinforcements. - 31: MPCI rebels blame the crisis on the government's policy of "Ivorianness", which they see as divisive. Government forces bombard Menakro, a village inside the ceasefire zone. French army says 12 civilians are killed, the rebels say 14. France says a previous ceasefire violation at Pelezi on December 23 killed 12 civilians. January 2003 - 2: France denounces Menakro attacks, demands "explanation" from the government. - 3: French Foreign Minister de Villepin visits. Gbagbo pledges to observe a "total ceasefire" and ensure the departure of mercenaries fighting on his side. - 4: The main rebel group (MPCI) calls for French troops to leave and dismisses Gbagbo's peace offer. After talks with De Villepin, however, the group agrees to a ceasefire, and to peace talks to be held in Paris. - 6: Two smaller rebel groups say they'll attend peace talks in Paris, expected to start around January 15. However new clashes between rebels and French forces leave an estimated 30 rebels dead in the west. - 7: France ascribes the new fighting to uncontrolled elements, says clashes will not affect planned peace talks.

AFP 9 Jan 2003 Ivorian rebels accuse govt of bombing western town, killing 15 civilians ABIDJAN, Jan 9 (AFP) - Ivory coast helicopter gunships on Thursday killed civilians and rebels in an attack on a town in the west of the country, rebels said, less than a week after President Laurent Gbagbo pledged to ground his combat aircraft and abide by a truce before upcoming peace talks. Felix Doh, head of the Ivorian Popular Movement of the Far West (MPIGO) rebel group based in the west of the world's top cocoa grower, told AFP that two government helicopter gunships strafed the town of Grabo. "Two of Laurent Gbagbo's Mi-24 helicopters arrived over Grabo this morning (Thursday) and opened fire," killing 15 civilians and injuring "some rebels," he said. Ivorian army spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Jules Yao Yao confirmed that government troops "were engaged in operations in the Grabo region," but did not specify whether helicopter gunships were involved. Gbagbo on Friday pledged to observe a truce signed in October and ground military helicopters. He also agreed to expel foreign mercenaries fighting on his side against rebels who rose up on September 19, who are intent on forcing him from power. The embattled Ivorian leader made his promises after talks with French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin, who paid an impromptu visit to the former French colony after government troops bombarded a fishing village inside a ceasefire zone on New Year's Eve, killing at least 12 civilians. De Villepin also got the main rebel group, the Ivory Coast Patriotic Movement (MPCI) holding the northern half of the country since September, to agree to abide by the tattered truce. On Wednesday, MPIGO and the other western-based rebel group, the Movement for Justice and Peace (MJP), signed a truce with French troops, but stressed that they would not lay down arms against the government. All three rebel movements and political parties from Ivory Coast are due to hold peace talks brokered by France in Paris starting next Wednesday which will be followed by a summit of African leaders, also in the French capital. United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan is due to attend the summit, de Villepin has said. The once-dominant Ivory Coast Patriotic Party (PDCI), which ruled from independence in 1960 until a military coup in 1999, has already held a brainstorming session to prepare for the talks. "The security of all people and their belongings across the entire expanse of the nation should be a pre-condition for the talks," PDCI secretary general Djedje Madi said in a statement. The ruling party's delegation will be led by Prime Minister Pascal Affi N'Guessan. Thursday's attack could jeopardise the Paris talks which have been billed as possibly the last hope for ending the ruinous war which has not only split Ivory Coast geographically but also divided it along religious and ethnic lines. French President Jacques Chirac has described the talks as a possible "last chance" for peace in the former French colony. The Paris talks appeared to be compromised by violent clashes on Monday between western-based rebels and French peacekeepers in the town of Douekoue -- which left 30 insurgents dead and nine French soldiers injured. The main rebel group, the MPCI, slammed French troops for their barbarism in the clashes, but later reaffirmed its commitment to the dialogue. The Ivorian rebels appear unwavering in their objective to oust Gbagbo, saying this was necessary to secure the rights of Muslim "northerners" and ethnic groups in the west, who they claim have been marginalised by the government. Nearly four months of unrest has been further complicated by the discovery of mass graves, the presence of foreign mercenaries fighting for both sides and government accusations that neighbouring Burkina Faso masterminded the rebellion.

AFP 10 Jan 2003 UN team investigates reported atrocities in eastern DR Congo by Rose-Marie Bruballa KINSHASA, Jan 10 (AFP) - A team from the UN mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC) has been investigating reports of atrocities against Pygmies and other local peoples by warring groups, a UN spokesman said Friday. "One of our teams, specialised in humanitarian law, has since January 6 been investigating the human rights violations denounced in Ituri" Province in northeastern DRC, Madnodje Mounoubaye said. Thousands of people have fled clashes in this part of the vast DRC, where fighters of the rebel Congolese Liberation Movement (MLC) and its allies have been advancing southwards on Beni, held by a pro-government force. On December 22, Bishop Melchisedek of Butembo, a town south of the Ituri provincial capital, said that rebels, "in their advance on Beni and Butembo, are carrying out the worst atrocities, forcing their prisoners to eat the organs of killed men, Pygmies in particular." "They've called their operation to conquer Ituri 'Wipe the Slate'," the bishop added. Since then, many witnesses have come forward with reports of slaughter, cannibalism, rape and other atrocities. Aid agencies and journalists have reported that scores of thousands of people have been displaced. The UN mission, which was due to "return to Kinshasa on Saturday, has been investigating these cannibalism allegations," Mounoubaye told AFP, without giving further details. MLC leader Jean-Pierre Bemba, based in the northern town of Gbadolite, has denied in the "strongest possible fashion" that the MLC was involved in the atrocities, and on Thursday said he would look into the charges levelled against his men. "I've set up a commission led by a senior officer to investigate any war crime or crime against humanity committed by the MLC and the RCD-N (the allied Congolese Rally for Democracy-National)," Bemba told AFP. Bemba said he had contacted Amos Namanga Ngongi, UN special representative in the DRC, to solicit the help of the United Nations in getting "information that will allow us to apprehend those behind such terrible acts against the civilian population." When the clashes in Ituri were initially reported late last month, Bemba denied that his forces were advancing and said that there was "confusion" between his men and the RCD-N, which some observers regard as an MLC proxy. Ethnologists have said the violence and the flight of local people is a disaster for the Pygmies who live in the forests of the region. One specialist told AFP that MLC fighters could be tracking down these people to eat their hearts and livers "to take their strength", in line with witchcraft beliefs prevalent in the region. The DRC is emerging from a conflict which began with a rebellion against the Kinshasa government in August 1998, drew in the armies of half a dozen other African countries at its height, and has directly or indirectly claimed an estimated 2.5 million lives. Several eastern parts of the country remain wracked by violence, since the official withdrawal completed last year of almost all the foreign soldiers involved in the war has been followed by bitter struggles for territory and control of valuable natural resources by local rebel groups and militias.

AFP 10 Jan 2003 Ivorian rebel group pulls out of peace talks, urges others to follow suit ABIDJAN, Jan 10 (AFP) - A rebel group based in western Ivory Coast Friday pulled out of next week's peace talks in Paris after accusing government forces of continuing to attack its positions and urged the main insurgent movement to follow suit. Guillaume Gbatto from the Ivorian Popular Movement of the Far West (MPIGO) said in a statement that Friday's attacks by government forces on the towns of Toulepleu and Blolekin were the second in 48 hours. "For the MPIGO the meeting in Paris has ended today with the attacks on its positions," the statement said, adding that the group felt betrayed by former colonial power France, whose troops are enforcing a ceasefire in the four-month war. Military sources confirmed the attacks on the two towns Friday but gave no details. Gbatto also exhorted the main rebel Patriotic Movement of Ivory Coast (MPCI) group holding the northern half of the country since September 19, "to disassociate itself from the fools' meeting which will take place in Paris". "Nobody should be taken in, because Laurent Gbagbo will never change," Gbatto said in an MPIGO statement. The Paris talks are due to start Wednesday. All Ivorian political parties and the two other rebel groups have committed to the dialogue. Gbatto said as far as his group was concerned, there was only one way to resolve the crisis -- "the departure of Laurent Gbagbo." The MPIGO also accused the government of using "numerous Liberian mercenaries" during its offensive on Toulepleu and Blolekin. The MPIGO had accused Gbagbo's forces of using helicopter gunships Thursday against the western town of Grabo, killing 15 civilians and injuring an unspecified number of rebels. The Ivorian army has officially confirmed that its troops "were engaged in operations in the Grabo region", about 200 kilometres (125 miles) south of Blolekin and of strategic importance to the port of San Pedro, but gave no details. French and some Ivorian sources said helicopters had indeed been used in attacks Thursday. But the Ivorian army pointed out that the two rebel groups in the west of the country had only agreed to a truce with French soldiers.

The Independent (Banjul) OPINION 10 Jan2003 Banjul And the International Criminal Court: The Need for Implementing Legislation Posted to the web January 10, 2003 Abubacarr M. Tambadou Banjul There is no doubt that the establishment of an international criminal court is a landmark achievement in the pursuit of international justice. The International Criminal Court therefore represents the apex of an international criminal justice system where the international and national complement each other. At the Rome conference in 1998, it was agreed by delegates that upon ratification by sixty countries, the International Criminal Court shall be established. Barely four years after the adoption of the Rome statute, more than sixty countries signed and ratified the statute. The rapidity with which this took place surprised even the most enthusiastic supporters of the court. Finally, after more than fifty years of debate, an international court for the trial and punishment of those who commit international crimes of the greatest concern to the international community was established. However, a closer look at events and the statute itself reveals that what went on in Rome was not a result of wholehearted willingness on the part of states parties to establish such a court, but rather, like all International Agreements, the statute was a product of political compromise. The root of the debate about the mechanisms of the court lies deep in history. One view was that for the court to function effectively and be accorded due regard by the international community, it must be seen to be above national systems as is the case in the International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and Yugoslavia. For those who subscribed to this view, the supremacy of such a court is paramount. The other view was that such an international court must not usurp the functions of domestic criminal justice systems. They held further, that the imposition of criminal sanctions is better and more effective with national systems and that the court must only be seen to complement national systems rather than dismantle it. Although both camps had legitimate reasons for holding their respective views, the history of trials for international crimes points to a bit of both. As far back as the first world war 1914 - 1919, trials for international crimes took place in national courts. Examples of these were the trial of German war criminals in leipzig by German courts, the trial of Turks for the massacre of Armenians in Turkish courts, Eichmann in Israel and Barbie in France to name but a few. Then in 1945, the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg was established to try Nazi war crimes. In this respect, and notwithstanding some shortcomings on the part of the tribunal, the Nuremberg trials became a watershed in the history of war crimes trials. Apart from the expansion of the jurisprudence of international criminal law which saw the first attempt at giving Crimes Against Humanity a legal definition, the Nuremberg tribunal recorded successes in other areas including being the first such international criminal tribunal to be recognised as such by the General Assembly of the newly formed United Nations. Therefore, having progressed from national systems in 1914-1919 to an international system in 1945, the 1990's saw the creation by the United Nations Security Council of two ad hoc International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and Yugoslavia. These two tribunals were established to try those most responsible for "crimes that shook the conscience of the world" in the conflicts in these countries including genocide in the case of the former. Despite initial difficulties about the nature of these ad hoc tribunals, it was agreed in the end that these two tribunals shall have concurrent jurisdiction (both personal and subject-matter) with national courts, but where in any particular case there appears to be a multiplicity of jurisdiction, the ad hoc tribunals shall prevail. In this case therefore, it is clear that the Security Council no doubt thought that the supremacy of such an international criminal tribunal is vital for its effectiveness. In the end, this decision by the Security Council to give supremacy to such an International Criminal Tribunal over National Court Systems and backed up by its authority to use its enforcement powers under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, and international relations being dominated by narrow state interests, led many states to seek to join and take part in the shaping of an International Criminal Court which may serve their interests rather than take a back seat and play no part in a process that will surely come around to affect them and their citizens. In the final analysis, those who favoured complementarity rather than supremacy got their way. The newly established International Criminal Court shall only complement national systems for the trial and punishment of international crimes. As a result, the system of international criminal justice has come full circle and has reverted back to Leipzig and Turkey. Under the present Rome Statute, it is the national systems of state parties who are entrusted with the primary task of ensuring an effective International Criminal Justice System. The jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court over international crimes is therefore residual. It is only where a state party to the statute is unable or unwilling to investigate and/or prosecute a crime which falls under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court that the latter can invoke its residuary powers of exercising jurisdiction over those crimes. In view of this, the duties upon states parties to bring their respective national judicial systems in conformity with their obligations under the statute cannot be more relevant. The idea of the principle of complementarity is to provide states with the first opportunity to contribute positively to the effective functioning of an international criminal justice system which they themselves created. The responsibilities include prosecuting their own citizens and those found in territories accused of such crimes. It is in this regard that The Gambia, which has done well to become a party to the Rome Statute, must take a step further to adopt an implementing legislation and incorporate the provisions of the statute into National Law. It is this, and only this, which can ensure that The Gambia has presently fulfilled to the fullest her obligations under the Statute. This is all relevant as The Gambia continues to fulfill its traditional role of sending peacekeepers throughout the world. An implementing legislation simply means that when members of our security forces on peacekeeping missions abroad are accused of crimes either by virtue of superior orders or command responsibility (ie, through no direct fault of theirs), it is our national courts with our national judges here in The Gambia who will sit in judgement over them. Therefore, the International Criminal Court may not prima facie exercise jurisdiction over them. However, where there is no implementing legislation as is the case presently, and given that our existing criminal laws do not provide for either the exercise of universal jurisdiction or for the trial and punishment of international crimes under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, The Gambia may well be regarded as being unable or unwilling to try those accused of these crimes. As a result therefore, the International Criminal Court shall then, under the provisions of the Rome Statute, be empowered to exercise jurisdiction. It is my view that national judges are better placed to sit in judgement over their nationals. They are much better placed than international judges, sitting in an international forum in a far away land and seeking to administer international justice, when it comes to mitigating circumstances including the sensitivities of the local populace, their psyche and cultural relativism, which is all essential elements of determining a man and his motives. The urgent need for the adoption of such a legislation cannot be over stated. The international criminal court has started recruiting personnel. The court is presently situated at The Hague, also hosting the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, the International Court of Justice. The Gambia may also contribute to troops to a proposed West African Peacekeeping and / or reinforcement force to the current crises in The Ivory Coast, which seems to have taken an ethnic and religious dimensions with no possible solution at hand. The situation in Ivory Coast, amidst allegations of mass murder and ethnic cleansing could well give rise to the first test case of the International Criminal Court. If The Gambia does send troops to the Ivory Coast as part of the proposed regional force and they, like the French presently in Ivory Coast and Ecomog in Liberia, and through no fault of theirs, get sucked into the war, no one can determine with absolute certainty what the result will be. There is an old adage which says "Prevention is better than cure" and "make hay while the sun shines". I hope that those who have the power to influence the destiny of this country would take heed and act wisely. We, on our part, can only contribute to the debate in the best interest of The Gambia.

AP 11 Jan 2003 In Ivory Coast's rich West, arrival of Liberian fighters pushes fear to fever pitch By CLAR NI CHONGHAILE The Associated Press 1/11/03 1:13 AM ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast (AP) -- Doped-up and trigger-happy, ex-combatants from Liberia and Sierra Leone are pouring into Ivory Coast to fight alongside rebels, terrorizing the West African nation with their reputation for savage bloodletting. Thousands of Ivorians have fled the border region since foreign fighters first appeared in the area a few weeks ago. No one knows exactly how many fighters there are, but their numbers are sufficient to shadow prospects for a peaceful end to the war in this former French colony. "They break down the doors, they come to steal and rape," said Soro Koronan, a teacher, fleeing the western rebel-held town of Danane in the back of a pickup truck. Danane is just 17 miles from Liberia. Beside him, Elisabeth Bohoussou unscrewed a plastic container to show a cell phone submerged in thick peanut sauce. "It's the only way we could make sure they didn't take it," she said. Liberian fighters are easily identified in Francophone Ivory Coast because they speak English. Liberia was founded by freed American slaves. Another distinguishing characteristic is their indiscriminate violence. During Liberia's 1989-1996 civil war, fighters hacked hands off civilians, raped women and murdered civilians. In neighboring Sierra Leone, rebels of the Revolutionary United Front likewise became infamous by chopping off the hands, feet, ears and noses of civilians. In both conflicts, fighters habitually geared up for battle with cocaine and marijuana. Sierra Leone's civil war ended in 2001 -- but as in Liberia, the gunmen are still around. So far there is no evidence of the worst of those atrocities in Ivory Coast, where the government and French troops are trying to contain a 4-month-old rebellion. But rebel attacks on civilians already are surging. Last month on the main road south of the western rebel-held city of Man, rebels sprayed a minibus with machine-gun fire, robbed the passengers and then set fire to the bus. Five people were killed and 11 injured. The gunmen were believed to be Liberians. In Toulepleu, near the border with Liberia, a priest said rebels, including Liberians, came to his mission and aimed their guns at him. "Some are not in their right minds," the priest said by telephone, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals. "Some wanted to attack us. Others were calmer." Nobody knows why the Liberians have come -- some diplomats suspect looting may be the only aim -- but their arrival has complicated a war that has already claimed hundreds of lives and displaced tens of thousands. Ivorian army officers say the rebels use the Liberians as an advance team -- letting them loot villages before moving in to claim control. Ivory Coast's conflict started when a northern rebel group tried to oust President Laurent Gbagbo in September. The group quickly seized the northern half of the country. In contrast with insurgents in the west, the northern rebels won an early reputation for good behavior, although there have recently been some reports of looting. Northern insurgents are fighting to safeguard the mainly Muslim northern tribes from alleged discrimination by southern tribes -- mainly Christian and animist -- that have traditionally dominated Ivory Coast. Some northern residents describe the insurgents there as protectors. It's not something you hear in the west, the world's top cocoa-producing region. "If there were no Liberians, we would have stayed," said Kamel Assaf, a Lebanese trader evacuated by the French from western Man. "They loot, they take cars by force. That's what scared us, because they told us they were Liberians." The western rebels deny they are linked to the northern faction, although government officials say they are all working together. "The developments in the west are more worrying than anything that has happened in the north previously, because we are dealing with people who are unpredictable and we know less about them," said one Western diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity. Gbagbo's supporters have accused Charles Taylor, Liberia's warlord-turned-president, of funneling guns and cash to the rebels. Liberian Information Minister Reginald Goodridge's response: His government cannot rule out the presence of Liberian mercenaries, but the government does not sanction their actions. The French are trying to broker a peace deal but one of the two western rebel factions on Friday pulled out of talks set for Paris next week. Even if rebel leaders were to agree to peace, it's not clear they could get foreign fighters to go along. The French army says there may be many intractable groups in the west, operating with different aims. Originally, western rebels said they wanted to avenge former junta ruler, Gen. Robert Guei, who was shot dead at the start of the September uprising. Now, their demands match those of northern rebels, who want Gbagbo to resign, and who accuse the president of fanning ethnic hatreds.

Reuters 24 Jan 2003 Warring Ivory Coast Factions Agree Peace Plan By Mark John and Henri-Pierre Andre PARIS (Reuters) - Rival Ivory Coast factions said on Friday they had united in a bid to end four months of bloody civil war with a peace plan calling for a coalition government and emergency measures to ease ethnic strife. Delegates said the plan, to be ratified by a summit of West African leaders in Paris this weekend, kept President Laurent Gbagbo in office but would force him to share power with a new prime minister chosen by broad political consensus. A copy of the peace plan obtained by Reuters carried the signatures of representatives of all the Ivorian political parties and rebel groups around the table, including from Gbagbo's ruling Ivorian Popular Front (FPI). Gbagbo, who flew into France on Thursday, was not at the talks but was due to meet French President Jacques Chirac on Friday afternoon ahead of the summit of West African leaders. "Anything that allows the Ivorian people to sort things out and make peace must be hailed," Gbagbo's adviser and spokesman in Paris, Toussaint Alain told Reuters. "It's now up to Gbagbo to give it substance, and the people must also be consulted on certain points of the accord so that it's democratic," he said, adding that Gbagbo would meet current Ivory Coast Prime Minister Pascal Affi Nguessan early on Friday. Cocoa prices were expected to come off recent peaks on the accord, although regional tensions could slow the implementation of the plan, which seeks to end bloody clashes in a country that was for decades a haven of stability in a war-torn region. Traders said they were poised for a sell-off in London cocoa futures which surged on Thursday as market players bought on news of renewed tension in Ivory Coast, the top cocoa producer. "The market will slip on the peace plan," one dealer said. Despite new violence that flared this week, participants emerging from nine days of talks near Paris insisted there was a chance the plan could halt a conflict that has killed hundreds and displaced up to a million people. "It is a good accord to start the reconstruction and reconciliation of Ivory Coast," said Konate Siriki of the Patriotic Movement of Ivory Coast (MPCI), the main rebel group in fighting since a failed September 19 coup. Participants said a new prime minister could be named within days to replace Nguessan. "According to the constitution, it's the president who must name the prime minister, but the term 'by consensus' means he'll have to be accepted by other parties," Nguessan, a Gbagbo party ally, told Reuters. PM TO BE NAMED SOON? A source close to talks who did not want to be identified said the new prime minister could be named at the weekend summit, to be attended by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan. "This government of national reconciliation will be led by a prime minister of consensus who will stay in place until the next presidential election, at which he will not be able to stand," the text of the accord said. It called on a future government -- to be formed from all the parties present at the talks -- to set dates for "credible and transparent" elections and to organize the disarmament of fighting forces active on the ground. Political parties at the talks included Gbagbo's FPI, the Democratic Party (PDCI) of former President Henri Konan Bedie and the Rally of the Republicans (RDR) linked to exiled former Prime Minister Alassane Ouattara. Aside from the MPCI, the talks at the French National Rugby Center, some 30 km (20 miles) south of Paris, included two western rebel factions, the Ivorian Patriotic Movement of the Far West (MPIGO) and the Movement for Justice and Peace (MJP). NEW TENSIONS ON GROUND The agreement came a day after the Ivorian government army accused Liberia of being involved in a rebel attack on the western town of Toulepleu on Wednesday. Liberia insisted its regular forces were not involved, but Ivory Coast Defense Minister Kadet Bertin rejected the denial and called on France -- which already has deployed 2,500 soldiers -- to commit more troops to his country's defense. Aside from offering a blueprint for a shake-up of political power, the plan tries to address ethnic tensions many say are at the root of the strife in Ivory Coast, where a quarter of the 16 million population are immigrants. An annex to the text calls for the country's nationality code to be more consistently applied, in particular by speeding up the naturalization process for the many Ivorians entitled to citizenship on residency grounds but caught up in red tape. Eligibility clauses that have prevented Ouattara from running for president would also be relaxed under the plan, requiring candidates to have just one parent of Ivorian nationality instead of both currently. A clause invalidating candidates who at any time renounced their Ivorian nationality for another would also be dumped. Other proposals would seek to protect land ownership rights and media freedom, and to establish an international committee to probe reports of human rights abuses since the failed coup. Under disarmament proposals, forces on the ground would be put under the control of French and West African troops now upholding the cease-fire and would be ultimately disarmed. The plan urged the creation of an international surveillance committee to ensure the peace accord was respected. It recommended the committee include representatives from various African bodies, the United Nations, the European Union, France, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund among others.

AFP 28 Jan 2003 10 killed in ethnic clashes as anti-French demos rock Ivory Coast by Abhik Kumar Chanda ABIDJAN, Jan 28 (AFP) - Ethnic clashes sparked by a French-brokered peace deal for Ivory Coast claimed some 10 lives Tuesday while thousands of angry youths ran riot for a fourth day in Abidjan and sought US backing against the pact. A doctor in the town of Agboville, some 80 kilometres (50 miles) north of Abidjan, said "nearly 10 people" died in violence between Christian southerners and Muslim northerners since Monday, but declined to give a precise figure. Other medical sources said "many people were injured by bullets and knives" in clashes which began when southerners staged a demonstration against the accord, which gives rebels key portfolios in a new unity government. They then started attacking Muslims, who they view as rebel supporters, and several mosques and churches were torched. A resident told AFP by telephone that "the situation is very serious". "Looting has resumed and they are burning the shacks of small traders," he said, adding that water supplies had been cut off, making it difficult to fight the flames. "All night long there were appeals for war," another said, adding that "all Dioula (northern Muslim) merchants have been attacked." Meanwhile, thousands of supporters of President Laurent Gbagbo raced through the streets of Abidjan and converged on the US embassy, where they urged Washington to intervene and help scrap the French-backed accord. The demonstrators called the pact a humiliation to Ivory Coast and said it promoted "terrorism" by giving the defence and interior ministries to rebels who sparked a ruinous four-month war in the world's top cocoa grower. "We have come to ask the Americans to save Ivory Coast," a youth leader, Eugene Djue, told the hysterical crowd. Many youths waved placards saying: "Like Judas, France has betrayed Ivory Coast," "Down with France, long live the US" and "No more French, from now on we speak English." Cries of "Gooood morning America" rent the air as Marines stood guard on the roof of the US embassy building until afternoon, when the crowd dispersed. Charles Ble Goude, a firebrand leader of the pro-Gbagbo Young Patriots movement, which spearheaded sweeping anti-French violence from Saturday, called on his followers to eschew violence. "We must allow shops and banks to open so that our relatives can stock up," he said. France on Tuesday announced tighter security measures for citizens living in its former west African colony, and President Jacques Chirac urged Gbagbo to respect the accord he had accepted over the weekend. French foreign ministry spokesman Francois Rivasseau said security measures would be decided in concert with 2,500 French forces on the ground, whose mission has been to protect French nationals and other foreigners and to enforce a truce between the belligerents. Gbagbo on Monday appealed to his backers to stop the violence, but also sowed confusion by describing the Paris accord he had signed as just a set of "proposals." French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin put pressure on Gbagbo to persuade his hardline supporters to accept the deal. "It's up to President Gbagbo to explain to his militants, and to the extremists in his camp that these accords are indeed in the interest of all and in the interest of Ivory Coast," de Villepin told French television. The leader of the main rebel group in Ivory Coast, Guillaume Soro, meanwhile accused Gbagbo of using "doublespeak" by calling the peace deal into question. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees said its activities in Ivory Coast had been suspended since the weekend due to the violent protests. "Our operations have been paralyzed due to the events. We have advised our personnel to stay at home for security reasons," spokeswoman Delphine Marie said in Geneva. Four days of violent protests in Abidjan saw the French embassy besieged for several hours and several French-owned businesses and offices vandalised, including those of Air France and telecoms firm Orange.

AFP 29 Jan 2003 Ivory Coast peace deal is 'nul and void': minister LOME, Jan 28 (AFP) - Ivory Coast's Interior Minister Paul Yao N'dre said late Tuesday that a French-brokered accord signed last week to end four months of conflict is "nul and void." "These accords say that the prime minister shares power with the president. That is unacceptable," he said in the Togolese capital. "...This regime does not share power between the democratically elected president and a prime minister named overseas," the minister said in a speech broadcast on Togolese television. Thousands of youths ran riot for a fourth day in Abidjan on Tuesdays against the French-brokered pact which keeps President Laurent Gbagbo in office but clips his powers and offers key cabinet posts to members of the rebel movement which controls half the country. Yao N'dre scoffed at the idea of rebels in the government ranks: "All you have to do is fire off a few rounds to get invited into the government and to destabilise the whole of the sub-region." Gbagbo on Monday appealed to his backers to stop the violence, but also sowed confusion by describing the Paris accord he had signed as just a set of "proposals." On Tuesday Ivory Coast's armed forces refused point-blank to accept rebels in a unity government as the main rebel group in the four-month war urged government forces to respect the deal. An informed source said the joint armed forces, with police, customs and other security services, clearly indicated they would not see rebels given the key interior and defence ministries in a memorandum submitted to Gbagbo. Gbagbo meanwhile said he would not step down in the face the growing unrest over the peace deal signed in France last week, saying the country would descend into civil war. "I have been elected for five years, I will govern and I will remain," he told a women's group, according to extracts of the speech broadcast on state television. "I do not want to leave my country to civil war. If Gbagbo resigns today, his supporters will also rebel... To resign today in Ivory Coast would be to open up a dangerous path, and I do not want to open that path." Yao N'dre was categorical in his dismissal of the peace deal; "This accord in light of what has happened, is nul and void," he said here after a meeting with Togolese President Gnassingbe Eyadema.

IRIN 29 Jan 2003 Two more shantytowns attacked ABIDJAN, 29 Jan 2003 (IRIN) - Several houses were set on fire on Tuesday night when "armed men in military clothing" raided and set fire to dwellings in 'Washington', a shantytown in Abidjan. The men also kidnapped seven young men who, at the time of writing, had not been found, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported on Wednesday. There were about 200 dwellings in 'Washington', where hundreds of low-income immigrants and Ivorians lived. The raid, according to residents, took place between 12:00 GMT and 12:30 GMT during the night. Last night's raid was the second in two days after a group of "armed men" in the early hours of Tuesday set ablaze another 50 houses in the shantytown of 'Abdoulaye Diallo, in the Abidjan suburb of Yopougon. 'Washington' is one of the many shantytowns in the economic capital Abidjan. Since the beginning of the Ivorian crisis, shantytowns have been the targets of demolitions by security forces who accused residents of sheltering those who launched the 19 September failed coup d'etat. President Laurent Gbagbo had ordered that destruction of shantytowns be stopped unless the shantytown was located in the vicinity of a security or military facility. However his orders have not always been followed. Meanwhile, the UN's humanitarian envoy, Carolyn McAskie, began today the sub-regional leg of her mission. McAskie, who has been in Cote d'Ivoire since 15 January was due to travel to Accra, Ghana, where she would meet with government officials, UN agencies and others organisations to discuss the four-month old crisis which has displaced thousands of people. McAskie's was due to travel to Burkina Faso, Guinea and Liberia from Ghana.

DR Congo

Reuters 4 Jan 2001 Congo Clashes Force New Exodus of 35,000 By Matthew Green NAIROBI (Reuters) - Clashes in northeast Congo forced 35,000 people to flee their homes in the past week, adding to a growing tide of residents uprooted by fighting between rebel factions, an aid agency said on Saturday. Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF) said it feared this brought the total number of people displaced by fighting in the area in recent months to an estimated 155,000. The exodus -- one of the biggest mass movements in the Democratic Republic of Congo in years -- left the refugees prey to rising levels of hunger and disease as well as atrocities committed by fighters, it added. Combatants have roasted people alive, raped women in front of their families and forced prisoners to eat human flesh, according to testimonies of people treated at health centers set up by MSF in the area in recent weeks. "The patients we are treating in our clinics tell us really horrible stories," MSF's Nicolas Louis told Reuters by satellite telephone from the town of Beni. "I've worked in African war zones for 15 years, and what we are seeing here are among the worst things I've ever seen." Fighting between rebel factions in the mineral-rich former Zaire, where a four-year war has killed an estimated two million people mainly through hunger and disease, has intensified around the strategic town of Beni in the past month. The clashes have raised fears that a broad Congo peace deal signed in South Africa in December will fail to stem fighting in the chaotic war in the vast country. MSF said rival rebel groups had fought artillery battles around the small town of Makeke on Tuesday, forcing an estimated 35,000 people out of their homes, despite the signing of a truce by various rebel factions in the area on Monday. Louis said the area around Beni had been calm for the past few days, but it was unclear whether the truce would hold. A high-level team from the United Nations Mission in Congo (MONUC) was due to visit Beni on Monday to assess the cease-fire and meet human rights observers checking reports of massacres in the area, U.N. officials in Kinshasa said. FEARS OF BLOODBATH Lawless parts of northeastern Congo have been plagued for several years by clashes between various factions, often along ethnic lines, which have killed thousands of people. U.N. officials and Amnesty International have previously warned of a possible ethnic bloodbath in the area, comparable to the 1994 genocide in neighboring Rwanda, in which 800,000 people were massacred. MSF said "extreme levels of violence" stopped aid workers gaining access to large areas around Beni, placing many people beyond the reach of the few relief workers in the remote region. "We see only part of the displaced population," said MSF Head of Mission Philippe Hamel in a statement. "There may be many more. We fear that in total there might be over 155,000 displaced people in the area between Butembo, Beni, Mambasa and Komanda alone," he said, referring to a cluster of towns in the mineral-rich northeast, toward the border with Uganda. Further south, thousands of people fled this week after rebels clashed with forces backing the government of President Joseph Kabila near the lakeside port of Uvira, which has changed hands repeatedly in recent months. Congo's warring parties signed a deal in December to share power and reunify the country that has been divided since war broke out in August 1998, sucking in six foreign armies. Many foreign soldiers have pulled out, but local militia violence has surged in the vacuum they left behind.

IRIN 7 Jan 2003 Bishop accuses militias of cannibalism KINSHASA, 7 Jan 2003 (IRIN) - Monsignor Melchisedec Sikulu Paluku, the bishop of Beni-Butembo in northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), has accused two local militias of cannibalism. The militias are the Mouvement pour la liberation du Congo (MLC), headed by Jean-Pierre Bemba, and the Rassemblement congolais pour la democratie-National (RCD-N), led by Roger Lumbala. "People who have fled the advance of MLC fighters and their RCD-N allies in the Beni-Mambasa axis have reported that prisoners and hostages were being forced to eat their own ears, big toes and other body parts," Sikulu told IRIN from Beni. He said that pygmies were particularly affected by "these unimaginable atrocities". Quoting reports by internally displaced persons (IDPs) who had fled to areas near Beni, he said: "The invaders - that is the fighters of Jean-Pierre Bemba and those of Roger Lumbala - eat pygmies." Fighting along the Beni-Mambasa axis between the MLC and their RCD-N allies against the RCD-Kisangani-Mouvement de liberation (RCD-K-ML) of Mbusa Nyamwisi resumed just days after the signing on 17 December of a comprehensive power-sharing accord providing for a transitional government for the country. On 30 December, the three rebel movements signed an UN-sponsored ceasefire agreement; on the following day, however, they resumed hostilities. This fighting has caused the displacement of 180,000 people since 17 December, according to the UN Mission in the DRC, known as MONUC. Sikulu said pygmies had also been displaced, but were not part of that number. "Even I have not had access to them, because, unlike the other populations, the pygmies are hiding in the forest 60 km north of Beni and are not in reception sites." He said humanitarian bodies had reported 60,000 IDPs, but pointed out that another 130,000 had fled during the two-day end-of-year celebrations. In Ituri District, at least people 600,000 have been displaced since 1999. RCD-K-ML Secretary-General Kolosso Sumahili told IRIN that he had received similar reports from IDPs. "People have seen - for the first time - that at least 3,000 pygmies have left their natural habitat because of war. It is a catastrophe," he said. Kolosso also said that the MLC often used the sexual organs of their victims as charms, believing that these afforded enhanced vitality. MONUC said it had been informed of the charges of cannibalism, but had been unable to verify the claims. "We are waiting for our observers to reach the area during their mission to monitor the 30 December ceasefire accord [and] to verify these grave accusations of human rights [abuses]," Gen Mountaga Diallo, the MONUC force commander, said.

BURUNDI-DRC: Thousands of Congolese flee to Burundi NAIROBI, 8 Jan 2003 (IRIN) - A new wave of at least 8,500 Congolese refugees has arrived in Burundi following renewed fighting in South Kivu Province in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the UNHCR reported on Tuesday. The latest conflict erupted on 26 December between the Mayi-Mayi traditional militia and the Rassemblement congolais pour la democratie-Goma (RCD-Goma) in rural areas of South Kivu. By 31 December, the fighting had engulfed the strategic town of Uvira on the shores of Lake Tanganyika, sending thousands of refugees across the border, the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported. It added that since 26 December, UNHCR in Burundi had registered 7,386 refugees at a transit site in Rugombo in Cibitoke Province, and 1,200 at another site in Gatumba, Bujumbura Rural. Wartorn Burundi already shelters at least 12,000 Congolese refugees who had fled an outbreak of hostilities between the two rebel groups in October 2002, UNHCR said. The latest fighting in South Kivu comes nearly three weeks after the signing of a power-sharing deal between the Kinshasa government, the main rebel groups and the DRC's political opposition to end the four-year war and pave the way for elections in two years. "There are growing concerns that RCD-Goma, which controls much of the Kivu region and various border crossings in South Kivu, is preventing people from leaving the strife-torn area to neighbouring Burundi," UNHCR reported. It added that Congolese refugees who had crossed the border had reported that the rebels were allowing only possessors of travel documents to leave South Kivu. Most of those fleeing to Burundi, the agency said, did not have such documents. They were therefore being "forced to cross the Rusizi river - which separates eastern DRC from Burundi - before dawn, when the checkpoints are unmanned". Many refugees, it said, started crossing the river border at about 4 a.m., then sneaked through the bush along the shores of Lake Tanganyika and arrived in safer areas of Burundi by early morning, exhausted from the three-hour journey. UNHCR said the waters of the river were rising steadily due to rains, "raising concerns for the safety of those trying to cross". It said that Burundian military personnel had been registering the new arrivals. They then escorted the refugees through the Rusizi National Park to the temporary site at Gatumba. UNHCR said recent arrivals included some 40 fishermen who had fled with their fishing boats and equipment. "They have asked to be allowed to remain among local fishermen along the shores of the lake," it added. Meanwhile, UNHCR said it had been compelled to transfer Congolese refugees displaced by October's conflicts from border sites in Rugombo and Gatumba to safer inland camps in Cishemeye in Cibitoke Province, and Gasorwe in Muyinga Province. So far, the agency reported, it had moved 3,013 refugees to Cishemeye and 2,373 to Gasorwe. At least 6,500 others remained at the two temporary sites, awaiting relocation to the camps. "The latest influx of refugees from South Kivu will delay the expected closure of the border sites," UNHCR said.

AFP 9 Jan 2003 Top Belgian official takes peace mission to DR Congo KINSHASA, Jan 9 (AFP) - Belgian Foreign Minister Louis Michel met with Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila on Thursday, during an African tour focused on bolstering efforts to help quickly set up a transitional government in the war-ravaged country. "I hope all the Congolese parties will rapidly reach an understanding and create a transitional government as soon as possible, to put an end to the crisis," Michel said after lengthy talks with President Joseph Kabila. The number two in the Belgian government was nearing the end of his tour, during which he has repeatedly urged all the parties who signed a peace accord to end the four-year-old war in the country to swiftly implement interim power-sharing provisions. Michel gave no details of his discussion with the president of the former Belgian colony, a vast country ravaged by years of conflict and misrule by previous regimes. But Kabila's spokesman Mulegwa Zihindula said in a statement that Michel had praised the young Congolese head of state for his ability to reunify the DRC's divided communities. Michel "congratulated the head of state for his multiple peace initiatives" and pledged "to do everything in his power to help him" the DRC spokesman said. On Thursday, Michel, who is also Belgian deputy prime minister, left for talks in the far north of the DRC with a rebel leader, Jean-Pierre Bemba. Under a power-sharing pact signed in the South African capital Pretoria on December 17, Bemba is due to take up one of four vice presidential posts in the new government. His Congolese Liberation Movement (MLC), long backed by Uganda in the complex war that started in August 1998, is based in the Equateur province town of Gbadolite and controls a large tract of northern DRC. The situation in the country since most of the foreign troops involved on either side of the conflict withdrew last year has been aggravated by renewed heavy fighting in the northeast, as local forces jockey for control of territory and considerable natural resources. Some of this fighting has pitted Bemba's MLC or small proxy rebel movements against forces allied with the Rwandan-backed Congolese Rally for Democracy (RCD), which controls much of eastern DRC, and which is due to get another of the vice-presidential posts. During a brief trip to Pretoria, Michel on Wednesday announced an indefinite extension of the mandate of the top UN official assigned to the DRC, the Secretary General's special envoy Moustapha Niasse of Senegal. The Belgian vice prime minister said he had been informed of this decision during talks he was having with South African President Thabo Mbeki, adding that the extension of the mandate would provide the best chances for peace. "The peace process was short of leadership because Mr. Niasse's mission ended at the end of December, and as he was responsible for convening parties (to dialogue among rival Congolese), this left a bit of a vacuum," Michel said. His remarks were also aimed at deflecting criticism he had stirred up among Congolese parties when he warned Tuesday of a lack of leadership in the DRC peace process, saying "there is no-one at the controls". On Wednesday, Michel said these comments had referred to "outside leadership", and not to all the various forces insides the country. These forces, including the fractious political opposition and representatives of civil society, are due to form an interim government to pave the way two years hence for the country's first democratic general elections since independence from Belgium in 1961. After the DRC, he was due to go to Senegal to brief Niasse at the end of his mission, which has also taken him to Angola, a DRC government ally, and Rwanda and Burundi on the eastern border of the DRC, before returning to Brussels.

AFP 9 Jan 2003 DR Congo rebel group to probe war crimes allegations KIGALI, Jan 9 (AFP) - The leader of a Ugandan-backed rebel group in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) said Thursday he was setting up a commission to look into allegations of war crimes levelled against his fighters. Jean-Pierre Bemba, the head of the Congo Liberation Movement (MLC), told AFP the move followed "accusations against MLC troops in various clashes between RCD-N (Congolese Rally for Democracy-National), our allies, and the RCD-Liberation Movement, which is close to the Kinshasa government." "I've set up a commission led by a senior officer to investigate any war crime or crime against humanity committed by the MLC and the RCD-N," said Bemba. Bemba referred to allegations of rape, cannibalism and executions that he said he had heard reported on the radio. Inhabitants of northeast DRC have spoken of such acts but there have been no confirmed or corroborated reports. Bemba said he had been in touch with Amos Namanga Ngongi, the special representative in the DRC of UN chief Kofi Annan, to solicit the help of the UN in "providing information that will allow us to apprehend those behind such terrible acts against the civilian population."

IRIN 9 Jan 2003 UN opens inquiry into reports of cannibalism KINSHASA, 9 Jan 2003 (IRIN) - The UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, known as MONUC, announced on Wednesday it had opened investigations into reports of cannibalism and human rights violations by rebels near the northeastern town on Beni, North Kivu Province. "A MONUC team has started the investigations [in the area] where 80,000 to 120,000 people are displaced," Patricia Tome, MONUC's chief of public information, told reporters in the capital, Kinshasa. The Bishop of Beni-Butembo, Monsignor Melchisedec Sikuli Paluku, and human rights activists have accused the Mouvement pour la liberation du Congo (MLC), led by Jean-Pierre Bemba, and its ally, the Rassemblement congolais pour la democratie-National (RCD-N) of practising cannibalism. "Internally displaced people have reported that [the rebels] have eaten pygmies and forced prisoners to eat their own ears, big toes and other body parts," Sikuli said. Investigators have already interviewed 200 displaced people. Tome said those interviewed were mostly rape victims, those whose properties were looted, those whose animals were slaughtered, and witnesses to summary and extrajudicial executions. However, she said, the investigators had not yet uncovered "precise information" indicating cannibalism. The outcome of the investigation would be sent to the UN Security Council "Mbusa Nyamwisi [leader of the RCD-Kisangani-Mouvement de Liberation [RCD-K/ML] has promised to hunt for those responsible for these violation, and Jean-Pierre Bemba has promised to punish those responsible," Tome said. The MLC and the RCD-N resumed fighting against the RCD-K-ML a day after signing an UN-sponsored ceasefire accord in the northwestern town of Gbadolite on 30 December. The renewed fighting has caused nearly 130,000 people to flee.

AP 16 Jan 2003 U.N. Says Congo Rebels Carried Out Cannibalism and Rapes KINSHASA, Congo, Jan. 15 (AP) — A six-day investigation in a remote region in northeast Congo has confirmed systematic cannibalism, rape, torture and killing by rebels in a campaign of atrocities against civilians, with children among the victims, United Nations officials said today. Accused rebel groups include the Congolese Liberation Movement of Jean-Pierre Bemba, one of two major insurgent movements now promised a leading role in Congo's government under a hard-won power-sharing agreement to end the central African nation's war. Rebels called their terror campaign "Operation Clean the Slate," said Patricia Tome, spokeswoman for the United Nations Congo mission in the capital. "The operation was presented to the people almost like a vaccination campaign, envisioning the looting of each home and the rape of each woman," she said. The charges are laid out in a preliminary report based on a six-day mission by United Nations investigators last week to the Ituri region. The investigation was prompted by reports from clergy and nonprofit groups operating in Ituri. The findings have been given to the Security Council and to the high commissioner for human rights, the Congo mission said. As word of the allegations emerged, Mr. Bemba announced Tuesday that the rebel group had arrested five of its own members, including its chief of operations in Ituri, Lt. Col. Freddy Ngalimo. Mr. Bemba said the five would be tried by a rebel military court. The allegations named Mr. Bemba's movement and the allied Congolese Rally for Democracy-National, which are fighting the rival rebel Congolese Rally for Democracy-Liberation for mineral-producing areas of Ituri. A series of peace deals secured the withdrawal of most foreign troops last year in Congo's four-year war, which split the country, the former Zaire, into rebel- and government-held zones. Despite the peace accords, fighting among the rebel groups intensified at the end of 2001 in the lawless east. United Nations investigators said the attacks occurred at Mambasa and Mangina, near the northeastern city of Beni. The report cited 117 instances of arbitrary executions between Oct. 24 and 29. It cited 65 cases of rape, including the rape of children, 82 kidnappings and 27 cases of torture in the same period. "The testimony given by victims and of witnesses was of cannibalism and forced cannibalism," including people made by rebels to eat members of their own families, Ms. Tome said. United Nations investigators have previously reported that the victims also included Pygmies, whom rebels routinely enlist as hunters to provide food for the insurgents. Investigators said they interviewed Pygmies who had gone into hiding after the rebel campaign.

ICG 24 Jan 2003 The Kivus: The Forgotten Crucible of the Congo Conflict Serious fighting in the eastern Kivu region is threatening peace plans for the Democratic Republic of Congo. A power sharing agreement signed in December between Congolese parties is supposed to lead to the finalisation of the Inter-Congolese Dialogue and the formation of a transitional government. However, ongoing violence in the East is jeopardising the positive results achieved so far. Plans by the UN observer mission (MONUC) to deploy a reinforced contingent of 3,000 will not be enough to make a difference. Unless a peace process is crafted specially for the Kivus and made central to the government's transition program and international efforts, the peace accords will remain words on paper. This report contains important new information based on extensive research on the ground by ICG analysts. -- For the full report, please see CrisisWeb - http://www.crisisweb.org

IRIN 28 Jan 2003 Pygmies demand a tribunal for crimes against them in Ituri KINSHASA, 28 Jan 2003 (IRIN) - Indigenous people from the Ituri District of Province Orientale in northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have demanded that the Kinshasa government create a criminal tribunal to hold accountable those who have committed crimes against them, including murder and cannibalism. "We are here to demand that the authorities of this country create a tribunal," Abengandula Baloi, head of a delegation of indigenous persons - commonly referred to as pygmies - from Ituri who have been in Kinshasa since Thursday, told IRIN. The group of five made their appeal at the end of a human rights seminar for pygmies that was held from 20 to 25 January in the capital. One of the pygmies, Nzoki Amzati, said he witnessed cannibalism committed by soldiers of the Mouvement de liberation du Congo (MLC). "I was returning from the field and had time to hide in the brush, from where I saw members of my family being killed and eaten by soldiers of [MLC leader] Jean-Pierre Bemba," said Amzati, who lives in Teturi, near the town of Mambasa where the majority of massacres took place. "From my hiding place I saw soldiers tear out the heart of a child and then eat it after having roasted it over a fire," he added. The Ituri delegation of pygmies were among 30 pygmies who participated in a human rights seminar organized by two NGOs, the Fondation Ipakala and the Centre international de defense des droits de Batwa. Eight pygmies taking part in the seminar came from the neighbouring Republic of Congo while the 22 from the DRC were from the provinces of Bandundu, Katanga, and Orientale. The seminar organizers instructed the pygmies on international human rights law, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights. "We demand a policy of protection for pygmies, because it is inconceivable that there is a policy of protection for animals of the forest and not for pygmies who are as much human beings as we are," Prosper Nobirabo, one of the organizers of the seminar, said. The UN Mission in the DRC, known as MONUC, confirmed on 15 January that rebel groups in the northeast of the country had been engaging in acts of cannibalism. MONUC said it had received witness reports of rebels belonging to the MLC and its ally, the RCD-National, being involved in cannibalism and forcible cannibalism in Mambasa and Mangina, respectively 50 km and 70 km northwest of Beni.

Egypt

Al-Ahram 1 Jan 2003 Issue No. 619 Contaminated goods - Osama El-Baz* reminds Arab and Islamic proponents of anti-Semitism that they are purveying shoddy goods of purely Western make. The article is an abridged version of a three-part study published in the Arabic daily Al-Ahram -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Over the last three centuries European society has given rise to an idiosyncratic series of events and ideas that are absolutely specific, both geographically and historically. The peoples of the Middle East, like other non-Europeans, remained remote from these developments, not only in terms of physical distance but also in terms of their outlook on human nature and their own social and psychological circumstances. They have found -- and continue to find -- it difficult to comprehend the nature of such developments, to understand the ethos and spirit that gave rise to an important body of humanitarian thought. Europe witnessed several revolutions and widespread social upheaval while simultaneously experiencing rapid and intensive scientific and technological progress. It also witnessed many manifestations of a blend of blind prejudice and a sense of inherent superiority over other "uncivilised" and "backward" peoples producing, among other things, an imperialist colonial movement, which proceeded in tandem with a vaunted spirit of enlightenment and the prodigious philosophical, intellectual and practical accomplishments that benefited all mankind. Another manifestation of the irrationality peculiar to the European mindset was the prevalent attitude towards Jews, collectively and as individuals. Jews were inferior and the object of suspicion because they were "different" in their religion, appearance and behaviour. And it was precisely these differences that served as pretexts for intimidation, persecution and, at times, the annihilation of entire populations. Fear and hatred of Jews existed across all of Europe and assumed its most virulent forms in the Russian pogroms and, later, in the Nazi holocaust. It was during this period of glaring inconsistency between leaps forward in material and intellectual progress and jumps backwards in moral attitudes and behaviour that the term anti-Semitism was first used, coined in Germany in 1873 by Wilhelm Marr. Subsequently, some European intellectuals would distinguish between "anti-Jewish" and "anti-Semitic" sentiments. The former, they argued, denotes prejudice of a purely religious nature, and is grounded in the Jews non-acknowledgment of Jesus Christ as the Messiah and their responsibility for his crucifixion. Anti- Semitism, on the other hand, was directed against a group of people, a volk, thought to share certain physical and behavioural characteristics that have no direct bearing on religious affiliation. The term thus signified a hatred of Jews based on ethnic and racial prejudices and, consequently, assumed secular connotations. According to this distinction "anti-Jewish" ceases once a Jew converts to Christianity whereas "anti-Semitism", a fundamentally racist concept, persists and pursues its victim regardless of religion. Because anti-Semitism is a secular concept and not contiguous with religious affiliation, its proponents required particular proofs to back the theory. Among the most broadly disseminated "proofs" were the notorious Protocols of the Elders of Zion and the tales of Christian blood in Jewish matzo. Although such claims have never been corroborated, their widespread currency fuelled hatred and fear of Jews. The so-called Protocols -- of which there were 24 in the original 110-page version -- were attributed to a cabal of rabbis who ostensibly published them in 1897, with the purpose of recording their conspiracy to create a global empire subject to Jewish rule . Freemasons, liberals, secularists, atheists and socialists were variously accused of conspiring with these rabbis to achieve their dream of world domination. There is a large body of evidence suggesting the Protocols were a forgery. It is hardly credible that a handful of individuals from a small minority should meet and set down their scheme to rule the world in a 110-page pamphlet that would be exposed sooner or later. Several experts have also pointed to a work that appeared in 1864 by Maurice Joly, Dialogue in Hell Between Machiavelli and Montesquieu, or Politics in the 19th Century, which has many stylistic similarities to the Protocols. And is it not a little strange that a group of rabbis would write a document of this type without using a single word of Hebrew, the language of the Torah and Talmud, or Yiddish, the language of Ashkenazi Jews which is still used in newspapers in Europe and the Americas today? Given the revolutions and upheavals Europe experienced in the late 19th and early 20th centuries it is likely that the Protocols were produced by conservative elements seeking to halt what they perceived as decline by attributing it to a vast conspiracy masterminded by European Jews. One needs only read the opening pages of the Protocols to realise its fraudulent nature. In the first protocol, for example, the authors attribute to themselves the vilest traits: "Through the press we have gained our influence while we remained behind the curtain. Through the press we accumulated gold, and we did not care that that caused rivers of blood to flow." Senior clergymen of any religion do not voluntarily level such charges against themselves and their coreligionists and then disseminate them on paper. The blood in the matzo myth has a long history. In its original form Jews were accused of killing a Christian, preferably a child, on Easter to mock Christ on the day commemorating his crucifixion. Since Easter and the Jewish Pesach, or Passover, fall at the same time in the year, the tale evolved to include the claim that the Jews used the blood of their victims in religious rituals, particularly in making matzo, the unleavened bread used to commemorate the Exodus. It was also said that Jews used blood in the manufacture of medicines. Some Arab writers, commentators and individuals belonging to groups that describe themselves as Islamic have evinced a crude sympathy for Nazism despite the fact that it is alien to the beliefs and practices of Arab and Muslim peoples. Nazism is founded on a fanatical racist theory, expounded by Hitler in Mein Kampf, that holds that the Aryan race is inherently superior and therefore has the right to subjugate other peoples. Towards the Jews, the Nazis adopted what they called the "final solution", rubric for a programme of systematic physical extermination. Jews were not the only group to suffer such barbarity. The Nazis also targeted gypsies, Slavs, the infirm, crippled and indigent. 'The Arab cause is just and there is no excuse for borrowing from a legacy inconsistent with the tenets of our beliefs and the realities of our history, no excuse for not presenting our cause in its proper logical and moral framework' Those who admire Hitler for his demagogic hold over the masses or for his enmity to Britain, once the occupying power over Egypt and other Arab countries, would do well to recall the disasters he inflicted on his people. Hitler executed those who opposed him. He masterminded the horrors of the concentration camps into which the Jews and other "undesirables" in Germany and the countries occupied by the Nazis were rounded up and eventually exterminated in vast numbers. Some writers have questioned the numbers of Jews that died as the result of Nazi atrocities. It is also true that some Jewish writers, such as Norman Finklestein in The Holocaust Industry, maintain that Zionist organisations capitalised on the Holocaust, an exploitation that has tarnished the memory of the victims of the concentration camps, including the author's mother. What concerns us here, however, is not scale of the tragedy, or how it was later used, but rather that it happened at all. Jews in Europe were the victims of a rabid anti- Semitism. To anthropologists and ethnologists, the term "Semitic" refers to all peoples, Jews, Arabs and others descended from Abraham. The apologists for anti- Semitism, however, do not use the term in its technical sense, but rather to target Jews in Europe and this, in turn, gave rise to such concepts as the "Jewish character", "Jewish morals", "Jewish culture", and "Jewish people". Such notions are founded on two fallacies. The first is that Jews share inherent biological, physical and moral traits and tend towards specific occupations. These allegedly distinct ethnic, behavioural and cultural traits make the Jews a singular race. To the proponents of such concepts Jews are "alien", the "other". Anti-Semitism, as here defined, is a purely European phenomenon, a manifestation of specific psychological, sociological and historical realities. And if, in the 20th century, this phenomenon has sometimes extended beyond the European continent, it has never done so with anything approaching Europe's fanaticism. Have the Arabs or Muslims ever been anti- Semitic, in the sense of anti-Jewish? I believe that the impartial scholar must reply in the negative. Above all, the Arabs believe that they, like the Jews, are descended from Abraham and that they are thus cousins. Sharing the same cultural and ethnic origins, Arabs can hardly regard Jews as inherently "different". It does not stand to reason that Arabs could harbour hatred or a sense of superiority towards people that share the same ethnic origins. Arab Nationalism was never anti-Jewish. It was not founded on an ethnic or religious basis, but rather on the basis of common bonds of language, culture and interests shared by all Arab speaking peoples. Its aim was to unify these peoples and mobilise their moral and material energies towards the defence of vital interest, the expulsion of the "colonialist enemy" and the restoration of freedom and dignity. Only then could the Arab Nation play a part in world civilisation commensurate with its cultural legacy, safeguard the collective security of the Arab peoples, and secure their right to progress. If anything, therefore, the "other" in that epoch were the colonisers. Rather than setting itself in juxtaposition to Judaism or Christianity, Islam presents itself as an extension of the Judeo-Christian tradition. The Qur'an pays tribute to all the Jewish prophets, recognises the Jewish and Christian faiths and establishes Islam as the culmination, or seal, of divinely revealed messages. The attitude of Islam towards Jews, whom it regards as one of the "peoples of the Book", should be seen within the context of the principles it establishes for the relationship between man and his fellow man. The Qur'an and the Sunna are replete with strictures calling for peace, mutual tolerance, justice and equality among the "People of the Book". Because of the spirit of tolerance inherent in Islam, Muslims, Jews and Christians coexisted in harmony from the beginning of the Islamic Empire, through the Ummayid and Abbasid eras until the end of the Ottoman Empire. Nor should we forget that in Spain both Jews and Muslims, who had lived peacefully for seven centuries, suffered at the hands of the Christian inquisitions. It is also interesting to note that when French Jews began to flee the Nazi occupation of France the only country to offer them refuge was Morocco under the late King Mohamed V. This leads us to a second important question: did the spirit of brotherhood between the Arabs and Muslims, on the one hand, and Jews on the other, continue after the creation of the state of Israel. Sadly, one must answer that this spirit was impaired for a number of reasons. Firstly, the methods used by the founders of Israel against the Arabs of Palestine were brutal. Secondly, Israel, and the Zionist movement abroad, frequently used Jewish and Israeli interchangeably. This confusion caused Arabs to wonder whether the conflict that had erupted in Palestine and later spread to other Arab countries was between the Arabs and Israel or between the Arabs and Jews. Right-wing parties in Israel espoused expansionist beliefs inimical to peaceful coexistence in the region. The call for Eretz Israel, a greater Israel extending from the Nile to the Euphrates, naturally provoked alarm among neighbouring countries. Since its creation, Israel has also routinely discriminated between its Jewish and Arab citizens, excluding the latter from military service and certain civil rights. Indeed, some claim that political society in Israel discriminates between Ashkenazim and Sephardim Jews. Israeli leaders have always insisted on the necessity of preserving the "Jewish identity" of the state. This stress on the ethnic composition of the state has contributed to the rift between Jews and Arabs and gives the impression that Israeli society is racist. Religious political movements on both sides have also generated the erroneous impression that the conflict is between Judaism and Islam. That such rhetoric presents the two religions as incompatible deepens the gulf and creates the impression that the conflict is a battle for existence in which only one side can survive. And many Jewish and Zionist groups abroad, especially in the US and Europe, wittingly or not, have contributed to augmenting the gap between Arabs and Jews by misrepresenting the nature of the Arab-Israeli conflict as a form of protracted feud with deep historical roots. They exacerbate matters further in their anti-Islamic rhetoric and activities while blindly defending the extremist policies of Israel. It must be stressed here, however, that not all Jewish groups and individuals abroad are prey to such attitudes; many remain insistent upon the distinction between Israel and Judaism and do not hesitate to openly criticise Israeli policies. One might possibly understand those Arab writers and media figures who attack Jews on the basis of the racist fallacies and myths that originated in Europe had the Arab cause not been firmly grounded in just demands. But the Arab cause is just and there is no excuse for borrowing from a legacy inconsistent with the tenets of our beliefs and the realities of our history, no excuse for not presenting our cause in its proper logical and moral framework. Most Israeli policies and attitudes are refutable because they fail to acknowledge the methods by which Israel was created, the uprooting and expulsion from their homeland of a people. It is also clear that many Israeli governments pursued policies inimical to the cause of peace and in violation of agreements signed by previous governments. It is possible to expose the fallacies and dangers of Israeli policy through rational argument and there is no excuse for borrowing from an alien, inhuman and outmoded anti- Semitic lore. Perhaps it is useful to simplify the issue for the reader by posing two questions. First, let us suppose that the Jewish state was founded on a land other than Palestine and accepted by the indigenous inhabitants of that land. Would the Arab and Islamic peoples have objected to such a state and entered into conflict with it? Second, if the people who had founded a non-Arab state in Palestine were not Jews -- if they were Christians, Buddhists or even non- Arab Muslims -- would the Arabs of Palestine and elsewhere have been anymore welcoming of that foreign implant? The answer to both of these questions is no. The origin of the Arabs' conflict with Israel has nothing to do with the ethnic or religious affiliations of its founders. It has everything to do with the threat to a portion of the Arab national entity, which was eventually severed off and handed to a foreign people as a solution to a problem in which the Arabs had no hand in creating. Arab opposition to Israel never emanated from antagonism by Arab Muslims and Christians towards Jews and Judaism. The Arab conflict with Israel has always been, and should always be depicted as, a contemporary conflict over usurped national rights. In light of the foregoing I have a number of recommendations to make to fellow Arabs and Muslims and then to Israel and its supporters abroad. Firstly, to Arabs and Muslims I say: We must uphold the correct perspective on our relationship with the Jews, as embodied in the legacy of Arab civilisation and in our holy scriptures. This legacy holds that ours is not a tradition of racism and intolerance, that the Jews are our cousins through common descent from Abraham and that our only enemies are only those who attack or threaten to attack us. It is an incontrovertible fact that Hitler forced the Jews of Germany and the other countries he occupied to wear the Star of David and to place that symbol on the outside of their homes. This was to facilitate rounding them up and dispatching them to concentration camps. Although that star is the emblem on the Israeli flag, if used by others to allude to the Jews it evokes painful memories of one of the most hideous forms of racist persecution. I therefore advise against using this symbol when criticising Israeli officials and policies, all the more so since there is no need to import such outmoded and abhorrent practices from another culture. In addition to avoiding over-generalisations whereby we attribute to all Jews responsibility for the actions of some, I counsel against conspiracy theorising. It is all too easy to suggest that Jews or Israelis who criticise Israeli policy are simply playing the role assigned to them as part of a greater scheme to deceive the Arabs and the rest of the world. History cannot be condensed into a series of conspiracies. It is also important, in this regard, that we refrain from succumbing to such myths as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and the use of Christian blood in Jewish rituals. We should not sympathise in any way with Hitler or Nazism. The crimes they committed were abominable, abhorrent to our religion and beliefs. We should simultaneously take close heed of the positive aspects of Jewish affiliations. For example, one cannot help but to admire Britain's Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sachs who, in an interview with the Guardian on 27 August 2000 harshly criticised Israeli policies as radically contradictory to true Jewish values. We must bear in mind that not all Jews are Israelis or Zionists. It is sufficient, here, to recall that some of the most outspoken critics of Israel have been Jews, such as the late American Rabbi Elmer Berger, Naom Chomsky, Henry Seigmann and Anthony Louis. It is imperative that we continue to draw a distinction between Jewish, on the one hand, and Zionist or Israeli on the other. Nor should we regard all Jewish groups outside of Israel as necessarily pro- Israel and anti-Arab. Most frequently, such groups' sympathy for Israel emanates from their concern for the security and safety of Jewish people everywhere. Such anxieties are understandable: Jews, numbering approximately 14 million, form a very small minority of the world's population and, more importantly, as the atrocities suffered by the Jews under the Nazis have made them wary of any resurgence of anti- Semitism that could lead to other acts of genocide. To Israel and its supports abroad I advise the following: In response to the demand lodged by the leaders of Arab parties in Israel with the central electoral board, Israel should immediately redefine itself as "a state for all its citizens" rather than "a democratic Jewish state". Israel should cease reiterating such claims to the effect that the Arabs want to "throw it into the sea". This allegation flies in the face of the resolutions of successive Arab summit conferences, beginning with that in Fezin 1982 which called for the need to use all possible means to reach a just peace in the Middle East, through to the Cairo summit of 1996 in which Arab leaders resolved that peace was their strategic goal and the Beirut summit of 2001 which adopted the peace initiative of Crown Prince Abdallah Bin Abdel-Aziz. Israel must call a complete halt to all settlement activity, including the expansion of existing settlements. Israel must cease its attempt to justify its attacks against Arabs and Muslims on the grounds that it is combating terrorism. Israel is aware that the crimes it has committed -- officially sponsored assassinations of Palestinian leaders, killing Palestinians in their beds while asleep, firing missiles at peoples' homes, demolishing buildings with people still inside, opening fire at random on pedestrians -- are terrorist. Israel must stop acting as though it aims to undermine Arab and Islamic interests. It should exercise the utmost self-restraint and objectivity in its behaviour towards the Arab and Islamic world and refrain from attempts to set countries against one another. Israelis and Zionists in general should cease accusing anyone who criticises Israel of being anti- Semitic. This unwarranted misuse of the term blurs the distinction between an unacceptable racist phenomenon and legitimate criticism of a state's policies and practices. Israelis must acknowledge that Arabs are right to want to end Israeli occupation of their land, a demand backed by the provisions of international resolutions and humanitarian law. It should be a sobering thought to Israelis and Jews abroad that Israel's inhuman practices against the Palestinians have unleashed a new tide of anti-Semitism in many European countries. Israel must acknowledge that the legitimacy of the creation of Israel will remain incomplete as long as Israel persists in evading its legal and moral obligations and in preventing the establishment of a state for Palestinian people who had lived on that land, uninterruptedly, for thousands of years. If Israel is truly sincere in affirming the legitimacy of its existence, it must practically demonstrate its agreement to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, enter immediately into serious peace negotiations on the Palestinian and Syria tracks and withdraw unilaterally from the stretch of land it still occupies in southern Lebanon. Israelis should dismiss from government those officials who incite racial hatred against Arabs or espouse the notion of "transfer" of Palestinians in the occupied territories or even in Israel itself. Transfer is not a far remove from ethnic cleansing. Israel should issue an official declaration, deposited with the UN General-Secretariat, stating that Israel has no expansionist designs on Arab territories. It should further state that it will refrain from demanding military superiority over all the Arabs, a demand that fuels Arab suspicions. President Mubarak has issued a call to make the Middle East a region free of weapons of mass destruction. Israel should signal its approval of this initiative and demonstrate its sincerity in this regard by entering into negotiations towards eliminating its nuclear arsenal in tandem with the elimination of other weapons of mass destruction in the region. Finally, a word to both sides: I believe that it is in everyone's interests to overcome the accumulated rancour of the past and the pains of the present and not to yield to the culture of despair. We must set our sights towards a better future in which all can live in peace and security instead of remaining rooted in a cycle of bloodshed, destruction and ruined opportunities. * The writer is chief political advisor to President Hosni Mubarak.

Ethiopia

News 24 SA 2 Jan 2003 E-mail story to a friend Ethiopian genocide: 20 freed Addis Ababa - Twenty Ethiopians have been acquitted of charges of genocide and crimes against humanity committed during the 1977-78 "Red Terror" period of Colonel Mengistu Haile Mariam, reports the state-run Addis Zemen newspaper. The high court in the eastern region of Oromo State on Tuesday acquitted the 20 suspects, among them three women, because of insufficient evidence, said the paper. The court deemed the accusations were not borne out by material evidence and witness testimonies gathered by the special prosecutor in charge of the case. Nine of the accused were tried in absentia while 11 others had spent between two and 10 years in preventive custody. They were accused of summarily executing five civilians. Since 1994, Ethiopia has been conducting trials of people accused of genocide and crimes against humanity, particularly during the "Red Terror" period under Mengistu's military-communist regime. Tens of thousands of Ethiopians were killed or disappeared during the two-year period. Several tried in absentia Nearly 5 200 former soldiers and communist activists are due to be tried by the courts. About 2 200 are in prison in Ethiopia, but several of the key accused are to be or have been tried in absentia. Mengistu was convicted in absentia after fleeing to Zimbabwe, where he has lived in exile since 1991. About 500 people have been acquitted, and 600 are to be tried between January and September of this year. The "Red Terror" trials are due to be concluded in 2004, according to the Ethiopian judiciary. - Sapa-AFP

IRIN 8 Jan 2003 40 killed in tribal fighting ADDIS ABABA, 8 Jan 2003 (IRIN) - Tribal fighting is believed to have left as many as 40 people dead in recent clashes sparked by the severe drought in Ethiopia, humanitarian sources said on Wednesday. The clashes, which occurred near Fentale in eastern Ethiopia, broke out after Afar pastoralists moved into Kereyou territory to graze their animals. According to one local source, dozens of Kereyou tribesmen were killed in the fighting with armed Afar men. The clash, which took place in December, is the latest in a series of violent outbreaks over the past few months. “Kereyou men were killed in the incident," a humanitarian source in the area told IRIN. “It was a fight over pasture on the border of Kereyou and Afar. The pressure of the drought has pushed the Afar into the Kereyou area. The Afar were much better armed and so the consequences were inevitable.” Clashes between rival groups have been erupting with increasing regularity in Afar and neighbouring areas. In late November, some 16 people were shot dead in Gewane in Afar region. The killing has been blamed on ethnic violence between rival clans. Some 20 Afar women were also shot dead as they returned from a daily market near the town of Shewarobit, about 280 km north of the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. The killing was blamed on a rival ethnic group. Days later 11 Ittus in Kereyou were killed by Afar. Aid organisations and the UN have warned that the drought has only exacerbated the conflict between groups competing for scarce water resources. The Ethiopian military is understood to have moved into some areas to try and keep a lid on tensions. Regional government officials have also been involved in talks to try and defuse the situation. The area has also seen an increase in guns – with AK47’s being smuggled in from neighbouring Djibouti.

Kenya

The Nation (Nairobi) 2 Jan 2003 PS Denies Shielding Man Wanted for Genocide Nairobi Permanent secretary Zakayo Cheruiyot yesterday denied accusations by the United States that he was protecting one of the most wanted war crimes suspects from the 1994 Rwanda genocide. Mr Cheruiyot, who holds the powerful provincial administration and internal security docket, is alleged by the top US official in charge of tracking genocide suspects to have helped to shelter Mr Felicien Kabuga, a wealthy Rwandese businessman wanted by the UN Tribunal on the Rwanda genocide. Yesterday Mr Cheruiyot dismissed the accusations, published in the respected London Sunday Times, as "far fetched" saying they were meant to spoil his name." He said: "Anybody with evidence should produce it. I have asked the Commissioner of Police to investigate this matter." Mr Pierre-Richard Prosper, the US ambassador-at-large for war crimes, said Mr Cheruiyot had used his position to protect Mr Kabuga, who is wanted for trial by the international war crimes tribunal based in Arusha, Tanzania. "The information indicates that this individual, Mr Cheruiyot, has used the government infrastructure to maintain the fugitive status of Kabuga," he said. "In the past few months information has really come in pretty concretely and focused on Cheruiyot and his apparatus." Speaking a day after newly elected President Mwai Kibaki took office, Mr Prosper said he had no reason to believe that then President Moi himself played any part in protecting the Rwandan, but the United States expected the new government to close in on Mr Kabuga. When Mr Moi visited Washington in early December, the United States asked him to help arrest Mr Kabuga and the Kenyan authorities had been helpful in the following weeks, he said. The US official also brought up the possibility of punishment for any Kenyan officials who had protected Mr Kabuga. "The first order of business is to end any protection that may be occurring and bring Kabuga into custody and it would be up to the new government to determine what punitive measures, if necessary, would be appropriate," he said. The information about Mr Kabuga was the direct outcome of a US publicity campaign launched in east and central Africa in June last year to round up remaining genocide suspects. Around 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus died in the 1994 genocide. Mr Kabuga, a wealthy Hutu businessman, stands accused of financing the militia which did much of the killing and supplying the killers with hoes and machetes. He also had a financial interest in Radio Mille Collines, which incited Hutus to kill their Tutsi neighbours. Mr Prosper said time was running out for Mr Kabuga and he should surrender himself to the Tribunal. "The net has closed in around him, the information has become more and more solid and his sources of protection are now to the point where we hope they will dry up," he said. Mr Cheruiyot has previously been quoted as having told the Sunday Times of London that the US allegations were "outrageous lie" and that he had never met Mr Kabuga. The US government has promised Sh390 million (US5 million) for information leading to Mr Kabuga's arrest. The US recently flew FBI interrogators out to Kenya to perform lie-detector tests on some of the eye-witnesses who claim to have seen Mr Kabuga in the area around Nairobi. They passed the tests, Mr Prosper said. Mr Kabuga is one of seven leading genocide suspects still on the run and Mr Prosper said the US was optimistic about the prospects for arresting some of the others early this year. Washington would push the governments in the Democratic Republic of Congo and in Congo-Brazzaville to track down Rwandan fugitives thought to be in their territory. "We have credible information as to the whereabouts of five or six other individuals and we think we are closing in them. We believe that with a little more work and cooperation from Congo-Kinshasa and Congo-Brazzaville as well as Kenya we will be able to bring these individuals into custody," he said. The report said that "while international investigators have spent years trying to track him down, Mr Kabuga has used his personal fortune to buy protection." Despite being wanted by the United Nations and having a US $5 million price tag on his head offered by the American state department, Mr Kabuga is said to have escaped being handed over in Kenya by moving to different safe houses. However US investigators are now said to have caught up with Mr Kabuga and the Sunday Times reported that two weeks ago the American government notified then President Moi and Attorney General Amos Wako that it knew Mr Kabuga was hiding in Kenya with the help of a senior official in the Kenyan government. The US investigators are also reported to have handed over a report to the Kenya government and demanded, in particular that Kenya complies with its international obligation to give up Rwandan genocide suspects to the Tribunal. Mr Moi reportedly promised to act but did not. The Rwandan businessmen is said to have first come to Nairobi in 1997. When international investigators then swooped on a house where Mr Kabuga was said to have been staying they found only a note from a Kenyan policeman warning him to flee. He has not been caught since, despite allegations that he flies in and out of Nairobi on a regular basis. But new information has now emerged as a result of the substantial price tag on Mr Kabuga's head. Advertisements have also been placed in all the main Kenyan press saying he is wanted and there is a major reward on offer for his capture. Mr Prosper, told the British newspaper: "We have a variety of sources that have come forward and pointed the finger at Cheruiyot. We have shared this information with the Kenyan authorities." Mr Kabuga was indicted by the UN tribunal in 1998 accused of being the "main supporter and financier" of the Hutu militia responsible for the genocide. He is still accused of supporting the militia fighting the Rwandan authorities. Mr Prosper said Mr Kabuga had been using government infrastructure to maintain fugitive status in Kenya. He noted that President Kibaki, who took office on Monday, had promoted justice and human rights during the election campaign. This, Mr Prosper said, could mean Kenya will be helpful in bringing Kabuga to justice. "We're very encouraged with the new government, he said, adding he was uncertain as to whether the change in administration would have an effect on Cheruiyot's status.

Daily Nation 6 Jan 2003 Police search for genocide suspect By SHEM OIRERE The hunt for Rwanda fugitive Felicien Kabuga has been extended to Trans Mara, with senior detectives combing the district for the runaway suspect. The US has placed a Sh400 million bounty on Mr Kabuga's head and accuses him of taking part in the Rwanda genocide in which hundreds of thousands of people were massacred. A source at the district police headquarters in Kilgoris said the senior detectives from the CID were sent to the district two days ago and that the hunt would be extended to Eldoret, Turkana, Kericho and Nairobi. Members of the Trans Mara security committee, which is chaired by District Commissioner Fred Mutsami could not be reached for comment. The US recently accused sacked Internal Security permanent secretary Zakayo Cheruiyot of protecting Mr Kabuga, charges which Mr Cheruiyot has denied. US ambassador-at-large for war crimes, Mr Pierre Richard Prosper, said last week: "The information we have indicates that Mr Cheruiyot has used the government's infrastructure to shield Mr Kabuga." Mr Cheruiyot has challenged anyone with evidence linking him to the genocide suspect to produce it. He said that before he left the government, he instructed the Police Commissioner Philemon Abong'o to investigate the matter fully. Mr Abong'o, in a radio announcement, said he had sent officers to Trans Mara, Turkana and Eldoret, to establish if Mr Kabuga was hiding there. The US recently flew in Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) interrogators to administer lie-detector tests on some of the witnesses who had claimed to have seen Mr Kabuga near Nairobi. They passed the tests, according to Mr Prosper. Mr Kabuga is one of the seven leading genocide suspects still on the run, whom Mr Prosper said the US was confident of arresting this year. Washington is putting pressure on the Democratic Republic of Congo and Congo-Brazzaville to track down Rwandan fugitives thought to be in their territory. "We have credible information as to the whereabouts of five or six other individuals and we think we are closing in on them. We believe that with a little more work and cooperation from Congo-Kinshasa and Congo-Brazzaville as well as Kenya, we will be able to bring these individuals into custody," he said.

Daily Nation 7 Jan 2003 Police Question Ex-Ps On Kabuga's Whereabouts Stephen Muiruri And Waweru Mugo Nairobi Cheruiyot questioned for allegedly hiding Rwanda genocide suspect Former Internal Security Permanent Secretary Zakayo Cheruiyot was last month questioned by detectives investigating the whereabouts of top Rwanda fugitive Felicien Kabuga, it was revealed yesterday. He was interrogated when he was still in the Government, police said. "Cheruiyot was summoned to CID headquarters and interrogated for several hours over allegations he was hiding the genocide suspect or knew his whereabouts. He recorded a statement and denied all the allegations," a senior police source said. The United States has placed a Sh400 million bounty on Mr Kabuga's head. It accuses him of taking part in the 1994 Rwanda genocide, in which hundreds of thousands of people were massacred. He is said to have been one of those who financed the genocide. Last week, Mr Cheruiyot denied accusations that he was protecting Mr Kabuga. Top US officials in charge of tracking genocide suspects had alleged that Mr Cheruiyot was helping to shelter the suspect, who is a wealthy Rwandese businessman, wanted by the UN Tribunal on the genocide. Yesterday, police issued a statement detailing their fruitless search for Mr Kabuga in various parts of the country. Commissioner Philemon Abong'o, said efforts to track the suspect, believed to be holed up in the country, had been unsuccessful. The search would be maintained, he said in a statement signed by spokesman King'ori Mwangi, and appealed to the public to volunteer relevant information. Mr Abongo said: "We would like the public to know that we have been giving the United Nation's International criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) unlimited support in their efforts to track down and bring to justice the perpetrators of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda." He said police and the ICTR officials had made several raids, ambushes and searches, each time they received a tip-off on the man. They had arrested several people but released them after establishing they were not the suspect. Mr Cheruiyot dismissed the accusations of hiding the suspect, published in the respected London Sunday Times, as "far fetched" saying they were meant to spoil his name." He said: "Anybody with evidence should produce it. I have asked the Commissioner of Police to investigate this matter." Office of the President minister Chris Murungaru said the government would cooperate in the search for the suspect. "Everyone will be investigated including those who may have colluded in keeping him here, if he is here," he said. "The information indicates that this individual, Mr Cheruiyot, has used the government infrastructure to maintain the fugitive status of Kabuga," he said. "In the past few months information has really come in pretty concretely and focused on Cheruiyot and his apparatus."

East African Standard (Nairobi) 11 Jan 2003 Medic Held in Kabuga Mix-Up By Isaac Ongiri Nairobi Police in Trans Mara yesterday arrested a Burundian doctor after he was mistaken for the Rwandan genocide fugitive Felicin Kabuga. Dr Daniel Ndiku Masaba, a volunteer physician currently based at the St Joseph Mission Hospital in Kilgoris, was grilled for several hours. Trans Mara DC, Mr Fred Mutsami, said Ndiku was arrested after a member of the public called the police. Ndiku was later confirmed to be a Burundi citizen who is legally in Kenya. He is of Hutu ethnicity and has been living in the Democratic Republic of Congo before coming to Kenya. Mutsami said police and a team of Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officers had been deployed to the Maasai Mara Game Reserve to hunt for Kabuga. "

IRIN 21 Jan 2003 Informer On Fugitive Genocide Suspect Killed in Nairobi Nairobi A Kenyan businessman who was helping FBI agents capture genocide suspect Felicien Kabuga was killed a day before a failed attempt to seize the fugitive in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, Kenyan police told IRIN on Tuesday. A Kenyan police spokesman, Kingori Mwangi, said the death of William Mwaura Munuhe, 27, was linked to Kabuga's efforts to evade arrest. Kabuga, a Rwandan businessman, is wanted by the US and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda for his alleged role in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, which claimed the lives of some 800,000 people. He is accused of helping to finance ethnic Hutu militiamen responsible for most of the killings during the genocide. Mwangi told IRIN that Kenyan police had supplied reinforcements to the FBI security team which had laid an ambush for Kabuga at Munuhe's house in Karen, Nairobi. The Daily Nation, a Nairobi newspaper, reported on Tuesday that Munuhe was found dead, shot in the head, at his house on 14 January, a day before the planned ambush, which had been made out as a business deal so that FBI agents could arrest Kabuga. Mwangi said Munuhe's cause of death would be confirmed by postmortem. He dismissed reports that the Kenyan police could have told Munuhe's killers about the planned ambush. The US has offered a reward of up to US $5 million for information leading to the capture of Kabuga, as part of a scheme to track down a number of the "most wanted" Rwandan genocide suspects still at large.

Daily Nation 21 Jan 2003 Hit Squad Kills Man Who Laid Trap Against Genocide Suspect Nairobi A young Kenyan businessman helping FBI agents to track down Rwandan fugitive Felicien Kabuga has been murdered by a hit squad. He was killed only hours before the genocide suspect with a $5 million (Sh400 million) bounty on his head could walk into a trap laid at the businessman's home in Karen, Nairobi, it was revealed yesterday. The death of Mr William Mwaura Munuhe, a 27-year-old bachelor, was faked to look like suicide, police said. A burning charcoal stove had been placed next to his bed to make it seem he had died of carbon monoxide poisoning - but in fact he was shot in the head with the bullet entering through an ear. Mr Munuhe lay dead for three days before his body was found in his home by security agents from the United States and Kenya. Mr Munuhe had agreed to lure Mr Kabuga to his home so the agents could seize him. They lay in wait outside the house in the upmarket suburb backed by more than 20 officers from CID headquarters and the Special Crime Prevention Unit, who were not told the name of the informer. They monitored all callers at Mr Munuhe's house but called off the operation after six hours, at 7pm, when Mr Kabuga failed to show. He had been told it was for a straightforward business meeting, but before it could take place - on January 15 - someone got wind of the ambush and one day before the meeting was due, the hit squad knocked at his door. For three days the security team tried frantically to contact Mr Munuhe on his cell phone, but without success. Finally they broke into the house where he lived alone and made their gruesome discovery. Mr Kabuga is sought by the United Nations and the US for being among the architects of the Rwanda genocide that saw the killing of one million Tutsis and moderate Hutus. The US has offered a reward of $5 million for his arrest. Along with other fugitives he is being sought by the Rwandan war crimes tribunal in Arusha, Tanzania. US officials are baffled as to how the hit squad uncovered the plan to ambush him and then kill their link man within such a short period. Intelligence sources claimed the businessman, the fugitive and a government official were once close allies. However, for unknown reasons, Mr Munuhe and the civil servant fell out. This, sources said, raised fears that Mr Munuhe could become an informer and expose the link between the civil servant and the fugitive, and also reveal Mr Kabuga's whereabouts. The CID yesterday confirmed Mr Munuhe's death, but declined to divulge the circumstances leading to it. After Mr Munuhe and the civil servant fell out, Mr Munuhe went to the US embassy and said he could help them to track down the fugitive. It is understood that Mr Munuhe had a series of meetings with US security officials to plan how to lure Mr Kabuga from his hideout. The Nation learnt that it was the civil servant who introduced Mr Munuhe to the fugitive as a business associate. But even when they were allies, the businessman never came to know where the Rwandan lived. The only alternative, therefore, was to lure Mr Kabuga to Mr Munuhe's house under the pretext of a business meeting. After the US authorities were convinced their plan was watertight, they booked an appointment with CID director Francis Sang on the morning of January 16, and asked him for reinforcements to help capture Mr Kabuga. It is understood the Americans gave the CID director only scanty details of the plan, not even revealing the name of their informer. Said Mr Sang: "They told me they knew Kabuga was going to be delivered to a certain house in Karen and they wanted our officers to back their operation." He dismissed suggestions that Mr Munuhe was betrayed by police officers or other Government officials. The Kenyan team, under the command of assistant commissioner of police Peter Kavila, accompanied the US officials for the undercover operation later in the day. They called off the operation at 7pm when Mr Kabuga failed to turn up, and Mr Munuhe failed to answer their cell phone calls. They did not know he had been killed and for the next two days tried to trace him on his mobile phone, but it went unanswered. The CID chief said the agents finally broke down the door to the bedroom where they found Mr Munuhe's body lying on the bed, facing upwards and covered with a blanket. A charcoal stove was found next to the bed and all the windows were locked. Sources close to the investigators said the killers wanted to give the impression that the man died of carbon monoxide fumes. What baffles the Americans is why Kenyan police are treating it as a case of "sudden death". A check by the Nation at the City Mortuary revealed the nature of death shown only as "sudden" in the register. Mortuary officials said no one had claimed the body because they suspected police had not informed the next of kin. "

East African Standard (Nairobi) 23 Jan 2003 Kabuga: Slain Man's Family Speaks Out By Joseph Murimi And Amos Kareithi Nairobi The family of the Kenyan informer murdered in the mysterious saga of wanted Rwanda genocide suspect Felicien Kabuga, learnt of the death through the media. The family yesterday said that they were shocked to learn that William Munuhe had been shot dead. Narrating their agony, the family members said the news reports that Munuhe had been shot through the head hit them hard, because the police had earlier informed them that he had died of natural causes. They were still reeling in shock yesterday upon learning that he was killed by a hit squad after he allegedly convinced Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) agents pursuing Kabuga and Kenyan security officers that he would lure the Rwandese to his Karen residence. Kabuga is thought to have been hiding in Kenya since last year and the US administration has claimed that he enjoyed the protection of prominent people in the previous government - a charge repeated by the Rwandese Ambassador to Kenya yesterday. Munuhe's mother was the last family member to see him alive when she visited him at his Karen home two days before he was murdered. The family is yet to come to terms with the fact that their son could have been involved in international deals touching on cross-border security and that he had links with the alleged Rwanda genocide mastermind, Kabuga. Yesterday, they announced that they had hurriedly called off the burial ceremony slated for tomorrow to allow comprehensive investigations into the matter. Munuhe's weeping mother, Mrs Lydia Wangui Gichuki , 50, said police initially made them believe that her son died of natural causes after he inhaled carbon-monoxide from a charcoal stove he was allegedly using to warm himself. She said three CID officers in the company of her late son's girlfriend visited their Muruguru home in Nyeri District on Saturday night and broke the sad news. Acting on this information, the family went ahead to arrange the burial, which was scheduled for today, innocently believing the police version. Mrs Gichuki said the family was shocked when they read newspaper reports that their son was actually shot dead by a hit squad after a bungled spying mission. The FBI team and a squad of Kenyan police officers had laid in wait for many hours for Kabuga to appear at Munuhe's residence, but in vain. They reportedly called him on his mobile phone, but failed to reach him after many attempts. The security men made no contact with Munuhe for three days after which they broke the door to his house and found him dead inside. Munuhe, 27, is said to have been killed after he convinced the FBI agents and Kenyan security officers that he would lure Kabuga to his house for arrest . The genocide suspect has a US$5 million (Sh400 million) prize on his head offered by the US government for information leading to his capture. On Tuesday, the US government conceded that Munuhe was an informer. Ambassador Johnnie Carson said the US regretted the killing. He said the media reports that Munuhe had been shot in the head by a hit squad were "regrettably true". The confirmation of the shooting came as a major shock to the slain man's family. A burning charcoal stove was placed next to his bed to make it look like he (Munuhe) had died of carbon monoxide poisoning, but further examinations revealed that he had been shot through the ear. Mrs Gichuki said she had not known her son to warm himself from a stove and neither had she seen any stove in the house during her many visits. She said the family had called off the burial slated for Friday to await further developments. The family further complained that they are being kept in the dark on the circumstances surrounding the death and had to rely on sketchy details they are reading and hearing in the media. Mrs Gichuki said they had dispatched some of the family members including her husband, a retired police officer, Mr Nicholas Gichuki Muindo, to keep track of the FBI and Kenya Police investigations. It also emerged that the family knew very little of what business their kin was conducting in Nairobi when they confessed that they only knew him as a "journalist" . The family last saw Munuhe during the 2002 Christmas period when he visited Nyeri and lavished the family members and former school mates with gifts. After meeting his family members, the late Munuhe then teamed up with his schoolmates, who accompanied him to Nyeri town, where he again lavishly treated them to drinks and food at a local hotel Munuhe's elder brother, Mr Andrew Mwangi, an electronic technician in Nairobi, said the family was yet to come to terms with the fact that his brother could have been the target of international hit men. Mwangi said they did not know what kind of work Muhune did in Nairobi, but they only knew him as a journalist who used to write for the long defunct Star newspaper. However, he said Munuhe lived a comfortable life in Nairobi but they never bothered to know exactly how he earned his living. Those who knew Munuhe described him as jovial person who was very generous, hard working and with an expectional talent in writing. Mwangi said his brother was well-versed in the English language from his secondary school days at Mathaithi School which he left in 1995. Munuhe's twin sister said, amid sobs, that the last time she saw him alive was on Christmas Day last year when he visited their rural home in Nyeri. She remembers that Munuhe was in high spirits and threw a party for them before he returned to Nairobi the following day. Munuhe's mother said she had visited her son's home in Karen many times and that she also visited on Monday, two days before they were informed of his death. The family expressed optimism that the Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister, Mr Kiraitu Murungi, will live up to his promise of leaving no stone un-turned until the perpetrators of the act are arrested and prosecuted. "We believe the combined forces of Kenyan and US security personnel will pursue the matter until the truth is known. We want to know what led to his killing," Mwangi said. Meanwhile, the Rwandan Embassy in Nairobi yesterday said that it gave the previous Kenya Government information about the presence of Kabuga in the country, reports Dominic Wabala. However, the embassy officials led by Ambassador Seth Esri Kamanzi, yesterday charged that the former government did nothing to apprehend the fugitive . Kamanzi said his government had made information available, but for unknown reasons, the fugitive wanted for the massacre of over 1 million Tutsis was never arrested. The envoy alleged that some leading personalities in the previous government offered unlimited protection to the fugitive, adding that Kabuga had joint businesses with them. " For a long time we had information that he was in Kenya involved in business with prominent Kenyans. For unknown reasons, the government of the day did not take any measures to arrest him. We know he is still in the country and is being protected, " he said The envoy warned that those who are protecting Kabuga are committing a crime and should be prepared to pay the price for protecting an international criminal. He said his government was confident that the Narc government will help arrest the most wanted Rwandese fugitive. He said that the Rwandan government believes that the fugitive is not acting alone and has accomplices who could probably be other genocide fugitives hiding in Kenya, although they could not be as high-ranking as Kabuga. "We don't think Kabuga, the architect and financier of the Rwandan genocide that claimed 1 million lives is acting alone. He must be having accomplices both local and some minor fugitives assisting him, " he said The envoy said Kabuga has used his vast wealth to avoid arrest. "If there had been political will, Kabuga would have been arrested, but for some reason Kabuga was untouchable". He said that it was apparent that Kabuga is an international terrorist because he is also implicated in the killing of American tourists in Uganda's Bwindi forest and recently the Kenyan informer Munuhe. "Available indicators show that he is still in Kenya. Quite a good number of genocide perpetrators are in hiding in Kenya. However, we appreciate the measures the government took to arrest over 30 other fugitives who are currently facing trial in Arusha," the ambassador noted He revealed that Nairobi still remains an important transit point for the genocide architects who come from neighbouring countries. He said that the Rwandan embassy was doing everything to get information about the whereabouts of Kabuga and other fugitives wanted for the genocide. And the Government yesterday released details of how Munuhe was killed, adds Ben Agina. At the same time, the Government, through the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has assigned Assistant Commissioner of Police Sammy Mathenge to investigate Munuhe's death of Munuhe. In a statement signed by Mr Gideon Kibunjah on behalf of CID Director Francis Sang, the department has assigned ACP Mathenge to investigate the death of Munuhe. The CID boss said the pathologist's examination of the body at the scene did not reveal any bullet wound. A post-mortem examination of the body was to be carried out yesterday to establish the cause of death. The department said extensive investigations have been continuing to trace and arrest Kabuga. He said a number of people have been interviewed by the CID , including a former Permanent Secretary in the Office of the President, Mr Zakayo Cheruiyot. The CID boss said that during his interview at the CID Headquarters, Cheruiyot vehemently denied having met or dealt with the Rwandan fugitive in any way. Cheruiyot , according to the CID, gave the Director some letters he said had been written to him by one Munuhe Gichuki. In one of the letters signed by Munuhe, the writer indicated that he knew Kabuga and wanted to assist in delivering the suspect to the US Government. On December 30 2002, the CID Director managed to contact Munuhe after several attempts through one of the mobile phone numbers on one of the letters to Cheruiyot. The CID boss then requested Munuhe to see him at CID Headquarters to discuss the details of the contents of the note. The director says Munuhe was reluctant and only promised to call back, but failed to do so. On the following day, the investigators said they attempted to reach Munuhe through the mobile phone but without success as the phone was apparently switched off. On January 15, 2003, a senior official at the US Embassy in Kenya called at CID headquarters with information that "his contact" had arranged to deliver Kabuga in a house within Karen area. On the request of the American official for back-up, a team of CID officers led by Assistant Commissioner of Police Peter Kavila, was assigned to join US agents on an ambush to apprehend the Rwandan fugitive. The operation was to begin at 1pm and was called off at 7pm after the American officials' contact failed to call him. On January 17, 2003, the US official telephoned CID headquarters and expressed apprehension over the security of his still undisclosed informer. The official said he was concerned because his informer had not contacted him and that he checked the compound of his informer and found a vehicle parked outside. The official requested and was granted a team of officers led by Mr Kavila, to check on the whereabouts of the informer. On arrival at the Karen house they found the house locked and had to break in, where they found the body of a male adult whose name was revealed as Munuhe Gichuki, lying on a bed with some blood. A Government pathologist was called to the scene and examined the body before it was removed to the mortuary. The pathologist's examination of the body at the scene did not reveal any bullet wound. The CID have called on the public and the media to avoid unnecessary speculation on the death."

Family Claims Kabuga Link Man Was Tortured The Nation (Nairobi) NEWS January 24, 2003 Posted to the web January 23, 2003 Nairobi The family of the young Kenyan murdered for helping US investigators to track down Rwandan fugitive Felicien Kabuga yesterday said he was tortured before he was killed. The sight of Mr William Mwaura Munuhe's body and the mess in his house indicated that he was tortured by his killers. Family spokesman Julius Mwangi said: "The skin was peeled off and the face was disfigured. It appears a corrosive chemical was poured on his body." Mr Mwangi said some poisonous and stinging leaves in the room where the body was found gave further hints that Mr Munuhe was tortured. He said that if the death was normal, the body could not have been in that state because it was discovered after only three days. Mr Mwangi spoke at the City Mortuary where family members, pathologists, police officers and US officials waited for a post-mortem to be carried out by deputy Chief Government Pathologist Jane Wasike. The autopsy had not been done by the time we went to Press because X-ray machines from Kenyatta National Hospital, which were meant to determine if any bullet was lodged in the body, were defective. Mr Munuhe's father, Mr Nicholas Gichuki, was present. Mr Munuhe was killed on Tuesday night last week, only hours before the genocide suspect with a $5 million (Sh400 million) bounty on his head could walk into a trap laid at his home in Karen, Nairobi. The death Mr Munuhe, a 27-year old bachelor, was faked to look like suicide. A burning charcoal stove had been placed next to his bed to make it look like he had died of carbon monoxide poisoning, yet he was shot in the head. Mr Munuhe lay dead for three days before his body was found last Friday in his home by security agents from the US and Kenya. He was working with US investigators in a botched operation to lure Mr Kabuga from his hideout and enable the agents to seize him. Yesterday, Mr Mwangi said the mess and the blood stains in all the rooms in Mr Munuhe's house were evidence of the struggle that preceded the killing. Some clothes had blood stains and it appeared somebody was trying to wipe the blood on the floor. "None of the family members could recognise the body because it was swollen and the skin had peeled off. Only the fingers had the skin intact," he said. The family confirmed the body was that of Mr Munuhe after results of his finger prints were released by the National Registration Bureau yesterday. Mr Munuhe's cousin, Ms Alice Wanja, who was among the last relatives to see him on the night he was killed, said he appeared disturbed. She said he drove alone to her chemist shop at Uthiru shopping centre on the outskirts of the city at 8.45pm. "He told me he had come to say goodbye because he was scheduled to travel to America the next day at 3pm (January 15). He said he was doing some work for the FBI and if all went well, he would remain in the US and further his studies," she said. Ms Wanja said she asked Mr Munuhe to leave his car with her but he said he would park it at the US embassy in Nairobi. She said Mr Munuhe drove off towards his Karen home at 9.30pm. The family learnt about his death from police officers on January 17. "

The East African Standard (Nairobi) 26 Jan 2003 Munuhe: Mystery Deepens Tom Odula Nairobi The mystery surrounding the death of a Kenyan murdered while helping US investigators to track down Rwandese fugitive Felicien Kabuga deepened after police released post-mortem results. The post-mortem conducted by a Government pathologist witnessed by CID officers and US embassy officials on Thursday could not determine what killed Munuhe. It proved that Munuhe was not shot through the ear as was earlier indicated because there was no bullet or other projectiles in or on the body. The post-mortem also established pink coloration of muscle tissue - a feature mainly associated with cases of carbon monoxide exposure. Police spokesman King'ori Mwangi said in a statement that tissue samples had been taken for a full toxicological analysis at the Government Chemist and the results will be released soon. Police also revealed the forensic and witness testimonies they had established as facts in the case prior to Munuhe's death. On the morning of the fateful day, Munuhe had collected the store key from a neighbour and gone to a store where charcoal was kept. Investigators recovered a plastic waste bin in Munuhe's kitchen which had charcoal dust. The casual housekeeper and Munuhe's girlfriend confirmed the deceased owned the charcoal burner although it was never used in the house. The night watchman saw Munuhe drive alone into his house at 9 pm and nobody else was seen going into the house throughout the night. The keys to the main door of Munuhe's house and his car keys were found in his house. Munuhe's body was found on January 17 when police officers accompanied by officials from the US embassy broke into the house in Karen. Munuhe had arranged to assist trap Rwanda genocide fugitive Felicien Kabuga, who has a $5,000,000 (Sh400,000,000) bounty over his head. US officials had called off the ambush around the Karen residence after the fugitive failed to show up. Police said they found the body of William Munuhe Gichuki on a bed with a charcoal burner beside it. All the windows of the room in which the body was found were shut and there was a piece of cloth stuffed under the door to the room, sealing the space under the door. Pathologists at the scene also noted that the body had no visible injuries although there was a bloody body fluid where the body was found. There was also no sign of struggle and the body was swollen and had already started to decompose. The Munuhe family has claimed that he was tortured before he was killed. Family spokesman Julius Mwangi on Thursday said Munuhe's skin was peeled off and the face disfigured like a corrosive chemical was poured on the body. Prior to his death, 27-year-old Munuhe had worked at the weekly Star as a reporter and as a stringer for the People daily newspaper, before venturing into business. Former Internal Security chief Zakayo Cheruiyot has been questioned by the Criminal Investigations Department following allegations that he was shielding Kabuga. Kabuga is suspected to be the mastermind behind the Rwanda genocide where over 1,000,000 people were massacred.

Genocide Suspect Felicien Kabuga On the Run UN Integrated Regional Information Networks January 28, 2003 Posted to the web January 28, 2003 Nairobi Kenyan police are still hunting for Rwandan genocide suspect Felicien Kabuga, spokesman Kingori Mwangi told IRIN on Tuesday. "The Kenya police, the FBI and the [International Criminal] Tribunal [for Rwanda ICTR] officials are all looking for him," he added. An attempt to arrest Kabuga, suspected of having been one of the prime movers in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, failed last week when he did not turn up at a house in Karen, Nairobi, where the police and FBI agents had laid an ambush. A Kenyan businessman, William Munuhe, who was to have lured Kabuga to the house for a fake business deal, was found dead there on 17 January. Police said Munuhe, 27, was killed a day before the failed attempt to seize Kabuga. A post-mortem examination performed on 23 January failed to determine the cause of death, the Daily Nation reported. The Nairobi newspaper reported that the police had submitted samples to the government chemist in the hope that the mystery surrounding Munuhe's death could be solved. The chemist's report is not yet out. Kenyan Internal Security Minister Chris Murungaru told another Nairobi newspaper on 26 January that police were following important leads. "We are trying everything we can. There are some key leads which are being pieced together, but he has become elusive," he was quoted as saying by the East African Standard. The US and the ICTR want Kabuga, a Rwandan businessman, for his alleged role in the Rwandan genocide. He is accused of helping to finance ethnic Hutu militiamen responsible for most of the killings of about 800,000 people. The US has offered a reward of up to US $5 million for information leading to the capture of Kabuga, as part of a scheme to track down a number of the "most wanted" Rwandan genocide suspects who are at large.
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Daily Nation 7 Jan 2003 15 more killed in 'Mungiki' orgy of violence Demonstrators accuse police of laxity in combating the violence By NATION Team At least 15 people were killed in an orgy of violence linked to the banned Mungiki sect members on Sunday night. Twelve other people were fighting for their lives at the Rift Valley Provincial General Hospital after the well-coordinated attack in Nakuru Town. The deaths brought to 20 the number of people killed over the past three days in the town in a standoff between members of the outlawed sect and matatu (commuter taxi) touts over the collection of irregular levies. One person was also killed elsewhere in Murang'a yesterday as Mungiki battled with touts for the control of the lucrative matatu business. Police in pursuit of the Nakuru killers yesterday shot dead a Mungiki member at Menengai Crater, where a large group of suspected attackers were preparing a feast. In his first assignment shortly after he was sworn in yesterday, the minister in charge of the Provincial Administration and National Security Minister, Dr Chris Murungaru, ordered a crackdown on all private ragtag armies. Mungiki sect leaders were also warned hat they were acting in breach of the law and would not be tolerated. Mungiki was outlawed on March 15 last year following an indiscriminate orgy of violence in Nairobi's Kariobangi South estate which left 20 people dead. The weekend killings sparked off massive demonstrations in Nakuru where residents from various estates affected by violence marched to the Provincial Commissioner Peter Raburu's office demanding government action against the culprits. Led by Nakuru Town MP-elect Mirugi Kariuki, they urged the government to beef up security in all the town estates to curb the escalation of violence. The Sunday violence affected Flamingo, Kimathi, Lake View, Kisulisuli, Manyani, Kaloleni and Kivumbini estates. The attackers were said to have been moving in groups of about 30 and had white ribbons fastened around their heads. They were armed with an assortment of weapons, including clubs and swords. The attackers broke doors and window before attacking their victims indiscriminately. The attackers allegedly told their victims that they were avenging Kanu's loss to Narc candidates in the town. Among those killed in the attacks were two employees of the Municipal Council of Nakuru. One employee, a clerical officer in the Town Clerk's department, Mr Peter Ndirangu Mwariri, was attacked in his house at Kimathi estate. The Nation found his son, Master Ndirangu Mwariri, outside the municipal mortuary where senior council officers had gone to identify the body. Master Mwariri said the attackers invaded their home at around 9pm after breaking the door and started hacking his father. The other council employee was said to an security guard attached to the enforcement department. There were nine bodies at the mortuary while four other bodies were stored at a small room outside the provincial hospital's casualty department. Two other people died at the hospital's ward seven where they were undergoing treatment. Among them was a secondary school teacher, according to Mr Kariuki. The chairman of the local Matatu Welfare Association, Mr Jonah Maina, told the Nation that his son, Mr Chrispo Karoki, was killed when he went out of their house at Kimathi estate to answer a distress call from a neighbour who was being attacked. Rift Valley Police Provincial Police Officer, Mr Alex Rono, told reporters that police were investigating allegations that some vehicles were used to transport the criminals to the estates where they caused mayhem. He added that police officers would interrogate two politicians who have been implicated in sponsoring the sect members to cause the violence. Mr Rono assured the public that adequate security personnel would be deployed to the estates. The police boss said he had been alerted about the circulation of leaflets warning of an impending attack at Pangani estate. "We will not go by what is contained in the leaflets but we will be vigilant in all the estates within the town," Mr Rono said. Mr Raburu said one of the sect members was shot a few metres from his official residence in Milimani area. Demonstrators massed outside the provincial headquarters accused police of laxity in their work. They complained that police officers at Bondeni station ignored reports made to them that some Mungiki members were spotted in town at around 7pm heading towards the estates where they intended to cause mayhem. Later, police were forced to shoot in the air to disperse an angry mob that had marched to the town's main matatu terminus at 12.30pm. The protesters intended to eject matatus owned by the Mololine Services, which they claimed had transported the attackers to Nakuru from Nairobi to cause mayhem. Two people, Mr William Ating'a and Mr Philemon Ochieng, the civic leader for Kivumbini Ward, were arrested. At the hospital provincial general hospital, the Nation found two brothers Mr James Gitahi, 20, and Mr Michael Maina, 26, who were attacked at their house at Flamingo estate. Both had severe cuts in the limbs, head and other parts of the body. They said the attackers broke the door to their house and started slashing them with pangas before they left them for dead. Another victim, Mr Aggrey Kidaha, 43, who sustained deep cuts on both hands and head, said he was in his Kimathi estate house when the attackers broke the door and started slashing him. Mr Kidaha, a civil servant attached to State House, Nakuru, said the attackers slashed him in the presence of his wife and children who were pleading with them to spare his life. Mr James Mugo, a resident of Kimathi said he watching the 9pm TV news bulletin when the attackers broke his door and hacked him together with his younger brother William Mwangi aged 11 year. Another victim, Mr Christopher Abas, an employee of Nakuru Catholic diocese suffered cuts in the limbs and head. He was transferred from the provincial general hospital to Valley Hospital. Mr Abbas, 50, said he was in his house with two other people when the attackers stormed in after smashing the door. Mr James Karanja, who sustained injuries to the head and both hands said was in his office when the attackers pounced on him. He was being assisted by his brother Morris Kamau to take his breakfast. Another victim, Mr Geofrey Muturi, 33, who sells soft drinks in Nakuru Town said he was heading to his house at Pangani estate when the attackers pounced on him at Flamingo estate. Mr Muturi suffered deep cuts in both hands and legs. The immediate former Nakuru mayor, Mr Jackson Mugo Maathai, told the Nation that his son, Charles Wambugu was attacked by the sect members at Free Area at around 8pm. The politician said his son and two other people were walking home when the assailants pounced on them. Mr Mugo said his son and his colleagues were ordered to lie down before the attackers relieved them of money and other valuables. The former Nakuru Town MP, Mr David Manyara, denied any involvement in the violence. Mr Manyara said he decided to issue a statement because of widespread reports in the town that he was one of the people who sponsored the violence. "The rumour circulating is that we are giving youths Sh500 each to cause violence," said Mr Manyara on telephone, "I have no money. I spent everything during the campaign." Bishop Peter Kairu of the Nakuru Catholic Church Diocese strongly condemned the killings. "I condemn this incident in the strongest terms possible. There is no reason why these innocent people should die. The government must move in and restore law and order," Bishop Kairu said during a press conference. The Church's Justice and Peace Commission Diocesan secretary Ernest Murimi, who accompanied Bishop Kairu, castigated the police for remaining passive while the mayhem spread through the town. Meanwhile, Nakuru Chief Magistrate Glady Ndeda ordered four Mungiki sect members to serve a suspended sentence of two years in order to keep the peace. Erastus Muiriri 22, Mathew Kiragu 23, Samwel Kinyua 24 and Antony Mairu 37 agreed with the sentence and were each a bond of Sh20,000. In the same court, 18 Mungiki sect members were charged with preparing to commit a felony. The alleged offence was committed on December 31 las year at Lanet bus station in Nakuru Town. They denied the charge and were released on a bond of Sh20,000 each. Reported byWatoro Kamau, Mugumo Munene, Francis Mureithi, Mark Agutu, Simon Siele and Lorraine Anyango

IRIN 6 Jan 2003 KENYA-UGANDA: 10 killed by Kenyan cattle rustlers NAIROBI, 6 Jan 2003 (IRIN) - A group of suspected Kenyan cattle rustlers at the weekend attacked two Ugandan villages, killing at least 10 people. They also drove away between 700 and 800 head of cattle. According to media reports, some 200 armed Pokots crossed from northwestern Kenya into Uganda and raided over 20 homes in the villages of Namalu and Takora, in Nakapiripiti, some 500 km northeast of the capital Kampala. Peter Lokeris, the minister in charge of the Karamoja region in northeastern Uganda, confirmed that 10 people had been killed in the attack. He said he hoped the new Kenyan government, which was sworn in on 30 December, would be more effective in cooperating on peace and security issues along the common border with Uganda. According to Lokeris, this was the second attack in two months in the area, where previously communities had lived in relative peace for years. "This an issue that will be dealt with by the two governments," he told IRIN. The incident has sparked fears of more attacks in the Karamoja region, which since early last year has undergone a government-sponsored disarmament programme. The Karamojong, a traditionally pastoralist group living in northeastern Ugandan districts, have often been accused of raiding neighbouring districts, causing displacement and human suffering. The Ugandan government initially supplied weapons to small groups of "home guards" within the Karamoja subregion, on the grounds that the Karamojong were under threat from cross-border raids by Turkana and Pokot pastoralists from Kenya.

Catholic Information Service For Africa (Nairobi) 7 Jan 2003 Bishop Condemns Killings Nairobi Bishop Peter Kairo of the Catholic Diocese of Nakuru has condemned recent violence in the town that has left at least 24 people dead. On Sunday night (January 5, 2003) fifteen people were killed in Nakuru (170 kilometres north of Nairobi), and one in Murang'a in Central Kenya. Earlier on Saturday night, five others were left dead in Nakuru alone. Another was killed on Monday night in Murang'a. Intermittent disagreements, which had been brewing for sometime since last year, peaked into violent clashes on Saturday when touts for passenger taxis in Nakuru town resisted the take-over of their routes by adherents of the banned politico-religious sect calling itself 'Mungiki.’ The sect was allegedly revenging the attack on one of their members previously attacked in the town. Bishop Kairo told CISA on Tuesday that the situation was bad. "These are all innocent people," he said. The Bishop had visited many injured survivors in several hospitals in Nakuru. He said they were badly slashed. He described the situation as "very bad" and condemned the atrocities "in the strongest terms possible". The public Kenya Broadcasting Corporation reported on Tuesday that police in Nakuru had arrested a former Nakuru Member of Parliament David Manyara and a businessman Zakayo Maina in connection with the massacre of 15 people on Sunday night. This might bring in a political angle to the matter. A large section of local media said on Tuesday that the attackers were allegedly avenging the loss by the Kenya African National Union (KANU) at the December 27 elections. Police were by Tuesday holding 47 members of the banned sect. The sect was in the news in March 2002 when its members massacred 21 people in the capital Nairobi. And between then and the recent killings, it has also claimed the lives of several other people, mostly in central Kenya. Despite been banned on March 15, 2002, it continued its activities unabatedly. Analysts say it had the backing of the former regime under KANU. They openly expressed support for the party's presidential candidate in the just-ended elections. Security personnel were either unable or unwilling to tackle the sect's gangs. The Mungiki, which aims to revert to traditional beliefs of the Kikuyu (a major Kenyan ethnic community) was outlawed along with 17 other vigilante gangs that had come to be associated with violence.

East African Standard (Nairobi) 8 Jan 2003 Ex-MP Arrested Over Mungiki Killings Hydin Gethin And Dominic Wabala Nairobi Nakuru politician David Manyara has been arrested and interrogated in connection with the weekend violence which left 16 people dead. The violence has been blamed on adherents of the outlawed Mungiki sect which people also killed more than 20 people in Nairobi's Kariobangi area last year. Manyara, a former Nakuru Town MP and a failed Kanu contestant in the December 27 General Election, was arrested with two other suspects. They are the chairman of the popular Molo Line matatu services, Mr Njoroge Kariuki, who was arrested for allegedly ferrying the Mungiki people to the Nakuru estates to terrorise the residents. The other is Mr Zakayo Maina, who is also said to be an associate of Manyara. Manyara, Kariuki and Maina were arrested at the Rift Valley Provincial Police Officer (PPO) Alex Rono's office while they were waiting to see him. The PPO confirmed that police were still holding Manyara, and his two accomplices at the Nakuru provincial police headquarters cells for interrogation. "We cannot let them go until the investigations are complete because they have been mentioned by some suspects," Rono said. According to the Rift Valley Provincial Commissioner, Mr Peter Raburu, some of the arrested Mungiki suspects confessed during interrogation that Manyara was funding them to cause mayhem in the area. Raburu said the Mungiki people confessed that Manyara was paying each of them Sh500 per day to terrorise residents and cause mayhem in Nakuru Town. "Where there is smoke there is fire. People cannot just mention a name if there is no connection. So we are holding Manyara's group for interrogation," the PC said. They trio were arrested on Monday evening after Mungiki people massacred 16 people and injured scores of others in an orgy that rocked several estates in Nakuru. However, when the East African Standard interviewed Manyara before his arrest, the former legislator denied any involvement. He said he did not have such a large amount of money to sponsor the Mungiki people. "Where would I get such large sums of money to fund Mungiki activities, and how would I know them?" Manyara asked. He alleged that when he got information that people were being killed, he went to Flamingo and Phase Two estates in Nakuru town and pacified residents before calling the police. Manyara said that he met the Nakuru Town MP-elect, Mr Mirugi Kariuki, at the police station. "This is politics and someone intends to tarnish my name. I accepted defeat and I have no intention of causing mayhem. The law prohibits killings and I cannot propagate that," Manyara insisted. Security was beefed up in Nakuru town as business gradually returned to normal yesterday. The new Minister of State in the Office of the President in charge of National Security and Provincial Administration, Dr Christopher Murungaru, on Monday ordered police to crack down on the outlawed sect. Meanwhile, Police Headquarters yesterday confirmed the deaths of 14 people killed by the outlawed members of the Mungiki sect, writes Noel Wandera. Spokesman King'ori Mwangi said 12 people died in Nakuru and two in Murang'a. He said 16 people have been hospitalised with injuries. Mwangi at the same time confirmed that seven Mungiki people have been killed. He said three had been lynched in Nakuru by irate members of the public, while four were shot dead by police who were trying to restore order. He added that since Saturday, 81 of the sect members have been arrested by police, 47 in Nakuru and 34 in Nairobi. "We are questioning several politicians and transporters who are suspected of mobilising and transporting the Mungiki members during the fighting in Nakuru," Mwangi said in a statement. He said a police operation is going on in Nairobi, especially on the various matatu routes, where they have managed to arrest some of the sect's members. Meanwhile, Mwangi said Police Commissioner Philemon Abong'o, have reassured Kenyans that security in Nakuru and Murang'a has been restored.

Kenya Broadcasting Corporation 9 Jan 2003 Kariobangi massacre suspects freed By Esther King’ori A Nairobi court has freed three members of a vigilante group nicknamed ‘Taliban’ who had been charged with the murder of three suspected Mungiki sect members in Nairobi’s Kariobangi North estate last year. The three, David Peter Ochieng alias Nyam Nyam, Chrispine Oluoch and Thomas Okoth Ochieng alias Siasa were acquitted by Senior Resident Magistrate Gilbert Ombongo for lack of evidence. The magistrate said no evidence warranting the three to be committed to High Court to stand murder trial had been adduced in court. However, the court said there was enough evidence linking another suspect, Martin Billy Aenea alias El Nino to stand trial for murder. The four had been charged with the killing of three men at Kariobangi North estate in Nairobi on March 2 last year. The killings sparked a deadly revenge attack by the Mungiki sect that left at least 20m people dead in one of the most brutal raids witnessed in Nairobi. Meanwhile, a Nairobi court has lifted a warrant of arrest issued against Embakasi MP David Mwenje last year. Senior Resident Magistrate H. Oundu lifted the warrant after Mr. Mwenje presented himself to court accompanied by his lawyer David Maanzo. The warrant had been issued after the MP failed to turn up for a case in which he and 33 coffee farmers are charged with holding an unlawful gathering at Kasarani in July last year.

Libya

Al-Ahram EG 23 - 29 January 2003 Issue No. 622 Polishing up Libya's image Libya's election as chair of the UN Human Rights Commission troubles Western human rights groups, writes Gamal Nkrumah - The omens look good for Libya. The North African country has, to Washington's chagrin, scored big on the international arena. In a secret ballot for the position of chair of the United Nations Human Rights Commission, Libyan ambassador to the UN, Najat Al- Hajjaji, was backed by 33 members, with three countries voting against and 17 members abstaining. She was ecstatic. The vote was a publicity coup for Libya. The UN vote was partly aimed at giving Libya the appearance of good standing with the international community. "If I make any mistake, please correct me, guide me," Al- Hajjaji told her fellow UN ambassadors. Her humble attitude seem to reflect that of her government's, which is now eager to make new friends and obliterate its old pariah state image. Libya has won a signal victory in its game of cat and mouse with the United States. It is no small feat for Libya to chair the UN's chief human rights watchdog. The vote confirmed the growing anti-American sentiments sweeping the world. If its warmongering escalates any further, Washington will surely reap the whirlwind. Detractors dismissed Libya's accomplishment as a tawdry deal negotiated by the Libyans in return for financing the newly- formed African Union (AU). US officials cried foul. "This is not a defeat for the US, this is a defeat for the Human Rights Commission," said US ambassador to the UN Kevin Moley. Western human rights organisations have focussed on what they consider gross violations of human rights in Libya, especially the so-called people's court system. The Libyan authorities are now reviewing the situation and hint that the system might be scrapped. Can anything then be said in Libya's favour? It would not be easy. A litany of political assassinations in cold blood, abductions and forced disappearances of political opponents have been reported by Western- based human rights organisations. Reports by the London-based Amnesty International and the New York-based Human Rights Watch warn of the widespread torture of detainees and the detention without trial of political opponents to the regime. "Today hundreds of people remain arbitrarily detained, some for over a decade, and there are serious concerns about how they are being treated and the fairness of procedures in several ongoing high-profile trials before the People's Courts," read a recently- released Human Rights Watch statement about Libya. Still certain aspects of Libya's human rights record can be defended. "There have been marked improvements in recent years. If we look at key social and economic indicators, such as the relatively egalitarian distribution of income and wealth, Libya's human rights record is not that poor," Mohamed Fayek, head of the Arab Human Rights Organisation, told Al-Ahram Weekly. "Still, there is room for improvement," he added. Western human rights organisations concur. "Libya's election poses a real test for the Commission," said Joanna Weschler, UN representative of Human Rights Watch. However, the human rights group conceded "some positive commitment". They said they hoped for a real commitment on the part of the Libyans to cooperate with the UN on human rights. Countries must be persuaded to ratify human rights treaties and comply with conventions already ratified. The Libyan authorities' clampdown on militant Islamist organisations such as the Libyan Fighting Group and the Libyan Islamic Jihad Group have been reported by human rights organisations. Libya was one of the first countries to warn of the dangers of Islamic militancy in North Africa and call for the arrest of Saudi dissident Osama Bin Laden when the now-notorious outlaw was a US protégé in Afghanistan. Admittedly, Libya has in the past couple of years polished up its act. High profile "prisoners of conscience", such as Omaran Al- Turbi, who was held without trial for 17 years, and Libya's longest serving political prisoner, Ahmad Al-Zubayr Al-Sanoussi, imprisoned for 31 years, have been set free amid much publicity. Libyan officials counter that the US record of human rights is far worse than Libya's. No country has a perfect human rights record, and least of all the United States, with its history of racial discrimination and the obvious racial bias of its death penalty. "US military spending stands at a staggering $400 billion. Even a mere $10 billion to the world's poorest and neediest will make a tremendous difference," said Ali Al- Treiki, Libya's foreign minister. He added that the historical US treatment of racial minorities is deplorable. "African Americans, Hispanic Americans and Arab and Muslim Americans are discriminated against to this day. Post-11 September, anti-terrorism campaigns have intensified this injustice," he said. Libya's ascension to the UN human rights commission chair must no doubt be viewed as a humbling experience for the US. For the Libyans, this is an opportunity to forge closer diplomatic and trade ties both with industrially advanced Western powers and fellow developing countries. How Libya responds to this new challenge will determine whether the North African state is to reap the full benefits of its ardent efforts to woo Western powers. At any rate, this is certainly a defining moment for Libya's international standing. .

Nigeria

IRIN 2 Jan 2003 Obasanjo says sorry for Benue killings LAGOS, 2 Jan 2003 (IRIN) - President Olusegun Obasanjo on Wednesday apologised for a military action he ordered against some communities in Benue State, central Nigeria, in which more than 200 civilians were killed. Obasanjo was in the Benue capital, Makurdi, to attend a reconciliation forum organised by the Benue branch of the Christian Association of Nigeria. He was accompanied to the event by the state governor, George Akume. The president had sent soldiers after local militiamen who killed 19 soldiers sent to quell violent clashes between Tivs and their Jukun neighbours on the border between Benue and Taraba states. The soldiers carried out reprisal attacks against several Tiv villages located in the area where the soldiers were killed, killing at least 200 people and leaving tens of thousands homeless. Obasanjo said at the time that the soldiers had acted in self-defence and he had refused to condemn the killings. "There is no doubt that we...need to seek forgiveness from ourselves," he said at the reconciliation forum. "For me, I should say to you sorry, it should never have happened." The apologies came four days before Obasanjo was scheduled to compete for the presidential ticket of the ruling People's Democratic Party in the capital, Abuja. If Obasanjo beats four other contenders for nomination, he will have a chance to run for a second and final term in presidential elections due on 19 April. Thousands of people have been killed in Nigeria in ethnic and religious conflicts since Obasanjo's election in 1999 ended 15 years of military rule. His opponents accuse Obasanjo of mismanaging Nigeria's conflicts. He has blamed them on the rot caused by decades of military rule, saying he needs more time to resolve them.

AP 11 Jan 2003 Nigeria President Apologizes for Massacre LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — The Nigerian president has apologized for ordering an army raid in which 200 people were killed in apparent retaliation for the deaths of 19 soldiers, a senior state official said Thursday. It was the first time President Olusegun Obasanjo has explicitly acknowledged army wrongdoing in the killings. In the past, he had sought to justify the deaths by saying the army may have acted in self-defense. Obasanjo expressed his regrets during a reconciliation forum organized by the Christian Association of Nigeria in the country's central Benue state, said Shima Ayati, the state official responsible for resettling thousands of people displaced by the raid. ``I should say to you, sorry. It should never have happened,'' Obasanjo said, according to a transcript of his Wednesday speech. Obasanjo has acknowledged ordering the Oct. 22-24, 2001 attacks. But he defended it as a tactic to restore calm after ethnic Tiv militia fighters ambushed and killed the soldiers. The army had been dispatched to quell months of fighting between Tivs and their Jukun rivals. He had also suggested the soldiers may have acted in self-defense. Witnesses, however, said the soldiers ransacked at least seven villages, shelling houses and gunning down residents indiscriminately. Obasanjo's apology came just days before the ruling People's Democratic Party's Sunday primary to select its presidential candidate for the April 19 election. Obasanjo, whose 1999 election ended 15 years of military rule, already faces stiff competition for a second term. Former Vice President Alex Ekwueme and ex-military ruler Muhammadu Buhari are among those in the running. Benue state voted overwhelmingly for Obasanjo four years ago, but there has been concern in the ruling party that the state might switch its support to the opposition after the killings. Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation, is riven with ethnic and religious tensions that regularly explode in violence. More than 10,000 people have died in clashes since civilian rule was restored four years ago. National and international human rights groups have accused police and soldiers of excessive brutality in suppressing widespread violence and crime, often with the tacit approval of the government. No one has been punished for the army attacks in Benue, or a similar raid in the southern Niger Delta region in 1999 which killed more than 200.

Rwanda

East African (Nairobi) 6 Jan 2003 Rwanda to Demobilise 20,000 Soldiers Richard Hasunira Rwanda plans to demobilise up to 20,000 soldiers by 2004, saying it has "largely succeeded" in restoring peace in the country. Another 25,000 ex-combatants returning from the Democratic Republic of Congo, where they have been opposed to fighting alongside rebels the Kinshasa government, are to be reintegrated into society - 5,000 of them in the army. "Following the 1994 genocide, our immediate priorities were the restoration of peace, the resettlement of the internally displaced and returning refugees, promotion of national reconciliation and the revival of the economy," the government said in a Letter of Intent and Policy Memorandum submitted to the International Monetary Fund. The document, setting out the policies the government intends to implement over the medium term, said that the demobilisation of the army was necessary since the Rwanda Patriotic Front government had largely succeeded in restoring peace in Rwanda. The government also said that most Rwandese refugees who had been living in neighbouring countries, particularly Congo and Tanzania, had returned home and been resettled. According to the document, signed by National Bank of Rwanda (NBR) governor Francois Kanimba and Finance Minister Donald Kaberuka, over three million internally displaced persons and refugees had been permanently resettled in the country by the end of 1999. At an estimated 60,000 officers and men, the Rwanda Patriotic Army (RPA) is one of the largest in the region. In 2001, the government spent $58 million on the military. The government says its demobilisation programme will reduce both the force and military expenditure "substantially" over the next two to three years. Over the next two years, the demobilisation programme will also include the payment of service allowance to 15,000 ex-FAR personnel already in Rwanda, the government has said. Gacaca, the traditional court system, is being re-established to hear the cases of more than 100,000 people detained on charges related to the 1994 genocide in which some 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and Hutus were killed. The judges to preside over the community-based judicial process were elected in October 2001 and have been undergoing training. In the medium term, the government says it will conduct a systematic review of the resources required to provide basic support for orphanages and orphans, and to meet its commitment to victims of the genocide. Transfers of the victims of genocide are funded through the Fund for the Victims of the Genocide, which the government says will continue to receive a budgetary allocation equal to five per cent of domestic revenues. Rwanda has striven over the past eight years to address the social tension and poverty engendered by the genocide. The government's goals are reconstruction, national reconciliation, peace, stability, good governance and poverty reduction.

AFP 7 Jan 2002 Rwanda to free up to 40,000 'killers' KIGALI - Between 30,000 and 40,000 Rwandan prisoners, mostly suspects in the 1994 genocide, are to be freed on remand this month, in line with instructions from President Paul Kagame, the Justice Minister said yesterday. ''The measure affects between 30,000 and 40,000 people, almost all of whom confessed to taking part in the genocide and who were aged between 14 and 18 at the time, as well as those who are very old or seriously ill,'' Mr Jean de Dieu Mucyo said. Advertisement ''This is not an amnesty because these people will be tried while they are free.'' Rwandan prisons currently house some 115,000 people, 90 per cent of whom are accused of having taken part in the 1994 orchestrated slaughter of up to a million Tutsis and Hutus who were opposed to the genocide.

IRIN 7 Jan 2003 Up to 40,000 detainees to be granted provisional liberty NAIROBI, 7 Jan 2003 (IRIN) - The Rwandan government is to grant provisional liberty within a month to between 30,000 and 40,000 prison detainees, including those involved in the 1994 genocide, news agencies have reported. President Paul Kagame had instructed the relevant judicial authorities to free all detainees who ran the risk of being imprisoned for longer than provided for under the law, the Rwanda News Agency (RNA) reported on Monday. The detainees included people who had confessed to crimes of genocide, but had not been involved in planning or instigating it (classified as Category 1 suspects), those who were minors when they committed the acts of genocide, and also people accused of ordinary crimes. "The release of these detainees is without prejudice to the continuation of criminal proceedings against them," RNA said, citing a government communique. The communique also reiterated the government's decision to release elderly and very sick detainees. "This is not an amnesty, because these people will be tried while they are free," AFP quoted Rwandan Justice Minister Jean de Dieu Mucyo as saying. There are an estimated 115,000 detainees accused of genocide and crimes against humanity in Rwandan prisons, the Hirondelle News Agency reported. Many thousands of the detainees have not been charged with specific crimes, despite having spent up to eight years in prison. Their number has placed a severe strain on the criminal justice system, which, the Rwandan government has said, was already "crippled" by poor infrastructure and the deaths of professionals during the genocide.

VOA News 8 Jan 2003 " Survivors Oppose Release of Rwanda's Genocide Suspects Survivors of Rwanda's 1994 bloodbath say they oppose next month's planned release of 40-thousand prisoners, most of them genocide suspects. An official with Ibuka, a survivors' organization, said Wednesday the release order will make it hard to pursue any kind of justice once the prisoners are set free. The organization also said those released may try to kill again. On Tuesday, Rwandan Justice Minister Jean de Dieu Mucyo told reporters that to reduce jail overcrowding, President Paul Kagame ordered the release of some of those who have confessed to taking part in the 1994 genocide. The order covers only those who were 14 to 18 years old at the time or those who are now very old or seriously ill. Mr. Mucyo said the decree is not an amnesty because those who are released will still be put on trial. The presidential decree also does not cover accused genocide leaders - many of whom are on trial before the International Criminal Tribunal in neighboring Tanzania. Exremist Hutus massacred an estimated 800,000 minority Tutsis and moderate Hutus between April and July 1994. The genocide ended when Tutsi rebels overthrew Rwanda's Hutu-dominated government.

AP 10 Jan 2003 Rwanda Releases Some Genocide Suspects KIGALI, Rwanda (AP) -- Rwanda began releasing hundreds of elderly and ill genocide suspects and other detainees on Friday to ease overcrowding in its prisons, the attorney general said. After President Paul Kagame called last week for the conditional release of some 40,000 prison inmates, doctors began examining the most seriously ill and elderly and recommending that they be let out. Those released will still be held accountable for their alleged crimes, and the decree does not cover organizers, leaders and supervisors of the 1994 genocide and those accused of rape during the 100-day slaughter, Attorney General Gerard Gahima said. At least half a million people, most of them minority Tutsis, were slaughtered on the orders of an extremist government of the Hutu majority. About 115,000 genocide suspects are being held in Rwandan prisons, representing between 90 percent and 95 percent of the entire prison population. Most have never been formally charged and were jailed on accusations made by friends and relatives of the victims. Justice ministry officials said they did not have exact figures but estimated that many of the sick prisoners released are suffering from HIV/AIDS. ``We started by releasing the elderly and the very sick throughout the country,'' Gahima said. ``Next Friday we will begin releasing minors.'' Gahima said justice authorities will release names on Jan. 23 of healthy genocide suspects who qualify for conditional release after confessing their roles in the slaughter. The suspects will then be taken to so-called Solidarity Camps, where they will receive civic education and counseling on reconciliation before going back to their home villages, he said. Most of those released will eventually face trial by their neighbors under a traditional community court system known as ``gacaca.'' The maximum penalty in such courts is life in prison, whereas in regular courts it is death.

Africa Rights - Press Release Daily Nation 7 Jan 200216 Jan 2003 PRISONER RELEASES A RISK FOR THE GACACA SYSTEM African Rights questions plans by the Government of Rwanda to release around 30-40,000 genocide detainees on bail. Announced in a Presidential communiqué on 1 January 2003, we fear that this unexpected decision will undermine efforts to deliver justice for the victims and survivors of the 1994 genocide through the gacaca courts. Genocide suspects who have confessed—but not those accused of leading the killings—, minors who were between 14 and 18 years old during the genocide, elderly prisoners, the chronically ill and “other persons accused of ordinary crimes” will be included in the releases. The measure will apply only “to detainees who run the risk of being imprisoned for longer than provided for under the law.” While it is entirely understandable that the government must seek to prevent illegal detentions and the injustices they entail, we believe that this must be weighed against the potential havoc that the releases could wreak in the administration of genocide justice and that an alternative solution should be sought. It was clearly stated that the prisoners will remain subject to justice and are merely being offered “provisional liberty.” This is unlikely to reassure genocide survivors and witnesses who will be anxious that the suspects may gain an opportunity to attack their accusers or to evade justice through corruption or by going into hiding or exile. Mass “provisional liberty” represents a foray into the unknown. It is doubtful whether the Ministry of Justice or any other government department could offer assurances as to what the consequences will be. In every aspect of the genocide prosecutions, and from the outset, the Ministry of Justice in Rwanda has been forced to broach uncharted territory and take on overwhelming challenges, but this move is certain only to compound its existing struggles. Judicial institutions, which are already severely over-stretched, must now hasten to examine the cases of the relevant detainees within a month; this at a time when the nationwide launch of gacaca has brought its own pressures. And as the gacaca courts begin their work, many of them will now face additional and unanticipated practical difficulties. Firstly, the State can no longer guarantee the presence in court of the prisoners who have confessed. In this respect the sole reliable factor in the gacaca trials has been complicated. Even more worrying is the potential for released prisoners, returning to their communities, to intimidate the residents, thereby preventing wider participation in the trials and causing damage and trauma to individuals. Government assurances to increase the provision of counselors and tighten security in court are to be welcomed, but inevitably cannot safeguard prosecution witnesses and judges in the period before the hearings. As African Rights’ forthcoming report, Gacaca Justice: A Shared Responsibility, highlights, the implementation of gacaca is already encumbered by the reluctance of witnesses to name perpetrators and by several logistical problems, including shortcomings and gaps in the law, the inadequacy of some judges (Inyangamugayo) to their task, and dwindling popular attendance in some areas. But crucially, we believe the releases will undermine popular confidence in the process—the very factor upon which, our findings show, the success of gacaca depends. On the basis of our past research upon attitudes to justice, there is every reason to be concerned that the releases will have a negative impact upon all the parties involved in gacaca. Although these are not the first releases of genocide prisoners, they involve by far the largest numbers to date. Previously the government singled out selected groups of prisoners for unconditional release on humanitarian grounds; these were the elderly, the chronically ill and minors. The fact that this latest batch will also include these groups but apparently on different terms—in that they will be tried—is bound to be a source of confusion. Reactions among detainees to these earlier releases, as detailed in African Rights’ June 2000-report: Confessing to Genocide, give some indication as to how this latest development will be received by them. At the time, prisoners and justice officials alike voiced near unanimous opposition to the release of elderly prisoners, arguing that many of them had led the slaughter, influencing the youth. Furthermore, the selective releases encouraged the hope among detainees that if they maintained their silence, the economic burden of imprisoning them would eventually ensure wholesale releases. This was a major obstacle to the functioning of the confession and guilty plea procedure, as it was implemented prior to gacaca. Gacaca gained a better reception as detainees anticipated much more lenient treatment and speedier trials. They are bound to have felt frustration at the delays so far and the releases will relieve this for some. But rather than prompting others to genuine confession it may be that they will encourage opportunism, with prisoners offering partial or inaccurate confessions simply in the hope of immediate release. Overwhelmingly, the releases will reinforce the perception that the government lacks the capacity to properly administer genocide justice. There have already been substantial inconsistencies in genocide prosecutions due to the introduction, first, of the confession and guilty plea procedure and, secondly, gacaca. It is logical that the government should seek to harmonise the system by, as the President suggested, “affording” prisoners who confessed prior to gacaca “the advantages available to those who confess under the law establishing gacaca courts”. But the current situation of some 120,000 prisoners in Rwanda’s prison has persisted for years and with it an understanding of the time constraints involved. It is unfortunate that there have been delays in launching gacaca nationwide and this is almost certainly at the root of the problem. But nothing was done to prepare people or the gacaca courts for the possibility of imminent releases on this scale. Any sense that the government is wavering in its commitment to implement the gacaca system in its original form will create public uncertainty and weaken resolve. It is only six months ago that the first 12 pilot sectors began to implement the gacaca system. The sectors where the work is most advanced have just reached the stage of gathering the information necessary for categorising suspects. The witnesses who remain to be called include detainees who have confessed. A very large number of them may have given only superficial or partial accounts and fear being denounced for the crimes they have failed to reveal. Gacaca itself was introduced, in large part, because the confession and guilty plea procedure introduced in 1996 did not accelerate the pace of justice as hoped. It took time and considerable human resources to establish the veracity and comprehensive nature of prisoners’ confessions, a process that slowed down the course of justice. Only after detainees have had the opportunity to confront the residents on the hills will it be possible to establish whether their confessions were full and sincere. If they are able to go home now, they will have the time to influence the outcome of their cases. The communiqué will also undoubtedly affect the independence of the gacaca judges. These judges are not operating in a vacuum, but in a given social and political environment. Whatever the arguments to the contrary, in reality it will be extremely difficult for these judges to send back to prison thousands of detainees which the State has already taken the decision to free, especially in a country where respect for authority is deeply ingrained. Moreover, in Gacaca Justice, African Rights emphasises that there is still no firm consensus about past wrongs and agreement about the meaning and purpose of justice initiatives in Rwanda. We suggest that the participatory nature of gacaca holds out the possibility of depoliticising the issue by placing it openly in the civil arena. The communiqué to release prisoners will have profound implications for the workings of the gacaca courts, and the sudden momentous decision will catch them unprepared. African Rights hopes the Government of Rwanda will pause and reflect how best to convince the people of Rwanda that genocide justice is a civil and moral enterprise rather than a political initiative or a lottery.

Africa Rights 23 Jan 2003 Press Release: A new 51 page report from African Rights GACACA JUSTICE A SHARED RESPONSIBILITY Rwanda’s gacaca justice project has been launched nation-wide and, seven months after pilot gacaca trials started, a careful review of the system is possible. In African Rights’ 51-page report: Gacaca Justice: A Shared Responsibility the recently-appointed gacaca judges known as the Inyangamugayo, and the legal experts who trained them for their role, offer recommendations on the way forward. They comment on their expectations of gacaca and experiences of the training and of the trials already underway. They identify weaknesses in the structure and delivery of gacaca and gaps in the law, but also convey their enthusiasm and commitment. The report warns that the Inyangamugayo will require answers to their questions, criticisms and needs if they are to maintain their interest. The views of the judges, who are the representatives of their communities, can also be seen as a reflection of the wider feeling about gacaca, and the same principle applies. People must be regularly informed, consulted and encouraged. The alternative is that the gacaca system could crumble. All the adult citizens of Rwanda share responsibility for this process. Anyone who is not a judge or a genocide suspect is automatically a member of the “general assembly” and must attend and contribute to their local cellule hearings at which the lists of victims and perpetrators are drawn up. The success of gacaca depends overwhelmingly upon popular participation: this is both its greatest strength and its most challenging aspect. Without the genuine involvement of members of all sectors of Rwandese society¾particularly the accused and their relatives, survivors and witnesses¾gacaca hearings may be ineffectual or they may simply be postponed. Gacaca allows for the input of all Rwandese who lived through the genocide. It offers a means by which they can collectively acknowledge and condemn the genocide. Gacaca was established to convict active supporters of the slaughter, except for its leaders, the “category 1 suspects.” But it also opens a path towards atonement, through truth-telling, for witnesses who were either unable or unwilling to try to prevent killings. For genocide perpetrators too, there is the opportunity to confess and ask forgiveness for their crimes. More than simply a legal instrument, gacaca creates new possibilities for social interaction and engagement. It sets out to improve relations among the people of Rwanda, and between them and the State. The Inyangamugayo are the key partners in the relationships constructed by gacaca. People must feel total confidence in the judges, and the Ministry of Justice must be able to trust them to carry out their task fairly. The judges were democratically elected on the basis of their “honesty and integrity”¾this was crucial to ensuring popular support for gacaca. In a country where in the past justice has blatantly been employed by successive regimes to meet political ends, the concept has lost moral currency. By handing genocide justice over to the people, gacaca crucially removes it from the political arena. This element of independence must be preserved throughout the process if it is to succeed. Yet African Rights’ report suggests that the judges are a very mixed group*they include natural community leaders, educated, articulate and committed; cynical individuals seeking to exploit the system; and people who have been pressured into taking part for want of other candidates. They also include a relatively high number of illiterate or semi-literate people who, even if they are keen, will struggle to remember the information about the gacaca law and the responsibilities that they were given at the training. Moreover, as the elected representatives of their communities, the judges often stand for the attitudes of local residents. In those areas worst affected by the genocide, where the rate of participation in the killings was exceptionally high and there are few survivors, it is not impossible that the guilty may be judged by their accomplices. Reports from some of the gacaca instructors that the tribunals of certain cellules are almost exclusively peopled by those who took some part in the killings are deeply troubling. Although there is provision to accuse and try judges suspected of involvement—and indeed there are already examples of suspects dropping out of the courts—close monitoring is required to prevent abuse. Some judges clearly lack the character or the education to properly implement gacaca and all, at this point, lack sufficient training. Moreover, unlike many forms of customary justice, where the judges derive their authority from an existing belief system, the Inyangamugayo are a new addition to Rwandese society and their credibility remains to be established. The judges themselves are aware of this and call for concrete efforts to increase their standing within the community and to bolster their capacity to carry out this voluntary role through the payment of incentives. While judges generally accept that theirs should be voluntary position, they call for some benefits, arguing that the poverty of some is certain to prevent them from taking on duties or from discharging them properly. Intensive efforts to promote the knowledge, skills and status of the Inyangamugayo will require further financial investment and might cause delays. This presents the government with a dilemma. The pressure to forge ahead with gacaca trials across the country and to bring to an end the years of crisis within Rwanda’s prisons is intense. Detainees, probably including innocent people, have been awaiting judgements for long periods in difficult conditions while their families endure their absence. Both they and their families anticipated that gacaca would accelerate the pace of justice; unless it does so they will become demoralised and their initial support of gacaca is likely to wane. This must be balanced against the reality that the scale and the novelty of the project make it a huge logistical challenge. There are more than 10,000 courts across the country and 260,000 men and women have been appointed to sit as judges in their local court. African Rights concludes that it would be unrealistic to expect the trials in and of themselves to deliver prompt and complete answers to the administration of genocide justice. Several hurdles lie ahead. The report discusses some of the issues the government will have to confront, including further training, public education, security, poverty and the demand that “revenge killings” committed in the aftermath of the genocide, be prosecuted in gacaca courts. But the process itself matters enormously. Gacaca brings together the people of Rwanda in a spirit of equality and openness, empowering them to influence their society for the better. Properly implemented it may well prove an antidote to the social poison of the genocide.

IRIN 20 Jan 2003 5,000 Refugees to Be Repatriated Nairobi A tripartite agreement has been signed with the governments of Rwanda and Zambia to begin the voluntary return by air of more than 5,000 Rwandan refugees in Zambia, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported on Friday. The accord, signed in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, follows the repatriation to date of more than 23,000 Rwandan refugees living in camps in Tanzania. The UN refugee agency said its office in Zambia would immediately begin preparing profiles of the more than 5,000 Rwandan refugees in Zambian camps, including their areas of origin, ahead of the airlift to Rwanda, expected to begin in April. UNHCR also said it would launch an information campaign in Zambian camps where many of the refugees are located, to inform them of plans being made for their return home. In this vein, a technical working group that met on Thursday recommended that a delegation of the Rwandan government and recent returnees visit Zambia before the end of March to speak to refugees about the situation in their home districts. In the meantime, UNHCR is collecting data on other Rwandan refugees in countries throughout Africa, to be used for an appeal to donors for funds to facilitate organised repatriation movements, returnee monitoring and reintegration of Rwandans. An estimated 60,000 Rwandan refugees are scattered across many countries in Africa, the UNHCR says. Speaking at the Kigali meeting, UNHCR's Regional Coordinator for the Great Lakes region, Wairimu Karago, expressed hope that the agreement would "reflect the legitimate wishes of the refugees to return home in safety and dignity", as well as act as the blueprint for other tripartite arrangements for the voluntary repatriation of Rwandan refugees. She said that UNHCR had changed its policy from merely facilitating to actively promoting voluntary repatriation to Rwanda, adding that this policy would be harmonised and implemented across African in a consistent manner. Karago said that concrete steps that the Rwandan government had taken to ensure that conditions were conducive to the voluntary repatriation of Rwandan refugees had vindicated this change in policy. As an example, she cited the recent release from custody of 40,000 persons facing various allegations connected to the 1994 genocide and the commitment by Rwandan authorities to implement, judiciously, the process of the Gacaca traditional court system. UNHCR said that it expected to sign more agreements with Rwanda and countries hosting Rwandan refugees in Africa.

IRIN 29 Jan 2003 More genocide suspects released NAIROBI, 29 Jan 2003 (IRIN) - Rwanda released 19,276 genocide suspects on Tuesday, in an ongoing process aimed at decongesting the country's prisons. The director of administration of justice, Hannington Tayebwa, told IRIN on Wednesday that most of the released prisoners had confessed, and had been sentenced before the implementation of the Gacaca system of justice, launched in Rwanda in 2002. Gacaca is based on a Rwandan traditional justice system whereby the community - at village level - tries suspects in open sessions held at the cellule, the country's lowest administrative unit. Rwandans chose Gacaca judges in 2002 from among the population. Tayebwa said Tuesday's action brought to 21,130 the total number of prisoners released since 10 January. Rwandan President Paul Kagame issued a decree on 1 January, granting the provisional release of the prisoners, mostly the aged, the sick, those who were minors during the violence, and those uninvolved in planning the genocide. The prisoners freed on Tuesday included 12,628 who had been ranked in the second and third categories of the government's list of genocide suspects; 1,966 who had been acquitted of their crimes under Gacaca law; 1,792 who had confessed and been sentenced before Gacaca; 1,116 who were minors (between 14 and 18 years) during the 1994 genocide; 937 who were charged with crimes unrelated to genocide; 105 former rebels; 302 who were released by the prosecution department; and another 302 who had confessed, and their files were already in national courts. Rwanda released 21,130 prisoners on 10 January, mostly those aged over 70, and the sick. The government of Rwanda maintains a list of genocide suspects, which is divided into four categories, ranging from the alleged planners, the killers to those who looted or committed other less serious crimes. Those on category one face the death penalty if tried in Rwanda, or life in prison if tried before the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha, Tanzania. Tayebwa said those released on Tuesday would first undergo two months at "solidarity camps" before finally being allowed to go back to their communities. The camps are scheduled to begin the re-education process on Friday. Each province has a solidarity camp, where the prisoners will undergo training in several aspects aimed at reintegrating them into the community. "They will be taught about the reconciliation process, developmental studies and history of the genocide among many other lessons," Tayebwa told IRIN. He said provinces such as Gitarama and Butare have more than one solidarity camp. The genocide, which took place between April and July 1994, claimed some 800,000 lives. The Gacaca justice system was launched in a bid to expedite the genocide trials and decongest the prisons, which have been home to hundreds of thousands of prisoners since the overthrow of the former government in 1994.

Sierra Leone

BBC 18 Jan 2003 Ex-Sierra Leone junta leader arrested - diplomats FREETOWN, Jan 18 (Reuters) - Former Sierra Leone junta leader Johnny Paul Koroma has been arrested in connection with an attack this week on an army barracks, diplomats in the West African country said on Saturday. Police said 14 people had been taken into custody at Koroma's house in connection with Monday's attack, during which gunmen apparently tried to seize the armoury of a Freetown barracks but were beaten off. Police declined to name the detainees. Koroma ruled during one of the bloodiest periods of a decade-long war in Sierra Leone. He took power from President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah in a 1997 coup, but was driven out by a West African force early in 1998. "Johnny Paul and some family members, together with some serving soldiers and ex-combatants have been arrested," one senior diplomat told Reuters. Kabbah won a landslide presidential election victory last year, but Koroma was also elected to parliament -- with the help of a large number of votes from Sierra Leone's military. Sierra Leone is trying to recover from the war, which was declared over a year ago. Up to 50,000 people were killed in fighting that was characterised by atrocities, including mutilation and widespread rape.

IRIN 23 Jan 2003 Special Court settling in ABIDJAN, 23 Jan 2003 (IRIN) - Barely six months after its Registrar and Prosecutor arrived to take up their assignments, the Special Court for Sierra Leone has moved its registry and administrative branches into its new site in the center of the capital, Freetown. "The physical building of the court is moving ahead rapidly, particularly the prefabricated offices for the various branches of the Court and the renovations of the buildings that will be the detention facility," David Hecht, spokesman for the court told IRIN on Thursday. From a rocky, bushy 11.5 acre area provided by the government in the New England area of the city, on which stood condemned buildings including a former prison training school, fifteen office blocks now stand constructed from 188 prefabricated container-size structures shipped from Slovenia. A local company erected a perimeter fence and renovated former cell blocks of the prison school. These will be used as a detention center for the Court. "We are going to be operating in a construction site for the next six months. But we are on our way to becoming an international criminal court on schedule to complete our mandate," says Court Registrar, Robin Vincent. Court has a three year mandate The court, expected to cost a total of just under US $60 million, was set up to try those who bear greatest responsibility for atrocities committed during Sierra Leone's 10-year armed conflict. It was created through an agreement between the United Nations and the Government of Sierra Leone. With three years to complete its work, the anxiety to get started can be explained. Since their arrival, the top officials of the court had been operating from temporary offices in Freetown with the Registry housed in a Bank of Sierra Leone building and the Prosecutor elsewhere. Staff for the two departments are also being installed with the overall number of employees of the Court set to increase from seventy to over two hundred in the coming months. The final phase of construction will be the Court House. The Registry is currently tendering bids for the design and the building is to be complete mid-2003. It will be the center piece of the Special Court complex and a landmark for the city of Freetown, says Hecht. Accommodation is however the first challenge the court faces. Anxious Sierra Leoneans quickly want it to commence the lengthy process of brining to book those believed to have been responsible for atrocities during the war. But officials insist they are moving methodically: "We cannot say when trials start until we have indictments and indictments are not something one usually announces in advance. Certainly the Prosecutor and his team are conducting investigations but they have not come out with details yet regarding their findings of suspected mass grave or other things," Hecht told IRIN. Mass murder sites In September, the court cordoned off a suspected mass murder site, dating back to Sierra Leone's civil war, around a flooded diamond mining pit in Tombudu, in the eastern district of Kono. Local residents believe that bodies of hundreds of civilians were dumped there after they were killed during an attack on the village in 1998. Chief of Investigations, Al White, showed reporters bones and other remains at the edge of the pit, which, he said, were clearly human. The site was the first alleged crime scene officially cordoned off by Sierra Leonean and international investigators working for the court. However there were also signs of alleged atrocities committed elsewhere in the village. White showed reporters a house in the village that contained numerous human skulls and other human remains, but said the site had been tampered with and was of limited use to investigators. Other mass graves and killing sites identified in a preliminary assessment by an Argentine team of forensic experts are in the districts of Kambia, Port Loko, Kailahun and Kono. Many of the atrocities committed during the 1991-2001 war in Sierra Leone, are believed to have been the acts of rebels of the Revolutionary United Front led by Foday Sankoh who is currently in jail, the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) and the West Side Boys, a splinter group of the AFRC. The atrocities included amputations of limbs and rape. On 15 January, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a new report that throughout the war, thousands of women and girls were subjected to widespread and systematic sexual violence perpetrated by both sides in the conflict, but mostly by the rebels. In a report, "We'll kill you if you cry - Sexual Violence in the Sierra Leone Conflict", HRW said the victims, women of all ages, ethnic groups and socio-economic classes were subjected to individual and gang rape, and rape with objects such as weapons, firewood, umbrellas and pestles. "The crimes of sexual violence were generally characterised by extraordinary brutality and frequently preceded or followed by other egregious human rights abuses against the victim, her family and community...the rebels raped indiscriminately irrespective of age, they targeted young women and girls whom they thought were virgins. Many of the younger victims did not survive these crimes of sexual violence." Adult women were raped so violently that they sometimes bled to death or suffered from tearing in the genital area, causing long term incontinence and severe infections. Judges are in place The special court judges were sworn in during December, in a high profile event in Freetown. They included eight trial and appeals judges - three appointed by the government of Sierra Leone and five appointed by the UN Secretary General. They are Renate Winter from Austria, Geoffrey Robertson from England, Pierre Boutet from Canada, Rosolu John Bankole Thompson of Sierra Leone, Benjamin M. Iteo from Cameroon, Hassan B. Jallow of The Gambia, Emmanuel O. Ayoola of Nigeria and George Gelaga King of Sierra Leonean. Geoffrey Robertson and Bankole Thompson were elected by their colleagues as president of the court and presiding judge of the trial chamber, respectively. Officials say the court is different from the other international tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia. "The Court is located in the country where the crimes took place and its jurisdiction goes beyond international crimes against humanity to also include certain crimes committed under Sierra Leonean law," the officials said. The court is intended to work side by side with Sierra Leone's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). The court's chief prosecutor, David Crane, said in December that the Court and TRC would operate independently, but both would work towards the ultimate goal of addressing respect for human rights and accountability for those who committed abuse during the war. TRC testimonies, he added, would not be used by the Court. "While the TRC will function more as a public forum for people to tell their stories and express their grievances without power to punish, the Special Court will run as a tribunal that will seek to punish those most responsible for violations of international," Crane said. Not everybody is convinced. Mohammed Bangura, a hotel employee in Freetown said he did not expect "anything much from the Court". Officials however countered this. A few members of the national amputees association - a grouping of Sierra Leoneans who suffered amputations during the war- last month also said they would not cooperate with the court. They argued that they had been ignored by both the government and the international community, hence their decision to denounce the court. ""There is a strong feeling that there has to be some accountability for what happened," Hecht told IRIN. "Most people are quite aware that the court is not going to be looking at each individual, but rather at those who bear the greatest responsibility."

IRIN 29 Jan 2003 Court officers trained ABIDJAN, An intensive training programme to prepare 87 Sierra Leonean court officers including clerks and bailiffs, for duty in rural areas during the current post-conflict period has opened in the capital, Freetown. The programme was developed by the Office of the Chief Justice and the UN Development programme (UNDP) Governance Unit in conjunction with the Sierra Leone Law School, the Institute of Adult Education of Fourah Bay College and the Ministry of Justice, UNDP reported on Wednesday. "Magistrate courts resumed work in the northern region in November for the first time in five years. In Kailahun, in the eastern region bordering Liberia where the war started in 1991, the courts faced frequent disruptions," UNDP said. "Training for the 87 court officers covers principles of justice and rule of law, procedures, limits and description of jurisdiction, human rights and related topics." The training, UNDP said, emphasises historical problems of justice for women and children, international principles and standards of human rights, issues related to the truth and reconciliation process and the Special Court for war crimes. Sierra Leonean Vice-President and former Attorney General Solomon Berewa, cautioned the trainees against corruption and said that the old practice of delaying cases until the court staff received bonuses from interested parties must end, UNDP said. "The presence of the institutions of justice and the fair dispensation of justice, particularly for disputes arising from resettlement and reintegration of communities, is crucial for the consolidation of the peace," said UNDP Resident Representative Alan Doss, who is also Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary General. Sierra Leone is introducing a new judicial system in which two justices of the peace sitting together will serve the function of a Magistrate, in an attempt to reduce a backlog on its docket. A large number of prisoners are still on remand.

Somalia (see also United States)

PANA 10 Jan 2003 Five killed in Somali clan fight Mogadishu, Somalia (PANA) - Clan fighting Friday left at least five people dead and nine others injured in the Somali capital of Mogadishu, according to witnesses. They said the fight in the Waberi village involving members of the Abgal clan, followed a minor dispute between two boys during a football match. Armed with machine guns and other weapons, the rival groups clashed, forcing hundreds of residents to flee to other parts of Mogadishu, while shops and other business premises were hurriedly closed. Transporters also withdrew their vehicles from the roads. Mogadishu Regional Police Commander, Colonel Hassan Awale, condemned the violence and assured that police would help to return peace to the area. Kidnappings and clan fights involving warlords have become common occurrences in Somalia since the overthrow in 1991 of its former leader Siad Barre, who died 1995 in exile in Nigeria. The country has been without a central government for more than 10 years and efforts by the international community to restore peace have failed, with thousands of Somalis now living as refugees outside their country.

South Africa

IRIN 8 Jan 2003 Crisis averted in volatile province l JOHANNESBURG, 8 Jan 2003 (IRIN) - A possible eruption of political violence in the historically volatile province of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) looked to have been averted on Wednesday. The ruling African National Congress (ANC) government had threatened to impose direct control of the province if the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), which governs KZN, opted to dissolve the provincial parliament and call for early elections. The confrontation was brought about by the IFP's sacking of two IFP members of the provincial legislature (MPLs) who had defected to the ANC prior to controversial floor-crossing legislation being rejected by the Constitutional Court on technicalities. Three other MPLs of smaller opposition parties in the province were also sacked for crossing over to the ANC. The ANC was set to pass revised legislation in the national parliament which contained a retrospective clause, allowing for the five sacked MPLs to return to their seats. This would have opened the way for the ANC, along with its alliance partners in KZN, to take control of the provincial legislature and the province's premiership. KZN Premier Lionel Mtshali (IFP), who had earlier sacked two ANC MPs from his cabinet, had threatened to dissolve the legislature on Wednesday to force an early election. This would have allowed the IFP to once again seek a mandate from voters to govern the province and keep it out of ANC hands. National government in turn said such a move could cause instability in the province - a former hotbed of political violence - and it was mooted that President Thabo Mbeki would use his constitutional powers to introduce central control of the province. In an eleventh hour compromise, the South African Press Association reported on Wednesday that Mtshali told the legislature that his party had received written assurances from Mbeki, Deputy President Jacob Zuma and Justice Minister Penuell Maduna that the "controversial amendment" of the floor-crossing legislation would be withdrawn. As a result the IFP withdrew the dissolution motion. Paul Graham, executive director of the Institute for Democracy in South Africa (IDASA), told IRIN there was no doubt that the commitment by the ANC not to push ahead with the retrospective aspects of the floor-crossing legislation had spared the province and country "a lot of confusion". "At least now we can have the confidence that the legislature will continue to operate until the elections in 2004," Graham said. He did not believe dissolution of the legislature and the crisis that would have followed would have resulted in a return to the "community violence and instability we saw in the late 1980's and early 1990's". However, he admitted that "there does seem to have been a bit of a rise in people being killed and those deaths being ascribed to political violence ... there are definite tensions". These tensions were also related to "the general sense that the IFP/ANC [peace] agreement has been under general strain and that transformation in KZN has not gone as fast as it could have and should have ... people are still living in conditions that are not adequate and they feel frustrated", Graham added. There was a sense that KZN had not got an equal share of the "democracy dividend". "Certainly, other parts of the country have perhaps got slightly more ... if one looks at economic development, KZN's [growth] has been slower than other parts of the country," Graham noted. It remained to be seen whether the strained relationship between the IFP and ANC would allow for effective government in the province. "[Provincial government] requires a closeness in relationships and a commitment to working together. So if people find it hard to develop that working relationship by virtue of personality or where they come from [politically], it does make it a lot more difficult," he added.

BBC 20 Jan 2003 'Horrific executions' in Cape Town An eighth man has died in an execution-style attack on a gay massage parlour in Cape Town, according to South African police. Police were called in by neighbours who heard gun shots at the house about 0400 local time. Two other men were in a very serious injured after the attack. All 10 men had been shot in the head. It is being suggested that the attack could be linked to organised crime. Earlier, neighbours had said there had been an altercation at the house involving drug dealers. 'Horrific' Six men were found dead by police in the residential house in the Sea Point district of Cape Town. A seventh died of his injuries four hours after being admitted into hospital, and an eighth has now died. The six had been tied up and shot at close range, Captain Etienne Terblanche, a police spokesman said. Their throats were also slit. Police described the scene that greeted them when they arrived as "horrific". There was "an incredible amount of blood about", Mr Terblanche said. The injured men had also been shot in the head, he said. They had been rushed to two Cape Town hospitals. "When we arrived, the injured were crawling around on the floor," he said. He said the house was rented out and was run as a massage parlour, apparently for gay men. Each bedroom in the house served as a massage suite and the walls were decorated with graphic images. Bondage equipment was also found in the house. The police are not yet certain whether the victims were clients or masseurs. 'Very concerned' It looked like "organized crime was behind this," Leonard Ramatlakane, safety and security minister of the Western Cape province, said. A police task force had been formed to investigate, he said. The Lesbian and Gay Equality Project said the attack could have been a hate crime and called on police to work diligently to find the killers. "We have been very concerned about threats issued by various fringe groups in society over recent months that indicated an intention to perpetrate acts of violence against lesbian and gay people," the organization's director, Evert Knoesen, said in a statement.

Lesbian and Gay Equality Project SA 20 Jan 2003 PRESS RELEASE Mass Murder of Gay Men Johannesburg The Lesbian and Gay Equality Project has learned with shock about the slaying of a group of men, in Seapoint, Cape Town. A group of 10 men, all present in a male massage parlour, were brutally attacked in execution style. Ten men were shot and their throats slit. Preliminary indications are that this could be a hate crime. The Lesbian and Gay Equality Project condemns all forms of violence and crime. Further, people who work in the sex service industry are particularly vulnerable as they operate outside the parameters of formal society. Often crimes against these people are not investigated as thoroughly as they could be. Further, we are concerned that this could be an instance of a hate crime perpetrated against gay men as an identified minority. We have been very concerned about threats issued by various fringe groups in society over recent months that indicated an intention to perpetrate acts of violence against lesbian and gay people. We urgently call on the National Commissioner of Police and the Commissioner of Police in the Western Cape to appoint a special investigation team to urgently investigate this mass murder and to spare no effort in apprehending the perpetrators of these horrific crimes. The Equality Project also conveys its sympathies to all those who lost family and friends and our best wishes to those injured. Issued by: The Lesbian and Gay Equality Project www.equality.org.za

Reuters 22 Jan 2003 DRUG FEUD SUSPECTED IN MASSACRE Attackers who shot eight men in the head in a massacre on Monday at a Cape Town gay massage parlor were hunting for two male prostitutes in a dispute over drugs, the police said. They said 10 men were tied up and shot, and some had their throats slit, in the grisly attack. Two survivors were still hospitalized. The police said they were searching for four men seen by witnesses driving away from the house in a white BMW sedan. They have not released any details about the victims, some of whom they have still not identified.

Daily News 23 Jan 2003 Family killers 'will be hunted down' January 23 2003 at 01:34PM KwaZulu-Natal Safety and Security Minister Nkosi Ngubane said police would get those responsible for the massacre of the Xaba family who were shot and then burnt to death on Wednesday. Seven members of the Xaba family from the KwaMaye ward in the upper Tugela area were killed when unknown gunmen stormed their hut. Ngubane said he was horrified at the attack and vowed that police investigators would track down the killers. The dead were identified as Galina Xaba, 69, Eunice Xaba, 55, Delisile Xaba, 27, Hlengiwa Xaba, 13, Sanelisiwe Xaba, 8, Mxolisi Xaba, 3, and Neliswa Xaba, 2. The sole survivor is Sanele Xaba, 6. Anyone with information can contact Superintended Phillip Mlambo at 073 187 9116, the Upper Tugela police at 036 448 2513 or 08600 10111.

Sudan

IRIN 2 Jan 2003 Sides accuse each other of violating peace deal NAIROBI, 2 Jan 2003 (IRIN) - Recent claims by Sudanese rebels accusing the government of violating a peace agreement have raised fears of a resumption of hostilities between the two sides and cast a cloud over ongoing peace talks. The Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army on Tuesday claimed government soldiers and militia forces had launched surprise attacks on the rebel-held town of Tam in the Western Upper Nile region and on Reang, east of Koch in southern Sudan. It said the attacks were repulsed by the SPLA. SPLM/A spokesman Samson Kwaje also accused Sudanese President Umar Hassan al Bashir of "beating war drums" via the Khartoum media. Under the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), signed in November at the end of the latest round of peace talks underway in Kenya, the parties agreed on a cessation of hostilities throughout the country. The agreement was to last until the end of March 2003. Peace talks are due to resume in the Kenyan town of Machakos later this month. "This is again a violation of the truce, which contradicts article 6.3(a) of the MOU," Kwaje said in a statement. "Similarly, for the last few days, Umar al Bashir has stepped up hostile press propaganda against the SPLM/A and its leadership." Bashir reportedly told a mass rally in the eastern Sudanese border town of Kassala at the weekend that he would use the "barrel of the gun" to bring peace to the war-torn country, if the ongoing negotiations failed. In response to Kwaje's statement, the Sudanese authorities said the SPLM/A's accusations themselves constituted a violation of the MOU, which expressly prohibits the use of media campaigns by both sides. Muhammad Ahmad Dirdeiry, charge d'affaires at the Sudanese embassy in Nairobi, told IRIN on Thursday a communications committee had been set up in Machakos during the talks, through which such grievances could be channelled and discussed. He said he could therefore not comment on the issues raised by the rebels as that would be tantamount to violating the MOU. "We had agreed not to continue media campaigns about each other. We have channelled our responses to all the allegations through the committee," Dirdeiry said. South Sudan has been the scene of fierce fighting between the Khartoum government and the SPLM/A since 1983. An estimated two million people have been killed and four million displaced as a result of the war, which has been complicated by ethnic rivalries and issue of oil.

Christian Solidarity International 8 Jan 2003 Ethnic Cleansing Resumes in Sudan's Oil Fields Sudanese government troops have resumed "ethnic cleansing operations" in the vicinity of Talisman and Lundin oil installations in western Upper Nile, according to a senior Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) official. Taban Deng Gai, who is currently in the affected area, confirmed that the Sudanese Government launched a six-day offensive in Mayom and Leer Counties on December 31, involving approximately 1,500 ground troops, supported by helicopter gunships. Among the villages reportedly destroyed are: Rubjich, Rekyoul, Gottong, Giil (Leer County), and Riak, Wangbith, Lingera, Lowdong, Palwung, Ngopgai and Lare (Mayom County). In Lare, government troops burnt the facilities of the World Food Program and MSF-Holland, according to Gai. The most recent attacks took place on January 6 when government troops attacked villages around the town of Tam. Gai estimates that tens of thousands of civilians have been displaced from their homes and are now without food and shelter. Local officials are still trying to determine the number of killed, wounded and abducted civilians. Some of the wounded have been evacuated by the International Committee of the Red Cross. Since last June, Gai claims, thousands of women and children have been abducted by government soldiers from western Upper Nile and transferred to government controlled areas. Last October, U.S. President George W. Bush, in the Sudan Peace Act, condemned Sudan’s government for acts of genocide, including low-intensity ethnic cleansing and slavery, in and around the Talisman and Ludin oil concession areas. Gai appealed to the American government to facilitate the delivery of emergency aid to the displaced, and to condemn publicly this latest wave of ethnic cleansing. So far the U.S. State Department has not issued a statement on these latest violations of the current U.S. brokered cease-fire between the Government of Sudan and the SPLM. An American led and financed rapid deployment, civil protection monitoring team is in Sudan, but, according to Gai, it has not yet responded to requests from the SPLM to send investigators to witness the devastation. The Sudanese government has responded to reports of its western Upper Nile offensive with a claim that the SPLM killed three construction workers between Leer and Bentiu. A Sudanese diplomat, Muhammad Ahmad Dirdeiry also complained that the SPLM's protests against cease-fire violations themselves constitute a violation of an agreement that allegedly prohibits both sides from engaging in media campaigns. The Islamist dominated Government of Sudan is fighting a declared jihad to subjugate the Black, non-Muslim population of Southern Sudan. At least two million people-- mostly Black, non-Muslims-- have died since fighting began twenty years ago. At the end of December, Sudan’s President, Gen. Omer Bashir warned that "peace will come by the gun, if it cannot come by dialogue", and again characterized his government’s war efforts as "jihad", as reported by the Reuters news agency. The Bush administration launched a Sudan peace initiative in September 2001, when the President appointed former Sen. John Danforth to the post of Special Envoy for Peace in Sudan. The U.S. initiative has invigorated an eight-year-old peace process sponsored by the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development, representing seven East African countries. The next round of peace talks are due to begin in Machakos, Kenya on January 15. For more information on Christian Solidarity International, visit the organization's website. www.csi-int.org

African Church Information Service 10 Jan 2003 Ethnic Cleansing Displaces Thousands In Nile Region Makur Kot Dhuor Khartoum Sudan government has been accused of engaging in ethnic cleansing operations in the vicinity of Talisman and Lundin oil installations in western Upper Nile. A senior official of the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement (SPLM), Taban Deng Gai, who is currently in the affected area, confirmed that the government launched a six-day offensive in Mayom and Leer counties last December 31, involving approximately1,500 ground troops supported by helicopter gun-ships. Among the villages reportedly destroyed are, Rubjich,, Rekyoul, Gottong, and Giil, in Leer county. Others are Riak, Wangbith, Lingera, Lowdong, Palwung, Ngopgai and Lare in Mayom county. Gai says government troops burnt facilities of the World Food Programme, and MSF- Holland in Lare. The most recent attacks took place when the troops attacked villages around the town of Tam. The SPLM official estimates that thousands of civilians have been displaced from their homes and are now without food and shelter. Local officials are still trying to determine the number of killed, wounded and abducted civilians. Some of the wounded have been evacuated by the International Committee of the Red Cross. Since last June, Gai says, thousands of women and children have been abducted by government soldiers from Western Upper Nile and transferred to government controlled areas. Last October, U.S. President George W. Bush, condemned the Government of Sudan for acts of genocide, including low-intensity ethnic cleansing and slavery in and around Talisman and Ludin oil concession areas. Gai appealed to the American government to facilitate the delivery of emergency aid to the displaced, and to condemn publicly, this latest wave of ethnic cleansing. An American led civil protection monitoring team is in Sudan, but according to Gai, it has not yet responded to requests from the SPLM/A to send investigators to witness the devastation. The Sudan government has responded to the reports of its Western Upper Nile offensive with a claim that the SPLM/A killed three construction workers between Leer and Bentiu. A Sudanese diplomat, Mohammed Ahmed Diirdeiry in addition complained that the SPLM/A's protests against cease-fire violations constitute a violation of an agreement that allegedly prohibits both sides from engaging in media campaigns. The next round of peace talks are due to begin in Machakos, Kenya on January 15.

BBC 20 Jan 2003 Black pharaoh trove uncovered - The Nubian kings ruled 2,500 years ago By Ishbel Matheson BBC, Nairobi A team of French and Swiss archaeologists working in the Nile Valley have uncovered ancient statues described as sculptural masterpieces in northern Sudan. The archaeologists from the University of Geneva discovered a pit full of large monuments and finely carved statues of the Nubian kings known as the black pharaohs. The Swiss head of the archaeological expedition told the BBC that the find was of worldwide importance. The black pharaohs, as they were known, ruled over a mighty empire stretching along the Nile Valley 2,500 years ago. Breathtaking The pit, which was full of ancient monuments, is located between some ruined temples on the banks of the Nile. It had not been opened for over 2,000 years. Inside, the archaeologists made a breathtaking discovery. The statues of the black pharaohs are highly polished, finely carved and made of granite. The name of the king is engraved on the back and on the feet of each sculpture. The head of the expedition, Charles Bonnet, described them as very beautiful. He told the BBC they were sculptural masterpieces. They were important not just for the history of Sudan but also for world art. Savagely destroyed The Nubians were powerful and wealthy kings who controlled large territories along the Nile. Their land was known as the Kingdom of Kush. They controlled the valuable trade routes along the river but were eventually conquered by their neighbours from the north. The ancient Egyptians made the pit into which the monuments and statues were piled. Many of the sculptures were savagely destroyed, with smashed heads and broken feet. Professor Bonnet says that this shows that the Egyptians were not content with simply conquering Kush. They also wanted to obliterate the memory of the black pharaohs and their unique culture from the face of the earth.

AFP 29 Jan 2003 Sudan peace talks resume after setback over truce violations NAIROBI, Jan 29 (AFP) - Sudan's government officials and a delegation of the main rebel group resumed peace talks here Wednesday after it was decided that allegations of truce violations that threatened to derail negotiations be addressed separately, a source close to the talks said. Talks between the Khartoum the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) were suspended on Monday after the rebel movement accused the government of attacking three rebel held towns in violation of a truce reached after an earlier round of talks in Kenya. "The talks have resumed. The issue of ceasefire violations is being addressed separately," the source, who asked not to be named, told AFP. He said a "confidence-building" group known as the Civilian Protection and Monitoring Team will travel to southern Sudan to verify mutual claims of ceasefire violations. The Sudanese government on Tuesday also accused the SPLA of breaching the ceasefire. The source said a committee created within the framework of the talks to address the issue of the sharing of wealth between the government and the rebel-held southern Sudan went into session Wednesday. The decision to have the truce violation dispute dealt with separately was reached on Tuesday at a meeting between both parties to the conflict, the Kenya-lead mediation team and observers from Europe, the US and the African Union, the source also said. The United States had on Monday expressed its concern over Khartoum's alleged ceasefire violations. Sudan denied the allegations. The latest third round of talks, organised by the by the Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) that brings together Sudan, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Uganda and Somalia is dedicated to addressing the question of power- and wealth-sharing between north and south Sudan. Khartoum and the SPLM/A agreed during a first round of talks in July that the mainly animist and Christian south should have a six-year period of self-rule under SPLM administration, after which a referendum on self-determination for the south will be held. During the second round of talks in the Kenyan town of Machakos in November they agreed to extend a truce signed in October and to continue peace negotiations until the end of March. The talks are aimed at ending Sudan's devastating civil war, estimated to have claimed one and a half million lives and displaced four million people since 1983.

Tanzania

IRIN 24 Jan 2003 Genocide Suspect Dies UN Integrated Regional Information Networks January 24, 2003 Posted to the web January 24, 2003 Nairobi Bishop Samuel Musabyimana, a genocide suspect who was awaiting trial before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in Arusha, Tanzania, died on Friday. The tribunal announced that Musabyimana died at the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre in Moshi "after a long illness". He is a former Anglican bishop of the diocese of Shyogwe in Rwanda. He becomes the first accused person to die in ICTR detention. Musabyimana, 47, was arrested in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, on 26 April 2001. He appeared before the UN court on 2 May 2001 and pleaded not guilty to four counts, including genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide and crimes against humanity. The ICTR said Musabyimana's close family members were with him during his illness. The UN Security Council established the ICTR in 1995 to try the alleged perpetrators of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, which claimed some 800,000 lives. Since its inception, the court has handed down nine judgments - eight convictions and an acquittal.

Hirondelle News Agency (Lausanne) 30 Jan 2003 Former Military Officer Begins His Defence Former commander of the Cyangugu military camp in south west Rwanda, Lieutenant Samuel Imanishimwe began on Monday his testimony at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). Imanishimwe, 41, is charged with several counts of genocide and crimes against humanity. Among other accusations, he is charged with ordering the arrest and execution of several ethnic Tutsi civilians at the military camp of Cyangugu. He is jointly accused with two other former politicians from the Cyangugu region. They are ex-Transport and Communications Minister André Ntagerura and former Cyangugu prefect Emmanuel Bagambiki. The three have pleaded not guilty. The 'Cyangugu trial' began on September 18th, 2000. Imanishimwe's testimony dwelt on his military training and career before the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. He began his testimony at the resumption of court hearings in ICTR's Chamber Three. The chamber had been in the end-of-year judicial recess until January 13th. Last week, they deliberated on the Semanza judgement. Born in Rwerere commune in the north west Rwanda province of Gisenyi, Imanishimwe went on to attend primary, secondary and college education in the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo. He then did four years of military training at the prestigious Ecole Supérieure Militaire (ESM) in Rwanda. After two weeks of military training in Belgium, Imanishimwe was posted to the Bugesera military academy as an instructor. In 1990, a year after he had joined the academy, he joined the Rwandan armed forces in the war against the Rwandan Patriotic Front. Imanishimwe was appointed commander of Cyangugu military camp in 1993 after a brief spell at the headquarters of the Rwandan armed forces in Kigali. Imanishimwe was arrested in Kenya in 1997. At the beginning of his defence, Imanishimwe's team told the court that they would bring witnesses to prove that Imanishimwe had, contrary to prosecution allegations, never participated in any meeting planning the genocide in Cyangugu. The killings in Rwanda, according to Imanishimwe's defence counsel, Marie-Louise Mbida of Cameroon, "were precipitated by a series of assassinations and crimes committed by the RPF (predominantly Tutsi rebel movement) during its advance on the country." Imanishimwe will continue his testimony on Tuesday. This trial is before Trial Chamber Three of the ICTR composed of judges Yakov Ostrovsky of Russia, Lloyd George Williams of St. Kitts and Nevis (presiding) and Pavel Dolenc of Slovenia.

Zimbabwe

WP 1 Jan 2003 In Hungry Zimbabwe, Food Used as Political Weapon By Michael Grunwald, Page A01 MAKONDE, Zimbabwe -- "This is not about politics. This is just about food!" Goodwill Murinwe was making a fiery speech, and hundreds of villagers were listening to every word. That's because they were hungry, and Murinwe was explaining how the World Food Program would select 89,000 of them for emergency maize handouts in this district of dusty fields and mud huts. "This food is only for the most vulnerable people!" shouted Murinwe, a program manager for Catholic Relief Services here. "We don't care which party you support. Politics has nothing to do with this!" But in today's Zimbabwe, politics has something to do with just about everything -- especially food. With more than half the nation's 12 million citizens at risk of starvation, there is strong evidence that President Robert Mugabe's ruling party has used food as an instrument of power -- to reward allies, punish opponents and attract new supporters. The group Physicians for Human Rights concluded in a recent report that "the political abuse of food is the most serious and widespread human rights violation in Zimbabwe at this time." Officials in Mugabe's party -- the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) -- have been spotted distributing maize at party rallies, in party offices and sometimes out of their own back doors. And while most of the problems have involved food controlled by Mugabe's government -- which holds a strict monopoly on grain imports here -- at times politics has interfered with international food aid as well. In Insiza, the World Food Program had to suspend food aid for two months after ZANU-PF activists seized three tons of its maize. In Binga, ZANU-PF officials barred the Catholic Church and the nonprofit Save the Children (UK) from distributing food to the poor after the area voted en masse for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. Here in Makonde, where World Food Program officials recently invited reporters in an effort to show that international food aid is nonpartisan, local activists offered several examples of intimidation and politicization surrounding government food aid. U.S. diplomats have accused Mugabe of using food as a political weapon, and one even threatened that the problem "may bring us face-to-face with Zimbabwe's sovereignty." The European Union's president accused Mugabe of using aid "as a tool in the domestic fight against the opposition." Even Mugabe, who routinely blames whites and opposition activists for his nation's crises, has publicly acknowledged serious corruption in his government's food distribution network. "I am told some senior officials use their influence to get maize and resell it at the expense of our people," Mugabe, 78, said at a recent ceremony to commemorate National Planting Day. "Those who are doing that should stop it forthwith." Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe since its independence in 1980. After he almost lost power in March, narrowly defeating the MDC's Morgan Tsvangirai in a highly disputed election marred by widespread violence, he vowed to rein in dissenters. "We'll make them run. We won't pander to them any longer," Mugabe said at a post-election ZANU-PF celebration recorded on videotape. "We're in a new phase, a new chapter, and there will be firm government. Very firm." The result was new laws cracking down on journalists, outlawing the most prominent Zimbabwean human rights group and requiring police permission for all public assemblies. MDC officials say they are constantly harassed, assaulted and arrested. Didymus Mutasa, ZANU-PF's organizing secretary, notoriously proclaimed at an August rally that "we would be better off with only 6 million people, with our own people who support the liberation struggle. We don't want all these extra people." Still, suggestions by human rights groups, MDC activists and foreign diplomats that Mugabe has launched a genocidal attempt to starve his opposition seem stronger than the evidence supporting them. In Zimbabwe, as in much of southern Africa, rural villagers are increasingly malnourished after two straight years of drought, but they do not look like skeletons, and they are not dying in droves. Foreign donors have managed to get some food into Zimbabwe without passing it through the government's hands. Still, it is clear that Mugabe's land redistribution program -- which has ousted most of the nation's white commercial farmers, often in favor of ZANU-PF loyalists with no agricultural experience -- has been a major cause of the nation's food crisis. Before the land grabs, Zimbabwe had been a key exporter of grain; the World Food Program had a procurement office here, but no distribution office. Now, farm production is down by more than 50 percent, and the country is desperately short of maize and other staples. It is also clear that some ZANU-PF officials have taken advantage of those shortages to steer food in politically advantageous directions -- and, at times, to enrich themselves. In the Nkayi district, for example, Physicians for Human Rights collected 1,437 allegations of MDC supporters being denied access to food, and unearthed a local ZANU-PF official's memo declaring that government food programs and land distributions should be restricted to ruling party members. MDC officials, the official wrote, "have clearly demonstrated that they don't want land. They should go stay with their whites and their Tsvangirai." Here in Makonde, MDC officials say that a local ZANU-PF leader sold an illicit shipment of maize at the Godzi Primary School on March 27, slashing prices for ZANU-PF members. Lecks Machiridze, a deputy chief in the district, says that a top party official warned him that his constituents would be denied food unless he started attending ZANU-PF meetings and that government food would be reserved for its supporters. "They control the food, and they make sure it goes where they want it to go," said Tonderai Ndira, 26, an MDC activist who is Machiridze's son. "Just look at who's in charge of the process." There are two official processes for distributing maize in Zimbabwe: The government sells it cheaply through its Grain Marketing Board, the nation's only legal grain importer, and the World Food Program gives it away through government-approved nonprofit groups. Originally, Mugabe's government tried to insist that WFP officials distribute grain through its party-controlled marketing board as well, but they refused. The haggling delayed WFP operations by more than three months, and ZANU-PF officials continue to block some grain shipments at the border. Tony Hall, the U.S. ambassador to the food program, recently asked one of Mugabe's top aides: "Why do I get the impression that I have to beg you to feed your people?" Overall, though, WFP officials point out that they have distributed 100,000 metric tons of food and have lost only the three tons in Insiza; they say they are keeping their own distributions as apolitical as possible. They rely on local politicians and chiefs to tell them who needs food most, but they conduct independent reviews to make sure they're not misled. "I'm not saying there haven't been efforts to interfere, but we're reaching the people we want to reach," said Kevin Farrell, the WFP's top official in Zimbabwe. In Makonde, for example, a ZANU-PF politician, Dan Zvobgo, is chairman of the local distribution committee, but Catholic Relief Services workers kept close watch as residents registered for their food. Zvobgo and the local ZANU-PF chairman, Fannie Chikomba, brought two police officers with them to the registration, but they did not make any public speeches. "You heard them say very clearly that there is no politics with food," Chikomba said in an interview. "The opposition may come up with a storm in a teacup, but I tell you this food is distributed fairly." But the Grain Marketing Board has distributed three times as much food as the WFP. And almost everyone outside the ruling party hierarchy agrees that the control of that process by ZANU-PF board members, officials and party-approved millers and shopkeepers is almost absolute. In recent weeks, the most intense politics around food has swirled in Kuwadzana, a district in the capital, Harare, that will soon hold a special election to replace a deceased member of parliament. All maize in Kuwadzana is milled by David Mutasa, a ZANU-PF politician who is a nephew of the party secretary and may run for the open seat. MDC officials say some of the maize is then distributed to selected shops -- one controlled by a ZANU-PF ward chairman, one by a party militant -- where it is sold at the low official prices to anyone with a ZANU-PF card. They say the rest is repackaged and sold on the black market at inflated prices by local party officials. "It's good business, and it's good politics," said Basil Nyabadza, a Kuwadzana exporter who owns the warehouse where the Mutasa family operates its mill. "People are hungry. Maybe they'll vote for the man who gets them food. But who knows? Maybe they'll buy his maize and vote MDC anyway." In interviews around Kuwadzana, dozens of MDC supporters said they were turned away from bread lines at ZANU-PF-controlled shopping centers. Several said they had purchased ZANU-PF cards in order to eat. Emilia Mukusha, a 68-year-old former street cleaner who is blind in one eye, said she joined the party she despises to stave off starvation. "I hated to get the card, but I'll die without it," said Mukusha, a widow with eight unemployed children. "It doesn't matter. I'm still MDC all the way." But Zvobgo, the ZANU-PF food official in Makonde, said the MDC's complaints are just sour grapes. Sure, he said, the opposition is hungry. In Zimbabwe, he said, everyone is hungry. "When the cake is small for sharing, everyone complains about his portions," Zvobgo said. "But this government is doing its best for everyone."

AFP 8 Jan 2003 Kenya to get new constitution Kenyans will have a new constitution by June 30, says justice and constitutional affairs minister Kiraitu Murungi. "Our priority now is to make sure we hold a national constitutional conference by late March or early April before the draft bill goes to parliament to be adopted," he told a media conference in the capital. He said his ministry would consult with Yash Pal Ghai, the head of Constitution of Kenya Review Commission, on Thursday "to ensure that we have a new constition by June 30, as we have promised the people of Kenya". The commission technically ceased to exist after former president Daniel arap Moi dissolved parliament in November to pave way for general elections that saw his Kenya African National Union routed by the opposition after 39 years at the helm. Tackling graft head on In September, the commission published a draft of a new constitution that radically redefined the distribution of power in Kenya, notably devolving much of the authority enjoyed by the head of state and overhauling a corrupt judiciary. Murungi also reiterated the new government's pledge to tackle rampant graft head on, saying two key pieces of legislation, the Kenya Anti-Corruption Bill and the Economic Crimes Bill, would be published next week for debate in parliament. "Work on these bills will start with immediate effect... particulary, we will try to entrench the Kenya Anti-Corruption Authority Bill into the constitution before the new constituion comes into law," he added. The first session of the ninth parliament will be on Thursday.

IRIN 7 Jan 2003 Matabeleland hard hit by drought JOHANNESBURG, 7 Jan 2003 (IRIN) - Zimbabwe's southwestern province of Matabeleland is one of the hardest hit regions in a country suffering the worst effects of the regional drought. World Vision Zimbabwe director Rudo Kwaramba told IRIN on Tuesday that more and more people in the region were becoming vulnerable due to drought-induced crop and cattle losses. The reason Matabeleland appeared to be one of the hardest hit was that it was normally a dry, arid region, Kwaramba said. "They don't generally get rains anyway, even in a good year. We cannot say conclusively whether Matabeleland South is worst off, but it's understood it will be harder hit than other areas during a drought period," she noted. Matabeleland is ranked at five on the rainfall scale in the country - one being the wettest and five being the driest. "[Therefore], most of the commercial activity in Matabeleland south is around cattle ranching as opposed to cropping," Kwaramba said. A World Vision statement said the drought, which "many are calling the worst in half a century" was affecting 900,000 people in Matabeleland. World Vision has been providing relief assistance to the region since February last year. "The affects of the drought are striking in the Matobo district in the southern region, about 40 km out of [the second city of] Bulawayo. The land looks dry and barren and a few, wilted crops are all that remain of farmers efforts in the region," World Vision said. "The maize should be half a metre to a metre tall by now, but the land is completely barren," Jonathan Moyo, World Vision field coordinator for the Matobo district, was quoted as saying. He explained that in many cases, farmers simply stopped planting once it was clear the rains were not coming. Compounding crop losses have been severe cattle losses. "I understand there's an estimation that up to 20,000 head of cattle are in danger of dying [because of] the drought," Kwaramba noted. This would worsen an already bad situation. "The necessary criteria for registering to receive food aid were based on questions like how many cattle you have, so many people did not qualify for food aid. These peoples' situations have now changed midway and they were not [previously] registered for food aid. "The numbers [of vulnerable people] have increased over the lean period, which stretches from around December to March while people planted and wait for the new harvest. But with the increasing dryness we will have a situation, I think, which is going to become very difficult to manage," Kwaramba added. More relief food needed to be brought in, and "other pressing issues, like the outbreak of cholera, need to be attended too". Another registry of beneficiaries needed to be compiled to capture the group of people who were now in need of food aid who did not qualify for it during the previous registration. "In partnership with USAID [US Agency for International Development], World Vision is registering more beneficiaries in Bulilimamangwe and Beitbridge [in the south], we are also expanding the programme to Lupane and Bubi [in the north] in partnership with WFP [World Food Programme]," Kwaramba said. There was an urgent need for "a concerted effort to allow those who would like to distribute food to get the necessary permits to bring food in and distribute food ... churches are also interested in bringing in food [but lacked the proper registration for doing so]", she added. "If there are delays in registering [organisations] then there are delays in bringing food in," Kwaramba concluded. The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Drought Monitoring Unit in Harare has warned that the 2002-2003 season could see below normal rainfall for southwestern Zimbabwe. This has fuelled fear of further food shortages next year, the World Vision statement said. "The weather phenomenon, El Niño, is being blamed for below-average rainfall across Southern Africa. According to the latest Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) assessment, most of the region has only recorded between 1 mm and 10 mm of rain with even less rainfall occurring over portions of South Africa, Zimbabwe and central to southern Mozambique. "For many families living in Matobo and elsewhere in Zimbabwe, the wait between now and the next harvest in March next year will be a long one. Until then, many people will be relying solely on food aid to survive," said World Vision. Aid agencies estimate that almost seven million people in Zimbabwe require food aid until the next harvest around March 2003.

IRIN 7 Jan 2003 Mugabe to appoint governors over MDC mayors JOHANNESBURG, 7 Jan 2003 (IRIN) - President Robert Mugabe's decision to put two new governors in charge of the opposition-run capital Harare and second city Bulawayo was an attempt to dilute the power base of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC's), analysts allege. The official Herald newspaper on Monday quoted Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo as saying the appointed governors would work with government agencies to implement development projects like roads, schools, and public works programmes and address "uncoordinated issues". The two key cities have already been declared provinces, but unlike the other eight provinces, did not have appointed governors and were run by the elected mayors Elias Mudzuri of Harare and Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube of Bulawayo. "The executive mayors are supposed to run the show but now they will have to report to the governors. It is a frustrated attempt by [the ruling] ZANU-PF to reduce the power, authority and political activity of the MDC by appointing an overseer," said John Makumbe, political lecturer and chairman of Transparency International Zimbabwe. It would make the mayors, whose main functions are the provision of services and collection of revenue, a secretariat to the governor and would reduce them to ceremonial functions, Makumbe told IRIN. The government also announced last week it would redraw the cities' administrative boundaries, turning districts previously part of Harare and Bulawayo into rural areas, traditionally considered ZANU-PF strongholds. "It is gerrymandering in reverse," Makumbe said, referring to the practice of redefining urban boundaries before elections. "It means the MDC is reduced to a toothless bulldog." However, the government has faced a complication as although the country's constitution allows for more than eight governors, only eight can sit in parliament. "If they violate the constitution, they would have to amend the constitution," said constitutional law expert Greg Linington. "But although it is creeping up to the 100 [out of 150] seats required to change the constitution, the government doesn't have enough votes. So they may turn to ordinary legislation which they can pass in parliament through their simple majority." MDC legal affairs director David Coltart said that the party's leadership had sought urgent advice on the legality of the move. "I have told them it is illegal," he said. "It is a violation of the Provincial Council and Administrative Act. It would also create an overlap between that act, which gives power to provincial governors, and the Urban Councils Act, which gives the mayor sole responsibility for development within the council," he added. The party's national executive would decide whether to challenge the matter in court. Of the mayors, MDC party spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi said: "They are already under severe strain and they are really frustrated by this latest invasion of their territory. Their jobs are difficult as it is." Last month the Harare council was embroiled in a battle to extract enough foreign currency from the government to pay for the chemicals required to keep the city's water supply safe, and the Bulawayo council has struggled to bring in revenue from rates defaulters.

The Daily News (Harare) 3 Jan 2003 Government Ups Propaganda Campaigns to Record Levels Maxwell Sibanda THE year 2002 was one of the most challenging for the arts industry as the Zimbabwean government intensified its use of artists' products to promote Zanu PF policies and propaganda. By the end of the year, more than five music albums by established musicians had been recorded to promote government policies on the chaotic land reform programme in which more than 10 million hectares of land have been forcibly acquired. Dubbed the Third Chimurenga (Third Revolution) Series, the catalogue includes albums Hondo Yeminda Volume 1 & 2, a collaboration between the Minister of State for Information and Publicity in the President's Office, Jonathan Moyo, and musicians Chinx Chingaira, Marko Sibanda, Mechanic Manyeruke and Adam Chisvo; Mwana Wevhu by the Minister of Gender and Employment Elliot Manyika and Bryn Mteki; Nhaka Yedu by the Air Force of Zimbabwe Band; Rangarirai by Peter Majoni; Hoko by Simon Chimbetu and More Fire by Andy Brown. Along with the albums, the government sponsored the production of several musical videos, most of which promote hatred and racism. Violent video footage of war scenes and scattered dead bodies make up ugly scenes of carnage in the films. The videos, flighted repeatedly on Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation Television (ZBC/TV), have disgusted many viewers previously used to family programmes. With all these albums and music videos, the State-controlled radio and television shut out most other Zimbabwean musicians whose themes revolve around human rights abuses, poverty, hunger and corruption. Musicians and bands who recorded propaganda music were the only ones hired by government in 2002 to sing at all State functions, including the Independence Day celebrations. And because the government is still reluctant to open up the airwaves to independent radio and television stations, protest music and plays continued to suffer throughout 2002. Dr Thomas Mapfumo, who relocated to the United States citing government harassment because of the hard-hitting lyrics of his music, had his last album, Chimurenga Rebel, banned from radio as the authorities felt it was not politically correct. Popular Radio Zimbabwe presenter, Brenda Moyo was struck off the station's duty roster and later retrenched after playing two controversial songs. The two songs were Black Roots', Jongwe and Zvinhu Zvaoma by Hohodza band. In Jongwe, the singer calls for the killing of the cock, the ruling party's symbol, while Zvinhu Zvaoma is a social comment on Zimbabwe's economic problems. The year 2002 will also go into history as the year during which the Zimbabwe government used artists to produce catchy radio jingles and television videos promoting the land reform programme. On radio, the jingles are played so frequent that they dominate all programming. The government did not end with the recording of the propaganda music as it coordinated several arts festivals and events. Among them were the Heroes gala in Chinhoyi stadium and Independence celebrations held in Harare. The 2002 Miss Zimbabwe pageant was organised with the help of the Department of Information and Publicity in the President's Office. An official invitation extended to journalists read: "With the compliments of the Director of State Occasions in the Office of the President and Cabinet." This was a clear indication that the Miss Zimbabwe pageant was no longer an independent event, but a political occasion, like the 2001 Southern African Dance Festival in which senior government officials were heavily involved. The African beauty showcase, Miss Malaika 2002 was coordinated by the department of Information and Publicity in the President's Office. The $65 million pageant was held against people's wishes as they argued that there were better things to fund - such as food for the starving masses and drugs for hospitals whose dispensaries are virtually empty.

IRIN 6 Jan 2003 ZANU-PF official calls for transparency in maize distribution JOHANNESBURG, 6 Jan 2003 (IRIN) - A top ZANU-PF official has called for greater transparency in the distribution of the government's grain resources, echoing calls made by several NGOs and the opposition who have accused the ruling party of manipulating access to supplies. The call by Jabulani Sibanda, the ZANU-PF regional chairman in the southern city of Bulawayo, came after two clashes over the weekend between protestors and police outside government-controlled Grain Marketing Board (GMB) distribution depots. Thirty-four people were arrested following violence at the depot in Bulawayo on Friday, reportedly between "war veterans" and police. In a similar incident, four policemen had to be treated in hospital on Sunday after clashes between youths and police monitoring a food queue in Chitungwiza, south of Harare. "We want a transparent system and we want a local task force to distribute [food] to local people as they know the people better. They will know who received [supplies] yesterday," Sibanda told IRIN. "There should be a more transparent system because even if there is nothing to distribute, [without transparency] people will feel something is being hidden." Sibanda refused to elaborate on alleged problems with current distribution methods, but the online Sunday News quoted him as saying: "Maize is there but it is not reaching the intended consumers but instead the maize is being used by 'big fish' to spin money." He also reportedly accused the police of not investigating allegations of illegal maize sales after being supplied with addresses of offenders. However, the newspaper also reported that the chairman of the provincial task force alleged that Sibanda and his "war veterans and gullible party supporters" were hampering the work of GMB officials, and that he had allegedly dissolved the government task force putting himself and "war veterans" in charge. Sibanda denied the allegations. The newspaper reported Nicholas Goche, the minister of state for security, as saying that a call at the recent ZANU-PF conference that war veterans be represented on local provincial task forces had been misconstrued to mean they should replace the existing task forces. Last year the Danish organisation, Physicians for Human Rights, the Bishop of the Catholic Church in Bulawayo, Pius Ncube, and the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Association alleged in separate statements that Zimbabwe's scarce maize supplies were being distributed on party lines in some districts. They said that in some cases residents had to produce proof of membership of the ruling party to be elible to purchase the staple food. Denying the allegations, press secretary in the Ministry of Information, Steyn Berejena, told IRIN: "The food is distributed by the government officials but people assume that civil servants are party people, which is not the case. The problem is, we have shortages. People are not branded, they don't have marks ... how do you tell which political party they support? "Some of these areas are undersupplied and demand is greater than supplies and when people go to the GMB they might not find grain available," Berejena said. Last month the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) questioned the government's claim that it had imported 600,000 mt of grain, saying that shortages on the ground did not reflect this. The World Food Programme (WFP) reported on Monday that beef, chicken, bread, flour, maize meal, milk, and sugar continued to be absent from supermarket shelves and fuel shortages were ongoing. In addition, soft drinks and cigarettes were now becoming scarce. There have been shortages of cash reported as well, with banks restricting amounts that can be withdrawn. WFP said its implementing partners had distributed just under 20,000 mt of food aid during December in 32 districts. Close to seven million Zimbabweans are in need of food assistance as a result of drought and the government's controversial land reform programme.

IRIN 3 Jan 2003 Over 3,000 prisoners released in presidential pardon President Robert Mugabe granted the remission under a clemency order JOHANNESBURG, 3 Jan 2003 (IRIN) - Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe will release 3,600 prisoners being held for various crimes in an effort to reduce chronic overcrowding in the country's jails. The prisons are currently housing at least 24,500 people in facilities designed for 16,000. Prisoners who qualify for the phased release include females sentenced before 1985, prisoners with unweaned children, women convicted of infanticide, abortion, or concealment of birth, and prisoners aged 60 and above with one year or less left of their sentence. Prisoners medically certified to be terminally ill or physically disabled who have one year or less to serve also qualified, the state-controlled Herald newspaper reported. Habitual criminals serving extended sentences, those awaiting death sentences, those serving sentences imposed by a court martial and escapees were among those who did not qualify. But while the release would provide relief for the government, which has been criticised for providing inadequate welfare and food to prisoners, the pardons could only be effective if proper rehabilitation had been given, cautioned Munyaradzi Bidi, director of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association. Bidi was also concerned about the potential release of prisoners who had committed political crimes as this would be "grossly unfair" to their victims.

Zimbabwe Independent (Harare) 10 Jan 2003 UK's Channel 4 Screens Damning Report On Zim Mthulisi Mathuthu BRITAIN'S Channel 4 will on Sunday screen a detailed documentary which is a damning indictment of President Mugabe's economic and political policies. Called Mugabe's Secret Famine, the programme will blame Mugabe for fomenting famine, driving the economy down, debauching the currency and political mistreatment of Zimbabweans. Peter Oborne, who spent two weeks under cover in Zimbabwe researching and filming the documentary, will argue that the imminent famine which is threatening half of Zimbabwe's population, is not a natural disaster but a result of Mugabe's skewed land policy which has destroyed commercial agriculture. In an article, A Moral Duty to be There, published today by the Centre for Policy Studies, Oborne argues, just as he will in his documentary, that the "looming famine is no natural disaster, but the intended results of policies pursued by President Robert Mugabe". Oborne, who is political editor of The Spectator, will argue that Britain and the Western world, whom he says have stood idly by, crippled by a false sense of post-colonial guilt, should intervene to stall Mugabe's tyrannous rule. He says he found evidence that the threat of starvation is being used to secure support for the ruling party. Condemning Britain's response to Mugabe's rule so far as "negligent, cowardly, posturing and hypocritical", Oborne says social and political unrest on a "huge scale" are now inevitable. Citing remarks made by Zanu PF secretary for external affairs Didymus Mutasa, he also identifies a growing emphasis on "tribal purity" by Mugabe's government. Oborne's calls for United Nations intervention in Zimbabwe to avert another genocide such as the one which occurred in Rwanda in 1994. He blames the Western world and the British government for failing to tighten the sanctions regime to break Mugabe's hold on power. He will argue that British Prime Minister Tony Blair should honour his pledge that he would "make Africa a major personal priority and a priority for the Labour Government" and also pursue sanctions remorselessly. So should South Africa, Oborne says. Pretoria is seen as supporting Mugabe. Blair's government should also take the blame for failing to initiate a debate in parliament, Oborne says, and for removing Peter Hain as Africa Minister after he criticised Mugabe and for handing control of policy to an under-secretary of State, Baroness Amos, based in the House of Lords. Oborne also slams the British Government's muddled handling of the England cricket team's visit to Zimbabwe for next month's World Cup.

NYT 15 Jan 2003 President of Zimbabwe Insists That He Won't Step Down Early By RACHEL L. SWARNS JOHANNESBURG, Jan. 14 — President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe denied today that he had agreed to retire as part of a power-sharing deal with the leading opposition party. "I am not retiring," Mr. Mugabe told reporters during a trip to Zambia. "I will never, never go into exile. I fought for Zimbabwe and when I die I will be buried in Zimbabwe, nowhere else." He was responding to a report first published in The Sunday Mirror of Zimbabwe, which said officials had agreed to create an interim government that would include the leader of the opposition. The newspaper reported that Mr. Mugabe would step down from power in 2005, a year early, as part of a deal intended to ease the country's political and economic crises. Officials in government and in the opposition said on Monday that no formal agreement had been made. Representatives on both sides acknowledged, however, that informal, private discussions about such a plan had already taken place. Some government officials believe that if the opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, were included in a transitional administration, Western nations might restore badly needed foreign aid. Mr. Mugabe, who has run Zimbabwe since 1980, has been increasingly isolated in recent years for condoning political violence and land seizures. Western governments have also accused Mr. Mugabe of rigging the presidential election last year. Meanwhile, the combination of severe drought and a chaotic land reform program has left about six million people — roughly half of the population — in need of emergency food aid. Mr. Mugabe insisted today that he would complete his term, which ends in 2006. "Only a few months ago, the people elected me to serve them and it would be absolutely counterrevolutionary and foolhardy for me to step down," he said.

Independent UK 17 Jan 2003 IMF Deeply Concerned With Genocide in Zimbabwe -- By Barnabas Thondhlana for the Zimbabwe Independent in Harare THE International Monetary Fund (IMF) has expressed deep concern about Zimbabwe's sharp decline in economic activity and per capital income, the rise in poverty and human suffering, the acceleration of inflation and the accumulation of domestic and external payment arrears, all of which gathered pace in 2001. In its June 2002 Country Report on Zimbabwe, which became available in December, the IMF directors said the deteriorating situation in the country was the result of inappropriate economic policies aggravated by violence and disruptions to productive activity related to the government's fast-track land reform programme. "Directors expressed concern that Zimbabwe's economic and social problems are having adverse spill over effects on neighbouring countries, which adds to the urgency of taking decisive corrective action," the IMF report said. "Directors agreed that significant changes in the government's economic policies, together with improvements in governance and the adoption of a transparent and orderly land reform programme are urgently needed to prevent a worsening of the economic crisis." The report said the directors stressed in particular that the land reform programme should minimise disruptions to the productive sectors and to domestic food supply, and urged the authorities to honour commitments made in Abuja and work closely with the United Nations Development Programme in formulating a programme that would receive broad domestic and international support. The IMF directors said bringing the fiscal deficit under control would be crucial to restoring macro-economic stability, and acknowledged the limited progress achieved in 2001 to reduce the fiscal deficit, but noted that the targeted reduction in non-interest expenditure had not been achieved. They said most of the budgetary savings were attributable to a decline in interest outlays due to the forced restructuring of the government's domestic debt. "A loose monetary policy has aggravated economic imbalances and fuelled inflation, and has increased the vulnerability of the banking system,' the report said. "Authorities should to take immediate corrective measures to mop up excess liquidity, allow interest rates to become positive in real terms and dismantle the distortionary subsidised credit facilities. (There is) need to ensure the health of the banking system by dealing promptly with non-viable institutions, and to fully enforce prudential regulations and capital adequacy requirements." The IMF directors noted "with concern" that the over-valuation of the Zimbabwe dollar had seriously hampered the country's competitiveness, and had resulted in a shortage of foreign exchange, the exhaustion of usable foreign reserves, a large accumulation of external payment arrears, and a wide spread between the official and the parallel exchange rates. "An adjustment in the official exchange rate to a more realistic level, supported by tight monetary and fiscal policies, is urgently needed to restore external viability and reduce the rent seeking associated with foreign exchange rationing," the report said. "While this adjustment could be achieved by a substantial up-front devaluation, followed by a return to the previous crawling peg arrangement, several directors considered that a unified floating exchange rate should be the ultimate objective." The report said while Zimbabwe had made a commitment to make quarterly payments on its overdue financial obligations to the Fund, such payments "would not be sufficient to eliminate, or even stabilise Zimbabwe's arrears". "Zimbabwe's arrears to the PRGF Trust could reduce the availability of resources to other eligible countries," the IMF said, urging Harare to promptly settle overdue financial obligations to the Fund.

BBC 21 Jan 2003 Famine plagues Zimbabwe Up to seven million Zimbabweans face starvation By Fergal Keane BBC correspondent in Zimbabwe Posing as tourists, we evaded President Robert Mugabe's police and his army of spies and found, hidden from the world, a nation's tragedy. They [the authorities] electrified me on my genitals, on my toes, in my mouth, and said 'this is the mouth you use to defend human rights' Gabriel Shumba, human rights lawyer Hungry people queue for the meagre rations offered by church workers - their children's hair already changing colour from malnutrition. The elderly too are beginning to suffer terribly - not much food and not much hope of it either. Misrule, corruption and drought are combining to make a catastrophe. Famine Among the poorest of the poor, some compete with wild animals for what they can scavenge. Parsons' family was attacked by government supporters Many people have abandoned their homes in search of food and work. "For three days I haven't eaten, because of this I have no energy, that is why you see me here," explained one man that we met. Yet the commercial farms that could have provided much of the food needed are lying abandoned, their owners forced out. Jenny Parsons, one such farmer, and her children, tried to visit their family farm and were attacked by government supporters. "Every time I tried to get back to the truck to protect the kids more of them came and started punching me and kicking me into a hallway," she recounted. Even the children were not spared. "They were trying to treat me like a dog, as if I were dirt," explained one of her sons, tears streaming down his face. "It was really scary." Torture chambers Fear now rules Zimbabwe. Shumba says he was tortured by the authorities Harare, the capital, now has secret torture chambers. Being caught filming could mean up to two years in jail. As the economic crisis gets worse so does the level of government repression. Nobody who opposes the government now is safe from torture, from arbitrary imprisonment. We met a group of people, many of them high profile, who have just been released from police custody. In this country even members of parliament and human rights lawyers can end up in torture chambers. All of those we met said they had been subjected to electric shock torture. "They electrified me on my genitals, on my toes, in my mouth, and they said 'this is the mouth you use to defend human rights,'" said Gabriel Shumba, a human rights lawyer. "The world must know of the kind of life that the people of Zimbabwe are living under. It is terrible," Job Sikhala, an opposition member of parliament, said from his hospital bed, where he is recovering. 'Land of empty plate' Petrol queues throughout the city are a symptom of the crisis. The England cricket squad will see them when they visit, but the government will crack down hard on any demonstrators. That is just one reason why the mayor of Harare, Elias Mudzuri, wants the England cricketers to stay at home. "How many more people are likely to be dragged into the cells because they think they are perceived to be disturbing the cricket and the cricket people must be seen to be seeing that Zimbabwe is a good destination?" he asked. Back in the rural areas the people gather wild plants, a traditional meal in times of hardship. The United Nations warns that seven million people now face starvation. This is my third undercover trip into Zimbabwe in the last 12 months and the situation has deteriorated drastically. Yet nobody here seems to doubt that change is coming. The only question is whether it will be peaceful or violent. This land of the empty plate attracts little attention from the powerful nations of the world, but they could soon find themselves facing a dramatic crisis here.

IRIN 21 Jan 2003 War veterans threaten to be overshadowed by youth militia [ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations] HARARE, 21 Jan 2003 (IRIN) - The mention of the words war veterans conjures up images of large groups of men marching through the city streets in demand of war pensions, or stick wielding groups of people trying to accelerate the country's land reform programme by camping outside white-owned farms up for compulsory acquisition. Led by the late Chenjerai Hunzvi, a controversial Polish-trained medical doctor, the war veterans had become such a powerful force that President Robert Mugabe took them on board. However, 12 years after its formation and almost two years after the death of Hunzvi, the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWA)is in a state of disintegration and in danger of being replaced by the newly trained youth militia. "The war veterans movement will never be the same without Hunzvi. It is only a question of time before the former freedom fighters become a spent force," John Makumbe, a political science lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe told IRIN. The cracks began to emerge earlier this year among a group of Bulawayo-based ex-combatants. Former fighters from the Zimbabwe People's Revolutionary Army (Zipra), which was the military wing of the Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU) that merged with the ruling ZANU-PF in 1987, called on their colleagues to pull out of the ruling party. This followed clashes between the Bulawayo provincial chairman of the war veterans association, Jabulani Sibanda, and senior ZANU-PF officials. The Bulawayo branch accused party officials and senior staff at the government-controlled Grain Marketing Board, which has a monopoly on maize distribution, of corruption in the distribution of maize, and backed a volatile demonstration by the city’s residents outside one of the depots. Max Mkandla, the former Zipra spokesman was quoted in a privately owned daily newspaper as saying that ZANU-PF was using the war veterans for selfish gains and alleged that the ruling party had sidelined the people of Matabeleland during the land redistribution exercise. "Former Zipra fighters should stop preaching ZANU-PF politics because it does not benefit them at the end of the day," Mkandla said. However, in a sign of splits within the organisation, ZNLWVA acting chairman, Patrick Nyaruwata, dismissed Mkandla's call for a breakaway saying: "Who is Mkandla anyway? Is he not just one of those misplaced elements being used to promote the interests of the enemy? While different views are permitted within our movement, we shall not hesitate to deal with divisive people masquerading as war veterans." Andy Mhlanga, ZNLWVA secretary, said war veterans had not been allocated the 20 percent of the total land taken by the state during the land reform exercise as had been promised by government. He said that some former combatants who had occupied white-owned farms from 2000, when the land reform programme began, were evicted from the farms and now had nowhere else to go. He also claimed that top government officials had allocated multiple farms for themselves at the expense of the intended beneficiaries. The election planned in February to choose a new leadership for ZNLWVA might also rock the organisation, analysts say. Since Hunzvi’s death from suspected cerebral malaria in May 2001, elections have been postponed on several occasions due to the threat of divisions. Mugabe, who is the association's patron, is reported to have directed that the elections be delayed until after his presidential election, fearing a split in the vote. This generated a war of words between Andrew Ndlovu, who was projects secretary, firebrand Joseph Chinotimba and Nyaruwata. Chinotimba, who is the chief inspector in the Harare Municipal police section and vice president of the Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions, and Ndlovu, wanted the elections to go ahead. But Nyaruwata, a moderate seen by many as Mugabe’s close supporter, fought for the elections to be postponed. The ZNLWVA suffered a setback when some of its members broke away two years ago to form the Zimbabwe Liberation Platform (ZLP). The breakaway was reportedly caused by growing disillusionment among by some members who were worried by the violence and alleged killings perpetrated by the ZNLWVA. The ZLP have since managed to win the support of civil society, Makumbe observed. Lobbying ahead of next month's election both Chinotimbe and Nyaruwata claim to be the popular choice. However, analysts say their support base may be eroded by the training of militias at state-run youth service centres countrywide, as a ploy by Mugabe to replace the war veterans and ensure ZANU-PF's continued grip on power. In 2000 the Ministry of Youth, Gender and Employment Creation started a national youth training programme that has churned out militant graduates who are allegedly being used to terrorise opposition party supporters. Shakespeare Maya, leader of the National Alliance for Good Governance (NAGG), an emerging political party, said the creation of "Green Bombers" was a deliberate move to cancel the influence of the war veterans and eventually replace them. He said the militias were already proving to be an asset to ZANU-PF because of their youth, energy and zeal and appeared to able to be present wherever the ruling party needed them. This was particularly worrying in the light of recent reports that the militia had been seen supervising maize sales amid allegations that supporters of ZANU-PF have been getting preferential treatment of the grain which is in short supply. Over seven million Zimbabweans now need food aid due to economic problems, droughts and a disruption in farming due to the land reform programme.

Hansard Debates 21 Jan 2003 - United Kingdom Parliament, Commons text for Tuesday 21 Jan 2003 Genocide 6. Mr. Andrew Turner (Isle of Wight): If he will make a statement on action by the international community to combat genocide. [91785] The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr. Bill Rammell): To combat genocide, the international community has drawn up a UN convention on the prevention and punishment of the crime of genocide and included provisions for jurisdiction over the crime of genocide in the statutes of both the international criminal tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia and in the statute of the International Criminal Court. Mr. Turner: I am obliged to the Minister for that answer. The Prime Minister has wept over Africa and promised never again to stand by while genocide is perpetrated in that continent. Is he aware that the Save Zimbabwe campaign says: "We believe Mugabe is preparing for politicide (political mass killings) and even genocide - which will impact on all ethnic groups perceived not to be ZANU-PF supporters"? The vice-president declares that whites are not human beings and the President refers to the Opposition as "weeds". He has called on ZANU-PF to "go and uproot the weeds from your garden". What effective steps is the Under-Secretary taking - Mr. Speaker: Order. The question is far too long. Perhaps the Under-Secretary has got the message. Mr. Rammell: I have, Mr. Speaker. I understand the sentiment behind the hon. Gentleman's question. The situation in Zimbabwe is appalling, with 60 deaths and 1,000 cases of torture in the past year. However, the ICC statute defines genocide as being committed against a national, ethnic, racial or religious grouping. It is not clear that that applies in Zimbabwe, where the actions, however reprehensible, are targeted at a political grouping and not some of the other categories that I described. Nevertheless, we shall continue to do everything in our power to put pressure on the Government of Zimbabwe to stop the appalling actions that are taking place. Mr. Tom Clarke (Coatbridge and Chryston): Does my hon. Friend share my anxiety about the deteriorating position in the Democratic Republic of the Congo? Does he agree that the lesson of Rwanda is that the role of the international community is paramount in preventing genocide and dispensing justice? Mr. Rammell: I share my right hon. Friend's anxiety. I understand that my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary discussed the matter with Kofi Annan at the United Nations yesterday. We need to maintain the pressure. Mr. Michael Ancram (Devizes): What attempts have the Government made to raise genocide in Zimbabwe at the United Nations, to secure a resolution to bring meaningful pressure to bear on that country to hold fresh elections or at least to put United Nations observers on the ground to monitor food distribution? Why are the human rights of the peoples of the Balkans and Iraq apparently more valuable than those of millions of persecuted people in Zimbabwe, who look to the Government to take a lead? When will the Government grasp the nettle and act? Mr. Rammell: I am conscious that the right hon. Gentleman tries to make political capital out of the issue. However, our international partners will confirm that we regularly raise Zimbabwe because of our anxiety about the position there. To suggest that we can get an international agreement on genocide leads us down a path of no sustainable action. We take the issue seriously and we are trying to resolve it. .

The Herald (Harare) 24 Jan 2003 Tsvangirai Addresses Diplomats, Threatens Bloodbath Harare Stung by the failure of Wednesday's stayaway, visits by Nigerian and South African foreign ministers as well as the softening of attitudes by some European countries towards the Zimbabwean Government, MDC leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai has threatened a bloodbath in the country. Addressing diplomats, mostly from European countries at a hastily arranged meeting in Harare yesterday, Mr Tsvangirai said: "I want to say once again, that we have reached a stage whereby we can no longer counsel patience on such a dangerously restive population. "There is clearly a red light flashing for the Mugabe regime to stop. There is a gathering storm of the people's anger. We have no power to stop it and we refuse to take responsibility for whatever transpires," he said. Mr Tsvangirai's comments were also prompted by a scathing attack by some white members of his party who reportedly felt that he was not doing enough to bring about a change of government. According to the opposition Daily News, MDC members from the affluent Borrowdale suburb told Mr Tsvangirai that "tell the world at every opportunity that Mugabe is illegitimate, otherwise people are frustrated with your lack of aggression to inspire the suffering majority to rise as a nation. The NCA has been courageous enough." Mr Tsvangirai then hastily convened yesterday's meeting that was attended by diplomats from Britain, Germany, Switzerland, France, the United States, South Africa and Nigeria, among other countries. In conformity with the advice, Mr Tsvangirai alleged that a tragedy was unfolding in the country and the international community and influential countries in Africa were not doing anything. "Tragically, supposedly leading countries in Africa, such as South Africa and Nigeria are now on the forefront, chiding the international community for its condemnation of the brutal Mugabe regime; denying the existence of the tragic circumstances in which Zimbabweans find themselves; cheering Mugabe in the name of a dubious African brotherhood to go on perpetrating the outrage and waiting for the policies of the Mugabe regime to produce mass graves which they regard as an adequate and sufficient definition of the existence of a crisis in Zimbabwe," Mr Tsvangirai said. The MDC leader has been losing ground on the Zimbabwean political landscape with most of his supporters snubbing his party's calls for mass action while the international community was slowly isolating him and embracing President Mugabe. He attacked Presidents Thabo Mbeki of South Africa and Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, accusing them of dishonesty and of being impartial mediators. The MDC leader also took a swipe at France and Portugal and accused them of "toasting goblets of the blood of innocent women and children" by accepting Cde Mugabe as the legitimate President of Zimbabwe. The attack against France followed a cue from the British government's indignation against the invitation of President Mugabe by French President Jacques Chirac, to attend a summit of African heads of State in Paris. South Africa and Nigeria were attacked for sending their foreign ministers to meet with President Mugabe this week before crucial meetings in London and South Africa to discuss the situation in Zimbabwe. The foreign ministers did not meet the MDC. Mr Tsvangirai said his party had been led into believing that Presidents Mbeki and Obasanjo were impartial brokers in the ill-fated inter-party dialogue they initiated soon after last year's presidential election. "However, we now realise that the offer was nothing but a cynical and cruel act of deception. In pursuit of this desperate strategy, Presidents Obasanjo and Mbeki have now come out openly in support of Mugabe dictatorship against the people and forces of democracy in Zimbabwe. "There cannot and will never be any solution to the current crisis in Zimbabwe without the participation of the MDC as a party which carries the legitimate mandate of the people of Zimbabwe. Together with Mugabe, Presidents Obasanjo and Mbeki will bear heavy responsibility for the results of the catastrophic path that they are deliberately charting for Zimbabwe," said the MDC leader. There has already been a string of violent activities involving MDC Members of Parliament and supporters since last week as the opposition party stepped up efforts to tarnish the country's image. A Zanu-PF supporter died after an attack by alleged MDC supporters in Kuwadzana where a by-election is looming. A ZUPCO bus was torched in Highfield last week by suspected MDC members who were chanting the party's slogans. Mr Tsvangirai appealed to the British government not to regard President Mbeki as an impartial broker. President Mbeki is scheduled to hold high level talks with British Prime Minister Tony Blair in London soon. Mr Tsvangirai said Mr Mbeki had demonstrated his total unwillingness to come to terms with the situation in the country and that he was incapable of accessing the "deteriorating and dangerous Zimbabwe situation objectively". While praising the European Union and the United States for isolating and imposing sanctions on Zimbabwe, Mr Tsvangirai expressed dismay at the attitude of both France and Portugal. "It is a tragedy that France and Portugal are now repeating the same mistake. They are maintaining a tradition of siding and supporting dictatorships against the democratic aspirations of the people of Zimbabwe. He said the international community, through the United Nations Security Council, should intervene in resolving Zimbabwe's problems. Some diplomats who attended the meeting said Mr Tsvangirai's address was an attempt by the MDC to draw the attention of the international community to Zimbabwe ahead of the Cricket World Cup games to be played in Harare and Bulawayo next month. .

Americas

Canada

Jan. 9, 2003. 01:00 AM Hateful rant gives birth to new resolve David Ahenakew's anti-Semitic attack drew heartfelt outpouring of friendship and support from Aboriginal peoples across CanadaDa KEITH M. LANDY The most enduring aspect of the David Ahenakew affair will not be his vile and vicious anti-Semitic attack but the heartfelt outpouring of friendship and support from aboriginal peoples and their leaders across Canada, and their powerful denunciation of Ahenakew's racist venom. These members of Canada's First Nations may not have been aware that in 1990, the Canadian Jewish Congress wrote to the Indian Affairs minister of the day during the Oka crisis saying, "There can be no more important objective than the attainment through peaceful means of justice for Canada's aboriginal peoples." They may not have known that CJC commended the establishment of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples — but only if it "refrained from merely studying the issues, that is, recataloguing the problems Native peoples face. Rather, it must probe more deeply into the basic relationship between the First Nations and Canadian society and governments, and propose concrete, workable solutions to these long-standing problems." Those who reached out to us last week likely had no idea that in 1998, CJC publicly condemned the residential schools as "a national shame in Canadian history." What all of the people who contacted us — we were inundated with calls, e-mails, faxes — were acutely aware of, though, was that one of their leaders had shamed them through intolerance and bigotry. They knew that the pain he had caused, though aimed at one group, had hit a much broader target, including their own community, and Canadian society at large. They understood the irony of a representative of one minority community that has experienced discrimination targeting another such community for a hateful diatribe. They knew well before Ahenakew did, that, in the words of one chief, "silence was not an option." And so they spoke. Yesterday, I met with Matthew Coon Come, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, and Perry Bellegarde, Chief of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, to discuss how best to move forward from this disturbing incident. Without hesitation, we renewed the commitment between the Jewish and aboriginal communities to walk the journey of peace and reconciliation together. Together, we will build on the existing goodwill between Jewish and aboriginal Canadians and make the relationship stronger. We will share stories of ancient ties to ancestral lands. We will take stock of the ageless value in our traditions of heritage languages and culture and how we transmit them to successive generations. We will compare notes on our spiritual connections to our Creator. And, yes, we will remind ourselves of our other common ground: Two communities that have experienced the full gamut of persecution, from racist jokes and stereotyping, through societal discrimination to attempted genocide. We invite all Canadians to join us in the renewed dialogue. Clearly, a policy must be in place in our hearts and in our conduct that underscores zero tolerance for racism and hate speech. At the same time, we must all buy into the proposition that while political views — even those passionately held — can be freely expressed, such discourse must be conducted in ways compatible with basic Canadian values. Canada's much-vaunted multiculturalism policy encourages communities to maintain and nurture their ethnocultural identities but with concomitant adherence to the overarching Canadian principles of civility, respect for diversity, social harmony and the rule of law. These are minimum obligations that accrue to citizenship and must be adhered to as the flipside of our Charter rights and freedoms. George Bernard Shaw once wrote that, "The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent toward them." The Ahenakew affair began with hate but, thanks to the aboriginal peoples of this country, it will end with the complete opposite of indifference: Solidarity, support, mutual respect and enhanced friendship. That will be its enduring legacy. Keith M. Landy is president of the Canadian Jewish Congress.

Colombia

AFP 10 Jan 2003 Seven killed as Colombia announces capture of rebel leader BOGOTA, Jan 10 (AFP) - Seven people were killed Friday by unknown assailants in northeastern Colombia, as the navy announces the capture of a rebel said to be a key regional guerrilla leader. Masked gunmen broke into a house early Friday in Cucuta, close to the border with Venezuela, and shot the seven people dead, police reported. A woman who survived the shooting was seriously injured, they added. Fighters with the country's two largest leftist rebel groups as well as right-wing paramilitaries are active in the Cucuta region. Meanwhile Navy Captain Jose Munoz, in charge of a brigade of Marines located in the south-eastern Valle province, announced the capture of one Eyner Trujillo, a member of the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). According to the navy, Trujillo -- a lawyer by trade -- is a guerrilla ideologue, one of the group's regional financiers, and "very close" to Pablo Catatumbo, one of the top FARC leaders. Munoz told reporters that Trujillo was captured near Buenaventura, Colombia's main Pacific port. According to the navy Trujillo participated in a March 2001 raid in which 16 marines and a civilian were killed, and orchestrated the abduction of 12 legislators in April. The 17,000-strong FARC had no immediate reaction to the capture.

BBC 19 Jan 2003 Colombia massacre blamed on rebels Women and children were slaughtered By Jeremy McDermott BBC correspondent in Bogota Colombian authorities say at least 16 unarmed civilians were killed on Thursday night in the northern province of Antioquia. No group has admitted responsibility for the brutal massacre. The attackers terrorised villagers in the middle of the night The zone where the killings took place is a battle front, where three of the country's warring factions are fighting for territorial control. The atrocity occurred when an armed group arrived in the hamlets around San Carlos in the middle of the night. They began to drag people from their homes, killing them on their porches. Among the dead was a man aged over 70, four women and three children. Two of the murdered women were pregnant. When troops arrived in the zone, they found bodies strewn around the hamlets. Two of the victims were still clinging to life and were taken by helicopter to hospital. Violence imitated The killings have all the hallmarks of the right-wing paramilitaries, which made the massacre of suspected guerrilla sympathisers one of their principal strategies to cleanse areas of rebel support. But recently the guerrillas of the largest rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), have begun imitating this brutal tactic. Security forces have indicated they think the guerrillas were responsible for this latest atrocity. Authorities cite the fact that earlier in the week FARC guerrillas opened fire on a bus passing San Carlos, killing four people, one of them a child. This area in eastern Antioquia has long been a front line in the 39-year civil conflict, with illegal armies of the left and right wings fighting for territorial control. News of the massacre has come as a blow to the government of President Alvaro Uribe, who was elected on the back of his promise to provide democratic security and protect Colombians. But his tough stance has simply provoked the Marxist guerrillas to new levels of violence.

Peru

AFP 15 Jan 2003 Eight Killed in Clash Over Peruvian Farm LIMA, Peru, Jan. 14 — At least 8 people were killed and 17 were wounded today in a violent clash between farm workers and squatters on a sugar cooperative in northern Peru, the police said. The farm workers, armed with machetes and blunt weapons, had tried to evict the squatters, who had invaded the Cayalti cooperative, near the city of Chiclayo, about 470 miles north of Lima, claiming the land as their own. The ownership dispute is before the courts. Authorities said it was not clear whether the farm workers had succeeded in ejecting the squatters. The cooperative was formed on lands of a former sugar plantation that had passed into the hands of its workers during the 1968-75 Peruvian land reform.

United States

Hartford Courant 1 Jan 2003 Book Tells History Tale Native American Life At Hammonasset Is Novel's Theme January 1, 2003 By AMY ASH NIXON, Courant Staff Writer MADISON -- For years, neighbors and friends urged Charles Young to write "The Hammonasset Story." Young knew many details about the Native Americans who had populated the shoreline long before white men arrived. He watched neighbors of his Dudley Lane compound, bordering Hammonasset Beach State Park, unearth gorgeous, perfect white-and-black and earth-toned Indian spearheads and arrowheads, and he had imagined many things to fill in the possible blanks. Finally, this year, Young, author of a handful of novels and a retired teacher and professor, sat down and wrote the story of the Connecticut shoreline Native Americans. The novel, published by Xlibris publishing company, is called "Potassett: The Mystery of Blood Creek." The recently released book is so far drawing rave reviews from locals, especially those who are in the book as characters with slightly changed names. Young, originally from New Britain, has written books in both English and Greek. (He and his wife, Mary, split their time between Connecticut and a Greek island.) But this was the first time a book had brought him right into his own backyard. Earlier novels have been fictionalized accounts of World War II, in which he served, and he's presently finishing work on a novel about the Nazi occupation of the Greek islands. But for this newest book about the Native Americans who first lived at Hammonasset Beach, Young looked to local lore, history and characters to create a book based on research and his own imagination, creating a blend of reality and imagined events. The result, he hopes, will teach people something about the original inhabitants of the area. The book features characters in present and ancient times and tells a story about the environment, people's needs and greed, and ultimate decisions that still affect us today. The book opens with Henry "Smiley" Jenkins, a member of the Pequot tribe and a complicated father and husband. Jenkins is dying and despises holidays. He passes along his negative feelings for what was lost to his people, as he raises his children in a way that allows them little joy. Over the course of the novel, through eulogies for Jenkins and his family's coming to terms with his life and death, a portrait of what his Connecticut tribe endured for centuries is assembled. Young says he's learned a great deal about the state's Native American heritage by researching his book, and hopes the message of his new novel is to take natural resources seriously and to honor them. "They were here for 12,000 years," Young said, saying his novel tries to weave together the stories of how the Pequots of the Connecticut Valley went from a proud, strong, populous culture to one decimated and living on a 200-acre reservation. "Genocide, duplicity, plague, slavery, the appearance of the ghostly Squaw Sachem and the mystery of Blood Creek are all part of the heritage of Smiley Jenkins and his two sisters." Blood Creek, where the mystery of the novel unfolds, is actually a creek that crosses Hammonasset, Young said. In the novel, Smiley's son Rudd Jenkins, a young anthropologist, works to "unravel the tangled history and solve the mystery of Blood Creek. Theirs is a tribute to the human spirit," the book jacket says.

Charlotte Observer 6 Jan 2003 When democracy, ethnic hatred and markets clash BILLY WIREMAN Special to The Observer WORLD ON FIRE: How Exporting Free Democracy Breeds Ethnic Hatred And Global Instability By Amy Chua. Random House. 340 pages. $26. Be prepared for a major change in the debate on globalization's benefits, brought into focus by Yale law professor, Amy Chua. Chua has fired a shot across the bow of the market-democracy-powered globalization juggernaut. In "World on Fire," Chua, an American Filipino-Chinese from a wealthy Philippine family, states a case that differs sharply with the proponents of globalization who believe it will reduce world poverty and injustice: "This book is about a phenomenon -- pervasive outside the West yet rarely acknowledged, indeed often viewed as a taboo -- that turns free market democracy into an engine of ethnic conflagration. The phenomenon I refer to is that of market-dominant minorities: ethnic minorities who, for widely varying reasons, tend under market conditions to dominate economically, often to a startling extent, the `indigenous' majorities around them." Result: There is an "explosive collision between the three most powerful forces operating in the world today: markets, democracy and ethnic hatred," she writes. Chua's views contradict piercingly those of several respected observers: • Francis Fukuyama, in his controversial "The End of History," contended that communism's fall left no viable alternative to democratic capitalism for organizing human societies to humane ends. • In "The Ideas That Conquered the World," Michael Mandelbaum argued that democracy, free markets and peace are driving the world to a brighter future. • Globalization's patron saint, Thomas Friedman of The New York Times, in "The Lexus and the Olive Tree" sees globalization as irreversible and good as it "tends to turn all friends and enemies into `competitors.' " Chua shares a family tragedy to illustrate the disastrous consequences of an impoverished majority deciding to get even with the "market dominant minority." Chua's wealthy Filipino-Chinese Aunt Leona, a 58-year-old single woman, was murdered by her chauffeur, Nilo Abique, with a butcher knife in her Manila home. There was no trial. The police record of the motive for murder as "revenge," is chillingly telling. A Filipino police officer asked why Filipinos killed so many Chinese. Answer: "They have more money." Two-thirds of the 80 million ethnic Filipinos live on less than $2 a day. A tiny minority of Chinese-Filipinos control 60 percent of the economy. The Philippines have a robust democracy. Chua further documents her thesis: • In Indonesia the Chinese constitute 3 percent of population but control 70 percent of the wealth. When Suharto fell from power, Indonesians by the thousands looted Chinese stores and harassed the Chinese. The Chinese government threatened intervention to stop the pillage. Chinese minorities dominate most Southeast Asian economies. • Eleven percent of South Africa's population is white, but seven years after apartheid's end, whites control 80 percent of the land. Nelson Mandela gave Africans hope, but will it endure? When a white policeman stopped an African National Congress official in 1997 for driving while intoxicated, he countered: "When Mandela dies, we will kill you whites like flies." The Indians in East Africa and the Lebanese in West Africa, both minorities, have provoked similar responses from the majority African populations. • The conditions in South America are the same. A silver-haired Bolivian tycoon describes the situation: "Bolivia is a country where 3 percent of us control everything, and 65 percent of the population have no future. The place is definitely going to blow. It's only a matter of time." Following communism's fall, seven Russian oligarchs -- six are Jews -- gained control of Russia's key industries: oil, media, timber, retail and autos. This disproportionate control by a Jewish minority inflamed anew Russia's historical contempt for Jews. One charge against the Jews claimed they "hijacked the privatization process," "control the economy" and are "stealing the wealth of the Russian people." • Chua finds China virtually free of a "market dominant minority." Despite foreign intervention in China for 200 years, a strong foreign culture never developed there. The Chinese have a keen sense of cultural identity and significantly, 94 percent are of the Han race. While America is relatively free from a dominant economic minority, Chua believes that most of the world sees America, as a nation, in that category. Sept. 11, 2001, was a reality check to remind us that there are people in the world who hate America. Why? Because globalization, to many, is seen as a Western -- principally American -- process to make Americans richer and more powerful. And what is Chua's answer? To avoid ethnic hatred, rich nations must invest in the human capital of the impoverished world's population and therefore create citizens who see a future for themselves and their families. This will require not only the hardware of freedom -- the ballot and the market -- but also the software: rule of law, free press, trusted judicial systems and effective education for all children. She admits this is an expensive, long-term process. Chua's sober critique adds a fresh dimension to the globalization debate. It also calls to mind writer James Baldwin's warning in "The Fire Next Time": The most dangerous creation of any society is the citizen who has nothing to lose. We ignore this reality at our own peril. Dr. Billy O. Wireman is president emeritus of Queens University of Charlotte. His sixth book, which will reflect on his experience with Hugh McColl Jr., Bill Lee, Jack Eckerd and Adolph Rupp, is due out in the spring.

Salt Lake Tribune 9 Jan 2003 Massacre Version Depends on Viewpoint BY DAWN HOUSE THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE Descendants of the 120 Arkansans murdered at Mountain Meadows tell a different story of one of the worst civilian atrocities of the 19th century from that told by descendants of the Mormon militia killers and their American Indian confederates. Shannon A. Novak, research assistant professor in orthopedics at the University of Utah School of Medicine, said stories transmitted across six generations of the 1857 massacre fall within three major social networks: Utah Mormons, Southern Paiutes and descendants of the Arkansans killed in a pastoral area on the Old Spanish Trail in southern Utah. "This is a brilliant case study to examine social relationships and how they are affected by violence, and how individual and group identities form around victimization," Novak said during a lecture Wednesday at the U.'s Tanner Humanities Center. "Many of the same issues raised with Mountain Meadows have been raised with ethnic violence in Eastern Europe." Novak examined oral histories, newsletters and family histories, and interviewed about 40 people during the first year of a two-year study involving collective memories of what took place when the Baker-Fancher wagon train was slaughtered at a campsite about 250 miles southeast of Salt Lake City. In 1999, Novak conducted the first scientific analysis of human remains from the Mountain Meadows massacre. She said the evidence showed that the majority of gunshot wounds were in the heads of young adult males whereas women and children exhibited primarily blunt-force trauma. The men were believed to have been shot by their Mormon escorts, who had promised Arkansans safety during a truce; Indian allies reportedly beat the women and children to death. Mormons and militia descendants retell the massacre in the context of war hysteria, brought on by Mormon fears of an invasion by the U.S. Army, which had been sent to replace Brigham Young as territorial governor. Paiutes deny involvement in the killings. And Arkansans tell the story in terms of those who were slain or of the 17 children who were spared and sent back to relatives in the Ozarks. Novak recounted the story of one Arkansas descendant remembering how his grandmother cooked a meal for the surviving children while relatives attempted to sort out the identities of the youngsters, using birthmarks and physical similarities to murdered parents. One girl grew up and married one of the U.S. Army soldiers who had brought her back to Arkansas after her parents had been murdered. "The Arkansans tell the story from the point of view of the victims," Novak said. "They tell of the individual's dreams of success and of their heroism." Blame for the attack was laid on Mormon militia leader John D. Lee, who was tried and was the only one executed for the slaughter. Novak said Lee's thousands of descendants from his 12 wives have conflicting loyalties to their ancestor and to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Some see Lee as a scapegoat, taking blame while shielding any possible links to Brigham Young. Paiutes have the least means to tell their side of the story, Novak said. Instead, they focus on their own victimization at losing their land and on Congress terminating for a time their tribal status, bringing disastrous economic and social losses. "Collective memories of victimization can be used for social and political gain," Novak said. "Who we are depends on who [the oppressors] are. Victimization feeds into social identities and across generations. Individuals in conflicts feeling previous suffering are often not the ones victimized, they are the living who inherited the suffering of those who are long dead."

Salt Lake Tribune 9 Jan 2003 Letter to the Editor Stop Proxy Baptisms As a young Jewish woman, I have the responsibility to preserve the memory and dignity of the millions of people, including 6 million Jews, who were murdered at the hands of Hitler's Nazi Germany. The current practice of the LDS Church in performing proxy baptisms fills me with sadness and anger. I feel these baptisms cause terrible hurt to the survivors and relatives of those who perished. I find the activities of the LDS Church in pursuing the lost souls of the Holocaust to be disgraceful because it obliterates the single reason they were murdered, for belonging to the Jewish people. The Nazis created many ways to dehumanize and strip away the dignity of Jews: forcing them to wear armbands, destroying their synagogues, tattooing identification numbers on their wrists, pillaging their homes and businesses, using them as human guinea pigs in "medical experiments" and carrying out a campaign of genocide. Did they not suffer enough indignities in life? Please leave them with the respect they deserve in death. The LDS Church should stop proxy baptisms. Between 1939 and 1945, 6 million Jews were massacred. Two out of every three Jews in Europe. Each one was a man, woman or child. Each had a name. Each suffered their own death. By stopping this practice, the LDS Church will help preserve their memory and dignity. MARNI B. LITVACK Salt Lake City

Reuters 11 Jan 2003 White supremacists plan anti-Somali rally LEWISTON, Maine (Reuters) -- A white supremacist group whose leader is accused of trying to have a federal judge murdered said on Thursday it will proceed with plans to protest an "invasion" of this New England college community by Somali immigrants. A spokesman for the World Church of the Creator said the group, which preaches hatred of Jews and blacks on its Web site, would stage a two-hour rally on Saturday in Lewiston, where it says the local white population is fed up with the influx of immigrants from the war-torn East African nation. The spokesman, the Rev. John King of Newport News, Virginia, said the Lewiston protest would go ahead despite the arrest on Wednesday in Chicago of the Rev. Matt Hale on charges he tried to solicit the murder of U.S. District Court Judge Joan Humphrey Lefkow. Hale, 31, was arrested as he arrived at Chicago's federal courthouse to face a possible contempt charge for refusing to obey Lefkow's November ruling in a trademark case. Hale told Reuters before his arrest that the Somalis were "invading" Lewiston, and that the residents of Maine's second-biggest city had welcomed his church's planned rally with open arms. "The people of Lewiston want us there," said Hale, who claims he receives as many as five positive e-mails a day from local residents. "We've never received the groundswell of support we've gotten from the people of Lewiston." But Phil Nadeau, Lewiston's assistant city administrator, said he doubted Hale's claims. "He could say that aliens from Mars want him here, but can he prove it?" Nadeau said. "My impression is there's a significant number of people in this community who don't support him and a handful who do." He noted that while only 40 or 50 people were expected to turn up for the white supremacists' rally, hundreds -- maybe thousands -- may attend a planned counter-demonstration the same day that will focus on diversity and attempt to show that Lewiston is embracing its newest residents. For years, the former mill town was simply known as the place where Muhammad Ali flattened Sonny Liston in 1965. But its booming Somali immigrant community has thrust Lewiston into the spotlight. More than 1,100 Somalis, seeking affordable housing, have moved to the city of 36,000 people in the past year. While many U.S. cities -- including Minneapolis, Atlanta, and nearby Portland, Maine -- have larger Somali populations, few are as homogenous as Lewiston. About 95 percent of Lewiston locals are white, many of them descendants of the French-Canadian immigrants who once worked the mills. Lewiston Mayor Laurier T. Raymond grabbed national headlines in October when he asked Somalis to stop moving to the city, citing concerns about overwhelmed social services. "The Somali community must exercise some discipline and reduce the stress on our limited finances and generosity," Raymond wrote in an open letter. "Now we need room to breathe." While the mayor's office says he never meant to convey a message of bigotry, Raymond's comments struck many Somalis as racist. The resulting uproar was enough to catch the attention of Hale and his group. Saturday's dueling demonstrations will probably prompt the largest mobilization of law enforcement in Maine's history, officials said. But some of Lewiston residents, particularly the Somalis, said they are worried about the potential for violence as members of Hale's church descend on Lewiston. "A lot of Somalis think they are very dangerous, and they are concerned for their safety," said Fatuma Hussein, director of an organization for Somali women in Maine and one of the scheduled speakers at Saturday's counter-demonstration.

NYT 26 Jan 2003 Alfred Kantor, Who Depicted Life in Nazi Camps, Dies at 79 By PAUL LEWIS Alfred Kantor, whose watercolors and sketches recreating daily life in Auschwitz, Theresienstadt and Schwarzheide constitute one of the few visual records of existence in a Nazi concentration camp, died on Jan. 16 in Yarmouth, Me. He was 79. The cause was complications of Parkinson's disease, his wife, Inge, said. At the Nazi war crimes trials in Nuremburg, the Allies showed horrific films of the conditions discovered when they liberated the camps. But very few pictures exist that depict the workaday life of prisoners. Mr. Kantor sketched and painted surreptitiously, mainly at night. His 127 paintings and sketches of concentration camp life were published in 1971 by McGraw-Hill as "The Book of Alfred Kantor," which included his account of his experiences. "My commitment to drawing came out of a deep instinct of self-preservation and undoubtedly helped me to deny the unimaginable horrors of that time," he wrote. A second edition appeared in 1987, (Schocken Books, New York; Piatkus Books, London). While some of the book's paintings were made inside the three camps and smuggled out, Mr. Kantor — who had destroyed most of his work, fearing that the Nazis would find it and kill him — re-created many pictures from memory at the end of the war. The paintings, done in a rapid, Impressionist style, first show daily scenes in the "model ghetto" that the Nazis created for Czechoslovak and other Jews in Theresienstadt, a walled fortress town 40 miles north of Prague. Though conditions were difficult, they appear tolerable. For example, Mr. Kantor sketched the new shops and fresh food that suddenly appeared in the town when an International Red Cross delegation visited. For most Jews Theresienstadt was only a stopping place on the way to the death camps. And Mr. Kantor was eventually herded into a cattle truck and transported to a much grimmer life in Auschwitz. Finding drawing materials there was far more difficult than at Theresienstadt, where he got what he needed from the administration offices. But a physician slipped him a watercolor set while he was working in the Auschwitz sick ward. His sketches show all the horrors of that camp: naked women being sorted into those who would live and those who would die; prisoners loading corpses from the gas chambers into trucks; the desperate search for food; the lurid red glow of flames from the crematorium chimneys at night; brutal guards; and the haughty and infamous chief physician, Josef Mengele, in Nazi uniform. (An attached note said that "a motion with his stick" was sufficient to send a prisoner to his death.) In 1944 Mr. Kantor was sent with other prisoners to help rebuild a German synthetic-fuel plant at Schwarzheide, near Dresden. There he continued drawing, despite grueling 12-hour work shifts. When the war ended the next year, he was one of only 175 prisoners out of 1,000 who survived a death march back to Theresienstadt. The last picture, "Happy End," shows a liberated concentration camp inmate, still in his prison stripes, talking with friends on a Prague street on May 10, 1945, two days after V-E Day. Alfred Kantor was born in Prague on Nov. 7, 1923. He had finished one year of a two-year commercial art course at the Rotter School of Advertising when he and all the other Jews were expelled. Reaching the United States at the end of the war, Mr. Kantor served in the Army, playing a glockenspiel in a military band. He spent the rest of his working life as a commercial artist in New York. In addition to his wife, he is survived by a son, Jerry, of Boston; a daughter, Monica Churchill of Falmouth, Me.; and three grandchildren.

NYT 26 Jan 2003 'The Education of Lieutenant Kerrey': A Dark Night in Vietnam By JAMES STEWART On a hazy night on Feb. 25, 1969, Lt. Bob Kerrey and his seven-man Navy Seals team slipped into the Vietnamese coastal hamlet of Thanh Phong. Heavily armed and camouflaged, Kerrey and his squad hoped to infiltrate a meeting between the village secretary and a Vietcong military officer and take out the Vietcong officer. But when they reached the supposed meeting site, all the Americans found were civilians, mostly women and children. They rounded them up at gunpoint. Then, fearful that the villagers might raise an alarm and make their escape difficult, Kerrey gave the order to open fire. Or did he? What happened on the night of Feb. 25 has been the subject of national debate and widespread press coverage since 2001, when accounts in The New York Times and ''60 Minutes II'' of the atrocities and the participants' ambiguous recollections prompted both vigorous defense of Kerrey, the former United States senator who is president of New School University, and charges that he should have been tried for crimes of war. Kerrey himself dealt with the episode in his memoir, ''When I Was a Young Man,'' published last year. Each version has left troubling questions unanswered. So it would be gratifying to report that Gregory L. Vistica, the journalist most responsible for the Times and CBS accounts, has delivered the definitive rendition in ''The Education of Lieutenant Kerrey.'' But Vistica appears to have done scant new reporting after his magazine and television versions, and so the book gets no closer to the truth than they did. His account of ''how I got the story,'' potentially the freshest and most insightful of the book's intersecting narratives, also leaves many questions unanswered, even as it inadvertantly betrays the weaknesses of investigative journalism in an era of co-productions and reporting by committee. To his credit, Vistica seems to have approached his subject from the start with an open mind, an inherent sense of fairness and a determination to pursue a story that many reporters would have abandoned in frustration. He deserves credit for his perseverance and for bringing a subject of national significance to public attention. But he has also accused Bob Kerrey, a distinguished public servant and decorated military veteran, of war crimes, using evidence that would never convict him in a court of law. No one disputes that something terrible happened that night, resulting in the deaths of some two dozen civilians, including women, children and babies. Put simply, the crucial question is whether Kerrey and his men fired on this group of civilians in self-defense, after having been fired on themselves, or whether they rounded them up, deliberated about their fate and then shot them rather than risk having them betray the team's presence and endanger their escape. Vistica first heard about the incident from an unnamed source who steered Vistica to Gerhard Klann, who served under Kerrey on the Seals mission. At first, Klann ignored Vistica's letters and phone messages, but after Vistica showed up near his home near Pittsburgh, Klann agreed to meet him at the bar of a Days Inn to ''cleanse his soul.'' Klann was a first-generation American; his father and uncle fought for Hitler and his grandfather for the Kaiser. He had performed a clandestine mission in Iran for the C.I.A., but after retiring from the military in 1990, he had led a quiet life, getting a degree in computer-aided design and working for a steel company. Klann's account of the incident is disturbing and almost apocalyptically blood-drenched. He says the killings were premeditated, and the Americans knew they were dealing with a group of mostly women, children and babies. In his version, Kerrey gave the order to shoot, and though Klann doesn't remember Kerrey's exact words, he insists that Kerrey said something to the effect that ''we're going to kill them and then we're getting out of here.'' Vistica first confronted Kerrey with this potentially explosive account during an interview in Omaha in December 1998, when Kerrey was seriously considering a run for the Democratic presidential nomination and Vistica was a reporter for Newsweek. The interview is one of the most fascinating episodes in the book: Kerrey squirms, is alternately angry and ingratiating, but insists his men fired in self-defense. Essentially, the story at this juncture was Klann's word against Kerrey's, since Vistica was unsuccessful in getting any of the other Seals who participated in the mission to talk freely to him. Less than a week after the interview, Kerrey announced he would not run for president. Newsweek never ran a story about Kerrey and Vietnam. In the ensuing years Vistica quit Newsweek and Kerrey quit the Senate to become a college president. But Vistica kept pursuing the story, which became a joint venture between The New York Times Magazine and ''60 Minutes II.'' (He doesn't explain how that collaboration came about.) Kerrey agreed to be interviewed on television by Dan Rather, as did Klann. ''60 Minutes'' also sent a cameraman to Thanh Phong, the site of the massacre. The cameraman discovered a woman named Pham Tri Lanh, a Communist who'd been married to a Vietcong fighter during the war, who claimed to have been an eyewitness to both the massacre and an earlier incident in which the Seals team brutally killed the civilian occupants of a thatched hooch. Significantly, in a videotaped interview she largely corroborated Klann's version of events. In response to this potential bombshell, CBS sent the producer Tom Anderson to interview Lanh in Vietnam. Vistica's role in the joint venture was to ''reapproach Kerrey'' with the news that an eyewitness had surfaced. He doesn't tell us anything about Anderson's trip, especially whether Lanh's story was consistent with her earlier interview or held up under questioning or whether there were other witnesses. According to Vistica, Lanh said in the earlier videotaped interview with the ''60 Minutes'' cameraman that she first watched the killings at the hooch, then checked on the safety of her children in an underground bunker, then left them and crept to the site of the massacre where she saw the entire incident, all without being detected herself. While this may be true, it is hard to accept at face value the contention that a mother left her children and put herself in mortal danger under such circumstances. Curiously, Lanh was quoted only briefly in the Times article, and then only as a witness to the killings at the hooch. Vistica does not tell us whether there were questions about her reliability. After Vistica confronted Kerrey with Lanh's story, Kerrey convened a meeting of the six other members of the Seals team in New York, at which, he said, they collectively searched their memories and consciences. While still vague about many details, they unanimously supported Kerrey's account that they fired in self-defense. There matters stood when Vistica's stories broke in The Times Magazine and on ''60 Minutes II'' in April 2001. In the press coverage that followed, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, the Associated Press and Time magazine sent reporters to the village of Thanh Phong. The Time reporter wrote that Lanh had now changed her story: she didn't see the killings; she had only heard the shooting. But other reporters, unnamed by Vistica, apparently found another witness to back up Lanh's version. So the conflicting accounts persist. Throughout Vistica's account, Kerrey behaves likes someone guilty of something. Indeed, Kerrey himself readily admits he feels morally guilty, and that he will be haunted for the rest of his life by the deaths of those civilians. Vistica clearly believes Kerrey to be guilty of a war crime -- an unjustified, cold-blooded massacre. ''When Kerrey's multiple inconsistent stories are coupled with the available evidence,'' he writes, ''the only conclusion I am able to draw is that Klann has provided the more accurate version.'' But Klann's version also poses the question: why would a Navy Seals group, hoping to escape undetected, have unleashed a thunderous barrage of machine-gun fire in the dead of night into a group of Vietnamese peasants, especially with Vietcong forces in the immediate vicinity? I might be more convinced if Vistica had persuaded more of the Seals team to talk before they coordinated their stories with Kerrey; if he had done more reporting on Klann's credibility; and if he had told us he had traveled to Vietnam himself to interview Lanh and other possible witnesses and assess their credibility. It strikes me as a serious weakness of such joint efforts that no one reporter or even news organization is in a position to judge the credibility of witnesses and to evaluate inconsistent accounts. Perhaps it would have been possible for an enterprising and resolute reporter like Vistica to determine beyond a reasonable doubt what happened that terrible night, and what responsibility Kerrey must bear for the tragedy. But to judge from this record, readers may never know. James Stewart is the author of ''Den of Thieves'' and, most recently, ''Heart of a Soldier.'' .

AFX European Focus 24 Jan 2003 Lawyers warn Bush that attack on Iraq could lead to war crimes prosecutions, NEW YORK A group of more than 100 legal experts warned President George W. Bush in a letter that senior officials could face prosecution if US soldiers committed war crimes in Iraq. The experts said violations of international humanitarian law by US and allied forces "were extensively documented" during the 1991 Gulf War and military campaigns in Kosovo in 1999 and in Afghanistan in late 2001. "Given these past violations, there is a reasonable basis for assuming that in any future military action against Iraq, these requirements will once again be breached," they wrote. The letter, signed by more than 100 law professors and non-governmental organizations, was also sent to US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his Canadian counterpart, Jean Chretien. Previous violations included "indiscriminate methods of attack," the use of cluster bombs and fuel-air explosives, and attacks on electricity supplies and dams, it said. One of the signatories, Michael Ratner, President of the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York, said: "I hope this unjustified war never happens, but if President Bush proceeds to war, we fear it will be a war that unlawfully targets the Iraqi people as was the case in 1991." The letters "are putting the US, UK and Canadian governments on notice that such illegal tactics cannot and must not be used again," Ratner said. Britain and Canada are both parties to the statute of the new International Criminal Court, set up on July 1 last year to try cases of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. "While the US did not ratify the treaty establishing the court, US officials involved in committing certain international crimes may nonetheless be held responsible under principles of Universal Jurisdiction and the War Crimes Act," the lawyers said.

Venezuela

BBC 24 Jan 2003 One dead in Venezuela blast Thousands of people rallied in support of Chavez One person has been killed and at least 12 others wounded after a suspected bomb exploded near a pro-government rally in the Venezuelan capital, Caracas. "This appeared to be an explosive device... unfortunately there is one person dead up to now," Caracas Fire Chief Rodolfo Briceno told local radio. I like him [Chavez] because he's a very honest man Julio Altube, marcher The blast happened a few blocks from where Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was greeting supporters. Hundreds of thousands of people had gathered to protest against a seven-week strike organised by Mr Chavez's opponents. The demonstration came a day after the Venezuelan Supreme Court suspended an opposition-backed referendum on whether the president should stay in office. Opposition groups have accused Mr Chavez of behaving like a dictator and mismanaging the economy and have called on him to resign. Cuban flags Earlier, the demonstrators, chanting: "Hey, hey, Chavez is here to stay", poured into the city centre in a massive display of support for the beleaguered president. Many of the marchers were brought in from the provinces in buses adorned with red, yellow and blue Venezuelan flags. Chavez has refused to step down Some of the protesters carried Cuban flags and portraits of left-wing revolutionary Che Guevara, reflecting Mr Chavez's ideology. Despite the economic damage caused by the strike, opinion polls say 30% of Venezuelans still support their president. "I like him [Chavez] because he's a very honest man," said marcher Julio Altube. "You can really see that he feels for the poor. He really suffers. All the time he talks about love," he said. Opposition supporters, who have staged equivalent demonstrations on an almost daily basis over the past few weeks stayed away on the instructions of their leaders. At least six people have been killed in clashes between rival protesters since the strike began last December. The strike has crippled Venezuela's oil production and driven the country to the brink of collapse. Crisis meeting The huge rally came a day before the six-nation Group of Friends was due to hold its first meeting to try to help Venezuela find a way out of the crisis. The strike has crippled on oil and petrol output The group - Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Portugal, Spain and the United States - will consider two plans presented by former US President Jimmy Carter to end the strike and hold early elections. The BBC's Adam Easton in Caracas says that as a strategic supplier of fuel to the United States, Venezuela is coming under increasing international pressure to resolve the strike. But there is precious little trust between the government and opposition. At the moment, neither side appears prepared to give in. Mr Chavez was handed a victory on Wednesday when the Supreme Court postponed the referendum scheduled for 2 February, six months before a binding referendum is due. .

Asia-Pacific

Australia

New Zealand Herald 10 Jan 2003 Chloe Hooper: A Child's Book of True Crime 10.01.2003 By PHILIPPA JAMIESON This debut novel by a young Australian has received glowing reviews overseas and was shortlisted for the Orange Prize. Compelling yet disturbing, A Child's Book of True Crime is definitely an adult read. The plot has several overlapping strands. The central story is about a 22-year-old teacher, Kate, who has embarked on an affair with Thomas, the father of her brightest student. Alongside this is the story of Ellie, another young woman who had an affair with a married man, and was brutally murdered. Apart from the obvious parallel between the two women there is another link: Thomas' wife has written a book about the murder. Kate dwells on Ellie's death and wonders if she herself may suffer a similar fate. Thomas laughs it off, but some strange events occur - has someone got it in for Kate, or does she merely have an overactive imagination? The most original device in the book is a bushland gang of animals who act as detectives solving the mystery of Ellie's murder. The crew, including Kitty Koala, Wally Wombat and others, provide some light relief from the occasionally turgid tale. In the classroom, Kate encourages philosophical thinking in her 9-year-olds, such as what is right and wrong and whether God exists. Her young charges study extinct Australian animals and the animals in turn study humans with an ironic eye. The author has used the setting of Tasmania to great advantage. There's a wildness and freedom about the remote location but also destruction and control, with a backdrop of genocide, animal extinctions, convict history, and the stifling small-town atmosphere. Of all the characters, we gain the most insight into Kate's personality, as the story is told from her point of view. A mix of worldly and ingenue, she is caught between youth and adulthood. She has leapt off into the deep end of her sexuality, and is blindly naive about the workings of a closeknit community. As the story progresses, the facts of Ellie's story blur into Kate's obsessive speculation about it, and her hold on reality appears increasingly tenuous. Hooper is a skilled writer and this shows in her ability to let us see Kate through her own eyes as well as how she appears to others. It is a complex, unsettling novel with a clever layering of multiple issues - sex and power, the innocence and knowing of children, murder and insanity - but I didn't feel much sympathy for any of the characters. Consequently, although it is well crafted and a compulsive read, I found it hard to become fully engrossed. No doubt it will be well received though, and would probably translate well into film.

Bangladesh

Daily Star 6 Jan 2003 Liberation War ally and post liberation governance Omar Khasru, Banani, Dhaka An expatriate friend from Canada wrote that it would have been better if Bangladesh achieved independence after 10 years of indigenous and home-grown struggle rather than within nine months with Indian assistance. I personally don't think it was wrong to get help from India as an absolute necessity and as a strategy to confront Pakistani oppression and genocide as well as to hasten independence. A ten-year liberation war is a romantic notion, not taking deleterious consequences into consideration. After 30 years of independence, it would be helpful to realise what happened after the war, when the expedient and the opportunist lot gained the upper hand and came into forefront, is an altogether different story and is what still continues to ail this country. Bangladesh Liberation War has many parallels in history, none closer than that in Eritrea. The similarities are striking, time frame similar both with successful outcome. In Eritrea the guns have been transformed, almost literally, into ploughshare after independence. The fact that not much has been heard or written about that country, in contrast to Bangladesh, for all the wrong reasons (famine, violence, crime and terror, #1 in corruption, military coups, political bickering, unsolved bomb blasts) shows that things are by and large normal and peaceful over there. The US liberated France twice in the 20th Century. The US never demanded restitution and the French never offered any except broad support and empathy during the Cold War. France is the country that most opposes US policies, including that with respect to possible US invasion of Iraq. Vietnam received strong backing from China during the war with the US. Soon after independence, Vietnam fought a border skirmish with China. Clearly, what US did in Europe during two World Wars or what China did in Vietnam was based on mutual self-interest. The symbiotic benefit does not mean that one is forever beholden to the assisting country. The same should be true for 1971 Indian assistance to Bangladesh. We ought to be grateful but realise that India helped us to foster own geopolitical interests. We do not owe them anything. On the other hand, rabid anti Indian feelings and actions are counterproductive, as is quite evident from a cursory glance at the map. We should strive for correct and cordial relationship, totally cognisant of our self-interest, despite Indian big brother attitude and apparent desire to reduce Bangladesh to another Bhutan, meek and subservient. It was okay to seek and receive assistance from India in 1971. Whatever happened after that is clearly the fault of our corrupt, power hungry and incompetent leadership. Thomas Jefferson said, "The whole art of government consists in the art of being honest." Honest and dedicated leadership has been extremely rare in this country. Leadership does make a big difference. The sequential leadership that the US was fortunate to have after the 1776 independence is what really mattered and was precursor to subsequent American greatness. We are yet to find our Mahatir Mohammad, an honest and dedicated man, strong and fierce defender and promoter of Malaysian interests, despite mild autocratic and dogmatic fringe inclinations. This country, on the other hand, for most part has lived up to the 14th Century Kenko Hoshi adage, "So long people are ill governed, ---, criminals will never disappear."

Cambodia

AP 4 Jan 2003 U.N., Cambodia to Resume Talks UNITED NATIONS -- The United Nations will hold talks Monday with Cambodia on the prosecution of former Khmer Rouge leaders for genocide, resuming negotiations that were halted last year in a dispute over the presiding court's independence. Cambodian Senior Minister Sok An and U.N. legal counsel Hans Corell are to begin discussions on how to conduct trials of Khmer Rouge leaders for crimes against humanity, U.N. spokesman Fred Eckhard said yesterday. "We hope we can come up with a formula that would allow for international standards of justice to apply in whatever legal mechanism is set up for the trials," Eckhard said. Policies of Khmer Rouge leaders resulted in the deaths of more than 1 million people from 1975 until their government was overthrown in 1979, experts say. U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan decided last February to withdraw from negotiations on the conduct of trials because the Cambodian government wanted to conduct them under its own laws. Corell said Cambodian law would not guarantee the "independence, impartiality and objectivity that a court established with the support of the United Nations must have." Bloomberg News AFRICA Kenyan President Names Cabinet NAIROBI -- Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki named his cabinet, dividing the top jobs among former opposition veterans and recent defectors from the party he trounced in presidential and parliamentary elections last week. The key post of finance minister went to David Mwiraria, a former top civil servant and a critic of budget policy under the Kenya African National Union, which was defeated in the election after ruling the East African country for almost 40 years. Diplomats said the finance portfolio is central to hopes for a resumption of support from the International Monetary Fund, suspended in 2000 over concerns about corruption. Kibaki named former opposition stalwart Michael Wamalwa vice president. Former opposition politician Raila Odinga became public works minister, a job with wide influence over the rehabilitation of Kenya's roads, ports and communications. The Foreign Ministry post went to Kalonzo Musyoka, who held the job from 1993 to 1997, when he was a high KANU official. Reuters Fighting Continues in Congo Province NAIROBI -- Heavy fighting continued in several areas of Congo's strategic South Kivu province as troops of the rebel Rally for Congolese Democracy, or RCD, clashed with pro-government tribal fighters and their Rwandan and Burundian rebel allies, Azarias Ruberwa, secretary general of the RCD, said in a telephone interview. The fighting has forced thousands of people out of Luvungi and Kamanyola towns and areas around Uvira town, according to a spokesman for the U.N. refugee agency in Burundi. Fighting has intensified in several areas of rebel-held eastern Congo since the government, four rebel groups, pro-government Mayi Mayi tribal fighters and the political opposition signed a power-sharing deal on Dec. 17. The RCD is one of the four rebel groups. The agreement commits the government and the rebel groups to form a transitional government to lead the nation to democratic elections in about 21/2 years.

AP 5 Jan 2002 Cambodia optimistic on renewed Khmer Rouge tribunal talks PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) - A team of Cambodian negotiators has left for New York to resume talks with U.N. officials on creating a tribunal to try former Khmer Rouge leaders for genocide and crimes against humanity. "I hope that this negotiation will be productive in nature," chief negotiator Sok An said before leaving late Saturday with three aides. "I think that this process will move forward." The four-member delegation will be joined by Cambodia's representative to the United Nations at the talks, which open Monday, said Sean Visoth, a delegation member. The meeting will mark the first face-to-face encounter between Cambodian and U.N. negotiators in 11 months after the world body decided to abandon the process, citing lack of commitment on the Cambodian part to ensuring a high standard tribunal process. Last month, the U.N. General Assembly passed a joint France-Japan resolution rejuvenating the negotiation. The Khmer Rouge is blamed for some 1.7 million deaths of Cambodians from overwork, diseases, starvation and execution during its murderous 1975-79 rule. Although the movement is dead now, many of its leaders still live and move freely in and out of the country. "It's so immoral to allow such criminals to enjoy freedom as such in the eyes of the victims," said Youk Chhang, director of Cambodia's Documentation Center that investigates Khmer Rouge atrocities. Human rights advocates have cautioned the United Nations against compromising on international standards of justice in the talks. They say Cambodian judiciary is weak and susceptible to political influence, and that no Khmer Rouge trials will be credible if they are held under the terms set by Cambodia. Sok An gave no hint of what he might offer to bridge the gap between the government and the United Nations. He said "many important points have been agreed upon already" during the lengthy negotiations that began five years ago before they were "unilaterally suspended."

VOA News 6 Jan 2003 Hun Sen Says Khmer Rouge Genocide Trial Inevitable Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen says surviving Khmer Rouge leaders must stand trial for the deaths of as many as two-million people during the regime's brutal rule in the late 1970s. The Prime Minister told a group of teachers and students Monday that a genocide trial for the Khmer Rouge was inevitable. Later Monday in New York, Cambodia is to re-open talks with the United Nations on setting up a special court to try former Khmer Rouge leaders. Cambodian Senior Minister Sok An, who is leading his country's delegation, says he is optimistic the talks will be fruitful. U.N. officials call the meeting an exploratory session and said they hope it will lead to full negotiations. These are the first direct talks between Cambodia and the United Nations in nearly a year. Negotiations to form a special court broke down last February. U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan wants an international court similar to the War Crimes Tribunal in the Hague. But Cambodia wants to set up a local Cambodian court that would include foreign judges and prosecutors. Mr. Annan agreed to restart talks after the U.N. General Assembly passed a resolution last month calling for new negotiations. The Khmer Rouge, under the ruthless Pol Pot, ruled Cambodia starting 1975 until Vietnamese troops drove the regime from power four years later. Khmer Rouge fighters continued a guerrilla war against the Cambodian government until 1998. No Khmer Rouge leader has ever been tried for genocide. Many live peacefully in Cambodia. Pol Pot died in Thailand in 1998. Some information for this report provided by Reuters, AP and AFP.

BBC 7 January, 2003, Cambodia 'Killing Fields' remembered More than a million died under the Khmer Rouge Cambodia has marked the 24th anniversary of the end of brutal Khmer Rouge rule, as talks restarted to bring those responsible to trial. Hundreds of balloons and doves were released in the capital, Phnom Penh, as the head of Cambodia's ruling party urged justice for ex-Khmer Rouge leaders, none of whom have yet faced trial. "Although time flies, still it cannot allow Cambodians to forget the most bitter, painful and indescribable past that they suffered during a period of three years, eight months and 20 days under the genocidal regime," Chea Sim told about 5,000 people at the Cambodia People's Party headquarters. The UN is trying to reach an agreement on a war tribunal The anniversary came as a Cambodian Government delegation resumed negotiations with United Nations officials in New York over the establishment of a special court to try former members of the Khmer Rouge. It is the first real contact between the two sides since the UN pulled out of talks early last year, amid concerns that the court would not be guaranteed the necessary standards of independence, impartiality and objectivity. Trying again UN head Kofi Annan only agreed to new talks after members of the UN General Assembly passed a resolution in December requesting a resumption of negotiations to set up the court. Officials at the United Nations are describing these new negotiations as "exploratory" talks. A key sticking point in the past has been an insistence by Phnom Penh that Cambodian national law would prevail over the court. France, the United States and Japan have all supported the calls for renewed UN involvement in the court. They fear that without UN support justice may never come to those responsible for a particularly violent episode in Cambodia's history. Protests An estimated 1.7 million people died under the Khmer Rouge's ultra-Maoist rule - from torture, execution, starvation and disease. But not everyone was celebrating the end of Khmer Rouge rule on Tuesday. Although 7 January, 1979, was the day the Khmer Rouge regime was toppled by invading Vietnamese troops, it also marked the start of a 10-year occupation by those troops. Dozens of democracy advocates marched outside the national assembly in protest against the Vietnamese invasion. Khmer Rouge guerrillas actually battled on from jungle strongholds during Vietnam's occupation until 1998. Several senior Khmer Rouge leaders still live freely. Only two - former military chief Ta Mok, and the head of the notorious Toul Sleng holding camp, Kang Kek Iue - are in jail, pending trial.

Reuters 8 Jan 2003 Cambodia remembers Khmer Rouge horrors PHNOM PENH - Cambodians celebrated the anniversary of their release from the horror of the Khmer Rouge 'Killing Fields' yesterday as negotiators prepared for a second day of talks in New York on setting up a United Nations war crimes tribunal. About 5,000 people, including saffron-robed monks, gathered at the headquarters of the ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) to honour those who died under the brutal ultra-Maoist regime, which was toppled in 1979 by invading Vietnamese troops. 'Although time flies, it still cannot allow us to forget the most bitter, painful and indescribable past that we suffered during a period of three years, eight months and 20 days under a genocidal regime,' CPP chairman Chea Sim told the crowd. An estimated 1.7 million people died under the Khmer Rouge's tyranny, many through torture, execution, starvation and disease. No Khmer Rouge leader has ever faced justice for the atrocities committed during their rule, but efforts are now under way in New York to restart stalled talks to establish a special genocide court. A team of Cambodian negotiators, led by senior minister Sok An, met their UN counterparts on Monday for three hours of 'exploratory' talks. 'We came very far. It's enough to demonstrate our goodwill,' Sok An told reporters during a break. The two sides were due to reconvene again later.

National Geographic Today 10 Jan 2003 "Killing Fields" Lure Tourists in Cambodia by Zoltan Istvan. The sight of 8,000 human skulls in a glass shrine stuns visitors into silence. Outside, where cattle usually graze, human bones sometimes come unearthed after heavy rains. In Cambodia, nine miles (14.5 kilometers) from Phnom Penh, the "killing fields" of Choeung Ek have become a tourist attraction, horrifying and fascinating. Choeung Ek is one of thousands of other such sites around the country where the Khmer Rouge practiced genocide during the late 1970s. "There are two things you must see in Cambodia," says Scott Harrison, a traveler from Australia. "Obviously one is Angkor Wat. But the other is the killing fields outside Phnom Penh." In the chronicle of 20th century horrors, Cambodia ranks high. For much of the last three decades, Cambodia has suffered through war, political upheaval and massive genocide. Recently Cambodia has begun to revive. Its dark past is part of the reason: Tourist curiosity about Cambodia's genocide has become big business. "Tourism has increased by 40 percent every year since 1998," says Chhieng Pich, economic counselor at the Cambodian embassy in Washington, D.C. "Nearly all tourists that visit Cambodia will go see Angkor Wat. Over 30 percent will visit the killing fields, too." Eight thousand skulls are inside the 35-foot memorial stupa that is built in the middle of the Killing Fields in Cambodia. Photographs courtesy Zoltan Istvan More News Adventure & Exploration Archaeology & Paleontology Animals & Nature Science & Technology People & Culture Diary of the Planet The Environment Travel National Geographic Today Special Series Digital Lifestyles: feature by Sony EarthPulse National Geographic Out There Volvo Ocean Race Mount Everest Expedition Few sights in one country can differ more markedly. Angkor Wat, the early 12th-century temple rediscovered in the 19th century (and designated a World Heritage Site in 1992 by UNESCO), reflects a profound spirituality. 1.7 Million Cambodians Dead The killing fields document death. From 1975 to 1979, Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge soldiers killed 1.7 million Cambodians, or 21 percent of the population, according to Yale University's Cambodia Genocide Program. A soccer-field-sized area surrounded by farmland, the killing fields contain mass graves, slightly sunken, for perhaps 20,000 Cambodians, many of whom were tortured before being killed. The bordering trees held nooses for hangings. A memorial building stands in the center of the killing fields. Many of the skulls inside were pulled from the mass graves. Hundreds of Cambodians now make a living by guiding visitors through the killing fields and other genocide-related sites. Many guides tell harrowing personal stories of how they survived the Khmer Rouge, often by becoming refugees in Thailand. Guides explain that bullets were too precious to use for executions. Axes, knives and bamboo sticks were far more common. As for children, their murderers simply battered them against trees. The grisly memories translate into income. "Tourist dollars and capitalism are helping me come to terms with my country's history—and my own," says a Cambodian guide at the killing fields who didn't want to give his name. He lost his grandfather and uncle to the Khmer Rouge. Tuol Sleng Museum of Genocide "It's good tourists are coming here interested in Cambodia's past," says Stephen Bognar, a liaison officer for WildAid Cambodia, a nonprofit conservation organization. "They're boosting the country's economy and helping out the people." Another notorious site is the Tuol Sleng Museum of Genocide in Phnom Penh. Once a high school, Tuol Sleng became a torture camp, prison and execution center. Today the place looks benign, with palm trees and grass lawns in a suburban setting. From the outside, Tuol Sleng could be a school anywhere in the world. But inside are weapons of torture, skulls, blood stains and photographs of thousands of people who were murdered. The scene just outside is also heartrending. Amputees of all ages beg near refreshment and souvenir stands where tourists congregate. The Khmer Rouge may be long gone, but many of the land mines they laid are still killing and maiming. In a country where the annual per capita income is U.S. $260, begging can pay off. "Beggars can easily make [U.S.] $3 to $4 dollars a day," says Lim Sehyo, a Phnom Penh taxi driver and guide. "If you work it out, that's over [U.S.] $1,000 a year." As taxis full of tourists arrive at the killing fields, guides and beggars approach. Horror, memory, education and livelihood commingle at the site.

Independent UK 6 Jan 2003 British sex tourists turn killing fields of Cambodia into paedophiles' playground By Kathy Marks in Phnom Penh 05 January 2003 Svay Pak does not figure in any guidebook, but by late afternoon the squalid shanty town on the outskirts of the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh, is thronged with Western men. The tourists lounge on plastic chairs in the shade, drinking Angkor beer and surveying the scenery: young girls, barely 11 or 12, wearing low-cut tops and come-hither smiles. The air is full of American drawls, Australian twangs – and the unmistakable sound of a Geordie accent. British sex tourists are flocking to Cambodia, helping to put the South-east Asian nation on the map as the new haunt of globe-trotting paedophiles. Gary Glitter, the former pop star and convicted child pornographer, recently reappeared in Phnom Penh after being hounded out of the country last year. Lord Puttnam, the British film producer who evoked the horrors of the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime in his 1984 film The Killing Fields, plans to highlight the problem of child exploitation when he returns to Cambodia this week in his new role as president of Unicef UK. He will find a nation in which civil war has given way to a poverty so grinding that many families sell their daughters into the sex trade. In Svay Pak, business is conducted quite brazenly. Twenty brothels, each sealed by a padlocked iron grille, line the potholed dirt track that is the shanty town's main street. Step inside any of the brick shopfronts and the papasan – pimp – will produce a girl or boy to suit any whim. Oral sex costs $5 (£3.20); $500 buys a six-year-old for a week. The older girls chat up the punters, who congregate in makeshift cafes across the street. As the men tuck into fish and chips off old Formica tables, the girls flutter around them, giggling and whispering in their ears. A waif in a loose outfit with a cartoon motif clambers on to the lap of an empty-eyed Japanese tourist. A moped draws up and two Englishmen alight. One sports a greasy ponytail and floral shirt; the other has a sunburnt neck. Ponytail is planning to visit Angkor Wat, Cambodia's ancient temple complex. Sunburnt Neck snorts with derision. "That's just a load of old stones," he says. "This is the place to be." After draining their Cokes, the pair disappear inside a dimly lit doorway. A few minutes later, a police officer saunters up and is given an envelope by the Vietnamese pimp. The bribe changes hands in broad daylight. The policeman swaggers off. Corruption is rampant in Cambodia; the sex trade is controlled by senior police and military officers and successful prosecutions are rare. Evidence is mysteriously lost; brothels are tipped off before raids; pimps slip their handcuffs on the way to court. Tourists are occasionally arrested; a 69-year-old Staffordshire man, Derek Baston, was picked up with a girl aged 12 last July. He has not yet been charged. But according to Afesip, a French charity that rescues child prostitutes, most foreigners buy their way out of trouble. "It's anarchy," said Pierre Legros, Afesip's director. "If the police did their job properly, they could arrest 50 paedophiles a day." The onus is on Western countries to prosecute perpetrators, but only one Briton – Mark Towner, 53, from Kent – has been convicted of sex offences abroad since legislation was passed in 1997. "It's pathetic," says Bernadette McMenamin of Ecpat, an international network that campaigns against child prostitution. The tourism ministry estimates that one-quarter of Cambodia's annual 400,000 visitors – who include 18,000 Britons – are sex tourists. The girls are getting younger all the time, a trend fuelled by the demand for virgins. "The foreigners like their girls very young, very small," said a tour guide, Om Cham Roeun. "I know one Englishman who has been here four times this year." Most girls are trafficked from rural villages or neighbouring Vietnam, many lured by false promises of jobs. They become virtual sex slaves: locked up, beaten and forced to service up to 10 men a day, often without condoms. More than half are HIV-positive. Afesip rescued an eight-year-old girl who was sold by her mother after being raped by her stepfather and nine other men. The girl was given electric shocks when she refused to have sex with clients. When she became sleepy, the pimp thrust chillies in her eyes. There is no political will to crack down on child prostitution; in fact, Mr Legros claims one cabinet minister is involved in the trade. "If I give you the name, I'm dead," he says. It is no empty boast. He and his wife have received numerous death threats. Ms McMenamin says Cambodia's sex tourists are seasoned travellers looking for new frontiers. "They see children as a commodity," she said. "To them, they're fresh meat." Or as Lord Puttnam put it before embarking on his new role: "Children all over the world are being denied a very basic right: the right to childhood." www.afesip.org www.ecpat.net

India

ANI 1 Jan 2003 Curfew in Dahod district after clashes DAHOD: Curfew was imposed on Dahod district following communal clashes in which four people were injured on Tuesday. Two shops were also set ablaze by the mobs. The police lobbed tear gas shells to disperse them. According to the police, the trouble erupted after a tribal woman was teased by a group of persons in a predominantly Muslim residential area. The woman complained about the incident to her brother who confronted the eve-teasers and was allegedly beaten up. Thereafter, groups of both communities took to the streets, brandishing swords and other sharp-edged weapons. D K Patel, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Dahod said two tribals were seriously injured in the attack. "At around 1.30 p.m (local time) there was a clash between tribal boys and Muslims in the area. At least 25-30 Muslim boys came out and attacked tribals with sharp-edged instruments. Two tribals were seriously injured and two others have reported minor injuries," said Patel. He added that the injured have been rushed to a nearby hospital and their condition was stable. Paramilitary forces have been deployed to maintain peace.

PTI 10 Jan 2003 HC issues notice to Kanchi seer for 'anti-Dalit remarks' CHENNAI: The Madras High Court on Friday issued notice to the Sankaracharaya of Kanchi mutt, Sri Jayendra Saraswathi and the Tamil Nadu police on a petition seeking action against the seer for his alleged adverse remarks against Dalit Christians. The notice was issued by Justice V Kanakaraj on a petition by an advocate K P S Satyamurthy praying to set aside a magistrate's order rejecting his complaint on the alleged remarks by the seer which, he said, could create enmity and hatred between different religions, castes and communities. The advocate also sought a direction from the court requisitioning all the records pertaining to the Sivakasi Magistrate's order rejecting his complaint. The petitioner alleged that the seer in a statement had said that some educated Dalits while practising Christianity, were embracing Hinduism for the sake of availing of reservations in government services. The alleged remarks attracted the provisions of SC and ST Prevention of Atrocities Act 1989 and Religious Institutions (Prevention of misuse) Act. It also violated section 505(2) IPC, the advocate contended.

Hindustan Times 4 Jan 2003 Ambedkar versus Moditva Udit Raj January 4 The ideology of the Sangh parivar is a bundle of thoughts that are so elastic that they can fit into all circumstances. The common thread in this intellectual opportunism is that its protagonists are totally bereft of any moral bindings. Vinay Katiyar, the BJP’s Uttar Pradesh chief and Barjrang Dal stormtrooper, said while unleashing his Moditva type of campaign from Varanasi this week that Dr B.R. Ambedkar was against the Muslims. He also said that the ideas of Ambedkar were akin to those of Keshav Hedgewar, the RSS ideologue for whom Adolf Hiter was the role model. In the past, the BJP and its hydra-headed fronts have never dared to coopt Ambedkar’s ideology. They have mustered the courage to do so now only because they have entered into a shaky alliance with the BSP. Katiyar is of the opinion that his party would continue the caravan, where they left it in the hate-filled fields of Gujarat. It’s visible. He has crossed all limits when it comes to transparent lies, slander, conspiracy and shame. The BJP, under his leadership, has started a campaign against the Muslims citing so called cultural nationalism. Ambedkar was never against the Muslims; instead, he was emphatically against ‘Manuvaditva’ and what goes by the current xenophobia of Moditva. Katiyar is correct in saying that Ambedkar was never in favour of the Partition of India. Ambedkar wrote in the book, Thought on Pakistan, that he was against Partition and even if it took place, Muslims and Hindus should go to their respective countries because of the fact that if Muslims stayed back, they would be treated like the fifth varna or devils (mleksh) by the upper caste Hindu caste society. He believed that the Muslims would have no future in a Brahmanical social order. This is exactly what is happening in contemporary India. Ambedkar never said that Muslims were terrorists and they should be deprived of their voting rights. This is a lie manufactured by Katiyar, who has claimed from the figment of his warped imagination that Ambedkar wanted the liberation of Ayodhya, Kashi and Mathura. Next they will claim that Babasaheb wanted a Hindu Rashtra. Ambedkar held the view — as per the Constitution — that on all such questions, status quo should be maintained, as of 1947, at all costs. Indian Muslims have been time and again asked to prove their loyalty to the nation by these sectarian anti-socials, despite the fact they not only rejected Pakistan, but have been as patriotic as you or me. Not one Muslim from India crossed over to Afghanistan to fight with the Taliban. Sociologists have time and again proved that the majority of Indian Muslims are different in content and character; their Indianness in a secular democracy makes them different from Muslims in other Islamic theocraicies. They too have fundamentalists in their midst, but the majority is deeply syncretic, patriotic, multicultural, plural and secular, with deep faith in India and its future. Let’s not fudge the truth. Indian Muslims are as patriotic as you and me. They have fought for the country’s freedom, sacrificed their sons in the wars, worked for the progress of the nation in every field — from business and politics, to arts, academics and sports. Why should the 150 million Muslims of India prove their patriotism to the likes of Katiyar, an extremist rabble rouser? Katiyar’s ancestors in his party did not even fight in the freedom movement; instead, they allied with the British, as the documented pleadings of Savarkar to the British clearly proves. Besides, they don’t believe in equality, modernity or progress. All they believe in is communal carnages and hate campaigns, to score electoral victories. And the action-replay of lies and falsities. Why is Katiyar silent about Ambedkar’s categorical statement that Hinduism was not a religion but a conspiracy to subjugate the oppressed and dalits? Is he not aware that Ambedkar burnt the Manu Smiriti, the Sangh parivar’s holy book? Didn’t Ambedkar reject Brahminical oppression and adopt Buddhism with lakhs of Dalits? Indian Muslims have always stood with Ambedkar. When the Congress pitted a Dalit against him, the Muslim League helped him by asking Jogender Nath Mandal to resign from Nowakholi in his favour. Ambedkar was given the opportunity to get elected. Ambedkar, in his famous Mission, wrote that the upper castes (Brahmans, Kshatriyas and Vaishyas), were basically outsiders. He said that the untouchables, including the minorities, were the original inhabitants of this country. He vowed to hand over power to these ‘aborigines’. This was his dream — of a new, egalitarian, secular India. Ambedkar fought an incessant battle against the ideas which are now being propogated by the Hindutva parivar. When he finally realised that the Brahmanical social order was not going to change or improve, he quit Hinduism along with lacks of people in 1956 and adopted Buddhism. Look at the parallel. When thousands of Dalits wanted to adopt Buddhism in Delhi on November 24 last year, who tried to unsuccessfully block, crush and smash their spirit — the VHP, patronised by the Vajpayee-Advani regime. The BJP has dared to malign Babasaheb Ambedkar because Mayawati is its new comrade; she campagned for it in Gujarat, despite the genocide. The Sangh has taken for granted her and the fact that she will allow Ambedkar to be used against the Muslims to stick to power. This is a dangerous game because the BJP knows that the BSP is built on the edifice of Ambedkar’s philosophy. This will create serious conflict. All progressive, liberal, tolerant, peaceful Indians, including Dalits and Muslims, must teach a lesson to the BSP and Mayawati for this dangerous sellout. The BJP’s final gameplan is to pitch Dalits versus Muslims in a bloody battle. But in UP, the Gujarat card will fail. This is because the Dalits and Muslims will not fall for Moditva’s bloodbath. Lord Gautam Buddha was repulsed by the prevailing socio-political order of his time. He renounced his family and material life and vowed to eradicate the philosophy of the Brahmanical social order. Similarly, Babasaheb Ambedkar, with his relentless efforts — leading mass agitations for entry of Dalits into temples and sharing the waters of public ponds, etc — liberated the Dalits from the mental slavery of Hindutva. He wanted to get dignity for the oppressed, but he was opposed tooth and nail by the Manuwadis, like the Katiyars, Togadias and Giriraj Kishores of contemporary India. Ambedkar had to suffer discrimination despite his high qualification, stature and ability. He was thrown out of his rented house. He was employed in the state of Shivaji Gaekwad, but his peon used to fling files on his table from a ‘safe’ distance — why? So that there is no physical, polluting contact with an ‘untouchable’. Had a personality like Dr B.R. Ambedkar been alive in these dark times of of Manuwadi rule in India, in all probability he would have been killed. We have a large number of examples from our subaltern history: Sant Ravidas, Brihdrath, Charwak, several Buddhist monks and unrecorded reformers and rebels — they were all eliminated. Their only crime was that they stood against Manuwad, perhaps the most intolerant philosophy in the world, as expressed in the words and deeds of Narendra Modi and his vangaurd. Katiyar has tried to equate Ambedkar with Hegdewar. Can anything be more shameful than this? Mayawati is party to this crime. Her followers should ask her: who has created the ground for the BJP to murder the philosophy of Babasaheb Ambedkar? It is she, who, despite the Gujarat genocide, and despite her election promise not to go with the BJP, allied with the BJP for power. Now she will have to pay the price for the desecration of Babasaheb’s memory by her Hindutva comrades. (The writer is Chairman, All India Confederation of SC/ST Organizations)

PTI 10 Jan 2003 Modi parries queries on VHP's Hindutva, hails Vajpayee Press Trust of India New Delhi After winning the elections on the Hindutva plank, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Friday parried questions on VHP's Hindutva and hailed the Prime Minister for his "boldness" in defining the concept through his Goa musings. "I believe in the concept propounded by the Rishis and Munis for thousands of years. We have all been brought up in that tradition. Atal Bihari Vajpayee is the first Prime Minister who has defined it and I welcome his boldness," Modi said addressing his first press conference here after the recent resounding victory of BJP in the assembly polls. He made these comments when asked whether he believed in VHP's Hindutva or the one defined by the Prime Minister. Modi did not refer to Vajpayee's musings from Goa in which the Prime Minister had deprecated the projection of the concept by "some people in a narrow, right and extremist manner" and said it brooked no ill will, hatred or violence among communities on any ground. Asked to comment on the VHP leader Pravin Togadia's statement which wanted him to replace the Prime Minister, Modi sidestepped the question saying "some friends even say that I should not be alive" Replying to some questions, Modi took pot shots at the media saying it was time for them to chalk out a programme to restore their credibility after ten months of consistent attempts to "tarnish Gujarat's image".

PTI 11 Jan 2003 No more violence, say Naga leaders NEW DELHI: In a significant statement in the midst of Naga peace talks, the NSCN (I-M) leaders said on Saturday that there would be “no more fighting between Indians and Nagas.” "I want to tell you that there will be no more fighting between Indians and Nagas. That is the understanding we have reached now," NSCN (I-M) Chairman Isak Chisi Swu told reporters after an hour-long meeting with Defence Minister George Fernandes. "People of Nagaland have been praying that the leaderships of India and NSCN (I-M) should successfully conclude their talks. Nagas have now a much better understanding with the people of India," Swu said. NSCN(I-M) General Secretary Thuingaleng Muivah said, "The talks were very cordial and the response of Fernandes was very warm." The two leaders, who arrived here on January 9, had earlier held talks with Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani.

Indian Express 15 Jan 2003 Home Guard hurt in clash in Rampura village Express News Service Ahmedabad, January 15: A clash took place between members of the Koli Patel and Harijan communities in Rampura village in Ahmedbad district on Tuesday evening. However, no one was seriously injured. The police has arrested 10 persons. There had been tension in the village since Monday when a complaint of atrocity was lodged against some Koli Patels by Bhagwan Bhikhabhai, a Harijan. The clash took place while Sub-Inspector V R Dave of Barwala police station was in the village to investigate the complaint. As the two sides hurled brickbats at each other, Dave fired in the air to disperse the groups. Among those injured in the stoning was Home Guard Naresh R Panasia.

PTI 11 Jan 2003 Fatima Meer disagrees with Naipaul's views on Gandhi Press Trust of IndiaRefuting the views of Nobel Laureate VS Naipaul on Mahatma Gandhi, African National Congress leader Fatima Meer on Saturday said the Father of the Nation was a "phenomenal success" in South Africa where he laid the basis of his political struggle against colonial governments. Fatima, who was among the ten Persons of Indian Origin honoured by the Indian government on the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas and has written the script for The Making of the Mahatma, disagreed with Naipaul, who said Gandhi "was a failure in South Africa and did nothing there for 20 years." "He (Gandhi) was a phenomenal success. He understood the true nature of colonialism and it was in South Africa that he learnt about the atrocities of British Raj.... And taught the concept of Satyagraha," she said at a press conference here. "I am ready to have a discussion with him on the issue with Naipal any time. He should correct his vision about India and its great leaders," she said. Fatima, who raised funds for the film based on her book - The Apprenticeship of a Mahatma, said South Africa was the base of his political struggle and he mobilised people to take on colonial governments. With her origins in Surat in the land of Gandhi, she said people of Indian origin in South Africa are "heartbroken" because of the Gujarat riots "which were not in keeping with Indian values." She said if she met the Gujarat Chief Minister she would tell him "we look at him for guidance to see that Hindus and Muslims live in peace and harmony and he should exert his powers to ensure this."

BBC 15 Jan 2003, US missionary attacked in India Mr Cooper sustained a deep cut to his hand An American missionary has been attacked in southern India by right-wing Hindus allegedly belonging to a group close to the ruling party. The gang attacked Cooper and others with swords, sticks and iron bars Police spokesman Joseph W Cooper, 68, who is from Pennsylvania, received knife wounds in the assault in Kerala state in which five others were also hurt. Police say they have arrested five activists of the hardline Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). But local RSS leaders deny the movement had anything to do with the attack. The RSS is a group with close ties to the Hindu Nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party that heads the federal coalition government. Christian groups have condemned the attack, which took place on the outskirts of the state capital, Trivandrum, on Monday night. Armed gang Eyewitnesses say Mr Cooper, a visiting preacher, was surrounded by an armed gang of 10 people as he was returning from a prayer meeting. "We were approaching our car when the unexpected attack took place," Pastor Benson Sam told the BBC. A police spokesman said Mr Cooper had sustained a deep cut in his right palm. Christians in India feel under threat "The gang attacked Cooper and others with swords, sticks and iron bars. "As other church members rushed to the scene the attackers fled," he was quoted as saying by the AFP news agency. A local pastor, his wife and two children and one other person were also injured. The victims were all taken to a local hospital but eyewitnesses said this was delayed by an hour until the police arrived on the scene. Mr Cooper was attending a Protestant convention in the area organised by a local church. About one third of the population of Kerala is Christian and attacks of this kind are rare. But local people told the BBC that in recent months some right-wing Hindu organisations had been protesting against religious minorities. Attacks In recent years, there has been an increase in violence against Christians in India, who make up about 2% of the population. In 1999, an Australian missionary working in India and his two little sons were burned to death by a mob in the eastern state of Orissa. That attack was blamed on hardline Hindu groups who accuse the missionaries of forcibly proselytising low-caste Hindus and tribal groups - a charge the Christian groups deny. Last month, the southern state of Tamil Nadu passed a controversial new law banning religious conversion through coercion or material inducement. Many Christian groups in the state protested against the move, which they argued was unconstitutional. India is a secular state which permits freedom to practice any religion.

PTI 21 Jan 2003 Cooper on his way out, VHP compiles list of 50 to follow Press Trust Of India Kochi, January 21: Not satisfied with the notice asking US evangelist Joseph Cooper, who was injured in an attack by alleged RSS men recently, to leave the country within a week, the VHP in Kerala has prepared a list of 50-odd foreign missionaries who are ‘‘similarly’’ engaged in forced religious conversions or are attending religious functions in ‘‘blatant violation’’ of their visa provisions. ‘‘We have names of 50 foreign missionaries, and our local units are gathering more information,’’ VHP state organising secretary Kummanam Rajasekharan told UNI today. The list would be submitted to the state government seeking immediate deportation of all foreign missionaries violating the rules. ‘‘If the government fails to act, then it will have to face ‘direct action’ in the form of agitations,’’ Rajasekharan warned. Top RSS leaders confirmed that they are also in the process of gathering information on the foreign missionaries. Among other areas, local VHP units have been directed to monitor activities of foreign missionaries visiting tribal regions like Attapadi, from where ‘‘a large number of religious conversions have been reported’’. Demanding the immediate arrest of Cooper, Rajasekharan claimed that it was in the presence of him that two Hindus were converted to Christianity at Puliyam, near Kilimanoor, last week. VHP district secretary K. Sughathan went one step further and filed a petition in a lower court here seeking Cooper’s prosecution for ‘‘violating visa rules’’ and ‘‘hurting religious sentiments’’. The plea will be heard tomorrow. According to sources close to Cooper, the missionary may well be on his way home (New Jersey, US) by then. Though discharged from the Kerala Institute of Medical Sciences after treatment of the injuries he received in the attack, the missionary is still staying in the hospital under a special request on grounds of security but will reportedly definitely leave India in the next two days. Rajasekharan said the VHP was filing daily reports to the Union Home Ministry on developments in connection with the “violation” of visa rules by Cooper. It was on the direction of the ministry that the state police had issued directions to the missionary to leave the country, he claimed.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 29 Jan 2003 Missionary slashed in India attack is back home in New Castle Cooper thinking about going back to work By Jack Kelly,He's finally back home in New Castle, his hand is healing nicely from the machete cut, and Joseph William Cooper is thinking about going back to India to continue his missionary work. Joseph William Cooper's hand is healing nicely from a machete cut inflicted when he was attacked by a mob in India two weeks ago. (Joyce Mendelsohn, Post-Gazette) "I was ordered out of Dodge, but I still have a valid visa," said Cooper, 67, a bishop in a Pentecostal fellowship headquartered in Marietta, Ohio, called the New Jerusalem Church. "If the Lord wants me to return, I'll go back." Cooper and seven Indian Christians were attacked by a mob wielding clubs and machetes as they left a church service two weeks ago on the outskirts of Trivandrum, capital of the southern Indian state of Kerala. Cooper and his companions -- Indian pastor Benson Sam, Sam's wife and three children, and two gospel singers -- were returning to their cars after an evening service. "We were walking up a hill," Cooper said. "It was pretty steep. I let myself fall to the rear. Suddenly, everybody passed me going lickety split in the other direction. "There were these people chasing after them. I raised my hand and said: 'Stop. What do you want?' I didn't see the machete, but it sure sliced up my hand," he said. Another assailant knocked the evangelist's feet out from under him with a bamboo pole about three feet long. Cooper fell to the ground, and the others began pummeling him with their clubs. "Hearing my shouts, Benson broke through their circle and dove on my back," Cooper said. "He took a lot of blows that were meant for me." Cooper and Benson Sam were saved when most of the roughly 40 people who attended the church gathering raced up the hill and chased the mob, which Cooper said numbered 10 or 12. Police have made 10 arrests. All are members of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a Hindu nationalist organization. "We'd call the RSS the Ku Klux Klan over here," Cooper said. "Their function is to keep the people oppressed." After spending a week in the hospital, Cooper was ordered by the Kerala state police to leave the country. He had been accused by a local RSS leader of illegal preaching. A 1956 law forbids those who enter India on tourist visas from engaging in "conversion activities." Cooper arrived home Thursday. Attacks on Christians and Muslims in India have surged since the nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party won power in 1998. "What is especially worrying about these attacks is that the police are not prosecuting the attackers but are prosecuting their victims," said Smita Narula of Human Rights Watch. Cooper's deportation is just the most recent example, she said. But Cooper said the Kerala state police treated him fairly, and may have ordered him out of the country swiftly to prevent the national government from yanking his multiple-entry visa. "The state police investigator was very firm," Cooper recalled. "He asked me hard questions. Then he put his arm around me and said: 'Don't worry about a thing. We're taking care of it.' " A local judge promptly dismissed a criminal complaint filed by the RSS against him, Cooper said. Sectarian violence has been rare in Kerala, long regarded as one of the most tolerant of Indian states. Overall, India's 1.1 billion people are about 81 percent Hindu, 12 percent Muslim, 2.3 percent Christian and 2 percent Sikh. But in Kerala, the population is about half Hindu, with the other half split equally between Muslims and Christians. There have been Christians in India for 2,000 years. According to legend, the Gospel was brought to India by the Apostle Thomas. "When [Portuguese explorer] Vasco de Gama got there in 1498, he found 100 cities of Christians in India," Cooper said. Relations between Hindus and Christians were fairly cordial for most of those 2,000 years. "Part of the Hindu tradition is not to be offended by other groups," Cooper said. "But the RSS is sure offended." The RSS accused Cooper of insulting Hindu deities, and of attempting to convert Hindus. Cooper said neither charge is true. Cooper agreed with the assessment of Laurence Glasco, a history professor at the University of Pittsburgh, who said the motivations of the Hindu nationalists are as much economic as religious. Most Christian converts in India come from members of the lowest caste, the "Untouchables," now called Dalits, Glasco said. Dalits are attracted to Christianity because it does not blame them for their condition in life, and offers them a way out of it, he said. An account making the rounds of Hindu nationalist Web sites alleges that Cooper was only an incidental victim of the attack. The real target, this account says, was Benson Sam, who was attacked not for being a Christian but because he allegedly had molested a Dalit girl. This story is false, Cooper said. The truth, he said, is that the girl, a member of the highest Brahmin caste, converted to Christianity and was disowned by her family. She subsequently reverted back to Hinduism and was reconciled to her family. She then made charges of rape against Benson Sam, his father, P.K. Sam, and two other Christian leaders. But Benson Sam was in Canton, Ohio, when the alleged rape was supposed to have occurred, so police dismissed the complaint against him, Cooper said.

Indonesia

Jakarta Post 4 Jan 2003 Tribunal reveals Theys' final moments Ainur R. Sophiaan,J Surabaya The first trial for the murder of Papuan separatist leader Theys Hiyo Eluay opened on Friday in Surabaya, East Java, with military prosecutors describing the events leading up to Theys' slaying. Facing the court martial were four members of the Indonesian Special Forces (Kopassus): Papua Kopassus commander Lt. Col. Hartomo, Capt. Rionardo, Chief Sgt. Asrial, and Chief Pvt. Achmad Zulfahmi. Three other Kopassus defendants -- Maj. Donny Hutabarat, First Lt. Agus Suprianto, First Sgt. Lorensius -- also went on trial separately on Friday. Prosecutors charged the first four soldiers with the murder of Theys on Nov. 10, 2001. He was found dead a day later. Theys was last seen on Nov. 10 when he attended the commemoration of National Heroes' Day at Kopassus headquarters in the Papuan capital Jayapura. Antara reported that according to the book of evidence, which was read out during the trial by military prosecutor Maj. Haryanto, Theys attended a dinner party held by Kopassus commander Hartomo on Nov. 10. At the time, Hartomo found out that Theys planned to reaffirm Papuan independence during an event marking the anniversary of Papua's self-declared independence on Dec. 1. Hartomo ordered Donny to anticipate the plan, telling him however not to overreact. Donny then instructed Agus and Zulfahmi to accompany Theys in his Kijang minivan as he drove home to the town of Sentani. The two soldiers were later to be picked up by Donny, Rionardo, Asrial and Lorensius in another car. In Theys' car, Agus led the conversation with questions about his plan to reaffirm Papuan independence on Dec. 1. Agus told him to cancel it, reasoning that Jakarta had already granted Papua a special autonomy package. But Theys insisted on reaffirming Papua's independence proclamation. He said the people of Papua did not trust the Indonesian government. Zulfahmi entered the conservation and charged that Theys was betraying the nation to which Theys shouted, "Hey, you bastard!" This led Theys' driver Ariestoteles to tell the two soldiers to back off or else he would shout "thief" to attract locals to the scene. Ariestoteles then stopped the Kijang, opened the door and shouted "thief!". Theys began shouting too. The driver somehow ran away although Agus tried but failed to get hold of his arm. He is still missing but presumed dead. The Kijang continued its ride without Ariestoteles. As the second car caught up, Agus ordered Asrial to take over the wheel. He told Asrial to drive the Kijang to Sentani but first wanted to return to the spot where Ariestoteles escaped. When they arrived, they saw a crowd already gathering in the area and so decided to drive toward the town of Koya. It was not clear what made them decide to change the route. Inside the Kijang, Theys kept on screaming. Zulfahmi clamped his hand over Theys' mouth to keep him quiet. He repeated this three times along the ride and Theys died of suffocation. The soldiers left Theys' body and the car at a deserted section of a road in central Koya at 12:30 a.m. local time -- more than four hours after the Papuan independence leader left the Kopassus compound. The second car picked the three soldiers up as they were walking in the town. A post mortem in Jayapura found bruises on Theys' nose and lower lips, his eyes were protruding and also his tongue by about two centimeters. The soldiers reported the incident to their commander Hartomo who ordered them to get some rest. Hartomo however did not pass the report on to his superior. Instead he watched over the security situation after Theys death while also searching for information on the incident. The soldiers face up to 15 years in jail if found guilty. Their trial will resume on Friday next week. Kopassus' involvement in the killing of Theys comes at a time when its image is already at a low point. Rights activists have blamed the special unit for a series of human rights abuses in conflict areas like Aceh and Maluku. Kopassus was also behind the series of kidnappings of anti-Soeharto activists during the 1998 reform movement.

AFP 8 Jan 2003 Maluku: Authorities seek help from tribal leaders to enforce peace in Ambon JAKARTA, Jan 8 (AFP) - Authorities in Indonesia's violence-torn Ambon island will seek the help of tribal leaders to bring a complete end to years of bloody sectarian conflict, an official said Wednesday. "The meeting of rajas (tribal leaders) will be held on January 9-11 as part of efforts to enforce peace in Ambon," said Jack Saimima, spokesman for the Maluku provincial administration. He said that apart from the rajas, who still wield considerable influence, educational and cultural experts would attend the meeting. A bloody conflict between Muslims and Christians was sparked by a trivial dispute in January 1999. More than 5,000 people were killed and more than 500,000 others forced to flee their homes until a government-brokered peace pact was signed in February last year. However sporadic violence has continued in Ambon island, where the provincial capital is located.

AFP 9 Jan 2003 Indonesian police shoot and wound four protesters in Aceh: activist BANDA ACEH, Indonesia, Jan 9 (AFP) - Indonesian police Thursday shot and wounded four civilians who tried to join a rally which called for a United Nations inquiry into past rights violations in the province, an activist said. The incident took place in Geudong, about four kilometers east of Lhokseumawe in North Aceh, said the activist, Muhammad Kautsar. "The victims were shot when they attempted to run away when the Brimob (paramilitary police) fired a volley of shots calling on the mob to disperse," Kautsar said. He told AFP the four were shot in the legs after they ignored police efforts to prevent them entering Lhokseumawe town to join the rally attended by more than 1,000 people. Humanitarian workers said they took two men to hospital in Lhokseumawe after the incident. "Two other victims were apparently already taken away by local residents," one of the workers said. Aceh police spokesman Taufik Sutiyono said he has not yet received a report of the incident. Kautsar said people who tried to enter the town at two other points were also turned away but violence only erupted at Geudong. The peaceful rally was organised by the "Voice of the People of Aceh" rights group. The rally also called for the military and police to leave posts in villages across Aceh and for reinforcement from outside Aceh to leave the province. A peace deal between Indonesia and the separatist Free Aceh Movement (GAM) went into force on December 9. At least 11 civilians have been killed since the agreement was signed but overall violence has greatly diminished. An estimated 10,000 people have died since the separatist war began in the province on Sumatra island in 1976.

Reuters 10 Jan 2003 Rare peaceful week in Indonesia's Aceh - mediators JAKARTA, Jan 10 (Reuters) - Indonesia's troubled province of Aceh has been peaceful for a week and a Geneva-based organisation that brokered a peace deal between the government and rebels said on Friday that the pact appeared to be working despite initial pessimism. Separately, the World Bank said it would join officials from Japan and the European Union in a visit to the natural gas-rich province next week in a sign of support for the peace process. The delegation expects to gather information about the implementation of the accord and the prospects for reconstruction and development in the post-conflict period, the bank said. The Henry Dunant Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue said the quiet week in Aceh marked a significant step following the December 9 peace accord, which had been greeted with widespread pessimism on whether it would hold following previous failures to resolve the decades-long conflict that has taken thousands of lives. "A month ago, I can't imagine anyone even remotely considering that seven days could go by without some kind of armed conflict between GAM (the rebel Free Aceh Movement) and Indonesia," said Henry Dunant Centre representative and mediator David Gorman in a statement. The group attributed the quiet week partly to the deployment of international monitors throughout the province and the setting up of an information exchange under which both sides would report on any troop movements. Many Acehnese, although mistrustful of promises from Jakarta, have welcomed the accord, saying they have begun to feel safer. The Centre said that in the two years leading up to the signing, a total of 4,000 people -- civilians, government troops and rebels -- were killed in the conflict. Indonesia and GAM signed the comprehensive pact in Switzerland after several failed ceasefires agreed since 2000.

Jakarta Post 11 Jan 2003 The politics of interfaith relations in Indonesia Bob S. Hadiwinata, Head, International Relations Department University of Parahyangan, Bandung Open conflict between the majority Muslims and minority Christians has been rare in Indonesian history. When it does break out, however, it is often violent and brutal. Economic disparity, ethnicity, class differences, transmigration and control over resources often enters into inter-religious conflicts. There is a perception of a gap between the well-off Christian minority and the mostly impoverished Muslim majority, which tends to be exploited by political leaders. During Soeharto's New Order government, the ruling elite successfully minimized opposition by dividing potential challengers into religious differences. This "divide-and-rule" strategy, according to the scholar Bob Hefner, proved efficient in reducing the power and influence of political forces outside the state. Towards the end of Soeharto's era, the struggle for political control between the military and the pro-reform forces had led to a new episode of politicization of Muslim-Christian relations in Indonesia. Public disorder was seen to be able to justify the resurgence of militarism, thus allowing the regaining of political grip by some military leaders. Political instability might further justify an increase of military budgets. And ambitious military leaders could build up alliances with various radical religious groups to establish a new political empire. The relation between politics and religion can be traced to the 1940s. Debates were not about whether citizen's rights should be differentiated by ethnicity, as in Malaysia, but whether or not they should be differentiated by religion. In the months preceding the declaration of independence on Aug. 17, 1945, Indonesian leaders had worked hard to formulate a tentative constitution for the planned republic. The most debated issue was indeed whether the state should impose different rights and duties on citizens according to their religion. The issue began to evolve when Muslim leaders drew up a draft preamble to the Constitution wherein the state would be based on belief in God with "the obligation to carry out the laws of Islam (syariah) for the followers of Islam". This draft, also known as Piagam Jakarta, (Jakarta Charter) was refused by the secularists and the non-Muslims, which led to its exclusion from the Constitution. For radical Islamic groups, the failure to enact the draft became a painful reminder of the Muslims' defeat. From then on, Muslims-Christians relations in Indonesia have become very sensitive indeed. Proponents of the Jakarta Charter lost ground, especially when the political control was in the hands of then President Sukarno, a nationalist-secularist. Muslim interests were subdued, especially since Sukarno dissolved Masyumi, a political party strongly committed to the formation of an Islamic state in Indonesia. In the New Order era, President Soeharto adopted repressive measures in dealing with conflicts and disturbances in society. Repression against Islamic fundamentalism persisted until the early 1990s, when Soeharto began to turn to Islam to contest the growing opposition and increasing demand for democratization in society. In the 1990s, Soeharto dropped all pretense of neutrality and actively courted ultra-conservative Muslims who, just a few years earlier, had figured prominently in the opposition. Soeharto's close association with this hard-line community appears to have represented a decisive break with his earlier support for Javanese mysticism and Pancasila pluralism against Muslim organizations. This radical shift was motivated by his determination to win Muslim support for his re-election as president. The impact of the politicization of religion on Muslim-Christian relation was indeed dreadful. Islamic radicalism began to grow in the 19902. The (radical) organizations found more freedom to express their beliefs. Sometimes they gave strong messages to grassroots people that Indonesian Muslims had been out-maneuvered and out-witted by the non-Muslims in controlling the local and national resources and in securing political positions. In the late 1990s, Muslim-Christian relations in Indonesia turned from tense to bloody. An increasing number of political leaders tended to use hatred of Christians in their attempts to mobilize followers. When it involved mobs and thugs, violence became inevitable. The Situbondo and Tasikmalaya cases in 1996, when riots exploded killing dozens of people and destroying Christian-associated property, are clear examples. In the post-Soeharto era, while the fall of a military-backed authoritarian regime brought new hope to many Indonesians for democracy and tolerance, the future of Muslim-Christian relations is less promising. During B.J. Habibie's presidency, the legislature ratified a UN convention on the protection of minority rights. This act was welcomed by many minority groups including Chinese-Indonesians, most of whom are Christian/Catholic. When Abdurrahman Wahid or Gus Dur was appointed president, expectations for more tolerant inter-religious relations in Indonesia were higher, given that Gus Dur himself was renowned as a moderate Muslim leader. However, ongoing conflicts and public disorder, provoked by certain parties to discredit the moderate administration, quickly give way to disappointment and frustration. The most serious threat to Muslim-Christian relations is indeed the rise of radical Islamic groups. Serving as "defenders of the Islamic faith", these groups attacked those whoever they considered to be the enemies of Islam. Police investigations into the suspects of the Bali bombing now strongly suggest that a radical Islamic group was responsible for various bombings on a number of Christian targets during the year 2000 and 2001. Political scientist Greg Barton argues that although the appeal for radical Islam are put forward by some genuine idealists who are deeply convinced of the truth of the Islamic doctrine, it is likely that some youthful romantics are more interested in the drama of protest (or violence) itself. Consequently, they can be easily persuaded to target certain demonized enemies who are regarded to be the source of society's woes. Another issue which may have an effect on Muslim-Christian relations in Indonesia is the resurgence of the issue of sharia law. When the central government introduced Law No.22/1999 on regional autonomy, local leaders began to search for local norms and values that would accommodate local identity. Some of them have dabbled in sharia as a norm that will differentiate local code of conducts from those of the central government. In many parts of several provinces, local administrations have begun to adopt sharia. Christian minorities responded to the introduction of the sharia in their areas in two different ways. First, a small minority strongly opposed the implementation of sharia, albeit quietly, as they believe that it may disturb Muslim-Christian relations due to the segregation of people on the basis of their religious beliefs. Second, a large number of Christians are indifferent towards because they believe that the law is confined to Muslims only. At the present, although the future of Muslim-Christian relations in Indonesia remains volatile, there are those who seriously believe that inter-religious dialogs -- especially at grassroots levels -- will eventually lead to good prospects of inter-religious relations. They believe that getting to know one another is one possible way to develop a tolerant behavior, acceptance and open-mindedness between different religious followers. These days, there are several efforts being made by young Christians to reach out to Muslims to develop religious dialogs at a grassroots level. These efforts will have a long term effect where people from different religious backgrounds no longer see each other with suspicion or hatred.

Australian Broadcasting Corporation Jan 11 2003 Hardgrave warns ethnic media against 'inciting violence' The Federal Government has urged Australia's ethnic community broadcasters to guard against inciting "racial violence and hatred". Multicultural Affairs Minister Gary Hardgrave has written to the radio and television stations asking them to show caution in how they exercise their "freedom of speech". The letter asks that instead of focusing on the injustices and dangers to some ethnic communities, the broadcasters should help direct moderate debate. Mr Hardgrave says he has sent the letter due to the sensitive climate generated by issues such as global security. "It is a time that Australians should turn to each other and not on each other," Mr Hardgrave said. "It's critical that all of our media are working in a constructive way to provide debate and provide an opportunity for a variety of points, but at the same time, not to incite hatred or to incite any sort of racism."

Jakarta Post 6 Jan 2003 Govt to form joint team to probe Freeport ambush Tiarma Siboro, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta The government will likely establish a joint investigative team to probe the Aug. 31 fatal ambush in Timika, which claimed the lives of two American teachers and one Indonesian, as the police and the military have submitted contradictory reports on their investigations. Several military top brass and high-ranking police officers held a closed-door meeting on Sunday at the offices of the coordinating minister for political and security affairs to discuss the results of their separate investigations. Representatives from both the military and police investigative teams presented all evidence they collected or found on site, but they could not decide on who was responsible for the attack at the mining site operated by American-owned PT Freeport Indonesia. The meeting also failed to decide on the motives behind the attack. Indonesian Military (TNI) spokesman Maj. Gen. Sjafrie Sjamsoeddin said Coordinating Minister for Political and Security Affairs Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, TNI chief Gen. Endriartono Sutarto and National Police chief Gen. Da'i Bachtiar would discuss the matter with President Megawati Soekarnoputri on Monday. "All decisions regarding a further investigation will be decided then," Sjafrie said after the meeting. A source at the meeting said that if a joint investigative team was formed, it would not include officers from abroad, such as agents from the U.S. Federal Bureau Investigation (FBI). The U.S. administration has asked for the establishment of a Bali-style joint investigative team so that FBI agents would be allowed to participate. "If the FBI insists on joining us, they could just provide technical assistance," the source told The Jakarta Post. Attending the meeting were, among others, Army chief Gen. Ryamizard Ryacudu, Navy chief Admiral Bernard Kent Sondakh, TNI's Strategic Intelligence Agency (BAIS) chief Vice Marshal Ian Santoso, TNI chief of General Affairs Lt. Gen. Djamari Chaniago, National Police chief of detectives Comr. Gen. M.A. Erwin Mappaseng and National Military Police Commander Maj. Gen. Sulaiman AB. According to one source at the meeting, National Military Police Deputy Commander Brig. Gen. Hendardji reported that they had found some 90 bullet cases at the site. Shots were believed to have been made from several spots in the jungle near the location. "Nevertheless, Hendardji did not mention any names or groups that are responsible for the ambush," the source told The Jakarta Post. Hendardji was assigned to Papua on Dec. 23 to conduct a thorough investigation into the ambush amid conflicting conclusions that resulted from the local military and police investigative teams. The police disclosed that they had found evidence linking the Army to the deadly ambush. TNI, however, has rejected the accusation and pointed a finger at the separatist Free Papua Movement (OPM).

Jakarta Post 7 Jan 2003 Protesters told not to think of toppling govt The Jakarta Post, Jakarta Amid mounting anti-government protests, Coordinating Minister for Political and Security Affairs Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono warned protesters on Monday not to dream of toppling the current legitimate government as it would confront them. "Rallies are a part of democracy, however, if their goal is to topple the current administration, that will be a problem and will become our concern," Susilo said after the first Cabinet meeting for the year. Susilo warned further that any movement to obstruct the government before the end of its term in October 2004 would only hurt the democratization process in the country. As he spoke to reporters, around one hundred protesters staged a rally in front of Merdeka Palace to protest the increases in utility charges. Thousands of others staged different protests across the country. National Police chief Gen. Da'i Bachtiar said the police would respect the rallies but urged protesters to abide by regulations. "Please abide by regulations and report planned rallies to the police. We will not take any repressive actions as long as the rally goes peacefully," the police chief said. However, the police chief's statement was in stark contrast with the arrest of 18 people on Monday who took part in protests against the price hikes in the capital. Da'i, however, defended the arrests, saying that the arrests were necessary to uphold the law and maintain order. "We will not arrest anybody if they observe the regulations and the protest does not turn violent," the four-star general remarked.

Jakarta Post 10 Jan 2003 Straw warned of backlash over Iraq Fabiola Desy Unidjaja and Zakki Hakim, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta Indonesian Muslim leaders warned on Thursday that unilateral attacks against Iraq would spark widespread hatred against the United States and its allies, even among moderate Muslim groups. In a meeting with visiting British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Jack Straw on Thursday, the Muslim leaders underlined that unilateral actions would destabilize the region. "This (the attack) will only legitimize reprisal by fundamentalists and radical Muslims and weaken the influence of moderate Muslim here and around the globe," said noted Muslim scholar Nurcholish Madjid. He further said that resentment against the U.S. and its allies would spread to all Muslim groups as the attacks would only confirm the radicals' view that the West was against Islam. Nahdlatul Ulama chairman Hasyim Muzadi, who leads around 40 million Muslims in the country, shared this view, saying that the hatred would spread even among the non-Muslim community. "Almost all Indonesians disagree with an attack against Iraq, and such a move will widen the gap between the West and us," the senior cleric said after the meeting with Straw. He asserted that the United Nations should be the leading agency in deciding the Iraq settlement and that there had been no evidence so far indicating that Iraq had produced weapons of mass destruction. Straw was on his two-day visit to the country, which has the largest Muslim population in the world, and held meetings with President Megawati Soekarnoputri, his Indonesian counterpart Hassan Wirayuda and other leaders. During those meetings, Straw tried to explain the British stance on the Iraq issue, as the world considers Britain to be the most stalwart supporter of the U.S. move to attack Iraq. "None of us likes the regime of Saddam Hussein. ... But the objective...is the disarmament of Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction," he said after meeting Minister of Foreign Affairs Hassan Wirayuda. "There is no reason, in my view, if Saddam Hussein accepts this, for that disarmament not to take place peacefully. It can take place peacefully. The hard decision is by him," Straw added. He underlined that both Britain and the U.S. had taken the UN route and pleaded with the Muslim world to see that they had followed the decision of the UN Security Council thus far. The visiting minister however, asserted that sometimes a threat of force was necessary to complement a diplomatic effort to ensure the disarmament. In his speech during the meeting with Muslim leaders, Straw said that Iraq's weapons of mass destruction also posed a threat to the Muslim world and not just to the West. "The consequences of a failure of nerve to deal with the threat by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction are potentially devastating for Muslims and non-Muslims alike. "If he continues to get away with it, other would-be proliferators will take heart and the world will become a far more dangerous place," he said. Despite Straw's explanation, Indonesia reiterated its stance that it would not accept any unilateral attacks on Iraq and counted on recommendations from the UN Security Council to end the dispute in a peaceful manner. Straw is slated to meet Vice President Hamzah Haz on Friday before he continues his Southeast Asian tour in Kuala Lumpur.

Iraq

NYT 5 Jan 2002 In Iraq's Tribes, U.S. Faces a Wild Card By NEIL MacFARQUHAR MOSUL, Iraq — Sheik Talal Salim al-Khalidi, the portly chieftain of the Bani Khalid tribe, stomped through a farming hamlet in his fief on the broad, flat Mosul plains, gloating that the mud oozing underfoot heralded an auspicious sign in the face of a possible American attack. "God is fair," proclaimed the sheik, wearing a headdress, a gray suit and a flowing gray wool cloak edged in gold that sweeps the ground. "Whenever we face some kind of oppression, he compensates us with something else." Three men armed with Kalashnikovs and one with a machine gun dogged his every footstep. "The same thing happened in December 1998," he said, recalling a season of bountiful harvest. "When the Americans were bombing us, we had heavy rains that year." Intensely devout, armed and nationalistic, the storied tribes of Iraq have played a pivotal role in controlling the country under the Ottomans, the British, the monarchy and especially Saddam Hussein. They have remained the ultimate swing voters in the brutal politics of the Middle East, where in legendary wars across the Arabian Peninsula and beyond, they were known to switch allegiances in the heat of battle. Iraq's tribes are under increased scrutiny as the Bush administration casts about for some credible force that can help it oust Mr. Hussein. The country is home to about 150 major tribes, which break down into about 2,000 smaller clans. The largest number more than one million people, the smallest a few thousand. Of the larger groups, roughly 30 to 35 are believed to have a significant role in controlling Iraq. The tribal formula worked in Afghanistan in 2001. Cash payments persuaded chieftains to abandon the Taliban. There has been talk of similar payments in Iraq, but few expect it to be quite so simple here. Mr. Hussein has worked diligently in recent years to woo the tribes, dispensing cash, cars, arms, schools and other bounty to assure their loyalty. At the same time, those who failed to kowtow, or worse, plotted rebellions, have been brutally suppressed, their chiefs killed, replaced or driven into exile, their houses destroyed, their crops burned. Opposition figures in London report that Mr. Hussein summoned the chiefs of the southern tribes to Baghdad three months ago and demanded that they vow not to repeat the 1991 uprisings against him. The question hanging over the tribes now is how deep their professed loyalty runs. They could become a nightmare for any American force penetrating Iraq, a patriotic guerrilla army spread throughout the country. Sheik Talal, echoing other tribal chiefs, said he had placed a request with the local Baath Party leader in Mosul for heavier arms, like rocket-propelled grenades, antiaircraft guns and antitank weapons, to help fight the Americans, but he has yet to receive a response. The tribes could also be waiting for the right moment to rise up against the Baghdad government, though if they are, they are understandably not advertising it. They slice across the society along a different axis than the traditional divisions between Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds, with some tribes including Sunni, Shiite and even Christian members. "You cannot ignore them because they are an important element of the government," said one Western envoy in Baghdad. "But you cannot expect the tribes alone to change the regime in Iraq." Pride of place naturally goes to Saddam Hussein's tribe, the Tikritis, whose members fill many senior government positions, as well as important posts in security organizations and the presidential guard. All such groups draw heavily on the tribes, although occasional rebellions among major tribes have been put down with tanks and artillery. Iraqi opposition figures interviewed in London contend that one crucial element delaying American military action is the lack of clearly identified support in Iraq. One said the Americans were working hard to forge some sort of tribal link, meeting with chieftains in neighboring countries to see if they can influence their Iraqi cousins. All major tribes in Iraq have related branches in Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the other gulf states and Turkey, although under Koranic prescriptions loyalty to the national leader trumps relations across borders. The British experience during World War I is a cautionary history cited often in Iraq these days. Expecting a warm tribal welcome when they marched into Iraq to toss out the Ottomans, the British instead were met with hostility from the tribes, which united to massacre tens of thousands of British soldiers. "The graveyards of the British are still in Iraq," Sheik Talal said. The Baath Party, which came to power in 1968 with Mr. Hussein as a vice president, painted the tribes as outdated, with loyalty instead owed to the state and the president. Even the use of tribal names was banned. (Another explanation for the policy was that it was to disguise the predominance of Mr. Hussein's clan in the government.) Things began changing in the 1980's, when the government needed soldiers for the fight against Iran, and the tribes obliged. But it was after Baghdad lost control of large swaths of the country in the years following the Persian Gulf war in 1991 that Mr. Hussein resurrected the role of the tribes. He reached out to the leaders, allocating them areas to supervise in exchange for more autonomy over tribal affairs. Sheik Talal, who says his tribe has about 100,000 armed men all over Iraq, is proud of the tribe's various roles in the 1990's. They were assigned a 72-mile section of the highway to protect at night between Al Diwaniya in Nasiriya in southern Iraq, for example. "It became a duty to prove our loyalty to the president," said the sheik, who has been a member of the rubber-stamp Iraqi Parliament for the past three years. Wamidh Nadhmi, a political science professor at Baghdad University, said: "The tribal leaders were very happy that their old role was to be returned. They were good at protecting roads, delivering water and sorting out the problems the government can't. I don't think they have the strength they did in the early days of Iraq, though, when they outgunned and outnumbered the Iraqi Army." On the visit to Naharat Nimrud, a tribal hamlet some 12 miles down the road from the famous Assyrian ruins, Sheik Talal listed the benefits accrued from the president. Right off the main road sits the Saddam Mosque, then a new school and an infirmary, all paid for by Mr. Hussein. In those years when the rains do not come and crops fail, the president regularly forgives government loans for seeds and fertilizer. Various sheiks scoff at the idea that American money might persuade crucial tribes to switch sides. Sheik Ahmed Mohiedin Zangana, the leader of a small Kurdish tribe opposed to his American-allied brethren in the north, noted that he had already assigned members of his tribe positions to take up around the city of Mosul and elsewhere in event of an attack, although he too, awaits heavier weapons. "I have my specific plans to distribute members of the tribe if paratroopers land," he said. "Each sniper knows his special assignment." Sheik Talal described the likely resistance in religious terms. "We protect the nation's land and we would consider killing Americans a jihad in the service of God if they come here as aggressors," he said. "The Koran says an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, so when anybody kills us, we will kill them."

NYT 29 Jan 2003 Kurdish Demonstrators Back War Against Hussein but Want Gas Masks By C. J. CHIVERS SULAIMANIYA, Iraq, Jan. 28 — A small group of Kurds gathered outside a United Nations compound here today, voicing support for a war to remove President Saddam Hussein from power but demanding international help to protect Kurdish civilians from chemical or biological attacks. The demonstration, which included several survivors of previous chemical attacks by the Iraqi military, was modest in size and subdued in tone. The protesters simply stood quietly outside the compound, in a cold rain, holding photographs of their injured and their dead. But the undercurrent of support for war stood in relief to larger and more strident demonstrations occurring in nations around the world. "We want to change the Iraqi regime," said Dr. Fayaq Muhammad Golpi, a surgeon and head of the Anti-Chemical Weapons Society of Kurdistan, the nonprofit group that organized the event. "If this change is peaceful, it would be better than if there was war. But the change is necessary, even if this means fighting." The demonstration also brought to the surface the persistent public worry here about the Kurds' vulnerability to a chemical or biological strike by Mr. Hussein. Sulaimaniya, like the large Kurdish cities of Erbil and Dohuk, is a short drive from Iraqi Army positions. As Kurds count down the days to a war they expect to start soon, they know that this is a land virtually without chemical protective gear, where medical supplies are limited and specialized drugs to combat chemical injury are all but nonexistent. For example, there are nearly four million people in the region of northern Iraq that is beyond the control of Mr. Hussein's government. Recent tours of markets here found only about two dozen aging gas masks for sale in Erbil, many with cracked eyepieces and almost all with expired filters. In Sulaimaniya, merchants say a stock of about 200 masks sold out long ago. It comes as little surprise, then, that Kurds express deep misgivings about their fate at the hands of a desperate or vengeful President Hussein if the United States attacks Iraq. "We are afraid," said Muhammad Amin Abdullah, standing in a line of people holding photographs of Kurds killed in a chemical attack by Iraq on the town of Halabja in 1988. An estimated 5,000 Kurdish civilians died in that attack. In dozens of interviews in the last two months with Kurdish doctors and officials, all have said that Kurds are not much better protected today than they were then, and that to improve preparations they need outside help. To that end, demonstrators today delivered a letter to the United Nations asking for shipments of chemical protective equipment. Dr. Golpi, who treated victims of chemical attacks when he was with Kurdish guerrillas in the mountains in the 1980's, said the United Nations must also provide antibiotics, eyedrops, ointments and bandages. The supplies would be necessary, he said, if a significant number of people were injured by nerve or mustard gas, which Iraq used on Kurds in the 1980's, or biological agents, which Kurds believe that Iraq now possesses. United Nations officials here declined to comment on the request, citing a policy under which its employees are generally forbidden to speak with foreign journalists in northern Iraq. In Washington, an American official said the Bush administration was reviewing options to provide that kind of assistance. "We're looking at it very seriously," he said. The official said there were several possible obstacles, including restrictions in United Nations resolutions and American trade law on importing materials into Iraq, as well as concerns that some chemical defense gear could fall into the hands of Iraqi agents. But he added, "We're looking at it with an intent to be helpful." In recent weeks, people opposed to renewed military action in Iraq have demonstrated in scores of cities, including Montreal, London, Berlin, Frankfurt, Brussels, Sydney and Istanbul. Some demonstrators have used gimmicks, including 30 people who removed their clothes and lay down in a street in Britain, aligning their naked bodies to form the word peace. Kurds resorted to no such tricks. Unlike the demonstrators elsewhere, these Kurds expressed a sentiment that is common here. They said they lived close enough to Mr. Hussein to know his government and to fear it. They said they were willing to risk war to have him removed. Later in the day, flashes of Kurdish optimism returned. Abdul-Razzaq Mirza, the minister of relations and cooperation for the eastern Kurdish zone, said he was confident that even if no one else offered assistance to defend against chemical or biological attacks, the United States would do so before long. "They have not given it to us yet," he said. "But I am sure they are going to help us. They are not going to leave us to genocide again."

NYT January 26, 2003 The Killing of Iraq's Ancient Marsh Culture By JOHN F. BURNS Of all Iraq's ethnic groups, the marsh Arabs of the southern reaches of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers may have the strongest claim to be Saddam Hussein's most bludgeoned victims. They alone can claim to have had a 6,000-year-old culture dating back to the ancient Sumerians, as well as the wetlands that nurtured that culture, obliterated by Mr. Hussein. Theirs, Western human rights groups say, is a story of genocide. The Kurds have been victims of purges and ethnic cleansing, forced in tens of thousands to flee their traditional homelands in the oil fields of the north. But they have found refuge in the self-governing enclave of northern Iraq, since 1991 a protectorate of American and British air power. And the Shiite Arabs, accounting for about 60 percent of Iraq's population of 22 million, have had scores of their most influential clerics murdered and their religious ceremonies suppressed. But the marsh Arabs have virtually ceased to exist. The northern approach to the southern city of Basra, through the area where the wetlands used to be, is guarded by a huge portrait of Mr. Hussein in traditional marsh Arab dress. Behind him are the lagoons and islands, high-prowed canoes called mashhufs and hump-backed houses of latticework reeds called mudhifs, water-slick buffaloes and thriving waterfowl — all characteristic of life in the marshes. Mr. Hussein, like all totalitarian rulers, has worked to eliminate the very possibility of resistance, and this made the marsh dwellers his ineluctable enemy. Inhabiting an area of several thousand square miles accessible only by boat until the advent of the helicopter, the marshes were a traditional center of rebellion and banditry. The Turks, the Persians and the British came to know the men of the marshes through their raids on passing caravans and regiments and trains. In the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980's, the marshes were an infiltration route for Iraqi opposition militias based in Iran. Suppressing a Shiite rebellion that followed the Persian Gulf war in 1991, Mr. Hussein bombed the marshland villages, some with napalm and chemical agents. Then, working from an old British plan to drain waters that were excessively salted or polluted, Mr. Hussein's battalions all but eliminated the wetlands over a six-month period in 1992, turning them into a dusty, uninhabitable desert. The United Nations has described the process as one of the world's greatest environmental disasters. In the process, at least 100,000 of the 250,000 marsh Arabs were displaced within Iraq; an additional 40,000 fled to Iran. Reed beds were burned and remaining lagoons poisoned. Thousands of fugitives were rounded up, sent to army camps in the north and executed. Now, according to a report published by Human Rights Watch on Friday, the marsh Arabs face a new disaster if their strategic homeland again becomes a battleground in a war between Iraq and American troops.

NYT 31 Jan 2003 A War Crime or an Act of War? By STEPHEN C. PELLETIERE ECHANICSBURG, Pa. — It was no surprise that President Bush, lacking smoking-gun evidence of Iraq's weapons programs, used his State of the Union address to re-emphasize the moral case for an invasion: "The dictator who is assembling the world's most dangerous weapons has already used them on whole villages, leaving thousands of his own citizens dead, blind or disfigured." The accusation that Iraq has used chemical weapons against its citizens is a familiar part of the debate. The piece of hard evidence most frequently brought up concerns the gassing of Iraqi Kurds at the town of Halabja in March 1988, near the end of the eight-year Iran-Iraq war. President Bush himself has cited Iraq's "gassing its own people," specifically at Halabja, as a reason to topple Saddam Hussein. But the truth is, all we know for certain is that Kurds were bombarded with poison gas that day at Halabja. We cannot say with any certainty that Iraqi chemical weapons killed the Kurds. This is not the only distortion in the Halabja story. I am in a position to know because, as the Central Intelligence Agency's senior political analyst on Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war, and as a professor at the Army War College from 1988 to 2000, I was privy to much of the classified material that flowed through Washington having to do with the Persian Gulf. In addition, I headed a 1991 Army investigation into how the Iraqis would fight a war against the United States; the classified version of the report went into great detail on the Halabja affair. This much about the gassing at Halabja we undoubtedly know: it came about in the course of a battle between Iraqis and Iranians. Iraq used chemical weapons to try to kill Iranians who had seized the town, which is in northern Iraq not far from the Iranian border. The Kurdish civilians who died had the misfortune to be caught up in that exchange. But they were not Iraq's main target. And the story gets murkier: immediately after the battle the United States Defense Intelligence Agency investigated and produced a classified report, which it circulated within the intelligence community on a need-to-know basis. That study asserted that it was Iranian gas that killed the Kurds, not Iraqi gas. The agency did find that each side used gas against the other in the battle around Halabja. The condition of the dead Kurds' bodies, however, indicated they had been killed with a blood agent — that is, a cyanide-based gas — which Iran was known to use. The Iraqis, who are thought to have used mustard gas in the battle, are not known to have possessed blood agents at the time. These facts have long been in the public domain but, extraordinarily, as often as the Halabja affair is cited, they are rarely mentioned. A much-discussed article in The New Yorker last March did not make reference to the Defense Intelligence Agency report or consider that Iranian gas might have killed the Kurds. On the rare occasions the report is brought up, there is usually speculation, with no proof, that it was skewed out of American political favoritism toward Iraq in its war against Iran. I am not trying to rehabilitate the character of Saddam Hussein. He has much to answer for in the area of human rights abuses. But accusing him of gassing his own people at Halabja as an act of genocide is not correct, because as far as the information we have goes, all of the cases where gas was used involved battles. These were tragedies of war. There may be justifications for invading Iraq, but Halabja is not one of them. In fact, those who really feel that the disaster at Halabja has bearing on today might want to consider a different question: Why was Iran so keen on taking the town? A closer look may shed light on America's impetus to invade Iraq. We are constantly reminded that Iraq has perhaps the world's largest reserves of oil. But in a regional and perhaps even geopolitical sense, it may be more important that Iraq has the most extensive river system in the Middle East. In addition to the Tigris and Euphrates, there are the Greater Zab and Lesser Zab rivers in the north of the country. Iraq was covered with irrigation works by the sixth century A.D., and was a granary for the region. Before the Persian Gulf war, Iraq had built an impressive system of dams and river control projects, the largest being the Darbandikhan dam in the Kurdish area. And it was this dam the Iranians were aiming to take control of when they seized Halabja. In the 1990's there was much discussion over the construction of a so-called Peace Pipeline that would bring the waters of the Tigris and Euphrates south to the parched Gulf states and, by extension, Israel. No progress has been made on this, largely because of Iraqi intransigence. With Iraq in American hands, of course, all that could change. Thus America could alter the destiny of the Middle East in a way that probably could not be challenged for decades — not solely by controlling Iraq's oil, but by controlling its water. Even if America didn't occupy the country, once Mr. Hussein's Baath Party is driven from power, many lucrative opportunities would open up for American companies. All that is needed to get us into war is one clear reason for acting, one that would be generally persuasive. But efforts to link the Iraqis directly to Osama bin Laden have proved inconclusive. Assertions that Iraq threatens its neighbors have also failed to create much resolve; in its present debilitated condition — thanks to United Nations sanctions — Iraq's conventional forces threaten no one. Perhaps the strongest argument left for taking us to war quickly is that Saddam Hussein has committed human rights atrocities against his people. And the most dramatic case are the accusations about Halabja. Before we go to war over Halabja, the administration owes the American people the full facts. And if it has other examples of Saddam Hussein gassing Kurds, it must show that they were not pro-Iranian Kurdish guerrillas who died fighting alongside Iranian Revolutionary Guards. Until Washington gives us proof of Saddam Hussein's supposed atrocities, why are we picking on Iraq on human rights grounds, particularly when there are so many other repressive regimes Washington supports? Stephen C. Pelletiere is author of "Iraq and the International Oil System: Why America Went to War in the Persian Gulf." .

Israel (See also Armeniaand Belgium)

Ha'aretz IL 1 Jan 2003 Less fear of transfer, more hatred of the U.S. The Palestinians no longer fear the Sharon government will exploit an American invasion of Iraq to conduct a population transfer. Most don't even believe the war will reach here By Danny Rubinstein Iraqi demonstrators - including Palestinians - burning American and Israeli flags outside the UN International Development Agency offices in Baghdad. (Photo: Reuters ) While many in Israel are getting new gas masks, booking bed and breakfast reservations in the Galilee or flights leaving the country, and discussing the complications of smallpox vaccinations, in the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem, such expressions of fear aren't seen. Palestinians aren't talking about preparations for war. A visit with the Arab merchants at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem tells the story: Most believe there will be war in Iraq, but it won't reach here. Therefore there's no need to update the gas masks or stockpile food and medicine. "We aren't even cleaning the rooftops to start dancing," jokes someone, laughing. One news and magazine vendor familiar with Israeli politics, echoes Israeli analysts, saying he believes the panic in Israel is part of the spin that American political consultant Arthur Finkelstein instructed has given the Lik ud as a way to divert attention from alleged corruption in the party primary. Until a few months ago, there was fear in the territories that the Sharon government would exploit the tumult of an American assault on Iraq to conduct a mass expulsion of Palestinians. But that's no longer the assumption - perhaps because the consensus in the territories now is that Israel understands there's a limit to power. While people talk non-stop in Israel about the war with the Palestinians, they don't behave as if it's all out war. Nobody in the territories believes that Israel is particularly generous. Yet they see the Israeli administration continues to provide electricity to the territories, as well as food and other supplies to "enemy" territory. Jordanian Prime Minister Ali Abu Ragheb recently announced that Israel and Jordan have reached an agreement preventing any expulsions of Palestinians. From the Palestinian perspective, the Saddam Hussein of 2002 is far from being the hero of the early 1990s. However, there is widespread opposition to an American war in Iraq, and there are expressions of sympathy for the Baghdad regime. The sympathy is being organized in the offices of the Arab Liberation Front, an Iraqi-backed Palestinian organization that disburses Iraqi donations to the families of the shaheeds (those killed for the cause). Last week a Gaza ceremony handed out money to six families of victims in Rafah. Each family received $10,000. The Front's representative, Uda al-Kashta, greeted the families in the name of Saddam Hussein, and sent greetings to prisoners in Israel, particularly the Front's secretary-general, Rakad Salam, whom the army arrested in Ramallah two months ago. Sheikh Mansur Abu Haimd thanked the front on behalf of the families and said the entire Palestinian people supports Iraq and opposes the war, which, he said, is meant to break the spirit of the Arab nation. There have also been some Palestinian delegations in Baghdad lately. The most recent - last week - was a group from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. The officials from the Damascus office of the PFLP stopped off in Baghdad after a series of meetings in Cairo with the head of Egyptian intelligence, Omer Suleiman, who is trying to help the Palestinians forge a pan-Palestinian policy leading to a cease-fire with Israel, so international pressure will be on the Israelis for gesture of goodwill toward the Palestinians. Deputy Prime Minister Tarik Aziz received the PFLP delegation. Maher al Taher, a member of the PFLP's central committee, told him that the Iraqi people and the Palestinian resistance would rebuff the aggressive initiatives of the U.S. and Israel. But the Palestinian behavior regarding the expected war in Iraq is very similar to what is happening in most of the Arab countries. The masses show signs of firm opposition to the war and a certain degree of sympathy for the Baghdad regime, but the rulers don't dare speak openly in anti-American terms, and use ambiguous language on the issue. The public opposition to the war is in dozens of articles every week in the media. Occasionally there are demonstrations, like last week in Cairo against Qatar for allowing American troops onto its territory. Demonstrators carried signs saying that Doha, the capital of Qatar, "equals Tel Aviv." Meanwhile Arab leaders speak cautiously, and make somewhat contradictory statements about a certain readiness - limited, of course - to help the Americans. Yasser Arafat keeps mum on the issue. While Saddam Hussein's picture can be spotted in some Nablus and Gaza shop windows, and in headlines that support Iraq, Arafat is careful not to make any statement that might anger the Americans. Only the cartoons in the Arab press show vehement positions against the America, the war, and leaders of Arab states. Last week, a cartoon in El Ayam, showed an Arab leader wiping the windshield of an American fighter plane, singing to him, "go to Baghdad, liberated and noble Baghdad." In Al Quds, the cartoonist mocked the UN weapons inspector interrogations of Iraqi scientists, showing an inspector opening the head of a scientist to look for weapons of mass destruction. In Al Hayyat al Jedida, a Muslim woman, symbolizing the Arab nation, holds in motherly embrace, a fox emblazoned with a Magen David and alongside it two hungry and neglected children - Palestine and Iraq. The parallels between Palestinian and Iraqi suffering are very popular with Palestinian commentators. As far as they are concerned, Israel Defense Forces operations in the Palestinian territories and the approaching war in Iraq are part of a plan by America and its allies to subdue the Arab nation and take over the oil. On one Lebanese TV current events show, the panelists discussed why the Bush administration is so determined to strike at Iraq, which probably doesn't have any weapons of mass destruction, while it is lax with regard to North Korea, which has provocatively announced it has a nuclear bomb. Both, after all, are in President Bush's "axis of evil." The panelists agreed the American attitude is to strike Iraq no matter what. They agreed the war was an Israeli interest, and the moderator summed up: "If we don't stand up beside Iraq, all the Arabs will face the same fate of an American takeover."

Antiwar.com 30 Dec 2003 Ethnic Cleansing: Past, Present and Future There is a puzzling paradox about Holocaust denial: those who deny it are precisely the ones who would have supported it. I couldn’t help thinking of this paradox when I heard that American university professors have recently been accused of anti-Semitism (!) for signing a document warning against Israeli intentions to drive out masses of Palestinians, possibly during a American attack on Iraq. It seems that those likely to support such a crime are precisely the ones who so vehemently deny that Israel might be contemplating it. In Israel itself, however, the idea of "transfer" – the common euphemism for ethnic cleansing or mass deportation – is discussed openly. Several political parties support it; one of them is in Sharon’s cabinet. They may speak of "voluntary transfer", but Minister Benny Elon has been quite explicit about what they mean by "voluntary": It’s like a man who refuses to give his wife a divorce, he said. According to Jewish law, the defiant husband can be jailed and slashed until he – "voluntarily" – complies. (If you wonder why Israel is turning Palestinian life into hell, this – not the futile "war on terrorism" – is the answer.) Gamla, a group founded by former Israeli military officers and settlers, offers a detailed plan for forcibly expelling all Palestinians, both from the occupied territories and the Palestinian citizens of Israel, within a 3-5 year period. This may be too long for some: there are persistent reports that Ariel Sharon has ordered his forces to prepare to drive hundreds of thousands of Palestinians over the border into Jordan, possibly on the day the United States conflict starts against Iraq. Sharon has recently rejected an official Jordanian request that Israel issue a public declaration opposing the "Transfer" of Palestinians (Ha’aretz, 29.11.02). As recent Jewish history shows, the way from mass-deportation to mass-murder is a dangerously short one. Recall that Hitler’s death camps were his second-best "solution" for the Jewish "problem": at first, the Third Reich intended "just" to deport (or "re-settle") the Jews to wherever possible – Palestine, Eastern Europe, Madagascar. How come – in a poll conducted last April – 44% of Jewish Israelis, a people that suffered both deportation and extermination, support similar measures against the Palestinians? One possible answer is that people do not learn from History, or learn the wrong lessons. I don’t think it is the answer in this case. The fact is that Israelis and Israel-supporters do not refuse to learn from History: they deny History. The denied historical pattern keeps duplicating itself, and won’t stop until its denial is stopped. Ethnic Cleansing: The Past What people fail to recognise is that Israel owes its very existence as a Jewish State to massive ethnic cleansing. The overall picture is undisputed: In 1948, there were about 600.000 Jews in Palestine. The number of Palestinians driven out from the territory taken by Israel in 1947-1949 is estimated at 600.000 to 720.000 (says the nationalistic Israeli historian Benny Morris in his authoritative The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem); about 100.000 Palestinians, a.k.a Israeli Arabs, remained. Without driving most of the Arabs out, then, or without prohibiting their return after the war, no Jewish majority could have been established. This information is not part of the Israeli collective consciousness. Israelis confronted with it would deny it, often out of true ignorance. Everybody in Israel knows that many Arabs left in 1948. There is some controversy among laymen about whether they fled the war zone spontaneously ("their own fault"), were encouraged to leave by Arab leaders, or were expelled; experts agree that all three factors played a role. Older people still remember "that Arab village down the road, that was erased once the inhabitants left". But the extent of the Palestinian exodus, especially in proportion to the Jewish population, is virtually suppressed. The Price of Denial When denial is no longer possible, Israel-supporters faced with this information tend to take refuge in an accusation like "so you deny Israel’s right to exist". This procedure is logically, morally, and practically wrong. Logically wrong, because what was born in sin does not necessarily lose its right to exist. Some people claim we were all born in sin, yet they do not demand that we all commit suicide. Few people would deny the crimes committed against Native Americans, yet I never heard that the US should be dismantled because of them. Morally wrong, because recognising historical facts should not depend on their political implications. One cannot deny a fact simply because one does not like its consequences. And, finally, practically wrong, because if Israelis were aware of the ethnic cleansing of 1948, they would not be so eager to try this abortive "solution" once again. I doubt how many Israelis would think repeating the crime is a good way to peace, if they were aware of the fact that the hundreds of thousands driven out in 1948 have now grown into millions of refugees along Israel’s borders, whose hatred towards Israel and whose desire to return home have been nurtured by decades of humiliation and discrimination in Lebanon, Syria or Jordan. Just like we demand the Arabs to recognise the Holocaust, recognising the ethnic cleansing of 1948 is a precondition to reconciliation. As long as most (pro-) Israelis deny it, Israel is in danger of repeating it. Since Israel’s political system is run by former generals responsible for the ethnic cleansing of 1948, since the military echelon is run by their devoted disciples, warnings of Israel’s intentions to repeat the crime in the (possibly near) future should be taken very seriously. The Present Having said that, one must stress that debating the past and warning of the future should not distract from the present. At this very moment, slowly but steadily, ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in the occupied territories is taking place. As Ta’ayush activists Gadi Algazi and Azmi Bdeir write, "Transfer isn’t necessarily a dramatic moment, a moment when people are expelled and flee their towns or villages. It is not necessarily a planned and well-organized move with buses and trucks loaded with people, such as happened in Qalqilyah in 1967. Transfer is a deeper process, a creeping process that is hidden from view. […] The main component of the process is the gradual undermining of the infrastructure of the civilian Palestinian population’s lives in the territories: its continuing strangulation under closures and sieges that prevent people from getting to work or school, from receiving medical services, and from allowing the passage of water trucks and ambulances, which sends the Palestinians back to the age of donkey and cart. Taken together, these measures undermine the hold of the Palestinian population on its land." (Ha’aretz, 15.11.2002) This "small-scale" ethnic cleansing has its own secret language. You need some initiation to decipher it, but it’s in the paper all the time. It happens when Palestinian neighbourhoods, along the Egyptian border in Rafah for example, are turned into a battle zone: the inhabitants obviously flee; Israel then quickly demolishes their houses. Protest is soothed by Israel’s hypocritical claims that the houses were empty. Ethnic cleansing happens when Israel connects the Jewish settlement of Kiryat Arba with that of Hebron by a promenade which cuts the heart of Palestinian Hebron and necessitates the demolition of scores of Palestinian houses along the route, described as "uninhabited", as being "shelter to terrorists" or as "belonging to rich families living elsewhere". Ethnic cleansing happens when Israel builds a security fence on Palestinian fields, cutting them from their owners; the farmers cannot access their land and are forced to find their living elsewhere. Ethnic cleansing happens when settlers terrorise the Palestinian village of Khirbet Yanun, break into houses destroying whatever they find; last October, only two old men were left of the whole village, the rest of its population had taken refuge in the neighbouring town of Akrabeh. Ethnic cleansing is the motivation behind every new acre taken by Jewish settlements, behind "security zones" and "by-pass roads", behind fences and military outposts. It is behind every siege and closure, aimed at reducing Palestinian movement to their immediate surroundings, confining them to their enclave, to their town or village, to their house. The fenced Gaza Strip is already termed "the great prison" by its own inhabitants; last week, Israel once again cut it into three separate zones. All these things are taking place here and now, some reported, some not. The struggle against "transfer" should therefore involve a concerted effort on all fronts: against plots to drive out Palestinians in the future, against their strangulation in the present, and for making the ethnic cleansing of 1948 (and since) part of our collective consciousness. – Ran HaCohen Ran HaCohen was born in the Netherlands in 1964 and grew up in Israel. He has a B.A. in Computer Science, an M.A. in Comparative Literature and is currently working on his PhD thesis. He teaches in the Tel-Aviv University's Department of Comparative Literature. He also works as a literary translator (from German, English and Dutch), and as a literary critic for the Israeli daily Yedioth Achronoth. Mr. HaCohen's work has been published widely in Israel. "Letter from Israel" appears occasionally at Antiwar.com.

NYT 2 Jan 2003 Hebron Residents Describe an Israeli Reign of Beatings By DEXTER FILKINS HEBRON, West Bank, Jan. 1 — Almost any young man walking the streets of this gritty Palestinian neighborhood on the eastern rim of the city can tell you the same thing: when the Israeli border police want to give someone a beating, they take him to the city's deserted industrial area after dark. Imran Abu Hamdiya, a 17-year-old high school senior, was taken away by four police officers Monday night, residents here said in interviews, and he never came back. Mr. Hamdiya's friends, assuming he might need a hand after receiving blows from a nightstick, went to the city's industrial zone to look for him. They found his body there, splayed in a pool of blood. When they carried their friend to a local hospital, a doctor delivered his appraisal. "He died from injuries caused by beating the head and face," said Dr. Mazen Jabari, of Mohtaseb Hospital. The important mysteries surrounding Mr. Hamdiya's death — who killed him and why — may, like so many encounters in the West Bank and Gaza, go forever unanswered. Israeli officials say they have begun an investigation. But Israeli human rights groups say the government's record in disciplining their own for such abuses is not encouraging, and there is little evidence. Mr. Hamdiya was buried soon after he died, following Muslim custom, and the police say they did not have a chance to examine his body. His family members, who say they do not trust the Israelis, are reluctant to talk to the police or allow them to exhume the body. "If the complaint is right, then people will get punished," said Pearl Liat, a spokeswoman for the Israeli border police. "But maybe it is not them. Maybe it is not the border police at all. Maybe it is soldiers, maybe it is no one." For the people of the Jabal Johar neighborhood on the east side of Hebron, Mr. Hamdiya's death seemed a natural end of an Israeli strategy of applying pressure to quell resistance in one of the West Bank's most restive areas. Since November, when 12 Israeli soldiers were killed near here, the campaign has been particularly fierce, locals say. Curfews, interrogations and beatings have become as commonplace as shopping and going to school, they say. "Some people make trouble, so they punish everybody," said Hafez Alu Snaineh, a gas station attendant in the neighborhood. "They break bones. They give bruises. With Imran, they probably didn't mean to kill him, but they did." Since the Palestinian uprising began 27 months ago, the area around Hebron has been one of its recurrent flash points. The source of much of the turmoil is a small Israeli settlement in the heart of what is otherwise a Palestinian city of 120,000 people. The area around the settlement has been the scene of periodic violence and, as a result, it has drawn a large contingent of Israeli troops and police officers. In November and December, two Palestinian-led attacks, which killed 14 Israeli soldiers, the police and security guards, prompted a renewed crackdown by Israeli troops and the police. Since then, the locals say, Hebron has been under nearly constant curfews, searches and beatings to root out enemy fighters. As described by local Palestinians, the Israeli strategy here seems reminiscent of the one in the first intifada in the late 1980's, when the Israeli leader, Yitzhak Rabin, told his troops to break Palestinian bones. Consider the gathering at Yasser pharmacy on Tariq Benziyad Street. It was a group of a dozen friends who had come to chat on one of the few days when a curfew did not require them to be indoors. There was Hasan Ajlouni, who said he was driving his car during the curfew recently when Israeli soldiers fired on him. He lost control and drove into a light post, killing his 7-year-old son, Fadi. Then there was Rajeh Daoud, a pharmacist, who said he was beaten by the Israeli police when he kept his shop open in defiance of the curfew and slipped medicine to customers through a side door. "People need medicine," Mr. Daoud said. "I was trying to serve the community." Ms. Liat, the border police spokesman, said the Israeli police did not engage in systemic brutality. Often, she said, the claims made by Palestinians fell apart once they were scrutinized. "We take them very seriously, every complaint," she said. Staff workers at Btselem, an Israeli human rights organization, said the police and soldiers were rarely disciplined for brutality. Of 49 cases reported to Btselem since the Palestinian uprising began in September 2000, one has resulted in convictions. "There is no deterrent, because they rarely make cases against the officers," said Maya Johnston, a data coordinator at the organization. Dr. Jabari, of Mohtaseb Hospital, said four or five young Palestinian men were brought to the hospital every night, claiming to have been beaten by the Israeli police. It is impossible to tell how many of the stories heard on the streets of Hebron are true. Hamzeh Rajabi, for instance, said he was picked up by Israeli border police and beaten Monday night, about an hour before Mr. Hamdiya was. His rolled-up sleeve revealed a swollen and darkened left arm. "They said I was a collaborator," Mr. Rajabi said. In the case of Mr. Hamdiya, two men who say they were with him on Monday night said the police approached them just after evening prayers. The police checked their identification cards and told three of the men to go. Then, the men said, they asked Mr. Hamdiya to stay. Minutes later, said Raed Rajabi, one of the two men, they saw the officers put Mr. Hamdiya in the back seat of their jeep and drive away. "When we saw the direction of the jeep, we knew where they were going," Mr. Rajabi said. Outside the same mosque where Mr. Hamdiya prayed for the last time, a crowd of mourners gathered. Among them was Aleh Omar Abu Turky, whose twin sons attended class with him. "Imran was honest and beautiful, all the best things," she said. "He didn't throw stones, nothing like that. He was a gentle boy." Ms. Turky began to walk away, then she paused and turned. "There was no reason for this," she said, her eyes welling. "Everyday they take men. They hit them and they break their bones. What kind of life is this?"

Ha'aretz 16 Jan 2003 Back Home Palestinian boys handcuffed to hospital beds By Haim Shadmi The two Palestinian children who were injured Saturday night in a suspected infiltration attempt at the Netzarim settlement in the Gaza Strip, were manacled in handcuffs at Soroka Medical Center, Be'er Sheva. The handcuffs were taken off yesterday as a result of repeated entreaties over the past three days made by the Physicians for Human Rights group, and after Ha'aretz asked the Israel Defense Forces for a response. One of the boys, Ahmad Isma'el al Hanajra, was lightly wounded by gunfire shot by a Netzarim resident, and was admitted to Soroka for treamtent; the other, Muhammad al Hanajra, fractured a leg, and had an operation in the hospital. Upon admittance to the hospital, both were handcuffed to their beds. Two soldiers were posted as guards by them. The handcuff policy remained in effect despite repeated requests by Soroka Medical Center physicians, who objected that there was no justification for the manacles, and that they interfered with the medical treatment. Health Ministry regulations hold that "any patient is entitled to receive medical service free of physical restraints." In some cases, the regulations state, security considerations require a patient to be handcuffed. Under ministry regulations, Whenever there are differences of opinion as to the necessity to handcuff a patient, a "decisions forum" comprised of hospital staff members and security officials is to settle the issue. The Israel Medical Association's guidelines clarify that the "point of departure" in such disputed cases is that "prisoners should receive treatment without handcuffs," unless there is a genuine risk that they might escape. Though security officials agreed yesterday to release the teenagers' handcuffs, the IDF soldiers remained to guard them.

Ha'aretz 19 Jan 2003 The embittered Palestinian is thirsting for revenge By Danny Rubinstein The prevailing view among the majority of Israelis appears to be that the murderous Palestinian terrorist attacks are not stopping because the Palestinian leadership under Yasser Arafat is doing nothing to stop them. Official Israeli spokesman, and not least the prime minister, Ariel Sharon, continue to blame Arafat and the Palestinian Authority for the terrorist attacks, and a good many Israelis are certain that some members of the Palestinian leadership are also initiating and organizing the attacks. This view totally contradicts the public positions that Arafat and his aides have been expressing for quite some time. On literally dozens of occasions in the past few months, Arafat himself, and official statements issued by the PA have asserted that the Palestinians are abiding by the cease-fire and are calling for an end to the attacks on the civilian population. Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), the No. 2 official in the Palestine Liberation Organization, consistently declares that the use of military means in the intifada (the "militarization of the intifada") is serious undermining the Palestinian cause. Palestinian cabinet minister Yasser Abed Rabbo told the participants in the London conference at the end of the week that the suicide bombings can in no way relieve the Palestinians' plight. Arafat's close aide and spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudeina, stated last Wednesday, that "the chairman approved the Egyptian draft for the cessation of attacks against Israeli civilians." This is the usual way for Arafat and senior officials of the Fatah movement to say that no attacks should be carried out within Israel proper, and, on the other hand, to make it clear that attacks on Israeli targets in the territories are legitimate because they are part of the struggle against the occupation, which is embodied in the persons of settlers and soldiers. Resolute positions against suicide attacks are being voiced not only by members of the Palestinian leadership but also by a good many Palestinian intellectuals and academics, public figures, commentators and journalists. All these statements are being voiced in the Arabic language and in the Arab and Palestinian media. In other words, this is not an attempt here by the Palestinians to curry favor with foreigners; it is the expression of a clear position and an attempt to induce the activists of the intifada to put a stop to the campaign of murder, at least inside Israel. The explanation accepted by those who are calling for a halt to the terrorist attacks inside the 1967 Green Line is that the attacks are causing serious damage to the Palestinian cause. The leaders of the Arab states, especially the rulers of Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, are also putting heavy pressure on Arafat and his aides to stop the suicide attacks, which cause a horrific impression in the international community. The Arab leaders are making this appeal not because they are concerned about the Palestinians' interests but because whenever they ask for something from the United States or European countries, they are told to first approach Arafat and do everything in their power to get him to put a stop to the terrorism. The Palestinian and Arab calls for an end to the suicide-bombing attacks now rests on the additional argument that the attacks are strengthening Ariel Sharon and assisting the election campaign of the Israeli right. A few days ago, when public opinion polls in Israel showed the Likud declining in strength because of the corruption stories, many in the Palestinian leadership said that this was the time to put a complete stop to the attacks, and then perhaps the Israeli electorate would turn away from Sharon and vote Labor Party leader Amram Mitzna into power. In recent years, Palestinian spokesmen have proudly said that Israel's prime ministers have been voted out of office so quickly because they failed in the confrontation with the Palestinians. Now this turns out not to be the case with regard to Ariel Sharon. In fact, Sharon has maintained his strength and even become stronger in the two years of his tenure, although according to every criterion, his force-based policy has failed totally to stop the intifada and the terrorist attacks. What is the explanation for this anomaly? Hani al-Masri, an experienced commentator for the Palestinian paper Al-Ayam, last week published a strongly worded article against the suicide attacks, which in his view "compete with the occupation by the same malicious and barbarous methods." He offered a cogent description of the Palestinian bewilderment in the face of the Sharon phenomenon. His view is that to stop the attacks completely at this time will be tantamount to giving a prize to Sharon, who will be able to claim that he has eliminated Palestinian terrorism and thereby win the election. However, al-Masri continues, experience shows that such attacks have always helped the right wing. They brought down Shimon Peres and Ehud Barak, and brought Benjamin Netanyahu and Ariel Sharon into power. "It's not logical but it's true," he wrote, and went on to cite several other reasons for stopping the attacks. Opposition to attacks inside the Green Line in general, and to the terrorism of the suicide bombers in particular, is thus very widespread. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Israel's intelligence systems are making tremendous efforts to thwart terrorist attacks. This includes large army and police forces using sophisticated means and advance technologies. Much thought and vast amounts of money are being invested in the search for ways to identify and destroy what is called the terrorist infrastructure. The Palestinian leadership is against the attacks and calls to put an end to terrorism against civilians are voiced day and night. The Arab states are exerting pressure in the same direction, and, of course, so are the European states and the United States, which has effectively joined Israel in the campaign to isolate and boycott Arafat. Why is none of this helping? What nourishes the daring and motivation of the terrorists who set out to kill even though they see the suffering of their people and the devastation wrought to the entire fabric of Palestinian life? Why do they not heed the calls of their leaders or respond to the pressure and appeals from Arab states and from many other quarters around the world? The fact that popular support exists for the terrorist attacks has been demonstrated for some time. All the public opinion surveys conducted in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip since the violence erupted, at the end of September 2000, show support of more than 50 percent for the attacks and the suicide bombers. Frequently, the rate of support has been far higher than that. After the attack in Tel Aviv's Neve Sha'anan neighborhood two weeks ago, the leader of Islamic Jihad, Sheikh Abdallah Ramadan Shalah, who is based in Damascus, was asked about the opposition to the attacks, as manifested in the talks sponsored by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo. He replied confidently, "What opposition to the attacks? Eighty percent of the Palestinian public supports the suicide bombers!" This is, of course, also well known by the leaders of Hamas and of other Palestinian groups who organize terrorist attacks. Khaled Meshal, the head of the Hamas politburo, said last week that it is inconceivable for Hamas to join the discussions on the cessation of the attacks. "We did not do that in the past and we will not do it in the future," he stated. The resolve and self-confidence of the implementers of terrorism rest on one main reason: the firm backing they are getting from the Palestinian population. The members of the Palestinian refugee camps, the residents of the villages and impoverished neighborhoods of the cities and townships in the West Bank today adhere to the Islamic religion more fervently than was the case in past decades. Unemployment is more widespread and the Palestinians are more impoverished, having lost their places of employment in Israel - and they live in conditions of continuous daily humiliation because of the Israeli siege, the checkpoints and the punitive raids, searches and arrests by the IDF. This is a state of affairs that nourishes not only the fanatics of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the rejectionist fronts of the left wing, but also the activists of Fatah and of the Battalions of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs, who do not heed the orders of their leaders. The impulse to perpetrate terrorism comes from below, from the embittered Palestinian who is thirsting for revenge and has become alienated from his leadership, which he perceives as a little more than a gang of corrupt individuals. He has only contempt for the national dialogue being conducted in Cairo and for the conference on reforms held in London, and is scornful of the diplomatic efforts aiming to restore quiet. Because the impulse emanates from below and not from the leadership, the crisis this time is one of the most intractable in the annals of the conflict.

Ha'aretz 19 Jan 2003 Mitzna: Sharon not ready to give up illusion of Greater Israel Labor Party Chairman Amram Mitzna said in a Newsweek interview that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon isn't ready to evacuate Israeli settlements or "to give up the illusion of a Greater Israel." When asked about his recent declaration that the Labor Party would not join a Sharon-led unity government, Mitzna replied: "We have to defend ourselves from Ariel Sharon's ideas. Ariel Sharon is not ready to withdraw settlements, to separate from the Palestinians or to give up the illusion of Greater Israel." "In the last two months Sharon is being accused of being responsible for so many decisions that corrupted the politics in Israel. Therefore the Labor Party should say loud and clear: if we succeed, we will bring change. If not, we will stay in the opposition and fight." "There is no security, and the economy is collapsing," he added. Mitzna, however, said Sharon alone was not to blame for the current critis facing Israel. "It's Arafat's fault. So, are we going to blame Arafat or are we going to initiate something to change it?" The Labor chief said that while polls indicate most Israelis support his policy proposals, they also show that they will voet for Likud. "This is the $1 billion question," Mitzna said when asked why he thought this was the case. "They agree to separation, they agree to a two-state solution, they agree to the evacuation of settlements, they agree to everything. But they don't trust that we will do it." Mitzna also said that he thought that current investigations into corruption inside Sharon's Likud Party were "just the tip of the iceberg." "The current issues are not gone - they are under investigation. And I'm sure there will be many more."

Fatalities in the al-Aqsa Intifada,: 29 Sept. 2000 - 21 January 2003 Clarifications In the Occupied Territories 1,739 Palestinians were killed by Israeli security forces in the Occupied Territories, of whom 321 were minors under the age of 18. Ages of the minors killed: Fifty Eight minors were age 17, Fifty One were age 16, Forty Eight were age 15, Forty Two were age 14, Thirty Eight were age 13, Eighteen were age 12, Twelve were age 11, Eleven were age 10, Five were age 9, Ten were age 8, Four were age 7, Five were age 6, Three were age 5, Three were age 4, Five were age 3, Four were two years old, Two were One year old baby girls, One was a 6 month old baby girl and One was a four month old baby girl. At least 86 of the palestinians killed were extrajudicially executed by Israel. In the course of these assasinations 42 additional palestinians were killed. 28 Palestinians were killed by Israeli civilians, including Three minors: One was age 17, One was age 14 and One was a Two month- old baby girl. Seven foreign Citizens were killed by Israeli security forces gunfire. 173 Israeli civilians were killed by Palestinians, 29 of them were minors under the age of 18: Six were aged 17, Five were age 16, Seven were age 14, Two were age 13, One was age 11, Two were age 9, Three were age 5, One was a 10 month-old baby girl and One was a 5 month-old baby boy and one was a one day old baby boy. Six foreign citizens were killed by Palestinians. 141 members of the Israeli security forces were killed by Palestinians. One Palestinian was killed by Palestinians while being force to serve as a ?Human Shield? by Israeli Security Forces. 25 Palestinians were killed by Palestinians while in the Palestinian Authority's custody 13 of them were killed by Palestinian civilians on suspicion of being collaborators with Israel 9 of them were killed by Palestinian security forces while in custody on suspicion of being collaborators with Israel 3 of them were executed by Palestinian security forces, two on the grounds that they were collaborators, one was accused of criminal offences At least 44 Palestinians were killed by Palestinians, not in custody 29 of them were killed by Palestinian civilians on suspicion of being collaborators with Israel 15 of them were killed by Palestinian security forces during demonstrations against the Palestinian Authority, 8 of them were minors. Within Israel 44 Palestinians, residents of the Occupied Territories, were killed by Israeli security forces gunfire. One of those killed was a minor aged 14. 287 Israeli civilians were killed by Palestinians, residents of the Occupied Territories. 54 of them were minors under the age of 18. Of them: Eight were age 17, Ten were age 16, Thirteen were age 15, Five were age 14, Three were age 13, One was age 12, One was age 11, One was age 10, Two were age 8, One was age 7, One was age 5, Two were age 4, One was age 3, One was a 14 month old baby, One was a two years old baby, One was a Eighteen month old baby, One was a nine month old baby, and One was a seven month old baby. 28 foreign citizens were killed by Palestinians. One of them was a minor, age 16. 65 members of the Israeli security forces were killed by Palestinians, residents of the Occupied Territories.

ttacks on Israeli Civilians by Palestinians Attacks on Israeli Civilians by Palestinians Since the beginning of the al-Aqsa intifada, there has been a sharp increase in the number of attacks perpetrated by Palestinian organizations against Israeli civilians. These attacks have killed hundreds of Israelis and wounded thousands, including many minors, inside Israel and in the Occupied Territories. Attacks aimed at civilians undermine all rules of morality and law. Specifically, the intentional killing of civilians is considered a “grave breach” of international humanitarian law and a war crime. Whatever the circumstances, such acts are unjustifiable. Palestinian organizations raise several arguments to justify attacks on Israeli civilians. The main argument is that “all means are appropriate in fighting against a foreign occupation and to attain independence.” This argument is baseless. It is also contrary to the fundamental principle of international humanitarian law, whereby civilians are to be protected from the consequences of warfare. In attacking the other side, therefore, each party must discriminate in selecting its targets and attack only military objects. This principle is part of international customary law; as such, it applies to every state, organization, and person, even those who are not party to any relevant convention. Palestinian spokespersons distinguish between attacks inside Israel and attacks directed at settlers in the Occupied Territories. They argue that, because the settlements are illegal and many settlers belong to Israel's security forces, settlers are not entitled to the protections granted to civilians by international law. This argument is readily refuted. The illegality of the settlements has no effect at all on the status of their civilian residents. The settlers constitute a distinctly civilian population, which is entitled to all the protections granted civilians by international law. The Israeli security forces' use of land in the settlements or the membership of some settlers in the Israeli security forces does not affect the status of the other residents living among them, and certainly does not make them proper targets of attack. B'Tselem strongly opposes the attempts to justify attacks against Israeli civilians by using distorted interpretations of international law. Furthermore, B'Tselem demands that the Palestinian Authority do everything within its power to prevent future attacks and to prosecute the individuals involved in past attacks.

B'Tselem 20 Jan 2003 B'Tselem Calls on the Defense Minister: Call Off the Demolition of the Nazlat 'Issa Market Tonight, B'Tselem issued an urgent letter to the Defense Minister calling on him to withdraw the order to demolish the market in Nazlat 'Issa, In the Tulkarm district of the West Bank. B'Tselem called upon the Minister to take the necessary measures to legalize the businesses in the market, or find an alternative solution that would not harm the livelihood of the vendors and their families. The village of Nazlat 'Issa, in Tulkarm district, the West Bank B'Tselem warned that demolishing the market would severely violate the human rights of hundreds of residents and constitute a breach of international law which binds Israel as the occupying force in the Territories. Over the last two days, the Civil Administration notified store owners in the Nazlat 'Issa market of the imminent demolition and ordered them to clear out their merchandise. Demolishing the market will destroy the principal source of income for the residents of the village and its vicinity. http://btselem.org/

Palestine Chronicle 23 Jan 2003 B’Tselem: Demolitions in West Bank Village Constitute a Breach of International Law "Israel’s destruction of this small West Bank village’s market is aimed at making way for a wall between the Jewish state and the occupied Palestinian territory .." OCCUPIED JERUSALEM - Israeli army bulldozers razed to the ground dozens of houses and shops belonging to residents of Nazlat Issa village, north of the West Bank Tuesday, as hundreds of Palestinian women, men and children watched helplessly. Israel’s destruction of this small West Bank village’s market is aimed at making way for a wall between the Jewish state and the occupied Palestinian territory, which has already engulfed hundreds of acres of Palestinian land. Women were seen crying, while young men tried to block the way in front of the bulldozers, on the biggest demolition spree in the West Bank in years. Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) razed 62 shops and market stalls, the mayor of the village said, accusing Israel of waging war on the Palestinian economy. Seven bulldozers, guarded by about 300 soldiers, began tearing down shops in the village. By midmorning, 62 shops had been demolished, said Mayor Ziad Salem. Dozens of foreign and local protesters threw stones at troops who fired tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets. Other demonstrators chanted, “Down with the occupation.” The 170-shop market in Nazlat Issa drew many Israeli customers before the outbreak of Intifada in September 2000. The market is also deemed the lifeline of the village, providing the main source of income for its 2,500 residents, Salem said, adding that Israeli officials informed the shop owners that the entire market would be demolished. Residents said that demolition orders were distributed earlier this month, and shop owners were told they had 15 days to file court appeals. The mayor said the market has been operating for more than 10 years and that this was the first time the merchants received demolition orders. The market contains 200 commercial shops, workshops and stools, and is located to the west of the military roadblock set up by the occupation army in the center of the village. “This will kill the village’s economy,” the mayor said, adding that troops tear gas and sound bombs at the demonstrators. Local sources described demolitions as a new ‘Nakba’ (Catastrophe), reminiscent of 1948, when thousands of Palestinians were forced into exile and on their land a state of Israel was born. Sources added that another ‘Nakba’ is awaiting Palestinians; that of the Segregation Wall being built east of the Green Line, which in effect is de facto annexing more and more Palestinian land. Its erection would result in the confiscation, annexation and destruction of thousands of agricultural dunums of land and the prevention of thousands of families from their only source of income. A spokesman for the pro-Palestinian International Solidarity Movement-ISM described how the “market place on which a good chunk of the destroyed stores stood has become unrecognizable.” US citizen Jonathan Elsberg, who came to the village to protest the demolitions, said he had been hit in the leg by a tear gas canister and temporarily detained by IOF. He confirmed that some 500 people including a dozen foreigners and Israeli rights activists protested the demolitions. The Israeli rights group B’Tselem said it had appealed to Israeli ‘defense’ minister Shaul Mofaz against the decision, warning that it would “severely violate the human rights of hundreds of residents and constitute a breach of international law which binds Israel as the occupying force in the territories.” Palestinian Cabinet minister Sa’eb Erekat slammed Israel over the demolition of the Palestinian houses and stores in Nzlat Issa, adding that the demolitions “reflect the fait accompli policies of Sharon on the ground, knocking down homes, livelihoods.” Israeli troops have demolished hundreds of Palestinian homes, many in the Gaza Strip, in the past 28 months. In Gaza, more than 5,700 Palestinians have been made homeless, according to Palestinian officials. Demolitions, Detention Persist in the Occupied Territories Elsewhere in the occupied Palestinian territory, IOF dynamited the house of a Palestinian security officer near the southern West Bank city of Hebron and detained at least 13 citizens, Palestinian security sources said. The occupation army blew up the family house of Issa Salem Darabyyeh, a security officer. Meanwhile, the Islamic Jihad movement in the northern West Bank town of Jenin confirmed Tuesday that two of its activists had escaped the Israeli army’s detention camp at ‘Ofer’ near Ramallah. “They have escaped Ofer and are now in a safe place,” said Bassam al- Saadi, a local Jihad leader. He identified the two men as Muhanna Zayud and Bilal Shaaban, both from villages near Jenin and in their 20s. An army spokesman told AFP that IOF had launched a manhunt after the two men were found to be missing during the morning roll call. More than 700 Palestinian detainees are held without charge in ‘Ofer’, adjacent to a large army base, near the occupied city of Ramallah. Also in Ramallah that day, IOF detained the wife of a Hamas activist, Falah Nada, Palestinian security sources said. Alia al-Abed was detained as well as Hamas member Majed Abu Khadija, the sources added. According to the Palestinian rights’ group Addameer, 54 Palestinian women are currently being detained by Israel Palestinian security officials also said an IOF undercover unit raided a building used by policemen in Ramallah, detaining two of them. The two policemen were identified as Rami al-Talmas and Majed al-Haj. In the meantime, Palestinian medical sources said that a Palestinian man died Tuesday of wounds he sustained last April during the IOF invasion of Jenin’s refugee camp, in the northern West Bank. The man was identified as Mahmud Amer, 24, an activist belonging to the Fatah movement. A leader of Hamas movement, Sheikh Skakar Amara, 42, the head of the group in the Jericho, the only region of the West Bank not reoccupied by Israel since June, was also detained on Tuesday. He was an imam at the mosque in a refugee camp in the town and was detained at gunpoint in the middle of the night, his wife said. -[Palestine Media Center (http://www.palestine-pmc.com/).] Published at the .

Japan

NYT January 5, 2003 Yayori Matsui Dies at 68; Championed Asian Women By WOLFGANG SAXON Yayori Matsui, a journalist and campaigner for the rights of Asian women, died on Dec. 27 at a Tokyo hospital. She was 68 and a resident of Tokyo. The cause was liver cancer, said an associate, Norma Field, professor of Japanese studies at the University of Chicago. Dr. Field said Ms. Matsui had reported her illness in a message to her associates in which she also outlined her ideas for a projected Women's Museum of War and Peace. Ms. Matsui was the founder, in 1998, of the Violence Against Women in War-Network, Japan. It was a principal sponsor of the Women's International War Crimes Trial held in Tokyo in 2000. A symbolic trial, it found Emperor Hirohito ultimately responsible for the policy by which the Japanese military forced Asian women into sexual slavery during World War II. It convicted other wartime leaders individually of crimes against humanity for their part in what was euphemistically called the "comfort women" system. Ms. Matsui was in the forefront of efforts to make Japanese school textbooks deal more openly with the realities of World War II. She traveled widely, writing and speaking about women as the victims of armed conflicts and social injustices. She was born in Kyoto. Her parents, both Christian missionaries, moved to Tokyo after the war to build the Yamate Christian Church in the devastated capital. Ms. Matsui's funeral was held there Monday, according to Margaret Mitsutani, a member of her Violence Against Women group in Tokyo. She said Ms. Matsui was survived by her parents and five siblings. Ms. Matsui worked for Asahi Shimbun, one of Japan's leading newspapers, for 30 years, starting in the early 1960's. She reported from Singapore, worked as a senior staff writer and contributed articles on the environment, Asian affairs and women's issues. In 1976 she founded Asian Women in Solidarity, a grass-roots organization that grew out of opposition to "sex tourism" conducted for well-heeled visitors to Asia. This in turn led to the establishment in 1995 of the Asia-Japan Women's Resource Center in Tokyo, which researches women's issues, publishes a magazine, conducts seminars and sponsors lectures by Asian feminists. She was the author of "Women in New Asia: From Pain to Power," published in Britain in 2000 and distributed here by St. Martin's Press. The Women's Museum, tentatively set to open in Tokyo in 2006, is to include a library and video archive documenting the fate of "comfort women" and violence against women in conflicts around the world. According to Ms. Mitsutani, Ms. Matsui was in Afghanistan meeting with Afghan feminists in October when her illness overtook her. She returned to Tokyo where she worked on plans for the women's museum.

Libya

BBC 20 Jan 2003 Libya takes human rights role African nations chose Libya for the human rights role Libya has been elected chairman of the United Nations Human Rights Commission, despite opposition from the United States. In a secret ballot, Libyan Ambassador Najat Al-Hajjaji was backed by 33 members, with three countries voting against and 17 members abstaining. Human rights groups have been protesting at Libya assuming the chairmanship. The job of the Commission, the UN's main human rights watchdog, is to receive complaints about abuses, but it has been widely condemned as toothless. The United States called for a vote at the commission to signal its displeasure, but no other candidates emerged to challenge Libya. "This is not a defeat for the United States, this is a defeat for the Human Rights Commission," said US ambassador Kevin Moley. Najat Al-Hajjaji: "If I make mistakes, please help me to correct them" The BBC's world affairs correspondent Mark Doyle says the nomination of Libya to run the UN watchdog has highlighted what many see as a fundamental flaw in the way the UN has set the body up. Countries with questionable human rights records find it convenient to sign up for membership of the Commission because it gives them a chance to block criticisms of themselves, he says. While human rights groups have complained, Libya's chairing of the commission has been staunchly defended by the son of Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. Seif al-Islam al-Gaddafi told the BBC recently: "The Middle East has a generally bad record on human rights and this is an opportunity to embarrass middle eastern governments into improving that record". Human rights concerns Seif Gaddafi runs an organisation called the Gaddafy International Foundation for Charitable Organisations which, he says, is independent of his father's government. "We and other non-governmental organisations will work with the UN Commission to improve human rights in the region," he said. Critics of the Libyan Government said it was not credible that Seif Gaddafi's foundation was independent of his father's administration. Over the past three decades, Libya's human rights record has been appalling Human Rights Watch Human Rights Watch said: "Today hundreds of people remain arbitrarily detained, some for over a decade, and there are serious concerns about treatment in detention and the fairness of procedures in several ongoing high-profile trials before the Peoples' Courts". Libya was nominated to run the UN Human Rights Commission by African nations. Our correspondent says this was widely seen as part of the unofficial quid pro quo Libya had negotiated in return for financing the newly-created African Union, the successor to the Organisation of African Unity, which was formed last year. Ignored Amnesty International said that when it learnt Libya had been nominated to the Commission, it wrote to the government in Tripoli asking for permission for human rights investigators to do their work there, but had not received a reply. Seif Gaddafi: Defended the appointment Amnesty added that it expected the chair of the Commission to lead by example, but that it was apparent from various reports it had written on Libya that human rights were not respected there. Seif Gaddafi, who spoke to the BBC when Libya was first nominated for chairmanship of the commission, said that following his intervention with the Libyan Government, all political prisoners had been released - except for two categories. The first group of remaining prisoners, Gaddafi said, was from the Libyan Fighting Group which he described as "fanatical, violent and headquartered in Afghanistan". We have a better human rights record than our neighbours Seif Gaddafi The second group, he said, was from the Muslim Brotherhood - but he could not intervene in their case because it was before the Court of Appeal. Human Rights Watch conceded that Libya had made "some positive commitments" since its nomination to the UN Commission. These included indications that it would invite UN investigators and international human rights groups to visit Libya and review the role of the Peoples' Courts. But the lobby group said Libya should put these initiatives into practice before taking over the chairmanship. Seif Gaddafi said "We have a better human rights record than our neighbours. Sure, we are not Switzerland or Denmark; we are part of the Third World and part of the Middle East. But we are better than our neighbours".

Myanmar

BBC 24 January, 2003, Burma invites Amnesty to visit Burma has been vilified for its human rights record By Larry Jagan BBC Burma analyst Human rights group Amnesty International has been invited to Burma to see current developments, according to Burmese government officials. Two Amnesty investigators will spend 10 days in Burma, meeting government officials and representatives of other relevant organisations. They are also expected to meet the leader of the opposition, Aung San Suu Kyi, and representatives of many of the country's ethnic groups. Rangoon's invitation to Amnesty is a significant gesture on the part of Burma's military rulers This is the first time the UK-based human rights organisation has been allowed into the country. Amnesty is wary of making public any of the details of the trip for fear it might jeopardise the success of the mission. For the Burmese military government, it is a major publicity coup. Amnesty International has been one of the staunchest critics of the military regime's human rights abuses ever since the army seized power more than 14 years ago. The Generals are hoping that by inviting Amnesty, they can convince the international community that they are serious about improving their human rights record and introducing democratic reform. Short visit But it will take more than a single mission to do that. Nevertheless, Rangoon's invitation to Amnesty is a significant gesture on the part of Burma's military rulers. Over the past few years bodies like the International Red Cross, the International Labour Organisation and the United Nations Human Rights Commission have all engaged the regime on issues related to human rights. As a result some progress has indeed been made. But the Amnesty team cannot expect to achieve much on such a short visit, other than familiarise themselves with the situation first-hand and introduce themselves to key members of the government. Many democracy activists outside the country fear that Amnesty is being used to help deflect criticism of Burma's lack of progress on human rights at the annual UN hearings on human rights that begin in Geneva in a few months time.

BBC 24 January, 2003 EU opens small door to Burma The Burmese government is desperate for sanctions to be lifted The European Union has agreed to allow Burmese Deputy Foreign Minister Khin Maung Win to attend a summit between the EU and the Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean) in Brussels next week. This is the first time the EU has allowed the Burmese to be represented at such a high-level meeting, since the country was admitted to Asean in 1997. Asean officials described the move as "a big breakthrough", at a time when EU travel and trade sanctions against Burma remain in place. The military government has attained near pariah status amongst some members of the international community, following its failure to recognise the results of the 1990 elections. The EU has a "common position" on Burma which includes an arms embargo and a visa ban on senior regime members. Jeff Wilson, a spokesman for the UK foreign office, said the EU's position had not changed. He said British Foreign Minister Jack Straw would use the opportunity to "press the need for urgent progress in Burma". The Asean view is that dialogue with the Burmese Government is the only way to achieve change. To sit down and talk is better than not having a conversation at all Asean Secretary General, Ong Keng Yong The Asean Secretary General, Ong Keng Yong, told the French news agency AFP: "to sit down and talk is better than not having a conversation at all". Correspondents say the EU gesture may mean they are starting to consider a policy of greater engagement. Serious concerns Recently British foreign office minister Mike O'Brien described his concerns about the treatment of Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese democracy leader. Aung San Suu Kyi's NLD won the elections in 1990 In a telephone conversation with her on 23 January, he said the UK was very concerned about the increasing restrictions being placed on her freedom. During the conversation, she urged the EU to use the opportunity of the Asean talks to press for political change within Burma. Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of the National League for Democracy, was released from house arrest in May 2002. However there remain serious concerns within the international community about the Burmese people, who are still living under one of the world's most repressive regimes. r

Nepal

BBC 1 Jan 2003 Nepal, USA sign accord against transfer of nationals to international court Text of report by Nepalnews.com web site on 1 January Nepal and the United States Tuesday 31 December signed an accord not to surrender or otherwise transfer each other's nationals to any international court without the prior consent of the other country, the US embassy said. "Nepal and the United States share the highest regard for international standards of human rights, and remain firmly committed to presenting anyone guilty of war crimes, crimes against humanity, or genocide. The signing of this agreement in no way diminishes that commitment. Instead this accord reflects mutual concerns regarding the International Criminal Court treaty, including its possible implications for national sovereignty, the role of the United Nations Security Council, and its lack of appropriate checks and balance," the US embassy said. Foreign Secretary Madhu Raman Acharya and Ambassador Mike Malinosky signed the accord.

WP 2 Jan 2003 Nepal's Rebel War Turns Brutal for Rural Civilians By John Lancaster Page A01 BUNKOT, Nepal -- A year after the breakdown of peace talks between Maoist rebels and Nepal's government, violence between the two sides has reached new heights, raising fears of humanitarian disaster, regional instability and -- at least in Washington -- the emergence of a new breeding ground for international terrorism. Once welcomed by many Nepalis, the rebels have grown increasingly brutal in their "people's war," which they say is aimed at toppling the troubled constitutional monarchy of King Gyanendra. According to human rights monitors and victims, they have murdered teachers and other perceived enemies -- sometimes by beheading -- and severely beaten many more people, in some cases smashing the legs of suspected informers with the blunt side of an ax. Government security forces have fought back with harsh measures of their own, targeting not only the Maoists but in many instances unarmed civilians accused of supporting them, according to a report released last month by Amnesty International. The trend in the conflict can be read in statistics: Of the estimated 7,000 people killed since the Maoists launched their rebellion in 1996, more than 5,100 have died in the last 12 months, about 4,000 at the hands of the army or police, according to unofficial tallies by foreign embassies. The human toll can also be discerned in villages such as this one, a half-mile-long cluster of mud-and-stone houses nestled in a fold of terraced farm fields about 60 miles northwest of the capital, Katmandu. Notwithstanding the presence of 800 army troops in and around the provincial capital of Gorkha, barely 10 miles away by rutted dirt road, the Maoists pay regular visits to demand food and extort "taxes" from teachers and other government employees, people here say. At the same time, villagers are under pressure from the soldiers, who frequently pass through the area on patrols and warn them against helping the rebels, said Thakur Lamichan, a retired headmaster. "Two weeks back, the Maoists came to my house," said Lamichan, 52, an erect, dignified man in a wool scarf and traditional peaked cap. "They were asking for money, but since I wasn't there my wife just gave them food and then they left." He added, "Definitely it is not out of willingness, but if we don't feed them, they will threaten us." Though the rebels are active in 72 of Nepal's 75 administrative districts, according to diplomats, they do not yet threaten the survival of the government, which controls the major towns and cities. The Maoists' leaders -- leftist politicians who took their movement underground after concluding that Nepal's democratic experiment, begun in 1990, had failed -- remain sensitive to their image abroad and recently reiterated their desire for talks aimed at convening an assembly to write a new constitution for Nepal. "There is every possibility of dialogue," said Padma Ratna Tuladhar, a leftist politician and human rights activist who served as a mediator during the last round of negotiations. "We are quite confident we can bring them together again." But as the violence has escalated, foreign intelligence analysts have begun to speculate about the possibility of a breakdown in command and control within the movement, as power devolves to armed fighters who see the rebellion as an opportunity for score-settling or personal enrichment. Although the Maoists have no known state patron to provide arms and supplies, they have captured more than 1,000 weapons -- including antiquated Enfield rifles, light machine guns and Belgian-made automatic rifles -- from security forces and finance their activities through bank robbery and extortion, government officials say. They maintain ties to several like-minded groups in India and are able to move freely back and forth across the largely unpatrolled border. Known chiefly in the West as an exotic destination for well-heeled trekkers and mountaineers, Nepal is of limited strategic value to the United States or other foreign powers beyond the region. Nevertheless, Bush administration officials are concerned that if the Maoists come within striking distance of power, India could feel compelled to intervene on the side of the government -- possibly triggering a response from China, which has a history of tense relations with India. A more immediate worry -- reflected in the visit here last January by Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and last month by Christina Rocca, the assistant secretary of state for South Asia -- is that Nepal could be headed toward the roster of failed states hospitable to terrorism. "We don't want to see a vacuum or chaos in Nepal that mischief-makers could come and sit in," one envoy said. "This is a country where a little money goes a long way." To forestall those possibilities, Washington has pledged $38 million in development aid and $17 million in military training and equipment, including light weaponry and night-vision gear. The administration's plan to help the army has prompted criticism from some human rights activists, who say it will encourage further abuses by security forces and undermine chances for a negotiated settlement. U.S. officials say the military assistance will include human rights training and that Nepal, for all its failings, is still a multiparty democracy with a legitimate right to self-defense. They also question the Maoists' commitment to a negotiated settlement, suggesting that the rebels may simply be buying time to acquire more arms and ammunition. "The Maoists have to be bent toward negotiations, and that's where security assistance comes in," said U.S. Ambassador Michael E. Malinowski, who has likened the rebels' tactics to those of Cambodia's Khmer Rouge. "My argument is to get this fixed now, before it gets any worse. Otherwise there will be a much bigger bill to pay." The Maoists scored a major propaganda victory in June 2001 when Gyanendra's predecessor and brother, King Birendra, was murdered in a palace massacre carried out by Birendra's son, who then committed suicide. Following the massacre, the rebels entered into negotiations with the government. But when the talks failed to make headway, the Maoists launched an aggressive new phase of the war, seizing weapons and killing hundreds of security personnel in mass assaults on remote police outposts and army barracks. Since then, the all-important tourist industry has collapsed, and the country's political crisis has deepened following the dissolution of parliament last spring by then-Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, who was dismissed by Gyanendra in October after postponing new elections. Gyanendra has since appointed an interim government, a move denounced by Maoists and major political parties alike as unconstitutional. But the Maoists, too, appear to have lost support as a consequence of their attacks on civilians perceived as symbols of the government, such as teachers and postmasters, as well as suspected government informers. "I used to think they were doing something good for the country," said Shyam Sundar, 35, as he lay in a Katmandu hospital with steel rods pinning his two shattered legs. In November, Maoists used an ax to splinter the bones below his knees after accusing him -- falsely, he says -- of spying for security forces. "Initially people thought the Maoists would be shock therapy for this decaying political scene," said Kapil Shresta of Nepal's Human Rights Commission. "However, their indulgence of this wanton and brazen violence, and extortion, has really made people very disappointed in the Maoists." The Royal Nepal Army is scarcely more popular. Called out of its barracks just 13 months ago, with its experience limited to ceremonial duties and peacekeeping missions abroad, the army has frequently failed to distinguish between friend and foe. Samari Budha, 27, is one of countless Nepalis who have been caught in the middle of the conflict. In early October, she said, an army patrol entered her village in the Rukum district in pursuit of rebels who had arrived there in search of food. In the ensuing gun battle, a bullet hit her in the face, shattering her jaw and leaving her blind in one eye. By her account, the army made no effort to evacuate dead or wounded civilians. In great pain and accompanied by her elderly mother and two small children, she was carried to the nearest paved road on the back of a porter. The trip took seven days; another week passed before she reached the capital and finally received medical care. "I don't know anything about these things," Budha said from her hospital bed in Katmandu, where she is awaiting plastic surgery to close the festering wound to her jaw. "I don't even know who Maoists are." Lt. Col. Shiva Ram Kharel, the battalion commander in Gorkha, said he is sympathetic to villagers who find themselves caught in the conflict and that he has ordered his troops not to punish people for giving food to the Maoists. "The security situation, I cannot say it is completely under our control," he said, puffing on a cigarette outside the stone bungalow that serves as his headquarters. "If we kill one, they will multiply by 10."

Asian Tribune 3 Jan 2003 Nepal massacre a grand design: G P Koirala Kathmandu, Jan 2: Former prime minister of Nepal Girija Prasad Koirala has threatened to expose what he said was a 'grand design' behind the 2001 massacre which left 10 members of the royal family dead, a report said Thursday. "I deliberately choose to keep shut but I will expose everything at an opportune time," he was quoted as saying by the Kathmandu Post at a public meeting in Janakpur on Wednesday. "The time is not far away," he added. King Birendra, Queen Aishwarya and seven other royals were gunned down on June 1 2001. An official investigation found that a drunk Crown Prince Dipendra had carried out the shootings, before killing himself. The massacre shocked the world and was seen as a calamity by the people of the Himalayan kingdom, many of whom revere the king as an incarnation of the Hindu god Lord Vishnu. When Birendra's brother Gyanendra took over the throne shortly afterwards people protested on the streets. Koirala said he had been keeping quiet over the issue fearing that it would trigger fresh unrest, according to the Kathmandu Post. Koirala also criticised Gyanendra, who in October sacked the elected prime minister who had dissolved parliament to hold mid-term elections. The king then installed an interim government and indefinitely postponed the polls. "The king still has the chance to make a correction to the constitutional process by reviving the parliament," Koirala told the meeting. "The constitution of Nepal stipulates that elections must be conducted within six months of the dissolution of parliament, and it goes without saying that the dissolution is subject to either timely elections or restoration of the House of Representatives," he said.(Agencies) www.asiantribune.com

North Korea

AFP 8 Jan 2003 North Korea to be short of 2m tonnes of food next year: Seoul SEOUL, Jan 8 (AFP) - Famine-hit North Korea will be short of more than two million tonnes of food to feed its population next year, South Korean official estimates showed Wednesday. A survey conducted by the South's unification ministry and the Rural Development Administration said the North's total food demand for next year will be 6.32 million tonnes, up 60,000 tonnes from a year ago. But the Stalinist state is expected to produce only 4.13 million tonnes of food, it said. North Korea has relied heavily on outside donations to feed its 23-million population over the past seven years due to a failed centralized economic policy and a series of natural disasters. The United Nations' World Food Programme (WFP) said this week that it urgently needed 80,000 tonnes of food to feed some three million North Koreans who have not received food aid since the autumn. But the Rome-based agency said Tuesday that it had only about 35,000 tonnes of food which had been donated by Italy and the European Union. The United States, Japan and South Korea are traditionally the biggest donors to WFP for North Korea. But Tokyo made no contributions last year due to the faltering normalization talks with Pyongyang. There are fears that outside food donations will dwindle in the coming months as it receives US-led global condemnation over its decision last month to restart a plutonium-producing nuclear plant. The WFP says it is feeding 3.4 million people out of its targeted 6.4 million in North Korea.

Pakistan

The Balochistan Post 19 Jan 2002 Non-Pashtun ethnic group emerges to fight against US By Behroz Khan, The News PESHAWAR: A non-Pashtun ethnic group, comprising of victims of atrocities of warlords in northern Afghan provinces, has emerged on the scene to wage Jihad against the US forces and their Afghan allies. The non-Pashtun Gujar Taliban led by Mulla Muhammad Yousaf Zahid claimed in a letter delivered to The News in Peshawar that US forces in collaboration with the warlords have pushed the ethnic minority to the wall, compelling it to wage Jihad against all those perpetrating atrocities on unarmed people in northern provinces of Afghanistan. This is the second group of Taliban after the Pashtun-dominated mainstream Taliban Movement, which announced Jihad against the US and its allies. Though, the movement seems insignificant due to its numerical strength in Afghanistan, the importance of the emerging group could not be underestimated due to the fact that the Gujars have a significant presence in Kunar and Nooristan provinces, which share borders with Pakistan's tribal belt. Situation in Kunar province is already tense for the Americans due to sporadic attacks by the anti-US Afghan groups and the unchecked search of houses and mosques during operations by the US forces to find clue to the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden, his close aids, remnants of Taliban and chief of his own faction of Hezb-e-Islami Afghanistan Gulbaddin Hekmatyar. The letter claimed that the Gujar Taliban has been raised as an organised force, which plans to expand the group to other provinces of the country in coordination with other anti-US forces. It said that people belonging to the Gujar community were subjected to worst kind of torture, their properties have been looted and snatched by different commanders and warlords and above all the honour of their women was not safe at the hands of these criminals. "We will take revenge from those involved in this inhuman treatment," the letter claimed. The fact about atrocities against the Gujar community in Baghlan, Kunduz, Takhar and Badakhshan provinces has also been confirmed by the UN fact-finding mission visiting the areas and interviewing locals. The letter also said that due to restriction imposed on them by the commanders, people from the ethnic minority are not allowed to give interviews to BBC and other radio broadcasts. Pashtuns living in the north of the country are also faced with similar situation and have been complaining against the highhandedness of forces loyal to the Northern Alliance. The Gujar minority has also sent delegations to Kabul to meet Afghan government authorities, UN officials, representatives of human right groups and media persons to inform them about the ground realities in the north of the country, but failed to find solace. US and the allied forces are under tremendous pressure from attackers in eastern as well as southern Afghan provinces, where Taliban and the al-Qaeda elements have been conducting guerrilla attacks amidst claims of inflicting heavy casualties on the US forces. The US officials have not confirmed reports about mounting casualties, but conceded attacks by Taliban and the al-Qaeda fighters on their forces.

Sri Lanka

VOA 8 Jan 2003 Sri Lanka talks start to show progress Scott Bobb Bangkok, 08 Jan 2003, 12:41 UTC - The Sri Lankan government and Tamil rebels say they made progress on rehabilitating war-ravaged parts of the country despite a dispute over disarming rebel groups. The development came on the third day of peace talks at a resort outside Bangkok. The spokesman for the government delegation, G.L. Peiris, told reporters the two sides made solid progress on ways to rehabilitate parts of northern and eastern Sri Lanka. He says a complete plan and timeframe are emerging for rebuilding the areas hardest hit by the 19 year civil war. The Tamil rebels and government negotiators also chose the World Bank to oversee millions of dollars of reconstruction aid that is beginning to come in. The World Bank had refused to sign an agreement with the rebels, but agreed to work with a joint, rehabilitation committee that includes representatives from both sides. Mr. Peiris tells VOA obtaining adequate donor financing is a major priority, and to inspire donor confidence rehabilitation activities must begin. "We are quite confident that on the basis of the arrangements that [are] now being made by the parties this will certainly be possible and the donors will certainly regard the progress made as adequate for that purpose," he said. The negotiator noted $85 million have already been pledged at a conference last month in Oslo. He says it is hoped more funds will be promised at a larger donors meeting next June in Japan. The government and the rebels sought to downplay a dispute over the disarmament issue. Rebel negotiators Tuesday withdrew from a committee on de-escalation after the government proposed that they lay down their arms before it allows nearly 10,000 refugee families to return to their homes in high security zones. Rebel negotiators say it is too early to discuss disarmament, but they will continue negotiating on less controversial humanitarian issues. This is the fourth round of peace talks since Norway mediated a ceasefire last February. The Tamil rebels had been fighting 19 years for independence from Sri Lanka's Sinhalese majority. They dropped those demands in favor of autonomy and are now talking with the government about implementing peace. The current round of negotiations is due to end Thursday, and a new round is scheduled for next month.

Turkmenistan

ICG 17 Jan 2003 Cracks in the Marble: Turkmenistan's Failing Dictatorship The international community can no longer afford to look at the failing dictatorship of President Saparmurat Niyazov as that of a comical despot. His continued rule is a serious threat to stability in the whole Central Asian region. Furthermore, there is unlikely to be any improvement in the situation as long as Niyazov remains in power. Especially Russia, the United States and the European Union must step up engagement with the Turkmen government, opposition, NGOs and independent media as a matter of urgency. Critical engagement and a serious attempt to work towards a peaceful transition of power should now be at the top of the international agenda in Central Asia. - For the full report, please see CrisisWeb - http://www.crisisweb.org

Europe

BBC 16 Jan 2003, UN warns of Roma plight UN says European Roma face discrimination By Oana Lungescu BBC Brussels correspondent A United Nations report has warned that Roma, or gypsies, in central and eastern Europe endure living conditions closer to those in sub-Saharan Africa than to Europe. One in six said they were constantly starving, while one in three Roma children failed to complete elementary school The report, by the UN Development Programme (UNDP), calls on five countries in the region to do more to tackle poverty and discrimination among the Roma community. The countries - Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Romania - are all scheduled to join the European Union. The Roma are the biggest ethnic minority in central and eastern Europe, estimated at about five million people. They are also the poorest of the poor. Starvation The UNDP report says that living conditions for most Roma are closer to countries like Zimbabwe or Botswana. More than half of those questioned in the survey said they went hungry at least a few days every year. One in six said they were constantly starving, while one in three Roma children failed to complete elementary school. But, despite low levels of education and discrimination by employers, the report disputes the staggering rates of unemployment often quoted in the media. It has been reported that 20% of Roma were formally employed, while another 20% worked in the shadow economy. But in some countries, up to 70% of Roma households live on state welfare. Distrust As Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia prepare to join the EU next year, and Romania and Bulgaria in 2007, many in Europe see this impoverished but fast-growing population as a potential source of crime and illegal immigration. The report calls for free textbooks and hot meals in schools for Roma children, positive discrimination in local government and more incentives to seek jobs. The EU has already spent almost $70m to improve the plight of the Roma. But many of them remain unaware of any aid programme, distrust even their own leaders and refuse to carry national ID cards. It is also unclear how many Roma actually live in central and eastern Europe, since, according to the report, half of them routinely claim to be part of another ethnic group.

IPS 16 Jan 2003 Millions of Roma Go Hungry Sanjay Suri Up to five million Roma people live in conditions ”closer to those of sub-Saharan Africa than to Europe,” says a new study by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) released in London Thursday. LONDON, Jan 16 (IPS) - Up to five million Roma people live in conditions ”closer to those of sub-Saharan Africa than to Europe,” says a new study by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) released in London Thursday. The survey on the Roma - a word used loosely to describe people some of whom migrated to Europe from what is now north-west India and Pakistan between 1000 and 2000 years ago - shows that one out of every two Roma in the countries surveyed, goes hungry at least a few days every year. One out of six is ”constantly starving”. The survey covers the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Romania, all of them in line for EU (European Union) membership. These five countries are estimated to have a population of four to five million Roma. The usual estimate for the Roma population for all of Europe is around eight million. ”When we speak of sub-Saharan conditions, in some respects it is a metaphor but in some aspects it is very real,” lead author of the UNDP report Andrey Ivanov told IPS. The human development index used for the report 'Avoiding the Dependency Trap' looks at income, education levels and health status, Ivanov said. ”Health in Roma communities sharply deteriorated in the last decade,” the report says. Infant mortality was found on average to be ”frighteningly high” at three times higher than the national average. In Romania the average life expectancy among the Roma is between 63 and 64 years, compared to the national average of close to 70. This is the first quantitative report on Roma in the five countries, based on 5.034 individual questionnaires. It shows that only 20 per cent of Roma are formally employed, with unemployment ranging from 64 per cent in Slovakia to 24 per cent in Romania. In all the countries but the Czech Republic, more than half the family income is spent on food purchases. The Roma per capita GDP (Gross Domestic Product) is estimated to be a third of the national average. The report says that a third of Roma failed to complete primary education, and more than two-thirds did not complete secondary education. In all five countries Roma children outnumbered others in schools for the mentally retarded. If these trends continue, the Roma could become unemployable in 10 to 15 years, the report says. The study says more Roma children should be brought into pre-school education and taught the majority language. It suggests free or subsidised text books and hot meals to attract Roma children to school. The report also proposes a 'United Roma College Fund' to improve access to higher education. It contains a string of recommendations also to improve health and employment. Whether these recommendations will lead to results is another matter. ”I am not particularly optimistic about individual countries engaging in efforts suggested by the UNDP,” Eben Friedman, research associate with the European Centre for Minority Issues told IPS. ”Such recommendations have been made before in the context of single countries,” he said. ”Resources would certainly be a limiting factor, but there is also a simple lack of will.” Macedonia with its limited resources has gone further than the other countries in addressing the problem, Friedman said. But the five countries covered in the report will have to face up to the problem because ”the success of the integration of some of these countries into the EU will depend on the successful integration of Roma within these countries,” he said. The Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia are due to join the EU in 2004, and Bulgaria and Romania in 2007. ”If efforts are not made now, there could be a movement from the new member states into other countries after 2004,” Friedman said. ”That would probably increase hostility against the Roma, and lead to a backlash against the new member countries.” But few are looking at any early breakthrough. ”We have to be realistic,” said Ivanov. ”We cannot expect major changes in the short term. What we need is a new conceptual framework which is not just about increased funds but how these funds are utilised.” The report says the human rights of the Roma will depend on their human development. ”Development has been missing from Roma policies so far,” Ivanov said. ”Their human rights cannot be fulfilled unless there is a legal framework supported by measures on employment, health and education.” The survey finds that almost eight out of ten Roma consider ”respect for human rights” to mean ”finding a job” and living free from hunger. The survey shows that 61 per cent of Roma voted in the last general elections, but that 86 per cent think their interests are not well represented at the national level, and 76 per cent think that they are not well represented at the local community level. ”In a European Union respectful of differences, the Roma should find their place as equal partners that contribute to Europe's extraordinary mosaic of cultures,” says Kalman Miszel, UNDP director for Europe who supervised the survey. Investments made so far have not contributed to a real improvement of the Roma situation, the report says. The survey shows that 79 per cent of Roma are not aware of any Roma aid programmes, and 91 per cent cannot name an NGO (non-governmental organisation) they can trust. The report says that at present 70 per cent of Roma live primarily off the state. This makes them ”active regarding benefits, limited regarding contributions”, the report says. ”This asymmetry can further promote exclusion and ethnic intolerance.”

Scotman UK Fri 17 Jan 2003 Newest EU members urged to improve life JONATHAN FOWLER IN GENEVA EAST European nations about to join the European Union should do more to integrate their gipsy minorities, confronting the widespread poverty and discrimination they face, the United Nations said yesterday. Gipsies - also known as Roma - are "the poorest of the poor" in Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, the United Nations Development Programme said as it released a 126-page study, "Avoiding the Dependency Trap". Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic are among the ten countries, mostly from the formerly communist east, expected to join the EU in 2004. "In a European Union respectful of differences the Roma should find their place as equal partners," said Kalman Mizsei, a UNDP official who supervised the study. The report called on east European governments to adopt affirmative action policies that would favour gipsies in public administration and education. Noting that some 30 per cent of gipsy households live on the dole, the UNDP said authorities also should tackle the "culture of dependency" with income-generating and "welfare-to-work" programmes. The five nations all have large gipsy minorities. Romania is believed to have more than 550,000 gipsies in a population of 21.7 million, and Bulgaria more than 365,000 out of 7.7 million people. But the UNDP said official statistics systematically undercount the numbers, often because the gipsies want to escape stigma and claim to be part of a different group. Romania’s gipsy population, Europe’s largest, could be as high as 2.5 million and Bulgaria’s could be 750,000. In Hungary the official figure is 190,000 but could be 800,000, in a population of 10 million. In Slovakia the number ranges from 90,000 to 520,000 - out of 5.4 million - and in the Czech Republic from 12,000 to 300,000 - out of 10.2 million. "By measures ranging from literacy to infant mortality to basic nutrition most of the region’s Roma endure living conditions closer to those in sub-Saharan Africa than to Europe," UNDP said. The agency said only 20 percent of gipsies have regular jobs, while a further 20 per cent work in the "informal economy". Many often go hungry, while one in six are "constantly starving". One-third of gipsy children fail to complete primary school while two-thirds never finish secondary school. "Roma children outnumber non-Roma children in schools for the mentally retarded, with no good health reasons in most cases," the study said. Although more than 60 per cent of gipsy adults across the region vote in elections, 84 per cent say the polls make no difference because MPs fail to represent their interests, the study indicated. "If current socio-economic marginalisation and inadequate education persist, in ten to 15 years substantial parts of the labour force in Europe may be unemployable," said Andrey Ivanov, one of the authors. The UNDP noted the EU has since 1994 spent millions of euros on aid for gipsies in future member countries, but most gipsies were unaware the programmes existed.

www.undp.sk Jan 2003 The Roma Human Development Report, entitled "Avoiding the Dependency Trap," points out that by such measures as literacy, infant mortality and basic nutrition, most of the region's four to five million Roma endure conditions closer to those of sub-Saharan Africa than Europe. The ambitious objective is to encourage the debate and exchange of information on the issue, to merge different organizations’ efforts where possible and to bring about real change in human development opportunities for marginalized communities of which Roma are the most numerous, primarily by expanding analysis from the focus on human rights alone to the broader challenge of human development. Progress on minority issues, especially the Roma, is a key criteria for European Union membership. The five countries surveyed in the report -- Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia -- are all EU candidates. Nearly half the Roma surveyed are unemployed and close to one person in six is "constantly starving." Only six out of 10 households have running water, and fewer than half have toilets in their homes. Only a third of Roma surveyed completed primary school, only six per cent completed secondary school and one per cent attended college. Year: 2003 Type: Regional Region/Country: EASTERN EUROPE Sub-National: Languages & Links English (http://www.ocean.sk/undp/)

http://hdr.undp.org/reports/detail_reports.cfm?view=708

Armenia

AZG Armenian Daily #008, 17/01/2003 Diplomatic ISRAELI DIPLOMAT ARRIVES IN YEREVAN Ambassador David Peleg, Deputy Director General of the Division for Central Europe and Eurasia arrived in Armenia on January 15, 2002. Mr. Peleg was working as Israeli permanent representative to UN and possesses a huge diplomatic experience, Israeli embassy in Georgia and Armenia said. This is the first visit of Mr. Peleg to Armenia. Meetings with Armenian officials are scheduled during his visit. His visit to Armenia coincides with the opening of the "Horizons" exhibition, which is organized by the Embassy of the State of Israel to Georgia and Armenia. Exhibition "Horizons" presents the beautiful scenes of Israel in pictures shot from the sky. During Mr. Pelegs visit to Armenia a local Armenian branch of "Shalom" Club will be established in Yerevan. Mr. Peleg is accompanied with the Ambassador of Israel to Georgia and Armenia HE Rivka Cohen.

AZG 18 Jan 2003 Armenian Daily #009 ISRAELI DIPLOMAT VISITS GENOCIDE MEMORIAL IN YEREVAN Ambassador David Peleg, Deputy Director General of the Division for Central Europe and Eurasia at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who arrived in Armenia on January 15, met with deputy foreign minister Ruben Shugarian, Armenian Catholicos Karekin II, chairman of parliament Armen Khachatrian, health minister Ararat Mkrtchian and other officials. The high-ranking Israeli diplomat visited, at the suggestion of the Armenian government, the Genocide Memorial in Yerevan and laid a wreath to the Monument of Genocide Victims. Mr. Peleg’s visit to Armenia coincided with the opening of the "Horizons" exhibition, dedicated to the 55-th anniversary of the establishment of the State of Israel, which is organized by the Embassy of the State of Israel to Georgia and Armenia and establishment of the Armenian branch of Shalom organization in Yerevan. The exhibition "Horizons" presents the beautiful scenes of Israel in pictures shot from the sky. Speaking later to the daily Azg Mr. Peleg said he was satisfied with the results of his first visit to Armenia. He singled out, particularly, his meeting with deputy foreign minister Shugarian. In response to my question that many diplomats avoid speaking about Armenian Genocide, the first of the past century, Mr. Peleg said he did not think that this question should be avoided. “We understand the grief and feelings of Armenians. I realized it when visited the Genocide Museum in Yerevan,” he said. David Peleg also spoke about opening Armenian and Israeli embassies in the two countries, but added that it largely depends on the pace of bilateral relations development. By Ruzan Poghosain

Belgium

BBC 15 Jan 2003 Belgium opens way for Sharon trial At least 800 people were killed at Sabra and Shatila Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt says he supports a change to the country's law on human rights, to allow the prosecution of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for alleged war crimes. Mr Verhofstadt said on Tuesday he did not object to parliament broadening the scope of the law so that a war crime could be prosecuted "no matter where the person accused of the crime is located," Belgian media said. Mr Sharon was defence minister at the time of the massacres The country's 1993 "universal competence" law allows Belgian courts to try cases of alleged human rights abuses committed anywhere in the world. But last June, a Belgian appeals court ruled that Mr Sharon could not be tried because crimes committed abroad could only prosecuted if the suspect was on Belgian territory. The case had been brought by survivors of the killing by Lebanese Christian militiamen of hundreds of Palestinians at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps near Beirut in 1982. A 1983 Israeli investigation found that Mr Sharon - as defence minister of the Israeli forces - was indirectly but personally responsible for the massacres. High-profile defendants In the run-up to the 2001 Israeli elections, Mr Sharon expressed regret about the "terrible tragedy" at Sabra and Shatila - but rejected any responsibility. Besides Mr Sharon, war crimes proceedings have been brought in Belgium against a number of world figures. These include Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, Cuban President Fidel Castro, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo. But those trials were suspended in June, after the Brussels appeals court ruling. Correspondents say the country's Senate could take a vote to reverse this decision as early as next week. So far, the only people tried under Belgium's controversial war crimes law are four Rwandans sentenced in 2001 for their role in the 1994 genocide of the country's Tutsi ethnic minority.

Ha'aretz 16 Jan 2003 Belgium amending law to enable Sharon trial By Yossi Melman Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt says he is not opposed to a proposal to amend the country's laws in a way that would allow Ariel Sharon to be indicted for war crimes. Verhofstadt made his comment on Tuesday on the efforts of several politicians in Belgium's senate to amend and broaden the country's war crime laws. Under the proposal, originally sponsored mainly by left-wing politicians in the senate, Belgium's 1993 "Universal Law" would be expanded to apply to any person suspected of war crimes, "no matter where the suspect may be located." The proposal won backing in the senate by all its parties. It then was moved to the state council, a body supposed to review the legal status of proposed bills, and evaluate their compatibility with Belgium's constitution. The council approved the proposed amendment and the bill returned to the senate, where it passed on first reading. Second and third reading votes will be carried out next week, and the senate will apparently fully approve it. Belgium's government also supports the law, and now the Prime Minister has clarified that he doesn't oppose it. Last June, a Belgian appeals court ruled that Ariel Sharon cannot face trial in the country on war crimes charges. Only suspects who dwell in Belgium can face trial for war crimes committed beyond the country's borders, the court found. Israeli officials expressed consternation about Verhofstadt's position. Belgium's Prime Minister visited Israel over a year ago, when he was acting chairman of the European Union. He met Sharon and the sources say that the meeting created the impression that Verhofstadt had reservations about legal proceedings which were then being carried out in Belgium against Israel's prime minister. The sources claimed that Belgium stands out as one of Europe's countries most hostile toward Israel. On Sunday, Belgium's ambassador to Israel was called to the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem, where he was informed of Israel's concerns regarding the proposed new bill in Belgium.

NYT 25 Jan 2003 Debating Belgium's War-Crime Jurisdiction By DAPHNE EVIATAR For two and half years in the late 1980's, Souleymane Guengueng was imprisoned in Chad, tortured and starved as he watched fellow inmates die around him. Packed into a 7-by-3-foot windowless cell that he shared with eight other prisoners, he pledged to inform the world of the ruthlessness of Chad's dictator, Hissène Habré, if he survived. Now, 12 years later, Mr. Guengueng, a 53-year-old accountant, is trying to do just that. Since his release following Mr. Habré's overthrow in 1990, Mr. Guengueng has been documenting the abuses of the former regime, hoping to force Mr. Habré — accused of some 40,000 political killings during his eight-year rule — to stand trial. Mr. Guengueng couldn't bring a case in Chad, because many of the torturers from the old regime remain in government. And Senegal, where Mr. Habré now lives, refused to prosecute. But Mr. Guengueng and others have a case pending against him — in Belgium. Over the last decade, the Belgian justice system has become a magnet for human rights advocates and atrocity victims around the world because of its unusually liberal law granting its courts "universal jurisdiction" — which means it can prosecute anyone who has committed genocide, war crimes or crimes against humanity anywhere in the world. Although other countries have similar laws, Belgium's is particularly broad, and its judges are unusually willing to use it. By the end of the 1990's, some 25 cases were pending there, charging the most heinous international crimes against leaders like Yasir Arafat and Fidel Castro. But now, that law is the subject of a bitter legal and political dispute, which it may not survive. The controversy started in 2001, when the survivors of the 1982 massacres at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Beirut by pro-Israeli Christian Lebanese militia filed a criminal complaint in Belgium against Israel's prime minister, Ariel Sharon, who was minister of defense in the early 1980's. Soon, the law that had won widespread praise was being attacked by lawyers, business leaders and foreign governments — in particular, the United States and Israel. Last summer, a Belgian appeals court dismissed the case against Mr. Sharon, deciding for the first time that Belgium can proceed only against accused criminals who are physically on its territory. That decision sparked a contentious debate in Belgium. At the moment, the country's highest court is preparing to hear an appeal by the Palestinians while human rights advocates lobby the Belgian Parliament to restore the law's original scope. Belgian business groups and American and Israeli diplomats are urging the opposite result. Two bills — both of which would nullify the court's decision in the Sharon case and substantially restore the original law — are pending in Parliament. Last week the Belgian prime minister, Guy Verhofstadt, said he supported those amendments, and on Wednesday the Senate Justice Commission voted in favor of them. Although this case is now making headlines in Europe, the idea of "universal jurisdiction" was already the subject of intense debate in the scholarly world. No one argues with the goal of ending impunity for the world's worst human rights criminals. The question is how. How do you ensure due process? How do you balance achieving justice against practical political considerations? "What do you do when there's tension between the ideals of justice and the need for peace, democratization and stability?" asked Gary Jonathan Bass, author of "Stay the Hand of Vengeance: The Politics of War Crimes Tribunals" and assistant professor of politics at Princeton University. Winning peace may require making a deal with the devil, Professor Bass explained — allowing a tyrant to get away, literally, with mass murder. In Chile, in return for his surrender of power in 1990, the dictator Augusto Pinochet received immunity from prosecution as "senator for life." This week, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld suggested that providing amnesty for Saddam Hussein would be a "fair trade" to avoid a war. Others scholars, meanwhile, question whether the law can be fairly applied. "It might be applied only against weak and vulnerable countries, or politically applied and therefore create unenforceable claims and discredit the process," said Richard Falk, professor of politics and international law at Princeton and author of numerous books on international justice. "The question is, Is it better to do what you can even if it's very modest, or to try to do nothing and avoid double standards?" Originally used to prosecute pirates, the principle of universal jurisdiction allows any country to prosecute a small number of crimes — regardless of where, when or by whom committed — that are considered so heinous, dangerous and internationally condemned that they offend all of humanity. Although arguably the basis for Israel's trial of Adolf Eichmann in 1961, it seemed largely forgotten until 1998, when a Spanish judge invoked universal jurisdiction to extradite Mr. Pinochet from London to stand trial in Spain. Scholars' recent interest in universal jurisdiction, Professor Falk said, is a byproduct of the cold war's end, when security, for a time, seemed less pressing and humanitarian concerns commanded attention. "Beginning with the former Yugoslavia, criminal accountability for crimes of state leaders became an important international concern," he said. That led to the two ad hoc United Nations tribunals that were created after the genocides in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, and culminated last year in the surprising creation of the International Criminal Court. But this court doesn't eliminate the need for using domestic courts to pursue international outlaws, legal experts say. "The I.C.C. only has jurisdiction over crimes committed in a country or by nationals of a country that has ratified the statute," said Reed Brody, special counsel for Human Rights Watch and a lead lawyer on the Habré case. Many countries — including the United States, Israel, Russia and China — have not. (The United States wants all Americans exempted from prosecution, arguing the court might stage politically motivated trials of its senior leaders). Furthermore, the new court can prosecute crimes committed only after it came into existence — on July 1, 2002. In the hopes of creating consensus on how to pursue universal justice, 30 law professors, judges, diplomats and lawyers from around the world met at Princeton two years ago to draft a set of principles to guide judges and legislatures. The resulting "Princeton Principles on Universal Jurisdiction," which will be published with a collection of essays by the University of Pennsylvania Press, reflect the broadest version of Belgium's law. The guidelines encourage domestic courts worldwide to prosecute heinous war criminals even if they have no connection whatsoever to the country sitting in judgment — so long as they provide "international due process norms" and other safeguards. Such formulations don't solve the current dispute in Belgium, though. "Belgium is a small country," said Michèle Hirsch, who represents Israel in the Sharon case. "We cannot be the judge of the world." To the law's supporters, though, it is a moral imperative. "Genocide and crimes against humanity should not be accepted in the world today, just as terrorism isn't accepted," said Senator Alain Destexhe, a member of the Belgian Parliament. "Universal jurisdiction is a strong political commitment for peace, stability, rule of law and democracy." Mr. Destexhe insists the law's critics, including the United States, are being unnecessarily alarmist. "The objective is to go after the worst criminals in the world who commit crimes against humanity and genocide. It's not to go after the U.S." One of the two amendments approved by the Senate Justice Commission on Wednesday would require that in the future, for victims to file a case without prior approval from a judge, the victims or the accused must have a connection to Belgium. The other would prohibit prosecuting government officials while they're in office, a change demanded last February by the International Court of Justice in the Hague. At the moment, victims like Mr. Guengueng are fighting to pursue their cases. "Many people have exposed themselves to physical and emotional intimidation in coming forth to testify against the former regime," he wrote in an editorial published in the Belgium newspaper La Libre Belgique in November. "They had faith in Universal Jurisdiction." he added. "The victims of Hissène Habré's repressive regime depend on Belgium to exercise this moral obligation." Despite the legal hurdles, Mr. Guengueng remains optimistic. As he said during a recent trip to New York, "I still believe justice will be done." .

Bosnia

NYT 1 Jan 2003 January 1, 2003 E.U. Takes Over for U.N. in Supervising Police in Bosnia By SERGE SCHMEMANN The European Union officially took over responsibility from the United Nations today for training and supervising Bosnian police, in a move viewed as a test run of the Union's evolving common-defense policy. At a brief ceremony in Sarajevo, the Danish commissioner of the European Union Police Mission, Sven Fredriksen, said the operation underlines how the rule of law is central to the union. "There can be no mistake," he said, "only the rule of law will place Bosnia firmly on the road to Europe." The transfer marked the end of United Nations peacekeeping in Bosnia, which was put in place as part of the American-brokered Dayton peace accords. The major mission of the United Nations was to restructure a police force torn by ethnic hatreds and battered by three and a half years of civil war. A statement issued by the United Nations described it as the most extensive police reform and restructuring mission ever undertaken by the United Nations. Among the accomplishments of the mission was the reduction of local forces from 44,000 to about 16,000; the retraining of hundreds of police officers, and a thorough reform of the border guards. The European force of about 500, whose mandate runs until 2005, will be a third smaller than the United Nations' contingent. Officials said about 80 percent of the officers will be from European Union states, and the rest from other European countries and Canada. The operation will cost the union about 38 million dollars (euros) annually, considerably less than the United Nation's budget had been. The reduction in manpower and spending has been a matter of some concern in Bosnia. The United Nations employed about 1,500 local staff, many of whom are likely to be laid off. Some Bosnians have also expressed concern that the smaller European force will be capable of fully policing human trafficking and corruption, which had been major projects under the United Nations. The European team is expected to maintain the basic focus on the United Nations on monitoring and training Bosnian officers in the two entities that now comprise Bosnia the Muslim-Croat Federation, which includes Sarajevo, and the Serb-run Republica Srpska. Mr. Fredricksen said the European mission will also continue to combat organized crime, which has a far too strong and destructive hold on the country. The 15-member European Union, which already finances much of Bosnia's economic reforms, decided last March to assume responsibility for training police as part of an effort to shape a common security and defense policy. Another European Union force is supposed to take over a NATO-led peacekeeping mission in Macedonia next month, and the union has offered to take over the entire NATO-led Stabilization Force in Bosnia, which was also set up under the Dayton accords and numbers 12,000 soldiers. In its statement, the United Nations said one of its greatest challenges had been the legacy of the massacres at Srebrenica. "Our aims were not only to assist in healing the wounds of the survivors of the massacre, but also, in the scope of peace building and to lay the foundations for recovery," it said. Further normalization depends on the handover of war crime suspects to the International Criminal Tribunal of Former Yugoslavia, the statement said. The American ambassador-at-large for war crimes, Pierre-Richard Prosper, plans to tour the Balkans later this month to press for the arrest of war criminals still at large. In the Republica Srpska, he is expected to press for the arrest of Radovan Karadzic, a Bosnian Serb leader. We need to see some proactive measures that will be designed to bring Karadzic into custody,` Mr. Prosper told reporters in Washington. Mr. Prosper will also press Yugoslavia to arrest Ratko Mladic, who led the Bosnian Serb forces in the Bosnian war. Mr. Mladic is believed to spend much of his time in Yugoslavia, which risks losing American economic assistance after March 31 unless it arrests indicted war criminals. About 25 of them are believed to be in the region.

AFP 15 Jan 2003 PROSECUTOR VOWS TO GET BOSNIAN SERBS The chief United Nations war crimes prosecutor, Carla Del Ponte, said that the United Nations tribunal in The Hague would not shut down until it had tried Radovan Karadzic, the Bosnian Serb wartime leader, and his military commander, Ratko Mladic. The tribunal "cannot close its doors before bringing them to justice," Ms. Del Ponte said in an interview with the Swiss daily Tages-Anzeiger. She said she told President Jacques Chirac of France in Paris last week that the failure of the NATO-led peacekeeping force in Bosnia to arrest Dr. Karadzic, who lives there, was "scandalous." She also said General Mladic's hiding places in Belgrade were well known.(Agence France-Presse)

Cyprus

AFP 15 Jan 2003 DEMONSTRATORS WANT PEACE DEAL Tens of thousands of Turkish Cypriots took to the streets in Nicosia to persuade their leader, Rauf Denktash, to agree to a peace deal with Greek Cypriots. A new round of talks is to start today and United Nations negotiators are urging Cyprus's Greek and Turkish leaders to accept a plan to reunite the island ahead of Cyprus's entry into the European Union next year. Cyprus has been divided since Turkish forces invaded and occupied the island's north in 1974. Anthee Carassava (NYT)

France

BBC 4 Jan 2003 Rabbi stabbed at Paris synagogue Rabbi Farhi was alone at the time of the attack A Jewish rabbi needed treatment in hospital after being attacked as he left a synagogue in eastern Paris on Friday. Rabbi Gabriel Farhi was stabbed in the stomach by an unknown assailant who then fled the scene. Mr Farhi, 34, said his wound was "large but not deep". Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe: Stabbed in October The rabbi told the French news agency AFP that he had earlier received a threatening letter referring to Jihad - the Muslim holy war - against enemies of the Palestinians. The liberal Jewish MJLF movement of which Mr Farhi is a prominent member said the letter warned that "the blood of our Palestinian brothers will be avenged". It also contained a threat to set fire to the synagogue, which was already seriously damaged by fire last May. Mayor's support "Someone rang at the door, I opened and a man a bit shorter than me... wearing a motorbike helmet with its visor down said Allahu Akbar [God is Great] and then stabbed me," Mr Farhi told AFP. He said the stranger had a perfect French accent. Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe, himself a recent stabbing victim, said in a statement he was "shocked by this hateful attack". He said he hoped the attacker would be bought to justice quickly, and expressed sympathy for Mr Farhi's family and the Jewish community. On 6 October, Mr Delanoe underwent emergency surgery after being stabbed in the abdomen at City Hall, during the French capital's Sleepless Night festival.

6 January, 2003 Stabbed Paris rabbi's car torched Rabbi Farhi was alone at the time of the attack A Paris rabbi who was stabbed and slightly injured outside his synagogue last week in a suspected anti-Semitic attack has had his car set alight. Gabriel Farhi's vehicle was scorched in an underground garage of his apartment building on Monday. Mr Farhi was wounded in the stomach at the synagogue on Friday - reportedly by a masked man who shouted "God is Great". This odious act arouses indignation French President Jacques Chirac Correspondents say attacks against Jews and synagogues have intensified in France since 11 September 2001. France's Jewish community of some 500,000 endured a spate of anti-Semitic attacks last year, with more than 300 crimes targeting Jews, their schools and synagogues over a period of three months. The fire consumed the back end of Gabriel Farhi's car, according to police. French President Jacques Chirac denounced the stabbing during an annual New Year's meeting with leaders of France's Catholic, Protestant and Jewish communities on Monday. "This odious act arouses indignation," he said. The French interior minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, is to attend a special service at the synagogue on Wednesday to show solidarity with the Jewish community. Stabbing Mr Farhi needed treatment in hospital after being attacked as he left a synagogue in eastern Paris on Friday. Mr Farhi, 34, said his wound was "large but not deep". The rabbi said he had earlier received a threatening letter referring to Jihad - the Muslim holy war - against enemies of the Palestinians. The liberal Jewish MJLF movement (www.mjlf.col.fr), of which Mr Farhi is a prominent member, said the letter warned that "the blood of our Palestinian brothers will be avenged". It also contained a threat to set fire to the synagogue, which was already seriously damaged by fire last May.

BBC 7 Jan 2003, French Jews leave home for Israel Opponents of Israeli policy also rejected an academic boycott Emigration of French Jews to Israel increased drastically last year in the wake of a string of attacks on members of the community. A liberal Paris rabbi was attacked last week France, which has the largest Jewish population in the European Union, lost 2,326 citizens - a tiny fraction of the total community but the largest number in 30 years and double that of 2001. Their departure comes as many other Jews in Israel apply for EU visas - notably German - in order to escape the violence in the Middle East. During 2002, a spate of suspected anti-Semitic attacks were carried out in France, believed to be retaliation for Israel's occupation of Palestinian towns and killing of civilians. At the end of last week, a Paris rabbi was stabbed and slightly injured outside his synagogue. On Monday, his car was set alight. Boycott abandoned Hostility towards Israel's behaviour towards its neighbours has also spread to the French academic community, although a boycott proposed by the elite Paris VI University now appears to have been dropped. Mayor Delanoe called boycott "a tragic error" Hundreds of protesters gathered outside the university on Monday night to demonstrate against a decision to discontinue research and educational exchanges with Israel as a show of political protest. Many academics and politicians outraged by Israel's actions in the Palestinian territories said severing educational ties was a wholly unproductive way to confront the issue. Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe sent a representative to read a personal message which called the university's boycott "both a shocking act and a tragic error". Under a headline titled "No to boycott", the Le Monde newspaper said such a ban would "not signify a split with a state and its politics, but with a humane community". Solidarity display The liberal rabbi Gabriel Farhi was stabbed in the stomach outside a synagogue on Friday and his car scorched in an underground garage of his apartment building on Monday. French President Jacques Chirac denounced the stabbing during an annual New Year's meeting with leaders of France's Catholic, Protestant and Jewish communities on Monday. "This odious act arouses indignation," he said. The French Interior Minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, is to attend a special service at the synagogue on Wednesday to show solidarity with the Jewish community.

Greece

Observer UK 5 Jan 2003 Greece faces shame of role in Serb massacre - War crimes tribunal will hear secrets of support for Milosevic's ethnic cleansing Helena Smith in Athens Sunday January 5, 2003 The Observer It is what Hellenes have long feared: the shattering of a conspiracy of silence that has surrounded the role of Greek volunteers who proudly flew their flag at Srebrenica, after participating in Europe's worst massacre since the Second World War, when 7,000 men, women and children died. Next week, as Greece settles into the presidency of the European Union, Milan Milutinovic, Serbia's recently retired president, will be brought before the war crimes tribunal at The Hague. Greek involvement in the atrocity, as well as other secrets Athens would prefer buried, could be revealed when the 60-year-old testifies. No one, it is said, played such a pivotal role in the alliance between Athens and Belgrade during the Nineties Balkan conflicts. As Yugoslavia's ambassador to Greece, Milutinovic was Slobodan Milosevic's most trusted lieutenant. His links with Greece's political, religious and business elites were allegedly crucial to Serbia's secret economic infrastructure. They allowed the country to evade United Nations sanctions and, according to the International Criminal Tribunal, contributed considerably towards Milosevic's war machine. When the diplomat was promoted to Foreign Minister in 1994, he retained his Athens post for several months when, EU diplomats say, he stashed away funds to buy villas and other prime properties in Athens and Crete at the behest of his boss. With Greece's admiring public, pro-Serbian church, tolerant media and governments that supported Milosevic, Athens was seen as a bolt-hole by the now disgraced president. As Bosnian Serb ethnic cleansers torched villages, it was here Milosevic would escape to enjoy the hospitality of Greek politicians. Marko Milosevic, his lascivious smuggler son, declared Greece 'my first home'. 'This is our best-kept secret, the subject no politician of any persuasion has ever wanted to broach,' said Takis Michas, author of Unholy Alliance: Greece and Milosevic's Serbia. 'In an era where everyone is saying sorry, in Greece at least no one has shown remorse for the crimes in Bosnia when undoubtedly a significant proportion of the political establishment bear some responsibility.' The US-published book, yet to be printed in Greek, records in shocking detail the relationship between the two Orthodox nations, including the leaking of Nato military intelligence under socialist leader Andreas Papandreou. The Greeks know their past may be catching up with them. After last month's long statement of contrition before the Hague tribunal by the former Bosnian Serb leader, Biljana Plavsic, many believe it is only a matter of time before others open up too. A Dutch documentary investigating Greek complicity in the Serb wars was aired on local television in which a director of the semi-official Athens News Agency, Nikolas Voulelis, admitted to widespread censorship. During the wars the Greek media was fanatically pro-Serb, portraying Yugoslav Muslims as 'infidel Turks' bent on destroying their Orthodox brethren. 'Editorial interference was a given,' he said. But it was not only hospitality or money that the Greeks offered. Spiritual succour was provided by the Greek Orthodox church which sent priests to the front line (several clerics received bravery medals from Plavsic). In a step repeated in no other country, Archbishop Serafeim invited the Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic to visit Athens in 1993. At a mass rally attended by prominent politicians, the indicted war criminal proclaimed: 'We have only God and the Greeks on our side.' Last year, in a 7,000-page report that the Dutch authorities commissioned into the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, Greece was revealed to have sent shipments of light arms and ammunition to the Bosnian Serb army between 1994 and 1995. The report describes how Greek volunteers were implored, in intercepted army telephone conversations, to raise the Greek flag after the town fell. In one, General Ratko Mladic asked that they record the scene on video for propaganda purposes. Around 100 soldiers are believed to have joined the Greek Volunteer Guard, formed at Mladic's request. The unit, which fought alongside Russians and Ukrainians, was led by Serb officers and had its own insignia - the double-headed eagle of Byzantium. At least four of its members were awarded the White Eagle medal of honour by Karadzic. Although their 'heroic' exploits were widely reported in the Greek press, the volunteers have gone to ground since the creation of the war crimes tribunal. No government or party has ever sought an inquiry into their activities.

Hungary

AP 5 Dec 2002 Skinheads disrupt Hanukkah celebration in Budapest By The Associated Press BUDAPEST, Hungary - A large group of skinheads disrupted an open-air celebration of Hanukkah in Budapest by noisily chanting "Hungary is ours!" a Jewish official said Thursday. The incident took place Wednesday evening when members of the Hungarian Revisionist Movement - a far-right nationalist organization - demonstrated at a central square where members of the city's Jewish community were lighting candles on the sixth day of the eight-day Jewish Festival of Lights. "There were several hundred skinheads in front of the stage," Gusztav Zoltai, the director of the Federation of Hungarian Jewish Communities, told The Associated Press. Zoltai said police did not intervene because both groups had received permission from police to hold meetings on the square. National police Chief Laszlo Salgo publicly apologized for the disturbance to members of the Jewish community at a press conference in the southern town of Szeged, the national news agency MTI reported. He said that a mistake by a local police administrator was probably responsible for both events being allowed to take place at the same time and that an internal investigation was underway. Budapest police said in a statement that they did not intervene because "from (our) point of view, there was no disturbance ... there was no breakdown of public order." Representatives of foreign Jewish organizations were also present at the celebration ahead of a weekend meeting of the European Jewish Congress in the city. Around 100,000 Jews live in Hungary, a country of 10 million. Open displays of anti-Semitism are fairly uncommon.

Italy

Agenzia Giornalistica Italia (English Version), Italy 27 Jan 2003 RACIAL LAWS: FINI SPEAKS OF "SHAMEFUL EVENTS" (AGI) - Rome, Italy, Jan. 27 - "Racial laws are a shameful part of our nation's history, and the cause of horrors. They must be condemned, stigmatised, denounced and their immorality must be understood by everyone. These moral indictments cannot be stated too often, and we must clearly emphasise our stance on this matter". The words were spoken by the Deputy Prime Minister, Gianfranco Fini, who took part in Remembrance Day events held in the Rome Auditorium. "Italy is one with regards to not forgetting - Fini said - and in its alertness against any form of racism, anti-Semitism or intolerance. It is especially relevant to the education of the younger generations". Fini said he was extremely grateful for being invited by Rai's president, Antonio Baldassarre, to stand in for the government during the screening of the film on Giorgio Perlasca. "I think it is very important that national television has organised events aimed at schools, the younger generations; they must be reminded - Fini said - of what happened. As G.B. Shaw put it, if we do not hand our knowledge down, if we do not remember, even tragic events risk being portrayed as a mere soap opera and not, as was the case, as horrendous truth". (AGI http://www.agi.it/english)

Lithuania

Baltic News Service, 16 Jan 2003, LITHUANIA READYING TO COOPERATE WITH INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT Lithuania is readying to cooperate with the International Criminal Court. On Thursday the Government decided to ask the president to submit the 1998 Rome Treaty on the International Criminal Court to the Seimas for ratification. According to the Treaty, member states commit to cooperate with the Court in crime investigation and criminal prosecution for the crimes falling under the Court's jurisdiction. In 1993 the United Nations Security Council established an International Tribunal to hear the cases of persons charged with serious crimes against humanity in the territory of former Yugoslavia. In 1994 an International Tribunal was established to judge the persons charged with crimes against humanity in Rwanda. Still, it was necessary to establish an international criminal court working permanently and having a universal jurisdiction to judge those charged with crimes against peace and humanity. The project of the International Criminal Court statute was adopted in 1993. In 1998, on the basis of Rome TYreaty, the International Criminal Court was founded; its jurisdiction is confined to the most serious crimes. The Court's jurisdiction covers the crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and crime of aggression. Rome Treaty came into force on July 1, 2002; thus only the crimes committed after this date fall under the International Criminal Court's jurisdiction. When a country joins the Statute, it acknowledges the Court's jurisdiction. The major punishments imposed by the court are deprivation of freedom for a period of up to 30 years or life imprisonment. Taking in to consideration the existing Lithuanian national legislation and international commitments, Justice Ministry proposes to declare that Lithuania is ready to take the persons tried by the International Criminal Court for serving punishment in Lithuania but only if the above-mentioned persons are Lithuanian nationals. At present 139 countries of the world signed the Rome Treaty on the International Criminal Court.

Netherlands

AP 9 Jan 2003 Serb assassin testifies against Milosevic Shrouded witness was member of Red Berets, admits killing warlord Arkan THE HAGUE (AP) — A dreaded Serbian paramilitary force known for its brutality during the Balkan wars was under the direct command of Slobodan Milosevic, a former member of the so-called "Red Berets" testified as the former Yugoslav president's war-crimes trial resumed. Milosevic, acting as his own defence attorney, sought to discredit the witness by wringing an admission from him that he was involved in the slaying of a Serb warlord known as Arkan, the highest-profile assassination since the end of the Balkan wars. The trial of the former Yugoslav resumed at the war-crimes tribunal in The Hague after a three-week break over the holiday season. Milosevic, who doctors say has high blood pressure and is at risk of a heart attack, looked relaxed and well-rested. The witness, identified only as "K-2" for his protection, told the court that he had served in the Special Operations Unit, which was part of Serbia's Secret Service during the 1992-95 war in Bosnia, a group he said operated under the direct command of Milosevic's wartime regime. Pay slips or cash wages came in envelopes from the Serbian Interior Ministry, he said. "We had full support in the form of ammunition, uniforms and all other necessities," said the witness, whose image was blurred on court monitors. The unit, called the Red Berets for its attire, was a hardline nationalist Serb group known for brutality in fighting in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo. Among their tasks were assassinations, counter-insurgency and deep infiltration behind front lines. "Our unit had to do whatever it was asked to do. There was no possibility to say no. ... The doors of the president were open to us," he said. Asked which president he meant, he replied, "There was only one president and that was President Milosevic." After the war, the force became the anti-terrorist unit of the Serbian Interior Ministry. In 2000, it helped overthrow Milosevic from power. During cross-examination by Milosevic, K-2 acknowledged his involvement in the 2001 killing of the Yugoslav warlord Zeljko Raznatovic, better known as Arkan. "Were you are involved in the murder of Arkan?" Milosevic asked the witness. "Yes," K-2 replied. "That is the main reason why you are no longer living in Serbia and concealing your identity?" Milosevic said. "Yes," the witness answered. K-2 said he left the Red Berets in February or March 1997 and became a policeman in the Kosovo capital Pristina. In October 2001, a Belgrade court convicted a former policeman and sentenced him to 20 years in prison for gunning down Arkan, Serbia's most notorious underworld boss, and his two bodyguards in the lobby of a Belgrade hotel. Arkan's assassination triggered speculation that Milosevic had ordered him silenced because he could be a potential witness against him. The Belgrade district court found seven others guilty of either being accomplices or aiding in the murder conspiracy. It was not clear if K-2 was among the seven. K-2 declined to answer Milosevic's questions about his current occupation and residence in open court session, and hearings were briefly closed to the public. Milosevic said the witness "doesn't know what he is talking about," and that the Red Berets were a "regular unit" that wore the hats commonly used by police and army forces. Milosevic, 61, the highest ranking politician to face war crimes charges, is defending himself against 66 counts brought by prosecutors for his alleged role in abuses during the Balkan wars of the 1990s. He faces a possible life sentence if convicted of any one count of war crimes. His trial, which began in February 2002 and is now dealing with the Croatian and Bosnian wars, after the prosecution completed its presentations on the 1999 Kosovo conflict. The trial is expected to last well into 2004. In another case before the tribunal, a trial chamber has ordered former Bosnian Serb leader Biljana Plavsic to testify in the trial of Milomir Stakic, who faces charges of genocide in Bosnia. Tribunal spokesperson Jim Landale said Plavsic, who has pleaded guilty to war crimes charges in a deal with prosecutors, will be called as a witness shortly after her own sentencing hearing for which no date has been set. She has said she would not voluntarily testify in other cases, including Milosevic's.

Guardian UK 29 Jan 2003 Tirade against Islam dismays Dutch Muslims MP under investigation for inciting hatred Andrew Osborn Wednesday January 29, 2003 The Guardian The Netherlands' one million-strong Muslim community has become embroiled in a furious row over free speech after its chief critic - a woman MP who has been dubbed the Dutch Salman Rushdie - called the prophet Mohammed a "perverse tyrant". Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a 33-year-old Somali-born immigrant to the Netherlands and a former Muslim, has received death threats and been forced to flee the country in the past because of her outspoken criticism of Islam, but her latest outburst threatens to dwarf previous rows. Writing in the daily Trouw newspaper, Ms Ali, who was recently elected an MP for the VVD liberal party and is constantly accompanied by bodyguards, said that, by western standards, Mohammed was a perverse man and a tyrant. Adding insult to injury she also said that the seventh century prophet reminded her of "all those megalomaniac leaders in the Middle East: Bin Laden, Khomeini and Saddam". Mohammed's attitude had, she said, been "do it my way or there'll be trouble" and modern Muslim politicians were no different. "Mohammed says that women must stay at home, wear a veil, cannot take part in certain activities, do not have the same inheritance rights as their husbands and can be stoned to death if they commit adultery," she wrote. "I want to show people that there is also another reality than the 'truth' that is spread all over the world with Saudi money." Dutch Muslims have barely been able to conceal their anger. Her comments have been called "blasphemous" and "unacceptable" by an umbrella organisation of Dutch mosques and there have been calls for her to be barred from public office. Acting on complaints from Muslims, the Amsterdam public prosecutor's office has also initiated an official investigation into her outburst to see whether she is guilty of inciting hatred against Muslims. A ruling is expected within weeks. Ironically the same laws have been cited in past, unsuccessful, attempts to prosecute imams for preaching hatred against gays, Israel and the US. Ms Ali's political party has also come under serious pressure to distance itself from her comments and its leader, Gerrit Zalm, has tried to do just that. Her remarks were, he said, personal and did not represent party policy. "The VVD has no standpoint on Jesus, Mohammed and Buddha," he said. Trouw, the newspaper which ran the offending story in the first place, remains unrepentant. "In the 1960s and the 1970s we had similar criticism about Christianity and everyone got used to it and now Islam has become a target," said Koert Van der Velde, a religious affairs specialist on the paper. "In the short term Muslims will get angry and shout and say it damages integration but I think it will be good for integration in the long term and everyone will get used to it." But the country's Muslims see things differently. Although they say they are anxious not to undermine the freedom of speech traditionally enjoyed by the Dutch they believe that Ms Ali has gone too far this time. "As a member of parliament and as someone involved in promoting integration she should not be making these remarks," Yassin Hartog, a spokesman for Islam and Citizenship, the country's main Muslim lobby, said. "Her remarks were blasphemous and have been received with a great deal of pain by the Muslim community. She has crossed a line and this is where we want to draw the line." Freedom of speech is one thing for an ordinary citizen, he added, but MPs should not be allowed to say exactly what they wanted in public. Ms Ali, a self-styled champion of Muslim women's rights, has angered Muslim clerics in the past by claiming that orthodox Muslim men frequently indulge in domestic violence against women, as well as incest and child abuse.

Poland

Reuters 21 Jan 2003 Inquiry Ends Into 1941 Massacre of Jews by Poles By REUTERS WARSAW, Jan. 21 (Reuters) — An inquiry into a World War II massacre of Polish Jews, which fresh evidence showed was the work of Poles and not the Nazis, reported today that a lack of evidence meant no new suspects would be charged. The investigation began two years ago after a book by a Polish-born historian reported evidence that it was Poles who burned their Jewish neighbors to death in a barn in 1941 in the northeastern town of Jedwabne. "Barring extraordinary circumstances, the investigation will be discontinued by the end of March," the investigating prosecutor, Radoslaw Ignatiew, told the justice committee of Parliament today. The news agency PAP quoted Mr. Ignatiew as saying that he had not found enough evidence to press new charges against anyone. The work of the inquiry has backed recent research pointing to Poles as the culprits. The discovery has prompted a spate of national soul-searching and a reappraisal of Poles' wartime self-image. A 1949 inquiry into the massacre, in which the town's Jews were rounded up and either killed in the streets or herded into a barn and burned alive, ended with some Poles jailed. But the Communist authorities adopted a policy of telling Poles that they had always been victims of atrocities in the Nazi era, not collaborators or perpetrators. The recent Jedwabne inquiry led President Aleksander Kwasniewski to apologize on behalf of Poland at a ceremony marking the 60th anniversary of the pogrom. His action helped improve relations between Polish Christians and Jews. The historian Jan Gross, in his book "Neighbors," estimated that 1,600 Jews died in the Jedwabne pogrom, which was perpetrated soon after Hitler's troops attacked Red Army forces that had occupied eastern Poland under the Nazi-Soviet pact of 1939. Incomplete exhumations at the site of the massacre found the remains of 200 to 300 victims, according to findings presented last year. The investigation also highlighted the role of Poles in 30 other pogroms in the country, in which German Nazi invaders killed about three million Jews from 1939 to 1945.

Russia

AFP 8 Jan 2003 Majority of Russians want peace talks with Chechen rebels: poll MOSCOW, Jan 8 (AFP) - More than half of all Russians would like to see their government open peace talks with Chechen separatists and only 18 percent think the Kremlin's current strategy in the breakaway republic is working, a poll released on Wednesday said. Some 56 percent of those polled by the VTsIOM Institute said they favored negotiating with the separatists, while 36 percent said they wanted to see the war between Russian federal forces and rebel fighters continue. Fifty-eight percent of the 1,600 people polled in December said they thought Russian military force in the republic was not achieving anything. Russia has refused to open negotiations with the republic's rebel leadership, and instead has begun organizing a constitutional referendum, set provisionally for next March. But just 18 percent of those polled said they thought the referendum would lead to peace in Chechnya where federal troops have been fighting a separatist rebellion since October 1999. The referendum has been widely criticised as pointless after a devastating rebel attack in the regional capital Grozny last month. The Kremlin is expected to use the referendum, set to formalize a constitution that will fix Chechnya's place in the Russian Federation, to argue that it has established a political settlement to the long-running conflict. Approval of the referendum will pave the way for presidential and parliamentary elections in the breakaway Caucasian republic in late 2003 or early 2004. Eighteen percent of those polled by VTsIOM said they thought an end to the war would be achieved only when Moscow granted Chechnya independence. Just 12 percent of those polled said they thought the Russian media covered the conflict objectively, while 78 percent said they thought the coverage was "superficial." The poll also found that 59 percent of respondents believed that people from the southern Caucasus region, which includes Chechnya, should be banned from entering "Russia", while only 29 percent disagreed with that view. Some 54 percent said they believed in the nationalistic idea of "a Russia for the Russians", while 26 percent said they thought the idea was "fascist".

AFP 8 Jan 2003 - Too early for Chechnya vote, says OSCE mission chief MOSCOW, Jan 8 (AFP) - A senior European official on Wednesday dismissed Russian plans to hold a constitutional referendum in Chechnya as premature in view of the lack of security in the war-torn southern republic. "It is still too soon to hold a referendum in Chechnya," Finland's Jorma Inki, head of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe's mission in Chechnya, said of the Kremlin's plan to present a new Chechen constitution for the approval of the local population next March. Speaking on Moscow Echo radio, Inki cited the security situation in the republic whose administrative centre in the capital Grozny was rocked just two weeks ago by a suicide bomb attack in which 83 people died. The rebel attack has thrown into doubt Russian claims that the situation in Chechnya has been brought under control and normalised sufficiently for the pro-Russian authorities to organise a referendum on a new constitution, to be followed by presidential and legislative elections. Moscow is claiming that it has won the war in Chechnya and that these arrangements are part of a political settlement fixing the republic's place in the Russian Federation. On December 31 the OSCE mission's mandate in Chechnya was wound up after Russia and the Vienna-based human rights and security body failed to reach an agreement on its prerogatives. Inki said he hoped a new agreement could be reached that would enable the OSCE to send its officials back into the southern republic. "I believe that we worked constructively in Chechnya and that we can continue to do so in the future," he said. Russia hinted on Sunday that it might allow OSCE observers into Chechnya to oversee the forthcoming referendum and subsequent elections, though stressing that such an arrangement would not require the presence of a permament mission on the ground. Last Friday the head of the presidential human rights commission Ella Pamfilova said the OSCE mission could be authorised to return to Chechnya to play a humanitarian role. The core of the dispute between Moscow and Vienna over the OSCE mission is that Russia refuses to allow it play a political role in seeking a settelement to the conflict, while Western capitals believe it should be allowed to continue monitoring the human rights situation in the republic. Chechen officials said Monday they were checking the signatures in a public initiative needed to trigger the referendum, set tentatively for next March, and that a date for the poll could be set after the required number of 12,000 authenticated signatures was confirmed, probably on Friday. Russian troops have been fighting a separatist insurgency in Chechnya since December 1994, apart from a three-year interval which ended in October 1999.

Prague Watchdog 4 Jan 2003 Family of killed Chechen girl to appeal against resolution of Russian court Ruslan Isayev, North Caucasus, January 4 - The family of Elza Kungayeva, the Chechen girl murdered by Colonel Yuri Budanov nearly three years ago, intends to appeal against the resolution of the military court in Rostov-on-Don that ruled the Russian officer insane and ordered his psychiatric treatment. According to the girl's father Visa Kungayev, this is to happen immediately after the New Year holidays. Visa Kungayev told the Prague Watchdog correspondent that this development came as no surprise to him. "Instead of finding the murderer guilty and convicting him under the Russian laws, they declare a man who had been for several years commanding a tank regiment of the Russian military insane. As a father who has lost his daughter I cannot accept such a verdict," he says. Since the beginning of the trial, the circumstances allowed for no other outcome, according to Visa Kungayev. "During the trial, local nationalists and skinheads constantly rallied outside the court building. It affected the attitude of both our side and the side of the defendant," he elaborates. Elza Kungayeva's family pleaded several times with the authorities asking to move the trial to Chechnya or Ingushetia, where it temporarily resides. In addition, the attorney Abdulla Khamzayev has recently addressed the Ingush President Murat Zyazikov with the request to move the trial to Ingushetia. The President's press service responded that Ingushetia has enough problems of its own. Visa Kungayev thinks that throughout the years, the case has switched from an ordinary criminal trial into a political issue. "By their decision, they are showing that killing a Chechen man or woman in Russia is not such a big crime. In more than two years, they imprisoned so many Chechens charged with made-up offences while where there are witnesses and the rape and murder is an obvious fact, they have not been able to arrive at a just verdict," Kungayev says sadly. Meanwhile, top Russian officers consider Budanov almost a hero. In his most recent interview for one of the Russian mass media, General Manilov, a former representative of the General Staff of the Ministry of Defense and today's member of the Council of Federation, said that Budanov got into trouble and needs support. "We will do our best to help the colonel come back," said Manilov. The Rostov court declared Budanov insane based on three court-ordered psychiatric evaluations. The other side has no doubts about Budanov's sanity. Visa Kungayev says that his family required to involve foreign specialists in the examination but this was denied. The future will reveal further development of the case. If the Supreme Court leaves the court resolution unchanged, the family of the murdered girl is ready to complain at international judicial authorities. (P/T) Prague Watchdog http://www.watchdog.cz/

AFP 15 Jan 2003 REBELS ACCUSED OF KILLING CIVILIANS Russian officials accused guerrillas in Chechnya of abducting and then blowing up 10 civilians outside Grozny, the capital of the separatist republic, the Interfax news agency reported. The chief prosecutor of the pro-Russian Chechen administration, Vladimir Kravchenko, said that the civilians' dismembered remains were recently discovered scattered over an area of two and a half acres and that the killings appeared to have taken place sometime last month. He offered no evidence to support the assertion that the victims, who were not publicly identified, had been killed by guerrillas. Michael Wines (NYT)

Interfax 20 Jan 2003 AVN MASKHADOV WANTS TO DISRUPT REFERENDUM IN CHECHNYA The headquarters of the Combined Federal Forces in the North Caucasus has obtained a copy of Chechen elected president Aslan Maskhadov's address to the people of Chechnya. "It clearly follows from this statement by Aslan Maskhadov that he has declared war on his own people before the referendum on the constitution of the Chechen Republic," Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Starovsky, deputy commander of the Combined Federal Forces, told Interfax-Military News Agency on Monday. "Maskhadov has openly warned people that those who cooperate with federal authorities will be physically destroyed. These threats were not made only against officials, but also against ordinary workers, doctors and teachers," Starovsky said. He said the text of the statement makes one feel that Maskhadov "has lost his sense of reality." "In spite of attempts made by Maskhadov and his hangers-on to disrupt the referendum in Chechnya, it will take place, because the majority of Chechnya's population is interested in it," Starovsky said. Despair and lack of coordination can be felt in the latest guerilla actions. "Maskhadov is not in control of the situation, and rebels can stage the most unpredictable actions during preparations for the referendum," the officer stressed. "That is why, federal forces have concentrated on protecting citizens from these ruffians that have launched a genocide of their own people," he said.

Guardian UK 25 Jan 2003 Solzhenitsyn breaks last taboo of the revolution - Nobel laureate under fire for new book on the role of Jews in Soviet-era repression Nick Paton Walsh in Moscow Saturday January 25, 2003 The Guardian Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who first exposed the horrors of the Stalinist gulag, is now attempting to tackle one of the most sensitive topics of his writing career - the role of the Jews in the Bolshevik revolution and Soviet purges. In his latest book Solzhenitsyn, 84, deals with one of the last taboos of the communist revolution: that Jews were as much perpetrators of the repression as its victims. Two Hundred Years Together - a reference to the 1772 partial annexation of Poland and Russia which greatly increased the Russian Jewish population - contains three chapters discussing the Jewish role in the revolutionary genocide and secret police purges of Soviet Russia. But Jewish leaders and some historians have reacted furiously to the book, and questioned Solzhenitsyn's motives in writing it, accusing him of factual inaccuracies and of fanning the flames of anti-semitism in Russia. Solzhenitsyn argues that some Jewish satire of the revolutionary period "consciously or unconsciously descends on the Russians" as being behind the genocide. But he states that all the nation's ethnic groups must share the blame, and that people shy away from speaking the truth about the Jewish experience. In one remark which infuriated Russian Jews, he wrote: "If I would care to generalise, and to say that the life of the Jews in the camps was especially hard, I could, and would not face reproach for an unjust national generalisation. But in the camps where I was kept, it was different. The Jews whose experience I saw - their life was softer than that of others." Yet he added: "But it is impossible to find the answer to the eternal question: who is to be blamed, who led us to our death? To explain the actions of the Kiev cheka [secret police] only by the fact that two thirds were Jews, is certainly incorrect." Solzhenitsyn, awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1970, spent much of his life in Soviet prison camps, enduring persecution when he wrote about his experiences. He is currently in frail health, but in an interview given last month he said that Russia must come to terms with the Stalinist and revolutionary genocides - and that its Jewish population should be as offended at their own role in the purges as they are at the Soviet power that also persecuted them. "My book was directed to empathise with the thoughts, feelings and the psychology of the Jews - their spiritual component," he said. "I have never made general conclusions about a people. I will always differentiate between layers of Jews. One layer rushed headfirst to the revolution. Another, to the contrary, was trying to stand back. The Jewish subject for a long time was considered prohibited. Zhabotinsky [a Jewish writer] once said that the best service our Russian friends give to us is never to speak aloud about us." But Solzhenitsyn's book has caused controversy in Russia, where one Jewish leader said it was "not of any merit". "This is a mistake, but even geniuses make mistakes," said Yevgeny Satanovsky, president of the Russian Jewish Congress. "Richard Wagner did not like the Jews, but was a great composer. Dostoyevsky was a great Russian writer, but had a very sceptical attitude towards the Jews. "This is not a book about how the Jews and Russians lived together for 200 years, but one about how they lived apart after finding themselves on the same territory. This book is a weak one professionally. Factually, it is so bad as to be beyond criticism. As literature, it is not of any merit." But DM Thomas, one of Solzhenitsyn's biographers, said that he did not think the book was fuelled by anti-semitism. "I would not doubt his sincerity. He says that he firmly supports the state of Israel. In his fiction and factual writing there are Jewish characters that he writes about who are bright, decent, anti-Stalinist people." Professor Robert Service of Oxford University, an expert on 20th century Russian history, said that from what he had read about the book, Solzhenitsyn was "absolutely right". Researching a book on Lenin, Prof Service came across details of how Trotsky, who was of Jewish origin, asked the politburo in 1919 to ensure that Jews were enrolled in the Red army. Trotsky said that Jews were disproportionately represented in the Soviet civil bureaucracy, including the cheka. "Trotsky's idea was that the spread of anti-semitism was [partly down to] objections about their entrance into the civil service. There is something in this; that they were not just passive spectators of the revolution. They were part-victims and part-perpetrators. "It is not a question that anyone can write about without a huge amount of bravery, and [it] needs doing in Russia because the Jews are quite often written about by fanatics. Mr Solzhenitsyn's book seems much more measured than that." Yet others failed to see the need for Solzhenitsyn's pursuit of this particular subject at present. Vassili Berezhkov, a retired KGB colonel and historian of the secret services and the NKVD (the precursor of the KGB), said: "The question of ethnicity did not have any importance either in the revolution or the story of the NKVD. This was a social revolution and those who served in the NKVD and cheka were serving ideas of social change. "If Solzhenitsyn writes that there were many Jews in the NKVD, it will increase the passions of anti-semitism, which has deep roots in Russian history. I think it is better not to discuss such a question now."

AP 29 Jan 2003. Activists: Chechens Being Targeted By Sarah Karush The Associated Press Scores of innocent Chechens have been jailed and at least one beaten to death in what appears to be a brutally misguided anti-terror campaign by Moscow police, human rights advocates and detainees' relatives said Tuesday. Beginning in late October, when armed Chechens seized the packed Dubrovka theater, police have targeted ethnic Chechens, detaining them for identity checks and fingerprinting and often framing them for crimes, said Svetlana Gannushkina, head of the refugee aid organization Civic Assistance. The case of Adam Ustarkhanov, allegedly beaten to death by police, stands out as the most grisly. Police detained Ustarkhanov, 30, on Nov. 22 because he lacked the required Moscow registration, said his widow, Leila Shabayeva. Instead of slapping him with the usual fine, they beat him viciously, threw him out on the street and called an ambulance, she said. "He was horribly beaten. ... His skull was fractured," she said. Apparently hoping to ensure Ustarkhanov would not live to testify against them, police threatened doctors who were treating him, ordering them to deny proper care, Shabayeva said. On Nov. 24, Ustarkhanov died in a hospital. Shabayeva said there were witnesses to the beatings and the hospital threats, but she said she has little hope anyone will be brought to justice for her husband's death. "It's unlikely that they will be punished because we're Chechens," she said. Mikhail Morev, the prosecutor's office investigator handling the case, said a criminal investigation had been opened. However, he said no one had been charged and would not comment on allegations of police involvement. The police press service did not respond to a request for comment. Gannushkina said Ustarkhanov's death was part of a centralized campaign against Chechens since the theater crisis. "Innocent people get caught up in this and they stop feeling like Russian citizens; they feel as if they are surrounded by enemies," she said at a news conference with other activists. Lyudmila Alexeyeva, chairwoman of the Moscow Helsinki Group, a rights organization, said the police had become "a weapon of a genocide." Musa Geshayev, a writer who has lived in Moscow since 1994, has seen both his son and his nephew detained on drug charges in recent months. Geshayev said in both cases police planted a small amount of heroin on the men. Geshayev's son, Zelimkhan, was released this month pending trial, but prosecutors have asked a court to put him back in custody. The writer's nephew, Islam Gadayev, has been in jail since the October hostage crisis. Typically, people secure their loved ones' release by paying a hefty bribe cobbled together from the savings of their extended family, Geshayev said. In his nephew's case, however, authorities accepted $1,000, but did not free him, Geshayev said. Ustarkhanov and Shabayeva arrived in Moscow four years ago, but discrimination prevented them from obtaining residence permits and finding jobs, Shabayeva said. Shortly before Ustarkhanov's death, the couple decided to apply for asylum in a West European country for themselves and their daughters, ages 3 and 1.

Telegraph UK 28 Jan 2003 £2-a-month sop to Stalin's Russian victims By Julius Strauss in Moscow (Filed: 28/01/2003) After 12 years of stalling, the Russian Duma has finally passed a law to compensate the sons and daughters of victims of Stalin's purges. Each will receive the equivalent of £2 a month, one free train ticket a year, 50 per cent off the cost of medicines and free false teeth. The award, paltry even by Russian standards, is the latest sorry chapter in a compensation process that has been blocked by Communists and Right-wingers alike. In Russia there has been a concerted effort to brush over the crimes of the Communist era. Officials refuse to countenance talk of atrocities committed by Soviet soldiers during the Second World War, while the FSB, the revamped KGB, is once again an admired institution. Attempts by the Baltic states to bring Moscow's former secret policemen to book are met with howls of protest from the Kremlin. Almost 50 years after Stalin died, some of the millions of victims of the purges have been rehabilitated, but few have been compensated. A law passed in 1991, under Boris Yeltsin, stipulated that victims of the Gulags could claim compensation for property confiscated by the KGB. But it set a cap of £600 on each pay-out, and judged that the burden of proof lay with the victim. Each had to produce three witnesses to prove their claim. Alexei Vasileyevich, of the Russian Association of the Victims of Political Repression, said: "In almost every case all the witnesses where dead or missing. I know of one case when a woman received a few rings back after a former KGB officer helped her gain access to the archives. But that was the exception." In 1996 the Duma passed an amendment allowing children deported to camps with their parents to make claims against the state. But they usually received only a few hundred rubles. For years all compensation attempts by the sons and daughters of Gulag victims were blocked. It was only when local courts began ruling in their favour last year that the Duma was forced to bow to legal precedent and table a fresh amendment. Critics of the new legislation say that a 92 ruble (£2) pension bonus is all they will receive for their suffering. The other social and medical benefits are accorded to all Russian pensioners. Valeriya Dunayeva, 65, of the Russian human rights group Memorial, said she was outraged by last week's law. Her mother was shot in 1941 as a spy and her father sentenced to 25 years in northern Siberia as a political prisoner. She and her brother were raised in a state orphanage where they were both regularly abused. She said: "In Russia today nobody is willing to recognise the horrendous crimes of the past. There are 17,000 of us who lost parents under Stalin in Moscow alone but the authorities simply pretend we don't exist."

Moscow Times 29 Jan 2003 Moscow's Face Is Getting Darker By Nabi Abdullaev Staff Writer Editor's note: This is the first of two stories about Moscow's changing ethnic composition. If existing demographic trends continue, in two generations most Muscovites will have olive skin, dark hair and extended families in the Caucasus and Central Asia, according to a leading institute. The main reasons for the imminent change to the city's face is that ethnic Russians do not have as many babies as their darker-skinned counterparts and, to lesser extent, the growing number of non-Slavic migrants moving to Moscow, they say. According to the calculations of the Institute of General Genetics, the ratio between Moscow residents who traditionally practice Christianity and those who profess Islam was 37 to 1 in 1994. In 2000, the ratio had narrowed to 32 to 1, and by 2025 it is expected to shrink to 6 to 1. The institute counted the large non-Slavic Armenian and Georgian communities as Christian. The demographic shift is largely due to the reluctance of Slavic women to have large families, said Yelena Pobedonostseva, a researcher at the Institute of General Genetics. "In 1999, for example, there were only 1.24 births per 100 female Russian Muscovites and 1.36 for Ukrainian Muscovites, while Azeri Muscovites had 5.71," she said. She said a population group must have a birth rate of no less than 2.2 to avoid extinction. The city's champions in reproduction were Chechens, with more than 9 births per 100 women a year, and Ingush natives, with about 8 births, Pobedonostseva said. "For women living in a single city, the difference in birth rates among ethnic groups is explained only by the women's age, health and desire to have children," she said. Although already low, the birth rate among Slavic women is steadily declining, according to the institute's figures. While it was 1.45 per 100 women in 1994, the rate was closer to 1.7 in 1950 and 2.7 in 1925. Ethnic Russians accounted for 86.4 percent of all babies born in Moscow in 1994, but that share shrunk to 72.5 percent in 1999. In the meantime, Azeri births jumped from 0.9 percent to 1.3 percent, Chechen births grew from 0.11 percent to 0.46 percent, and Ingush births rose from 0.08 percent to 0.15 percent. "The actual increase in the non-Slavic population of Moscow may not seem large compared to the total number of Russians in the city, but if the tendency continues, the face of the city will eventually change," Pobedonostseva said. The number of migrants who register as permanent residents is paltry compared to the overall city's population, but their influx is also helping dilute the Slavic population, said Valery Stepanov, an expert from the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology. According to the 1989 census, ethnic Russians accounted for 90 percent of the Moscow population, while Armenians and Chechens each held about 0.5 percent, he said. Most of the tens of thousands of migrants who moved to the capital in the 1990s were ethnic Russians -- by some counts as many as two-thirds, Stepanov said. Armenians and Chechens each accounted for 3 percent, much more than their representation in the 1989 census. "If this continues, in 50 years every third Muscovite will have a non-Slavic appearance," Stepanov said. The growing number of migrants has also led to an increase in the number of interethnic marriages. The parents' offspring usually take the dominant genes of the Caucasian natives. From the 1950s to the 1980s, every sixth marriage in Moscow was interethnic, according to Russian media reports. By 1995, interethnic marriages had grown to 22 percent of all marriages, and they currently are between 30 percent to 40 percent. City officials said they could not provide figures on marriages, saying they had stopped collecting such information after then-President Boris Yeltsin abolished any reference to ethnicity from new Russian passports in 1997. Also, the ethnicity of brides and grooms is no longer registered. Ethnicity experts agreed that some marriages were on paper only -- migrants who tie the knot to get Moscow residency permits but do not live with their spouses. But in many cases, they said, Russian women are drawn by the self-confidence and financial security that a number of Caucasus men offer. "Just watch any talk show and you'll learn what a Russian woman wants from her darling: He must be financially successful, not drink too much and never act like a loser," said Vladimir Pribylovsky, an analyst from the Panorama think tank. "Migrants from the Caucasus match these standards better than average Russians." While less than 2 percent of all marriages involve Slavic husbands and Caucasus wives -- a percentage that has remained stable for decades -- the number of unions between Slavic women and Caucasus men has skyrocketed, according to the Institute of General Genetics. Weddings with Armenian grooms tripled to 12 percent of the total between 1980 to 1995, followed by Georgians with 8.7 percent and Azeris with 6.8 percent, the institute said. Ethnic groups from Russia's northern Caucasus region have more than quadrupled to 4.4 percent. However, about 90 percent of the children born in these marriages identify themselves as Slavic Russians, Stepanov said. "The perception of ethnicity in Russia is changing from a reference in the passport toward ethnic self-identification," he said. "For non-Slavic people living in Moscow, where the informational and cultural environment is embedded in the Russian language, integration will inevitably mean a change of their ethnic identity."

Serbia

NYT 23 Jan 2003 PRESSURE FROM U.S. ON WAR CRIMES The top American diplomat for war crimes issues, Pierre-Richard Prosper, met senior officials including President Vojislav Kostunica to demand that Yugoslavia hand over people indicted on war crimes charges to the United Nations tribunal. Mr. Prosper warned that unless the two most wanted suspects believed to be hiding in the country were arrested by March 31, the United States could suspend financial aid. Officials in Belgrade say they do not know the whereabouts of Ratko Mladic, accused of genocide in Bosnia, or Veselin Sljivancanin, charged with committing atrocities in Croatia. Daniel Simpson (NYT)

NYT 21 Jan 2003 Ex-President of Serbia Surrenders to Tribunal By MARLISE SIMONS THE HAGUE, Jan. 20 — The former Serbian President, Milan Milutinovic, surrendered today to the United Nations tribunal, which has charged him with crimes against humanity related to the 1999 conflict in Kosovo. He was the last ally of Slobodan Milosevic to hold high office and had enjoyed immunity from prosecution until he stepped down in December. Mr. Milutinovic, who became Serbia's president in 1997, arrived here on a special plane provided by the Yugoslav government. Belgrade has been lobbying on his behalf for special concessions, like release on bail until his trial begins. He was meeting today with the tribunal's chief prosecutor, Carla Del Ponte, but no details were immediately forthcoming on the conditions of his surrender. When Mr. Milutinovic appears in court on Wednesday, tribunal judges will probably decide if he can return to Belgrade pending trial. His health may be a factor: the Serbian politician has already had heart surgery and is said to require medical supervision. For now, Mr. Milutinovic, 60, is being held at the same United Nations prison here as his one-time patron, Mr. Milosevic, the former Yugoslavian president. Mr. Milosevic also has a heart condition, and tribunal officials said today that his trial remained suspended while he fought another bout of flu. Mr. Milosevic's high blood pressure and heart disease make him prone to infections and fatigue, according to one of his legal assistants. Hearings last year were repeatedly interrupted by Mr. Milosevic's health problems, prolonging already lengthy proceedings. It was not clear whether Mr. Milosevic and Mr. Milutinovic are allowed to meet in the three-story United Nations jail here, where Serbs, Croats and Bosnians often mingle. Although Mr. Milutinovic was a member of the Milosevic inner circle, he was widely regarded as a figurehead who attended meetings but seldom involved himself in decision making or operations. As the head of the Serbian delegation to talks with the Kosovar Albanians at Rambouillet in February 1999, before NATO bombed Yugoslavia, Mr. Milutinovic bore the brunt of Western efforts to force Mr. Milosevic to withdraw his forces from Kosovo. But he was unwilling, and probably unable, to persuade Mr. Milosevic to back down. He ended his speech at the summit with the words: "Que será será." He hopes to fashion his defense around his reputation for disengagement in government affairs, and has denied the prosecution's charges of crimes against humanity, including deportation, murder and persecution. During the Serbian crackdown of the late 1990's, which Belgrade said was necessary to maintain control over its province of Kosovo, some 800,000 ethnic Albanians fled Serbian police and military violence and hundreds were killed. This week, the Belgrade government has made much of its cooperation with the tribunal by helping ensure the arrival of Mr. Milutinovic here. But this may be as much a signal to Washington as it is a good-will gesture. The United States has said Yugoslavia risks losing economic assistance after March 31 if it does not arrest war crimes suspects and cooperate with the tribunal. But Belgrade has not yet detained others indicted by the tribunal, including the former Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladic, who is often seen in Belgrade. The former Bosnian Serb leader, Radovan Karadzic, has also been seen in Yugoslavia, but he reportedly spends most of his time in hiding in eastern Bosnia.

NYT 23 Jan 2003 U.S. Offers Belgrade a Deal for 3 Wanted Men By DANIEL SIMPSON SARAJEVO, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Jan. 23 — The United States has offered to drop its demand that Yugoslavia send several war crimes suspects to the United Nations tribunal in The Hague if three of the most wanted fugitives are arrested by March 31, a State Department official said today. Pierre-Richard Prosper, the United States ambassador at large for war crimes issues, said in an interview here that Washington would also remove conditions imposed on financial aid for Yugoslavia if it extradited the three men. The foremost on the list is Ratko Mladic, the Bosnian Serb general accused of genocide. "The time has come to resolve this matter once and for all," Mr. Prosper said during a visit to Bosnia after two days of talks with Yugoslav officials in Belgrade. But Yugoslav officials said there seemed to be little hope that the offer would bring the issue to a conclusion, at least not immediately. "I'm not optimistic about our ability to comply with these demands by March 31," said Zoran Djindjic, the prime minister of Serbia, whose intervention has been critical to securing previous arrests and extraditions. Since Slobodan Milosevic was ousted as president of Yugoslavia — which consists of Serbia and Montenegro — more than two years ago, Congress has demanded annual certification from the secretary of state that Yugoslavia is cooperating on war crimes before approving financial aid for the coming year. But Mr. Prosper said the condition, which has persuaded officials in Belgrade to hand over Mr. Milosevic and several other suspects, would be waived if General Mladic and two others were sent to face prosecutors in The Hague. "The finish line is essentially in sight," the ambassador said after talks with international officials in Sarajevo, where he vowed to redouble American efforts to help arrest the wartime Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, who is hiding in Bosnia. "We can see what needs to be done to put this certification process completely behind us." Officials in Serbia, the dominant republic in what remains of Yugoslavia after the Balkan wars of the 1990's, have resisted continued pressure to arrest General Mladic, who is regarded by die-hard supporters as a national hero. The government and the army insist that they have no idea where he or the two other suspects specified by the ambassador — Maj. Veselin Sljivancanin and Capt. Miroslav Radic — are hiding, a contention that Mr. Prosper disputed. "We believe that they have the ability to locate these individuals," he said. "There's no reason to believe they are not in Serbia." The prospect of an end to demands from Washington for greater cooperation with the United Nations tribunal should provide Serbian leaders with a powerful incentive to take political risks, Mr. Prosper argued. "We laid out a clear path for them that will allow for these war crimes issues to be put behind them," he said, adding that outstanding cases could then be ceded to Yugoslav courts rather than left in the hands of an international tribunal that many Serbs regard as biased. Officials in Belgrade reacted cautiously to the offer. The Yugoslav foreign minister, Goran Svilanovic, said he had asked Mr. Prosper for American help to apprehend the three suspects, who are among 23 fugitives from across the Balkans being sought by the tribunal. But he declined to specify what form that support would take. Mr. Prosper said the United States had not ruled anything out, including the possibility of Americans helping to try to make arrests. "They haven't said, `We need A, B, C and D,' " he said. "If they come to us with a particular need we're going to look at it seriously. We are willing to entertain logistical requests that come from the government." The offer marks a shift in American policy, motivated in part by the Bush administration's desire to wind down its involvement in the Balkans as soon as possible. But the chances of success remain slim, given the political instability in Yugoslavia stirred up by a long-running feud between Mr. Djindjic, a pro-Western pragmatist, and the Yugoslav President, Vojislav Kostunica, who is more conservative and nationalist in outlook. Mr. Djindjic's government has lost the backing of Mr. Kostunica's party and can muster a majority in Parliament only by enlisting the support of some of Mr. Milosevic's old allies, who bitterly oppose further extraditions. Eager to secure millions of dollars in badly needed international aid but fearful of ordering Serbian troops to risk death in a shootout with General Mladic's guards, Mr. Djindjic has been confronted with a tricky problem. "This looks like a very clumsy move by the State Department," said Dejan Anastasijevic, a reporter with the weekly newsmagazine Vreme. "Djindjic can see the political risk involved in going after Mladic, and he knows it's higher than any political gain from hanging on to American aid." )

NYT 28 Jan 2003 A Wartime Star Endures, Singing to a Torn Serbia By DANIEL SIMPSON BELGRADE, Serbia, Jan. 27 — It would be difficult to find a more divisive figure in Serbia than Svetlana Raznatovic and her come-hither cleavage. But it is not the cut of Ms. Raznatovic's revealing outfits that most irks her detractors, nor the fact that her murdered husband, Zeljko, better known as Arkan, was the most notorious warlord in the Balkans. Rather, it is the sound of her music. A hybrid of traditional folk and modern electro-pop, the songs of Ceca, as Ms. Raznatovic styles herself, were the soundtrack to a decade of destruction that reduced Yugoslavia to an impoverished pariah state dominated by Serbia. Her maudlin lyrics do not indulge the inward-looking nationalism that still poisons the region, and the lurching melodies of the genre, called turbo-folk, are heavily influenced by Turkish music, a legacy of the centuries when the Ottomans ruled this corner of Europe. To many people here, however, Ceca and her musical peers epitomize all that was wrong with Serbia under Slobodan Milosevic, when wars, ethnic cleansing and international economic sanctions helped cliques of common criminals to acquire extensive wealth and power. Although Mr. Milosevic's autocratic government crumbled in the face of mass street protests more than two years ago, the popularity of turbo-folk — and of Ceca herself — has endured, much to the chagrin of those who are appalled by its glorification of a garish, gangster lifestyle and want Serbia to embrace an international future and move beyond its past. The vogue for synthesized folk music throughout the Balkans has even won her a small following among non-Serbs in Croatia and Bosnia, even though Arkan's paramilitary units swept through both countries committing atrocities in the 1990's. "I'm irresistible," said the 29-year-old singer in an interview in the boardroom of F. C. Obilic, a soccer club she has presided over since her husband, the previous president, was assassinated three years ago. "Music shouldn't be confined to borders and it shouldn't be linked to politics." Her fans mostly beg to differ. When she took to the stage last June for her first concert since her husband was shot in the face in a Belgrade hotel lobby, a crowd of about 70,000 roared its appreciation by screaming, "Arkan! Arkan!" "It's a normal reaction from my audience because my husband was such a great patriot," she said, dismissing his indictment by the United Nations war crimes tribunal as politically motivated. "It was a spontaneous celebration." Despite the widely documented murderous rampages carried out by her husband and his followers, she defends him to the hilt. Although she was already famous when she first met Arkan at a party at his paramilitary training camp in 1993, Ms. Raznatovic regards him as the most significant influence on her career. "He always told me that I was gifted, that no matter how happy I was in my private life I needed to be on stage to feel fulfilled," she reminisced. "I lived with a man who made me feel like a princess and my love for him has not diminished." A single photograph of her late husband adorns the boardroom of F. C. Obilic, which is named after a Serbian warrior killed by invading Turkish forces six centuries ago. It pictures Zeljko Raznatovic in uniform, sporting a cocky grin and his beret at a jaunty angle. Even the comeback concert was inspired by Arkan, who had long cherished the vision of his wife performing to an adoring crowd in the Belgrade soccer stadium within view of their lavish home. His death, which Ms. Raznatovic witnessed, only postponed the plan. "For a year after that tragedy, I didn't leave my house. I wore black and mourned," she said. "I was thinking of never going back to singing again, but I knew he would have insisted. That's why I dedicated the concert to him." Although her husband, 21 years her senior, clearly strengthened her self-belief, Ms. Raznatovic was apparently never short of it. "I got this feeling I was a star when I was much younger," she said, reflecting on her childhood in the southern Serbian countryside and vacations on the Montenegrin coast, where she started singing in a restaurant one summer and was promptly offered a job. "Ever since I was 5, I performed in amateur singing competitions," she said. "I got used to people all over the Balkans looking at me as if I was a wunderkind." According to Kim Burton, a British musician who has worked with artists across the Balkans, the sound of Ceca and other turbo-folk stars is "at its best in noisy company with some form of alcohol abuse." But heard in an office decked out with two Spanish suits of armor and 13 broadswords in a display rack, its invigorating melancholy may be even stronger. Asked to sing during an interview, Ceca leaped at the opportunity, a cigarette burning between her fingers as she shut her eyes and let rip with the quivering, husky voice that has enchanted thousands in dimly lit bars packed with men knocking back strong drinks. It was television that really made Ceca a star. She cavorted with tigers, the mascot of Arkan's paramilitaries, in her music videos and was married in a ceremony broadcast live to the nation in 1995, with a beaming groom firing a pistol into the air afterward. Some commentators compared the event to the wedding of Charles and Diana. Others referred to Ms. Raznatovic as "Serbia's Scarlett O'Hara," although the Southern belle she probably resembles most is Dolly Parton. "If I was American I would definitely be singing country music," she said. "It's the same as Serbian folk: it speaks to ordinary people." This is precisely what concerns her critics, who worry that tentative economic and political reforms will do little to transform Serbia if popular culture remains stuck in the vulgar excesses of the 1990's. "This country is split right down the middle," said Zoran Milosavljevic, a 34-year-old journalist and part-time D.J. "The easiest way to work out whether someone supports change here is to ask them if they like Ceca."

Slovakia

Center for Reproductive Rights 24 Jan 2003 Please receive the press release on the report "Body and Soul - Forced Sterilization and other assaults on Roma Reproductive Freedom in Slovakia" which will be presented today 28 January in Bratislava. The entire report will be available starting with 28 January 2003 on CRR website www.reproductiverights.org Ina Zoon consultant Center for Reproductive Rights ROMANI WOMEN SUBJECT TO FORCED STERILIZATION IN SLOVAKIA: RIGHTS VIOLATED BY HEALTH CARE SYSTEM NEW REPORT DOCUMENTS ASSAULTS, RACIAL SEGREGATION AND COERCED STERILIZATION IN EASTERN SLOVAKIA New York, NY - Romani women are being coerced or forced to undergo sterilization procedures in eastern Slovakia's government-run health facilities, according to a new report released today by the Center for Reproductive Rights and Poradna pre obcianske a ludské práva, in collaboration with Ina Zoon. Two hundred and thirty in-depth interviews were held with Romani women in 40 settlements in eastern Slovakia. The investigative report documents grave human rights violations against Romani women in Slovakia, including about 110 cases where women were forcibly or coercively sterilized, or have strong indications that they have been sterilized. The report also documents extensive racism and verbal and physical abuse towards Romani women in public hospitals, including the denial of patient access to their own medical records and segregation in patients' rooms, maternity wards, restrooms and dining facilities. Agata, 28, from Svinia Talks about being Coercively Sterilized "Doctors came and brought me to the operating room [for a C-section] and there they gave me anesthesia. When I was falling asleep, a nurse came and took my hand in hers and with it she signed something. I do not know what it was. I could not check because I cannot read, I only know how to sign my name. When I left the hospital, I was only told that I would not have any more children.I was so healthy before, but now I have pain all the time. Lots of infections." "These egregious practices violate fundamental human rights and the Slovak government must publicly acknowledge these violations, conduct an investigation and prosecute those responsible," said Christina Zampas, legal adviser for Europe for the Center for Reproductive Rights. "The rights to health, bodily integrity, self-determination and non-discrimination are protected by both international and national law; it is the Slovak government's duty to protect and fulfill the human rights of all of its citizens, especially the most vulnerable," added Zampas. Alexandra from Richnava Talks about Racial Segregation in Slovakia's Public Hospitals "In Krompachy hospital, there are separate rooms for Roma-there are three Gypsy rooms, one shower and one toilet for us while white women have their own toilets. White women can go to the dining room but Roma cannot eat there. In Gypsy room, there is not even a dust bin. It is like in a concentration camp there." "The Slovak maternal health system discriminates against Romani women in almost every respect," said Barbora Bukovská, Executive Director of Poradna pre obcianske a ludské práva. "It is unacceptable that this is happening in the very heart of Europe, it is been happening throughout the transition period and continues. We urge the Slovak government to swiftly end these practices," added Ina Zoon, a consultant on the report. The report, titled Body and Soul: Forced Sterilization and Other Assaults on Roma Reproductive Freedom in Slovakia, makes several recommendations to the Slovak government on ways to address these violations. The report is based on a fact-finding mission undertaken in eastern Slovakia in 2002. Romani women, non-Romani women, obstetricians, gynecologists, hospital administrators and government officials were interviewed for the report. The practice of forced sterilization stems from a racist policy instituted under the communist regime that provided monetary incentives to women to undergo sterilization - a policy that targeted Romani women. That policy was formally rescinded over a decade ago but unfortunately lives on. As a future member state of the European Union, Slovakia has committed itself to the "rule of law, human rights and respect for and protection of minorities," as required by the political criteria for joining the European Union. For a copy of the report visit www.reproductiverights.org

United Kingdom

News 24 SA Blast bomb at Adair home A blast bomb was today thrown at the home of loyalist Johnny Adair in Belfast. The Army cordoned off an area at the rear of the house on the Shnankill Road in Belfast. The device had already exploded when it was discovered. Police have confirmed that the device was a blast bomb.

Washington Post 12 Jan 2003 Outlook Annals of British History, 1972 When Catholics Were 'to Be Removed' The Post's opinion and commentary section Page B05 In July 1972, halfway through what would be the deadliest year of the conflict in Northern Ireland, the British government, at the initiative of Prime Minister Edward Heath, considered an extraordinary plan to end the sectarian violence by forcibly moving hundreds of thousands of the province's Catholics into the Republic of Ireland. The newly declassified contingency plan was released this month by Britain's Public Records Office. In the document, stamped "UK eyes only," a group of cabinet officials inform Heath: "We have, as requested, considered the possibility of redrawing the border with the Republic and effecting compulsory transfers of population within Northern Ireland or from Northern Ireland to the Republic." Signed by Heath's cabinet secretary, Sir Burke Trend, and written by representatives of the foreign secretary, the Northern Ireland secretary, the defense secretary and others, the document suggests that the decision to launch the operation should be considered only in case of "extremely grave emergency." Still, that the powerful democracy was actively considering imposing such drastic remedies on its own subjects has come as a shock to many. The transfers would require London to cede territory to Dublin: "the Republic would surely not accept 500,000 Catholics without land for them to live on." From the ceded area, as many as 200,000 Protestants would then have to be shifted into what remained of the North. Irish Prime Minister Jack Lynch had not been consulted. The authors seem to suggest that the plan, for which "military planning [was] well in hand" should not be enacted, in part because of feared outrage from the United States and other British allies, and because "unless the Government was prepared to be completely ruthless," the chances of imposing a settlement in this way "would be negligible." "Trend was basically saying to Heath stay clear of this idea entirely," said Irish historian Joe Lee. What follows is an annotated page from Heath's copy of the document (www.pro.gov.uk/releases/nyo2003), which ran to 21 pages, plus appendices and maps. There were only nine other copies, according to a records office official, who added, "It was a fairly restricted document, as you can imagine." -- Kathleen Cahill, for Outlook E.R. Elizabeth Regina, or Queen Elizabeth II, a standard notation on many British government documents. "WE HAVE BEEN ASKED TO CONSIDER whether it would be practicable" and the document's other changes are in the hand of the prime minister's cabinet secretary, Sir Burke Trend, according to the records office. THOUGH REPUBLICANISM The document at first considers moving the "dissident Republican" population, that is, those strongly committed to achieving a united Ireland by force if necessary, but in the next paragraph ... CATHOLIC MINORITY ARE TO BE REMOVED. . . the category is broadened considerably. THE SIX COUNTIES, THE 26 COUNTIES Today, the terms "the six counties" for Northern Ireland and "26 counties" to mean Ireland are used exclusively by Irish republicans, who do not recognize the island's partition. Seeing the terms, then, even in the draft of an official British document, seems somewhat surprising, until one considers the time. Until the 1960s, says Irish historian Joe Lee, the Irish government itself routinely referred to "the six counties."

AFP 15 Jan 2003 NORTHERN IRELAND: EX-PREMIER BLAMES ARMY The former British Prime Minister Edward Heath told the "Bloody Sunday" inquiry that the killings of 14 civil rights marchers in Londonderry in 1972 was the fault of army officers and not, as has been charged, a result of any shoot-to-kill policy under his government. "It was for officers on the ground to judge in any given situation what force should be used and how an intended operation should be run," said Sir Edward, 86, on the first day of what is expected to be three weeks of testimony. The inquiry, which began five years ago and is expected to run until 2004, moved to London from Londonderry late last year out of safety concerns for the 350 British political and military officials scheduled to be witnesses. Warren Hoge (NYT)


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
ITAR-TASS  Russia

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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